2005-02-08 : Archive 172
I want you to talk about mechanical, rigorous system that is not about conflict resolution at all.
Good situation building!
Any mechanics that are not resolution.
Hear, hear to Jasper's suggestion. We need a taxonomy of what mechanics can & do do.
Yes, Jasper! Yes!
All worthwhile rules are about conflict resolution sooner or later.
Take a situation. Let's make it a good one: 1) I hate you and I want to kill you, I can think of nothing else. Now consider the possible situations it can become: 1a) I've killed you, but I hate you no less than I did when you were alive; or else 1b) I don't hate you anymore, I consider you beneath such attention; or else 1c) I've killed you and I feel much better and now I can move on with my life.
What separates this current situation from all of those possible future situations? Resolution of its conflicts. From situation 1, do we go on to 1a, 1b or 1c? It depends! Do I kill you or not? Does that resolve my hate or not? Conflict resolution!
Dogs has a bunch of it, so I can tell you've worked on it before.
All of Dogs' rules are, sooner or later, about nothing but conflict resolution.
Character creation rules create passionate characters, all at their common "now I undertake this responsibility" turning point. Town creation and NPC rules create more passionate characters, all in their unsustainable, resolution-demanding relationships. The structure of play forces both groups into contact and demands that they act on one another. There's your opening situation as you ride into the town. The resolution rules both reveal the situation and escalate it, driving it upward to its inevitable climax. Bam! Then afterward, you have a new situation, much more stable (if rarely perfectly stable), and you ride away.
All I care about, in other words, is building a dynamic initial situation and then seeing it through. All I care about is conflict resolution.
Now so, this is the foundation. Everything I say has to be understood from here, this underlies all the rest.
The rest is: "sooner or later" leaves a lot of leeway! Creating situations, revealing them, constraining them in all sorts of groovy productive ways - some rules, it's obvious how they work, like Dogs' Fallout rules; others have subtle ripply effects throughout play, like Dogs' Elements of Ceremony.
We have a good taxonomy for rules already, by Ron:
At the top level: Character, Setting, Situation, Color, System (that is, rules about contributing and agreeing).
Character rules (and Setting rules too, probably, whan they need to) break down into Resource, Effectiveness, Positioning, Currency.
Situation rules are all about creating situations, that is, situating characters with regard to one another and elements of the setting.
System rules break down into Resolution (IIEE, Outcome) and Reward.
They all intersect: your IIEE, for instance, might call on your Effectiveness and your Positioning, which might depend on your situation and Reward, respectively; your IIEE becomes Outcome, which might contribute back to your Resource and have further Situation consequences.
It's a kick-butt taxonomy, extremely powerful. Dogs' rules fit into it fully.
But here's another way to look at it: Passionate character, turning point, locked into conflict across a moral line, fit opposition, no back door, no way out but through, escalating from situation to situation to crisis, resolving finally to a stable situation. People collaborating to make it so, in conversation overwhelmingly characterized by agreement, all contributing according to their roles. Taken together, that's what your rules should give you.
That could be a taxonomy. You could have "passionate character" rules, "character" rules, "turning point" rules, "locked into" rules, right down the line. The problem is that any particular rule - "save most or your Relationship dice to assign during play," say - is going to cross those categories pretty thoroughly. Does that rule help create passionate characters, does it lock them into conflict, does it establish a moral line for conflict to be across, does it help create fit opposition, does it deny a back door way out, does it present a way through, does it serve escalation, does it serve collaboration, does it allow the player to contribute, does it establish a role for the player with regard to contribution? Yes! All of the above.
Can we then map between the two, something like "Positioning serves the turning point, Outcome serves escalating situations, Reward serves contribution and roles"? Not really. We can talk about individual games in those terms, like this: "Dogs' Positioning rules serve to lock the character more fully into the escalating situation, where PTA's Positioning rules contribute to the resolution of one situation into another at a higher, more direct level." But we clearly can't generalize.
That's what I've got.
Ben: you want more talk about situation rules?
1. On 2005-02-08, Ben Lehman said:
2. On 2005-02-09, Vincent said:
3. On 2005-02-09, Jasper Polane said:
4. On 2005-02-09, Vincent said:
5. On 2005-02-09, Jasper Polane said:
6. On 2005-02-09, Vincent said:
7. On 2005-02-09, Ninja Hunter J said:
8. On 2005-02-09, Dave Ramsden said:
9. On 2005-02-09, Chris said:
10. On 2005-02-09, Clinton R. Nixon said:
11. On 2005-02-09, Ninja Hunter J said:
12. On 2005-02-09, Ben said:
13. On 2005-02-09, Emily Care said:
14. On 2005-02-09, Chris said:
15. On 2005-02-09, anon. said:
16. On 2005-02-09, Dave Ramsden said:
17. On 2005-02-10, Jasper Polane said:
18. On 2005-02-10, Tobias op den Brouw said:
19. On 2005-02-10, Tobias said:
20. On 2005-02-10, Vincent said:
21. On 2005-02-12, Ben Lehman said:
22. On 2005-02-14, Vincent said: