Providence

Providence is a LARP game using Trent Yacuk's Kingdom Come system. It is a game of Fallen Angels and their struggle to survive against the forces of Heaven and Hell and some things in between.

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    Why talk about rules?

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    Friedrich
    Retired

    Number of posts : 127
    Location : in Gabe's body, playing with his stuff
    Registration date : 2009-10-25

    Why talk about rules?

    Post by Friedrich on Sat 7 Nov 2009 - 3:37

    First, I'd like to reiterate what I've said in another post.

    I really like the non-angry, non-upset discussion about something that obviously is being interpreted in multiple ways. I don't often land up in rules-discussion forum threads like that.

    Next, I'd like to encourage more people to get involved. I HATE discussing the rules. I know, you'd never believe it. However, for this game I'm making an exception; partially because this is a game to which we only have access to the setting material with Jill present and partially because it is a new system to many of us.

    I am now going to say things that are clearly my opinion. You've been warned. :)

    I’m a believer that rules are a pain in the you-know-what. I'd rather just role-play through things when possible and I think many of you would prefer to do the same. Other people feel more comfortable rolling things out and seeing how chance and rules affect the story in ways that role-playing wouldn't. Yet other people need that supporting push that the dice and the rules give them in the direction of plausible actions and reactions for their characters. None of these are wrong, just different. I’ve known people who rely heavily on the dice who are able to turn those rolls into exemplary roles.

    Of course, there is fluidity to this continuum of methods for role-playing and I've moved from one to the next in my gaming experiences. Most often my play style is determined with how much I connect to my character. The more connected I am, the less I want the rules to “interfere”. I am connected to my character(s) in this game. I have a huge investment and attachment to Gabe and I’m already extremely fond of Friedrich. Sometimes it depends on my familiarity with the people, rules, and/or setting. I don't know most of you. Other than our desire to role-play, the only commonality we have in this game is the Big Red Book (BRB). The rules have changed since the last time I played Kingdom Come to the point where I have to look everything up and try to base everything on what I read in the BRB.

    In an ideal world, written words would perfectly convey the ideas behind them. We don't have an ideal world. When each and everyone one of us sits down to read the BRB we might see something different behind the words. The writing in the BRB can in some places be very unclear – in one technique from two sentences, which I believe were consecutive, I came to four possible interpretations. Four! If we all want to play in a common game then we need to be able to be open with one another about what we understand from the writing and which parts of the BRB influence us to see it that way.

    This is NOT rules-lawyering or rules-mongering. Those terms are for when you try to bend the rules to your advantage or gain. What I am suggesting is a search for common ground and understanding. Unfortunately some people don’t see it that way because generally you are only aware of a “problem” in the rules interpretations when a rule starts to slap your character silly. It’s the difference between honest confusion/misinterpretation and wilful distortion.

    I'll be the first to admit it. There are some of you whose viewpoints I often can't see at first or understand how you got there. Sometimes I agree with someone about what the rules say but not about their importance in The Grand Scheme of Things. I know that I'm not always right. I know that sometimes how I read things are not how they are meant to be read. There will always be some of that in my life, and in yours too, I imagine. I don’t even care if I am wrong in the end. If you can convince me that something is meant to be the way you see it, I’ll capitulate. I’m open to seeing things in a new light and changing my point of view. Until we get there, though, I’m going to argue my point of view, to the best of my ability and to the extent of my belief in it, while I question yours. For me, that includes using forceful language in my arguments and statements and I’m sorry if it seems like an attack – it’s not. It also means asking repeated questions of your point of view – sometimes asking about the same thing using different words in order to try to merge the answers into a picture that I can understand.

    In this game the rules are important because they are in many ways producing our views on the setting. Sometimes what you can do and how you do it shapes your character in how s/he goes about doing things. If any of you have ever taken a character and converted it to play in a different system, you'll know what I mean – you just can't do things in the same way that you did before and it can change what your role in the story is. Take the Core Techniques as examples. True Voice rules tell us about how we sense the metaphysical world around us. Nimbus gives us rules for how we keep humans in the dark. Hallow helps define our metaphysical interactions with the World of Clay. A better example is something non-technique: Trauma. How we take trauma, and heal trauma influences what the character will and won’t do. In earlier versions of the setting Hollow Death was of less consequence to the characters and people would Hollow Death themselves to avoid combat/confrontation and reappear in their Domus! With the current rules I think you’d be insane to do so because you risk gaining a lingering trauma which is nigh impossible to heal.

