icosahedron152
 member, 799 posts
Sat 18 Nov 2017
at 02:46
Re: Advice:: Black box game
If any game is going to be successful, it needs to accommodate as many people as possible. No game will ever be acceptable to everyone, people are just too different, but it is interesting to discuss how people feel about a particular type of game, and to check out whether certain modifications might make it more or less acceptable, so I think we're still on topic here.

There's no saying that Steelsmiter will ever join one of csroy's games (or one of mine) but it is constructive to discuss whether certain adaptations may make that possible. Not least because I'm sure he is not alone in his views, and there is fresh blood out there for the taking. :)

Steelsmiter, I'm still not sure of your thoughts regarding engine's observation:
engine:
Most systems leave it up to the GM's interpretation of when it is appropriate to roll, and even to ignore the outcome of rolls.


You claim to hold dice and rules in high esteem because of their objectivity, yet any game that is not fully automated is subject to the whim of the GM to some extent.

In fact, Rpol (and all RPGs for that matter) has a degree of Black Box-ism already built in. Even with the crunchyest system imaginable, the GM still has the option to roll or not roll, or to fudge the outcome of a roll, on his or her whim.

You seem to be willing to trust the GM, any GM, with making those decisions, yet you don't trust them to put all the rules/decisions out of sight, or to ride bareback without rules at all.

I'm curious to know where you draw the line, and why. :)

Your statement:
steelsmiter:
I'd trust 1shinigami with my actual life. But I won't be in a freeform game if he ever decides to run one :D

is completely alien to me. You would trust this person to make decisions affecting your own life, but you don't trust him to make decisions affecting the outcome of a game? Why is that?

steelsmiter:
I aim for a combination of rules and verisimilitude.


Likewise. I like to keep some chargen numbers and some dice rolls to assist with objectivity, I'm not a hardcore freeformer, but I keep them to support me in my job as a GM, not because I think they're essential for a good game.

IMO, what you have in a Black Box game is effectively a Turing Test.

The players are challenged to determine whether the GM is using a set of mechanical rules that are hidden, or whether the GM is actually running a freeform game using pure human imagination.

With a good set of rules, or a good freeform GM, the players shouldn’t be able to tell what is behind the screen. Both methods should lead to a strong, coherent, believable, pseudo-reality, and the immersive reality of the narrative is what’s important, surely? Rules are simply a convenient means to that end.

As you say, Steelsmiter,
steelsmiter:
I only care about gameism inasmuch as it aids the simulation I need for a fair(ish) narrative.


But of course, life itself is seldom fair. Sometimes, the whim of the GM can be fairer than the dice.
steelsmiter
 member, 1805 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Sat 18 Nov 2017
at 04:08
Re: Advice:: Black box game
icosahedron152:
If any game is going to be successful, it needs to accommodate as many people as possible. No game will ever be acceptable to everyone, people are just too different, but it is interesting to discuss how people feel about a particular type of game, and to check out whether certain modifications might make it more or less acceptable, so I think we're still on topic here.

There's no saying that Steelsmiter will ever join one of csroy's games (or one of mine) but it is constructive to discuss whether certain adaptations may make that possible. Not least because I'm sure he is not alone in his views, and there is fresh blood out there for the taking. :)

Steelsmiter, I'm still not sure of your thoughts regarding engine's observation:
engine:
Most systems leave it up to the GM's interpretation of when it is appropriate to roll, and even to ignore the outcome of rolls.


You claim to hold dice and rules in high esteem because of their objectivity, yet any game that is not fully automated is subject to the whim of the GM to some extent.

More to the point, I don't want any game to be fully automated. There are some games that will be ruined by bad dice rolls, and there are a number of systems that make a point of telling you to ignore rolls in the circumstances where it'll be a bad game. Fail forward systems are nice in that they make a point of saying that you should have the failure mean something, but leave you to decide what. And I've caught lots of inspiration from a fail-forward mentality over the years. Inspiration that would never have struck if everything were automated.

quote:
In fact, Rpol (and all RPGs for that matter) has a degree of Black Box-ism already built in. Even with the crunchyest system imaginable, the GM still has the option to roll or not roll, or to fudge the outcome of a roll, on his or her whim.

