thread: 2009-12-18 : Seed content

On 2009-12-19, Brand Robins wrote:


I find that Shock works when people coming to the table have recently been thinking, rather seriously, about some SF enabled issue. And if they haven't, much less so.

If you get folks at the table who are thinking "wow, I just read this article about how pregnancy rates in the developed world are so down that nations like Canada and France won't have the populations to sustain their infrastructure by 2056" and "I worry about having children, will I be a good parent" then you may end up with something like Children of Men.

OTOH, if folks just sit down and think "well, feminism is interesting" and "um, robots?" the game can easily end up in that mass cultural stew that Vincent talks about.

So there are times where a well prepped group can certainly seed its own material. We can all do it some of the time. But I've known very few groups who can do it consistently without significant support.

So, if you're designing a game to be played by a lot of people a lot of the time... it makes sense to figure out how best to give them that support, right? Really, I think you have to take Vincent's posts about this stuff as a commentary on the aggregate. He isn't so much saying "no one, not ever" as much as "most folks, most of the time."

Oh, and as far as PTA goes, its been my experience that a lot of folks I know who are actually playing the game start off with with some external seed. "Lets play Scion using PTA" or "Lets do a game that's like the Wire, but in the space station from Outland."


I love your zombies idea. I have seen that happen at tables. I've also seen it not happen at tables, and end up with just zombies. And I've seen the second more often, out there in the wild rather than in theory land.

(I've also seen no small amount of "zombies!" "yea, who eat dreams!" "yea, and ride on elephants!" which ends up with a completely fuckwited game about elephant riding zombies who eat dreams for no fucking reason at all. But that's another issue with the dynamics of group creativity....)

Well established groups with strong creative methodologies for working together obviously do better at this. I do know a handful of groups who can pretty consistently end up with zombies as a metaphor for the alienation of the moder human in the urban environment and how dreams are our last refuge, but being attacked there represents the final succumbing of the human spirit....

But the honest truth is, at that point, its more them doing it than the game doing it. If you're designing a game for that group, then relying on that ability is a safe bet. If, however, you're designing for a more generalized audience, then you might need to help them out more.

And back to Christian,

I think your love of games for manipulating the social interaction is a socket all its own. Folks who are into that are going to get some joy out of it. Fuck, I've seen it happen myself. It dumbfounds me in the way that a lot of folks seem to be dumbfounded by immersionists. I so cannot understand the point or the joy of it that I just sort of sit there and blink.

But anyway, I think that does show that one of Vincent's axioms here has to do with joint story creation in a way that is supported for non-exceptional groups. Which is worth considering when you're not doing that.


I was thinking about my earlier comment and it occurred to me that I've a friend that cannot easily play In A Wicked Age from the oracles. Give her the Wicked Nights oracles, however, and she's off to the races. She's never read a single Conan, Tanith Lee, or Edgar Rice Burroughs story, so the seeding in the normal oracles just doesn't spark off against her brain well. But she's read a lot of Charlaine Harris and Nancy A Collins, so those do.


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