As a game of language, roleplaying depends on induction of meaning and context through literary and cinematic genre. A cooperative ad hoc creation that is never edited but always improvised can not conform to just one ideal but exists in the intersubjective tension between the players who themselves introduce a complex bundle of expectation and creation each. So there never is a 'right' way to resolve the story.
Instead it is an eternal naive search for aporia, a point in the exploration of characters and situations where irreconcilable interpretations of the material are exposed and their conflict is revealed as meaningless. You can try and get players to all imagine the same thing, but they never do exactly. And their different expectations are reflected in their characters within the story.
Is it therefore valid to conclude a story with catharsis for few or none? Does this not relegate the unresolved conflicts to sideplots and their protagonists to the supporting cast of the story? Or in turn, does constructing resolution and closure for every PC not end up hilariously distorting the story and its world beyond its original functionality?
Or to put it more bluntly: Can an RPG story with a whole party of heroes ever be more than hasty patchwork? Is not all its ambition to literary meaning merely superficial decoration for an arbitrary and abstract game of chance? Is not maybe the revelation of this failure through conflicting character action that culminates in a breakdown of inner logic which then gets patched with out-of-genre solutions the real challenge of roleplaying?
I don't believe that this just denotes the line between role players and roll players. Even roll players have strong expectations concerning genre and their part of the story. And even passionate role players defer to the motions of plot created by mechanics of the game.
How does this play out in your group? Does everyone work together to create a whole, or are players more concerned with their own character and ignore differing perspectives they are confronted with in the game?
What makes a PC relevant? Can they ever be authentic creative product, or do the necessities of a game limit them to hollow repetition of tropes?
Wow, you guys take this shit too serious.
I laugh at you and everything you believe in.
Jesus thesis speak is cancerous. Trust me when I say that nothing in this essay is so complex that you cant break it down into layman. If you are really interested in discussion dont bar entry with this needlessly abstract language.
>Can an RPG story with a whole party of heroes ever be more than hasty patchwork?
While you could argue that it is a patchwork a good RPG is more akin to a patch work quilt with each distinct square coming together to make a beautiful whole. However yes some of them woudl appear as litle more than a hasty hodgepodge but that is not the entirety of it.
They can be relevant following the limitations of the world, the ambient, and the other characters surrounding them. You know, like real people. Because you're supposed to interpret their thoughts like the ones of an human being, even though you're playing a different and alien being, since those are our limits.
And instead, as someone pointed out, you're trying too hard.
>roleplaying depends on the induction of meaning and context through literary and cinematic genre
That's because all roleplaying takes place in genre fiction. There's no such thing as non-fiction roleplaying.
|>a cooperative and ad hoc creation that is never edited and always improvised can not conform to just one ideal but exists in the intersubjective tension between the players etc
Yes, but this is not because the story is "ad hoc" or "cooperative," there are plenty of settings that people roleplay in that are planned out, mapped, and made by just one man. There is nothing "mystical" about writing.
>is it therefore valid to conclude a story with catharsis for few or none?
Yes. Roleplaying is not generally cathartic.
>does this not relegate unresolved conflicts to sideplots and their protagonists to supporting characters?
Not if you're good at managing and writing a campaign.
>Does constructing resolution and closure for every PC not end up hilariously distorting the story?
No, not really.
It doesn't communicate anything because it isn't intended to. Academics do not write for lay readers but only for each other, and even then only to show off politics and cleverness rather than to communicate ideas.
So what happens when one player has made a character and brings the expectation of heavy social play and maybe some sneaking while another player has made a tank that is minmaxed for frontal assaults?
I mean sure, comedy is always an option. But that's what I want to analyze. Is this a foregone conclusion? Is there any strategy to avoid this? The conflict between the genres these two characters fit into seem irreconcilable. No matter how serious the plot gets, their contrast will always dominate and will always be funny.
Roleplayings primary purpose as I understand it is not as a unified literary work but as a social means of interplayer discourse about topics that are (hopefully) interesting to all involved.
Its by nature transient and not singular in its focus, but certainly still worthwhile.
Maybe. Conflict motivates roleplay. However, you do have to realize that most people who do "heavy roleplaying," myself included, are not very funny people, and generally speaking, aren't very good at humorous dialogue.