I can't stop other people from using them, and I don't intend to try. But I won't roll on behalf of a character I didn't create unless their player explicitly asks me to. In a game where I use precision as Perception, I had my players make a roll because I said I had a list of things and wanted to divvy bits they individually noticed base on their individual rolls. I could have made them roll passively, or yes, rolled for them. I just didn't want to.

I have baked in "passive rolls" into the systems I wrote explicitly to point to a rule and say "this is what we use if you don't want to/can't make a roll". Sure, if I need something to happen, it just happens, but that's really rare, and more often than not only used to prevent game stalls. The narrative system I play says to do that without bothering with rolls.

quote:
You seem to be willing to trust the GM, any GM, with making those decisions, yet you don't trust them to put all the rules/decisions out of sight, or to ride bareback without rules at all.

I'm curious to know where you draw the line, and why. :)

If I had to hazard a guess, I'd say I would need more than 85% of the core mechanics of the game, and maybe a change up on how things work once every few weeks if it's obvious a core rule isn't working "because I want to actually play the game".

Some games are all about story, and that's fine. Sometimes I want that, but the circumstances are more narrow. In violent stories I have an explicitly narrativist system preference but the system still has a 400 page core book and a 500 page supplement on a different way to build classes. I mostly stick to the supplement, but keep the book around for all the moves and stuff.

quote:
Your statement:
steelsmiter:
I'd trust 1shinigami with my actual life. But I won't be in a freeform game if he ever decides to run one :D

is completely alien to me. You would trust this person to make decisions affecting your own life, but you don't trust him to make decisions affecting the outcome of a game? Why is that?

I trust more in his understanding of how responsibility works than I trust in anyone's ability to keep anything fair. In a setup with everything subjective I can't guarantee he won't favor people he lives with over me. The thing is, he can't trust himself with the second one either. He uses one of the systems I'm not fond of because he thinks it's easier for his friends to make a pile of fair(ish) characters.

quote:
steelsmiter:
I aim for a combination of rules and verisimilitude.


Likewise. I like to keep some chargen numbers and some dice rolls to assist with objectivity, I'm not a hardcore freeformer, but I keep them to support me in my job as a GM, not because I think they're essential for a good game.

IMO, what you have in a Black Box game is effectively a Turing Test.

The players are challenged to determine whether the GM is using a set of mechanical rules that are hidden, or whether the GM is actually running a freeform game using pure human imagination.

Having system transparency helps me inasmuch as it removes a doubt I'd rather not have. I would rather have a game that admits it's freeform, or one that admits it's a system game, and is system transparent so I can pick and choose. I don't want to be told "Ok, make this (system) character at this value" and never roll for anything.

quote:
As you say, Steelsmiter,
steelsmiter:
I only care about gameism inasmuch as it aids the simulation I need for a fair(ish) narrative.


But of course, life itself is seldom fair. Sometimes, the whim of the GM can be fairer than the dice.

Right. Sometimes the GM can be fairer than the dice, but sometimes the opposite is true. I like having the system so there's a mix that results in a fair-er(ish) game. And I come at it from the hurtful place of knowing how life isn't fair, and how very specific events in the context of freeform reflect that on an exponential level. I have an aunt that didn't get to have a negotiation with how a car accident went down (she got to navigate how she went into it, but not negotiate what actually happened). I had a cousin that didn't get to have that same negotiation (or any choice in the matter). Lucky for the aunt, she's still around to get weepy every November.

If I'm telling a story with a pre-defined end point, or there are no such negotiations, I don't need any system.

