The Blorb Model (with diagram!)

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  • edited July 6
    Thank you to Adam for making his diagram here, which inspired me!
  • edited July 6
    SIS-4: intersection of participant's imagined space. The Forge SIS.
    SIS-2: the truth space, the canon; "the gloracle's imagined space". The blorb.

    Edit:
    Share-4: reveal information to, thus known by both
    Share-2: have something in common, not necessarily fully known by both

    Numbers come from this page.
  • I love those font choices!
  • The blorb principles are just a set of rules. Their design can still be improved. When exactly can we Paper? What exactly is salient? Can we replace a principle with a better, more nuanced or more stringent principle for better & more blorby results?
    Can we better accommodate agendas (such as drama, relevancy, horror, puzzle-solving, insight, action) while still being blorby by better-designed principles?
    Can we lessen the workload of participants (such as DM) with better principles? etc etc
    It's unfinished design space!
    yukamichi said:

    I love those font choices!

  • Futura & Junicode!
  • That's a really nice diagram! Thanks, Sandra. It helps clarify how you're using all those terms a great deal!
  • edited July 6
    Thank you Paul!

    There is an interaction that needs to be added to this diagram: player characters make actions in the game world! For example they see a red door and they paint it black! The blorb now contains… a black door! ← I updated the diagram to match!
  • edited July 6
    And, for that matter, non-player characters, which are controlled by the gloracle, also make actions in the game world! ← I updated the diagram to match!
  • The blorb principles are mutually contradictory as they currently stand (the third tier of truths injects entities in a way that violates paper→rock) which only goes to show how much of a WIP this stuff really is♥ :bawling:
  • The approach I'm familiar with always had the participant "disclaim decision-making" when a new fact seemed like it could affect a challenge we were facing; usually that meant settling on some kind of random function and then abiding by it.

    This could be a simple die roll (like Eero's 50/50 technique, I think you remember that one), a formula we use repeatedly (like your dicing technique for determining PCs' body weight), or a random table we construct on the spot.

    This allows us to maintain reasonable blorb at times when nothing is prepared.
  • That is called the second tier of truth!
    The third tier of truth is for when there is no applicable second tier of truth.
  • Can't you always turn a third tier truth into a second tier truth, if we care enough?
  • Very nice.
  • Paul_T said:

    Can't you always turn a third tier truth into a second tier truth, if we care enough?

    Not to step on Sandra's toes, but it seems pretty clear that she would consider it less blorby if she made up the table at the moment it became relevant (rather than making it up while in "prep mode"). Maybe that is tier 1.5, if you make up a mechanic in the moment, rather than just making up an answer in the moment. Then if you subsequently used that same mechanic the next time it came up, at that point it would be considered tier 2.

    Certainly the goal is to turn things into second tier truths over time, but it's hard to completely disclaim decision-making once you already know why the fact is relevant. You are still exercising decision-making by deciding which decision-making-disclaiming method to apply to the previously unseen situation.
    2097 said:

    This model is great because it's easy when you start out and it lets you gradually add mechanics and prep until you have solid answers for more and more things. Even now after having played for five years there are things that fall down to the third tier, I make up an answer, and come up with mechanics for handling the situation more generally. I'm still in this productive loop of play, patch, play, patch, play, patch.

  • Vivs, really good post! I'm so grateful to have people who get it who can step in & explain it much more clearly than my timecube-esque ramblings
    Paul_T said:

    Can't you always turn a third tier truth into a second tier truth, if we care enough?

    The Eero recursive 50/50 coin flip is an example of a very general tier-2 truth generating rule. If such a rule (the coin flip) is in play, you'd get to tier-3 very seldomly, if ever. Eero a master of blorby play btw. Haven't seen him too much in these discussions which is fine; we don't talk that much since we had that argument over that adventure he wrote. I hope he's like "OK good that these theories are getting codified" and not just "man, Sandra's biting my whole 'hygienic' schtick…"

    However I do not use the 50/50 coin flip rule. A ½ chance of any whim being true is too much for me.

