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D&D General Why defend railroading?

I think it is fair to say, based on how @Ovinomancer disagrees with some of my techniques that PbtA/DW GMing is not a perfectly specified thing, by a long shot. No doubt all of our games have shaded in one direction or another and leaned more towards GM introduced plot elements or overall direction, or less. @Manbearcat seems to object somewhat to some of the things I describe as well, and your game sounds like there's a lot of 'lounging around' by contrast to how I have typically run DW. I wouldn't venture an opinion as to how railroady or not it is, myself.

I mean, in DW, the GM is definitely supposed to put together fronts, and set up dooms to go with them. The GM is a participant in the game, and has at least the authorial power of any other participant. There's probably no avoiding the truth that GMs will color a LOT of the action with their activities. They ARE describing all the scenes! Ideally those scenes should be organic and the players should be at the levers of the game to the extent of contributing substantially to lore and world building, as well as making choices for the PCs.

In my own games of DW there is rarely much wandering around coming up with projects to do, though. It is usually much more action-oriented. The PCs may get certain down time, now and then we've even agreed that years passed between scenes of adventure and simply filled in that time briefly in narrative, introducing new NPCs, or evolving their mundane stories a bit, but we never dwelled on that kind of thing too much. In terms of table time, the vast majority is "You're in real trouble now, lets see how you get out of that!" or something.
All of the action of my current game has occurred over the span of approximately three months, maybe four. (In-game, that is. Out of game we're over three years now.) "Down time" is maybe a week at most, usually no more than a day or two. There are just plenty of journeys, visits back home, hobnobbing with royalty (or a certain thief-prince), etc. Given these characters have gone from green and wet behind the ears to seasoned adventurers who have the Sultana's ear (and have spent more money collectively than most wealthy merchants bring in for a whole year), I'd say I'm not letting too much slack. There are just the occasional times when the big fires have been put out recently enough that they can take a breather and do things purely out of interest, curiosity, or passion. (As noted, this usually happens in the immediate aftermath of making some big score or otherwise achieving some major goal, though it can happen, and has happened, at all sorts of times over our years of playing.)

I don't push my players too hard 'cause several have anxiety, but they know well that an ignored threat grows stronger, more difficult, more entrenched.
 

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The gap isn't in my failure to understand how a thing can be useful as a forgery, or in how play might, in rather uncommon ways, start with a thing being a useful clue and later revealing itself to be a forgery.

My specific issues were the general statement that a GM can just make a clue a red herring, and in the claim that Discern Realities creates non- specific results., like a generic +1 forward so that the GM has room to define it later. That's not how it is supposed to work.
I think there were two weaknesses in my post, one was that I didn't address the fictional side of the +1. I simply noted that this was mechanically required, and thus in that sense the clue would be 'useful'. Obviously the specific content of the letter would feed into exactly how that +1 would play out. This might be left as a 'blank in the map' so to speak when the letter is discovered, OR perhaps if the player explores it my response is likely to be "well, what do you think it says?" Chances are the answer to that will be determinitive.

Secondly, there were probably elements of your hypothetical scenario that I might not have hooked onto. I assume it was posited originally up thread and maybe there were more elements to it than simply "someone found some clue to something" and for all I know those elements dictated settling the nature of the clue when it is found. I simply don't know, because I interjected myself into the thread in mid discussion.

AS A GENERAL CONCEPT: I would say that if a PC finds 'a clue' about something in the story, then the identity of that thing as being a clue, and that it will have utility downstream is established, and cannot be obviated. The exact nature of the clue, its exact significance, what facts it implies, etc. is another question which unaddressed elements of the fiction might well specify. Or maybe they don't. In much the same vein the PCs might find a map to "Molok's Tomb". Maybe we know exactly what this is, and maybe it is completely open-ended and all we know is the DR check which introduced it implies that it is useful (and backs that up with a +1 Forward). 'Useful' could mean "We are negotiating with the Thieves Guild and we can intimidate them into doing something by claiming we went to the tomb, since we know how to describe that journey we get a +1" or it could mean "we need to make this check on our Dangerous Journey to get to the tomb, the map is helping us do that." Neither is determined when the map is found...
 

