Hamsterprophecy: Prevision

It\’s All About Pen, Paper and People.

Push/Pull….?

Posted by Nathan P. on May 24, 2006

I don’t find the push/pull conversation particularly interesting. This fact is starting to bug me, as it seems like a ton of the designers that I like & respect are getting very excited by it. So, either:

1. I don’t get it, and haven’t yet found an explanation that connects to my feeble brain.
2. I totally get it because it’s part of how I play and think about RPGs anyway, so it’s like reading discussions about how, say, plays and films are like TOTALLY DIFFERENT man, WHOA!
3. I think I get it, but I think that it’s basically reformulating the basic process of roleplay, which is something I’m a little burned out on thinking about.

Number 1 just means that I’ll eventually stumble across something that’ll make it click. Number 2 means that hey, cool, now I have some new words to communicate with. Number 3, though – well, let me take a quick stab at #3.

To recap: the dynamic process of roleplay is that of collaborative creation mediated through the exploration of a fictional space. The players are audience/participants of this exploration, with each individual exploration “pendulum” swinging back and forth from audience to participant depending on the specific makeup of the fictional space.

Now, according to Mo,

Push is an assertion of individual authority.

Pull is a directed solicitation for collaborative buy-in and input.

Push and Pull slot in really nicely, actually – its the different ways that a/p’s move the pendulum of exploration! When you are on the participant end, you can Push the pendulum of others either way (audience participant). You can also Pull the pendulum of others from audience to participant, but I’m not sure you can really Pull from participant to audience (audience –> participant).

Very simple play examples!

[Push A–>P] I am a wizard in D&D. I use my Charm spell on another players character, who now roleplays his characters attraction to mine.

[Push P–>A] I am a wizard in D&D. I use my Lightning Bolt spell on another players character, who fails his save and takes enough damage to take him out of the fight. He has to wait until he gets healed or the fight is over to get back into the game.

[Pull A–>P] I am a wizard in D&D. I raise my arms and threaten another players character with magical death unless he does what I want.

[Pull P–>A] I’m not sure about this one. Maybe something like spending plot points to put myself in someone else’s scene, but I think thats more of a Push. Some help here?

So if I’m totally mangling Push/Pull (#1!), lemme know.

2 Responses to “Push/Pull….?”

  1. Bankuei said

    Hi Nathan,

    The line between audience and participant is close- because the core issue in P/P is how you participate. Push is how one person participates and inputs to the group, Pull is about getting two or more people to participate and input to the group.

    Push, you participate. Pull, you ask someone else to participate with you.

  2. Nathan P. said

    Right. The audience-participant spectrum is pretty narrow.

    I guess the interesting thing to me is, everyone’s all over the place at all times on the A-P spectrum. So you can be Pushing with other people who are Pushing, or people who are audience, or people who are Pulling, or whatever. It’s a synthetic thang.

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