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Author Topic: Pistols at dawn.  (Read 64026 times)

RPGPundit

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Pistols at dawn.
« Reply #60 on: April 27, 2006, 07:18:24 PM »
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
How about LARP?

Not an RPG, though a related cousin of the RPG.

Quote
Here you say you can't alter the composition.  In the last paragraph, you stated that the proportions could be varied.  Could you clarify that?  I read this as a contradiction, and I'm sure you didn't intend one.  Might just be the word use.

Yea. What I mean is that you can't seriously alter the composition. Its like a Martini: its Gin and Vermouth. There has to be more Gin than vermouth. You can make it with 7 parts gin and 3 parts vermouth, 4 parts vermouth, or 2 parts vermouth; but you take it out completely, or put more vermouth than gin, or add in a pint of red wine or chocolate flavouring, and suddenly its not a martini at all, and whoever says so is a bullshitter.

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You realize you've just said that absolute control over the contents of the setting is the full set of tools the GM uses to maintain the structure of the game, right?

Did you actually mean that?

Yes. If the GM isn't in control of the setting, the game loses its structure and is no longer an RPG.

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Why are you so intent on connecting "control over setting content" with hierarchy?  

Because it is hierarchy. The GM is the adjudicator. His word is law. That's not a bad thing, that's a pretty fucking essential thing, in fact.

I think that all you theory guys were so burnt by some railroading-GM at some point in your formative years that now you think the "solution" to the bad experience you had is to castrate the GM.  But that solves nothing, and just creates a situation where no one is in charge and anyone can abuse their power. Having one capable guy in charge is better than having six guys in charge each with their own interests and agendas.
The answer to GM abuse of power is to get better GMs.  The sacrifice the GM makes is that he gives up his own personal subjective investment to "winning" in the game in exchange for the power over the world and direction of the group and game itself.  A GM who tries to have his cake and eat it too (ie. with GM-PCs, or Mary Sues, or what have you) is a bad GM, it doesn't mean that GMing itself is bad.

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Not at all.  It has to be about my gaming compared to your gaming compared to that guy's gaming compared to some other guy, in person and in detail, until we find common items and exchanges.
Some guys need to get off their high horse of academia, and you need to get off your supposed moral high ground of "tradition and orthodoxy"; we need to throw all that shit away, and talk about games, without saying "my gaming is better, nyah, nyah, nyah!" - because that claim, no matter what it's based on, is always a big ole' pile of dogshit.

I'm not saying my game is better, though. I'm saying that IN REALITY, my Game is the more loved and played game. And that we have to address that reality when making declarations about the nature of gamers or gaming as a whole. Declarations that suggest that the most loved and played game is stupid and that the vast majority of gamers who play it are ignorant are counter-productive. And most gaming theory still comes down to that, it still comes down to saying "My way is better than D&D".

What you're saying above appears to be that gaming theory ought to be about each little person's gaming group. Let's accept that premise for a moment: What about when Each Little Person's gaming group is examined and you find out that well over 80% of them are into the same thing? Do you then direct gaming theory from the perspective that this same thing is "The Game As People Want to Play It", or do you direct gaming theory from the perspective that this same things is "The Problem that people only do because they don't know better ways"? Becuase you guys are doing the latter, consistently.

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Attitudes of competition and one-upmanship aren't a defining facet of RPGs.

Nonsense. Of course they are. Its just that the competition isn't overtly between the players (though a LOT of that goes on too; competition for the best character, most playtime, etc). The main competition is overtly a team effort against the challenges the DM creates.

Its one of the greatest misinterpretations in RPGs to say that "its a game, but no one wins". People "win" at RPGs all the time. They "win" when their character defeats the challenges put before him, whatever they may be. The only real difference you can point to between that and many other games is that often "winning" doesn't mean the game is over. But this isn't that unusual anymore, in light of computer gaming. Or are you going to say that those aren't games?

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So what I've given is, in your view, one of the following:

1) Not fun.  (Except that it is.)

2) Not an RPG.  (Which everyone I've ever played with agrees that it is.)

3) Not actually creating story.  (Which it does.)

Well what exactly have you given that creates conventional story (not just fragments-of-story, sort-of-like-story or possible-story-if-everyone-behaves), is fun for mainstream RPG gamers, and fits RPG rules?

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That's actually a pretty narrow definition, by my standards.

And yet its the definition of RPG I'm sticking to. And its the nature of a lot of our disagreements, and why certain things you will say are "RPGs" I will say are not.

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You seem unable to see quality as anything other than "addressing mainstream needs".  

No, quality can be anything that's well-crafted within the definitions it addresses itself as. But if I, a pipe smoker, buy a pipe that doesn't actually have a draft hole, or that doesn't have a stem, or a bowl, and you try to tell me that its still a pipe, and that if I don't "get" how its a pipe then I am just ignorant and uneducated, I'll pretty well tell you that whatever you've got there, judged by the quality standards of what defines a "Pipe" is a piece of shit. Maybe its a vacuum cleaner; maybe its a great vacuum cleaner: That's cool, then don't sell it to me as a pipe.

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Have you ever actually read his game stuff?

I've read Sorcerer, and some of his Forge essays, though certainly not all of them. I'm a sadist, not a masochist.

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Why reach out to those groups?  Because diversity is good, and you don't know who gaming will appeal to until you try.

You know who gaming WILL appeal to, though? Teenage white boys. So why not focus on those we DO know it will work for? Especially now in this situation where we're faced with declining participation in the hobby?
Also, why is it that certain groups are willing to do whatever is necessary to draw in those other new demographics, including redefine RPGs out of existence to the point where mainstream gamers will become dissatisfied and leave the hobby in droves (like what happened in the 90s when RPGs were all being marketed to the "Art School" crowd by the Swine)? Why do we have to put up with that?
And why do these groups, on the other hand, seem to discourage the idea of marketing games toward the ONE demographic we KNOW RPGs as they are now have a strong appeal? When we do that, they accuse us of "dumbing it down". They mock companies that do this as making "unsophisticated" RPGs.

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Book and page reference, or link, please.  Something within the last five years.

Try two years: White Wolf, WoD rulebook, P.188. Right by the Baudelaire quote that serves no purpose whatsoever other than to show us how artistic they are.

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And yet Ben has come here on these very board and shown willing to explain
anything you'd care to ask.  Tony Lower-Basch has gone out his way with his "simple things" on RPGnet, which can be found on the Wiki there.  Vincent Baker has jumped into the fray to explain Narrativism to people on those same boards, in simple language.

I shouldn't need to learn those kinds of terms to be able to play RPGs. I shouldn't have to be indoctrinated in someone's lingo or pseudo-academic bullshit. And they aren't doing me a favour by patronizingly explaining it to me step by step, as though I was a mental defective for recognizing bullshit for what it is.

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Their ideas are breaking out of that level of chatter, into plain language, at a pretty fair speed, and taking a beating, and getting better.  Theory has ceased to be a pursuit just for people that like to finagle big words.

No, it hasn't. The theorists have just learnt how to be patronizing in new and creative ways.
Plain language would be theory where you didn't have to make up a lexicon to have a discussion.
And until you get rid of the people who finagle big words, you will always have shitheads bringing any "plain talk theory" back to GNS, by talking about "narrativism" as though everyone knows what that word means (even though not even any two people on the Forge seem to be capable of defining it the same way) and as though everyone accepts GNS theory to be the word of god.

That's why I again insist: the only way to "reform" Gaming Theory from the hands of the pseudo-intellectualoids is to start an anti-intellectualoid movement that goes out of its way to shit on existing Forge-borne nonsense.

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Interesting.  I did a demo of Dogs in the Vineyard for 24 people in Edmonton, and they liked it.  I sold 10 copies of the book to regular folks that play tabletop games, and they loved it.  When the folks you're talking about heard about this, they thought it was awesome.

I've been sharing actual experiences and statements from people.  You haven't.  Notice that?

No, I don't. what I'm talking about, what I've quoted is just as real and are just as true statements as what you are talking about. Having shitheads talking to me about the "unwashed masses"; fuckers on RPG.net claiming that D20 players are just "misinformed" and that if they only understood Forge theory they'd never play D20 again, white wolf's "don't look down on roll-players, help them learn how to storytell instead!" bull shit, Edward's Brain Damage comments. I didn't just make this shit up, and I resent the implication that I did.

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No.  What drives Forgefolk to frothing aggravation with White Wolf games is that many WW games (mostly the older ones, but you can still see it in the new ones) try to sell "story" as "railroad", and dress it up pretty enough that many people don't catch on - with two results.  First, many people coming to RPGs for story burn out and become bitter, and often leave.  Second, people that would otherwise be okay with story in games come to the Forge people and launch attacks on White Wolf's techniques rather than the ones actually on the table - Much like you've done here a few times.

I do differentiate between WW-Swinery and Forge-Swinery. But they're both swinery in the end. They both suggest that they are special for playing RPGs and know better than most other gamers about how to play RPGs. The one want to railroad you into following the metaplots laid down by failed authors; and the other wants to railroad you into "creating story" with inane micro-settings and stupid mechanics.
The Forge-Swine are both less inisidious and more insidious. Less insidious because they honestly are borne of being burnt by  the WW swine, by bad GMs who followed bad game designers. More insidious because they tried to solve these problems by throwing out the baby with the bathwater, repeating the cycle of abusive game designers imposing their vision on gamers, and completely bought into the WW snobbery with the added twist of showing how they can be snobbish about the "commoners" over at WW.

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"If you hate D&D, you're trying to destroy the hobby, whether you know it or not!"  - Gosh, that's an interesting viewpoint.  Because, you know, diversification is evil and constantly destroys industry...

...Oh wait, no.  Actually, the opposite is true.  Diversification makes industries stronger.

Not if by "diversification" you mean "wishing for the death and dismemberment of the vast majority of the hobby" or "trying to force the hobby away from what it is into something its not to satisfy your own interest".

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Levi Kornelsen

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Pistols at dawn.
« Reply #61 on: April 28, 2006, 12:02:32 PM »
Quote
Not an RPG, though a related cousin of the RPG.


What if they use the exact same system, including the dice?  I've seen it.

How about Parlour LARP, which is a LARP played by a small group in a single room? I've played in one of these using the Amber system, too.

Just how much game do you need in your roleplaying, in your opinion?  Or, if that's not what missing, what is?

Quote from: RPGPundit
Yea. What I mean is that you can't seriously alter the composition. Its like a Martini: its Gin and Vermouth. There has to be more Gin than vermouth. You can make it with 7 parts gin and 3 parts vermouth, 4 parts vermouth, or 2 parts vermouth; but you take it out completely, or put more vermouth than gin, or add in a pint of red wine or chocolate flavouring, and suddenly its not a martini at all, and whoever says so is a bullshitter.


Okay, I can totally follow the analogy.  What I've been saying in story terms, then, is I believe that it can be up to 2 or 3 parts of this other thing, as long as there's always more of each Gin and Vermouth than anything else, and still be a martini - and most people still agree with it as such.  

And when a bartending student sidles up and says "Hey, that's not a martini!", I'm entirely happy to ask him why not; his answers have never been satisfactory to date.

Quote from: RPGPundit
Yes. If the GM isn't in control of the setting, the game loses its structure and is no longer an RPG.


So, shared-world players aren't playing RPGs, then?

Quote from: RPGPundit
Because it is hierarchy. The GM is the adjudicator. His word is law. That's not a bad thing, that's a pretty fucking essential thing, in fact.

I think that all you theory guys were so burnt by some railroading-GM at some point in your formative years that now you think the "solution" to the bad experience you had is to castrate the GM.  But that solves nothing, and just creates a situation where no one is in charge and anyone can abuse their power. Having one capable guy in charge is better than having six guys in charge each with their own interests and agendas.
The answer to GM abuse of power is to get better GMs.  The sacrifice the GM makes is that he gives up his own personal subjective investment to "winning" in the game in exchange for the power over the world and direction of the group and game itself.  A GM who tries to have his cake and eat it too (ie. with GM-PCs, or Mary Sues, or what have you) is a bad GM, it doesn't mean that GMing itself is bad.


I actually agree with having the GM lead the game.  I even agree that they need to be completely in charge of their stuff, and of the game as a whole.  I don't agree that their stuff needs to be "the totality of the setting".

You're attacking a point I'm not making.

Quote from: RPGPundit
I'm not saying my game is better, though. I'm saying that IN REALITY, my Game is the more loved and played game. And that we have to address that reality when making declarations about the nature of gamers or gaming as a whole. Declarations that suggest that the most loved and played game is stupid and that the vast majority of gamers who play it are ignorant are counter-productive. And most gaming theory still comes down to that, it still comes down to saying "My way is better than D&D".


Then say that.  Because that, I'm not and never have been arguing.

Quote from: RPGPundit
What you're saying above appears to be that gaming theory ought to be about each little person's gaming group. Let's accept that premise for a moment: What about when Each Little Person's gaming group is examined and you find out that well over 80% of them are into the same thing? Do you then direct gaming theory from the perspective that this same thing is "The Game As People Want to Play It", or do you direct gaming theory from the perspective that this same things is "The Problem that people only do because they don't know better ways"? Becuase you guys are doing the latter, consistently.


You don't direct it at all.  Trying to direct it as anything other than "people with ideas that are trading them around to improve their personal gaming" is, in my opinion, a mistake.  People do their thing, others take what they want.  

Quote from: RPGPundit
Nonsense. Of course they are. Its just that the competition isn't overtly between the players (though a LOT of that goes on too; competition for the best character, most playtime, etc). The main competition is overtly a team effort against the challenges the DM creates.

Its one of the greatest misinterpretations in RPGs to say that "its a game, but no one wins". People "win" at RPGs all the time. They "win" when their character defeats the challenges put before him, whatever they may be. The only real difference you can point to between that and many other games is that often "winning" doesn't mean the game is over. But this isn't that unusual anymore, in light of computer gaming. Or are you going to say that those aren't games?


Oh, those are games.  But I don't think of the GM as an adversary.

Quote from: RPGPundit
Well what exactly have you given that creates conventional story (not just fragments-of-story, sort-of-like-story or possible-story-if-everyone-behaves), is fun for mainstream RPG gamers, and fits RPG rules?


Front-load and drive.  It results in full-on stories regularly - not universally, but regularly.  

Quote from: RPGPundit
And yet its the definition of RPG I'm sticking to. And its the nature of a lot of our disagreements, and why certain things you will say are "RPGs" I will say are not.


The places where I disagree clearly are that it must involve adventures, and that mehanics are only for those purposes you've laid down.

Here's one for you - would you have problems with social conflict mechanics that were specifically present for the purpose of dealing with reputation?

Quote from: RPGPundit
No, quality can be anything that's well-crafted within the definitions it addresses itself as. But if I, a pipe smoker, buy a pipe that doesn't actually have a draft hole, or that doesn't have a stem, or a bowl, and you try to tell me that its still a pipe, and that if I don't "get" how its a pipe then I am just ignorant and uneducated, I'll pretty well tell you that whatever you've got there, judged by the quality standards of what defines a "Pipe" is a piece of shit. Maybe its a vacuum cleaner; maybe its a great vacuum cleaner: That's cool, then don't sell it to me as a pipe.


See, that I can go with.  So let's worry about the "definitions it adresses itself as".

Quote from: RPGPundit
I've read Sorcerer, and some of his Forge essays, though certainly not all of them. I'm a sadist, not a masochist.


Trollbabe and Elfs have appeal well outside people "educated in theory".  Sorcerer, less so.  The essays are, to me, one guy talking about his stuff after having compared it with a whole bunch of other people, and are pretty interesting as such.

Quote from: RPGPundit
You know who gaming WILL appeal to, though? Teenage white boys. So why not focus on those we DO know it will work for? Especially now in this situation where we're faced with declining participation in the hobby?
Also, why is it that certain groups are willing to do whatever is necessary to draw in those other new demographics, including redefine RPGs out of existence to the point where mainstream gamers will become dissatisfied and leave the hobby in droves (like what happened in the 90s when RPGs were all being marketed to the "Art School" crowd by the Swine)? Why do we have to put up with that?


You don't have to "put up with that" - but why knock it?  Why not just sit back, having issued an "I told you so", and see what happens?  What's the compulsion?

Hell, man, some people have told me "You don't want to debate with that guy, he's got nothing to say.  I reserve the right to say I told you so".  And yet, here I am, learning your perspective and refining my own.  It's remarkably interesting stuff, to me.

Quote from: RPGpundit
And why do these groups, on the other hand, seem to discourage the idea of marketing games toward the ONE demographic we KNOW RPGs as they are now have a strong appeal? When we do that, they accuse us of "dumbing it down". They mock companies that do this as making "unsophisticated" RPGs.


Are you talking about the "McDonalds argument" here, or something else?

Quote from: RPGPundit
Try two years: White Wolf, WoD rulebook, P.188. Right by the Baudelaire quote that serves no purpose whatsoever other than to show us how artistic they are.


....Ugh.  

This one, I concede.  That's a nasty piece of work, now that I read it again.  "More evolved", my ass.

Quote from: RPGPundit
I shouldn't need to learn those kinds of terms to be able to play RPGs. I shouldn't have to be indoctrinated in someone's lingo or pseudo-academic bullshit. And they aren't doing me a favour by patronizingly explaining it to me step by step, as though I was a mental defective for recognizing bullshit for what it is.


The terms are getting their ass handed to them in open discussions, in a lot of cases.  But a few ideas are surviving and growing.

Quote from: RPGPundit
No, it hasn't. The theorists have just learnt how to be patronizing in new and creative ways.
Plain language would be theory where you didn't have to make up a lexicon to have a discussion.


I point at Tony's "simple things", again.  There's no lexicon there.

Quote from: RPGPundit
And until you get rid of the people who finagle big words, you will always have shitheads bringing any "plain talk theory" back to GNS, by talking about "narrativism" as though everyone knows what that word means (even though not even any two people on the Forge seem to be capable of defining it the same way) and as though everyone accepts GNS theory to be the word of god.

That's why I again insist: the only way to "reform" Gaming Theory from the hands of the pseudo-intellectualoids is to start an anti-intellectualoid movement that goes out of its way to shit on existing Forge-borne nonsense.


And I think that the movement itself needs to be broken into individuals.  Groupthink helps nobody.

Quote from: RPGPundit
No, I don't. what I'm talking about, what I've quoted is just as real and are just as true statements as what you are talking about. Having shitheads talking to me about the "unwashed masses"; fuckers on RPG.net claiming that D20 players are just "misinformed" and that if they only understood Forge theory they'd never play D20 again, white wolf's "don't look down on roll-players, help them learn how to storytell instead!" bull shit, Edward's Brain Damage comments. I didn't just make this shit up, and I resent the implication that I did.


White Wolf's problem, you've shown.

The Brain Damage thing, I'd be stupid not to accept; I was there.  Though I will give you one quote that you likely missed:

Quote from: Ron Edwards, on the Forge
Believe it or not, this was presented as a term of sympathy and brotherhood, as in, "we're all in this ward together." It's too bad it seems to have become a term of vicious insult to the current generation (as my generation, to our shame, used "retard"), without my knowledge.


I don't want to slur you with "you made that up!" - I want you to show me this thing you're seeing in detail.  I've been trying to show you the thing I've seen in detail.  Right now, I have two concrete details from you; I need more than that.

Quote from: RPGPundit
I do differentiate between WW-Swinery and Forge-Swinery. But they're both swinery in the end. They both suggest that they are special for playing RPGs and know better than most other gamers about how to play RPGs. The one want to railroad you into following the metaplots laid down by failed authors; and the other wants to railroad you into "creating story" with inane micro-settings and stupid mechanics.
The Forge-Swine are both less inisidious and more insidious. Less insidious because they honestly are borne of being burnt by  the WW swine, by bad GMs who followed bad game designers. More insidious because they tried to solve these problems by throwing out the baby with the bathwater, repeating the cycle of abusive game designers imposing their vision on gamers, and completely bought into the WW snobbery with the added twist of showing how they can be snobbish about the "commoners" over at WW.


"Abusive designers", eh?  Gosh.  I think you're well into the realm of hyperbole here, unless you want to get all Brain Damage on me.

Quote from: RPGPundit
Not if by "diversification" you mean "wishing for the death and dismemberment of the vast majority of the hobby" or "trying to force the hobby away from what it is into something its not to satisfy your own interest".


And is that what you think I, personally, want?  

If not, speak to the point, please.

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« Reply #62 on: April 28, 2006, 05:04:49 PM »
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
What if they use the exact same system, including the dice?  I've seen it.

How about Parlour LARP, which is a LARP played by a small group in a single room? I've played in one of these using the Amber system, too.

Just how much game do you need in your roleplaying, in your opinion?  Or, if that's not what missing, what is?


Well, LARPS and Parlour games are interesting games in and of themselves. I don't see the need to consider them part of mainstream RPG gaming, though. They are their own thing. They will appeal to a different fanbase, with some overlap.

Any game that requires physically acting out your role is not a standard RPG within the definitions of the hobby as I'm using it. Of course, if you play D&D and act out all the parts, you're still playing an RPG because that's your innovation, its no REQUIRED by the rules... so you're still playing an RPG, you're just doing so with a high probability of being extremely lame.

Quote

Okay, I can totally follow the analogy.  What I've been saying in story terms, then, is I believe that it can be up to 2 or 3 parts of this other thing, as long as there's always more of each Gin and Vermouth than anything else, and still be a martini - and most people still agree with it as such.  

And when a bartending student sidles up and says "Hey, that's not a martini!", I'm entirely happy to ask him why not; his answers have never been satisfactory to date.


Really? So if you add chocolate sauce to an otherwise normal Dry Martini, its still a Martini? You see, my argument would be that it isn't.  That its some other kind of drink, it won't taste the same or even close to what a Martini tastes like, that you should name it something else, and not try to rely on the fame and reputation of the Martini to popularize your wierd new Gin-Vermouth-Olive?-Chocolate cocktail.

Quote

So, shared-world players aren't playing RPGs, then?


Nope. Neither are WoW players, even though people try to call that an RPG too. You can say its a "computer RPG", and then that becomes acceptable. You could call shared-world play "the Shared World Roleplaying Experiment", if you don't mind that at that point it sounds like a 70s Prog-Rock band, but trying to claim that its a mainstream RPG is not accurate.

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I actually agree with having the GM lead the game.  I even agree that they need to be completely in charge of their stuff, and of the game as a whole.  I don't agree that their stuff needs to be "the totality of the setting".
You're attacking a point I'm not making.


You are, at the end of the day, arguing that one or more players should be able to FORCE the GM to change his setting to fit their whim. I'd say that's the point you're making; because at the point you argue that you are no longer in favour of the GM leading the game, or being in charge of his stuff or the game as a whole.

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Then say that.  Because that, I'm not and never have been arguing.


Whether or not you personally argue it, its what Gaming Theory as a whole is arguing, and you are part and parcel of it at this point.
You see, in order to be doing Gaming Theory and NOT be arguing that, you pretty much have to explicitly state that you are not arguing that, and make that explicit statement relevant to the theories you create. Otherwise, you are guilty by association.

Quote

You don't direct it at all.  Trying to direct it as anything other than "people with ideas that are trading them around to improve their personal gaming" is, in my opinion, a mistake.  People do their thing, others take what they want.  


If you aren't directing it based on certain landmarks, gaming theory becomes meaningless pseudo-academic jargon with no positive application on the practical level, and fast.

Quote

Oh, those are games.  But I don't think of the GM as an adversary.


