Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Solving the Narraitivst gamers Exalted paradox

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • #46
    Originally posted by SpruceStripedGoose View Post
    I get that stunts in exalted are supposed to reward players for being creative, but they never entirely made logical sense. Sometimes the task becomes easier (more dice) because you have found some clever solution to a problem worthy of a stunt, but sometimes the task becomes easier because you have chosen to make your action extremely complex and daring which isn't exactly logical.
    The people who first introduced me to Exalted jokingly described it as "the game where you lose dice for every second your feet stay on the ground," in reference to the wuxia-style stunts players often describe using in combat. Stunting is more than just rewarding players for being creative. It's one part genre emulation, because you want to encourage players to both try and succeed at some of the amazing feats that the heroes of the stories Exalted draws on for inspiration do, but perhaps the most important part is it's a reminder for players that they should be entertaining their fellow players as well.

    Comment


    • #47
      Third Edition does not seem that narrativist to me so much as a response to an edition where vocal elements of the community advised players to respond to talking with violence because words were bewitching sorcery and the idea that perfect effects let you get one over on a killer GM.

      Comment


      • #48
        Ex3 is in itself not a game that I would describe as narrativist, but it doesn't get in the way of playing it in that style either.

        To detail that further, it offers no or very little in the way of tools or mechanics to push the story. But I can most definitely front-load my character's personal story-arc and have her pointed at her first crucible, using intimacies, inventing some flaws and a background of two or three paragraphs. And in a way that is easily read and absorbed by the ST. Which is more than enough for players and ST's familiar with the style of play

        As others have pointed out, a narrativist system is not by definition rules-light. Burning Wheel springs to mind as another example of a rules-heavy narrativist system. It's also not simply about describing the ingame fiction. A narrativist system puts creating and constantly pushing the story of your character as it's first design priority. In their more extreme variants it feels more like playing the story of a character than the character itself (i.e. you're more like a director of the movie than the actor).

        Comment


        • #49
          Originally posted by kingcrackers View Post
          See, that's two things I'm confused about. What's "highbrow?" What's "lowbrow?" What are these value statements?

          And furthermore, I thought simulationists also modeled genre and tone, instead of only reality? That the core of the simulationist "ethos" was "fidelity to a source," and that source could be either a greater body of work or physics?
          I brought up the highbrow to point out that "gamist" vs "narrativist" isn't about lowbrow or highbrow. What gamism absolutely isn't, is limited to "kill da baddies and get the treasures!" On the other hand, gamism acknowledges that its thousands of times easier to write a rule system that focuses on "kill da baddies and get the treasures" because those are largely mechanical quandaries as opposed to in depth rules for feelings and showing ghosts photographs of their grandchildren.

          As far as genre you're right, I thought that fell under narrativism. Looking at a summary of GNS from Wikipedia;

          "Simulationism maintains a self-contained universe operating independent of player will; events unfold according to internal rules. Combat may be broken down into discrete, semi-randomised steps for modeling attack skill, weapon weight, defense checks, armor, body parts and damage potential. "

          "Characters usually change and develop over time, and attempts to impose a fixed storyline are impossible or counterproductive. Moments of drama (the characters' inner conflict) make player responses difficult to predict, and the consequences of such choices cannot be minimized."

          "Gamist RPG design emphasizes parity; all player characters should be equally strong and capable of dealing with adversity. Combat and diversified options for short-term problem solving (for example, lists of specific spells or combat techniques) are frequently emphasized."

          Johnathon Tweet, the father of GNS theory, originally called "Narrativist," "Drama." I would have considered genre stuff to be narrativism, but apparently that's simulationism. So according to this, Exalted tends towards... simulationism? It is VERY much a genre game. Of course, the N in official GNS (as opposed to informal GNS) strikes me more as the genre rules for romantic fantasy. Hell, even 3rd edition D&D and Pathfinder, which are the crunchiest of the crunchy games, would be Simulationist, not Gamist, because the axiom of "all player characters should be equally strong" sure as hell doesn't apply there. Additionally since even the gamiest of RPGs like D&D emphasize they're not about winning, I don't think there really *are* gamist RPGs, as defined in GNS theory, except a few super obscure ones, as likely to be artsy fartsy as beer and pretzels.

