Nah, We'll Pass...

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Actually as non-plot content, you just have "villains who lair outside the city" If they are assassins who are trying to kill the king then that raises the questions of How, When and What?

-They are going to use the coronation ceremony as an opportunity to get close to the king (since normally gaining an audience with the King would be impossible)?

-They are going to get into the ceremony by kidnapping a foriegn dignatary and posing as them during the ceremony? (thus leaving a trail back to the assassin's hideout)



This part above is content, not plot.

-The PCs have been invited to the ceremony as part of a reward for their previous heroism in an earlier subplot, they decide to go.

-They meet NPCs X, Y and Z.

-As the DM I plan on actually assassinating the king, suprise plot twist and then have NPCS X and Y ask them to get the assassins while they put Z on the throne as king instead.



This part might be plot, if it's a predetermined sequence of events the PCs must pursue in order to explore the content.

BUT, what actually happens is...  

-The PCs however decide before this happens, that the king is to exposed, not enough guards, and start searching for an assasination plot,

-as the assassins approach the king a player asks me for a description and rolls appropriate checks, DM gives them the discription and the player makes the right call that it's an assassin and prompletly takes action to stop it, The DM is caught off guard but plays it out, the Player's manage to save the king (who was supposed to die)

-This throws several wrenches into the plot as the King was supposed to die, and NPC Z, a vilain was part of the plot to take the throne and use the assassins as scape goats (the PCs would learn this when they took out the assassins) I was going to run a plot where the PCs would later do a coup d'état  on NPC Z, but now it will likely turn into a civil war when the PCs learn of the connections between the assassins and NPC Z.



This part above is story - the thing created during play.

You see the difference between a plot and a railroad here? In a railroad game that King owuld die, the assassins are going to assassinate him no mater what the PCs do, no matter how unexpected their actions are to the DM, the King will die. A plot doesn't have to have a "predetermined final destination"



A plot is never a railroad on its own. A plot is a rail and railroading is a tool used to keep the players on the plot. If part of the plot is that the king must die (especially as it relates to moving the predetermined plot to the next sequential event), then yes, you may be railroading by curtailing choices or negating outcomes to make sure it happens. You can have a plot and not railroad. I've never said otherwise.

You can also railroad by making choices other than going to the ceremony to which the PCs were invited boring. This is what I suspect you do, based on previous threads on similar topics.

In this case, the DM created a stroy line where King is assassinated, Z becomes King, PCs do coup d'état and make NPC X King. Instead King is saved, Civil war breaks between King and Z, PCs choose a side, and who knows who becomes king. The PC's choices are real choices and have a huge impact on the world they are in.



A storyline is the same as a plot. The story is the outcome of actual play, regardless of the game having a plot or not.

This kind of unexpected, organic, event, wouldn't happen with player buy-in. Had the plot been predetermined this wouldn't have happend, if the players decided that the original plot was what they were going to run, then they would have just been railroading their own PCs they wouldn't have stopped the assassination because they knew about it and it was supposed to happen.



I don't think you know what buy-in means either. Buy-in simply means that the players accept a premise. This can happen in-game or out-of-game. It can refer to plots, scenarios, situations, house rules, game styles, dice conventions, anything. It just means the players know what they're getting and accept it. Having buy-in has nothing to do with a lack of "unexpected, organic events."

In your example, some of it was content and some of it was plot. The difference is you allowed what plot you did have to be altered. What this shows is you don't actually need plots to run games. It's more work for no reason since you're already creating content which is going to be needed in both a game with a plot or without. A plot is extra work on top of that, and based on how you do things, it's work that may simply be altered or thrown out. The "Don't Prep the Plot" article in my signature breaks this down very clearly.



Semantics.  You are both doing very similar things, you just describe them differently.  This is just an example of cognitive dissonance and you are both just quibbling about definitions instead of actually discussing any real substitive approach to the game. 


I would refer to Centuari's signature for this.


Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to have a conversation without such quibbles, so it has been useful so far, but it simply needs to be redirected.  


Definitions are not set, they are simply cognitively synonymous meanings in a given context between individuals.  Once you agree to a definition we can resume progress in the conversation.  

I believe proposing definitons for agreement would result in more agreement than disagreement.               
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
MrCustomer, I advise you to stop the discussion on the word "plot". I once had the same discussion with iserith. He is doing the same thing now as he did then. Using the word incorrectly and assigning whatever definition he came up with to the word. And he will dismiss every argument you use to prove otherwise. He is quite stubborn in that regard. Just take some peace of mind by knowing that I concur with you and that iserith is wrong. And it really doesn't matter if he ever comes to realize that he is.