If I am doing anything with an element of risk, I want system to help with the checks and balances, which is not entirely possible to do completely objectively, but it's far and away more possible to do with a system that keeps the GM in check (hopefully) and vice versa. And when a game goes bad, it's not always the GM's fault, or it's not always the players' fault, but it's never the increased subjectivity of the game's fault. At least not so much as anyone's aware who goes into a game expecting to deal with a particular stat breakdown and a particular set of dice rolls.

And given the choice between having death that sometimes just happens over one you have to negotiate because you have decided everything needs to be subjective, and everything should be talked out in PMs, I vastly prefer the one where death just happens sometimes, because that's how reality works.

And it's just not familial experiences changing how I perceive life, it's also about freeform experiences changing the appreciation I (er... don't) have for subjectivity. Like how if you're a god in a game that will become a system game, and other people aren't supposed to touch your domains, and you get heavily chastised for it, but then someone gets to rape yours because they've been in the group for longer, and now you can't play the actual system portion because someone's subjectivity ruined the race you wanted to play. Or how if you wanted to play 1989 Martin Riggs in an alternate timeline but weren't allowed to propose an alternate course of history because "Someone might want to play Renee Russo's character".

Say what you want about freeforms. Other than the ones that run on rails and/or Slice of Life--which are very pointedly not about high risk (usually)--you won't find me in a place to agree. And that last bit is relevant, because if I don't feel any sort of system crunch, there may as well not be one.

I guess in a way, rolls make random flukes and death a thing I don't have to think about, and occasionally ignoring a roll, or not calling for one keeps it from being cheapened. Also to me, if a player has an opportunity to roll at the right time, even though they planned for a death, they have a hope they can cling to that the dice turn up nice rather than some boring conversation about it.

Dice being chancy adds emotional investment for me (or at least changes it in a relevant way) because when the stakes are high I can put the feels on 'em, but then release them when I find out what happened, whereas when the stakes are high in freeform I'm stuck having to make a negotiation in a situation where I have an emotional stake in it and I don't argue well when I am in a particularly emotional place. I argue with the intent on causing others emotional pain.

This message was last edited by the user at 08:38, Sat 18 Nov.

evileeyore
 member, 54 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sat 18 Nov 2017
at 07:43
Re: Advice:: Black box game
icosahedron152:
In fact, Rpol (and all RPGs for that matter) has a degree of Black Box-ism already built in. Even with the crunchyest system imaginable, the GM still has the option to roll or not roll, or to fudge the outcome of a roll, on his or her whim.

If all rolls are in the open, then one needs no "trust".  They have affirmed knowledge.
icosahedron152
 member, 800 posts
Sat 18 Nov 2017
at 16:31
Re: Advice:: Black box game
Thanks for that, Steelsmiter. Sounds like you've had some bad experiences both in RL and in RPGs with bad GMs.

I'm not sure that any GM could convince you that his invisible rules game was worth trying, and even if you decided to try a Black Box or Freeform game, and found it to be a good experience, the next one you try could be a bad one again.


Evileeyore, there is no option for making all rolls open on Rpol, but that's not the whole trust problem anyway.

A bad GM can wreck a game by fudging rolls, by not fudging rolls, by calling for unnecessary rolls, by not calling for necessary rolls, or by any number of ways completely dissociated from the dice. Putting dice in a game, and/or putting them in full view is no guarantee of a good game, just as removing dice is no guarantee of a bad game.

Everybody just plays what they feel comfortable in playing.
evileeyore
 member, 55 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sat 18 Nov 2017
at 18:01
Re: Advice:: Black box game
icosahedron152:
Evileeyore, there is no option for making all rolls open on Rpol, but that's not the whole trust problem anyway.

So you're saying that if someone doesn't click "Secret Roll" the roll is still some how secret?  Odd, I see my GM's rolls all the time... even the "GM makes roll for Player X" comments, and all the other Player's rolls, unless they hit the Secret Button.
bigbadron
 moderator, 15468 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sat 18 Nov 2017
at 18:24
Re: Advice:: Black box game
evileeyore:
icosahedron152:
Evileeyore, there is no option for making all rolls open on Rpol, but that's not the whole trust problem anyway.

