What are the three fundamentals?

edited November 2011 in Story Games
What, in your opinion, are the three fundamental elements that underly fun roleplaying? In three (short sentences).

Please dont say 'it depends on...'

Comments

  • 1. the miracle of a story emerging.. it makes you feel like you are channelling it from somewhere else.. it cannot just happen!
    2. coming up with impossible solutions on the spot
    3. leave your mark in the world
  • 1. voice-acting
    2. tempting death
    3. critical failures
  • 1. Butt-clenching action (scenes where you don’t know if you’ll live or die)
    2. Arriving at unexpected places because of collaborative input
    3. Finishing when it fits the emerging story (ie: not trying to drag it out)
  • edited November 2011
    In order of priority:

    1. Choices matter. No game will end the same way.
    2. Description matters. What we say affects the mechanics.
    3. Characters matter. Characters aren't slaves to the plot.

    It pains me to leave out:

    4. Fairness.
    5. No "lose your turn" mechanics.
    6. No "nothing happens" mechanics.
  • 1. structure.
    2. investment in others (i.e. listening/compassion).
    3. investment in the collective experience.

    Everything else is details.
  • edited November 2011
    1. Decent people to play with (most people are).
    2. A playstyle I'm comfortable (but not necessarily familiar) with.
    3. Subject matter I care for.
  • 1. Worse outcomes
    2. Hard bargains
    3. Ugly choices

    ...

    No, wait, I hate having to come up with those in DW...
  • Posted By: Cneph1. Worse outcomes
    2. Hard bargains
    3. Ugly choices

    ...

    No, wait, I hate having to come up with those in DW...
    Ha! I agree, I sometimes have to get the players to help me come up with these. But they really make DW / AW fly.
  • 1. Permissions that allow trust (or trust)
    2. Vulnerability
    3. Shared interest in Setting or System among participants
  • edited November 2011

    Jenskot, I completely agree. +1. But I think that I'd reinterpret "characters matter" to this: the plot arises from the characters' choices and the players' description, rather than from anything pre-scripted.

    ETA: I also think that the "things matter" implicit in the first three captures the "no 'nothing happens' mechanics" part.

  • 1. You set up a situation, and it goes interesting places
    2. The ride to those interesting place is awesome
    3. No one gets left out or shut down along the way
  • 1. Put their fun before your own
    2. Put your fun before your character's wellbeing
    3. Trust them enough to engage fully
  • The three fundamentals of fun roleplaying are:

    1. Loving the people you are playing with
  • ^Yes!
    And bravery to go to a place you haven't gone.
  • 1 - Emotional engagement
    2 - Tense interaction
    3 - Blossoming fiction
  • 1. Multiple people
    2. making stuff up
    3. together.

    Or, put another way:

    1. Imagination
    2. Expression (of imagined stuff)
    3. Teamwork (guiding what you'll imagine and what you'll express)
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarThe three fundamentals of fun roleplaying are:

    1. Loving the people you are playing with
    Is that why you do that thing... with your hands... while we play...?
  • Posted By: jenskot
    Is that why you do that thing... with your hands... while we play...?
    Clearly you have never sat to my immediate right or left! I am told it is a remarkable roleplaying experience.
  • Fun of roleplaying is:
    1. Making shit up.
    2. Sharing it with others.
    3. Rolling some dice.

    Fun roleplaying is:
    1. Seeing things grow (and change): worlds from villages, persons from ideas, stories from dice...
    2. Seeing words and actions have an effect: consequences, making a choice and seeing what happens...
    3. Discovery: of your friends, of wonders, of answers, skills. Being surprised and surprising others...

    I wasn't sure which one you were asking for so both.
  • 1. Dice
    2. Rules
    3. Players
  • 1. My Guy
    2. My Guy
    3. My Guy
  • edited November 2011
    I think its interesting how some people give a descriptive answer and some give a proscriptive answer. I'd love to see a larger sample from an, admittedly quite different, larger population (e.g. rpg.net, RPGGeek, etc.).
  • Not to state the obvious, but if we're talking about FUNDAMENTAL elements of fun roleplaying...

