So on G+ there's been quite a lot of response to my article about how Player-Narrative control is always a bad idea. One responder wrote the perfect storm of a constructed and bullshit rebuttal. First he talked about the "30 years he's run games"; only a quick glance at his G+ profile reveals that he despises D&D, including a story about how D&D was the first game he ever tried and he hated it and didn't want to ever play it again. He likes 13th age of all things. Well, I mean, of course he would!
So then he responds by telling me a little story about a game session that ended badly for him lately, and how his group talked about it after to figure out what went wrong and the one thing they all agreed on was that Immersion doesn't matter, and they all have different goals and that's OK.
I imagine they later held hands while singing Kumbaya and praising the end of the oppression of having to roleplay your character, because everyone knows that's what you do with your RPG buddies, right?
The interesting thing was what he said his players were into: One player, he said, "wanted to put her character through dramatic moments and role-play to the hilt, but she asked me to give her massive signposts to these events and discuss them ahead of time".
The next "likes to explore the mystery and setting, she comes close to what you want from 'immersion' but admist placing herself distant from the character.
The third "just wants to switch off and have fun... that is all she wants".
The fourth "lacks (sic) to make plans. He likes situations in which the group can discuss what they are going to do".
So clearly these four fascinating individuals that Mark has at his gaming table are PROOF that I'm totally wrong about Immersion being the most important goal of the player experience in RPGs, and that it's totally fine for the GM to hand over his testicles and give narrative control over while raising the Storygames flag.
This was my response to him:
Wow! It must be *absolutely fascinating* to be running a game with 4 Forge Theory Talking Points. I have so many questions! I mean, do they have bodies?! Do they eat? Do they look like human beings?
Oh, can other people see them?? Do they have some kind of cover story? I noticed you mentioned genders (nice touch that most of them were women, you'll get extra stars on your Groovy Card for that one); are they able to talk about other invented details of their lives or past? I guess what I'm asking is how easy it would be for them to 'pass' as Human? Would it be immediately obvious that there's something horrifically wrong with them and that they're actually just theoretical models of what pseudo-intellectual wankers wish RPG players were like, wearing human skin? Or could they trick a regular person for a while before the madness-inducing truth came out?
Do they know that they don't really exist in anything but Storygamer's wet dreams?
How does that make them feel? If they can feel at all, I mean.
Their self-awareness is clearly at least more limited than human's, otherwise they'd know not to congregate as four *different* Forge models of "possible gamers" all in the same place, even to attempt to win an argument, because it just looks so obviously fake...
Does it hurt them to know that real human beings are not like them at all, and that they were created to subvert the core landmarks of a hobby by trying to make-believe that most RPG gamers don't like or need Immersion so that a game based on engaging with a virtual world can be turned into a pretentious quasi-artistic exercise in 'addressing theme' while feeling smug about how much better you are than those smelly D&D players?
Do constructed propaganda-humans dream of electric sheep?
He rebutted by claiming the people were absolutely real and how 'disappointed' he is at my intolerance.
Oh please, you picked them right out of the Forge's bullshit 'models of play' or whatever. They are TALKING POINTS. Ron Edwards and company pulled them out of his ass, by just wishfully thinking RPG gamers are like that rather than based on any kind of research, and completely contrary to everything that decades of collected experience said people like and get out of RPGs. And then you pulled them right out of the Forge's ass in turn.
Of course, I have played with lots of players who have lots of different goals.
I have some players who like more intrigue and interaction.
I've had a couple of players who mostly like to travel to interesting places and meet interesting people.
I have the guys who want to just kill things and get treasure and feel bored out of their minds if they're not in the dungeon killing stuff because everyone else is planning or talking.
Speaking of planning, I have the guy who likes to make intricate schemes almost always turning out to be too complex for their own good.
I have the players who don't really 'want' anything other than to be entertained and have a good time.
You know what they all had in common?
EVERY FUCKING ONE OF THEM wants *IMMERSION*
Because that's what RPG players want. If you don't want to immerse yourself in a character, and go into the virtual world the GM has crafted out of his consciousness (and if he's really good, is so 'Alive' that he no longer consciously controls it), and be MOTHERFUCKING *IN IT* until part of them is not themselves anymore.
Because that's what RPGs are.
No amount of wishful thinking on the part of pretentious Swine is going to change that. They tried and they lost.
And the more you try to pull someone OUT of Immersion, the shittier the experience becomes. Always.
But he insisted and expressed offense at the insinuation that his four picture-perfect models of Forge propaganda weren't real! OK.
So you just happen to have four people that almost perfectly fit the models that no one else has ever fit into of what the Forge imagines in their fever-dreams that RPG gamers are like and want?
You just happen to have FOUR DIFFERENT descriptions of those? You have a perfect Narrativist, a perfect Simulationist, a perfect Gamist and a perfect disinterested player all in one group, even though the first three have been shown over and over again to be total bullshit?
Anyways, let's pretend you do for a moment. This would be my advice to you, then: STOP PLAYING RPGS WITH THEM.
If none of them want Immersion, then they are PLAYING THE WRONG GAME.
RPGs will not satisfy them, EVER. The one realistic thing about your little tale is that they were unhappy with how the campaign went, because if you had four people who all didn't give a flying fuck about immersion, what you would have is four people who have no business playing RPGs
I'd advise you to dump them and find an OSR D&D group.. oh but you hate D&D, right?
Well, maybe you can all go off into the sunset and play "fiasco" or whatever stupid thing is popular in the storygames crowd together. Just don't call them RPGs. Because they're NOT.
Currently Smoking: Lorenzetti Oversize + H&H's Beverwyck