My Preliminary Hypothesis

edited June 21 in Make Stuff!
My preliminary hypothesis, based on commonalities I see between my mirror story and Sandra's, 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?

Whew.

Sandra, you've torn the roof off of my brain. I hope you can forgive me some thrashing and flailing!

-Vincent
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Comments

  • Reality as a super-authority.
    Why do you need ambiguity ? Is it something like : show, don't explain ?
  • edited June 21
    Aha, yeah, so. Just like you and I must sometimes interpret why something happened in the real world, instead of knowing, ambiguous fictional cause-and-effect allows you and me to interpret why something fictional happened in the game, instead of knowing.

    I'm talking about, like, we both agree that there's a bridge over the river here, with a big pylon holding it up, no problem. But I think that the big pylon probably means that it's leftover from the fantasy-Romans, and you think that maybe it is, but more likely it's newer. The GM's perfectly happy to describe the bridge in as much detail as we require, as long as we take the time to hang out and examine it, but neither of us are entitled to a definitive answer.

    This is sort of, to me, a minimum ambiguity: the GM knows the answer, but isn't required to tell us outright. We can do our own work and come to our own conclusions. The game allows us to be right, to be wrong, and/or to disagree.

    Traditionally, people have interpreted this ambiguity from the point of view of the GM's authority and ownership of the game world, but my mirror story points to the ambiguity itself as the crucial point. In a co-GMed game, ambiguity like this can exist between the GMs, and can increase the game's sense of reality there too!
  • I have a question:

    Would this ambiguity enhance the sense of reality if it extended to the GM himself? To build on the example you give, let's say the GM doesn't know either the true nature of the pylon. He has the description of the pylon and its effects, and has decided how likely it is that it's Roman instead of newer (let's say 1-5 in a d6 that it's Roman). He'll hold off rolling until the last possible moment, so, in a sense, it's a surprise for him too.
  • edited June 21
    Interesting. In the context of a single-GMed "exploration and discovery" adventure RPG, all of the above reads to me as, "Well, yeah, of course." Reality-ambiguity-interpretation is a big chunk of what @contracycle and I used to ramble about a few years back. But it is neat to see it spelled out this way and noted that it doesn't actually require the single GM.

    I could blather at length about how Delve goes about all of those things if you want, Vincent. :) It's pretty close to the traditional thing you describe, but I'd say it's more about GM knowledge and limited communication rather than authority and ownership. For now I'll assume that it's best that I hang back and let you and Sandra rock out.
  • edited June 21
    On the social level, I see it as a gesture from the GM that there is some authority bigger than themself. Maybe there's more to it, but at least that : getting out of the way for the players to have a direct relation to the object they interact with. It follows that the symmetry is also in the format of Q and A as exact reactions to the payers actions. But, a word about the terms, it's not "create opacity" or "create the unexpected" as much as "resist the urge to explain, give away or reassure with mechanical terminology". (This is typical of progressive education.)

    The case of co-GMs is a special case, and doesn't follow strictly. If the bridge has a known history, the ambiguity is unwelcome. But maybe you mean something like Barthe's punctum. I'll explain it with a VR analogy : in a virtual environment created by computer, chances are the general apparence of things will be "filled with regularity". So your idea maybe to introduce something "out of the way", a grain of sand (the punctum) that catches the attention as un-inventable. Something like : "always mix your random tables fresh"
  • I'm really glad to see this, Vincent! This is mental gears churning and new ways of looking at things being examined from a different angle, all thanks to Sandra's tireless efforts here on S-G as she explores and extends her particular playstyle. Fantastic!

    I'm also really glad Dave showed up to mention Delve; I would be quite curious to see how you two see many of these features showing up in design and play in manners which aren't explained in the old-fashioned way ("the GM holds all the truths and keeps them secret!"). Vincent's new game is a very interesting example of this effect, to me, for that reason (since it breaks that paradigm and looks for new ways to create this effect).

    I think Cary and Jay's "spicy dice" Middle Earth game is another interesting case to consider in the light of these ideas. I've been bringing it up a lot in these discussions, but no one's really engaged with that; looking at the game in the light of these concepts could be enlightening, as well.

    More than anything, though, I'm looking forward to Sandra's take on all of this. My guess is that she will agree with some of it and disagree with other aspects, and I'm really excited and curious to see which and how.

    Thank you for this lovely post!
  • Hi Vincent,

    Hope you've been well, it been years!

    The game I've been playing in and posting about centralizes as a process of playy the last three of the four of your bullet points. We players disambiguating (is that even really a word) based on the SIS and not on mechanics or DM fiating "truths" is core to our play style. While you have stated your points very concisely and accessibly I have been discussing these point for a long time in a very abstracted way (Myth and bricolage and what not). Thank you for doing what you do so well, making the complicated easy to understand.

    The first bullet point would require some disambiguation for me to fully comment on but an argument could be made that it holds for my game depending on how one defines what prep includes or is about.

    Interesting to see this convergent evolution of ideas. It also helps to further understand what is going on in my game when useful new lenses become available. Gives me hope.

    Best,

    Jay
    • 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.
    All but the first also seem goals of most traditional even vaguely immersive play. The first also seems to be the case for games like D&D 3 and Pathfinder, at least to some extent.
  • Hi @Thanuir,

    I'm not even going to pretend that I'm speaking on Vincent's behalf but let me offer this take. Bullet point 2 is vital and necessary for Bullet points 3 and 4 to function. In such play the players have to understand that there will be ambiguity and disconnects and for this to work the players should not be in the habit of directly challenging or pre-empting the GM's input to the SIS when they (player and GM) are not in sync.

    Just a thought.

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited June 21
    Sorry for being AFK, honey, it’s a major holiday here & I was having one of my D&D dorx over to play Magic cards.
    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.)
    Yes I agree that those four are a non-exhaustive list of things that I do, and (currently) believe need to do

    The fact that you’re getting these four so right (after gödeling me around a bit in the blorb or not blorb thread) makes me feel seen & validated & I appreciate it.
    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?
    I don’t, yet. Tryna keep an open mind to maybe understand “wand story” in the future but haven’t yet.Before blorb, we did plenty of co-GMed, live-negotiated play and I never got a wand story experience as strong as the mirror story experiences we have weekly, but perhaps 99% symmetry was falling short and you going for 100% symmetry made all the difference. (This was in the 90s and we played 100% diceless & also without explicit rules [after starting with Everway & Fudge] & we did things like having a player describe his hallucinations and them then becoming true insights into the nature of the enemy, having a player switch minds with the villain and then having to both describe & execute the plan that villain had “had all along” etc. I mean it was all very unblorby so you could see how the mirror story was a shock!)

    I have some Qs about wand story!
    Create rigor in your game systems
    how wand story do this?
    Minimize routine challenges to fictional events on the players’ parts
    how wand story do this?
    Create opacity, space, between players’ expectations and the real fictional events of play
    how wand story do this?
    Provide no mechanisms by which players can assert their own opinions directly into the fictional cause and effect of the game
    how wand story do this?
    Sandra, you’ve torn the roof off of my brain. I hope you can forgive me some thrashing and flailing!
    When I had the orig “mirror story” experience I had to call my mom in the middle of the night to wake her up!!!
    I felt like all my preconceptions about RPGs, “no myth” etc had completely turned 180°

  • He'll hold off rolling until the last possible moment, so, in a sense, it's a surprise for him too.
    It's just as much as a surprise if you resolve it eagerly as if you resolve it lazily. And finding it out earlily help make the surrounding wallpaper more accurate.
  • Also you can see why the rules listed at the back of The Seclusium of Orphone of the Three Visions (the five moves on pp 156–157) felt kinda incompatible with my trip?♥♥♥



  • @Sandra, awesome! I'll try to answer your questions soon.

    I do see why the Seclusium moves didn't work for you, yeah, for sure.

    @Khimus: For me, when I'm the GM and I realize that I don't know the answer, I have an important choice to make.

    1. I can choose to decide the answer, maybe by weighing probabilities and rolling dice, or whatever, in which case I (fleetingly, it probably doesn't do any harm) set the project aside in order to get on with the project, if you see what I mean. Or else...

    2. I can choose to try to find out the answer instead of deciding it, somehow. This means recommitting to the project, extending the project into this new space, and for real undertaking to find out information that isn't available to normal research. Or else...

    3. I can acknowledge that I don't know the answer, and choose to accept that for now I don't know it, and maybe later I'll have to choose whether to decide it or discover it.

    The first has the advantage of getting on with the project.

    The second has the advantage of giving me strategies and practice I can use again, next time I need to research information that isn't available to research.

    The third has the advantage of letting unknowns accumulate. I don't know in advance how those unknowns will connect with one another; I think of a body of unknowns as, like, fertile ground, the richer the better.
  • Lumps, we have something called the gloracle. Which means the glorious oracle of dice & prep. It turn to it to get answers. "What is an RPG?" well it's a million things as everyone on here knows well, but for me one of its primary purps is to give me answers. What's in the desk drawer, how does the wallpaper look like, where is the key to level four, what happens when the skeleton bites me…

    As DM I consult the gloracle. I even have it deciding who the monsters attack. It's "disclaim decision-making"¹⁰⁰⁰
  • @lumpley:
    I imagine another option that might look like this:

    I acknowledge I don't know x, and want to find it out at the same time the players do, as if my GM perspective into the setting and situation matched exactly the players' ones. I'll decide on a generation method, like drawing a card or rolling dice, and use it exactly when the players would find out the truth. For example, players lie to a police officer, but neither I nor them know if he bought it. I don't decide it at that instant either, but hold on until later, planning for a moment when the police officer could set them a trap or ambush them (for example, when the suspect is alone in the street). That's when I roll to determine if he believed them or not. This could be applied too to determine for example who's the murderer in an investigation, or the pylon origin.
  • Lumps, we have something called the transparency of method. It's me sometimes radically sharing monster stats & module notes & say "see, it really does work like this, this room really did have the two wolves". I especially did that for the first three sessions back in 2014. This was radical compared to our more fuzzy&improvisy game play before blorb.
  • Loud and clear!
  • edited June 21
    But I think that the big pylon probably means that it’s leftover from the fantasy-Romans, and you think that maybe it is, but more likely it’s newer.
    The gloracle needs to answer these questions and the DM needs to defer to the gloracle.

    This could mean it’s specified in prep (tier 1 truth), generated by rules such as for example a pylon-civilization-table such as on DMG p 100 or p 142 (tier 2 truth), or the gloracle graciously allows the DM to make it up as long as she promises to patch the gap for future sessions (tier 3 truth).

    If (but only if) the DM honestly & thoroughly believes it’s “non-salient wallpaper”, the DM may make it up right away. Or consult the gloracle as per usual.

    Saliency and wallpaper… it’s like “in a cloud, bones of steel”. Uh, not the cloud from dice-and-cloud, the cloud from Reznikoff’s Bridge.

  • He'll hold off rolling until the last possible moment, so, in a sense, it's a surprise for him too.
    It's just as much as a surprise if you resolve it eagerly as if you resolve it lazily. And finding it out earlily help make the surrounding wallpaper more accurate.
    I'd contest that this would depend heavily on the genre and style of the game. In some genres, information given by the senses might not be very reliable, or causality of events might be at best remotely accessible to the characters. Even with all the information at hand and perfect deduction skills, the truth might be exactly the opposite.

    In such a game, you'd want the situation to be as blurry as possible, to have players dealing constantly with uncertainty.
  • Instead of a genre of story I want the experience of visiting another world, once that's vivid&real&clear & where my actions are consequential&agential.
  • Also image?
  • Yeah, I know, but this topic is agnostic to blorb/unblorb (to me at least), and in my experience there are multiple techniques to make a game feel real.
    But even assuming it is a trip and not a story, there are different constructions for what "realness" is. I assume realness to be, at least to some extent, about living in uncertainty and committing to decisions without knowing it all.

    I don't know, I might freak out during an excursion to the woods and start thinking somebody is following me. Can I trust my senses? What if I waste hours or energy trying to find a defensible position, but nothing shows up?

    My proposition is that a GM might communicate better this uncertainty if he experiences it himself, if he doesn't know if there's or not a predator out there while he's describing the situation.
  • Instead of a genre of story I want the experience of visiting another world, once that's vivid&real&clear & where my actions are consequential&agential.
    It's not like I unwant those things, but methodologically...
    In such a game, you'd want the situation to be as blurry as possible, to have players dealing constantly with uncertainty.
    This is why I defer to "the Spirit of the System," which differs from genre to genre and playstyle to playstyle, and plays a similar role in my approach to the one that the Gloracle plays in Sandra's.

