2012-12-26 : Positioning: what about Resource and Effectiveness?

Positioning series table of contents: Where were we...?

"Positioning" establishes (proactively or retroactively) the legitimacy of the group's various moves.

"Effectiveness" establishes (proactively or retroactively) the outcomes of the group's various moves.

Both positioning and effectiveness include who-knows-how-many factors, some in the form of cues, some interpersonal, some purely fictional.

There are cause-and-effect relationships between the many various factors, some formal, cue-mediated, "mechanical," some purely interpersonal.

I think that's all we need.

1. On 2012-12-26, Vincent said:

The Big Model's "resource/effectiveness/positioning" split, with "currency" controlling their exchanges, as I lay out in this series of posts, is a super useful example of this stuff applied to a particular set of rpgs. If you only need to understand strongly cue-mediated, GMed, one-player-one-character games, the Big Model's take will serve you perfectly well.


2. On 2012-12-26, Josh W said:

So building on that, using apoc world (there's bound to come a point where you're bored of people using this for examples!), effectiveness is highly based on the cue-mediated mechanical elements, because moves just reference hard/cool etc and the various carry forwards and holds, rather than circumstances, whereas positioning is heavily fictionally based, in that what moves you can do when is set by judging the fiction.

When trying to think of the inverse, I come up with something surprisingly similar to d20, where certain activities are declared to be possible, but the effectiveness is dependent on reading the situation. This can lead to a kind of bizarre "yes but no" behaviour though, like "yes you could try to walk on clouds, but you cannot actually achieve it."

I think that might be an example of where this breaks down though.
"Ok my character walks out over the ice to the next outcropping of rock"
"Ok the dc is 90 because it cannot support your weight, roll!"
"there's no way I can make that!"
"yeah, you fall into the water, it's icy and cold, someone rescue him!"

vs "hang on, that ice couldn't support your weight"
"oh right, ok, lets get some wood together to spread our weight or make a raft."

Sometimes the outcome of an action is a part of it's legitimacy.

And maybe that's ok; positioning has a broader roll here, if it's about how the real history of the game, including the fictional history of the game, contributes to credibility.

In that case effectiveness must be a part of credibility, because if the effect part of IIEE is a part of the SIS.

To put it another way, someone has to add the activity of your character doing whatever to the fiction. Effectiveness conditions how that happens, and so what is legitimate, and so according to the new definition, it is positioning, whatever else it is.

I've found that a little broad, but if you take the big model definition as implicitly exclusive "that positioning that is not also effectiveness", it shakes out fine.


direct link

This makes...
JMW go "Hmm, I missed out a few things here.."*

*click in for more

3. On 2012-12-27, Vincent said:

Josh: Your first paragraph is astute! I hadn't put it together that way.

I'm not really following the rest, but it seems to work out by the end, so I'm okay if you are.


4. On 2012-12-27, Christoph said:


I'm still debating with myself whether or not I understand this series of posts, but did you just write that resource per se is not necessary anymore? It comes up in the post's title, but not in the message.


5. On 2012-12-27, Vincent said:

I did, yes.

Well, I wrote that the whole Big Model construction of positioning, resource, & effectiveness per se is fine if you want to understand relatively conventional rpgs, but misleading if you want to understand all rpgs.

I propose an alternate construction, which more-or-less matches the Big Model's when it comes to conventional rpgs but also applies to unconventional ones, which uses the words positioning and effectiveness but doesn't have any need for the word resource.


6. On 2012-12-28, rabalias said:

Vincent, I don't think I really understand why you're distinguishing legitimacy vs effectiveness. I mean, I know that a lot of games make a mechanical distinction between what you can do and whether it works, and it clearly has the potential to be a helpful distinction in play. But for purposes of discussing positioning, isn't effectiveness just a subset of legitimacy?

"I pull a gun"
"I shoot him"
"Ok, he falls down dead"

"I pull a gun"
"I shoot him"
"He falls down dead"

"I pull a gun and shoot him. He falls down dead."

...Many games follow the format in Ex1, i.e. that there's a division of labour into the guy who says what his character does, and the guy who says what the outcome of that action is (player/GM). But plenty of games follow the format in Ex2 or even Ex3, where there is no such distinction. One person can make both decisions, and even roll them into one per Ex3. And unless you're in an Ex1-type game, I can't see why you'd need to distinguish action from outcome: either way, the rest of the table has the chance to not say "ok" if they want to.


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This makes...
R go "'You don't even have a gun' vs 'He dodges the bullet'."*
RQ go "Right, but every move has its opposite"*
R go "I don't believe that's the point."*

*click in for more

7. On 2013-01-05, Frank T said:

Isn't there an overlap? Like "I am next to him so I can shove him" is fictional positioning that provides legitimacy to a move. "We're standing on a steep hillside with unsure footing" is also fictional positioning, irrelevant to the legitimacy of "I shove him" but possibly relevant to the outcome.

I'd have said effectiveness can either be derived from the fictional timeline, in which case it's a subset of fictional positioning, or it can be derived from the real world timeline, in which case it's probably a subset of real positioning? Or are you saying something different?


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