Intent, Initiation, Execution, Effect - fictional things, probably the single most direct fictional content to be interfaced with real-people speaking and using rules, in the hobby. In a recent dialogue with Zac Porcu, he called it "the beating heart of role-playing."
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"Everyone knows" what a relationship map is, but they're definitely not all the same thing, especially with these variables exposed:
Oh golly, let’s see a bunch of guys over-share about how much their characters have been having sex!! ... for those few of you remaining in the room, you’ll see us talk well beyond the boilerplate. Sex has been freed-up in role-playing over the last decade and a half. This seems to have freed us as well into dialing-back and modulating how it plays into everything else, to find some new things this medium-and-activity can do.
I do not plan. But it doesn't hurt to visualize the odd individual mechanical outcome. In this case, I thought, well, since they muffed the Skill Challenge and unleashed the crystal creche thingamabob, then Our Land is not just currently compromised by an invasive mystical-crystal birth event, it's basically lost out to it.
Into much kooky mayhem! This is where my ongoing skill challenges and prepped situation and announced character quests all collided, producing plenty of "this is how our story goes" with not a single intended or planned effect to be found in in my preparation.
I ran into a post at G+ which turned out to have been partly prompted by the Barbaric Psychedelic game, and then my comment got replies … well, social media was actually social for once, and the outcome was this conversation with the very kind Gregor Vuga about this-or-that about Dungeons & Dragons 4th edition.
My latest consult with Tor brings us his working title, "Belitsunnu's Manticore," and extensive discussion of winning/losing, procedures for player input into preparation, and improvised tactical play.
Please add the collective intelligence to this one. We raised tons of questions and I tried not to drive toward answers - help me round out and deepen the questions so Tor's muse and/or subconscious can surprise him with the right answers for his game.
On to third level! This time I’ve expanded the scope of play to where I’d originally conceived it should be, with a number of different characters and unstable situations which interconnect. The point is for the players to decide whom they want to help or kill, and for them to assess the potential dangers of doing so.
It's not a metaphor. I'm talking about D&D as religion, not merely "religious" as a colorful synonym for "passionate." This is Finding D&D, Part 2, addressing TSR as orthodoxy and the resulting construction of culture and values.