thread: 2009-06-08 : Restating: Fictional Causes and Realization

On 2009-06-09, Valamir wrote:

Vincent, “why bother” is definitely not my answer.

Here’s what’s gotten under my skin:

When you started this train of thought it was all “Sometimes when you play these sorts of story games the fiction can feel a little weak, so here’s some techniques inspired by older gaming tradition that can help deliver the fiction differently”

That was fantastic.  I’m totally down with that.  You may recall in some Story-Games threads from a ways back that I was the guy saying “yes, GM fiat is an underexplored design technique that should be developed further”.  I think the text to AW is the best explanation of this family of techniques I’ve ever read.

I do think your assumption that nothing can ever go wrong in using these techniques unless players are being dicks or baby’s as long as the GM has been properly instructed in their role is more wishful thinking than sensible conclusion, but the techniques themselves are sound.  I’d say they’re more at risk for failure than you’ve allowed for, but beyond that, I love how your developing them.

But somewhere along the way that starting place morphed and changed into something ugly.  “Sometimes when you play these sorts of story games the fiction can feel a little weak” became “story games produce crappy fiction.”  To the point that now you’re on podcasts distancing yourself from the very notion of story games, creating new definitions of what a story game is so you can say your games aren’t and then going on to disparage those kinds of designs and the kind of fiction they produce.

Somewhere along the way “here’s some techniques that deliver fiction differently” became “here’s what you have to do if you want your fiction to not suck”

For the record In a Wicked Age is by far and away the best designed game you’ve done.  The fact that it allows you to spend some time “above your characters” is a Good Thing.  Its not the same Good Thing as the Good Thing you’re doing with Apocalypse World…but its also not a weakness of that game.

The tunnel vision you’ve brought to this topic that allows you to not see the pitfalls of this method of developing fiction and causes you to disparage other methods of developing fiction…yeah…that’s bugging the hell out of me.


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