从《Exalted: The Fair Folk》探究RPG设计结构
在《Exalted》典型场景中，Scarlet Empress于Realm Year（游戏邦注：下文简称“R.Y.”）763年消失，就是故事开端的5年之后。每个使用《Exalted》典型场景的群组都认同这个资料。这是此类群组所处的整个虚拟世界的限制条件，但并非具体的虚拟事件。《Exalted》场景确实被实体化，怪物于R.Y. 763劫持了女王，她的子民都撤退到Heavenly City of Yu-Shan。即便这通常被理解为虚拟世界中的具体事件，但它事实上是个限制条件，该世界中其他事件必须同它保持一致。
本文探讨《Exalted: The Fair Folk》中“特征”、“角色创建”和“魔法”这3章的设计。
《Exalted: The Fair Folk》的故事发生在Wyld。这是个《Exalted》典型游戏世界之外的虚空，发生了许多故事和事件。在这个场景中，玩家并不需要严格遵守往常角色扮演游戏场景中的默认规律，比如万有引力和线性因果关系。
随后，本文将探索设计支持《Exalted: The Fair Folk》结构的目标。然后，根据这个设计目标和所提供的分析模型，讨论之前提及3个章节的关键元素。
在第3部分中，本文将讨论项目《Exalted: The Fair Folk》。
在第4至6部分中，本文将讨论角色扮演游戏历程和玩家所讲述故事的内在结构。这些内容解释了《Exalted: The Fair Folk》如何使用这个结构来促进游戏。
通过预先生成此结构的部分内容，游戏规则和场景可以促进游戏过程。在经典游戏《Cops and Robbers》中，判定角色是否成功击中他人向来很困难。在许多现代角色扮演游戏中，决定某个角色的争辩是否成功说服他人同样也很困难。
如果游戏拥有的结构过少，玩家需要花大量的时间来解决问题，游戏中事件也不会让他们产生兴趣。比如，在《Cops and Robbers》之类的游戏中，争辩强盗是否被成功击中并不会给玩家带来乐趣。
《Exalted: The Fair Folk》的场景是位于世界之外的虚空。这个虚空称为Wyld。这是个神秘之地，不属于世界，不遵从传统规则。该区域不受我们掌握的法则所控制。
这便是《Exalted: The Fair Folk》游戏所处的场景。其设计中满是你难以想象的东西，是你对未来的期望和想法。无论你对当今世界的了解如何，这与游戏都没有关系。游戏呈现的是未来世界可能出现的东西，可能改变的东西。
在《Exalted: The Fair Folk》中，任何事情都可能发生，几乎所有可能发生的事情也都发生了。这使得游戏本质上具有上述两种失败情况的风险。
《Exalted: The Fair Folk》的场景模型中所采用的方法是，让玩家群组来决定故事。Wyld的低层次物理机制专注于提供额外的结构层次，以支持故事讲述过程，而不是预先提供含义或数据。
在《Exalted: The Fair Folk》中，玩家在难以描述的世界中体验故事事件。这是个神话世界，有着超越现实和玩家理解力的魔法事物，即便玩过一段时间后仍会觉得难以理解。
以下是《Exalted: The Fair Folk》假设玩家可能的需求：
这些原则是构建《Exalted: The Fair Folk》场景的基础。此外，为了让它们更具结构化深度，这些原则被视为关键概念。这里的前提是，这些词深化了世界心智模型的构建过程。它帮助决定了哪些问题值得询问，这样玩家便可以从答案中寻到到含义。这个技术在《Exalted: The Fair Folk》中重复使用。
这使《Exalted: The Fair Folk》可以自由地组织停靠点和旅程的空间背景。每个停靠点都是事件发生的地点。角色在停靠点之间穿行，但对真正的细节内容却并不知晓。简单地说，游戏对花在事件迁移中的时间并不作解释，玩家在事件间旅行的含义就只有旅行本身。其他所有事情都发生在停靠点上。
同样，《Exalted: The Fair Folk》以情境和故事来组织时间。事件在情境中发生，事件间存在缓和期。这些情境自然分组以形成故事，限制了事件的发生。
《Exalted: The Fair Folk》确定其主要角色raksha或Fair Folk拥有以下关键特征：
要产生游戏，raksha就必须偏向于某些事件。这是《Exalted: The Fair Folk》规则的弱点所在。所选择的动机并非叙事、心理学或游戏理论研究的理想动机。规则模型化了4种具体的策略性奖励：
通常来说，玩家会更倾向于采用系统所奖励的策略性行为。他们内心也有讲述“正确”故事的动机。游戏无法预测玩家心中正确故事的概念。因而，为保持这两者不产生冲突，《Exalted: The Fair Folk》必须策略奖励和游戏事件区别开来。游戏几乎完全描述了事件和raksha采取的策略动作之间的联系。契合描述模板的事件，会让玩家因其策略性动作而得到奖励。因而，希望获得策略性奖励的raksha就会推动故事类型往可得到奖励的方向发展。
《Exalted: The Fair Folk》使用回合制的系统来构建现实性。这是解决角色扮演游戏中大范围冲突的标准方法。如果玩家同时发话就很难达成一致意见，所以他们每个人在冲突中的贡献是由游戏初始系统进行排序，游戏系列可以将大型目标分解为玩家依次展开的小型动作。
在实践中，这似乎很适用于《Exalted: The Fair Folk》，但是如果其专注点有所转变会更好。构建现实性的规则假设每个raksha都在讲诉自己的故事，这些故事交织起来形成整个大故事。但是，这会使游戏发生的事件取决于当时构建它们的raksha。如果将来版本的《Exalted: The Fair Folk》可以将raksha视为更接近玩家行为的东西（游戏邦注：例如“故事元素”或者“叙事线索”等有助于为大型故事框架加分的内容），这将会使游戏有所提升。
为将raksha的效果与Creation整合，《Exalted: The Fair Folk》提供了一种“裸露”机制效应。“裸露”效应是对世界能够产生影响的游戏机制。
《Exalted: The Fair Folk》尝试在Wyld中构建含义为“这是个发生在角色扮演游戏故事中的世界”的模型。现在表明，这个概念具有内在的完善性和潜在的含义，游戏可以进行探索和研究以提升玩法。在创造支持这些含义的结构时，《Exalted: The Fair Folk》将本质上不具玩法的前提替换为有着竞争性故事元素，并以奖励促使玩家采取行动的游戏。
Structure and Meaning in Role-Playing Game Design
Every role-playing game takes place in a fictional world – a setting.
