The Right Tool For The Job

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

The ranting continues.

Let's say you're a writer on Firefly. You work with the other writers in a collaborative, creative environment to break a story. Something to do with Inara's dark secret and Kaylee's past and how both of them grew up too fast.

The writers use certain tools to collaborate and contribute ideas and criticize each other and do all that business of creating an episode of Firefly.

Now it's our turn, as RPG players, to pick up the Firefly RPG and create a new story. What tools do we get? Do we get anything even remotely like what the writers were using for their creative, collaborative endeavor? No. Instead, we determine things like how strong Jayne is, on a scale of 3-18. And how many hull points Serenity has. And how many days travel it is from Persephone to Cheyenne. And how much "damage" an Alliance stunner does. And, gods preserve us, what River's "carrying capacity" is.

The writers didn't need any of that crap to create new Firefly material. And yet, RPG books are full of it. Filled to bursting. It's obsession over the trappings of the thing rather than the thing itself.

But why do gamers get such crappy tools? Because they are, in fact, very good tools -- for a totally different job. See, if you are playing a tabletop wargame then it matters (probably a lot) how strong a character is. And how far they can run in six seconds. And how much stuff they can carry and for how long. These things (and many other details) need to be quantified so they can be measured against each other to determine victory and defeat in the wargame.

If it's desirable for Mal and Inara to have an arm-wrestling match, and for us, as players to focus on using our resources and ratings and randomizers to determine the outcome of this match, then yes, the trappings of a typical RPG will serve us well. Same goes for a space battle or seduction or haggling over spare parts.

If however, what we want as players is something totally different from a wargame -- something with the same focus as the TV show, for example -- then these tools are worthless to us. This is generally considered a radical notion among gamers. Some kind of namby-pamby "indie" nonsense with no bearing on the "real" hobby.

Think about that for a second. The notion that some players perfer not to use the tools of a wargame to create collaborative, critical stories together -- this notion is seen as radical. Even though a room full of people at Mutant Enemy go through a functional collaborative creative process every week -- and create the tales of adventure, suspense, and action that we LOVE -- all without the benefit of Simon's wisdom score or Zoe's armor rating. The idea of using a wargame to create great stories would confuse the hell out of them. Why on earth would you want to do that?

Up is down. Black is white.

Don't misunderstand me. Wargames are fun. Wargames with some roleplaying thrown in are even more fun. I love 'em. And brother, if that's what you want to do, you are in hog heaven. There are eighty bajillion games out there made just for you. I like Savage Worlds, myself. And D&D3E is pretty fun too.

But what if you want something else? What then? First, expect the RPG community at large to call you names and shun you. They figured out what "roleplaying" was long ago, and don't you dare try to tell them different. Second, you don't have many games to choose from. Because everyone already has this roleplaying thing all figured out remember? People have Dexterity scores. That's just the way it is.

The truth is, no one thought about it at first. The wargaming box grew large enough to include everything. People marketed and sold games supposedly based on romance novels in which characters had a number to show how many times they could be hit with hammer before they died. And another number to show how good they were at picking locks. You know... like in most romance novels.

Recently, though, people decided to try something else. Something besides wargaming with roleplaying added on, even though that was plenty of fun. It started slowly with a few lone nuts, and finally snowballed into a kind of movement. A ragged bunch of folks who decided that roleplaying wasn't just wargaming with roleplaying added on. It was something else, too. And each person had a different idea of that that something else might be, and they started making new games and us gamers started getting brand new tools.

So now, we can actually decide what kind of job we want to do, as a gamer. And then look in our toolshed and grab the right one. Or, if it's not there, we can start making it ourselves.

Which brings me back to the Firefly example. What do we do, if we don't want to wargame and roleplay on top of it? Matt Wilson has an answer. He wrote a clever little game called Primetime Adventures. It actually takes that functional creative process that the Firefly writers use, and turns it into a fun activity you can have with your friends over a few evenings. And you know what? If you follow the steps in the game text, you can create some pretty nifty stories of drama, adventure, and relationships -- kinda like those wiley Mutant Enemy folks.

