2005-01-11 : Archive 147
Will everybody get it better if we call it Stakes Resolution? So we have Stakes Resolution vs. Task Resolution?
Anyhow, down here, Charles says:
"Also, it seems to me that it [Stakes Resolution] is susceptible to some strange effects as it interacts with established but unknown aspects of the world."
It's not, but that's another convo. Here I want to say:
"Established but unknown" is great and fruitful!
Play Universalis and you will learn that in reality, the only way to establish a fact about the game world is to introduce it into play and get every single player's assent to it. If even one player hasn't knowingly agreed to something, it may not be true. GMs never have secrets; what they have instead is plans, which are inescapably contingent and subject to the whims of every player at the table.
It's true; whether you find it sad, liberating, disturbing, a relief, whatever - play Universalis and you'll see that it's true, in every game everywhere ever, and there's nothing to be done about it. It's the group's assent that makes a thing true, nothing else, and keeping something secret from the group is the same as making it be maybe false.
Play Dogs in the Vineyard and you'll learn something else. Not contradictory, but complementary: you'll learn that the key to effective planning is to have each thing you introduce set up the next thing. Get the players' assent to the first thing and like dominoes - you've got their assent to every element in your plan. You can treat these subsequent elements as secrets safely!
You'll also learn that you can't do it without choosing your secrets very carefully. Every secret has to follow from the thing the players have agreed to without depending on what the PCs do or what they think. As soon as you cross that line and your "secret" depends on the PCs taking some particular course of action or thinking some particular way, it's not reliable, it's just a contingency plan, and no amount of wishing or hoping will make it otherwise.
Then you have to choose, GM: let your plan go, or force the players' characters into a particular course of action. If you choose the latter, you suck. (Aside: play Vampire: the Masquerade and you'll learn lots of skills to hide the fact that you suck, but you won't learn to stop sucking.) If choosing the former will mean that your game isn't gripping thrilling exciting unforgettable, you made a suck setup and you should do better next time.
Charles goes on to say:
"Which I guess gets us back into who controls the unknown, and also the possible advantages of Schroedinger's world design for producing fun story."
I say: "possible advantages"? How about "exclusive privilege."
...But I'm talking about Schroedinger's plot design, not world design. Every detail of the world can be written down behind the GM's screen, that's fine - as long as what's written stops abruptly at the right-now-moment of play. It's when the GM's notes say things like "after they search the safe..." or "gotta get the PCs up to the cabin in time to..." that you lose fun story forever.
All the players can control the unknown-but-past, like in Univeralis, or just a few or one can, like in Dogs - it depends on what you want out of this game. But only the group's informed agreement can possibly control the unknown-but-future.
1. On 2005-01-11, Christopher Chinn said:
2. On 2005-01-11, Charles said:
3. On 2005-01-11, Vincent said:
4. On 2005-01-12, Ninja Hunter J said:
5. On 2005-01-12, Charles said:
6. On 2005-01-12, Ninja Hunter J said:
7. On 2005-01-13, Charles said:
8. On 2005-01-13, Ninja Hunter J said:
9. On 2005-01-13, Emily Care said:
10. On 2005-01-16, Sarah said:
11. On 2005-01-16, Vincent said: