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I don’t think in terms of “genres” since it’s more of a trip than a “story”
True, that wouldn't be unblorby, but…Having them be able to move around on their own (which random encounters enable) make it come alive♥I'm running a dungeon now where there aren't random encounters and that's such a big problem compared to the Castle Ravenloft where like invisible hands fly towards you and serve you wine from chalices or an angry mob comes and wants to kick dracula's ass or whatever
There’s nothing wrong with ‘narrativium’. Some people just buy into different narrativium than others do. I’d chalk it up in a lot of ways to differences in world view, thought processes and preferences with fiction.For instance, my anti-immersion techniques would likely ruin things for you, but for me they work above all else because I don’t approach fiction immersively and am not a believer in traditional immersion because of my views on the political role of fiction in society.There’s also a big level for me where my intent inherent lack of buy-in to blorb is a product of how strongly I’m against worldbuilding in fiction.
There’s nothing wrong with ‘narrativium’. Some people just buy into different narrativium than others do. I’d chalk it up in a lot of ways to differences in world view, thought processes and preferences with fiction.
Because you want to tell a story! Which is cool, stories are cool & important. With blorb I get to live the story which is cool in another way. Less fruitful for political discourse as I tried to convey in the racist ancients thread (that it had been my experience that these types of games weren’t as good for conveying a political or philosophical position as a more hippie game would’ve been).
Is it a problem just for you as the DM (not enough surprises)? Or for the players as well? Are the players aware that there’s no randomness?
I think it’s more of a problem for my own enjoyment. The players know how the game is set up. Basically there is 1 monster type (that are “wandering”; the map key has more) instead of rolling from a table.
That is really interesting.
There were one or two other players who blamed the GM when their character died (although they had gone into an obviously dangerous area and performed obviously dangerous actions). And there was somebody else who complained the GM used the “deal damage” move too often in combat, rather than offering them interesting choices.
Huh. So not enough transparency of method…? When it’s not clear to what extent the gloracle is responsible, the GM takes the blame?
What I’m hearing is that in 90s games, or when there’s an expectation of the game being ran 90s style, there isn’t really player buy-in into hard outcomes. And these Dungeon World veterans expected the game to be ran in the 90s style; not sure what that says about DW!
I’m learning about Freebooters of the Frontier which seems to be more of a blorby take on DW? More than Vagabonds of Dyfed which I have more of a love-hate relationship with. I don’t know enough about FotF yet to make a call.
And ofc I’m going at it from the other direction; using AW concepts like “moves” & “setup” to be able to manage IIEE prompting in a natlang fashion with mine and Paul’s “Oh Injury!” ruleset on top of D&D (and, for me, on top of my already existing “Introducing Late Night Fighting” spatial predicate layer).
And there was somebody else who complained the GM used the “deal damage” move too often in combat, rather than offering them interesting choices.
I want to look at this specifically.
Conversely, if you want to make a fight easier, you can do it on the fly without trouble. Make the enemies less clever, or untrained. Don’t make them use spears to keep enemies at bay- instead, they stab wildly, heedless of danger.
To me, this is bull. It’s not that I want the game to be super lethal—I run a game that’s much less lethal than the LL-AEC game where the “mirror story” happened—it’s hat I want the salient interactions in the game to be consequential and consistently adjudicated. In D&D, that saliency is life&death. In Cthulhu Dark or Kult the saliency is your ability to pierce the veil. (Not that that mechanic is particularly blorby in either game. And I guess it’s a bad example in Cthulhu Dark since it also retires your character which wasn’t the point I was trying to make.)
Realizing that in DW the monsters can “deal damage” directly was a key part of making “Oh Injury!” work. Having a concept of “harm” (wounds, LIs, DSF, death saves, unconsciousness) to inflict when there wasn’t a good diegetic defense.
You’re still telling a story, Sandra. It’s just a story that doesn’t care about literary sensibilities, and that is deeply focused on traditional immersion.
I guess the word “story” can be defined very broadly.
You’re not living it. You’re just deeply invested in the story.
This part I’m not really buying.
If I’m disabled and I am talking on the phone to tell my friend (who is in the grocery store) to get corn and peas and unhulled sesame seeds and she gets it for me with money that I gave her for this purp, am I not shopping for corn and peas and seeds? I’m not physically there, but I’m consequentially interacting with the items in the store via proxy. That shopping trip is not really “just” a story.
If I’m telling her how to fix her bike “OK now try popping off the chain… still stuck?” over phone, I’m still helping to fix the bike.
I hope this metaphor can convey part of why the “mirror story” was so effective. We were interacting with a tangible thing and my imagination went into overdrive, adding in detail such as temperature and smells that neither the DM nor the module said, just that my mind just… went there.
Unlike the grocery store, the space in the game is imagined [it doesn’t exist physically anywhere in the multiverse] and we’re interacting with it via words (spoken & written). But we’re still interacting with it, my relationship to it is the same. Just as in my mind I am picturing the store shelves “No, go to the frozen section, that canned corn isn’t worth it” when I’m directing my friend in the grocery store.
I think it’s the opposite of what you’re seeing, actually. (Although, of course, I’m just guessing too!)It’s not 90s style, where the GM acts to present a story. It’s 2010s style, where the players expect the GM to “draw maps but leave blanks”, to make room for collaborative improvisation. The GMs took a more “blorby” approach, so they stopped “leaving blanks”. The players got frustrated because they didn’t get to participate in some collaborative improvisation anymore, but could only interact with the GM’s prep. There were no more blanks to fill, so the players couldn’t contribute in that way anymore.
I think it’s the opposite of what you’re seeing, actually. (Although, of course, I’m just guessing too!)
Well, the specific frustrations they were having with the game seemed to indicate that that wasn’t the problem in Vivs’ example. @Vivificient, please chime in!
In a game where narrative right, from the game master or a player, determines what is true, the only way of answering questions about the fiction are asking whoever has the right to declare that. Most games assume that people will also keep the fiction internally consistent, which means that questions can also be answered by looking at what has been established. But if something has not been established, then there is no a priori way of finding out how it will be.Sandboxy games try to have as much determined by other means as possible - the established fiction, preparation and procedures. Fiat is used as little as possible, which is still a fair deal, but often mostly for inconsequential details (colour in jargon).Essentially, the ideal is that rights of narration should not matter at all, because the relevant decisions are not based on that.OSR play has a referee because it is a game of exploration and making decisions under uncertainty. Otherwise it would be very easy to run without a game master.Sandboxy play is more “real” in the sense that we can see what is real by looking at the adventure module or other prep, and anyone could look it up and come to more or less the same conclusion. Anyone could roll on the wandering monster table, or the “who rules over this village” table, etc. Or if one is playing a modern game set in the real world, anyone can see where the nearest grocery store or hospital is, or how long would it take to drive from here to there.
In a game where narrative right, from the game master or a player, determines what is true, the only way of answering questions about the fiction are asking whoever has the right to declare that. Most games assume that people will also keep the fiction internally consistent, which means that questions can also be answered by looking at what has been established. But if something has not been established, then there is no a priori way of finding out how it will be.
Very insightful. “Colour” = “wallpaper”.
I wouldn’t say you are shopping for corn and peas and unhulled sesame seeds in that scenario. Your friend is shopping, following your instructions.With the helping with the bike example, you’re helping, but helping doesn’t require physical action.The mirror story as I’ve heard it is a case of getting deeply invested in the fiction - filling in parts of it yourself, etc. That doesn’t make it real. It makes it meaningful.
I wouldn’t say you are shopping for corn and peas and unhulled sesame seeds in that scenario. Your friend is shopping, following your instructions.
