2009-05-12 : Right to Dream: at least take away THIS

It's absolutely fine with me if nobody here understands what I'm talking about when I say "the right to dream." I'm not going to say it often, it's not really my thing. (Unless FIRESTORM: BATTLE FOR THE SLAVE PLANET jumps up suddenly and starts kicking my butt.) I don't recommend that you even go read the thread, if you aren't already called to do so. I mean, yikes, why would you?

But I do hope that at very least you understand and take away this:

Whatever the right to dream is about, it's NOT about the nitty gritty of how a game's rules approach cause and effect.

So please, my friends! Confirm for me that at least you get this?

1. On 2009-05-12, Marco said:

I confirm! I have confirmed this since day-1! I could go back in time and confirm it!



2. On 2009-05-12, Vincent said:


(I'm hoping that Josh and Alex especially will confirm.)


3. On 2009-05-12, Jim Henley said:

Yes. It does imply that we should essentially ignore Ron's original Simulationism essay, which has cause-and-effect all through it. Vincent, do you agree we should deprecate the essay and approach RTD in terms of much later texts, e.g. the provisional glossary, the thread downblog, etc and so on?


4. On 2009-05-12, Vincent said:

Sure. The essay represents its own time in the Big Model's development, and it's Ron's, not everyone's. Ron's said as much himself: the essays aren't, like, canon, they're just summaries of what went before and starting places for what came after.


5. On 2009-05-12, Jim Henley said:

Awesome! I beat Marco!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ;)


6. On 2009-05-12, Roger said:

Well sure.  Creative agendas are something people have, not something games have.  Saying something is a "Right to Dream game" doesn't make any sense.


7. On 2009-05-12, Vincent said:

Yep! People have creative agendas, and actual play fulfills their creative agendas or fails to. Game rules are implicated only insofar as they help or hinder the actual play fulfill the people's agenda.


8. On 2009-05-12, Alex D. said:

I was a bit... afraid of posting over on the other thread, actually. It had turned into a bit of a FIRESTORM of it's own, and I didn't think I could contribute much of worth to it, anyhow.

But now that it's over, thank you very much for putting the time and energy into it (both Vincent and everyone else who posted in any way). It's gotten me thinking a bit, and cleared up a few things, and I think I get it. Mostly.

And yes, I agree that RtD isn't anything about technical cause-and-effect.

- Alex


9. On 2009-05-12, Josh HB said:

I feel like this most recent attempt clicked into place an understanding for me about what RtD means and why it's a CA, so uh, rock on for that. Thanks!


10. On 2009-05-12, Josh W said:

I'd say that right to dream can partially determine how that nitty gritty works, but it is not the same thing, like how where you want to go will effect how you drive. That how/why distinction is something I've been trying to stress since post 38 here.

If you look at the 3 seperate lines above ???etc???, that's me trying to summarise GNS in terms of sim's value to it (refering to the "technical agenda").

What would I change after our discussion? Probably change the middle one into:

I want to build a specific narrative/style, and I want the rules to help me plot out it's internal logic/cause structure, and safeguard the events I want.

So that's my summary of the value of sim to right to dream, today at least! I would say now that all of them may have varying levels of escapism, and that right to dream can be conceived in a way that is not just about avoiding reality. So yep, success there. Also, I'd really like it if people with their own theories on why x is awesome and not GNS put up some reports on the forge; Marco, Valamir, if you guys feel the definitions are missing good stuff, please post some examples so I can look at it, even if it get's incorporated into a new version of the core 3, then hey, we've added depth to the definitions, and if not, you can be smug you isolated it first! Plus we'll likely get some extra ideas anyway.

Finally, Vincent I think the way you construct sim follows one of the Aikido principles; give 'em what they want, until they don't want it any more! Pull them faster and stronger down the way they are going than they were ready to go, until...