Neither do I. Go back and read what I wrote again: I said that the PCs "win" by defeating the challenges put before them; not that they win by defeating the GM. The GM isn't the adversary, he's the objective referee who presents the conflict. He isn't supposed to want the PCs to lose, and they aren't supposed to want to "defeat him".  That doesn't mean that there isn't a competition and spirit-of-winning going on in the game. That's part of what works so well in RPGs.

Quote

Front-load and drive.  It results in full-on stories regularly - not universally, but regularly.  


If it doesn't do it universally, then "story" is just a side effect. If you make it your "Purpose" to create stories with RPGs, and then find yourself incapable of doing it universally, it will inevitably lead to frustration. At which point, only three options exist (aside from continuing the frustration):
1. pushing RPGs more toward story-creation, at which point you kill the fun by forcing the situation, doing things where you as GM arbitrarily force the players by fudging to be unable to quickly resolve a conflict you were hoping would create story, or by fudging to save your players from their own stupidity or demise in order to create a better story, and essentially taking away their agency; or you as the Player try to force the GM to change his adventure to make it more story-like, trying to steal away the GM's agency.
2. You give up on the idea of playing RPGs, and go find some more effective mechanic for story-creation.
3. You give up on the idea that RPGs have to be about story, and have fun playing RPGs for what they are, instead.

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The places where I disagree clearly are that it must involve adventures, and that mehanics are only for those purposes you've laid down.


My definition of "adventures" here isn't meant to be narrow, I'm not saying that in every RPG you have to go to the Caverns of Chaos and save the princess. By "adventure" I mean a conflict that is set-up, topical to the setting or genre being emulated, that the players must deal with. Do you think that you can play RPGs without that definition of adventures?

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Here's one for you - would you have problems with social conflict mechanics that were specifically present for the purpose of dealing with reputation?


Please elaborate on this, I'd need you to explain what you're getting at here before I could say if I was "fer it or agin' it".

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Trollbabe and Elfs have appeal well outside people "educated in theory".  


They do? I've barely heard of "trollbabe", and this is the first I've heard of "Elfs". And I actually make an effort to keep myself informed of even the most obscure RPGs around, even the Forge stuff. So it can't be all that well received...

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Are you talking about the "McDonalds argument" here, or something else?


The McDonald's argument is a part of it; I think that a lot of the Swine are college-aged gamers (or were when they became Swine), that look down on younger gamers because they're not "playing right" and "don't get it"; and because the younger gamers will tend to enjoy playing Mainstream games more than obscure games about Mad Scientist's Assistants, and will tend to like being a sword-wielding barbarian or a wizard more than being a vampire (unless they're going through a goth phase, but that's pretty much dead in teen culture these days).
On the other hand, the Swine being PC like to believe that they're more "ethically evolved" than the rest of us, and that the fact that this hobby is pretty much made to be enjoyed by white teen males is a horrible thing, and we must diversify on racial, gender, and other demographic lines at all cost, to win Political-correctness points. They accuse the rest of us of being racists or homophobes or misogynists at the drop of a hat, when we aren't in the least, we just aren't willing to warp our game into something its not in a vain campus-socialist attempt to appeal to demographic groups that probably won't give a shit about it anyways so some nanny-statists can feel smug about themselves.

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The terms are getting their ass handed to them in open discussions, in a lot of cases. But a few ideas are surviving and growing.


Interesting.

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And I think that the movement itself needs to be broken into individuals.  Groupthink helps nobody.


That's a laudable position, but ultimately impractical. Ideological parties will be formed no matter how much you want to avoid it.

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White Wolf's problem, you've shown.
The Brain Damage thing, I'd be stupid not to accept; I was there.  Though I will give you one quote that you likely missed:
I don't want to slur you with "you made that up!" - I want you to show me this thing you're seeing in detail.  I've been trying to show you the thing I've seen in detail.  Right now, I have two concrete details from you; I need more than that.


How much more do you need? I've already shown, as you requested, the corporate head of the Story-based Swine demonstrating exactly what I was talking about on the one hand, and the best-recognized figure in the Gaming Theory movement demonstrating exactly what I was talking about on the other hand.  These are the burdens that anyone trying to defend either movement has to overcome.  

As for the Ron Edward's statement, "hey I'm braindamaged too"; it rings pretty falsely when his basic suggestion is that he has overcome it (unlike the rest of us brain damaged gamers) and that his theories are the path to recovery. Not to mention that he also went on to "fix" the "brain damage" fiasco by instead using the metaphor that non-theory gamers are like victims of repeated child abuse. Yea, I caught that one.

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"Abusive designers", eh?  Gosh.  I think you're well into the realm of hyperbole here, unless you want to get all Brain Damage on me.


What I meant to say is "game designers that take abuse of their place in the gaming hobby to impose their own visions/ideologies/priorities.


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And is that what you think I, personally, want?  

If not, speak to the point, please.


See what I said above about guilt by association. You don't get to flip-flop back and forth from talking about "gaming theory" as a whole when it suits your argument, to saying "oh.. but I don't PERSONALLY believe that!" when "Gaming Theory" as a whole is being criticized.

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Levi Kornelsen

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« Reply #63 on: April 28, 2006, 06:08:27 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
Well, LARPS and Parlour games are interesting games in and of themselves. I don't see the need to consider them part of mainstream RPG gaming, though. They are their own thing. They will appeal to a different fanbase, with some overlap.

Any game that requires physically acting out your role is not a standard RPG within the definitions of the hobby as I'm using it. Of course, if you play D&D and act out all the parts, you're still playing an RPG because that's your innovation, its no REQUIRED by the rules... so you're still playing an RPG, you're just doing so with a high probability of being extremely lame.


Again, I'm not talking mainstream.  I'm talking RPG.

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Really? So if you add chocolate sauce to an otherwise normal Dry Martini, its still a Martini? You see, my argument would be that it isn't.  That its some other kind of drink, it won't taste the same or even close to what a Martini tastes like, that you should name it something else, and not try to rely on the fame and reputation of the Martini to popularize your wierd new Gin-Vermouth-Olive?-Chocolate cocktail.


Depends.  If what I add is a taste that already exists to a degree in a martini, then we're talking differently.  And "story" is a taste that already exists in RPGs.

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Nope. Neither are WoW players, even though people try to call that an RPG too. You can say its a "computer RPG", and then that becomes acceptable. You could call shared-world play "the Shared World Roleplaying Experiment", if you don't mind that at that point it sounds like a 70s Prog-Rock band, but trying to claim that its a mainstream RPG is not accurate.


Again, when did I say mainstream?  

You seem to be trying to defend the core of the hobby - and I don't give a rat's ass about affecting the core of the hobby.  I live on the fringes of it, I'm happy to do so, and what I do out here is stuff that people, in significant enough numbers to satisfy me, enjoy reading, talking about, and playing.

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You are, at the end of the day, arguing that one or more players should be able to FORCE the GM to change his setting to fit their whim. I'd say that's the point you're making; because at the point you argue that you are no longer in favour of the GM leading the game, or being in charge of his stuff or the game as a whole.


"Forcing" assumes that the GM doesn't want them to do it, which is patently not what I'm saying.

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Whether or not you personally argue it, its what Gaming Theory as a whole is arguing, and you are part and parcel of it at this point.
You see, in order to be doing Gaming Theory and NOT be arguing that, you pretty much have to explicitly state that you are not arguing that, and make that explicit statement relevant to the theories you create. Otherwise, you are guilty by association.


Really?  Theory says that, does it?  Where?

In fact, with apologies to Clinton (sorry, man), I'll snag a comment he made about this thread from elsewhere:

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
Oh God, this is getting awesome.

I wish Levi would refute his "Forge people hate D&D" idea, though. It's unbearably untrue.

Right now:

a) Ron Edwards is running D&D for the kid down the street from him.

b) Ben Lehman loves his blackguard.

c) Some of the top-selling and best-loved indie RPGs are all either like D&D in some way or straight up homages - Burning Wheel (which I'm pretty certain is the best-selling indie RPG ever) and The Shadow of Yesterday (my hubris knows no end, but man, it's D&D-love in pure form). And Sorcerer's a Champions-supplement gone mad, so it's not so outside of what Pundit's defining as an RPG.


So, uh, what the fuck are you on about?  By your own claim, those people are Big Theory.  And they aren't saying what you seem to believe they do.

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If you aren't directing it based on certain landmarks, gaming theory becomes meaningless pseudo-academic jargon with no positive application on the practical level, and fast.


Oh, so "My actual play" isn't a landmark.  Again, what?

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Neither do I. Go back and read what I wrote again: I said that the PCs "win" by defeating the challenges put before them; not that they win by defeating the GM. The GM isn't the adversary, he's the objective referee who presents the conflict. He isn't supposed to want the PCs to lose, and they aren't supposed to want to "defeat him".  That doesn't mean that there isn't a competition and spirit-of-winning going on in the game. That's part of what works so well in RPGs.


*Goes back and rereads*

Ah.  Right.  Got it now.

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If it doesn't do it universally, then "story" is just a side effect. If you make it your "Purpose" to create stories with RPGs, and then find yourself incapable of doing it universally, it will inevitably lead to frustration. At which point, only three options exist (aside from continuing the frustration):
1. pushing RPGs more toward story-creation, at which point you kill the fun by forcing the situation, doing things where you as GM arbitrarily force the players by fudging to be unable to quickly resolve a conflict you were hoping would create story, or by fudging to save your players from their own stupidity or demise in order to create a better story, and essentially taking away their agency; or you as the Player try to force the GM to change his adventure to make it more story-like, trying to steal away the GM's agency.
2. You give up on the idea of playing RPGs, and go find some more effective mechanic for story-creation.
3. You give up on the idea that RPGs have to be about story, and have fun playing RPGs for what they are, instead.


By your method of defining things here, then, I've *already* given up on story in RPGs, and must consider it no more than a side effect.

Except, of course, I haven't, and don't.

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My definition of "adventures" here isn't meant to be narrow, I'm not saying that in every RPG you have to go to the Caverns of Chaos and save the princess. By "adventure" I mean a conflict that is set-up, topical to the setting or genre being emulated, that the players must deal with. Do you think that you can play RPGs without that definition of adventures?


Given that definition of "adventure", that's all good and well, then.

You've now successfully defined what I do as perfectly normal roleplaying, and a great many Forge games as perfectly normal games, except that they have this bizarre tendeency to talk about stories that they only "produce as side effects".

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Please elaborate on this, I'd need you to explain what you're getting at here before I could say if I was "fer it or agin' it".


Let's say that a character has an "reputation" trait of some kind that they can use to get the effects of fame on a large scale.  Let's say, further, that there are rules for things like attacking the reputations of others with indirect slander, whispering campaigns, and the like.  Would you object to that?

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They do? I've barely heard of "trollbabe", and this is the first I've heard of "Elfs". And I actually make an effort to keep myself informed of even the most obscure RPGs around, even the Forge stuff. So it can't be all that well received...


Since you don't know much about them, there's little point going on about it; you wouldn't have a position specifically related to them beyond positions already under direct debate.

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The McDonald's argument is a part of it; I think that a lot of the Swine are college-aged gamers (or were when they became Swine), that look down on younger gamers because they're not "playing right" and "don't get it"; and because the younger gamers will tend to enjoy playing Mainstream games more than obscure games about Mad Scientist's Assistants, and will tend to like being a sword-wielding barbarian or a wizard more than being a vampire (unless they're going through a goth phase, but that's pretty much dead in teen culture these days).

On the other hand, the Swine being PC like to believe that they're more "ethically evolved" than the rest of us, and that the fact that this hobby is pretty much made to be enjoyed by white teen males is a horrible thing, and we must diversify on racial, gender, and other demographic lines at all cost, to win Political-correctness points. They accuse the rest of us of being racists or homophobes or misogynists at the drop of a hat, when we aren't in the least, we just aren't willing to warp our game into something its not in a vain campus-socialist attempt to appeal to demographic groups that probably won't give a shit about it anyways so some nanny-statists can feel smug about themselves.