    1. Fun
    2. Roles
    3. Playing
  • Posted By: Jason MorningstarPosted By: jenskot
    Is that why you do that thing... with your hands... while we play...?
    Clearly you have never sat to my immediate right or left! I am told it is a remarkable roleplaying experience.

    LOL
  • edited November 2011
    OK, so 20 different people have 20 different answers.

    The next thing is, give the single best way to facilitate your 3 fundamentals, in a single, non-equivical sentence.

    like this:

    1. first fundamental: "you facilitate it by this"


    I wonder if we will see some convergence or more disparity?
  • edited November 2011
    I'm not sure if this is what you are looking for, but here is my first try...
    Posted By: jenskotIn order of priority:

    1. Choices matter. No game will end the same way.
    2. Description matters. What we say affects the mechanics.
    3. Characters matter. Characters aren't slaves to the plot.
    1. Choices matter: When I use the game's system, something changes definitively. I don't use the system if a potential result (or the only result) is, "nothing happens."

    2. Description matters: What I describe in the game's fiction has mechanical weight. That can be everything from, "my odds of success change based on my description" to "I can only access certain mechanics by triggering them with my description" to "new mechanical effects are created to match my description."

    3. Characters matter: Tie the setting / plot / situation to the specific characters. If my character has the goal, "I will help sinners repent", then throw some sinners into the game.
  • 1) story unfolding : improvisation, railroading, spatial planning
    2) people interraction : nothing happens if player don't play between them
    3) structure : construct events and use rules to organise them.
  • edited November 2011
    Posted By: Jason MorningstarPosted By: jenskot
    Is that why you do that thing... with your hands... while we play...?
    Clearly you have never sat to my immediate right or left! I am told it is a remarkable roleplaying experience.I can vouch for that.
    Firm, yet yielding.
  • edited November 2011
    Not sure I want to hear Jason's answer about how he facilitates the players to his left and right...

    OK, my facilitating stuff:
    1. Butt-clenching action - every couple of sessions make sure the stakes are high enough so everyone is not sure if the players can win / survive
    2. Arriving at unexpected places because of collaborative input - talk about what you each want from the game before you start then listen and build on other's ideas
    3. Finishing when it fits the emerging story - talk about how the game is going
  • "Conan! What is best in life?"
  • edited November 2011
    1. Bold play.
    2. Mutual investment in characters and story.
    3. Common (or compatible) agendas.
    3. A strong meta game.
  • Posted By: otherdocNot to state the obvious, but if we're talking about FUNDAMENTAL elements of fun roleplaying...

    1. Fun
    2. Roles
    3. Playing
    Good one! LOL
  • edited November 2011
    How do you facilitate:

    1 - Emotional engagement
    - being patient; using time and tidbits to build involvement with character and story
    - immersion; subjective point of view, life-like characters, love, friendship, work, seremony and death, believable consequences
    - confronting players through characters: using archetypes, familiarity, ethics, hard dilemmas, soft challenges

    The field between immersion and confrontation is key.

    2 - Tense interaction
    - being patient; using time and tidbits to build involvement with character and story
    - engaging with characters, playing opposite principles, playing with ethics, foreshadowing consequences
    - confrontation; hard dilemmas, soft challenges, care and cynicism, exploring the cutting edges of a conflict

    3 - Blossoming fiction
    - is a consequence of all the above
    - and especially being patient; use time and tidbits; there are buds in the details
    - is supported by players that say YES, and go with the flow
    - is easier built with serious intent and adult insights
  • 1. An engaged group who respect and trust each others' contributions and the constraints of the fiction. So no motorcycle ninjas unless it's the game of motorcycle ninjas, but also no blocking if possible.

    2. Some space for character play. Many games rush straight into conflict all the time without time to explore the lead up and effects and the way people avoid such things or push resolutions that go all the way without leaving much space for more low key character interaction. I find emotions come more easily from character play than they do from system.

