May 01, 2024
The RPG XRAY Team
Season 2
Episode 11

011 Agendas

RPG XRAY

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RPG XRAY

011 Agendas

May 01, 2024
Season 2
Episode 11

The RPG XRAY Team

This episode’s topic is Creative Agendas. Whether we aspire to overcome challenges, embody characters, or simply socialize with friends, our high-level goals determine many of our choices and define what we are proud about in our roleplaying sessions.

**HOSTS:**

Brendan Power

**APPENDIX X:**

Marvel's What If (TV, Erik)

The Guns of August (Book, Ethan)

Routledge Atlas of the First World War (Book, Ethan)

Slow Horses (TV, Brendan)

**GAMES MENTIONED:**

**SUMMARY:**

In episode 11 of RPG Xray we dig into the concept of creative agendas in RPGs. We workshop the definition of agendas as the underlying motivations and goals that players and game masters bring to a role-playing game session. We explore different types of creative agendas, including gamism (focus on challenge and strategy), narrativism (emphasis on storytelling and thematic exploration), and simulationism (desire for realism and consistency in the game world). The discussion also touches on the history of RPG theory, particularly the contributions of Ron Edwards and The Forge, an online forum where many ideas about game design and player motivation were developed.

We debate the usefulness and limitations of categorizing player motivations into distinct creative agendas and discuss players with multiple simultaneous as well as how these motivations can lead to more satisfying gaming experiences. We also explore the dangers of pigeonholing players or assuming that one type of agenda is superior to others.

Share Episode

This episode’s topic is Creative Agendas. Whether we aspire to overcome challenges, embody characters, or simply socialize with friends, our high-level goals determine many of our choices and define what we are proud about in our roleplaying sessions.

**HOSTS:**

Brendan Power

**APPENDIX X:**

Marvel's What If (TV, Erik)

The Guns of August (Book, Ethan)

Routledge Atlas of the First World War (Book, Ethan)

Slow Horses (TV, Brendan)

**GAMES MENTIONED:**

**SUMMARY:**

In episode 11 of RPG Xray we dig into the concept of creative agendas in RPGs. We workshop the definition of agendas as the underlying motivations and goals that players and game masters bring to a role-playing game session. We explore different types of creative agendas, including gamism (focus on challenge and strategy), narrativism (emphasis on storytelling and thematic exploration), and simulationism (desire for realism and consistency in the game world). The discussion also touches on the history of RPG theory, particularly the contributions of Ron Edwards and The Forge, an online forum where many ideas about game design and player motivation were developed.

We debate the usefulness and limitations of categorizing player motivations into distinct creative agendas and discuss players with multiple simultaneous as well as how these motivations can lead to more satisfying gaming experiences. We also explore the dangers of pigeonholing players or assuming that one type of agenda is superior to others.

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Brendan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:

>> Joining the X-Ray team today are Vibes guy, Brendan Power. I'm very spoken in a very Vibey way, Brendan. Theory guy, Eric Saldwell.

Erik:>> Hi, everybody.

Ethan:And myself, Ethan Schoonover. As always, before jumping into the main course, we like to start things off with an amuse-bouche we call Appendix X.

Brendan:In Appendix X, we typically do a little summary of all the media we've been

Erik:Recently, I've been watching, we just finished up season two of Marvel's

Brendan:consuming recently with a particular eye toward how we might use it in gaming. So let's start off with Eric.

Erik:What If on Disney+. If people aren't familiar with it, What If is a Marvel animated show. And its premise is that it looks at different universes where things happen differently than they have in the canonical Marvel Universe 616, I think. So every episode they get to ask, what if Captain America was never found and brought back out of the ice? Or what if Loki had taken over the world? And I had two thoughts about this related to gaming. The first was, I thought it was an interesting way to think about playing licensed IP. The last time that I think in a previous episode we talked about licensed IP and how for me personally, it can often feel like you're playing in someone else's story. And that's especially, or that the plot is very preordained. And I think that a What If style universe would be an interesting way to both let you play characters you love while still playing original innovative stories. And then the other thing, just as a superhero, I am somebody who often thinks about magic systems and soft versus hard magic systems. For people who aren't aware, a soft magic system is like in the Harry Potter world where magic can do anything. And it's not really very defined what you can do. So in the Harry Potter world, if you find a spell, you can do anything. A hard magic system is much more like what you would find something like what Brandon Sanderson writes, where magic is very limited in what you can do and often feels a little bit like technology. And what I realized watching What If was that I was reminded actually that superheroes are actually a very interesting form of hard magic system. That if you think about hard magic systems, they actually feel a lot more like superhero systems than they do like a classic magic system.

Brendan:So you mean like power, the superhero's powers, like how they're defined?