    As a play-testing group especially, we have a responsibility to let our storyteller know when something isn’t clear to us. If enough other people are having that difficulty sorting out the same thing then it would be worth an edit. We have that opportunity as a group to tell Jill, who can pass it along to Trent and the final book can be made better because of it. The thing is, many of us who have played before have done so under different rules – the whole downtime system is new to me – and we have been left with perceptional baggage. It’s why I try to give quotes for passages in the BRB on which I base my opinions and not just what I’m remembering from past games. I’ve tried to only use that hard-to-read black on red text, but I’m not perfect and old impressions may slip in. That’s why I feel it is even more important for first-time Kingdom Come players to chime in and let us know what you think – you are the untainted ones.

    Oh, I know, you “new” (can most of you really call yourself that after a year and a half?) people might feel that you don’t know enough to contribute, but all you need is the ability to read and the BRB. One of the best ways to understand something is to ask questions or to help explain it to someone else. Many of the questions can and should be answered by other players; Jill shouldn’t have to weigh in on everything unless the answer goes too far astray or it pertains directly to a house rule.

    If more people weigh in then I, in particular, will know if I should even bother to pursue a discussion about a topic. Let’s take the current Hallow, Domus, and Dying thread. The House Rule on coming back from Purgatory needed to be addressed by Jill, as I think does how a Domus gets destroyed. That said, I have to question whether or not the Location/Place Affection issue initially needed to be addressed by Jill. Maybe this is a bad example because the two issues are intertwined for Jill, but let’s assume they were separate issues. If I had brought up a question on the forum saying “Does anyone else read Hallow as allowing Places/Locations to be Affections?” then I could have ascertained whether or not it was just me. Near as I can tell Dave has asked about it in the past and so can see how it might be possible in the rules. Mark mentioned that he’d find the ability useful but didn’t say if he agreed that it could be done as the rules are written. Wade similarly gave an example of why one would want to do it but was not entirely clear if he felt one should be able to do it although I personally thought his answer leaned towards yes – hopeful thinking, perhaps. So, that leaves me with 1-3 people out of 30 who read it the same way that I do? Does that make it worth my pursuing or is it mostly just me?

    Are people unwilling to post to come down on one side of the issue or the other? Would a poll be better if we set it up for rules questions that arise so that “yes”, “no”, and “no opinion” answers could be given? Oh, and before anyone gets worked up about the rules changing by vote or any such thing, let me make it clear that is not what I’m suggesting. When we agreed to play in the game we agreed to play by the rules – however flawed we may think them. We agreed to rely on the Storyteller to arbitrate game-based disagreements between players, provide a basic story outline, and take care of administrative duties (e.g., game location and zeal). In giving the Storyteller the ability to be the final word on game-based disagreements between players we also give the Storyteller the final say on the rules. We can and should quest(ion) for greater understanding and we can petition for House Rules to make the game more enjoyable for all, but in the end the Storyteller’s word is final. Though, I can’t help but think that if a large portion of the game had a problem with something, it would be seriously looked into and assessed.

    Okay, I’ve said my piece and given my opinions. I feel better having posted this – or at least I will once I hit the send button. :)
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    Shamus

    Number of posts : 141
    Age : 39
    Location : Regina
    Registration date : 2009-07-27

    Re: Why talk about rules?

    Post by Shamus on Sat 7 Nov 2009 - 8:23

    Alan, I like your post and I agree with everything you said. Being a veteran role-player but VERY new to KC, I will be the first to say that I knew nothing of the game before the first time i showed up. Jill helped me make my character one night while we were drinking in her loft, never read the rules and didn't know what everything meant. she would say things like; "it'll cost you this many zeal to get this power" and I was like; "well, based on the concept i gave you, what do YOU think?". I had never seen my character sheet nor a BRB, so when Jill handed it to me at my first game i was like; "what the f*&^ is this supposed to tell me? Is it written in sanscrit? ". And then i got harassed by Gabe because I didn't know where i was or why i was there. And then Adam Nemo "welcomed" me to the city (you rock Rich, your wrestling name will be "Mr. Welcome Wagon")

    My point, is that I used my ignorance of the game, the rules and everything and basically just role-played. what i didn't know, i tried to figure out in character so that i could learn it at the same time. I still have no idea how the system works, how my powers work or anything. Frankly, i will learn it when it comes up. While i don't dispute that these might be important things to know, i don't feel that they are EVERYTHING.

    Also, in regards to discussions about rules, the example you gave about the "Hallow, Domus, whatever" thread, I don't typically post on things like that because I do not have input. See, to me, both sides made sense. And because I didn't really understand it anyways, then its out of my place to say something which would get quickly barked out of the thread. Trust me when i tell you that when I have something to say or a question to ask, it will be voiced. I like reading the discussions because it helps me understand the system since I couldn't decipher much from the BRB. I don't know if having a poll system would aleviate this, because the poll doesn't leave the option for discussion. But it couldn't hurt.

