Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Re: Icehouse RPG

  • FromJoshua Kronengold <mneme@xxxxxx>
  • DateTue, 6 Mar 2007 16:43:54 -0600
Brian Campbell writes:
>Hmm. My point is more that any relatively limited sets of traits like  
>this doesn't really make for a truly generic system; it makes for  
>something more like "yet another GURPS."

I should probably look at the system. :)

>standard "universal" system, with "espionage" and "creative spark"  
>type abilities, and using the generic system's "wealth" attribute to  
>represent your resources, and so on. But I think it would be much  
>more interesting to design the system much more in line with what are  
>critical for the particular genre and type of interactions I want.  

Or you could have a generic conflict resolution system (a la Hero
Quest or Dogs in the Vinyard) and have social conflict work using the
combat system -- with the skills most important to the game being the
ones that drive -that- particular interaction (whereas when it's an
economic interaction, or a combat, very different traits are more

The most important thing is to identify what's most important -first-,
even when that's something basic like "at heart, a roleplaying game is
an experience where you portray your character."  Then design so the
most important things are highly prioritized.

(as a counter-example?  In WW, the rhetoric is that the game's about
making a difference, changing the world, or fighting the strugle with
the dark.  But the system's all about combat.  Guess which one gets
the most play-time in most groups?  Yeah, yeah; Storyteller's a
fantastic punching bag)

>Nah, I'm not fond of pure narrativism either. At a certain point, you  

Actually, pure narativism is very much a game -- but with more angst.
You're probably thinking freeform.

Really, I reccomend avoiding GNS terms -- they tend to poison a
discussion, especially since the vernacular meanings for them are very
different from the Forge meanings, and neither quite matches up with
either reality or any given person's instinctive ideas for the terms.

>much more interesting narratives than the simpler "we're all telling  
>a cooperative story" type mechanics that people usually think of when  
>someone says narrativist.

That's freeform again.

Nar is a game that's about the character decisions -- changing the
Gamism is about the thrill of winning and losing -- getting to pay in
and cash out, beating the system or the other players (or trying to
and failing).
Sim's about everything else.  Well, really, Sim's about creating a
virtual world and then keeping it consistent by following it's rules,
but a lot of junk gets lumped in here.

But really, it's best to avoid the terms and talk about what you mean;
they're not really all that useful.

>For a specific example, I'll use a one-shot LARP I was in. Every  
>character had several goals they were trying to accomplish; some of  
>the goals were in conflict with each other, some were in harmony, and  
>they frequently focused activity on certain areas or items that  
>became focal points of the game.

Sounds like a good Theatre Style LARP.

>The action resolution method was  
>simple, fairly universal, and fairly abstract, without crunchy  
>tactical combat, and min/maxing was obviously not an issue because  
>characters were pre-generated by the GMs. I would argue, though that  
>the game aspect had a huge, positive impact on the narrative, because  
>the diplomacy, trading, scheming, backstabbing and so on drove the  
>story. The game aspect was all "in character", but it was very gamey,  
>in a Diplomacy sort of way.

This is a nearly pure mix of narrativsm and gamism.  The players try
to win (within the limit of their characters and the rules), and have
to make decisions both from a character-choice centered view and a
strategic centered view; the result is whatever this results in
(rather than one fitting the GM's preconceptions of how the story
"should" go).

Ron Edwards, controversal (and often dead wrong) figure that he is,
talks a lot about how Gamism and Narrativsm are tied together at the
hip.  (naturally, he imbues "Simulationism" with everything he hates).

       Joshua Kronengold (mneme@(io.com, labcats.org)) |\      _,,,--,,_  ,)
--^--   "Did you know, if you increment enough, you   /,`.-'`'   -,  ;-;;'
 /\\    get an extra digit?"  "I knew," weeps Six.    |,4-  ) )-,_ ) /\     
/-\\\   "We knew. But we had forgotten."	     '---''(_/--' (_/-'

Current Thread