2014-07-18 : Objects of RPGs
The procedures of a game supplant* your normal interactions. For instance, in normal life I never put a 2 of clubs on the table and turn to Meg expectantly but without saying anything.
The object of a game supplants* your normal interests. For instance, in normal life I never care whether I'm the first one to empty my hand of cards.
* Supplant, that is, for purposes of gameplay. You still have normal interactions and normal interests as well, outside of the game, and into which your gameplay fits.
Given that, here's the object of a game from my game shelf:
Human contact is a set of tools designed for you to use to create science fiction in the universe of the Academy... Those tools are there for you to build people and societies and then help them change. You'll create situations that will resolve into new situations, from chapter to chapter, often taking unexpected turns as you explore with your friends.
(In normal life, I never care what's going on in the universe of the Academy or how situations are resolving there.)
In the game, players take on the roles of characters inspired by history and works of fantasy fiction. These characters are a list of abilities rated with numbers and a list of player-determined priorities. The synergy of inspiration, imagination, numbers and priorities is the most fundamental element of Burning Wheel. Expressing these numbers and priorities within situations presented by the game master (GM) is what the game is all about... The in-game consequences of the players' decisions are described in this rulebook. The moral ramifications are left to you.
(In normal life, I never care whether I'm expressing numbers and priorities within situations presented by the GM, nor do I care what their in-game consequences or moral ramifications are.)
Pendragon presents an on-going story. It is a campaign roleplaying game in which time progresses, unique events occur, and characters age. If the players play through the whole Arthurian campaign the players' characters at the end will be the grandchildren of the original characters.
(In normal life, I never care whether time in the Arthurian campaign progresses or whether my character at the end is a grandchild of an original character.)
These are all perfectly legit objects for games to have. They do precisely what they have to do: supplant our normal interests for purposes of gameplay.
How about now? Everybody still with me?
1. On 2014-07-18, Levi said:
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