Mechanics? Method!

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  • I tried to start another thread about techniques but didn't went very far and googling RPG techniques doesn't help too much (though I found other interesting things) So I came back here. Perhaps it's just too soon and I'm also wondering if this field has been explored before using another different term. Anyway, I insist that about the techniques part what we are looking for is somewhere hidden among the lines of Social Psychology studies. Priming is actually part of that area, but Social Psychology focuses more around how it's used in human interaction than on the ways each individual processes it internally, which are more closer to what we are looking for.

    The first problem I've found when trying to define what could be considered a technique and what not is that we are talking about tools humans use to interact with each other. Gestures, noises, spoken words, signs and icons are the raw material for building these tools. From the universe of possibilities of human comunication we want to extract only those tools that are pertinent to gaming and focusing it more, the ones we could use for playing RPGs.

    The tools we're looking for are among the ones we use to tell stories but there is also an important amount of tools that belong to the field of negotiation

    Things like framing scenes, using body language to help ellicit emotions in the players, keeping them focused and setting a pace to the narration are part of storytelling. We aren't going here into how to make stories, just into the part of how to tell them to other people and help them feel a part of the fiction, in the emotional sense.

    Things like paying atenttion to players flags, the witch mountain trick, worldbuilding with the players, GM fiat, plot points, passing the spotlight, etc are different ways to approach negotiation.
  • Posted By: wyrmwood1) It is important to that in most play there is a significant flow between rules, mechanics, and game structure on one side, and cognitive cues, dialogue techniques, and emotional responses on the other. You risk missing much of that if you artificially segregate these sides of play.
    Flow is something to strive for in any game, whatever the balance between mechanics and techniques are.

    There is no artificial segregation here; only a way of organizing our thoughts on role-playing games, so that we may understand better the methods we play by. The term method in itself, comprising both mechanics and techniques, indicates that we are talking totality here.
    Posted By: wyrmwood2) Story-telling and body language techniques are powerful, but in many cases they are acting as just a subset ofprimingduring play. Looking at priming in RPGs is possibly one of the most important analysis directions we can take right now, but at present it seems ancillary to your "revolution". It could be a very deep well of discovery.
    Priming seems to be interesting. Techniques being a "sub-set" of this is something you will have to explain.
    Posted By: wyrmwood3) Don't neglect verbal techniques, while enumerating voice and body techniques. How a particular piece of speech is phrased, and the underlying rules and guidelines for guiding it's construction offers a wealth of dialogue techniques. Apocalypse World's "address yourself to characters, not players" is just the tip of the iceberg.
    that's very sound advice, for both leader and players. It should be adhered to as much as possible.

    And it ties back to the first point you made, Mendel; the one about flow. Having mechanics taking too much time and focus, makes it harder to maintain character-speak. That is a challenge I've met mostly in classical games; they tend to have mechanics which are prominent in play. Modern role-playing games, at least of the Norwegian style, is geared more towards techniques, and as a consequence they tend to present fewer obstacles to fluent and inventive character-speak. In some of these games there is little meta-speak at all, only short narrations and in-game character talk.

    It is easier to go into interactive flow with "softer" methods. That is one thing I find very refreshing in modern games!
  • Posted By: TomasHVMFlowis something to strive for in any game, whatever the balance between mechanics and techniques are.
    Tomas, I wasn't talking about flow in the sense of a highly focused activity, but in the sense that (in essence) as play evolves among a group or even a community mechanics can become dialogue techniques and vice versa.

    On the other hand, in my experience this isn't always true:
    Posted By: TomasHVMIt is easier to go into interactive flow with "softer" methods.
    Remember not all minds are the same. Personally, I've found some modes of focused character speak break the character intensive flow much more than communicating in "mechanics-speak". It is very easy for me to go between emotions, abstractions, and concrete events, in many ways a good mechanic is closer to what I'm thinking than constructing dialogue or otherwise acting the part. Which is not to say that I'm not reasonably good at acting, but it becomes a performance (which is its own very different type of flow), but it actively interferes with character intensive flow. For that I'd prefer to communicate in mechanics and unaffected dialogue.

    My brain almost certainly works differently than yours, so I don't doubt for you (and many others), your statement is true. So just remember not to simply generalize how your own mind works to everyone else.

