Sunday, August 10, 2008

Out Of It, Missed Things

I was never really deep into discussions of RPG design and play and theory at El Forge and Story Games and all, but there was a time when I followed them. I haven't for a long time. For whatever reason I find myself starting to again.

This is mostly Chris Kubasik and Vincent talking about In a Wicked Age and Sorcerer; I think I was directed to it by some other Sorcerer-related threads on Story Games, which I followed because I was interested in CK's plan to do a how-to-play-sorcerer book.

It sent me to this one, which is about how in indie RPGs people often fall off the other side of the GM fiat horse, and don't let the narrative affect the rules, other than just to set up opportunities to use them. My impression is that many of the older-school Forgies take "just plain roleplaying" where you establish consensus on the imagined reality just by talking it out and agreeing on it absolutely for granted, but many Forge-inspired designs and many Forge-inspired players seem to leave that behind, and just want to think about the mechanics as a closed universe, and this leads them to misunderstand the ways in which games like Sorcerer and In a Wicked Age and others depend on that narrative consensus to make the rest of the rules make sense.


I think this is really strongly tied to what Ben Lehman's fictional elements for strategic choices thing, or Emily's story capital thing. At it's heart, I think it's about where the play rides on straight Baker-Care principle- the fiction says this, and it makes sense to us, as a group, that the following results should happen.

Though I think a lot of folks conflate that with the usual cop-out to dodging broken rules or fiat-y behavior, which historically has been the case for a lot of play, instead of being used in conjuction with the mechanics & cues.

That thread bounced me back to this Forge thread about Sorcerer combat and character death and lack thereof.

So... I wonder if I can track down a game of Sorcerer, IAWA, or Poison'd at Games on Demand or the Embassy Suites this coming week.....

1 comment:

Brennan said...

I think this is precisely why people coming from mainstream games have less trouble with Mortal Coil than people coming from other indie games.