So what definitions should we use instead?

Story: ...
Plot: ...
Content: ... 

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

MrCustomer, I advise you to stop the discussion on the word "plot". I once had the same discussion with iserith. He is doing the same thing now as he did then. Using the word incorrectly and assigning whatever definition he came up with to the word. And he will dismiss every argument you use to prove otherwise. He is quite stubborn in that regard. Just take some peace of mind by knowing that I concur with you and that iserith is wrong. And it really doesn't matter if he ever comes to realize that he is.


So what definitions should we use instead?

Story: ...
Plot: ...
Content: ... 



Far be it from me to make such determinations. But I like the dictionary approach myself. Which means plot and story are basically interchangeable.

Content I'd say is different. I'd call content things like equipment, lore, etc. Anything not directly revolving around the PCs and the story at hand.

But again. I'm not the authority here. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Semantics.  You are both doing very similar things, you just describe them differently.  This is just an example of cognitive dissonance and you are both just quibbling about definitions instead of actually discussing any real substitive approach to the game. 

Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to have a conversation without such quibbles, so it has been useful so far, but it simply needs to be redirected.  

Definitions are not set, they are simply cognitively synonymous meanings in a given context between individuals.  Once you agree to a definition we can resume progress in the conversation.  

I believe proposing definitons for agreement would result in more agreement than disagreement.               



My purpose for breaking it down as I did was to do just that - create frame of reference. I don't consider it a "quibble." Using the word "plot" to basically refer to everything muddles the discussion and makes it impossible to break down any given scenario to understand it better. Words matter.

MrCustomer frequently seems to want to prove he's not railroading with his approach. (Not that I care if he does or doesn't as I don't see it as inherently evil.) It's easier to make that case if he uses the proper terminology.
Semantics.  You are both doing very similar things, you just describe them differently.  This is just an example of cognitive dissonance and you are both just quibbling about definitions instead of actually discussing any real substitive approach to the game. 

Unfortunately it is nearly impossible to have a conversation without such quibbles, so it has been useful so far, but it simply needs to be redirected.  

Definitions are not set, they are simply cognitively synonymous meanings in a given context between individuals.  Once you agree to a definition we can resume progress in the conversation.  

I believe proposing definitons for agreement would result in more agreement than disagreement.               



My purpose for breaking it down as I did was to do just that - create frame of reference. I don't consider it a "quibble." Using the word "plot" to basically refer to everything muddles the discussion and makes it impossible to break down any given scenario to understand it better. Words matter.

MrCustomer frequently seems to want to prove he's not railroading with his approach. (Not that I care if he does or doesn't as I don't see it as inherently evil.) It's easier to make that case if he uses the proper terminology.



Well, iserith. For you to even begin making any argument saying MrCustomer is railroading, you'd have to understand what railroading actually is first.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
I don't care for definitions, except when they're agreed upon, which they're never going to be here.

Bottom line, DMs should allow and encourage their players to deviate from the DM's prepared work, rather than try to get them back onto what had been prepared. Whatever the improvised game might lack, it will have the most important thing a game needs, which is player acceptance, or buy-in. This can more than make up for a lack of maps, or plot lines, or anything else.

If I have to ask the GM for it, then I don't want it.

Well, iserith. For you to even begin making any argument saying MrCustomer is railroading, you'd have to understand what railroading actually is first.



You must have missed the part where I made the case for him that's he's not railroading in his example, using the terminology I established. I do suspect he's railroading in other ways based on other threads, but that's neither here nor there. Like "plot," "railroading" is another term that's overused and muddled in the hobby.
I'm open to critique on this, but I think this is about where we sit with some minor changes to make them differentiated enough as to be distinct.


Rail:  A predetermined series of events that happen regardless of PC action or interference


Plot:  A predetermined series of events that may or may not happen contingent upon PC action, this could mean the intended actions of an NPC which are successful, foiled, or altered due to PC interference, assistance etc.


Setting:  The world, geographic location, NPC's, function and physics of the game.


Story:  The emergent phenomena of the game

Content:  The prepared or improvisational medium the PC's engage with to include all NPC actions, physical setttings, lore, and events but not the outcome of those events-that would be story.


Thoughts?   
     
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
I'm open to critique on this, but I think this is about where we sit with some minor changes to make them differentiated enough as to be distinct.

