My preliminary hypothesis, based on commonalities I see between my mirror story
, which are pretty unlike.
1. The more unshared true knowledge in your game, the more real your game can be. This means that...
2. One way to make your game more real is to ask your fellow players not to share what they know with you. This is fun, but it can't work by itself, because first...
3. You need enough ambiguity between the fictional events of your game and the players' expectations of them to allow the players to develop different interpretations, different working knowledge, not of the fictional events themselves, but of the implicit fictional cause-and-effect principles underlying them. And for best results...
4. You should create ambiguities between the fictional events of your game and your own
expectations of them, in any way you can, as player or as GM, as well as accepting ambiguity as others create it, and you should allow ambiguities to accumulate instead of trying to resolve them, until you have no choice but to interpret them instead of understanding them. But to make THIS work...
5. You need game systems that are sufficiently opaque, sufficiently rigorous, don't invite routine challenges to their results, don't reward mechanical efforts to resolve ambiguities, and expect or demand you to go along with them anyway. Sandra's blorb principles provide one approach to such a system, prep-oriented; Meg's, Emily's and my freeform game provides another, canon-oriented; and my game, The Wizard's Grimoire, despite my having downplayed it before now, provides a prospective third, opacity-oriented.
There are surely any number more approaches, and any number of games that provide examples for these three approaches, but still, few roads lead here. Most approaches to games, and most example games, don't.
So that's my preliminary hypothesis. Here's its first test.@Sandra
, here I'm considering your principles to do these following crucial functions (non-exhaustive):
- Create rigor in your game systems. For example, as GM, you don't routinely ignore die rolls or overwrite your prep just because you had an idea at the moment.
- Minimize routine challenges to fictional events on the players' parts. For example, as a player, I don't shout out what I think should be behind the door or routinely ask for a different ruling when I don't prefer the one you've made.
- Create opacity, space, between players' expectations and the real fictional events of play. For example, as a player, I should expect things to happen that I didn't expect and don't immediately understand, and when they do happen, I should accept that they have happened, even if they don't (yet) make any dang sense to me. It's uncool of me to routinely demand to understand why something happened before I'll accept that yes, it happened.
- Provide no mechanisms by which players can assert their own opinions directly into the fictional cause and effect of the game. For instance, no "give your explanation for what's going on, and on a 10+, you're right." Not even any "ask the GM what's going on, and on a 10+, she has to tell you," except conceivably under very strict limitations.
My questions for you! I'm not asking you to confirm or refute or even address my hypothesis in whole yet, it's way too baby for that. Just a couple of preliminary questions.
1. Are there any of these crucial functions that you'd say that no, in fact, your principles DON'T do?
2. I'm calling them "crucial functions," but are there any of them that you'd say that you could freely do away with, and still have blorb? (For instance, blorb doesn't need rigor in your game system, or blorb can tolerate routine challenges to fictional events.)
3. Do you see how Meg's, Emily's and my principles of radically co-GMed, live-negotiated play did these same crucial functions for us, despite running basically completely counter to your principles?
Sandra, you've torn the roof off of my brain. I hope you can forgive me some thrashing and flailing!