Height advantage +2, electric boogaloo

It occurs to me I spend alot of time going “My god, NO! It doesn’t work that way at all!”

So instead, here’s how I see it functioning based on what’s actually possible to do between people (people who can’t mind meld).

There has been some prior narration. Lets says someone talked about some stairs, some PC’s at the top, and some bad guys at the bottom. No ones snarled and pulled a knife on anyone, so these narrations are sitting there and everyones content with them being as they were spoken. Some may have slightly different visions – being further up the steps than others imagine it. Some might think it brighter or darker. But what’s in everyones head has a fairly high number of matching parts. Well, unless the prior narration was quite obtuse.

Okay, now someone goes to attack and they say “And I get a +2 from being higher up on the stairs, height advantage?”.

Note the question mark, because they do so looking toward the GM with a questioning expression.

Now this is a game where the GM decides if you get height advantage. This is a key point. Because in alot of texts it often does say “If X has height advantage, they get blah blah”. Who decides this? OR to be more exact, if two people at the table are saying opposite things (one says he gets it, the other says he doesn’t get it), who breaks that mexican standoff? These stand offs definately happen.

I mean, it’s easy to think the other guy is nuts and the player SHOULD get the +2. But by the same token, perhaps YOUR nuts and he shouldn’t get +2? Everyones first instinct is to treat themselves as correct and the other guy is wrong, but that doesn’t mean your correct.

Okay, so the players looking to the GM. The GM has complete control, but he is opened himself to the prior narrated events, and he lets those events ‘move’ him. It’s like watching a film of someone walking toward a banna peel and then they stop the film. Will the guy slip? It’s easy to be ‘moved’ by the prior events to say yes. It’s not crazy complex or deep, it’s just being moved by prior events narrated. And importantly, if you feel moved to say no, your right as well. It’s how YOU are moved, not anyone else. We want to know how you feel moved by the events.

So he most likely will say yes, the players has higher ground. But if he says no, the player takes it gracefully.

Now the thing is, often the GM being moved by prior narration can get really harmonised between all participants. They can get so in sync that the player pretty much knows they will get the +2, it’s almost like a special understanding between them (and almost a little like couples who can finish each others sentences, I’ll note). But while this special understanding is great, don’t expect it. Be happy when it’s there, be happy to be playing when it’s not. But alot of roleplayers seem to demand this special understanding (and that seems totally counter to it being special OR being an understanding) or no one is imagining it right or something.

I’ve been in syncronised moments. They are nice. I like them. But I do not crave them. Not for the sake of playing, anyway. And frankly they are outside of the game, even if they influence play. They are a special like minded link with the other participants. That’s really a social bond – and to demand a social bond simply for the benefit of playing the game is ass backwards. And yet I read accounts of people expecting syncronised play in pick up games!? With random strangers – and not liking the strangers when it doesn’t happen! Blaming them for spoiling the game and not putting the game first – when this syncronising is social bonding!

Well I say it is. The capacity to know another persons mind, and to understand them and feel what they would choose and actually be right and they know you’d guess them right – um, and in varying amounts, what else is there to friendship???? That’s the heart of friendship, unless I’m mistaken. And yet this syncronisity is being expected not because they want to make/find friends, but so they can play a fookin game!?

That is why I like hard procedures that tell you exactly what to do and cover every event. Because I don’t want to go into a procedure with dead ends where I have to syncronise with someone, not for the sake of forming or deepening a friendship, but for the sake of a functioning game.

Oh, if you did get a game going in such a circumstance, it feels great, because your all syncronised and ‘get’ each other. But you didn’t really get the game going, you just bonded. That’s what feels good, not the game! That’s why they have those stupid camps where teams have to work together to do stuff. Because successfully working together tends to bond people, and bonding feels good!

Gone a little ranty at the end. But that’s how height advantage can work and how having a complete procedure is better than expecting a syncronisity between players. Wanting syncronisity between friends, that’s good. Wanting syncronisity between friends in order to get a game to work, thats…hmm, I might just say it – its bad. But pretend Ron Edwards said it in a lengthier way that’s more diplomatic.

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24 thoughts on “Height advantage +2, electric boogaloo

  1. Mostly a good post, it also ties to something I was struggling to know how to say to you, so I’ll just say it, preface it that I am saying it with the best of intentions, and hope it goes over well!

