2009-12-08 : Your 3 Insights
I offer this as a tool for examining and talking about rpg design.
When you design a game, you're taking three different positions, expressing three different insights, putting forth three different opinions. Saying three different things. First, you're saying something about the subject matter or genre of your game: something you think about adventure fiction, or swords & sorcery, or transhumanist sf, or whatever. Second, you're saying something about roleplaying as a practice, taking a position on how real people should collaborate under these circumstances. Third, you're sying something about real live human nature.
Dogs in the Vineyard, for example:
1. Subject matter: I think that the blood-and-sex stuff underlying crime fiction (as I learned it from Sorcerer's Soul) and the principles underlying my own family's stories about faith, sin, and early Mormonism are very compatible. I think that you can successfully use the one to explore the other.
2. Roleplaying as a practice: That's the how to GM chapter. I think that for GMing this kind of game, you shouldn't have a solution in mind, you should drive play toward conflict (say yes or roll dice), you should actively reveal the town in play.
3. Real live human nature: I think that you throw a punch because you're losing an argument but you don't want to give in. You draw a gun because you're losing a fight but you don't want to give in. I think that people escalate because they care about what's at stake, but they can't win it or hold onto it using only the tools and techniques already at hand.
So that's pretty basic and obvious, but I think it'll help us when we talk about, for instance, how a game's mechanics should do justice to its subject matter, or how having an insight into roleplaying as a practice isn't enough to design a whole game, you also need to make two other assertions. At least two!
In comments, please ask clarifying questions, of course, but also please feel free to tell the three opinions your own games express, like I have for Dogs.
1. On 2009-12-08, Ry said:
2. On 2009-12-08, Seth Ben-Ezra said:
3. On 2009-12-08, Ry said:
4. On 2009-12-08, Jesse Burneko said:
5. On 2009-12-08, Vincent said:
6. On 2009-12-08, Matthijs said:
7. On 2009-12-08, Vincent said:
8. On 2009-12-08, Matthijs said:
9. On 2009-12-08, Troy_Costisick said:
10. On 2009-12-08, Graham said:
11. On 2009-12-08, Ry said:
12. On 2009-12-09, Simon C said:
13. On 2009-12-09, Elizabeth said:
14. On 2009-12-09, Elizabeth said:
15. On 2009-12-09, Roger said:
16. On 2009-12-09, Vincent said:
17. On 2009-12-10, Simon C said:
18. On 2009-12-10, Simon C said:
19. On 2009-12-10, Vincent said:
20. On 2009-12-10, Simon C said:
21. On 2009-12-10, Vincent said:
22. On 2009-12-10, Judd said:
23. On 2009-12-13, Ry said:
24. On 2009-12-14, Joel said:
25. On 2009-12-15, Marshall Burns said:
26. On 2009-12-17, Judd said:
27. On 2009-12-20, Simon C said:
28. On 2009-12-22, Ben Lehman said:
29. On 2009-12-23, Michael S. Miller said:
30. On 2009-12-23, Marshall Burns said:
31. On 2010-01-06, Z-Dog said:
32. On 2010-01-20, Michael S. Miller said:
33. On 2010-01-20, Vincent said:
34. On 2010-03-18, Brand Robins said:
35. On 2010-03-19, Mathieu Leocmach said:
36. On 2010-03-23, stefoid said:
37. On 2011-01-04, Ry said:
38. On 2011-01-04, Vincent said:
39. On 2011-07-18, Gerald C said:
40. On 2011-07-19, David Berg said:
41. On 2011-07-20, Gerald C said: