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Author Topic: I Don't Play "Let's Pretend" Any More.  (Read 2562 times)

Sosthenes

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« Reply #45 on: July 09, 2007, 02:53:19 pm »
Quote from: Settembrini
I love these Fuchsian influences, but alas, the audience wasn´t there to receive it. Instead the Kiesow-abomination that is DSA 2nd rules supreme.


I'm not saying that it didn't turn ugly, but it certainly didn't start out as bad as you tell it. So the beginning situation wasn't all that different from the US, it just got worse because the dominating company made certain decisions. Most of which are made due to market demand. If you don't branch out with several settings, the only way to make more money is to publish more and more details about the one setting you've got. And I guess that the publisher is partly to blame for that...

And the worst excesses didn't occur until the early 90s, where the storytelling craze was hitting paydirt.

So I don't see a big difference. The same would be true for the states if TSR had vanished early and White Wolf had prospered even more. Or even if M.A.R. Baker would've had a better publishing deal and more time/collaborators.
 

Settembrini

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« Reply #46 on: July 09, 2007, 03:03:15 pm »
My point is your point:

The receiving audience matters. Demand is a function of the preferences of the audience.
These preferences can be changed, but in our sad case, the preferences of hippy-kiesow and his hippy audience coincided.
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Arminius

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« Reply #47 on: July 09, 2007, 03:40:49 pm »
Quote from: Settembrini
The problem is, in my eyes, that there is not a real misunderstanding that happened. It´s more like different audiences receiving the Method of Roleplay in a leisure context , and projecting their wants and needs unto it.
Ah, don't get me wrong. The MoR as you put it is adaptable to multiple uses. What I'm saying is that far from being "square wheels", the actual mechanics and authority/responsibility-structure of D&D, RQ, Traveller were well-adapted to the purpose for which they were intended: exploratory, experiential roleplay.

The deviation was taking those tools and using them for pre-sketched plots...basically distorting the responsibility of the GM while retaining the mechanics and authority-distribution. What was really needed (and some newer games provide, though in the process becoming quite different kinds of RPG) was a new set of mechanics and authority-structure to go along with the new responsibility-structure.

Sosthenes

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« Reply #48 on: July 09, 2007, 04:18:13 pm »
Quote from: Settembrini
The receiving audience matters. Demand is a function of the preferences of the audience.
These preferences can be changed, but in our sad case, the preferences of hippy-kiesow and his hippy audience coincided.


Well, the RPG business isn't as demand-driven as other markets. Most companies don't produce what would be best for them, creativity and the interests of the authors play a big part. What little straight-forward demand there is mostly comes in broad brush strokes. That's the reason why we see more fantasy games than sci-fi or horror games, but apart from that we've barely entered the area where much market research can be made to aim directly towards the publics interest.
Mainly because both the amount of customers and the amount of publishers is relatively small.

More than with other markets, the supply creates demand. The mere fact that RPGs started with Tolkien-esque fantasy games has left an indelible mark on the whole business.
 

Fritzef

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« Reply #49 on: July 11, 2007, 01:12:49 pm »
Well, since the thread seems to be going this way anyway...

Some very cool information here.  I'd read some of 'Old is the New New' before but had no idea that Rob blogged on the history of RPGs.

Eliot, you are quite right about the RAND influence on poli-sci roleplaying games--the earliest article that I can find that actually uses the full phrase, from 1959, explicitly refers to a RAND study of 1958.  Doing a little more digging, though, I've found that role-playing exercises were being widely discussed by the 1940s, but in rather different fields:  sociometry and training, particularly nursing.  Using role-playing for professional training was nothing new, of course--lawyers had been doing moot courts or similar exercises for centuries--but calling it role-playing seems to have been a new trend in the 1940s, in English at least.  The sociometric role-playing seems to have been more along the lines of exploring social roles and group dynamics; it also seems to have been used for therapy, just as it is today.

Not sure, what, if anything, these earlier strains of role-playing have to do with RPGs as such; perhaps all they did was help popularize the term.  Still, some of that literature might bear looking into by someone working on RPG theory--for instance, there seems to be some sort of analytical distinction between role-taking and role-playing, which conceivably could prove useful.  Or not--I don't know enough to say.
 

alexandro

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« Reply #50 on: August 25, 2007, 08:27:17 pm »
@Set: Bull!

D&D is already predetermined when it comes to decisions of value.
Losing hit points/gold/magic items is more valuable than losing the life of a NPC, the respect of the populace etc., so guess what most players are going to choose?
If they don’t make the obvious choice, they may “win” in-game, but lose on the table, making it a pretty hollow victory.
The schizophrenia of the RPG-community is that this kind of masochistic behaviour- denying oneself resources which allow contribution to the game- is in some way “good roleplaying”.
So I only make a meaningful statement about the value of a certain NPC, if I degrade my character to a cripple watching from the sidelines for the next couple of fights (which make up for a large part of why it is *fun* to play the game).

[irony] Yeah, that sounds like a bunch of fun. [/irony]

Thematic games are different in the way that they don’t pre-determine (or at least: don’t predetermine in the same way) how valuable certain decisions are, leaving the player open to really THINK about his options, without it becoming some kind of brainwashed thematic-Adventure wankfest like the one Set described.

Or do you really think the Rouge betraying the party after two years of gameplay is in any way more fun to the players (other than the player of the Rouge, of course)
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« Reply #51 on: August 27, 2007, 06:06:35 am »
Great stuff, Warthur! I think that you really make some good points in there.
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« Reply #52 on: August 27, 2007, 09:19:42 am »
Quote from: alexandro
@Set: Bull!

D&D is already predetermined when it comes to decisions of value.
Losing hit points/gold/magic items is more valuable than losing the life of a NPC, the respect of the populace etc., so guess what most players are going to choose?
If they don’t make the obvious choice, they may “win” in-game, but lose on the table, making it a pretty hollow victory.
The schizophrenia of the RPG-community is that this kind of masochistic behaviour- denying oneself resources which allow contribution to the game- is in some way “good roleplaying”.
So I only make a meaningful statement about the value of a certain NPC, if I degrade my character to a cripple watching from the sidelines for the next couple of fights (which make up for a large part of why it is *fun* to play the game).

[irony] Yeah, that sounds like a bunch of fun. [/irony]

Thematic games are different in the way that they don’t pre-determine (or at least: don’t predetermine in the same way) how valuable certain decisions are, leaving the player open to really THINK about his options, without it becoming some kind of brainwashed thematic-Adventure wankfest like the one Set described.

Or do you really think the Rouge betraying the party after two years of gameplay is in any way more fun to the players (other than the player of the Rouge, of course)


It's spelled 'Rogue'.

Ok, first of all: you are wrong. Given the choice, many D&D players will make sacrifices to save NPC's if it interests them to do so. I recently ran an adventure called Shargon's Rage at GenCon. It's actually timed, so there's many reason not to waste time pursuing side tracks and other things.

Anyhow, during the adventure, there's a scene where a huge pirate army is attacking a town. I ran this adventure twice: In both cases, I actually improvised a detail that wasn't in the encounter: large groups of scattered, helpless, civilians.

You know what the players did?

In both cases, they made sure to clear an area of civilians before using area attacks (like fireballs.)  In one case, a pair of blackwheel gnolls ran through threatened areas and suffered AoO's in order to cover a retreat by a group of escaping townsfolk. Now this was two disparate tables of people, most of whom did not know each other. I've noticed similar things at home games.

SO I'm feeling pretty confident that if you put such opportunities in a game, D&D players (who want to be heroic anyway, for the most part) will be glad to pick up on them.
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James J Skach

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« Reply #53 on: August 28, 2007, 12:44:41 pm »
Ummm..what AM said.

Let's be clear, you may lose gold/magic item/whatever, but that doesn't "degrade your character to a cripple watching from the sideline."

But here's the fundamental flaw in your thinking: "D&D is already predetermined when it comes to decisions of value."  I don't know what you're playing...but it's not D&D...
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K Berg

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« Reply #54 on: August 31, 2007, 04:19:19 am »
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
In both cases, they made sure to clear an area of civilians before using area attacks (like fireballs.) In one case, a pair of blackwheel gnolls ran through threatened areas and suffered AoO's in order to cover a retreat by a group of escaping townsfolk. Now this was two disparate tables of people, most of whom did not know each other. I've noticed similar things at home games
.

And wouldn't you say that in both cases they made thematic choices because of the front-loading of the game in question?

Just like the previous example that staying in or escalating to a gunfight in Dogs in the Vineyard is a thematic statement.

Neither may be marked by the waving of flags in game at that moment, neither may actually be thought on very deeply. Bu all cases are statements by the players in question: This is really, really important to me.
 

Thanatos02

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« Reply #55 on: August 31, 2007, 08:16:44 am »
I'm not sure what you mean, but the situations arn't quite the same.
If you view, say, D&D and Dogs in the same lens, then the situation doesn't make any sense because you're trying to find the games 'values' in the mechanics. Dogs builds the situation in because, in the rules, every situation where dice are rolled contribute to the possibility of a fallout which makes rolling dice a statement (in theory) about your character willing to take a penalty, however steep, for the action.

Which is fundimentally different then a D&D character taking an action that isn't rewarded with higher numbers. (Gold, items, exp.) There are people that view that as a negative. These rewards or situations are not mechanically measured except that NPCs may be statted. But the truth is, the games are not on the same paradigm. There's no need to give a mechanical measure to in game relationships, because the players know what their characters would want to do in those situations. It's less about gaming the system then it is about engaging the game on its own terms. D&D isn't really 'frontloaded' in that way. Its rules work different.
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K Berg

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« Reply #56 on: August 31, 2007, 11:32:17 am »
In dogs you have rules that state - use guns = risk of getting higher fallout.

In DnD you have rules that say do not use everything to your tactical advantage = risk of loosing hitpoints.

Both risks may take your character out of play.

So when you based on in game events make a choice for your character that equates risk of taking your character out of play you are making a thematic choice. What kind of choice totally depends on the situation.

You are saying this is important enough for me, the player, to risk my character.

Now in Dogs this is right there in your face. In DnD it is layered down with a lot of other stuff so it is not so readily apparent. It also depends a lot on GM interpretation, because of the lack of direct rules support. But it is there.

Yet one can not say a thematic choice is dependent on rules alone. The rules only give you how to resolve the situation. How it pans out. The situation in itself is key to understanding the thematic choice. Will I draw on my brother to prevent him from beating the farmhand to death, will I risk being overrun by pirates to move the innocent refugees away from the killzone.

You can not equate a thematic choice with potential gain. A thematic choice (mechanically speaking) is what will you risk. That is how the escalation mechanics in dogs work, of which I can not think of an equvialent in DnD rules wise, the rules are just there to support the potential-risk taking. The thematic choice grows from the situation.

And where Dogs create a specific kind of situation (judges coming to a town filled with sin) DnD leaves this wide open (though good smiting evil seems implisit).