So you're saying that if someone doesn't click "Secret Roll" the roll is still some how secret?  Odd, I see my GM's rolls all the time... even the "GM makes roll for Player X" comments, and all the other Player's rolls, unless they hit the Secret Button.

The GM can also fudge rolls, and there is nothing to indicate to his players that he has done so - it just looks like a normal roll to everybody else, which is exactly how it's supposed to work.

He can also remove a roll (or rolls) from the log, and again there is no indication that he has done that.

Neither of these options require that he click the "Secret Roll" box, though they are hidden.  Which raises an interesting point - as a player, you would not necessarily be aware if all of these options were being used every day.
icosahedron152
 member, 801 posts
Sat 18 Nov 2017
at 20:02
Re: Advice:: Black box game
bigbadron:
Which raises an interesting point - as a player, you would not necessarily be aware if all of these options were being used every day.

Precisely. Rpol's own Black Box. Trust in the GM to unfold the game fairly is endemic within the Rpol system, regardless of what subordinate system may or may not be used within a game.

Some GMs are worthy of that trust, some are not, but visible and crunchy game systems are no guarantee of it. Depending on the GM, they may help to keep the GM on track, or they may simply offer a false sense of security to the players.
steelsmiter
 member, 1806 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Sat 18 Nov 2017
at 21:26
Re: Advice:: Black box game
icosahedron152:
Thanks for that, Steelsmiter. Sounds like you've had some bad experiences both in RL and in RPGs with bad GMs.

I'm not sure that any GM could convince you that his invisible rules game was worth trying, and even if you decided to try a Black Box or Freeform game, and found it to be a good experience, the next one you try could be a bad one again.

Blackbox maybe. If I see that a system is being used and have some hand in making my character, or if I/get to make my own rolls. I have to know my contributions mean something quantifiable rather than subjective. I have to know that I can make a contribution and not have it be objected to outright for arbitrary reasons (although some contributions aren't really contributions and in some cases, they should be objected to, like making a cyborg in a horror game where you're not the killer).

quote:
Everybody just plays what they feel comfortable in playing.

There are even some freeforms I feel comfortable playing, just none where risk is involved unless the story is already on rails, and the risk to my character is the whole of the plot. Those are best done in pairs though, because it would otherwise sound like my character is the "main character".

quote:
Neither of these options require that he click the "Secret Roll" box, though they are hidden.  Which raises an interesting point - as a player, you would not necessarily be aware if all of these options were being used every day.

Yeah, that's why I make a point of requiring my players to make their own rolls, and I only roll where a player has explicitly asked me to, and use passive numbers I rig into my systems where they don't, but they're not hurrying up and rolling. Although there are events in my game that don't themselves engender trust, how I run games at a meta-level is intended to do just that. The characters should not trust the situation ideally in some cases, but the players can trust me if they want to and it's something that I actively encourage (although I've found that expecting anything out of anyone is a waste of my psychological resources, so I haven't done it in ages).

quote:
Depending on the GM, they may help to keep the GM on track,

I use it mostly for a reference point of what's been done, and how I need to interact with it, because I'm a reactive GM so my entire job is reacting to the player's interaction with the system... at least after I've done all the front loading. I have been known to do a month or two of frontloading ahead of actual gameplay.

quote:
or they may simply offer a false sense of security to the players.

Personally, I prefer the other route of offering a false sense of dread.
evileeyore
 member, 56 posts
 GURPS GM and Player
Sun 19 Nov 2017
at 07:03
Re: Advice:: Black box game
bigbadron:
Which raises an interesting point - as a player, you would not necessarily be aware if all of these options were being used every day.

That's disturbing and disagreeable to me.

Not enough that I'll quit RPoll forever... but it does mean that one has to really trust the GM.