    I need to learn to be better at it too, but you need to learn when to stop reiterating something, and when it does need to be said again. Sometimes you talk or argue with people, and 30 comments later you are still saying the same things. One needs to know when the other is unlikely to understand one’s point, at least for the time being.

    It is not cases where you do say something new, but when it’s the same thing. Some people can understand what you’re saying and still disagree, in fact, I wouldn’t say someone has the capability to truly disagree without also understanding. I am often exasperated when I talk to someone and point out something I disagree with, and the answer is almost a flippant “Then you didn’t really understand what was said.”

    And yet, I also meet people whom I sure don’t understand, but I often suspect they will still not agree if they understood, because they don’t understand and wouldn’t agree for the same reason: They have previously held beliefs, which are often so strongly held to be called dogmatic, that separate their point of view from mine.

    And, because I’m a cocky bastard, I smile at how this comment also fed into the topic of this post 🙂

    I also really need to cover some posts on “Social Contract”, which in the end is where you’re stumbling. There is social contract, you just want it to be completely explicit. It is an ideal, it will never be. I strive for codified and rule-implemented SC, but I know it can’t be the whole of it.

  2. I don’t get you, Guy? I say 2+2=4, then thirty comments latter I’m still saying 2+2=4? And that’s a problem? I mean, it adds up to me that way – if we take it that it is adding up right, what is wrong with continuing to say 2+2=4? If someone was telling you the world is flat, what, after thirty comments you’d be agreeing with them, or would you still be saying the world is round?

    Some people can understand what you’re saying and still disagree

    Well, no!? If I say going out in a boat with a hole in it will mean you will sink, and they say “Oh, I understand you, but I don’t agree with you” then go out and sink, they clearly didn’t understand. At all. Or they understood in some way that is counter to darwinistic survival.

    The things I say come down to practical, physical ramifications. They’re like saying if you tap someone on nerve in their knee, their leg will jerk. You can’t say you understand what I’m saying but disagree with that, without actually not understanding it or not having gone and tested the theory yourself. I don’t mind if someone says ‘I understand but I disagree right now and I’m gunna go run some tests on what you say’. Indeed, that’s good! Question and test all you hear! But to just say ‘I understand but I disagree’ then, what, sit around? Just continue on? Guy, rather than me needing a chat, anyone who thinks this needs a bit of a chat.

    The proof is found not in us having a cosy agreement between us, it’s in actual, physical tests. Preferably with a scientific rigour. Otherwise it’s just talking the talk.

    I’ve tried to link everything to physically measurable events. If I haven’t appeared to have been, I’ll work on do so even more.

    They have previously held beliefs, which are often so strongly held to be called dogmatic, that separate their point of view from mine.

    Call me the Richard Dawkins of roleplaying design ( http://richarddawkins.net/ )

    He has this call to arms for athiests and I think to myself, your a bit over the top, David? Surely there’s no big zealot presence that’d overrun things? But then when I look just in the roleplay community, the deeply, deeply entrenched ideas that avoid any physical testing process, I start to comprehend how people can just act without reflecting upon their acts, let alone percieving any conflict in what they do and how they want to be as human beings (I’m not even refering to how I want them to be, but how they want themselves to be).

    There’s this idea about a teapot orbiting the sun ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=07JvzfO0vOk ), he refers to, but no one can see it cause it’s too small. Do you believe a teapot is orbiting the sun? Most people wouldn’t. But roleplayers seem to believe in all sorts of things that they can offer no physical evidence for, but will become quite annoyed if, after thirty comments, your still saying there’s no evidence for it.

    I also really need to cover some posts on “Social Contract”, which in the end is where you’re stumbling. There is social contract, you just want it to be completely explicit. It is an ideal, it will never be.

    If people keep demanding there to be more than what is explicitly presented to them, how can it ever be anything but an ideal?

    Mind you, on saying that I guess that could be at the front of the SC: “Anyone who demands more than what is explictily outlined here, is fucking up”

  3. I’ll begin from the end. Social Contract is not really a contract, not in the legal sense. It’s usually an ephemeral thing, which we thinkknow, and thus think we follow, but there are mistakes, because it’s not outlined anywhere in a concrete form. But the reason we act in society in the way we do is because it’s a fact, that it exists. Even leaving outside role-playing, especially putting aside role-playing (games, not the act, look at Goffman).