    - Mendel
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: wyrmwoodTomas, I wasn't talking aboutflowin the sense of a highly focused activity, but in the sense that (in essence) as play evolves among a group or even a community mechanics can become dialogue techniques and vice versa.
    I know you did not talk flow in that sense.

    However; proposing that mechanics and techniques are not different, which you are very close to doing, is not very constructive.
    - Techniques are the means by which we form the dialogue. The fiction of the game is created directly by the dialogue, so the techniques are very close to the creation of the fiction.
    - Mechanics are how we use tools outside of the diealogue (dice, coins, cards, tables, character-statistics, etc.). They affect the dialogue (resolving conflicts, indicating consequences, distributing narration-rights, etc.), but not as directly/seamlessly as the techniques. So the mechanics are one more step removed from the fiction, compared to the techniques.

    This distinction in nature between techniques and mechanics is of utmost importance. To understand these two central parts of the methodology of role-playing games, we need to accept that they are indeed very different. They do have a very different function in the methodology, and work in very different ways. The way they affect the interaction is different, and the way they relate to the fiction is different.

    So let us, please, "segregate" them a bit in discussion. No insight is possible without differential thinking on this.
    Posted By: wyrmwoodRemember not all minds are the same.
    They are, basically. If you want to design effective techniques for leaders and players of role-playing games to use, you need to discard the popular myth that every soul and body is unique. We are, in spite of having distinct personalities, basically the same. We have instincts and automated reactions that are the same, through millenniums of human developments. We are animals, and are affected by certain stimulus as animals. The nuances of reactions are not frequent enough, nor large enough, to be of importance in game-design.

    Knowing this, and exploring how it works, is an important part of being a rpg-designer, at least if you want to design games for the future. You need knowledge of how people work to design better games, especially within the realm of dialogue techniques.
    Posted By: wyrmwoodPersonally, I've found some modes of focused character speak break the character intensive flow much more than communicating in "mechanics-speak".
    Whatever you do, you are not guaranteed flow in a game. However; it is easier to obtain flow in games with better dialogue techniques, as they in general are geared towards strengthening in-character focus (immersion).
    Posted By: wyrmwoodIt is very easy for me to go between emotions, abstractions, and concrete events, in many ways a good mechanic is closer to what I'm thinking than constructing dialogue or otherwise acting the part. Which is not to say that I'm not reasonably good at acting, but it becomes a performance (which is its own very different type of flow), but it actively interferes with character intensive flow. For that I'd prefer to communicate in mechanics and unaffected dialogue.
    I'd like to underline that I do not consider the character-exploration we do in role-playing games to be "acting". Several experiences with acting vs role-play has led me to think that these two build on very different premises.
    In short:
    - acting is communicating a pre-made character/dialogue
    - role-play is exploring character-possibilities in free dialogue

    Actors do use "role-play" as a tool for training, but still they go at their characters differently than genuine role-players. I find it interesting to see how some role-players can cry out their actions in a game with great bravado, but suck on a scene. And the opposite; I find it interesting to see how some actors can shine on the scene, but still suck in portraying their character in a role-playing game. Funny world, eh?
    Posted By: wyrmwoodMy brain almost certainly works differently than yours, so I don't doubt for you (and many others), your statement is true. So just remember not to simply generalize how your own mind works to everyone else.
    As said; not true. Our bodies and brains works alike, basically. Intellectual positions are superfluous in regard to this, Mendel. Read up on recent brain-research and you will get some interesting insights.
  • This is a great discussion! For me, I feel like Polaris and Apocalypse World have been the most visibly technique-heavy games I've played.

    That being said, I am wrestling with this:
    Posted By: TomasHVM-Techniquesare based on dialogue. The fiction of the game is created directly by the dialogue.
    -Mechanicsare based on some element outside of our body (dice, coins, cards, etc.). They only affect the fiction through the dialogue (describing consequences), so the mechanics are one additional step removed from the fiction, compared to the techniques.
    I tend to think of it as:
    - techniques are the basic building blocks of play: they tell you how to approach play. Unfurl the sail, put the boat in water (not in that order, haha) and you're ready for some boating!
    - mechanics are a kind of technique that you employ only in certain circumstances, usually when there's an uncertain outcome or a conflict of interests (in the fiction or among the players+GM). They are like contingency techniques. To continue the boating analogy, they're more like the flare gun, the first aid kit, and the Coast Guard's emergency phone number.

