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Is that a coherent enough distinction?
JDCorley also holds that all rules are dissociated by nature. But I say no-no, it's not as ambitious as "a game is dissociated". It is more or less so. Like in some games, some players can easily picture things simulated by the rules. And in other games, some rules are just harder to represent with things in the fiction by some players.Look, it's simple : one rule is, at a certain time, associated or not, for a certain person, according to the presentation of the rule the person has been exposed to. The fact is, when you read Fate rulebook, the authors probably don't try to give an "in fiction" rationale for Fate points. The rule is therefore dissociated.* * except it is "intuitively" associated by some players either well versed in fiction analysis, metaphysics, role playing or that simply have a potent solvent for imagination.**** which begs the question of whether that explanation or intuition must be shared among all players ? or only within expert community ? A schism could ensue But if you (come out from under the sofa and) explain to the player that fate points are to the character like the god of destiny's invisible magic wand bullets, then the rule is associated. This is not a good or a bad thing per se. It's just fact, by definition. And that's mostly it.
@Airk many more persons have a slot for karma kismet poetic justice than there are with TTRPG intuitions.
The "hard / easy" distinction is silly, but there is no need to use it for the concept.
This seems to be a general trend; if a concept is too far from the fiction, then analyzing it from association point of view does not seem useful.Analyzing the criteria by which the next scene is chosen seems to be more reasonable. Typical traditional techniques focus on uncertainty, danger, or potential to reveal something about the characters. Typical drama game techniques, traditional or not, relate to character motivations, significant decision points and potential to reveal something about the characters. Seeing if these and others can be associated seems to be a worthwhile thing.
I am convinced (subjectively that is) that having a sleek seamless design, built around very few strong intuitive concepts is better than a complex architecture where designer and player alike run more risk of losing sight of conflicting intents, patching for sim here, narrative there. That has little to do with ass / diss. But everything to do with OP's alleged usefulness of the concept.
Is that a coherent enough distinction?
Yes, it's a good explanation, thank you. What I find interesting is why someone would design a mechanic, where contributing (to the) fiction is not intuitive.
I think Fate Points are not Karma nor a measure of anything spiritual in the fiction. Same with HP, it isn't a measure of anything physical in the fiction. There's another point of view/philosophy applying here: it's the Narrative. In the case of Fate Points the logic applied is narrative: heroes are supposed to get in trouble and do epic things to get out of them. That's it. If you are familiar with this kind of stories, this logic makes perfect sense. It has nothing to do with Karma. It's more related to the genre. When you keep this in mind, the rule is associated, as it produces a particular form of fiction. Try to force it to represent anything in the fiction or fight the concept that the hero must get in trouble and do epic stuff to get out (because in the real world or X source things never go that way, it's unrealistic, blah, blah), and it becomes a dissociated mechanic that will ruin your immersion.In the case of HP, it's a narrative type of resource, one that determines when your character loses immediate agency in the fiction. If the game is about physical conflict, it makes sense you lose agency when your character loses a physical conflict, so HP is reduced when you get hit. When it goes to zero, your character "loses consciousness" and you've got no more agency. If the game deals with stress, terror, etc, it makes sense to have Sanity as a resource, which works in a similar way.Of course, it's easier at the table and even in rulebooks to explain Fate points as Karma and HP as life. "You get fate points for getting in trouble and spend it to get more agency or be awesome, like, err... Karma, I think?" and click, the players get the idea. "You lose HP if you get hit and fall unconscious when you get to zero" "It's like my life then?" "Well, yes!" -and now you all can start playing.Rules can either try to represent something in the fictional world, be there to help produce a specific effect in the story or do both at the same time. Some do it in a more efficient way. Some build specific events in the fiction in a nice way but fail when applied to special cases. Some are generic enough to enable players multiple interpretations, but may require an experienced player/GM to translate them properly.
The problem is that many rules don't fit clearly into A/B and most RPG GAMES don't either.
