This is a site for discussing roleplaying games. Have fun doing so, but there is one major rule: do not discuss political issues that aren't directly and uniquely related to the subject of the thread and about gaming. While this site is dedicated to free speech, the following will not be tolerated: devolving a thread into unrelated political discussion, sockpuppeting (using multiple and/or bogus accounts), disrupting topics without contributing to them, and posting images that could get someone fired in the workplace (an external link is OK, but clearly mark it as Not Safe For Work, or NSFW). If you receive a warning, please take it seriously and either move on to another topic or steer the discussion back to its original RPG-related theme.
NOTICE: Some online security services are reporting that information for a limited number of users from this site is for sale on the "dark web." As of right now, there is no direct evidence of this, but change your password just to be safe.

Show Posts

This section allows you to view all posts made by this member. Note that you can only see posts made in areas you currently have access to.

Messages - Pebbles and Marbles

Pages: 1 2 3 [4]
Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Songs and Games
« on: October 04, 2006, 04:36:45 AM »
I've never borrowed anything from a song in the way of plot, or even a character.  However, I have often borrowed bits of imagery and stuck them in games.  In an old Planescape game, I borrowed some of the imagery from "The Carpet Crawlers" by Genesis, if anyone's familiar with that.  And from Brian Eno's "The Fat Lady of Limbourgh" for the same campaign.

More obliquely, I've made casual reference to things in the "Gamehendge" song cycle by Phish in a few games, though I don't think anyone noticed.

Quote from: RPGPundit
Those people would be wrong, or talking about something other than RPGs.

I don't see how either of those things would have to be true.

Hypothetical Gaming Group A gets together.  HGGA's GM decides that the game is going to be about a war between two neighboring city-states.  The players are spies from one city-state, going to infiltrate the other one, to find out secrets, assassinate key figures; &c.

To accomplish this aim, HGGA's GM decides to use D&D.  Take your pick which edition.

What's being done here are two things: 1) everyone's decided to play a game wherein they try and accomplish those ends with their character's abilities and probably something of their own ingenuity and creativity; 2) everyone's decided to help create the story of whether or not they're successful, and to what extent if so.

The game, both in terms of the setting and the use of D&D, is a means to accomplish both of those aims.  

It honestly seems to me that you cannot seperate those two aims, either.  Even if you replace the propose scenario with "Go into yonder dungeon, whack beasts and scary things, and take the money and run." it's still the same thing.

How in the world would you be able to run either of those scenarios without "story" being an aspect of play?

Quote from: Elliot Wilen
Where's Sett's thread?

In the meantime, though, you guys are just showing your story-bias. If you play baseball, or backgammon, or Advanced Squad Leader, you aren't making up a story, even though a story is produced, and even though the game functions and maintains interest through the narrative continuity. In other words, "bases loaded in the bottom of the ninth, two outs, home team behind by one run" has narrative significance even though nobody in the game is doing anything that could be construed as "making up a story". RPGs can be just the same (and in fact were, overwhelmingly, in the early days of the hobby).

The thing is, when I play baseball, I'm not "pretending" to be a baseball player.  I'm actively playing baseball.  I'm not assuming a role, at least not as far as that term is meant within our (gaming) context.  Yeah, I might be playing right field, but I'm not imaging myself as a right fielder.

Likewise with board games.  I don't pretend to be the bishop in chess.  

I definately agree that there's a narrative created in games other than RPGs, but I think the very act of taking on a role in a RPG makes the experience intrinsically different that a comparison to the likes of baseball or backgammon isn't particularly meaningful.

I don't think I have a "story" bias.  I'm certainly not an active participant in the so-called "story games" end of our hobby.  My gaming is remarkably conservative, or would be viewed as such by someone whose tastes do run towards that end of the spectrum.  However, I still don't see how it would be possibly to run a RPG and not have "story" as an element of play.  Said "story" might not be particularly detailed, it might lack all hint of subtext*, but it's still present in some way, is it not?

If I'm missing something, let me know.  If someone can point me towards an example of playing a RPG where a story of some manner is never created, I'd appreciate it, just out of curiousity's sake.

I voted for fantasy.  I'm drawn to it as a player more strongly than SF; as a GM, I'm entirely drawn to fantasy.

While I've never quite puzzled out the reasons why, I think it might be rooted in what my tastes are as far as SF writing.  The sort of SF that I'm drawn to (P.K. Dick; Delaney; Ballard; Lethem; Wolfe; et al) doesn't lend itself easily to gaming, or at least the sort of gaming that I find most usable and rewarding.  Even someone like Iain M. Banks, who is closer to the sort of SF that seems to dominate RPGs, wouldn't be particularly easy to translate over.

Not that I wouldn't play a game of Traveller for old time's sake.

Somewhere within the last year or two, "story" has become something of a dirty word for certain gamers.  We can all imagine the variety of reasons for this, so I don't intend to provide a rundown here.

I think, however, that it's something of a shame that a simple enough term as "story" has been abandoned by some people just because of others using it in a highly specific manner that doesn't jibe with their notion of gaming.

Or, if you prefer: Reembrace story, dammit.

Settembrini is both wrong and right when he says that "Story might be the result, but game is the purpose."  For most people, I imagine that "game" is a purpose somewhat higher than "story" if we're using that more specific meaning of story.  I don't want to use of the standard code words here, as those seem to just derail any conversation whenever they're used, so I hope that everyone can parse what I'm trying to say here without actually saying it.

That aside, I also think Settembrini is a bit wrong when he says that "Story might be the result..."  No, story is the result or, perhaps more delicately, it is a large part of the result.  More than that, "story" is part and parcel of "game".  

Resistance to that notion seems to be rooted in a desire to make a philosophical/theoretical stand against those more specific uses of "story" more than anything else.  It seems to be more of a case of "Well, my games aren't about that.  My style of play isn't that.  So, my games aren't "story", thank you very much."

And, you know what?  I can understand that to an extent.  Perhaps not the extent that it sometimes goes, descending into counter-productive vitriol, but to the extent to wanting to distance yourself from something that you have considered and have concluded that doesn't work for you, yet can be forced upon you by others.

But, in a way, refusing to acknowledge that one's game has "story" just further promotes what one is trying to disavow.  Reclaim the word, make it your own thing.

Because any game, no matter it being lowbrow or having airs towards something more complicated, still produces "story" and still has "story as a fundamental component to its nature.

"Four of us went into a dungeon, to fight monsters and claim treasure.  Three of us emerged, having defeated some monsters and claimed some reward.  One of us was eaten by a giant frog."

That's a story, even if absolutely no forethought went into the process.  A story was created by the simple act of playing the game.  I would say that's a fundamental aspect of RPGs that seperate themselves from some game like cribbage or parcheesi.  It's a by product of assuming a role, even in the most general meaning of that word.

Unless I've greatly misunderstood why there's an objection to the use of "story" here.  I allow that I could be misreading people's objections here.


Pen and Paper Roleplaying Games (RPGs) Discussion / Songs and Games
« on: October 04, 2006, 12:46:12 AM »
A point of trivia about the Blue Oyster Cult song above:  The lyrics are the work of Michael Moorcock.  I've seen claims that the song is specifically about the character of Jerry Cornelius, but I've never seen confirmation on that.

The phrase "veteran of a thousand psychic wars" shows up in a Hawkwind song from 1975 titled "Standing on the Edge of Time", which was one of several tracks by the band that had lyrics written with Moorcock:

We're standing on the edge
The edge of time
And it is dark, so dark on the edge of time
And we're tired of making love
We are the lost, we are the ravaged
We are the unkind
We are the soldiers at the edge of time
And we're tired of making love
Where are our children
Where are our fathers
Where is our desire
And it's cold, so cold on the edge of time
Where is our joy
Where is our hope
Where is our fire
And it's cold, so cold on the edge of time
We are the the lost, we are the forgotten
We are the undying
We are the soldiers at the edge of time
The veterans of a thousand psychic wars
We are ths soldiers at the edge of time
The victims of the savage truth
We are the soldiers at the edge of time
And we're tired of making love

Pages: 1 2 3 [4]