    That said, there are other differences between our approaches, such as the fact that in most games I don't distinguish between tiers of truth, except to blur them. Some will see this as "Illusionism" but I would disagree, because I'm as bound to my data (which may be totally random, depending on the system) as the Players are.

  • Yeah, I know, but this topic is agnostic to blorb/unblorb (to me at least)
    Nope!

    Everything I say here must make sense from the blorb point of view, or else I have to back up and try again.

    I'm not pursuing any other lines until I'm settled with that.
  • In a nutshell, I think blorb is a rigorous and methodological approach to implement to the greatest extent possible "the death of the author" (i.e., GM) in play.

  • With the disclaimer that I'm 100% with lumpley that I want the experiments to be carefully controlled and not change out too much of the vanilla blorb experience at the once / not change too many variables at the same time, so I'm not eager to introduce these variant constructions of realness
    But even assuming it is a trip and not a story, there are different constructions for what "realness" is. I assume realness to be, at least to some extent, about living in uncertainty and committing to decisions without knowing it all.
    Thank you for taking this seriously. Much apprec
  • In a nutshell, I think blorb is a rigorous and methodological approach to implement to the greatest extent possible "the death of the author" (i.e., GM) in play.
    It's definitely part of blorb but is it the core of it? Or just one of several necessary legs for it?
  • edited June 22
    Lumps, re those wand story Qs, I wasn't intending them rhetorically at the time (I was genuinely curious) but in hindsight if you want to interpret them as such and you see the full elucidation of wand story as distracting, I'm fine with tabling them as long as it was conveyed that I genuinely don't see how the wand story was doing them.

    Not to throw shade at wand story but not to dig in too deeply on the data point of wand story if it ends up being dissimilar from blorb realness. Not saying it is dissimilar, I just don't currently see the similarity & am freeing you from having to dig in to defend the similarity if you don't want to, or, don't want to in the context of this partic hypothesis & experiment.

    OTOH since it was you that brought wand story & asked if I could grok the similarities, uh, I'm kinda starting to saw off my own branch here… Just tryna communicate re it.
  • edited June 22
    In the meantime I understood for myself what the "opacity" was for. It comes directly from the wand story.

    I want to weed out a lexical theme from the initial post, that of "thickness". I don't think there needs to be a pile of "accumulating" stuff for the wand story to happen. More precisely, I don't think the number of unanswered assumptions make the object "thicker".

    The illusion of a world doesn't come from their "stuff" (there's none), but from the high number of relations between objects, their networking. A McGuffin is typically very thin. A game like The box creates a very solid object with thin layers (appearances) and rootstock extensions (pointing at the characters). So I want to prevent a mistake : I don't believe making it about "thickness" is going to be useful. But networks of interactions, definitely.
  • The illusion of a world doesn't come from their "stuff" (there's none), but from the high number of relations between objects, their networking.
    I agree that this 'networking' is important. A low number of connections to other content makes randomly generated content initially seem less real: When I generate random encounters for the Wilder lands I always think about their relationship to what's already there (e.g. bandits in a dragon's territory might pay tribute, worship it, live in fear etc.). I typically use reaction rolls for this. But that's still a far cry from the networking seen in some published modules, with factions, rivalries etc.
  • I think that's a completely separate kind of realness & verisimilitude though. Detail vs solidity
  • I agree!

    I don't take your questions as rhetorical, no. I'm going to take them on and do my best by them, and I super appreciate your open mind. Give me a couple of days!
  • I'm away for a little while, and this thread really takes off!

    Thank you, Vincent and Sandra, for making this a really fruitful and truly interesting conversation. I'm following along avidly and really enjoying it.

    Sandra, I totally understand what you're talking about here, by the way: people want to make this about "realness" (which is vague and somewhat subjective; a slipper topic), but you're focused on a much more specific thing, which is about being solid and tangible, such that when we push against it, it pushes back. Yes. I hear you.
  • In a nutshell, I think blorb is a rigorous and methodological approach to implement to the greatest extent possible "the death of the author" (i.e., GM) in play.
    It's definitely part of blorb but is it the core of it? Or just one of several necessary legs for it?
    Fair question. Have we defined every leg? It's my feeling that the others descend as corollaries from this one, if taken to its logical extreme. But it might be possible to say the same of the others as well, depending on where you stand when you view the entire assemblage which is blorb.

  • edited June 22
    I'll throw in another example, and I'd be curious to hear people's takes on this one:

    Vincent and I have been discussing Dogs in the Vineyard a bit elsewhere, and so I've been thinking about how to create Relationships for the Dogs in the Towns they visit.

    It seems to me that the exact way we get those connections to happen really affects how 'real' or how 'meaningful' they feel, and this has to do with distance (c.f. Sandra's "paper before rock" principle) as well as buy-in. The participants' ability to move things around and decide on the spot definitely affects how we feel about the fictional relationships we're describing.

    I wrote about it over here:

    http://www.story-games.com/forums/discussion/comment/486548/#Comment_486548

    Each of these (in the link) definitely feel very different, even though in terms of who-gets-to-decide-what they're just reordering the steps in different ways, and getting those decisions to happen in different moments in the prep-play cycle.

    My experience has been that the further down this list I go, the more "real", weighty and effective these Relationships are, in terms of how the players treat them.
  • Lumps this might be relevant re error correction?
    For example, I might go "Oh, I said that this ceiling was 12 foot high? I misread my prep, it's actually only 8 foot high". The 12 foot height was established in play, but since it accidentally contradicted a tier-1 statement, it was retracted.
  • In a nutshell, I think blorb is a rigorous and methodological approach to implement to the greatest extent possible "the death of the author" (i.e., GM) in play.
    It's definitely part of blorb but is it the core of it? Or just one of several necessary legs for it?
    Fair question. Have we defined every leg? It's my feeling that the others descend as corollaries from this one, if taken to its logical extreme. But it might be possible to say the same of the others as well, depending on where you stand when you view the entire assemblage which is blorb.

    As a counter example, a game that depends very heavily on tier-two-truths compared to one that has a couple of tier-one things in there. That’s an axis that’s orthogonal to Jay’s astute theory on “she’s not there” / death of the DM. Because both tier 2 truths and tier 1 truths can be wholly gloracular. Is there a difference in solidity and “there”-ness in that regard? According to some of my players: yes.

  • edited June 22
    Stealing time while dinner's cooking. A quick one!
    Before blorb, we did plenty of co-GMed, live-negotiated play and I never got a wand story experience as strong as the mirror story experiences we have weekly, but perhaps 99% symmetry was falling short and you going for 100% symmetry made all the difference.
    This is what I would have said too - "maybe we were 100% and you weren't?" - before you said those three magic words!

    But now you did say those three magic words to me, and I think that what made it happen was our incredibly rich canon offscreen gamestate.
  • Thanx to @Jeph for helping me phrase it that specific way♥
  • It seems to me that "solidity" is a feeling, i.e. subjective and internal rather than objectively observable, and that a worthwhile question would be "What contributes to the feeling of "solidity" for different people?"

    The number of details and the number of connections would be one factor (though one we could certainly exclude from the current thread if that is perceived as derailing it), "opacity, space, between players' expectations and the real fictional events of play" would be another (and one that I haven't considered before and find very intriguing).

    I'm not trying to change around definitons again but merely expressing my discomfort at the prospect of another discussion based on nebulous or potentially contentious terminology like "more real" in Vincent's initial post. I'd really appreciate some groundwork here (such as eventually provided by @Thanuir and others regarding gamestate).
  • More real, there's no helping it. I'm saying something on purpose here, and you're asking me to say something else instead.
  • You have a point & I apologize. It doesn't really matter whether someone says "it's more real", "feels more real", "seems solid" etc. -- the idea is clear enough.

    I think I was upset by Sandra's "detail vs. solidity" comment because I did not (and do not) understand why the point about details & networking does not qualify for solidity. Not the focus of this discussion, sure, but detail in opposition to solidity? I don't get it.
  • I think I understand what Sandra is going for there.

    You can have something with lots of detail and lots of connections, right, but it’s still contrived and mutable and shifts around in response to the players’ actions (to give a few examples).

    If it starts to be contingent on external factors, it loses some of that solidity.

    That’s why she might have made Aviatrix roll for her character’s weight, let’say: because we’re pretending that it’s been that way all along, and we’re getting to *find out what it is*, rather than just being able to *make it up*.

    In this way, the “reality” can push back against us: in this instance, it might say, “no, sorry, you are too heavy/too light for this thing you want to do.” Too bad for you! But no one decided that, right? It just happened to be that way.
  • Of course, if you add "contingent", "mutable" "shifting" and "fickle" to what I said, you're going to get something not-solid. ;P
    I believe you guys have seen something that I haven't : it doesn't bother me. I'll just keep translating the discussion for myself out loud.
  • edited June 24
    Preamble

    First off, Sandra. I know I'm asking you to keep an open mind here. I'm asking you to entertain the idea that the thing in your mirror story, I recognize the same thing in my wand story, even though the stories seem super different. I know you don't recognize it in my wand story yet. My task is to reconcile our two stories so that they both make sense in the same terms, so that blorb, which gives you your experience, and ... uh ... garst, which gave me mine, while going about it in completely incompatible ways, do the same thing.

    And I'll say that blorb's probably the better approach. I haven't played garst for a decade plus, because it's long and particular to set up. The commitments required aren't convenient for me to make right now. So my goal here isn't to supercede blorb, even though I'll talk a lot about contra-blorb techniques. They're, and I say it in informed seriousness, probably worse techniques.

    And I'll reiterate that while I think that potentially there are several approaches to this - blorb, garst, possibly others represented here on SG, and also others yet unconsidered - most approaches to roleplaying do something else entirely. This isn't normal roleplaying, it's an outlier. This is what makes it useful for RPG theory, and efforts to redefine it into the mainstream are misconsidered.

    And finally, this experience is irrational. I'm here looking at techniques we use to provoke ourselves into a social and psychological circumstance where we share an irrational experience with other people. I find value in this, in part because of its irrationality. Those of you who shy away from irrational ideas might want to sit this one out.

    Diagrams

    So this might be true:

    Blorb vs Garst
    Equivalent, separate Blorb and Garst processes: Principles -< Actions -< The Game is Real -< Interpretations

    The realness that you experience via blorb might not be the realness that I experienced via garst at all. We have nothing to learn from each other, any effort to compare our dissimilar interpretations, principles, and actions to arrive at shared underlying processes is doomed. We don't, in fact, share underlying processes.

    (This is where "what makes things feel solid for different people?" would take us, by the way.)

    But I don't think this is true at all! I think that the truth is much weirder.

    I think that the truth is:

    Blorb <3 Garst
    Symmetrical Blorb and Garst processes, sharing The Game Can Seem Real and The Game is Real

    I think that the realness that you experienced in your mirror story and the realness that I experienced in my wand story are the same realness, created by the same underlying processes (represented by "The Game Can Seem Real"), even though our interpretations, principles, and actions aren't compatible.

    Am I right?

    I don't know! I think I am. I'm asking you to entertain that I am.

    "But what creates this?"

    I've known one obvious crucial component of The Game Can Seem Real for a long time: a strong, shared commitment to treating imaginary things as real.

    You've given me, now, a second crucial component: a robust canon offscreen gamestate.

    Blorb <3 Garst
    Symmetrical Blorb and Garst processes, with Shared Commitment and Canon Offscreen Gamestate under The Game Can Seem Real

    Now I can begin to answer your questions about my wand story, as soon as I'm able. It'll be another day or two!
  • edited June 24
    Yes. I'm not ruling out the idea that "wand story realness = mirror story realness". Just tryna communicate honestly & completely, since this as an important part of the flamewar research we're conducting. From the way you described your wand story it did seem similar to things I've experienced before in our impromania. (edit: and those things weren't blorb-real)

    Looking forward to the future of this thread. Keep it coming♥
  • Also we have a shared goal. The realness, tangibility, presence, solidity of the game. So this flamewar research is of intense interest to me.
  • 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.
    I've been thinking about this one. Part of the way we create the buy-in is that I can sometimes do provide these explanations. The wolves are in the room because the prep says so, see here [shows prep, covers rest of page].
    The transparency of method.
    But.
    When someone is consistently questioning it it does become annoying. We play drop-in/drop-out so this guy isn't at every session, but it's frustrating to run for him. I think it's because instead of asking "what makes this real", he is asking it in a way that implies "this shouldn't be real, you have to change it". And I'm like, I can't change it. It's real.
  • With you!
  • edited June 24
    Yo! I've been lurking around here for a few weeks, was going to register on the forums and then saw they were being shut down and went back to lurking.

    Stuff's getting too good to not hop in here and say this discussion (and the ones before it) have been really useful and great though. So uhm, thanks! This is actually applicable to some issues I've been having with a thing I'm working on.

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