Rail:  A predetermined series of events that happen regardless of PC action or interference

Plot:  A predetermined series of events that may or may not happen contingent upon PC action, this could mean the intended actions of an NPC which are successful, foiled, or altered due to PC interference, assistance etc.

Setting:  The world, geographic location, NPC's, function and physics of the game.

Story:  The emergent phenomena of the game

Content:  The prepared or improvisational medium the PC's engage with to include all NPC actions, physical setttings, lore, and events but not the outcome of those events-that would be story.

Thoughts?



Plot and rail are the same thing. They're interchangeable. (Some don't like the word "rail" because it has negative connotations for them, so how about we just call it plot going forward?)

Also, plot is simply a "predetermined sequence of events." The rest of your definition can be taken off in my view and folded into story. That the PCs followed the plot, ignored it, or altered it is story, an artifact of actual play.

Content I agree with. Setting is content.
Lets add an extra dimension to my previous definitions, scale.  Macro for large, micro for small.  A macro rail is one where you have a large scale series of event the PC's have no capability to interfere or alter-such as a great war resulting in the decimation of their native kingdom, this would likely be railroading.  A micro rail may be that an NPC is dieing of old age, and the PC's have no way to stop it at their disposal.  A macro plot is similar, but the PC's can stop the great war, a micro plot would be one where assassins are plotting to kill the king-a small scale event.  So, with that said we can then define this further on a continuum.  With The left representing less Player/Character freedom, and the right more Player/Character freedom.


Story:

Macro Rail <-------------------------------------------------> micro plot


Content:

Absolutely prepared <--------------------------------------> Absolute Improv


Style:

Traditional DM role <---------------------------------------> Collaborative play      


        

     
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
I'm open to critique on this, but I think this is about where we sit with some minor changes to make them differentiated enough as to be distinct.


Rail:  A predetermined series of events that happen regardless of PC action or interference


Plot:  A predetermined series of events that may or may not happen contingent upon PC action, this could mean the intended actions of an NPC which are successful, foiled, or altered due to PC interference, assistance etc.


Setting:  The world, geographic location, NPC's, function and physics of the game.


Story:  The emergent phenomena of the game

Content:  The prepared or improvisational medium the PC's engage with to include all NPC actions, physical setttings, lore, and events but not the outcome of those events-that would be story.


Thoughts?   
     



I'd be fine with that. No need to alter it really. Even if iserith disagrees.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
Lets add an extra dimension to my previous definitions, scale.  Macro for large, micro for small.  A macro rail is one where you have a large scale series of event the PC's have no capability to interfere or alter-such as a great war resulting in the decimation of their native kingdom, this would likely be railroading.



This is where I think people get confused. What you could be describing is content. It's only a plot if the PCs have to follow a predetermined sequence of events on an adventure to experience that given content: "The PCs discover some enemy spies and capture some disturbing battleplans. They take those plans to the king who tells them to go to the enemy capital. They arrive and deal with the enemy general who is marshalling his forces. But it's too late, the war starts and the next phase of the campaign plot begins." That's your plot or rail. "A great war decimates/decimated/is decimating the native kingdom" is probably content.

Now, where it's railroading is if they have to follow that plot or there's no game, or all roads lead to Rome, or any other choice than interacting with that plot is made boring or punitive in an effort to get them to follow the plot. That plot is a rail, but if the PCs can ignore it, alter it, then the DM is probably not engaged in railroading. (I say "probably" because sometimes railroading is hard to see in the abstract, especially for DMs who have justified their particular process as not being railroading over the years. It's easier to spot during actual play.)

Content is common to all styles. Plot is not. You either use plots or you don't. If you use plots, you may railroad or you might not. I don't think there's a spectrum here, with regard to this particular aspect. Story is what we did during actual play and happens with or without a plot.
A rose by any other name...
Back to Basics - A Guide to Basic Attacks You might be playing DnD wrong if... "Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity, and I'm not sure about the former." Albert Einstein
 
This is where I think people get confused. What you could be describing is content. It's only a plot if the PCs have to follow a predetermined sequence of events on an adventure to experience that given content: "The PCs discover some enemy spies and capture some disturbing battleplans. They take those plans to the king who tells them to go to the enemy capital. They arrive and deal with the enemy general who is marshalling his forces. But it's too late, the war starts and the next phase of the campaign plot begins." That's your plot or rail. "A great war decimates/decimated/is decimating the native kingdom" is probably content.

