Why do RPGs have rules?

I was asking what game doesn't allow for simulation per the example provided by @Maxperson . (A) I don't see how his example actually displays simulation other than that it is plausible that a bear would go into a river and catch a fish. What game doesn't work with some sense of plausibility?

You've offered two... I would agree on Diablo, but I suppose I should have been more specific and said "tabletop RPGs". I'm less concerned about a video game. On Hillfolk, I don't know if I agree. (B) Again, I'm not familiar with it other than the very basics, but I don't think that a bear catching a fish in a river isn't something that could be narrated because it's plausible.

(C) In other words, what is it, other than plausibility, that makes something a simulation?
(A) To be honest with you I find that whole discussion about bears and goldilocks confusing. "Is this story about a bear a simulation?" is a question which makes about as much sense to me as "how tall is blue?" I was trying to explain to you what simulation means from my perspective (which I believe is the GDS perspective), but I can't talk about bears and Goldilocks. If that's what you're interested in I have to bow out.

(B) If you ever have the opportunity to play or run a couple of sessions, I would encourage you to take it. It helped me understand what people like about non-action-oriented RPGs, it helped me understand some of the distinctions between iconic and dramatic heroes in fiction, it clarified my thinking on scene framing, and it changed the way I build NPCs (it's now more network-based with more frequent "fraught relationships"). It also helped me understand some phenomena I see in real life, like the emotional kick some people get out of being the one to deny an emotional petition, even if they don't really want the other results of denying it.

(C) The emphasis on plausibility comes from you, not from me. Per GDS, I have been emphasizing intent to extrapolate. Plausibility is a metric of how good the simulation is, but plausible situations can arise through G or D as well as S. Does that unblock you or need I elaborate? I don't want to insult you by stating the obvious here. Edit: I guess I explained anyway, see following post.
 
Last edited:

log in or register to remove this ad

I'm going to guess that you are here referring to something like the following quote from Edward's venerable article setting out the Simulationist agenda as follows:

There's nothing there that prevents or elides the bear example. Does the appearance of a bear fit in within the internal logic of the gamestate? Yes? Then we're good.
No, they're not referring to Edwards's definition. You may or may not be aware that before Edwards came up with the GNS framing, there was the so-called GDS framing (Gamism-Dramatism-Simulationism) a.k.a. The Threefold Model which uses 2/3 of the same words but shares only 1/3 or less of the meaning. (As far as I know, Gamism is roughly the same in GNS and GDS.)

In GDS, "simulationism" basically means "absence of metagame-driven motives." You're not having the princess's execution scheduled for a time that will provide a fair challenge to the players sitting around the kitchen table, or for a time that will give the players sitting around the kitchen table a certain kind of emotional satisfaction associated with well-constructed narratives. You're scheduling it exclusively based on your judgment about what is logical and reasonable based on factors within the gameworld, like how eager the orcs are to have her dead vs. how much they enjoy gloating to her face. "What would really happen?"

Edwards uses the term in a completely different way that I have never really grokked. He seems to have viewed it as kind of a pointless, agendaless thing that he didn't really grok either.
 
Last edited:

Imaro

Legend
The first (from Imaro) implies that narration, in a RPG, becomes simulation if it has no point other than producing the narration for the other participants to take in. On this account, players as well as GMs can engage in simulation.

You missed the point. Please go back and actually read the question...

I specifically listed games whose agenda wasn't concerned with creating a plausible world or a sense of verisimilitude as a priority... That's my point. That example fulfills none of those agendas but it can serve to add to or enhance a game that has simulation as its goal.
 

Micah Sweet

Level Up & OSR Enthusiast
No, they're not referring to Edwards's definition. You may or may not be aware that before Edwards came up with the GNS framing, there was the so-called GDS framing (Gamism-Dramatism-Simulationist) a.k.a. The Threefold Model which uses 2/3 of the same words but shares only 1/3 or less of the meaning. (As far as I know, Gamism is roughly the same in GNS and GDS.)

In GDS, "simulationism" basically means "absence of metagame-driven motives." You're not having the princess's execution scheduled for a time that will provide a fair challenge to the players sitting around the kitchen table, or for a time that will give the players sitting around the kitchen table a certain kind of emotional satisfaction associated with well-constructed narratives. You're scheduling it exclusively based on your judgment about what is logical and reasonable based on factors within the gameworld, like how eager the orcs are to have her dead vs. how much they enjoy gloating to her face. "What would really happen?"

Edwards uses the term in a completely different way that I have never really grokked. He seems to have viewed it as kind of a pointless, agendaless thing that he didn't really grok either.
100% that's what I mean.
 

That's a nice thought experiment. My first intuition is probably not, but then I have a few questions...

What is a bear?
What is a morning?
Why or how does the bear feel thirsty? What is thirst?
What is the connection between a well and water?
What is the connection between water and thirst? (Or are they unrelated?)
How does walking get a bear to a well? What is it like for a bear to walk?
In what way does walking to a well equate with collecting water?

Each reader will have a set of answers to questions like these. A model, if you will.
Please read Wittgenstein, start st the beginning, come back when you have finished. You are not being sensible here, and models have nothing to do with what you define words to mean.
 

Imaro

Legend
It seems to imply that, as soon as the GM narrates something so as to provoke the players to declare actions for their PCs, it's no longer "simulation" in this sense.

Why would you think this? Things happen in real life all the time that provoke action from people... The question is was it created for that sole purpose (agenda) and in play can only serve that purpose (agenda).

In other words is the bear in the forest because bears inhabit the forest and the PC's can deal with it in whatever way they see fit...or is it there specifically to cause adversity and thus must be dealt with as a problem?

Which doesn't just rule out Apocalypse World or Burning Wheel. It seems to rule out every adventure module ever: they all being with prompts to action.

Well first im not sure all modules are supposed to be simulations... is that what you are claiming? Those that are, usually fall into the camp of hexcrawls or sandboxes and are usually made independent of an agenda outside of simulating an area of interest... so yeah this comment is leaving me a little baffled.
 

Campbell

Relaxed Intensity
You missed the point. Please go back and actually read the question...

I specifically listed games whose agenda wasn't concerned with creating a plausible world or a sense of verisimilitude as a priority... That's my point. That example fulfills none of those agendas but it can serve to add to or enhance a game that has simulation as its goal.

I think you mean as the apex priority. Having fiction that coheres is a priority for damn near everyone who plays a roleplaying game.
 


Please read Wittgenstein, start st the beginning, come back when you have finished. You are not being sensible here, and models have nothing to do with what you define words to mean.
Clearstream's questions entail a Mental model - Wikipedia of a situation, which is certainly a widely-recognized and valid use of the word "model" that predates Wittgenstein.

You cannot answer Clearstream's questions if you have no mental model of a bear.
 

Imaro

Legend
I think you mean as the apex priority. Having fiction that coheres is a priority for damn near everyone who plays a roleplaying game.

Its not just about coherent fiction though. You can have coherent fiction that isn't necessarily trying to simulate anything.

If your PC's enter a forest, camp for a night and the GM doesn't mention you seeing bears but later an NPC tells you they were attacked by a bear in the forest... The GM and players still have coherent fiction, even though the GM is not necessarily trying to simulate a forest filled with bears. This could be especially true if they are playing to find out what happens.
 

An Advertisement

Advertisement4

Top