Nobody in my extended gaming group (as in, the people I could call up for a pickup game) is a teenager.  More than half of them are female.  Most of them are white, as it happens, but most isn't all.  We have heterosexuals and homosexuals, office professionals and labourers.  These people game.

And no, I'm not accusing you of a damn thing, because I don't think you are those things.

On this point, I simply think you're wrong.  The market lacks diversity, and the core game that powers the industry doesn't address that lack.

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That's a laudable position, but ultimately impractical. Ideological parties will be formed no matter how much you want to avoid it.


I've been an ideological party of one for quite some time.  I'm not seeking or accepting new members into my party, and it seems to be working fine.

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How much more do you need? I've already shown, as you requested, the corporate head of the Story-based Swine demonstrating exactly what I was talking about on the one hand, and the best-recognized figure in the Gaming Theory movement demonstrating exactly what I was talking about on the other hand.  These are the burdens that anyone trying to defend either movement has to overcome.  

As for the Ron Edward's statement, "hey I'm braindamaged too"; it rings pretty falsely when his basic suggestion is that he has overcome it (unlike the rest of us brain damaged gamers) and that his theories are the path to recovery. Not to mention that he also went on to "fix" the "brain damage" fiasco by instead using the metaphor that non-theory gamers are like victims of repeated child abuse. Yea, I caught that one.


Close - his basic statement was that the best anyone can do is build games that create stories despite our crippled state.  That specific people can't naturally make story, and that it must be artificially assisted.

And he's wrong.

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What I meant to say is "game designers that take abuse of their place in the gaming hobby to impose their own visions/ideologies/priorities.


How is that abuse?  When I write a game, it's my perogative to write it the way I like.  I'm not required to write it any way other than the way I like.  Period.  

Oh, it may not sell.  And people may talk nine yards of shit about it, insult it, me, my mother, and a goat somewhere.  But it's mine to write any way I like.

The only calling to account White Wolf will get from me on those loathsome little snippets of theirs that you've pointed out is very simple - no money.  A whole lot of 'no money at all'.

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See what I said above about guilt by association. You don't get to flip-flop back and forth from talking about "gaming theory" as a whole when it suits your argument, to saying "oh.. but I don't PERSONALLY believe that!" when "Gaming Theory" as a whole is being criticized.


All right, then.  You believe that what theorists want is the destruction of the hobby, and want to include me in that number.  I believe that they/we want, if they/we want any one thing as a group, is diversity, and not in the terms of "dismemberment and destruction".

Show me I'm wrong.  Don't tell me.  Show me.

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« Reply #64 on: April 28, 2006, 09:12:19 PM »
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
Again, I'm not talking mainstream.  I'm talking RPG.

So am I. When I say "mainstream RPG"; what I really mean is "that which I would define as an actual RPG, with everything ranging from GURPS and Shadowrun to Everway and Over The Edge"; as opposed to "unorthodox RPGs" which are games that claim the title of "RPG" even though they clearly are for playing a game that does not follow the same parameters of those others I've named.

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Depends.  If what I add is a taste that already exists to a degree in a martini, then we're talking differently.  And "story" is a taste that already exists in RPGs.

Well, what you're talking about is sort of like a Vermouth fan saying he wants to "create Vermouth" from his Martini, and restricting the olive and the gin to try to get a more "vermouthlike quality".  I'm saying that dude would be far better off just drinking Vermouth. A martini doesn't taste like Vermouth, and isn't meant to taste like Vermouth.

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You seem to be trying to defend the core of the hobby - and I don't give a rat's ass about affecting the core of the hobby.  I live on the fringes of it, I'm happy to do so, and what I do out here is stuff that people, in significant enough numbers to satisfy me, enjoy reading, talking about, and playing.

Bully for you. Now if the other 99.9% of the Game Theorists would pay more than lip service to the notion that they are the fringe, and would acknowledge and respect those of us in the core, rather than condemn us as ignorants and brain damaged abuse victims or unwashed masses, and stop trying to subvert the core by suggesting that we have to be re-educated to play like they do, we'd be getting somewhere.

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"Forcing" assumes that the GM doesn't want them to do it, which is patently not what I'm saying.

Let me put it this way: if you're running an actual game, and three of your players decide that they want to find the RuneSwords of The High Dwarven kings and use them to conquer the Orclands; or want your NPC to decide that they're so cool that he'll have to build them their own superfortress, and you don't want to do this, would you say that you have to negotiate this with them?  If so, you're in favour of the GM being forced.

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Really?  Theory says that, does it?  Where?

Every time Theory suggests that D&D has "confused models" or is "simulationism at its worst" or that it doesn't allow for "Story now" or any of that crap. When your central, most famous model upon which the vast majority of Theory is based, derived from, or inspired by suggests that D&D is a fundamentally broken style of gaming, or whenever other theories pretend that D&D doesn't exist altogether.

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In fact, with apologies to Clinton (sorry, man), I'll snag a comment he made about this thread from elsewhere:

First of all, i'd like to know where you got that quote from? I'd like to see the thread, if its a thread.
Second, bully for Clinton, but at this point talking about how Game Theory has really been about loving D&D and mainstream RPGs all along and the constant superiority-complex bashing of orthodox gaming was all... what -- meant to educate us about how to play D&D right? in good fun?-- is a bit like a baptist saying he "loves the sinner and only hates the sin".

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So, uh, what the fuck are you on about?  By your own claim, those people are Big Theory.  And they aren't saying what you seem to believe they do.

I'm looking at their record, not their lip service. Since you quoted out of other threads, I'll quote out of a thread in this very message board:

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(RPGPundit's) criticising an attitude which people don't tend to publically articulate. No one goes around saying "my hobbies make me smarter/more sophisticated than you", not least because it would be hard to pronounce that "/". In trying to prove that kind of attitude exists all you can really do is point to patterns of behaviour that reveal an underlying attitude, and that's always going to be vulnerable to a nitpicking "where did he actually say he felt that way" defence.
I think that problem is compounded if the best public example of patterns of conduct, rpg.net is ruled to be off-topic. I think that makes it impossible to nail-down attitudes among the "swine" without them actually publically declaring that they're better than everyone else.
(The other reason pundit's struggling to make the "people who like wanky rpgs are, themselves, wankers" argument stick is that Levi is obviously a very nice, balanced guy who clearly doesn't hold those views himself. In an important sense, Levi's is cheating by being so reasonable and pleasant)

I agree with all this, but note that despite this, I've already given a few very concrete examples of where the Swine let their hate-ons show.
And yes, part of the handicap against me is that you're a very nice guy, you're the token that Gaming Theory apologists always use; on RPG.net and elsewhere: "Not ALL Gaming Theory guys are stuck-up jerks.. look at Levi!"
But I'm not looking for you to say that you're a jerk, and I don't have to prove that all Gaming Theorists are jerks. I just have to get you to admit certain things, in order:
1. That the public at large views Gaming Theorists as a bunch of jerks.
2. That this view is not borne out of ignorance or "unwashed nature of our masses", but is based on truly bad behaviour on the part of some of your people.
3. That these people are not ostracized members of the Fringe of gaming Theory, but in fact they are some of the most influencial theorists around; including THE best known most influential theorist around.
4. That these people and their elitist pretentious attitudes and pseudo-intellectualism have, by virtue of these individual's influence, affected the fundamentals of gaming theory as a whole.

So, lets get to the brass balls here: do you deny that mainstream gamers view the Forge crowd as a bunch of elitist pseudo-intellectuals? Do you deny that this view is based on the actions of some of your own people, first and foremost of which is Ron Edwards and the crowd he rallied around him?

The problem is only compounded in the public eye when we see the vast majority of gaming theorists continue to treat the guy as a respectable figure in their movement.
I am willing to recognize that you and some others are trying to reform theory into something practical and useful rather than pseudo-intellectual jargon, but that means YOU have to admit that Theory has been based on pseudo-intellectual Jargon up till now.  When you guys go onto fora and try to "educate" us about the Jargon, putting it in "laymans" terms, it strikes as nothing but patronizing, especially since most of us reject the soundness of the jargon and the theory in the first place.

Its NOT that we just "don't get it". We get what its about; and we think its about BULLSHIT. The point is not now to educate us, its about recognizing that and going back to the fucking drawing board. Or retreating back to your little world of theoretical claptrap and stop trying to spread your unwanted "wisdom".

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Oh, so "My actual play" isn't a landmark.  Again, what?

The term "Landmarks" refers to boundary points, definitions or standards that are unchangeable that serve as the fundamental structure by which the rest of a system is based.
So you have to start by agreeing on some landmarks.
Saying "All Theory should be based on actual play, rather than speculation" IS a landmark.
If you are now arguing that, you are in fact no longer arguing that we shouldn't "direct" Theory.

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*Goes back and rereads*

Ah.  Right.  Got it now.

Cool.

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By your method of defining things here, then, I've *already* given up on story in RPGs, and must consider it no more than a side effect.
Except, of course, I haven't, and don't.

If you are running a game where you've tried to make a story by front-loading, and it doesn't turn out to be a story (ie. the players pre-empt the story in some form or another), and you accept that ("Oh well, that's fine"), then you have in fact given up on story in RPGs.
If you do not accept that ("shit, there goes the story") but don't do anything about it, then you're still suffering.
If you do not accept that and try to change it ("well, I'll introduce GM-Fiat Character here, and Railroad over there, so that we can still make a story out of it") then you have effectively given up on the concept of the RPG, and have moved to some other kind of story-creation exercise, quite possibly killing the fun for those who want RPGs in the process.
If your whole party would care more about you making a story out of the game than about letting the game function organically, then your entire party has given up on RPGs, and you'd all be better off dumping the concept of RPGs altogether and starting a shared-world storytelling group.

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Given that definition of "adventure", that's all good and well, then.

What exactly did you think I was saying before? That if it isn't a combat-laden hack n'slash D&D module then its not an RPG? Do you know me that poorly?

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You've now successfully defined what I do as perfectly normal roleplaying, and a great many Forge games as perfectly normal games, except that they have this bizarre tendeency to talk about stories that they only "produce as side effects".

With the tiny difference being that the Forge crowd doesn't just talk about stories, they try to use RPGs to "Make" stories.

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Let's say that a character has an "reputation" trait of some kind that they can use to get the effects of fame on a large scale.  Let's say, further, that there are rules for things like attacking the reputations of others with indirect slander, whispering campaigns, and the like.  Would you object to that?

It would depend a lot on the application. I use the True20 Reputation attribute, for example. I use a variation, in fact, in my Immortal Rome campaign, where each character has his "immortal reputation" (how well known he is among other immortals) and his "mortal reputation" (how well he is known by the world at large in this present incarnation). The two aren't necessarily connected in any way. Jong at one point was as well known as the Emperor Claudius among mortals, but wasn't very well known among immortals (enough that most immortals who didn't know him personally would have been suprised to learn that as well as everything else Quintus was one of them!).
But I digress; the mortal reputation in the game is indeed subject to a great deal of fluctuation, usually due to the character's own actions, though in theory another character could manipulate events to force the character to gain reputation or infamy (which was also reputation, but in a negative form that meant you were known in a scandalous context).
Now, if by a "mechanic" you mean creating some kind of guidelines to how this process is done, well, I don't have a big problem with that in general. However, there are two ways I can see this being done:
1. Making a bunch of mechanics and difficulty checks or spending points from some kind of attribute, or what have you, so that the whole thing is resolved on the mechanical level.
2. Making a list of things appropriate to the setting that would cause someone to gain fame or infamy, and then letting roleplay take care of the rest.

Obviously, I would think number 2 to be a vastly superior solution than number 1. Are you saying number 1 would be preferrable or necessary?