We’re on the precipice of falling into semantics land here; you’re applying your definitions of “real”, “meaningful”, “shopping”, “fition” and “action” in a way that almost but not quite meshes with the definitions I was intending when writing what I wrote.
That’s also why I like using very alien words like “gloracle” and “blorb”; less risk of other semantics being applied to the same lexeme.
When I visit the game world via a character, that doesn’t require a lot of extradiegetical action on my part as a player (I mean, a little bit, maintaining the sheet, rolling dice etc—comparable to being physically able to operate a phone in the bike helping analogy). It does require diegetical action: going to the inn, listening for rumors, packing my bag etc.
If you take the stance that “realness” is based on prep, does that mean that unprepped things aren’t real?If I ask you what colour the wallpaper is, and you say, on a whim, “yellow!”, and later in the game I invent a spell that turns yellow things into acid, and then use it to survive an encounter in that room, is that “real”?I’d argue that it feels plenty real, and is exactly how tangibility can function in non-blorb games (from a fictional perspective).
If you take the stance that “realness” is based on prep, does that mean that unprepped things aren’t real?
Yeah I’ve been pondering this question for the last couple of days as this thread has been bubbling and I’m glad someone asked it explicitly. I was hoping to have come up with an answer by then though.
The yellow-whim-acid example does reflect our gameplay accurately, with the tier three loop and the wallpaper↔saliency interaction.
It’s unreal if I have a mirror that’s harmless but I change it to be harmful on a whim or to steer the story.
But what about when wallpaper becomes salient?
The core idea is “in a cloud, bones of steel”.A cloud of unreality with a core of reality.But what about when parts of that cloud ossify? (Uh, sorry if gross analogy.)
To start answering this question, let’s look at my emotional response (because of course. #emo2097 ).To me, that is less satisfying. The immense satisfaction of emergence out of interacting with the room’s properties, combined with the dissatisfaction of those properties not being part of the real.
So not enough transparency of method…? When it’s not clear to what extent the gloracle is responsible, the GM takes the blame?
I’m learning about Freebooters of the Frontier which seems to be more of a blorby take on DW?
Yes, this was probably part of the cause. Like I mentioned the GM’s had some additional rules and procedures that they were using that were not player-facing. (That was part of the premise of the game–you are exploring a mysterious world, you don’t know its rules, can you figure them out and use them to survive? Which is common for some things like the random encounter tables. But they may have taken the principle too far in some cases.)
I use that technique all the time. “Yes, turns out we’re doing disease rolls every day. You should’ve gotten a guide they would’ve told you to get bug salve.” I’m a bit of an unapologetic b_____ #cruella
@Vivificient, how much do you know about what the GMs did to make DW more strict? That sounds challenging. If you know more, have you written or posted about it anywhere - or have they? Would be interesting reading (but should probably be kept out of this thread).
I'll ask my friend about it. He might be willing to come register here and start a thread about it.
Yes. This is me every morning.
Just the same, a good book can make you forget at times that the story isn't real. Or at least, the body forgets, I guess. I'll never read a book like "It" all by myself in the basement ever again. A good book, movie, or group can figuratively transport you "there".
The moment you punch a bad guy through a pane of glass, though, and he dies from infection from all the cuts, that’s... no longer *right*.
Don't sweat it. Get some sleep! (Advice I should also take, haha)
It’s not that complicated, I think. In Forge terms, it’s Creative Agenda and Technical Agenda - two almost entirely orthogonal concerns.
A question for the blob-people:
Please try to be kinder♥I’m already bummed out enough
How do you deal with players bored or uninterested? It’s possible that you just designed a boring scenario or dungeon and players don’t seem too engaged in terms of fun, even if they’re invested in it because of their characters’ goals. So they won’t just go do something else. From what I’ve read, you’d resist the temptation of just improvising something interesting, like the dragon in the lady Blackbird anecdote. You just wait and make adjustments between sessions? Is it ok to change prep already written (but unused) between sessions?
