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Continuation on Mythic Play Style - from Story-Games

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Continuation on Mythic Play Style - from Story-Games

Hello,

This thread is a direct continuation of a thread from the former Story-Games. I wasn't sure how to proceed so for now (or until I get instructions on some other way to proceed) I'll just link back to the originating thread. My apologies if this runs afoul of site procedures.

Here is the link to the originating thread. Here is the link to the post (Thanuir's) that I'm responding to.

Hi Thanuir,

In mythic play it seems that the process itself does not really require a game master, but if one wants to have the mythic process and unknown truths, then the game master is very convenient. But is there some other inherent reason for having a game master?

The reasons that mythic play would not function well in a GM-less game have nothing to do with “unknown truths”. The first is that Myth seeks to make meaningful the totality of reality. In mythic cultures there is nothing that is covered by myth and that which is not. People don’t invoke myth at certain times of need, they live it all the time. Myth is reality. It is how life is lived and how life is experienced. They cannot be disentangled.
Second, myth is supremely subjective. There is no “objective” or alternate view of reality. Because myth is utterly subjective it is completely experiential. Myth makes life (and reality as a whole) meaningful and frames one’s personal relationship to the world at large. There is but one reality and myth makes it a rich and meaningful experience.

Because in role-play the fictional world is constructed someone must do the constructing. Parsing this among the players isn’t a problem for Narrativist play because such play is focused about the abstract idea of the Premise Question. What the person who has the mantle of GM cannot do is make the actual response to the Premise Question. That part must still be handled by the players of the PC. In Gamism we run into the Czege Principle where operating on both sides of a situation robs it of its value/interest. So a GM-less game in Gamism doesn’t work because the accurate appraisal of a person’s skill at dealing with a Challenge (if said GM/player both created and solved it) becomes impossible. We’ve robbed the game of the point of playing.

In mythic play the reality that the myth creators are using is entirely fictional. Someone has to play and create the fictional “reality”. This role functions at the real world level. To leave the “reality” of the myth to step into the real world so as to take on the role of GM is extremely disorienting. This shifting of maps of reality is a slow process and maintaining it requires the minding of enormous amounts of information. Shifting roles not only weakens the fictional subjective experience but you don’t want to leave it as that is whole point of playing this CA in the first place. Unlike Narrativism where the player(s) with GM responsibilities are still participating in Addressing Premise not so with mythic play. In myth we are attempting to make the world meaningful and so it is with the players. The role of the GM is to add to and play as the world. In analogy the player bricoleur only has access to his shed of pre-existing things while the GM’s role is to stock that shed with new items. Not the same process at all. A GM-less mythic game fails at the CA level as the players would not (for portions of the game) be engaged in Bricolage but stocking behavior. Plus the desired subjectivity that is the hallmark of the myth experience would be utterly contravened as the GM would be thinking about the world and how to make it dramatic/interesting – an abstracted thinking process.

Best,

Jay

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Gamism works without GM

A small comment now; hopefully more later.

Gamist play does, in principle at least, work without a game master. There are solo games to this direction (choose-your-own-adventure, many Tunnels and trolls solo adventures), and though Rune by Robin Laws has a GM, their role is in using points to build an adventure and earning points based on how the players manage it. In fact, IIRC, Rune has a rotating game master.

You could, in principle, design a gamist game in the style of co-operative board games, or as a player-vs-player thing. Maybe Capes can be played as the latter, in fact? Maybe some newer game has done the first one; I am not aware of any, even if it has been done.

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Changing roles

To leave the “reality” of the myth to step into the real world so as to take on the role of GM is extremely disorienting.

For you, your group members, or everyone? In your own play or also more generally?

In analogous situations, there is plenty of personal variance.

  1. In some classic Forge games people change from playing their character to considering the overall story. Some find this terribly jarring, others are fine with it.
  2. In OSR play, players play to have their character survive and triumph. In some groups rulings are made or accepted by group consensus. Some people find it extremely jarring to shift from "what would be best for my character" to "how difficult should it be to hang there with one hand while drawing a dagger with the other"; they can not or will not make the shift. Others have no problem with this change in perspective.

Can you support the quoted claim with concrete evidence, or point out why the situation there is different than in similar cases of changing perspective or orientation?

(Third post later.)

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Archipelago?

