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Author Topic: Simulationist experiment - FC  (Read 4550 times)
ludomastro
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« on: August 01, 2012, 02:47:14 PM »

I'm looking for a few interested people to work through an experiment.  I tend to feel that - while not completely accurate - the GNS theory of gaming is a reasonable starting point.  I am more of a Simulationist while playing but a Narativist while GM'ing.

For those not familiar with GNS theory here's a link to Wikipedia on the theory.

Thus the experiment.  I want to try to pull together an adventure that would let me work on my Simulationist GM skills.

If interested, please post here.
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MikeS
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2012, 03:13:04 PM »

Color me interested, but I'd certainly like to hear more detail before I commit.

Seeing as Simulationist can apply to either reality, a genre, or a specific setting, I'd like to know more about which one of the three you're going for.
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Mister Andersen
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« Reply #2 on: August 01, 2012, 03:48:06 PM »

What exactly are you seeking to simulate?
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ludomastro
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« Reply #3 on: August 01, 2012, 08:27:52 PM »

I posted that while on a quick break at work.  I'd have sworn it made more sense at the time.  Here goes the second try:

To me Simulationist game play
  • does NOT try to emulate reality (as that would be difficult to impossible for most systems)
  • focuses on creating an internally consistent world
  • focuses on allowing a more immersive experience for the PLAYER
  • allows the CHARACTER acts according to his beliefs and expectations (which the PLAYER has thought through and/or experiences)
  • pushes narrative concerns to the background - but that doesn't mean they aren't present

I've had some success with this with a one-on-one PbP game I did for Shadowrun on another site.  Some of the more memorable adventures were finding a home base and dealing with astral quests.  But don't let the lack of action in those examples scare you away.  The player also acted more like I would think a real-world shadowrunner would act.  Lots of legwork, planning, stealth action and covering his tracks.

Hopefully that explains what I mean by Simulationist.

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ludomastro
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« Reply #4 on: August 01, 2012, 08:32:36 PM »

The setting is somewhat in flux at the moment.

Magic will be present, though tainted.  Thus, magic users are distrusted/despised.

I haven't made up my mind about miracles.

Era: At least Feudal, probably Renaissance with the possibility of Industrial if we can work around the lack of concrete support for items I would expect in that era.

I'm still mulling over Campaign Qualities; however, I would like some player driven input on those.
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MikeS
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« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2012, 10:00:15 PM »


To me Simulationist game play
  • does NOT try to emulate reality (as that would be difficult to impossible for most systems)
  • focuses on creating an internally consistent world
  • focuses on allowing a more immersive experience for the PLAYER
  • allows the CHARACTER acts according to his beliefs and expectations (which the PLAYER has thought through and/or experiences)
  • pushes narrative concerns to the background - but that doesn't mean they aren't present


What do you call "narrative concerns"? The story as a whole, or maybe the "adventure"?
From what you mention below the list, you are focusing intensely on the character's life and driving up grittiness/realism. That tends to increase the level of legwork and cleanup, at least in my games.

By the way, I disagree strongly that emulating reality is impossible in an RPG. It just depends on which parts of reality you want to focus on.
Some things that I have done to create realism in past games is

  • have actions have global consequences. If you end all your fights by killing the opponents, word gets around. So does general professional behavior or lack thereof. Reactions are also influenced by the company you keep, or simply who you are seen with. The world responds to player actions.
  • combat is painful and potentially deadly. There are no Standard characters. If you don't know what your odds are, characters approach combat a lot more conservatively, and sometimes even look for peaceful solutions
  • The mission doesn't end at the end of the mission. Like the first point: evidence brings on the police, victims may seek revenge, etc.

As you see, I define "realistic" more in the response of the characters to the world and vice versa, rather than game mechanics, and I think you can run most games in a realistic Simulationist fashion.
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MikeS
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« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2012, 10:03:20 PM »

The setting is somewhat in flux at the moment.

Magic will be present, though tainted.  Thus, magic users are distrusted/despised.

I haven't made up my mind about miracles.

Era: At least Feudal, probably Renaissance with the possibility of Industrial if we can work around the lack of concrete support for items I would expect in that era.

I'm still mulling over Campaign Qualities; however, I would like some player driven input on those.

Still interested. Still not quite sure which genre you are going after. Game of Thrones - style, Conan, epic, what?

For the example you gave, I'd favor Campaign Qualities that increase lethality of combat, and maybe reduce character competence slightly.
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ludomastro
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« Reply #7 on: August 01, 2012, 11:32:02 PM »

What do you call "narrative concerns"? The story as a whole, or maybe the "adventure"?

