Creative Agenda and GNS

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Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #30 on: September 18, 2010, 11:20:30 AM »
Simon! I think I can sort of understand what's going on here and what your problem is with some of the distinctions. I'll attempt to interpret what I see. I might be way off-track, but whatever. If this clears the mists for you a bit, awesome. If not or if I'm dead wrong, or both, eh.

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When you look at any instance of play, overwhelming, to a great degree, the participants are focused on creating interesting and coherant fiction.

Even in the most hard-core, pawn-stance, play-your-fighter-right-or-we-send-you-home, three-hours-of-combat-five-minutes-of-talking game, the orcs are orcs and they stay orcs for the duration of the game, and it matters that they're orcs and not goblins, and not just because the numbers are different, but because we said they were orcs and you can't change that now. And what's that for? Why go to all that effort (and it is an effort) if it doesn't support what's supposed to be the point of the game?
Yes, even the most hard-core, pawn-stance, step-on-up game will have (more or less) coherent fiction. What's that for?

It's for roleplaying. It's a roleplaying game.

If we think of creative agendas like these broad, umbrella terms that cover a lot of ground, yes, they show different ways to play. But they're all about different ways to play roleplaying games, yeah?

If I say science fiction, I could be thinking District 9 or Star Wars or Space 1999, right, but I'm still talking about science fiction.

If I say roleplaying, I could be thinking of step-on-up play or rtd play or story now play, but I'm still thinking about roleplaying. The coherent fiction is there even if we play D&D like chess, because it's still a RPG. It starts to drift, but we're still onboard regarding that.

It's like saying "why is Star Wars science fiction, there isn't any science in it" or something.

I don't know if I'm explaining myself well, but I'm trying.

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I mean, every rpg text I've read starts with the assumtion that there will be an engaging and coherant fictional world created in play. None of them (except for a very few) talk explicitly about winners and losers. Does that mean that I haven't read any Step on Up supporting texts? That every group playing Step on Up is drifting the rules?

I get even more confused thinking about Right to Dream.

Ok, yeah, still the same. I believe "an engaging and coherent fictional world" is part of roleplaying, not any creative agenda in particular. It's like when someone answered Jared Sorensen "Exploration." to the "What is your game about?" question and Jared said something like "That's stupid, all games are about exploration." Exploration being, in this instance, in my opinion, exploration of a fiction, of a fictional enviroment, fictional world.

As for texts, few if any of them address their agenda so explicitly. Few are even designed with an agenda in mind. Do you see any explicit "This game is about creating theme by putting characters in untenable situations" in Dogs or AW? Likewise, D&D isn't going to tell you "this is a game about winners", but it's there. It's about facing challenges and using your resources the best way possible to beat those challenges.

Right to Dream is the most problematic of the bunch. I'm not exactly sure why, but if I understand Vincent's interpretation of RTD correctly, it's about wish-fulfilment. It's a "don't mess with my fantasy", "original character do not steal" type of thing. I'm not sure how a game text would address that. Not there yet.

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Here's what I'm getting at: We play our bunch of dudes, all sword-bearing psycopaths, barely even personalities, let alone protagonists. We send them out murdering folk who look different from them, just because it's fun for us to show off our skills at that. I think that means something. I think the violence isn't just backdrop, I think it's central to the experience of the game. It's fun because it's us, me and my buddies, triumphing over the things that are not us.

People who just want to show off their tactical skills play chess.
To me, that's Step on Up. It's about triumphing, so it's about winning. It's about the satisfaction of using your skills to beat someone or something, to overcome, right?

But because it's a roleplaying game there's also the element of the fiction (which is missing in chess). That doesn't negate what the SoU creative agenda is about.

The whole thing about how much we're IN the fiction and how much we respect it, I think that's sort of a fourth axis to GNS. If GNS is space, then "immersion" or "strenght of fiction" or whatever is time. If we ignore the fiction, if fiction stops to matter, then we're not playing a RPG anymore but a boardgame or whatever. But for the duration of the roleplay, we're roleplaying the the GNS space.





Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #31 on: September 18, 2010, 03:26:29 PM »
Why are we playing a roleplaying game?

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Chris

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Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #32 on: September 18, 2010, 09:02:31 PM »
Why are we playing a roleplaying game?

Either to pretend to be interesting characters in interesting situations, to move interesting characters in certain ways to achieve a goal set out by the GM or the players themselves, or to vicariously live through interesting characters in an interesting world of the GM's or collective players' creation.
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #33 on: September 18, 2010, 09:55:11 PM »
What makes those things interesting?

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Chris

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Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #34 on: September 18, 2010, 09:58:22 PM »
What makes those things interesting?

Your personal interest, whether that's an interest in drama or just in the MC describing the character's tits. Irrelevant to why.
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

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lumpley

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Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #35 on: September 18, 2010, 10:17:01 PM »
Simon, that's like "why are we playing a card game when we could be playing a board game?" the answer is: the medium - card, board, roleplaying, video game, sport, whatever - is part of the game. It's a constraint on the game's design and it offers unique opportunities for the game's play.

We're playing a roleplaying game because, like a card game and its cards, a board game and its board, a sport and its playing field, this game is a roleplaying game.

Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #36 on: September 18, 2010, 11:24:38 PM »
Simon, that's like "why are we playing a card game when we could be playing a board game?" the answer is: the medium - card, board, roleplaying, video game, sport, whatever - is part of the game. It's a constraint on the game's design and it offers unique opportunities for the game's play.