Erik:That's right, because they are so strongly defined and there's a very clear limit between what you can't do and what you can. Yeah, exactly. It feels much more like a hard system. The difference being in a real hard magic system, anyone who has magic access to the magic all has the same powers, whereas in superheroes, everybody has their own power.

Brendan:You're reminding me of many, many hours wasted designing champions characters,

Erik:That's great. Ethan, you want to tell us about yours?

Brendan:attempting to min-max at age 13, 14, all of the various powers to ensure that my character was almost invulnerable and almost extremely fast, which is not how superhero comics work, of course.

Ethan:>> Sure, so I am listening to an audiobook that I've listened to before,

Erik:Yeah, so I'm a big fan of the idea of magic. I think it's a really interesting concept.

Ethan:and a book that I've read before, which is The Guns of August by Barbara W.

Erik:I think it's a really interesting concept, and I think it's a really interesting idea.

Ethan:Tuchman. She won the Pulitzer for writing this book. She's a historian, was a historian. This book was about basically the first month of World War I, so August 1914. And her approach is just so fresh, and it's absolutely gripping recount of what led up to World War I, and the personalities involved, and the countries involved, and the absolute tripping and stumbling over its own feet that Europe did to get to war. So I'm reading that book, and that's sort of the first part of my appendix X this time, but what my real appendix X is, is the Routledge Atlas of the First World War, which is just an atlas. It is a collection of maps of all the major battles and the major strategic locations. Boy, I love me an atlas of war, I'll tell you that.

Erik:I was going to say, you and I should swap, because I think I have the Alice of World War II.

Ethan:>> Oh, yeah, so I have an atlas of World War II, I have an atlas of the Civil

Erik:I was going to say, you and I should swap, because I think I have the Alice of World War II.

Ethan:War, I have many map war atlases, which I know is such a cliche thing to have.

Erik:I think I have the Alice of World War II.

Ethan:So what's interesting, what I'm thinking about though, in terms of role playing games, is just we have so many maps in role playing games, but these war atlases tend to have a lot more in terms of dynamic troop movements and things like that laid out on them as vectors. You have an imposition of time and movement and dynamics on maps, which I really don't think that I see very much of, if at all, in role playing games. But I was trying to figure out, how could you use the dynamics, the dynamism of these types of maps where you have vectors of movement and activity, maybe over the course of a session, you're drawing out these vectors. Where it's not from a war gaming perspective, right? I understand how that would work in war gaming, right? If you were kind of reflecting a table situation, table state, but could you use

Brendan:Yeah.

Ethan:it in a more narrative fashion? I don't have an answer for that, but I'm thinking about it. Yeah, yeah, exactly.

Brendan:I mean, is there any role-playing game that has ever done large troop battling as a, you know, like narrative contextual thing well? I mean, I can't, I mean, D&D obviously has had efforts at replicating mass combat, but mostly it's super tedious.

Ethan:And I haven't thought of any that do anything with this type of mapping and terrain and these types of vectors. And it wouldn't necessarily need to be the movement of troops. It could be the movement of magic is breaking down or magic is warping in these areas or how to use these types of almost props to communicate with players or track state. Man, that sounds so what is it?

Erik:Absolutely. I think that's really interesting. We'll have to get together and talk when we're playing Band of Blades. I mean, that's a traditional wargaming scenario, but over the course of the campaign of Band of Blades, it is really important where you are and how far into the year it is, and how far has the other side gotten towards, because you're both racing towards a pass in time before winter happens. Yeah.

Ethan:The black company? Is that the book that I'm thinking of?

Erik:And that is by far a super Black Company game.

Ethan:Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Erik:That's the explicit reference that they talk about. Yep.

Ethan:So, you know, actually, that reminds me of one other side project that I have not completed, which is, you know, this map of Paris for Yellow King role playing game that I've been working on and really trying to figure out, like, how can you successfully use the map to be more than just sort of a flavor prop,

Erik:No, and I'm super excited to do it.

Ethan:but like an actual like utilitarian prop. Don't have a good answer there. We should do a whole. We haven't done maps yet, have we? Oh, all right. OK, so, well, that's mine. Brendan, what's your appendix X? Oh, yes. Oh, yeah.

Erik:Do they play that for laughs,

Ethan:It's deadly serious.

Erik:or is it a real source of dramatic tension? The bureaucracy is not played for, like, the office-style laughs. Okay.

Ethan:Yeah, it's like a prime mover in the Aristotelian sense.

Brendan:Yes. But yes, it's absolutely worth anyone's time.

Ethan:I totally second that motion.

Brendan:The show is fantastic.

Ethan:I love that show, and I have an enormous crush on Saskia Reeves. I don't know how you say her name, but who plays Catherine Standish.

Brendan:Oh yeah. Yeah.

Ethan:Man, what a character. What an actor. And to my wife, if this is how you're finding out, we can talk later. What I wanted to say about that is the show is outstanding also because every female character is almost without exception,

Erik:Nice.

