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What is the point of GM's notes?

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
When applied to the average gamer out in the wild... I wouldn't be surprised if this was a fair assessment.
I don't disagree, and I also don't think it's a good thing. I mean, in analogy, I guess it's fine if you want to just play backyard basketball, but learning a few plays and theory of the game will make your basketball better. Well, maybe, I was always terrible at basketball. Baseball, too. Soccer, though... I was pretty good at that, and analysis was a big part of getting better.
 

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Lanefan

Victoria Rules
You mean with you issuing a blanket dismissal? I thought that's not what was happening in this thread? I get it's a hard pill to swallow -- you've got a lot of inertia here, and it's challenging to redirect. I had the same issue. But, ultimately, what counts as "dissociative" isn't really a baked in feature of the mechanic, but rather whether or not it fits into the paradigm we already have. Viewing hitpoints as dissociative is a hard ask, especially if you've spent a lot of time with a specific (to you) explanation of them.
Viewing hit points as dissociative is fairly easy, if that's what one wants to do.

It's also every bit as easy to view them as having a connection to the fiction and causing/requiring fictional changes (at least in terms of description) as they are lost, if that's what one wants to do.

And this is perhaps the underlying root of the argument about what hit points represent. The hit-points-as-plot-armour side views them more dissociatively, the hit-points-as-meat side views tham as having a basis in the fiction.

Or - as many do - one can see them as kind of a combination of both the above: to some extent plot armour, to some extent meat; and the dividing line on where one becomes the other varies for everyone.
But, they are dissociative -- they're utterly disconnected from anything in the fiction and do not require any fictional changes until and unless you're out of them. I mean, there's huge numbers of threads arguing what hitpoints actually are, so I fail to see how you can state that they are dissociative (if they weren't, there'd be many fewer arguments about what losing 10 hitpoints means in the fiction).
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Where did I say it was bad? I said it was different. The "bad" part is being afraid of gotchas (and running them), because gotchas are an abuse of the GM's authority in the game to hide information and then punish players with the hidden information. It's icky.
It's only an abuse of the GM's authority if she doesn't give out information the PCs should reasonably have access to. However, note this does NOT include foreshadowing every hidden hazard the PCs are about to face: it's on the PCs to assume there's potentially danger at every turn and to approach things in that frame of mind.

It's not an abuse in the slightest if the PCs neglect their due diligence and-or throw caution to the wind.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
It's only an abuse of the GM's authority if she doesn't give out information the PCs should reasonably have access to. However, note this does NOT include foreshadowing every hidden hazard the PCs are about to face: it's on the PCs to assume there's potentially danger at every turn and to approach things in that frame of mind.

It's not an abuse in the slightest if the PCs neglect their due diligence and-or throw caution to the wind.
Yes, I'm aware of all of this. Assume that when I'm saying it's bad, it's with this knowledge in mind.
 

Imaro

Hero
I don't disagree, and I also don't think it's a good thing. I mean, in analogy, I guess it's fine if you want to just play backyard basketball, but learning a few plays and theory of the game will make your basketball better. Well, maybe, I was always terrible at basketball. Baseball, too. Soccer, though... I was pretty good at that, and analysis was a big part of getting better.
Wait... in the context of ttrpg's how are you defining getting better. I think for many nowadays rpg's for most are like a poker night or boardgame night as opposed to a field of study or job they are trying to get better at... but I might not be fully grasping the usage here.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Wait... in the context of ttrpg's how are you defining getting better. I think for many nowadays rpg's for most are like a poker night or boardgame night as opposed to a field of study or job they are trying to get better at... but I might not be fully grasping the usage here.
I don't treat it as a field of study, but I want to get better at it. I mean, I paint minis, too,and while I could have stopped at the travesty of Ultramarines (they were blue), I also practiced, critiqued, and sought better techniques to do what I wanted. You know, better. Does my better equal your better? Absolutely not, but there's value in investigating new ideas and approaches, if only to say you won't/can't do that.
 

Campbell

Legend
I think there's a lot of value in the pursuit of mastery, even in your hobbies. Particularly in group hobbies. Developing new skills and getting better at existing skills is fun for me personally. In a shared hobby where we are all expected to contribute I think giving it your all is something you owe the other people you play with. Even from a completely selfish standpoint when you give it your all it's often contagious. You raise the bar and in doing so everyone starts to bring it more.

I believe in trying hard in everything you do. Professionally, personally, and in leisure activities. Obviously we all need to recover and we should make sure we properly prioritize things in our lives, but why not try to do our best rather than just good enough?
 

I believe in trying hard in everything you do. Professionally, personally, and in leisure activities. Obviously we all need to recover and we should make sure we properly prioritize things in our lives, but why not try to do our best rather than just good enough?

1) people have very different definitions of ‘best’ in RPGs

2) lots of people, probably most, engage in leisure activities to unwind and kick back. If you have a table of four chill people and you are trying to amp up the energy and get them to ‘bring their A game’ you are totally misreading the room (and probably reducing their enjoyment of the past time)
 

I can say with confidence that my games have improved since joining these boards and engaging in discussion here. My enjoyment of the hobby, and by extension the enjoyment of those I play with, has been enhanced.

I attribute this to posting here and listening to people, especially people with ideas and experiences different than my own. To reading the games people were talking about and actually playing some of them to try and fully understand those games and the viewpoints of those posters.

I want to continue improving and learning. I would pretty much assume that of just about anyone here.

Otherwise, what’s the point?
 

Imaro

Hero
I don't treat it as a field of study, but I want to get better at it. I mean, I paint minis, too,and while I could have stopped at the travesty of Ultramarines (they were blue), I also practiced, critiqued, and sought better techniques to do what I wanted. You know, better. Does my better equal your better? Absolutely not, but there's value in investigating new ideas and approaches, if only to say you won't/can't do that.
Eh I play games to have fun with my friends and family... if thats happening I'm not to worried about getting better.

Edit I guess I could ask them to study other games and playstyles so that our fun might get "better" but the group probably wouldn't be interested in this type of homework to facilitate better fun.
 
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Imaro

Hero
I can say with confidence that my games have improved since joining these boards and engaging in discussion here. My enjoyment of the hobby, and by extension the enjoyment of those I play with, has been enhanced.

I attribute this to posting here and listening to people, especially people with ideas and experiences different than my own. To reading the games people were talking about and actually playing some of them to try and fully understand those games and the viewpoints of those posters.

I want to continue improving and learning. I would pretty much assume that of just about anyone here.

Otherwise, what’s the point?
This sounds like a job. I think some people feel this way but the vast majority just aren't interested in pursuing the study of ttrpg's to the degree you and some others are... some people barely want to read a single rulebook.
 

This sounds like a job. I think some people feel this way but the vast majority just aren't interested in pursuing the study of ttrpg's to the degree you and some others are... some people barely want to read a single rulebook.

It’s not a job. It’s a hobby and people can and should engage with it in whatever manner they like. But wanting to improve isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually a good thing.

If we were talking about sports or video games or poker or any other kind of game, I don’t know if this sentiment would come up. Wanting to improve doesn’t mean you become some kind of obsessed lunatic who forces everyone else to play with the same dedication. That’s just nonsense.

And I don’t think folks taking part in a thread about play analysis for nearly 1500 posts and bordering on a month’s time would fall into any kind of “casual” classification.

Let me ask you...do you think your skill as a GM or a player can improve? Do you think your enjoyment of RPGs can be enhanced or broadened or changed?

I’d be surprised if just about anyone here said “no” to those questions.
 

This sounds like a job. I think some people feel this way but the vast majority just aren't interested in pursuing the study of ttrpg's to the degree you and some others are... some people barely want to read a single rulebook.

I don't have the time to digest posts, formulate my thoughts and appropriately respond to all of my pending responses.

But I'm curious about this.

This happens so often in these threads. Outside of just conveying the words you've typed out above, what is it that animates a person (in this case imaro of ENWorld, but others like BRG and Lanefan who hold this same position) to (i) go to a conversation that is engaged in technical discussion and (ii) tell the people engaging in technical level discussion that the majority of fans/hobbyists are indifferent to a technical discussion of their leisure activity/hobby?

What is the impulse here?

Its an extreme curiosity of mine because I'm this way with several hobbies of mine from (a) Baseball and Football Analytics, to (b) serious NFL game film breakdown, to (c) extensive NFL prospect film eval (and Big Board creation), to (d) BJJ conversation and analysis.

Without fail, just like here when it comes to TTRGPs, there is a certain segment of people who invariably do exactly what you're doing here. And those same people are SERIOUSLY adversarial toward both the interest in deep-dive technical evaluation of all of the above and feel inclined to do the (i) and (ii) above (actively seek out conversations to go to and tell those involved that what they're doing is extreme minority behavior and proceed to get hostile about it).

The symmetry is eerie.

What is it that makes you guys (and I'm assuming all of the other people that do this exact same things in the aforementioned (a) - (d) above) do this? Do you think myself or others like me are suddenly going to go "oh...yeah, well, hell I didn't even think of it like that...I guess I'll just stop!"

What is the impulse you're following? What realization or behavioral adjustment is it that you're trying to compel me toward?
 