Now, where it's railroading is if they have to follow that plot or there's no game, or all roads lead to Rome, or any other choice than interacting with that plot is made boring or punitive in an effort to get them to follow the plot. That plot is a rail, but if the PCs can ignore it, alter it, then the DM is probably not engaged in railroading. (I say "probably" because sometimes railroading is hard to see in the abstract, especially for DMs who have justified their particular process as not being railroading over the years. It's easier to spot during actual play.)

Content is common to all styles. Plot is not. You either use plots or you don't. If you use plots, you may railroad or you might not. I don't think there's a spectrum here, with regard to this particular aspect. Story is what we did during actual play and happens with or without a plot.



Plot can rather simply be boiled down into the goals of the NPC's or PC's, Rail is something the PC's have no means to interact with.  I believe the distinction to be important, as is the distinction with scalability.  Claiming you have no plot is like claiming you have a static world with no action or reaction to the PC's.  A world with no plots is not a dynamic immersive world, it is a dead one.  I would contend that what you are doing is a mix micro-plotting and micro-rails. 


I believe my definitions to be firstly, more accurate, and secondly more useful as it differentiates more.  Yours simply lumps terms into a single meaning making them less useful, more abstract, and more difficult to discuss.  Progression in any debate requires more specificity not less.  That is the direction I suggest we move in.  
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
A rose by any other name...



...would smell as sweet. Except to the player who is allergic to roses (plots) and you can't figure out why he's "wrecking" your game because you're calling your beautiful flower something other than it really is. Hence, the necessity of obtaining buy-in.
For example, earlier you said that you can have content without a plot, but no plot without content.  Which means that content is a category, and plot a sub-category.  Logically if content is not plot but plot is content then there must be a least a second sub-category.  I'm simply defining your sub-categories more clearly where as you are refusing to admit they exist.  Your argument is logically incoherent.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
Plot can rather simply be boiled down into the goals of the NPC's or PC's



I disagree. That is content. Goals of PCs and NPCs can exist without a plot.

Rail is something the PC's have no means to interact with.



A plot or rail is something the DM creates ahead of time to be experienced by the PCs. Its whole purpose is to be interacted with by the PCs. I suggest we simply call it a plot.

Claiming you have no plot is like claiming you have a static world with no action or reaction to the PC's.  A world with no plots is not a dynamic immersive world, it is a dead one.  I would contend that what you are doing is a mix micro-plotting and micro-rails.



You don't need a plot (a predetermined sequence of events) to have a dynamic world. You just need content that, as you say, reacts to the PCs in a consistent manner. You can do this with or without direct player collaboration (the former being my preference).

I believe my definitions to be firstly, more accurate, and secondly more useful as it differentiates more.  Yours simply lumps terms into a single meaning making them less useful, more abstract, and more difficult to discuss.  Progression in any debate requires more specificity not less.  That is the direction I suggest we move in.



Please read the article in my signature labeled "Don't Prep the Plot." Some terms are defined therein. Let me know if you agree with that article.
For example, earlier you said that you can have content without a plot, but no plot without content.  Which means that content is a category, and plot a sub-category.  Logically if content is not plot but plot is content then there must be a least a second sub-category.  I'm simply defining your sub-categories more clearly where as you are refusing to admit they exist.  Your argument is logically incoherent.



Yes, plot is a type of content, just like setting, NPCs, goals, etc. Content is not plot. You can have a game without a plot; you can't have a game without content.

Where I'm taking issue is defining plot and rail as different somehow. The reason I think people want to define those differently is because "rail" has a negative connotation because "railroad" = bad to many people. A plot or rail is simply a predetermined sequence of events. It doesn't need to be more complicated than that. If you force the characters to experience that predetermined sequence of events, then you are railroading. If you allow them to ignore or alter your plot (and maybe you improvise that session instead), then you're not railroading.
This part might be plot, if it's a predetermined sequence of events the PCs must pursue in order to explore the content.



They can only explore the content if it is there for them to explore, the plot must play out for the content to be there for the players.

Or else all you have is "people who are in a lair outside the city" who the players will never encoutner unless they randomly decide to go in that direction and stumble over the lair. And even then they will have no compelling reason to do anything about these people standing around in the ruins.

It's the plot that makes them assassins who are going to kill the king, it is the plot that brings the characters and the content together. If they are not at the capital city, during the coronation when the assassination occurs then they will not experience the content.

