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

On 2009-04-14, Valamir wrote:

Ben, I don't think you're actually reading what I'm writing.

Person 1 and Person 2 are fighting.

Person 3 is called upon to judge who has the advantage.

If person 3 is supposed to, by the rules give the advantage to whoever most reasonably and logically would have it in the fiction...and they choose to give that advantage to person #2, then they are saying "I declare that Person 2 is most reasonable and logical to have the advantage in the fiction".  Person 1 can reasonably and logically think person #3's judgment is wrong and that person #2 shouldn't have the advantage by that standard (heck person #2 can think that too).

Contrast this with:  Person 3 is supposed to, by the rules, give the advantage to whoever they want, for whatever reason they want.  NOW when Person #3 gives the advantage to Person #2...Person #1 can't say they're wrong.  It just is what it is.

Compare that to:  There is no person 3.  Person 2 just spends a Point and gets the advantage.  Again, Person #1 can't say that's wrong.  It just is what it is.

Are you really trying to say that you can't see how the fundamental emotional reaction of player 1 is, almost on every occassion, going to be radically different between 1) You're wrong. and
2) it is what it is, and that's just the way it is

Those are two very different feelings player 1 will experience with two very different response sets and two very different tools for addressing those responses.  I suspect that there are two very different brain chemistries involved in those responses based on the dramatically different way I've seen people react to those situations.

What commoditizing does, and what your draft 8 does is to remove the ability of players to be disatisfied because they think you are wrong...that your judgment is bad...that how you are passing judgment is questionable.  They may still be disatisfied...but it won't be because they think you're wrong.  And that's a HUGE psychological difference.  One ony has to reflect for a moment on the near automatic defense response people have when other people suggest they're "wrong" to realize what a huge difference that makes.

As long as you are relying on an individual to render judgment according to some standard you are open to other players feeling "you are wrong".  And that is an ENTIRELY different feeling and an entirely different reaction from "I don't like what you just did."

When you remove the standard as you did in draft 8, so that the judge can just pick and choose what outcome to reward without worrying about whether it was the "most dominant" outcome or not you are removing the "you are wrong" reaction from the equation.  Its impossible for the judge to be wrong.  He's supposed to reward whatever outcome he wants to and that's what he did.

When you commoditize and remove judgment entirely in favor of a mechanical toggle, you also remove the "you are wrong" reaction.  You chose to spend a point, I may not like it, but you aren't "wrong".  You're supposed to spend points that way, and that's what you did.

That's what I mean by its the same thing.

There is a big difference between:

"I don't like what you just did and you're wrong for doing it"


"I don't like what you just did, but its just the way it is"

Can I trust that we are in agreement on the huge psychological difference between those two statements?

Vincent:  I'm chomping at the bit and drooling in anticipation to see what you come up with for a teaching text.  But the issue I'm talking about isn't a "how to teach the GM how to render judgment" issue.  Its a "player response to the GM rendering judgment that they objectively disagree with" issue.  And I don't think you can teach that away.


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