    My tier-3 policy is to go safe & boring ("OK, there's nothing in there") and then patch the hole. And by safe & boring I mean saliency wise, not entertainment wise. For example I have to improvise a family? They don't have much resources to give nor a big demand of resources. (Safe & boring re the adventurer's logistics game.) But I'll try to bring it when it comes to portraying them interestingly.

    But one could incorporate the recursive coin flip rule, or another similar rule (make up four things and roll a die) into the tier-3 blorb principle directly instead of having it live at the tier 2 layer. For example, if you go to tier-3, you use rec coin flip and then commit to patch.
  • JonJon
    edited July 7
    Hi 2097, I like diagrams so I like your post! Although I can't help but feel it violates the forum's no-jargon rule ;)

    I just wanted to chime in to second (but provide a major caveat for) this idea when it comes to what I understand that you mean by "Blorby":
    Paul_T said:

    Can't you always turn a third tier truth into a second tier truth, if we care enough?

    As I mentioned in the thread about my Dungeon World West Marches game, I think you are right here that the degree of separation is somewhat willfully malleable by the participants in any sort of shared imagination game.

    (Perhaps you just mean practically that if you could have done one then you could also have done the other, but I'll choose to point to the meaning of your statement whereby you can reflectively pick which "level" of truth you choose to notice.)

    Anyway, although people can do this selective focusing that doesn't make the distinction useless for the very practical reason Vivificient noted. You can see the difference between the "tiers" starkly at work in the examples I gave of "disclaiming decision-making" while running Dungeon World and adjucating 6- GM Moves.

    On a theoretical level "knowing they failed, I will choose a GM Move" and "if you fail, this is the GM Move that will be chosen" are probably going to give different results in many cases (in the same way that introducing a resolution system for a problem while in the face of that problem in the moment and introducing a resolution system for a problem before encountering that problem will probably give different resolution systems and, therefore, results), and on a practical level players obviously notice that difference if you verbalize your decision-making process and at least some seem to care about that difference.

    While the difference is impractical to many players who will readily collapse these "tiers of truth" even all the way down to "Jon you personally suck because you personally made these monsters that are killing my character right now and I don't like it," for others the distinction matters, so I don't think discarding that distinction just because it's irrelevant some of the time is the way to go.
  • Jon said:

    Hi 2097, I like diagrams so I like your post! Although I can’t help but feel it violates the forum’s no-jargon rule ;)

    They already shut down the entire forum because of the power of blorb :bawling:
    Now it’s the last days of disco. Building strong theory before I migrate to @Jeph ’s next forum and also force @Lumpley to come there.
    Jon said:

    I just wanted to chime in to second (but provide a major caveat for) this idea when it comes to what I understand that you mean by “Blorby”:

    Paul_T said:

    Can’t you always turn a third tier truth into a second tier truth, if we care enough?

    So it worx like this:
    • Is there a truth in the tier one? A hard fact in the prep. Use it. Otherwise,
    • Is there a truth in the tier two? A rule that generates a truth. Use it. Otherwise,
    • Make it up (go safe & boring) and commit to patch the hole (that entire category of truths) between sessions.
    In that context, what the hell does “turn a third tier truth into a second tier truth” even mean?

    The particular truths (propositions) made up in the third tier step are already real truths from then on.

    The truths, once generated, are just entities in the game state. The three tiers are sources of truths/entities, with the third tier also triggering a patch process.

    The three tiers of truths is just a technique. Obv never ever ever having to use the third tier is “more blorby”.

    “turn a third tier truth into a second tier truth” ← this means nothing. The entity, once generated&injected, is just a data point.
    “if we care enough?” ← not sure if this means anything either.



  • What I mean by "turn a third tier truth into a second truth" is, basically, "come up with a second tier method to generate the desired fact/truth".

    For example:

    We don't know the weight of Aviatrix's character. But it's important and we don't just want to make it up! So we put our heads together and quickly whip up a reasonable random table/dice total/chart for determining a PC's weight, and use it from then on.

    Your third tier says, "make it up and commit to patch the hole". I'm saying we can also, sometimes, do "don't make it up; patch the hole on the spot".

    (Practically speaking, it depends on the particular question being asked. Some things are going to be easy - e.g. you need to randomize a character's weight and your rulebook gives a "weight range" for the type of creature they are playing - and some won't, like "what's in the safe?" Still, it's always possible if we're willing to come up with a reasonable procedure - at least, I think it is, that's why I phrased it as a question - "if we care enough" means we're willing to divert a good deal of time and attention to the problem, right here and now, because it matters that much to us.
  • So that’s what you meant. I didn’t understand it. Thanks for clarifying.

    OK so that’s a hypothetical example (I need to detach myself from the facts in my own campaign where the rule is that we have a chart for it already, i.e. it’s a tier 2 truth).

    So you’re saying violate “prepping ≠ running”.

    I mean at some point these principles might sound ridiculous because you can think of cases where it’s not so bad. (And maybe changing the tier three protocol to “patch it right away & use the patch” is better.)

    But let me get into why I haven’t been doing it that way, why I have a “prepping ≠ running” rule in there.

    When I’m prepping (“module-writing” even if it’s only for self-use), all of the following are great good amazing jolly qualities:
    • fair
    • interesting
    • engaging
    • exciting
    • challenging
    • open
    • agential / consequential
    • unpredictable
    • player empowering
    • mysteries to explore / solve
    I should keep those ideals in mind when writing a good module.

    When I DM, all that need to go out the window.
    • Fair? No, I can’t change things just because the situation suddenly has become unfair, let’s say they lost a magic items making combats hard.
    • Interesting? No, can’t go pull-from-hat–mode and be creative, I need to stay neutral
    • Engaging? No, that’s not my job once we’ve started playing, if they don’t bite they don’t bite
    • Exciting? No, if it’s boring I can’t do anything about it (but the time zoom saliency principle helps a lot)
    • Challenging? No no! If their clever plans make it too easy, let them have their win! Can’t change the difficulty while running, that’s unblorby
    • Open? Well, if they trap themselves or burn a bunch of bridges, well that’s how it is. Can’t create any “outs” for them beyond what’s already there.
    • Agential / Consequential? Again, I can’t keep designing situations and push new choices & bangs, that’ll undermine the choices and bangs they’re already in.
    • Unpredictable? If they have everything figured out, well, good on them. I can’t change things to keep them on their toes.
    • Player empowering? Well if they’re powerless in an ice moon all we can do is fail faster & roll up new chars right away.
    • Mysteries? Well, if it’s all obvious to them, that’s how it is.
    I used to improvise everything. I was the extreme strawdoll of unblorb. I didn’t design the magic mirror “as they were just outside the room”; I designed it as the words were leaving my own tongue!

    I need a layer of scaffolding between my creative brain & my running brain!

    That’s the technique. It’s like running a game of Zendo or Mastermind.

    If the made-up-on-the-spot–entity is a rule (i.e. a mechanic) rather than a proposition (e.g. Alice’s height or weight) it may very well be what we end up permanently using. Like we needed to make a rule for taming wild animals at one point and I made something up on the spot and we ended up writing that down.

    Breaking the game and switching modes during the break might also be acceptable.

    I really, really easily just slip into pure hat-pulling–mode though. I need to be careful! I need to tie myself to the mast and the blorb principles, including “prepping ≠ running”, does that.

  • Sure, that may be the technique you've settled on. But it's certainly possible; one way to get some objectivity is to pull together all the brains at the table to come up with a procedure, for example. (Perhaps there is one person at the table who is most knowledgeable about a topic, for instance, and we defer to them. Or perhaps we kind of jockey back and forth, with one person pushing for a more favourable resolution and someone else pushing back against them, until we meet in the middle.)

    And that's what I mean by "if we care enough": if it's that important to us, we absolutely can and should pause the game, and work out a procedure for this thing here.
  • I've stated a couple of times that the blorb principles are certainly up for discussion & can be improved. But "jockeying back and forth"…? We should defer to the gloracle!

    "Pausing the game" yes. Switching modes. Breaking the game in half and acknowledging that the world is fucking broken, there is a glitch in the matrix, the blorb reality is broken, we need to patch it right away. Sure. That's fine.
  • Sure! What do you mean by "defer to the gloracle"? I thought that always meant referencing familiar rules, principles, and procedures. In this (hypothetical) case, we don't have one at hand (that's why we're considering using tier three, right?). So how do "consult the gloracle"?
  • 2097 said:


    "Pausing the game" yes. Switching modes. Breaking the game in half and acknowledging that the world is fucking broken, there is a glitch in the matrix, the blorb reality is broken, we need to patch it right away. Sure. That's fine.

    This seems overly harsh, on the other hand. "The world is fucking broken"? I just mean that we can come up with a reasonable way to randomize or determine what's what, and then play on.

    Examples:

    (1)

    Player 1: "I pull the canvas off the mirror!"
    GM: "No, wait! We don't know what will happen yet, because the module doesn't specify the mirror's dormant properties."
    Player 2: "Oh, I happen to have this handy book, with a 'd100 dormant magic mirror properties' table."
    GM: "Great! Hand it over, and I'll roll on that chart. [rolls and takes notes] Ok, Player 1, you were saying you want to pull off the canvas covering?"

    (2)

    GM: "Reading the module text here, it says that when the demon-spirit is released from confinement, it will attack the nearest target. But we haven't established exactly where everyone is."
    Player 1: "Oh, I said I was walking away from the altar, remember? I might have distanced myself by now." [everyone agrees it's possible]
    [Group negotiates for a minute and decides that each player should roll a d20, with no mods, while Player 1 rolls a d12. The highest roll becomes the target of the demon-spirit.]


    How do these sit with you? Do you do stuff like this at your table? Or is the GM's authority so sacrosanct that the players' input into such questions is not considered?
  • Jon said:

    Hi 2097, I like diagrams so I like your post! Although I can't help but feel it violates the forum's no-jargon rule ;)

    Also all of this was developed here at S-G

  • Paul_T said:

    2097 said:


    "Pausing the game" yes. Switching modes. Breaking the game in half and acknowledging that the world is fucking broken, there is a glitch in the matrix, the blorb reality is broken, we need to patch it right away. Sure. That's fine.

    This seems overly harsh, on the other hand. "The world is fucking broken"? I just mean that we can come up with a reasonable way to randomize or determine what's what, and then play on.

    Examples:

    (1)

    Player 1: "I pull the canvas off the mirror!"
    GM: "No, wait!
    This was exactly what I meant by acknowledging that the world is broken.
    Paul_T said:

    GM: "Reading the module text here, it says that when the demon-spirit is released from confinement, it will attack the nearest target. But we haven't established exactly where everyone is."
    Player 1: "Oh, I said I was walking away from the altar, remember? I might have distanced myself by now." [everyone agrees it's possible]
    [Group negotiates for a minute and decides that each player should roll a d20, with no mods, while Player 1 rolls a d12. The highest roll becomes the target of the demon-spirit.]

    This is a ruling-in-the-moment and not something that is likely to become promoted into a general rule.
  • 2097 said:

    Building strong theory before I migrate to @Jeph ’s next forum and also force @Lumpley to come there.

    For what it's worth, @Jeph is active on the Gauntlet forums, and so is Vincent.
  • Sandra,

    I gotcha!

    (I think, anyway. In blorb-style play I've seen, references to random tables and such are fairly common, so most people wouldn't be surprised or shocked by a need to reference something like that. It's such a common occurence that referring to it as 'the world is broken' would be rather strange at such a table, but perhaps that doesn't happen as much at your game - I get the impression you're more module-driven and less random-table driven than some OSR crowds.)

    As for "a ruling-in-the-moment that is not likely to become promoted into a general rule"... what do you call that in your lingo? It seemed to me that "third tier truth generated with second tier methods", or "converting a third tier truth into a second tier truth", or however we want to say it, would be a logical way to refer to this kind of gerry-rigging in the "three tiers" mindset.
  • edited July 7
    I think it's interesting that you drew the arrow: GLORACLE ---- determines the actions of --- > NPCS. That seems more aspirational than descriptive of how you really play, right? Like, in actuality, it's both the gloracle and the DM determining the actions of NPCs, with a lot of weight falling upon both, 'cause no way are you ever gonna for instance get a gloracle sophisticated enough to output dialogue.

    (Or maybe I'm misreading the diagram, and the top arrow isn't PLAYERS ---- determines the actions of --- > PCS but rather PARTICIPANTS ---- determines the actions of --- > CHARACTERS?)
    Paul_T said:

    For what it's worth, @Jeph is active on the Gauntlet forums, and so is Vincent.

    I posted there a little, but I'm not sure where I'll end up... wherever everyone else ends up, I guess! Though really, I'm about to have a kid, so who knows how much I'll have time to post at all in the next few months.
  • Oh, wonderful! Good luck and congratulations.
  • Congrats, Jeff!

    Best,

    Jay
  • edited July 8
    You read it correctly, it’s PLAYERS ---- determines the actions of --- > PCS.
    Jeph said:

    I think it’s interesting that you drew the arrow: GLORACLE ---- determines the actions of --- >NPCS. That seems more aspirational than descriptive of how you really play, right? Like, in actuality, it’s both the gloracle and the DM determining the actions of NPCs, with a lot of weight falling upon both, ’cause no way are you ever gonna for instance get a gloracle sophisticated enough to output dialogue.

    The participants, most likely the DM specificially, consult the gloracle [and the blorb principles are part of the gloracle too] to find out what the NPCs want to do (and say).

    The prep doesn’t have the words “There is a sloshing sound when you shake the treasure chest” written down in it.

    The DM and other participants uses their human brains to parse, interpret and execute statements, both symbolic statements (such as 4) and plain text (such as “The chest has a champagne bottle in it”).

    For example, the gloracle says that the die roll is a 4, the target number is 11. The human brain of Alice that made that roll interprets that and says “I missed”.

    This goes for dialogue too. The gloracle says that the gnome tries to trick the PCs into a trap and the gloracle says what type of knowledge and personality the gnome has available for tactics.

    Maybe the gnome says “The treasure you seek is down that corridor” and Alice says “What type of treasure do you believe I seek” etc.
    Jeph said:

    I posted there a little, but I’m not sure where I’ll end up… wherever everyone else ends up, I guess! Though really, I’m about to have a kid, so who knows how much I’ll have time to post at all in the next few months.

    Good luck♥

  • 2097 said:

    This goes for dialogue too. The gloracle says that the gnome tries to trick the PCs into a trap and the gloracle says what type of knowledge and personality the gnome has available for tactics.

    Maybe the gnome says “The treasure you seek is down that corridor” and Alice says “What type of treasure do you believe I seek” etc.

    But this only goes so far! The gloracle constrains the actions of the NPCs, but it's still up to the GM to choose a specific action within those constraints.
    • Output of gloracle: The gnome tries to trick the PCs into a trap.
    • Output of GM: The gnome does this by saying "The treasure you seek is down that corridor."
  • Right. Just like any other action, like the shaking the treasure chest example. The participant can select between saying "sloshing" or "splashing" or "bubbly" or...

    It is an unsatisfying aspect of the current diagram that this interpretation and execution of rules is just a little plaintext sidebar and not nicely defined with arrows. It's WIP♥

    The gloracle gave the DM the knowledge that the gnome wanted to trick the players down that specific corridor and the mandate (and the obligation) to come up with a bait as effective as possible. The DM is very constrained. I get what you're saying to some extent but I'm not sure how to reflect that in the diagram.
  • I dig the diagram!
  • thank you lumpley! cette leçon c'est pour vous
  • As a matter of fact, I think it leaves me with no outstanding questions about blorb at all.

    Where do you want to go from here?
  • The three things that first come to mind, not sure of which of these to do first, and they’re all really big tasks so not sure if any of them is worth doing, at least by us, by you, or by me.

    I’d love to hear your zoomed-out quick take on these three areas, if you want to work on either of them, if I’m missing an area. I’d add in the “completely disrupt the single DM, traditional model” completely neo-blorb stuff a la BBQ as a fifth area and perhaps the most appealing one. (The fourth area about transparency of method is kinda low priority idk. I added it in as an afterthought.)

    Here they are:

    1. Canonize blorb & educate dorx about blorb

    S-G is cool but there are a lot of primitive screwheads on other forums that haven’t gotten the good news yet. I literally re-had the same fight that I just had here on S-G on another forum. (Except I gave up in the end. So exhausted…) So… Advice book? Theory book? Game that shows by example? Blog post? Idk exactly how to do this one…

    2. Solve the workload issue & the principle contradictions

    A lot of dorx shy away from blorb because they think it’s a lot of work. It’s not, because of the three principles let you start small and then build up your toolbox over time of random tables and maps and rules and setting knowledge with the self-patching loop.

    But that kinda gradual build up can be kinda unsatisfying in a lot of ways:
    1. Adding stuff in between sessions (as commanded by Tier 3) kinda is hard to reconcile with the Paper→Rock idea. This is one of the biggest problems w/ the blorb principles rn.
    2. The safe & boring improv as commanded by Tier 3 sounds unappealing and can often feel meaningless and uninteresting. By safe & boring, I mean as non-salient as possible but still interesting and evocative and entertaining. Completely non-salient is impossible because if it were it’d be wallpaper and not Tier 3. If you fall into Tier 3 “making it up” it’s de jure because you have a gap in salient prep.
    3. Conversely, any improv even if it’s wallpaper or according to the commands of Tier 3 can feel unsatisfying and unblorby. An example from a recent game: a guy asks what’s the shape of the shield on the corpse they found. I’m thinking this is a clear example of wallpaper so I describe it as the classic shield shape, flat on top, pointy down. But then the guy says “Sure it’s not round?” and points to a picture in one of the handouts and I’m like “OK you’re right, it’s round”. Unsatisfying af!
    We want a blorby & loooong campaign but we don’t want to have to do all of this first. I’ve been trying to whip up something simpler but still codified but I’m not sure about that idea, if it’ll be satisfying enough in terms of Paper→Rock.

    3. Relevancy & genre expectations. “Story” vs “World”

    In Burning Wheel the GM unblorbily injects entities into the game state that are custom built post-hoc to challenge the player character’s beliefs. Is that awesome (I’m not sure, that’s question 3a I guess) and if it is, can it be done blorbily (that’s question 3b) and if so how? (That’s question 3c.)

    The OSR practical techniques (such as putting things on a random table, to maybe be rolled, at an unknown time, instead of putting into the present circumstances) are generally good at promoting disclaimed decision-making and Thanuir had an idea where some NPC qualities (such as, but not limited to, faction membership) could be rolled randomly after seeing rock but with some entries positive to rock, some negative to rock, and some neutral or unrelated to rock. (“Rock”: player generated data, especially but not limited to symbolic quantities such as how far they can jump or how many monsters per minute they can kill. “Paper”: Content designed to challenge the player generated data. Both symbolic (“the chasm is 14 feet wide”) & diegetic (“this guy killed your father in the last war”).)

    When talking about blorb online a lot of the flac I get is the “But then you can’t ensure that this or that story happens” and I’m like… that’s the point? The time zoom saliency principle ensures that there’s never a dull moment.

    Buuuut because the 90s happened, a lot of GMs are like “we want story” like they want to play horror & mystery games where there’s one mystery, one big revelation. (Or maybe that’s cart before horse and the 90s happened because of the desire for story. Yeah, that makes more sense tbh.)

