thread: 2009-12-18 : Seed content

On 2010-01-29, Josh W wrote:

Marshall, I had a nice reply for you but it got eaten in a browser crash. In short, I can see how such a situation could be interesting, it's like a rebellion against the world as we understand it through being bodies in it, as opposed to how we want it to be. Very existential, (I still think a little childish, as there is so much value in the real world) but it opens up interesting opportunities if that grand conspiracy cracks a little, and the world of imagination gets a few more tools to fight the tyranny of actuality. It's also cool because in (presumably) privileging the eye's closed idealist world, it has a chance to focus on it's special value. I can definitely see myself playing with that! And even in it's most brutal unrelenting absurdism, I could enjoy it for a short time, although I'd eventually start trying to turn it into a better implementation Mage the Ascension or something.

Mathieu, I tried to emphasise this distinction before, but tripped myself up in amusing ways looking for the "right word". Seed content is both restriction and inspiration, because it defines a space in which we can create stuff, often pushing out cliche to make room for newness. At least, that's what I've found.

Simon, I can imagine that; just as seed content can have influence as stuff we "hold in mind" while picturing and narrating this stuff (with great effects on dramatic irony and stuff like that), it can have all these intermediary effects on how things change; requirements for the system's mechanics that embody it.

One big advantage about putting it directly in the system is that it sits there and invites people to take advantage of it. There are a lot of setting elements in games that are like "oh and by the way you can't fly any higher than mount olympus" wheras changing it into the system element "flying higher than the peak of mount olympus causes your biplane to get wrecked by lightning" suddenly makes it something people can make matter. In that case the borders of the setting are something that can empower the players, and just as importantly something that sits somewhere in continuing play; it's been considered as a part of flying in that world, with consequences other than meta-game rewind! There are many amateur tolkiens, who add all kinds of details to their books they have no idea how to implement in game stories, which can be fun; allowing the players to be more creative than you with this awesome thing you think livens the game, but it can also lead to players who don't do that getting disappointed.

I wonder whether it's an idea to add a section of "setting elements I couldn't find a way to implement", as a sort of accompaniment to advanced or experimental rules, encouraging players to take your game on and expand it.


This makes...
short response
optional explanation (be brief!):

if you're human, not a spambot, type "human":