I'm speaking from my own experience, though. I might just be a stick in the mud.
>Is this a foregone conclusion?
No, not necessarily. Generally speaking, I like to corroborate party roles with people I'm playing with, especially in small groups, so that our characters fit the "mesh" for the roleplay. Not all groups do this, though, and I can understand why.
>The conflict between the genres these two characters fit into seem to be irreconcilable.
Well, there's a simple solution that can be used in "party strategy." The tank can simply draw attention towards himself and allow the sneaky type to sneak around from the back and get in some nice dice rolls with sneak attacks.
In terms of social play, it's really not all that difficult to imagine. If your tank is bad at socializing, have him develop as a character throughout the social-heavy scenes. Roleplaying's objective is mostly character development, and there's a lot to be had in social interactions.
>playing with minmaxers
It's not a thing I do. I find that they mostly tend to be uninterested in roleplaying.
For sure. But the activity still centers around a story. And stories follow rules. Only the rules can't all apply when there's 5 or so story tellers.
Then why use such convoluted speech? OP is adding artificial complexity to his ideas with thesaurus-soup prose. Obfuscating central arguements dont make said arguements anymore thoughful.
"a story" is not one thing that unites all literature with all tabletop activity. Instead, there exists a crisscrossing network of family resemblances between "story activities" whether they are found on the tabletop or on the page.
I don't see the problem.
...I know that there are good ways and bad ways to go about writing a story, and to make the mechanics of a game you can use to help generate it as a group relate to it.
But holy FUCK, that does not mean you need to break out the thesaurus and take a bong hit.
If there's any literary (perspective? method?) that gets too much attention nowadays, it's deconstruction and 'metafiction'. You don't have to see every little detail and every little implication and be constantly clever and autistically explain everything and its role in a story that for all you know may not even be finished yet. Sometimes a cigar is just a fucking cigar, and I want to play a tabletop game and enjoy the ideas and characters of everyone else in the party while we play a game based on strategy, chance, and DM ruling.
The problem is that following the conventions of most story structures, there can not be as many protagonists as there are players of characters. So either the GM has to deprive some of them of the twists and turns a hero usually experiences, or the story has to twist and turn around so many characters that it becomes arbitrary.
I really think I'm failing to understand what you're getting at. There are plenty of stories with multiple protagonists. Of course not every player is going to have the archetypal hero's journey laid flat for them in their play session, and nor should they.
Are you just making the point that "it's a tricky balancing act for the GM"?
>How does this play out in your group? Does everyone work together to create a whole, or are players more concerned with their own character and ignore differing perspectives they are confronted with in the game?
>What makes a PC relevant? Can they ever be authentic creative product, or do the necessities of a game limit them to hollow repetition of tropes?
In which sense are you using aporia? I'm more familiar with it being an interstitial gap rather than destination or a thing that can be searched for even in a naive sense. Seems like your probably working from a lit(derida)/lacanian framework, and you might have missed the point in your desire for resolution and catharsis. We don't get that in life, and the collaborative requirements of rpgs means we don't get that there either. Depends on what sort of verisimilitude you're aiming for.
Rather than seeing the hasty patchwork as a fault, its part of the necessary components of the assemblage. The tensions between dm, pc, npcs, role and roll all continuously overcoding and producing each other. Their meaning both constructs and constitutes the narrative processes, often intersecting at rolls. Those would be the mechanics.
Also, mans if you're looking for authentic products, you might need to read some more books.
From what I can tell, his whole half-page of text could be phrased as
>Hey, /tg/, I want to know how you go about making sure that every PC remains relevant in a party filled with many?
>How do you help them be a unique part of a whole, and make sure each of them gets a chance to be a hero with their own story, development, and resolution?
>Following up on this, how do you make sure that players enjoy the story as well, given genre expectations and conventions, and taking the first two questions into account?
I don't see how my post was 'reiterating' that.
Oh. Read this too late. You're trying to make rpgs which are very different than traditional narrative forms, fit into a structuralist approach to lit. Its not that. Roleplaying games have themes and ties with other forms of story telling, but are necessarily different in their collaborative and temporary negotiated becoming. Not everyone has to be ulysses to be an important character in the odyssey.