          So it seems to be that there are basically NS, and virtually everything is actually simulationism. Easily everything I hate and everything I like is simulationism.

          The jist of the three arcs seem to challenge, story, consistency.

          Comment


          • #50
            My feeling on players who reject the idea of actually understanding and engaging with the mechanics is that by rejecting "power gaming" and "munchkinism" you are effectively choosing to play a comparative incompetent. To use a simple example, in D&D the most important stats for a fighter are Strength, Dex, and Con, and you want to have the most damaging weapon and most protective armour you can get. If, for whatever reason, you choose to put your best numbers into Int, Wis, and Char, and you take only a light weapon and wear no armour, then you have no grounds to complain if your fighter cannot contribute in a fight. If you either will not or cannot take the time and expend the effort needed for a high-crunch game, then don't play it! There are plenty of other game system around. Find something suited to your tastes instead of complaining that something doesn't cater to them when it was never a design goal. If you like lots of crunch, don't play Cortex. If you hate math, avoid Hero.

            On a related matter: Playing your character and understanding the rules are not contradictory! Indeed, quite the opposite. If, for example, your character is supposedly an experienced fighter, then making the most mechanically sound choices to maximize your fighting prowess is good character play. An experienced fighter becomes experienced by learning what does and doesn't work and focussing on what works. Deliberately ignoring the mechanics is exactly the same as saying your character is a bull-headed fool. If that seems an excessive statement, consider this: many of you are skilled in various trades and professions. What would you think of someone who deliberately chose to use poor equipment or bad procedures "because I must be true to my vision!" You'd think he's a nitwit, right? It's the same for your character. If you choose to play Joxer, don't complain when he gets upstaged by Xena, or Gabrielle mocks him.

            Comment


            • #51
              Originally posted by Deinos View Post

              GNS is about what the mechanics are supposed to reflect. Early D&D tended towards lots of gamist and a little bit of simulationist, 3e and 5e are just gamist, 4e is gamist and narrativist (solos, minions, encounters, and dailies are all justified, explicitly so, in their role in the narrative). Offhand, Promethean, for example, strikes me as particularly narrativist in nature, as your whole sub-experience system, vitriol, depends on you fulfilling the narrative of your dubiously successful quest for humanity.

              They definitely don't correspond to how highbrow or lowbrow the actual party's playstyle is: simulationism is just that, rules that are based off your attempt at simulating reality. For example, trying to model weapons based off your understanding of how they interact with armor is simulationism, while trying to set up weapons to make them balanced based off how many skill points they need or how costly they are and so forth is more gamism.

              If you're just using the rulebooks and not houseruling anything, no matter how your style goes, you're not affecting its place in the GNS spectrum.

              Promethean was sim. All World of Darkness games up to Blood & Smoke were like 95% sim with a couple of narrative rules for garnish (usually the Humanity trait or something like it), even though the aims of the game are obviously narrativist and the play style wants you to be narrativist, the rules weren't really congruent with that. Most games, historically, up until the 2000s are primarily sim, even if that's not what they're really going for (and even EX3 uses that as its bedrock layer-- one of the reasons I tend to think sim is a questionably category, but hey if you're working with Big Three, it was part of the original model).

              Comment


              • #52
                Originally posted by Holden View Post


                Promethean was sim. All World of Darkness games up to Blood & Smoke were like 95% sim with a couple of narrative rules for garnish (usually the Humanity trait or something like it), even though the aims of the game are obviously narrativist and the play style wants you to be narrativist, the rules weren't really congruent with that. Most games, historically, up until the 2000s are primarily sim, even if that's not what they're really going for (and even EX3 uses that as its bedrock layer-- one of the reasons I tend to think sim is a questionably category, but hey if you're working with Big Three, it was part of the original model).
                To get back to the idea of the GNS model as a way of thinking about game design, what about the idea that their are styles of play that are independent of the rules or intended style of the game?

                I ran Mage for years and seriously homebrewed the rules to get the detail out and focus on narrative elements, and in my exp. this is what happens at many game tables when prefered playing style doesnt mesh with the rules of the game-though it usually happens when people who prefer narrative focused play are interested in the setting and mythos of a game that is more system driven than they like.


                Visit me at Tales of Grey - my RPG Game-Master's blog.

                "If only I had an enemy bigger than my apathy, I could have won" - I gave you all, Mumford & Sons

                Comment


                • #53
                  Originally posted by CapitanTypo View Post

                  To get back to the idea of the GNS model as a way of thinking about game design, what about the idea that their are styles of play that are independent of the rules or intended style of the game?

                  I ran Mage for years and seriously homebrewed the rules to get the detail out and focus on narrative elements, and in my exp. this is what happens at many game tables when prefered playing style doesnt mesh with the rules of the game-though it usually happens when people who prefer narrative focused play are interested in the setting and mythos of a game that is more system driven than they like.

                  Heh, I've done basically the opposite and converted several game to the Hero System, which is probably the crunchiest system I've ever seen. I agree that different tables are going to adjust the system to best fit their gaming style. That being said I'm not sure it is something that really can or possibly should be taken into account. As it is really hard to model: "At frustration level X we just gave up and used different rules" in the game design process.

                  Comment


                  • #54
                    Originally posted by Meianno Yuurei View Post
                    Another way of putting it, in my understanding:

                    I want to climb a wall....
                    This mostly makes sense, though I'd zoom out a bit for the first one. A gamist approach primarily challenges me to decide what resources, if any, to put into wall-climbing. I have to know at character creation whether it's worth it to overcome walls in some fashion, e.g. do I have some way to climb walls, walk through walls, smash walls, etc. Then in play I need to decide what resources I want to spend beating the wall, whether I want to bear the shame of asking my friends to get me over the wall I failed to prepare for, etc. The focus of play is a series of resource management and problem-solving questions, even if there's other stuff as well.

                    The simulationist sounds right on, though I'd add that, since there's less emphasis on beating the game, there's also room to explore other stuff if the wall can't be climbed. Or maybe not, sometimes, at which point the player feels a certain sense of rightness at the character being devoured by hyenas.


                    When all the world was very young
                    And mountain magic heavy hung
                    The supermen would walk in file
                    Guardians of a loveless isle

                    Comment


                    • #55
                      Originally posted by CapitanTypo View Post

                      To get back to the idea of the GNS model as a way of thinking about game design, what about the idea that their are styles of play that are independent of the rules or intended style of the game?

                      I ran Mage for years and seriously homebrewed the rules to get the detail out and focus on narrative elements, and in my exp. this is what happens at many game tables when prefered playing style doesnt mesh with the rules of the game-though it usually happens when people who prefer narrative focused play are interested in the setting and mythos of a game that is more system driven than they like.
                      At some point aren't you just making a new, narrativist game based heavily on Mage? A lot of "we play this game but in that style" is indistinguishable from playing a different game with a lot of rules in common.


                      When all the world was very young
                      And mountain magic heavy hung
                      The supermen would walk in file
                      Guardians of a loveless isle

                      Comment


                      • #56
                        Originally posted by Holden View Post


                        Promethean was sim. All World of Darkness games up to Blood & Smoke were like 95% sim with a couple of narrative rules for garnish (usually the Humanity trait or something like it), even though the aims of the game are obviously narrativist and the play style wants you to be narrativist, the rules weren't really congruent with that. Most games, historically, up until the 2000s are primarily sim, even if that's not what they're really going for (and even EX3 uses that as its bedrock layer-- one of the reasons I tend to think sim is a questionably category, but hey if you're working with Big Three, it was part of the original model).
                        I agree, but I mean the personal actualization and feelings-n-stuff elements in Promethean, Wraith, and a few others strike me as kinda-narrative-ish. But as I mention, yeah, virtually everything that I've ever liked, or ever hated, or ever had no comment on, turned out to be simulationism. MtAsc has a little bit of the frou-frou self actualization stuff with its vision quests at each arete level and paradigms and so forth.

                        Comment


                        • #57
                          Essentially the GNS model is focused on what the design prioritizes: creating a full realisation of the fictional world (sim), creating a particular kind of story (nar), or creating a challenge for the players (gamist). While many system we think of as simulationist - D&D, HERO, etc - strive for a high degree of 'realism' or 'verisimilitude', that's not needed for a sim game; modelling a character's motivations and drives is just as much driven by simulationist motives as modelling how much weight they can carry. To be narrativist mechanics things have to actually shape the story, whether by setting what must happen in a particular scene, making a statement that something occurs in the fiction, or many other narrative mechanics.

                          As an example, take a hypothetical Hamlet RPG:
                          - If Hamlet's actions and chances of success in a given scene are determined by his Angst, Decisiveness and Sword-Fighting stats, that's probably sim.
                          - If his actions are determined by how many steps along the Tragic Hero path he's travelled, that's probably narrative.
                          - If hist actions are determined by how cleverly the player can make choices to determine the best chance of success, that's probably gamist.

                          As should be apparent, Exalted 3e is a mixture of all these approaches. It's mainly rooted in simulationist practices; even Limit and Intimacies are modelling a thing that exists in the fiction. Character advancement decisions and combat, on the other hand, are highly gamist, presenting several optimisation problems and tactical challenges to players. Finally, systems like the Leadership project system, the sanctity of merits, crippling damage and maybe Lore's fact declaration (depending on your definitions) are more narrativist-focused. In my experience, the great majority of systems have elements that draw from all three categories and it's rare to find one that's exclusively one thing.

                          In general I feel the GNS model (and the rest of the Big Model) are far more designer-focused than player-focused; it's trying to set down ideas for designers to consider as they make games and analyse the design of others, rather than trying to analyse what actually happens in gameplay. In particular, it doesn't really touch upon the emotional impact a game has on players and the existence or lack of immersion.

                          Comment


                          • #58
                            I find the GNS part of the big model to be useful when determining if a group of players are compatible. A lot of people are already playing with friends, and they have since long found something they are happy enough with. But, in my opinion, most people are completely unaware that there are different ways to like things, and can't express what they like themselves.

                            If someone is talking about balance, fairness of the system, rules have to be RAW or clearly stated house-rules, and talks about encounters and challenges, they are probably quite high on the Gamist axis (and most likely not compatible with me).

                            I'm a verisimilitude nut, and can spend countless hours on thinking of how things fits together, even if it is a game I'm not sure I will ever find a group of players to. This need to have an internal logic, even if it isn't visible and obvious, gives me a strong simulationistic preference.

                            A person saying "never say 'no'; say 'yes, but..." is probably a narrativist. It is making an interesting story that is the main focus, and the Gamistic and Simulationistic willingness to kill a potentially good story, because that was how the rules/the setting work, might annoy a narrativist to no end. My own willingness to pick a result on if it might lead to something interesting, as long it is within what would be plausible, instead of letting a mechanic decide, might mean a certain level of narrativistic thinking.

                            No one is a 100% in one camp and 0% in the rest, just as no system is just that. D&D 3.x/Pathfinder can be used as a genre simulation, but only if the setting is actually built around the rules. Otherwise it is a very poor simulationist system, while it still have a quite strong gamist focus. Fiasco, while being a very narrativistic game, is far to gamey for me and it is to narrowly focused to be used for much else.

                            As I understand it, the combat system of Ex3 is designed to give the flow of combat, and it has tactical choices. However, those choices are in a large part not related to the choices made by the character. So it is not a simulationistc genre simulation, but a narrativistic genre simulation with a strong gameistic component. I think it would be possible to use Ex3 as inspiration to write a more simulationistic combat system. Still this might be due to a complete disagreement of how the genre actually work from an ingame perspective.

                            Comment


                            • #59
                              Originally posted by Deinos View Post

                              I agree, but I mean the personal actualization and feelings-n-stuff elements in Promethean, Wraith, and a few others strike me as kinda-narrative-ish.
                              ​I know little about this discourse, but my first thought on Promethean being described as a simulationist system would be the fact that your character's personal quest for humanity is something directly, numerically quantified, with stated minimum requirements, and where its culmination is dependent on a dice roll with modifiers provided by various details of the build up.



                              I have approximate knowledge of many things.
                              Watch me play Dark Souls III (completed)
                              https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLDtbr08HW8RW4jOHN881YA3yRZBV4lpYw Watch me play Breath of the Wild (updated 12/03)

                              Comment


                              • #60
                                From my experiences I would call Promethean a simulationist system telling a story in which personal narrative plays a large part.

                                Comment

                                Working...
                                X