What GMless/GMlite games have rules to pull together narrative threads and create great endings?

edited June 2017 in Story Games
IYO, what 1-3 session (one-shot games are ideal), GMless/GMlite Story Games have the most effective rules to pull together different narrative threads and create a satisfying coherent ending? I'm not talking about advice here, but rules. The type of GMless Story Games I'm talking about are those in which the players have equal roles in creating the story; that is, the players aren't simply advocating for their characters—they're playing their characters in order to create the best story, not advocate for them—and are also taking on the role of creating (together) the story whole-cloth as well. They are the writers of the story and the audience as well. Can you think of any games that fit the bill?

If not, can you think of rules that would be effective in doing so, that would be specific to these type of games?

Edit: Oh, I should probably qualify that I'm looking for universal Story Games that can create any type of story and don't have a preset setting or narrative path to follow.
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Comments

  • Witch: The Road to Lindesfarne and Montsegur 1244 are both featherweight RPGs with clear narrative arcs. By specifying what the narrative arc will be, they avoid having to pull together player-created arcs at the end.

    I don't think Fiasco does quite what you're hoping, either.

    I'm not sure if the "bob" and "weave" rules in Sorcerer qualify as rules or advice to you, but I'll mention them. Weave, in particular, is a technique explained to potential Sorcerer GMs to do what you want, but it's very advicey.

    Misspent Youth uses a narrative arc structure to make sure that stories follow a literary pattern, and that works well to create a short-form 1-3 session game (usually one-shot) game with a beginning, middle, and end. It mucks with dice probabilities in each scene to create more tension in the apex scenes, too.

    carry. a game about war has endgame and epilogue rules (with procedures) to pull things together at the end.
  • I don't know if Our Last Best Hope counts for your criteria. By design, it seems hard to go off on your own tangents to begin with given the tight focus of the premise, and how all characters seem interconnected via the sane/crazy cards.
  • Economy of narrative threads is key.
    In Polaris, you have a knight's Cosmos (which is really a specialized version of Sorcerer's "story bullseye" diagram - but let's not start talking Sorcerer, as it's a game with a GM role) and all important things and, especially, people are found in it... That is, all the "narrative threads" are listed right there on your character sheets. To frame a scene, you pick one or more characters from a knight's current Cosmos (actually a simplified, dynamic relationship map) and put them together with the knight. I believe any variation of this general principle is bound to produce viable gameplay, as long as the setting is full of personal conflict for a protagonist to already be enmeshed with and character creation procedures support that.
    You can break that, of course, if you keep introducing new characters and situations rather than reusing the existing ones. That can happen in Polaris, insofar that what I described above is more of a "soft" rule than a hard one... I recommend being earnest about only updating one's Cosmos with new stuff as an act of book-keeping - that is, only introducing new stuff as a product of existing elements, as seen on stage/on screen during play (that's implied by the Heart being the player responsible for keeping their own Cosmos updated, IIRC).

    That's often subverted - consciously, I hope - into something which makes games more challenging. What I'm thinking of are games where you're told to just make up stuff as you go, writing it down as you do - then you get to a different phase in the game when you're told to reincorporate those threads you've written down (usually as a condition for the game to end at all).
    That's how Society of Dreamers by @Matthijs Holter works - a game which I otherwise adore, but reincorporating in the endgame is always very challenging, and sometimes way too hard.
    That's also how Swords Without Master works, with the additional complication that it's the dice which tell you when to write down something you're going to have to try and reincorporate later. Here, it is clearly stated that the game is meant to challenge players - but you also don't have to reincorporate all the threads created (you're only allowed to reincorporate [number of players -1] in fact), as @Epidiah_Ravachol was sort of aiming for a few loose ends to remain.

    Also, it's a big plus if you already know what the ending is going to be like (i.e. it's fixed), at least to a degree. What really matters is where each main character ends up being positioned relative to that roughly predefined ending.
    Examples: Thou Art But a Warrior (or Starlit Kingdom, which is a reskin of the same) by Anna @wundergeek Kreider, where the setting-level predefined ending is the big change from Polaris (in Polaris, that the knights' world is doomed is implied, but players aren't mechanically mandated to witness to that doom: it could well happen in a distant future). Showdown, where we know one of the two main characters is going to die, but not which or why.
  • edited June 2017
    Nerver av stål is often claimed to do this well. I want to give it a try soon...

    Edit: Nerver av stål is genre specific. But it has the rule that when questions arise in the improvised play, you write them down on a communal letter-sized paper. The Question Sheet. And you deliberately try to answer those questions together in play (and feel free to answer with more questions, that are also written down).
  • Thanks for the great responses :smile: I'm excited to check these games out!

    Just FYI, I forgot to mention that I'm looking more for universal Story Games that can create any type of story and don't have a preset setting or narrative path to follow. That said, if a game's rules would still work in a universal game, which can create genre of story, that would be really helpful as well.
  • Jeff,

    What did you think of Musette's approach to this?

    I always thought the game would need a stricter "endgame" mechanic, but was surprised to discover in play that the combination of mechanics and natural human player instincts always delivered a climax (which the cards resolve), and the final narration turn (epilogue) was easy.
  • For the record:

    I think that this isn't a design challenge we have really solved yet. I can't think of any game which would be the "state of the art" in this sense, although I know many which work well with skilled players.

    I hope we develop some better technology for this in the future!
  • edited July 2017
    Jeff,

    What did you think of Musette's approach to this?

    I always thought the game would need a stricter "endgame" mechanic, but was surprised to discover in play that the combination of mechanics and natural human player instincts always delivered a climax (which the cards resolve), and the final narration turn (epilogue) was easy.
    I'm not sure about Musette, when my group played we didn't use the rules right, so it's hard to say. I think it probably does it better than most.
  • edited June 2017
    For the record:

    I think that this isn't a design challenge we have really solved yet. I can't think of any game which would be the "state of the art" in this sense, although I know many which work well with skilled players.

    I hope we develop some better technology for this in the future!
    Yes, this is one of the things I'm working on in my universal story game: Story. It's in the playtest phase and I really think I have found a way to do just about everything I want to do with it (including pulling story threads together and reliably producing a satisfying, coherent ending), but I want to make it as bulletproof as possible. I'm really trying to address the most pervasive issues, as I see them, with current story game design and innovate foolproof solutions.

    BTW, I'm good for Inconceivable Wednesday night :smiley: Hopefully, it all works out :smile:
  • Great, Jeff.

    Appropriately enough, we're at the stage where we're looking for these kind of techniques or mechanics to wrap up the game, so that's what we'll likely be focusing on.
  • edited June 2017
    Finding Haven (Soon to be published) has a rule for this, but it's a setting-specific sci-fi game.
  • Does Annalise count? I've only read it once and never played, but it has rules that incentivise reincorporating elements into the story, and does have a built-in endgame (although I can't remember how it actually plays out).

    It is tied to a particular type of story, though — people stalked by a predatory abuser personified by the "vampire". In fact most storygames I've seen that match the other conditions fail on the generic applicability by virtue of being hyper-focussed on telling one particular type of story. The trappings of the setting might be interchangeable, but a lot of them are built around a very specific type of story.
  • Oh, @PetteriHannila probably has something to say about *universal* *GMless* *story games* that last *1-3 sessions* and feature *robust dramaturgical control* to encourage a satisfying climax and insightful epilogues. Is yours a game that dare not speak its name, Petteri? I know you're out there, reading this.

    I would say it myself, except I've already mentioned that particular project often enough this month. I'll see about talking Petteri's new game up some more come July.
  • Indeed,

    It is possible that I am biased but it seems to me that you are describing Tales of Entropy here. It is GMless, universal (based on a pre-written starting scenario) and lasts 1-3 sessions.