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Nobody in my extended gaming group (as in, the people I could call up for a pickup game) is a teenager.  More than half of them are female.  Most of them are white, as it happens, but most isn't all.  We have heterosexuals and homosexuals, office professionals and labourers.  These people game.

If they do, great. I want everyone to game who wants to. My side is the one that anti-elitist and anti-exclusive. Whoever wants to play Call of Cthulhu, D&D, Shadowrun, Star Wars or any other RPG, be they male or female, gay or straight, young or old, be they a student or a doctor or a priest, I would say more power to them (as long as they are socially acceptable human beings, but we've covered that one to death already).
What I don't buy for a second is the idea that to intentionally try to bring more "diversity" we have to fundamentally change RPGs.
I don't buy it first and foremost because I don't think it'll work. Sure a lot of Goths who'd never played RPGs got into playing Vampire. Most of them left shortly afterwards when they grew up a bit and stopped being goths, and the vast majority of those who got into Vampire because they were goths never went on to play other RPGs. And when every RPG in the market tried to be more "like" Vampire in order to appeal to this crowd, it didn't work, and all that happened is that a huge percentage of the customers that these games already had felt alienated, frustrated and unwanted, and stopped roleplaying forever.
If you have to "Change" RPGs to be "more inclusive" you're not going to gain very many of that new target demographic, and you're going to lose a lot of the old target demographic.

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And no, I'm not accusing you of a damn thing, because I don't think you are those things.
On this point, I simply think you're wrong.  The market lacks diversity, and the core game that powers the industry doesn't address that lack.

Ok, to begin with, which of the two do you honestly think will have more success:
1. A new basic D&D game along with a massive ad campaign, with style and price range aimed at the teenage market, and the ad campaign targeted at teenage males?
2. Putting out a new edition of D&D with its themes changed from Tolkien-esque fantasy to New-age pagan thematics along the lines of Carlos Castaneda and Starhawk with strong elements of wiccan myth, and marketed with strong ad campaigns meant to target 20-30something middle class women?

In terms of sheer numbers, which will be more likely to revitalize gaming? Which would be less likely to lose more current gamers than it gains in new gamers?

As pretty and politically correct as the sentiment sounds, NO, we don't need to "address the lack of diversity" in the hobby.
First, when companies try to do that, they usually have to do it by redesigning the product, and they usually have no idea of how to do this right in the first place.
In the pipe hobby, for example, the Butz-Choquin pipe company in the mid-90s tried desperately to attract a new younger market by creating a line of "cool" pipes with bizzare shapes and multicolour glazes. This naturally alienated their old client base, since this approach violated a lot of the standards by which pipes are judged (primarily that a "good" pipe is judged by the quality of its grain, a lot of the beaty of a pipe's crafting is by how the pipe is carved to highlite patterns in the grain of the briar, and these painted pipes obscured the grain totally). It did virtually nothing to bring in a younger clientele, since most younger pipe smokers felt unbelievably patronized by B-C's actions.  It did unbelievable harm to B-C's reputation as a quality pipe company, and they have only emerged out of that in these last few years by abandoning these boneheaded efforts and instead turning around 180º to an emphasis on high-quality grains and traditional designs at affordable prices, which have of course been a big hit among younger pipe smokers (older ones too).

Second, what we need to do in this time, when gaming is NOT doing enough to appeal to the traditional demographic that has been shown time and time again to be interested in RPGs as they are, is to focus on recovering that youth demographic, not engaging in ridiculous speculative marketing, especially when that requires changing the nature of the games we're playing. I mean fuck, you'd probably get more Frenchmen drinking british beers if the beer was made from high quality grapes from southern france, but then it wouldn't be beer anymore, would it?

Finally, the best thing to do in order to get new people of ALL stripes into the hobby is to emphasize what's good about the game as it is, to show what it does well and what can be done with it as it is, and let the chips fall where they may.
One thing living in south america has shown me is that latinamericans do not need "special RPGs made to their culture", they don't need RPGs to change their basic structure. What appeals to a 17 year old white middle-class kid in Hoboken will also appeal to a 17 year old hispanic kid in the slums of El Cerro in Montevideo. Exactly the same things. You just need to do things to make sure that RPGs can reach them in a way that they can play it and afford to play it, same as you have to with the white kid in hoboken.

Quote
How is that abuse?  When I write a game, it's my perogative to write it the way I like.  I'm not required to write it any way other than the way I like.  Period.  
Oh, it may not sell.  And people may talk nine yards of shit about it, insult it, me, my mother, and a goat somewhere.  But it's mine to write any way I like.
The only calling to account White Wolf will get from me on those loathsome little snippets of theirs that you've pointed out is very simple - no money.  A whole lot of 'no money at all'.

Ok, that's fine then, we'll not call it abuse and we'll instead call it "asshattery which should not be encouraged". The problem is that far too many game designers seem to want to do this sort of shit these days.

My game isn't about showing of the gloriousness and brilliance of R. Bumquist Gamedesigner. I have no interest in playing a game to be some other shithead's cheerleader, and neither do my players.

Quote
All right, then.  You believe that what theorists want is the destruction of the hobby, and want to include me in that number.  I believe that they/we want, if they/we want any one thing as a group, is diversity, and not in the terms of "dismemberment and destruction".
Show me I'm wrong.  Don't tell me.  Show me.

If you are willing to admit those points I established above, then no proof is necessary.
If you aren't willing to admit that this bad behaviour is going on in Gaming Theory, then nothing I argue will convince you.

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« Reply #65 on: April 28, 2006, 11:31:07 PM »
I'm going to address only three of these points right now - I'd go for the lot, but I'm about to go out and get shitfaced.

What I call story in an RPG isn't what you do.

I'm getting more and more convinced that White Wolf's definition of how to get story from games has completely fucked over the way that people see "stories in RPGs", because what I mean when I talk about this and what you mean are almost completely different things.  I actually believed they'd put that crap behind them for the most part, having looked at their newer books, which are generally better products - turns out I was wrong, on that one.

But the process that I use to get the kind of experience I want from RPGs isn't that at all - and, no, I don't change the process in midstream, railroading or making absolute rulings where they don't belong to make it "work better", because that would invalidate the point.  None of the stuff that I do to get what I call story is stuff that a lot of GMs don't already do - I just put it right at the front of my gaming.  And it's not a story in the sense of "it follows a specific literary tradition" at all.  

It is a story in the one and all-important (to me) regard that I have that same moment of satisfaction that I have in a book when I lean back, and look back at the events and their progression, and the way they flowed, and say "Yeah, that's right.  I didn't know what it was going to be, but there it is.  And it's the way it should be, and it speaks to something about the choices made within it."

If you don't call that a story, what the hell do you call it?

.........

On forcing the GM.

Quote
Let me put it this way: if you're running an actual game, and three of your players decide that they want to find the RuneSwords of The High Dwarven kings and use them to conquer the Orclands; or want your NPC to decide that they're so cool that he'll have to build them their own superfortress, and you don't want to do this, would you say that you have to negotiate this with them?  If so, you're in favour of the GM being forced.


Have to negotiate?  I don't get that.  If they're serious, I'd say "Right on!", and I'd figure out what I could put between them and what they want that would make those rewards feel as valuable as I think the players want them to.  If I think that the players want to actually feel like conquerors, then they've got a long and nasty quest ahead of them, followed by a vicious campaign across the orclands.  If I think they just want to change up the game and come at it as conquerors, I'll check and be sure, and happily time-skip forward, but I'll caution them that we're basically starting the game all over again.  

If I think they're just screwing around and power-tripping, I'll tell them just how lame I think they're being, and they'll knock it off.  Which anyone at my table could have done, equally.

..............

There are stupid statements made, and bad attitudes, among theorists.

I'll even use "we".

Yes, theory types have said things that are offensive, and rude, and nasty.  Some of us have come across as downright jackasses now and then.  We've included terminology in theories that is condescending and aggravating, and some of us have had amazingly stupid arguments in public places with each other and anyone else at hand over the meaning of made-up words.  We've sneered at people from time to time.  Not as a big huge group-thinking mind, but, yes, people from my side of the tracks have done those things.  

And I, personally, have been upset and offended to read it.  And on a few occasions (though, I hope, not that many) I've done it.

I've also found plenty of comments that you've made about me, most of them indirect and about groups I'm part of, to be offensive.  If I can talk to you, and expect others to read you and consider your points while you're playing the insult game, why would I worry if theory condescends to you?

Except that I do.

So you just keep going, Pundit.  I can take it.  And they can watch, and read, and learn.  And maybe, just maybe, the few individuals that keep saying those incredibly stupid fucking things will think about it.

Maybe we can all learn something new today.

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« Reply #66 on: April 29, 2006, 02:45:15 AM »
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen

What I call story in an RPG isn't what you do.

It is a story in the one and all-important (to me) regard that I have that same moment of satisfaction that I have in a book when I lean back, and look back at the events and their progression, and the way they flowed, and say "Yeah, that's right.  I didn't know what it was going to be, but there it is.  And it's the way it should be, and it speaks to something about the choices made within it."

If you don't call that a story, what the hell do you call it?
.........


"Adventure flow"?
In any case, if that's what you mean, that's fine, but I did make clear what I was defining as "story"; and my definition was based on the fact that Theorists have talked about RPGs making story as in that kind of "Literary" story.  Apparently you see it as something different.


Quote

On forcing the GM.
If I think they're just screwing around and power-tripping, I'll tell them just how lame I think they're being, and they'll knock it off.  Which anyone at my table could have done, equally.


Bully for you. And consider the problem when the system you're playing, the one you've been told is superior to mainstream rpgs and will show you how to be a better GM, tells you that you CANT say "no" to your players. It says shit like "you either say yes, or roll the dice"; or "You can't say no. You can only say "yes, but"".
If you're a slightly less experienced GM, you might actually take that utter crap seriously. Which apparently, you don't. But there we go.

Not to mention; what do you do when they say "no, we're not power tripping, and we won't knock it off, now don't be lame and give us our +5 swords of dragon slaying; get to work, GM-boy!".
Yes, of course, this would never happen in your group because you're all hip, but in other groups it could very well happen, and you still seem to be suggesting that at the end of the day all the GM can do is say "STOP.. or I.. um.. will say Stop a second time! So there!".

When I say fuck that; the GM's word is law. You shouldn't need someone else to tell them their boneheaded idea is lame. They shouldn't be able to dictate fuck all to GM. They can ask for whatever they like, and I will feel free to laugh at them conspire to make sure the bar gets their supper order wrong. And they'll fucking well like it, because that's what they agreed on when they signed on to play with me.
There's nothing wrong about that, not in the least. That's how RPGs are supposed to work. You don't fix problems with bad GMs by castrating the good GMs.


Quote

There are stupid statements made, and bad attitudes, among theorists.

I'll even use "we".

Yes, theory types have said things that are offensive, and rude, and nasty.  Some of us have come across as downright jackasses now and then.  We've included terminology in theories that is condescending and aggravating, and some of us have had amazingly stupid arguments in public places with each other and anyone else at hand over the meaning of made-up words.  We've sneered at people from time to time.  Not as a big huge group-thinking mind, but, yes, people from my side of the tracks have done those things.  
And I, personally, have been upset and offended to read it.


Ok, good. Now, do you recognize that the people who have acted this way are not lone yahoos, but people at the very core of the Theory movement, that have come to be associated directly with the public image of that movement?

Also, I will remind you at this moment, in case you have forgotten by the time you get around to responding, that there might have been other things in my previous entry that you'd have liked to comment on, but didn't becase of the rush.

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« Reply #67 on: April 29, 2006, 03:03:04 AM »
I'm very, very drunk as I type this - fair's fair, you've done it, too.  I will come back and hit the points I've missed before, but that's a bit too much for me right nopw.

Quote from: RPGPundit
"Adventure flow"?
In any case, if that's what you mean, that's fine, but I did make clear what I was defining as "story"; and my definition was based on the fact that Theorists have talked about RPGs making story as in that kind of "Literary" story.  Apparently you see it as something different.


I suspect by your definitions, there are a LOT of people associated with theory that are chasing what I call story, and you call "normal".  It's fucked up, but I checked the thesaurus, and I really can't find a bettter word for it.

And yeah, I've seen the literary thing.  And then I look at what they're actually doing, and either they aren't playing, or they're doing something like what I do.  In a few rare cases, they're doing something even stranger, and I can't actually figure out what it is, and I hate that.

The ones that aren't playing at all, and haven't for years, can, I agree, fuck off.

Quote
Bully for you. And consider the problem when the system you're playing, the one you've been told is superior to mainstream rpgs and will show you how to be a better GM, tells you that you CANT say "no" to your players. It says shit like "you either say yes, or roll the dice"; or "You can't say no. You can only say "yes, but"".
If you're a slightly less experienced GM, you might actually take that utter crap seriously. Which apparently, you don't. But there we go.


In DitV, one of the most prominent games, you really have three options.  They are "Yes", "Roll the dice", and "That's lame".

Which is less options than I think anyone actually uses.  Because sometimes, it isn't lame, but it takes more than "roll the dice" to get there.

Quote
Not to mention; what do you do when they say "no, we're not power tripping, and we won't knock it off, now don't be lame and give us our +5 swords of dragon slaying; get to work, GM-boy!".
Yes, of course, this would never happen in your group because you're all hip, but in other groups it could very well happen, and you still seem to be suggesting that at the end of the day all the GM can do is say "STOP.. or I.. um.. will say Stop a second time! So there!".

When I say fuck that; the GM's word is law. You shouldn't need someone else to tell them their boneheaded idea is lame. They shouldn't be able to dictate fuck all to GM. They can ask for whatever they like, and I will feel free to laugh at them conspire to make sure the bar gets their supper order wrong. And they'll fucking well like it, because that's what they agreed on when they signed on to play with me.
There's nothing wrong about that, not in the least. That's how RPGs are supposed to work. You don't fix problems with bad GMs by castrating the good GMs.


Yes and no.  I suspect that you're exaggerating or overstating to make your point, here.

Quote
Ok, good. Now, do you recognize that the people who have acted this way are not lone yahoos, but people at the very core of the Theory movement, that have come to be associated directly with the public image of that movement?


By some people, yes - especially the "arguing about nonsense" stuff.  Though, honestly, I'm far enough "in" that I see these people as individuals.  Which is more than others do, just as many people see you as no more than a chosen name and a rant.

Hopefully, this makes sense, even incomplete as it is.

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« Reply #68 on: April 29, 2006, 12:18:31 PM »
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
I'm very, very drunk as I type this - fair's fair, you've done it, too.  I will come back and hit the points I've missed before, but that's a bit too much for me right nopw.

Ok. In particular I still want to know where the Clinton quote was from.

Quote
I suspect by your definitions, there are a LOT of people associated with theory that are chasing what I call story, and you call "normal".  It's fucked up, but I checked the thesaurus, and I really can't find a bettter word for it.

Then I'd suggest that they've made a mountain out of a molehill, and are seeking something that is far easier than they make it out to be. And they won't find it in convoluted theory or untested methods, they'll find it in the fundamentals.
Shit, do I have to go and become a Zen master for gamers who can't find Normal, now?

Quote
In DitV, one of the most prominent games, you really have three options.  They are "Yes", "Roll the dice", and "That's lame".

Really, DiTV has "that's lame"? Because, though its been quite a while since I read it, I don't remember that. I do, of course, remember "Say Yes or roll the dice". That witty little catchphrase that made me instantly hate the game.

Not unlike the fuckheaded "laws" of R. Borgstrom in her unplayable games. I believe the "You have to say "yes" or "yes, but"" rule is her "monarda law", whatever the fuck that means.

Quote
Yes and no.  I suspect that you're exaggerating or overstating to make your point, here.

Of course I am.  A good DM doesn't beat on his players, he listens to them. He gives a shit about what they think about his game. I'm constantly trying to get feedback from my players, and I care deeply if one of them isn't getting what he wants from my game.
But to be able to do all that well, I have to know that I have the final and absolute authority over the game. My players need to know it too. It makes everything run better.

Quote
By some people, yes - especially the "arguing about nonsense" stuff.  Though, honestly, I'm far enough "in" that I see these people as individuals.  Which is more than others do, just as many people see you as no more than a chosen name and a rant.
Hopefully, this makes sense, even incomplete as it is.

Yes, it makes sense. But now Theorists as a movement, if they want to get out from under their bad reputation, have to either get those individuals to pony up and show some regret and remorse (not equivocating statements of defensiveness), and they need to start again basically from scratch.  GNS theory is a lame duck, it won't fly with anyone outside of the Forge circles anymore; overburdened as it is by the twin realities of the bad reputation Theorists have and the fact that the theory itself  is fatally wrong.  
Quit picking at the corpse, and start over on a more open and inclusive footing (open and inclusive of the mainstream, which up till now theorists have not been).

Also, i get what you say about knowing them personally. I'm sure most of them are fine dudes at the personal level. I think you put up with me because you looked at me at the personal level and saw that I'm a fine dude too.

But the Forgeites aren't RPGPundit. I can afford to be hated; contrary to what Nikchick and a few others might believe, I'm not the leadership of a movement; I'm a single outspoken guy with a huge group of fans but none of whom need be directly associated with me unless they really start taking the Proxy shit seriously (which, of course, it isn't meant to be; its whole purpose is to piss off Nikchick).

So "punditism" or "Proxyism" doesn't exist. It isn't a movement; and anyone who willingly wants to seriously go around calling themselves a proxy deserves whatever shit he gets for being associated with me. On the other hand, "Gaming Theory" does exist, it is a movement/subculture/whatever, and it presumably has goals outside of getting the vast bulk of gamers pissed off at them. That's why your "leadership" has to change.

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« Reply #69 on: April 29, 2006, 02:07:22 PM »
Hitting a couple older points:

http://www.story-games.com is the source of the quote, a thread titled "dueling banjos".  I'm not sure if you can see it without joining; the place is basically a lounge for some of the theory-heads, where they "Get their stoopid on", to steal a quote.    

I think what's most likely to revitalize gaming is to have a number of well-recognized and heavily supported game lines that sit where the money mostly comes in, and then a huge host of much smaller products ranging all over the damn place "around" that point, for quite a distance out.  And wherever one of those starts to really sell, people should take that as a hint to make more and bigger products at those points.  Which is pretty much what we're starting to see in the actual market, from my perspective, though a lot of folks talk a long line of bullshit about either that solid center or the range around it.  I think you've reacted strongly enough to some of that bullshit that you end up in bullshit-land on the topic relatively often as well, and even if you're just doing it to prove a point, you're still doing it, too.

Quote from: RPGPundit
Then I'd suggest that they've made a mountain out of a molehill, and are seeking something that is far easier than they make it out to be. And they won't find it in convoluted theory or untested methods, they'll find it in the fundamentals.


The fundamentals are, in fact, where it comes from.  But it's hard to move those things around even a little bit without spending a lot of time looking at them.  So start with "looking at all of the fundamentals".  Add in "screwing around with the fundamentals to see if anything cool happens".  Tack on a few whacky ideas, and a love for big words and funny pictures.  Then add in the natural reactions people have when the an assload of D&D playing teenagers come and tell you that you're "not playing D&D anymore" as if it was of grave importance.

You've got theory.  And it just gets stranger from there.

Quote from: RPGPundit
Shit, do I have to go and become a Zen master for gamers who can't find Normal, now?


If you can break down what you see as normal play into all it's fundamentals, with examples, and bits of advice on how you can adjust them - and what happens if you do - you'll have a hell of a theory, right there.

Quote from: RPGPundit
Really, DiTV has "that's lame"? Because, though its been quite a while since I read it, I don't remember that. I do, of course, remember "Say Yes or roll the dice". That witty little catchphrase that made me instantly hate the game.

Not unlike the fuckheaded "laws" of R. Borgstrom in her unplayable games. I believe the "You have to say "yes" or "yes, but"" rule is her "monarda law", whatever the fuck that means.


In the advice for the GM, it talks about watching the players, and turning down anything that makes one of them look like they want to roll their eyes.  Which means, you bet.  

And you can play by Borgstrom's rules in Nobilis.  If you just sit down with a game group, though, what you get is improv theatre, usually being performed by people that didn't come looking for it, and who probably aren't much good at it.  That's not exactly a recipe for good times.

Quote
Of course I am.  A good DM doesn't beat on his players, he listens to them. He gives a shit about what they think about his game. I'm constantly trying to get feedback from my players, and I care deeply if one of them isn't getting what he wants from my game.
But to be able to do all that well, I have to know that I have the final and absolute authority over the game. My players need to know it too. It makes everything run better.


Okay, a quick story.

I had a basically non-functioning player in a LARP come to me and tell me "I want this, or I'm leaving the game" - and this actually flew for them in other games.  My response was "You already left.  See you in a month, if you can show your face.".  

So I'm not talking about a GM giving up that final word.  But every single one of my players was utterly stunned by the occurence, because I'd been spending the whole rest of the night listening to people tell me what they wanted from the game, and having me show them how to go out there and get it, what it would cost, and maybe pitch in a few ides of ways it could be extra fun (some of which they took, some of which they rejected).

But I am talking about putting that final word away when it isn't actually needed, and seeing what happens.  In actual play, more and more, I find myself too busy facilitating the game to be the big authority for it - I haven't broken out the big stick in a long, long time, and I'm willing to run the game with my authority bent into a pretzel if it makes the game run better.  

But, yes, when it comes down to the bitter end, I do have a big stick, and if I must, I'll unkink my authority and smack someone with it.

Quote
Yes, it makes sense. But now Theorists as a movement, if they want to get out from under their bad reputation, have to either get those individuals to pony up and show some regret and remorse (not equivocating statements of defensiveness), and they need to start again basically from scratch.  GNS theory is a lame duck, it won't fly with anyone outside of the Forge circles anymore; overburdened as it is by the twin realities of the bad reputation Theorists have and the fact that the theory itself  is fatally wrong.  
Quit picking at the corpse, and start over on a more open and inclusive footing (open and inclusive of the mainstream, which up till now theorists have not been).


I don't think that's the way.  But I've talked about my own thoughts on this already.  People, talking to each other, nothing more.

Quote
Also, i get what you say about knowing them personally. I'm sure most of them are fine dudes at the personal level. I think you put up with me because you looked at me at the personal level and saw that I'm a fine dude too.


Ayup.  Though neither of you made it all that easy on me.

Quote
But the Forgeites aren't RPGPundit. I can afford to be hated; contrary to what Nikchick and a few others might believe, I'm not the leadership of a movement; I'm a single outspoken guy with a huge group of fans but none of whom need be directly associated with me unless they really start taking the Proxy shit seriously (which, of course, it isn't meant to be; its whole purpose is to piss off Nikchick).

So "punditism" or "Proxyism" doesn't exist. It isn't a movement; and anyone who willingly wants to seriously go around calling themselves a proxy deserves whatever shit he gets for being associated with me. On the other hand, "Gaming Theory" does exist, it is a movement/subculture/whatever, and it presumably has goals outside of getting the vast bulk of gamers pissed off at them. That's why your "leadership" has to change.


A lot of theory-users don't actually care if they're hated, either, remember - they're in it for their own gaming, and nothing else.  

Others are interested in simply playing the games and talking about them, and sharing what they know.

Some want to have a big collection of stuff they can reference, and a feeling of community.

I think that theorists need simply to learn to present themselves as individuals with their own ideas first, and stop pretending that there's any real authority in big words.  I think they need to take their ideas to new places that aren't already safe and friendly, and listen when people kick the crap out of some of them.  And I think it's happening.