    I have no issue with you clinging to your stance, and the other side clinging to their stance, but one should learn when to stop trying. People often need to sit down after a conversation and let a while pass before changing their beliefs, and if they won’t change their beliefs, 3-4 posts are more than enough for other people reading the conversation to understand what you’re saying.
    This is more of an issue when you engage in this on someone else’s lawn, like on a forum or someone else’s blog. There’s nothing inherently wrong in what you do, but it becomes a ditch-war, often not with the original speaker, and it also doesn’t leave room for discussion of other points there.

    The reason I suggested chat was somehow left out. It’s because a series of monologues forming a “dialogue” is probelamtic. Amongst other things, there is a block of text, it’s easy to find things to disagree with besides the main thrust, it can be used to not answer a question directly, etc. A chat as a space constraints. Short message followed by another short message, then also 30 messages do not take up that much real-estate.

    No, after 30 comments I would not be agreeing with people saying the Earth is flat, after 5 comments I’d say that I’m done discussing this with them, most likely.

    Regarding your physical ramifications, there’s a question here. Suppose you see what you see, it doesn’t mean it has the meaning you give it. Furthermore, I’m sorry, but even if only the “soft sciences” look at things which may not be “Physical Ramifications”, such as what one person’s action makes you think of him, and then how does the process of the opinion-forming occur, it’s still worthy of research, it still happens, and is at the core of RPGs.

    And to return to the first point for closing: Those who wish for things not listed in the SC explicitly fuck up. Those who do not follow what the SC says not explicitly? They also fuck up, looking at society. But that’s how we do it, not necessarily how we should, but that’s the 2+2=4 of society.

  4. Guy, you keep talking about belief when these guys don’t state ‘this is my belief’ like they were talking about religion or something. They keep putting forward reasonings. And yes, when someone does that, I question the reasoning where it seems to be flawed, if it appears so.

    When you state ‘facts’ and ‘reasonings’ in public, without specifying they are merely beliefs, it changes the world in certain ways. If they are indeed belief based, why is that a reason for me to sit quietly back while they change the world?

    And in terms of chatting, your covering several points yourself. As much as I could break the cycle, so could you. It’s hard to do though, isn’t it, when someone makes a bunch of points and you don’t want to let alot of them slip?

    Furthermore, I’m sorry, but even if only the “soft sciences” look at things which may not be “Physical Ramifications”, such as what one person’s action makes you think of him, and then how does the process of the opinion-forming occur, it’s still worthy of research, it still happens, and is at the core of RPGs.

    If it can’t be questioned, then it’s just another belief delivery system as talked about above. If it can be questioned, it’ll either disolve or become more solid rather than soft.

    Social Contract is not really a contract, not in the legal sense.

    Guy, if I want it to be legalistic with the people I deal with/potentially deal with, it is legalistic. If they don’t want to deal with me cause I’m legalistic, this doesn’t validate your claim, this just means they don’t want to work with me. It’s a terrible statement – it’s trying to decide for me or any other human how I/they would operate a social contract with people I deal with or want to deal with.

    Some people might hear what you say about SC and then act like it’s true. Or they might hear what I say and act like what I say is true. Just because people let themselves be suggestable doesn’t make either of us right on how a social contract works everywhere. Not even if we wage holy war on each other.

    As to a societal SC? I’d suggest reading the prince of nothing novels. Well, for a start it’d be more fun than reading me 🙂

    Those who wish for things not listed in the SC explicitly fuck up. Those who do not follow what the SC says not explicitly? They also fuck up, looking at society. But that’s how we do it, not necessarily how we should, but that’s the 2+2=4 of society.

    I’ll note I said ‘demand’ rather than ‘wish’.

    But ‘that’s how we do it?’. Guy, I can tell you don’t buy what your saying. At one point a black woman rode at the front of the bus, I heard – what a fuck up on her part, eh? That’s not how we do it!

    Look, I feel like were about to hit that loop where maybe you have a belief about society, but your gunna hit me with reasons and facts and I’m going to investigate them. And as I said, I don’t sit back while people change the world by asserting facts which are merely their beliefs. And if you aren’t working from belief but instead reason, I’d think you’d be happy having it scrutinised, even thirty posts on?

