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Wednesday, 16 December 2015

How Tommy's Narrative-control Gamma-ray-eating Hulk Ruined Playtime

So, with Everyjoe Tuesday out of the way, it's back to bitch-slapping the gang of assholes who have gotten all foaming at the mouth that I would dare to suggest their GM-ruining agenda is a shitty idea.

Someone trying to be clever about the recent arguments regarding player usurpation of the GM's role as world-creator, the absurd grotesquerie of the 'say yes or roll the dice' rule, and general disdain for both Immersion and setting as anything other than a meaningless backdrop for 'story creation' decided to postulate this supposed 'gotcha' question:  "If shared narrative control destroys immersion, then how do kids play pretend together without a GM?"


Answer: Usually EXTREMELY BADLY.
Case in point: my make-believe world of Dark Albion has lasted for coming on 6 years of weekly play.
Little Billy Johnson's make-believe world of "Star War Ninja Turtle Iron Man Avengers of the Galaxy" lasted about ten minutes before his little friends started arguing about how Tommy's Hulk didn't kill Darth Vader because Hulk can't shoot lasers from his hands, no matter how much Tommy says that he can now because he ate more gamma rays while no one else was looking.

Most of the 10 minutes was them remaking scenes from the movies/shows with very limited creativity anyways.
The conflict being unresolvable, they forgot about the game and decided to watch spongebob.

Billy will continue to be dissatisfied by his early collective pretend-world experiences until he discovers the OSR, where he will become a semi-well known blogger talking about a golden age he never actually knew; but will also get to finally play the long and fruitful campaigns in fascinating living worlds like he always wanted to (but had neither the rules nor the right people to do it with) as a kid.

 Tommy will eventually discover Storygames and have far fewer friends than Billy, and still won't ever participate in a game that lives past its second session. Almost everyone who knows him online or in person will think Tommy is a massive cunt.

RPGPundit

Currently Smoking: Neerup Poker + Gawith's Balkan Flake

35 comments:

  1. Haven't you heard, Pundit? These kinds of conflicts never actually come up, so they say. If only Billy had picked better friends on the playground, these natural conflicts of interest would have all beautifully resolved themselves.

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    1. When I was a child, we usually tried to resolved such arguments with a old west style shootout which usually ended with another argument: whose cap pistol actually fired first.

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  2. Best sum-up so far. It's pretty definitive, but...

    But I don't think you will ever settle the issue unless you do a proper and honest review of "Prince Valiant - The Story Telling Game" by Greg Stafford. It's a storytelling game by its own admission - the first modern one (1989), with (optional) shared narrative control and all. Mark Rhein-Hagen blatantly ripped the concept and the core mechanism for his whiny vampire game. And IMHO it's also a beautifully written RPG by one of the great masters of our hobby. Need I point out that it is a perfect fit for a rule-lite romp in Dark Albion ?

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    1. Its an obscure weirdo RPG written by someone who did much much better stuff than that, that never went on to any important Role in RPGs until Ron Edwards & Co. obsessed over it as some kind of 'proof' that their theories were somehow legitimate to RPGs, because PV (& a couple of other outliers) somehow 'proved' that gamers actually secretly all wanted to be Narrativists and were just waiting for the Messiah to come and lead them to the Storygamer Promised Land; in much the same way as "mormon archeology" teams try to find weird rocks in the Yucatan as 'proof' of the 'ancient central american jewish civilization' described in the Book of Mormon.

      It's ridiculous absurdity.

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  3. If, 5e is so great, how come it includes the "say yes" rule?

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    1. It doesn't. It includes some bad advice in a section no one will give a fuck about. It has no such RULE.

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  4. [precising my previous comment] to be clear : I am a strictly B/X / Star Wars d6 / AFF / Chill guy, and I never considered playing any storytelling game (except Fiasco : it was a mess) until I read Prince Valiant...

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  5. First, the Little Billy Johnson example lacks not only a GM, but also RULES. So, the contrast is not diagnostic.

    Second, you are trying to shift the focus here. We all know that children's make-believe games can be pretty immersive. To say nothing of dreams, hypnosis, ritual trance, etc. Inherently, making stuff up and immersing in it are not mutually exclusive, that's the point.

