Friday, October 06, 2006

Monthly Review September 2006

One of the major themes of this month has been the discussion of resolution, systems, and conflict resolution in particular. Much of this appears to stem from Ron Edwards' synopsis of a GenCon discussion about competitive setting of stakes within conflicts, over on Story Games.

Following, in a manner of response, John Kim suggests that the behaviors Edwards describes are not innate to setting stakes, but instead represent a social pathology. John Kim continues later with a general classification of resolution systems, he classifies two properties of resolution systems, first how consequences are determined, and second the levels of abstraction in which the resolution occurs. A similar theme recurs with Troy Costisick's discussion of system, where he breaks system as the "means by which the group agrees to imagined events during play", into two major categories: rules (overt and known) and procedures (socially decided).

Later, Adam Dray brings up conflicts from another direction, suggesting that conflicts only support a portion of exploration, and that those unsupported arenas of exploration can provide equal enjoyment of play. He challenges designers to look beyond conflicts for exactly this reason. Going even further, Victor Gijsbers examines the prevalence of conflicts in RPGs, suggesting that this bias implicitly limits what the stories and ideas which can be expressed in RPGs, likewise challenging to move beyond them.

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