I've been following this conversation mostly with mild confusion, and probably can't get too involved with it, but something has been niggling at me. Some of what's been described sounds a lot like a very memorable game of Archipelago (and also some freeform IRC games) that I played in the distant past. When the term 'Phenomenological Simulationism' was thrown up/described I was like 'Yeah! That's it!' - the way I've always thought of that game was about the experience of just being this particular person in this particular place. Every detail added to the game was layering more and more depth to this other reality, and play was about being this character - without concern about driving-toward-conflict or any mechanical reward cycle or whatnotwhatnot. It was awesome and intense and at the time I was like 'oh, so this is why simulationism is fun'.

I think Archipelago's resolution system is non-deterministic, in that it's all about interpreting the result - but there is still an explicit 'yes, you succeed' or 'no, you fail' aspect there. So, I'm a little unsure there - isn't this just a technical-level thing anyway and not a creative-agenda level thing?

And, I find all this talk of bricolage utterly confusing and inapplicable. A lot of the examples talked about mechanics changing and being applied with new meanings, but we never had a need to do that - the base system covers everything pretty well.

Anyway, I hope we're talking about the same style of play/creative agenda, because a lot of what is being described resonates with me. Also, 'mythicism' would be a much, much better name for what we were doing than 'simulationism'.

(and, if we are talking about the same thing - I don't think there's any issue with GMless play at all. If you're describing things around your character, that's a fairly natural extension of your character's experience - and if you're taking a completely different role for a scene, that change happens between scenes and isn't jarring)

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Agreeing with Thanuir

I’m not sure why any of the aspects of mythic play you described and listed should restrict it to the particular format you’re used to.

Perhaps you can show that by an example?

Of course GMless Gamist play is possible, of course it is! I don’t know how you would get the idea that it is not. Or did you mean something else by that?

Similarly, if the type of relationship to the fiction you’re describing is necessary for mythic play, doesn’t it logically follow that the GM in your game is not engaging in mythic play? That sounds a bit wonky to me (although I could entertain the idea that the GM is merely facilitating it for the players... nevertheless, that seems like it would handicap the theory pretty severely.)

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In mythic play the reality

In mythic play the reality that the myth creators are using is entirely fictional. Someone has to play and create the fictional “reality”. This role functions at the real world level. To leave the “reality” of the myth to step into the real world so as to take on the role of GM is extremely disorienting. This shifting of maps of reality is a slow process and maintaining it requires the minding of enormous amounts of information. Shifting roles not only weakens the fictional subjective experience but you don’t want to leave it as that is whole point of playing this CA in the first place.

I'll admit I'm losing the thread a bit here, but I thought this bit was very interesting: you seem to be saying the GM in the mythic game, or your mythic game at least, doesn't take the mythic perspective you've been talking about, but takes something a lot closer to what you've been calling the Western engineering perspective?

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I have knowledge of certain

I have knowledge of certain sociological studies showing that in a common class of rituals, the officiant "should" not believe in the myth as much as those who take part in the ritual. Can we assume that the officiant certainly "can" be left with the burden of inner doubt without hurting the ritual ? (Now, I would have a hard time finding this sources again, which is a reminder that I should always write down sources when I have them at hand.) If you don't agree that this kind of situation is conceivable, then it may be another topic.

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Sounds like we all have the same question!

Ha.

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Apologies for not replying earlier

Hey everyone,

Sorry for not replying earlier. When I made my post I assumed that I would get email notices when a reply was made to the thread. That did not happen and for several days I didn't visit this site. I eventually did and here I am.

Question - is there a way to receive email notifications about postings to threads?

Best,

Jay

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Agree to disagree

Hi Thanuir,

I'm afraid that we'll have to agree to disagree about either solo play being categorized as role-play (it is definition the sharing of imaginings which requires at minimum two individuals if sharing is happen. If you wish to discuss this further please move it to another thread as I don't want a billion different conversations going on in this one. I don't mean to be rude but rather ask if you would kindly extend me this courtesy.) I don't know anything about Rune so I'll have to withhold comment out of ignorance. I do have a quick question about the rotating GM. Does that happen within a given a session? Second can the person who is GM set up challenges that in the future his PC will face when the role of GM has moved on to another player?

To leave the “reality” of the myth to step into the real world so as to take on the role of GM is extremely disorienting.

For you, your group members, or everyone? In your own play or also more generally?

