thread: 2009-04-10 : A Moment of Judgment

On 2009-04-14, Valamir wrote:

Vincent, query:

How is "if a character has the high ground, the player gets +2, even if that's stupid and unrealistic."

consistant with "STRONGLY wants the game to have a reliable-but-interesting internal consistency,"

for any case other than one where the game world is intentionally stupid and unrealistic?  In most cases doesn't an internally constant world presuppose the world is not stupid and unrealistic?

That's not computing with me.

Ben: Reverse your perspective.  Its not the same for the person spending the point / rendering the judgment.  Its the same for the person receiving the judgment.  And when I say "the same" I mean the player receiving the judgment has the same acceptance that the judgment is not meant to be "objective and impartial" (which can argued).  Rather, its meant to be "subjective because I want it that way" (which can't be argued).

And by "subjective" I mean:

"You rendered your judgment based on whatever reason you felt like using whatever standard you cared to because you have that authority".

Is functionally the same as:

"You spend your point to get the outcome to go the way you wanted for whatever reason you felt like because you have that authority".

In either case I (the recipient of your decision) can't argue* with you over whether or not your choice properly adhered to a particular standard that you are expected to uphold (such as "being internally consistant") because there is no expectation that your choice needed to be based on such a standard.

*see my use of argue above.

Again my point is that if you set the expectation that judgments will be rendered based on what is most internally consistant, you open the door to a raft of disagreement about what is or isn't internally consistant...i.e. "Your judgment is wrong...because it is NOT internally consistant in my view".

If instead the game does not set expectations that a certain debatable standard is being used, then there is less opportunity to feel that the decision is "wrong".  There may be more opportunity to feel that the decision is "not what I would want" but that's a different emotional response and has a different set of possible design solutions to account for it.

To summarise in case my rambling isn't clear:  As long as a person is expected to render judgment based on a standard and as long as that standard is debatable as to whether its being adhered to...then you're going to need something ELSE in the mix, or all you have is the same kind of situation that we've always had in roleplaying...which we've come so far in addressing these past several years, I'd hate to think we wind up back there.


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