    So, we always need techniques. They give gameplay its basic shape, compared to other games. Sometimes we need mechanical techniques to give us some guidance as to where to go or what to do next.

    In the Anglo game design world, techniques have gotten short shrift til quite recently, but all games have both mechanical and non-mechanical techniques. Even games that never require randomization can still provide guidance for conflict - Drama and Karma mechanics are still mechanics, after all, even if they don't employ random numbers.
    I suppose that phrase "contingency techniques" is really where it's at - generally speaking, techniques like "always role-play dialogue" or "make the world seem real" are a lot less dependent on sharply defined circumstances of play, compared to mechanical techniques like "when two characters are competing over something, have each player say why their character deserves it more. The group as a whole + GM should vote on the outcome".

    Moves are a really strong, clear approach to mechanics for this precise reason: it is understood a) that they are contingent techniques and b) their pre-requisite "conditions" are usually quite readily apparent.

    Augh the acting vs. roleplay distinction is really good! But it doesn't line up with improv - improvisational actors consider themselves, well, actors, even though they don't employ pre-made dialogue or characters. Thoughts?

    Lastly: the brain stuff? I mean, sure, not all techniques will work for everyone, ever, independent of one's personal neurological circumstances. But I consider that to have less to do with neurology and more to do with taste, genre/tone preferences, and previous gaming experience (which determines what techniques are more or less of a challenge for a given individual).
  • edited March 2012
    Hi Zac! I rephrased the paragraph you cited, on the difference between techniques and mechanics. It did not say what I wanted it to. Please go back and read it once more. Sorry! (for being such a slow pedant)

    As for placing mechanics as a subset of techniques; you are right in doing so. But for the sake of dicussion; let us keep them level, while discerning between them.

    Mind you; to place techniques and mechanics at the same level in a method, at least has some merit when talking about classical rpgs (games with leader + players). Mechanics are very prominent in most classical games, including Apocalypse World and Polaris (as far as I know; I have read the one, and only read about the other). I find it useful to think of mechanics as something outside the realm of techniques. And it is certainly a lot closer to the opinion held by most players of classical rpgs.
    Posted By: Zac in VirginiaAugh the acting vs. roleplay distinction is really good! But it doesn't line up with improv - improvisational actors consider themselves, well, actors, even though they don't employ pre-made dialogue or characters. Thoughts?
    My daughter is one of the top improv-actors in Norway. She is of course breaking up the divide I'm setting up here, and thus she makes me stumble in my orderly way of looking at the world. Ah, you cannot trust anyone these days! LOL

    But in general I hold my observation to be true, still, and one that may explain a lot of things if you move about in the muddy fields between theatre and role-playing games (as me and my daughter do a lot).
    Posted By: Zac in Virginiacompared to mechanical techniques like "when two characters are competing over something, have each player say why their character deserves it more. The group as a whole + GM should vote on the outcome".
    This is a technique of leadership and communication, not of mechanics.

    I believe you are clouding the issue a bit, Zac, but that is ok. I do agree with you that there are movements in current design that indicates a greater consciousness of how techniques and mechanics interrelates, and how a method may be designed with the balance tipping the one way, or the other. Having some methods tipping to the side of stronger dialogue-techniques, opens up the field for other designers too. They play the games, and find them to work well, and see for themselves how this may be. Matthijs Holter and Jason Morningstar have done some great work in this respect, in my view.

    As for discussing techniques and mechanics as two important parts of the rpg methodology;
    - I hope I have served my definitions in a clear manner, and that I have given you a glimpse of the full picture (vision - interaction - fiction). In spite of this being new to most of the readers here, I hope you see that the full picture is in fact quite simple. I really hope you see how clarifying this simple system of terms can be.
  • edited March 2012
    I'd like to add this:
    - Humans are different in many respects, yes, that is obvious. It makes us stand forth with a rainbow of personalities. But still; on the level of automated responses we differ very little. That is where the remnants of our animal brain is the most active, still, as the level where instincts and emotional impulses originates. And those are of utmost importance when working the communicative field of role-playing games.