I don't think @AbdulAlhazred is saying this is likely, or even possible, in every case. I read him as saying there are some cases where this might make sense.

From my point of view it's not all that a big deal. On the other hand, it wouldn't be the first time recently that @AbdulAlhazred has disagreed with another poster in making a somewhat off-the-cuff remark about what's possible in DW play.
Right, and frankly the only time that I am really thoroughly consistent and, heck even really remember all the things I have said, is if I'm writing it all out in long form. I may well have said some completely contradictory thing a month ago!
 

All of the action of my current game has occurred over the span of approximately three months, maybe four. (In-game, that is. Out of game we're over three years now.) "Down time" is maybe a week at most, usually no more than a day or two. There are just plenty of journeys, visits back home, hobnobbing with royalty (or a certain thief-prince), etc. Given these characters have gone from green and wet behind the ears to seasoned adventurers who have the Sultana's ear (and have spent more money collectively than most wealthy merchants bring in for a whole year), I'd say I'm not letting too much slack. There are just the occasional times when the big fires have been put out recently enough that they can take a breather and do things purely out of interest, curiosity, or passion. (As noted, this usually happens in the immediate aftermath of making some big score or otherwise achieving some major goal, though it can happen, and has happened, at all sorts of times over our years of playing.)

I don't push my players too hard 'cause several have anxiety, but they know well that an ignored threat grows stronger, more difficult, more entrenched.
Right, and honestly, if there's a lot of researching and building relations with NPCs, and whatnot that is happening, I'm certainly not the one to say that isn't cool, etc. In fact I find it fairly interesting. That sort of play can be a lot of fun, I'm not so good at running it though. lol.
 

I've always found that the expansion of Rule 0 from the early days to now to be problematic. Rule 0, back in the day, basically said, "When there is a point in the game where either the rules are conflicting or absent, the DM is empowered to make a ruling and the table is expected to abide by that ruling. " Which, back in the day, made perfect sense since the rules systems of early RPG's were lacking resolution mechanics for so many things. The infamous "Can I swim" question in early D&D, for example. "How far can I jump?" is another one. The rules are either conflicting or absent, so, the DM steps in to fill in the gaps.

But, now, rulesets are largely comprehensive. Many RPG's have basic, comprehesive rules for determining success. Roll X and you succeed - Savage Worlds for example has this - any result of 6 (I think it's six, five or six? It's been a while) is a success. How you get that six doesn't matter - whether it's a d4 with pluses or a d12 - so long as you score a six, you succeed. There's no real need for any Rule 0 engagement.

The trick is, people have expanded on the notion of Rule 0 to change the DM from referee to rules creator. Referee's don't make the rules. Or, well, they shouldn't. Which means that people point to Rule 0 as justification for anything the DM does. You decide to take away a warlock's powers because they didn't play out their pact to your satisfaction? Rule 0! Never minding that there's absolutely nothing in the 5e ruleset that even suggests that a DM can or even should do this. Of course a DM can do this. It's Rule 0!

As you can see, I'm not a huge fan of Rule 0 as it's typically used by some DM's. :D

While I agree with your principal, even relatively comprehensive rules can have application questions that are, shall we say, muddy, or situations where its not clear what part of the current rules apply. You're correct that its a hell of a lot less common than it was in, say, OD&D, but its still a thing.

I'm also bemused that people sometimes lump together the sort of on-the-fly rules changes with things like houserules. They don't seem particularly similar at all in usual purpose or impact.
 

No, there's a difference between a table deciding on table rules and Rule 0, which is, bluntly put, the GM says so.

