On 2009-06-23, Joel wrote:
It doesn't become magically potent when everyone agrees on it.
Huh. I'm surprised to hear you say that, Ben. It strikes me that Polaris in particular is calibrated precisely on the principle that things become magically potent when we all agree on (and imagine) them. It's certainly the closest to a shared-dream state that I've ever experienced in roleplaying. The use of the ritual phrases, the special roles of the players, the lighting and snuffing the candle. . .they all serve to focus attention on the contributed details, to help us weave the dream together. I've been playing it using Willem Larsen's Pedagogy of Play techniques, which serve to even more potently put everyone on the same wavelength for collaboration.
Same with Bliss Stage: "Create a horrible, traumatic apocalypse. Now set it just outside your window. Now name everyone after high school sweethearts." Do that in a group, with shared history and shared sense of place, and that shit is potent. Even, shall we say, Magical.
(I am being absolutely unironic when I say that.)
I guess my point is, all these things serve to put everyone's mind in the same place and same groove, so that we can avoid or minimize the "one person forgets" phenomenon. Willem's even expanded the Pedagogy in the course of our play to include a review ritual for when we've been away from the game for too long and such. If you focus on all remembering our content together, then it becomes even more vital to get everything out in the open and shared,, thus more clear how important the secret/plan distinction is.
You've got a point though, about the focus on "whether it happened." It IS all "negotiated, on-going." past input only becomes important inasmuch as we want to (and actually DO) build on it.
PS Ben, I hope you're cool with this line of discussion. I'm not trying to play "gotcha!" with your own texts or anything, i just wish to USE those texts to explore this issue and a perhaps a shared point of understanding.