    We all do it, conscious or not. What I do here, is to propose form us to do it with conscious direction, trying to "level up" the way we design/play our games, inventing and exploring techniques until we succeed, and to replicate the successful effects in game after game after game ...

    There are layers to any communication; intellectual, symbolical, emotional. Engaging players in several of these layers are not something we have to do, but I find that doing it makes a game all the more potent, and fun. And that is within reach of effective dialogue techniques.
  • It's all about the Venn diagram - mechanics are techniques, but techniques are not all mechanics.
    Posted By: TomasHVMThis is a technique of leadership and communication, not of mechanics.
    After close-reading, I see that "leader" is a broader term that includes "game master" within itself. Interesting! I think that's pretty apt.

    On another note, it seems like what people call "mechanics" means anything that relates to conflict resolution - hit points, how to roll the dice, etc. are all components of conflict resolution systems, so they seem to be related.
    You could conceive of mechanics as "all those things related to conflict in the fiction" and techniques as "all those things related to creating fiction".
  • edited March 2012
    I see what you mean, Zac, but it would be a definition that blotted out much of the distinctions between techniques and mechanics, and that would be to the detriment of those trying to make use of these terms to organize their thinking on methods in role-playing games. Most conflicts in role-playing games feeds into the fiction through dialogue techniques, you know.

    I have made my system of terms to clarify the divide between mechanics and techniques, to make it easier for me (and possibly; you) to understand that any method of role-playing games consist of these elements, and to study how they interrelate, and work in unison, to bring us great game-play. I have found it very conductive on my thinking, and on my design-ability, to have this system of terms as a fundament for my rpg-work.

    On leadership you are right; both leadership and the other terms included in techniques (dialogue, story-telling, etc.) indeed covers what a game-leader do, in a classical game (and more; they covers what the players do too). In a modern game there is no game-leader, but still the techniques apply, of course (there is no way to conceive a role-playing games without techniques of dialogue and leadership). Even the techniques of leadership is present in such games; they tend to be softer, and tend to be distributed more or less firmly/floating around the table.

    But as said; the role of game-leader in classical games is very much covered in this system of terms. I have found that thinking like this has given me valuable new insights on how the leader works a game and a group. It has been a long road, with lots of experimental scenarios, using new techniques which were more or less successful, with other GMs testing them for me too (in public scenarios, at conventions).
    The long road of exploration has unearthed new ways for a leader to...
    - frame a game
    - helping a group into the right mood
    - elicit emotional responses amongst players
    - adapt the use of mechanics to the situation
    - work tempo, and especially shifts of tempo, to great effect
    - set up conflict without mechanics, and push those conflicts towards crisis
    - work conflict and crisis as separate phases of game-play
    - support players with elements to contest, in different types of conflicts
    - etc.

    The list is extensive, covering every facet of leadership in role-playing games. Some of the techniques are well know, but when used in a method, combined with other techniques, some of them bring new effects to the game. Some of the techniques are brand new, and hilarious in their effect on game-play ("the impressionist method", for one, made use of high speed and sudden shifts in scene-setting, that left leaders and players alike breathless, and positively befuddled over what was happening to them). The point has always been, for me as a designer and organizer of role-playing games, to give my leaders hands on advice to follow, towards game-play of excellent nature.

    And my assistant leaders have been invaluable, both in discussions on techniques, in testing, and in ground-breaking tournament play at conventions (mostly the annual Arcon game convention, here in Oslo). We have stumbled and groped about a lot, in darkness and in bewilderment over new landscapes, but mostly we have been granted some kind of success in our explorative work. And sometimes our successes have been extraordinary, for both leaders and players. Most important of all; along the way this stubborn and tireless exploration of techniques have furnished us with great tools of play.

    I need to write more detailed on this, and will do, in my new version of the classical role-playing game that has been my main vehicle of exploration; the fantasy rpg Fabula.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: TomasHVMPosted By: wyrmwoodRemember not all minds are the same.
    They are, basically.Tomas, I think you missed Mendel's point. He was specifically responding to your assertion that "It is easier to go into interactive flow with 'softer' methods." He said that, for him, it is not easier. I think we can take him at his word.