In a session of play, players typically generate more information about the setting than they find in the canonical game materials. They may also create new rules or change canonical rules and setting elements to suit their tastes. Even if they use the game material without modifications, they choose how to assign importance to the various rules and setting elements.
Players often extrapolate connections between small details in the provided world. This creates content that they consider implicit to the canonical game. Other groups may possess a fundamentally different understanding of the setting that is equally consistent with the information the game provides.
For these reasons, the setting that one group plays in is not the setting that another group plays in. In effect, role-playing games in their static published form do not describe a specific fictional world or story. They describe a large multidimensional space of fictional worlds and stories organized by unifying data.
Here is an example.
In the canonical Exalted setting, the Scarlet Empress disappeared in Realm Year (R.Y.) 763, five years before the story begins. Every group using the canonical Exalted setting stipulates this datum. This is a constraint on all of the fictional worlds in which such groups play, but it is not a specific fictional event. There are valid instantiations of the Exalted setting in which demons kidnapped her in R.Y. 763 and other valid worlds in which she retreated, voluntarily, to the Heavenly City of Yu-Shan. Even though it is commonly understood as a specific event in a single fictional world, it is actually a constraint that some event in the world must fit.
This essay studies the design of the “Traits,” “Character Creation,” and “Magic” chapters of Exalted: The Fair Folk.
Exalted: The Fair Folk is set in the Wyld, a primal Ginnungagap of myth in which quite literally anything can happen. This is the void outside the canonical game world for Exalted, a place where chaos casts up fragments of stories and events. This setting does not stipulate as absolute the default assumptions for a role-playing setting, such as gravity and linear causality.
Designing the ground rules for this setting raised the question: how can one provide useful information about a setting without constraining the world presented therein?
This essay presents a new analytical model for role-playing games.
This model looks at the structural effects of rules and setting statements without reference to their proposed meaning in the game world. This is most useful in two cases: for evaluating abstract rules and setting elements, and for thinking about the game world as an object independent of the events of play.
This essay then explores how the desire to provide useful structural support shaped the design of Exalted: The Fair Folk. It discusses key elements of the aforementioned three chapters in light of this design goal and the analytical model provided.