What do you mean by "everyone"? Outside of "our group members" there are only those who have not played our game. I can say that with strong (not absolute) confidence that every new player who has played our game has been strongly moved and it takes some time (non-immediate) at the conclusion of a game for them to reset and there is a general disappointment that the session has ended. We've never switched GM's during a session but I do know to a player that we all find it disorienting to switch from one PC to another during a session. The longer we've been playing a given character the more difficult the switch. So much so that we generally asked the GM not to do that because the game never reaches the same heights of involvement and the mortality rate is so much higher with the second character. If the switching from one PC to another PC during a game is considered so problematic by all the players at our table and the universal sense of disappointment of a session ending coupled with the long disengagement periods after a game I can only surmise that switching GM's mid session would be just as difficult.

So our regular players don't like switching PCs during a session and all (new and regular) players take a long time from disengaging at the end of the game. While neither answers you question directly I feel it is not much of a jump to asserted that switching roles to GM mid game would be radically unsatisfying and difficult to accomplish.

Can you support the quoted claim with concrete evidence, or point out why the situation there is different than in similar cases of changing perspective or orientation?

Can anyone truly make a concrete statement about anything regarding consciousness, subjective experience or the human condition?

I can only offer the following which can only be disappointing. I know that long ago Chris posted on the Forge about a tribe where certain adults acted out the roles of certain gods during certain festivals for the tribe. At a certain age the children were let in on what was going on and the results were always devastating to the children. The totality of the myth was not broken just that little piece of it. If I could find the post I would link it. I'll try and contact Chris and see if he can help. This is the best I can offer in the way of "concrete" evidence. Living myth is powerful. Playing myth is less powerful but still very gripping. It is this experiential process that is the reason to play this particular CA.

Not everyone is going to want to play myth and that to be expected. But to play myth, which is to want the experiential phenomena, and then purposefully break it just doesn't make sense. That experiential state is slow in coming and takes work to get there so why would shut it down to engage in another process that is not experiential though they are still in the ritual space? IOW why stop playing to GM if it destroys the point of playing in first place?

Best,

Jay

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My third response would have

My third response would have been about precisely the game master not playing in mythic mode and being precisely the objective point of view the myth denies, but others have covered that.

Gamism sans GM

Jay, do you acknowledge that it is possible to have a gamist play without a game master? The examples being:

  1. Play a solo adventure with two players playing together, or design a game in the same way that allows for more players. Many fantasy adventure board games are essentially like this. I believe even some D&D-inspired ones were designed during the 4th edition era and maybe later, but I have not followed these at all. (Whether one player solo qualifies as a roleplaying game is not relevant here, agreed.)
  2. Players versus player game, essentially equal roles for everyone, perhaps in the style of Capes but easy enough to imagine anyway.
  3. Players with highly asymmetric roles, like the game master in Rune, or the different roles in Murderous ghosts, or like certain dungeon crawling fantasy board games. Here, one or more players at a time design an adventure or challenge under strict constraints and possibly has some choices to make while playing, while the others play through the adventure. The roles might rotate.

On changing perspectives

Your argument is that around your table the change is very disorienting. It is a compelling argument and I do believe that this is true of the way you play. However, it is not clear that the high-immersion high-intensity play is the only thing one could accomplish by mythic play.

Or, if you prefer to work with creative agendas as a theoretical framework: Each of the named classes of creative agendas covers a lot of ground, including mutually incompatible or at least friction-causing creative agendas. An example from gamism: someone who enjoys figure chess and character optimization might not enjoy OSR dungeoncrawling with high risks, simple characters and strategic play, and vice versa, though both are clearly gamist. Combining these single creative agendas, though both fall under the same category of gamism, into one game is tricky.

So, if (and only if) you want to continue the creative agenda analysis, then you have two choices.

  1. Mythic play is very narrow and restricted to the goals of your own group. This leaves much of ground previously covered by simulationism without creative agenda, which strains the model. Is there a further creative agenda class covering them, or are they not within any grouping, or are they aimless play without creative goals?
  2. Mythic play is, at least potentially, a broad class of agendas, just like the other named classes of agendas (gam and nar). In this case, you'll need to fit other styles of play besides your own in there, maybe starting from some of the others discussed in Ron's sim essay.

Personally, I would rather focus on the style of play itself, maybe drawing from CA theory for inspiration and examples. But the key choice remains: Do you want to understand the style of play as highly specific to what your group is doing, or does it also include potentially very different activities?