A lot of people say this isn't "really" roleplaying. And that's fine by me. They can have their thing. What matters to me is that my toolshed is starting to get full. I look in there, and I get all kinds of ideas for jobs I want to do, plus a few jobs that need some new tools made. And on it goes.

Thank you Ron, Clinton, James, Jonathan, Robin, Paul, Vincent, and the Matts.

Labels: ,

22 Comments:

Blogger John Harper says:  

John Kim brought up a good point on another blog so I thought I would say something about it here.

He said that a game like James Bond 007 has tons of detailed stats for cars and guns and gadgets, and these stats add greatly to the game experience.

I agree totally. This goes right to my point about using the right tool. The James Bond films are all about cars and guns and gadgets, so of course your RPG should lavish detail and attention on them. Plus, James Bond is part wargame. You want to use your resources in the best way to accomplish your mission. So those resources need stats so they can be brought into the game system to do battle.

I have nothing against armor class and carrying capacity when they are used to support the appropriate kind of play experience.

I also think there is plenty of room for interpretation when it comes to the "right" approach for a game. You could make a James Bond game that was about nothing but seduction, deception, and high stakes casino games, with all of the cars and guns and stuff as background color. It would still be James Bond and it could be lots of fun. In that game, cars and guns wouldn't get pages and pages of stats. Something like autofire rules would be silly.

Anyway, I'm rambling. John had a good point, so there it is.



Anonymous tim says:  

Ah but I'd say the tools of the writer's/collaberators are also different--because they aren't making a game.

A game has certian expectations to be a game, ones a show doesn't have. A show also have concerns with budgets, and creative oversite (in this case I suspect Joss or other producer to say NO! Or YES!). Part of the reason games still use wargame systems (sort of), is it gives us a "Yes!" or "NO!" answer without arguments (at least if you don't have rules lawyers.)

Can Inara pick a lock? In a creative story for the show the needs of drama would be served.

In the needs of a game, there is no guarentee a lock will ever come up, or locks may come up regularly.

Heres the thing--an actor is given a script that DEFINES exactly what they can do, when they do it, how they do it, if they succeed or fail, in advance.

A game in this case does not have predetermined outcomes, plotted from beginning to end. Part of this is the nature of the hobby being "What's in the next room of the dungeon", part is simply that simply saying yes or no, can create conflict among groups. Because the fact is gamers want to be the "star" of the show. They get the "star-ego" elements but have no one above them in the role of producer to say "and you fall off a cliff and die, next" like soap operas. Instead they encourage what amounts to collaberative comprimise--you let a mechanical tool decide.

For some people though the tool needs to create a "realistic" vibe.

For example Jayne is a big guy, therefore he is probably pretty strong. Rarely will you see a big guy whose week on TV bevause the audience doesn't buy into that as easily.

In a game a character CAN be big, and weak, because there are no set expectations of the audience.

A lot of the thing is about defining perceptions. We all have our own imaginations about how things look, work, act. The Wargame side of the hobby created tools that allow us a language of definition--so we share a common set of not ecactly images, but of definitions in our head that allows us to share a vision of a character.

I can describe a character as a big strong guy. I can define him as having Str 18 in D&D, Excellant in MSH, or 8 in cyberpunk or so on and so forth. These are simple handled to allow us to define a common ground for images of the character. You know from familiarity with the same game what a character with that trait is likely capable of. None of them are going to be hefting tanks over there heads.

But Big strong guy, as a descriptor isn't always enough of a common ground. Lacking a scripr to define examples to give us that image (or watching a show) it condenses things into a measure.

Now they are very POOR measures in the most cases, but its the best we can do without telepathy

Part of it is about setting "limits" without saying "NO!" to a player as well. "I'm playing Jayne and he runs in and tears the steel pressure door of its hinges!" you and I both know players potentially capable of saying that in all seriousness.

