What ‘happened’ on game night

You know, it just struck me that roleplayers report their roleplaying sessions in terms of what actually happened. Like one might report the results of a sports or chess match.

It struck me, because if I compared that to sitting down with someone to just make up a story (humourous link) you wouldn’t, I would think, report ‘what happened’. At the time you’d have thrown together a story. But in reporting it you wouldn’t say any of the events happened.

However, roleplayers do, even when they enter straight story crafting. It’s never “So we thought it’d be a good story if a guy swung into the base from a helicopter guy rope. So we wrote that down”. It’s always “And then my PC swung into the base on the choppers guy rope!”

And I’ve always, perhaps delusionally, assumed this meant there was a desire in the general RP culture for the game rules to be like a board game or sport, where events actually happen (like losing a piece, or getting a point scored, or whatever). Because, and this is important, that’s the only way I know how something can actuallyhappen at a session. I thought, when people said their PC ACTUALLY swung into the base, they wanted rules for it as much as I could say my rook moved forward in chess, because there’s rules for that and it’s an actual event.

Because otherwise it’s just story crafting. It didn’t happen – the guy didn’t actually swing into the base in the same way a rook actually moves five squares forward or whatever. The only thing that happened is that you made up a story about a guy swinging into a base.

But it’s always reported as that’s what actually happened.

And I thought people just kept missing the fact there was no rule to what they asserted was happening, so it wasn’t happening, it was just a story they were making up. I thought they wanted an actual rule to make it actually happen, since they kept asserting events in game actually happened during play.

Although really, it’s been many years of it. Really why did I think they were missing it all this time? For years and years?

I thought there was something in common. But now? People go to sessions, just story craft amongst themselves but then assert they happened as events – when there were no rules that make them events (as I said, the only way I know to make something an actual event is to follow a rule, like in sport or chess). The only events were them talking about what story to make next and scribbling it down/remembering it. That’s all that happened – making stuff up. Which is a fine activity. But they speak about it then as if it were happening and speak about it after as if it happened.

And I always thought they wanted rules for these things, so they actually would be real events, and were just a bit confused on the fact that there weren’t any rules currently. Particularly in my own group, but also in general RP culture.

But now I think I’m looking at a culture, hundreds of thousands of people, who don’t want rules that would make an actual event, but they do want to call the story they crafted, an actual event that happened. When the only thing that actually happened was some people sitting around, making up a story together.

I don’t know what I’m looking at.

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56 Comments

  1. Guy Shalev said,

    20 March, 2009 at 11:48 pm

    Check this post, Callan.

    That’s the myth, they don’t really portray what happened, that drily, by their narration, and their emphasis, they weave “what happened” into a story. And, if RPGs are such a social act, perhaps the story is not of what happened inside the fiction, even if that is what it purportedly is, but the story is what happened at the game-table, with the players – with their characters giving context. Just like KoDT.

  2. Tommi said,

    21 March, 2009 at 7:18 am

    That rules somehow make something real, is to me, a very strange assumption. Where does it come from? Does it apply only to games and storytelling or also to real life? What about acting or books? What is the point? It is as if you lived in some other world where only things carefully bound by rules are real.

    I can talk about roleplaying in terms of what happened in the fiction or what the players did. The latter is more exhausting, because when you wrapped in the playing, observing the activity at the same is harder.

    In similar way I talk about chess in terms of what happened on the board, or about what players did during the game. Chessboard is a fairly boring world, though, so talking about the players is more interesting in that case.

    After playing ADOM or some other computer game where there is a fictional world, I can talk about what happened in the fiction or about what I did while playing; they are usually borderline cases, but the worlds tend to be fairly shallow so I’ll rather talk about my experiences as a player.

    Books likewise: I can talk about the fiction or about my experience reading it. The fiction is usually more interesting. Movies, watching; music, listening.

    More generally, in case of art I can talk about the art itself or experiencing it.

    If we told a story around a campfire, I could talk about the story or the process of creating it.

    I don’t see no functional difference among the activities listed above.

  3. Callan said,

    22 March, 2009 at 9:11 am

    Hi Tommi,

    It is as if you lived in some other world where only things carefully bound by rules are real.

    Actually yes, that’s probably quite accurate.

    Take the example of running a red light in your car. What actually happened? Well, there was a car that was moving. And a red light happened to be turned on. Nothing really happened.

    It’s only when you transpose onto the world the rule of obeying traffic signals, that the ‘event’ of running a red light occurs. I’m sure you’d agree running a red light is an ‘event’ and something real?

    So I do live in a world where, well, not all things, but many things are only made real by being carefully bound by rules. Laws, for example. And even then they are ‘real’ only in that people modify their own behaviour in relation to them. I’m pretty sure you live in this world too.

    I can talk about roleplaying in terms of what happened in the fiction or what the players did.
    *snip*
    In similar way I talk about chess in terms of what happened on the board, or about what players did during the game.

    To clarify, I’m not talking about whether you report what the players did.

    I’m talking about refering to the events of a made up story as having ‘happened’ in the fiction. Happened in just the same way as running a red light has ‘happened’. Happened in the same way as what has happened on a chess board. When, since it’s fiction, nothing can happen in it, in those ways.

    Gamers actual play reports seem to make reference to ‘things that happened’, like things happen in chess, when really they refer to their made up story.

    I’ve assumed they did because they really wanted rules like chess has (or even like the traffic lights have) to make them real events. But now I don’t know what I’m looking at.

    Hello Guy,

    I don’t think ‘And the orcs shot arrows’ is a story of them as a social group. It’s possible to read between the lines, but that’s reading something they didn’t really intend to tell you (and oh did I get rapped on the knuckles for doing that at the forge, recently). Stories are told to deliberately tell you something. If I take it that they are indeed talking about their social connection with other people, by talking about orcs shooting arrows, god, that’s even worse than what I’ve currently proposed. I’m going to (and would rather) assume they aren’t talking about their social group.

  4. Tommi said,

    22 March, 2009 at 7:43 pm

    Re: rules. There’s few ways you can move forward from that position. Which is it, or which have I missed?

    You can accept that all physical laws are rules in that way, and hence that every physical action matters. Speech is a physical action. Thinking may or may not be completely physical action, but certainly there is a strong correlation between thinking and biochemical processes in brain. Hence, everything is bound by rules. Hence, it is trivially true that only things bound by rules matter.

    You can deny physics, or more likely, deny that thinking can, to a sufficient degree, be reduced to physical processes. This leaves you with psychological rules. If you at least partially deny physics, do you think there are psychological rules? If yes, humans are completely bound by rules and the statement is again trivial. I doubt you will answer no, since you allow very broad statements of purpose as rules.

    Claim that the world as we see it is fundamentally not real in some radical way, like Matrix or brain-in-a-jar. Okay. This also kills all meaning chess would have, so I assume this is not your take on things.

    Take some Hegelian stance that physical reality is not really relevant and that the world is actually a web of relations or meanings. (With apologies to Hegel, with whose philosophy I am not nearly familiar enough.) This, I think, is your actual opinion. This might make an interesting discussion.

    I’m talking about refering to the events of a made up story as having ‘happened’ in the fiction. Happened in just the same way as running a red light has ‘happened’. Happened in the same way as what has happened on a chess board. When, since it’s fiction, nothing can happen in it, in those ways.

    I’m trying to find out what you mean by things having really happened, but I do think that the statements in the quote can’t all be true.

  5. Callan said,

    22 March, 2009 at 11:55 pm

    I’ve already noted the rule of stopping at a red light is ‘real’ only in terms of people who modify their own behaviours in terms of that rule. But since their behaviour is a physically real thing, it’s almost the same as being a real thing. And I mean nothing like the Hegel you mention – just human pinhole perceptual hogwash, that stuff.

    As I’ve said, the only way I know how to make something real is to make rules that people physically follow. That physical following is a real event. The rule is almost real in that physical results that align with it, are being created. No, it doesn’t make it genuinely real, but its damn close. With the right rules, wars have been waged and many dead. People following rules have changed this world in many, many real ways, even if the rule itself isn’t real.

    Maybe you don’t agree with that. Fair enough, you don’t need to think made up rules have a real life impact. What matters is that in the same way kicking a goal in sport is, because of rules, seen as an event and real life impact (rather than a round ball passed between iron rods and nothing more), gamers seem to report ‘what happened in the fiction’ as if it happened as much as that kicked goal is perceived to have happened by the guys watching the sport.

    There’s a big difference between where a sporting match has happened and someone kicked a goal, and me making up a story about a sporting match and saying a goal was kicked in the story.

    Gamers seem to make up a story but then tell it like they are reporting the results of a sports match – ie, they report ‘real’ events.

    But I don’t know why your investigating what I mean by saying things have really happened? You don’t accept goals are kicked in sports? That it actually happened? Surely this is something you’ve accepted as being the case many times in your life, even if just seeing a sports report on TV that gives the points each side got?

  6. Tommi said,

    23 March, 2009 at 2:39 pm

    I agree that people following rules other people recognise is something that really happens, by every sane definition of real. What I have trouble with is the claim that stories are not real in this sense, or creating them is not real in this sense.

    Anyone experiencing (hearing, reading, …) a story or telling one is a real event in your sense. Further, the fictional events happening inside that story are real in your sense, because they affect the way people think. To take the physical stance: That a person thinks something changes that person’s brains, hence changing the way that person reacts to things. Even the smallest changes exist, even if it (practically) impossible to say what effects they have.

    Sports, by the way, are very similar to roleplaying games. In both a some meaningless events are given meaning: In football, it is people kicking a ball to the opponent’s goal. In roleplaying, it is the fictional events in fictional world. We have no reason but our agreement to assign any meaning to either. I can’t see the difference you are pointing to, given your definition of real.

  7. Callan said,

    23 March, 2009 at 10:59 pm

    It’s isn’t a real event in my sense. Running a red traffic light or kicking a goal wouldn’t exist if there wasn’t a rule about it that was agreed to by basically everyone. The rule has to be mutually agreed to by all parties involved, otherwise no event has happened for that group.

    Affecting someone in line with a rule they haven’t actually agreed to prior to that moment, isn’t an event at all.

    One of my old, mildly humourous examples of it , is to describe a GM going to the front of his house and shouting to random people on the street that their character is dead. That’s not an event at all, clearly. Because they have no agreed rules between them. A soccer example would be to kick a ball through some goals, then call out to strangers walking past that you scored a goal against them. Without mutually agreed to rules, were just that GM, shouting to strangers.

    And as said, there’s a considerable difference between making up a fictional story about a guy kicking a goal in soccer, and a real life match where a goal was kicked.

    And yet it seems gamers would say in both cases “X kicked a goal!”. With no anecdote to indicate that the one which is a made up story, is a made up story. On an on, reporting events without any annotation that it’s a made up story.

    As said, I’ve always assumed they thought there were rules for it and it was as real an event as a RL soccer goal, but they were confused about the fact there wasn’t any real rule support (and thus I concluded that they really wanted some rules written up for it, they just didn’t realise it because they already thought there were rules). Now I don’t know what I’m looking at.

  8. Tommi said,

    24 March, 2009 at 11:08 am

    Ahh, so you are considering the even somehow separate from the physical actions; that something can happen physically without being an event.

    Now I think I understand where you are coming from. I also disagree somewhat.

    Affecting someone in line with a rule they haven’t actually agreed to prior to that moment, isn’t an event at all.

    My sister has a dog. During winters when I take the dog for a walk we sometimes start playing; I kick around a small block of ice and the dog chases it, occasionally taking it to her mouth and carrying it, though usually just barking at it until I kick the block again. This is play. A game? Probably not. Do real events happen? I see them at least as real as a soccer game. Have we agreed on rules? This is up to you. Can dogs agree to rules?

    Children play with cars or animals or dolls or whatever. They negotiate in on fly. Sometimes it doesn’t work, often it does. They don’t agree to rules.

    People play a roleplaying game. They explicitly agree on some rules, while others are left implicit or not agreed upon (hard to say).

    I seel all of those equally meaningful. In all cases, the participants assign meaning to something that is otherwise meaningless: Me to tricking the dog run to wrong direction (the dog maybe to something, I don’t know enough about animal psychology to know, but at least it enjoys itself), the children to whatever happens in the story they create, and the roleplayers to whatever happens in their story. They all are meaningful because participants assign them meaning. This, I hope, is not controversial.

    This is what you are looking at. People assigning meaning to something not inherently meaningful. Play, in other words. Whether you see it as real or not is, at least for me, not relevant. I say it is real in some sense because people find it meaningful. Children playing, sports, board games, computer games, roleplaying, all of it is play, and all is meaningful to whoever does it.

  9. Callan said,

    25 March, 2009 at 1:01 am

    Tommi, you’ve basically said this: because you’ve decided to see some sort of meaning in it, that I don’t see that, isn’t relevant. You switch from saying “I see it as meaningful” to “it IS meaningful” a few times, but each time it’s still just “I’ve decided to see it as meaningful”.

    I think the idea for rules in sport is so people don’t decide when a particular event has occured by deciding who’s perception trumps who’s. The goal rules in sport grant the ability for everyone to measure for themselves whether an event occured, by measuring whether a ball passed between iron posts.

    Anyone who insists ‘it is meaningful’ but grants no way for others or myself to physically measure it, is simply telling me to treat their word as truth. It might very well be the truth, but it still operating under a ‘believe what your told to believe’ system as I have no way of measuring if the event did occur.

    To be specific, the only way I know of making an event real is to have a rule for it, that is transparent and physically measurable by all.

    Without transparency, it could just be made up – pure story invention, like making up a story about a kicked goal rather than a goal actually kicked. And if anyone keeps insisting on an opaque system, I start to suspect they are just making it up but acting as if it happened and telling me to accept that as the truth. Of course, with an opaque system you can’t truely measure if that is the case, because it’s all hidden from measurement. That’s usually when I start asking for concrete, physical measurement rules, since I think people who want to be transparent wont mind doing that. Reluctance to give them still doesn’t perfectly indicate people are making up shit, but it can be read as some amount of evidence toward it. And it makes me rather strained when I have to work within this “not sure which it is” zone.

  10. Tommi said,

    29 March, 2009 at 6:29 pm

    I do think that meaning is inherently subjective; something is meaningful to me if and only if I consider it meaningful.

    I’m not claiming that play is relevant to you. I’m not saying play is a real element in the sense you use the word “real”. I’m claiming it is relevant to those who do it; by the nature of play, they must take it as meaningful in order to even participate.

  11. Callan said,

    29 March, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    I don’t know what they must take it as, in order to even participate. Without a means to physically measure whether a meaningful event has passed (like a ball through iron posts is physically measurable, and is said to be meaningful to peoples), all I could do is believe what I’m told to believe, or not believe it.

  12. Tommi said,

    30 March, 2009 at 8:10 pm

    One can physically measure an event, but one can’t physically measure meaningfulness. In order to play chess, you must accept that winning under the given rules is meaningful (or derive the meaning from some compatible goal).

    Activity can be constrained by rules without being meaningful. Meaning can’t be measured in objective way, because it is pretty much by definition subjective.

  13. Callan said,

    30 March, 2009 at 9:22 pm

    As I put it above, people can tell you a ‘goal’ is meaningful to them – and this can be measured by whether a ball passed between iron posts.

    Meaning CAN be measured in objective ways – the other person just has to tell you the objective, physically measurable events that are associated with what’s meaningful to them.

    If they obscure any information on a physical, objective way it can be measured, then they are just telling you to believe what they say.

    “In order to play chess, you must accept that winning under the given rules is meaningful”
    Now this is interesting, because it sounds like rather than another person telling you winning chess is meaningful, your saying winning chess just IS meaningful. That I have to accept winning it is meaningful, not because other people find it meaningful, but somehow winning the game just IS meaningful?

    Do you see some activities as just being meaningful, in and of themselves? The activity inherently containing meaning or such like?

  14. Tommi said,

    31 March, 2009 at 6:27 pm

    As I put it above, people say a ‘goal’ is meaningful to them – and this can be measured by whether a ball passed between iron posts.

    Meaning CAN be measured in objective ways – the other person just has to tell you the objective events that are associated with what’s meaningful to them.

    The physical event can be measured, but the meaningfulness of it can’t (in an objective way).

    Do you see some activities as just being meaningful, in and of themselves? The activity inherently containing meaning or such like?

    As far as I can see, something is meaningful to a person if and only if that person considers it meaningful. Further, something is as meaningful as the person holds it to be.

    Consider someone who has never heard about chess or similar games. He sees two people moving wooden figures on a board. The activity makes no sense; it must be some idle amusement. Maybe the observer can even intuit the rules of chess about how different pieces can move. Still the observer has no reason to start playing, unless the observer provides some meaning to the outcome.

  15. Callan said,

    31 March, 2009 at 9:58 pm

    Well, you can measure meaning – just ask the person how meaningful they’d rate it on a scale of 1 to 10. It’d be rough, but measured.

    But it doesn’t really matter to the original point if you can’t measure it accurately – they’ve told you some amount of meaning is attached to a ball through posts. This ties into the original subject – where people report the game like a meaningful AND measurable event has happened, when it is not a physically measurable event. (and to repeat the original premise, I’ve assumed they wanted physically measurable events because of that, but now I don’t know what I’m looking at)

    Still the observer has no reason to start playing, unless the observer provides some meaning to the outcome.

    I don’t quite get this? It only has meaning once the observer provides some meaning to it, even though these people have been playing for X amount of time?

    Granted, the participants could be faking that the physically measurable activity is meaningful to them. But let’s assume they are not – in that case, the activity has meaning already. It doesn’t wait for the observer to give it any. Meaning is an idea we share amongst humans – if someone else has already given meaning to something, it’s like splashing it with paint, it already has meaning splashed all over it. It doesn’t require the observer to paint it with meaning, for it to be meaningful. Not unless everyone elses idea of meaning doesn’t matter to the observer. Which is why I don’t quite get what your saying?

  16. Tommi said,

    2 April, 2009 at 10:26 am

    Measuring: Well, okay, you can’t objectively measure meaning.

    Anyway. It is a safe bet that I want roleplay to be meaningful. Why would I want it to be physically measurable? What’s the point? Meaning is sufficient.

    On the observer scenario: The observer can very well understand that others find something meaningful and still not give any meaning to it. I don’t find sports, in general, to be meaningful (except when I’m playing). Other people do. Sometimes they talk to me about sports. Their opinions about sport may have meaning, even when the activity itself has none.

  17. Callan said,

    4 April, 2009 at 9:24 pm

    Anyway. It is a safe bet that I want roleplay to be meaningful. Why would I want it to be physically measurable? What’s the point? Meaning is sufficient.

    Well, exactly? Why report the made up story like it’s the events of a sports game, or the events of a tabletop war game (both physically measurable) if you don’t actually want to prove what is meaningful to you, actually happened?

    Is it a hang over of wargaming roots, to keep describing the made up story like one would report wargame session events?

    On your whole observer thing, I find that very disjointed. What the other people find meaningful, is demonstratably happening (physically measurable). It’s not like theres uncertainty about it whether it’s happening. But you seem to be deciding if something has meaning or not, as if other people don’t have the right to grant something some meaning themselves. As if their human sense of meaning is not connected with your human sense of meaning, unless you decide it is?

    I’ve obviously granted you might want physically measurable proof that what’s important to them, is happening. But just deciding?

  18. Tommi said,

    5 April, 2009 at 1:15 pm

    Well, exactly? Why report the made up story like it’s the events of a sports game, or the events of a tabletop war game (both physically measurable) if you don’t actually want to prove what is meaningful to you, actually happened?

    I’m reporting the fictional events because I want, for whatever reason, to record them in written form (so as to read them later) or I want to share them with others. I report them in the most natural way possible: Telling what happened in the fiction. The physical measurability is irrelevant. There is no agenda to prove to you that what we did actually happened, as you understand it. It actually happened in a way that is meaningful to me and other participants. That is sufficient.

    As if their human sense of meaning is not connected with your human sense of meaning, unless you decide it is?

    I don’t find sports meaningful (usually). Other people do. This is not a contradiction. I do find it meaningful that others find the sports meaningful. This, again, is not a contradiction.

  19. Callan said,

    8 April, 2009 at 5:19 am

    There is no agenda to prove to you that what we did actually happened

    But there is! You say ‘what happened in the fiction’.

    Why use the word ‘happened’ if your not trying to prove something happened?

    It’s like me saying I have a million dollars. But by ‘have’ I’m not trying to prove I have it?

  20. Tommi said,

    8 April, 2009 at 2:57 pm

    I am communicating what happened in play. It is not an attempt at proving anything or persuading you of anything. You just happen to have a different definition for “what happened”. If you want to get the communication right, mentally substitute suitable phrase in place of “what happened”.

    A claim (or proposition as it is used technically) is not a proof, or a sorry attempt of one.

  21. Callan said,

    9 April, 2009 at 12:38 am

    Tommi, the onus isn’t on me to do something, as I see responsiblity. Your making claims – if your making claims that would, for someone with a different defintion of ‘what happened’ mean a whole different thing, it’s your responsiblity to note your definition. Otherwise it’s like yelling ‘Fire’ in a theatre, then saying latter your defintion of fire means ‘I’m happy!’ or whatever. Sure, it’d be your defintion, but it’s screwing with other peoples defintion.

    If you weren’t aware of there being a different defintion of ‘what happened’ before, fair enough, what could you have done? Nothing. But right now you do know there’s a different defintion, but you’ve decided its up to me to remember there’s some sort of difference, rather than yours, as claimer, to note the different defintion in your claim.

    I just find that deliberately disruptive, in the same way (though not at the same scale) as the fire shouting example. I don’t listen and try to figure someones meaning out of their words for the benefit of someone who deliberately does this. So it makes me feel used, in this regard.

  22. Tommi said,

    9 April, 2009 at 6:34 pm

    Your place, so fair enough.

    Now, a question. I’ve just watched a movie. I can tell you what happened in the fiction. Likewise for a book. Like, “There was this smart and black-haired barbarian called Conan who …” . What makes this inherently different from doing the same with something we roleplayed? And, more to the point, how can I tell you what happened in the fiction, if I can’t say “happened in the fiction”?

    (As for the cinema analogy: I don’t tell people “I like the movie, by which I don’t mean there’s a fire in the lobby.” Likewise, I don’t tell them “This and that happened in the fiction when we roleplayed, but of course we just imagined it.” )

  23. Callan said,

    11 April, 2009 at 1:21 am

    “There was this smart and black-haired barbarian called Conan who …”

    Who what? What’s said next?

    Every time I hear something recount a story, like a movie or TV show, it refers to either a moral of the story, or how it raises a question about something. Each event are part of that moral or question, they aren’t just events floating by themselves. And in sports matches people just report goals because it’s not about a moral or raising a question, it’s about kicking ass and who did indeed kick ass.

    There is no reporting the ‘event’s of the fiction without reference to a greater moral or question, that I know of. Though this does come up in early childrens writing, where they write ‘he did this, then this, then this…’

    It is not some common event that people simply report the ‘event’s of fiction without any context to a greater moral or big question.

  24. Tommi said,

    12 April, 2009 at 10:52 am

    There is no reporting the ‘event’s of the fiction without reference to a greater moral or question, that I know of.

    This all is, of course, completely irrelevant to how I should report the fictional events in my roleplaying. Why I would want to do so is irrelevant. Assume I do want to relate them.

    (At least twice within a week have I communicated fictional events without it relating to moral questions. Once to note an error in the translation of the movie Sixth sense, once to find out if I had watched Battlestar Galactice, Firefly or something else. So it does happen.)

  25. Callan said,

    12 April, 2009 at 12:01 pm

    Tommi, if you repeatedly didn’t report the colour red when looking at something, I won’t assume you want to report the colour red but don’t. I’d assume you were colour blind.

    And here I assume your story blind. Maybe you’ll now just write out some account of play that has some sort of theme or moral (perhaps even as a basic as an aesops fable has) or some big question about life and I’ll go ‘Oh no, I assumed wrong, look, there is an actual play account with a reference to that stuff. I was wrong in my assumption’. It’s that easy to make me say I was wrong. So I’ll just finish at that assumption, cause it’d be pretty easy to make me say I was wrong. Hell, even if there was no story in an actual play but you tack one on, the ability to tack one on afterward would still make me say I was wrong. It’s that easy to make me say I was wrong.

  26. Tommi said,

    13 April, 2009 at 12:17 pm

    When roleplaying, I certainly am story blind in that I don’t consciously think about themes or human issues.

    Again, this all is completely irrelevant. How am I supped to tell you about the narrative we created when playing?

  27. Callan said,

    14 April, 2009 at 1:20 am

    I didn’t say ‘supposed to’. Most people can consistantly see the colour red not because they are ‘supposed to’ see it, but simply because of how they are built. Same with how people describe a story with continual reference to it’s morals or the difficult question of the story. Not because they are ‘supposed to’, but because it’s how they’re built.

    If you don’t already do it, you probably can’t do it. But I’m genuinely waiting for the wind to be knocked out of me and find an actual play account that makes me say I was wrong.

  28. Tommi said,

    14 April, 2009 at 8:06 am

    1. I don’t think about story in terms of morals when playing. When running a game, I try to place players in position where I don’t know what they will do. This includes, but is not limited to, difficult questions as you probably mean them. I don’t elevate them compared to other unknown situations, though. Hence, sotry blindness when roleplaying. I hope this is clear.

    2. I don’t instinctively reference the morals of a story when narrating the events that happened in it. Exceptions include: Blatant and suspicious morality tales, like the two ships scene in newest Batman film (and the surveillance system near the end of the same) or the whole of (the first) Narnia movie or 1984 by Orwell or racism and sexism in various pulp tales (Tarzan, Conan, etc.). Difficult questions tend to be something happening within the fiction, so I include them when narrating the events.

    3. I am able to perceive the forementioned in media I consume (as opposed to roleplaying, which is created when playing). I am able to talk about them.

    4. The examples I gave above: In neither of them was it relevant to discuss difficult questions or morals of those stories. One was a problem with translation (in Finnish the words for singular and plural “you” are different, hence one scene in the movie did not work) and the other was an exercise in identifying an episode of an unknown series (people interpret media in different ways, hence non-blatant morals are not suitable for identifying stories).

    All of that said: This may or may not qualify as story blindness. I don’t honestly care. It is not relevant to the discussion we were having.

  29. Callan said,

    15 April, 2009 at 11:25 pm

    Tommi, I’m still waiting on that actual play account. Even if it’s just linking to one already written. Even if it doesn’t actually have any reference to a moral or big question in it, but a note is given here about the ‘fictional events’ that tie into a moral or big question. Even just a sentence ‘And they killed them, but did they have to?’. That seems to be some really low requirements I’m asking for.

    And it is entirely relevant to this discussion – either that or no discussion has actually been happening and were both just yammering in the same location. Reporting the ‘event’s of gamplays fiction without reference to a moral/question, and not even in reference to who sports/gamist style kicks ass (which has prior been my assumption), yet still refering to ‘events’. This is an issue, like refering to WWF wrestling as being a ‘real event’ is an issue.

  30. Tommi said,

    16 April, 2009 at 7:00 pm

    Scene number five here http://thanuir.wordpress.com/2008/03/25/ragnarok-now/ was such a situation: Halvard could kill his brother Leif, who had been mistreating him in various ways, or could let him live. He killed. So there’s a question.

    I still have no idea why you are asking this of me.

    My question is, now restated: Assume there is nothing that you would count as an event happening in play. Still, for whatever twisted reason, I want to tell you of the fiction we created. How do I do this?

