2020-09-25 The game as a legal text

I wrote about rulings back in 2018, and referred to a thread by Eero Tuivonen, where I saw the idea of thinking about the rules of a role-playing game like a legal text in the Nomic tradition.

The way I see it, D&D resolution system properly works via precedent rulings and legislatory action. – Eero Tuivonen

The thread is urrently only found via the Wayback Machine.

Today @Tiger posted a link to an exchange I was having with @Sandra on Mastodon to a document that drives this point a lot further. It’s funny and still eerily true.

Here’s an example section from the agenda:

VII. On resolving uncertainty

WHEREAS we will surely face uncertainty in our sessions; both uncertainty because the established fiction is vague or abstract and uncertainty because our knowledge of the real world is uncertain; and

WHEREAS the probability distributions we assign to our uncertainties will almost surely not correspond to any singular, true reality, and

WHEREAS there is a long tradition of using funny-shaped dice in role-playing games,

WE PROPOSE the open die roll as a basic building block of our resolution procedure, next to the obvious ones of honest interrogation of the shared fiction and thought experiments asking what would actually happen; furthermore that our rules and rulings be free to use dice of various sizes, based on aesthetic preference and convenience as much as on realism.

Definitely getting away from game texts as manuals!

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