    Drama in Entropy is built through opposition, each character is an enemy of at least one of the other characters. This creates natural cohesion of dramatic threads of different characters. There also is an epilogue mechanic to wrap things up when the characters have settled who stands and who doesn't in the end.

    While Entropy definitely doesn't create every type of story out there, it can be used to explore issues of conflict and friendship in vast amount of genres.

    It's not published yet, but it is only matter of weeks :smile:
  • edited June 2017
    Does Annalise count? I've only read it once and never played, but it has rules that incentivise reincorporating elements into the story, and does have a built-in endgame (although I can't remember how it actually plays out).
    Sounds very promising; I'll check it out. :smile: I have it but I haven't read it yet.
  • Indeed,

    It is possible that I am biased but it seems to me that you are describing Tales of Entropy here. It is GMless, universal (based on a pre-written starting scenario) and lasts 1-3 sessions.

    Drama in Entropy is built through opposition, each character is an enemy of at least one of the other characters. This creates natural cohesion of dramatic threads of different characters. There also is an epilogue mechanic to wrap things up when the characters have settled who stands and who doesn't in the end.

    While Entropy definitely doesn't create every type of story out there, it can be used to explore issues of conflict and friendship in vast amount of genres.

    It's not published yet, but it is only matter of weeks :smile:
    I'm familiar with the game. I think I even have one of the earlier copies; definitely plan on buying it :smile: I will check out the early draft. Thanks :smile:
  • edited July 2017
    Didn't want to indulge in self-promotion yet Jeff encouraged me, so I'd like to also mention Directions Storyplaying System that I'm developing here.
    It is a universal GMless modular framework for playing story games. Most indie/story games are tightly wrapped around a specific setting/scenario. Yet, there hasn't been a universal system like a "Fate for Story Games" so far to my satisfaction (closest maybe Archipelago). So, Directions allows to play one shots but also longer campaigns - without a GM and in a story-centric fashion.
  • edited July 2017
    Didn't want to indulge in self-promotion yet Jeff encouraged me, so I'd like to also mention Directions Storyplaying System that I'm developing here.
    It is a universal GMless modular framework for playing story games. Most indie/story games are tightly wrapped around a specific setting/scenario. Yet, there hasn't been a universal system like a "Fate for Story Games" so far to my satisfaction (closest maybe Archipelago). So, Directions allows to play one shots but also longer campaigns - without a GM and in a story-centric fashion.
    I'm very excited about Directions Storyplaying System; it's definitely doing some different things in the Story Game realm. I'm really hoping BeePeeGee, (who doesn't like to use his real name on the internet because he's wiser than the rest of us :smiley: ), ends up publishing this game in book form so I can buy it, or that I can convince him to, if only because it is different. It's definitely worth a read. After I finish reading it, in all probability we'll play it at Story Games Salt Lake City when we get a chance. After I play it, I'll make sure to do a write up about it and give some feedback for those who are interested. It may be a bit, I still owe Paul a writeup and some feedback on his game Inconceivable!, which strikes me as a very interesting game.

    I'm very interested to see how Inconceivable! turns out being that the design is still wide open and Paul is taking a novel approach. Instead of going into the design knowing what the objectives are that he wants to accomplish with the design, he's taking a much more organic approach and letting the game develop and go in the direction that seems to work best and in which the playtesters most enjoy, leaving that which is superfluous to play or not as compelling to organically fall away. It can still go a lot of different places because so much is still to be decided as playtest proceeds, it will be interesting to see how it all solidifies and what the game becomes "about." It seems like a very exciting process and creative endeavor so far and think it's be able to create a very interesting story so far. :smiley: Paul's got some really noval mechanics and ideas in it; I especially like one called the "claim" mechanic, that I will go into more when I do a write up.

    Anyway, back to Directions Storyplaying System. I think anyone interested in playing GMless Story Games should give it a read. I've browsed it, and it seems like it will lead to some novel perspectives on design upon reading, if my impressions are correct.