    Third, repeatedly calling everyone who disagrees with you names is not a way to validate your points.

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    1. That's his M.O. It's not going to change because you don't dig it. Name-calling and changing the subject are frequent when he is challenged on his opinions. That's why we love him so much.

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    2. That's where you're wrong, bitch! My utter contempt for your empty non-rebuttals, and expressing it by calling you mean names, absolutely validates my points.

      Certainly, you need rules. But if Billy and Tommy and their friends had rules, you'd still see Tommy acting like a little pre-Storygamer douchebag because that's inherent in his nature. He'd be a manipulative little shit trying to use the rules to get his way, insisting that no one should be allowed to get in the way of his 'art' or his 'deep theme' or his 'fun' (only if all other arguments fail).

      So unless you have a GM, with the power to say NO to little Tommy, you're still fucked.

      And the whole Forge/Storygamers movement is just Little Tommy Writ Large; its just spoiled little shits who want to ruin everyone else's fun by taking away the person who stops them from being in control. A generation ago, they would have been making GM Player-characters and reducing their friends to cheerleaders in really bad Vampire or Werewolf games, but everyone got wise to that so the process had to change. At the game-level, the Storygamers want to get rid of the GM, at the meta- level with the whole concepts of regular RPGs at all.

      Only that didn't go well for you either, because I and people like me stopped you. So now most of y'all have moved on to be Pseudo-Activists trying to censor those games you can't control. Newsflash: We'll stop you there too, scum.

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    3. You are a fountain of mirth, my friend!

      Your constant repetition of "I am RPGPundit, and if you play any differently from the way I approve, it proves you are a batch of narcissistic assholes" proves only one statement. Guess which?

      Anyway, good luck with stopping "movements" and "processes" that only exist in your imagination.

      BTW, tomorrow I am running a session of LotFP at a local con, here in St. Petersburg. Apparently this must be part of a broader attempt to bring ruin to traditional RPGs? Good luck stopping me!

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    4. Wow, I feel sad for those players. Someone with your total lack of understanding of Immersion and Emulation really shouldn't be running D&D of any kind. Hopefully they won't be soured on Old-school as a whole because of your intentionally bad presentation of it.

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    5. "Intentionally bad presentation", my ass! You are positively hilarious.

      Well, I must disappoint you: the game was a blast, I enjoyed an unanimous round of applause, and the only real complaint from the players was that they could not chain me up in a basement and make me run more old school games for them.

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  6. The pretend games I was in that I mentioned previously, that lacked a GM and any formal rules, where we pretended that it was a space ship under the table, lasted 3 or 4 years and had enough of continuity to be called a campaign.

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    1. "Under the table" ? Are you sure it wasn't under a bridge, while you were waiting for the three Billy Goats Gruff ?

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    2. Yup, total troll. Brooser looked like the last of the Swine trolls left for a while there, until I posted these last couple of blog entries and suddenly a whole bunch of the Storygamer Swine came out of the rest-home for old-failures to relive the glory days.

      Sadly, their rhetorical skills have not improved with age, and probably been somewhat dulled by the last few years of just trying to censor/blackball anyone who challenged their "narrative". Kudos to them for trying, anyways.

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    3. Pundit, you are a moron. Roleplaying as you know it evolved as storygame. People were playing a Napoleonic era tabletop miniatures wargame and spontaneously started role-playing around the miniatures of their leaders. Two players would role-play while others acted as a collective referee.

      The idea for the encounter tables used in rpgs was lifted from the so-called narrative randomizers from the American experimental literature in the 1960's, the same movement that produced choose your own adventure books. The Forge and the Storygame scenes are closer to the gaming culture that produced D&D, than the OSR movement. They were more innovative in terms of the ideas they brought into their game design than you are, which is to say that you have no innovation in your games, you merely elaborate on existing game rules to adopt them to your specific settings.

      Rhetoric is the last refuge of the intellectually dishonest. You bait Narrativism, the way extreme right wing has been baiting The Other for decades. You don't put out any original ideas for game design, DMing or running rpgs on your blog. You won't share good ideas with us or you can't because you don't have any?

