Recent Chat Activity (Main Lobby)
Join Chat

Loading Chat Log...

Prefer not to see ads? Become a Community Supporter.
Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast
Results 1 to 15 of 29

Thread: Games as stories

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,020
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0

    Games as stories

    Prefer not to see ads?
    Become a Community Supporter.
    A discussion of roll vs. role started up in the House Rules thread, and I'd love to join in, but it's a little off-topic there, so I'm starting a new thread for it. Let me know if that's not the suggested MO around here-

    Got to thinking about this after reading an article about theories of story as applied to screenwriting could be modified for video games:

    http://www.gamasutra.com/features/20...rland_01.shtml

    It would be interesting to see a similar article about how story principles apply to role-playing games. This is probably a more general discussion than D&D, but I think D&D is one of the biggest culprits for needing more story.

    The core elements of a story seem to map to the game table as:

    Plot = what the DM does
    Setting = what the big stack of books do
    Character = what the players do

    Or, more simply, the synopsis of any D&D story is:

    "The PCs defeat the ______ because they are more _____ than them."

    where the DM fills in the first blank, and the players fill in the second. The more interesting the blank-filling, the more interesting the story.

    The conclusion I'm reaching is that the less work the players do in filling in that second blank, the worse the story will be, no matter how hard the DM works to fill in the first.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Rowlett
    Posts
    2,525
    Blog Entries
    7
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    The conclusion I'm reaching is that the less work the players do in filling in that second blank, the worse the story will be, no matter how hard the DM works to fill in the first.

    Of course, this is always the risk/reward of collaborative story-telling efforts like RPGs. Since it is ultimately the result of multiple contributors, if one of those contributors doesn't grok to things or just doesn't want to put the effort, the end product can suffer. On the other hand, if all involved parties are excited and interested in the process, you tend to end up with something really cool.

    Great rewards take great risk.

    My 2 cents.
    HARRY DRESDEN WIZARD
    Lost items found. Paranormal Investigations.
    Consulting. Advice. Reasonable Rates.
    No Love Potions, Endless Purses, or Other Entertainment.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Acme
    Age
    47
    Posts
    2,796
    Blog Entries
    55
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    It seems to come down to three basic types of games. The ones who prefer all combat, those that prefer all role play, and the people who like some combination of the first two. One style is not better than the other, although some will argue differently. Basically it just comes down to what style you prefer to play.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2006
    Location
    Garland
    Posts
    579
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by cplmac View Post
    It seems to come down to three basic types of games. The ones who prefer all combat, those that prefer all role play, and the people who like some combination of the first two. One style is not better than the other, although some will argue differently. Basically it just comes down to what style you prefer to play.
    Now, I imagine we need to agree on what is a STORY (For the purpose of the thread). In a pure sense, PCs will create a "Story" regardless of how much combat or role-play is involved.

    If what you mean by Story is a well defined plot with PCs who create strong relationships with their world and have short, middle and long term goals/agendas. And when they look back it is as if their characters were the product of a literature artist, then yes, I agree you need a group of players who are strong in role-playing.

    Now just because you have "Roleplayers" that doesn't mean you will automatically achieve the above. That's where the DM comes into play as the major contributor to the "Novel".

    .
    Saluti
    Carlos

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dearborn
    Posts
    7,263
    Blog Entries
    13
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    1
    Not combat, not role-playing, conflict.

    In the story the author sets up a conflict or several. They then entertain you by having the character in the book or film solve the conflict.

    In an RPG the Gamemaster sets up the conflict, or several. Then the players solve the conflicts to the amusement of all.

    Conflict. Combat and role-playing are tools of conflict resolution. A conflict can be a band of marauding Orcs, a balky Noble at the court that will not give you access to the King, or a chasm that must be crossed.

    All are conflicts. How you solve them can involve combat or something else entirely. The chasm is going to be unimpressed at sword play.

    Each encounter is a conflict in your greater story. The story might be a one conflict deal. The GM can also weave more complex constructions. However the basis is the conflict that the PCs must resolve with the tools they have to hand, be that swords spells or gentle words. Sometimes cutting down the right tree can work wonders.

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
    Metro Detroit Linux Users Group

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Location
    Langhorne
    Posts
    23
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    A lot of it comes down to the people involved and what everyone there wants from playing D&D, but I generally dislike it when D&D is run as a fantasy novel simulator, but I do like it when it's a nice collection of related episodes and vignettes the characters are in. The episodes can link together. Especially as a DM, I feel D&D as a "novel" is just too heavy of a structure for any of the groups I've ever been involved with.

    How Tesral put it is generally how I look at it or at least try to. Most my group just isn't into roleplaying for the sake of playing their characters or story for the sake of story. I tend to skip non-conflict scenes. If I'm making my players order breakfast in character, they know that something is up and this usually gets the non-active role-players to pay attention at least. If they're paying attention I can get them involved in the scene once in a while and contribute to that story part.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,020
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Webhead View Post
    Since it is ultimately the result of multiple contributors, if one of those contributors doesn't grok to things or just doesn't want to put the effort, the end product can suffer. On the other hand, if all involved parties are excited and interested in the process, you tend to end up with something really cool.
    Very true. In the past, I've had a very hard time getting players to step up and add their part to the "character" corner of the story triangle, even if they want more story in the game. What things have you all seen or done in the past that's worked to encourage players to play their characters? The standard response is "more xp", but I've never found that to do anything except piss off the non-RPers, since roleplaying xp is so subjective.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Dearborn
    Posts
    7,263
    Blog Entries
    13
    Downloads
    1
    Uploads
    1
    Quote Originally Posted by Valdar View Post
    Very true. In the past, I've had a very hard time getting players to step up and add their part to the "character" corner of the story triangle, even if they want more story in the game. What things have you all seen or done in the past that's worked to encourage players to play their characters? The standard response is "more xp", but I've never found that to do anything except piss off the non-RPers, since roleplaying xp is so subjective.
    You can't force it. Play with the role-players and see that the the non role-players have something to do.

    By handing out awards as I do no single perosn benifits more than the rest. A great bit of roleplaying by one is awarded to all.

    Oh that precent of a level table is on my web site. DMG 1: Experience Tables

    Garry AKA --Phoenix-- Rising above the Flames.
    The Dean of Old School
    The Olde Phoenix Inn
    Metro Detroit Linux Users Group

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,020
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimthar View Post

    If what you mean by Story is a well defined plot with PCs who create strong relationships with their world and have short, middle and long term goals/agendas. And when they look back it is as if their characters were the product of a literature artist, then yes, I agree you need a group of players who are strong in role-playing.
    .
    That's a lot more than I would expect, actually. Right now I just want the characters to have personality traits and other unique bits that can be used to drive and flavor the adventures, so that I don't show up to the game with an essentially complete adventure that has a slot that says "insert generic protagonists here"...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    Prattville
    Age
    52
    Posts
    769
    Blog Entries
    6
    Downloads
    2
    Uploads
    0
    I've found that when I am fully prepared - and have plots, subplots and contingencies set for everything the players will end up pulling, the playing ends up a whole lot like a "Which-Way" book (i.e.: You come to a fork in the road, If you go right, turn to entry 33, if you turn left, turn to 122).

    It sucked for all involved.

    I found that my adventures have always worked out best for all involved when I have all the BACKGROUND stuff done - like the Baron's motivations and the skeletons in his closet, but leave all the main stuff alone.

    If the players don't get involved, eventually the Baron will assassinate the Crown Prince - or they can screw up that plan in any number of ways - whether they know it or not.

    My players and I have all agreed that when I have the background set and pull the rest out of my fourth-point-of-contact, all of us have a wonderful time.

    I've stopped being over-prepared. It's easier on all of us.
    __________________

    Now, to add to the OP, I like a gaming session to be like a fantasy movie. I want the players to take chances - and I want to see fear in their eyes when a possibly mortal blow falls in their midst. I like to see the game as a story - and I do agree that it is mutual in who has to offer their input to make it a success.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jan 2008
    Location
    Acme
    Age
    47
    Posts
    2,796
    Blog Entries
    55
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by tesral View Post
    Not combat, not role-playing, conflict.

    In the story the author sets up a conflict or several. They then entertain you by having the character in the book or film solve the conflict.

    In an RPG the Gamemaster sets up the conflict, or several. Then the players solve the conflicts to the amusement of all.

    Conflict. Combat and role-playing are tools of conflict resolution. A conflict can be a band of marauding Orcs, a balky Noble at the court that will not give you access to the King, or a chasm that must be crossed.