  31. Callan said,

    16 April, 2009 at 11:43 pm

    Halvard could kill his brother Leif, who had been mistreating him in various ways, or could let him live. He killed. So there’s a question.

    There isn’t a question there. Just a story excerpt so far.

    If you tack on something like “Did he have to kill him?” or whatever question suits it in your opinion, right after “So there’s a question.” then it’ll have a question in it and I’ll aquese. To me it doesn’t seem crazy hard, but somehow while coming right up to the line, you stopped short and simply pointed at the fiction, rather than state your big question about the fiction.

    Assume there is nothing that you would count as an event happening in play. Still, for whatever twisted reason, I want to tell you of the fiction we created. How do I do this?

    You’d write out a story you/you and your group made up. Like someone would tell you a tale at a campfire.

    Not ‘events’ that ‘happened’. Just a story that was made up.

  32. Tommi said,

    18 April, 2009 at 6:27 am

    You’d write out a story you/you and your group made up. Like someone would tell you a tale at a campfire.

    Not ‘events’ that ‘happened’. Just a story that was made up.

    From where I’m standing, these two are either exactly the same thing or vastly different. If I were claiming that what happened in fiction also happened in reality, these would be vastly different, but since I’m not, the point is moot. When I’m reporting play, I’m telling of fictional events. Things that are events within the fiction, or, if it is clearer, they are something that happens when one only considers the fiction, regardless of what is or is not going on in the real world. This is not related to them being or not being events in the real world, which is a different issue where we do disagree.

    To me it doesn’t seem crazy hard, but somehow while coming right up to the line, you stopped short and simply pointed at the fiction, rather than state your big question about the fiction.

    That is because I respect your ability of seeing self-evident questions within the fiction. If a piece of fiction is too explicit with its agenda, it feels as if the author thinks I am something of a moron. I don’t want to be that author.

    I still don’t know what you are looking for. I can say that there was a question there. A question was: is Halvard going to kill Leif? This changes nothing. I’m just stating the obvious.

  33. Callan said,

    19 April, 2009 at 8:22 am

    If I were claiming that what happened in fiction also happened in reality, these would be vastly different, but since I’m not,

    Without some caveats to indicate your telling a story, I can’t tell your not saying it happened in reality. Technically I can’t tell even if you do add caveats, but atleast if you do add them I can then think you know your just telling a story. Otherwise I don’t know.

    is Halvard going to kill Leif?

    Wellllllll, it’s kind of thin. But I guess the question is aimed, because there would be a bunch of other people who he could have killed, no doubt, along the way – but the important question is whether he kills Leif. It’s still kind of thin – doesn’t get into why that’s an important question, but I aquese! Okay, there’s a story there.

    But I still think there’s some sort of communication issue going on here.

  34. Tommi said,

    20 April, 2009 at 11:21 am

    Without some caveats to indicate your telling a story, I can’t tell your not saying it happened in reality. Technically I can’t tell even if you do add caveats, but atleast if you do add them I can then think you know your just telling a story. Otherwise I don’t know.

    To clarify, I’ll provide three toy examples. The first one is genuinely different from the other two, which are equivalent, as far as I am concerned. Pardon the lack of relevant story moments; they are not necessary for communicating the point.

    1. I woke up in a facility and could read minds.

    2. I played an rpg where we just things up so that my character woke up in a facility and could read minds.

    3. I played in an rpg and in the fiction it happened that my character woke up in a facility and could read minds.

    When I am writing an AP report or just a retelling of the events that happened in play I hardly deem it necessary to add qualifiers like “in fiction”, except in a few situations.

    But I still think there’s some sort of communication issue going on here.

    Yeah, there is. I still have no idea why you wanted me to write that.

    (If you want to know why that question was interesting, I can say that Leif being Halvard’s brother has a lot to do with it. Killing one’s own brother is a pretty big deal.)

  35. Callan said,

    21 April, 2009 at 10:10 am

    Yes its a big deal! That’s why I look at

    A spear to his back, after which Leif grovels and is then slaughtered by Halvard. All PCs meet again.

    and wonder why the event is described with all the passion and detail that a trip to the milkbar to buy milk would get? Halvard kills Leif. Halvard buys milk and a chocolate bar. Both said in exactly the same way and thus given exactly the same importance? Why put it the same way if it’s a big deal? Even the subtle movies tend to have dramatic music playing at dramatic moments. They don’t just depict a big deal like they depict a trip to the milkbar.

    In terms of #2 it’s saying ‘we made things up so that X could happen’. And #3 straight out says it happened.

    You don’t use ‘happened’ this way. It’s like me saying I agree with you completely now. Do you think I agree? No? Then why am I using the word agree, when it gives a rather false impression of what’s going on? The same question, in regards to ‘happened’, occurs to me.

    If ‘what happened in the fiction’ is your way of saying ‘the next part of our story was…’ then you keep telling the story, okay, that’s fair enough and perhaps this is just a translation issue rather than something larger.

  36. Tommi said,

    21 April, 2009 at 6:02 pm

    They don’t just depict a big deal like they depict a trip to the milkbar.

    I’m not always motivated to write AP reports, but still write them, for whatever reasons. In fact, I tend to dislike writing them after making them a commitment. Hence, they become terse and spartan. Here’s an old post of mine: http://thanuir.wordpress.com/2007/11/23/writing-actual-play-reports/. That’s why I’m not writing AP reports now, for example, even if I still roleplay roughly thrice per two weeks.

    In terms of #2 it’s saying ‘we made things up so that X could happen’. And #3 straight out says it happened.

    It may very well be an issue of translation. I have preciously few ways of knowing if the language I use is correct or not.

    Maybe it is a matter of emphasis: Things happened in fiction, by which I mean that looking at the fiction, something happened inside it. Something that is an event in the context of the fiction. Whether or not it is an event in the context of our world is not relevant. Do you understand this difference (even if you hold it meaningless)?

  37. Callan said,

    27 April, 2009 at 3:18 am

    With people who have never roleplayed ever, they might say “What happened next in the movie was…”

    But what if I asked them whether it happened, they’d say no, they just mean the next bit of story. Like they were refering to a page of text. They would very quickly give up the idea that something happened, even though at first they were speaking as if it did happen. They are just reading out a text/a script, in other words, and will admit that readily.

    Tommi, you don’t seem to give up the idea that something happened. Your in the first stage, like the non roleplayer, saying what ‘happened’ in the fiction. But you don’t leave that and say it didn’t happen and your just refering to page of text (the ‘page’ being a memory, here).

    Perhaps find a non roleplaying friend, and ask them what ‘happened’ in a movie. Then ask them if it happened. They’ll say no, I’m pretty sure. They will say they are just telling you the next part of the story. They wont refer to things that happened IN the fiction.

    Try pushing it, even. Ask if ‘something happened in the fiction’. They’ll look at you odd and say no, that’s just how the story went. To them it’s like asking if something happened within a piece of paper with ink on it. No, not unless some bookworm is eating it. The fiction is just a medium for recording things, it does not have things happen within it, it’s just a recording mechanism.