>X is deconstructive
>X is a deconstruction of Y
>Forgetting that the Deconstruction of anything isn't worth shit because its highly subjective
>Forgetting that Deconstruction is incapable of objectivity
>not realizing deconstructive practices are also simultaneously constructive and constitutes lines of flight
>not realizing the objective subject is mythological shoehorning of the soul into modernism
>not knowing how to ghost dance
>Look at me, give me attention validate meeee! Oh god why did I ever study literature, look at my tuition bills, I wonder what the most painless way of killing myself is.
Look, how about you start over and try to act like you're actually here to discuss something and not just jerk off to how intellectual you sound?
Also, DM's who think that overarching story is more important than character agency and immersion should punch themselves in the dick.
If you want to write a book, write a book, don't get your literary ambition all over my play-acting and monster slaying.
There is absolutely no basis for your assumption that every player-character has to have a main-protagonist type story arch and level of narrative focus, this is a strange artifact from the brand of role-playing where people never die and flip the table if they do.
The characters are more like the cast in a book, not everyone will make it every time, and the major events tend to revolve around one character that the other characters follow. otherwise there's no basis for the traditional "adventurer party" dynamic anyway, 5 special snowflakes sharing a table is just an unfortunate byproduct of DM's who are too dumb to tell their players that they're all sittind down and making characters together on session one.
>rpg's as an intentional story with non-organic conclusions and comparing them to literature
The act of playing is fundamentally different from literature or movies and I wish folks would stop using those comparisons. You can't compare a passive reception of a pre created work with an improvisational role playing inside a simulated world.
Actually the Monomyth was an attempt to find symbolic links between myths and legends from different cultures. It was never meant to be an aid to storycraft.
I've certainly seen effective structural aids that resemble the outline presented in the Monomyth, but that's more to do with certain emotional arcs and flows being universally effective, and less to do with any of the symbolism the Monomyth attaches to it.
This term is usually reserved for particularly flagrant forms of unnatural narratives which violate conventional narrative practices; such works may have contradictory chronologies, collapsed narrative voices, or extremely opaque discourse.
Examples include Diderot’s Jacques le fataliste , Gertrude Stein’s The Making of Americans , Beckett’s The Unnamable , and Robbe-Grillet’s Jealousy .
the role of the dm is to be a benevolent fascist/philosopher king who attempts the fusion of the myriad subjective externalities and attempts an interpretation of them through his individual understanding, possibly attempting resolution and closure of them
players will understand what is being attempted and their enthusiasm will be proportional to how successful or perhaps merely how ambitious or sublime the final result is
forget their egos, it's always about yours in the end, and they know the DM is their god
Isn't this justt a question of basic human interaction? It's like when you're having a party with your friends. You have to realise everyone has a different idea of how to have fun, but its hard to have fun if noone else is, so you have to balance your own expectations with the needs of your friends, or in ttrpgs, your players/DM.
Generally, a bigger awareness of the needs of the other players, the DM or the game itself, as a story or as an activity that entertains, will lead to more meta-gaming. But if you get a kick out of nudging the game in a direction where everyone is having a good time, go for it. I doubt anyone will blame you.
Maybe the two players can talk about what they expect, and you can do more sessions than one, each with different moods?
And many "serious" stories have some humor in them as well. Even in real life when people experience serious shit, many still have the ability to laugh, or at least smile, about the whole thing afterwards
The next real literary “rebels” in this country might well emerge as some weird bunch of anti-rebels, born oglers who dare somehow to back away from ironic watching, who have the childish gall actually to endorse and instantiate single-entendre principles. Who treat of plain old untrendy human troubles and emotions in U.S. life with reverence and conviction. Who eschew self-consciousness and hip fatigue. These anti-rebels would be outdated, of course, before they even started. Dead on the page. Too sincere. Clearly repressed. Backward, quaint, naive, anachronistic. Maybe that’ll be the point. Maybe that’s why they’ll be the next real rebels. Real rebels, as far as I can see, risk disapproval. The old postmodern insurgents risked the gasp and squeal: shock, disgust, outrage, censorship, accusations of socialism, anarchism, nihilism. Today’s risks are different. The new rebels might be artists willing to risk the yawn, the rolled eyes, the cool smile, the nudged ribs, the parody of gifted ironists, the “Oh how banal.” To risk accusations of sentimentality, melodrama. Of overcredulity. Of softness. Of willingness to be suckered by a world of lurkers and starers who fear gaze and ridicule above imprisonment without law. Who knows.