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« Reply #70 on: April 29, 2006, 05:00:15 PM »
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
Hitting a couple older points:

http://www.story-games.com is the source of the quote, a thread titled "dueling banjos".  I'm not sure if you can see it without joining; the place is basically a lounge for some of the theory-heads, where they "Get their stoopid on", to steal a quote.


Hmm.. wierd.. I found the site, I found the thread, but nowhere did I find that Clinton quote, nor did I find any other conversation relevant to this thread. Is there a mistake here somewhere?

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I think what's most likely to revitalize gaming is to have a number of well-recognized and heavily supported game lines that sit where the money mostly comes in, and then a huge host of much smaller products ranging all over the damn place "around" that point, for quite a distance out.  And wherever one of those starts to really sell, people should take that as a hint to make more and bigger products at those points.  Which is pretty much what we're starting to see in the actual market, from my perspective, though a lot of folks talk a long line of bullshit about either that solid center or the range around it.  I think you've reacted strongly enough to some of that bullshit that you end up in bullshit-land on the topic relatively often as well, and even if you're just doing it to prove a point, you're still doing it, too.


Fair enough. I use hyperbole to fight hyperbole, and the general tactics of the Swine against them. I'll concede that point.

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The fundamentals are, in fact, where it comes from.  But it's hard to move those things around even a little bit without spending a lot of time looking at them.  So start with "looking at all of the fundamentals".  Add in "screwing around with the fundamentals to see if anything cool happens".  Tack on a few whacky ideas, and a love for big words and funny pictures.  


And patently un-necessary diagrams. Don't forget the diagrams.

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Then add in the natural reactions people have when the an assload of D&D playing teenagers come and tell you that you're "not playing D&D anymore" as if it was of grave importance.
You've got theory.  And it just gets stranger from there.


I have trouble with the idea that any D&D playing teenager anywhere ever in the history of roleplaying on this planet as we know it would have, without provocation or prior cause, walked up to a Gaming Theorist and said he wasn't playing D&D anymore.
On the other hand, that Gaming Theorists would have walked up to teenagers and told them "You aren't playing RPGs right!", and these teenagers would have gone on to bitch out the Theorists, THAT I find believable.

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If you can break down what you see as normal play into all it's fundamentals, with examples, and bits of advice on how you can adjust them - and what happens if you do - you'll have a hell of a theory, right there.  


But at that point, its not going to be good for anything anymore.
Lao Tzu said: "The Tao which can be written down is not the Tao".

You don't get better at gaming by following a theory, even if its a good theory, and especially not if its a theory based on some guy speaking out of his ass. You get better at gaming by playing and GMing, and learning organically how to be better at these things.
And yea, that pretty much means that a lot of theory is useless in my book. Game Design theory can still be useful, in terms of figuring out better ways to emulate certain genres or setting; how to make mechanics function better, etc etc. But "playing advice" type theory is usually worthless beyond the old standby of the "what is roleplaying?" and "Tips for Players & GM" chapters you get in any generic rulebook (and most of those are crap too, come to think of it).

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In the advice for the GM, it talks about watching the players, and turning down anything that makes one of them look like they want to roll their eyes.  Which means, you bet.  


So it doesn't actually say "that's lame"; then? But it does say "say Yes or roll the dice".
Also, are you saying that the GM advice is for the GM to tone it down if he says anything that makes the Players roll their eyes? The advice is for him to watch himself? Or what?

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And you can play by Borgstrom's rules in Nobilis.  If you just sit down with a game group, though, what you get is improv theatre, usually being performed by people that didn't come looking for it, and who probably aren't much good at it.  That's not exactly a recipe for good times.


By Jove, we've struck consensus! Let our mutual distaste for the non-rules that are Borgstrom's games bring us together!

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Okay, a quick story.

I had a basically non-functioning player in a LARP come to me and tell me "I want this, or I'm leaving the game" - and this actually flew for them in other games.  My response was "You already left.  See you in a month, if you can show your face.".  

So I'm not talking about a GM giving up that final word.  But every single one of my players was utterly stunned by the occurence, because I'd been spending the whole rest of the night listening to people tell me what they wanted from the game, and having me show them how to go out there and get it, what it would cost, and maybe pitch in a few ides of ways it could be extra fun (some of which they took, some of which they rejected).

But I am talking about putting that final word away when it isn't actually needed, and seeing what happens.  In actual play, more and more, I find myself too busy facilitating the game to be the big authority for it - I haven't broken out the big stick in a long, long time, and I'm willing to run the game with my authority bent into a pretzel if it makes the game run better.  

But, yes, when it comes down to the bitter end, I do have a big stick, and if I must, I'll unkink my authority and smack someone with it.


Whereas in my case, its not that my players are all broken defeated shells of human beings too battered down to ask me even for a second bowl of gruel. Its that, in fact, I make the game entertaining enough as it is that they don't look to act like shitheads and try to dictate terms to me.  I have never had a lack of players for my games; as of this moment my active gaming pool is 12 players (that is, people who are in at least one of my campaigns at this time) and I have a larger inactive pool of a few dozen more. People want to play a game I run because I am known to run great campaigns, and to be a skilled and fair DM, though of course not without flaws.

So I haven't had to bring out the stick either. I don't go around using the stick gratuitously, and I think any GM that did would find himself in a whole other mess of problems for doing so.

But my point is that the very act of having a game or a gaming theory suggest that the GM's stick isn't useable, or that the players ought to go and mandate terms to the GM, well, its like an invitation to CREATE discord in a group. Why bother doing that? Especially if, as your anecdote above seems to suggest, at the end of the day you too believe that the GM should have the Big Stick? That makes the whole exercise all the more bizzare and futile...

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Ayup.  Though neither of you made it all that easy on me.


Being a friend to the Wielder of the Flaming Keystrokes of Truth is never easy.

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A lot of theory-users don't actually care if they're hated, either, remember - they're in it for their own gaming, and nothing else.  
Others are interested in simply playing the games and talking about them, and sharing what they know.
Some want to have a big collection of stuff they can reference, and a feeling of community.

I think that theorists need simply to learn to present themselves as individuals with their own ideas first, and stop pretending that there's any real authority in big words.  I think they need to take their ideas to new places that aren't already safe and friendly, and listen when people kick the crap out of some of them.  And I think it's happening.


I ABSOLUTELY agree with this (especially about the authority and big words bit), and in light of your statements above, it now makes more sense to me why you're insistent in the kind of "loose confederation" idea of Gaming Theory as a movement.

Though I'm still not sure how you or anyone else who wants to take that tact is going to be able to fix the problem that will inevitably arise: you will go on RandomRPGforum.net, make a couple of posts about your theory, and someone will say "OH, you're one of Those Forge Guys.", and there goes your ability to present your position outside of all the stuff associated with the Forge.
Bad enough when that happens, but then when the next post is from some ther theorist that says "Well, yes, Levi, but in Ron's essay about Narrativism he says x and y, which your theory isn't taking into account. Plus your theory doesn't approach Story Now correctly" (when of course, you never mentioned narrativism or "story now" anywhere in your original post).

You can't have your confederation until you do something to resolve the wild boar in the corner of the room that is current public perceptions about Theorists, or the oozing bag of pus in the other corner of the room that is Forgeites that want ALL theory to be about GNS/The Cult of Ron.

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Levi Kornelsen

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« Reply #71 on: April 29, 2006, 05:50:29 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
Hmm.. wierd.. I found the site, I found the thread, but nowhere did I find that Clinton quote, nor did I find any other conversation relevant to this thread. Is there a mistake here somewhere?


Did you click "Duelling Banjos" or "Duelling Banjos RPG"?

The RPG one was started because people were hoping to actually read a thread about, y'know, duelling banjos in RPGs when they clicked the first one.

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Fair enough. I use hyperbole to fight hyperbole, and the general tactics of the Swine against them. I'll concede that point.


'kay.

I'm not telling you to do as I do, but can you see why I think my way is better?

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And patently un-necessary diagrams. Don't forget the diagrams.


Yeah - I said "pretty pictures".  Hell, I'm guilty of it it in this very thread.  It's something we do.

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I have trouble with the idea that any D&D playing teenager anywhere ever in the history of roleplaying on this planet as we know it would have, without provocation or prior cause, walked up to a Gaming Theorist and said he wasn't playing D&D anymore.
On the other hand, that Gaming Theorists would have walked up to teenagers and told them "You aren't playing RPGs right!", and these teenagers would have gone on to bitch out the Theorists, THAT I find believable.


I can explain.  Internet theory really got rolling with Usenet, right?  rec.games.frp.advocacy, as I mentioned.  But, this was the weird thing.  On any other topic at all, if the name of a group ended with .advocacy, it's where you took the flamewars.

So rec.porn.blondes.advocacy would have been where you'd go to fight like bastards over "blondes in porn"; you get the idea.

.advocacy was the theory place because, for no comprehensible reason at all, the flamewars never got going.  Instead, people started talking about the similarities between playing this way and that way, and so on.  And then, other Usenetters looking for a fight would wander in, read a bunch of people calmly talking about games and this weird shit they were doing...

...Flame on, baby.

Ain't history fun?

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But at that point, its not going to be good for anything anymore.
Lao Tzu said: "The Tao which can be written down is not the Tao".

You don't get better at gaming by following a theory, even if its a good theory, and especially not if its a theory based on some guy speaking out of his ass. You get better at gaming by playing and GMing, and learning organically how to be better at these things.
And yea, that pretty much means that a lot of theory is useless in my book. Game Design theory can still be useful, in terms of figuring out better ways to emulate certain genres or setting; how to make mechanics function better, etc etc. But "playing advice" type theory is usually worthless beyond the old standby of the "what is roleplaying?" and "Tips for Players & GM" chapters you get in any generic rulebook (and most of those are crap too, come to think of it).


Depends.  Say that I'm trying to emulate genre X, and genre X has conventions that, frankly, don't make good logical sense.  B-Movies, let's say.

Now, that's awesome.  But say I have a player who is totally into that whole "immersion" thing - for them, it's all about being there.

Now, it's a good thing for me to know that pushing the genre conventions might break the whole sense of internal cosistency for that player, which turns "me bringing in a cool genre thing" into "me pissing off a player by doing something I thought was cool."

See what I mean, there?  Breaking it down doesn't need to be formal or rigid.

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So it doesn't actually say "that's lame"; then? But it does say "say Yes or roll the dice".
Also, are you saying that the GM advice is for the GM to tone it down if he says anything that makes the Players roll their eyes? The advice is for him to watch himself? Or what?


Here's one quote (Page 76):

"AS GM, YOU GET TO HELP ESTABLISH STAKES.  If your player says "What's at stake is this" you can say "no, I don't dig that, how about this is what's at stake instead?" Not only can you, you should. This is an important duty you have as GM and you shouldn't abdicate it."

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By Jove, we've struck consensus! Let our mutual distaste for the non-rules that are Borgstrom's games bring us together!


Actually, I like the rules as theatre.  But they aren't a game to me - they lack challenge-value.

And presenting them as a game strikes me as disengenious.

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Whereas in my case, its not that my players are all broken defeated shells of human beings too battered down to ask me even for a second bowl of gruel. Its that, in fact, I make the game entertaining enough as it is that they don't look to act like shitheads and try to dictate terms to me.  I have never had a lack of players for my games; as of this moment my active gaming pool is 12 players (that is, people who are in at least one of my campaigns at this time) and I have a larger inactive pool of a few dozen more. People want to play a game I run because I am known to run great campaigns, and to be a skilled and fair DM, though of course not without flaws.

So I haven't had to bring out the stick either. I don't go around using the stick gratuitously, and I think any GM that did would find himself in a whole other mess of problems for doing so.

