Moving on from "GNS"

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2015, 11:43:19 AM »
I'm going to stick with all of it, yeah.

Responsibility is a little better than authority, in that coming to group agreement by a process of taking responsibility is more subtle than coming to group agreement by a process of taking authority, but still, taking and assigning responsibilities is just one way of many to go about fostering agreement.

-Vincent

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Munin

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Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #16 on: August 18, 2015, 02:18:10 PM »
So is your central premise then the idea of "who does what in the game" (which is how "authority" is usually couched) is a distraction that is preventing the Narrativist movement from, well, moving?

OK, I'll drink your Kool-Aid for a while. That being the case, what should designers be focusing on?

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lumpley

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Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #17 on: August 18, 2015, 02:41:38 PM »
Sure!

"How do I get people to say interesting things?"

-Vincent

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Munin

  • 411
Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #18 on: August 18, 2015, 05:56:43 PM »
I think your own "ask them provocative questions" advice is a good place to start. "Take a shot of vodka before speaking" would probably also accomplish what you seek, at least as the game progressed.  ;)

In some sense this is a loaded question, as "interesting" is a value judgment. Given the particular character I'm playing and the head-space I'm in at a particular time, I might be ALL ABOUT whatever intrigue/plot/scheme/conspiracy you're talking about. Or if I'm not in that headspace or playing a character who doesn't care, I might not.

OR, I (the player) might find it "interesting" in the abstract, but may have no way to interface with or build on what it is you are saying. In your parlance, there may be no cloud-to-cloud or cloud-to-dice arrows.

But if we cycle back to the idea that "system matters," then it seems sort of obvious that the way to get people to say interesting things is to incentivize the saying of interesting things. Introduce a fact about your character or the world or whatever into the "cloud"? Get a token. Every time it gets used in play? Get another token. Build on someone else's fact? You and she both get a token. Stuff that "the table" deems collectively "interesting" is more likely to get used in play, and is thus rewarded. Conversely, ideas that are less interesting are left alone and not built upon (or maybe the group circles back to them later as peoples' interests change organically).

Holy shit, it could be like a creativity pyramid scheme!

Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #19 on: August 19, 2015, 04:08:47 AM »
I feel that idea conflates "that's a cool thing, I love this game" and "that's important to the plot (or story) and will come up again later".

You could argue that to some extent they should be one and the same. But I'm thinking of, for example, interesting colour about a character or a place or whatever, that maybe doesn't come up again. Or rather, should I as a player optimise for how likely other players are to build upon this, or how much they will enjoy it right now, or something else?

It's easier to come up with the opposite example: a really boring macguffin that keeps getting referenced, farming tokens for its creator, because the plot dictates that it's really powerful or something.

And then there's the thing (I'm really lazy now and not looking up how well-established this "truth" is) about extrinsic rewards diminishing the intrinsic fun in doing fun stuff. If you start handing out tokens for describing your character well, the joy some players ordinarily find in coming up with and sharing interesting tidbits might be diminished, since it now feels like work.


Another way to attack the problem is through setting design: "how do I steer the contents of the shared fiction so that, when the players talk about it according to some agenda (e.g. make my character survive) the things they say are often interesting?"

Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #20 on: August 19, 2015, 01:30:31 PM »
Vincent,

That's very interesting, thanks. I can see how the idea of "authority" is a bit misleading in a medium which depends upon group buy-in.

Can you give an example of how working from a concept of "authority" might result in bad design, and how thinking differently (which I'm still not 100% sure how to do, except for discarding the concept of authority) could fix such a design?

(I can certainly see how your games are often designed to encourage agreement, by aligning players' interests with what's happening. For example, the "seduce/manipulate" move, rather than giving a player *authority* to say something is true, rather allows them to give another player an incentive or to create a cost for saying something is true. That's a very different dynamic!)

Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #21 on: August 19, 2015, 04:19:26 PM »
Vincent, while you're answering all of the above, can you mention how you see John Harper's 'Crossing the Line' intersecting here, if at all? (Or John, by all means please dive in; I addressed Vincent only because he's been doing the talking).

As an aside, I noticed the other night that some of the Dogs character creation rules focus on assent. Specifically, your starting equipment and its quality/size/crapiness are, per the rules, dependent on the other players' assent as opposed to your authority. The Hx rules in AW also (like, in the example a player tells the MC the story behind his Hx with another PC, then asks that PC if that makes sense to them). Are there a lot of other rules (or whole games, even) out there already that explicitly point to assent instead of authority/responsibility?
« Last Edit: August 19, 2015, 04:24:17 PM by ColdLogic »

Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #22 on: September 04, 2015, 02:06:16 PM »
Vincent,

I wonder if you're still watching this topic!

If you are, please say so. If not, hopefully you're doing something much more fun. Cheers!

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lumpley

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Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #23 on: September 05, 2015, 03:16:49 PM »
Paul T: I'm here. You pretty much answered your own question, though, didn't you?

-Vincent

Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #24 on: September 06, 2015, 02:38:27 PM »
That's fair, Vincent!

How much work would be required to rework the Big Model on the basis of assent?

In other words, is this a foundational difference (the Model is barking up the wrong tree) or is it a question of preference in game design (preferring assent-based procedures to authority-based ones as a question of taste)?

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #25 on: September 06, 2015, 03:28:26 PM »
I'm sorry, Paul! Your question makes me think you may have lost the thread of my criticism. I'll recap and it'll probably answer your question.

According to the Big Model, authority is fundamental to the act of roleplaying. Roleplaying is based on who has the authority to say what, about what, and when.

I think that this is badly incorrect.

I think that negotiated assent is fundamental to the act of roleplaying, and that authority is just one way of many to negotiate assent. A very useful way, important to basically all roleplaying and basically every game's design, but not uniquely useful or important and not fundamental at all.

Some people prefer games whose designs make extensive use of assigning authority, and that's just fine. Why shouldn't they? It's a legit way to negotiate assent.

However, I think that the Big Model chained a stone around the neck of the narrativist design movement when it said that assigning authority was the basis of good rpg design. It limited the movement's audience to only those people, and then complained that everybody else was suckered by poor design.

-Vincent
« Last Edit: September 06, 2015, 03:33:23 PM by lumpley »

Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #26 on: September 09, 2015, 06:12:50 PM »
Vincent,

That's very interesting, thanks.

I don't think I misunderstood you, but that clarification is really helpful.

I can see how the emphasis on strong authority was necessary for a certain school of design popular at the Forge, but how it also limits the scope of possible designs (compared to something like Fiasco, which generally ignores the issue of authority altogether, and expects the group to find its own way through assent).

That certainly answers my question, I think.

When you originally commented on this at Story Games, you said you had a whole long, technical explanation you wanted to go through for those interested. I'm interested, although I'm not sure what to ask you about it (since you didn't really say much more that that about it in the first place.) What was that technical topic you wanted to broach? Surely this is the most appropriate place for it.

Thanks!

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lumpley

  • 1293
Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #27 on: September 09, 2015, 08:27:43 PM »
Oh lord no, Paul! I didn't say I wanted to! I said that if Big Model theorists want to check my work, I'll lay it out for them. That's to fulfill a responsibility I have to the Big Model and to my old comrades, not because I want to.

As it happens, a couple of them took me up on it on G+, and it was, yes, long and technical, and it was also kind of an ordeal, but I do feel good about having fulfilled my responsibility to them.

If any questions do come to you, I'll be happy to answer them, now or whenever. But there's nothing I'm on fire to say on the topic.

-Vincent
« Last Edit: September 09, 2015, 08:31:54 PM by lumpley »

Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #28 on: September 12, 2015, 12:35:36 PM »
I see! Thanks, Vincent.

Is it fair to say that our discussion here is a shorthand of that technical discussion, or is it a different topic altogether?

Re: Moving on from "GNS"
« Reply #29 on: September 14, 2015, 11:36:48 AM »
Paul, check this for that technical 'check my work' discussion:
https://plus.google.com/+VincentBaker/posts/atC8kDhSQjU

Of particular note to your questions, maybe:
Quote from: Vincent
If it were my job to bring the Big Model current, here's what I'd do:

1. Replace every taxonomy in it with the process or structure that the taxonomy illustrates.

For most of them, this would be pretty easy. Most of them are either trivial, like DFK, or transparent enough, like IIEE. There are only a couple of troublesome opaque ones, like GNS. Maybe only the one!

2. Replace the idea of creative agendas with one that actively resists both taxonomy and RPG exceptionalism.

In this thread I haven't done the work this would require - and if you thought I would, you were dreaming - but I've put forward my candidate and shown that the work is possible.

3. Take the idea that roleplaying depends upon a distribution of authority by the hair, drown it in the mill pond, sink its body with stones, and bring in a cranky New England witch to curse its soul to thereunder remain until Doom's final trump.

This is the easiest of the three, and by far the most important.?