For convenience, since Exalted: The Fair Folk is already a cumbersome name, further mentions will omit the reference to the specific chapters under discussion.
1.3 Core Concept
Each datum provided by a role-playing game is a trade-off between lost possibility – the stories you can no longer tell – and structure, which helps tell the stories that remain.
In section 2, this essay defines the analytical model used thereafter. This model defines the story the players tell as the outcome of a computation performed on the space of possible stories. Game data are beneficial if the structure provided allows the players to take the “right” length of time computing a satisfying series of events.
In section 3, this essay discusses the Exalted: The Fair Folk project.
In sections 4 through 6, this essay discusses the inherent structure of a role-playing game session and the stories that the players tell. It explains how Exalted: The Fair Folk uses this structure to facilitate play.
In section 7, the author presents a short summary, conclusions, and directions for future work.
2. The Model
Consider a typical situation in Exalted: three characters, having recently arrived in the capital city of a corrupt principality, set out to reform or destroy it.
The events of the story are undefined until the characters experience them in play. They could topple the Prince from his throne or save him from wicked ministers who have led him astray. They could seize command of the principality’s army to defend against an as-yet-unknown threat, or encounter an old nemesis working behind the throne and have that enemy drive them from the region.
Before the game begins there is a large space of possible stories defined by the initial premise. During the process of gaming the players progressively reduce the space of possible stories down to a single story – one set of things “happened,” while all other sets did not.
“Fun” and “satisfaction” are byproducts of this computation. This model treats them as a function of time and work – we assume that players receive maximum fun and satisfaction when the amount of time and work spent on any given part of the story is close to some optimum defined by the players’ interests.
Other sources of fun and satisfaction – gaming material that inspires the players, game books that are good reads, and so forth – are not dealt with here.
2.1 Structure and Meaning
Every time the players agree on something – implicitly or explicitly – regarding the story, that provides structure. For example, when the players agree to set their game in Germany but decide to make up the various locales and characters rather than researching them, this imposes structure on the story.
When there is sufficient structure for the players to answer a specific question regarding the imaginary world, that creates meaning. For example, when the players conclude that Mayor Franz of their characters’ hometown is corrupt, Franz’s corruption is a shared meaning that emerges from the game. If one player decides that Franz is nevertheless worthy of trust, his integrity is a personal meaning for that player that emerges from the game.
Meaning is a form of structure, but the converse is not true. If the players agree to play for exactly an hour, as in Puppetland, this imposes massive structural constraints on their game but has no specific meaning in play. It does not define any single detail of the setting or story, although it influences how each develops.
Structure in a game restricts the field of possible stories and limits the set of potentially emergent meanings. Stories are most structured after they are told.
This essay defines a story as the final resolution of a specific premise, such as the typical premise mentioned above (“Three characters arrive … “)
When the players are satisfied with their ability to answer the question, “What happened regarding that premise?” their answer forms the story.
This essay focuses its attention on stories that are also traditional narratives – that is, single large-scale consistent stories defined over the course of multiple hours or even multiple sessions of play.
This essay views gaming as a computational process.
Gaming is work, in the sense of effort over time. That work takes the form of processing the raw data – the set of possible stories applicable to the story’s premise. The players generate additional structure until a single story remains.
2.4 Game Material
The rules and setting for a game facilitate play by generating some of this structure in advance. In classic “Cops and Robbers,” it is traditionally difficult to determine whether one character has successfully shot another. The “nuh unh” factor obstructs simple methods of resolution. In many modern role-playing games, it is equally difficult to determine whether one character’s argument successfully convinces another; there is a similar “nuh unh” factor at work.
Exalted provides rules for combat and social situations. These allow impartial arbitration of a character’s success. Numeric character traits determine the base probability of success and dice rolls collapse that probability in practice. If the players can use these rules without contradicting their own ideas of genre, the rules structure the development of the story. They facilitate play because deciding between the stories of a character’s success and the stories of a character’s failure is quicker and less stressful.
In a similar fashion, descriptions of regions, people, cultures, and other setting details do some of a game’s storytelling work in advance.
2.5 Genre and Play Contract
The players’ ideas regarding the game and its genre also provide structure. In a game of Exalted, players generally commit to playing characters in an epic swords and sorcery saga. What this actually says about the story depends on the individual players in question, but it always says something, and it helps decide which way the story goes.
In a similar fashion players can facilitate play by making rules regarding how they’ll play the game. They may define one player as the Storyteller, whose authority on most game events is final, or decide aspects of the story they want to tell before play begins.
2.6 How Good Games Go Bad
There is a certain “natural length” for a set of events in a role-playing game. This is the time frame that maximizes the players’ fun and satisfaction.
If the game has too much structure, events will proceed too quickly. For example, if a player is interested in the resolution of an epic long-term conflict, and the game rules suggest resolving it with a single Long-Term Conflict roll, the player might not have fun.
If the game has too little structure, players have to spend large amounts of time resolving questions and events that don’t interest them. For example, in games like “Cops and Robbers,” arguing over whether a robber was successfully shot is not necessarily fun for all players involved.
In practice, most games have a tiered resolution system. The amount of structure scales up or down, depending on how much time the players want to spend. Exalted is one of a large class of games where the impact of a single roll varies and the number of situations played strictly by the book varies, based on the player group’s tastes.
In games like this, where the amount of structure is scalable, there are two common failure modes for the game.
In the first failure mode, something happens for which the game can’t provide scalable structure. In a game of Dungeons & Dragons modeled on Much Ado about Nothing, the rules are almost no help. They do not speak to the matter of who finds love with whom, or when. Similarly, in Exalted, the game provides no information on how to permanently destroy the setting’s most dangerous antagonists. To matchmake in Dungeons & Dragons, or kill a Deathlord in Exalted, the player group must have a strong and shared vision of the relevant genre. If they do, or if they want to spend a long time hashing out the relevant issues, there’s no problem. If they don’t, the necessary structure isn’t present and figuring out what happens takes too long.
In the second failure mode, the structure in the game contradicts itself. The available data actually eliminates all the possible stories. This is most common when the rules demand one resolution and the players’ expectations demand another – e.g., the rules make it clear that an antagonist can kill all the protagonists and that isn’t the story that the players want to tell.
This model focuses solely on the amount of effort gaming requires, with the presumption that this effort is fulfilling up to a point. Other factors are studied only as they manifest in this model – for instance, disputes between players increase the work of a game, while a shared sense of genre adds structure and reduces the amount of necessary work. The quality of the game experience is outside the model’s scope.
3. The Project
Exalted: The Fair Folk is set in the void beyond the world. This void is called the Wyld. It is a mystery. It is outside the world, outside traditional rules. It is not bound by the laws we know.
In the broader narrative of Exalted, stories of the Wyld are stories about impossible, indescribable places and things beyond the boundaries of the known. More important, they are stories about how more ordinary characters deal with those things. For this reason, the Wyld is “about” exploration, and spirituality, and mystery, and limitless possibility, and hope, and the recognition that people never know quite as much as they think they do.
Exalted: The Fair Folk is a game set in the same place as all the things you can’t quite make out in the corner of your eye. It’s about that place where words on the tip of your tongue live, where the ideas you’ll have tomorrow come from. It’s about knowing that no matter how much you know about the world, something could come from outside that world tomorrow and change everything.
In Exalted: The Fair Folk anything can happen, and almost everything does. This puts the game at large natural risk for each of the two failure modes.
To avoid the first failure mode, the game must provide significant structure for any describable event. If, for example, zombie philosophers burst from the soil and deconstruct the characters’ worldview – hoping, no doubt, to devour their dazed victims’ brains – the game’s rules must handle these events smoothly.
To avoid the second failure mode, the game’s structure must not conflict with the player group’s expectations for how such an event plays out, even though the game cannot isolate those expectations before publication. Some player groups may think of zombies as unstoppable horrors; others as the grist for dark comedy. The game’s model for the zombies must support the appropriate outcome in either case.
The approach taken in Exalted: The Fair Folk is to model in the setting the mechanisms by which the player group determines the story. The low-level physics provided for the Wyld focuses on providing layers of additional structure to support the storytelling process instead of providing meaning or data in advance.
4. Something from Nothing
In a session of Exalted: The Fair Folk, the players play out the story of events in an indescribable world – a world that is functionally a mystery, still a magical thing outside the normal bounds of reality and comprehension, even after a session of play.
To do this, players need a base assumption set about the world that allows sessions of play to occur.
These are the assumptions that Exalted: The Fair Folk assumes that the players will probably want to make:
For the purpose of play:
• Characters exist.
• Characters are distinct.
• Characters can act.
• Characters can interact.
• Characters have motivation for conflict.
• The concept of a setting exists.
• The concept of a story exists.
• Players each have a defined role in the process of storytelling.
• The setting is meaningfully “outside” the normal world.
• The setting is meaningfully “chaotic.”
• The setting is meaningfully “indescribable.”
• The setting has a meaningful “fairy tale feel.”
These tenets are the building blocks for an Exalted: The Fair Folk setting. To facilitate player agreement on these tenets, seven of them are listed explicitly in the book and the existence of other tenets is noted.
In addition, to give them more structural depth, these tenets are recognized explicitly as key concepts and assigned a large number of connotative qualities. The premise here is that a working vocabulary facilitates the construction of a mental model for the world. It helps determine which questions are worth asking, so that players can derive meaning from the answers. This technique is used repeatedly in Exalted: The Fair Folk.
Specifically, the tenets are described as shinma. They are anthropomorphized as beings, terrible god-monsters from whom the tenets’ existence flows.
One such shinma is Nirguna. The term is a Hindu word meaning “without attributes.” Nirguna defines existence. Through Nirguna, things exist. Insofar as things fail to exist, this is a failing of Nirguna.
Nirguna is also described as “the nothing and everything dream, the raw beating heart at the core of the Wyld.” It has aspects such as “Namadiksha, the gift of names” and “Neti Neti.” The first refers to the ceremony by which parents name a child. The second means “not this, not that,” and is an Upanisadic formula indicating through negation the undefinable nature of the universe.
Nirguna is written to keep players from worrying about why there is a “something” to exist in the Wyld at all. If they do not care, they may shrug and say, “Nirguna.” If they do care, the list of connotative meanings is a springboard for exploration of these matters.
Having established the existence of a world, it is useful to delimit the context of play. For the purposes of this essay, this refers to time and space.
Distance in the Wyld is mutable. The Wyld is inherently unmappable. This means that the book cannot provide a simple comprehensive atlas for the characters’ travels. Tactical movement is also complicated – it may, in one story, be reasonable to measure each step carefully and, in another, to travel in one jump from an earthbound plane to the distant sun.
However, the context of the Wyld is not entirely unapproachable. In telling a story that involves distance or time, the players must assign each event in the game world a rough time and place. Only the times and places where events happen are relevant to the story. These times and places are distinct only to the extent that the story differentiates between them. In short, distance and time exist only insofar as the players have information about them.
This frees Exalted: The Fair Folk to organize the spatial context into waypoints and journeys. Each waypoint is a place in which events happen. Characters can travel between the waypoints, taking journeys, but no real details are known. In short, unaccounted-for time during travel is spent on a journey, where the only meaning is that travel happened. Everything else happens in a waypoint.
This structure imposes no additional constraints on the Wyld itself. Waypoints can move in the Wyld and their physical size varies. At the same time, the waypoint structure creates a loose grid-like system for the Wyld that allows the players to think about questions of distance.
Similarly, Exalted: The Fair Folk organizes time in terms of scenes and stories. During scenes, events happen, with “downtime” between them. These scenes group naturally to form stories, delimiting a meaningful series of events.
6. Game Structure
Having defined the Wyld as a waypoint space abiding by certain tenets, the players need the following additional information to proceed to creating the story:
• Specific defined methodology for proposing new events and situations;
• Motivation for picking certain events over others;
• Resolution mechanisms for disputes regarding the story’s direction; and
• Ways to assess the story’s meaning in the broader context of the fictional world.
The method for shaping events in the Wyld is in-character action. Each player takes on the role of a character who is an agent of change in the void beyond the world.
Exalted: The Fair Folk defines its principal characters, the raksha or Fair Folk, to have the following key characteristics:
• They can shape reality to cause any event appropriate to the story to occur.
• They display apparent awareness, intelligence, and personhood.
• They are susceptible to tactical measures of performance and player evaluations of personality.
In theory, the latter two measures are subjective. One can therefore model any setting that allows the meaningful exploration of premises as including these creatures – for example, when a rock rolls down a hill, declaring, “a raksha caused that rock to roll down the hill,” or, “that rock was secretly a raksha that chose to roll down the hill.”
In practice, due to other design constraints, the raksha are not the perfectly abstract templates for action presented here.
