Why Jargon is Bad, and Some Modern Resources for RPG Theory

Fate does it better in a number of fashions even in original form they made it fairer than for instance the GURPS model. Ie when you and the DM interacted with your aspects is when they brought there benefits into play and not otherwise. GURPS did have the philosophy at least if someone had it on their sheets it was the DMS obligation to make sure it entered play.
Yeah, I was involved in the early playtesting of GURPS, or maybe I should say 'proto-GURPS' because it had a bit of a complicated history IIRC. I don't recall any of that being central to the conception of the game as originally conceived. OTOH Steve is a pretty sharp guy. I'm sure he was a bit ahead of the pack in terms of taking things in new directions. In any case, what was eventually released had a fairly long genesis, we were playtesting stuff back c. 1979 and the first parts of the actual system didn't get released until almost 6 years later! I've honestly never played it or even read it.
 

log in or register to remove this ad

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
The problem,.... is that it means constantly having to reexplain what you're talking about in a less compact way every time.

Well, at least around here, that seems to happen anyway, especially with GDS/GNS terminology, for reasons already discussed by many - including yourself, iirc.

So, if the terms aren't saving you from having to re-explain concepts, what's the point of the terms?
 

The problem, and this is why attempts to avoid jargon and terms-of-art developing is as doomed to fail as avoiding political parties is, is that it means constantly having to reexplain what you're talking about in a less compact way every time. Anyone who thinks that's what's going to happen with any regularity I have a bridge to sell.
What WILL obviously happen, of course, is that someone will invent a shorthand, and now you have reinvented jargon, except yours is probably idiosyncratic and not understood by anyone that wasn't in the original conversation (unless like the Forge threads or the alt.rec.games threads before them they become popularized).
 

niklinna

učim hrvatski
I'm afraid I still have to stand by my opinion that as presented, GNS sim is essentially useless; its the catch-all, and tells you too little about what interests someone pursuing it will find functional and not to have any use. As I said, when you're lumping together many of the very things the GDS creators were trying to tease out to explain why they didn't want the same things, I think at least in that area, your model has failed.
One thing I find interesting there is that the GNS model did recognize many differences, even incompatiblities or outright competing agendas, within its Simulationist category (more than just process vs. high concept), even as it huddled them all up under that umbrella to claim that they did all share the same specific contrasts in comparison with Gamism and with Narrativism. There was also some talk (from what I've managed to read, not being involved at the time) about how the vast majority of RPG development up to then (and certainly at the time) had been in the realm of Simulationism, less so in Gamism—which had gotten short shrift in the preceding GDS discussion. So, folks were directly familiar with many kinds of Simulationism, but hadn't perhaps explored Gamism all that much to identify competing, incompatibe, or merely different, sub-agendas. The Manyfold approach does get a bit more into that. And Story Now was such a new beast that it seems to be (depending on your viewpoint) the biggest/smallest bucket of the three...the shutdown of & diaspora from the Forge in some senses lost the line of inquiry as it spread out to numerous individual blogs and such, but I can see even from a casual overview of such games that many differences have emerged. I would love to know if someone has dug into that.
 

The montone fate point reward does have that issue... presumably more subtle variation could be made where a very disadvantageous invocation could garner more fate points to create more nuance as you say. (I couldn't imagine not allowing bigger bolder effects by spending more than one fate point)
Doesn't d6 System do something like this? IIRC you BOTH pay up front, AND when you invoke certain things, but it is certainly not as core a part of the system as it is in FATE, nor is there any currency involved, aside from adding or subtracting dice from a pool (or increasing the target number). Still, you can tie together a 'good thing' and a 'bad thing' and the degree of benefit of the good thing helps dictate the degree of penalty of the bad thing when it happens. (d6 System has a lot of divergent mechanics too depending on genre, so not all variations may do this).
 

To reduce non-Trad games to 'social commentary games' is to pigeonhole them as merely tools for social exploration, when this is far from the truth.

Good thing I’m not doing that, then. I’m saying that a social analysis of why someone plays game A over game B ought to include the dynamics of identity and the concrete social context in which play happens.

If I was pigeonholeing anything in that post it would be trad dnd, which I described as masculinist, inherently colonial, and merely combat-oriented, when in fact there are lots of other ways to play.

I get why there might be a certain amount of defensiveness around “non-trad” games given how dominant 5e in particular is, but at a certain point it’s just comical.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
To the contrary the disconnected murder hobos excludes all but that one type wandering loner

Well, hold on a second.

D&D, historically, hasn't mechanically cared a lot if characters had connection to the world. This enables disconnected murder hobos, but does not mean they are required. The murder hobos are one possible result, not a rules core element that excludes other character types from play.

Meanwhile, requiring connection in character generation would be a core rules element that does exclude some character types, like the disconnected murder hobo, and the perhaps more nuanced Man With No Name.

Just so we are clear on that.
 

Ovinomancer

No flips for you!
Good thing I’m not doing that, then. I’m saying that a social analysis of why someone plays game A over game B ought to include the dynamics of identity and the concrete social context in which play happens.
Why? What purpose does this serve except to try and pigeonhole these games as serving some kind of identity needs (and therefore separate from other games)?
If I was pigeonholeing anything in that post it would be trad dnd, which I described as masculinist, inherently colonial, and merely combat-oriented, when in fact there are lots of other ways to play.
I think this is terribly reductionist as well. You might be on better grounds looking at setting material this way. But, yeah, seems you've already done the pigeonholing.
I get why there might be a certain amount of defensiveness around “non-trad” games given how dominant 5e in particular is, but at a certain point it’s just comical.
What point is that? And what was defensive about what I said? I don't feel the least bit defensive about your question -- you asked it, I don't agree it's well founded, and I provided my reasoning.

This comment really seems like an attempt to set up the ad hominem that it's not important to consider the argument because the person speaking it is clearly defensive. I can't imagine what other use trying to point out someone being defensive might have, especially considering my response was even and listed exactly why I think as I do.
 

Umbran

Mod Squad
Staff member
Supporter
Good thing I’m not doing that, then. I’m saying that a social analysis of why someone plays game A over game B ought to include the dynamics of identity and the concrete social context in which play happens.

This is one reason to have multiple design models for games. When all you have is one model, one theory, around game design, you miss aspects of games. GNS theory may tell you how well your game appeals to desires for G, for N, or for S. It doesn't help you meet other desires the players might have. Today, this would include identity desires, but won't be limited to that.

As a highly relevant example of today - GNS theory doesn't inform you about design theory around making a game appealing for remote play.
 

Aldarc

Legend
This is one reason to have multiple design models for games. When all you have is one model, one theory, around game design, you miss aspects of games. GNS theory may tell you how well your game appeals to desires for G, for N, or for S. It doesn't help you meet other desires the players might have. Today, this would include identity desires, but won't be limited to that.

As a highly relevant example of today - GNS theory doesn't inform you about design theory around making a game appealing for remote play.
But do you believe that this would in anyway reduce the amount of jargon or terminology in the hobby? To be clear, I am not advocating for one model or GNS, but, rather, I am inquiring about what a realist, pragmatic view of the hobby would look like in terms of the amount of accumulated jargon and associated terminology with multiple models, theories, principles, etc.
 


AD6_gamerati_skyscraper

Upcoming Releases

Top