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Topics - Orpheus

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roleplaying theory, hardcore / Revelations of the Apocalypse (World)
« on: September 14, 2010, 06:59:10 PM »
Split from the thread about Agenda & GNS, as this is totally tangental to the main topic of discussion in that (and that thread's basically closed). So...

Also, I've been thinking about where the mythology of shows like Lost and Battlestar Galactica meet GNS. I've seen situations where a lot of the player drive is centered on "figuring things out", but not necessarily on a mystery level of investigation a la Call of Cthuhlu. It's weird. It's more of an expectation of being fed backstory revelations every few sessions or so, but I don't actually have a set up backstory. So it turns into a Czege Principle thing where the players who are interested in discovering this weird backstory are also making it up, which is unsatisfying.

In AW, this is a drive not really to see passionate characters in untenable situations, but to figure out the Apocalypse and the Psychic Maelstrom on a metalevel. Anyone else seen that?

I haven't seen this in AW, but I've definitely seen this drive in games.  I'm somewhat susceptible to it myself - I like that complex backstory and revelations, and am inclined towards putting that sort of thing into games I run where it's applicable.  (I hadn't thought about even trying that in AW, but I can see where it might occur to me, "Hrmm. Fleece is doing this, and Joe's Girl is doing this - It would totally make sense, and complicate things in an interesting way if it was revealed that Fleece was Joe's daughter…"  And I'm not sure if doing something like that works with MCing AW the way you're expected to in the text.

So that's one question.

But for me, the bigger question is where this 'drive to figure stuff out' falls into the conception of RPG theory, and how it might be usefully applied in design.  (I have some stuff I'm working on that it's somewhat applicable to, but it's also just interesting stuff.)

roleplaying theory, hardcore / Tactical Combat vs. Violent Conflict
« on: September 14, 2010, 06:57:11 PM »
'Nother split from the Agenda & GNS thread, also from Chris' post.  Man, a lot of food for thought in that one. (If this'd be better off in another part of the forum than Hardcore Theory, someone please move it.)

To use an actual example of this in AW, my group is composed of people who are friends first and a gaming group second. And we don't really share the same creative agenda. We're a mix of Story Now and Step On Up, in terms of preference and it kills our AW sessions sometimes.

Playing AW with a Step On Up mentality just destroys it, really. There's not really much of a challenge to the game, in those terms. "Solving" situations really comes down to the dice. Tactics and plans are fine, but execution is iffy, so playing that way is unsatifying.

Interestingly, it's not unsatisfying for the Step On Up players. They enjoy AW just as much. But having a Step On Up style of play crash into a few fronts results in ... problems and they're mostly problems for the players that like Story Now style situations.

So yeah, I've got a friend who's similar.  Had a conversation with him last weekend about how he really wants 'tactical combat' in a game, and how if that's not something that happens at least once a session, he feels let down.  He's pretty stoked about playing AW, but I'm not sure how that's going to work out - I get the feeling he's projecting something onto the game that may not be there. Not to say there isn't potential for interesting 'tactical combat' in AW, but it's going to be a rather different thing than say, Shadowrun or D&D3-4, and I mean different in that it actually has a different objective, not in that it has the same objective as combat in those games but gets there in a different way.

roleplaying theory, hardcore / Asking Provocative Questions
« on: August 29, 2010, 02:04:47 PM »
[Not sure if this is the appropriate place in the forums for this, but whatever, if it belongs somewhere else, someone please move it.]

Just an observation from using the 'Ask questions' technique last night in the game I'm MCing.  (Not AW, incidentally. It's applicable to a wide array of games.) (Also, I don't know that this is going to be some huge revelation to anyone else, but it was definitely a 'eureka' moment for me.)

Asking questions like this inverts a kind of exchange that's common in games. 

Normal version goes something like this: Player asks GM a question. GM, having never considered the question before, makes something up on the fly; not letting on that he just pulled this 'fact' out of thin air, GM answers with conviction and authority.  In many games, a HUGE number of 'things' in play get generated this way.

Now, in in AW, when the MC asks provocative questions, it's the player who answers, usually coming up with something on the spot.  What this means is that the impetus of filling in the world becomes a group thing, rather than being channeled through a single individual.

Also interesting to me was that noone seemed to notice the 'flip', or that they were directly contributing to the creation of setting, story, situation, etc... Maybe because there's already a precedent for the GM to query players - it it's what you're asking that makes a difference in this case.

Apocalypse World / Unexpected Reaction to AW
« on: July 19, 2010, 04:52:30 PM »
So I'm talking to someone about AW, and I say something about, "Now that I have the game, I really want to play this. But I bought it as much for the 'advice text'; Vx tends to be very clear and concise about procedures of play in his games."  I then go on to reference the following bit from AW:

"There are a million ways to GM games; Apocalypse World calls for one way in particular. This chapter is it. Follow these as rules. The whole rest of the game is built upon this."
       -Apocalypse World, p 108

Now, I like this approach; here's a game that actually does tell me how to run it, in simple and direct language, as opposed to some vague and generalized advice. ("Be fair, be knowledgeable, make it fun!" - Ok, great. HOW do I go about doing that?)

My friend's reaction however, was, "Wow! What an arrogant bastard that Baker guy must be! How can he possibly think there's just one best way to run that game and that's how he runs it?"

I didn't do a very good job of answering his questions - I felt like I'd have to start with  relating the entirety of the "System Matters" and "Story Now" essays just to continue the conversation...

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