    How shall we, together, break this loop?

  5. Excellent post.

    Some observations.

    1. I find non-roleplaying games to be idle pastime, as opposed to something I actively, positively want to do. Your post probably explains at least part of this.

    2. One way in which rules of a roleplaying game can be good is by making the synchronisation more reliable or faster.

    3. Rpgs have the potential to significantly change friendships. Power, responsibility, etc.

  6. People use their beliefs as reasonings. People believe that science is true, the reasons are almost incidental. I’m not saying that what they believe is necessarily thought-out, and never a claim about its veracity, but it bears looking at why they think these things, and how to use these beliefs. The point where I think Tommi and I are butting heads with you is when you refuse to acknowledge something which true, we state, but I think is eminently true: Not that these beliefs are true, but that these are the beliefs people tend to hold.

    As for Societal(redundant) Social Contract, you bring up the case of Rosa Parks, but now you’re reading into my comment things never said: This is how SC works. We have the right to change it, and it may not be “correct” or “good” (value judgement time!), but it was the prevalent Social Contract. Your comment is an obfuscation, not addressing my point on what is and moving to whether it should be that way. My point was that there is always non-explicit SC in society, and we can all read it to a degree, and even if we can’t, we’re still expected to!

    Regarding the “soft sciences”, my point was again, different. “Physical ramifications” is almost a catechism, especially when you only regard physical input as valid answers, as you seemed to have done before. I don’t say that they should not be held to rigour, but rather that what people believe and the reasons they provide (even if patently false) are answer enough for why they do what they do, and should not be discredited, exactly the following:

    If they are indeed belief based, why is that a reason for me to sit quietly back while they change the world?

    They are belief-based, and that does not invalidate their import.

    My point on your loops was that while I appreciate scrutiny, I have two points regarding it to make: 1. You often infringe on the Societal SC by how you enter your loops, or rather, where. This is besides the point of whether it bears mentioning.
    2. I find this a bit ridiculous, because usually loops are loops because of a disconnect. I say that it is often you that don’t listen, Callan. Tommi had been saying it several times. We speak of A, such as what others believe, and you keep speaking of A’, about whether these beliefs are true, and then you make the same unfounded claims you accuse us of making – that people have beliefs of a certain type (which we think they have beliefs of a different sort).

    After 30 posts, if there is an advancement in mutual understanding, then keep at it, even 100 posts (so long you do it on your own space, or the space of someone who’s willing to it), but if after 10 posts you keep saying X and I keep saying Y, then there’s no reason to reach 30, it’s useless. Which is why sometimes, such as on SG when I was talking to Tomas HVM, after making 5 posts I could say “I made my point, and anyone can read what it is, everything more that I’ll say will not be adding new content.” The question is Callan, do you think you’re adding new content in progressive answers, or at least clearer content? Otherwise, it might be more worthy to move to a different topic, and as I keep saying, “for the time being”. Opinions can be let to change as time goes by, and often require time to go by for them to change.

    Also, regarding Rosa Parks again, that was the law, it was “demanded”, and it WAS explicitly stated, it’s not a demand that was implicit, like the ‘demand’ not to chew with your mouth open.

    Also, regarding the original post: I find it odd you don’t agree with people requiring a social contract for the purpose of playing a game. We both demand a social contract for any social activity, and have one emerge as a result of such an activity, because as said, they do change. One change that often occurs is when the game does break-up, and implicit demands are scrutinized and end up replaced with explicit ones, even if on an ad-hoc basis.

  7. Ok, here’s a question to you Callan.

    People say that there is fiat in games, such as the “You stand on a tall rock, so you gain +2 to your archery rolls” call by the GM. People also think that this fiat usually works, if it didn’t work, the GM could not make the call without the game stopping. Now, it’s true that sometimes it breaks up, but let’s talk about when it works.

    This is the Story-Mechanics relationship, a continuum. How do you think it works? What makes it tick?

    I say, Social Contract, with which I think you’ll want to agree. But, since you’re so fond of asking people questions, let’s ask a random group if they made the rules and bylaws for when a GM can call fiat, and when they’re wrong, explicit. I’m sure most Dungeons and Dragons groups, or any other game, would say they have not (there is the “Golden Rule”, where “The GM is always right”, but most groups would not accept it in practice).

    So, how does the game work with fiat in it, when it does work?

  8. I’ll shorten this down a bit. In terms of belief, I honestly don’t see you or Tommi adding a caveat that it’s a belief. You refer to what is true like you might refer to it being true that the earth orbits the sun, or it being true that the moon creates the tides.

    You know, Richard Dawkins said if there was empirical evidence against evolution (I think he said a rabbit skeleton in a certain geological level would suffice), he’d give it up in an instant. He believes in evolution, but he’s willing to give up his belief, based on evidence.

    I’m trying to sympathetically feel out what may be the disconnect here? Is it that your talking about beliefs that you wont give up, regardless of evidence, and you think I too am talking about beliefs I wont give up, regardless of evidence?

    If there was enough evidence that the earth is flat or that the sun orbits the earth, I would give up my beliefs in a round world or a world that orbits the sun, instantly. When I give my beliefs, they are all at gunpoint. Always. My beliefs can actually be wrong. Instead of holding my beliefs sacrosanct, I offer a variety of ways of proving my beliefs wrong. I can list a bunch of ways, if I’ve been tardy in offering them to you.

    So I don’t deal in belief in the same way. So I’m not just shoving my belief into someone elses face. They can disprove mine. And when they give out reasons and ‘facts’, it seems like they are saying I can disprove theirs. If I can’t, then they are simply being dishonest with me (the dishonestly of them leaving me to think something is the case when it is not). If that was the case (just humouring me), exactly who is being disruptive there? The guy who goes on and on? Duped, certainly, but is he being disruptive?

    In terms of your question
    “People also think that this fiat usually works”
    “but let’s talk about when it works.”
    You’ve gone from noting what people say, to refering to it ‘working’ as if its a fact it works and as if I agree with that so much you can just move onto getting into that thing I supposedly agree with.

    I think your an honest person. But even I find, as a parent, I slip into little dishonesties in speak with my children “Can you take that through?” which really means “Take that through, NOW!”. I phrase it as a question, as if they get to say no, when they don’t get to say no. This sort of thing is embeded in me, to an extent. I’m trying to break that habit.

    And in saying that, your own wording is a sleight of hand (sleight of word?). It works the angles to get an assumption in between us that ‘it works’. And I think it’s just a habit with you as much as my habit is, from above. I hope I’ve put us on even ground here – I don’t point down at you from up on a pedistal and declare this. I do the same thing – were both human and equal in this.

    So to answer your question, in terms of what happens at the table, your probably getting alot of similar sleight of hand.

  9. Hi Tommi,

    In terms of #2, As I’ve said, I think syncronisation is the core of friendship. It’s not just there to facilitate a game. That’s kind of like someone who makes friends at work simply to get up the corporate ladder, rather than making friends to make friends. Syncronising to get the game going/keep it going is similar to making friends to go up a corporate ladder, IMO.

    In terms of #3, if you said war changes friendships, power, responsiblity, I’d grant that because the millions of people involved in a war make it hard to pin any change to any particular person. But at a gaming table, with what, five people? No, roleplay doesn’t change friendships, power or responsiblity – some person at the table is.

  10. I’ll read and possibly reply in more depth tomorrow, but for the time being a clarification of my question, which may lead to where I was going, or rather, tying it up to what was said above:

    The people at the table would say that their game works. Now, they may be mistaken*, but let’s see what we can learn from what they say – investigate why they think the game works now, and when they’ll say it’s not working?

    * I am wary of making such claims, if someone tells me he’s having ‘fun’, or is ‘happy’, and I tell him he’s not (not saying he’s lying, but mistaken), then I find it… problematic. These claims are sometimes performative – they are true by merit of the person believing them.

  11. Why investigate? Do you mean going in assuming it is a working game, or might be a working game?

    they are true by merit of the person believing them.

    Lets say, for some reason, you’ll press button A if it’s true and press button B if it’s false.

    So basically you have no control over which button you press as what they say is true, and if it’s true, it’s button A all the way? They tell you what is true, and that controls your actions?

    You trust other peoples words so much they control your actions? I know you wont be pressing buttons, but you will be acting in some way upon the ‘truth’ of whether they are having fun or not, as they tell it to you.