Ethan:eminently competent and much more competent than their male counterparts, almost without exception. You know?

Brendan:Yep.

Ethan:Yeah. And done in a completely believable way.

Erik:I read, at some point, I read a history of the CIA,

Ethan:Like there are so many men who ended up in their position of authority and power, not through skill, but through the old boys network. I mean, this being a very British scenario, right? And the women, almost without exception, had to fight their way to the top tooth and nail. Mm hmm.

Erik:and the forming of the CIA and the OSS before it felt very, very similar, that they were all, yeah.

Ethan:Oh, yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:It was all upper class, you know.

Brendan:Well, no.

Erik:All right, should we get into it?

Ethan:Right on.

Erik:All right.

Ethan:Let's roll on into the main topic. Thank you.

Erik:So, today's topic is creative agendas, or agendas. Let's start by defining what we mean when we say creative agenda. I would express it as being, this is how we judge the choices that we've made in our games. So, when we look back at a session and we say, do we feel proud that we made great choices and we were playing really well? That's reflecting our creative agenda. When we come into it and we're thinking to ourselves about the type of play we hope to have and the type of choices we hope to make, that reflects your creative agenda. And so, we'll talk a ton today about what are the different types of creative agendas that people have. I think that the main thing to remember is that this isn't about making specific decisions in the moment. So, if you're picking the red pill or the blue pill, it's not about, did I pick the red pill or the blue pill, but it's about, why did I make that choice and what am I hoping to, how am I hoping to play?

Ethan:I think we should also, from sort of a meta perspective, I'd also postulate that we could reject the premise. We could reject whether or not creative agendas are a valid framework. We should address it. I'm not convinced. So I'll walk out of here either sold or not sold, Eric. Thank you.

Brendan:One of the things here that I was going to mention in this context is that when Eric talks about creative agenda, I think that in parts, a little more intent behind a lot of people's experiences than I think that they actually have. I think if you think of motivation, motivation, I guess, could supersede creative agendas because people's motivation to play a game often does not descend into actual creative agenda play. It can just be, I like moving my miniature around and hitting trolls, which is an agenda, albeit not very creative.

Erik:So, for me, Brendan, I just want to differentiate. I think that there's fun and the types of fun you have, like we covered in our first episode. Clearly, we all want to play to have fun, and I think that that is a universal creative agenda in a way, but I also want to say for me, just having fun or wanting to have fun, because it doesn't affect the choices that I make and it doesn't say, hey, do I feel like I played well today? I can't look at it from, I can say I had fun, but it doesn't judge how well I specifically played. And that, for me, is the difference.

Ethan:I'd like to just note that the word agendas is a bit of a pejorative term in common conversation, right? Say somebody walked into a meeting with a meeting agenda, but with a hidden agenda, right?

Erik:Yeah. Or no, even you say that that guy definitely had an agenda

Ethan:Or yeah, yeah, yeah, right.

Erik:in this meeting. Yeah.

Ethan:It implies that you have kind of a covert, obfuscated motivation.

Erik:Do you have a term, Ethan, that you would prefer instead?

Ethan:No, I don't. I just wonder whether or not I want to set that on the table like a six and a pound gorilla. I want it to sit there. What I'm wondering is whether or not that six and a pound gorilla of agendas being possibly negative is like whether or not embracing agendas at all can distort gameplay. Just have that in the back of your mind. We can come back to it. We can put a pin in it. If we want to put a pin in that gorilla to mix metaphors, we can do that.

Erik:So I think in the history of the industry,

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:people would say the value of looking at agendas.

Ethan:I'm just wondering whether or not that's a good idea.

Erik:I think there's an interesting question about are they always implicit or explicit or even there at all? I think these are all very fair questions. The reason that Ron Edwards, who is the person I've heard talk about it the most, would claim that these are very important is that if people at the table don't understand each other's agendas, that that makes for less fun play and that you don't all need to have the same agenda, but that if you understand people's agendas and maybe that

Ethan:I'm just wondering whether or not that's a good idea.

Erik:some people have a predilection for some types of agendas over the others and understanding all of those things can make play better.

Ethan:I think we should roll back and talk about history as well here since we brought Ron Edwards into the scene, dragged him onto stage. As a counterpoint to that, I think that if you have a set of atomic agendas that you envision players having, like you have an agenda, creative agenda to min-max or whatever, and that's success for you, I will start to view all your actions and you as a player through that lens. And I think that the risk with creative agendas is pigeonholing.

Erik:I absolutely...

Ethan:Don't put me in a box, man.

Erik:No, and I actually think Ron Edwards, when he starts talking

Ethan:I'm just wondering whether or not that's a good idea.

Erik:about agendas, when he talks about it in, I think, System Matters, one of his articles, he says at the very beginning, "Look, this is not a type of player.

Ethan:I'm just wondering whether or not that's a good idea.