Though in practice, an awful lot of houserules are pretty top-down in origin in most groups too. The big difference is that the players have more option to know what they're getting into in advance even if they didn't have much hand in deciding it per se.
 

While I agree with your principal, even relatively comprehensive rules can have application questions that are, shall we say, muddy, or situations where its not clear what part of the current rules apply. You're correct that its a hell of a lot less common than it was in, say, OD&D, but its still a thing.

I'm also bemused that people sometimes lump together the sort of on-the-fly rules changes with things like houserules. They don't seem particularly similar at all in usual purpose or impact.
Yeah, and honestly, when I read that article on "rule 0 in different editions" I don't think it really captures the essence of the thing. For example, OD&D doesn't talk about any sort of 'rule 0' particularly. Yes, it is in many respects a 'war game' sensibility game. Still, it ISN'T A GAME. In fact it says so right at the start, it is a set of rules and guidelines which 'can be used to create a campaign'.

In other words, rule 0 would be silly as an explicit thing in original D&D! The reason is the 'system' is no more than a print out of something barely more developed than some notes on the backs of napkins! There's no way you can PLAY it! You have to take all the material and make some sort of a campaign out of it, deciding which parts to use as-is, which parts to replace, which combat system to use, how to run 'survival' if you do a hex crawl (which isn't even spelled out explicitly as a thing beyond calling out AH's Survival board game as a way to resolve it).

In other words, a game played using the original 'Wood Grain Box' LBBs, even with Greyhawk and Blackmoor tacked on, heck, tack on Eldritch Wizardry, Gods Demi-Gods & Heroes, and even Spells and Sorcery if you want, you STILL need to actually write up the system you're using! There are hints, suggestions, outlines, and sketches of it there in the books to guide you, but it really is not playable!

Also I seem to recall some text in 1e, which also wasn't mentioned in the article, about 'official' AD&D and how you shouldn't change the rules. This, to my mind, is really the nut of what grew into the tree of Rule 0. 1e really tells the GM to step on the necks of the players! It then tells the GM that TSR/EGG is the king of the whole game, lol. Of course then Gary goes on, quixotically, to explain just how much absolute power the DM has, but nobody ever really said he was a very consistent guy...
 

In other words, a game played using the original 'Wood Grain Box' LBBs, even with Greyhawk and Blackmoor tacked on, heck, tack on Eldritch Wizardry, Gods Demi-Gods & Heroes, and even Spells and Sorcery if you want, you STILL need to actually write up the system you're using! There are hints, suggestions, outlines, and sketches of it there in the books to guide you, but it really is not playable!

Well, using "write up" extremely broadly. In my experience back in the day, most of the systemic extensions done initially were often very game-culture level, rather than being formalized. Later on you started to get things like the Perrin Conventions getting traction, or people actually writing things down, but that was well beyond what a lot of people did, even though, as you note, they were doing a lot of extension here and there in practice.
 

SkidAce

Legend
Supporter
Why defend railroading?

Because the arrival of a technology enabling the movement of large numbers of people, and more importantly, vast amounts of cargo, overland, safely and efficiently, heralded the most dramatic increase in trade since the invention of the sail, and it would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that it built the modern world?

Oh, wait...
I'm glad someone did it.
 

Well, using "write up" extremely broadly. In my experience back in the day, most of the systemic extensions done initially were often very game-culture level, rather than being formalized. Later on you started to get things like the Perrin Conventions getting traction, or people actually writing things down, but that was well beyond what a lot of people did, even though, as you note, they were doing a lot of extension here and there in practice.
Well, I imagine a lot of people did NOT write down what they did, though that seems like it would have lead to a lot of problems, especially in old 'GSP' style play with troupe play and all, lol.

I mean, you FIRST had to explain to the players how the combat system worked. the LBBs don't actually have A combat system. They discuss using Chainmail's system, but it is pretty unclear exactly how to do that. Then they show an 'alternative combat system', but it is nothing more than a couple AC vs Level/HD charts.

So, you have to actually create a combat system around that, and IME most DMs provided a hand out that explained how that worked. In my case I didn't really GM the LBBs themselves, Holmes Basic came out, and that explained the full alternate combat system that was also expanded on in Greyhawk. So, you could kinda get away with 'just playing' combat if you had Greyhawk, or a bit later if you had Holmes Basic.

My copy of Holmes Basic is literally FILLED with stapled in hand-written pages that paper over and extend various parts of it, and at one time, now lost, there was one of those '3 tab' binders, with the paper covers and the little brass bendy things that bound sheets of notebook paper into it, that was FILLED with dense pen and ink/pencil pages of charts and paragraphs and whatnot that detailed how different bits taken from various TSR publications and such were glued together, and filling in parts that were missing. Sometimes I photocopied parts of different books and cut-pasted them together, lol.

Later I did the same thing with Dragon, I took everything I wanted to use, a class, a rule system, whatever, and I just photocopied it all, 100's and 100's of pages, and cut-pasted it together in 3-ring binders. That was late 70's D&D in a nutshell, lol.
 

Maxperson

Morkus from Orkus
Also I seem to recall some text in 1e, which also wasn't mentioned in the article, about 'official' AD&D and how you shouldn't change the rules. This, to my mind, is really the nut of what grew into the tree of Rule 0. 1e really tells the GM to step on the necks of the players! It then tells the GM that TSR/EGG is the king of the whole game, lol. Of course then Gary goes on, quixotically, to explain just how much absolute power the DM has, but nobody ever really said he was a very consistent guy...
The 1e preface says this, "Naturally, everything possible cannot be included in the whole of this work. As a participant in the game, I would not care to have anyone telling me exactly what must go into a campaign and how it must be handled; if so, why not play some game like chess? As the author I also realize that there are limits to my creativity and imagination. Others will think of things I didn't, and devise things beyond my capability." giving the DM free reign to change things. Then, all over 1e DMG Gygax tells the DM that he can make or change rules, but often cautions to be careful or not to. As you note, he's pretty inconsistent, but the heart of the matter is that rule 0 existed for the DM to make the game his own.
 

Well, I imagine a lot of people did NOT write down what they did, though that seems like it would have lead to a lot of problems, especially in old 'GSP' style play with troupe play and all, lol.

I mean, you FIRST had to explain to the players how the combat system worked. the LBBs don't actually have A combat system. They discuss using Chainmail's system, but it is pretty unclear exactly how to do that. Then they show an 'alternative combat system', but it is nothing more than a couple AC vs Level/HD charts.

I think you're under the impression that "Use this to determine hit, use damage listings to determine damage dice, iterate down hit points" was more than most groups did unless it was in an extremely ad-hoc way. It was perfectly adequate for that rather limited set of options at least post-Greyhawk (which is the point where I started).

And it often wasn't so much a case of "decide" as "do whatever the person who taught you the game did".
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Though in practice, an awful lot of houserules are pretty top-down in origin in most groups too. The big difference is that the players have more option to know what they're getting into in advance even if they didn't have much hand in deciding it per se.
Thing is, in a game with no rule 0, the expectation is no table rules or the group decides them. It's like sitting down to play monopoly and being told Free Parking pays out all fines. As a player, I can say I don't want that and it's up to the group.

Rule zero coexists with heavily GM centered games, which makes sense -- if I'm to be the primary (if not only) authority on the fiction and action resolutions, then I should have final say on game rules. But, in games that don't have heavy GM centered play, this isn't a need. It's imported in, quite often, by those not yet making the transition of understanding necessary and bringing in other games' methods and assumptions.
 

Thing is, in a game with no rule 0, the expectation is no table rules or the group decides them. It's like sitting down to play monopoly and being told Free Parking pays out all fines. As a player, I can say I don't want that and it's up to the group.