I’ve sometimes scrapped the entire campaign when that happens. (There was this guy that was kind of a jerk to the other players.)I’ve sometimes cut sessions short.I’ve sometimes had patience that things will get awesome soon enough if they only get a little bit deeper or w/e.
For the record I’ve been in a higher rate (proportionally) of “bad” games of Microscope and Fiasco than bad games of D&D.
Also we have a web page where the players can list the “unexplored edges” of their progress and vote on them. If it stalls out they just bring up that page and look over some of the options they’ve put in there to see where they can go next.
Another question: can blorby immersion get torn apart by players portraying their characters in an unblorby way? Or this technique doesn’t apply to them? For example sudden changes of personality, taking actions for extra diegetic reasons, inventing stuff about their characters that was never established, etc.
That’s not something I have a lot of experience with. Anyone else from “my” side want to field that one?
I was running this module where “gods” can possess characters giving them a new personality which was part of the selling point of the module, giving it a mythic feel, and the players were like “ewww… does lesser resto work?” They are so invested in their own immersion.
Some of the things you list are things that would be the most disruptive to that player themselves and not so bad for anyone else at the table.
You can get similar play from even more traditional rulesets if the GM is able and willing to adopt a strict and principled approach to how they create and adjudicate situations. This can look nothing like "blorb", but is similar in that it can be an objective and consistent, principled means of creating opposition and conflict which makes everything in play feel "more real".
The invented dragon in AsIf’s Lady Blackbird game.
Ok, that's an interesting example. What I read here is the players were unclear on what the principles of this style of gaming were.
The invented dragon in AsIf’s Lady Blackbird game.
So let's say we're playing Air Chess.Air Chess is exactly like normal chess, but there's no physical board or game pieces. It's up to us, the players, to remember the positions of the pieces. When we make a move, instead of physically reaching out and manipulating a piece, we say, "Queen to D6" or whatever.Are we telling a story? No. Obviously no..We're playing Air Chess, but not on an 8x8 board. This board is HUGE! Much bigger than we can hold in our memory at any given time. Infinitely large, actually.One of us, let's say me, has a Diagram. It's shows the starting state of parts of the board. Not all of it, though! But I've also got some rules that let me figure out what the board looks like, some of the time. Alternating squares of black and white. Pawns arranged in infinite straight files. Kings always next to queens. And I've got an algorithm that needs some time to work through, but lets me fill in blank unmapped spaces on the board.You're still not allowed to look at any of this, only I am. Oh, and I'm allowed to write down notes, now. But you can ask me questions about the current state of the board. I need to answer you truthfully.Are we telling a story now? Still nope!.We're playing Air Chess on a HUGE board, and I've got the Diagram and some algorithms and can write notes but you have to interrogate me to remind yourself of the state of the board.And the board evolves when we're not looking at it. There's some generative process that applies local changes, like Conway's Game of Life. Klockwerk processes. It's my job to apply those processes when we come back to somewhere we've ignored for a while, and communicate the results to you.And we've named each of the pieces on the board, things like Alice and Bob and Cary and Duke.And instead of referring to spaces as E1 or B6 or whatever, the places have names, too. "The Village of Homlett." Or, "The Cave of the Blue Medusa."Are we telling a story now? I don't think you..We're playing Air Chess on an infinite board and I have the key and the algorithms and the pieces and spaces have names.Except we're not using the rules of chess. We're using the rules of physics, as best we can understand them. Instead of saying "Alice from Village of Homlett to Cave of the Blue Medusa," you say, "Alice walks from Homlett to the Cave," and I say, "They're two miles apart, so that'll take about 40 minutes. In that time, the water pouring into the cave rises another foot and a half."Are we telling a story now?
you say, "Alice walks from Homlett to the Cave," and I say, "They're two miles apart, so that'll take about 40 minutes. In that time, the water pouring into the cave rises another foot and a half."What is it, from a linguistical perspective?