Someone playing speed chess might say that playing with less intensity and speed will make all the excitement go away, but someone else can play chess by letters and find it fun. These two activities still have a lot in common.

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Archipelago - maybe?

Hi Aik,

In reading your post on first brush it sounds like what I'm talking about but there's too much data missing to make a more certain declaration. First, I want to say that I'm delighted to hear that you had such a great experience. I don't know the system though someone on Story-Games asked me to read the rules (was that you?). I started but reading rules systems just doesn't hold my attention for long and is a failing of mine.

Second, being your character can happen in all three CA's but in the CA I'm describing its part of the priority of play. What I'm talking about the experiencing of being in a fiction world. Yes, being your character is important but so is the totality of the world. The character is the lens by which the world is experienced and the more deeply one inhabits the character the greater the resolution of the world that one experiences. It's not enough to be your character (a necessary component) but one needs to be in the world. Did you care about the people's and the events of the world as much as you cared about your character? I'm not suggesting you were playing Narrativist at all but really being your character is a quality of play that I hear from proponents of that particular CA. Hence my question about the scope of your interests in the rest of the world. Some examples - when I saw Elladan and Elrohir killed the sense of loss was so devastating I felt like quitting the game. I put one of my favorite characters, a Dunedan, in imminent danger of death to save the life of Arwen from a Fell Beast. On another occasion I did lose a character to save the life of an NPC.

If your experiences playing Archipelago were as strong for the world at large as they were for your character that is a very strong tell of the CA I'm talking about.

You say the think the resolution system is non-deterministic. Cool! Let's see. Are the mechanics explicit enough to influence your decision on whether or what action to take? Apparently the resolution system is all about interpreting the result of an outcome. Who does the interpretation - the player or the GM? Is this interpretation Fortune in the Middle? Is this interpretation negotiated? Is the interpretation merely color or does it have real unexpected consequences? If you could answer these questions that would be great!

Finally, how does the reward system work? What kinds of actions are rewarded and how are they rewarded? This is also vitally important.

I want to note that the most important thing is that you had a great time and on that level it doesn't matter what CA you played as having fun is the whole point on the hobby. If you are looking to understand what happened under the hood and hope to replicate the experience in the future then this would be the kind of thread that would be useful to you.

Best,

Jay

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Yeah, that all sounds right

Yeah, that all sounds right to me. We were exploring both being our characters, and being within the world. 'Exploring'/'discovering' (neither of which are good words for it because we were creating it together as we went, but equally there was no discussion as we did so, so 'creating' kind of has the wrong connotation as well. Anyway.) the setting was of roughly the same importance as the characters.

It's hard to describe this, and hard to pick out certain moments - but one egregious example; I was setting the scene (in Archipelago, every player sets a scene for their character in turn, and assigns the other players roles in that scene before it begins). We had just arrived at this space-bridge megastructure-thing that had been alluded to earlier. It was quite common for us to assign one player to just focus on describing background details - this time I assigned everyone to describing details and we spent a fair amount of time just expounding on how ridiculously awe-inspiring this bridge was.

(For context - our starting point for this game was slice-of-life science fiction manga - specifically Aria and Yokohama Kaidashi Kikou. While there was some adventure, it was super low-key. My favourite scene in the whole game was a pillow fight)

In Arcipelago, the mechanics don't influence your decision on what action to take - they're only invoked after something has been said, using ritual phrases. So, if you try and fly through a cluster of asteroids, someone might say 'That might not be quite so easy', which means you draw a card. This card has a 'Yes, and...', 'No, but...', or similar thing, along with a prompt to be interpreted by another player of your choice. One card, for instance, is 'No, but... you earn a friend, ally, or goodwill in the process'. So here, you fail to fly through the asteroids, and another player might interpret it as you crashing into the asteroid, where other castaways are glad at your arrival or something. It's not negotiated, and you can't interpret your own card - but there is another ritual phrase that can force the player to come up with something else (ritual phrase 'Try another way')

There's no explicit reward system. Though, each session, each player has to reach a predefined story-outcome-thing for their character (called a 'destiny point') and everyone is expected to help bring that about by guiding things in that direction. Finding out how each character ends up at that point I think is a key payoff. The afore-mentioned pillow-fight scene ended with one player's character defeated and sleeping on the floor, and he ticked off his destiny point 'Fall in love with ', and it was a real 'oh, wow - yeah, that works perfectly' moment.