11. On 2009-05-12, John Mc said:

I think I get it.  This has been quite helpful.  :)


12. On 2009-05-12, Josh W said:

Lol, after all that I put sim in the last paragraph! I mean right to dream of course. ;)


13. On 2009-05-13, Graham said:


I don't actually understand this.

I feel I should.



14. On 2009-05-13, Joel said:

I just wanna chime in to say how helpful and interesting all this has been for me. This is like, the best thinking I've done ab out Creative Agenda since Jesse started Play Passionately, and the best thinking about Sim/RTD, like EVER. I even blogged about it (it's not much, just a bit of bandwagonning that I'm hoping will spin into bigger thoughts as it percolates).

I love the separation of the two things; it really really clarifies what both of them are for me. And I especially love the idea that this whole cause and effect thing from RFGA-Sim can be applied to all the CAs. That's exciting stuff for design! And it helps me understand some game texts, that I would otherwise wrestle with.

The other thing I like about the whole deal is that the descriptive phrases work so much better as designators than the "isms," for all the reasons you gave. I feel a weight lifted off of discourse. The taglines are a joy to say and use, without the weighty or dogmatic feel of the other labels. Which, actually, is what I like about the way you write, Vincent—friendly, conversational, and intuitive.

I feel like this whole issue has come full circle, in a way. I first found this whole crazy hippie-gaming world through Anyway like, 4 years ago. A random Google search brought me to the Theory Hardcore Page and I hunted down the Forge just to figure out what you were referring to. And if you look, back then you were referring to CA using—gasp!—evocative and conversational phrases. I found Say Something, Prove Yourself and Be There clearer and better ways of saying this stuff than any ways anyone else was saying it. And now you're back to evocative phrases. I say right ON.



15. On 2009-05-13, Simon C said:

I wrote an actual play thread here.

It's about a game that I used to think of as "Sim", but you've made me think about a lot more.  Thanks for these threads Vincent, they've been really useful to me.  They've even got me posting on the Forge again (for better or worse).


16. On 2009-05-13, Vincent said:

We'll see how it goes! I figure that the more we talk about your game there, and the less we talk about me, the better.


17. On 2009-05-13, Vincent said:

Oh Graham! I want to help. What don't you understand?


18. On 2009-05-13, Graham said:

Women. Also:

Whatever the right to dream is about, it's NOT about the nitty gritty of how a game's rules approach cause and effect.

Could you talk me through this a bit more? There's some background to this statement I don't understand. I can see that, as you've defined RTD, it's about how players react around the table to your character, which doesn't interact with cause and effect.

But why do you say it's not about cause and effect? Why might it be about that? Are you dismissing a common fallacy or something?

Oh, wait. Are you saying "Right To Dream isn't embedded in the conflict mechanics. It's about what happens at the table."?



19. On 2009-05-13, Vincent said:

I am, yes: "Right To Dream isn't embedded in the conflict mechanics. It's about what happens at the table."

I think it is a common fallacy that internally consistent fictional causality = right to dream play, and I am dismissing it.

So yeah! It seems to me like you understand.


20. On 2009-05-13, Meserach said:

For added context, Graham, I think it is a common fallacy because of rgfa Simulationism, which as I understand it IS about the nitty-gritty of cause and effect.


21. On 2009-05-13, John Kim said:

To Meserach, that's only part of the story.  It's true that "Simulationism" as coined on rgfa, and as part of the rgfa Threefold Model, is largely about in-game cause and effect.  However, Ron's essays on GNS Simulationism also mention cause-and-effect quite a lot.

To Vincent:  This certainly sounds good to me.  I've always been troubled by how Ron used the term Simulationism from rgfa but then gradually brought it to mean something completely unlike its Threefold meaning.  So, thanks.


22. On 2009-05-29, Charles S said:

That makes sense to me. I'm not entirely sure that I understand what "Right to Dream" play is intended to mean, but it definitely doesn't evoke the interest in nitty-gritty mechanics and causality that "simulationism" always evoked, so I think it is a much superior name for whatever it is that it is a name for.


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