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The corrosive wave is surging toward you! What'll you do? As players, you can discuss for however long you like before getting in character to act.
The corrosive wave is surging toward you! What'll you do? It'll reach you in 5...4...3...
I'd consider that one of the "performance" aspects of play, just like whether we act out our characters (and put on their mannerisms and voices), engage in heavy description, make sound effects, dim the lights, and so forth....how to do good accents for your NPCs, what kind of props to use at the table, how to use timers to put pressure on the players, how to modulate your voice to keep people's attention, and so forth. Jay, does your group lean very heavily on those "performative" aspects of the game, for its impact and power? I get the impression that you do, and a lot, but I'm not exactly sure how much.
3. This typically happens when the pacing is picking up and the new player either can't keep up or they "feel" as if they have no options and jam. Referencing back to the new player who the DM legitimately became concerned over his health (worrying that the new player might stroke out people his face flushed so purple and veins were popping out on his head!) said scenario was set on an island that was overrun with ghouls. The ghouls could not abide daylight so the party went to work building a small palisade to ride out the night. The new player got separated from the party and by the time he realized nightfall was imminent it was too late to let him into the palisade. There was no gate to open nor rope to lower down and there was not enough time to remove a few timber and replace them as the ghouls were already on the move. The new player begged entrance but nobody would let him in because it would have been certain death for everyone. As the DM described the sounds of the ghouls coming and the sun light dimming . . . the description kept coming on . . . he did have options but couldn't think due to pressure of the running clock.
2) Regarding players who "freeze" under pressure: I've been encountering this a lot lately. I have one friend with ADHD who often does not react well to these situations, and she can be tough to challenge and is left feeling frustrated often. She definitely wants games with real meaningful choices and consequences, hates Illusionism / GM Force, etc., but I'm thinking she might enjoy games that are a little gentler in some respects.I also have a player on the autism spectrum among my four teenage Blades in the Dark players. (I run BitD two hours a week at this weird hippy unschooling place. It's totally awesome.) He has two main issues that prevent him from truly gelling with the rest of the group, though despite them he has had some really good moments. The first is that he also freezes and has trouble being creative in moments of high pressure for the characters. The second is that he often has trouble being concrete when it's his turn to speak. He'll say what he's thinking about, what his general idea is, etc., but he often doesn't give me enough to actually know what Action to have him roll. Everyone else in the group is really patient and tries to help him out when he's jammed, but it's a real problem, and my usual GMing techniques are not helping.
This guy hadn't completed that learning curve, so it was just a straight-up "I'm about to die" without that extra context that would have made it exciting...Right?
Thinking further, I have a question about "bricolage" and "Semiotic Jazz". As I understand it, it's a process of piecing together fictional elements collaboratively and improvisationally, with the goal of creating a coherent and pleasing fictional whole or resulting fiction.
I think "your character can only make decisions as fast as you can" has important performance and structural implications.
Contrast that to what Jay's describing, where if there's any castle-storming going on, I'd assume that the point is how we use castle-storming to add cool moments or facets to the tapestry of "these heroes adventuring in Middle Earth".
GM: (speaking as elf prince) "Our lands have lived in constant watch since the scorching tracks were found. Should it truly be a Balrog, our very existence is threatened."Me: (thinking as visiting ranger) Oh shit, everyone here is on edge? I'd been imagining a very confident bearing. Well, maybe elves in their own lands always intimidate me a bit, and now I'm realizing that those martial poses of heightened alert weren't for me. "Now that you've mentioned it, my lord, I do detect an extra weight of care upon your warriors."
as 'sentient individuals struggling to survive in Middle Earth' we are castle-storming because as said characters we feel that we have no other choice but to risk our lives and do so. The how's and why's were informed by both the themes we love about Middle Earth and everything that's transpired in play up to the moment we step foot on the bottom rung of the scaling ladders.
GM: (speaking as elf prince) "For a cycle of Rana, the moon, we have lived in constant watchfulness as a dark dread has settled upon our hearts. One of the wise has spoken a name out of darkness from Ages past since the scorching tracks were found. Valaruka. Balrog. Mighty Demon in the tongues of men. Bane of Elfen folk and lieutenants of Morgoth. Those of our folk who could face them have long since fallen or taken the Straight Way back to Aman...Perhaps it is time for us to sail the Straight Way as well...and now comes an Engwar. What would have us in these ill times, Ranger? Hunter of the foe your folk are but no skills you or your kind have to hunt this terror.Me: (thinking as visiting ranger) Oh shit, a Balrog? I've heard some lore long ago about such things but I thought they were just stories. Now I've got something roaming around that could wipe out entire kingdoms? I don't know much about them but those here that do are terrified and if I understand them properly mere men cannot stand before them. How will I deal with that? And those who may have the ability and lore to face this Balrog are considering fleeing rather than face it. I know our motto is "One riot, one Ranger" but this is beyond me. I don't have time to report back to Cair Andros, yet I've got to get their help. How do I convince them to not only stay in Ea but to come forth in war against this nightmare?"Fair Prince of the Eldar, first born of Eru. Know that my captain-commander, Aetdgean, named 'elf-friend' by Glorfindel of the House of Finrod, has always been a friend of your folk. I too came upon the scorched tracks you spoke of and as a vassal of my commander beg you to extend the title of 'elf-friend' to me that I may ask of you wise counsel in this matter. Though it has been many uncounted generations of men to you and your folk, I beg you, m'lord, to recall the deeds of the three houses of the Edain who stood and fell in the Leaguer of Belariand, Ages past..."
I definitely think that's better that what I said. But it's not one simple, concrete idea, and thus it's harder to refer to as an explanation. I think teasing a principle or two out of that would be useful, if possible...
Note the complexity of all the "parts" the Ranger has to contend with being a mortal man dealing with immortal elves, that he has a duty as a Ranger to "Do Something" about the Balrog, that as mortals men are utter ineffective against Maia, said Ranger pulls on his relationship with his commander and the Elves, he has some ancient lore that he pulls on to start to help with the problem of the Elves considering leaving, etc.Here we have bricolage in action as informed by the jazz process as the player pulls on various bits and pieces available to him and starts to try and assemble them in such a way as to try and sort out this impossible problem.
* Since you've been asking me about jazz stuff: yes, it's possible to play a "perfect" solo or a "perfect" performance. However, that can also become boring, predictable, or stifling. I think there are plenty of parallels here to stories, roleplaying, themes, and so forth.
Do we always choose the safe, familiar, and "correct"? Or do we wish to have more room for error, in hopes of finding *new* things by creating something unfamiliar? It's an important decision made by any artist, sometimes in consistent trends, and sometimes in the moment, only to (perhaps) regret it and go back to the other side.
* What I see from that example of "bricolage", is, perhaps, in Forge theory terms, something like "Colourful Exploration". Is that fairly accurate? If not, what distinguishes the two?
Jay, whenever you are able to say "semiotic jazz", instead of "Sim", I would prefer that, as it won't invite derailments.
(And if we want to try to draw any parallels between types of creative agendas, we could say that this challenge/goal of semiotic jazz -- to maximize resonance -- is akin to the core challenges/goals of winning and creating theme in gamism and narrativism, respectively.)Jay, is that right? If so, I think I might be able to whittle that into something at least sort of concise...
P.P.S. And I might be borrowing too much from the "right" part in Ron Edwards' "right to dream" idea. But if so, then wow, "right to dream" is a terrible way to phrase it. "Dare to expand" or something would be better.