You do understand that for me to experience the content of Spalsh Mountain, that I have to get my passport updated, buy plane tickets, Fly to Disneyland, go into the park, stand in a line up, and actually go on the ride? Until I do that, it will be just something I've heard of. 

They cannot expereince that content if there is no plot, because if there is no plot, then they won't be at the coronation, they won't meet those NPCs and they won't witness the assassination of the king (let alone attempt to stop it)

And just because you "improvised" it rather then prepared the game, doesn't change the fact that it is a plot. The only difference is that you will work with the players to write the story, so it will be the DM/Player's Story, and work together to railroad the PCs, rather then have the PCs define the plot and it be the PC's story.    

This part above is story - the thing created during play.



If your buy-in involved deciding what will happen before hand (Players decide the king is assassinated or decide if they will stop the assassination) then it is predetermined, the story is created in advance. Doesn't matter if the players created this story, it is not the PC's story, nor is it created during play.


It is only created during play if it is the character's story, and not the DM or the Players.    

You can also railroad by making choices other than going to the ceremony to which the PCs were invited boring. This is what I suspect you do, based on previous threads on similar topics.



No, if they decline on going to the coronation, they I will ask them what they want to do and play it out accordingly. They will later hear that the King was assassinated. (they can choose to investigate that if they wish) it is unfortunate that they had turned down the reward that the king was going to give them at the coronation though.

The question you have is what did they do instead? That is really up to the PCs but as for deliberately making it boring, I will simply ask.

Will what they decided to do instead have as much impact on the game world as what would have happened during the coronation and assassination of the king, and resulting political overhaul of a nation or possibly nations?

Realy the players turned down a plot that was the equivelent of them stopping the assassination of JFK and preventing Nixon from ever becoming President and instead choose to go after a random plot in a small, isolated village. I have never advocated making the plot boring, I am simply pointing out that in such situations the DM has alot less to work with.

Interesting, exciting adventure in that village or not, there is a massive difference in scale.

I don't think you know what buy-in means either. Buy-in simply means that the players accept a premise. This can happen in-game or out-of-game. It can refer to plots, scenarios, situations, house rules, game styles, dice conventions, anything. It just means the players know what they're getting and accept it. Having buy-in has nothing to do with a lack of "unexpected, organic events."



If the players know there is going to be an assassination before hand, and have already determined that the kind will die, then the Characters really have no choice in the matter. The players/DM have written that this is going to happen, you know, colaberation and all.

In your example, some of it was content and some of it was plot. The difference is you allowed what plot you did have to be altered. What this shows is you don't actually need plots to run games. It's more work for no reason since you're already creating content which is going to be needed in both a game with a plot or without. A plot is extra work on top of that, and based on how you do things, it's work that may simply be altered or thrown out. The "Don't Prep the Plot" article in my signature breaks this down very clearly.



The content however never happens unless the plot creates it. Unless the players are at the coronation they won't be involved in the plot. The situation isn't going to happen unless a series of events puts the players, the king and the assassins and those NPCs at the coronation
I've read it and it has some flaws in how it defines terms.  


To put it simply, this whole content-plot thing goes something like this:  You admit that plots are content, and that content need not have plots.  In essence this is admitting that cats are mammals, and that not all mammals are cats, you then break your argument by claiming that there are no non-cat mammals. 

All I am doing is changing what you call non-plot content into plot, and what you call plot-content into rail.  Simply because they are both content, and doing it this way distinguishes between the two and is much more accurate. 

I agree with Mrcustomer that a group of assassins trying to kill the king is the same as a group of assassins plotting to kill the king.  Its a plot.  Any action the PC's undertake is action aimed towards completion of a plot, from swinging at a pc to tricking the king into signing a declaration of war.  That is plot, a sequence of events with which the players may assist or interfer, change or nullify.       


A plot is predetermined, the outcome is not, a rail is predetermined, and so is the outcome.  It is an important distinction, as is scalability. 


I'm trying to take the conversation from this:


content:

no plot <-----------------------------------------> plot    


to this:


Content:


Macro Rail <------------------------------------------------------------------------->micro plot
Macro Rail <------------------------------------------------->micro rail      
                                   Macro plot<----------------------------------------------->micro plot


If you would humor the idea I think you would find it more useful.                   
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
Far be it from me to make such determinations. But I like the dictionary approach myself. Which means plot and story are basically interchangeable.

Because in the cast majority of storytelling media (novels, TV, movies, theatre...), there's only one person primarily responsible for the story, the writer, so there's no reason for her not to make a distinction between the story that eventually happens and the specific plot of what will happen no matter what the readers/actors/viewers want/say/do?