    I personally find that it is easier for me to go into interactive flow with softer methods, but I have played with people for whom that was definitely not the case. As GM, I once tried to describe a cliff. The players wanted to know how difficult it was to climb. I thought I did a very good job providing a visual description, and relating that to the tasks the characters would have to perform. And yet both players claimed that the fiction was less clear in their minds than it became when they were told "you need a 7 or higher on 2d6". I believe this difference reflects that we experience life in different ways, with quantification being more integral for some people than for others.

    Of course there are universal human truths, and I agree that we should mine those for effective game procedures, but "softer methods = better flow" is not one of them. (Unless Mendel and I both misunderstood what you meant by "softer".)

    I think your point about automated responses is a good one, and a discussion of how to tap into those is very exciting! Perhaps that's what you've been doing all along? If so, it hasn't been clear to me where the automated response comes in for each dialogue technique.
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: David BergTomas, I think you missed Mendel's point. He was specifically responding to your assertion that "It is easier to go into interactive flow with 'softer' methods." He said that, for him, it isnoteasier. I think we can take him at his word.
    I know what Mendel tried to say, and I do see that he may be convinced that it is so. I reckon that his conviction mirrors his experiences.

    Still; I have experienced that stubborn "this is not my cup of tea"-players have changed opinion in droves, when subjected to effective dialogue-techniques in actual game-play. It may be due to the fact that there is nothing "soft" in being led effectively into tense, heated, teeth-gnashing or tear-dripping interaction, and being empowered as a player, by the method, to play a meaningful role such interaction. Empowerment, gut-wrenching conflicts and vivid consequences wins the day, in my experience.

    That is my take on it. Nothing more. As said in the first post; no offense meant.

    Let's move on to other issues. Please!
  • edited March 2012
    Posted By: TomasHVMEmpowerment, gut-wrenching conflicts and vivid consequences wins the day, in my experience.
    I certainly can't argue with that! I'm just trying to figure out how you see the connection between that and non-mechanical methods. I've seen glimpses of this in your descriptions of play, but I've never been clear on (e.g.) what techniques a player used to express their empowerment and arrive at consequences.
  • edited March 2012
    I see that, David, and I am sorry that I'm so lost for words when it comes to telling how this is played out in a forum-thread. it is so much easier to show it in hands-on interaction, and in a game-text, where I can lay it out in full width.

    First: I do not talk of "non-mechanical methods" per se. The one game I've used as a vehicle for exploration in this field, is the game Fabula, a classical frp-game with resolution mechanics based on the D20, with skills and bonuses for diverse elements, with XP, and geared towards campaign-play. In Fabula; when you character is challenged; roll and add the numbers, and see how far the die brings you in a crisis. Very much like any other classical game, on the surface, and with mechanics. But with effective techniques too, to help interaction to new heights.

    So I am talking about methods with techniques AND mechanics here, mostly. There are methods without mechanics too, but for the sake of discussion; lets keep to the classical set-up; leader + players, and methods with techniques AND mechanics.

    And now; let me at least try to disclose some of the things you don't see ...

    Player empowerment in player-to-player interaction:
    - the right to frame scenes, and simple advice on how to do it
    - the right to put other characters into your scenes
    - the right to narrate consequences on higher skill-levels
    - open access to and use of central setting-elements

    Player empowerment in player-to-character interaction:
    - more support on and better contact with emotional content
    - greater imaginative space in mechanical procedures
    - clearer venues of character-play
    - power to evoke personal relationships

    I hope this helps inspire some understanding of how players may be empowered, in methods with different balances between techniques and mechanics. When a designer is conscious of the two main "tool-boxes" in a method; techniques and mechanics, he is more able to work the balance between them, choosing game tools from both, as needed, to meet the challenges presented in his vision of "The Game", and to design a game of greater effectivity and impact, in the hands of his players.
  • Yes! I like the way the puzzle is coming together.

    Your first list sounds similar to "GMless" games I've played, where at the right moments, a player can do certain things that are traditionally the province of the GM. I agree that such techniques are extremely important, and that integrating them with mechanics is important for the overall shape of play. That shouldn't be a controversial notion around here! It's the foundation that many favorites, like Polaris or Primetime Adventures, are built on.

