thread: 2006-01-24 : Still More Character Ownership

On 2006-01-27, Vaxalon wrote:

I’d like to offer up what happened to me at the 9w Skype game on wednesday night.

If you’re not familiar with 9W, I should point out that it has what I’d call a “strong narration” mechanic… by that I mean that there are few restrictions on what a participant may narrate if he wins a conflict.

The upshot of this is that the game does not have what I call “primary character ownership”.  When you want to know what a particular character does, you don’t ALWAYS look to one person; if you’re in free narration, you go to the person with the character sheet, but if you’re in conflict-resolution narration, you go to the winner of the conflict.

When I found out about this, I got a little nervous.  Having played Capes before (which has an even looser narration scheme) I didn’t panic, but it worried me a bit.  We talked a bit about just how far the conflict winner could go with his narration, and we eventually discovered that the game (without actually describing it) really depends on the “Don’t Be An Ass Rule”.

For those of you not familiar with it, the Don’t Be An Ass Rule operates on the social contract level.  It means just what it says; don’t be an ass.  Don’t screw around with other people’s characters, or the setting, or what have you, in such a big way that the other people at the table think you’re being an ass.  This rule depends on two things; the courtesy of the narrator, and the ability of everyone else to speak up if they think the narrator is being an ass.

What the Don’t Be An Ass Rule does, is hand a certain amount of primary ownership back to the guy with the character sheet.

The reason the Don’t Be An Ass Rule is a good thing, is twofold.  First of all, it enhances participation.  People are more likely to get involved in the narration that isn’t necessarily THEIRS if they feel that their contributions have some authority.  Second, it enhances thematic play, because without it themes are harder to defend from being stomped on.


This makes VAX go ""9W" = "Nine Worlds""

This makes SF go "Formal "don't be an ass rule"?"
It IS useful to state DBAAR explicitly in the rules; it hardly guarantees a good Social Contract, but it can help.

This makes...
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