Founder - but not owner - of Just Say Yes!

Member of LGBT Gamers

Odds are, if 4-6 people can't figure out an answer you thought was obvious, you screwed up, not them. - JeffGroves
Which is why a DM should present problems to solve, not solutions to find. -FlatFoot
Why there should be the option to use alignment systems:
Show
If some people are heavily benefiting from the inclusion of alignment, then it would behoove those that AREN'T to listen up and pay attention to how those benefits are being created and enjoyed, no? -YagamiFire
But equally important would be for those who do enjoy those benefits to entertain the possibility that other people do not value those benefits equally or, possibly, do not see them as benefits in the first place. -wrecan (RIP)
That makes sense. However, it is not fair to continually attack those that benefit for being, somehow, deviant for deriving enjoyment from something that you cannot. Instead, alignment is continually attacked...it is demonized...and those that use it are lumped in with it.

 

I think there is more merit in a situation where someone says "This doesn't work! It's broken!" and the reply is "Actually it works fine for me. Have you considered your approach might be causing it?"

 

than a situation where someone says "I use this system and the way I use it works really well!" and the back and forth is "No! It is a broken bad system!" -YagamiFire

I've read it and it has some flaws in how it defines terms.



It is defining those terms in an RPG context, which is what we're talking about.

I agree with Mrcustomer that a group of assassins trying to kill the king is the same as a group of assassins plotting to kill the king.  Its a plot.  Any action the PC's undertake is action aimed towards completion of a plot, from swinging at a pc to tricking the king into signing a declaration of war.  That is plot, a sequence of events with which the players may assist or interfer, change or nullify.



This is confusing things with the plain English definitions of plot in my view. The group of assassins "plotting" to kill the king is a "scheme" they're hatching, not a plot in the sense of how you plan an adventure (a predetermined sequence of events as the article describes). That "scheme" is content. It exists and may or may not happen, depending on how things unfold. The PCs may get involved or they may not.

A plot is predetermined, the outcome is not, a rail is predetermined, and so is the outcome.  It is an important distinction, as is scalability.



I can agree with this definition, as far as distinguishing between a plot you can alter and one you cannot. As long as "plot" is still defined as the article suggests.
So you don't actually disagree, you would just prefer this language instead:  
  

Content:
Macro Plot <------------------------------------------------------------------------->micro scheme 
Macro plot <------------------------------------------------->micro plot                                        
                             Macro scheme<----------------------------------------------->micro scheme
  


Again I don't think dictionary definitions apply to D&D, as the conventions used to define them are relative to novels, not tabletop RPG games.    
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
Also-its a rather poorly written article.  The rigor in his use of terms is lacking, theres a good number of logical inconsistencies.  My degree is in philosophy and political science with a large focus of it on logic so they stand out like giant "I'm a big dummy" signs to me.  I can't help but spot them.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
No, it's not the language. It's the concept. I still don't think we're on the same page with regard to definition of "plot." I will quote from the article to distinguish the difference and maybe it can be parsed better. I use the article as reference because I agree with it and the words are there already. Note that these things are in reference to a given adventure, or a given session of play, if the DM doesn't break up his adventures episodically per se.

Don’t prep plots, prep situations.

What’s the difference?


A plot is a sequence of events: A happens, then B happens, then C happens. (In more complicated forms, the sequence of events might fork like a Choose Your Own Adventure book, but the principle remains the same.)


A situation, on the other hand, is merely a set of circumstances. The events that happen as a result of that situation will depend on the actions the PCs take.


For example, a plot might look like this: “Pursuing the villains who escaped during last week’s session, the PCs will get on a ship bound for the port city of Tharsis. On their voyage they will spot a derelict. They will board the derelict and discover that one of the villains has transformed into a monster and killed the entire crew… except for one lone survivor. They will fight the monster and rescue the survivor. While they’re fighting the monster, the derelict will have floated into the territorial waters of Tharsis. They will be intercepted by a fleet of Tharsian ships. Once their tale is told, they will be greeted in Tharsis as heroes for their daring rescue of the derelict. Following a clue given by the survivor of the derelict, they will climb Mt. Tharsis and reach the Temple of Olympus. They can then wander around the temple asking questions. This will accomplish nothing, but when they reach central sanctuary of the temple the villains will attempt to assassinate them. The assassination attempt goes awry, and the magical idol at the center of the temple is destroyed. Unfortuntely, this idol is the only thing holding the temple to the side of the mountain — without it the entire temple begins sliding down the mountain as the battle continues to rage between the PCs and villains!”


(This is derived from an actual, published adventure. Names and milieu have been changed to protect the innocent. Bonus points to anyone who can correctly identify the original source.)


A situation, on the other hand, looks like this: “The villains have escaped on two ships heading towards Tarsis. One of the villains transforms during the voyage into a terrible monster and kills the crew, leaving the ship floating as a derelict outside the coastal waters of Tharsis. At such-and-such a time, the ship will be spotted by the Tharsis navy. The other villains have reached the Temple of Olympus atop Mt. Tharsis and assumed cover identities.”




So, the assassins hanging out plotting (scheming) to kill the king or actively putting those plans into motion regardless of the PCs' involvement is a situation, not a plot. A situation is content, so is plot. You can have that situation without having a plot. I don't know how that fits into your spectrum, but perhaps that clarifies?
That fits perfectly into my spectrum, even in its first form, lol.  Again we don't actually disagree.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
That fits perfectly into my spectrum, even in its first form, lol.  Again we don't actually disagree.



I still believe, however, that you either use plots or you don't. That basically defines the two styles here. One uses plots, one doesn't. Both may have situations and locations and both approaches produce a story. I think the issue I'm having is calling situations "plots."
You've spent a non-trivial amount of time preparing an adventure for this week's game. You've got some set piece encounters with tough monsters, maps and handouts, some quirky NPCs, and (you hope) an engaging plot that should carry you through this session if not the next one, too.

It's game day. Your NPC quest-giver provides some context for adventure and begs the PCs help him resolve the situation in exchange for a reasonable reward. The players decide they're not interested in that and turn the quest-giver down.

What do you do?




Go in the bathroom and cry Tobias-style*, come out and grab the Cheetos. Years later I'll be on the foruns seeking counseling for my PTSD stemming from the non-importance of Planned Outenn, Knight of the Realm. ;)'



*
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Don't worry iserith, I know you won't get the refernce.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
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Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
To break it down a bit:

Hickman Style:


  • Plot

  • Setting

  • Locations

  • Situations

  • NPCs

  • Goals/Motivations


Gygaxian Style:


  • Setting

  • Locations

  • Situations

  • NPCs

  • Goals/Motivations


All of those bulletpoints represent content. One style has plot, the other does not.
That fits perfectly into my spectrum, even in its first form, lol.  Again we don't actually disagree.



I still believe, however, that you either use plots or you don't. That basically defines the two styles here. One uses plots, one doesn't. Both may have situations and locations and both approaches produce a story. I think the issue I'm having is calling situations "plots."




Exactly. A situation becomes a plot in one of two ways;

1) The GM feels the need to script out the session to some degree and deicdes what will happen and when. More or less specific depending on GM.

2) The players are dropped into a situation which already has characters with motives for action and things start happening as a result. (Not that things aren't going on in the location beforehand, mind you. But the plot, as far as it involves the PCs, starts then, rather then last night on the GM's desk).

Obviously, we narrativists tend to prefer the second.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
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141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
Exactly. A situation becomes a plot in one of two ways;

1) The GM feels the need to script out the session to some degree and deicdes what will happen and when. More or less specific depending on GM.

2) The players are dropped into a situation which already has characters with motives for action and things start happening as a result. (Not that things aren't going on in the location beforehand, mind you. But the plot, as far as it involves the PCs, starts then, rather then last night on the GM's desk).

Obviously, we narrativists tend to prefer the second.



That's actually the story, not the plot (the bolded part).
Exactly. A situation becomes a plot in one of two ways;

1) The GM feels the need to script out the session to some degree and deicdes what will happen and when. More or less specific depending on GM.

2) The players are dropped into a situation which already has characters with motives for action and things start happening as a result. (Not that things aren't going on in the location beforehand, mind you. But the plot, as far as it involves the PCs, starts then, rather then last night on the GM's desk).

Obviously, we narrativists tend to prefer the second.



That's actually the story, not the plot (the bolded part).

I'm using the words interchangably here. And yes, that may seem wrong to some.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
Show
141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
I'm using the words interchangably here. And yes, that may seem wrong to some.



Using those words interchangeably is part of the problem! They are different things in an RPG context.
I'm using the words interchangably here. And yes, that may seem wrong to some.



Using those words interchangeably is part of the problem! They are different things in an RPG context.




