thread: 2017-06-07 : Failure in RPGs (by Paganini)

On 2017-06-07, Joshua A.C. Newman wrote:

For me right now, the important thing is keeping the ball in play. Eppy does this in a really enlightening way in Vast & Starlit, where failure, such as it is, makes a desirable kind of mess - in this case, a mess for everyone else - while guaranteeing that it only matters if it's difficult (if so, it tells you to effectively tell us the next thing we have to do); or it's dangerous, or both (which is the mess-making option).

So if I'm a shiny-muscled hero climbing a tower to get the MacGuffin of Blurgoroth and I slip and fall, it might be either a brief moment that demonstrates how hard it is to do; or it's an extended moment where my stakes have gotten high, and that's when I'm captured and tied up (in a sexy way, of course).

Part of the thing is that we're never actually concerned that Conan is going to fall and die. Conan, of course, is concerned that he's going to fall and die, and in an RPG we have to thread that needle. But we can feel confident, once we've seen him that elephant, that he'll either get what he wants, or, more likely, get something else that's better for us, even if it's not better for him.

(Chrome still remembers that I have to type "toaster"!)


This makes JACN go "Consarn it, with forgetting to close the emphasis!"

This makes VB go "Got it!"

This makes JACN go "????"

This makes Pag go "This ties into an idea I have about RPGs as distinct from fiction:"
Since we're making it up as we go, there is (or at least can be, no-myth / partial-myth) true uncertainty about the future. It's not metaphorical uncertainty like when we're reading or watching a movie; we can't skip ahead to see how the pre-planned story turns out. If we combine actual uncertainty with real risk - the chance of losing something we're emotionally attached to, such as our character dying, or the narrative unfolding in some way other than we wish... This seems powerful for generating suspense and engagement, and also potentially volatile. (Half the people I know stopped reading Game of Thrones after the Red Wedding.)

This makes...
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