Doc Hydrogen wrote:
Supplanter wrote:There's always a narrative. The continuation in which the player-hero's stunt with the water has an insignificant effect beyond her intention of splashing hell out of the villain is one possible narrative. The continuation in which it washes everybody in different directions, which is kind of amusing but soon dealt with, is another possible narrative. The continuation in which the flood surges horribly out of control and destroys Johnstown again is a third possible narrative. The question is how we, together at the table, will decide which narrative becomes real. There's no use saying its up to THE narrative to choose among all the narratives.
I'm not certain that anyone's saying that, Jim. Which poster--and which post--are you responding to here?
Definitely you, sir! Among possible others.
This later post is a pretty direct illustration of what I meant:
Doc Hydrogen wrote:What happens to Black Widow & Bucky?
This is what I mean when I say narrative before mechanics. They take stress too, of course. I don't care what the rules would or should say happens. If it's crystal clear what the narrative says happens, that's what happens. You're in a bus that rolls over, you're almost certainly taking stress, area attack or no, friendly character or no.
I'm obviously not going to come to your house and stop you from playing this way, or even try to join your online game and harsh your mellow. But this strikes me as flatly contrary to the spirit of MHRP as I know and love it. It also doesn't have anything to do with "narrative" as opposed to
mechanics.There's a story in which a bus rolls over and Black Widow and/or Bucky take some kind of setback from that happening, described in terms of physical harm.
There's a story in which a bus rolls over and Black Widow and Bucky shrug it off because they are just that amazing thanks to all that super-spy training and performance enhancement, and maybe it's just their lucky day.
Either one of those can be The
Narrative. The question remains, who says which how? Heck, by your own admission - "you're almost certainly
taking stress" - it's an uncertain outcome. MHRP gives us a way to determine, together, which possible uncertain outcome gets to be the
story, right now. Use the system and see what happens. Your alternative is that you unilaterally declare the system irrelevant to the question, and just apply stress dice to the heroes on your own say-so.
This doesn't show more respect for narrative as such
than using the system to figure out what happens next. It shows more respect for your specific wishes and judgments vice other ways of figuring out how the story should go.
Now, I played Amber DRPG for years, so I'm familiar with games that rely on an all-powerful GM as arbiter of a game's esthetic and as court of first and last resort. I can even get into that kind of game now and then. I just don't think that paradigm accords with the spirit of Marvel Heroic Roleplaying. MHRP is full of constraints on the Watcher's sway over the course of play. By rule you must
roll your dice in the open and make your result available for inspection. By rule you must
spend a doom die of appropriate size to let a villain go out of her proper order in a turn, or Split/Rejoin the Party. By rule, if the players are winning when you happen to spend 2D12 to end a scene, you narrate the outcome as a victory for the players. By rule the player has absolute sway over whether to use her chosen distinction positively or negatively on this roll, every roll. It's not even an accident that the GM role is named for a canon character who is severely hemmed in by law and convention regarding just how much he may interfere with the course of events. It's certainly no accident that the name for the GM isn't any flavor of "Storyteller." By rule the doom pool
represents, as you all were insisting to me just last week, the potential for things to go wrong for the heroes. And I think you'll look in vain for any version of White Wolf's Rule Zero in the game text.
There's just no way I can read practically anybody's use of the phrase "narrative precedes mechanics" on this forum as saying anything but, My taste comes first. Then the rules.
But the rules for this game are the means by which all of us, together, make the story of our chosen heroes together
. They aren't an alternative to "narrative," they're narrative's engine.