One problem at a time.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
Show
141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
lmfao

iserith will never ever understand.

I'd honestly stop wasting my time with him on this point. He clearly doesn't understand that what he's doing is trying to alter the proper use of these words to defend his style and the article which he holds so dear.

If you guys have no intention of stopping though, I'll go make a bag of popcorn. This is entertaining. 
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/
lmfao

iserith will never ever understand.

I'd honestly stop wasting my time with him on this point. He clearly doesn't understand that what he's doing is trying to alter the proper use of these words to defend his style and the article which he holds so dear.

If you guys have no intention of stopping though, I'll go make a bag of popcorn. This is entertaining. 



I understand that those words have meanings that are muddled because many people use them interchangeably to the detriment of each other's understanding of their respective points of view.

I also understand that Detoxifier and I are having a discussion, not an argument, and that I'm not attacking or defending a style, I'm explaining it.

I also understand that the definitions of the words I'm suggesting are very simple and can be used to explain any style, including your own.

These things above that I understand appear to be things you do not understand. Enjoy your popcorn though.
Iserith I think your problem is that you seeing it as a one dimensional bipolar relation when its really a lot more nuanced then that.  Ill explain later as Im away from my computer atm.
...and in the ancient voice of a million squirrels the begotten chittered "You have set upon yourselves a great and noble task, dare you step further, what say you! What say you!"
Iserith I think your problem is that you seeing it as a one dimensional bipolar relation when its really a lot more nuanced then that.  Ill explain later as Im away from my computer atm.



It depends on exactly what we're trying to examine. That a game includes a plot and another game does not makes those styles different. Vastly different as to outcome? Probably not. Is one better than the other? No, because that depends on delivery and buy-in. But definitely different as to how you run that game and what it means as far as player choice and the like.

As far as comparing the two styles, the only difference is whether or not a game has a plot in it, as defined by what I suggested above (predetermined sequence of events). All the other elements of those games are common to both. If you've got a plot, you're in the Hickman camp. If you don't, you're Gygaxian. Which one you choose is a preference. If you're creating Hickmanesque plots and then allowing the PCs to alter those plots, I would suggest the DM is wasting his time and effort. There's no need to write that plot at all at that point. But if they like doing it, hey, go for it!

Anyway, I'll wait till you're back at the computer. I may be late in responding anyway as I have a game to play tonight.
lmfao

iserith will never ever understand.

I'd honestly stop wasting my time with him on this point. He clearly doesn't understand that what he's doing is trying to alter the proper use of these words to defend his style and the article which he holds so dear.

If you guys have no intention of stopping though, I'll go make a bag of popcorn. This is entertaining. 




I was just playing around with iserith, if that wasn't clear. I agree with him but made an obious error.
"The real purpose of socialism is precisely to overcome and advance beyond the predatory phase of human development." -Albert Einstein Resident Left Hand of Stalin and Banana Stand Grandstander Half of the Ambiguously Gay Duo House of Trolls, looking for a partner Wondering what happened to the Star Wars forums?
Show
Star Wars Minis has a home here http://www.bloomilk.com/ and Star Wars Saga Edition RPG has a home here http://thesagacontinues.createaforum.com/index.php
Show
141722973 wrote:
And it wasn't ****. It was subjectively concensual sex.
57036828 wrote:
Marketing and design are two different things. For instance the snuggy was designed for people in wheel chairs and marketed to people that are too incompetent to operate a blanket.
75239035 wrote:
I personally don't want him decapitated.
141722973 wrote:
And do not call me a Yank. I am a Québecois, basically your better.
And the greatest post moderation of all time...
58115148 wrote:
I gave that (Content Removed) a to-scale Lego replica. (Content Removed) love to-scale Lego replicas. (ORC_Cerberus: Edited - Vulgarity is against the Code of Conduct)
lmfao

iserith will never ever understand.

I'd honestly stop wasting my time with him on this point. He clearly doesn't understand that what he's doing is trying to alter the proper use of these words to defend his style and the article which he holds so dear.

If you guys have no intention of stopping though, I'll go make a bag of popcorn. This is entertaining. 




I was just playing around with iserith, if that wasn't clear. I agree with him but made an obious error.



I wasn't even referring to your posts.
My username should actually read: Lunar Savage (damn you WotC!) *Tips top hat, adjusts monocle, and walks away with cane* and yes, that IS Mr. Peanut laying unconscious on the curb. http://asylumjournals.tumblr.com/