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The Lounge => Media and Inspiration => Topic started by: Abyssal Maw on July 26, 2007, 05:09:22 am

Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 26, 2007, 05:09:22 am
I didn't get all my questions answered, and some of them were answered sort of evasively, but I want to give Luke credit for taking them on. I recognize that cannot be an easy thread.

If you want to make commentary or otherwise talk on that thread without participating in the Q&A section, here (this thread) is the place to do it.

I also liked something that Mark VBWyrde wrote:

Quote from: Vbwyrde
However, there are ways of competing for market share that are honest, friendly and cool, and ways that are sneaky, subversive and uncool. I don't know how you could quantify the impression of coolness vs. uncoolness realistically, however, Luke, it seems that people here are saying "WE feel like your guys have been uncool." That's legit. Its the feeling they have. And I agree with you, one can't necessarily account for or control other people's feelings. But if there ever was a time to clear the air and really open hearts and minds, this is probably it. That's my guess. My suggestion is that the issue of market share and marketing styles be openned up for discussion because in a lot of ways I think that's one of the big bones of contention.

Inreasing one's market share is an important underlying cause of both the tactics that have been employed in the past (according to and by some) and perception of those tactics by your actual target audience - other Gamesmasters. I made this point before you arrived at the Panel so I'll repeat it again here: The Indie RPGs target audience needs to be the GMs because GMs are the ones who most often bring the game to the table, not the players. Marketing research would be required to prove that, and it is my hunch, but I think it makes sense and is something the Indie folks should give ample consideration to. And pissing off the main target audience, even if you have Great Games, is not the best strategy in the world. Just something to think about. And I don't mean to be offensive, but to simply say it in plain engrish. It's one of the reasons why I think it behooves the Indie guys to enage the traditionalists in just the manner you're doing here. Reasonably and with an open mind to the problems and their possible solutions.

I thought Mark's post (quoted above) was incredibly astute, and I appreciate his 'outsider' perspective in this.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: RPGPundit on July 26, 2007, 12:10:45 pm
I pretty well gave up on the thread. Luke clearly doesn't want to dialogue on the issue of the Forge, he just wants to claim that the Forge's detractors are all mistaken and misguided and that's it.  Fair enough, opportunity wasted for him to show some intellectual honesty.

RPGPundit
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on July 26, 2007, 12:26:23 pm
I used to think, and continue to do so based on the thread, that both Luke and his games are perfectly legit. Reading BW, you can tell he was a) into AD&D 1E, b) Lankhmar. And I'm actually going to play that Blossoms thing soon enough.

I guess asking him to diss skimpy games and lose his sleazeball coterie is unfair. However, it's also highly satisfying. :D
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on July 26, 2007, 01:02:47 pm
I'm impressed by the thread, on many counts.

Luke's showing a great deal of patience and talking about the positive things that he likes about ... well ... all sorts of stuff.  That can be hard to do in the face of folks asking questions that can easily be read as negative and baiting.  I'm impressed.

I'm also impressed with some folks who, from their questions, I had suspected of having closed minds.  I don't want to suspect people of that, I just have a nasty cynical streak and it whispers to me.  I'm very happy to see clear evidence in several instances that my nasty cynical streak needs to take a long vacation.  Folks asked very pointed questions, but when they got back sincere answers they said "That's a damn fine answer!" rather than "Oh, so now you're going to lie to me, eh?"

At least ... most folks.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on July 26, 2007, 01:07:38 pm
I'm going to raise a customer complaint at the Forge booth. I bought a messageboard Tony and am unhappy with it. Can I exchange it for a Luke?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: JamesV on July 26, 2007, 01:28:43 pm
I've always thought that Luke's a good fella when it comes to talking about his games. His patience shows his positive enthusiasm for his games and even his point of view. I can respect that and the thread is an example of the good stuff that should show up from time to time here.

I'll never get my head around his (in)famous "give me rock star treatment at the con" argument, but no one's perfect.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Settembrini on July 26, 2007, 02:06:52 pm
OMFG! His recent reply is...interesting. BW/BE as tactical games. I wonder if he even knows what the word means...or if he´s making idiotic statements on purpose.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on July 26, 2007, 02:09:46 pm
Well, to be honest my early expectations of the thread were a bit different... maybe too optimistic or naive. Stimulating some dialogue about "the war" and maybe reaching something more...

I reconsidered that recently, but I think it can be still quite interesting thread.

Yes Pundit, Abyssal Maw it is pretty hard to corner someone just with a questions and without comments.  That's the point of Q&A thread. If I would like to corner Luke, trust me, I would go for Pistols...

Now... if you do not want to participate, that's your problem. For me, it is interesting experience. I have gone through lots of discussions about this stuff on local national level, but I want to confront some of that with the point of view of somebody on the different level of "hierarchy". Even if one can do it with "just questions". Take it as a slight probe to the Forge designer mind. And learn from it for a futre. Or whatever.

Also, if you want it as a challenge, try to come with such a question Luke will be tempted to answer and you will have him, where you want him... wherever it is. (I guess Nine Hells of Baator, but that is just me...)

Quote from: VBWyrde
The problem is that Luke is a busy guy with a lot of projects and stuff from what I can tell...


Are you his manager or what's your point? I belive that Luke is mature enough and if he is willing to or had no time, he will not answer the questions. Simple. Really. Also, I think it will slowly but grimly end soon. So don't worry, he will make it to the next con...

Quote from: TonyLB
I'm very happy to see clear evidence in several instances that my nasty cynical streak needs to take a long vacation.


I have to admit, reading this post, my own cynical streak (or maybe rather paranoid streak as luke suggested) jumped to an "elevated risk" stage, but I will let you live for now. :keke:
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: One Horse Town on July 26, 2007, 02:43:26 pm
The moment it all got reasonable was the moment you lost. The only thing i object to in any of this is the idea of 'abdication of responsibility'. If you don't mean what you say or what you've written, then either fucking take the time to write or say it properly, in English, so that no misunderstandings can take place or don't write it in the first place. None of this 'you're bringing the baggage' crap. We all know that's a shite damage limitation excersise and removal of responsibility for ones own words and deeds. It's the cowards way out. "I said some shit that i really believe, but it's caused a rucus! Quick, say that's not what i meant. Quick, say it's someone else's fault!" Boo, fucking hoo...

Signing off from the mini-bar, a bit more antsy than normal...i'll regret it in the morning. :deflated:
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on July 26, 2007, 03:01:44 pm
Quote from: One Horse Town
The moment it all got reasonable was the moment you lost.


Is that a reaction to my previous post? Because it is so, I don't get it... sorry for my English, btw. I do my best.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: One Horse Town on July 26, 2007, 03:06:48 pm
Quote from: Alnag
Is that a reaction to my previous post? Because it is so, I don't get it... sorry for my English, btw. I do my best.


No mate, sorry. I'm a little...mellow. It was supposed to be aimed at all the people on pundits side of the supposed 'war'. The other little rant about abdication of responsibility and speaking in plain English was about the forgies. I can't follow my own advice it seems about writing in plain English. Oops.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: David R on July 26, 2007, 07:44:02 pm
I think the thread is going very well. I never really had a problem with Luke's posting style, since he was only returning the shit thrown his way. Very good contibution to therpgsite Anlag.

Regards,
David R
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 28, 2007, 02:15:45 am
You know, I don't feel like I got asked any tough questions.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: J Arcane on July 28, 2007, 02:41:09 am
Quote from: luke
You know, I don't feel like I got asked any tough questions.
That's because you failed to answer most of them.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 28, 2007, 11:31:03 am
Oh? Care to rephrase the question?

-L
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 28, 2007, 12:34:15 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
I didn't get all my questions answered, and some of them were answered sort of evasively, but I want to give Luke credit for taking them on. I recognize that cannot be an easy thread.

If you want to make commentary or otherwise talk on that thread without participating in the Q&A section, here (this thread) is the place to do it.

I also liked something that Mark VBWyrde wrote:



I thought Mark's post (quoted above) was incredibly astute, and I appreciate his 'outsider' perspective in this.


I took a quick look at the thread; haven't read it in detail. I didn't notice any of the questions addressing the criticism that indie guys have for most gamers:

What criticism? It's just happy gamers sitting around enjoying their hobby, right?

Well no-- The Brain Damage is, of course, exhibit 'A' but I've seen indie guys claim that the role of the traditional GM corrupts and that there's a 'cult' of the traditional GM that's corrosive to the hobby. The idea that "incoherent" games (whatever those are) are most-likely to lead to "on-going power struggle."

And on and on.

You'd think that guys saying all this negative stuff would expect a chilly reception, but instead they seem endlessly surprised and even victimized when people point out how... frankly, rude, the kinds of things that come out of the indie movement are to most gamers.

Did someone with more time see if any of that was addressed in the thread?

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 28, 2007, 02:20:15 pm
Quote from: TonyLB
I'm impressed by the thread, on many counts.

Luke's showing a great deal of patience and talking about the positive things that he likes about ... well ... all sorts of stuff.  That can be hard to do in the face of folks asking questions that can easily be read as negative and baiting.  I'm impressed..


Actually Tony, it is we who have shown great patience; he's being evasive. But he's done a commendable thing by taking it on.

To E-

I didn't expect much on that. Theyre myopic, and many of them aren't too smart.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on July 28, 2007, 02:58:25 pm
Quote from: -E.
...but I've seen indie guys claim that the role of the traditional GM corrupts and that there's a 'cult' of the traditional GM that's corrosive to the hobby...


What?! Sorry... I just can't breath for the moment. You mean that a "traditional GM approach" that created whole hobby in the first place is corrosive to the hobby?

It is like band of pears claiming that apples are corrosive to the cider business.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 28, 2007, 03:01:36 pm
Alnag:

Yup.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 28, 2007, 03:22:25 pm
Quote from: Alnag
What?! Sorry... I just can't breath for the moment. You mean that a "traditional GM approach" that created whole hobby in the first place is corrosive to the hobby?

It is like band of pears claiming that apples are corrosive to the cider business.


That would be the one. No brought it up, huh?

It seems to me that a large part of the indie movement is *defined* by a dislike of the traditional GM-ing model. And the indie movement isn't just advocating other models: the people *leading* it are happy to call traditional games brain damaging, the traditional model corrosive or corrupting.

You'd think there'd be more appreciation of the model that built the hobby, but apparently not.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 28, 2007, 03:30:21 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
Actually Tony, it is we who have shown great patience; he's being evasive. But he's done a commendable thing by taking it on.


If you think I'm being evasive, rephrase your questions. Phrase them directly and pointedly. Don't expect to trick me or catch me in some rhetorical trap.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 28, 2007, 09:58:38 pm
I'm not clear on what the rules are for the Q&A thread; I see that Alnag posted questions related to the topics I brought and Luke responded to them:

Quote
18) There is a subset of roleplaying gamers who believe that the GM player has special rights and privileges -- that he is more powerful, more influential and more important than the other players.* These gamers believe the GM's job is to simultaneously take no shit from uppity players while also guiding them through his story with a fatherly hand. In this style of play it is the players' twofold job to give the GM shit and get out from under his screw, while docilely accepting "his story." This group often intimates that the GM is "god" in the game and replete with special powers and not to be angered. For evidence of this type of thinking, I direct you to RPG.net.

http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?...0&highlight=GM
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?...4&highlight=GM
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?...7&highlight=GM
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?...2&highlight=GM
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?t=336864
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?...9&highlight=GM
etc. and so on.

None of these assumptions are universally true. The GM is simply another player with his own particular duties. The rules indicate what those duties are. His role is no more important than anyone elses. He is not god, though some rules sets grant him supernumerary power over rules and players.

It has been my experience that new players entering into the hobby are put off by the cult-like hazing ritual involved in some groups which entails repeatedly having your input shot down by the GM. Ideas rejected and assumptions flaunted until the player accepts the power of the GM. Many new players enter the hobby thinking, wrongly, that it involves collaborative storytelling. I have witnessed the disappointment of these players when they find the game is instead a weird patriarchal social group focused on one person's interpretation of the mechanics. I believe that, as the hobby continues to shrink, this is bad for all parties involves. To point to the old original ways and snarl, "But this is how it started and how it will end!" is to miss the point. People are leaving the hobby in droves. Stores are closing, sales are dropping. There will certainly be a hardcore of players who never stop playing, but that is not particularly "good for the hobby." It is possible for hobbies to die.

I define "Good for the hobby," in this case, as a constant influx of players from various age groups and both genders who try and buy a variety of games.

19) Alnag, I honestly don't understand the question.

20) Of course I've been brain damaged by gaming. Look at me. I even publish my own games -- the worst sign of brain damage there is.


In reverse order

1) Love the Brain Damage -- I think this would be an example of what Abyssal Maw and others were calling 'dodging the question.' Interesting, that. You'd think just about anyone would leap up at a chance to go on the record and say, "No, of course not -- and the original Brain Damage statement was, in the immortal words of an astute RPG Site poster, 'fuckwitted.'"

I wonder why luke didn't take that chance...

2) GNS terminology baffles everyone, but it doesn't matter -- Brain Damage really supersedes and clarifies the whole concept of incoherence

3) Clearly luke believes there are assholes in the hobby; I don't think anyone could disagree with that, but it's not clear to me if he sees any problem with traditional games themselves (I can't tell from reading the answer).

I think a slightly better question would have been something along the lines of

"Do you think that the role of the traditional GM, with absolute in-game authority, is damaging to the hobby?"

And,

"Do you think rules-sets that give the GM absolute in-game authority inherently cause social problems for most people who play traditional games?"

That would clarify whether it's a people-problem (which, one assumes, would be limited to the number of asshat gamers) or a game problem (which would imply there's something systemically wrong with traditional games which hurts the hobby).

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: J Arcane on July 28, 2007, 10:16:27 pm
Quote from: luke
Oh? Care to rephrase the question?

-L
Why bother?  you've already very effectively demonstrated that you're not actually capable of any kind of real productive analysis.  This is nothing more than a pathetic PR event, and the tone of your answers has proved it solidly.

The very fact that you can't accept the fundamental difference between subjective and objective judgement makes any attempt at rational conversation basically impossible.

So really, my only remaining question is, "Why the hell are you wasting everyone's time?"
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Thanatos02 on July 28, 2007, 10:53:44 pm
Quote from: J Arcane

So really, my only remaining question is, "Why the hell are you wasting everyone's time?"


I'm getting something out of it.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 28, 2007, 10:53:47 pm
Quote from: J Arcane
Why bother?  you've already very effectively demonstrated that you're not actually capable of any kind of real productive analysis.  This is nothing more than a pathetic PR event, and the tone of your answers has proved it solidly.

The very fact that you can't accept the fundamental difference between subjective and objective judgement makes any attempt at rational conversation basically impossible.

So really, my only remaining question is, "Why the hell are you wasting everyone's time?"


I might be able to shed some light on this -- we reached a sort of similar conclusion in a discussion with luke on rpg.net; I think quite a bit of the indie dialog goes like this:

luke bases his understanding of gaming on his personal experiences (like we all do) -- but unlike most people, he believes that his observations about things like the negative impact of the traditional model are backed up by scientific evidence: his anecdotal experience.

I think the inability to distinguish annecdotal evidence from actual scientific evidence leads a *lot* of indie theorists to draw some bizarre and counter-intuitive conclusions.

Consider: many people come to indie games because, for whatever reason, the traditional model doesn't work well for them. When they look around in the hobby, they see what appears to be overwhelming evidence that the traditional model is dangerous and broken: *every* gamer they talk to has a horror story to tell!

Now, of course, what's really happening is classic observer bias. They're filtering out all the positive stories and focusing on the negative ones. They're also ignoring evidence that any failure to have fun is a personal thing, and focusing on their belief that it's the game that's responsible.

Several years of this convinces them that the traditional model of gaming is responsible for mass dysfunction and an avalanche of psychological trauma and dread.

But it's impossible to fail to see that games like D&D, White Wolf, and so-on are actually hugely popular.

If you're not aware of factors like observer bias, and consider anecdotal evidence scientific, you'd reach the same conclusion: those gamers must be delusional, co-dependent, etc. etc. etc.

It's a logical conclusion, but one based on bad data and a bad understanding of research methods.

Personally, I think the root of the problem is any formulation of human nature that blames something like a game system for on-going human-interaction problems, but certainly the failure to understand that the most-logical conclusion (that D&D is popular because it's fun) is (in the absence of real data) the best one.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on July 29, 2007, 03:12:45 am
-E: I have reposted you questions there, but you can simply do that yourself. Just ask the question. It's pretty simple. ;)
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Settembrini on July 29, 2007, 03:23:29 am
Thanks guys, the recent lines of questions have proven very nicely, that luke does neither know what tactics are, nor does he actually understand RPGs.

Interesting, keep it up.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on July 29, 2007, 05:39:22 am
Now, this time luke was really dodging (probably has the feat) my question. On question about evidence about people leaving hobby in droves he answers with demise of some companies and/or decline in sales. Now, that is not an evidence, because you would have to prove the connection between these and the people's leaving.

Decline in sales might be cause by

a) not buying the products. As an anecdote, I am very picky about WotC products I'll buy. I haven't bought single book last year and just one the year before. That is in no correlation with the fact, that I was playing D&D more these years than before. (I've just now switch to SW: Saga Edition, but nevertheless).

b) people are buying, but elsewhere. The C&G Retailer and ICv2 are sampling some part of the market. Now, if the buyers switch their sources to eg. internet - buying more PDFs and less books you will see it as a decline unless the samples will follow the trend.

c) people are leaving... because of the "Swines". If the people are acutally leaving, who knows, what the reasons are. It might possibly be, that the bitching about "traditional GMs" and "incoherent game designs" is just so plainly exhausting, that some will rather leave then to share the same ships with such a crowd.

or d) luke is right. We are the bad ones.

And seriously... who knows, which of these variants if not all of them, is correct. I don't.

Quote from: luke
But quality or efficiency of design do not determine popularity. Imperfect things become popular all the time.


So... what about perfect things. Are they becoming unpopular all the time? Because if so, I can really understand, why the big publishers produce imperfect things. They want their popularity. And if that is the way... (sorry, for the sarcasm, but I can not hold it any longer... Now I am calm again.)
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on July 29, 2007, 09:16:24 am
A "Kudos" thread goes from everybody saying "Hey, this thread is interesting and everyone's doing a great job," to "Man, Luke sucks!  We're so cool, because our enemies are so lame!"

