Sunday, January 15, 2006

Weekly Review Jan. 8th to Jan. 14th

This week in RPG Theory has been a busy one. After reacting to the series of "dangerous ideas" from Attacks of Opportunity, the theory community has encountered a much less dangerous one, namely the idea of Push and Pull.

Push, Pull, and Making Things Happen

The most prominent development this week was Mo's introduction of Push and Pull. Push is forcing a state of game events. Push can either be passively accepted or actively resisted. Pull is enticing players to cause the game events. Pull can either be actively engaged or passively ignored. Push and pull are two very common ways to influence the game, and directly encourage or discourage other players' influence on the game. It has also been likened to a Yang and Yin relationship, for example by Jonathon Walton.

The current discussions have gone the gamut from social behaviors to rule mechanics. On one hand Mo and Bradley "Brand" Robins have presented both discussion and specific play examples of pull. On the other hand, Mark Woodhouse has described the relationship between push and pull and the mechanics of the RPG Polaris, and John Kim shows a somewhat different perspective.

Ownership and Characters

Stemming from the Vincent Baker's dangerous idea, and dipping into the newly minted push and pull dynamics, Vincent has been forwarding co-ownership as a way to break assumptions about characters and players. Can RPGs allow multiple players to own and control pieces of single character? Vincent seems to think so, and is exploring where that might lead.

Taking this development even further is a series of questions made by Emily Care Boss about different ways to break down the ownership of imagination. She points out how much could be done differently and asks why the character and world separation is so prevalent. And what may be gained by moving outside of it.

Another Look at Diegesis

While diegesis has developed a particular meaning among the certain immersion heavy larp theorists, Fang Langford in his call for productive terminology has put forward a classic interpretation of diegesis and mimesis as terms which might be of use for RPG theory.

In particular, diegesis describes the process of explicit sharing of imagination, a sort of telling what you see is happening. As a dual, mimesis is the implicit sharing of imagination, a showing rather than a telling.

Farewell to Stance?

Stance is a RPG theory concept with a fairly long history, enumerating the ways by which a player can relate to a character. Joshua Bishop Roy argues that stance had outlived its usefulness, except possibly as teaching tool. In its place Joshua places a series of information and authority tools which affect how a player can control a character.

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