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Thursday, May 17, 2018

[Open Design] Using Syllogisms to drive GM action (Pt 2)

Please note that this is just me musing and putting things out there in case anyone has any ideas.


One of the main concerns I have with using syllogisms is that some sort of adjudication is needed to know what sort of content is valid in light of the premises and/or syllogisms. Perhaps the only elegant way to adjudicate validity is to leverage the person’s intuition. Syllogisms already act as a funnel for creativity so this might be enough.

At the same time, a way to validate this intuition when it isn’t strong enough might add to the feeling of certainty some of us seek. What might a process of this kind look like? The only thing that I can think of is explicit rationalization for why something is valid. Basically, justifying to yourself why some content fits the boundaries set by the premises/syllogisms may inspire more confidence in its validity.

Making premises feel meaningful

Making premises meaningful in play requires them to hold a special place relative to other creative sources. In my view, they should at least hold exclusive dominion over those elements they define, which means that you can’t do anything with those elements unless it is through those premises (does it have to be through a syllogism?).

I’m inclined to restrict things further and propose that one should put whatever passes for “plot” or “advancing” the story under the domain of premises (and one other mechanism which I will get into later). This especially means that GM events  that would advance the action or potentially have an effect on “plot” would be strictly limited in scope to things covered by premises.

Player Characters vs premises

The only other force that should  advance “plot” and action is the Player Character, within the limits imposed by the RPG system of choice. If there is a valid way in which the character can affect the elements covered by the premises, then the Player Character’s action supersedes any established premises for that particular instance of the elements. For example, given the example of cliff dwellings, if the Player Character can through some valid RPG system means destroy that particular dwelling, then he or she can. Otherwise, that destruction can only happen if other premises and/conclusions support it. (One question is, what does “valid RPG system” means signify in this context?)

One thing to consider, is whether the Player Character should have power over the premises themselves. In other words, should the Player Character’s actions be allowed to modify the established premises themselves? This would be akin to world changing changes or discoveries.

Another thing to ponder: Are you always advancing the 'plot'? What are you doing when you're not advancing the plot?

Expanding boundaries set by premises

I only have questions for now.

Other than Player Character action, should there be other ways in which premises can be changed or new premises added? Should there be an "author stance" process that allows the player to do this? If so, what shape should it take? A limited resource economy?

Premises and Baseline Assumptions: Two different palettes?

Given that my preference is for premises to hold exclusive dominion over "plot", my inclination is to view Baseline Assumptions as window dressing (or "color"). A defined procedure would have me using syllogisms to draw the main outline of the next action while colorful details would be filled in using Baseline Assumptions.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

[Open Design] Using Syllogisms to drive GM action

Taking an example from , here is a syllogism:

Major Premise: All cars have wheels.

Minor Premise: I drive a car.

Conclusion: My car has wheels.

For now, while I play with the basic idea, I'm ignoring the distinction between major and

minor premises.

Let's say you had a set of premises that described some aspects of your setting. You

could drive "GM" decisions by creating syllogisms out of these premises. These syllogisms

would guide and drive your content, acting as boundaries.

An analogy: 

Creating the content of your adventure is like coloring in a coloring book. When you color,

you try to stay within the lines or boundaries. Syllogisms are the equivalent of those

coloring book lines.


Not everything can or should be driven by syllogisms.  Some things should fall under what

I’ve coined as Baseline Assumptions-- a fuzzy concept that I describe as “things about the

setting which are unremarkable to you”.

So, given all that, here are some questions I’m pondering:

  •  How should you adjudicate what falls under the umbrella of Basic Assumptions about a setting
  • Conversely, how do you decide what should be dominated by premises?

Assuming, you’ve figured out for yourself what should fall under each domain, there are

other things that you might worry about:

  •  How do you judge whether the content you’ve created has stayed within the boundaries defined by the syllogisms?
  • What is a fair way to expand those boundaries when needed? In other words, how do you evolve existing premises or create new ones?

 Some ideas on the last question:

  •  Trade a mechanical success, 1-for-1, to modify a premise or introduce a new premise.
  • Or, maybe create an economy with “currency” that you use to “buy” or modify premises. For example, trade a mechanical success, 1-for-1, for currency.

This is all I have for now.

Note: I’m basically re-visiting an aspect of #writingwithdice, which I call Principles. Maybe there is a cleaner and simpler way of doing that.

Monday, May 7, 2018

Playing RPG modules by yourself: A series of useful links

From what I've observed, it seems like people have an easier time playing with modules when they flip the script: take on the role of the GM, and emulate the players. That bypasses the problem of maintaining the surprise element, though the players can still surprise you.

However, some people (the author of Mythic GME herself), have had some interesting ideas on how to use modules without having to flip the script:

Standard advice about separating PC and Player knowledge:

Asking if a particular part of the module happens as written or changes:

A more in-depth treatise post on the subject by the author of Mythic GME. The thread itself is worth a full read:

John Fiore's  thoughts for playing a slolo game with World vs Hero  and published modules:

More interesting ideas from the Yahoo group:

Player Emulation:

Some repeated ideas, but worth it for the in depth discussion based on actual play experience:

Another nice explanation of using a module as a "map" and an Oracle to see how accurate that map is:

Nice summary of various options:


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Remember Tomorrow - Maxim Wargentin vs AIWA Entertainment - Face Off Scene 2

Nothing much has changed since last time. In retrospect, a split second decision about Maxim's resources/contacts felt a bit out of left field given it wasn't really established anywhere, but that's where the concordances led me.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Remember Tomorrow: Elena Yamamoto vs Wan Brothers - Face Off Scene 2

Still continuing to use concordances, but now I'm mixing that up with using a Bayesian formula to come up with the odds of some things given facts established in the fiction (or made up on the spot, as needed). Bayes comes mostly into play when I have some assumptions about how the flow should go but don't want to fiat things, or when I've constructed a potential flow out of concordances I've collected. 

I've asked a few questions about using Bayesian inference as an Oracle of sorts here and here. I'm still not sure I'm doing Bayesian inference correctly, but at least it looks like I'm getting consistent numbers to roll against. Feel free to chime in about that if you have any ideas.

Actual play without notes is in the post below.

Friday, April 20, 2018

Remember Tomorrow - Sarah Rheita vs Wan Brothers Multinational - Face Off Scene

I've finally had a little time to come back for another short Face Off scene. I continue to use the approach as before, but decided to try something a little new as well: a Bayesian network app to help me determine Odds for oracle questions. I only used it at the beginning to help me decide some things prior to actually starting the scene. 

I took on the GM role again since I have more knowledge right now than the character, Sarah, does. 

As usual, I've put the complete actual play information on a spreadsheet here (notes, concordances, etc):

Sarah Rheita vs Wan Brothers Multinational - Face Off

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Remember Tomorrow - Maxim Wargentin vs AIWA Entertainment - Face Off Scene

I'm continuing to use the same GM/Player dialogue format since it helps me immerse so well. I took on the GM role again since I have more knowledge right now than the character, Maxim, does. 

As usual, I've put the complete actual play information on a spreadsheet here (notes, concordances, etc): Remember Tomorrow - Maxim Wargentin vs AIWA Entertainment - Face Off Scene