The limits of system

Jamie Norrish jamie at sans.vuw.ac.nz
Sun May 18 10:37:01 New Zealand Standard Time 1997


Wow, this list is busy! I'm only sorry I haven't had time to do any
posting. Hopefully this message will contain bits and pieces relevant
to several of the current role-playing threads.

First, a quick word about skill development. I think no one can deny
that we get better at doing something the more we do it (within
limits, of course) - regardless of whether we "succeed" or "fail".
Equally, it's apparent that receiving guidance and instruction from
others can be very helpful. So, it should be clear what to do.

Now, the main subject: I may be misunderstanding one or two messages
that I quickly read recently, but it seemed that the idea of coding
was sneaking into place where I don't believe it has any right to be.
One example given was a player character setting up a guide of
thieves, and being able to code the place to meet, the paying of dues,
and so forth. Now, in the case of a room, perhaps there is the
necessity of having someone create one somewhere, if there hasn't been
sufficient building before-hand, or if the characters modify an
existing place. However, I am firmly opposed to the idea of the system
of the game having anything to do with what is a social function. Take
tithing, for example - aside from the code needed for giving objects,
etc, there is no mechanics needed for this. The guildmaster asks, and
is given (or not), at its barest. *This* is where interesting
interaction comes from - setting up the guild and running it isn't a
step towards some goal, it is part of the goal itself.

The same with martial arts belts - anyone, if they find or make one,
can wear it, and many people familiar with the use of that symbol may
naturally assume that the person has the skills that belt is
associated with.

On a slightly different note, I think such statements as "Bob enters
the traditional stance of the Foo masters" are dangerous. I would much
rather see an actual description of the stance (thus not assuming any
knowledge on the part of the perceiving character); perhaps the system
can interpret the description for those familiar with Foo styles, but
that seems needlessly complicated.

Jamie



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