Imaro

Hero
It’s not a job. It’s a hobby and people can and should engage with it in whatever manner they like. But wanting to improve isn’t a bad thing. It’s actually a good thing.
Who said it was a bad thing? But its also not a bad thing to view a game as a game.
If we were talking about sports or video games or poker or any other kind of game, I don’t know if this sentiment would come up. Wanting to improve doesn’t mean you become some kind of obsessed lunatic who forces everyone else to play with the same dedication. That’s just nonsense.
Who said any of this?
And I don’t think folks taking part in a thread about play analysis for nearly 1500 posts and bordering on a month’s time would fall into any kind of “casual” classification.

Let me ask you...do you think your skill as a GM or a player can improve? Do you think your enjoyment of RPGs can be enhanced or broadened or changed?
I think I have other priorities and thus the amount of time, effort, study, and experimentation I put into getting better at ttrpg's are weighed against those. I think for more casual players it may be something that interests them very little if at all.
I’d be surprised if just about anyone here said “no” to those questions.
And that would prove?? Or do you think most of us here are representative of the majority of people who play ttrpg's?
 

One other question I'd be curious to get the answer on (this struck me a few hours ago).

Is the issue that some people have with technical analysis/demystifying GMing and TTRPGs have something to do with the idea of "taking the romance out of it?" Sort of the same complaint that gets levied at evolutionary biology/psychology and Neuroendocrinology for breaking down love and attraction to process and its constituent parts/regimes?
 

prabe

Aspiring Lurker (He/Him)
Supporter
One other question I'd be curious to get the answer on (this struck me a few hours ago).

Is the issue that some people have with technical analysis/demystifying GMing and TTRPGs have something to do with the idea of "taking the romance out of it?" Sort of the same complaint that gets levied at evolutionary biology/psychology and Neuroendocrinology for breaking down love and attraction to process and its constituent parts/regimes?
I think a better comparison is the essay "Blood from the Shoulder of Pallas" in "The Watchmen." (Leaving aside whether the sciences you name have completely "solved" attraction and/or love as a different question.) There is a perpetual ... idea? concern? ... that analysis can destroy the ability to appreciate beauty (Dead Poets' Society is another example of this thinking, I think) and while I think I understand the worry I don't think I completely agree with it.

The only thing in your previous post I have any real knowledge of is baseball analytics. I think I'm inclined to say the heavy use of sabremetrics has rendered the game less aesthetically pleasing than it was, say, fifteen years ago. The game reduced to three true outcomes is stultifying. That's not saying the analysis is wrong, just that I don't like the game as much when it's played to the math.

How does that relate to TRPGs? I'm not really sure. Given that in my head GMing seems to come from the same place as writing fiction did, and GMing without prep feels a lot like free-writing (which never, ever intimidated me), it's plausible-shading-to-likely that I'm coming at them from an entirely different angle than you are. I know I get something out of conversations with people coming from different positions/angles, and I'm inclined to presume others do, too. That's what I'm aiming for, not to direct anyone toward any specific realization or behavioral change.
 
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Is the issue that some people have with technical analysis/demystifying GMing and TTRPGs have something to do with the idea of "taking the romance out of it?" Sort of the same complaint that gets levied at evolutionary biology/psychology and Neuroendocrinology for breaking down love and attraction to process and its constituent parts/regimes?

No, this isn't it at all. it isn't that you are demystifying anything like a biologist. It is that we disagree with many of your conclusions and your analysis. And that is fair. If you post an idea that purports to explain how RPGs work, or if you post an idea advancing one style of play over another, people are going to push back if they disagree. We could just give you an echo chamber if that is what you prefer. But I think it is a lot more normal for people on a forum like this to have disagreements and for there not to be a consensus because there are lots of different schools of thought in RPGs and a lot of different styles.
 

Imaro

Hero
I don't have the time to digest posts, formulate my thoughts and appropriately respond to all of my pending responses.

But I'm curious about this.

This happens so often in these threads. Outside of just conveying the words you've typed out above, what is it that animates a person (in this case imaro of ENWorld, but others like BRG and Lanefan who hold this same position) to (i) go to a conversation that is engaged in technical discussion and (ii) tell the people engaging in technical level discussion that the majority of fans/hobbyists are indifferent to a technical discussion of their leisure activity/hobby?

What is the impulse here?

Its an extreme curiosity of mine because I'm this way with several hobbies of mine from (a) Baseball and Football Analytics, to (b) serious NFL game film breakdown, to (c) extensive NFL prospect film eval (and Big Board creation), to (d) BJJ conversation and analysis.

Without fail, just like here when it comes to TTRGPs, there is a certain segment of people who invariably do exactly what you're doing here. And those same people are SERIOUSLY adversarial toward both the interest in deep-dive technical evaluation of all of the above and feel inclined to do the (i) and (ii) above (actively seek out conversations to go to and tell those involved that what they're doing is extreme minority behavior and proceed to get hostile about it).

The symmetry is eerie.

What is it that makes you guys (and I'm assuming all of the other people that do this exact same things in the aforementioned (a) - (d) above) do this? Do you think myself or others like me are suddenly going to go "oh...yeah, well, hell I didn't even think of it like that...I guess I'll just stop!"

What is the impulse you're following? What realization or behavioral adjustment is it that you're trying to compel me toward?
Let me ask a counter question... if your technical analysis, deep dives and pontificating of playstyles about gaming don't apply or aren't even discussed by the vast majority of the playerbase... what practical purpose besides the self gratification of a small niche group of posters does it serve?

Again I'm pushing for discussion of actual techniques and concrete tools...Which is what I thought this thread was about since the OP's question was around the purpose of GM notes, but like most of these discussions it quickly devolved into a back and forth around groupings, nomenclature and classifications that not only havent taken hold with the playerbase at large even after years of existing but also don't apply or matter to the vast majority of people playing ttrpg's... something examples and actual discussion of GM notes would... so yeah sometimes I feel a reminder about the impractical nature of this type of discussion, especially when it overtakes what could be a discussion that would have actual practical application for the majority of the hobby, is waranted.
 

I think a better comparison is the essay "Blood from the Shoulder of Pallas" in "The Watchmen." (Leaving aside whether the sciences you name have completely "solved" attraction and/or love as a different question.) There is a perpetual ... idea? concern? ... that analysis can destroy the ability to appreciate beauty (Dead Poets' Society is another example of this thinking, I think) and while I think I understand the worry I don't think I completely agree with it.

The only thing in your previous post I have any real knowledge of is baseball analytics. I think I'm inclined to say the heavy use of sabremetrics has rendered the game less aesthetically pleasing than it was, say, fifteen years ago. The game reduced to three true outcomes is stultifying. That's not saying the analysis is wrong, just that I don't like the game as much when it's played to the math.

How does that relate to TRPGs? I'm not really sure. Given that in my head GMing seems to come from the same place as writing fiction did, and GMing without prep feels a lot like fre-writing (which never, ever intimidated me), it's plausible-shading-to-likely that I'm coming at them from an entirely different angle than you are. I know I get something out of conversations with people coming from different positions/angles, and I'm inclined to presume others do, too. That's what I'm aiming for, not to direct anyone toward any specific realization or behavioral change.

On baseball -

This is a great point and I agree with the implications. However, what I will say is (a) analytics don't take away the glorious tail of the distribution romance that happens with baseball so often and (b) while it has created a minor blip in parity (which is a good thing), by no means has it (or can it) drown out the other variables of baseball (the "pay to play" nature of Big Market advantage + the massive advantage of 3 big arms + bullpen + analytics having a much reduced say in a swingy 7 game vs a 162 game season).

Finally, even if baseball does endure a "Romance Shift" due to analytics (I don't see it happening because, again, Postseason baseball sees the signature of analytics significantly reduced...the big market teams are still overwhelmingly going to be playing for and winning Pennants), there will just be an re-orienting of perspective. The fans will adjust over time (but, again, I don't think they'll have to because the romance of Postseason baseball is still governed by all of the "stuff" that made the game so beloved).

On you -

The payoff for you is different but you're not the target audience here. I don't see you regularly doing what I'm talking about in the above post, whereas there is a facet of ENWorld and a facet of tons of other leisure/hobby groups that does exactly what I depicted above.

I'm curious about what animates them and what their conceptual payoff would be.
 

Without fail, just like here when it comes to TTRGPs, there is a certain segment of people who invariably do exactly what you're doing here. And those same people are SERIOUSLY adversarial toward both the interest in deep-dive technical evaluation of all of the above and feel inclined to do the (i) and (ii) above (actively seek out conversations to go to and tell those involved that what they're doing is extreme minority behavior and proceed to get hostile about it).

I will certainly admit to being pugnacious about a few key issues in RPGs. But I think if you think this you are being extremely blind to the adversarial posts on your own side of the fence in the discussion. But I am not simply weighing in to be a jerk. When I disagree over something I think is important in the hobby, I make a point of being honest about disagreement with people. I think that is what you are supposed to do in any discussion (whether you feel outnumbered, or intellectually inferior to others, you still ought to say when you think people are wrong).
 

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