Erik:This is a decision that happens in the moment." But he very quickly falls into this trap, I feel,

Ethan:Yeah, that feels like semantics from him and not a true distinction.

Erik:where he... No, and I think so too. I think that the rest of his discussion on the topic is filled with him talking about players and this idea that understanding it can make better play, I think that is somehow tied into the sense that some people align more with some agendas than others. I'm not sure that I buy that at all.

Brendan:I'm interested in getting a sense of what some sample creative agendas are here in using his terminology.

Ethan:I'm just wondering whether or not that's a good idea.

Brendan:Like, what are some ways that he describes having agendas? Because I think the reality is for, like, I mean, my own experience, I think that the GM should have an understanding of the agendas of their players because that is how they are tailoring the activities and experiences and themes to make people happy and have a good time. But between players, if you're not looking for uniformity among your players, like everyone here has an agenda to participate in a gritty street-level game where their characters might die at any moment.

Ethan:I'm just wondering whether or not that's a good idea.

Erik:Yeah that feels like we should be able to wrap that

Brendan:I think people have differing agendas. And so if you haven't started from the premise that everybody has to have the same creative intent, it doesn't really matter if players, I mean, players can have a sense of each other's goals and interests, but there's a lot of people who aren't capable of being explicit about what their actual agendas are because they haven't given it that much thought.

Ethan:Sure.

Brendan:Yeah.

Ethan:Yeah, I mean, I do want to at least mention some of the key phases along the way so that

Erik:up in like 90 seconds.

Ethan:we can kind of like get to where Ron Edwards starts to talk about he because he really brings in that term creative agendas.

Erik:He does and like and right and his framework for agendas is the thing that kind of I think

Ethan:Right. So back in the 90s, there is a username forum, a username group to use the correct term called

Erik:made him really well known in the industry for a lot of people.

Ethan:games direct to FRP advocacy. You know, for those of you who are unfamiliar with the glory days of the Internet when it was the best, best thing ever, its best self, think of it as like a discord channel. And it just happened. It was it was like where people went to have arguments about games, but it ended up sort

Erik:Yep, that's right.

Ethan:of morphing into a place where people ended up having discussions about theory. And this was very early, like role playing game theory. Woman named Mary Cooner developed this basic premise, which was she called it the threefold model of modeling role playing games. And roughly that was what turned into what is called GNS, which is Game Narrative Simulationist, I think.

Erik:Yeah, no problem.

Ethan:These were early models of role playing games, like people started when people first started to think about the theory and practice of role playing games, as we say in our intro, they started off thinking about GNS, whether or not you had a narrative approach to gaming

Erik:So my knowledge of this history mostly picks up that there was a game called Sorcerer.

Ethan:or a simulationist, meaning like a very war gamey and very like dice heavy and stats heavy, or whether or not drama was your thing and story was your thing, narrative or game, I guess. I'm not sure what the game part of GNS was. So over to you, Eric, you want to fill in some all the gaps I left there for you to fill in. Okay. So, um, I'm going to go ahead and start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:It was made by, designed by Ron Edwards.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:He self-published it.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:One of the other reasons he's become big in the industry is because of his promotion of self-publishing.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:And he, along with Vincent Baker, who designed Apocalypse World,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:Paul Tseghi, who has done a ton of different stuff.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:I think he did My Life with Master.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:They get together and they make a real web forum.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:It's called The Forge.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And a lot of people come on there.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And the amazing thing about The Forge, even much more, I was reading a blog called Deeper in the Game.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:The person who writes Deeper in the Game was talking about The Forge,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and that the thing that is really valuable about The Forge isn't necessarily that these people got everything right,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:or even got a preponderance of stuff right,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:but this was a group of people that were able for years to stay on topic and take a web forum

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:and really use it to discuss theory and not get off track and have it become about politics,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:or what did I do the other day, or sharing memes, or all the ways that focus in an internet discussion can dissolve. Really, Ron does a great job of keeping that discussion focused. I know a few of those. I also was not a participant in The Forge,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and other than reading select articles or posts there, I am not well informed.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:So Ron Edwards publishes there a series of articles, starting with System Matters,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:where he describes three creative agendas.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And I think it's important to recognize that he's writing at a specific moment in time when the indie RPG movement is starting to come up,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:and people are thinking about the things they don't like about D&D,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and they're thinking about how can I understand the game in a way

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:that I can push in a different direction than how D&D pushed,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:and what I maybe liked or didn't.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:And so his framework is borrowing, I assume, very strongly from Mary's,

Ethan:it's also called GNS.

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:I have done a bunch of research about the stuff that Ron Edwards has written.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:I've taken classes with him about RPG theory.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:I have not done a lot of reading of Mary, and so I'm going to represent Ron's view here,

Ethan:not because I think Mary's is wrong or invalid, I just have not looked at it.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:The way I would describe GNS is that Gamist was really conceived of

Ethan:as people competing with each other.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And remember, this is an era before we really had a big push for cooperative games,

Ethan:and people understood gaming as being chess and checkers and tic-tac-toe,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:and it's really human being meatbag against another human being.