    I'm torn between:

    3. A sense of unity for the game. I don't really want to be playing in a game where there's nothing that unites what I'm doing with what someone else is doing. That's two different games. In My Life with Master, there's sometimes no direct interaction between the players but they do come into contact with the same NPCs and the Master, they have an effect on each other.

    and

    3. Dilemmas, decisions that could go one way or the other with repercussions, emotional fallout and change.
  • So, sometimes I get to a place where I can understand something and enjoy it without explaining it. Without being able to explain it. Without being able to wrap words around it, but still able to work inside it and use those skills.

    Gaming is like that. You can sit down with a ton of paper rules, or a handful of expectations, voiced or otherwise, maybe even with inspiration floating in the air. All the named, tangible ingredients can be in place, but it's that something else that makes it work.

    I'm glad you are all exploring it here. I love threads like this.
  • edited November 2011
    1. Put their fun before your own - Pay it forward and look for ways to set up other players so that they can do something awesome (your turn will come and it will be epic).
    2. Put your fun before your character's wellbeing - Your PC is there to dance for your enjoyment, don't get trapped in the the mindset that the PC represents you (your character's failures are your achievements).
    3. Trust them enough to engage fully - Get invested in the story/character/game, they won't laugh at you for opening up (shame on them if they do).
    1. Attentiveness to the other participants emotions
    2. At all times at someone is leading, engaging and supporting the shared imagination activity
    3. Everyone involved stays committed to achieving the exult (result) and the idea that we can get there via the patterns we're engaging in.
  • For me it's all about navigating to the "perfect place".
    I don't know how to get there, but I know when I'm there(or not there?).
    To me, it's best when it feels like building a fort, or snowman did when I was little.
    Capital M Magical.
    I don't agree with the "structure" answers some people have given.
    It's just like the answer we've been given to a question no ones asked; "why do role playing games have rules?".
    It's not to stop arguments from happening, 'cause God knows they happen with or without rules.
    Okay, maybe some people have actually asked "why do role playing have rules?".
    It's a million reasons, but it's not to stop people from arguing.
  • edited November 2011
    Hey stefoid,

    I'm curious - do you have somewhere you're going with this? Like, is this a pedagogical tool?

    If I was explaining RPGs to someone for the first time, I would say the three things that make roleplaying fun are:

    1) it's a social activity - it's like the universal party game.
    2) you get to tell a story together - it's a lot like a play that you write, perform, and watch together.
    3) the story is coherent and engaging for everyone - it's NOT like those campfire stories where each person tells one sentence at a time.

    If I was offering best principles for myself and other players to aspire to, I would say:

    1) don't play with an outcome in mind.
    2) aim everything you do at incorporating other players.
    3) Be creatively trusting.

    #####Faciliation#####

    Pedagogical:
    1) be involved - contribute anything, even if it seems dumb.
    2) use the system - it's there to facilitate your creativity.
    3) Listen to each other and discuss the tone, direction, and content of play. Don't be afraid to tell another player you like their contribution.

    Aspirational:
    1) Don't say No.
    2) Pick something about your character and something about another character and show how they are either in harmony or conflict.
    3) Don't say No.

    Edited to add: and if you are looking for the three principles of game DESIGN, then I would have another set of answers.
  • Posted By: ivan1. the miracle of a story emerging.. it makes you feel like you are channelling it from somewhere else.. it cannot just happen!
    This. They are the major thing (for me) that makes roleplaying stand out from other forms of play and this is the magic I chase that make me come back to roleplaying despite everything. Is it even possible to have a practice that creates these moments without destroying the magic?
  • @kippler

    The funny thing is.. even if we can't surprise ourselves individually (damn Czege principle!) we can surprise ourselves as a group.


    Last summer I was playing with Kit, John, Austin and some other guys from Boulder and the game was totally transparent, no mysteries, no prep. Yet, at one point one of us introduced some element that explained everything that had happened before and we went: Whoa! That's why it happened!