What a shame. :(
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 29, 2007, 09:26:13 am
And our semi annual post from a story gamer chastising us for how we post!

Now, just a raving lunatic fringe post from Pundit, and we'll hit the perfecta!
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 29, 2007, 09:29:38 am
Quote from: Alnag
-E: I have reposted you questions there, but you can simply do that yourself. Just ask the question. It's pretty simple. ;)


When he answers the brain damage question, I'll post.

See, here's the thing about the Damage: it's honest. It says directly what most theory-dialog says only obliquely (c.f. read the very first GNS essay where the author talks about Incoherent games and notes that most gamers get on-going power struggle, but Narrativist gamers get something "worse." -- that "worse" is the Damage).

And because it's honest and offensive and, frankly, bizarre, most theorists are very uncomfortable talking about it. It puts them in the position of either

1) Denying something they believe (and disagreeing with Ron which, as we've seen, has repercussions)

or

2) Admitting what they believe and having to deal with the very real fact that traditional gamers being offended by indie theorists is not, as they claim, an "over-reaction" to a neutral statement; its just a plain old natural "reaction" to someone coming in and making strangely hostile and unsubstantiated claims about a model they find fun.

If they faced this, they'd have to admit that they aren't hated-because-they-are-feared, or whatever (many indie folks are astonished that they're not embraced by traditional gamers and console themselves by saying the reaction they get has nothing to do with their behavior); they'd be in the position of admitting that the reception they get is the predictable and completely controllable result of their own boorish behavior,

The Brain Damage pulls back the curtain on the whole exercise.

It also exposes something else: indie theory blames bad games and bad game designers for social trauma some gamers experienced with their friends during their adolescence and young adulthood.

It tells gamers who had stayed in games they hated or got into on-going power-struggle, "You're not responsible for your behavior or your outcome. You're a victim -- you're blameless, the victim of a badly made game!"

That's, apparently, a popular message.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on July 29, 2007, 09:32:09 am
Quote from: James J Skach
And our semi annual post from a story gamer chastising us for how we post!
Yeah ... I'm just jealous because nobody wants a Q&A post with me :(
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: One Horse Town on July 29, 2007, 09:32:57 am
I love it that it's our fault for calling someone on something they've said which is offensive to about 90% of gamers. Not once, but repeatably. (Not singling Luke out here either).

However, there's so much navel-gazing going on here at the moment that we ain't far behind the other boards which some poeple have the hate on for. It's a shame that these threads create more interest than actual gaming threads. Oh well.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 29, 2007, 09:37:29 am
And at the urging of others whom I respect, I would suggest that the issue be directed away from Ron Edwards.  It's why I have barely mentioned him, if at all, in the Q&A thread.

This is not about a person or set of people, per se.  Yes, to some extent it's intertwined and the ideas are held by people.  But I think that the only way progress in the dialog will be made (which, IMHO, could at least clear the decks for a while) is to not make this about rejecting people, but ideas.

Which is why the Q&A thread is so interesting to me.  It's not about Luke Crane; it's about Luke Crane discussing/defending ideas.

None of which is to say that -E. did that. I just thought it an opportune time, since he mentioned rejecting Brain Damage meant rejecting Ron, to point out that the two do not necessarily have to be equated.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 29, 2007, 09:39:54 am
Quote from: TonyLB
A "Kudos" thread goes from everybody saying "Hey, this thread is interesting and everyone's doing a great job," to "Man, Luke sucks!  We're so cool, because our enemies are so lame!"

What a shame. :(


Enemies?

Um... I... (looks around)... I don't think we have enemies, Tony -- we're just sitting around playing the games we love and laughing that these guys have the time to come up with *essays* about how our games cause on-going power struggle and brain damage and how GM's are tyrannical and awful and so on...

And it's cool, man -- live and let jive, uh-yuh (when you're a cool cat, doing cool things, with cool people, a marginal group of haters doesn't get you, you know, *down*)...

But sometimes people get their feelings hurt (I've seen the posts) -- and that's a shame.

I think some of the folks on the periphery of Theory Space haven't parsed the whole dialog enough to understand that a large part of it is designed to be offensive and insulting to mainstream gamers.

I think we'd all be happier and more positive (and I like positive) if this was just cleared up. I'm not suggesting anyone *give up* their beliefs about brain damage, power-struggle, incoherence, or anything else -- as Tom says,

Quote from: Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
Listen, it don't really matter to me baby
You believe what you want to believe, you see


But I'm all for *clarity* and I think that's what the Q/A thread is about... which is why the dodge on the Brain Damage is such a shame... wouldn't you agree ;)

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on July 29, 2007, 09:41:06 am
Quote from: TonyLB
Yeah ... I'm just jealous because nobody wants a Q&A post with me :(


If you want to have you Q&A thread, you might have one... ;)
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Drew on July 29, 2007, 09:42:45 am
Quote from: One Horse Town


However, there's so much navel-gazing going on here at the moment that we ain't far behind the other boards which some poeple have the hate on for. It's a shame that these threads create more interest than actual gaming threads. Oh well.


Couldn't agree more.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 29, 2007, 09:46:51 am
Quote from: James J Skach
And at the urging of others whom I respect, I would suggest that the issue be directed away from Ron Edwards.  It's why I have barely mentioned him, if at all, in the Q&A thread.

This is not about a person or set of people, per se.  Yes, to some extent it's intertwined and the ideas are held by people.  But I think that the only way progress in the dialog will be made (which, IMHO, could at least clear the decks for a while) is to not make this about rejecting people, but ideas.

Which is why the Q&A thread is so interesting to me.  It's not about Luke Crane; it's about Luke Crane discussing/defending ideas.

None of which is to say that -E. did that. I just thought it an opportune time, since he mentioned rejecting Brain Damage meant rejecting Ron, to point out that the two do not necessarily have to be equated.

I agree, but I think that, given the impact of GNS in theory dialog it's fair to ask if an individual designer subscribes to GNS (which outlines all the basics we've touched on including flaws with the traditional model which lead to real-life dysfunction).

And clearly luke believes at least some of it (he thinks games can be incoherent... he seems to think the traditional model has some inherent badness).

And there's one other thing to bear in mind: Ron has explicitly chastised people for understanding-and-disagreeing with the theory on other boards. Luke is a moderator on The Forge. I think it's fair to see a pattern of dialog being shut down (even when it doesn't occur at the forge) and wonder if someone with so much to lose (does the Gen Con booth, co-moderates, etc.) would be willing to stand up and say, "I don't agree with this."

Still, I think staying away from Ron, *specifically* is a Edited: good (I meant good) idea. I think the theory, including the Damage, is revelatory and completely fair game.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 29, 2007, 09:47:02 am
Quote from: TonyLB
Yeah ... I'm just jealous because nobody wants a Q&A post with me :(

Oh come on Tony.

There's been so much hand wringing about how people are treated here, it's ridiculous. And now, one of the most volatile people I've seen from the Story Game/Narrativist/GM-Power-Is-Bad side of the debate has come here and participated in what is, for the most part, a very interested and level-headed discussion.

Kudos is not a bad assessment; Kudos to Analg for getting the thread going; Kudos to people posting questions in a rational manner; Kudos to Luke for answering them (mostly). Kudos for the interchange that allows people to draw their own conclusions about, in this case it seems, GM Power.

So why come in here and rain on it? Is it just because Sett decided to draw the conclusion that he did? Why, really?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 29, 2007, 01:26:53 pm
Ok. I understand that you don't trust me, you don't believe me and you don't like me. None of this bothers me.

But the continued accusations of evasiveness in this context are false. That accusation that I'm not answering questions seems to hint at two things:

1) You're not listening.

The skill of listening entails the receiver to be able to hear and understand what the speaker said, even if he disagrees with it.

2) You have an agenda that you simply want me to cop to.

I wear my stripes proudly. I'm not going change what I believe or preach to satisfy the answers to your questions.

Check this out: I'm not lying or being evasive. I'm also extremely well-informed on the subject at hand. No one has all of the answers, and I certainly don't, but I've been steeped in the gaming culture and industry for 5 years. It's possible that I know what I'm talking about.

Also, let's toss some terms out the window: Fun and story. They're useless. E's little logic train about DnD and fun is meaningless. Fun is utterly subjective and it's not a measure of anything objective. And objectivity seems to be something you all crave.

And "story." Christ, where do I start? You guys aren't big on story, but let's not get started. Define story. Yeah, it's not too useful. So if you mean something with rising action, climax and conclusion, try using the word "narrative." It's a bit more specific.

Lastly, I LOVE how you all twist my words. It's artful and it makes me smile.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Claudius on July 29, 2007, 01:48:32 pm
Quote from: Settembrini
Thanks guys, the recent lines of questions have proven very nicely, that luke does neither know what tactics are, nor does he actually understand RPGs.

Combat in Burning Wheel is pretty tactical, and last time I read Burning Wheel and Burning Empires they looked like RPGs, so I guess Luke understands RPGs pretty well.

I can't see how it has been proven very nicely that Luke doesn't know what tactics are, or that he doesn't understand RPGs. Could you explain how you reached such conclusions, or is it just a matter that you don't like Luke?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 29, 2007, 01:49:28 pm
Also, in regards to PR. I have refrained from posting any links to anything in my .sig just so such accusations fall flat. No links, no identifying features in my user name. There's no publicity event going on here, you paranoid freaks. I'm doing this because I want to.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on July 29, 2007, 01:53:15 pm
Actually, I believe what I thought was evasiveness is due to the fact that your games deviate in important ways from the run of the Forge mill.

That said, "narrative"? Ew.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Thanatos02 on July 29, 2007, 04:07:23 pm
Quote from: luke

Lastly, I LOVE how you all twist my words. It's artful and it makes me smile.

I hope you're not talking about everyone who asked questions, dude. I like Burning Wheel and don't have anything against you, either.

One big problem with this dialogue is that, essentially, some people really have it in their heads that there's a real Us. vs. Them fight going on. You're either with them or against them. And you, being associated with Them (the Forge), no matter what capacity, are the enemy. Nothing you say can be right. You either have to confess and repent, or you're the enemy. It's almost fucking religious with them.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Thanatos02 on July 29, 2007, 04:08:27 pm
Quote from: Settembrini
Thanks guys, the recent lines of questions have proven very nicely, that luke does neither know what tactics are, nor does he actually understand RPGs.

Interesting, keep it up.


I'm tired of this fucking stupid rhetoric. This is retarded, right here.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Claudius on July 29, 2007, 04:21:46 pm
Quote from: Thanatos02
One big problem with this dialogue is that, essentially, some people really have it in their heads that there's a real Us. vs. Them fight going on. You're either with them or against them. And you, being associated with Them (the Forge), no matter what capacity, are the enemy. Nothing you say can be right. You either have to confess and repent, or you're the enemy. It's almost fucking religious with them.

Quoted for truth.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on July 29, 2007, 05:48:06 pm
Quote from: Alnag
If you want to have you Q&A thread, you might have one... ;)
Honestly, I'd love one, for a couple of reasons.

One, I'm a confessed and unrepentant attention whore. :D

Two, I think it'd be interesting for people to see that Luke's opinions are his own, and my opinions are my own, and they are in many (important) ways different.  I think it might make a pretty serious dent in any (hypothetical) plan to extract "The Forge Truth" by questioning Luke, or any other individual.  The truth is, the Forge is a community, and people within it approach things in many different ways.

But mostly the first thing :D

EDIT:  I typed "extra" in the main paragraph where I meant to type "extract."  Fixed it.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 29, 2007, 06:02:06 pm
If that were true, Tony, then most of the questions Luke purposely avoided would have been answered.

Hint: certain questions I asked were there to give Luke a chance to differentiate himself from the forgies. This is, in fact, one of the things I wanted to know the most. He chose not to answer them, or danced around them.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on July 29, 2007, 06:02:26 pm
Quote from: James J Skach
So why come in here and rain on it? Is it just because Sett decided to draw the conclusion that he did? Why, really?
Aw man ... I don't want to admit it, but you're totally right.

I posted because I miss the positive energy that was bubbling out at the start of this thread, where folks were all like "Wow, I'm finding everyone involved to be doing a good job in X, Y and Z way."

I like that buzz, I like the feel of it, and I feel like many recent posts here have been much more negative ... much more about the ways that people are supposedly misunderstanding or evading or whatever than about the solid ways that they're succeeding at the point of the Q&A thread.  I miss the positive stuff, and I want it back.

But James, you are 110% right that I posted in a negative way too.  That ain't gonna help, and I feel stupid for doing it.

Let me beg folks' pardon and try again:

I am still fascinated to see the main thread evolving, and I find it very impressive that even as topics move into areas where there clearly is some serious disagreement on what's what and how RPGs work, there's still a good solid core of desire to understand each other.  I sure hope that other people see that, and are impressed by it too.

It's all too easy to get caught up in stuff that tweaks you the wrong way, and get blinded to the good stuff, to your own detriment.  Take it from me :(
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 29, 2007, 06:44:13 pm
Quote from: TonyLB
I am still fascinated to see the main thread evolving, and I find it very impressive that even as topics move into areas where there clearly is some serious disagreement on what's what and how RPGs work, there's still a good solid core of desire to understand each other.  I sure hope that other people see that, and are impressed by it too.

Yeah, I think my biggest obstacle right now is that Luke is not you.  That is, you and I have worked out a kind of understanding that keeps us from assuming the other, in most cases, means the worst.  Luke, I think, assumes I'm trying to trip him up; when in fact what I'm doing is asking questions with a two-pronged goal.

Unfortunately, it comes across as a kind of 'gotcha' series of questions.  It's a shame. so I'm trying to make it clear I'm not trying to be confrontational - but that's difficult in this medium...
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 29, 2007, 06:54:36 pm
Quote from: luke

Also, let's toss some terms out the window: Fun and story. They're useless. E's little logic train about DnD and fun is meaningless. Fun is utterly subjective and it's not a measure of anything objective. And objectivity seems to be something you all crave.


Objectivity is appreciated when one is making diagnosis (e.g. Vampire causes Brain Damage) or developing a predictive model (E.g. GNS-Incoherence most-likely results in on-going power struggle).

I certainly haven't asked anyone for an objective definition of "fun" (maybe someone else has?) -- but that's not where *my* logic train goes.

My guess would be you're not quite getting my position so let me try again (tell me where you disagree).

1. D&D is the most popular game out there in terms of what sells.
2. D&D is *also* (and this is important) the most-played game
3. Playing D&D is what would be considered a "leisure activity" (as opposed, say, to study or work or biological maintenance like eating or sleeping)
4. People generally undertake leisure activities to experience "fun" (which, obviously, can vary from person to person)

If you disagree with any of these statements, we can discuss that, but if you accept them then your default position should be that most people who play D&D regularly do so because they enjoy it.

This is what's known as "ockham's razor" -- a logical point of view I assume you subscribe to?

And I hope it's clear that this logic-train doesn't require any kind objective or even "common" definition of fun, right? We don't have to measure their fun or even understand it. We just have to accept that they find it fun.

Yeah?

Sure there might be other explanations for the overwhelming popularity of D&D -- maybe Government Mind Control Rays or Alien Parasites... or even great masses of deluded gamers seeking bizarre and kinky power relationships with their "Dungeon Masters"

But absence some kind of reliable evidence, I can't think of any reason not to apply ockham's razor... can you? Your anecdotal evidence? Well, surely you're not surprised to hear that *my* anecdotal evidence contradicts yours, yeah?

And surely you can understand how reaching unsupported and negative conclusions about the games and gamers is kind of offensive?

But if you're going to address anything I've said, I'd like to hear about the Brain Damage; it'd be nice to have a clear answer on that one.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 29, 2007, 07:04:03 pm
Luke, you kind of wrote this to everyone; but I'm going to answer just for me - I dont' speak for anyone else here, so...
Quote from: luke
Ok. I understand that you don't trust me, you don't believe me and you don't like me. None of this bothers me.

Ok, we got off to a bad start in that old thread about the issues with a con.  I admit that, given that past, I was not going to give you the benefit of the doubt.  But not like you, believe you, or trust you? I think you might be stretching things a bit (for me, anyway).

Quote from: luke
But the continued accusations of evasiveness in this context are false. That accusation that I'm not answering questions seems to hint at two things:

1) You're not listening.

The skill of listening entails the receiver to be able to hear and understand what the speaker said, even if he disagrees with it.

2) You have an agenda that you simply want me to cop to.

I wear my stripes proudly. I'm not going change what I believe or preach to satisfy the answers to your questions.


3) we're not asking and you're not answering the "right" question.

I might think I'm asking one question, and when you answer with something that seems evasive, it might be because I didn't ask the question properly.

4) you're being evasive.

There it is.  You might not think you are; you might not be doing it purposefully or intentionally. But just like you might think I (we) are biased, so might you be.

Quote from: luke
Check this out: I'm not lying or being evasive.

I'm glad you've made this statement. I'll try to ask the questions better and to listen as best I can.

Quote from: luke
I'm also extremely well-informed on the subject at hand. No one has all of the answers, and I certainly don't, but I've been steeped in the gaming culture and industry for 5 years. It's possible that I know what I'm talking about.

I'd say it's proabable that most of us are grasping at straws, at best. I've been playing on and of for...jesus...thirty years now.  Can you see why when my anecdotal experience and yours differs, it can be confusing? Can you understand why your interpretation seems alien to me given my differing experience? I'm not saying yours is right or wrong, nor is mine.  I'm just trying to understand how you reach your conclusions.

Quote from: luke
Also, let's toss some terms out the window: Fun and story. They're useless. E's little logic train about DnD and fun is meaningless. Fun is utterly subjective and it's not a measure of anything objective. And objectivity seems to be something you all crave.

I'm going to focus on fun because story...yeah..well...

I think part of the problem with the discourse, and why so much hostility has come to the fore, is the subjectivity of fun has been mixed up with the objectivity of "better."  I think if we could navigate our way through that, clearing up the differences, it could go a long way towards a better dialog.

And for reference, I don't crave objectivity.  I merely want it to be applied in the right places and subjectivity to applied in it's appropriate places.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: J Arcane on July 29, 2007, 07:15:33 pm
Quote
I certainly haven't asked anyone for an objective definition of "fun" (maybe someone else has?) -- but that's not where *my* logic train goes.