Ethan:Then there is simulationism, which is that I want to go in

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and I want to do what my characters would do,

Ethan:or if I am a dungeon master, that the world would respond to the player's actions

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:in the way that it really happened.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And I think Ron's catchphrase for simulationism is like living the dream,

Ethan:which is that this world is like a real living, breathing thing,

Ethan:and I want the decisions that happen there to organically flow

Ethan:from the state in that narrative world.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And then he has narrativism.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And this was, you know, Ron himself would say that he's a strong narrativist,

Ethan:and for him, it is, I'm going to put words in his mouth here,

Ethan:he's never said this, but this is how I interpret him,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:which is that your agenda in playing the game is to create a great story.

Ethan:And he has a very specific meaning of great story.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:His sense of story is influenced by the art of dramatic writing,

Ethan:whose author I forget, but it is a very classic Aristotelian literature

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:kind of focus, which is that great stories are dramatic stories,

Ethan:and that means that they are based off of a premise.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:All great stories ask a premise question about what's more important.

Ethan:Is freedom more important than life or not?

Ethan:And that role playing games are much like classic stories are,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:are a way to explore that premise. And every premise asks a question and the table answers it. No, that was me just scrambling for something. While I've used my own words here, I think that that is a fair representation of it.

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:I think what's really interesting is, I think people have often misused this. One of the ways that I've seen The Forge get critiqued is that, especially because most of the people on The Forge ended up being these story gamers who would say they have a very strong narrative focus, that it felt like it became an in-group, out-group thing where people who were really fond of narrativism

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:and wanted to push gaming in the narrativist direction, it was a way for them to use the framework as a cudgel to beat up on folks who were gamist or who were simulationist, and I think especially simulationist. It was a push within gaming at about the kind of turn of the millennium to push the narrative agenda, make game designs that reflected the narrativist agenda. Ron, when he talks about game design,

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:would also say that an understanding of these agendas

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:is important for game design because a game needs to pick a point of view about what agenda it's going to be used for, and a coherent game design is a design where it's focused on and enables a specific set of forms of creative agendas.

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:And I actually totally agree with that.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:I totally agree with that.

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:I think it's a really good point.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:So I agree with that,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:and I think that agendas have been massively misused,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:whether or not it's thinking about people as being,

Ethan:like, that a person can be narrativist,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:or if it's this sense of design coherence,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:which I agree is actually very much not the high-order bit in a game.

Ethan:What I think is interesting about agendas personally

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:is that they can help you understand your game

Ethan:and the types of play,

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:and if you find that you have a bad experience,

Ethan:I think it's interesting to look at

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:whether or not you use Ron Edwards' framework,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and I generally don't, I have my own personal pet framework,

Ethan:but if you understand what the framework is,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:you can talk about what happened in this game

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:in a way that is hopefully more productive and valuable

Ethan:than if you don't understand it.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:While I don't think that many people have an explicit view

Ethan:of Ron's framework of GNS,

Ethan:this is coming back to your point, Brendan, it takes a long time to even understand Ron's framework, and so the thought that people come from that framework point of view in their heads doesn't make a lot of sense to me, but I think if you were to maybe simplify and reduce a little and say, "What are people trying to do when they're playing?" I think it can be helpful.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:Yeah, and I think many people would say

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:that it's the same set of agendas across both. I think that that is incorrect. I don't personally believe that. And I think to some extent, some of the problems with GNS theory is trying to shoehorn both sets of agendas into one global unified framework. But yes, I think that is the premise that both players and GMs have agendas. And I think, for example, I think you often, Brendan, have talked about the importance of narrative for your personal satisfaction. Is that as a GM or is that as a player?

Ethan:I have a whole bunch of questions about that. But just to jump off of that point, to jump off of that point, when you say that you have this strong narrative focus, and I have seen it both in play

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:and in having discussions with you,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:are you just talking about a casual sense

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:of the importance of narrative?

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:Do you have a specific technical definition in your head?

Ethan:Or do you mean Ron Edwards' definition,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:which is that narrativist play is one that

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:addresses and wrestles with a premise,

Ethan:in Ron Edwards' sense of premise.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:Which way do you mean it?

Ethan:Okay.