    Sorry Alan, I wasn't able to write it all out as eloquently as you did, but I think I am just reinforcing your point. I guess to be less long-winded, I like reading the rules discussions, although i may not voice anything in them all the time.
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    Friedrich
    Retired

    Number of posts : 127
    Location : in Gabe's body, playing with his stuff
    Registration date : 2009-10-25

    Re: Why talk about rules?

    Post by Friedrich on Sat 7 Nov 2009 - 12:46

    Shamus wrote:Alan, I like your post and I agree with everything you said. Being a veteran role-player but VERY new to KC, I will be the first to say that I knew nothing of the game before the first time i showed up. Jill helped me make my character one night while we were drinking in her loft, never read the rules and didn't know what everything meant. she would say things like; "it'll cost you this many zeal to get this power" and I was like; "well, based on the concept i gave you, what do YOU think?". I had never seen my character sheet nor a BRB, so when Jill handed it to me at my first game i was like; "what the f*&^ is this supposed to tell me? Is it written in sanscrit? ". And then i got harassed by Gabe because I didn't know where i was or why i was there. And then Adam Nemo "welcomed" me to the city (you rock Rich, your wrestling name will be "Mr. Welcome Wagon")

    Nothing wrong with that. Sometimes character creation works better that way... although I am very surprised that you didn't have your character sheet explain to a sufficient degree. Still, first nights are usually rough. I would apologise for Gabe, but you have to understand that you hit him on the night where he was feeling done. It might surprise you to know that Gabe often was the one to talk to the new people and explain things.

    Shamus wrote:My point, is that I used my ignorance of the game, the rules and everything and basically just role-played. what i didn't know, i tried to figure out in character so that i could learn it at the same time. I still have no idea how the system works, how my powers work or anything. Frankly, i will learn it when it comes up. While i don't dispute that these might be important things to know, i don't feel that they are EVERYTHING.

    You know, that is may preferred way to come into a new setting. I LOVE to play the newly reckoned/embraced/changed or whatever it might be and then just run with ignorance. I was impressed with the role-playing you did, even if you were a confrontational cocky young bugger. :)

    I don't expect people to know everything when they come in, but as their character gains an understanding of what they can do I think it is the player's responsibility to learn the rules to those things. Because the Core Techniques are things that everyone has and uses very soon, I especially think that they need to be understood. I also agree that the rules are NOT EVERYTHING, and if it came across that way then I apologise. If you want to go the entire game without using the techniques on the character sheet, then feel free to not learn the rules behind them; however, the first time you come up to me to use a technique, well, you had better know how it works, because I won't and I'll have to assume that you do.

    You are lucky. Playing a Justice, you are one of four and one player recently switched from a Justice character. That makes five of you who have access to the same techniques and can discuss them to figure out answers to questions you might have. That isn't to say that others can't and won't join in, but others don't have the same level of investment in the answers. Now that there is another Avarice, I might start posting Avarice questions to the forum, but when I was the only Charity I just emailed Jill because I didn't think anyone really wanted to hear all about how poorly Shepherd was written, in my opinion, and how I needed clarification on certain aspects of it's use. I wish there had been other Charity when I was discussing things with Jill -- even if that third opinion just muddied the waters more initially I think in the end there would have been more satisfying resolution.

    Shamus wrote:Also, in regards to discussions about rules, the example you gave about the "Hallow, Domus, whatever" thread, I don't typically post on things like that because I do not have input. See, to me, both sides made sense. And because I didn't really understand it anyways, then its out of my place to say something which would get quickly barked out of the thread. Trust me when i tell you that when I have something to say or a question to ask, it will be voiced. I like reading the discussions because it helps me understand the system since I couldn't decipher much from the BRB. I don't know if having a poll system would aleviate this, because the poll doesn't leave the option for discussion. But it couldn't hurt.

    See, it is good to know that you are interested in the discussion because if it is in any way helping other players then it is worth continuing. Perhaps any poll might have to be: Is this thread helping your understanding of the game/rules? "yes" "no" "no opinion" "I don't have a BRB and am lost". I also don't think that anything you said would be barked out of a thread. I hope that no one has felt that their posts were ignored, dismissed, or marginalised. It was certainly never my intent to have any of those things happen.
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    Corral

    Number of posts : 359
    Location : Leaving myself behind...
    Registration date : 2008-06-25

    Re: Why talk about rules?

    Post by Corral on Sun 8 Nov 2009 - 9:53

    Shamus wrote:See, to me, both sides made sense. And because I didn't really understand it anyways...

