thread: 2015-03-17 : The Vengeful Demon of the Ring

On 2015-03-17, Gordon wrote:

I'm not sure if this is quibbling or important, but I don't think that "unwitting player" is the best description for the role held by the person the adventurers are imagining as the demon. As far as I can tell, THAT PERSON is NOT PLAYING.* He or she isn't engaged in play at all, and I think calling them a "player" provides a possible/partial "out" for some people from the potential ethical issues with the game.

I'd say call your demon-friend what they are, maybe anna's "the target", or maybe "the mark" or "the dupe" or "the randomizer/skill test/resolution method." I mean, I'm all good with the "some will mind, some won't, be responsible", so I don't want something like "the dupe" to unfairly label what some would consider a fun or at least innocuous role. But I'd be happier overcoming the negatives of that characterization than overcoming the flat-out (to me) inaccuracy of calling the demon-representative a "player." They are more like a die roll than they are like another player. Maybe that's the bottom line for me: is the demon-chosen really similar to the adventurers in any important way? Isn't there something else that they are MORE similar to?

That said - for a particular set of people, who are used to this kind of game, who customarily might assume "hey, my friends are trying to play a game with me" - maybe I'm wrong, player might be just fine SOMETIMES. When the confidence artists start treating each other as marks, where is the precise point you slide from con to mark or vice-versa? Unknowable?

But in MOST playings of "Vengeful Demon of the Ring", it seems a lot more accurate to say "you will use the person you choose as demon to resolve events in the fiction by ..." than it would be to say "the demon is a player too, they just don't know it."

Further complication - embed VDotR within ANOTHER game, where everyone clearly is a player. I'd love to see how that might alter how the demon serves to resolve the adventurers game - might the demon-target become more likely to notice? Less? And I'm interested in how different people might be more or less likely to be bothered by being "used" as the demon in that circumstance. But still - I think, for purposes of VDotR, the demon-target isn't a player, they're more like dice-that-think.

Another complication: I, having read this game, notice when two people make me the demon and start playing. I don't reveal to them that I know. Play continues, and - now I'm a player. Doesn't that imply that I wasn't before? Or at least, doesn't it being clear now imply that it was muddy before?

Thanks for the game, Vincent - useful!

*Which is to say, I want to stipulate that there is a game and there are SOME people playing it.


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