thread: 2008-03-01 : Respecting the fiction

On 2008-03-01, Meserach wrote:

This is an interesting thing.

I think this feature-promoted-as-principle has come out of the (laudable) aim to demystify much of the "murk" of RPGs - the impulse to take many of those decisions that were unclear, that were hand-waved and provided by "good GMing", and bring them out into the light where we could actually examine them.

It's like, that role of interpreter, the person who takes the fictional events and interprets them in rules terms, and says "now is the time to use the rules" - that's been part and parcel of the GM thing.

But as the GM role has been increasingly blown up, it's been replaced not with the GROUP interpreting he fictional events to the rules, but instead with the fictional events not causing activations of the rules at all.

Instead we end up with a position in which rules procedures activate other rules procedures in specified sequence, like a board game, and the fictional stuff grows OUT of that, but doesn't feed back INTO it:

when people are comign up to you with their confusions about ditV and Poiosn'd, what I'm seeing is a lot of confusion between "terms that describe stuff in the rules" and "terms that describe stuff in the fiction".

Like in the DitV thing above; people are thinking what's relevant to the question is the arena of escalation (a rules-procedural term) and not the nature of the blow taken (an in-fiction concept).

In Posion'd, you talked about "if you have a deadly wound, make a bargain or die" and people hunted all round the text for the bit where you say what a "deadly wound" IS in rules-procedural terms, and didn't even think to just interpret that as an in-fiction description, and then play accordingly.

I dunno what the solution to this is, beyond very laboriosuly laying it out when you mean "in the fiction" and when you mean "in rules terms".

Like, if the rule was "whenever you get a wound that seems, in terms of the game's fiction, to be deadly, make a bargain or die", that would be clearer? But ugly. Very ugly.


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