    This is often me, and this is probably the two most common reasons for not posting on rules discussions. 1) There is sometimes some very high-level talk going on, referencing multiple locations in the BRB (and how often do each of us have it with us and have the time to reread large portions) and 2) Both sides have good points and we don't feel like it would be helpful to resolving the question by throwing another voice in there that doesn't even necessarily have an opinion.

    On the recent thread, I tossed in an "alternate interpretation" which, like I said, I didn't have much investment in, but seemed like it might be a fair interpretation given the different points of view. Sometimes I have a stronger opinion about what I want it the answer to be, but having an opinion about what the book really says is harder. If it were obvious, we wouldn't be having a discussion.

    Besides, I am of the opinion that for each and every question we've had, where someone quotes the book and says, "help me understand what this means," Trent should be taking a serious look at the wording he's used and try to find a way to make it clearer, regardless of how many people agreed it was confusing. If Trent can't find a better way or doesn't think it's confusing, he won't change it, but sometimes just by looking and realizing that "someone was confused by this" you can find a better way to say it. In the end, all we're really doing is flagging it for him as something to look at, because 1) I don't expect him to read all our discussions (maybe some of them, if he thinks it will help) and 2) I think we'd be doing him a disservice by notifying him only of the threads that got to be really big (or however we intend to define it).

    But back to addressing my first point #1, about the talk being confusing. If you still want as many people as possible to weigh in on a topic, I think it would help to gather all of the relevant BRB passages together, all of it, preferably in one post, and then clearly state, "I want to know how everyone interprets this, be it a previously stated interpretation or otherwise. I want to know how many people understand it and how many different ways." I really don't think that every thread merits this, so it should probably be said specifically in each thread that does.
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    Eliel

    Number of posts : 198
    Registration date : 2009-01-16

    Re: Why talk about rules?

    Post by Eliel on Mon 9 Nov 2009 - 12:36

    Unfortunately some people don’t see it that way because generally you are only aware of a “problem” in the rules interpretations when a rule starts to slap your character silly.

    I found this line the most interesting because for me, I often notice a "problem" with rules in the opposite way. I see a way to exploit the rules as written and it seems so cheesy that I can't bring myself to do it without at least trying to get the rule changed first.

    Of course the other times I want clarification is to find out if my character can do something ahead of time. The rule of yes is all fine and good but if I interpret a rule one way, my character acts accordingly, and then I discover 2 hours (or 2 months) later that the rule is being interpretted differently, all of a sudden my character's actions no longer make sense. I am now left scrambling to explain why my character did the things he did. For me this completely destroys any suspension of disbelief because, I can look past costumes, sets, and even people dropping in and out of character but when out of no where my character's actions are badly written (not bad choices made for IC reasons as I do that all the time) it comes crashing down that I'm just a guy in a silly costume in a room with my friends.


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    Eliel

    He who would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself". -Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (1737-1809)
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    Eliel

    Number of posts : 198
    Registration date : 2009-01-16

    Re: Why talk about rules?

    Post by Eliel on Tue 10 Nov 2009 - 11:44

    I think the end result of the Hallow discussion was a perfect example of why discussing (or debating) rules can be a very good thing. The discussion led to a clear understanding of how the world works. Now when making characters' decisions we can make them understanding the realities of the world our characters live in.

    For note, in this specific case, I probably would have worked the rule differently than what was decided if it was my game but to me that is less important than the rule being clear.


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    Eliel

    He who would make his own liberty secure must guard even his enemy from oppression; for if he violates this duty he establishes a precedent that will reach to himself". -Thomas Paine, philosopher and writer (1737-1809)
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    Molior

    Number of posts : 124
    Location : The Dojo
    Registration date : 2008-06-26

    Re: Why talk about rules?

    Post by Molior on Tue 10 Nov 2009 - 12:47

    /agree with Dave. Clarity is paramount.

    I'm really pleased with all of the rules-ing that's been going on here lately. And whenever I have an opinion, you guys will know.
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    Love
    Retired

    Number of posts : 65
    Registration date : 2009-06-30

    Re: Why talk about rules?

    Post by Love on Tue 10 Nov 2009 - 19:14

    Dave, you're such a silly man in costume in a room with your friends. That's why I like ya.


    In regards to the whole movement here of discussing rules I am really pleased with the progress that has come from it. I know that it makes me feel more confident in playing in this setting when I have the sense that we are operating under the same assumptions. I fall prey to resorting to old rulings or certain themes in the games that I played in Edmonton in which the creator of KC played or ran, and I know that often it is dissimilar as to how it works from the text in the BRB. In publicly discussing in writing our issues and perceptions of rules I think I can gain a way better idea of what particular rulings are trying to get at.


    So, onwards soldiers, onwards to clarity. I know I have some standing misconceptions that should be addressed before I act on them and confuse the fuck out of other players. I just need to pick out just which issues to address first.

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