My whole bloody point was, in fact, that there is no objective standard of "fun", and that he seemed to be mistaking his subjective experience for an objective observation.

But rather than acknowledge that, he instead switched to snark.

I wasn't terribly interested in the thrad to begin with, but I went into it with somewhat elevated hopes, simply because I've been intrigued by Burning Wheel, in particular because of Pseudoephedrine's recommendation, as well as my intrigue at the collaporative world building aspect.

So to be honest, if I came into it with any expectations, it was actually far higher than what Luke would like to believe.  I expected better from someone who seemed to at least have done some interesting things.

Instead, this thread, and Luke's rote recitations of Forge dogma and illogic has only served to remind me of why I took such a distaste for the Forge all those years ago when it began it's great exodus and invaded RPGnet in droves, even going so far as to thread crap in the video game discussions with rambling GNS diatribes.  

My memory had clouded, my judgement softened, and thus while I might've been primed to reconsider my judgement, instead, this utter failure of any kind of logical, rational thought just disappointed me, and reinforced what I'd long ago concluded but forgotten why.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on July 29, 2007, 08:07:06 pm
Quote from: James J Skach
I think part of the problem with the discourse, and why so much hostility has come to the fore, is the subjectivity of fun has been mixed up with the objectivity of "better."  I think if we could navigate our way through that, clearing up the differences, it could go a long way towards a better dialog.
If I may suggest:  I don't see any way to have a sensible statement about "better" without an attached question "better for what?"

For objective questions one can have objective answers:  If you ask "Which game does a better job of providing character-types that can equally contribute to the main mechanical tasks presented by the rules?" and your options are "Rifts" and "Feng Shui" then I can say with a fair amount of objectivity "Neither is as good as I'd like to see on this measure, but Feng Shui is the stronger of the two.  Yeah, the Killer archetype has a fair leg up on the Karate Cop in most mechanical tasks, but it's nothing compared with the vast gulf in power between a Glitter Boy and a Rogue Scholar."

For subjective questions one can only have subjective answers:  If you ask "Which game does a better job of providing fun?" then I can only answer by referring to what I, personally, find fun.

When folks (Luke or otherwise) talk about D&D3.x being a "better" game than AD&D2, because it better encapsulates the core of what D&D is ... well, I always wonder whether they're talking about something objective ("3.x does a better job of balance, such that multiple builds and strategies are sufficiently close in power level that there is no clear 'One True Build' for strategy, which is the core of D&D") or something subjective ("3.x makes me feel more heroic when I play it, which is the core of D&D").

Anyway, that's my read on the subject.  I hope it's helpful.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on July 29, 2007, 08:14:09 pm
*raises hand*

What's a Nubian?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Anon Adderlan on July 30, 2007, 10:49:51 am
Oh My Zod.

Watching Luke answer Master Degree's questions is like watching someone argue with the Time Cube guy. And the questions are so littered with preconceived assumptions that it sounds more like a witch trial or a search for communism than a game designer Q&A.

Me, I just have some general yes or no questions for anyone who wants to answer:

Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 30, 2007, 11:02:57 am
This isn't the Q&A thread, this is the commentary thread.

Which is why I can tell you that your second question is kinda stupid.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 30, 2007, 11:14:20 am
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
This isn't the Q&A thread, this is the commentary thread.

Which is why I can tell you that your second question is kinda stupid.

Be nice, AM.  It's an attempt at a straw man.  Let's not get too nasty with things like "stupid."
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 30, 2007, 11:18:57 am
Fair enough but come on!

"Do you believe that designing new RPGs is harmful to the hobby?"

Of course it isn't, and nobody thinks it is. It's a position you want to imagine the other guy to have so you can pretend to oppose it.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Warthur on July 30, 2007, 11:36:59 am
OK, I'll bite - I want to see where this is going.

Quote from: chaosvoyager
Do you believe that an RPG can be objectively good or bad?


Objectively bad games exist. FATAL, for example, is poor both in terms of the bigoted attitude of the author, the uninspiring and ridiculously convoluted mechanics - (4d100/2)-1 repeated over a dozen times for attribute rolls, WTF? - the limp nature of the prose, everything about it is mediocre at best, bigoted and nasty at worst, and simply rubbish the rest of the time. Pretty much everyone who looks at it hates it, aside from the original author and his buddies. That's as close to objectively bad as any creative product gets.

That doesn't mean that there is such a thing as an objectively good RPG - it all hinges on your definition of "objectively good". There's no such thing as an RPG that everyone likes - give me any game, and I can find you a gamer who will look at it and say "Meh. It kinda sucks."

On the other hand, if you work on another definition of "good" then you might be able to find some objectively good RPGs. If, statistically speaking, more people like a game than dislike it, you might be able to say it's objectively good (although that does a disservice to love-it-or-hate it games that appeal very strongly to a certain niche). Similarly, if you can point to an innovative game mechanic in an RPG and show how that game mechanic has been widely used in later games, you could make a case for that RPG having a greater than usual influence over the gaming scene. But it all comes down to your definitions.

Quote
Do you believe that designing new RPGs is harmful to the hobby?


Not by default. The only way I can see a new RPG hurting the hobby is if its content was especially objectionable and drew the wrath of the general public. There is such a thing as bad PR.

That said, very few small press RPGs are ever likely to get much attention from the mass media. Maybe if someone put out a D20 supplement promoting holocaust denial it would cause damage - I can see how the media might not differentiate between a D20 supplement made by a third party and an official D&D supplement - but that's about it.

Quote
Do you believe larger companies like WotC and WW change their gamelines less often and in less extreme ways than smaller companies?


Less often? Most certainly. It doesn't make economic sense for them to change their lines frequently.

Less extreme? No way! Compare and contrast your D&D 3.X and your AD&D 2nd Edition Player's Handbooks: that's an incredibly extreme change right there. And what about White Wolf destroying the oWoD - a setting which was arguably the main draw for WW's audience - and starting all over again from scratch?

Quote
Is it important for people to have an opinion about the people who design the games they play?


It is important that people are free to form an opinion. Personally, I'll buy any well-designed game unless the designer or publisher were actually shown to be white supremacists or some other kind of bigot; there is a point where I will boycott a product because I don't want to give money to the people behind it. I'm not aware of any RPG designer who's reached that point with me yet (aside from the jerks behind FATAL and RaHoWa).

So, chaosvoyager, exactly where are we going with this?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 30, 2007, 01:35:12 pm
Here's a pretty good example of how out-of-touch and lacking in experience the forgies are. I think this is fairly representative.

Quote from: Luke
1) 3.5 has it's weak elements. GM Fiat is one of them. Play speed is another one. But on the whole, it's a more robust and consistent set than previous iterations.

Now, he's already admitted he's rarely played it, and never in a campaign sense. And yet he brings up GM Fiat. The truth is, the current version of D&D is much more likely than any previous edition to have both players and GMs playing with the same set of rules.

The examples I have accumulated over the last 6 years are pretty extensive, but they're mostly in the tactical game- which is the only one where fiat matters. The tactical game assumes fairness and equal participation: You'll often be playing and a player can (and will) call you on whether something is legal or not. For example: movement, or whether an Attack of Opportunity is warranted is often something the player has to be able to pick up on. "Did he move through my threatened area?", "does that villain/monster have spring attack?" etc. Are all questions that players can ask. And usually, they can take advanatge of, by using the exact same set of rules that the GM uses. "If he runs there, I get an Attack of Opportunity on him..." "Oh is he casting? From that square? Well, he either has to make a concentration check or he's toast."

And this simply has to be so-- this is one of the main features of modern D&D-- and one of the things that bothers the true old-schoolers the most. In fact, under the current rules, players and GMs have to be on equal tactical footing because otherwise the tactical system breaks down. If players set up an entire feat tree and tactical style that revolves around (for example) taunting enemies into a threat zone and then pwning them, you can't fucking fiat that away in 3.5. Likewise layered reach tactics, likewise flank and spank, likewise optimized marshalling zones.. or really any of the really advanced stuff in the D&D tactical rules I've seen players pull-- really assumes and in fact depends upon equality of the GM and the players when it comes to the rules.

Actual GM Fiat in D&D 3.5 is of the "I'm saying you can't play a drow in this campaign". (Negotiation of those kinds of parameters is, by the way, completely identical to the way most of these story-games are run.)

The second thing is: I suspect a redefinition of 'fiat' as a term is in the offing. But I guess we'll see.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Koltar on July 30, 2007, 01:39:04 pm
By-the-way, not a big deal ...but I'm sick of the phrase "GM Fiat".

Usually when its flung about - its be someone who desperatly wanted to GM a game  but couldn't get any players. So that take their resaentment out on good GMs by trying to make games that undercut the GM's authority.

- Ed C.




...I'm not referring to Abyssal Maw by-the-way,but to Luke and others that use the term casually.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: One Horse Town on July 30, 2007, 01:45:32 pm
GM fiat is of no problem whatsoever if you have either an experienced group of players or have played within your current group for a while and built up trust. I suspect problems come when neither of these is true. Which is, to me, a strange basis to hang some design decisions on. Not bad, not good, but a stange 'baseline'. I'd rather that the baseline decisions were based on trusting the people who were going to be playing my game.

As per usual. YMMV. :)
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 30, 2007, 01:47:09 pm
Quote from: Koltar
By-the-way, not a big deal ...but I'm sick of the phrase "GM Fiat".

Usually when its flung about - its be someone who desperatly wanted to GM a game  but couldn't get any players. So that take their resaentment out on good GMs by trying to make games that undercut the GM's authority.

- Ed C.




...I'm not referring to Abyssal Maw by-the-way,but to Luke and others that use the term casually.


(haha. Anyhow, I totally agree.)

The thing is, they say GM Fiat because this generation grew up on that whole 90s era of gaming where the popular advice was you couldn't even make characters without sitting down with the GM. And offtimes there didn't even exist rules for certain situations. Like grabbing an item out of another guys hand.. "do I get it or not?" well, if you have to just arbitrarily say yes or no, then sure, that's an example of fiat. If you actually have a rule for it, then it isn't.

But ironically--
1) Many of these people are the exact same guys who advocated that back then.
2) Many of them still advocate such measures as having the GM very involved at character creation.
3) In many cases, they've replaced GM fiat with Game designer fiat, and the games suffer because of it.
4) Say yes or roll the dice- their big mantra? Is an example of fiat. It's still an arbitrary decision. Even if it's predetermined "yes", if there's no rule, and the GM has to sign off on it, it's fiat.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: jrients on July 30, 2007, 01:52:42 pm
Maw is making sense to me, but I would note that GM Fiat can be a useful tool when it is not abused.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 30, 2007, 02:44:54 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
Now, he's already admitted he's rarely played it, and never in a campaign sense.

And here's an example where you're not listening and you refuse to move beyond your prejudices.

You asked me if I played and I told you.

Quote from: me
9. I played Advanced Dungeons and Dragons from 1987 to 1997. The two longest campaigns lasted 3 years and 4 years. I never played AD&D 2e. I spurned it! Fah, revised rules and game balance, fah! Nor have I played more than a handful of D&D 3.X sessions.

Sett asked me about my characters for AD&D and I answered him, too.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 30, 2007, 02:49:26 pm
Whistle!

Luke, you specifically said that you hadn't played more than a handful - I don't think it's a stretch to use rarely (given the amount it is safe to assume you play given your love for your own game!).

AM, "never in a campaign sense" is not a fair leap, given lukes answer of a handful of times. I've seen campaigns that lasted only 5 to 10 session.  Short, sure, but a campaign nonetheless.

No yellow cards or ejections.  Play on.  Try to be nice....
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on July 30, 2007, 03:04:23 pm
Luke and AM, do you both agree on the following two points?--

1) Someone's GOT to wear the Viking Hat.

2) Given this, it might as well be the designer (BW, 3.x, doesn't matter; Mearls = Luke).
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 30, 2007, 04:16:57 pm
You're right, only played 3.5 a handful of times. Damn it, but in this context there's no difference! I've been out-internetted.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pseudoephedrine on July 30, 2007, 04:27:24 pm
I heard the first edition of Burning Wheel was written entirely in baby's blood too!
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: One Horse Town on July 30, 2007, 04:32:14 pm
Quote from: luke
You're right, only played 3.5 a handful of times. Damn it, but in this context there's no difference! I've been out-internetted.


:D
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 30, 2007, 07:11:33 pm
Quote from: jrients
Maw is making sense to me, but I would note that GM Fiat can be a useful tool when it is not abused.


The idea that GM fiat is a bad thing is an example of the profound misunderstanding many indie gamers have about roleplaying dynamics.

GM Fiat and vision make traditional games *better* -- it's one of the reasons the traditional model is so robust and popular.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Thanatos02 on July 30, 2007, 08:41:24 pm
Quote from: -E.
The idea that GM fiat is a bad thing is an example of the profound misunderstanding many indie gamers have about roleplaying dynamics.

GM Fiat and vision make traditional games *better* -- it's one of the reasons the traditional model is so robust and popular.

Cheers,
-E.

It's my opinion that a game can have Fiat or not. It changes the playing style, but it's not objectively good or bad, simply what the group wants. Fiat, in a healthy group, is only by virtue of the gaming group. A healthy group should always be able to stop and say, "Well, hey, this is something that really sits poorly with me."

But that doesn't make Fiat a tool every group wants to use. There are reasons for and against, by personal preference. If I were gaming with people I didn't know well, or at all, it might be nice to know the DM can't fiat me into a corner I didn't want to be fiatted into. If I know them better, I might feel more comfortable about it.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Thanatos02 on July 30, 2007, 08:42:49 pm
Quote from: Pseudoephedrine
I heard the first edition of Burning Wheel was written entirely in baby's blood too!

I hear that's why Brantai bought it. Personally, I never use baby blood unless I'm baking, though. It's too expensive to waste on just anything.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 30, 2007, 09:08:31 pm
Quote from: Thanatos02
It's my opinion that a game can have Fiat or not. It changes the playing style, but it's not objectively good or bad, simply what the group wants. Fiat, in a healthy group, is only by virtue of the gaming group. A healthy group should always be able to stop and say, "Well, hey, this is something that really sits poorly with me."

But that doesn't make Fiat a tool every group wants to use. There are reasons for and against, by personal preference. If I were gaming with people I didn't know well, or at all, it might be nice to know the DM can't fiat me into a corner I didn't want to be fiatted into. If I know them better, I might feel more comfortable about it.


I don't think that's unreasonable, but I doubt I'd want to play with a GM who I didn't trust to use fiat -- even if the game somehow limited fiat (in other words, for me, limiting fiat doesn't really solve the issue).

I'm trying to think of any situation where an absence of fiat would be a benefit for me and can't see it... it seems to imply an absence of trust between the players and the GM (or a competitive relationship, but given the dialog around tyrannical an patriarchal GM's, I think in many cases it's a trust thing).

I can believe that people get into gaming groups where they don't trust that their preferences will be respected -- but I see no reason to believe that represents any significant majority of players and I think for those it does address, I'd recommend a non-mechanical solution.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 12:33:50 am
Just curious, E, but would you roleplay with complete strangers without interview or preamble?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Brantai on July 31, 2007, 02:58:07 am
Quote from: Thanatos02
I hear that's why Brantai bought it. Personally, I never use baby blood unless I'm baking, though. It's too expensive to waste on just anything.

It is, but they were out of 1st ed. and revised was printed in toddler's blood.  I decided it was close enough.  Since Luke seems to be answering questions in both threads I'll field this one: do you have any other mini-setting books in the works after blossoms (which looks amazing, by the way)?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 31, 2007, 07:21:45 am
Quote from: luke
Just curious, E, but would you roleplay with complete strangers without interview or preamble?

I would.

Anyone who has ever gone to a convention would. The forgies like to spread the fear, uncertainty and doubt about the idea, but they work like hell to get strangers into pick-up games as well.

This idea that roleplaying is like sacred communion and you can't trust the horrible horrible strangers is one of the funnier things about them. Quite often, the forgies themselves happen to be the horrible horrible strangers that you don't want in your group in the first place.

In gaming, as in life, as in anything, you make your assessments of people and whether they are going to fit in. You go from there. But the important thing is, you do it without fear.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on July 31, 2007, 07:56:06 am
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
The forgies like to spread the fear, uncertainty and doubt about the idea, but they work like hell to get strangers into pick-up games as well.

This idea that roleplaying is like sacred communion and you can't trust the horrible horrible strangers is one of the funnier things about them. Quite often, the forgies themselves happen to be the horrible horrible strangers that you don't want in your group in the first place.
Y'know what else is cool about having a Q&A thread?  When one person interprets Luke in one way, and another person interprets him in a different way, we don't have to guess what he actually thinks on a topic.  We can ask him.  I'm'a gonna go do so.

Liberating! :D
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 31, 2007, 10:34:31 am
Quote from: TonyLB
Y'know what else is cool about having a Q&A thread?  When one person interprets Luke in one way, and another person interprets him in a different way, we don't have to guess what he actually thinks on a topic.  We can ask him.  I'm'a gonna go do so.

Liberating! :D

IMHO, it's not a stretch to interpret Luke's question as a response.  IOW - he's saying that if you play with complete strangers, you don't know if you can trust the GM and, by extension, the Fiat he's granted by rules systems that do so. AM is taking that interpretation and responding.

Luke, can, of course, correct me if I'm wrong. Am I wrong Luke? What is it you meant to say with that question?

I do see another place where my logic train and Luke's logic train take different switches. He's seems to be saying, through that question, that the reduction of GM Fiat in rules systems better facilitate fun at a table where the people are strangers. I don't necessarily doubt that it can be the case.  I don't think it's an objective truth that this is inherently better. And I'm stymied to figure out why an entire movement would be created just to serve the situation where the players are all strangers.  Finally, all this seems to turn on the FUD, as AM points out, that you can't trust a group of strangers all sitting down to play an RPG.

Given the repeat convention business, I find that difficult to accept.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Koltar on July 31, 2007, 10:37:28 am
Quote from: Thanatos02
I hear that's why Brantai bought it. Personally, I never use baby blood unless I'm baking, though. It's too expensive to waste on just anything.


 God jam it!!
 You almost made me snort a drink out of my nose!!
Stop that!
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 11:22:56 am
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
Anyone who has ever gone to a convention would. The forgies like to spread the fear, uncertainty and doubt about the idea, but they work like hell to get strangers into pick-up games as well.

This idea that roleplaying is like sacred communion and you can't trust the horrible horrible strangers is one of the funnier things about them. Quite often, the forgies themselves happen to be the horrible horrible strangers that you don't want in your group in the first place.


I think you're all misreading me on this one. AM, you would play with strangers, that's great. Have you? Also, could you share some of your horrible horrible experiences playing games with forgies you've never previously met before at cons, in-stores or game days?


Brantai,
Nothing in the works in that department at the moment.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Settembrini on July 31, 2007, 11:31:53 am
Quote
I think you're all misreading me on this one. AM, you would play with strangers, that's great. Have you? Also, could you share some of your horrible horrible experiences playing games with forgies you've never previously met before at cons, in-stores or game days?

He already did that several times.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 31, 2007, 11:35:02 am
Not that you asked me, luke, but I play at conventions with strangers almost exclusively (unfortunately) at this point.  There are some familiar faces in the crowd, but when I sit down at a table, I rarely, if ever, know anyone else, including the GM.

Last convention was a great example of how this can work really well.  There were a core of four or five of us that ended up playing six slots together for the entire weekend.  I met nice folks and talked a lot of gaming.

When I played at a table with folks I ended up not liking (not the people, per se, but the way the play went), I avoided them at later tables. And I've never had a GM at a con that pulled some shit using GM Fiat - ever.

Then again, I'm not a convention hound like AM :p

(Side Note: Which is one of the interesting things Abyssal Maw brings up about DnD 3.5 - that while the GM still has Fiat, it's less evident simply due to the sheer force/number of existing rules that cover situations - is something I hadn't considered until he said it. Do more rules = less Fiat? Another thread AM?)
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 31, 2007, 11:36:28 am
Quote from: luke
I think you're all misreading me on this one. AM, you would play with strangers, that's great. Have you? Also, could you share some of your horrible horrible experiences playing games with forgies you've never previously met before at cons, in-stores or game days?


Brantai,
Nothing in the works in that department at the moment.

And just to address this - since you said we all were - am I?

Did you mean something other than what I thought?  If so, what?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 11:46:42 am
James,
I was not about to launch into a "horrors of convention games" post. I was merely curious about the boundaries of E's play experience and if he'd been put in situations where trust was not implicit in the out of game relationship.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on July 31, 2007, 11:58:18 am
Quote from: James J Skach
IMHO, it's not a stretch to interpret Luke's question as a response.
That's cool.  I don't know whether it's a "stretch" or not ... and I don't particularly care.  That's what I was saying about the Q&A option being liberating:  If I want to hear, very explicitly, whether Luke believes (A) or (B) or None of the Above on a certain subject then I can just bop over to the thread and ask him.

Given that, I end up with very little interest in speculating on what he might mean.  It would feel sort of like trying to derive the current weather from meteorological first principles while sitting next to a window.  Instead I look outside, and I now know what the weather is.

Does that make sense?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 31, 2007, 12:08:08 pm
Quote from: luke
I think you're all misreading me on this one. AM, you would play with strangers, that's great. Have you? Also, could you share some of your horrible horrible experiences playing games with forgies you've never previously met before at cons, in-stores or game days?


Brantai,
Nothing in the works in that department at the moment.

Yes, I have! In fact, usually when I start a new weekly campaign, I invite 2 or 3 totally new or new-to-me players. Also, for a few months when I was messing around with FantasyGrounds II, I basicly did blind recruits from the FGII website and ran the game for whoever showed up on my server that had a completed character at the time. Also, I've gone to a lot of RPGA events. The point is- it's hit or miss on those (I had one problem player on FGII, so eventually I just disinvited him), but it's never the end of the world. And word gets out fast about the people you don't want in your game: For example here's a guy named Howard N. in the Geoff region (I won't spell out his full name...) who I know I've got to watch out for, for similar reasons.

Well, actually, you missed the point on the forgies. For example, I know I would never game with a lot of you fuckers because your'e griefers or your'e insane. See also, the drow guy, the guy that thinks D&D is for 14 year olds only, the guy that thinks the hobby needs to be "degeeked". The guy with the race obsession that thinks "gnomes represent the oppression of mexicans" or whatever...  People like that are total fucking tools. And as far as hygiene issues, well, I've seen photos of enough sweaty balding guys with black t-shirts for a lifetime. I'll leave it at that. My own group looks like a college IT department by comparison.

See? I was easily able to correctly tag certain forgies as people I wouldn't want to play with. And as far as the games go-- I only have to look as far back as a disastrous and badly run game of Sorcerer run in 2000. The GM of that game would be a former member of my gaming group. I don't want to embarass him, but it's someone you know. :cool:

I'm not a total convention hound, either. This year I've been to Raptorcon, DDXP, and many gamedays and small local ad-hoc RPGA events, as well as my own weekly campaign group.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 31, 2007, 12:10:29 pm
Quote from: TonyLB
That's cool.  I don't know whether it's a "stretch" or not ... and I don't particularly care.  That's what I was saying about the Q&A option being liberating:  If I want to hear, very explicitly, whether Luke believes (A) or (B) or None of the Above on a certain subject then I can just bop over to the thread and ask him.

Given that, I end up with very little interest in speculating on what he might mean.  It would feel sort of like trying to derive the current weather from meteorological first principles while sitting next to a window.  Instead I look outside, and I now know what the weather is.

Does that make sense?

Fair enough, Tony.  And as you can see, I asked…

Quote from: luke
I was not about to launch into a "horrors of convention games" post. I was merely curious about the boundaries of E's play experience and if he'd been put in situations where trust was not implicit in the out of game relationship.

Fair enough, Luke.  I hope my answer was not a “horrors of convention games” post.  However, now that we’ve established my particular convention play experience (and I’d be willing to bet that Abyssal Maw, who I think goes to more conventions than I do, has a similar wide range of experiences), how does that inform, if at all, your opinion about the need to curb GM Fiat? What about regular group play – do you think the same GM Fiat concerns are an issue for a group that’s played together for 6 months, 2 years, 5 years?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 31, 2007, 12:13:01 pm
Quote from: James J Skach


(Side Note: Which is one of the interesting things Abyssal Maw brings up about DnD 3.5 - that while the GM still has Fiat, it's less evident simply due to the sheer force/number of existing rules that cover situations - is something I hadn't considered until he said it. Do more rules = less Fiat? Another thread AM?)


I do believe more rules=less fiat. If there's any situation where the GM has to decide what happens with no rule support, it's fiat.

Even if the GM is told to "say yes or roll the dice". If the GM has to do anything at all, it's fiat.

This is also why fiat isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is an abusable thing, though, which is what people are really watching out for. It's also abusable to have more rules than you really need. So if you need rules to eat, and you have to roll to see whether the fork makes it to your mouth, that also sucks.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Spike on July 31, 2007, 12:23:02 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw


This is also why fiat isn't necessarily a bad thing. It is an abusable thing, though, which is what people are really watching out for. It's also abusable to have more rules than you really need. So if you need rules to eat, and you have to roll to see whether the fork makes it to your mouth, that also sucks.



I totally Fiat that at my table.


I am EVIL! Bwhaahahahahahahahaha
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on July 31, 2007, 12:51:38 pm
Umm, Luke, AM... if you don't answer the question I will henceforth call you evil twins at my leisure.

Quote
Luke and AM, do you both agree on the following two points?--

1) Someone's GOT to wear the Viking Hat.

2) Given this, it might as well be the designer (BW, 3.x, doesn't matter; Mearls = Luke).
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on July 31, 2007, 12:53:15 pm
Quote from: Pierce Inverarity
Umm, Luke, AM... if you don't answer the question I will henceforth call you evil twins at my leisure.
For Luke's part, why don't you just post it in ... well ... the Q&A thread?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on July 31, 2007, 12:57:59 pm
Because that would soften the impact of AM and Luke agreeing on a fundamental issue in one and the same thread.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 31, 2007, 01:07:20 pm
I didn't understand the significance of the viking hat!

:viking: :valkyrie:

I probably agree with Luke on plenty of things. Even gaming related things.

Edit: But you CAN call me an evil twin of Luke at your leisure. I can take it!
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on July 31, 2007, 01:14:07 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
But you CAN call me an evil twin of Luke at your leisure. I can take it!


I was fearing that!
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 02:43:44 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
I do believe more rules=less fiat.


This may be true, but it seems like a poor fix. If having clear cut rules lessens the chance that one tired, overworked player is going to have to make something up on the fly, why not just get rid of "fiat" altogether and simply say that the players must obey the rules? It's a much more simple and elegant solution from a game design standpoint.

-L
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on July 31, 2007, 02:47:09 pm
Quote from: luke
It's a much more simple and elegant solution from a game design standpoint.


Design standpoint might be. What about consumer standpoint? Because from design standpoint to get rid of the players altogether might be (with just a bit of exageration) also very simple and elegant solution. Who the hell are players anyway to interpret the rules. ;-)
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 02:47:29 pm
Sorry Pierce, I dont understand the Viking Hat. I know it's a joke from rpg.net about GMs, but that's it. :o
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on July 31, 2007, 02:48:36 pm
Quote from: luke
This may be true, but it seems like a poor fix. If having clear cut rules lessens the chance that one tired, overworked player is going to have to make something up on the fly, why not just get rid of "fiat" altogether and simply say that the players must obey the rules? It's a much more simple and elegant solution from a game design standpoint.

-L


When discussing game design, players always must be assumed to be obeying the rules. If players are doing things outside of the rules, you can't blame the system. If players are going to not obey the rules, then just simply putting in a rule that says "players must obey the rules" doesn't fix anything either. Because they can just ignore that.

Simple! Elegant! ... and completely Useless!
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 31, 2007, 02:50:45 pm
Quote from: luke
This may be true, but it seems like a poor fix. If having clear cut rules lessens the chance that one tired, overworked player is going to have to make something up on the fly, why not just get rid of "fiat" altogether and simply say that the players must obey the rules? It's a much more simple and elegant solution from a game design standpoint.

-L

Which, tired, overworked player? Hell, I'm not even playing and I'm tired and overworked :p

Seriously, though - how does what you said differ from what AM is saying (and with which I'm agreeing).  It's seems a bit circular, so maybe I'm misreading something.

Perhaps you're saiyng that the best of all worlds would be rules that cover everything so fiat isn't an issue - the players (all of them) just have to obey rules...is that it?  If so, I know I won't, and I doubt AM will, argue that in particular.

But in the absence of the perfect world, I don't see the problem with Fiat to fill the cracks with spackle. Can you help me understand what you would use in place of Fiat to fill those gaps in the rules? I think I know, but I want to clean the decks and start fresh...
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Spike on July 31, 2007, 02:57:49 pm
Um...

You guys realize that the 'poor, tired overworked player' he was referring to was the Gamemaster in a sterling example of communication?

Just checking
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on July 31, 2007, 02:59:58 pm
Quote from: Spike
Um...

You guys realize that the 'poor, tired overworked player' he was referring to was the Gamemaster in a sterling example of communication?

Just checking

Oh, Spike...you missed the :p in that post meant to show it as a facetious remark?

Here's a few more just to make sure...

:p :p :p :p :p :p
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on July 31, 2007, 04:02:56 pm
Quote from: luke
Sorry Pierce, I dont understand the Viking Hat. I know it's a joke from rpg.net about GMs, but that's it. :o


There isn't much to it. It's just shorthand for "GM is always right, welcome to my world, mortals" yadda yadda. Funless Hackmaster.

What I'm trying to get at is simply that there's been a Viking Hat switcheroo from GM to designer, whether in BW or 3.x. These games are like boardgames in the sense that you can do little or nothing outside what the rules allow.

And that's fine, for some. And I don't feel disempowered as a former Viking Hat wearer. Au contraire, I feel put off as a general Viking Hat hater. And I've been GMing for most of my gaming life.

AD&D 1E was a baroque mess which everyone drifted/houseruled the shit out of, exactly as they pleased. Where "they" is the whole group, and "houserule" is just the codification of everyone's input by the GM, and which is always subject to further revision (after all, it's just a houserule).

That at least was how it did pan out sometimes, because social dynamics exist regardless of whether they're addressed in a rulesbook. We're social beings before we learn what a d20 is, and while dictatorial GMs exist, they just don't last very long (except on the infraweb). And the flexibility and tacitness of that "houseruling" process, over many years, is being actively resisted by more recent design approaches.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 04:29:12 pm
Thanks for clearing that up.

I don't agree that making a functional game design that works as written in the books without the players having to make shit up in order for it to run is the same as "GM is always right, welcome to my world, mortals."

While I will often cite board, card and wargames as models of functional design in which the players follow the rules and still manage to enjoy the game, I do not think summarily dismissing functionally designed RPG rules as boardgames is accurate in any sense.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Arminius on July 31, 2007, 04:44:27 pm
I fail to see how any RPG (in the real world) doesn't require somebody to make shit up. Often including whether to apply a rule or not.

It's more a matter whose shit sticks (so to speak). There are games that nominally trade the Viking Hat around...but if you think they aren't still subject to social wrangling, well, you're wrong. The only other alternative are games that simply leave big holes and tell the group to decide collaboratively. Unfortunately putting it as starkly as that is often the least functional approach to achieving real consensus.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 31, 2007, 04:45:12 pm
Quote from: luke
Just curious, E, but would you roleplay with complete strangers without interview or preamble?


I have on many occassions; certainly at conventions -- when gaming in someone's home it's hard to avoid *any* pre-game contact, but I've sat down with a new group with very little pre-game show (college clubs, for example... back in the day!)

I'm not entirely sure how this is relevant, but I'm taking a guess it has something to do with trusting strangers to respect my preferences?

In a one-shot situation (like a convention) I might be disappointed to learn that my preferences, but it wouldn't ruin the greater experience for me. And frankly, I'd be disappointed at the absence of respect -- even if the rules forced them to let me have my way, I wouldn't consider that a "win."

When I'm joining a new group that I expect (hope) to play with long-term, I'm looking for the kinds of people I want to spend time with: people who are friendly, respectful, funny, smart, considerate, etc. (sounds like a personal ad...) -- so, again -- if Joe the GM tries to screw me but is thwarted by the rules... I'd count that just as negative as if he'd managed to screw me (it's all about intent).

Make sense? I might have completely missed the point / direction you were taking this.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 04:56:07 pm
E,
Sure. Just curious.

Eliot,
I think you're misreading what I'm saying. I'm speaking of games which have a rule that grants one player the power to subvert consensus or negotiation based on what he thinks is right at any given moment. Once that kind of power is granted, games become more about navigating that player's priorities and prefences than applying the rules equally and fairly all around.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 31, 2007, 05:08:01 pm
Quote from: luke
This may be true, but it seems like a poor fix. If having clear cut rules lessens the chance that one tired, overworked player is going to have to make something up on the fly, why not just get rid of "fiat" altogether and simply say that the players must obey the rules? It's a much more simple and elegant solution from a game design standpoint.

-L


Why is removing GM fiat simpler or more-elegant?

From a rules-complexity standpoint, nothing could be simpler than Rule 0; I guess "elegant" is in the eye of the beholder.

Consider grammar. Full of rules, right? And when trying to communicate, rules help. But writers and poets often break them for good reasons -- often artistic impact.

Would you argue that authors and poets should never be allowed to break the rules of grammar?

I'm guessing "no."

Then why argue for immutable rules in RPGs?

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 05:18:15 pm
What a perfectly imperfect analogy.

I'll tell you what. Let's sit down and play a game. Let's say... Monopoly. In this version of Monopoly, the guy wearing red-framed glasses and a death metal t-shirt gets to override rules as he sees fit. That seems fair to me! In fact, the rules state that this player makes the game more exciting for everyone and can use his innate sense of drama to make the game better. I'm cheerful, energetic and enthusiastic about the game. I'm clearly not being a dick or an asshole. I slide my little thimble a space or two ahead in order to land on some choice property. I explain to you why this will make a better game in the long run. Trust me. I snag some extra cash from the bank when I'm low and explain why this makes the game more dramatic. I promise you that I'll make it up to you in the end. I stop short of landing on your properties, explaining the tense excitement of it all.



I'm a game designer. I simply want to provide the players of my games clear, fair rules that produce consistent results from game to game.
-L
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Spike on July 31, 2007, 05:23:50 pm
Luke: If your RPG expirences were at all like a game of monopoly, with the GM actively trying to win, no wonder you think we are all drain bramaged.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 05:33:09 pm
Spike, that's an excellent example of two things: 1) Analogies are imperfect! You're absolutely right. I shouldn't have gone there. And 2) a keenly uncharitable reading of what I was trying to say.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Spike on July 31, 2007, 06:23:36 pm
Keenly uncharitable?  Serious?

I'm not your enemy here, Luke.  I like Burning Empires, for all I will probably never play it.

Your analogy has one player of the game blatently cheating to win.  Aside from your own game(s?) I haven't seen any RPG ever set up where the GM is supposed to be competing with other players in some weird attempt to 'win the game'.  In fact, most RPG's I'm familiar with... right there in the part where they explain games to newcomers, tell you that there is no 'winning' the RPG.  Players aren't competing in game terms, not against each other, and not really against the GM. Does it happen? Sure.  Then again, if I looked hard enough I can find someone who eats their own feces. That doesn't mean I need a good receipe for human shit in the average cookbook.

But yeah, that was a crappy analogy. Maybe that's why I was 'uncharitable', it left no room for other interpretation.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Thanatos02 on July 31, 2007, 07:09:14 pm
Quote from: luke
And 2) a keenly uncharitable reading of what I was trying to say.


I'm sorry to say that Spike doesn't seem to be reading that in bad faith. I kind of understand what you're trying to get across, but it's true that Monopoly is a game where you fight to win and RPGs arn't, really, in the traditional sense.

To be accurate, Monopoly would have to have rules for surviving while being poor, perhaps under the guide of another player or NPC while the guy with red glasses and metal shirt totally wasn't actually a player but just acted as a banker and commanded some several different pieces both in service to and antagonistic against player-controlled buisnesses and pieces.  Even with as far as that analogy gets streched, it's still not really close enough to be easily read as getting across your intentions, but it'd be a start.

Do you see what I'm saying?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on July 31, 2007, 07:23:12 pm
Thanatos, Spike. Are you insisting that RPGs are special in regards to games?* And that they need special rules and situations that seem good enough for every other type of game.