But she is less likely to do so if the game has given enough common ground definition to limit them to just what Jayne the character would do, rather than what Jamie his player wants him to do.

Sometoes a player's agenda is inappropriate for the character. It can't be in a script, or it won't saved from an edit.


Now if you think about it using a script is an exellant way to develop a game--explaining the challenges to players: Someone needs to be a victim, someone needs to rescue the rest of the group, and so on.

Plan for several adventures then let them choose their ROLE within the several sessions of play, and actions already set to a script (not specific hows though that handicap the whole flexibility of rpg's in the first place)

Anyway I'm sorry I've rambled aimlessly.



Blogger John Harper says:  

Tim, I understand why wargames work the way they do and why RPGs use them as a basis. Honestly. If my post didn't make that abundantly clear, then, well... I don't know what to tell you.

I'm not knocking wargames or RPGs based on them. Really I'm not. Your post reads like a defense of traditional RPG systems to me, and such a defense is totally out of place here.

I like traditional RPGs, when I want to have the kind of play experience they support. When I want another kind of play experience (and there are many), I want different tools. Does that make sense?



Blogger Bankuei says:  

It's obsession over the trappings of the thing rather than the thing itself.

Oh god yes. Matt Snyder and I have had more than a couple discussions about this issue a couple of months ago. There is a common tendency to focus on the external and miss whatever the real thing is that actually appeals to folks.

For example- kewl powers in X-men comics is neat, but its the characters and their personal soap operas that keep folks coming back- in comparison we saw a lot of Image (and other new wave) comics come out that had the kewl powers, but didn't have the personality, and eventually most of them died off with the fandom- because there was no kernel, no heart, no staying power.

Likewise, the kewl stuff of a franchise usually resides in characters and deeper themes- not whether someone can blow up a building or fight 20 guys at once. The sad thing is that lots of people hope that adding more powers will somehow magically create the human element- not realizing, as in your post- the wargame makes a poor soap opera...

What is the frustrating part- is that people KEEP using the wrong tools and wondering why things are so hard to get different results.



Anonymous tim says:  

It makes sense. But what comes across to me is not "I want an RPG with different tools" but "I don't want an RPG."

There are reasons why things work differently between media. S.John Ross, said something to the effect that games are games, they should do game things. If you want to make a game "like" a movie--Make a movie. If you want to make a game like a novel--write a novel.

I waver with that perspective sometimes agreeing sometimes disagreeing. If a game is not fulfilling your needs because its not doing things like X (whatever X may be but isn't a game) are you really wanting a game?

Why does making a game work like a TV show appeal to you, rather than writing your own tv show?

Or watching the show in question?

(I'm not trying honestly to tear down the idea, just examine why you feel a game thing isn't sufficient.)

Admittedly if I were in charge of the Firefly license, I'd have turned it over to someone who understands "soap opera" drama, and can help provide support (not necessarily mechanics or rules) but support for creating the feel of the show. In my opinion the issue is not the rules at all. Any rules will do if the support material (how to handle the subject matter of Space Westerns, Whedonesque dialogue) etc.

Buffy and Angel had some of that, but were still fairly traditional games (I don't think they had ENOUGH) but most people are happy with it.

Personally though I don't think any game will ever capture the feel of good shows/books/movies, UNLESS the players are up to the level of acting of the actors in those good shows, and the GM/Players (whoever is presenting information) is as good a writer as those employeed to produce such shows.



Anonymous Pôl Jackson says:  

Tim, you wrote, in part: Part of it is about setting "limits" without saying "NO!" to a player as well. "I'm playing Jayne and he runs in and tears the steel pressure door of its hinges!" you and I both know players potentially capable of saying that in all seriousness.

You're right, this can be a problem. As you say, one way to solve it is by using "wargame" mechanics: "Jayne has X strength, and so can do Y."

But I submit that there are other tools available to solve this problem in a roleplaying game, beyond having a Judge who just says "No!".

Just off the top of my head, what if the system rewarded the players for thematic, story-driven play? If Jayne's player isn't being rewarded for out-of-character behavior, perhaps she'll think twice about trying to get through that door, and think more about what kind of actions would best support the story.