Normally, I enjoy face-stabbing narrativist games - but this game was very different and special, and I haven't encountered any other games that do the same sort of thing, so I'm interested in where this discussion goes.

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GMing in this mode of play...early thoughts

Hi Shimrod,

I've been spending a lot of time sorting out how this play mode works and the implications that can be drawn from both play wise and, hopefully in the future, design wise.

I haven’t yet given this specific topic much thought, but I do believe that the GM does engage in some western engineering style thinking in this role. Not entirely but I think it is definitely present. I’m hoping to get some feedback from Chris, but I think what is going on is Bricolage in the service of western engineering thought. FREX – the GM might think, “I need a conflict/test for Erindir” (engineering thought – abstraction) and then use the mythic thinking style to understand they character and bricole a conflict that would work well with said character. Instead of thinking of “Erindir” as the abstraction he would see Erindir as a structure of meanings and how they relate to everything in the world but most especially the scenario being considered. Using this mythic thinking makes it much easier to create conflicts that fit not only the character but the world itself. This helps constrain the possibilities to those that feel appropriate.

This is basically off the cuff thinking but I believe this is how it works.

I do know from my limited personal experiences and by many comments by the GM that the act of GMing in this style is absolutely not experiential. I know when I ran and players were reacting to what I was saying I felt a fraud. They were experiencing something that I was not experiencing at all. The closest a GM comes to any emotional involvement might come in an intense exchange between a NPC and a PC when the GM starts to sink into character. I know that as a GM you have to stay involved in each PC and what they are doing enough to make the game personal for each player but you also have to step outside so as to be fair and impartial. It’s a really tough balancing act. Plus having to keep track of all the monsters/antagonists and what they’re doing and what they are going to do while considering the morale impacts of PC acts just doesn’t allow for a GM to ability to “experience” the game. What he’s doing is a process of thinking from many points of view while maintaining thoughts on future events whether planned or spontaneous.

Just the other day he sort of realized that even magic items are “role-played”. He wasn’t talking about sentient items but that since magic items are so rare and do break the normal way the world works this is going to have to be shown and its effects of the PC and NPCs considered. The first is the greed they frequently inspire in people. Then there is the nature of the item itself – how it looks as reflecting those who made it, how it feels, any special powers it might have and how they are manifested, etc. FREX – just last week I found a shield in the nest of a wyvern (after a major party sized battle driving it off). It was beautifully decorated and painted in golds, silvers and whites. When I picked it up it seemed lighter than it should. It showed no signs of damage, wear or age. It was just a little too large to be perfect for me but it was nice. Later in battle with many skeletons striking the shield all the swords that struck the rim broke. The shield seemed to change size and was the perfect size for me during the battle. Later when we battled the BBEG (some 7 foot tall lich like man thing) he smote down on my shield which parried the blow but took not a scratch. Also during the battle the shield seemed to move into just the right place to defend a blow. We were defeated and tied to biers. An NPC managed to find us. I ordered him to bring my shield and he was able to use it to shatter the chains holding us down. By this point the artwork on the shield changed to that of a drawing of a man running (something like Hermes) which reflected my characters speed (human maximum). I just escaped the table when the BBEG returned and all I could do was grab the shield and flee down a tunnel where sunlight was shining. I could barely manage a stumbling walk but as I fled my speed picked up and my injuries healed!

This was all played out in world. He didn’t tell me the abilities of the shield but showed them to me a circumstances allowed. I can only guess that it’s magical given its resistance to any marring, a defender, a healer and it changed size to fit me perfectly!

While all this is happening he’s not experiencing ME but rather his interest is in our portrayal of our character and our choices and inventiveness during play. I would suspect that GMing in this mode of play is Bricolage in the service of Western Engineering thought.

Best,

Jay

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Archipelago - very likely

Hi Aik,

I managed to find the free version of the rules and read them over. It's hard for me to do a good analysis as I've never trained as such but I do believe Aik is on the Simulationist spectrum. The game does many things that myth does in tying the person into both the character and the world. It also works like myth in keeping the aesthetics of the game within bounds. The, game, as you indicated definitely has non-deterministic resolution mechanics. I couldn't discern any reward mechanics which is very interesting as it leaves the rewards to happen entirely as the Social Contract Level.