With almost all trad games, you could pull out any reference to Rule 0 entirely and the general culture would still expect that sort of thing was in the GM's purview and the players could object, but in the end, there'd be no expectation they really had a say beyond just deciding not to play. If you think otherwise I think we've had too different a set of experiences to be able to talk about it.

Rule zero coexists with heavily GM centered games, which makes sense -- if I'm to be the primary (if not only) authority on the fiction and action resolutions, then I should have final say on game rules. But, in games that don't have heavy GM centered play, this isn't a need. It's imported in, quite often, by those not yet making the transition of understanding necessary and bringing in other games' methods and assumptions.

I'd quite agree that this is not true when you have games with reduced GM-power-centric orientation, but I think it just transcends any outright statement of Rule 0.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Maybe. I tend to think of it as an aspect of PC build.

Sure. But, as I think we are seeing, "PC build" here has elements a traditional build doesn't.

PC Beliefs are certainly expected to be front-and-centre in play, though.

And that's the thing - there is an expectation that the next thing the GM does - frame a scene - is going to be relevant to one or more of these Beliefs. It is as if the building were the first move in play, and this is the second.

At least in BW, the intent you describe here is different from a PC's Belief - it is a component of action declaration.

Yes, but by description, that appears to be mostly a difference in scale - the Belief comes in on the scale of scenes, the action declaration on the scale of actions. But both are intended to shape the reality of the narrative.


(1) There's no accounting for taste. People like what they like, and they dislike what they dislike, and we're talking about a leisure activity, and so that pretty much resolves the question of who should play what.

Yes. There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so. It was less a statement of value, as it was recognizing the sticking point upon which folks often do assess that value.

(2) When someone says that there is something in the logic of BW-type play, or inherent to this sort of RPGing, that must impede inhabitation of character, I strongly disagree.

Well, I think this is a space where folks who have issues are likely to use a bit of hyperbole, but that doesn't mean their point does not have merit. Even if it isn't "must," in a broad or absolute sense, it may be extremely common, and that should not be dismissed. I don't think much of the discourse around this point has been geared to help folks with the issues - it is focused on whether the issues exist at all. "Those things don't have to be a blocker," may read as "So, it is really a you problem, and therefore.... your problem." If we instead accept that these issues are common, and help folks address them, the overall discussion might be more constructive.

There are two reasons here, interrelated: (i) I know that I can play BW while inhabiting the character, because I do (I don't think it's the only way to play BW, but I know from experience it is a way); (ii) part of what makes that possible is the action declaration structure - in declaring I search for the incriminating letter I believe to be there, I don't have to think about anything outside of my PC's thought processes...

So, word choice could be generate another sticking point - an event happens, and now the character "believes" evidence of who did it exists in a certain place. Where does that belief come from? In "no myth" it doesn't come from anything the GM tells you, as we are agreed that the evidence doesn't actually exist, and isn't placed in the world, for the GM to speak about it yet.. To many, it would seem that such belief without evidence rather does indicate something outside the character's thought processes is involved, as with the information in the narrative so far, there seems to be no basis for the belief.

"Hope", "desire", or "expect" might change that perception.

There is no mechanism in BW, once PC build is done, for players to establish fiction outside of this process of declaring a mental state for the PC - I look for . . ., I search for . . ., I hope to meet . . ., Don't I recall that . . . ?, etc. And having those sorts of mental states is utterly compatible with being a thief.

As above, all those things are fine, if the thing you want to reference is already present in the narrative. Invoking such a statement about things that aren't established yet, to some, may seem to implicitly include thoughts that the character can't have yet.

I've seen some of this tension alleviated by changing the order slightly - like, in the Urban Shadows legwork or "hitting the streets" move, the player states that they're going out broadly in search of information on a topic, roll, and if they succeed then they describe the person who gave it (and, if playing no-myth, they decide what the information you gleaned was). Building from general to specific, rather than starting at the specific, can be an aid to those not used to the style.
 
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Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Why defend railroading?

Because the arrival of a technology enabling the movement of large numbers of people, and more importantly, vast amounts of cargo, overland, safely and efficiently, heralded the most dramatic increase in trade since the invention of the sail, and it would not be too much of an exaggeration to say that it built the modern world?

Oh, wait...

And here, we see the power of the metaphor made manifest.
 

I think you're under the impression that "Use this to determine hit, use damage listings to determine damage dice, iterate down hit points" was more than most groups did unless it was in an extremely ad-hoc way. It was perfectly adequate for that rather limited set of options at least post-Greyhawk (which is the point where I started).

And it often wasn't so much a case of "decide" as "do whatever the person who taught you the game did".
Well, yes, actually you needed a LOT more than what was stated! Who goes when? At what point is damage allocated? Is this all determined by the fiction? By GM dictate? By some part of application of the Chainmail rules? These are, to a wargamer at least, critical questions which are not clearly answered in the LBBs...

Even 1e only answers SOME of these questions, leaving more detailed ones, like how you work out positioning and if it is even relevant to the rules, to being worked out by the GM.

I agree that most people don't really notice how much is just extrapolated. I've been in a few threads before where people ABSOLUTELY refused to believe how much 1e's combat system simply doesn't answer or contradicts itself on, even when you put it out there in black and white. Everyone just sat down and played with someone that 'already knew' or else they just skimmed the rules and went with their own assumptions without even realizing it wasn't 'obvious' what the rules were. This can actually make it a bit hard to talk about TSR D&D in a some cases.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
With almost all trad games, you could pull out any reference to Rule 0 entirely and the general culture would still expect that sort of thing was in the GM's purview and the players could object, but in the end, there'd be no expectation they really had a say beyond just deciding not to play. If you think otherwise I think we've had too different a set of experiences to be able to talk about it.
I wasn't disagreeing. I was pointing out that rule 0 is tightly coupled with games that feature GM-centered play, and why that is -- it's a feature there for the GM to have this authority because the GM has to make so much prep work in game.
I'd quite agree that this is not true when you have games with reduced GM-power-centric orientation, but I think it just transcends any outright statement of Rule 0.
I'm not sure what's transcending here. If I had to guess, it's following your above that Rule 0 isn't always explicit in games where the culture applies it. In fact, I think that's what we've seen in this thread -- the expectation that Rule 0 is always present due to only really experiencing the gaming culture where it is the default (and that is centered around games like D&D). Even in 3.x and 4e, where the rulesets where much less amenable to Rule 0 in any explicit sense, the culture prevailed, and 5e, as a "return" edition has moved heavily in the other direction such that Rule 0 is effectively enshrined in the rules themselves (where the core mechanic is usually "the GM decides").
 

So, word choice could be generate another sticking point - an event happens, and now the character "believes" evidence of who did it exists in a certain place. Where does that belief come from? In "no myth" it doesn't come from anything the GM tells you, as we are agreed that the evidence doesn't actually exist, and isn't placed in the world, for the GM to speak about it yet.. To many, it would seem that such belief without evidence rather does indicate something outside the character's thought processes is involved, as with the information in the narrative so far, there seems to be no basis for the belief.
I don't know what @pemerton would say, but my answer to that is "this is why we use dice!" The player, in actor stance, says "I am searching the study, looking for incriminating evidence." and it isn't the action declaration which 'causes' that evidence in character, it is the searching which may uncover it. By injecting chance (and risk in most systems) into that equation we have transformed an act of pure authorship into an act of letting 'the Universe' or 'Fate' decide what is true and what is not.

I mean, you CAN still split hairs a bit, if the GM decided, then maybe there is some other unimagined possibility that his authorship invoked. That kind of touches back on what @Ovinomancer and I were quibbling about in respect to Dungeon World's process.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Sure. But, as I think we are seeing, "PC build" here has elements a traditional build doesn't.



