I Will Not Abandon Y’all

February 3, 2009

Yes, that’s the plural form of “I Will Not Abandon You,” unless you’re from NY/NJ and it’s “I Will Not Abandon Youse.” Eric and I were chatting about how IWNAY is implemented pretty differently outside of the normal Nar / Jeep / immersion / high drama contexts that you normally see it discussed in. For example:

  • In an IWNAY Nar context, I might turn to Eric and say, “Okay, so we should probably play out the scene in which we smother the baby,” and Eric has to be there for me and support me through doing that scene;
  • In an IWNAY Gam context, if Eric is staying near the back of the battle map where I can’t get him and throwing javelins at me over and over again, it’s my job to figure out a way to stop him, not to whine that it’s “not fair” or quit in protest; and
  • In a IWNAY Sim context, if the group arrives in the same farmstead that we visited 23 sessions ago, I should pull out the same map that we used them, with a few small changes illustrating that, say, the wheat has been harvested and the chaff has been bound into bundles, and the pig isn’t here because he’s been slaughtered and smoked for the winter.

To do otherwise is to betray your companions and the IWNAY social contract. It also points, I think to the dramatic differences that can exist within a single one of Ron’s creative agendas. John Harper may have written Agon, but is he ready to play it IWNAY Gam style with Eric? Probably not.

10 Responses to “I Will Not Abandon Y’all”

  1. John Harper Says:

    Yeah, cool.

    As long as we’re Exploring first and foremost, of course (ie. Saying Cool Things About Stuff — Setting, Character, System, Situation, Color). If we’re exploring first and then we also don’t abandon… it’s all good. I’ll even play with Eric.

    [The fact that I think Eric is not exploring first and foremost is another issue entirely]

  2. Eric Says:

    I enjoy being an iconic representative of a playstyle.

  3. Jonathan Walton Says:

    John: On the way home, I’ve been trying to think about your suspicion that Eric’s play is “not exploration” and it’s turned into another post which I’m going to throw up shortly. It’s a bit too lengthy to be a comment.

    I apologize for calling you out in the last post. It wasn’t meant as a challenge to your open-mindedness, just the most handy example I could think of, considering how you and Eric have bumped internet heads before, despite both loving Agon.

    Eric: You make a good edge case for which to test theories against. It’s like being absolute zero or adamantium.

  4. John Harper Says:

    No challenge inferred. I always enjoy being an example.

    I love the idea of Eric as the RPG-theory absolute zero.

  5. John Harper Says:

    Oh, and just to be totally clear:
    My suspicion of Eric’s play (or my imagined idea of it, really) is that it’s not primarily exploration. Of course, exploration is going on to some degree, since an RPG is being played.

  6. eben Says:

    I feel compelled to point out that Eric’s play style, much as it is effectively iconic for the sake of discussion, is not fixed for all games. While I concur that it is not primarily exploration in a game like Agon, where the number of mini-games available to him is relatively high, in a game like the Mountain Witch it may tend towards exploration… if only to create mini-games which may or may not have previously existed in the game text and thus achieve optimal Eric-style gameplay.

    Possibly the thought I am having is too cluttered, and I should take a whack at restating it sometime.


  7. Response posted!

    Eben: I’d be interested if you think Eric’s invention of non-existent mini-games is covered by what I describe in the post. Maybe? Maybe not, though.

  8. Guy Shalev Says:

    Erm, isn’t the plural form still “I will not abandon you”? 😛

  9. violet Says:

    “I will not abandon alls y’all,” is, I believe, the correct form.

    I wanted to ping this (a month late…) just because it resonates with some of what we’re doing in Touch with IWNAY/Nar, and specifically, how little asserting IWNAY actually gets you, and even more specifically, how pathological IWNAY can create abusive dynamics.

    Also, unrelatedly: How is your IWNAY/Sim example, um, an example of that? Who in that exchange is in danger of abandoning anyone else?


  10. Ashi: In the Sim example, I’m thinking of situations where the reincorperation isn’t particularly strong as places where the group might be abandoned. For example, if the players return to the same farm and the GM doesn’t really remember what it was like and describes it being different, the players’ sense of being in a real place will be damaged. Like, “I thought the farmer had 3 sons, not 2. And the youngest one’s name was Jacob, not Seth.”


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