thread: 2010-08-19 : One of my favorite GenCon conversations

On 2010-08-20, Jesse Burneko wrote:

Hey Vincent,

When you sum up The Forge as, "Role-playing should be personally and socially fulfilling" it sounds so obvious and trite.  What astounds me is how many members of the hobby still cling to the notion that, achieving that with ANY configuration of people should be possible.  They seem to be of the belief that if a group can't play together it's only because someone in the group is being a stubborn asshole.  Or that naive solutions like rotating the spotlight so that Tactical Tim gets his fight and Narrative Nancy gets her character time is sufficient.

On a separate note, your ideas about fictional causality combined with Ron's color first thing have me thinking a lot.  I run into this issue A LOT in my own designs because my designs often hinge on an point of emotional philosophy that I want the group to be considering.  And often it's a wholly internal one.

There are two questions I'd like to explore in RPG format:

What do we do with inactionable guilt?


What role does deception, and particularly self-deception, play in our lives?

Silent Sound is my attempt at getting at the first.  And my recent Little Game Chef game, Bread Mold Might Be Medicine, is an attempt to get at the second.  However, I think BOTH games teeter on the edge of Dice Referencing Dice mechanics.  If nothing else both games are HIGHLY constrained.

I usually look at Dogs in the Vineyard with envy as a game that addresses something internal (Faith) in an external and actionable way.  However, the more I think about it the more I realize it isn't really about faith; at least not in that existential waking up in the morning, look at the world around you and questioning how you can go on believing in god way.  It's about religion as a basis for community.  It's the community aspect that makes it external and actionable.

Anyway, as I was saying, almost none of designs begin with imagined fiction or as Ron puts it color first.  They all begin with some issue of deep personal importance to me that I then kind of flail around trying to paste evocative fiction over.  The ONE exception to that is my game Thornes which began purely as a desire to remix The Three Musketeers and Sin City.

I find it VERY telling that it's the ONLY game in my design stable I can routinely drum up interest for when I explain it to other people.  I think that may relate to your point that almost all of the "trait invocation" games never make it to final publishable form.

So all that was a long way to say, I think you're on to something with that whole fictional causality thing.



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