Whoa, you found this post? Welcome to the backwoods of the Goodman Games Forum. *passes the Deet*
At the risk of going unnoticed (a wish fulfilled for many), I'm posting here to discuss something that has only come to my attention as a fully-formed idea fairly recently.
For some folks, the game system is the story.
For myself, I think I'm fairly adept at thinking of the PCs and what happens to them as a narrative which is pretty much completely separate (though naturally parallel to) the game system being played. But it has become clear to me, that I'm not simply observing people construe a narrative differently, the way one might parse a bit of poetry differently from someone else. No, some gamers think of the mechanics of the game as being how the characters themselves understand their world. And this is not simply a 'narrative-light' style of play, I'm talking about.
Here's one example that should make what I'm talking about clear: Spell slots. Any of us playing D&D or it's variants have had to deal with these in some degree. A spell-slinging character only has so many spells to sling in a day. For me, translating the action at the table into a narrative in my head, the wizard is not thinking about spell slots ("I only know so much -- today!"), but probably is thinking about something more like 'spell-fatigue' ("Whew! This has been a lot of arcane energy to wield!"). The mechanics inform the narrative, but the mechanics aren't the narrative. But for others, their wizard might be out-and-out saying things like "I only have two spells left, guys!".
Another example I just observed: Here in the forum in the DCC Playtest Magic section, in the "Limiting" Corruption thread, one member said they'd gladly dabble in magic while another countered with a query of "With a 5% corruption chance, you'd have to be crazy". Which points at the same Game-vs.-Story question: In the narrative of a DCC RPG game, do the characters know they have a 5% chance of corruption, or do they just vaguely know that, long-term, using magic will eat you up? If the former, then yes, getting involved in magic is crazy; if the latter, getting involved with magic is rolling the dice...
I'm not saying one style is right and the other wrong. And I certainly suppose there are all the possible shadings of these Game-vs.-Story elements. I just thought it might be interesting to discuss...
Gnome Boy (a.k.a. "Jon") • DCC play-tester @ DDC 35, Feb 2011. • Beta DL 2111, 7:00 AM PT, 8 June 11.
Playing RPGs since 1977 • Quasi-occasional member of the Legion of 8th-Level Fighters - Holds the power to play gnomes at will!
Here Be DCC Monsters...
General Yoros, Warrior, Str 13, Agl 8 (10), Stm 17, Per 13, Int 11, Lck 8; Law, HP 39, AC 17, R+2, F+4, W+2, band/shld, warhammer, longsword, longbow, pitchfork
Han Dee, (Weaver) Neutral Thief, Str 10, Agi 13, Stm 11, Per 11, Int 15, Lck 14, AC 13 (Leather), HP 25, Luck Die d6, Backstab 3, Sneak Silently 10, Hide In Shadows 9, Pick Pocket 10, Climb Sheer 10, Pick Lock 9, Find Trap 9, Disable Trap 9, Forge Doc 10, Disguise 3, Read Lang 5, Handle Poison 3, Cast Scroll d14+2, birth augur (Born under the loom) +1 to all skill checks (including thief skills), Banepicks (auto pick lock/disable trap, but lose 1d3 random ability loss, if a 3 then 1 pt is perm)