: Dice and Cloud, Mix and Match
I happen to know about myself that if you press me, I'll take a more and more absolute stance, and keep pressing me and I'll prove myself stupid. It doesn't matter what we're talking about, that's what I'll do. It's not my most charming quality.
So let me - I'd take it as a generosity - back off from stupidity, and say this: the fun stuff isn't any one thing, it's arrangements of all the things. The rightward-pointing arrow happens to be my favorite this afternoon, and I think neglected in my game In a Wicked Age and maybe others' games too, yes. But what game design really calls for is clever coordination between them all.
1. On 2009-04-14, Graham wrote:
Surely what you mean is: the rightward-pointing arrow is the source of all fun and what roleplaying games are really about.
Oh man, Roger. CRUCIALLY not. The stuff in the cloud is all stuff we've talked about out loud, and agreed with one another about. It's not about imagination, it's about communication. No one's private imagination figures.
I agree that communication is the important thing, but... I guess I find this model covers something like "Do I find a secret door?" "Roll your Perception" a bit more explicitly and clearly than the One Big Cloud.
All the stuff we've talked about and agree on... that's real-world stuff that's in a box, I'd suggest. It's usually in a really ephemeral box, but it's still ephemera.
On the other hand, maybe I'm just missing your point entirely. I'm not some sort of "There is no SIS!" evangelist or anything. But it's, you know, Imaginary. Inside people's heads is the only place it can exist.
There is this idea that private imagination sort of magically manifests itself in game. I like the cloud to dice device as a way to illustrate certain points. The ways in which system relate to the shared imagined space have always fascinated me. I prefer a left pointed arrow appriach (I want a bonus to hit, so I roll my maneuver and then I say that he reason was that I had the high ground), but I agree with you that different arrangements can be fun.
"Inside people's heads is the only place it can exist."
The SIS isn't "imaginary" - it starts as something that's "imagined", but doesn't become SIS until it is shared. I like to think of the game's fiction as a conversation (in the Oakeshottian sense of conversation).
Reading through this whole set of ideas was very cool. But I was struck how much the discussion rests on concepts that are already developed, and how much adjustment there is with the level of abstraction in order to manipulate the concepts.
It was totally worth it for me, Being able to think directly about that rightward arrow is VERY useful. But man, talking about Role Playing on the internet is hard.