Ennnhhhhh....
bigbadron
 moderator, 15469 posts
 He's big, he's bad,
 but mostly he's Ron.
Sun 19 Nov 2017
at 07:50
Re: Advice:: Black box game
In reply to evileeyore (msg # 45):

Well, you really need to trust the GM anyway.  After all, if he wanted to screw you over, his options (without even rolling the dice) are fairly extensive.

For example, he can create characters for himself, and make them look as if they were being run by another player.  Until one day that other PC that you've been getting along with so well is revealed to be a treacherous slime ball who goes all PvP on your character, stabs him in the back, and leaves him bleeding out in the path of an advancing enemy army.
steelsmiter
 member, 1808 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Sun 19 Nov 2017
at 08:12
Re: Advice:: Black box game
bigbadron:
For example, he can create characters for himself, and make them look as if they were being run by another player.

I only wish I were able to do that. Skill-wise I mean, not rpol function-wise.
csroy
 member, 117 posts
Sun 19 Nov 2017
at 08:58
Re: Advice:: Black box game
hehe the whole black box discussion took a turn I did not anticipated :)

For me the issue of trusting a GM is more complex than seeing the dice rolls and knowing if or not the GM fidget the rolls.

I mean let us be honest, we are online, we have no idea who is on the other side the whole point of trust should be altered. I think GM has so many ways he can mess with players there is no need to cheat on dice rolls.

For me it is more important if there is a good story, if there is no feeling of rail roading, if the GM is attentive to the needs of his players and that he treat everyone fairly (although this one is hard to spot). I played in games where everything was open but the way the GM handled thing (mostly to have his players feel like losers and stomping them into walls while telling us we are not smart enough) was so destructive it did not matter all rolls were in the open and done fairly. On the other hand some of my better experiences are in a so called black box, where the GM agreed to handle the mechanics for my PC because I had no idea how the system worked. I just focused on what my PC does and he translated it into the system.

Back to the issue of black box, I feel that a system can be a crutch at times, sure it give a framework of what can and can't be done but many times it also create an artificial limits where people ignore common sense because a rules said otherwise. I think it is a delicate balance of using the system just enough to be helpful before it becomes a hindrance.
icosahedron152
 member, 802 posts
Sun 19 Nov 2017
at 09:46
Re: Advice:: Black box game
steelsmiter:
bigbadron:
For example, he can create characters for himself, and make them look as if they were being run by another player.

I only wish I were able to do that. Skill-wise I mean, not rpol function-wise.

If you don't feel capable yourself, you could always hire an assass... Co-GM to do that sort of thing for you. :)

But yes, that is an extremely difficult role-playing skill - not only to play a role with a new character voice, but to play it with a new narrative voice that disguises who is playing the role - avoiding your usual mannerisms, stock vocabulary, etc, effectively playing a role within a role. And to do that for several fake PCs... Not something I'd care to attempt very often.

Yes, evileeyore, on Rpol you have to trust the GM, and not all of them are worthy of it. Which is why some players have bad experiences.

All you can do is accept that sometimes a game is going to be ruined, and go start a new game. If you carry a chip on your shoulder every time a GM screws you over, you're going to get crippled by the sheer weight of chips before long.
Shrug em off, and have fun with someone else instead.

csroy:
I think it is a delicate balance of using the system just enough to be helpful before it becomes a hindrance.

Which is what I always try to do, and why I use a simple rule set that rarely surfaces.

This message was last edited by the user at 09:50, Sun 19 Nov.

csroy
 member, 118 posts
Sun 19 Nov 2017
at 10:12
Re: Advice:: Black box game
icosahedron152:
Which is what I always try to do, and why I use a simple rule set that rarely surfaces.


Great, can you recommend on a system that would work well when the players are oblivious for it?
icosahedron152
 member, 803 posts
Sun 19 Nov 2017
at 12:41
Re: Advice:: Black box game
The system you need is whatever works for you.

The one I use is called 1PG from Deep 7 Games, but it may not keep you happy. It costs about four dollars. If you take a look at it and want to know more, Rmail me. :)
steelsmiter
 member, 1809 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Sun 19 Nov 2017
at 16:48
Re: Advice:: Black box game
icosahedron152:
steelsmiter:
bigbadron:
For example, he can create characters for himself, and make them look as if they were being run by another player.

I only wish I were able to do that. Skill-wise I mean, not rpol function-wise.

If you don't feel capable yourself, you could always hire an assass... Co-GM to do that sort of thing for you. :)

But yes, that is an extremely difficult role-playing skill - not only to play a role with a new character voice, but to play it with a new narrative voice that disguises who is playing the role - avoiding your usual mannerisms, stock vocabulary, etc, effectively playing a role within a role.

Nah, I can use a new character's voice, and a new narrative voice. Mostly. My problem is that I have a habit of using "Game Preferences" to post as Default Character (which is GM) and not thinking to change it. So I just have a GMPC and don't (usually) bother trying to hide anything.

quote:
For me the issue of trusting a GM is more complex than seeing the dice rolls and knowing if or not the GM fidget the rolls.

I mean let us be honest, we are online, we have no idea who is on the other side the whole point of trust should be altered. I think GM has so many ways he can mess with players there is no need to cheat on dice rolls.

Yeah, and I often find that GMs who do mess with players for its own sake don't do it with the dice rolls, but then I blame the GM, not the system.

quote:
Back to the issue of black box, I feel that a system can be a crutch at times, sure it give a framework of what can and can't be done but many times it also create an artificial limits where people ignore common sense because a rules said otherwise. I think it is a delicate balance of using the system just enough to be helpful before it becomes a hindrance.

I also think sometimes it's good to ignore common sense if the tone of the game doesn't allow for it. Like being able to come back from the dead for 5 thousand dollars for a game that's literally written on GTA V's online stat breakdown. Sometimes it's not. Also sometimes it's good for players to have rules crutches to inform them of constraints their characters legitimately have. I think a system done right is one that allows the players to decide what constraints they put on themselves.

Back when I played GURPS, most of my audience was my 10-16 year old cousin (he's 7 years behind me and I'm 33 now) and there were times when he picked a full load of disadvantages, and times he didn't pick not one. He knew the system was gritty, but his characters had high odds of not being directly subjected to it if he played his points right. He was mostly smart enough to play his points right-ish and mostly brave enough to not care about the -ish.

'Course GURPS is one of those hindrance systems, and that used to not be the case, which is why I quit it.

quote:
Great, can you recommend on a system that would work well when the players are oblivious for it?

It would be really easy to strip everything away from PBtA but 3 step dice roll, let players have something they get +2 at, something they get +1 at, and something they get -1 at. Everything else, they get +0. You can even drop all the moves, and advances and just let story events dictate other things they do well enough. So if a player buys a tavern, they start at +0 with rolls regarding it. You then decide when they can add +1 to something (that either you or they decide, based on your preference).

Player is a guard? they get +0 at restraining people until they become captain!
it's a little bit roll and shout, but it sounds like what you need.

You also had that idea of rolling 2d6 and taking the lower, and I really like that so long as a player can describe things they know they're good at and take the better roll instead (with limits of course, like 2 goods, one bad. Haven't thought of what could be worse than taking the lower roll)
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1232 posts
Mon 20 Nov 2017
at 12:21
Re: Advice:: Black box game
You know, as far as I'm concerned, a good system is one that can pass the black box test, which means that players can state their actions in terms of the narrative with no knowledge or understanding of the system and the gm should be able to take that declaration of action and easily put it through the system and get a reasonable (for the fictional milieu) and consistant range of results.

If it can't do that, it fails the black box test.
Starchaser
 member, 483 posts
 GMT+0
 Posts Monday-Friday
Mon 20 Nov 2017
at 12:55
Re: Advice:: Black box game
For me I think all this talk of rules vs simulation vs storytelling is moot.