The analogy presented was of a game in which one player had special discretion over other players and was only beholden to his good judgement. We are not univerally rational, fair beings. We each have our own biases, many of them shift according to our needs and whims.

RPGs aren't special. There is simply this ingrained tradition to build rules in a certain fashion. Is successful by default -- because that was the only way it was done. Only now are the basic assumptions that make up roleplaying game being seriously questioned.

*Don't bring sports into this.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 31, 2007, 07:29:58 pm
Quote from: luke
What a perfectly imperfect analogy.

I'll tell you what. Let's sit down and play a game. Let's say... Monopoly. In this version of Monopoly, the guy wearing red-framed glasses and a death metal t-shirt gets to override rules as he sees fit. That seems fair to me! In fact, the rules state that this player makes the game more exciting for everyone and can use his innate sense of drama to make the game better. I'm cheerful, energetic and enthusiastic about the game. I'm clearly not being a dick or an asshole. I slide my little thimble a space or two ahead in order to land on some choice property. I explain to you why this will make a better game in the long run. Trust me. I snag some extra cash from the bank when I'm low and explain why this makes the game more dramatic. I promise you that I'll make it up to you in the end. I stop short of landing on your properties, explaining the tense excitement of it all.



I'm a game designer. I simply want to provide the players of my games clear, fair rules that produce consistent results from game to game.
-L


This post appeared below mine; that may have been coincidence.

Were you assuming I was making an analogy comparing writing or poetry to RPG's?

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: David R on July 31, 2007, 07:39:35 pm
Quote from: luke

RPGs aren't special. There is simply this ingrained tradition to build rules in a certain fashion. Is successful by default -- because that was the only way it was done. Only now are the basic assumptions that make up roleplaying game being seriously questioned.


I don't really have a problem with this ....except when those assumptions are based on dodgy reasoning such as 'brain damage", the tradional player/gm dynamic being broken and a whole lot of other "stuff". Also I have issues with "successful by default"*...

It's like folks who say that D&D is only successful because it was the first rpg.

Regards,
David R
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Arminius on July 31, 2007, 08:07:34 pm
Quote from: luke
Eliot,
I think you're misreading what I'm saying. I'm speaking of games which have a rule that grants one player the power to subvert consensus or negotiation based on what he thinks is right at any given moment. Once that kind of power is granted, games become more about navigating that player's priorities and prefences than applying the rules equally and fairly all around.

I do understand what you're saying; my response is a bit subtle but it really gets to the heart of how tabletop RPGs are played. And I don't mean some claptrap like "RPGs necessarily entail violating the rules". Rather, the rules in a tabletop RPG always include a certain amount of discretion when it comes to framing or resolving situations. BW and D&D 3.x for example both have very precise combat rules, but they still leave it up to someone to decide who the combatants will be; furthermore I don't think either one has a hard & fast rule to determine when NPCs/monsters will surrender or run away. (I'm less sure about that for D&D than I am for BW.)

Other "story-game" type RPGs typically require an individual or the group to identify "the scope" of a conflict and determine, either before or after dice are rolled, what will happen if X wins the conflict or Y does. If you give a player temporary power to dictate, you aren't really creating consensus: you're still walking a tightrope between encouraging the "dictator" to be sensitive to the group, and allowing whiners and bullies to undermine the formal distribution of authority in favor of social pressure. When you move to group consensus you've yanked out the tightrope entirely.

So mainly what I see in the Forge-inspired games--on this point--is more of a need to assume that the group is already on the same page...or a willingness to accept that people are going to drop out if they don't fit in (instead of hanging on pathetically hoping for a moment of fun)...and if you've got either of those, then "Fiat" isn't an issue.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Arminius on July 31, 2007, 08:19:06 pm
Quote from: luke
RPGs aren't special. There is simply this ingrained tradition to build rules in a certain fashion. Is successful by default -- because that was the only way it was done. Only now are the basic assumptions that make up roleplaying game being seriously questioned.

*Don't bring sports into this.
Well, that's the thing. RPGs are special. And why exclude sports? Because they use referees? But the analogy of GM to referee is quite apt, under certain styles of RPG play. Even more might be an analogy to the producers of a TV quiz show: they write the questions and judge the answers; however, they aren't in competition with the contestants.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Thanatos02 on July 31, 2007, 09:02:43 pm
Quote from: luke
Thanatos, Spike. Are you insisting that RPGs are special in regards to games?* And that they need special rules and situations that seem good enough for every other type of game.

*Don't bring sports into this.


Not at all. What I am saying, though, is that games vary.
Monopoly has win conditions.
D&D 3.5 does not have win conditions.
Some role-playing games have win conditions.

One might consider a Venn Diagram or something. I know I'm thinking of one, though I'm really too tired to whip one up for us, and I trust you to see what I'm  what I'm getting at here.

So, ok, we have games with win conditions and games without win conditions, right? (Set Win Conditions, anyhow. Some games have player-set win conditions, dig? We can chat about win conditions later, if you like, since I believe it's an importantpart of the indie gaming movement.

Now, you've got role-playing games (RPGs here on out). The extent that any game is a role-playing game is a bit of a sliding scale, but chiefly we have a general understanding of what we're talking about. (I trust everyone to read this in good faith and not, say, bring up the hoary chestnut that is 'role-playing chess'.)

Your RPG may have win conditions. It may not.
It may have a GM (game master. other terms may apply, I felt this was suitably generic).  It may not.

In games with a GM, the GM may be a 'player' (in that he or she takes up the role of characters with agendas - NPCs - that the GM attempts to manifest for any number of reasons) or the GM may simply exist to render rulings. (Player/not). In games where the GM is a player, s/he may exist to undermind PCs, support PCs, or both.

So now we've got three scales that may be considered rough on/off switches. (Gray areas exist, but...)
In games where the RPG is like Monopoly, you have players. One player is the banker, but the banker has no special game authority. This is where you seem to be coming from, Luke. In Burning Wheel, the GM plays by the rules. Because s/he's given license to play with the gloves off, s/he's obligated to follow the rules, because otherwise there's a serious conflict of interests.

But not all games follow that line of thinking. That's not how they're played. I believe there's a right way to DM and a wrong way. Others may disagree, but in a game like D&D where there is a GM who is not a player and who is not antagonistic to the PCs, the right way to GM is to play the game according to its set-up internal logic. If the group is good, and the GM is doing it right, everyone has agreed to this.

This is pretty much listed in the rules of D&D, but maybe not every RPG. However, the GM has no reason to be biased for or against the PCs. It's a Sim GM. S/he uses the game's internal logic. There are world rules the GM is expected to follow.

This can break down. It ought to be listed specifically.
I don't know why sports are a special case, except that they're between two groups of PCs with a ref. Sports are not a worse analogy then Monopoly, but they are still not a good one.

Did I enhance the discourse? I don't want to go any further without feedback. I assure you I am reading in good faith with an attempt to further meaningful communication. If I'm more pendenic then I need to be, well, it's because I just finished my Lit class (and my degree! Yay!) and have been writing essays. I tried to unpack that writing style, but I think I failed.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 31, 2007, 09:12:32 pm
Quote from: Elliot Wilen
I do understand what you're saying; my response is a bit subtle but it really gets to the heart of how tabletop RPGs are played. And I don't mean some claptrap like "RPGs necessarily entail violating the rules". Rather, the rules in a tabletop RPG always include a certain amount of discretion when it comes to framing or resolving situations. BW and D&D 3.x for example both have very precise combat rules, but they still leave it up to someone to decide who the combatants will be; furthermore I don't think either one has a hard & fast rule to determine when NPCs/monsters will surrender or run away. (I'm less sure about that for D&D than I am for BW.)

Other "story-game" type RPGs typically require an individual or the group to identify "the scope" of a conflict and determine, either before or after dice are rolled, what will happen if X wins the conflict or Y does. If you give a player temporary power to dictate, you aren't really creating consensus: you're still walking a tightrope between encouraging the "dictator" to be sensitive to the group, and allowing whiners and bullies to undermine the formal distribution of authority in favor of social pressure. When you move to group consensus you've yanked out the tightrope entirely.

So mainly what I see in the Forge-inspired games--on this point--is more of a need to assume that the group is already on the same page...or a willingness to accept that people are going to drop out if they don't fit in (instead of hanging on pathetically hoping for a moment of fun)...and if you've got either of those, then "Fiat" isn't an issue.


Very nicely said. I was trying to find ways to say this, and then your post came along.

Although I think even this scenario is over-optimistic: does anyone think that groups don't ignore the rules and over-ride-with-fiat of even indie games when it suites them?

I'd bet money that people do what they want in their own basements, even if the game designer would disapprove.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on July 31, 2007, 09:23:20 pm
Quote from: luke
Thanatos, Spike. Are you insisting that RPGs are special in regards to games?* And that they need special rules and situations that seem good enough for every other type of game.


Surely you acknowledge that there are different types of games, yes?

Compare poker to chess -- one has a large random element (poker) and the other none almost none (who gets white may be decided randomly or by... well.. fiat).

One has special roles -- at many poker tables the dealer calls the game. The other (Chess) has virtually no special roles (roles are identical except for who gets the first move).

Surely having special roles with special privileges isn't uncommon in the gaming world.

But even the special role of a ref with fiat isn't unprecedented or unique to RPG's -- wargames (of the sort played by real soldiers) have relied on human moderation since their inception. Wargames and RPGs are different animals (despite common ancestry), but neither special roles nor the role of fiat are unique to RPG's.

It's true they're not like monopoly -- but if you choose a different sample game you'll find that one can support both fiat and special roles without claiming RPG's are especially special.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on July 31, 2007, 11:16:14 pm
Quote from: luke
I don't agree that making a functional game design that works as written in the books without the players having to make shit up in order for it to run is the same as "GM is always right, welcome to my world, mortals."


How not so?

Doesn't your statement imply this one: "A functional game design is one that works as written in the books only and tries hard to prevent players from making shit up on their terms"?

If not, why not?

I will say that you're hardly the worst offender--you're probably the least, actually.

But it's a real and fundamental issue. One more time I'll point to Umberto Eco on the "open" work of art as an example for what your school of design is not. You're producing "closed" games.

I understand why, and that some people may like that. But I'm going to put it on the record in this thread: This is not win-win. This is win some, lose some.

And my hunch is that the deep reason for all of that is that you guys are just too much focused on power, on its circulation among members of a group, on its being problematic by default (according to you), unless its distribution is adamantly enforced. By power.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 01, 2007, 07:31:22 am
One of the reasons I think there's a disconnect here, is that there's a forgie assumption that all players enter the game as individuals (that may or may not work together, and may even be adversaries), rather than an adventuring "party". I'm neutral on this being good or bad, other than seeing it as unmanageable in the long term.

A second assumption is the one that is usually stated as "players want to create stories rather than be 'told the GM's story'." This is an ingenuous and slanderous statement statement, though. A more accurate way of describing it would be stated as the notion that "players come to roleplaying games because they want to play at being J.K. Rowling or Bob Kane.. rather than play at being Harry Potter or Batman."

Which is completely false, except for the tiniest subset of players.

The truth is, players want to be Harry Potter or Batman. or whatever. They don't want to be Toni Morrison.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Settembrini on August 01, 2007, 07:40:04 am
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
The truth is, players want to be Harry Potter or Batman. or whatever. They don't want to be Toni Morrison.

I want to fly starships.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: David R on August 01, 2007, 10:15:41 am
Yeah the GM (in most trad type of games) should play at being JK Rowling, Bob Kane and Toni Morrison....although if you're playing at being Toni Morrison I'd like to think she would like a more collaborative style of play :D

Regards,
David R
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Vadrus on August 01, 2007, 10:28:25 am
Quote from: Abyssal Maw


The truth is, players want to be Harry Potter or Batman. or whatever. They don't want to be Toni Morrison.



I'd have to agree, most people I have ever GM'd for tend to turn up to the table with an 'entertain me' attitude, and as GM I love trying to live up to or exceed their expectations.

Similarly when I play I tend to think 'great, I can relax now and just play', I don't want to have the creative responsability all of the time.

Shared responsibility games can be great, but personally I find them too stressful on the group as a whole to try and maintain them for long.


Vadrus
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 01, 2007, 10:35:58 am
Quote from: Vadrus
I'd have to agree, most people I have ever GM'd for tend to turn up to the table with an 'entertain me' attitude, and as GM I love trying to live up to or exceed their expectations.

Similarly when I play I tend to think 'great, I can relax now and just play', I don't want to have the creative responsability all of the time.

Shared responsibility games can be great, but personally I find them too stressful on the group as a whole to try and maintain them for long.


Vadrus

WRONG, they don't want to be "entertained". That's a complete mischaracterization. They want to be that character, and take part in creating their story in a natural way, rather than the artifical "story simulator" method advocated by the forgies.

ASK THEM.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: J Arcane on August 01, 2007, 10:36:24 am
Quote from: Vadrus
I'd have to agree, most people I have ever GM'd for tend to turn up to the table with an 'entertain me' attitude, and as GM I love trying to live up to or exceed their expectations.

Similarly when I play I tend to think 'great, I can relax now and just play', I don't want to have the creative responsability all of the time.

Shared responsibility games can be great, but personally I find them too stressful on the group as a whole to try and maintain them for long.


Vadrus
Bingo.  Ultimately, the GM/PC divide works so well, because they're essentially two seperate sets of interests and aptitudes, as well as two sperate effort levels, that don't necessarily always cross.  The number of PC-type players outnumbers the number of GM-type players for a reason, because the effort level of the latter is not necessarily desired by the former.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on August 01, 2007, 11:13:18 am
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
WRONG, they don't want to be "entertained". That's a complete mischaracterization. They want to be that character, and take part in creating their story in a natural way, rather than the artifical "story simulator" method advocated by the forgies.

ASK THEM.
Well, I certainly know folks who fit your description of wanting to be their character.  I also know folks who fit Vadrus's description of wanting to be entertained.  There's no contradiction there.  In my experience, different people want different things.

I've had fun GMing for people who want to be entertained by virtuoso GMing.

I've had fun GMing for people who want to be their character.

I've had fun GMing for people who want to co-author the story from their position playing a character.

All of these occur with fair frequency in the gaming population.  Is that notion ... controversial? :confused:
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Vadrus on August 01, 2007, 11:16:15 am
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
WRONG, they don't want to be "entertained". That's a complete mischaracterization. They want to be that character, and take part in creating their story in a natural way, rather than the artifical "story simulator" method advocated by the forgies.

ASK THEM.


No, actually they do want to be entertained, two in my current group specifically refer to it as such, they are not deep into characterisation or indeed pretty much anything else, they turn up, watch everyone else and do very little even when prompted. We have frequently asked if they are OK or want us to change anything and they always say they enjoy themselves as is.

It just shows that gaming is made up of all sorts of different personalities.

For the rest of the group however I would agree, they are of the 'I want to play 'a' character in a fantasy world' type.


Vadrus
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 01, 2007, 11:24:56 am
I just find this idea that players want to be passively entertained to be used as an excuse to either promote or slander. In any case, I don't think it's an accurate description.

You can be passively entertained just by watching the game. If that's what they "really want", then why aren't they doing that?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on August 01, 2007, 11:27:43 am
AM:  I had one guy explain it thus:  Sitting there as a pure spectator is often awkward.  It can make people self-conscious.  Whereas being a player who just doesn't do very much is a perfectly acceptable social role, which lets you serve your interest in passive entertainment just as well, and doesn't make anyone uncomfortable.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Spike on August 01, 2007, 11:31:53 am
Quote from: luke
Thanatos, Spike. Are you insisting that RPGs are special in regards to games?* And that they need special rules and situations that seem good enough for every other type of game.

The analogy presented was of a game in which one player had special discretion over other players and was only beholden to his good judgement. We are not univerally rational, fair beings. We each have our own biases, many of them shift according to our needs and whims.

RPGs aren't special. There is simply this ingrained tradition to build rules in a certain fashion. Is successful by default -- because that was the only way it was done. Only now are the basic assumptions that make up roleplaying game being seriously questioned.

*Don't bring sports into this.


Twice in one day I get presented with a 'loaded question built using bad assumptions'.

Sure, RPG's ARE special.  That's why they are RPG's and not 'just another board game' or 'just another wargame'.  The dynamics are totally different.

Why not bring sports in? I know, you were already asked; Its not a useful thing to do to limit conversation in such a specific fashion.

Why?  Well, first of all a much better analogy is that RPG's are actually very much like sports. The Players are a team, first of all. I've seen games that actually use that very term rather than the more generic 'group'. Or perhaps alongside it.   The GM isn't the 'Other Team'. Not normally.  Why do you think most sports have leagues? Because its boring to play the same team over and over again.  I'll cop that Burning Empires puts the GM into the 'Other Team' catagory, but I think that it was a poor idea.

The GM is the Referee... somethign some games even call him. He's the league manager, he is even... when things go well, the Audience.  Sure, in his 'league manager' role  he makes the players go against the 'Other Teams' in the form of his NPC's. But he's not rooting for the NPC's.  Find me a GM who regularly roots for his NPC's to win and I'll show you a GM who has a hard time keeping players past the first session.





Personally, I wonder if you have already seen an analogy like this and realized it was hard to argue against or something, and thats why you said 'no sports'.

But back to RPG's being special:  Most games are played one on one or rarely one vs everyone else.  They are explicitely competetive.  RPG's are not.  They are not played one vs one. They are not played 'every man for himself'. One does not step away from a good night's gaming crowing victory over your friends and party members. You don't get up in the GM's face calling him a punk 'cause you totally DOMINATED him at the table.  Sure, that shit is sophomoric behavior, but you see it in competetive games sometimes.

The language of the game is different too. You may be, as a group (and recall, traditional RPG's have niches, no single player can 'go it alone' supposedly), talking about beating the GM's Dungeon, but its far less common to talk about beating the GM. Its a subtle thing, but meaningful nonetheless.

Now, you want to toss all that out the window? Challenge the 'basic assumptions of the game'?  That's your business.  I think its stupid, like baking a cake without flour. Sure, it can be done... but why? The end result isn't going to be very cakelike.  Why not make something that doesn't require flour in the first place?

Same thing: If the unique (and yes again, SPECIAL) dynamic of RPG's isn't too your taste... why try to make an RPG that plays more like a board game? Why not fucking make an actual board game instead? Or play an actual board game?  If they are to your taste, why try so damn hard to toss out the fundamentals?  Building a house without a foundation is just foolish, but you want to challenged the assumption that foundations are necessary to houses?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 01, 2007, 11:37:14 am
Quote from: TonyLB
AM:  I had one guy explain it thus:  Sitting there as a pure spectator is often awkward.  It can make people self-conscious.  Whereas being a player who just doesn't do very much is a perfectly acceptable social role, which lets you serve your interest in passive entertainment just as well, and doesn't make anyone uncomfortable.


I simply don't believe that the majority (and make no mistake, this is always characterized as the majority) of gamers would really rather watch then play, but "plays anyway just so nobody feels uncomfortable."

Nor do I believe that there is any kind of sizable population that really wants to play at "being an author".

Nor do I believe that these story-simulators actually work all that well.  For one thing, they are clearly simulations, and for one thing, by reducing player-to-character ownership responsibilities, you also reduce the personal stake everyone has in playing.

I do believe there is a sizable population of people that want to play at being a character. They specifically want to be their own character and be in their own little story, and have their own little Rashomon version of how it went.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on August 01, 2007, 11:46:52 am
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
I simply don't believe that the majority (and make no mistake, this is always characterized as the majority) of gamers would really rather watch then play, but "plays anyway just so nobody feels uncomfortable."
Uh ... okay.  I'm not characterizing it as a majority.  It doesn't look like Vadrus is characterizing it as a majority.  He's just talking about his personal coffee-klatch of gamers.  

So ... are we done here?  Or are you all hot to beat on an argument that nobody actually participating in the conversation stands behind?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Vadrus on August 01, 2007, 11:50:48 am
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
I simply don't believe that the majority (and make no mistake, this is always characterized as the majority) of gamers would really rather watch then play, but "plays anyway just so nobody feels uncomfortable."

Nor do I believe that there is any kind of sizable population that really wants to play at "being an author".

Nor do I believe that these story-simulators actually work all that well.  For one thing, they are clearly simulations, and for one thing, by reducing player-to-character ownership responsibilities, you also reduce the personal stake everyone has in playing.

I do believe there is a sizable population of people that want to play at being a character. They specifically want to be their own character and be in their own little story, and have their own little Rashomon version of how it went.


That was my fault for being a bit to over generic in my comments again, and hopefully my second post above clarified my position somewhat.

When I speak of players wanting to be 'entertained' I meant that they only want the responsibility for their own characters actions, not for the the NPC's, setting or 'story'.

They expect the GM to provide 'entertaining' adventures, settings and NPC interactions.

But as always that is just in my experience.


Vadrus
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 01, 2007, 11:56:25 am
Quote from: Vadrus
That was my fault for being a bit to over generic in my comments again, and hopefully my second post above clarified my position somewhat.

When I speak of players wanting to be 'entertained' I meant that they only want the responsibility for their own characters actions, not for the the NPC's, setting or 'story'.

They expect the GM to provide 'entertaining' adventures, settings and NPC interactions.

But as always that is just in my experience.


Vadrus


Well, this I can agree with.


As for TonyLB: You know as well as I do, that the chief reason that is usually brought up as to why the forgie games don't catch on is that the "majority of gamers don't want to actively participate in telling a story. They want to be passively entertained by the GM".

I'm saying that statement is false. I am glad that you disagree with it. Now, if you want to make this real productive, I suggest that the next time you see that sentiment, you step up and point that out.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Lee Short on August 01, 2007, 12:12:27 pm
Quote from: luke
Thanatos, Spike. Are you insisting that RPGs are special in regards to games?* And that they need special rules and situations that seem good enough for every other type of game.

The analogy presented was of a game in which one player had special discretion over other players and was only beholden to his good judgement. We are not univerally rational, fair beings. We each have our own biases, many of them shift according to our needs and whims.

RPGs aren't special. There is simply this ingrained tradition to build rules in a certain fashion. Is successful by default -- because that was the only way it was done. Only now are the basic assumptions that make up roleplaying game being seriously questioned.


RPGs are special.  Games such as monopoly are inherently competitive.  RPGs are not.  In fact, there are a rather large number of RPG players who do not prefer to play RPGs competitively.  There are even a large number who will not play them competitively, and will leave a game if the other players are playing competitively.

-----------

Furthermore, any player only has fiat power to the degree that the other players cede it to him, no matter what the rule book may say.  The rule book never gives power to anyone; the other players do.  The rule book may encourage or discourage a certain power structure but it is the players that determine it.  

In any case, "DM Fiat" is never absolute; an rpg requires consensus to function as a shared fiction.  Different players may have differential input to this consensus, but at any time any individual player may socially assert his power by refusing to consent to any given fictional statement.  Every player always has this power, despite your claims to the contrary.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on August 01, 2007, 12:31:37 pm
Quote from: Vadrus
I'd have to agree, most people I have ever GM'd for tend to turn up to the table with an 'entertain me' attitude, and as GM I love trying to live up to or exceed their expectations.

Similarly when I play I tend to think 'great, I can relax now and just play', I don't want to have the creative responsability all of the time.

Shared responsibility games can be great, but personally I find them too stressful on the group as a whole to try and maintain them for long.

Vadrus


Being a PC is creative in a different way than a GM -- and for most people (but apparently not all of them) that difference is key to immersion.

When I'm playing a PC, I'm enjoying seeing things through his eyes and perspective. I enjoy coming up with the right thing for him to say. This is all creative work, but it's a very different set of concerns than scene-setting, mood-evoking, attention to timing, and so-on.

For one thing, a GM has all kinds of planes in the air ("what are the NPC's doing, what's going on in the world, etc.). PC's usually have far few external concerns to worry about (I think the bird's-eye-view v. the PC-view of the game is one of the key factors that affects immersion for me... and I suspect most people).

Being a GM may be less relaxing than being a PC, especially if prep work is considered, but I think that the "creative responsibility" is pretty well shared.

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on August 01, 2007, 12:34:52 pm
Quote from: Lee Short
In any case, "DM Fiat" is never absolute; an rpg requires consensus to function as a shared fiction.  Different players may have differential input to this consensus, but at any time any individual player may socially assert his power by refusing to consent to any given fictional statement.  Every player always has this power, despite your claims to the contrary.


It's kind of like Poker, right -- in many tables the dealer calls the game and the other players decide whether to ante or sit the hand out.

No one calls the dealer a tyrant who ruins everyone elses fun, right? It's understood that if you call a game no one wants to play you get laughed at and next round, the next guy goes.

This is just like RPGs, right?

Or... are RPG's... special? ;)

Cheers,
-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 01, 2007, 12:35:23 pm
Quote from: -E.
Being a PC is creative in a different way than a GM -- and for most people (but apparently not all of them) that difference is key to immersion.

When I'm playing a PC, I'm enjoying seeing things through his eyes and perspective. I enjoy coming up with the right thing for him to say. This is all creative work, but it's a very different set of concerns than scene-setting, mood-evoking, attention to timing, and so-on.

For one thing, a GM has all kinds of planes in the air ("what are the NPC's doing, what's going on in the world, etc.). PC's usually have far few external concerns to worry about (I think the bird's-eye-view v. the PC-view of the game is one of the key factors that affects immersion for me... and I suspect most people).

Being a GM may be less relaxing than being a PC, especially if prep work is considered, but I think that the "creative responsibility" is pretty well shared.

Cheers,
-E.


Once again, E manages to say exactly what I want to say.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: -E. on August 01, 2007, 12:36:52 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
Once again, E manages to say exactly what I want to say.


I wonder if I could get a Q&A thread on the Forge? :p

-E.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on August 01, 2007, 01:13:01 pm
Quote from: -E.
I wonder if I could get a Q&A thread on the Forge? :p


You know... I can really see that happening. With all that patronizing approach of dear uncle Ron. :p

But I would rather see him, here in Q&A.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 01, 2007, 01:32:45 pm
Quote from: Alnag
You know... I can really see that happening. With all that patronizing approach of dear uncle Ron. :p

But I would rather see him, here in Q&A.


I think he's done after this year. Heck, he was technically done after "brain damage".
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on August 01, 2007, 02:02:42 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
I think he's done after this year. Heck, he was technically done after "brain damage".


To quote one famous movie: "You underestimate the power of the dark side!"
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Arminius on August 01, 2007, 06:14:21 pm
Machine-gun style replies. Up against the wall!

Quote from: -E.
Although I think even this scenario is over-optimistic: does anyone think that groups don't ignore the rules and over-ride-with-fiat of even indie games when it suites them?
Sure. (a) I think people have played "indie" games without overriding the rules. 'Course  that could be luck: the rules worked perfectly that time. So...(b) I think people have played "indie" (and not just "indie") games with a dedication to not fudging, ever, and they've lived up to it.

But I also think one of the ways that people avoid fudging is that they use a system's built-in discretion to avoid situations and outcomes which would "break" the game. E.g., in Dogs in the Vineyard, the group as a whole establishes stakes for a conflict. Is there an outcome you find unacceptable? Don't agree to it. Same goes for raises (the stuff that happens in the middle of a conflict): the GM is supposed to push the group to follow the standards of "the most critical player" at the table.

Quote from: David R
Yeah the GM (in most trad type of games) should play at being JK Rowling, Bob Kane and Toni Morrison
Er, nope. Well, they can, but it's not what I like a GM to do. I want a GM to be more like the producers of a reality TV show...or the people who designed Westworld (minus the part where they forget to keep Yul Brynner from actually killing me, the player).

Quote from: Spike
Same thing: If the unique (and yes again, SPECIAL) dynamic of RPG's isn't too your taste... why try to make an RPG that plays more like a board game? Why not fucking make an actual board game instead? Or play an actual board game? If they are to your taste, why try so damn hard to toss out the fundamentals? Building a house without a foundation is just foolish, but you want to challenged the assumption that foundations are necessary to houses?
Nah, if people want to make freaky stuff that's completely unlike what I think of as an RPG...whether that makes it more like a board game or turns it into something else entirely...go ahead, I might like it. But "X is part of RPGs only because people assume it has to be there, otherwise they'd discard it because X is crap"...this is parochial nonsense.

Quote from: Abyssal Maw
Nor do I believe that these story-simulators actually work all that well.
I'm not sure I've had them work particularly well for me; however I'm not prepared to dismiss all the personal accounts of people who say they've enjoyed them. Simply giving them that level of credence doesn't mean I can't laugh and point fingers when they fail to reciprocate.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: David R on August 01, 2007, 06:57:39 pm
Quote from: Elliot Wilen

Er, nope. Well, they can, but it's not what I like a GM to do. I want a GM to be more like the producers of a reality TV show...or the people who designed Westworld (minus the part where they forget to keep Yul Brynner from actually killing me, the player).


Okay it's a personal preference thing but I would just like to add that my idea of "GM vision" includes taking into account the consequences of the pc actions, that story/plot whatever has no fixed outcome, the idea that the pcs are immersed in the setting not the plot/story whatever (well yeah, they do get immersed but what do you expect when they create it) In other words nothing is written in stone except the stuff the pcs chisel down. So I think gaming-wise we will get on fine...although I have been known to be wrong - numerous times.

Regards,
David R
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Spike on August 01, 2007, 07:13:15 pm
Don't get me wrong, Elliot: He can design whatever he wants, however he wants it.

But no amount of telling me that the foundation isn't necessary for the house... that foundations are merely traditional and non-functional... is gonna get me to accept that his 'foundationless houses' are somehow inherently better than a traditional house with a traditional foundation.


Crowing that he's made... or that someone else has made an 'RPG' that doesn't actually much resemble an actual RPG (much like a motor home doesn't much resemble a house, functional though it may be) therefore the rest of us should perforce discard our old ways willy nilly is hardly going to endear me to him. I happen to prefer houses with foundations and RPGS that play like... well... RPGs and not motor homes.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Arminius on August 01, 2007, 08:25:46 pm
Quote from: David R
Okay it's a personal preference thing but I would just like to add that my idea of "GM vision" includes taking into account the consequences of the pc actions, that story/plot whatever has no fixed outcome, the idea that the pcs are immersed in the setting not the plot/story whatever (well yeah, they do get immersed but what do you expect when they create it) In other words nothing is written in stone except the stuff the pcs chisel down. So I think gaming-wise we will get on fine...although I have been known to be wrong - numerous times.

Most likely we would; the distinction I was making was that Bob Kane had full control over everything his characters did, and what followed from his characters' actions. Although authors sometimes claim their characters "took on a life of their own", such an author would have no need for "players".
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on August 01, 2007, 10:20:12 pm
Sorry for ducking out. I've been busy with life and fulfilling Blossoms preorders.

I'm not going to try to play catch up and quote responses. I'll simply throw some more gas on the fire.



RPGs are not special. They're just games. Yes, they have some pretty cool rules and an awesome play dynamic, but they are not above the basic tenets for any game: There are players and a set of rules by which the players abide.

GMs are not referees or the dealer. They're not in control of the game. Their goals are not more important than any other player. Like the other players, it is their right to have fun, be entertained, play the game and enjoy immersive play as much as any one else. They are just another player, but one who has special duties.

There's nothing in ye olde basic definition of RPGs that says that there must be a GM or that one player should have the right to go outside of the rules in order to see his ideas accomplished. RPGs have a very broad definition, however you slice it but, GM and Rule Zero are not in that core definition.

RPGs all have win conditions. RPG win conditions are different than most games in that they are typically derived from the players' goals and generated moment to moment in play and change to something else upon accomplishment. Win conditions do not automatically make a game  competitive.

Playing a game by the rules does not equal disenfranchisement or tyranny by the game designer.

An RPG with functional rules which grants explicit rights to each player is not a boardgame or a wargame.

Removing Rule Zero does not make the game collaborative storytelling or mandate equal power for all players.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on August 02, 2007, 12:03:23 am
Quote from: luke
Removing Rule Zero does not make the game collaborative storytelling or mandate equal power for all players.

Fair enough - as long as you are also willing to say:

Having Rule Zero does not remove the possibility of collaborative storytelling or mandate unequal power among players.

Because much of the emotion comes from the idea that to say the first, also means you are saying "Having Rules Zero makes it impossible to have collaborative storytelling and sets and mandates unequal (unfair) power distribution amongst players." Which runs counter to a great body of experience.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Koltar on August 02, 2007, 01:33:00 am
Quote from: luke


GMs are not referees or the dealer. They're not in control of the game. Their goals are not more important than any other player. Like the other players, it is their right to have fun, be entertained, play the game and enjoy immersive play as much as any one else. They are just another player, but one who has special duties.

There's nothing in ye olde basic definition of RPGs that says that there must be a GM or that one player should have the right to go outside of the rules in order to see his ideas accomplished. RPGs have a very broad definition, however you slice it but, GM and Rule Zero are not in that core definition.
.............




What the F....!!???

In the dozens upon dozens of RPG books that I've read over the years the GM is most definitely the Referee. Thats the reason several adventures and magazines have a section called  : Referee's Notes.



Power to The GM!!!
Where it belongs!!!!

- Ed C.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: droog on August 02, 2007, 01:48:41 am
Fascism and communism are both BAD!
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Koltar on August 02, 2007, 01:57:24 am
Quote from: droog
Fascism and communism are both BAD!


Thanks for reminding us - you're right about that.

However in RPGs, the GM should and does have the power.


- Ed C.  










 This is the RPG section...if you really want to "necro" that , its down in OTHER TOPICS
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Brantai on August 02, 2007, 02:14:00 am
Kissing is awesome!
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on August 02, 2007, 03:04:26 am
Quote from: luke
...but they are not above the basic tenets for any game: There are players and a set of rules by which the players abide.


Bullshit. The basic tenet of game does not contain rules (not even unwritten ones). Watch some very small children and you will find. They haven't got even players in some sense, because it is hardly conscious activity - i am player - it is just having fun in it very proto-form.

Quote from: luke
GMs are not referees or the dealer. They're not in control of the game. Their goals are not more important than any other player.


Anyone, who has ever had a problem with finding a reasonable date to meet, know how important is to even manage the meeting. That one person (host, game manager) is more important is pretty much a core of the game itself. The very idea of gaming is product of one mind. We are not borg with collective mind. And that is happening even in games without GM. And there is always one leader be it formal or informal. The problem is, if there is not clearly set who is in charge, it might bring problems such as who will host summon next session.

Quote from: luke
There's nothing in ye olde basic definition of RPGs that says that there must be a GM or that one player should have the right to go outside of the rules in order to see his ideas accomplished. RPGs have a very broad definition, however you slice it but, GM and Rule Zero are not in that core definition.


You know what... I'll recommend S. John Ross definition. Below:

Quote from: S. John Ross
Gamers often prefer boundary-based definitions (game rules usually depend on them), but RPGs are a center-oriented topic, hence the interminable debate. I propose that RPGs have no set boundaries, but rather a series of gradations toward other forms of entertainment, and that any attempt to draw borders between them is doomed to failure. Our only hope of defining RPGs is to define the center of the thing, to establish the distance and relationship between RPGs and other forms of fiction, other kinds of games, and other uses for social roleplaying:

The core of the RPG is the adoption of role. Each player adopts the identity and persona of a fictional character, and experiences the game's events from that character's perspective. The game is about how the characters deal with the goals, questions and challenges that arise in play.

RPGs are gameplay. The outcome of any conflict relating to the game's goals, questions and challenges is determined by choices within the context of rules, including both the game system (which provides mechanics for quantifying character abilities and resolving conflicts which test them), and broader "rules" implied by the game's chosen setting, genre, mode, style and group.

RPGs are a live ensemble. A roleplaying game is a live, shared, cooperative experience at both the player and character level. The game's central goals, questions and challenges are those that concern the entire group of characters, while the game itself played by gathering socially as a group and interacting personally to make and implement choices.

RPGs have a Game Master. In a roleplaying game, every player is a "player" except one, generically referred to as the Game Master. The rules determine the results of choices, but roleplaying games are designed with the understanding that those rules can never be absolute nor cover every possible action that the characters may attempt. The "ensemble" and "character-oriented" nature of RPGs insure that each situation is unique, and typically requires an interpretation of the rules to determine the actual outcome. The Game Master is the player responsible for making those interpretations, and for concocting and presenting the challenges that require them in the first place. The Game Master is the only player without a single character of his own. Instead, the Game Master portrays the rest of the universe the characters exist in, including all the other people, creatures, places, weather and so on (which means he gets to do even more funny voices than the other players). With no GM to shoulder these responsibilities, it would be impossible for the players maintain the kind of subjectivity (or enjoy the broad freedom to invent new solutions to challenges) that provides the most unusual thrill of an RPG (what I like to refer to as "tactical infinity"). Being a GM is a lot of work and responsibility, which is the #1 reason RPGs are a hobby as well as an entertainment form.

These four features define the center, as I perceive it, rather than setting boundaries. Lots of very interesting roleplaying games discard (or at least play very loosely) with the concepts above, and there are spectra within them as well as beyond them. Even a game entirely lacking some of the core features I describe doesn't necessarily become "not a roleplaying game" - it's just somewhere on the map away from the center and closer to the center of another game form, fictional medium, or roleplaying exercise.


Quote from: luke
RPGs all have win conditions.


Unconfirmed claim. Winning means the game is over. So, what is wining condition for DnD? When the game is over?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Koltar on August 02, 2007, 03:17:21 am
RPGs have winning conditons??

 Again : "What the F....?"

Okay FINE, The winning conditions are :
 The group of players WIN if they all felt they had a good time.

The GM WINS if she or he feels the players had a good time and she or he did too.


MEGA-WIN for the GM : if one of the players gives him a really good back rub afterwards.   (That has happened at least once or twice over the years....)


- Ed C.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 02, 2007, 07:24:29 am
Quote from: Koltar
RPGs have winning conditons??

 Again : "What the F....?"

Okay FINE, The winning conditions are :
 The group of players WIN if they all felt they had a good time.

The GM WINS if she or he feels the players had a good time and she or he did too.


MEGA-WIN for the GM : if one of the players gives him a really good back rub afterwards.   (That has happened at least once or twice over the years....)

- Ed C.



It's a series of parrot quotes from the forge.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Marco on August 02, 2007, 07:34:13 am
Every one of the "RPGs are like other games" was set up with a false premise: the dealer in poker is a different role, not one entitled to 'more fun' (they can call games they like, but this is a very limited sort of ability to control play).

RPGs don't usually have terminal win conditions either (taken as a whole). It seems to me that claiming otherwise is posturing.

Most games are competitive: RPGs need not be. Most games do not generate a fiction-style narrative. RPGs do. The vast, vast majority of games do not have a fictional context for the action that is important in an immersive sense--and that's really the problem.

The RPGs-are-normal-games rhetoric is from the same school that either denies the existence of or ignores immersion as a goal of play. I hypothetise because many indie-games are bad at it and because it causes problems under the theory.

But make no mistake: ignoring immersion is at the core of a lot of the problems in the RPG dialog. It was described as throwing fuel on the fire and it is.
-Marco
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Lee Short on August 02, 2007, 10:02:45 am
Luke, you may want to play your RPGs like you play Monopoly.  That's fine and all, but your assertion that all RPGs are like this is just ludicrous.  Pretty much the same order of ludicrous as the assertion that "the GM has all the power."  As I explained above, the GM can't possibly have *all* the power.  

And, what Marco said.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on August 02, 2007, 10:16:01 am
Fun times. You can give me all the WTFs you want on this stuff. Not going to change the truth of the matter. Go back and read what I wrote, if you dare. It's all true! Shocking, I know.

What's more, check this out:

Rule zero does not remove the possibility for collaborative storytelling or mandate unequal power. But it does present an unequal balance of power to the players and give them permission to use it. To do otherwise is to go counter to the design of the game.

Fascism and communism are bad!

Kissing is awesome!

RPGs are not "playing pretend." Children playing pretend/house/whatever are not "role playing" in the same sense that we are. They are not adults, nor fully formed personalities (until after age 7). They are jockeying through identity politics and a whole host of other shit that we, as adults, thankfully don't have to deal with any longer.

The GM is not the host or the leader. The host or the leader can be any player.

S John Ross' definition is dead on except for the inclusion of the GM role. The necessity of the GM has been handily disproved by a number of GM-less, character-centered RPGs.

At no point did I deny the existence of, or fun of, immersion.

I hate Monopoly!
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on August 02, 2007, 10:18:28 am
Quote from: luke
Rule zero does not remove the possibility for collaborative storytelling or mandate unequal power. But it does present an unequal balance of power to the players and give them permission to use it. To do otherwise is to go counter to the design of the game.

Luke,

All other silliness aside (kissing, indeed!), can you expand a bit on the bolded part?  I think I understand what you're saying, but I don't want to assume or read anything into it.

Thanks,
Jim

PS: Oh, and thanks for the first sentence.  I'm just trying to make sure if this is a valid But-monkey or not...
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Vadrus on August 02, 2007, 10:19:00 am
Quote from: luke


RPGs are not "playing pretend."



Bugger, I've been doing it all wrong all these years, I thought I was pretending to be a Barbarian Hero, pretending I was an Alien, pretending I was a Spaceman...


Vadrus
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Brantai on August 02, 2007, 10:28:11 am
Quote from: luke
S John Ross' definition is dead on except for the inclusion of the GM role. The necessity of the GM has been handily disproved by a number of GM-less, character-centered RPGs.

Could you give me a few examples?  I'm not trying to call you out or anything, I'm seriously interested in looking into them.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Arminius on August 02, 2007, 10:55:47 am
I'm sorry, Luke, but I don't see many truths in your post #151, just a bunch of slogans and manifestos.

This is interesting, though:
Quote

Rule zero does not remove the possibility for collaborative storytelling or mandate unequal power. But it does present an unequal balance of power to the players and give them permission to use it. To do otherwise is to go counter to the design of the game.
I'd really like to know whether you consider the GM's ability in BW to introduce, say, an army of White-statted warriors & sorcerers, led by a king who proceeds to order the PCs around, to be GM Fiat. (Doesn't the GM have that ability? Correct me if I'm wrong.) I'll assume that it is. Does this mean that BW gives the GM permission to direct the game? No, of course not. The rules are at worst neutral on this issue; I'm not going to go digging through them, but I'm more than willing to give your game the benefit of the doubt and suggest that somewhere in there, you lay out the GM's responsibilities in a manner that implies the GM shouldn't push the players around like that, should instead adopt a more "GM proposes, players dispose" or "players act, GM reacts" approach. But if laying out responsibilities is sufficient to redress an "unequal balance of power" contained in formal rules (such as a formal rule allowing the GM to conjure up world elements), then I think the case against "traditional RPGs" is a bum rap. Some of them have GM advice which encourages the GM to force a particular story on the players, some don't. Some have practically no advice whatsoever, which suggests that any problems are really ones brought to the table
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on August 02, 2007, 11:34:24 am
I am so not surprised, that the bunch of claims was not supported by facts. I am not surprised, that you have not provided the winning conditions of D&D. Because, there are none.

Quote from: luke
You can give me all the WTFs you want on this stuff. Not going to change the truth of the matter. Go back and read what I wrote, if you dare. It's all true! Shocking, I know.


To quote one famous movie yet again. "Your arogance blinds you, Luke!" These are just empty proclamations. You are unable or unwilling to provide any evidence, any facts, any reasoning to support them. That is not the dark side of the Forge at its best. Misleading, irational and just arousing emotions and attention.

Quote from: luke
Kissing is awesome!


I guess, it depends much on who or what you kiss.

Quote from: luke
RPGs are not "playing pretend." Children playing pretend/house/whatever are not "role playing" in the same sense that we are. They are not adults, nor fully formed personalities (until after age 7). They are jockeying through identity politics and a whole host of other shit that we, as adults, thankfully don't have to deal with any longer.


The problem is, that you have to deal with that. The problem of children play for grasping RPGs is essential. The important point is, in what point will the children proto-RPG change into full-scale pretending. And what element was inserted into the game, that facilitate this. And of course... what are the winning conditions of children games. Because every game has them? Or not? Because if there is a game without winning conditon, your premise is wrong. You can close your eyes, that would not make these games to go away.

Quote from: luke
The GM is not the host or the leader. The host or the leader can be any player.


Yeah... and theoretically the host and leader might not even play. Acutally, under very special circumstances, the host and leader may not be a human at all. It might be CPU hosting play-be-email via server. And yet still, if you analyze the group deep enough there is somebody puting the initial impulze to play. Someone has to agree to GM and so on... Yes, you might divide the GM  powers onto several players, but somehow someone has to suggest that move and so on. The concept of equality of players is just wild fantasy... there is very intricate social relations network, which is usually unequal. This unequality is reflected to the game.

Acutally one might come to conclusion, that designing game which expects equality of players is pretty much incoherent with reality... ;)

Quote from: luke
S John Ross' definition is dead on except for the inclusion of the GM role. The necessity of the GM has been handily disproved by a number of GM-less, character-centered RPGs.


Or... these GM-less games strech the boundries of the definition and as such, the definition is dead on without any exceptions. Or what more... maybe GM-less RPGs are not RPGs at all. They are just another kind of parlour games.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Settembrini on August 02, 2007, 11:47:24 am
It´s interesting to note, that the same guy blathering about equality uses one of the most patronizing writing styles known since GG in his games.

Maybe it´s Luke´s mission to disenfranchise the GM, so the author can rule supreme?

Alas, the Artha mechanic is a clear counterpoint to his "equality" talk.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Brantai on August 02, 2007, 11:50:07 am
Quote from: Alnag
IOr... these GM-less games strech the boundries of the definition and as such, the definition is dead on without any exceptions. Or what more... maybe GM-less RPGs are not RPGs at all. They are just another kind of parlour games.

I know this was true of Pantheon by Hogshead.  Definitely a parlour game.  I was disappointed, anyway.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Thanatos02 on August 02, 2007, 12:30:17 pm
This is a Forge-type discussion if ever there was one! Oh my! ;)

Luke, I think we're splitting hairs for the most part, in what replies you've directed back at me. For the most part, I agree with what you're getting at, and I absolutely agree that Burning Wheel is a role-playing game, et al.

I think it's ok for role-playing games to have different GM styles. I think it's stupid for people to develop shoulder-based chips based on the idea that there is a game where the GM does not have unlimited power. This is one style of GMing. There are other games where the GMs are given power not limited by game rules.

I don't think those games are broken. (I'm not saying you do, but we have discussed, in the past, the capacity for those games to be manhandled by GMs with a diety-complex.)

I believe that, when we're talking about the role of a GM honestly, most people who GM frequently have a code, usually unstated. These are not part of the rules, but most GMs agree that they've been given a certain trust by their players, and won't step outside the trust that's given. Bad GMs abuse their trust, and despite what some bravos here and elsewhere might say, that can damage people's ability to enjoy games. I can see why you developed Burning Wheel.

Eliot Warren is correct when he says that your rules are, at best, power-neutral when it comes to the ability to stat NPCs.  However, I don't think it's a bad thing when the GM has to follow rules. It seems strange to see people like Koltar say things like, "Power to the DM!!!! Where it belongs!!!" (Bolding mine) because I don't feel that the 'power' belongs anywhere, and especially that it's a dud construct to assume that players either don't have power or are not entitled to it by virtue of playing the game.

That's Foucault, I believe, but hey - the Pundit hates Foucault and anything that hints at post-modernism anyhow. Screw that, though. It's totally accurate.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Pierce Inverarity on August 02, 2007, 12:33:31 pm
Quote from: Elliot Wilen
I'm sorry, Luke, but I don't see many truths in your post #151, just a bunch of slogans and manifestos.


Word.

Luke? Still listening out for a reasoned response to my statement. Reasoning = you actually argue your case.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 02, 2007, 12:59:22 pm
Quote from: luke

S John Ross' definition is dead on except for the inclusion of the GM role. The necessity of the GM has been handily disproved by a number of GM-less, character-centered RPGs.


...none of which has been successful or any good.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Geoff Hall on August 02, 2007, 01:31:43 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
...none of which has been successful or any good.


In your opinion.  I happen to like Polaris rather a lot.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on August 02, 2007, 01:37:27 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
...none of which has been successful
Capes sells fine, thanks.  No, it's not making WotC numbers, but it sure doesn't seem to be suffering by contrast with the GM-centric games in the self-published category.

'xcept Spirit of the Century, of course ... but I can't get too ticked off at Fred for blowin' our grade-point curve, he's such a nice guy :D
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 02, 2007, 01:53:30 pm
Explain then, why even on the forgie places, these GM-emasculating games are simply not reported about or even talked about much? Of if they are it's described in a way "yeah so we tried out (polaris or whatever) once... that was interesting. So anyhow, here's what's been going on in the BW campaign we play every week and twice on Sundays.."

These GM-less games simply aren't catching on and aren't being played much. And that's not just you guys, that goes for all of them. Robin Laws' Pantheon, Once upon a Time, Baron Munchausen, Sketch...
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on August 02, 2007, 01:55:32 pm
Quote from: TonyLB
Capes sells fine, thanks.  No, it's not making WotC numbers, but it sure doesn't seem to be suffering by contrast with the GM-centric games in the self-published category.


Proof?!

Or is this yet another example of classical "made-up argument" or kind of "wish-thinking". I don't want to be apriori sceptical about you, so I will expect to hear from you on this topic soon.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Marco on August 02, 2007, 01:58:07 pm
Luke,
lest you think I'm just taking a swipe at you with the immersion thing, I'm not. I can see you didn't specifically say anything about immersion. Mostly that's the case for a lot of RPG dialog that's problematic too. If you want to know *why* your post is more fuel for the fire, I can point you in the direction of immersion as a major way that, for a hugely significant number of cases, RPGs do distinguish themselves from other games.

I don't know why you think people believe RPGs are fundamentally different than poker or Monopoly but immersion is, really one of the big ones. Immersion is, not coincidentally, a big reason to have rule zero and a traditional GM.

It isn't the only way. DitV manages a limited (but still, IMO, traditional) GM by being very narrow in scope. Games like Risus or The Window manage to not need rule zero by putting all simulation in the GM's hands 'above' a thin mechanical layer. These approaches are fine--even elegant--but they have drawbacks.

Understanding that--discussing in those terms is, I think, productive. But flatly saying Kult is just like Go is being willfully blind--and to a deep extent, I think it's blind around immersion--and that doesn't help anyone.

Even if you don't see how immersion relates to what you said, surely you know that there has been much argument around it. Probably a lot of people caught in those arguments were also a bit perplexed.

-Marco
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Brantai on August 02, 2007, 01:58:32 pm
Quote from: Alnag
Proof?!

Or is this yet another example of classical "made-up argument" or kind of "wish-thinking". I don't want to be apriori sceptical about you, so I will expect to hear from you on this topic soon.
I believe it's Tony's game, so he would know.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on August 02, 2007, 02:02:32 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
Explain then, why even on the forgie places, these GM-emasculating games are simply not reported about or even talked about much?
>shrug<  I don't have a real good explanation for it.  Could be lots of things.

I don't really traffic so much in the Grand Model of Reality stuff, and trying to explain things to suit a vision of how the world is/should be.  I'm just offering my individual observations:  Capes sells well.  Polaris sells well (according to IPR numbers and what Ben tells me).  You said GMless games weren't successful, and at least by that measure you're provably mistaken.  Make of that what you will.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on August 02, 2007, 02:03:49 pm
Quote from: Alnag
Or is this yet another example of classical "made-up argument" or kind of "wish-thinking". I don't want to be apriori sceptical about you, so I will expect to hear from you on this topic soon.
As I've said elsewhere, my attention-whore complex welcomes any Q&A spotlight that you choose to shine upon me :D
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: One Horse Town on August 02, 2007, 02:09:20 pm
So it does really come down to marketing? Cool. :pundit:
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on August 02, 2007, 02:09:46 pm
Quote from: TonyLB
As I've said elsewhere, my attention-whore complex welcomes any Q&A spotlight that you choose to shine upon me :D


Yeah. And you are actually not only dodging but hell missing something, that might have been the very first question of that future Q&A. Bad for you. And yet again... bad for you for inability to even try to provide some serious evidence for your claims.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Brantai on August 02, 2007, 02:11:17 pm
Quote from: Alnag
Yeah. And you are actually not only dodging but hell missing something, that might have been the very first question of that future Q&A. Bad for you. And yet again... bad for you for inability to even try to provide some serious evidence for your claims.

You're wanting him to give you his accounting info or sales number or something?  That's going pretty far out of your way to prove to J. Random Internet guy that your game isn't tanking.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on August 02, 2007, 02:24:24 pm
Quote from: Brantai
You're wanting him to give you his accounting info or sales number or something?  That's going pretty far out of your way to prove to J. Random Internet guy that your game isn't tanking.


Listen, if someone is brave enought that he can claim, that GM-less games do not suffer by contrast with GM-centric games, than he should have hell a good evidence for that. Thanx to the fact, he is author of one he has one part of the equation. The other part is at least partially available online. We know how DitV is doing at the very least. Acutally, I knew rough estimate of few others too...

We know, how Dogs are doing (http://www.lumpley.com/comment.php?entry=149). How good is one of the successeful GM-with and GM-less game doing? That is at least some evidence. So what we are missing, is some similar graph from Tony. ;-)
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 02, 2007, 02:31:41 pm
Quote from: Brantai
You're wanting him to give you his accounting info or sales number or something?  That's going pretty far out of your way to prove to J. Random Internet guy that your game isn't tanking.



If he doesn't provide proof, why should he be allowed to bring it up?

On another site, they are discussing this exact topic, but more in the terms of "how can we use those RPGsite conversations to help us sell stuff?"

In point of fact, I'm convinced that games like capes and polaris don't sell well (or possibly at all) outside of the forgie wind-tunnel, and they certainly aren't played very much outside of the Very Special Arrangement of Gamers type get-togethers and demo-fests these guys have been reduced to.

Not that there's anything wrong with that. It's too bad the days of free-game on-the-web have kind of disappeared. I hear John Kim could barely find contenders for that category of the indie awards this year.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on August 02, 2007, 02:33:12 pm
Well, I'm not doing as well as DitV, but I'm in the same ballpark.  Book's been out for a bit more than two years, and my rough estimate is that I've sold somewhere around 1000 copies ... maybe 2/3rds of that print, 1/3 PDF.

Vincent's doing a bit better, though.  Poor me :(

Does that work for you, proof-wise?