But my point is that the very act of having a game or a gaming theory suggest that the GM's stick isn't useable, or that the players ought to go and mandate terms to the GM, well, its like an invitation to CREATE discord in a group. Why bother doing that? Especially if, as your anecdote above seems to suggest, at the end of the day you too believe that the GM should have the Big Stick? That makes the whole exercise all the more bizzare and futile...


One of the big theory questions is:

"So, sure, you've got the big stick, and you could just whack 'em; but what else could you be doing right now that would be more fun?"

...And, of course, this leads to arguments about not having it at all, because, really, how often do you need it?  

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Being a friend to the Wielder of the Flaming Keystrokes of Truth is never easy.


*Snort*

I've always read that line as a kind of "half-joke at your own expense", you know.

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I ABSOLUTELY agree with this (especially about the authority and big words bit), and in light of your statements above, it now makes more sense to me why you're insistent in the kind of "loose confederation" idea of Gaming Theory as a movement.

Though I'm still not sure how you or anyone else who wants to take that tact is going to be able to fix the problem that will inevitably arise: you will go on RandomRPGforum.net, make a couple of posts about your theory, and someone will say "OH, you're one of Those Forge Guys.", and there goes your ability to present your position outside of all the stuff associated with the Forge.
Bad enough when that happens, but then when the next post is from some ther theorist that says "Well, yes, Levi, but in Ron's essay about Narrativism he says x and y, which your theory isn't taking into account. Plus your theory doesn't approach Story Now correctly" (when of course, you never mentioned narrativism or "story now" anywhere in your original post).


My response is simply "No, I'm talking about this.  You can talk about that if you like, and there sure are similarities, but it's not what I'm talking about."

I sometimes have to repeat myself a few times, but that's okay.  

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You can't have your confederation until you do something to resolve the wild boar in the corner of the room that is current public perceptions about Theorists, or the oozing bag of pus in the other corner of the room that is Forgeites that want ALL theory to be about GNS/The Cult of Ron.


Odd as it may sound, the people that most consistently push for my theories to fall into GNS/Big Model are almost never regular posters at the Forge, with about two exceptions.  The actual Forgefolks that read my stuff mostly go "Huh.  Uh, okay.  Enjoy yourself!"

No, I can't explain that.

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« Reply #72 on: April 30, 2006, 11:26:37 AM »
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen
Did you click "Duelling Banjos" or "Duelling Banjos RPG"?


"Duelling Banjos RPG"; it appears that the other one is for members-only, and thus it didn't appear in my search.

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'kay.

I'm not telling you to do as I do, but can you see why I think my way is better?


I can see why you think so.

The problem with "my way" is that it becomes very easy to get lost in the hyperbole, for you or the people that end up behind you missing the point and taking the hyperbole seriously.

The problem with "your way" is that you will tend to get ignored and be ineffective.

So, its kind of a balancing act.

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I can explain.  Internet theory really got rolling with Usenet, right?  rec.games.frp.advocacy, as I mentioned.  But, this was the weird thing.  On any other topic at all, if the name of a group ended with .advocacy, it's where you took the flamewars.
So rec.porn.blondes.advocacy would have been where you'd go to fight like bastards over "blondes in porn"; you get the idea.
.advocacy was the theory place because, for no comprehensible reason at all, the flamewars never got going.  Instead, people started talking about the similarities between playing this way and that way, and so on.  And then, other Usenetters looking for a fight would wander in, read a bunch of people calmly talking about games and this weird shit they were doing...
...Flame on, baby.
Ain't history fun?


Having been very active on usenet in my days, I can see how that could have happened, yes.
So would you say that the number of times that Theorists have gone on threads in message boards or other mediums and told regular D&D players that they "aren't playing right" is nothing but a repetition of the cycle of abuse?

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Depends.  Say that I'm trying to emulate genre X, and genre X has conventions that, frankly, don't make good logical sense.  B-Movies, let's say.
Now, that's awesome.  But say I have a player who is totally into that whole "immersion" thing - for them, it's all about being there.
Now, it's a good thing for me to know that pushing the genre conventions might break the whole sense of internal cosistency for that player, which turns "me bringing in a cool genre thing" into "me pissing off a player by doing something I thought was cool."
See what I mean, there?  Breaking it down doesn't need to be formal or rigid.


Fair enough, if you can stick to those kinds of things, then I agree that you can talk about theory in a productive way.

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Here's one quote (Page 76):

"AS GM, YOU GET TO HELP ESTABLISH STAKES.  If your player says "What's at stake is this" you can say "no, I don't dig that, how about this is what's at stake instead?" Not only can you, you should. This is an important duty you have as GM and you shouldn't abdicate it."


How deeply pansy-assed. "I don't dig that"? You "help" to establish stakes?

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Actually, I like the rules as theatre.  But they aren't a game to me - they lack challenge-value.

And presenting them as a game strikes me as disengenious.


Well, to be a game the rules would have to actually function, for starters.

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One of the big theory questions is:

"So, sure, you've got the big stick, and you could just whack 'em; but what else could you be doing right now that would be more fun?"

...And, of course, this leads to arguments about not having it at all, because, really, how often do you need it?  


The Big Stick, with all due credit to Teddy Roosevelt, is what ALLOWS the GM to "walk softly".

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I've always read that line as a kind of "half-joke at your own expense", you know.


Well, duh.

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Odd as it may sound, the people that most consistently push for my theories to fall into GNS/Big Model are almost never regular posters at the Forge, with about two exceptions.  The actual Forgefolks that read my stuff mostly go "Huh.  Uh, okay.  Enjoy yourself!"

No, I can't explain that.


I would think that I can. You don't fit into the Forge groupthink. So once its clear that you aren't aggressive to the Forge, and yet you don't really buy into the memes the Forge pushes, they don't really know what to do with you and would kind of rather you stayed quietly in your own little theory-zone; except when you're needed to haul out and show off to the Forge's Critics as the "moderate reasonable Forgeite".

You're their Colin Powell.

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Levi Kornelsen

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« Reply #73 on: April 30, 2006, 02:27:29 PM »
Quote from: RPGPundit
"Duelling Banjos RPG"; it appears that the other one is for members-only, and thus it didn't appear in my search.


Ah, well.

Quote
I can see why you think so.

The problem with "my way" is that it becomes very easy to get lost in the hyperbole, for you or the people that end up behind you missing the point and taking the hyperbole seriously.

The problem with "your way" is that you will tend to get ignored and be ineffective.

So, its kind of a balancing act.


Do you really think I get ignored?  Really?

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Having been very active on usenet in my days, I can see how that could have happened, yes.
So would you say that the number of times that Theorists have gone on threads in message boards or other mediums and told regular D&D players that they "aren't playing right" is nothing but a repetition of the cycle of abuse?


I don't know if I would.  I think that on the occasions where that happens, those guys are just being dicks.

The whole "cycle of abuse" explanation between theorists and the people that hate them is really attractive, but if it's true, the both sides have amazingly shitty aim.


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Fair enough, if you can stick to those kinds of things, then I agree that you can talk about theory in a productive way.


*Shrug*

I talk about a lot of things - whatever I'm thinking about, really.  It's the whole dartboard thing.

I think the trick is, when people go "What the fuck use is this?", honestly responding with "Uh, I dunno.  Just, stuff I'm thinking about", and trying to keep clear of having people talk about it like it's a dessert topping AND a floor wax.

Which can be tricky, because anytime someone gets even one little step closer to what they personally want in their gaming, they tend to go off like crazy - which happens, now and then, and it's those moments that really, really rock for theorists.

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How deeply pansy-assed. "I don't dig that"? You "help" to establish stakes?


The stick is still there, though.  I mean, would you rather have a page about "GM authority" that describes it, followed by another one about "Keeping the game moving" that talks about giving people alternatives instead of just shutting them down, or would you like a quick little comment?

The effect on the actual play, for people that actually play DitV, is basically the same.

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Well, to be a game the rules would have to actually function, for starters.


Heh.

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The Big Stick, with all due credit to Teddy Roosevelt, is what ALLOWS the GM to "walk softly".


*Grin*

See this quote?

Quote from: Me, as an example
"So, you've got the big stick, got that, agreed all around - now, let's talk about "walking softly" and how you do that."


That, reworded to make sense in practical terms, would be the start of one hell of an interesting discussion to me.


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I would think that I can. You don't fit into the Forge groupthink. So once its clear that you aren't aggressive to the Forge, and yet you don't really buy into the memes the Forge pushes, they don't really know what to do with you and would kind of rather you stayed quietly in your own little theory-zone; except when you're needed to haul out and show off to the Forge's Critics as the "moderate reasonable Forgeite".

You're their Colin Powell.


Doesn't work for me, as an explanation, because they've got a fair load  of moderate, reasonable folks already, and so far as they have groupthink (which isn't that far), the group on the whole doesn't give a shit about looking good, or much of anything beyond the actual on-topic stuff they discuss - it's individual people that care about being percieved or presented as assholes.

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« Reply #74 on: April 30, 2006, 09:54:45 PM »
Quote from: Levi Kornelsen

Do you really think I get ignored?  Really?


I think that the voices of elitist zealotry are designed to drown out people who argue with soft voices. Most of the times, I've found, they aren't there to reason in good faith.  So you can only fight fire with fire, and showy posturing with equal showmanship.
Hell, its what has cost the democrats countless elections in the US. They keep thinking that showing that they're being more reasonable then the opposition will somehow be a magic panacea to spin doctoring and dirty tricks, when of course it never is. You beat spin doctoring with better spin doctoring. Bill Clinton, who was the only Democrat with electability in a good long while, was the only guy in the party who knew that, and the rest of the democratic party made a fatal error twice in a row now when they chose to ignore his lessons.

As for you, personally (though I wasn't talking about you personally above, but about your style of presentation), I think you and those others who criticized Ron Edwards over the Brain Damage incident got roundly ignored in favour of his defensive posturing.

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I think the trick is, when people go "What the fuck use is this?", honestly responding with "Uh, I dunno.  Just, stuff I'm thinking about", and trying to keep clear of having people talk about it like it's a dessert topping AND a floor wax.


Well, I think one of the reasons your type of talking about gaming theory is better received by the public at large than others is really your efforts to avoid using jargon and creating self-referential terminology when you talk about gaming. In other words, actually sticking to talking about the play at the ground level, rather than rising up into degrees of abstraction through terminology.

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The stick is still there, though.  I mean, would you rather have a page about "GM authority" that describes it, followed by another one about "Keeping the game moving" that talks about giving people alternatives instead of just shutting them down, or would you like a quick little comment?ç
The effect on the actual play, for people that actually play DitV, is basically the same.


I just think that there's a lot of gaming theorist/DiTV-playing types that would shit bricks at the very thought that the DM could just put his foot down and overrule the wishes of the players.

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Heh.
*Grin*
See this quote?
That, reworded to make sense in practical terms, would be the start of one hell of an interesting discussion to me.


Talking about "walking softly" makes a lot of sense to me, and its certainly a skill that every good DM must learn and improve. I think the foundation to being able to do that rests with the stipulation that the GM has the stick and can use it at any time. The next step is to learn how to get things done so that it never comes to using the stick.

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Doesn't work for me, as an explanation, because they've got a fair load  of moderate, reasonable folks already, and so far as they have groupthink (which isn't that far), the group on the whole doesn't give a shit about looking good, or much of anything beyond the actual on-topic stuff they discuss - it's individual people that care about being percieved or presented as assholes.


Well, I'll agree that there's a lot of guys there that don't really give a shit whether mainstream D&D players think they're assholes or not, just like there's a lot of people in the Bush administration that at this point really don't give much of a shit what the public at large thinks of them.  But I think there's probably a lot of them who are happy for guys like you because they can continue to do the stuff they do and maintain that they don't actually need to change those things to be inclusive or approachable.

Maybe your presence will undermine those guys  over time anyways, and you'll get to that point of Theory being approachable and inclusive. But as long as the core continues to be based on the principles its based on right now, I have trouble seeing that come to pass.

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