A collection of rambling posts about gaming, running, and politics. (and, in 2009, photography.)

Monday, June 11, 2007

More gaming thoughts

You'll want to skip this one if you're not interested in me spinning my wheels with regard to Role Playing games and the social quirks surrounding them.

I had some very interesting conversations with some friends following my semi-meltdown over the weekend. A lot of good points were mentioned, and some interesting perspectives were raised. As a side note: sometimes I just like to hear myself talk (read my writing, as the case may be) about role playing games.

One thing that occurred to me, and I was delighted to be able to put my finger onto, is ranking System vs Story. D&D is a classic example of System First, Story Second. When the dice come up against you, sometimes you're dead. Tough break. Of course, people fudge rolls and such, but as a system, and I think that in most groups, that's the way it is. The system IS the game. Again: classic D&D. It is a set of rules designed to mediate the killing of monsters and taking of treasure.

To differentiate, in Story First, System Second, the system takes a distant backseat to the story and the characters. The rules are just there to give us some structure, but not to overshadow or take away from the story. TSoY is a system which seems inherently to be Story First. It is designed to be there just so your game doesn't fall over on its ear. I try to use this even in our Werewolf game. This past session, one of the characters wanted to do something risky. Really risky. I rolled some dice to determine the consequences, and shared that result. I explained that she could go forward with what she wanted to do, but these are the consequences for that action. I left it up to her to decide if she wanted to go that route, or seek an alternative. I let the player decide how things would turn out, instead of letting the system decide. The system played a part in the decision, but the system was not the final arbitrator, which is the way I like it. We're collaborating to build a cohesive (and fun and interesting) story. Otherwise its a glorified system of rolling on charts and tables with flavor text scattered about.

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