And where's my freakin' Q&A thread? :mad:
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on August 02, 2007, 02:33:51 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
In point of fact, I'm convinced that games like capes and polaris don't sell well (or possibly at all) outside of the forgie wind-tunnel
Proof? :D
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Brantai on August 02, 2007, 02:35:42 pm
But how do we know you didn't just make that number up, you big liar you!

The "proof" game could go on forever, and at some point you're going to have to take him at his word about something.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on August 02, 2007, 02:36:25 pm
Quote from: TonyLB
And where's my freakin' Q&A thread? :mad:


Don't worry... you will have it...
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Alnag on August 02, 2007, 02:39:55 pm
Quote from: Brantai
But how do we know you didn't just make that number up, you big liar you!


He can make the number up. But with concrete number (or rather graph) he migth very well destroy his reputation in the community, where no doubt somebody has better idea than us. So yes, he can lie. But is is much harder and dangerous to lie concretely, than just sligthly bend truth with phrases. Got it?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Brantai on August 02, 2007, 02:45:06 pm
Quote from: Alnag
He can make the number up. But with concrete number (or rather graph) he migth very well destroy his reputation in the community, where no doubt somebody has better idea than us. So yes, he can lie. But is is much harder and dangerous to lie concretely, than just sligthly bend truth with phrases. Got it?

So you're pretty much dedicated to reading everything he says in the worst faith possible.  Got it.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Settembrini on August 02, 2007, 02:47:48 pm
I would like to point to the fact, that every thread in which they are talked about, sells books.

So they are using us to make more money.

Fuck you for that.

I advise everybody to ignore them, their games, and never ever talk to or about them again.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 02, 2007, 02:55:19 pm
Quote from: TonyLB
Proof? :D


The proof will be anyone independently discussing your game in an objective way.

This hasn't happened outside the cave yet.

To be fair, it hasn't happened to a lot of small press games either, even the ones I actually like (Faery's Tale or OSRIC or whatever). Incidentally, note the logo here?

http://www.rpgnow.com/

"The Leading source for Indie RPGS".
 
My intel tentacles are fairly extensive, Tony. If I haven't seen the independently organized and enthusiastic capes fan community and you have, let me know.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on August 02, 2007, 02:58:31 pm
One thing I can honestly say is that I've never considered Tony to be selling his game here. Other places - I don't know.  But here?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Ben Lehman on August 02, 2007, 02:58:58 pm
Quote from: TonyLB
Capes sells well.  Polaris sells well (according to IPR numbers and what Ben tells me).  You said GMless games weren't successful, and at least by that measure you're provably mistaken.  Make of that what you will.


Just to confirm: Polaris has sold, I dunno, I think about 1000 copies in two years? I don't do Vincent's nifty spreadsheets, so I've done a terrible job of keeping track.

It also gets played a lot, at least according to all the e-mail I get reading "we've been playing your game for the last year and thanks very much for it!"

Those e-mails are, bar none, the best thing about designing games.

yrs--
--Ben
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Abyssal Maw on August 02, 2007, 03:03:05 pm
Quote from: Settembrini
I would like to point to the fact, that every thread in which they are talked about, sells books.

So they are using us to make more money.

Fuck you for that.

I advise everybody to ignore them, their games, and never ever talk to or about them again.

There is in fact a plan they are doing now to accomplish just exactly that. Started by the guy who made the post just above mine. He says the talking points should be swine swine swine and people should pretend to talk negatively about his games. Thus manipulating the anti-pundit crowd, which is presumed to be ignorant and willing to buy stuff to defy the pundit.

The real talking point? They're not that fun.

The whole plan can be subverted and turned upside down. The fact is, many of these guys picked "consicuous consumption flavor-du-jour" as their business model, without really thinking it through. That means they sell one game (usually to someone who has been fooled about what the game actually does) and then... ruin their reputations forever. Many of the advocates took the ultimate forgie advice and left gaming altogether. Many of the forgies that remained behind find themselves without gaming groups or unable to create meaningful gaming experiences with regular people.

People aren't playing these games outside of demos and cons, even at the height of their popularity, which is now over with. And they alienated huge swaths of a potential userbase, and they are still paying the price for that.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Temple on August 02, 2007, 03:07:06 pm
Quote from: Abyssal Maw
There is in fact a plan they are doing now to accomplish just exactly that. Started by the guy who made the post just above mine. He says the talking points should be swine swine swine and people should pretend to talk negatively about his games. Thus manipulating the anti-pundit crowd, which is presumed to be ignorant and willing to buy stuff to defy the pundit.

The real talking point? They're not that fun.

The whole plan can be subverted and turned upside down. The fact is, many of these guys picked "consicuous consumption flavor-du-jour" as their business model, without really thinking it through. That means they sell one game (usually to someone who has been fooled about what the game actually does) and then... ruin their reputations forever. Many of the advocates took the ultimate forgie advice and left gaming altogether. Many of the forgies that remained behind find themselves without gaming groups or unable to create meaningful gaming experiences with regular people.

People aren't playing these games outside of demos and cons, even at the height of their popularity, which is now over with. And they alienated huge swaths of a potential userbase, and they are still paying the price for that.


This sounds a lot like baseless accusations, actually.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on August 03, 2007, 12:25:04 am
I know Tony's in the limelight now, but there were a bunch of questions thrown at me in this thread. Unfortunately, it got away from me and the signal to noise ratio proved too much. I'm happy to answer more questions, but can we go back to the Q&A thread to do that? You pose 'em, I'll answer 'em and you can do what ever you want with em.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: RPGPundit on August 03, 2007, 02:36:06 am
Quote from: Temple
This sounds a lot like baseless accusations, actually.


There are a number of threads on Storygames (even in the section they allow the "proles" to read) where they talk about how Spirit of the Century's sales "SPIKED" after I gave it a negative review.
I know that I've been sent a metric shitload of "storygames" ever since that fact came out, by people who have every reason to believe that I am going to give them just as sound a beating in the media or worse than I did to SoTC.

So I wouldn't say its all that baseless, actually.

RPGPundit
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Settembrini on August 03, 2007, 02:45:59 am
Plese join the siege, Pundit.
It follows logically from your last post.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Temple on August 03, 2007, 03:01:56 am
Quote from: RPGPundit
There are a number of threads on Storygames (even in the section they allow the "proles" to read) where they talk about how Spirit of the Century's sales "SPIKED" after I gave it a negative review.
I know that I've been sent a metric shitload of "storygames" ever since that fact came out, by people who have every reason to believe that I am going to give them just as sound a beating in the media or worse than I did to SoTC.

So I wouldn't say its all that baseless, actually.

RPGPundit


No, this is very probably true. As I said, all publicity is good publicity, and you are a pretty central (or at least visible) figure in the online gamer community.

What strikes me as baseless accusation are the implications of Forge-based indie game designers in some kind of cult, conspiracy or plot to kill, subvert or otherwise ruin the entire rpg market. I just dont see it.

Youre a freemason, Pundit. You should know how easy it is for something benign to appear as a conspiracy from the outside, or from casual observation better than most on this board.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: RPGPundit on August 03, 2007, 04:33:53 am
Quote from: Temple


Youre a freemason, Pundit. You should know how easy it is for something benign to appear as a conspiracy from the outside, or from casual observation better than most on this board.


Yup, that's why I try to look at what people actually say; and what they actually say is pretty damning.  The whole "we're just misunderstood" argument didn't even fly BEFORE "Brain Damage"; and it certainly doesn't fly now.

RPGPundit
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: luke on August 03, 2007, 10:21:03 pm
Since you've moved me and Tony and our bad ideas about roleplaying to the ghetto, can we have our our Forum instead? I think it would nice right under yours, we could even call it something clever like "The Butcher's Block."
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: RPGPundit on August 03, 2007, 10:28:42 pm
Quote from: luke
Since you've moved me and Tony and our bad ideas about roleplaying to the ghetto, can we have our our Forum instead? I think it would nice right under yours, we could even call it something clever like "The Butcher's Block."


Something along these lines is currently being discussed in the Help section, only if I do choose to go this route it'll be called something more like "Shameless Self-promotion".

RPGPundit
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Anon Adderlan on August 06, 2007, 03:26:38 pm
Alrighty...


Quote from: Warthur
So, chaosvoyager, exactly where are we going with this?

I'm commenting on the quality of the actual Q&A thread(s?) by asking a series of rhetorical questions designed to reflect the questions being asked.

For example...


Quote from: Abyssal Maw
"Do you believe that designing new RPGs is harmful to the hobby?"

Of course it isn't, and nobody thinks it is. It's a position you want to imagine the other guy to have so you can pretend to oppose it.

And this just further supports one of the points I'm trying to make. What purpose do Q&A threads that ask about positions we 'imagine' other people to have so we can 'pretend' to oppose them serve other than to just annoy and embarrass everybody?


Quote from: Alnag (in Q&A thread)
There are plenty of games out there, why to make a new one? Why bother? Why dilute already quite diluted hobby?

And I highly doubt that I'm 'imagining' Master Degree to be implying that new games harm the hobby (though you could argue that he's using the word 'dilute' in a positive way).


Quote from: Warthur
Objectively bad games exist.

***

That doesn't mean that there is such a thing as an objectively good RPG - it all hinges on your definition of "objectively good".

Honestly, I can't see how these two can both be true unless you lack a criteria for 'good', which now that I think about it...


Quote from: Warthur
On the other hand, if you work on another definition of "good" then you might be able to find some objectively good RPGs.

Many of the anti-forge, or anti-anything crowd for that matter, don't HAVE a definition for 'good' of any kind, only 'bad'. As such they can only argue 'against' something, not 'for' it.

Thing is when someone bases their attacks on the 'subjective' value judgments of their opponent, they cannot use their own value judgments without opening themselves to the same kind of attacks.

And one thing I noticed is that the Q&A thread eliminated the option of applying 'objective' criteria pretty early in the game. In such an environment, useful questions about games, or game design are impossible to ask.

Oh, and finally, you cannot design something without having a criteria. But if you have a criteria, that means you consider some game designs to be 'better' and some to be 'worse'. And that means these kinds of Q&A tend to be anti-design, and anti-designer.


Quote from: Warthur
The only way I can see a new RPG hurting the hobby is if its content was especially objectionable and drew the wrath of the general public.

Same here, and considering F.A.T.A.L. and the LARP vampire murders, it would have to be really bad. However, there appears to be a few gamers that feel that certain indie games are harming the hobby simply by existing in the first place.


Quote from: Warthur
Less often? Most certainly. It doesn't make economic sense for them to change their lines frequently.

Sorcerer has never had a second edition, and it never will.

Come to think of it, MOST indie games lack a second edition (and yes, I know exceptions like TSoY and Shock exist), and when they do have one, it rarely changes the rules enough to break backwards compatibility.

TSR and WotC have broken backwards compatibility with every new edition of D&D and Star Wars they've released. D&D even went from 3.0 to 3.5 within three years, and changed just enough to render huge stocks of 3.0 books incompatible and unsellable.


Quote from: Warthur
It is important that people are free to form an opinion. Personally, I'll buy any well-designed game unless the designer or publisher were actually shown to be white supremacists or some other kind of bigot; there is a point where I will boycott a product because I don't want to give money to the people behind it.

This is the most important question of the bunch, because this whole 'swine war' has nothing to do with RPGs at all, and everything to do with the people involved. It has led to people making value judgments about things that have nothing at all to do with the things themselves, but with their perceived proponents.

And it's fine if you don't want to send money to an asshole, but for many this goes beyond just boycotting a product or person to boycotting the inherent ideas involved. That's bad enough, but it's a terrible basis for a Q&A.



My main point is that you can't have a useful Q&A about much of anything at all with these elements in play.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on August 06, 2007, 04:43:33 pm
Quote from: chaosvoyager
Alrighty...I'm commenting on the quality of the actual Q&A thread(s?) by asking a series of rhetorical questions designed to reflect the questions being asked.

And this just further supports one of the points I'm trying to make. What purpose do Q&A threads that ask about positions we 'imagine' other people to have so we can 'pretend' to oppose them serve other than to just annoy and embarrass everybody?

Well, for one, I do not know Luke’s stand on certain things. I honestly want to know to form a basis of discussion beyond screaming.  I mean, if Joe say “X is objectively better than Y,” I know where he stands.  I might disagree and try to explain why, but I would hope to cut down on misunderstandings because I’m not aware Joe thinks X is objectively better than Y.

Quote from: chaosvoyager
Many of the anti-forge, or anti-anything crowd for that matter, don't HAVE a definition for 'good' of any kind, only 'bad'. As such they can only argue 'against' something, not 'for' it.

I’m not sure if you meant this as irony or to include Forge/GNS/TBM in the “anti-anything” crowd. I mean, in the very Q&A thread we’re discussing, Luke Crane discussed how he thinks GM Fiat is inherently a weak design and so he wanted to design something else.  That seems like a design born out of being against something (as much as it could be seen as one born out of being for the opposite).

Quote from: chaosvoyager
Thing is when someone bases their attacks on the 'subjective' value judgments of their opponent, they cannot use their own value judgments without opening themselves to the same kind of attacks.

Agreed.  Which is one of the reasons there are those who believe GNS/TBM is weak for that very reason; GNS/TBM is seen by some as based on subjectivity but implying the role of unified theory. I'm trying to understand why this is so.  Part of that has to be trying to understand the individual people, what they believe, and why - and then finding out if it's opinion or some kind of supported fact.

Quote from: chaosvoyager
And one thing I noticed is that the Q&A thread eliminated the option of applying 'objective' criteria pretty early in the game. In such an environment, useful questions about games, or game design are impossible to ask.

I know I asked Luke, in good faith, how he comes to the conclusion that, for example, GM Fiat is objectively weak design.  The best I can tell from the answers is the he believes GM Fiat reduces accessibility and ease of use.  That’s an interesting opinion, but hardly the objective truth. I’d love to see evidence – some kind of proof that GM Fiat inherently reduces accessibility and ease of use – but that’s virtually impossible. So it all boils down to taste – and trust me when I say I’ve got no problem with Luke have a preference to design and play a certain way.  Seems to me he’s having a ball doing it so good for him!

Quote from: chaosvoyager
Oh, and finally, you cannot design something without having a criteria. But if you have a criteria, that means you consider some game designs to be 'better' and some to be 'worse'. And that means these kinds of Q&A tend to be anti-design, and anti-designer.

Patently false if you mean I consider some game designs to be objectively better or worse.  I don’t. I consider them to be the product of the designers’ goals and criteria of what is better or worse. I like the kinds of games I like, but do not expect everyone to.  We play RPGs – we’ve been looked at as having a weird hobby for so long that passing judgment on someone else’s way of having fun is a bit foreign to me.

I have, for the most part, admiration for game designers.  I wish I had the time and drive and talent do it myself. In the mean time, I will enjoy the fruits of their labor if their effort appeals to me. But when a designer says one way is objectively better than another without solid evidence (and in some cases it seems evidence to the contrary), I have to question that person as to why they believe what they do. That’s not anti-design or anti-designer.

Quote from: chaosvoyager
This is the most important question of the bunch, because this whole 'swine war' has nothing to do with RPGs at all, and everything to do with the people involved. It has led to people making value judgments about things that have nothing at all to do with the things themselves, but with their perceived proponents.

Well, I for one have no problem with the people – I haven’t met any of them.  I’ve traded words on a screen with a few and even, in the specific case of Luke Crane, set aside some nasty words between us to try and understand him better.

Quote from: chaosvoyager
My main point is that you can't have a useful Q&A about much of anything at all with these elements in play.

You can if you try really, really hard.  And then you have to click your Ruby Red shoes together…
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Warthur on August 07, 2007, 03:42:43 am
Quote from: chaosvoyager
Same here, and considering F.A.T.A.L. and the LARP vampire murders, it would have to be really bad. However, there appears to be a few gamers that feel that certain indie games are harming the hobby simply by existing in the first place.


Well, that's just moonbattery, especially considering that most indie RPGs will go out of print within a decade of their publication.

Quote
Sorcerer has never had a second edition, and it never will.

Come to think of it, MOST indie games lack a second edition (and yes, I know exceptions like TSoY and Shock exist), and when they do have one, it rarely changes the rules enough to break backwards compatibility.

TSR and WotC have broken backwards compatibility with every new edition of D&D and Star Wars they've released. D&D even went from 3.0 to 3.5 within three years, and changed just enough to render huge stocks of 3.0 books incompatible and unsellable.


On the other hand, indie publishers tend to publish a greater variety of games than mainstream publishers, and often each will have its own unique system. The likes of Wizards and White Wolf, meanwhile, tend to riff on their house system.
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Calithena on August 07, 2007, 09:04:40 am
Though they had numerous other faults, TSR did a great job keeping D&D back-compatible. The only non-back-compatible things before 3.0 were some of the 2e skills & powers splats, but you could add those on to anything, so that's OK.

Only with 3e did you get a serious mechanical break with the past.

Anyway, why did these two threads get moved to the ghetto?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: Brantai on August 07, 2007, 10:56:43 am
Quote from: Calithena
Anyway, why did these two threads get moved to the ghetto?

It's not obvious?
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: James J Skach on August 07, 2007, 11:06:26 am
I'm always amused when people claim this or that thread is in "the ghetto" by...well...posting to the thread...that's in the ghetto...
Title: Kudos/Commentary: Q&A Thread, Luke Crane
Post by: TonyLB on August 07, 2007, 12:15:22 pm
Quote from: Calithena
Anyway, why did these two threads get moved to the ghetto?
(a) It's not a ghetto, it's Off-Topic ... not a value judgment, except as far as RPG-relevance is an objective value.  Which, given the fun that goes on in this "ghetto" ... questionable :D

... and (in the spirit of Paul Reiser) ...

(2) The two Q&A threads trended, unsurprisingly, toward the topics that people wanted to ask questions about.  Lots of folks decided that they wanted to as Luke about GM Fiat, and the historic arguments that arose from that, and me about GNS, who-started-what, and the historic arguments that arose from that.  Since neither of these things are actually RPGs, but rather the history of discussion of RPGs, it makes perfect sense for them to end up in the Off-Topic forum.

That's my thinking, anyway.  I'm a little niggled by the recurring pattern where negative talk about past discussions drowns out positive talk about current roleplay, but that's about the questions that get asked, not about the moderation that should be applied once those questions have steered the thread into non-RPG waters.