    I listen to what other people say and I let it control some of my actions, even. But way, way too many people have shown the capacity to lie to themselves about things. I thought it was actually commonly accepted that this is the case. The common classic is beaten wife syndrome. Why do they stick around? Why do they validate something like that by staying? Is it ‘working’ if they stay?

    Look, you can trust them – that’s your choice. But if your telling me I’m disruptive and a social contract breaker if I don’t do the same as you, that’s telling me my choice has to match yours.

    And just getting back to the procedure I outline in the OP, we haven’t really talked about it. Does it seem an impossible procedure? Or was it so possible you skipped past talking about it because there was nothing to add? If so, I’m pleased it was that cut and dried 🙂

  12. I’ll look again at the OP later, but I feel like I might be able to get some points across here. Exciting 😉

    The common classic is beaten wife syndrome. Why do they stick around? Why do they validate something like that by staying? Is it ‘working’ if they stay?

    I’ll combine my answer with the initial one in this comment. The answer is that I may not think it’s working, and I may think that even if it’s “working” that maybe it shouldn’t, but to begin with, I’ll take it as working, as if it really is. See, what I’m analyzing here, if we use the beaten wife example, is not her marriage, it’s her claim, that it is working.

    Now, she says it’s working, I would like to personally say it’s not working. Now you’ve answered your question with my answer! Why is it worth investigating? It’s worth investigating what makes her say this thing, and if she believes in it, then even moreso; what makes her believe her marriage is working, and to what purpose does she hold that belief?

    Some things are performative. Sure, people lie, to themselves more than anyone else (replace “people” with “bipeds” and you get a quote by a character of mine from 7 years ago, at least). But if someone says they’re happy, you may be able to get them to think it over and say they aren’t. But so long that they say they are happy, they are happy by merit of that statement. Some sentences are true by merit of someone saying them, or the right sort of person saying them. Sentences that are also actions (“I pronounce you husband and wife.” “I find you guilty of…”).

    Now, if the game is working, it’s one thing. But I’m saying, treat the game as working for the players. And this ties into my Story in retrospect post (I’m partly answering your last comments there too, I think). The game may not have worked during the game, but reconstructing it as a working game is potentially enough. I mean, what is a “working game”? It’s a game that people don’t say isn’t working! It’s not entirely tautological. A game stops working when people either think it’s not working, or stop lying to themselves it’s not working. A game stops working when people have that realization in their mind.

    It’s a performative statement: “I am not enjoying this.” It doesn’t matter one whit what happens beyond that statement. A game isn’t working when people think it’s not working. And on the other side, it is working while people, the people who play it, all think it does.

    And if I seem slightly rambly, it’s because I tried to go back to sleep a couple of hours ago, had these comments in my head, and couldn’t go to sleep without writing them 😛

  13. In terms of #2, As I’ve said, I think syncronisation is the core of friendship. It’s not just there to facilitate a game. That’s kind of like someone who makes friends at work simply to get up the corporate ladder, rather than making friends to make friends. Syncronising to get the game going/keep it going is similar to making friends to go up a corporate ladder, IMO.

    The game is there to enhance the synchronisation, not the other way around. Well, okay, I’d say that they both are there to enhance each other.

    So, the interesting question is, how can games be designed so that synchronisation happens more smoothly?

    Also, I think this is similar to why I enjoy playing the game called Alias, wherein one’s objective is to explain words to one’s teammates. Like, if asked to explain “train”, you might say that it moves on rails and you use it when travelling from one city to another.

    In terms of #3, if you said war changes friendships, power, responsiblity, I’d grant that because the millions of people involved in a war make it hard to pin any change to any particular person. But at a gaming table, with what, five people? No, roleplay doesn’t change friendships, power or responsiblity – some person at the table is.

    You just identified that a key concept in roleplaying is deeply connected to friendship. I deduced that roleplaying is a potentially powerful tool for altering friendships; hence, it should be used with care. Now you disagree? I’m confused.

  14. But if someone says they’re happy, you may be able to get them to think it over and say they aren’t. But so long that they say they are happy, they are happy by merit of that statement. Some sentences are true by merit of someone saying them

    I don’t get you here – why would you get them to think it over whether they are happy, if you are convinced and think it utterly true that they are happy? As true as the world is round. Why would you have a chat about whether their happy, when your convinced they are happy?