    I just have one question BeePeeGee, are you going commit your game to print? Must...Collect...All...Games. Preferably in print. Thanks :smile:
  • edited July 2017
    I've played several games which remind you to pull threads together, or reward you for doing so (Inconceivable, Land of Nodd, my conspiracy game Eye in the Pyramid), but none that actually do it for you or help you do it well.

    Games with predetermined fates, destinies, or finite group or individual goals tend to maintain direction pretty well. Mountain Witch gets a lot of mileage out of establishing a central group endeavor, then giving every character a unique and different orientation toward that endeavor (betray it, fulfill it and also do something else, etc.). That relies on "group endeavor", though... just as Tales of Entropy sounds like it relies on competition, Kagematsu relies on several characters vying for the allegiance of one character, etc. If you really want to leave a game wide open, then perhaps you could get some mileage out of picking between such options as a story shape coheres during set-up or play.

    Actually, whoa, I think it might be a ton of fun to do a wide-open creative set-up, and once the fiction is ready to roll, then choose a rule set...
  • Yeah, my game Land of Nodd is really good at tying together disparate and apparently-unrelated things, but it does so to create a sense of mystery, not to create a complete and satisfying ending. That may be useful for Jeff, or it may entirely contrary to what he's looking for; it's hard to say.

    I've often thought that this would be an awesome thing to play:

    Actually, whoa, I think it might be a ton of fun to do a wide-open creative set-up, and once the fiction is ready to roll, then choose a rule set...
    In theory, it should be entirely possible to put together a game/system which allows you to then select a few options here and there to set up a "frame" for the direction in which the story is headed.

    For a silly example, imagine a game of Fiasco where you do the Setup and only then decide:

    * How many dice you will use to play the game
    * Out of those, what proportion are white and how many are black?
    * Which Tilt table or procedure you will use
    * Which Aftermath table or procedure you will use

    And then we would provide a variety of options for each of these, variously enforcing or suggesting different genres/tones. Maybe one Tilt is all about things going from bad to hopeless, but another is about blossoming love, and a third actually changes the colour of the remaining dice in the middle of the table. One Aftermath table is happy endings, and another puts a difficult question in the lap of each character, a la Montsegur 1244.

    It's not quite enough to get us to what we're talking about, but it's an illustration of how you might be able to create a game which pushes you in this direction or that, but can be different every time.

  • edited July 2017
    Yeah, my game Land of Nodd is really good at tying together disparate and apparently-unrelated things, but it does so to create a sense of mystery, not to create a complete and satisfying ending. That may be useful for Jeff, or it may entirely contrary to what he's looking for; it's hard to say.

    I've often thought that this would be an awesome thing to play:


    Actually, whoa, I think it might be a ton of fun to do a wide-open creative set-up, and once the fiction is ready to roll, then choose a rule set...
    In theory, it should be entirely possible to put together a game/system which allows you to then select a few options here and there to set up a "frame" for the direction in which the story is headed.

    For a silly example, imagine a game of Fiasco where you do the Setup and only then decide:

    * How many dice you will use to play the game
    * Out of those, what proportion are white and how many are black?
    * Which Tilt table or procedure you will use
    * Which Aftermath table or procedure you will use

    And then we would provide a variety of options for each of these, variously enforcing or suggesting different genres/tones. Maybe one Tilt is all about things going from bad to hopeless, but another is about blossoming love, and a third actually changes the colour of the remaining dice in the middle of the table. One Aftermath table is happy endings, and another puts a difficult question in the lap of each character, a la Montsegur 1244.

    It's not quite enough to get us to what we're talking about, but it's an illustration of how you might be able to create a game which pushes you in this direction or that, but can be different every time.

    I actually do have a really good mechanic for this in both Story and House of Spiders, but when we have talked about it I don't think I've really been able to convey it properly to you, Paul—It's the question mechanic we've talked about a few times. We've actually used it at SG SLC; it does a good job of bringing together story threads and bringing together a tight coherent ending. I think if we play the game you will be able to see the process and how it works better. Your idea above is a good one, definitely worth playing around with :smiley:
  • I must admit I didn't follow your description of it the other night. I'd love to learn more about it, however!

    If you'd like, we could even playtest it as part of our Inconceivable game. I'd be down for that! (Although the Elements model I have in practice now seems to be doing the job, as well, for the moment.)
  • edited July 2017
    I must admit I didn't follow your description of it the other night. I'd love to learn more about it, however!

    If you'd like, we could even playtest it as part of our Inconceivable game. I'd be down for that! (Although the Elements model I have in practice now seems to be doing the job, as well, for the moment.)
    The elements model actually has some similarities. I think we should wait to do a playtest of Story in a couple months, instead of trying to incorporate it's rules into an Inconceivable! game; it's a totally different game anyway. I really want to see what Inconceivable! developes into organically through play. It's a super interesting approach—letting a game wonder and then finding out what it is "about."
  • While it tends to create some rather hairy dog stories along the way, there are mechanics in Mythic and Mythic GM Emulator for bringing story threads closer and closer to an end (and eventually conclude) through random rolls as play progresses.

    OTOH, it also tends to introduce new plot threads too, so...
  • edited July 2017
    Thanks again, Jeff... I'm glad you're enthusiastic and "get it". For Directions Storyplaying System, my plan is to have the generic system open for all. Based on that, I (possibly others too, if they want to) intend to develop
    1. Playsets with setting material to be played with the system
    2. Games powered by Directions with own rules that integrate any sub-set the system for its specific purpose.
    No physical book plans so far but I try to keep a clean, printable format. At the moment, I'd be happy when more people give it a chance and try it out.

    @Paul_T , where can I get "Story"? It's kind of pointless to google it... :smile:
  • Thanks again, Jeff... I'm glad you're enthusiastic and "get it".
    @Paul_T , where can I get "Story"? It's kind of pointless to google it... :smile:
    Story is actually my game. I haven't published it yet; it's going to be a while because I'm going to playtest it like crazy. After play testing it for a bit at Story Games Salt Lake City and other places, I will try to write a draft intended for a larger audience and open it up to a wider playtest. Thanks :smiley:
  • (Note to Jeff: If your game is called "Story", no one will ever be able to Google it. ;) )

  • Sorry, Jeff, mixed it up. Looking forward to seeing - and playing - it.
    (Note to Jeff: If your game is called "Story", no one will ever be able to Google it. ;) )
    I second Paul's comment! Reminds me of a TV series called "Episodes"...

  • Yeah, dude, put some sort of a spin on it. Story Engine, Story Maker, Insert Story Here, Storyfier, Stories to Play, Our Story, The Story RPG, Stories to Go, anything, man...
  • edited July 2017
    .
  • edited July 2017
    (Note to Jeff: If your game is called "Story", no one will ever be able to Google it. ;) )
    I second Paul's comment! Reminds me of a TV series called "Episodes"...
    Yeah, dude, put some sort of a spin on it. Story Engine, Story Maker, Insert Story Here, Storyfier, Stories to Play, Our Story, The Story RPG, Stories to Go, anything, man...
    Ok, ok, ok, hahaha...It's settled then; I'll figure out something else. :smiley: ...The Never Ending Story?...just kidding :wink: Any ideas? I would like something creative and discriptive but not in a boring or clinical way. Thanks :smile:


  • edited July 2017
    I'm not sure I like any of these enough, but what about something like these? The other game I'm making, House of Spiders has a much cooler name than Story does. :frowning:

    Imagine: a universal story game
    Stories in Stereo
    Spectrum
    The Directors
    Story Teller

    Or something similar???
  • Keep "Story" but give it a subtitle:
    Story: The Anything Game
    Story: The Anything Engine
    Story: The Universe Engine
    etc.
  • Keep "Story" but give it a subtitle:
    Story: The Anything Game
    Story: The Anything Engine
    Story: The Universe Engine
    etc.
    That sounds about right. I was planning on giving it a subtitle anyway, but the one that I have is a little clumsy. Anyway, thanks so much for your help :smile:
  • I like Storifier
  • edited July 2017
    Keep in mind "Story Engine" is already a thing (see Google).

    I'd go look at a list of generic story games and make sure you're not going to get something which is easily confused with an existing game - there have been so many of these out there already. ("Story Bones" was one, I believe, for example.)

    Storifier is cool. You could use that formula to combine the word "Story" with various suffixes. ("Storytrix?") How about "Storyfall", even?

    If you end using a metaphor to anchor your various ritual phrases and/or themes around, however, that would make for a far more memorable and inspiring title! Ultimately, "Story [anything]" is pretty bland and uninspiring.

    I'd say figure out what's special or unique about your game and make a title out of that. "Generic and bland" isn't a great way to get people's attention or to be memorable.
  • Yeah. Why would I want to use this game to make stories as opposed to any other game? Put that in the title. Like if your game's all about tying loose threads together, then call it Story Weaving or something.
  • edited July 2017
    Yeah. Why would I want to use this game to make stories as opposed to any other game? Put that in the title. Like if your game's all about tying loose threads together, then call it Story Weaving or something.
    Very insightful! I will think of what it does uniquely—other than the ability to create a wide range of stories— and see if I or someone can come up with a creative way to express that. Thanks, David :smile:

    The game aims to get everyone on the same page regarding the type of story they are going to tell and seeks to address the issues that often come up by having multiple storytellers and perspectives.

    "Story Weaver," "Our Story," and "From Many to One," all kind of describe what I'm going for but I'm not sure I'm enamored with any of them. I'll have to let things germinate :smile:
  • The game aims to get everyone on the same page
    Maybe a name that highlights collaboration, unity, or coherence? Building Bridges? Share-a-vision? Story Team?
  • Perhaps it's time to look at a thesaurus or phrase almanac for metaphors used to describe stories or storytelling!
  • edited July 2017
    I kind of like something like:

    Weaving with Penelope
    Circling Penelope
    Threads of Penelope
    Spinning at the Loom of Penelope

    With a subtitle like: "a universal story game"

    "Penelope, goddess of weaving, was beset by suitors who wanted her to remarry. In order to delay them, she insisted that she could not remarry until she had finished weaving a shroud for Odysseus' father, Laertes. She worked each day at her loom, and then unravelled the cloth each night."

    The shroud is the Story woven together
    The weaving is the players weaving together the threads of story
    The fact that she weaves a new shroud (i.e. Story) every night shows that a it isn't a single story that is woven (i.e. told), but new stories are woven together forever into the future (I.e. universal story game).

    I don't know how well the metaphor works, but that's the idea

    What do you think?
  • Penelope's Loom. I'd be curious to read on and see what that meant. :)
  • edited July 2017
    Penelope's Loom. I'd be curious to read on and see what that meant. :)
    Yeah, that was one of the options I was considering. I'll have to think about things. BTW thanks for all your suggestions David :smile:
  • David, would you add a subtitle to "Penelope's Loom?" I kind of think it sounds better without one, but at the same time, I don't know if people know what the hell an RPG call Penelope's Loom is.
  • I think a subtitle needs to exist. That doesn't mean you have to lead with it in conversations, though!
  • +1 Penelope's Loom !
  • "Penelope's Loom" has potential. It could be the name of one of these generic story games without their own setting. The way I would productize it would be to bring the muse forward a bit in the presentation: put her on the cover, give her some sidebars in the book, name some terminology in a vaguely classical way, and so on. Still generic as a game, but with its own memorable presentation style.
  • Exactly. A strong metaphor, stylistically distinctive, and memorable.

    You can now use the Penelope "conceit" to craft mechanics and ritual phrases, as well, which makes some of your job easier.

    Stupid examples:

    "The thread is running thin." -> Tells people to round up a story direction and bring it to a conclusion.

    "The Sun will soon rise." -> Tells people that time is almost up and it's time to start "unraveling" the narrative.

    Depends how poetic you want to get with this stuff, of course.

    Framing some ritual phrases, mechanics, or procedures as Penelope-relevant could have potential, too.

    "A knock at the door! Penelope is distracted." -> Used by players to introduce a random element or procedural pause, like Fiasco's Tilt.

    Ritual phrases formed *as though Penelope is speaking to the players, as she looks over the narrative "woven" thus far* could have potential, too. It gives the player a certain level of remove to say "Penelope doesn't approve of X", as opposed to saying they don't approve of it themselves.

    Again, it depends how far you want to take it, but there's lots of potential.

    Drawing different coloured strings from a bag instead of beads? Etc.
  • I like the cut of your jib there, Paul. I imagine I'm not the only fan of Penelope around here, too - getting her to sponsor a story game seems like a fine endeavour.
  • edited July 2017
    Exactly. A strong metaphor, stylistically distinctive, and memorable.

    You can now use the Penelope "conceit" to craft mechanics and ritual phrases, as well, which makes some of your job easier.

    Stupid examples:

    "The thread is running thin." -> Tells people to round up a story direction and bring it to a conclusion.

    "The Sun will soon rise." -> Tells people that time is almost up and it's time to start "unraveling" the narrative.

    Depends how poetic you want to get with this stuff, of course.

    Framing some ritual phrases, mechanics, or procedures as Penelope-relevant could have potential, too.

    "A knock at the door! Penelope is distracted." -> Used by players to introduce a random element or procedural pause, like Fiasco's Tilt.

    Ritual phrases formed *as though Penelope is speaking to the players, as she looks over the narrative "woven" thus far* could have potential, too. It gives the player a certain level of remove to say "Penelope doesn't approve of X", as opposed to saying they don't approve of it themselves.

    Again, it depends how far you want to take it, but there's lots of potential.

    Drawing different coloured strings from a bag instead of beads? Etc.
    Yes, I have all the mechanics finished but to frame them using the myth as an allegory would be cool. I definitely want to explore the idea of framing ritual phrases with the mythology, to see if it might make my goals in that arena easier to achieve, by making it less personal and, as you suggested, by seemingly distancing the players roles when using the ritual words for disruptions in tone, verisimilitude and coherence. I'm not sure what the best way to frame this would be or what ritual phrases would be the best. I'm not sure about saying something like: "Penelope does not approve of...;" in other words, I'm not sure about the idea of pretending like it's Penelope's perspective— however, I do like the idea of the ritual phrases being allegorical (metaphors based on the Penelope story), and at once, referring to the mythology while enacting the phrases design purposes. Basically, I like all the ideas you mentioned, Paul; I wouldn't mind having a more in-depth discussion about it, when we can discuss both Inconceivable! and Penelope's Loom, so my game isn't taking all the air up in the room.
    Maybe a ritual phrase like…
    "Do you think the color of that thread matches the others?"
    ... this could be used if something doesn't feel on to tone, for example

    I really like where you're going with the ritual phrases you suggested above. The drawing of colored threads a cool idea; unfortunately, there's no drawing of color tokens or threads or anything else in Penelope's Loom. It's not based on the ideas I was playing with in that bead thread, but I like the image. Thanks for your post, Paul. It was very thought-provoking, and I think it's a cool direction to go in. :smiley:

    I need a phrase for:
    1. Breaking tone
    2. Breaking verisimilitude
    3. Something that is hard to say—making the story hard to bring back together or introducing something that makes the story inconsistent or incoherent as a whole...I don't know really how to sum it up in a concise, understandable way yet, I'm not exactly sure what I'm trying to say specifically, but I have seen, whatever this is, create an unsatisfying story and make it almost impossible to create a satisfying end to the story...it's like introducing something that just makes everything fall apart and not work, and then everything becomes a bunch of pieces that are almost impossible to put back together again...I don't know, "Introducing an Incoherent Element into the Story" is probably the best way to put it.

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