Intent/Roolz Followup

Intent/Roolz Followup

Sixty votes! My word. Some things jump out at me about the numbers:

* There’s a clear bias in favor of players who will happy seek out or defer to the designer’s intent, whether or not the rules help get them there (63% combined)

* It’s a very nearly even split between players who will look for what they want in the RAW versus just doing whatever with the rules, slightly in favor of the RAW players (53%) versus the “eff the rules!” players (42%).

* I wish I had not included the “something else” option, although it’s a tiny minority of voters.

* Vincent Baker was the first to jump on the Designer is Dead, RAW only option. Which makes me smile.

* Personally I can see myself doing all four options depending on the game. I have no unified theory on this.

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0 thoughts on “Intent/Roolz Followup”

  1. The missing option for me was play culture. In vast swathes of the hobby and its history, play culture trumps rules as written, and presumes it knows designer intent. Go back in time to the 90s and raise RAW and designer intent and everyone will think you’re nuts. “Rule zero man. That’s the way of the road. It’s your game. Make it fun.”

  2. I didn’t answer. I had trouble with it, until Matthijs Holter​, else thread, talked about it as a dialogue.

    It isn’t that I don’t take any of those things into account. But between designer, rules, myself, and players there’s an ever shifting dialogue. It makes it difficult to say “I value this thing” because which I value for any given group in any given game is going to depend more on the context there and then than upon any grand unification theory.

  3. Vincent Baker right? I have separate thoughts on that but the tl;dr is mostly that I think it’s amazingly generous and naive and I have no idea, really, how we got here. Social media and accessibility I guess: when you can hear the designer make a coherent and forceful case, that’s a whole different level of credibility than local play culture, and the rules themselves.

    We’re probably not that far from games boiled down to published thesis statements and lots of podcast interviews. And Otherkind dice.

  4. (I didn’t vote on the poll, just answered btw)

    I mean, when I read a game, I usually glean some kind of personal understanding of the designer’s intent. Maybe I’m wrong, you know?

    I guess that’s basically a “the designer is dead” position, in the sense that the designers actual intent doesn’t actually matter to me, but what I think the intent is does.

  5. Some part of me realizes the fragility of my psyche and protects me from knowing it.

    So thanks a LOT, Paul Beakley. You should see the contortions of denial and compartmentalization I have to put myself through now.

  6. I didn’t vote but I think it could be different from a belief in a fair, accessible, sane designer. IMO RAW doesn”t really exist for RPGs as they are not that tightly written and have such a vast scope (bear with me, just a generalisation). I spent 10+ years in competitive international historical wargames where the rules are very tight and RAW is taken very seriously as it is often the line between fun and not fun competition (related to perceptions of fairness of a game or gameplay). 
    I was on several drafting committees for clarifications/interpretations for these rules to ensure a common view of what RAW meant (funny!). Anyway an appeal to designer’s intent in those fora often meant a desire for a neutral, mutually acceptable source of authority to generate a tie-break between positions. Most people did not care what the tie-break solution was, just that there was one (so there was only a single RAW that everyone knew). Thus maybe The Designer is not a messianic holder of truth, just perceived as an acceptable third party coin flipper (sometimes?)?

  7. I guess it seems weird to me that designer’s intent wouldn’t enter into it? Because that would make this literally one of the only times that we’re implicitly saying that we don’t trust the person who made a thing to have made it coherently and with purpose, at least the way I see it.

    Like, somebody makes an apple pie, I’m not going to serve it to someone as the main course at a steakhouse. I’m going to trust that the baker had a particular intent behind their craft, and that the intent was a pretty good idea, and I’m going to try serving that pie as the dessert first.

  8. When it comes to designer’s intent, and this makes me sound lazy, if it’s not in the book, I don’t go to extra effort finding it out. I also don’t think it’s the designer’s responsibility to broadcast intent further to what they’ve already written.

    As for me, I’m lazy RAW. I’ll make a big reference document before I run a game and then never look at it. So I’m “rules as remembered” though this gets refined through play or player input (for my preferred style, rules knowledge isn’t just on the GM). And sometimes I’ll ignore sub-games.

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