Those things were all problems. Like, every single one of them.
1. The GM-player split, in the sense that one mostly decides what their character does, while the GM decides what there is in the world.2. The idea that characters are described by numbers and words in a formal way. (Like strength 4, trait: obsessive, ...)3. Implementing the mechanics: Picking the number, rolling dice, maybe arithmetic or counting, announcing the result.4. Interpreting the result back into the fiction.5. That the mechanical rules make decisions about outcomes of actions.6. Related to the following: That one does not have full control of what happens to one's character.
I find it interesting that you mention stances when talking about how she plays, since the more I participate in this thread, the more I think this "ass/diss" thing is about how certain rules require certain stances, and players too used to stay in actor stance find it difficult to transition to others. And many rules in story games require an authorial stance over your character.
Although it looks like the term "dissociated mechanics" is such a flame-trigger that we need a different label.
Here's a thought about a mechanics taxonomy:- Fiction-descriptive - serves only to measure established fiction in numbers (example: once "50/50 shot" is established in fiction, that becomes "roll 11+ on a d20")- Fiction-additive - introduces new content (events, objects, probabilities) into the fiction (example: "every hour of actual play, roll for wandering monsters")- Fiction-prescriptive - establishes what can and cannot happen fictionally at a given time (examples: Combat rounds! Hit points! (If you can make these purely fiction-descriptive in your game, you are a mental ninja master! Mostly that honestly does not happen.))- Fiction-independent - changes the player's position without "going through" the fiction; fiction may be adjusted afterward if desired (example: I spend a token to cost you your turn; maybe I then narrate how my character's minions' attacks are depleting your character's resources, and you complete the narration by describing your character's distraction)I have a feeling this taxonomy won't hold up, but maybe it's a stab in a useful direction?
A given rule can:1. Have a clear interpretation in the fiction and conform to one's intuitions about whatever it is trying to represent. It might be realistic or suitable to the genre the game is trying to replicate or something like that.2. Have a clear interpretation in the fiction, but break one's intuitions about whatever it is trying to represent. One might call it unrealistic or a poor fit for the genre or whatever.3. Not have a clear (and unique) interpretation in the fiction.
I feel like there are a ton of RPG mechanics which can be used without fiction, but it's counter-intuitive to do so. So, for me, a fiction-independent mechanic is the kind where you might expect to have to remind a player to contribute fiction, because contributing fiction is not intuitive.
I sometimes feel that the culture of roleplaying which plays a very specific subset of traditional games in a very particular way (and, it seems to me, they overlap heavily with the people who find discussion of "dissociated mechanics" highly relevant to their play experience) is a subset of all gamers/roleplayers who are used to and expect a very particular kind of engagement with the game. There's nothing wrong with that (and I find it a really fun way to play!), but mistaking it for the entire field, which people sometimes do, can get people into hot water - and into debates or arguments.
I think we should try again this study in another thread, without reference to the Alexandrian and without specialised terms, without expressing judgement other than preferences. Something very factual, statement by statement. And then branch into the topics that interest each one with clear road signs. I am not saying leibnizian rigour is the only way, or even the best, but this study obviously requires extreme care. Is it a reason to dump it ? On the contrary ! We are close to the bone !This barnum-wide ending was necessary Paul_T but is unsatisfying, because OP has been misunderstood in so many ways, and it was too late when the smoke got cleared.
@Thanuir "Associating them seems to bind the world to quite specific karma-like metaphysics" Of course it does ! When you play Fate, you know fiction is going to happen in a world where Karma exists. It's written on the tin, engraved in the rules. It's not really metaphysics anymore, it's physics in Fate. I don't know if with "metaphysics" you're really saying "this rule can be associated as long as it doesn't get used", in which case I'll reach certainty that I don't understand anything you say.
