thread: 2011-02-07 : Design scales: to the text!

On 2011-02-18, Brand Robins wrote:


So here is what happens when I read the samples you gave.

The whole first paragraph I'm sort of like "so its a roleplaying game in the old style..." and mostly skimming it. There's something about "alternate life" in there which reminds me of Malcolm and makes me laugh to see it on anyway, but I mostly am just like... "so, we're playing a being there game. What's this being there game actually about? Magic? BOORING... there's something here beyond what I'm being told."

The second paragraph makes me nod along, going like "Oh yea, that's the thing from the first paragraph, old style play." Not even because the ties of the text so much, but because what I'd already assumed about the mode of play. Like, it sets up an expectation about something I already know how to do, then tells me to do what I'd probably be doing. So yea, its got a nice connection, but I can't be sure how much of it is the text and how much of it is me already knowing (or assuming I know) what you're saying a priori.

That said, its also not a bad little bit about the structural mechanics of that style of play, and fits with a lot of the methods my old group used. So I like it, but I'm not sure how much of it is because the game is giving me something and how much of it is me liking being told things I already know.

The Pauper to Prince intro is nice to read, but doesn't actually tell me much about what I'm actually going to do. Like, its a good hook text—I get to do weird shit! Yes! I'm into that! But then I start thinking about my character, about what he's actually going to do moment to moment and I'm like... OH shit, I got nothing. I have to actually impose my own vision here to understand what I'm actually going to do.

(Note, for me this is not a problem. In fact games that don't give me any place to impose my own vision are a problem for me. However, there's always a balance with someone as dumb and yet arrogant as I am between giving too much and giving too little.)

The second paragraph has a similar issue. It gives an explicit metalevel description of the process for a prophetic dream, but it a) still doesn't tell me the weird shit except that their might be some dreams, and b) while it tells me the GM needs to prep and I need to go there, it still doesn't tell me exactly how to do that or what its going to look like or why I should care.

So its a nice overview, but it leaves me going like "so, yea, I'm GMing and he goes there and ... wait, do I have this all preped then or now? What hooks am I hanging on this... huh, I guess I'll just make it up like I always do."

So in the first, I can see connections, and together they do help me understand the game—but partly because I already understood it (or think I do). In the second I don't find the connections that strong, I have a much less firm grip of what's going on, or why I should care.

In as much as they could be the same game, humm... yea, not working in the form presented. It could be that if I had them as a whole text and could see the weird stuff and the magic stuff and the dream stuff and the NPC interaction stuff all together I'd start seeing the multiple interaction points that form a living matrix... but as it is, nope.

But then, that's just the same as the selected elements from all the other games, so....


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