    And we were genuinely surprised and in awe.. as if we had discovered this *real* masterplan.. that nobody had thought in advance :-)
  • I'll post without reading other replies first, then go back and see what others said.

    1) People. The people at the table matter more than any single other factor. Are they fun? Are they up for it, whatever it may be?

    2) Setting. Does the game setting inspire the people? Does it facilitate interesting characters?

    3) Setting. Is the physical setting for the players comfortable? Is there something nice to eat, something to drink?

    I feel system should be on there somewhere, but truth to tell the rules probably aren't in the top three.
  • Facilitating. Let's see:

    1) People is all about choosing the right ones in the first place and then being excellent to each other. That doesn't mean never arguing or never getting pissed off. It does mean letting it go when it happens. Choose the right players, people who want to play, who turn up regularly, are buzzed about the game and who aren't prima donnas and you've most of what you need for great gaming right there. You facilitate it by who you let into your group in the first place.

    2) Setting. Eh, you pitch to the group if you're GMing. If it's not working out you try something else. Dunno. I have a feel now for what will work, but I still get it wrong. Interesting question actually. How do you facilitate a cool setting? I think the key thing is that there's space for the characters to matter (not necessarily matter in a world changing way, but matter to themselves at least).

    3). Avoid shitty snacks. If someone can cook a cooked meal is very welcome (we have this presently and it rocks). If not some cheeses, salamis, bread, a proper meal you know? Make it a social thing. Some wine or beer. You're meeting friends, You facilitate a fun time by making the basics good. Nice food. Comfortable seats. Reasonable lighting. That kind of stuff.
  • Posted By: Zachary DonovanHey stefoid,

    I'm curious - do you have somewhere you're going with this? Like, is this a pedagogical tool?
    Nope, just trawling for insights

    thanks!
  • edited November 2011
    Single best way to facilitate mine:

    1. Teamwork. Clarity on the purpose of the activity.
    2. Making stuff up. Clarity on what sort of imagined content is valued right here and right now.
    3. Expression. Clarity on permissions and responsibilities; who can and should say what, and when.

    More concisely, but less clearly: Communicate (1) Why, (2) What, (3) How.

    Hmm. Maybe that's the best way to facilitate anything... Well, the request was for fundamentals...
  • edited November 2011
    1. An honest agreement about what/how/when to play
    All participants have to be on the same page. Roleplay is teamwork, you have to be a part of that team to make it work.
    2. Passionate play
    Care about the story, about the game, about your character.
    3. Drama (As in 'drama film')
    All actions have consequenses. All characters have an agenda, realistic characters with real issues The game is about something it will go somewhere.

    Short version. Pick up a game that supports drama play and that you all like. Play it til it bleeds.
  • edited November 2011
    As far as roleplaying games go, this is what I look at when i'm considering quality of a game

    1) Limitation - Appropriate use of limitation is the most important element of games. I don't care how pretty your story is if you don't know what to define as a boundary and what not to. This is an element based completely on who's running or designing the game, so limitation should be seen as oportunity. What fun is Mario when you start turning on the cheat codes? What fun is an rpg when you're pidgeonholed into a role you don't want to be in, or when your story is put on a backburner to someone elses, sugestedly more important plot? Limitation is the reason that finding out that Samus was a girl was such a big deal, and why finding out that Darth Vader was Luke's father was a shock.

    2) System - System is your support. This is the reason that we're playing a game instead of watching a movie or reading a book. It makes the difference between being a passive observer and an active participant. This is where a GM's or designers delegation comes in, managing the resources in such a way that they help instead of get in the way. Unfortunately, this is the hardest thing to define. Some would argue that charisma, character sheets, and dice are all system. I would say that system includes all of this and more, essentially system is a set of tools to make shortcuts for communication.

    3) Content - Content is important, but matters least behind System and Limitation because I don't care what you have to say if you don't know how to say it.
  • Player buy-in and understanding of this game's premise - you all have to understand what you are getting into.
    Directed enthusiasm for your own and other's contributions to the game.
    Taking action is more important than planning.
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