Now, I agree that my example there is rather vague. Perhaps someone else could jump in with a more concrete example? I'm a bit of a newbie here, and my non-traditional RPG collection is still small. :)



Blogger Matt Wilson says:  

Why does making a game work like a TV show appeal to you, rather than writing your own tv show?

Consider that the game, in effect, is in fact 'writing your own tv show,' but as a group, and with rules for how to do that as a group.

The game elements are things like 'whose turn is it to say stuff' and 'do the main characters get what they want to get?'



Blogger John Harper says:  

Pol: Yes! Well said. There are indeed many other tools. For the curious, I recommend reading Primetime Adventures, Trollbabe, The Shadow of Yesterday, and Dogs in the Vineyard.

Tim: What Matt said. My own answer is more snarky, but that's just me. :-)

There is a world of difference between passing an evening with my friends playing a game together and actually producing a television show. That should be obvious to anyone.

Your comment, "If you want to make a movie, make a movie" sounds very strange to me. I mean, should I not play Monopoly either? If I want to buy real estate, I should go out and buy real estate? No. Of course not.

To use the same logic, no one should play D&D, either. If defeating challenges is what you're after, become a Go master or a Boxer. C'mon.

I shouldn't have to explain why people play games that are metaphors for other parts of life. And playing a game that involves making a story with certain trappings (TV, movie, books, whatever) is NOT the same thing as making those actual things, for real.

If I can have most of the fun of creating my own TV series with my friends, while sitting around my living room, for free, why on earth should I not do that?



Blogger John Harper says:  

I also want to respond to this thing Tim said:

Personally though I don't think any game will ever capture the feel of good shows/books/movies, UNLESS the players are up to the level of acting of the actors in those good shows, and the GM/Players (whoever is presenting information) is as good a writer as those employeed to produce such shows.

I just have to say, you're wrong. Dead wrong. I've played in such games. I've read, oh let's say, 100 actual play reports online from other people who have done it too. Not only is it possible, but it happens all the time.

Heck, ask ANY roleplayer to tell you about the sessions they've played in that were better than any movie and they will talk your ear off.



Anonymous Anonymous says:  

Pol Said:

Just off the top of my head, what if the system rewarded the players for thematic, story-driven play? If Jayne's player isn't being rewarded for out-of-character behavior, perhaps she'll think twice about trying to get through that door, and think more about what kind of actions would best support the story.
Ah but this is the issue of course, whose story? which story? A game has no set script. No fixed requirement for a hero, the wargame tools allow a flexibility of play that story driven needs do not--because not story has yet been written.


John said

If I can have most of the fun of creating my own TV series with my friends, while sitting around my living room, for free, why on earth should I not do that?

But that's just it--why do you want it to be a game then? I can and friends used to pitch story and character ideas for shows, movies, etc all the time and we didn't need mechanics of any sort to do so--not wargame ones, nor other style. The issue seems to me that your wanting to do an activity that is not playing an RPG, and thats ok, I like to do hundreds of non rpg things with my life, but I don't try and warp them to be RPG's too. It just seems to me that your wanting two different elements of your needs served, that might not go together.

Now I for example like what little I've seen of PTA, I like how it handles things, but I don't feel its all that different from Over the Edge mechanically speaking. It does however offer support (as I mentioned) which OTE mechanics do not without touching a mechanical/tool/rule. Just ideas on how to handle things. Those ideas could easily be inserted into games with wargame mechanics and most people would say they produce the same results.

As too the idea of actual play. I've had fantastic players, better than many I've experienced by peoples stories, I've had bad players too. But that's the thing--good players make a good game, bad players make a bad game. I'm not saying the best players aren't capable of outperforming actors on ordinary shows--but on GOOD shows I have my doubts. I've seen great players in great games, but none of them I'd call academy award winning. It's just a different set of expectations. In short I'd say an outside observer watching the games your told about would disagree to the quality. Its not they are bad, don't get me wrong, its just that people have biased perceptions of things they participate in.