    All are conflicts. How you solve them can involve combat or something else entirely. The chasm is going to be unimpressed at sword play.

    Each encounter is a conflict in your greater story. The story might be a one conflict deal. The GM can also weave more complex constructions. However the basis is the conflict that the PCs must resolve with the tools they have to hand, be that swords spells or gentle words. Sometimes cutting down the right tree can work wonders.


    I agree completely. Just make sure that you don't become predictable. Got to change things up to keep the players entertained.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
    Location
    Bothell
    Age
    36
    Posts
    678
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Malruhn View Post
    I've stopped being over-prepared. It's easier on all of us.
    Very well put, and exactly my experience.

    Rather than reading a story, you as a DM roleplay. You specify the interesting quirks, memorable characteristics, and personality of each NPC the players may meet, and then roleplay them accordingly.

    I am a fan of difficult to solve challenges as well. Come up with an environmental situation without a resolution in mind, and let the players figure it out, only giving them a hint if they really seem stuck and aren't having fun.

    For example, I like pits and chasms. One was a circular hole 50 feet in diameter in the players path through a dungeon. It was a volcanic shaft that went as deep as they could see and upwards to open sky several hundred feet above.

    What they don't know is that there is a network of webs across the shaft 150 feet below, so that if somehow one of them falls, it wouldn't necessarily be fatal. The webs were crawling with large spiders. And soon after the players attempted whatever crossing method they came up with, stirges would fly in and attack, adding a twist.

    This is the kind of thing that can make hack-and-slashers creative.

    Developer for Darkage Warlord, a Pen & Paper Games exclusive Medieval Wargame.

    If you are in the DC metro area and like to trade D&D minis (1.0 or 2.0), please send me a PM!

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,020
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by Maelstrom View Post
    Rather than reading a story, you as a DM roleplay. You specify the interesting quirks, memorable characteristics, and personality of each NPC the players may meet, and then roleplay them accordingly.
    I will have to suppress my natural instincts and try this sometime. It will be easier to come up with difficult situations (and safety nets, whether literal or figurative) than anticipating the party's every move...

  14. #14
    Join Date
    Oct 2007
    Location
    houston
    Age
    43
    Posts
    650
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    i ran a long lasting game in the early 90's that had many memorable episodes and adventures, but my players had the most fun just palying the "down time" moments.

    one of my players was hyper-excited that a town they were spending some time in was having their monthly "market day". he planned all the things he wanted to do and buy, and woke up in the morning, threw open the wooden window of his room at the inn with a hearty cry of "it's market day!!!". that was the only moment of joy he had that day, which ended up with him in the town stocks on an assault charge...

    the entire day was an unmitigated disaster (not by any design on my part, btw).

    this game was 15 years ago, yet he sent me an e-mail the other day that said simply "its market day... ". (he was having a bad day and wanted me to call).

    even the most mundane elements of a game can wind up being the most memorable. so, sometimes, it is a good idea not to just skip the middle stuff to get to the "good bits".
    "well, g'night! dont let the flesh eating demon bed babies bite!!"
    facebook.com/houstonderek

  15. #15
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Location
    Seattle
    Posts
    1,020
    Downloads
    0
    Uploads
    0
    Quote Originally Posted by agoraderek View Post

    this game was 15 years ago, yet he sent me an e-mail the other day that said simply "its market day... ". (he was having a bad day and wanted me to call).
    That is awesome...

Page 1 of 2 12 LastLast

Similar Threads

  1. D&D 3.X Combat Stories
    By Mulsiphix in forum Dungeons & Dragons
    Replies: 37
    Last Post: 12-13-2011, 12:24 PM
  2. Which of the newer WoD games do you like the most?
    By Rain_Spider_08 in forum Horror / Dark Future
    Replies: 17
    Last Post: 11-06-2008, 10:19 AM
  3. Any PbP games have an opening?
    By josh311 in forum Play by Post Games
    Replies: 6
    Last Post: 07-18-2008, 07:43 PM
  4. A place to post stories?
    By underdarkshark in forum Feedback
    Replies: 39
    Last Post: 02-09-2008, 04:19 AM
  5. Oceanside, ca D&D Games
    By zer0gh0st in forum Archived Campaigns
    Replies: 1
    Last Post: 05-17-2007, 07:14 PM

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •