Friday, August 18, 2006

Lesson: Exercise 3 - Scene and Situation

In the context of RPGs, what is a scene? What is a situation? Are they one in the same? Does one include the other? Or are they fully distinct?

If they are distinct, describe when a scene isn't a situation, and/or when a situation isn't a scene. How might that distinction be useful?

Which of these are scenes or situations, both or neither?

- A description of a village from the road leading to it.

- A duel with swords taking minutes.

- A duel with influence taking years.

- A lover's quarrel.

- A love affair.

- A conversation where neither side has any choice of what to say.

- A flashback where all the events are known.

- A flashforward where nothing definite can happen.

Now that you've done this, consider what distinguishes scene and situation from setting and genre. Is this distinction necessary?

4 comments:

Troy_Costisick said...

Heya,

Good food for thought. I'm glad you're still doing Theory Review. I've just gotten back to posting on my blog this week really, so I've been out of touch. Your exercise here has my wheels turning. Hm.

Peace,

-Troy

VBWyrde said...

Hiya,

Interesting questions. So far I've got this hierarchy:

Universes
Worlds
Compaigns
Adventures
Scenes
Situations

To my mind situations are a subset of scenes.

- A description of a village from the road leading to it.

The description is a setting, not a scene. A scene is a setting in which something is happenning.

- A duel with swords taking minutes.
This is a situation.

- A duel with influence taking years.
This is an oddity. However it is neither a scene nor a situation. I would put this at the campaign level.

- A lover's quarrel.
A situation.

- A love affair.
Neither scene nor situation but is the basis for both, and in fact can be the basis for everything from a campaign down.

- A conversation where neither side has any choice of what to say.
Still a situation.

- A flashback where all the events are known.
Situation.

- A flashforward where nothing definite can happen.
Situation, but an odd one.

As long as their is specific player action with resolution direct character to character interaction it is a situation. When it is something like the party moving through a town on its way to the dungeon that is a scene, until they hit the bar and order drinks and get in a fight, at which point it becomes a situation. "We have a Situation here."
The characters are situated. Etc.

Well them there's my two cents on the topic. Thanks for the Blog. I like it.

Kuma said...

I've posted on this lesson over on Elsewhere.

Victor Gijsbers said...

I would say that a scene is a section of the narrative, whereas a situation is a structure in the fictional world. So I don't think there is a hierarchy between them; rather, they are completely ontologically different.

So to your examples, I can only say that the first and the last two appear to be the only candidate for scenehood, purely by virtue of being narratives or narrative devices. A flashback can be a scene but not a situation; though a flashback will probably be a description of a situation or a set of situations. In the same way, a love affair can be a set of situations, but it cannot be a scene 0 only a description of a love affair could be a scene.

I have to confess that I do not get what you mean by asking whether the distinction between scene, situation, setting and genre is necessary. Necessary in what sense?