2019-02-17 Ten Commandments

I was looking at Patrick Stuart’s blog again. Patrick Stuart writes eloquently about books. I remember him writing so eloquently about Rebecca West’s Black Lamb and Grey Falcon that I ended up buying the book (but now that I check only got to page 43). And now he writes a review of the Memoirs of Usama Ibn-Munqidh, “an Arab-Syrian Gentleman in the Period of the Crusades”, translated by Philipp K. Hitti. And already I feel the urge to go and buy it. Must resist! 😆​

Anyway, I started looking through the blog again, followed a link to the False Machine subreddit, and from there back to What is Artpunk? And there, towards the end, I found the “ten commandments” from a post by Scrap Princess on Google+.

Patrick Stuart said: “I broke it the thread down to my top ten aphorisms, with bits stolen from Gregory Blair, Brian Harbron, FM Geist, Zedeck Siew, Brian Murphy, Dirk Detweiler Leichty and Daniel Davis” and then he reposted it on the Artpunk blog post linked above:

  1. This is a game about interacting with this world as if it were a place that exists
  2. Killing things is not the goal
  3. There is nothing that is “supposed” to happen
  4. Unknowability and consequence make everything interesting
  5. You play as your character, not as the screenwriter writing your character
  6. It’s your job to make your character interesting and to make the game interesting for you
  7. If you find yourself in a fair fight, your tactics suck
  8. The answer is not on your character sheet
  9. Things are swingy
  10. You will die

I feel like this focus on the qualities of the experience as a player is an interesting complement to my idea of using affordance where I describe what I like about rules and what the intended consequences are.



Rather than You will die, I’d go with something like, You will become more strange - Strange might mean a restless ghost or a forgotten pile of bones a the bottom of a pit or it could mean a demi-god with an axe stolen from hell or a broken peasant who remembers when they delved into the barrow pits but you will become strange.

Judd 2019-02-20 22:30 UTC

Your mileage may vary, of course, but for my games, PC death is more in the realm of “your character is permanently removed from play and you will need to make another one”. That could still mesh with what you suggest +Judd, but the “You will die” thing is more like “hand your character sheet to the GM; it’s no longer yours to play with”. (I suppose some people might even suggest that character death takes the PC out of the hands of anyone at all to play, even the GM.)

– Viktor 2019-02-20 22:36 UTC

In my game, “out of the hands of anyone at all to play” works for me, although I’ve had resurrection happen, usually in exchange for “one last job” or the like. I think the permanent removal of the character and thus the loss of time and energy invested is what gives us the opportunity for heroism.

The transformation into something strange is interesting from a world building perspective, but the examples given make me think that the result is still that the character is out of play. In my game, similar things happen when characters lose too many limbs. Veterans of the Napoleonic wars, they end up in the cities, no longer adventuring, out of play except for the world building aspect.

– Alex Schroeder 2019-02-21 09:51 UTC

Yeah, it feels like “out of play” is the important bit to me, and adding to the world’s fiction/background other than just “Bob died” is a fine tactic.

Viktor 2019-02-21 14:43 UTC

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