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

On 2015-03-18, Gordon wrote:

Continuing on ... I think it could be really fun to be the demon in that "I know and they don't know I know" scenario I mentioned. Would that make the adventurers unwitting participants in some game that I'm playing? A game quite similar to VDotR, but not quite that game, as I've found a loophole/exploit/unhandled case for its' ruleset?

Talking about the "responsibilities" of the demon-marked person is instinctively even more alien to me than talking about him or her as a player. They have a role, and a purpose, with respect to the game, but if they don't know about the game, they have responsibilities only with respect to life and normal social interaction.

Actually, I think that's a key point. You could define "player" in such a way as to include the demon-marked person (e.g., player=any human with a role or purpose in a game), but is the very absence of their ability to be meaningfully responsible and/or accountable for the game-related stuff that makes me resist doing so.

We already can't really collapse "GM" and "player" together in most game texts - I mean, when pressed most people concede that "GM" and "PC" (in the player-of-a-character sense, not the character-of-a-player that it so often gets used to be) are both within the bigger umbrella "player", but an RPG text that says something that applies to both GM(s) and PC(s) will be considered confusing if it doesn't call attention to that fact. In a bit more complex version of VDotR, collapsing the demons and the adventurers together as "players" seems open to a lot of those kinds of problems.

There is (I think) a meaningful and useful distinction between "player" and "participant" that I don't want to lose, and fear might be lost if the demon-marked person is called/considered a player. On the other hand, I really like this poking at the border cases. Things I'm mulling over right now as a result of this:

1) The difference between "playing" (at all) and being a player in particular (in game x, with respect to game/player y, and etc.) I mean, playing at life or at some subset of things in life is an option available to us all, at all times, right? But if you take on the attitude of playing at the stock market (for reelz), you both a)may well think differently than when you look at the stock market as a serious job, and b)are still seriously using real money in addition to whatever mental overlay has you think of it as a game.

2) How might it be useful to think about frequent transitions between "player" and "participant" in the course of RPG play? Can we meaningfully expand BOTH the definitions of "player" and "not-a-player"?

3) On Uroos Maluroos - if the target doesn't get passed the "beware assasination!" note, I'd say they have zero responsibilities and aren't a player at all. If they do, it's tricky - like in the AP account in the comments, where the target did get a note but kinda ignored it and felt no, un, responsibility when they were revealed to have been murdered. Maybe they had the (intentionally incompletely explained) opportunity to be a player, but didn't take advantage of it?

4)In some cases, maybe "was a player?" can only be answered by an instance of actual play? And might it have multiple, different answers at each instance?

5)Are we better off thinking of "player" as a potential that can be there in the rules to varying degrees/ways for each participant, rather than as an absolute? After all, I do see some fairly-unlikely-to-happen (but real) ways that I could consider the demon-marked a player.

That's probably already too long, so thanks again, Vincent/


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