Honestly OP, I'm too tired to follow you right now, but you are doing good.
We need more things like this and less "math math math" or shitty attempts at structuralism (GSN) in RPG theory.
Postmodernism left 20 years ago. We po-po-mo now.
So they're unironic idealists who consciously care about other people's condition and opinions, while having firm personal beliefs and convictions?
Shit, where do I sign up? That sounds great.
Metamodernist // Manifesto
We recognise oscillation to be the natural order of the world.
We must liberate ourselves from the inertia resulting from a century of modernist ideological naivety and the cynical insincerity of its antonymous bastard child.
Movement shall henceforth be enabled by way of an oscillation between positions, with diametrically opposed ideas operating like the pulsating polarities of a colossal electric machine, propelling the world into action.
We acknowledge the limitations inherent to all movement and experience, and the futility of any attempt to transcend the boundaries set forth therein. The essential incompleteness of a system should necessitate an adherence, not in order to achieve a given end or be slaves to its course, but rather perchance to glimpse by proxy some hidden exteriority. Existence is enriched if we set about our task as if those limits might be exceeded, for such action unfolds the world.
All things are caught within the irrevocable slide towards a state of maximum entropic dissemblance. Artistic creation is contingent upon the origination or revelation of difference therein. Affect at its zenith is the unmediated experience of difference in itself. It must be art’s role to explore the promise of its own paradoxical ambition by coaxing excess towards presence.
The present is a symptom of the twin birth of immediacy and obsolescence. Today, we are nostalgists as much as we are futurists. The new technology enables the simultaneous experience and enactment of events from a multiplicity of positions. Far from signalling its demise, these emergent networks facilitate the democratisation of history, illuminating the forking paths along which its grand narratives may navigate the here and now.
Just as science strives for poetic elegance, artists might assume a quest for truth. All information is grounds for knowledge, whether empirical or aphoristic, no matter its truth-value. We should embrace the scientific-poetic synthesis and informed naivety of a magical realism. Error breeds sense.
We propose a pragmatic romanticism unhindered by ideological anchorage. Thus, metamodernism shall be defined as the mercurial condition between and beyond irony and sincerity, naivety and knowingness, relativism and truth, optimism and doubt, in pursuit of a plurality of disparate and elusive horizons. We must go forth and oscillate!
Then they both fill a niche inside the story. The whole concept of classes and different "builds" is a way to add variety to the game, to see players approach one problem or another in different ways.
Not that you can't have everyone be just gruff and tanky frontal assault characters, but a group with a multitude of abilities, personalities and approaches is usually more fun.
So, basically, "We're not sure exactly what we're doing or if it's going to yield anything, but we're sure as hell not going to bitch out and quit, and instead move forward in the hope it'll reveal the truth that's already there."
They sound like the kind of people who, if they woke up in a fairy castle, would ask the residents about the rules of fairyland and then go out and act on them or blend them with their own, rather than on the rules of modern philosophy and physics.
Interesting, at least.
That's an interesting question.
I said 'blend', but it sounds kind of pretentious to claim that modern physics hold in fairyland unless fairyland isn't too far off from our own world- which it might as well be if you're able to live there. Concepts like death or time might have no relevance.
Would any world we enter be subject to 'our' rules because we're in them, and any world that can hold us must have the rules that we work with, or would we be subject to the world's rules because that's where we are, and we simply haven't got the perspective or rules of other worlds because we've never had the chance?
Issues like that are where the alignment disparity in Dungeons and Dragons comes from with real life, I think.
It's not something we can really answer, but it's a bit of a mental exercise, at least.
There are games that make this competition for protagonism the subject of the mechanics.
Luke Crane has been using Instinct, Goal, and Belief as conflicting rule relevant character features.
Fate is built on an economy of Fate points which could just as easily be called protagonist points.