I sometimes think you're saying : rules for Fate providing a clear, univocal explanation of what Fate points mean, exactly, are "associated". Is this a question of rules redaction / presentation, then ? If this is so, then I'll object that a pragmatical approach (bread is a thing you eat, cut it like that, store it like so) is regularly better than an accurate explanation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bread) for rules redaction.
The main problem is that you are using the handle of an epic Narr slaying sword, removing the blade, and saying : we can use this concept. Well, as OP shows in points 5 and 6, this concept (the handle) is so linked to judgement (the blade) that it's going to be hard to do anything else with it. Even brandishing the pummel or saying the sword's name is enough for flaming a war. It's a sort of Godwin point. Why insist ? Let's make the concept and name it later.
I must say I'm getting quite confused by Thanuir's goal shifting responses. Many have engaged in the hypothetical exercise where a fictional or metaphysical explanation of fate points would make FATE work for an alienated player. An explanation in the requested terms was provided, but there's a "trade-off", apparently. But it seems to be a given that most players will accept the highly convoluted associative-explanations for hit points, turns, initiative, vancian magic, etc (in my experience, players simply don't care, though).
JDCorley also holds that all rules are dissociated by nature. But I say no-no, it's not as ambitious as "a game is dissociated". It is more or less so. Like in some games, some players can easily picture things simulated by the rules. And in other games, some rules are just harder to represent with things in the fiction by some players.Look, it's simple : one rule is, at a certain time, associated or not, for a certain person, according to the presentation of the rule the person has been exposed to. The fact is, when you read Fate rulebook, the authors probably don't try to give an "in fiction" rationale for Fate points. The rule is therefore dissociated.* * except it is "intuitively" associated by some players either well versed in fiction analysis, metaphysics, role playing or that simply have a potent solvent for imagination.**** which begs the question of whether that explanation or intuition must be shared among all players ? or only within expert community ? A schism could ensue But if you (come out from under the sofa and) explain to the player that fate points are to the character like the god of destiny's invisible magic wand bullets, then the rule is associated. This is not a good or a bad thing per se. It's just fact, by definition. And that's mostly it. Am I correct @Thanuir ?
I can easily imagine a conversation where the player says, "I do this!", the GM replies, "Ok, make another Stealth roll!", and the player is forced to think, "Wait a minute! Is there something different I can do which *wouldn't* trigger another Stealth check? I'd rather do that."
What matters to me is gameplay and player decisions; in many cases . . . more highly "associated" mechanics don't actually produce the desired alignment of character and player concerns. I think there must be better ways to talk about this - the concept of "dissociation", to me, fails a number of litmus tests when seen in a broader context.
I think people need to remember that this whole "Dissociated/Associated" split sprang from the mind of people from the traditional RPG scene -- people who are used to playing in Actor Stance and who value their "immersion" -- as a means of explaining why certain rules didn't work for them. The argument that dissociation is meaningless because some people actually have any EASIER time with dissociated rules is therefore in my opinion irrelevant. The distinction exists, and is disruptive to some people (generally: People who play a lot of D&D.)Maybe you can argue that it's not a particularly clear distinction, but I think at this point we've successfully disproved the idea that it's a concept that exists only to justify a preference. If I say "I don't like blue things but I'm fine with green things" and yet some people are fine with green and there are situations where it's hard to tell whether a given thing is blue or green, it does not mean that I am arbitrarily using the term 'blue' to justify my dislike of something. The idea of blueness is still a thing, and is a valid reason to dislike something.
You've said clearly in the first paragraph, the concept was created by a certain subset of gamers.
[The concept] pretty clearly exists only to justify a preference, since […] a lot of gamers don't share their same priorities.
How is a concept only valid for a fraction of gamers a valid tool to analyze all rules in all games?
It's their fault for playing only one kind of game
not something a designer should have as a priority.
This terminology was created by people who had issues with D&D4.
As far as I know Justin Alexander never ever made an argument against story games. I have always known him as a very smart, well-read and polite roleplayer with a lot of insights into gaming.