thread: 2009-12-18 : Seed content

On 2010-01-26, Joel wrote:

Josh, that strikes me as, basically, what you DO with seed content, or if you will, how the game TREATS it. So yes, stuff like that tells you something about the fiction while relating it to a rule, which is rad. Hmm, maybe it's a way of teaching seed content that gets you engaged with it in a practical way right off the bat instead of "reading the setting dump," processing THAT, then learning the rules as a separate venture? Basic "learn by doing" stuff, right? This is the sort of stuff that my friend Willem Larsen and I think about all the time with what we call Fluency Play. Things like introducing one game step at a time, going at the pace of the slowest learner, introducing new concepts only as they come up in play, and so forth. Setting (or "Seed Content") can be notoriously ponderous to assimilate across a group (the age-old problem of only one guy reading the book) without some sort of aid, like streamlining it—Dogs' Seeds can be communicated very quickly and don't sweat the details, f'rinstance—or welding it to gameplay like you're talking about.

Another thing about rules and Seed Content, is how a set of rules accepts input from outside Seeds—how the system handles them and makes them relevant. I'm remembering Ron Edwards' (unfortunately unfinished) Color First Character Creation Project about a year ago, where he posted an evocative piece of art and asked people to make a character of her in whatever game system, detailing all the steps in each ruleset for fleshing out the character and bringing her into active play. One of the things that emerged in the discussion was how not only can different people take the same aesthetic Seed and go in vastly different directions with it in terms of tone and theme, but the rules you use to define the character will have a huge impact on how her attributes will be realized, and how they'll impact play itself. In D&D you've got to define her Race and Class in a way consistent with the visual; ditto somewhat with Equipment. In Sorcerer she needs a Demon (I picked a Parasite manifested in her etherial gaze), plus Price, Cover (Past for &Sword), and so on. All those things make a difference and tell you different things about why she has blue hair and icy eyes, why she wears skimpy rags, what that sword is and what's up with those discs across her waist.

Rules function as fruitful constraints for realizing Color/Seeds. I just thought of that.



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