    4. Transparency of method vs sustained mood

    Constantly double-checking that the DM is adhering to the principles is tedious and disruptive. I’ve tried to design the game such as as many things as possible is player facing, such as them making all the die rolls instead of me rolling behind a screen, but there are still things going on behind the hood where I could easily cheat as much as I try to eliminate those opportunities from the design.

  • That’s a nice mini essay.

    I’ll say one thing:

    In many/most OSR circles, blorb practices are often a given, and make intuitive sense to people. That’s why the GM is called the “referee” in old game texts. :)

    I also have a question for you:

    You often talk about saliency, which is super important. But I don’t think you’ve ever explained how you decide what’s salient and what’s not. I think getting an idea of your criteria for saliency would really pull all this thinking together.

    It seems like a really key missing piece at the moment. (And I’m also not sure how to even fill it in without thinking about Creative Agenda.)
  • edited July 13
    I really love Sine Nomine’s OSR games and they’re great toolboxes for blorby games but I keep finding things in there that make me go “wait, what? That violates ‘No Paper after seeing Rock’ principle, how is that supposed to work”? (All of them are usually under the heading of labor saving devices. Which is why I titled that outstanding question “the workload issue”.)

    Any thing is salient if they are direct inputs (prerequisite) to salient rules. The wallpaper becomes salient when you have a “teleport through yellow surfaces” spell. But at the top of that arch of saliency upon saliency, what’s the ultimately most salient keystone?

    Different rulesets and different genre expectations do have differing notions of saliency.

    Here are two things that definitely are included under saliency but they’re specific to 2097e (and most other OSR style games).
    1. Any puzzle solution. The world can have mysteries that are wallpaper and can be improvised (who made that statue?), but if finding out the answer to mystery (who killed Laura Palmer? or w/e) is “a thing” then it’s salient.

    2. Anything that can kill you. In a game like Cthulhu Dark, all potentially lethal interactions is handled the same way in the symbolic layer [a.k.a. the “dice” layer] regardless of difficulty. In 2097e when I improvise a random town house that the party breaks into, the amount of food there is salient because we have such detailed starvation rules. If the party encounter starving townsfolk and give away their own food and then later starve themselves, that’s salient. If the party encounters wealthy townsfolk and receive food and then later avoid starvation because of it, that’s also salient. So resources & economy have become salient in my game. Hence detailed encumbrance rules.

    I’ve been thinking about this question for a few weeks (it came up on another answer) and I gave this same answer but with the caveat that I might think of more later. But I haven’t. It’s been a couple of game sessions and this is it.

    This is also what drives me to challenge-oriented game play, I’ve realized. Because that leads us to interact with salient things and that in and of itself is satisfying, much more so than the challenge element itself. Another set of salience would lead to other things being prioritized and that could be awesome.

    As a counter-example, the TV show Lost was a failure in the eyes of many fans because the mysteries were salient to them and they were let down by the fact that it felt so unblorby and the answers to those mysteries so made up as the show went along. I loved the show because my investment, my “saliency” as it were, was in thinking that Sawyer and Juliet were hot and wanting to see them together. Of course, if the show had aired post “mirror story” I wouldn’t have been so thrilled by its sins against blorb!

  • Blorb definitely came from OSR! The "mirror story" happened in an OSR group, we were playing LL-AEC (a clone of AD&D).
  • edited July 13
    The whole "saliency vs wallpaper" thing came about because I was watching an interview on YouTube with [OSR asshole #4] and he was saying that in D&D there is no fluff. Everything is crunch. As much as I regret getting tangled up with that guy, that was a brilliant interiew and I took it to heart.

    But after a while, I mean, doing thought experiments & daydreaming, I didn't even have to take it to the actual game table to realize that I was drowning in random tables that ultimately felt meaningless and I was like… "can I sort out the load-bearing pillars from all of this?" When exactly does fluff become crunch? Every piece of fluff can become crunch but not every piece of fluff is crunch. Wallpaper isn't always salient. I feel guilty af since I'm picking OSR's bones all the time even though I was late af to the party. But this wallpaper saliency principle is something I came up with #proud2097
    And the "chasm width" problem and its "paper→rock" solution is also mine. I mean, the formulation is. The whole "hygienic" schtick is kinda aiming at the same thing and so is lumps' notion of disclaiming decision making.
  • edited July 13
    I have a question but can post it in a new thread if it fits there better:

    Blorb model to me implies a few ideas about how being in a world is and what feeling real is: for example, a world where causality is identifiable or at least present, and where people (characters) can often solve the mystery, find the trap, etc.
    Now, our perception of reality is already filtered by language, philosophy, whatever, so there are other possible perceptions of reality where causality might not be important. Perhaps reality might be all about a big mistery that can't be solved. Or about losing agency. Or the world is entirely random, if we lived in a surrealist world.
    Can blorb account for those other constructions for "reality"?
  • Thank you for coming back to this topic, Khimus♥

    I've certainly experienced blorby interactions in utterly alien worlds; Muckenhoupt's The Gostak game comes to mind. But in all of my experiences so far, the feeling that the blorb is a system to interact with has been a commonality. It can be utterly fucked up as in "every 9th time you frobnicate a lever, there's a ⅓ chance that a plasmid comes out and bites you" or it can be more mundane.

    "Causality", yeah, that's a great way to describe it. The game world is this "toy" that we can push and pull at and see what, if anything, happens. I think the lack of this causality is ultimately why the [name elided Dracula Wonderland OSR book] felt so unsatisfying in actual play (even more so outside the castles); since there was no linear time and no causality every interaction felt meaningless and every entity felt random. The red king is killed and now he's alive again etc etc.

    Great insight!
  • I've been thinking on my question 3a above. Maybe it's OK that the answer is "no"; maybe that's a battle line between gnusto (pre-write story), nitfol (create story) and blorb (live story). IDK.
    I think the answers to 3b and 3c might be pretty attainable, don't get me wrong.
    To take advantage of the modality i.e. separate passes of character creation where the character's capability is separate from the character's entanglements.

    Another solution I've been working on is to set up characters and their relationships to each other and to the world via a draft a la Fiasco. The world elements in the draft playsets having been created before seeing rock.
  • 2097 said:

    Thank you for coming back to this topic, Khimus♥

    I've certainly experienced blorby interactions in utterly alien worlds; Muckenhoupt's The Gostak game comes to mind. But in all of my experiences so far, the feeling that the blorb is a system to interact with has been a commonality. It can be utterly fucked up as in "every 9th time you frobnicate a lever, there's a ⅓ chance that a plasmid comes out and bites you" or it can be more mundane.

    "Causality", yeah, that's a great way to describe it. The game world is this "toy" that we can push and pull at and see what, if anything, happens. I think the lack of this causality is ultimately why the [name elided Dracula Wonderland OSR book] felt so unsatisfying in actual play (even more so outside the castles); since there was no linear time and no causality every interaction felt meaningless and every entity felt random. The red king is killed and now he's alive again etc etc.

    Great insight!

    Nice.
    That's another direction you could take the theory to: try to dissect what constitutes "feeling real"/"being in a world" for blorb, and list it. For example, causality might be one element. Perhaps agency is another? I don't know. Intelligibility? A situation can be analysed and understood if enough attention is put into it.
  • That's awesome yeah!
  • Commenting on past posts :
    @2097 If you want people to get it, you'll have to fight their preconceptions, using mostly the same words they use for the present state of their conceptions. You can also make a game, or rather a setting generator that makes DM-ing it the right more or less inescapable.
    For me, "salient" means "involving a resource". If yellow is a condition for a spell, it becomes a resource, a value, a thing worth something. Test : a case of scarcity, is when a resource becomes a purpose.
  • edited July 15
    Yeah, @2097. If you ever write the Blorb RPG, where these procedures are the rules, I would buy and play it for sure.
  • Well that's how it is in 2097e which doesn't exist in one coherent location, just all over the place.
    But that's why I'm tryna scam Lumps into doing it for me (or with me). PbtB!
  • 2097 said:

    PbtB!

    Haha, great branding already.

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