And that's the thing - there is an expectation that the next thing the GM does - frame a scene - is going to be relevant to one or more of these Beliefs. It is as if the building were the first move in play, and this is the second.



Yes, but by description, that appears to be mostly a difference in scale - the Belief comes in on the scale of scenes, the action declaration on the scale of actions. But both are intended to shape the reality of the narrative.




Yes. There is nothing good or bad, but thinking makes it so. It was less a statement of value, as it was recognizing the sticking point upon which folks often do assess that value.



Well, I think this is a space where folks who have issues are likely to use a bit of hyperbole, but that doesn't mean their point does not have merit. Even if it isn't "must," in a broad or absolute sense, it may be extremely common, and that should not be dismissed. I don't think much of the discourse around this point has been geared to help folks with the issues - it is focused on whether the issues exist at all. "Those things don't have to be a blocker," may read as "So, it is really a you problem, and therefore.... your problem." If we instead accept that these issues are common, and help folks address them, the overall discussion might be more constructive.



So, word choice could be generate another sticking point - an event happens, and now the character "believes" evidence of who did it exists in a certain place. Where does that belief come from? In "no myth" it doesn't come from anything the GM tells you, as we are agreed that the evidence doesn't actually exist, and isn't placed in the world, for the GM to speak about it yet.. To many, it would seem that such belief without evidence rather does indicate something outside the character's thought processes is involved, as with the information in the narrative so far, there seems to be no basis for the belief.

"Hope", "desire", or "expect" might change that perception.



As above, all those things are fine, if the thing you want to reference is already present in the narrative. Invoking such a statement about things that aren't established yet, to some, may seem to implicitly include thoughts that the character can't have yet.

I've seen some of this tension alleviated by changing the order slightly - like, in the Urban Shadows legwork or "hitting the streets" move, the player states that they're going out broadly in search of information on a topic, roll, and if they succeed then they describe the person who gave it (and, if playing no-myth, they decide what the information you gleaned was). Building from general to specific, rather than starting at the specific, can be an aid to those not used to the style.
The thing that strikes me about this is that this play is true in all RPGs, the only difference is between games that allow actions to resolve this for everyone, and games where one person already knows the answer because they author it and the game allows actions to get this person to reveal the details. In both, the fiction is still authored by a player at the table, so a player authoring fiction that actions reveal seems like it's a tad misplaced as a general argument.

Instead, this is more about who has authorities. In games where all of the authorities are vested in the GM, then the GM has say, and the players are taking actions to prompt the GM to reveal more about what they have authored -- either in prep or in the moment. Even if the GM invites player contributions, the authority rests with the GM, as they are the only ones at the table that can say no, and their word is the last on all matters (including, quite often, what an allowable action declaration is -- see Metagaming). This is contrasted by a game that puts some authority with the players -- games like Fiasco put all authority with the players, as there isn't even a GM role! And, then, there are systems that share some authorities, but do so through the use of mechanics. In all of these, though, fiction is authored by a player and discovered through action declarations. Method matters, but I don't think your formulation of the differences gets to the root of the issue. And, to me, that root is "how active, as a non-GM player, do you wish to be in forming the story?" There's no right answer to this -- it's perfectly valid to say "almost not at all" because you trust the GM to deliver a fun and engaging story that you don't have to be active to generate -- just do your job as a player to prompt the next bits from the GM. It could be "some," in which case you can have a 'sandbox' where the GM has a lot of fiction but you get a say in how you chart a path through it. It could be "lots" in which case a system mediated game might fit the bill, like PbtA. It could be "all of it" in which case a number of GM-less games are out there, like Fiasco, that are entirely player driven with a light system touch. There's places in-between these as well. But, overall, I disagree that it's because the player 'authors' things -- this is true in every game, as the GM is still a player. It's more 'I don't like having the authority and duty to author things.' Which is entirely valid as a requirement for an entertainment hobby -- you don't have to be active to enjoy the game.
 

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