And Fiasco is specifically designed to gear the characters' stories against each other and resolve who gets their meta-way.
What matter? Also into sentence structure. A lot of this thread is op being obtuse and then people thinking because they don't understand a thing it must be meaningless.
Also someone taking new sincerity far too formally.
RPG stories are emergent when done correctly. The DM and the players follow the rules they have agreed to follow, and the dice decide elements of chance.
A game that incorporates so much imagination really only needs players to agree on certain details, not have them all imagining the same exact thing as though they're watching a movie. People don't imagine the exact same things when reading novels, after all. Everyone has their own subjective experience when reading.
PCs are relevant because without them and their agency, there is no driving force to the story. It would become masturbatory for the GM at that point, and they might as well write a book at that point.
Player characters can be anything the players imagine (I'm including the GM here as a player, since they are one, albeit with more responsibility). Freeform roleplaying is still a game of pretend, and nothing is limiting them at that point. Particular games with rules meant to ape certain genres might create limitations and encourage tropes, but that doesn't mean they have to be followed.
This thread was using some pretty large technical terms, but I think the layman breakdown would follow something along the lines of the narrative of the story not functioning because of multiple perspectives and a lack of cohesion in those interpretations. So not everyone is seeing everything on the same page.
Like one character's beliefs that it's always right to slay an evil creature, and that conflicts with another player who will try to avoid just murdering anything lightly, or will actively try to stabilize downed foes(after the fight). Or one who would coup-de-grace the fallen foes and show no mercy.
I'm running a campaign right now with a Human Paladin of Hieronymus, a Human Fighter, a Half-Elf Ranger(Orcslayer), an Elven cleric, and a Kobold Cleric. The Paladin and the Fighter have a synergy when it comes to honor, and killing evil for the sake of it being evil, though the paladin isn't on board for murdering unarmed prisoners. The Ranger is totally up for murdering Orcs, though, so she has good synergy with the Fighter. The Kobold also gets along well with the Fighter, because the Kobold believes in power. The Paladin likes the whole party because the other characters are a mix of chaotic good, lawful neutral, and one chaotic neutral(the Fighter). The Kobold is the racial outsider, but shares a class with the Elf, beliefs with the Fighter, and a Lawful alignment with the Paladin.
So it balances in a way, which allows each player to make certain concessions and develop their characters friends, allies, and family(deep camaraderie).
I played a bard once that started off as a stereotypical drunkard, which became a valued member of the party, who swore off liquor(though he'd still drink socially and carried a half-flask as a personal test). By the end of the year playing with that group, my bard had come to be ready to lay down his life for the others. And also nearly got turned into a tree doing so.
That reminds me of a teacher I had for social psychology. After the class, we would gather and try to make sense of what she said. Asking her often made it worse.
So traditional roleplaying is limited by the language it uses. So is every relationship I have.
My group revels in the ad hoc cooperation, for it creates moments and situations more spetacular, horrible and interesting than we could do so alone.
And we still had catharsis for all at the end of the campaign, as well as during it. The PCs distorting the story and its world is one of the goals, later campaigns are built upon that.
To put it even more buntly: can every social and cultural construct, be it rpg or a national identity or an ethnic culture, be anything more than patchwork? Billions of random interactions over centuries become traditions, ways of thought, stereotypes. In this way, rpg is the only entertainment medium which closely mirrors the game of chance which provides moments as unlikely and spontaneous as the War of the Golden Stool or the sucess of the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. It is hilarious, so it fulfills the goal of having fun. Its consequences may be horrendous, but it still provides the catharsis of a player's actions creating great ripples around an imaginary world in ways that the person isn't able of doing so in the real world.
The players concern themselves with their characters some of the time, and also work together. Somtimes it is possible to do both simultaneously.
A PC is relevant as an avatar of the player. And in my experience, they often begin as a jumble of tropes, and grow into authentic characters over the campaign.
One of my guidelines for my computing dissertation is that I should be able to hand it to someone who knew aggressively little about computers, networking, the cloud or anything else and have them understand it.
Because if he didn't how would we all know how clever he is? This is what people with shite humanities degrees do to disguise the fact that any old layman can debate on an equal footing to them because there's nothing to actually know about their 'specialist field'.