Fenris-77

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Huh. My reading list just got quite a bit longer. There's a nice summative article by Markus Montola that I'll dig up a link for when I get home.
 

Séadna

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Hey, don't take me the wrong way! I just meant I tried to write it so that the reader didn't need a Ph.D. in rhetoric to make sense of it. Maybe it worked, maybe it didn't, but at least I made the effort.
Liking it so far Bill. I'm up to Chapter 4, just started the GNS stuff. I've no knowledge of this stuff so I've learned a good bit so far.
 

David Johansen

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I've been having some thoughts about texture and complexity in games just lately. Rolemaster is a game with a fair bit of both, but so is AD&D with a stack of articles from Dragon magazine. Texture is something that seems to have gone out of fashion in game design or maybe game design actually destroys it I don't know. My own games always feel a bit, well, flat. There isn't that meandering coarseness that comes with many layers of design and designers.
 

Bill White

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I just wonder whether you got the POV from people who were skeptical of the direction that The Forge took. I was active for a little while and my experience mirrored that of more prominent dissenters. (By whom I don't mean trolls or crazies, but people like Balbinus and Marco Chacon.)

I actually talk about it quite a lot. At the end of the second chapter is a rhetorical analysis of an RPG.net thread called "What Happened to the Forge?" that presents skeptical views of the Forge's contribution to RPGs, and I present the experience of people who felt marginalized by the Forge for a variety of reasons. I am not terribly critical of "Forge theory," however; instead, I try to reconstruct it from an internal perspective and show how it overlaps with the sort of frame-theoretic approaches to understanding RPGs that have been discussed upthread.
 

Bill White

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I've been having some thoughts about texture and complexity in games just lately. Rolemaster is a game with a fair bit of both, but so is AD&D with a stack of articles from Dragon magazine. Texture is something that seems to have gone out of fashion in game design or maybe game design actually destroys it I don't know. My own games always feel a bit, well, flat. There isn't that meandering coarseness that comes with many layers of design and designers.
Right...isn't that texture what happens when you have a community oriented around productive activities, all doing variations and extrapolations and articulations around a core idea? I'm thinking of back in the day APAzines like Alarums & Excursions as well as modern-day Internet-enabled communities of play like the OSR and pbtA games. Or are you talking about something else?
 

Voros

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I actually talk about it quite a lot. At the end of the second chapter is a rhetorical analysis of an RPG.net thread called "What Happened to the Forge?" that presents skeptical views of the Forge's contribution to RPGs, and I present the experience of people who felt marginalized by the Forge for a variety of reasons. I am not terribly critical of "Forge theory," however; instead, I try to reconstruct it from an internal perspective and show how it overlaps with the sort of frame-theoretic approaches to understanding RPGs that have been discussed upthread.

I assume you speak with Emily Care Boss?
 

David Johansen

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Right...isn't that texture what happens when you have a community oriented around productive activities, all doing variations and extrapolations and articulations around a core idea? I'm thinking of back in the day APAzines like Alarums & Excursions as well as modern-day Internet-enabled communities of play like the OSR and pbtA games. Or are you talking about something else?
Maybe, I don't know, something like Rolemaster Standard System is very well integrated but the layers of complexity produce texture or whatever it is I'm talking about, "character" maybe? I wouldn't say GURPS has it, no matter what you do with it GURPS will always be GURPS. So, a lot of people contributing might get you there but it might also just get you something diffuse with lots of spin offs. Much like you see in the OSR where everyone and their dog has their own retro clone. It's a notion that is just bumping around in my head. Sometimes the inefficiencies and weaknesses of a game give it a character or texture that is unique and appealing. I think Mark Rein Hagen was trying to achieve something like that with his science fiction game Exile.
 

Lofgeornost

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Looking forward to it Bill, I see it is priced as an academic book so I'll have to try and get it via an interlibrary loan.

Fortunately, my library system makes all of the Palgrave Games in Context series available as e-books, so now I have another entry in the 'to be read' log. I feel some obligation to read Mizer's Table-Top Roleplaying Games and the Experience of Imagined Worlds first, but if there's going to be extensive discussion here I should probably rearrange my priorities.
 

Bill White

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Nick's book is worth reading! Nick goes to a bunch of different places to play with people who consider themselves to be part of the OSR. He goes to GaryCon and plays with Ernie Gygax! He takes an anthropological perspective, and so is interested in "what it's like to experience imagined worlds." It's pretty cool. I hear that he's working on a project to make a great big book of his interviews and gaming session transcripts available, and I hope that sees the light of day soon.
 

Voros

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Justin Alexander Justin Alexander has written a follow-up on his node approach to scenario design, which I think isn't too far from Montola's attractors idea I link to earlier in this thread although stated with greater clarity as usual.

 

Bill White

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Voros

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Jon Peterson has a new book coming out, as a follow-up to his impressive Playing at the World, probably deserves its own thread:

 

Séadna

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Jon Peterson has a new book coming out, as a follow-up to his impressive Playing at the World, probably deserves its own thread:

Wow that looks really interesting! I'm sure there will be plenty of surprising facts in there.
 

ConflictGames

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Voros

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Got my copy of The Elusive Shift on Kindle. Just started reading it, will post my thoughts as I make my way through after the holidays.
 

zanshin

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Just wanted to say thank you to the contributors upthread for linking to so much great and thought provoking material. Lots of homework for me here!
 

Black Leaf

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Adding some LARP material to this (and is this a post I should pin?).

Nordic Larp (edited by Stenros and Montala) is free here. You can translate the site to English in the top right. Large collection of larps in the tradition.

The infamous Turku Manifesto.

The Peckforton Papers (ed. S. Brind, J Brind, Laird, Shockly, Svanevik) is an excellent (and free!) collection of essays from UK LARP (or LRP, which one of the essays is very passionate about) organisers, writers and players.

Sadly CJ seems to have got distracted and is no longer updating the UK LARP History Timeline, but it's still very useful up until 2015.

Stark's Introduction to American Freeforms.

American Freeform: A Transatlantic Dialogue by Torner.

Stark's Pocket Guide to American Freeform.

Leaving Mundania: Inside the Transformative World of Live-Action Role-Playing by Stark. This largely focuses on American LARP, with a couple of chapters on Nordic LARP from the perspective of an American player.

Stark's Pocket Guide to American Freeforms.
 

Voros

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Holy shit y'all. Peterson has this coming out from MIT Press in Oct 21'.

I detect a grognard shitstorm on the horizon.

_collid=books_covers_0&isbn=9780262542951&type=.jpg


I suspect Peterson will slay many an Internet Rumour Dragon with this one.

This probably deserves its own thread, especially if the classic Gygax vs. Arneson knives come out.
 
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Voros

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So I continue to read The Elusive Shift, which is quite good but also a bit dry as it is really an extended analysis of the discourse around rpgs in the APAs of the early days of the hobby.

I will post my thoughts once I'm finished but one thing to note is that it is clear that the reductive arguments about playstyle so common to forums are nothing new, lol!

In the meantime, this blog post on The Art of Zhu is an impressive piece of work with some inventive ideas about early influences on D&D and rpgs including Tony Bath and code-breaking boardgames.

games_puzzles_23.jpg

Here is a taste.

'There is, unfortunately something of a presentist tendency in fandoms to back-project concepts, for example there's an 'eternal discourse'* about "D&D separating from 'wargaming roots'" (as pernicious as a myth as Warhammer emerging from 'roleplaying roots') without really indicating much of an understanding that what "wargaming" really meant in 1974, or any expectation that it might actually be a bit different from the understanding somebody carries around in their head in 2021. Much same in Tolkien fandom, where The Hobbit is forced to fit into the "world" of The Lord of the Rings, while it's textual relationship to The Silmarillion is widely ignored due to authorial comments taken out of context, and that the evidence - early drafts - aren't widely read within fandom. As ever, the only way of escape these infernal traps is to actually look at the original texts.'


mastermind_monster_manual.JPG
 

TristramEvans

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lol, interesting that I've adapted Mastermind rules into Phaserip, as mentioned in a thread here a little while ago.

OTOH

(as pernicious as a myth as Warhammer emerging from 'roleplaying roots')

Guess the guy isn't familiar with the first edition of Warhammer...

pic170056.jpg
 

Voros

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Catching up on the pieces on the Analog Game Studies site and found this good, close reading of the 'What is Roleplaying' sections of rpgs in the early 80s.


As usual when one actually reads the rules or supplements of the past or present many of the current truisms and the reality don't always agree.

As the author says in their conclusion:

In these explanatory sections, I found evidence that many ideas and notions that would later become central or pivotal to the identity of TRPGs, were already present.

This shows that either the current narratives regarding the change and evolution of TRPGs leading into the 1990s are incorrect, or that there is a need for a more nuanced and careful understanding.
 

Black Leaf

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finarvyn

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"YOU CAN NOT HAVE A MEANINGFUL CAMPAIGN IF STRICT TIME RECORDS ARE NOT KEPT."
In the defense of Gygax, keep in mind that the early RPGs were somewhat different than modern RPGs. In the earliest campaigns, if a wizard wanted to make a magic item and the rules said it would take four weeks, the player would be unable to use that character for four weeks of real time as it was assumed that this character was spending his time making that item. Real-world time thus interacted with campaign-world time in a way which was more significant than it is today.
 

Voros

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In the defense of Gygax, keep in mind that the early RPGs were somewhat different than modern RPGs. In the earliest campaigns, if a wizard wanted to make a magic item and the rules said it would take four weeks, the player would be unable to use that character for four weeks of real time as it was assumed that this character was spending his time making that item. Real-world time thus interacted with campaign-world time in a way which was more significant than it is today.

That is a recent claim made by a particularly fanatical group of 1e purists but I very, very much doubt that is how Gygax ran his games.

I do believe Gygax may have played around with the idea that each day between games was a day in game time but I doubt they stuck with it and the example you provided explains why.

Too bad we don't have Geezer around to confirm it is the horseshit I very much suspect it is.
 

Black Leaf

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That is a recent claim made by a particularly fanatical group of 1e purists but I very, very much doubt that is how Gygax ran his games.

I do believe Gygax may have played around with the idea that each day between games was a day in game time but I doubt they stuck with it and the example you provided explains why.

Too bad we don't have Geezer around to confirm it is the horseshit I very much suspect it is.
Mentzer has said it isn't the case but the response has been that they know better than he does. So I don't think OG would be able to put it to rest. They've simply invested too much into it being true for marketing reasons.
 

Simon Hogwood

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That is a recent claim made by a particularly fanatical group of 1e purists but I very, very much doubt that is how Gygax ran his games.

I do believe Gygax may have played around with the idea that each day between games was a day in game time but I doubt they stuck with it and the example you provided explains why.
I mean, it's only explicitly stated in the rulebook as at least the best practice:
image-7.png

I'm sure I've seen a chart from the 1E DMG that spells this out, too, but I'm having trouble coming up with that image.
Mentzer has said it isn't the case but the response has been that they know better than he does. So I don't think OG would be able to put it to rest. They've simply invested too much into it being true for marketing reasons.
Ah yes, the infamous, "No, we didn't use 1:1 time, we just had to stop using characters who became indisposed in-game until they were available again" incident.
image-2.png
I wonder what he would say if someone had followed up by asking how the length of Training Jail time was determined.

Anyway, finarvyn finarvyn, did you have a specific incident in mind when you framed your example? I'm sure we would all be interested in more firsthand accounts of this sort.
 

Voros

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I mean, it's only explicitly stated in the rulebook as at least the best practice:
View attachment 46139

I'm sure I've seen a chart from the 1E DMG that spells this out, too, but I'm having trouble coming up with that image.

Ah yes, the infamous, "No, we didn't use 1:1 time, we just had to stop using characters who became indisposed in-game until they were available again" incident.
View attachment 46140
I wonder what he would say if someone had followed up by asking how the length of Training Jail time was determined.

Anyway, finarvyn finarvyn, did you have a specific incident in mind when you framed your example?
I'm sure we would all be interested in more firsthand accounts of this sort.

Sure, but we know that Gygax wrote loads of rules he admitted he never used actually used himself.
 

zanshin

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Just because Gygax did it, or said he did it, or said others should do it, doesn't mean it's a good idea.

In this case (1:1 time in a restrictive way) I don't think it is.
 
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