while I agree the responsiveness of a human gm to the choices of players is
indeed something which couldn't be mimmicked by any computer program, I do
think there must always be some sort of structure in the world or situation
presented to the player anyway, symply because of the nature of the relation
betwene the players and the world.
the world and it's npcs are completely under the control of the gm, and have
to respond to the players in a way which is some degree progressive.
I'm not talking about specifically tightly scripted games, ----- the game
can be as free for player action as possible, but there must be some sort of
progression in events or otherwise the players will just stumble around
getting randomly board.
While a computer program certainly can't have the responsiveness to all the
actions a player might choose which a human would, imho it could, -----
assuming the programmer is a sufficiently skilled author, have this aspect
of narative progression.
To give a basically symple example of what I mean, the players arrive in a
village. The gm must have an idea of the history of certain aspects and
characters of this village.
Suppose for instance it's under attack from a goblin hoard. The players will
be told of certain things which are wrong in the village and (if they're
observant), will investigate as to why.
They may have several courses of action at that point, attempt to slaughter
the goblins themselves, go and fetch help from elsewhere, organize and train
the villagers for defense etc, but ultimately, the basic presence of the
hoard implies that the players do something about it, ----- engage in a
story concerning it.
While the players choices of what to do in the situation may be fairly
open, ---- the situation itself implies a narative structure, simply on the
basis that players being players, and games being what they are, they'll
want to do something about the hoard.
This for me is the essance of an rpg as i said, ---- playing the protagonist
in a series of events and situations which form some sort of story.
Of course the more choice I have about those situations the better, -----
but ultimately the situations have to be set up in such a way to provide
some sort of satisfying narative cohesion somewhere along the line.
Beware the Grue!
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