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Realism and klokkverk

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Realism and klokkverk

Elsewhere, Dereel wrote:

I want to add a bit about Realism, as it is often lost in english translation and this muddles all discussions about Simulation. Klokwerk for instance, cares about ontological realism : that the fabric is "there", palpable, autonomously existent. Whereas a physics simulator wants to "feel" realistic, and it's totally OK if it's only make believe, if the feeling is right. I suspect that the near hegemony of aesthetic realism in US narrative production (and the near hegemony of US cinema in the world) makes it a "blind spot" to many. And don't start me on "gritty realistic" RPGs..

In philosophy, realism means that something is taken to actually exist. For example, Platon's theory of ideas is a realist theory, since the idea of, for example, a lion, would be taken to really exist. One should take note that a realist theory in this sense does not have to be realistic in any other sense of the word. I am using the word in the philosophical sense, here. It has nothing to do with calculating ballistics or having detailed rules or corresponding to reality or promoting immersion.

Here is my claim: Klokkverk is a realist philosophy of gaming, particularly with respect to the fiction.
On the other hand, no myth is an antirealist philosophy of gaming.

Klokkverk is realist because it takes the fiction as real, in the sense that it is meaningful to claim things about the fiction and they can be right or wrong; much as we can discuss the colour of Donald Duck's car. This does not mean that there has to be a parallel reality with elves and dragons and Donald Ducks (that would be an utter strawman); but still, reality in some sense. It has been a long time since I have read metaphysics or ontology, but at least I can mention that similar different levels of reality are present in Popper's three worlds:'s_three_worlds
Further than this, the players, and the referee to the extent possible, also treat the fiction as something really existing. It is bad form to do otherwise.

No myth is antirealist in the sense that it explicitly takes the fiction as something that is only there to the extent we see it. The players treat the fiction as something they manipulate and create at their immediate whims.

exactly this

I can't say otherwise because I agree with that.

Only this :
You can start with "no myth" / unreal and build the myth at the table and then it's really "no info dump" X "élément of mythic play". That's what we do when we have a player chronicling a session : is only real what is said at the table. And what is said is usually true.

Or you keep it no myth / unreal, and only then is the term "whims" really appropriate : events happen, but it's all just water under the bridge, a dream inside a dream. In a way, that's what "pulp" means to me.

I am not making a point of these distinctions. I am using the concept of philosophical realism to demonstrate it's limits and usefulness. I find it clear and easy to use : what do you think ?

Please offer a definition of "no-myth"

Hi Thanuir,

If you would be so kind, would you please offer a "working" definition of "no-myth" play. Given my strong entanglement with per-literate oral tradition myth I'm having all sorts of reactions to what you are saying. Rather than thrash at straw men a concise, or as concise as possible, definition of "no-myth" role-play would be greatly appreciated.

Thank you,


definition of No Myth

Not to speak for Thanuir if he has a different formulation in mind, but via Google I turned the following definitions that seemed fairly clear:

From the second link, the "myth" referred to "is the idea that things in the game world that the players don't know about have some kind of 'place' or 'existence' or 'identity.'" Based on the discussions on Story-Games we might also phrase it as "no hidden game state" or (using everyone's favourite technical term) "no blorb".

I don't think it is referring to myth or mythology in the anthropological or literary sense, except perhaps indirectly.


Or you keep it no myth / unreal, and only then is the term "whims" really appropriate : events happen, but it's all just water under the bridge, a dream inside a dream. In a way, that's what "pulp" means to me.

Certainly, in a longer game, the fictional reality starts accumulating and solidifying. The process is faster if the game takes place in a limited space (with respect to character, physical space, etc.) and slower if there is lots of travelling or a shifting caste of characters.

With respect to "no myth": As Bill wrote. Not really connected to Jay's mythic play or mythology.

Setting or world

Can "philosophical realism" apply to game rules, and genre rules, too ? What would it mean to say that game rules exist in the fiction ? Some players like to have "associated rules", rules that "exist" in the fiction as they do at the table. I wonder if that's not philosophically unsound. I mean : a planet exists, but the law of gravity is true. It doesn't "exist". That's for a distinction I need between world (with objects and relations between objects) and setting (the objects only).

There are some other ways of being thought without being, like : the colour blue is seen, but does it exist ? Anyone knows of a clear concept that would cut through these ambiguities ? as a complement to philosophical realism, useful via analogy. That could be used to progress in the "associated rules" fog, for instance.

Thank you!


I just wanted to say, "Thank you," to both Billy for taking the time to research and Thanuir for confirming his intentions.