    I think you might be saying the same thing as me, or atleast in practical terms describing the same thing. But then you keep refering to it as being true – not that your just treating it as true until proven otherwise, and you keep the idea that it could be false. You keep saying it’s actually true. But then you describe deeds, like that chat, which treat it as potentially false/unproven and not true.

    Your language confuses me, and yet to have a chat with them and get them to think again whether they had fun, to do that, you would have to still have some notion that they did not have fun. That when they say they had fun, just because they said it doesn’t mean it wasn’t absolutely true. At a practical level, that’s what your describing, it seems to me. The very same thing I’m advocating. But at a verbal level you keep saying you don’t. It’s like 1984 double think! I just wanna be a simple man and if I don’t absolutely take it as the truth when they say they had fun, I just wanna say that. I don’t wanna to say I accept it as utterly true when the emporer says he has new clothes, but then talk with him in case he wants to reconsider that, which I would only do if I didn’t take it as being true! I can’t talk one thing and do another thing. I would start going mad (madder?)

    And if I seem slightly rambly, it’s because I tried to go back to sleep a couple of hours ago, had these comments in my head, and couldn’t go to sleep without writing them

    I’ve been there. More than a few times! Sorry to keep you up 😦

  15. Tommi, in terms of making system that grants a places and room for syncronistation to happen, should it want to happen, and systems that nurture it should it happen, that’s cool and good. But trying to force syncronisation to happen? That’s just an awful highjack of a social mechanism.

    I don’t know if the former acts as some sort of bridge between what your talking about and what I’m talking about and we could finish up there as having some sort of common ground in regards to it all. Which would be a good ending, atleast in my book? But if your talking about demanding/forcing syncronisation, GAH! I dunno what to say?

    Guy, well in that case, I wanna be a simple man and talk how I’m dealing with it. If you keep wanting to refer to something as being the truth, when I don’t want to refer to it as the truth, we keep talking past each other?

    One thing to note is that in discussions, if people refer to something as a fact or truth, without saying they just want to think of it as true, then it insists I treat it as a fact or true. It basically implies I have to treat it as true as well. If I told you there’s a beer in the fridge for you, that implies you have to treat it as true and it’d be odd if you went on going saying “I wish there was a beer in the fridge for me!”. When someone says something as if it’s just true (not that they want it to be true, but that it IS true), then there’s an implication others have to act upon it as true. Wouldn’t you say? And as you know, I’m lothe to just do that and I investigate the evidence. If they just want to treat it as true, there wont be evidence, but there will still be this implication I have to treat it as true, as much as if they told me a beer is in the fridge.

    What I’m saying is that you’ve communicated that you want to treat them as telling the truth. Fair enough – bit of a communication issue between us, but atleast I get that. But if other people are talking about something as being true without noting they just want to treat it as true, where does that leave me? Like the beer example, I either have to treat it as actually true, or investigate the claim.

  16. Tommi,

    You just identified that a key concept in roleplaying is deeply connected to friendship. I deduced that roleplaying is a potentially powerful tool for altering friendships; hence, it should be used with care. Now you disagree? I’m confused.

    As I said, someone at the table is changing friendships, power or responsiblity.

    They don’t get that power because of roleplay, they get that power because I (atleast for the moment) remain friends with them, despite their manipulations. If I put up with it, I put up with it for the sake of friendship, not for the sake of roleplay. I don’t imagine I’m a unique snowflake in doing this.

    I guess if you make friends with them simply in order to roleplay, it might be the other way around. This ties to one of the old, most pointed of questions “Do you do anything with the other players, outside of roleplay. Do you spend time together going to the movies or watching them at home. Or just drinking a beer and talking shit? Do you like talking with them about things other than roleplay? Anything? At all?”. From watching accounts for many years, I’ve seen there are many groups who do not fraternise outside of the game session. They are ‘friends’ simply in order to do a certain activity. I suppose here roleplay defines the frienships, but I wouldn’t really call them friendships myself. They have nothing together that is outside of the activity.

  17. Tommi, in terms of making system that grants a places and room for syncronistation to happen, should it want to happen, and systems that nurture it should it happen, that’s cool and good. But trying to force syncronisation to happen? That’s just an awful highjack of a social mechanism.