I don't mean this in a negative way at all, its just I don't know how to formulate the phrasing properly, but the game makes overt some parts of the mythic process that are usually implicit - As if to help the players along. At first I thought the game might be extremely Vanilla Narrativist but there are no mechanics or rules in the system to drive the game overtly (or even subtly) in one direction or the other.

This is really remarkable! I wasn't sure that a Sim supporting game could be published but this seems to do it. I'm kind of reminded about the Gamism article from the Forge where the challenge went from the Crunch to the Gamble and players of either camp refused to see that the other mode of play was legitimate. That is until the notion of CA was brought about with Address of Challenge as the core recognizing that there is a slider of the degree of toughness of Challenge outcome. The idea of a slider is what I'm getting at and I think Archipelago is definitely on the Sim slider. The setting and pace of game is not my thing but I can definitely see that it is free from deterministic mechanics and the game works hard to the play into the world including any NPC's. Fascinating!!

Best,

Jay

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Archipelago III

For those following along, that link can be found here: Archipelago III

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Webtech

Hi Webtech,

Just wanted to thank you for the posting of the link. Also if you were the one who helped me with the email notification issues I was having I want to say, "Thank you," again.

Best,

Jay

1
also

Webtech is the admin avatar of Tod "AsIf" Foley.

1
Oh!

Thanks, DeReel! Thanks, Tod!!

Best,

Jay

1
Imagine

Another game that comes to mind is "Imagine", by Rickard. It's very "experiential", although not in the traditional sense (e.g. no one actually portrays a character).

(Unfortunately, I can't find it/link it for some reason. Anyone know what happened to the game?)

Jay,

It sounds like a big part of the experience of this sort of play is a sort of "character immersion" for the players. Do you believe this to be a fundamental aspect of mythic play?

(I'm a bit skeptical of any theory which bases itself on "immersion", given how difficult that is to define, so I may be baiting the hook here, but it's a thread you seem to come back to again and again. I'm curious to hear your thoughts!)

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Not Character Immersion - Surrendering to Myth

Hi Paul,

I too am wary of the phrase "character immersion" or even just "immersion." I just did a quick google search of my name and "immersion" and I didn't find a single instance where I used the phrase or the word as part of my argumentation. I'll allow that there may have been an instance or two that I missed but the fact that my search pulled up negative results backs up my basic assertion that I don't use "immersion" as part of my definition of play. I don't like the word because it is so poorly defined and because it carries so much baggage. This doesn't even touch on the fact that I've been talking about myth and how it works in relationship to role-playing.

I'm with you, Paul, on not liking the use of the word "immersion" as definition or description. It's not even the focus of my theorizing which has been to focus on the process of play and its attendant effects which had always been missing from Sim definitions at The Forge (and elsewhere).

Long ago Chris wrote about ritual and myth which paralleled my game experiences to an uncanny degree. The fantastic thing about myth is that it explains both process and phenomena. Chris in one of his threads neatly said that players of this CA are very much like the pre-literate natives who live myth. In role-play we have a watered down version of those mythic cultures because we willfully step into and out of the mythic process while for the natives myth is reality. Life is lived a certain way and is viewed a certain way - there is no non-myth aspects of life. I'm arguing that if that is that case, that we are trying to live mythically (writ small in a game) then certain predictions and restrictions can be made.

As I've said, I've never argued "character immersion." I've argued, to borrow Tod's wonderful turn of phrase, Phenomenological Simulationism. A game where the point of play (the Creative Agenda) is the "subjective/psychic experience of Being in the gameworld." (Again, Tod's phrasing). To be honest I don't know if there absolutely must be a strong linkage between character identification and this CA, but so far I haven't seen any workable arguments against such linkage. Myth is subjective. It is a point of view. It is a worldview. It is both an explanation of reality and the frame of experiencing reality. The point is the experience of being in that artificial reality. How one can experience that artificial reality via a subjective process but still remain objective is a conundrum that I cannot untangle.

We play this CA to experience the fictional world, if the process by which that happens is myth then it follows that the player will experience a shift in POV's. Some might call it "immersion" but I don't. However the point of this CA is to experience being in the fictional world. That we frequently experience the fictional world from within is a natural outgrowth of attempting live myth writ small. It's like the Story of Narrativism. We don't have to be driven to play by the desire to "create a story" but one is created nonetheless through the process of playing Narrativism. So I would argue, by analogy, for this CA. Not that we are creating story but that the process of living myth writ small does tend to create a powerful point of view from within the fictional world because that's the way myth works. It's not why we play, because we play for the experience of life in the fictional world. The powerful subjective character experience is just the logical outcome of the process. It may not be the reason for play but it is a natural phenomena of mythic play. All subjective experiences presume a strong POV. The PC is the lens into the fictional world and the stronger the lens the richer the experience of the world becomes.

Best,

Jay

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Immersion and Mythicism

Jay,

I appreciate your attempts to step away from certain language and to be more clear in your own formulation. That's always a good thing! However, I'm not at all sure I can see what *distinguishes* what you're talking about from immersion. It sounds very similar: it's an experiential, subjective experience which seeks to align the player and the character and minimize distractions from that "illusion".

I'm curious about this because nothing (that I can see) about the mythic qualities and concepts you've described seem (to me) to be predicated on immersion (or whatever term we want to use) at all. I don't see the GM in your game (Cary), for example, as someone who is not participating in mythic play. On the contrary, he appears to me to be participating in it heavily! From that perspective, a GMless game, where everyone does what Cary is doing, should be able to produce mythic play without any trouble. However, you often say that the immersion or subjective personal experiential process is key to the playstyle. I wonder if that might be your own personal bias, being a constant player in this game, and perhaps having difficulty imagining anything different? Or do you think Cary would agree that, whatever mythic play is, he is not *really* participating in it the way that you are?

I'd like to try to separate these two ideas and to see whether they come apart cleanly, or if, in the process, we find some unbreakable bonds which are fundamental to the whole thing.

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I've Been Talking About Surrendering to the Reality of the World

Hi Paul,

I've been baffled for some time about your endless obsession with "Character Immersion" when I realized that I never really explained what I meant by an Subjective, Experiential phenomena. Or rather I should have clarified what I was specifically talking about. When I speak of the Subjective, Experiential phenomena of mythic play I am referring to the Player having that Subjective, Experiential phenomena of Being in the fictional world. I'm not entirely sure where Character Stance fits in this grand scheme of things. I know that surrendering to Character amplifies the experience and that falling into Character is a natural phenomena of mythic play, but I don't think it is strictly necessary.

Whereas Hardcore Gamism could be said to be the most bare knuckled version of Gamism whereby Character is merely a token by which Step on Up is acted out through in Mythic play I believe the reverse is true. One can still experience the subjective state even if one plays Author Stance I believe the most intense Subjective state can be reached if the player plays Actor Stance. The more you shift over to the fictional world the stronger/richer the Subjective Experience becomes for the Player.

What does not work is Director or Pawn stance as they are in conflict with Myth. Myth encompasses all of reality. If a player is considering story then they are not thinking concretely as in myth but abstractly as in Western Engineering thought. Objective thinking, definitionally seeks to remove the individual from the current circumstance. Mythic thinking, definitionally, seeks to place the individual inside the current circumstance. The individual being you the tribesman or you the Player. The subjective experience can and usually does extend to Character because the Character is part of the fictional world. It follows that players tend towards Character identification but I do not believe it is strictly necessary for mythic play as long as one does not break mythic thinking and engage in objective thinking.

I'll respond soon with thoughts about how the GM works.

Best,

Jay

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Makes sense to me. Stances,

Makes sense to me. Stances, or perspectives, or whatever, the distinction you make is : identification. focalisation. You can identify with the character or with the situation / story. If you're outside trying to control, you're clearly not identifying with either one.

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Pretty Much, Yes.

Hi DeReel,

If you're outside trying to control, you're clearly not identifying with either one. [Character or Situation]

Yep!

Best,

Jay

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Looking forward to your further thoughts

Interesting stuff. I have no particular “obsession” with immersion, but all your recent comments have highlighted the importance of the “in character” experience and focused on how less “identifying” experiences hurt or disable the mythic quality of play. That sounds like pretty straightforward immersion-speak to me! (Or, at least, I can’t find much meaningful distinction between the two.)

The reason I find this interesting is that I don’t see anything about the theoretical or practical explanations of mythic play you’ve given that would have to line up in this way. It seems to me that they could be entirely separate, and their combination in your game is just a quirk of how that game and Cary’s GMing style have evolved.

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Myth implies a person

Myth implies a person embedded in it. Engineering supposes a thinker outside of the world. This was established prior to any discussion about RPG. Try to put immersion on the side, or maybe put it to use. But rather accept it may just be that immersion was a failed attempt at nailing down mythic play.

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