Brendan:>> Eric, you're accosting the vibes guy with asking if he has a technical definition of

Ethan:what a game is, but I surely do not. I mean, in the sense that personally, like going back

Ethan:to our fun episode, the fun of a game for me is not power gaming and leveling up and

Ethan:having my character reach the pinnacle of some imaginary peak, is in fact that I want

Ethan:a collaborative story where there's a framework within which we are all working and that framework

Ethan:is defined by the system and by the background material and sort of plotting and timeline

Ethan:that the GM has created, and the players are playing within that, and they may or may

Ethan:not discover every element of that plotting and that timeline and that background systems,

Ethan:but nonetheless, like things are happening and they intersect with those things

Ethan:and have an impact on the outcome. And that's, I guess, the narrative to me is like

Ethan:this sort of notion that a story is occurring and the characters interleave themselves

Ethan:into it and bend the outcome in some positive or negative fashion. And that's,

Ethan:I guess, the thrust of it.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:When you say the importance of story,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:if I were to break that down and say,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:when we talked about fun in the fun episode,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:we talked about there is the fun of creating a story,

Ethan:which I actually think is a form of gamism.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:It's a challenge you're trying to overcome

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:to make a great story.

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:And then there is the fun of consuming story, right?

Ethan:Which is that if you're sitting at the table,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and let's say you're playing Purist Gumshoe,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:Purist Trail of Cthulhu,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:that a lot of the fun there is the consumption of the story

Ethan:that you uncover over time through investigating

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:the mystery of this Purist Hall of Cthulhu scenario.

Ethan:So how do you think about those two,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and which one is more valuable for you?

Brendan:Yeah, I mean, for me, it's about the consumption. And even as a GM,

Ethan:the thing that's satisfying to me, I guess my own creative agenda, is

Ethan:people consuming and exploring the story. And, you know, I get the overarching

Ethan:perspective on it, because I know how everything came together in the game world,

Ethan:and I know how things will react if players do certain types of things.

Ethan:And for me, the fun is getting them to a point where they start to

Ethan:uncover and explore the story itself. And so I think the act of

Ethan:creating it is a necessary chore for me, because it requires thinking through

Ethan:a lot of details that I would otherwise elide in favor of making them up

Ethan:at the table. But nonetheless, what I love is people piecing together the

Ethan:elements of it. I mean, and of course, I also, a lot of the games that I enjoy playing

Ethan:are ones that are investigative in nature. And so, you know, they have the narrative

Ethan:tone that I'm talking about is the ones that I prefer are investigative, where people are

Ethan:writing down the things they find and trying to correlate them and figure out what to

Ethan:do next. And that's, I think, very different than the Tomb of Horrors. It certainly had some

Ethan:ambiguity about decision making, but it was a straight through shot from

Ethan:the entryway to the conclusion, and not investigative at all, and not narrative at all. But it was

Ethan:I think satisfying to people because they were puzzling through how their character would escape some deadly situation.

Ethan:So I think that uncovers for me a lot of what I don't like

Ethan:about the narrativist frame in GSN theory,

Ethan:which is that, first of all, I agree with you that

Ethan:most people who find story compelling

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:don't necessarily have this view that what makes an enjoyable story

Ethan:either to produce or consume is necessarily

Ethan:Ron's definition of "narrativism has to deal with premise."

Ethan:That is clearly one way throughout history we have judged stories,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:but especially when it comes to genre stories,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:it is much more about tension building and tension resolution.

Ethan:And you hear folks like Kurt Vonnegut talk about

Ethan:what makes story and narrative great,

Brendan:From 14 to 10 on July 12th, 2021

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and he is much more focused on ideas of tension and challenge

Ethan:and overcoming challenge than he is on this idea of premise.

Ethan:And so narrativism already assumes what a good story is

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:in a way that I don't think needs to be that way.

Ethan:And then the second thing is, when I've played story games,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:and I think we've talked about this in a previous episode,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:those story games often are the least compelling,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:least interesting stories.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And I've been thinking about why is that,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and why is it that I play all these story games with you guys

Ethan:that, honestly, usually I'm bringing to the table

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:to have this experience of being very narrativist,

Ethan:but because it's made in this, you know,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:troop improv fashion,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:and characters are kind of finding their way through making the goals,

Ethan:it does not feel as good.

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:Like, the focus is not on a story that's really fun to consume. It's on overcoming the challenge of creating the story in the first place.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:And I think that's why if you go into a narrativist game expecting to have a compelling consumption of narrative experience, it's just, it's not going to happen in those games because that's not really their point. And then to call them narrativist feels weird to me.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:Absolutely. All right, let's do it.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:So, uh, I...

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:Damn it!

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:When I think about types of play in Agenda,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:I typically bundle it into three player character agendas

Ethan:and three GM agendas.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:For me, the thing I care about is what I would call gamism,

Ethan:but it's not what Ron Edwards means.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:It is not about player competition.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:To me, the classic definition of a game

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:is trying to overcome a challenge.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And when I think about when I sit down at the table,

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:how do I want to be as a player?

Ethan:I want to be coming up with creative, amazing ways

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:to overcome the challenges that the GM throws in front of me.

Ethan:And so that's like, I want to be doing things

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:that are creative and surprising and work really well.

Ethan:Now, I think there are three types of challenge.

Ethan:I would call them in-narrative challenge,

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:meta-narrative challenge, and systems challenge.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And I'll explain.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:So, in-narrative challenge is what we all think of, right?

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:So, there's a locked door in front of you.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:How do you get around it?

Ethan:Okay.

Erik:There is a bouncer who's not letting you into the bar.

Ethan:How do you get into the bar?

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:Meta-narrative, right?

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:So, these are all challenges that are presented

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:to your character in the game.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:Meta-narrative challenges are challenges presented

Ethan:to the player and are challenges

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:that are outside of the game world. And the main one is the one we've already talked about,

Ethan:which is story games, where the meta-narrative challenge

Ethan:is to make a story.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question.

Erik:If you look at Microscope, this is exactly what Microscope is.

Ethan:Okay. So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:I think, Brendan, you and I have played Microscope before.

Ethan:So, um, I'm going to start with the first question. Okay.

Erik:And I both found that the story we created

Ethan:was not super compelling, but it was really challenging to...

Ethan:No, oh, no, no, I've never had one.

Ethan:Okay. Knives out here.

Erik:So, I'm definitely the common element there.

Ethan:Geez. All right. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yeah.(laughs) So, either...(laughs) Note taken. So, in-narrative challenge is the one that actually is most compelling for me. Meta-narrative challenge, I have never super been drawn to, I've never really focused on it. And then the third is systems challenge. And this is the one that I know Brendan hates with a passion. And this is like, how do I optimize the system in order to...

Ethan:Oh, wait, you think maybe, maybe Eric, you think maybe you enjoy systems challenge.

Erik:So, for me, very specifically, I think that sometimes... I think I actually enjoy systems challenge. I have the same problem. I have a problem... Yeah. Okay.

Ethan:Note to the audience, Eric enjoys the system challenge.

Erik:Yes. I do. I very much do. I find it problematic when people do what Brendan talked about earlier, which is to... In Champions, right? Which is, sometimes you use your skill at overcoming systems challenges to prevent in-narrative challenges from ever happening at all. And so, this is, I'm gonna make...

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:That's exactly right. So, I'm going to make such a powerful character that nothing is tension and nothing is challenging in the narrative as the game progresses. I find that to be horrible. But, assuming you're not doing that, and you are willing to throw yourself at danger, just like when I play video games, I would actually ask both of you, if you've ever played any role-playing video game from Mass Effect to The Witcher, do you have that same...

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:I'm gonna use the word disdain for the systems challenge

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:when you're playing computer games that you do for role-playing games, and if not, why not? Fair.

Brendan:>> Systems challenge in a computer role playing game is just something I have to overcome in order to enjoy the narrative, right? I mean, like the disco lesion, which we have talked about, I think, in the past, it's my favorite CRPG because it is a eminently flawed dude who is a complete

Ethan:Yeah.

Brendan:screw up and you are trying to help him overcome his demons sufficiently to actually make progress on figuring out the plot, right?

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:And yeah, absolutely, yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:Electrochemistry.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:But yeah, I mean, like, most at this stage in my adulthood, most CRPGs for me,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:I don't have a lot of patience for Baldur's Gate threes, two hour long battle

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:sequences because I just don't care that much.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yeah, sure.

Ethan:Yeah.

Brendan:It does not feel satisfying to me to spend half an hour plotting the individual

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:actions of a legion of little dudes.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:I would just like to know if I win or if I lose, what happens next?

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:And so that has a marked impact on my ability and willingness to play 200 hour

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:CRPGs anywhere.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:Oh, yeah.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:Yeah.

Ethan:Yeah.

Brendan:Yeah, I don't want to upgrade the lots of the diminish.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:I would like to complete the plot and see more plot.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:Oh, it's so good.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I mean, definitely, I am a guy who leans much more

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:towards this gamist, what I'm calling gamism, right?

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Which is overcoming challenge.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:And while I actually agree with you guys a lot

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:about Baldur's Gate being a chore,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:and a lot of actual combat in RPGs being a chore,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I would love...

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:I think that why that is is not for me

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:because I don't like overcoming challenges.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:It is, I think, for other topics that we should save.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yep, so, sorry.

Brendan:Yeah.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yep, so my single agenda is...

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yep.

Brendan:Two trifectas.

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:Yes, so it is in narrative challenge.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:I am always trying to think about how to be creative

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:in overcoming the challenges that are happening

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:to my character in the game.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:So, just to fill out there,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:so I said gamism was one type of agenda,

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:and I broke that down into three types.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:It's the only thing I'll break down, I apologize.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:The other two...

Brendan:Yeah.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:No, I know.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:The other two are what I call expressionism,

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:which is an attempt to embody your character

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:and play the most your character you could possibly play it.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:These are often, I think, folks who are frustrated actors

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:who come to role-playing games

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:and really want to express their character's inner nature

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:in the game,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:and they spend a lot of time doing that,

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:and they really do think...

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:I think for those people, that is really an agenda.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:Hang on, though, just to just just to challenge that for a second here, Eric.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:They really want to do that, and they enjoy doing it.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:And if they do a good job at it, they're proud of it.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:You know, I mean, I think actors, improv actors, I would agree, like people

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:whose job it is to sit up on stage and to make stuff up, given whatever

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:constraints the audience or the judges require of them.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:Like most actors are really just interpreting someone else's authorial intent,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:right?

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:Like all the words they're saying are written down on a piece of paper and

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:they're reciting those things, attempting to do justice to the narrative that

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:they are plugged into.

Ethan:Yeah.

Brendan:Right.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:It's not they are not themselves the creator of the character and the

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:character's intent.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:They are just interpreting themselves.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:I 100% agree with that, but I'm not...

Brendan:No, man, I'm you know, the vibes.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I think you're going somewhere with that,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:and I'm not sure yet.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yeah.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Okay.

Brendan:Yeah.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yep.

Brendan:Yeah.

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:Let's hear it.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Sure.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:I reject your premises entirely.

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:That's right, or people who use the fact that they're

Ethan:playing a mischievous or bad character

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:in order to do things that are really bad at the table.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:I reject your premises entirely.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I think that's another way it can go wrong.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:So, like, becomes PvP because you think,

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:"Oh, my character would be PvP."

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yeah, no, no, for sure, right?

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:No, right, those are caricatures, right?

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:That's exactly right.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I think if you take the gamest stuff,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:it often can also become either PvP or...

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:I reject your premises entirely.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yeah, I'm sure that they can all be caricatured.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:The third one for me is socialization,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:that when I look at why people play

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:and what they think is great play,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:we've talked about one of the values of play is that

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:play is a social activity that is structured

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:in a way that makes it a compelling social experience.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:And for some people, just getting to the table

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:and having witty banter is, you know, like,

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:these are people who often are looking to

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:crack jokes at the table, or, again, I'm not really...

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Unlike what I said about expressionists,

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I'm not trying to caricature here.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:But I think that that is actually an agenda

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:that many people come to the table with.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Oh, sorry.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:But I think you're just making my point

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:that that's a strong creative agenda, right?

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Oh, no, no, no.

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:But they can all be extreme, right?

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I think these are all...

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yeah.

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yeah.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:Yes.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yeah.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:So, if...

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I think if the point is that players...

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Is that it's an oversimplification to think about

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:these as being that players have agendas

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:rather than saying, "Oh, these are three goals of play."

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:And even any one decision, right,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:could have multiple of these goals, right?

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I may choose, when I'm thinking about what to choose to do,

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I might choose something because it has both...

Ethan:It's both funny from a socialization perspective,

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:and it actually overcomes the challenge.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:And so, even any one decision could be more than one agenda.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:I think that's super fair.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Clearly, this is a super meaty topic,

Ethan:and we could probably spend another hour or two talking about this,

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:but this is probably a good point to wrap up.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Why don't we go through and talk about

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:what we're going to take away from today's session

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:and bring, hopefully, back to our table?

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Ethan, you want to kick us off?

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yep.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Great. Brendan?

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:>> Yeah, I mean, I think for me, part of it is, I think one thing that will

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:change for me in this discussion is when I approach reading a new game, which is

Ethan:often because I enjoy exploring new systems and settings. I think the reality

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:is that when I read these things, I will ask myself, sort of the frame in which

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:they are intended, right? I mean, I think often it is a setting that makes me

Ethan:want to play a specific game system because I enjoy the sort of, the tropes

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:attached to that, whether that's Blade Runner or Delta Green or whatever else.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:But the system that underpins it does matter because that will set the tone for

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:fulfilling or not the agendas of the people at the table. And so to the extent

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:that I can better understand the sort of authorial intent behind the person who

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:created the system to fulfill some setting material, then I think it will be

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Brendan:more effective at both selecting the right game for the right people and also

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Brendan:being effective at running it.

Ethan:Yeah.

Erik:Great. And I think I'm going to take away from this

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:the realization that some of the way that I think about

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:my own framework for creative agendas is maybe

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:expressing what I find fun

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:more than anything else and is

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:my way of framing those agendas

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:really exposing my biases for what I enjoy

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:most in play. And I think that's a great

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:takeaway for me.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yeah.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:Yeah.

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Oh yeah, I think that's absolutely true.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah.

Erik:All right.

Brendan:>> How do you get past the bouncer, Eric? How are you going to get past the

Ethan:I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

Erik:Dude, I am so hot.

Ethan:Yeah.

Brendan:bouncer? Okay. There we go. Done. Rism up.

Ethan:I got the riz.

Ethan:Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one. Yeah. I'm with Brendan on this one.

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