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  • #31
    I think a character should be able to get pregnant if her player (and the father’s player) wants that, but I don’t think there should be official pregnancy rules for the reasons everybody else said.

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    • #32
      I tend just to add a level of difficulty to physical roles. Simple really.

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      • #33
        Originally posted by Ragged Robin View Post
        I tend just to add a level of difficulty to physical roles. Simple really.
        Makes sense.

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        • #34
          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          My two cents[.]
          I don't have a strong opinion on your points numbers 1 and 3; I agree strongly with your numbers 2, 4, and 5 (with a caveat on 5,) and I think I'm mostly on board with your points nos. 6 and 7.

          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          5. Related to this, no explicit “pregnancy check” rules. Pregnancy only occurs when the player and Storyteller agree to it. The closest you should ever come to this would be to point out that Life Magick can be used to promote fertility or barrenness, but that even that should be subject to player and Storyteller veto. (This is where the sorts of techniques I referred to earlier might come in handy, with a Rewind letting everyone backtrack to before the spell was cast and to come up with some alternate course of events.)
          I'm with you on not doing anything against the Players' wills when it comes to reproductive issues (among other things.) I just want to point out that it's entirely possible for Players (and ST obviously,) to agree on the front end--before it ever even comes up in-game--on a set of rules not only for what it's like to be pregnant (mechanically,) but also becoming pregnant. In my Googling around, I've seen instances of people deciding that they're okay with (and opting into) a system for determining (via rolls and other factors,) whether a pregnancy occurs. Based on your other points about players agency, I suspect you'd be down with this, but I did want to point out that there are apparently groups out there that affirmatively like to play with a system in which they leave this sort of thing to fate and the dice.

          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          I'd appreciate it if they would take pains not to treat pregnancy as some sort of Flaw, or other inherently negative trait. Just musing here for the moment; but maybe it could be framed as working through a creative process, where the creation is a new human life. And instead of talking about the penalties of having a swollen belly, for instance, talk about the effort that's directed by the mother toward bringing the child to term.
          I don't think there's anything wrong with your approach re- a highly collaborative creative process without much or any mechanical considerations, and I agree with not referring to pregnancy as a "Flaw". However, I can easily see someone desirous of roleplaying a pregnancy also wanting some mechanical elements to reflect some of the basic difficulties that pregnant people can and do deal with just going about their lives; or feeling like they need to some mechanical challenges to maintain the verisimilitude of the game. It seems to me that as long as your No. 2 point is heeded, it's less likely that you'd end up with particularly insensitive or problematic language or treatment on the subject.

          Originally posted by Dataweaver View Post
          7. Focus on what sorts of stories can be told. Whatever mechanics are introduced should be presented in the context of enabling the story, not as a “reality simulator” . . . . [W]hen dealing with the Storyteller System, the goal shouldn't be simulation; it should be drama. (I wouldn't quite go so far as to say that simulationist games are inherently bad design; if a gaming group likes simulations, I'm not going to tell them they're wrong to like it. But if your goal is a “drama engine”, then simulationism is definitely out.)
          I agree with the idea that if you want a "drama engine," it's counterproductive to make decisions about game mechanics based purely (or even predominantly) on whether it makes the game more or less true to real life--i.e., accurately simulating reality cannot, under those circumstances, be the end unto itself. That said, on my first reading of this point (no. 7) I thought you might be implying that leaning into a real-world-accurate portrayal of pregnancy would necessarily be antithetical to a story/drama-first approach, though I may just be reading too much into it. But even as confident as I am that a simulationist approach to pregnancy can walk hand-in-hand with, and serve the desire or goal to put drama, story, and narrative first (particularly if you're involved in a more magically stripped-down game that aims to highlight the grittier day-to-day human difficulties of being a mage,) I would stipulate that I do not believe it's possible to achieve a perfect or satisfying '50/50' split; the best of efforts to split the baby is invariably still going to have moments in which the needs of the simulation will conflict with what's best for story and drama.


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          • #35
            The problem with simulationism in RPG is that it is inherently a fallacy, and not understanding this tends to lead to several problems down the road.

            It is a fallacy because not only no system can really be accurate about reality, but also and even more because the system never actually tries to simulate reality, but instead to simulate someone's expectations about reality. In the end it is not about realism as people understand it, but about verisimilitude. Here is the fallacy: you have the impression of an objective quality, but this quality is actually subjective, because people have distinct expectations about reality.

            From a design perspective Simulationism have been dropped out of this understanding. It is not about ignoring that people sometimes want to experience simulation, but that offering this experience is inherently different from actually creating a simulation, instead involving the identification of the expectations of those people to create an experience they'll enjoy.

            And in the end this is also a form of drama. One of the things we must deconstruct is the idea that drama or interpretation is something dissociated from rules or from mathematics and dice-rolling. Those are all tools for drama, and a story can deliver drama and emotion in many ways without giving the impression of being theatrical. After all, a roll to decide if you hit an attack, for example, is inherently a dramatic moment as you hang on the dice to figure out what will happen next, with character's lives, possessions and decisions on the line.


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            • #36
              Even the creator of GNS theory, which popularized "simulationism" in game design discussions, was clear that he meant it as emulation of a fictional world via rules, not a real world simulation mentality, even if some games are very close to each other in that regard. The goal of that concept (which even he has disregarded at this point) was to categorize a way of thinking about mechanics where the rules create an experience that feels true to a described reality with the presumption that experience will facilitate fun via exploration based play.

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