thread: 2006-02-16 : Throwing It Open: Color

On 2006-02-17, Neel wrote:

I find that the distinction between color, setting, and situation changes over time and during play, because what's what depends on how the players are understanding and making use of the fictional detail.  Here's an example:

Suppose the players are playing in a Cthulhu-ish game, and at one point broke into the office of a professor of Greek literature to find out if he's a cultist of the insect god. One of the players, in an effort to add verisimilitude mentions that there is a stack of copies of The Bryn Mawr Classical Review gathering dust in a corner. At this moment in time, the fact that the professor subscribes to this magazine is just a piece of color—it has no significance to how things play out.

Now, a few scenes later, the mad professor kidnaps one of the PCs at gunpoint. The player relates that the PC pushes a copy of The Bryn Mawr Classical Review onto the central position of his desk before he's escorted away at gunpoint. The detail about the professor's journal subscriptions has just changed status: now it's one of the central facts of the situation, because it's now a detail that the other players could potentially use to explain how the other PCs figure out who kidnapped the first PC, or not.

This can also be used to change the status of other details. Suppose one of the other players is playing an illiterate character, and she then describes her PC seeing the journal, but not recognizing the connection. The other PC's illiteracy might also have been color before this moment, but now it takes on relevance—the course of the narrative is irretrievably altered because of it, and all the subsequent action is going to be suffused with terrible dramatic irony.


This makes JBR go "Setting > Situation > Color"
These things are nested. Situation is always a subset of Setting; Color is details of the Setting; consequently, Color can be details of the Situation, too. I don't think anybody has made any claim that these things are determined from the start of the game and can never change through play. In fact I've made rather the opposite claim elsewhere.

This makes IJC go "Situation>Setting"
Setting is situation's slave

This makes TC go "Situation = Setting + Character"
Setting (and its Color) plus Characters (and thier Color) are what create the Situaton.

This makes IJC go "Situation can also = Character + Character"
But I was thinking in terms of Vincent's stated focus on thematically-loaded gaming.

This makes VB go "Situation = Character } Setting"
"Situation" really means how the characters are positioned, related, situated, with regard to one another and the setting elements.

This makes TAO go "Setting + Situation + Player = Story"
I also break 'setting' down into: Setting = Color + Character + System

This makes SLB go "Situation = (Character / Setting) * Color - 4*pi/System"
Seriously, though, the equations here aren't meaningful to anyone but the people who wrote them. Can we be real about this?

This makes...
short response
optional explanation (be brief!):

if you're human, not a spambot, type "human":