I mean Halle Berry is an award winning actress--but she was also in Cstwoman.

Do you think honestly when she was making Catwomen she thought "Gee this sucks.!" no because her bias was in the way (And a paycheck.)

I just think you should consider that your perception is biased to a style of gaming you like--but that the tools aren't wrong for doing Firefly necessarily, It's the lack of support and knowledge of HOW to play X way that is missing from

You mentioned James Bond about being about gear and wargame stuff--but I can see Firefly in the same light, Jayne's fascination/guns, the ship itself, and so on, are wargame style resources. The success of the crew was often tied to a singular individuals leadership (a wargame aspect we might see in a finer wargame).



Blogger John Harper says:  

No more posting as "anonymous". I assume that's you, Tim, and it was a simple mistake.



Blogger Matt Wilson says:  

The issue seems to me that your wanting to do an activity that is not playing an RPG, and thats ok, I like to do hundreds of non rpg things with my life, but I don't try and warp them to be RPG's too.

Perhaps you have a much narrower definition of what an RPG is than John or I do.



Blogger John Harper says:  

Tim, your idea of what "RPG" means is much, much more narrow than mine. I think we've both said enough about that. We're not going to win each other over.

You still seem to be arguing that that the wargamey way is good. And... yeah. I get that. I said that. In the original post, and here in the comments. Several times. I mean... are we done saying that over and over again? Let me do this:

TRADITIONAL RPGS ARE GOOD AND FUN AND MAY THEY ENDURE UNTIL THE END OF TIME.

There. I'm not being sarcastic either. I believe that. You don't have to convince me. Please.

Here's some more boldface text, for future reference:

I am not arguing that "RPGs" as a thing, should be one particular way. I like ALL KINDS of games, played in ALL KINDS of ways.

When I say "Hey, this way could be fun. I want more games like this," I am saying exactly what I mean. Parse that sentence. It does not contradict the boldface above. And neither does this, "I want to have experience X. Game Y doesn't do that for me."

Let me give you some context:
I designed, wrote, edited, and published a traditional RPG. It's called Talislanta fourth edition. When I talk about traditional RPGs, and their systems, and contrast them to other ways of playing, I have some idea what I'm talking about. Okay? I'm not a clueless theorist visiting from outer space.

So when you say this:
I just think you should consider that your perception is biased to a style of gaming you like

I say:
Huh? My perception is based on 25 years of gaming -- playing and reading every RPG under the sun. Give me a little credit.

See? Man, I am snarky as hell today.

There was an actual point in your post that I wanted to refute, though:

In short I'd say an outside observer watching the games your told about would disagree to the quality. Its not they are bad, don't get me wrong, its just that people have biased perceptions of things they participate in.

I don't care about an "outside observer." There is none, and it effects my fun not one bit. My friends and I have fun playing (for example) PTA and using the game (yes GAME) to create our own TV series. And yes, it is sometimes MORE fun than watching our favorite shows.

I can point you to actual play threads on the Forge where at least six different play groups say the same thing. Those are facts. You can talk all you want about what "probably" will happen with your "average" group, but I learned a long time ago that it's pointless to entertain someone's complaints about what they think someone else will do.

I have first and secondhand evidence that playing a game that makes TV episodes is a fun, rewarding, and worthwhile thing to do. Trying to tell me otherwise is a waste of time.



Blogger John Harper says:  

That last comment got long. So this gets its own post.

Tim wrote:
You mentioned James Bond about being about gear and wargame stuff--but I can see Firefly in the same light, Jayne's fascination/guns, the ship itself, and so on, are wargame style resources. The success of the crew was often tied to a singular individuals leadership (a wargame aspect we might see in a finer wargame).

Go back and read the first comment on this page again. Pay close attention to the fourth and fifth paragraphs. The ones that begin with "I have nothing against..." and "I also think there is plenty of room..."