In order to have a game, the raksha must prefer some events over others. This is a weak point in the Exalted: The Fair Folk rules. The set of motivations chosen is not an “ideal and minimal” set taken from the study of narrative, psychology, or game theory. Instead, the rules model four specific tactical rewards:
• Emotional advantage, specifically, weakening another raksha’s self-control;
• Authority and power, specifically, imposing obligations on other raksha;
• Control over resources, specifically, claiming the possessions of another raksha;
• Higher-level goals, specifically, achieving something that makes another raksha more vulnerable to manipulation of other sorts.
In general, players are driven to the tactical behavior that a system rewards. They also have a drive to tell the “correct” story. The game cannot predict the players’ concept of a correct story. Thus, to keep these two drives from conflicting, Exalted: The Fair Folk must separate tactical rewards from game events. The connections between the events in play and the tactical actions taken by the raksha are almost entirely descriptive. The only solid connection is that shaping “appropriate” events, that is, events that fit the descriptive templates provided, gives a bonus toward success on the tactical action. Thus, raksha seeking to earn one of the tactical rewards are drawn to a set of story types appropriate to the tactical reward.
6.3 Dispute Resolution
Exalted: The Fair Folk uses a turn-based system for shaping reality. This is a standard approach to resolving large-scale conflicts in role-playing games. Since it is difficult to reach consensus if the players all talk at once, their individual contributions to a conflict are studied in order, organized, and sequenced by the game’s initiative system – its rules for breaking larger goals into atomic actions, which the players take in sequence.
In practice, this seems to work well for Exalted: The Fair Folk but could benefit from a shift in focus. The rules on shaping reality assume that each raksha is telling a story of their own, and these stories interweave to form the larger whole. However, this makes the events of the game dependent on which raksha is shaping them at any given time. Future versions of Exalted: The Fair Folk would benefit from treating each raksha’s contribution as something closer to the corresponding player’s contribution – “story elements” or “narrative threads” or other things that rise temporarily to prominence within a larger story framework.
6.4 Integration with Creation
Exalted comes with an existing universe – Creation, the world shaped by the Primordials and inhabited by humans, spirits, and the eponymous Exalted. This is a highly structured world about which much is known. Creation and the Wyld regularly interact – not directly, but through the raksha visiting Creation or the people of Creation visiting the Wyld.
Previous material about Creation and Creation-Wyld interactions suggest that Creation is “more real” than the Wyld and its powerful figures “more powerful” than the raksha, but that the raksha were powerful enough to pose a threat to the world. In short, the raksha’s ability to overwrite reality should be a notable edge when facing Creation opposition – but not the overwhelming advantage that “the ability to overwrite reality” suggests.
To translate the effects of the raksha’s shaping into Creation terms, Exalted: The Fair Folk provides a palette of “naked” mechanical effects. “Naked” effects are game mechanics that have a meaning in the world but for which that meaning is not provided – such as the rules for magic in Sorcerer, where the same rules apply whether one’s power comes from inner demons, hermetic magic, or selling out to one’s corporate masters.
Specifically, when mortals find themselves opposing a raksha’s shaped reality, they suffer penalties to their dice pools (their probabilistic chances of success) and a reduction in Willpower – not the real-world concept of determination and skill but a system trait that shares some of its qualities. The events that cause these penalties, and what they mean at the time, are not specified. They are simply structure that helps measure the overall impact of the raksha’s shaping.
Current feedback suggests that providing structure with the connotative meanings of existing mechanics (dice pools and Willpower) is not as useful to players as creating setting-based connotation such as the shinma. Players are more likely to look for an existing, defined meaning for game mechanics and more willing to impose their own meanings on setting material.
Exalted: The Fair Folk attempts to model in its Wyld the meaning of “this is a world in which sessions of a role-playing game take place.” This concept turns out to have substantial intrinsic and explicit meaning that a game can exploit to facilitate play. In creating a structure to support these meanings, Exalted: The Fair Folk replaces an essentially unplayable premise – “you are entities in a place where anything can happen, and nothing means anything” – with a game of competitive storytelling that players describe as difficult to fully wrap their heads around but rewarding to play.
7.1 Directions for Future Work
In the course of a role-playing game session, players use the existing structure of the game world to generate new information. Understanding this process falls within the domain of epistemology (what does it mean to know something about the game world?) and information theory (what does it mean to derive new information from existing structure?). It is the author’s conclusion that it is possible to go significantly further in developing a formal language for studying this process in a rigorous fashion, and that this would facilitate more efficient role-playing game design. (Source: Electronic Book Review)