    I’m not certain this distinction is real and meaningful. I have no idea what forcing synchronisation would look like. Can you help me out here? An example would work nicely.

    They don’t get that power because of roleplay, they get that power because I (atleast for the moment) remain friends with them, despite their manipulations. If I put up with it, I put up with it for the sake of friendship, not for the sake of roleplay. I don’t imagine I’m a unique snowflake in doing this.

    Of course; there is nothing there that I disagree with.

    Roleplaying is, when looked at from this perspective, merely yet another social context. But since it is fundamentally linked to synchronisation as a phenomenon, it is reasonable to assume that it is a powerful context, by which I mean that it is easy to affect friendships when roleplaying (as compared to some random other activity). Stories involving friendships forged and broken through roleplaying seem to support this.

    I guess if you make friends with them simply in order to roleplay, it might be the other way around. This ties to one of the old, most pointed of questions “Do you do anything with the other players, outside of roleplay. …”

    Personally I have two groups of people I play with regularly. One is composed of friends. The other is a university group; some of those people I count as friends (friendships in that case being the result of roleplaying), some merely acquitances. I can’t say I hold your dichotomy meaningful. At least I don’t make friends only to roleplay or roleplay only to make friends. I doubt there are many people who solely do one or the other.

  18. Roleplaying is, when looked at from this perspective, merely yet another social context. But since it is fundamentally linked to synchronisation as a phenomenon, it is reasonable to assume that it is a powerful context, by which I mean that it is easy to affect friendships when roleplaying (as compared to some random other activity).

    I think were talking past each other. I said

    No, roleplay doesn’t change friendships, power or responsiblity – some person at the table is.

    Your saying roleplay is a powerful context. I’m saying someone at the table is taking that power and using it – it’s not roleplay changing things, it’s someone at the table using the roleplay activity to change things. Kind of like the old saying: guns don’t shoot people, people shoot people. By and large I agree with your observation RP is a powerful context/a powerful gun and I think there’s a fair bit of evidence for that.

    I’m not certain this distinction is real and meaningful. I have no idea what forcing synchronisation would look like. Can you help me out here? An example would work nicely.

    “What do you mean I don’t get height advantage!? It’s obvious!? How can you not see that? It should be as clear in your mind as it is in my mind! How can you not see that!? You must be trying to be a jerk to me! Yeah, thats it, your a jerk! Your a jerk if you don’t see me getting +2!”

    That’s a made up one. I could probably fish out one by cruising the D&D ‘whats a DM to do’ board for a few minutes, if you want. There as common as all get out there. I’ll try and remember to grab one the next time I see one. As long as I don’t forget, it shouldn’t take long.

  19. I think were talking past each other.

    Yes. We agree.

    “What do you mean I don’t get height advantage!? It’s obvious!? How can you not see that? It should be as clear in your mind as it is in my mind! How can you not see that!? You must be trying to be a jerk to me! Yeah, thats it, your a jerk! Your a jerk if you don’t see me getting +2!”

    Okay. I would not characterise that problem in quite this way, but I want to see where you will take this idea. Can you give an example on design level; that is, of design likely to breed this sort of problems?

    I could probably fish out one by cruising the D&D ‘whats a DM to do’ board for a few minutes, if you want. There as common as all get out there.

    Once I tried to tell the people there that railroading and fudging are not good habits for game masters. I grew wiser and gave up. A friendly suggestion: See what you actually get out of those discussions. If it is nothing but frustration, consider spending your time in other ways.

  20. Can you give an example on design level; that is, of design likely to breed this sort of problems?

    “If you have height advantage, you get +2”

    Now, I will say, apparently it causes this problem. Not too far into my roleplaying history I saw it as a rule that no one could actually judge. It provides no procedure for determining if you have height advantage – it only provides what to do if you do indeed have height advantage.

    The brilliantly devilish design of it is that it appears to give the procedure for determining, when it does not. Apparently it appears to alot of people to give a determining procedure.

    I say brilliantly devilish in the same way I would admire a bouncing betty landmine, and the way it springs up so as to fuck over as many people as possible.

  21. Okay, I can see where you are coming from. Thanks.

    I’m not convinced that it is a real threat to functional play most of the time, though.

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