    These techniques seem to be of a different sort than the play techniques you listed earlier, about touching and listening and closing eyes. Do we have any good terms to distinguish between these?

    The player-to-character list sounds important, but those are end results, not techniques. What techniques do you use to achieve "more support/better contact with emotional content" etc.?
  • edited March 2012
    Yes, they are different. To make a game with the dynamic qualities that supports a broader theme, as in a classical fantasy rpg, we have to work a variety of tools. I'm not trying to present an extensive list of tools here, just examples to make things clearer.

    And yes; the player-to-character list is important, and a field I really love to work in. You are right too, in the observation that I'm a bit more vague in that list. Let me try to be more precise on the first point ...

    More support on and better contact with emotional content:
    - observing players from first handshake and throughout the game
    - challenging characters in relationships, enticing them, working possible tensions
    - playing opposing interests, creating moral dilemmas for the characters
    - disclosing possible emotional reactions, and helping players in portraying them
    - placing instinctive auto-responces on character (fear, anger, lust), for player to deal with
    - etc.

    Most of this is known to experienced leaders/designers of rpgs. The new thing here (to most) is the way it is combined in a larger method, to make each tool work in unison with others, to greater effect. The full force of this empowers the players in relation to their characters; they get a more nuanced view of the psychosocial nature of their characters, and have more venues of exploration, giving them choices in interpretation that seldom surface in other games. Ordinary players become great players when supported in this way. Seeing an ordinary player impressing his peers with superb character-play, and inspiring them to the same quality in interpretation, is really something. I love the flow of game-play that ensues from such engagement!
  • Posted By: TomasHVM- disclosing possible emotional reactions, and helping players in portraying them
    Very interesting! So the GM not only introduces fictional situations that are meaningful to the character, but also coaches the player on how they might respond?

    I'm trying to imagine what that looks like at the table. I assume it happens less (or not at all?) with experienced players, but with a brand new player, perhaps:

    GM: Your daughter is begging you not to go fight the monster, but the monster continues to slander your family name! What do you do?
    P1: Huh. Um...
    GM: On the one hand, the slander is a big deal; it's unjust, and cruel. Does it make you angry? Do you feel a thirst for justice? Does it make you feel awful to know what others now think of you?
    P1: Yeah! The anger is not a big deal, but I cannot stand the affront to my honor!
    GM: On the other hand, your daughter is scared! You're her father! How do you feel about leaving her here to dread your death? Are you afraid, ashamed, or unwilling to bring that kind of pain to the person you love?
    P1: I can steel myself against her tears; I know this is best for her.
    GM: Okay, great, so what do you do?
    P1: I go fight the monster.
    GM: But wait! Not yet! Right now, your daughter is begging you not to go. You can steel yourself, and you cannot stand the affront to your honor. Let us all see that!
    P1: Um... I tell her not to cry. Then I go get my sword.
    GM: Perhaps you could express why your honor is so important? Perhaps, when you tell her not to cry, you could say why this must be done? When you steel yourself, do you simply leave, or do you try to calm her at all? Is there anyone you tell of your quest for justice?
    P1: Yeah, I'll explain it to her.
    GM: Great! Show us! "Daddy," she says, "please don't go!" What do you say?

    Does that sound about right?
  • edited March 2012
    Ja, it sounds about right.

    For myself I would prefer to stay more in character with the daughter, though, and try to work the conflict through character-dialogue. And I would try to avoid stalling so much; "On the other hand" and "But wait". Too much stalling and the player feels overrun, not empowered. So; stay in character, make use of hints, and limit your eagerness to shed light on every facet. Go with the flow of dialogue.

    Hinting on emotional reactions and/or moral implications through dialogue is fun! In the particular situation from your example it could start up like this:
    - Daddy; that beast is not threatening the family; it is only murdering peasants! There's no honor in fighting for peasants!
    - (the players father/baron-figure possibly saying he has to; the peasants being his responsibility)
    - No! That is unfair! You are MY daddy, and should keep ME safe! Peasants are dumb! You should not die for them!
    - (player possibly trying to calm unruly and spoilt daughter, or admonishing her)
    - (me following up on his lead, with willful twists)
    - etc.

    I see the leader being a willful teenager here, as supportive of the players interpretation of his character;
    - it helps the player play up on the moral obligation of his character towards his people
    - it helps the player dive into his role as a father to this willful child
    - and it implies that he is in trouble raising his child; she is willful and brutally arrogant

    Working multiple layers like this helps the player explore his character, as well as making choices hard, and occasionally; very emotional.

    Working family and friends of the character is fundamental to this kind of game-play; that is where the great treasures are to be found. Our personalities are forged in relationships in real life, and that is the best way to do it in role-playing games too. And playing fathers and mothers, sisters and brothers, releases tons of underlying "emotives" in normal players. These figures are full of tension and symbolic meaning to most people, and tapping into that intensifies our interaction.
  • Posted By: vulpinoidA "Mechanic" in Australian English, is a person who manipulates a "Mechanism", they often do so by following a specific "Methodology".
    So you are saying that I am right, when placing mechanics within the larger term of method!
    - Method is what we do.
    - Mechanics (and techniques) are what we use.
    Good!

    I love the way this debate springs into fruit these days. There is so much hope in seeing so many more of us grasping the intent and true content of these terms, and by doing so; grasping a lot more of what role-playing games are, and are played. :)
  • The use of these terms have helped me a lot in the creation of my own roleplaying game (way before this thread).
    Methods, and how they are used and explained are perfect tools to actually write about in a book. In the long run the tool is a simple one to understand and use.
    Methods seems like its something we always use anyway, but subconsciously, to have them written down gives words to it and one use them more consciously. When one knows what one are doing and why - it can only enhance the game. its quite a lot how the methods in pedagogy is used - most use them but do not think about them - and therefore are not brought to the fore when they are most needed.
  • edited March 2012
    Tomas,

    My impression from contrasting our examples is that yours is way better, but also way harder. I feel like it's at least possible that a GM could read "disclose possible reactions and help the player in portraying them" and do what the GM does in my example, whereas the only way to achieve the graceful flow in the fiction that you demonstrate is to log years of practice.

    Do you agree?

    If a new GM is trying to disclose possible reactions and help the player in portraying them, purely via roleplay, and failing at it, what advice would you give them?
  • edited March 2012
    Thanks, Kjetil!

    David; I believe it is a high challenge to do things with nuance and consequence, whatever you try to do. However; I also believe it is far easier to meet a challenge when someone else has trodden the path before you, and are able to point you in the right direction.

    Pointing in the right direction is what I intend to do in my new version of Fabula;
    - I'll try to explain the method of the game quite simply, to empower the leader and players of the game
    - and I'll explain the method quite precisely, to make them set off in the right direction

    And then I trust most of the adult leaders of my game will have it in them to reach for the stars, and to lead their players towards the heavens of interactive game-play. I place trust in the leaders of my game, and I give them the tools to walk the walk. Both are essentials. :-)
  • Posted By: TomasHVMPointing in the right directionis what I intend to do in my new version ofFabula;
    - I'll try to explain the method of the game quite simply, to empower the leader and players of the game
    - and I'll explain the method quite precisely, to make them set off in the right direction
    I definitely dig the intent! I'm curious to see how you go about it!
  • edited March 2012
    Thanks, David! And I am indeed curious about this too. LOL

    My ambitions have to be paired with serious writing skills; simplicity and inspiring instructions are hard to put into writing. I do believe I have those skills now, and that I have the language too, to match the intent. But even so I have set a high standard for my game; to be a game of deep-plunging, teeth-gnashing interaction for all leaders and players.

    Here's an example of how I could start it ...

    Rule number one: The Handshake
    - As a leader of Fabula; give your players a handshake when you gather to play. Do it with a simple word of welcome, and make sure you do it with all players. Do the same at the end of a session; shake hands with them, giving thanks for the game. This is a positive way of framing the game; establishing direct contact and trust between the leader and the individual player.

    If the players follow up on this by shaking hands amongst themselves too, it is a boon to the game.
  • edited March 2012
    Edit: Just read your last post, which actually rendered this post moot.
  • edited March 2012
    The problems of "moot posts" are well known to experienced forum-posters. Any forum-discussion of substance has worm-holes of mootness buried in it.
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