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redeemer_47

Illusory Agency in Vampire: The Masquerade – Bloodlines

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When I was researching for my campaign, I stumbled upon a very interesting study about the V:tMB and in the general sense, all the rpgs. Two scholars named Esther MacCallum-Stewart and Justin Parsler have an interesting views on the illusory agencies that effect the perception of game worlds with the model of the Troika's vampire game.

I must warn you: Reading this is seeing the rpgs in the POV of the psychologists or game designers and it may spoil the suspension of disbelief and for there are spoilers of the said game. If you want a deeper view in rpgs, feel free to read.

http://www.dichtung-...art_parsler.htm

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Curator

Seriously, this won't spoil anything. They focused on the computer roleplaying game and its somewhat limited play, and they really didn't examine how tabletop is as different from video games as rhe video games are different from poker or ludo.

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Seriously, this won't spoil anything. They focused on the computer roleplaying game and its somewhat limited play, and they really didn't examine how tabletop is as different from video games as rhe video games are different from poker or ludo.

Hehe, when I read theories about fantastical things I lose the magic for a time and it's kinda sucks. :D Like knowing the trick beforehand about a magic show.

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Donor

Well this is interesting.

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Guest Jeebers

Gotta question. What happens if this "Illusory Agency" fails? From the start when I was playing the game, I discovered that certain abilities were relatively irrelevant. For example, Intimidation doesn't typically help much, it's Persuasion and to a lesser extent Seduction that gets you through the game's social hoops. And, I learned that spending xp on Disciplines are relatively speaking a bad idea in the beginning of the game, in fact I spent the most xp on them in the very last bits of the story. What I ended up spending on was Wits and Dodge to negate aggravated damage throughout the game, along with Obfuscate or Presence if I had them to get past the Museum without killing. Auspex? Not until the end when I had already maxed out my Defense and Firearms. Potence? Not until I had maxed out my melee or brawl. Why? Disciplines cost blood, Abilities don't, and are always on.

Those fancy Disciplines for the most part I ignored, and so they didn't con me into thinking I was important because I was supernatural. Moreover, I would routinely try to find ways to get the outcome of a given confrontation, be it social or physical, to come out the way I wanted it to, only to discover that my desire for independence would be constantly negated by Storyteller (the video game's programming) fiat.

Thus, "Illusory Agency" failed utterly. I wanted to find a way to disagree with the first Nosferatu my character met, instead wanting AT LEAST a payment for killing the Kuei-jin spy, but all I could do was rain on the ghoul Knox's parade by telling his owner that I had figured him out. I still would get nothing but XP for doing the Nossie's dirty work for him, and that just plain stuck in my craw. I don't like being conned, and I suspect most players feel the same way. Not doing the task of killing the Cathayan for free only meant that I wouldn't get any XP, and the Cathayan could do as it pleased (although that wouldn't be much given how the game was programmed).

It's a nice theory, but it fails in execution. And routinely, both I and my friends would see through the multiple choices, knowing that in reality we didn't have a choice. I definitely agree with their point on Humanity in the game, though.

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