    I think it’d be worth trying on atleast one non roleplayer.

  38. Guy Shalev said,

    28 April, 2009 at 3:59 pm

    Two things Callan:

    1. Most people do not go deeper, they do not delve. And that there is such a shared belief, even if false, maybe it does mean something? One should look at what it means, and even more at what use can be gained from employing this belief.

    2. I’m not sure it’s a complete agreement you’ll get. I’m encountering this issue in some philosophy of language classes. Suppose there’s Gandalf, and he’s a fictionary character, and you have it as a given that he did not exist in reality. Does he exist, Gandalf? Would you want to say it’s not true that Gandalf is a hobbit? If so, to what are you referring, what sort of entity do you grasp with your statement?

    As for the last point, I think most people would disagree with you. If you watch a play, and someone was murdered in it, then murder did occur within the story. There’s a nice point, I think I’ve mentioned it online before, perhaps even to you, that part of the effect of watching theatre is because of the fact that we exist on different planes (it was taught regarding the feelings and morality), that we see a murder on stage, and it is powerful because we can do nothing about it. Not that we don’t want to do anything because it’s a play (listen to kids in shows, where they shout at the character that the villain is behind them), but because we can’t, physically. (I think it was mentioned in class using Cavell)

  39. Callan said,

    29 April, 2009 at 1:49 am

    Hello, Guy,

    You’ve gone straight to ‘what does it mean?’ and assumed the answer to the prior question of ‘does it mean anything at all?’ is yes?

    If so, to what are you referring, what sort of entity do you grasp with your statement?

    Again, have you gone straight to ‘what sort of entity is he?’ and assumed the answer to the prior question of ‘is he an entity at all’ is yes?

    And as I said myself, most non roleplayers would say what ‘happened’ in the story. But if you probe even lightly they’ll just say they are refering to the next bit of story. Non roleplayers can both sustain an imaginary belief that it happened, and also dispell that belief. But here, dispelling it doesn’t seem to happen.

    I’ll just say it’s possible to dispell the belief that it happened, then me and you and Tommi could sit down and talk about what’s ‘happening’ in the fiction. It’s possible to resume the belief, even after dispelling it. It’s like we could all sit down together and act and behave and talk to each other as if Santa exists. It’s possible to create a belief bubble between us, even after popping it previously.

    It’s even fun. Except when the bubble doesn’t burst, afterward.

  40. Guy Shalev said,

    29 April, 2009 at 8:49 am

    First, I did say, “If so”, meaning that I did not assume the answer is yes, though I think it is, personally. I know enough people who think the answer is no to make it non-obvious. But then we get to an interesting discussion, that returns us to my question there: If he is, why is he an entity, if he’s not, why isn’t he an entity? And from there we get right back to what makes something an entity, and what sort of entity Gandalf is, or isn’t.

    Also, again, I’m not sure I agree with your statement about what ‘happened’ in the story, or at least, that it contradicts what I said. The next thing that happened in the story, the next bit of the story, did happen, on some level.

    Also, the “Page-turning analogy” doesn’t hold the whole way, I think. While reading a book, the book is set down in stone, during game night things did happen, the players did things, the players told the story, which is why AP counts often also tell of what players did and not their characters.

    And of course, if the story is not given to them, but is recounted by them, as I explored on my own blog, then there is something that ‘happens’ even now. The page flipping is happening now, the page-writing is happening now.

  41. Tommi said,

    29 April, 2009 at 12:21 pm

    But what if I asked them whether it happened, they’d say no, they just mean the next bit of story.

    There is no contradiction between those two, as long as you accept that people can talk about pieces of fiction as though they were true.

    Tommi, you don’t seem to give up the idea that something happened. Your in the first stage, like the non roleplayer, saying what ‘happened’ in the fiction. But you don’t leave that and say it didn’t happen and your just refering to page of text (the ‘page’ being a memory, here).

    I roughly understand what you mean when you talk about something having happened.

    I use them in another way. You can try to understand what I am saying or keep misunderstanding it.

    This is not a matter of opinion polls; I’ll ask someone if it spring to mind, though I do think you are wrong about their reaction. It is not relevant.

    Here’s an exercise. Take some fictional world. Assume it is real. Ignore that the real world exists. Only focus on the fictional world. Now, it is meaningful to speak about what happens or happened in that fictional world. Can you understand this?

  42. Guy Shalev said,

    29 April, 2009 at 12:40 pm

    To look at something Tommi said, look at fans, fans of book serieses, of TV serieses, of comic serieses. When they argue about whether something will happen or not, they argue on what happens in the world. They treat it as a cohesive world, where things happen or not based on internal and consistent logic.

    It’s not arbitrary. Or it is not to them.

  43. Callan said,

    29 April, 2009 at 9:07 pm

    I can believe a match of WWF wrestling is ‘real’. I can also realise its rigged (though it still takes skill to execute a rigged match).

    When I believe in it, it’s meaningful. When I think it’s rigged (which is the majority of the time and my default position), I think it isn’t meaningful.

    You guys seem to think these imagined things are always meaningful? You never ‘pop out’?

  44. Guy Shalev said,

    29 April, 2009 at 10:06 pm

    No, but I think people choose to believe or behave as if it’s real, and it is thus made meaningful to them. That’s the whole meaning of “Suspension of disbelief”, which is not only important for Immersion, but also as a lesser form of suspension, for an emotional entanglement in a story, be it one told through an RPG or which we are exposed to in a good book or a good movie.

    Often we say a movie or a book are ‘good’ if they help as suspend our disbelief, and detest those which keep breaking the suspension.

  45. Callan said,

    30 April, 2009 at 1:41 am

    I don’t mind if a boom mike swings into view every so often, if the movie or show gets at some problem that’s important to me (and typically it is important because they hint it in the title/preface, and I choose to watch those ones I find important).

    I’ll grope at an example: Fallout 3 – the ideas of the little lamplight child society and the virtual world clang a bit/have a boom mike swinging through. Because where do the children come from? And how come this virtual reality has people still living and in it who entered before the war, 200 years ago?

    These can be answered or patched up. One can mentally block out the swinging boom mike, so to speak. But that’s not such a big deal – the ideas and issues the ideas raised, are interesting and pose some hard questions for me, the viewer.

    So I don’t really parralel your desire to maintain suspension of disbelief? Where does that take us, if anywhere?

  46. Guy Shalev said,

    30 April, 2009 at 4:43 am

    I’m going to phrase this message a tad bluntly, because I’m exasperated. Funnily enough, the discussion began with a meta-discussion point is moving towards more discussion on the actual stuff, whereas this discussion keeps moving from it. And so, aside from answering a point, I’ll also make some (or mostly) meta-discussion claims here, first.

    Callan, you accuse us of making general sweeping claims, which are unfounded. This is true. But your answer in the previous message is also guilty of a logical fallacy – you reply with an anecdotal personal experience to a general claim. And, your claim, how can I trust it? You keep reminding us that people engage in self-delusion, that they say and think they’re engaging in something fun but they aren’t. How do I know the book mike swinging in every so often is not deeply upsetting to you?

    You engage in something akin to Socrates, and I don’t mean this in entirely a positive way. You keep reducing the argument’s scope. You raise a point, we raise points to answer, but rather than take our points and examples and apply them to the previous, original, wider point, you keep looking at the examples and turn them into the main realm of the new argument, and as time goes by, we reach smaller and smaller aspects, that even should we answer these, the bigger question is still left all but untouched.

    So this is part of our disconnect, which goes both ways: You engage our points, and we try to make it flow back into the bigger question – and so we all talk somewhat past one another. You keep flowing to the smaller vessels, and we keep not answering the smaller questions, certainly not directly, but keep trying to return to the bigger flow.

    Another meta-answer, of “Where does it take us?” which I will preface by the end conclusion (to the meta-question, not to the question asked itself), which is slightly problematic. When people bring up radical atheist arguments, and claim they see no use for religion, none at all, I tell them either they’re being dishonest, or they are being truly small-minded, not even being able to think of a service religion provides. Try and think where I am going with this, try to stand in my shoes and provide an answer.
    The problematic part is that if you do do this, and then reply to my supposed answer, I could very well say you’re putting words in my mouth.

    Now, back to the actual question you’ve asked, and to my point, going back to bigger vessels as well as answering some threads in your last post. You’ve said that you can get over the boom mike swinging into view so often, could you get over it swinging into view all the time? If not, why not? Also, you added the caveat of “If the movie or show gets at some problem that’s important to me.” This means that you will tolerate it in some cases, but not in others. It’s worth exploring when Suspension of Disbelief (SoD from here-on) is vital to you, and when it isn’t, which can be telling, amongst others, telling why you watch the show in this case.

    Why do I desire to maintain SoD? Read the discussion that led to me bringing the issue up. Seriously. Maintaining SoD helps the players regard the story as if it ‘happens’, and it helps treat the fictionary world as ‘meaningful’. Now, why people need and do this (which I think they do. Certainly the “Immersionist” crowd)? That’s a different question. Different. But they do treat the game-world as something that has an existence. What sort of existence is another question.

    Why maintain SoD? Is it necessary? Even your reply did nothing to actually negate its usefulness, merely its potential necessity. Humans can take a block of stone several weighing several tons and push it. They can also use wheels or tree-limbs/trunks to roll the block on, making it considerably easier. Is it necessary for them to use these rolls? No, but would you ask them what it is useful for?
    Some people have an easier time relating to the source matter, or deriving their fictional enjoyment when SoD is there to lubricate the wheels.

    “One can mentally block out the swinging boom mike.” Why should someone put in extra effort to block it out, when it can be provided blocked? If one need to block it out, then it’s certainly useful to not have it. Why? Why do you think people care?

    Do you think people not care about stories? If they do care about a story, why is it? Why do (some) people cry when something happens in a movie or a book? And if these people would still tell you that what happened in the story did not ‘really happen’, why did they cry?

    Note, I am sorry if I’m being slightly offensive, but I’m trying to cut to the bone here, to be direct and cut through some discussion-level chains I feel are weighing me, and perhaps the discussion, down.

  47. Tommi said,

    30 April, 2009 at 8:02 am

    You guys seem to think these imagined things are always meaningful? You never ‘pop out’?

    No. I’m saying that it is not a category error to talk about something happening in the fiction, because I can treat that fiction as meaningful; further, I am saying that treating the fiction as meaningful is necessary for roleplaying.

    Callan, please tell if you agree, disagree or don’t understand these claims.

    Further, to make a bit more controversial claim, I’ll say that treating fiction as meaningful in this sense is very similar to treating an arbitrary set of rules as meaningful; those of a chess, for example.

    To take this into meta-discussion: I am saying that, given the way I understand/define (the same thing) the terms used above, the claims given above are true. You probably understand the terms in different ways, which might make the claims false or meaningless. That, however, does not mean that my beliefs could not be true if you were to use the definitions I use (but can’t necessarily articulate).

    Hence, it is possible for us to make contradictory statements that are still true, given our particular definitions. The truth value of statements is conditional to definitions used. Understanding this is important.

  48. Callan said,

    30 April, 2009 at 8:18 am

    Guy, you didn’t just make a claim, you stated your own need for SOD. I said I don’t need it (I take your point that I could be making that up, but just treat me as true for now)

    And I stopped there. I did not give ‘reasoning’ for not having SOD. I did not give any ‘facts’ that SOD isn’t needed. I just stated my need (well, lack of need for SOD) and left it at that. To illustrate how our needs don’t match.

    This is like our conversation about other peoples beliefs, and how I said other people seem to go on to give all sorts of reasonings and facts when really it’s just a belief. Here I state my need, and that’s it. I give no reasons for it or for how things should go in roleplay, in regard to it. I stated it and I stopped.

    Why maintain SoD? Is it necessary? Even your reply did nothing to actually negate its usefulness

    Yes, that’s right. Stating my need makes no sort of point at all.

    I’ve stated my need, which doesn’t seem to match your own need and honestly asked you if it gets in the way of your point or such? I’m genuinely asking you. It might not, but I’m asking you so as to work with you cause I don’t know. Does a need or lack of need for SOD matter in terms of your point, because I think we have different needs on the matter? Is it some giant skism between us revealed, or no big deal? What do you say? I’m handing the rudder to you rather than trying to make any point.

  49. Guy Shalev said,

    30 April, 2009 at 9:29 am

    SoD is necessary for me to not be jaded. I’ve used to RP freeform on a chat for several years, and at some point I’ve realized part of what I am talking about (and your point too) – that these characters I’ve seen, their histories? They weren’t real! Oh, of course I knew they weren’t real-world real, but they didn’t even appear to be real.

    It was like going to a movie set and seeing that behind all the house-fronts there’s nothing. An elf who is 200 years old, or even older, coming to the open room and speaking of how he never had loved before, a week later he’s found his “Soul-mate”. Why? Because he wasn’t a real person before. The suspension of disbelief shattering shows me not that he wasn’t a real person in our world, but that he wasn’t a real person in the fiction either. He was born complete with a fake history now, and isn’t 3-D, just like the fake house-fronts on movie sets.

    Is it necessary for my point? Not at all, I was just using it to illustrate something. The point is how you treat story, and my analogy above is quite useful: SoD is a lubricant to treating story as meaningful, and using terms like ‘happened’ to describe what happens in the game-world, and not “just” in the story.

    Tommi, I love, love, love! the chess example. If you’d do something that doesn’t fit the rules, someone would tell you, “You can’t do that.” as if you’re performing a real action. But Callan will likely make his point, about explicit SC only.

    I’ll bring up Taki (akin to Uno), or Checkers. For Taki, each group playing the game plays differently – some packs had different rules, and several issues are not expounded on. In checkers, there’s a question I’ve seen different people answer differently (regardless of there being one correct answer), of whether your pawn can eat backwards when there’s someone immediately next to them.

    Taki rules are usually left implicit, and then people arguments flare up briefly, the issue gets resolved (usually by majority vote or by the person with the deck making a fiat), and play proceeds. Does the game ‘work’ when the rules are only implicit, so long as the points of disharmony don’t rise up?

    And in a game, it’s even more-so, regarding SC (see, this is one issue with your posts being so stringed, and having several discussions at the same time: I make SC points here and story points there, it’s all one big simultanous discussion on several threads). SC is by definition implicit.
    You spoke of the “Sleight of hand” on the other thread, but there is no sleight of hand or even of word in you asking the child if he can throw the garbage.

    That is explicit. The child knows that the request is not truly a request, so rather than you saying one thing different from what the children expects, it’s more of an idiom or a figure of speech – but since you both know what it means, there’s no sleight of hand here.
    But I sometimes, in my house, expose the implicit nature of that, of figures of speech. When someone asks me if I could pass the salt, I answer, “I could.” And wait for them to ask if I would.

    Something I forgot last night. One thing to do is look at something, and ask “How did it get here?” Or in other words, what conditions need to be fulfilled and which conditions mustn’t be fulfilled in order to reach the position we’re at now. And my presentation of treating a game as working? It was driving toward this point: What conditions must be met so the group would say the game is working? What conditions must be fulfilled for the players to talk of things ‘happening’ in the story, and on game night, and treat it as meaningful?

    If you find answers better than SC, and treating the story-world as coherent and cohesive, I’m all ears.

  50. Callan said,

    1 May, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Hi Tommi,

    Hence, it is possible for us to make contradictory statements that are still true, given our particular definitions. The truth value of statements is conditional to definitions used. Understanding this is important.

    And unless you inform the other person of your particular definitions, it has all the practical implications of lying, whether you intend that or not. If you ask me if I ate the last biscuit and didn’t throw the packet in the bin, then I reply “I did not” and my definition of “Did not” is that I actually I did do it, if I don’t inform you of that your going to use your own definition of “did not”. And as such you’ll think I didn’t do it, when I did. All the practical implications of lying, even if I didn’t intend to.

  51. Callan said,

    1 May, 2009 at 7:38 pm

    Hello Guy,

    Is it necessary for my point? Not at all, I was just using it to illustrate something. The point is how you treat story, and my analogy above is quite useful: SoD is a lubricant to treating story as meaningful, and using terms like ‘happened’ to describe what happens in the game-world, and not “just” in the story.

    I’m not sure it illustrates that – the elf example lacks any actual problem/conflict? Why couldn’t he find love? He might just have stayed at home playing video games for 200 years. Although even that could be classed as a problem, in a sort of a cross between clerks and the idea of elves.

    But not even the video game conflict has been proposed. I’m seeing a huge lack of story there, in that lack of conflict. Perhaps that lack of story is what’s important rather than the lack of suspension of disbelief, in this case? I’m just seeing a massive hole in story and thinking “hell, with a hole that big, if there’s a problem, surely it’s got to do with that hole?”. I might be wrong and it’s sod that’s important. But it’s such a big hole?

    But I sometimes, in my house, expose the implicit nature of that, of figures of speech. When someone asks me if I could pass the salt, I answer, “I could.” And wait for them to ask if I would.

    I’m not doing something similar here?

    Just a side note with the child, which is a bit off topic: No, the child doesn’t know. They are being taught by you and what you teach them is what they know. Unless you’ve taught them that your messing with the idea of a request, they don’t know what you mean. You don’t both know what it means. You don’t have an understanding between you.

    If you find answers better than SC, and treating the story-world as coherent and cohesive, I’m all ears.

    Well, I’m not sure what you mean by coherant and cohesive? But before I mentioned actually having a conflict. How far does that go? Genuine question, as I find the elf rather shallow and empty too, without any conflict that blocked his path to love.

  52. Tommi said,

    4 May, 2009 at 11:10 am

    Callan, you wrote

    And unless you inform the other person of your particular definitions, it has all the practical implications of lying, whether you intend that or not.

    That would be true if words had specific, non-ambiguous and universal meanings we could refer to.

    Unfortunately, they don’t have. Especially when it comes to roleplaying as a hobby. Consider “roleplaying”. It is used in several, somewhat related but still distinct ways with little in the way of specifying what one means. Sometimes roleplaying means the entire hobby. Sometimes it means in-character talk. Sometimes it means anything that is not rollplaying (a term as poisonous as any, and not any better defined). Sometimes roleplaying is talking in funny voices.

    I often try to define terms I use, whenever I have thought about them. I often ask others to do the same, especially when they use the words in ways that I find nonsensical. Problem is, defining is genuinely hard work.

    The intention is typically not to mislead anyone; rather, people assume others understand what they are talking about, when this is not the case. Having a well-developed and clearly written field-specific vocabulary would help. (Forge glossary is not clear; the well-developmentness can be debated, and it certainly has a powerful agenda that reduces its general value.)

  53. Callan said,

    4 May, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    And unless you inform the other person of your particular definitions, it has all the practical implications of lying, whether you intend that or not.

    That would be true if words had specific, non-ambiguous and universal meanings we could refer to.

    No, it’s still true, regardless.

    If I bump someone accidentally and they fall off a cliff, it still has the same practical ramifications as if I had pushed them deliberately. At a practical level (I am not refering to the moral level)

    Whether it’s hard to define or we don’t have the words, if the other person is falling off the cliff/believing something we don’t mean, they are falling off the cliff. In terms of the practical level, good intentions mean fuck all – good intentions don’t float people back up the cliff to safety. Good intentions don’t mean your goals have been met. If you want people at the top of the cliff but all you do are form good intentions, you will fail to achieve your goal.

    I really don’t want to have conversations where, when the goal is to have people at the top of the cliff but they have been knocked down, the responce is that since everyone is innocent and didn’t mean to mislead anyone, it’s stated the goal was achieved. Lets talk about meeting goals, rather than saying because no one intended to push anyone off the cliff, no one was pushed off the cliff. Even with a pile of bodies at the base of the cliff. It’s not meeting our goals to conclude that if everyone is innocent, nothing went wrong (and even worse, conclude if ‘nothing went wrong’, then everything must have worked).

    So, unless you inform the other person of your particular definitions, it has all the practical implications of lying, whether you intend that or not.

  54. Tommi said,

    5 May, 2009 at 2:44 pm

    There are similarities. Namely, one person does not understand what the other actually means.

    There are differences. Namyly, when lying, typically only one person ends up with false notion of something, while in this case both people typically fail to understand each other. In lying someone willingly obfuscates. In this case nobody is trying to mislead anyone else; in fact, both parties are trying to communicate and typically are frustrated because it does not work, again in contrast to lying.

    Also: In this case the miscommunication is typically nobody’s fault, yet again contrasting lying. This is not dishonesty.

  55. Callan said,

    9 May, 2009 at 10:13 am

    That’s assuming they can tell when it doesn’t work, at the point of error. Otherwise it can take a hell of alot of digging. Dozens of posts, even 😉

  56. Tommi said,

    9 May, 2009 at 1:42 pm

    Yes.


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