I role play because I want to have fun. If a game is fun I don't care if the GM is being 'fair'. I don't care if there are rules or not or if they are being followed. I roleplay when I'm having fun. I stop when I'm not. Simple.

A GM's job is hard. The hardest part is making sure EVERYONE in your game is enjoying the game. Forget anything else. The old adage you can't please everyone rears its head again here because as a GM you are trying to do the impossible and please everyone, and all this at the same time keeping it enjoyable for yourself as well.

I think a lot of this rules vs no rules argument stems from the fact that no matter how much we all know that role playing is supposed to be collaborative we are all bred into societies that teach us that we need to win over others so we all still have a winning vs losing mindset, even when we are trying to create a co-operative story.

This message had punctuation tweaked by the user at 12:55, Mon 20 Nov.

csroy
 member, 119 posts
Mon 20 Nov 2017
at 14:46
Re: Advice:: Black box game
In reply to Starchaser (msg # 54):

Fun is importance but also the sense of fairness. For me (and I am guessing for others) it is important to know that everything is fair, no player get a better (or worse) treatment from the GM. I don't care if the GM fidget the results as long as it does so for everyone, I don't mind if the GM give extra spot light to one player to shine if I know my time in the spot light would come as well.

On a deeper philosophic level we need rules to give as a sense of control, if I know the rules I can understand what is happening, causality is important to us. Perhaps this is why black box draw so much heat, it robs people from the sense of control and make it appear closer to reality but if in reality we have god/dess fate or <insert name of higher power> to blame for what is happening, here the demigod who control our fate is another fallible human being.

Anyway, it was just a thought.
icosahedron152
 member, 805 posts
Mon 20 Nov 2017
at 15:28
Re: Advice:: Black box game

Starchaser:
The old adage you can't please everyone rears its head again here because as a GM you are trying to do the impossible and please everyone, and all this at the same time keeping it enjoyable for yourself as well.


csroy:
Here the demigod who control our fate is another fallible human being.


This is all too often forgotten by players. Many want a perfect system, perfectly adjudicated, in a perfect setting, and all run at their ideal pace.

Some poor soul is trying to hang all that lot together in his or her spare time!

Occasionally, they may fall slightly short of perfection.
steelsmiter
 member, 1810 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Mon 20 Nov 2017
at 20:11
Re: Advice:: Black box game
Starchaser:
I think a lot of this rules vs no rules argument stems from the fact that no matter how much we all know that role playing is supposed to be collaborative we are all bred into societies that teach us that we need to win over others so we all still have a winning vs losing mindset, even when we are trying to create a co-operative story.

Some of it, sure. Like I said though, I don't care about winning or losing, I just want to be confident (for lack of ability to know) in the fairness of the process. I actively prefer a fair(ish) loss over a subjective win I don't really feel like I had a part in. Or a negotiation that doesn't really feel like a win so much as a compromise.

I want to roll for the thing because I said I wanted to, not because the other players allow me to. And if I don't roll well enough, fine. Just so long as the other player who also decides to do something equally stupid down the road is both allowed the same roll, and subjected to the same adjudication.

Having a blackbox system goes a step toward being indicative of an impartial medium through which to filter the supposed equal treatment of players where possible. If I can make my own rolls I can at least feel that the subjectiveness of not being able to do so is at least partially mitigated.


quote:
This is all too often forgotten by players. Many want a perfect system, perfectly adjudicated, in a perfect setting, and all run at their ideal pace.

Some poor soul is trying to hang all that lot together in his or her spare time!

Occasionally, they may fall slightly short of perfection.

I myself have come to settle on "right enough" because of all that. It seems to be working for the games I wrote. And for me, if a system is really simple and I get to do some RNG'ing, I feel like it could probably count as "right enough". I certainly don't want system blind. I want some of the bells and whistles to peek out.