Do you understand what I'm saying there? Because your quote above makes me think that you don't. You seem to be trying to convince me of something that I already wrote myself on this very page.

See how we are in agreement about how sometimes a certain approach makes sense for a certain goal?



Anonymous Tim says:  

yeah that was me. Sorry.



Anonymous Tim says:  

1) I know what you have written, )I love Talislanta), and loved the first preview I had of Danger Patrol before unless I'm mistaken of memory you decided D20 was the way to go!! and I quickly lost interest at that point. Because I think D20 is about as off the mark as possible for what I saw in DP.

2) That is of course the point I've been examining here. You are all over the map in regards to what you seem to want. Nothing wrong with that, but it makes it extremely hard to believe you know what you want when you say certian things. How long you've been in the hobby isn't important--you've good ideas, I won't bring up how long I've been in this hobby. It has no bearing on examing these ideas.

3) As I said I waver myself, but I the difference is for the most part I've played games regularly ever since I started. That is actually played, my definition of RPG comes from any group of players I've ever had expect from a game. If its narrow its narrow because the players out there playing, play in such a specific way. I'm not trying to redefine RPG's to suit my needs, I'm only considering what happens if I say "I want to run an RPG." and what my players will then expect.

Unlike some I've not had a lot of dysfunctional play, but I wasn't pushing any ideas at my players besides simply catering to their sense of fun.

John said:
"I'm not a clueless theorist visiting from outer space."

I'm not saying you are--but I am saying that you may be examining the issue from the wrong end. That the /games/ are not suitable for X.

Maybe they aren't. I'm willing to consider that fact. I'm willing to consider I have a bias that is neither wargame style RPG's nor focused explorations of Narrativist agenda.

It is not that I think there aren't potential tools beyond the classic "wargame" ones--just that those tools may not be the tools you've brought up. Mechanics are not the only tool you can put in a game.

If I write an espionage game, tell you how dramatic scenes are played out, OR give you a system for determining the results of picking locks and having gunfights, but don't address the essential concept of "What is Espionage?" "How does one create missions for espionage games." "What kinds of things occur to establish an espionage meme" then the mechanics NO MATTER their bias will be flawed, because the failure here is lack of supporting the mechanics. For example though I took you to task over True20 because of its genericness--if you'd said the same of Blue Rose I'd not likely said a word. It's a game of "social" elements, and spents more time writing about weapons, feats, Gods, monsters, etc each, than addressing playing social roles within a game--not rules like "ROLL X DIE TO CHARM" but simple things like building evocative romantic scenes, or establishing crushes, to dealing with outcast heroes who must find their own social role.

Perhaps its just my phrasing the idea that's off.

For that I apologize.



Blogger John Harper says:  

No need to apologize, Tim. I appreciate your willingness to engage in a discussion here.

I don't think we're going to be very fruitful from here on out, though. I don't feel like you're understanding me and I don't know how else to state my case.

That's okay. We gave it a shot. Thanks for putting in the effort with me.

By the way, who are you? Have we had discussions online before? Were you involved in the old Shootingiron forum at all? Do you go by another handle?

And yeah, Danger Patrol D20 was a VERY bad idea. Man... what was I smoking? Yeeesh. The thought of it makes me cringe.



Blogger Matt Wilson says:  

How long ago was DP d20? Seems too long ago to be relevant in any support of John being 'all over the map.'



Anonymous tim says:  

John:
Yeah I go by "sidhain" (or used to, I'm trying to phase that out for my real name, not trying to be deceptive here so people can loudlly complain about my games which have my name on them.) I didn't realize who you were when I first posted having wondered in from the outside, but then I did after reading back a bit or I would have mentioned it at the first.

Oh if you want to come rant at my ideas I post here (and your welcome to as long as you are at least trying to discuss things with me via the rant ;) )

http://www.inkarbon.com/rainfall/


Matt:
Well I saw D20, a cards and chips set, the original Tal Inspired system in the time I was trying to pay attention to DP. So three systems in a relatively short span of time seems that way to me. I played in a playtest run by a friend online of the oiginal system that was great fun. I miss Doc Sigil. *sniff*

Understand if you accused me of the same things I'd say "Yeah Ok. Me too." (I'm struggling with rewrite of a game I wrote several years ago and I can't seem to settle on a system for it either, because the original system was functional, but not evocative--a percentile/success scale system.) and MY tastes have changed to simpler, more powerful, more player* directed systems. (I'm considering a Saga-esque card mechanic, though cards are so very difficult to work on/manufacture and expensive to produce, so I'm really struggling with it.) I have a specific agenda for the system, one which is hard so far to find a valid fit for/way of handling to process the agenda--so I am all over the map sometimes too.

Please understand I'm really not trying to be argumentative for its own sake, but explore ideas here.

But I pretty much straddle the fence. I see very little wrong with the classic way of doing things, at least in theory because its worked so far for me. On the other hand I do like games to be interesting--and often that's not the wargaming rooted ones neccessarily. (Otherkind I find great, so too I think PTA is pretty darn spiffy from what I saw of it--I don't own or it, and its OOP ;( but a friend started us through the process.) I like player control and input, a lot of it--but my PLAYERS are sometimes a different story. (on the other hand I've taught my nephew and neice how to play Marvel Saga, and my neice whose 6, gets player input very very well, often adding things you wouldn't expect--simply becuse she has no prior preconceptions of what RPG's are set up to do. Of course her parents LARP, and she keeps confusing me with "I want a garou character." meaning she wants to roleplay but she's heard garou way way too much.

and please kindly be patient *L* I really am just trying to figure things out here too--but it comes off often as "YOUR WRONG" more often than I intend, partially my experiences which as I mentioned have rarely been negative. (Heck most negatives I've had were usually specific players, not failed gaming sessions.)



* I don't go for GMless or mechanical overrides over a Gm--part of it is I play too, and while I often want some input, a big part of fun for gaming to me is NOT knowing an outcome, not knowing the potential solution. But actually dealing with the mystery of someone elses ideas. I have in play had games where mysteries were solved by the players and the "solution" was created by them--hidden behind a screen but where they lead, I followed, but as a PLAYER I find it much more interesting to actually try and figure out a mystery with set outcomes. Although that can be frustrating as well.



Blogger John Harper says:  

Oh! You're Tim Kirk! I've seen your posts on RPGnet, and I remember you as sidhain from the old days too.

I gotta say, this discussion makes a whole lot more sense now. I don't think I've ever seen eye-to-eye with your posts on RPGnet -- usually the exact opposite, in fact. We come at the RPG topic from very different directions. Which is cool. Different perspectives can often lead to good discussions.

You wrote:
and please kindly be patient *L* I really am just trying to figure things out here too--but it comes off often as "YOUR WRONG" more often than I intend ...[sic]

Ditto. I usually get very ranty when talking about this stuff, and I appreciate that you haven't taken it personally or taken anything as flame. Seriously, that's a rare thing to see in this medium.

Gonna go check out your blog now.



Anonymous tim says:  

I don't take a lot of things personally, unless someone makes it so. I argue games, not people, which some people online don't get (hey I'm human and flawed so I sometimes get caught up in things) but I'm after /game/ discussion, and I take most of it with a lot of more humor than I seem to be able to convey. I try. But its never personal I don't think people are "wrong" for wanting different games things then I, but I do want consideration for the same, as I said I waver for good reason--I don't feel gaming of the past is broken or wrong, I do think its good to explore new tools. But sometimes I want a compromised approach (and that i'm the only one who doesn't want to go left or right but drive down a comfortable middle.)



OpenID The Sentience says:  

I just want to say this is my new favorite blog. I was pretty anti-indie for a while, mostly because I had stats and numbers and skills so ingrained in my RPG-Mind that I just couldn't wrap my head around the lack of certain granular rules. After reading Lady Blackbird, it completely changed my perspective and I'm now completely uninterested in the 'wargame' approach. Thank you John.



Post a Comment



<< Home