I agree.

Why did we choose that medium? Once we've chosen that medium, what makes the subject material interesting? Why is D&D about hard men with big swords going into dark holes in the ground?

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Chris

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Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #37 on: September 19, 2010, 07:21:22 AM »
Oh, man, this thread has officially hit my favorite part of GNS conversations. It's about to get crazy philosophical in here. :)

What makes anything interesting, Simon? Why do you like anything? Guys play DnD, originally, as a game, one you could win or lose. And it was a game and it's still played like that.

You're fishing around for why even hardcore DnD game have story elements. They do because they have characters and characters need a backstory because that's the cultural expectation of playing DnD. No other reason.

A lot of the players on my local boards don't see themselves as roleplayers. They're playing a game and that game is DnD. That includes pretending to be a character, but it's not really why they play. It's just a natural part of "Hey, I have a character. I guess he's thinking this". It's part of us naturally telling stories. But it's not the focus.

But it's a fundamental difference from how I game. And I've been in every configuration of different gaming agendas. And GNS covers them in a broad sense.
A player of mine playing a gunlugger - "So now that I took infinite knives, I'm setting up a knife store." Me - "....what?" Him - "Yeah, I figure with no overhead, I'm gonna make a pretty nice profit." Me - "......"

Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #38 on: September 19, 2010, 07:28:43 AM »
Thinking aloud.

Why did we choose that medium? Once we've chosen that medium, what makes the subject material interesting?
I don't think there's an all-encompassing answer to that. It feels like asking "why do you read books?". I believe "exploration" is as good as it gets, we want to discover cool stuff, escape, pretend, be challenged, be frightened, saddened, excited. It's the impulse of the little kid going into the bushes at the end of the garden. It's venture, the pull of the blank space on the map, but coupled with the impulse to fill that empty space. I could write about death of the author and stuff, but maybe that's another thread again. The bottom line is that there is this interplay between a blank space we're filling with our fiction, but at the same time having that fiction separated from us and exploring it as something independent and foreign. The Creative Agendas only come on top of that.

The medium does not have subject material. TV doesn't have subject material. Roleplaying doesn't either. Roleplaying is a medium through which you can explore subject material.

Why is D&D about hard men with big swords going into dark holes in the ground?
Because we have mommy and daddy issues. The mythic underground, a tunnel into Mother Earth, Jung's archetype of the cellar, a dark place filled with monsters of the subconscious, katabasis, an undead lich Father at the bottom.

Only half kidding. :)
« Last Edit: September 19, 2010, 07:31:51 AM by Gregor Vuga »

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lumpley

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Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #39 on: September 19, 2010, 08:34:22 AM »
The role of passion and conflict in Step On Up play is super interesting, but how am I supposed to talk about it with someone who denies the possibility?

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lumpley

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Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #40 on: September 19, 2010, 08:48:49 AM »
Simon, "hard men with big swords" doesn't necessarily signify any more than the horse-shaped piece in Chess, the "kings" and "queens" in a deck of cards, or the "houses" and "hotels" in Monopoly. It's a mnemonic. It gives texture and landscape to the playing field. It works with the game's rules to communicate and reinforce how to play and how to win.   

Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #41 on: September 19, 2010, 04:08:08 PM »
The role of passion and conflict in Step On Up play is super interesting, but how am I supposed to talk about it with someone who denies the possibility?

I'm denying what now? Because that sounds super interesting to me too.

Simon, "hard men with big swords" doesn't necessarily signify any more than the horse-shaped piece in Chess, the "kings" and "queens" in a deck of cards, or the "houses" and "hotels" in Monopoly. It's a mnemonic. It gives texture and landscape to the playing field. It works with the game's rules to communicate and reinforce how to play and how to win.   

Really? I don't agree, and frankly it seems a bizarre position. You'd have to at least agree that D&D is richer in this texture and landscape than Chess or Monopoly, and probably richer still than a wargame like Mechaton. I mean, I agree it's the same thing, but why does D&D have so much of it? And why does it have the specific colour it does?

Here's my position: If I and a bunch of my friends enact a narrative about killing a bunch of monsters underground, for example, that means something symbolically. That symbolic meaning isn't accidental, and is part of the reason we chose to do this thing in the first place. Sure, it's not the whole reason, because we also like how it's a fun tactical game. But there are a lot of fun tactical games out there. We chose this one because it is about Dungeons and Dragons.

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lumpley

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Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #42 on: September 19, 2010, 04:47:59 PM »
What do you make of my Storming the Wizard's Tower example?

I can tell you for sure that there was no escalating conflict in it, just a series of escalating logistical challenges.

Re: Creative Agenda and GNS
« Reply #43 on: September 19, 2010, 05:29:32 PM »
Hi!

I read it! I'll be able to comment later today. In brief: It reads like a plausible and familiar kind of play. I recognise it. Certainly no escalating conflict.

But! I'm going to ask you questions about how you "win" StWT, and what it felt like when one dude was protecting the other dude, and why one of you didn't just run off and leave the other, and what that would have felt like if you had.

Can I check in that we're still having a productive conversation? I'm enjoying this and I feel like we're still getting somewhere. I feel like I could be all wrong, but I haven't seen how yet, and I have like this sneaking suspicion that I'm not.

But if you're finding this frustrating or boring, let me know. You don't owe me an explanation, so feel free to talk about stuff you're more interested in if you want to.