This message was last edited by the user at 16:44, Tue 21 Nov.

DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1233 posts
Tue 21 Nov 2017
at 06:06
Re: Advice:: Black box game
Starchaser:
For me I think all this talk of rules vs simulation vs storytelling is moot.
...


It is not moot, for two reasons,

First, different people enjoy different things. For example, one player I know made a character from a place with neither light nor darkness, which given that darkness is defined by the absense of light, is quite impossible. Didn't matter to him as he could enjoy it despite the contradiction, yet it always broke immersion for me.

Knowing what you enjoy and what you are getting into is important for finding others with similar ideas, and for getting everyone on the same page kn terms of expectations.

Second, being abld to know the type of game the players like, helps the focus kn those points that are most enjoyed by the players.
Starchaser
 member, 487 posts
 GMT+0
 Posts Monday-Friday
Tue 21 Nov 2017
at 07:23
Re: Advice:: Black box game
So that's where you get your username from?

Im sorry. That statement I made was badly worded. Let me rephrase:

FOR ME all this talk of rules vs simulation vs storytelling is moot, though I understand others may have different opinions.

My enjoyment doesn't come from fairness or rules. But if it does for someone else then obviously only a fair rule based system will do.


System for me is only a deal breaker if chargen is overtly random in nature. Which is why I use point based chargen rules in call of cthulhu games. I prefer creativity over stats. To give an example. On the rare occasion I play fantasy games I favour charisnatic diplomats over muscle bound warriors. If I was playing D&D and was forced into rolling exact stats without any swspping / reallocation I could end up with a character with 9 INT, 6 CHA and 17 STR. This would be great for a warrior but like I said I don't like playing warriors.

This message was last edited by the user at 07:26, Tue 21 Nov.

steelsmiter
 member, 1811 posts
 BESM, Fate, Indies, PBTA
 NO FREEFORM! NO d20!
Tue 21 Nov 2017
at 17:03
Re: Advice:: Black box game
Starchaser:
System for me is only a deal breaker if chargen is overtly random in nature. Which is why I use point based chargen rules in call of cthulhu games.</quote
I do too. I had a favorite system for a decade with point based rules (GURPS). I write pretty much only point based rules, except where I write hacks for other systems that aren't already point based, such as Dungeon World (you get to arrange numbers as you want and nothing's random) or Fate (description based with everyone getting the same number of allocations at the same description levels).

<quote>I prefer creativity over stats. To give an example. On the rare occasion I play fantasy games I favour charisnatic diplomats over muscle bound warriors. If I was playing D&D and was forced into rolling exact stats without any swspping / reallocation I could end up with a character with 9 INT, 6 CHA and 17 STR.

That's actually I never played older editions unless GMs explicitly stated "arrange attributes how you want" I used to play 3.X+, but grew increasingly more disillusioned with it over the years as I began to find more generic and more indie games that had different foci. I usually play nonmagical melee based characters who aren't always warriors, and often have some unique aspect other than meat shielding that makes them worth playing outside combat.
DarkLightHitomi
 member, 1234 posts
Wed 22 Nov 2017
at 13:04
Re: Advice:: Black box game
quote:
System for me is only a deal breaker if chargen is overtly random in nature. Which is why I use point based chargen rules in call of cthulhu games. I prefer creativity over stats. To give an example. On the rare occasion I play fantasy games I favour charisnatic diplomats over muscle bound warriors. If I was playing D&D and was forced into rolling exact stats without any swspping / reallocation I could end up with a character with 9 INT, 6 CHA and 17 STR. This would be great for a warrior but like I said I don't like playing warriors


So if you never talk about rules, how do you avoid issues with the above? If rules are so moot in terms of having fun, then how do the rules you mentioned matter if they aren't material to your fun?

You clearly have limits in terms of what is or is not fun rules-wise, so despite your comment to the contrary, rules are obviously not moot.