If you were following the development of Champions Now a while ago, you may remember the memorable game played at the Gauntlet which I adapted into the examples in the game text (Values and family, not necessarily family values). Pawel played Grimfire in that session, and a lot of his input found its way into the developed concept for the book.
Play and design discourse has been booming in Poland, and Pawel contacted me for some discussion because my old Forge essays are getting worked over there. This is the first of our conversations about his experiences and how my ideas might relate to them.
My first point to anyone reading this is that “playing on purpose” (formerly Creative Agenda, formerly “GNS”) is not at all the place to start. Back then, for me and people talking with me, it was the right place to start because we did not struggle with the medium, and issues of purpose were easy to clarify. Unfortunately, the hobby had been through a dreadful wringer during the 1990s, which I had missed due to focusing on play rather than purchasing culture, and the people arriving to the conversation were unable to discuss playing on purpose, because the medium itself was eluding them.
Zac Porcu gets credit for pointing this out to me – that addressing the medium as such was the right place to start. I put that idea into practice with everything I’ve done here at Adept Play.
Therefore although Pawel’s proposed point for discussion look very GNS-y:
I’m very interested in understanding why I love some games like PbtA and don’t enjoy others like Warhammer, DnD or Genesys. If I like PbtA, then why don’t I enjoy Fiasco or other GM-less titles? I would describe myself as loving Narrativism, but not enjoying Gamism or Simulationism, but according to what you wrote, is that statement false? or not how RPG theory should be discussed?
I often find myself in position of teaching or showing RPG games to new players or introducing new players to for example PbtA games, and I wonder how should I introduce them, show them the difference – because they are very different and playing PbtA as if it was DnD is not working. So how do I talk about differences not using Narrativism or Simulationism as my main reference?
… we focused this time on what he experienced across a range of PbtA titles, and how that related to Authorities and the general medium of play. We’ve talked about some of these issues before (see Monday Lab: Engine Rev, as well as the sundry post about Dungeon World) but I think I’m finally getting my feet under me about the topic.
From here, Pawel and I are going to continue into the “purpose” issue soon, and I hope the eventual series will serve as a good orienter for anyone who encounters those essays and wonders how they may apply today.