thread: 2012-12-27 : Positioning: the Okay Cycle

On 2012-12-27, Evan wrote:

Well, I conceive of each "beat" in Robin's system to be both an asserted fact, as well as an opportunity for mechanics to intervene (given also that inter-player negotiation is also a mechanic of sorts).

So I'm sitting at home in Iowa, and therefore I'll grab a RIFTS book off my shelf and create an AP in my head.

PC: I wonder if my grandma survived the demon attack.
[Dramatic downbeat: she could be in danger. Question posed: Did she survive the demon attack? Fictional position: worried PC with personal investment]

GM: I don't know, did she?
[Dramatic beat: GM confirms the fictional positioning]

PC: I jump into my Mountaineer ATV and set a course for North Adams.
[Procedural upbeat: PC is doing something about it, and advancing the narrative. Fictional position: heroism, but possibly tragedy... 'cause she could be dead]

GM: It's rough going on difficult terrain to grandma's house. Roll me your Pilot: Automobile skill.
[Mechanics engaged. Fictional position: terrain is rough enough to pose danger to PC, Question posed: Will the PC fail and have something awful happen to them?]

PC: I succeed - I make it to grandma's house.
[Procedural/dramatic upbeat: PC encountered no adversity and proves generally competent. Fictional position: difficult terrain is not as interesting as what grandma's house holds.]

GM: OK. It's as you remember it, no demons in sight.
[Procedural upbeat: PC is getting stuff done. Dramatic downbeat: Things are normal...too normal. Fictional positioning: There are further details that need to be revealed, otherwise why do we care about grandma's house here?]

PC: I rush in and head immediately to the attic.
[Procedural upbeat: PC is still getting stuff done. Dramatic beat: Deflated the suspense about grandma's house a little, but something might be in the attic. Fictional position: The PC is not so much interested in the house as they are in the attic, OR they're making a hasty entrance to deliberately expose impetuous character to danger]

GM: OK. She's there and has cookies for you.
[Dramatic upbeat: She's alive and has tasty food! Procedural downbeat: Where's the plot?? Question posed by scene answered, but not by player-engaged mechanics. Fictional position: Either this is a purely phatic gesture rewarding the PC for something, or a new mystery, or a marker to now explore the PC's relationship to grandma. Things are pretty confused at this point.]

PC: OK ... ?!
[Pretty confused.]


In effect, the game system was only invoked for one skill check, and the rest was just conversation. On the other hand, fictional positioning was employed throughout as GM and PC are feeling each other out for what they are or are not interested in.

My analysis says...
GM = interested in PC proving himself as a competent driver
PC = invested in finding out about grandma

Now we look at the presumed thought behind the negotiation process...
GM = "The PC can't get up to his grandma THAT easy. "
PC = "I am anxious that grandma is in danger and even more anxious that I possibly can't successfully drive up to her, but Oh phew! I make it and want to see if she's there... which she is and everything's just fine."

To say it just so: there's the fictional-positioning / player / dice timeline, but each beat along that timeline then carries some kind of emotional weight, and the different interpretation of each beat by each player determines the next round of fictional positioning, and so forth.

Nevertheless, it's rewarding just to have that negotiated space of (mis)interpretation proceed.

Is this wrong?


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