thread: 2009-05-07 : Explaining the Right to Dream

On 2009-05-09, Josh W wrote:

Ok, I wrote this first bit when we were at post 41 ish, but I think it's pretty good, so I'll add a bit at the end to fit in the latter changes:

Ok the first option deals with ontology and meaning, and produces the crazy problems I referred to, it's validity presupposes that all those decisions are made in a compatible way. By saying, "all the other players must abide by your decision" you've emphasised the same thing I had issue with. Essentially you've given that player total power over the definition of idealism for the whole campaign. Now as that definition shifts more and more from what people recognise in the real world, then people will just have to create a sort of genre double standard, which is like an expansion of that players view on a subject into the structure of a whole world.

Actually, I'm ok with that; playing in such a game will set me off into lit crit mode and I'll start comparing "in game idealism" to real idealism, and pushpulling the definition, but I'll still understand it as a mindset constraint to deal with. Now does that undermine the whole point? If "the good guys" are obviously horrible, but just within a game you pretend that good and horrible are pretty close together, or that those horrible things aren't actually horrible, it's all a bit delusional and weird surely? Well we don't feel the same about slapstick! It's all injury and violence, but it's obviously not real so we don't mind! So I'm split on this one, as creating these really different mindsets can be valuable and fun, but when actually involved in one of those games, just like after watching dogma, I take an affectionate deconstructive approach, and try to open up the paradoxes of that worldview while playing out it's strengths.

The other one has no such problems, you just have people doing stuff, all judgements allowed! So much easier, as the judgements will always happen, you just put them on the table. But it doesn't quite give the same grounds for exploring a worldview. Now it will happen anyway with the first option, but with this option we don't have an in-fiction judgement to compare with. Now it seems to me even in this one, we can have a bit of the above happening, only the ontology refers to effectiveness and appropriateness. So "the right tool for the job" is now the thing that is defined rather than "the idealist use of that tool", all the above stuff about affectionate deconstruction can apply, where you use a skill system in such a bendy way that it's absurdities are revealed.

So in a way they feel pretty similar, it's just that the first one allows more of the "gameworld not= your real world" to appear, and puts more of it in player hands.

Now onto your modified "badass" description, this straddles the distinction I made between effectiveness and purpose. If he wants to be a badass, then does he just want to say "my character fell over into a puddle, but he did it in a badass way!", effectively adding badass-ly onto everything he does? Like I said before, that can be really amusing! Or do they have a set, outside group of "badass interactions" that their character must fulfil, regardless of external constraint? Now this redefines the physical structure of the world sometimes, like "This guy can punch through that wall, because he's a badass", the whole chuck norris physics thing. Now these are actually almost the same thing, just to different degrees.

Now about challenge, I think that the player should expect challenge to happen, unless the players have by some freak chance been able to create streight off a world where every player gets the trait definitions they want, with no immovable/irresistible stuff going on. The moment one of those things does happen, players will have to compromise or play a different game. But I suppose you are saying about something different; players valuing the deconstructive effects of an alternative view rather than just considering it an inevitable side effect of playing with other people. Or is it something else; I haven't seen "worth it" appear before, presumably your talking about looking at what compromises would actually be better than the original, say if you have to shift your badass to have a soft spot for someone or a weakness, and you find that more to your liking? Because until this point I've just been looking at keeping the character consistent with the original plan, regardless of if that is a good idea!


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