An example narrative concern would be not killing a prisoner b/c the story needs said NPC alive.

Quote
Some things that I have done to create realism in past games is
  • have actions have global consequences. If you end all your fights by killing the opponents, word gets around. So does general professional behavior or lack thereof. Reactions are also influenced by the company you keep, or simply who you are seen with. The world responds to player actions.
  • combat is painful and potentially deadly. There are no Standard characters. If you don't know what your odds are, characters approach combat a lot more conservatively, and sometimes even look for peaceful solutions
  • The mission doesn't end at the end of the mission. Like the first point: evidence brings on the police, victims may seek revenge, etc.

As you see, I define "realistic" more in the response of the characters to the world and vice versa, rather than game mechanics, and I think you can run most games in a realistic Simulationist fashion.

Ah, in that case, you and I define realism the same way.  Your IC actions have IC consequences.  If your character decides to become the Butcher of Bakersfield then he's welcome to go ahead.  Just remember that you - the Player - can't come back complaining to the GM when the City Watch decides to shoot him on sight.

I was referring more to the idea that a game system can accurately model physics and what not.

----

As to genre, I am looking at an existing civilization that has myths of a bygone era where man had the power of the gods until he awoke the demons.  They came into our world and the old civilization descended into madness and death.  The demons are mostly gone now but a few are still around.

PC's would be those hired to search out the old ruins and see if any of the artifacts still work and then bring them home to their town/kingdom or perhaps sell them to the highest bidder.
« Last Edit: August 01, 2012, 11:35:26 PM by ludomastro » Logged

Mister Andersen
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« Reply #8 on: August 02, 2012, 03:40:08 PM »

I posted that while on a quick break at work.  I'd have sworn it made more sense at the time.  Here goes the second try:

To me Simulationist game play
  • does NOT try to emulate reality (as that would be difficult to impossible for most systems)
  • focuses on creating an internally consistent world
  • focuses on allowing a more immersive experience for the PLAYER
  • allows the CHARACTER acts according to his beliefs and expectations (which the PLAYER has thought through and/or experiences)
  • pushes narrative concerns to the background - but that doesn't mean they aren't present

Hopefully that explains what I mean by Simulationist.

That's actually coming across as far more of a narrativist manifesto.

Being a simulationist means your primary goal is trying to capture and recreate a specific thing or vibe or reality I guess.
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ludomastro
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« Reply #9 on: August 02, 2012, 04:44:58 PM »

That's actually coming across as far more of a narrativist manifesto.

Being a simulationist means your primary goal is trying to capture and recreate a specific thing or vibe or reality I guess.

Then perhaps the term that would better capture what I am trying to do is "immersionist."
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MikeS
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« Reply #10 on: August 02, 2012, 09:19:58 PM »

Your setting sounds a bit reminiscent of Earthdawn. Or are you going for something else?

I'd be curious to see how you do an exploration game in a character-driven fashion. That sounds hard.

Though I could see how the personal focus comes in after the initial exploration, as the characters decide who to deal with/give the artifacts to. Maybe even during the explorations, if the demons aren't gone yet, and make Faustian offers.

How many players are you looking for?
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ludomastro
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« Reply #11 on: August 02, 2012, 10:15:37 PM »

I wasn't consciously thinking of Earthdawn; however, now that you mention it, what I've described does have a very Earthdawn feel to it.

Agreed, to a point.  Exploration games CAN be character driven.  However, it is more "Hey, while we're here in the East, shall we check out some of these rumors of a horse-lord's tomb?  Or, do you guys want to try to catch a boat out to that floating island that all the sailors are talking about?" than the GM telling you there's a pyramid nearby.

I'm looking for smaller group.  Maybe 3 or 4 players.
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Mister Andersen
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« Reply #12 on: August 02, 2012, 10:29:32 PM »

You know, something in the vein of Journey to the Centre of the Earth, Atlantis: the Lost Continent (the Disney animated movie) or The Forbidden Planet are all good archetypes/templates for a character driven exploration game
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« Reply #13 on: August 03, 2012, 12:18:57 AM »

I'm in. Let me think up a character concept over the next day or two.

Any ideas for starting level? Any banned races?

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Desertpuma
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« Reply #14 on: August 03, 2012, 09:22:08 AM »

In a sense, Stargate (the entire franchise) works for what you are going for with character driven exploration stories
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