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    4. Brooser, if Pundit is such a moron, why do you spend half your day sniping at him on his blog? Also, your criticism of Dark Albion is bizarre, given that Pundit wrote something successful, and you complain about it on HIS blog.

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    5. "rhetorical skills have not improved with age" says the man who has in the course of this little interlude has employed

      - Circular reasoning
      - Ad Hominem
      - Strawman arguments

      and so on. Really?

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    8. You're the ones with the strawmen and the non-arguments: "Narrative control to players doesn't kill immersion because.. we said so! Even though we actually hate immersion and don't give a fuck".

      You've presented NOTHING to explain how JUMPING COMPLETELY OUT OF YOUR CHARACTER wouldn't KILL THE EXPERIENCE OF BEING IN YOUR CHARACTER. That's the fundamental fact in evidence here, and you haven't even tried to refute it!

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    9. Ian, I don't snipe at Pundit. I posted something that was relevant and germaine to the discussion, and it was the truth about our leaderless pretend game that lasted sevral years, which is why I posted it. I have agreed with Pundit on occasion, like the need for the dominant narrative control in D&D.

      On the other hand, I find Pundit's baiting of Narrativism highly offensive. His review of Satanis' book may have seemed even handed, but it is actually self-serving and dismissive. In terms of the hobby, this guy will never get anyone get ahead of him, and I wouldn't trust nay of my work to him, paid or unpaid services. I asked him for specific examples of The Forge and the Storygame sets specifically looking down or insulting the OSR movement, and he failed to provide me with anything that I can see for myself. I am only posting because I love to read and write about D&D, and I don't like being insulted. I understand that Pundit might be supporting the OSR scene and promoting his writing, but all his vitriol, does not go with the 20 years plus of academia, study of religion, and graduating with honors. Religion (excepting for fundamentalism and radical Islam) teaches open-mindedness, acceptance of others and tolerance, as does any good education, his academic background not evident in his blog posts. Finally, regarding the Dark Albion, I did not subject it to criticism, merely stated that it looks like his best work, and from the tone of it, I am guessing that he has a strong interest in the occult and given his exoreme conservatism, he may take a position defenting the medieval inquisition. I don't see this supposition as bizarre in any way.

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    10. Ian: Brooser is obsessed with me because he's clearly mentally ill. Like more than a few stalkers I've had over the years, he LITERALLY CAN'T STOP HIMSELF. There's no way for him not to jump in and insult.

      Look at how he responded to my latest blog entry, and that's all the proof you need.

      Brooser: you have no work, paid or unpaid. You're nothing. You are a non-entity, trying to get some kind of fame for being here and arguing with me in the dumbest most mentally deficient way possible, endlessly trolling every point I make. You don't fool anyone.

      The idea that claim that you don't see the image of an anti-catholic libertarian freemason supporting the Inquisition as an absurd and idiotic slur against me tells me you are either SERIOUSLY MENTALLY ILL or you are a TOTAL BOLDFACED LIAR and probably a sockpuppet for one of the other idiots who just can't stop writing about me.

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    11. Oh, I have paid work, Pundit. I make good money and my 401K seems to grow no matter what. If I get very lucky, I just may invest enough in WOTC to get Ron Edwards hired as Chief Game Developer. Just for kicks and giggles.

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    12. So in your fantasy world about being enormously wealthy in spite of spending all your time trolling me, you would want to bankrupt WoTC?

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    13. Yet again, you are making a strawman argument. I have never made that argument.

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    14. Pundit,
      1. Not necessarily, depends on what projects you give him and how you oversee him. 2. Not as much as you think. They are a closed company, so a different approach is in order. 3. Who cares about WOTC?

      Can you show me discussion threads, blog posts, and articles, where the Ron Edwards crowd insulted and put down the OSR set?

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    15. There's been ample times when this has been discussed and ample times when evidence has been posted. I'm not going to go back looking through the archives for the sake of a troll who has no interest or intention of being convinced of anything. I was there and saw it with my own eyes.

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    16. Actually, I have no agenda and I am trying to understand. You are not the only one, who said that the story-gamers were condescending towards the OSR, and none of you could show where these slights occurred. If you come up with some links, when you get a chance, I would actually appreciate it.

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