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Some more crazy musings:
Dreamer: I'm not very math oriented so AI concepts tend to escape me when it gets to the nitty gritty. The closest thing I've found to a book I can understand is The Hitch-Hiker's Guide To AI. I've always been curious as to whether knowledge representation techniques could help with P&P solo rpgs. The old random tables standby works great, but maybe there are different approaches.
Dreamer: Not sure I want to think of things as automating, rather than assuming a larger load of responsibility and creativity while maintaining a sense of "pushback". The crazy thought: since in the hypothetical setup, the GM using dice results in an illusion, part of the feel must come down to what being aware of another human being does to us psychologically. If I created a web service that acted as a Mythic like Oracle, but also had human members secretly GM'ing with the same restrictions as the Oracle, could this illusion be maintained? You would log in, and you wouldn't know if you had a live GM answering your binary questions, and throwing you keywords from a limited list (like Mythic's). I wonder how that would feel.
For me, part of what makes the yes/no question method in solo games open to abuse is that you can ask anything and there's always a chance of receiving a yes answer. However, this power is also nice in that you get the possibility to control the vision of the world as a player. How fun would this be with a live GM? Superfluous, given conflict mechanics and narration rights mechanics?
I posted this on RPGNet, but I've slightly modified it here to make it clearer. I wonder if some of you would indulge me and carry out this thought experiment for me:
Imagine you have a regular RPG group that sits together physically. It can be any RPG you like.
The twist is that for this session you have agreed to some very weird restrictions:
1. A person will always be in charge of controlling the world and NPCs.
2. You have all agreed, hoever, that you will only roleplay and communicate by writing stuff down. This can be a single notebook,
networked laptops that you brought to the table, etca single laptop, etc. (It must be a single recording object)
3. The GM can read everything the players write. The players can read what the other players write only on their turn (as if using only one notebook/device).
4. *Players* (as opposed to the person GMing) can only write things in character, or as a player narrating what her character does or thinks, etc.
5. The only OOC communication allowed is when you write a question to the GM. That question has to be in yes/no format. You can ask whatever you want, but these are meant to learn about the GM controlled world.
6. When acting as a GM, the person's only contribution will be to answer those yes or no to player questions.
7. Players can, however, interpret those yes/no answers and extrapolate content into the world [the can also extrapolate from previously established fiction]. These additions are just as true as if the GM had answered 'yes' to a question. It's up to the player to decide when she wants to stop extrapolating and hit the GM for another question (or end her turn).
I'm not really concerned with whether the activity would be fun or interesting, or even something anyone would play, but I'm concerned with knowing:
However un-fun, or bad, does this still feel like role playing to you? If not, why? And what, at a minimum, would you need to change to make this be an RPG?