thread: 2005-05-10 : How Do You Design a Mechanic?

On 2005-05-12, Sydney Freedberg wrote:

As I read this—and Ron, Steve, Vincent, anyone slap me silly if I’m wrong—what Ron’s objecting to is NOT players “shift[ing] between direct identification and third person reporting” but rather muddling, to mangle Vincent’s terminology, the shared-imagined-stuff and the mechanical “cues” in the real world (e.g. dice).

I.e. if real person Bob is playing Tamara the 12th Level Swordchick,
1) in the actual space where the game is played, Tamara’s not rolling a 14 to hit, Bob is. Tamara doesn’t even exist at the gaming table.
2) in the imagined reality of the game, Bob’s not slashing the troll with a sword, Tamara is. Bob doesn’t even exist in the imagined world.

And I think this is the point where Ron says “duh!” and Steve says “so what?”

Well, compare Ron’s hypothetical muddled narration above to these two examples, of narrating the same thing “pure” on each level:
1) “I need to roll a 12 or better… damn… okay… HA! 14! I rock!”
2) “Tamara charges the troll. She raises her broadsword and ... hits! Green ichor spurts over the cavern wall!”

Here we have a more lively description of the imagined stuff, as opposed to just slapping SIS labels on real-world activities (“Tamara gets at 14!”); but we also have, more subtly, a full acknowledgement of the real-world human player’s emotional investment in the game.

(Now there’s nothing to prevent you from doing (1), then (2), in sequence, as long as they’re both done some justice.)

Ron, is this a reasonable gloss on your point, or just pointless hair-splitting?


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