Topic: OOC: Transparency

Lately, I've been wondering if the current philosophy of non-transparency (the player knows only what the character knows) is doing more harm than good. Thus, I'm asking your opinion on the following: instead of having all the secret stuff going on around the different chats, everybody can see anything in that happens in the game (to other PCs).

The pros of this kind of transparency would include:

1) Less player boredom caused by the GM spending his time on someone else's plot. Watching other players in action can be entertaining.

2) The players get a more complete understanding of the game world, as they get descriptions of things their characters might know but that have just not come up in their own plotlines. For example one PC meeting a central NPC everybody would at least have heard about. This would also make it unnecessary for the GM to redo all of the descriptions to everyone individually.

3) It would be easier for the players to get involved in each other's storylines if they knew what they are. Right now the players are very separated, working on things alone, or in pairs at best. It's hard for the GM to orchestrate them to interact.

The cons of this arrangement would include:

1) Loss of wonder and surprise.

2) Someone might use OOC information IC (or be accused of doing so). In my experience from Seed, it's relatively easy to stonewall simple factual knowledge, but impressions are harder. If you get a certain kind of an image of an NPC's personality, for instance, by watching someone else's interaction with him/her, it may be hard to know if your character would have got the same kind of impression. For example, someone may be a schemer and admit it to their friends, but not anyone else. But if you OOCly listen to the conversation between that person and his/her friend, it might be difficult to not consider him/her a schemer later.

Everyone, please tell me your opinion on this.

Re: OOC: Transparency

Con 3: Only knowing what your character knows is more immersive/realistic.

You know my view of that. It is personal, infact many, if not most RP'ers, if nothing else, then for convenience, prefer som degree of transparancy, so that they can know what is going on and enjoy other people's RP even if they are not there.

To me, that takes away most of the RP enjoyment. For me, RP is being your char, and only your char, slowly getting into the char, seeing the world as he or she sees it, reacting realistically and unbiased based on that, and being surprised and delighted at what others are doing when/if you figure it out.

Knowing without doubt that someone is a traitor without your char knowing for example, is not so much a problem in regards to cheating, as it is in regards to immersion and being sure your char is not influenced by this knowledge. Yes, you might be able to have your char react totally unbiased and without trying to get your char to look for holes in the traitor's story, because YOU know he is, but.. That's not fun, that's artificial, harder, non-immersive, to me. I want the surprise, the interaction, slowly getting to know other characters, not being sure what happens, trying to launch probes into the dark as it were. Just as all humans do. RP for me is RP'ing a char completely. It is not knowing the whole story or like reading a book. It is participation, unbiased, uninfluenced participation, where you slowly build up things, being sure there is no artificial reactions involved, and being sure that you are delighted at what your fellow players do and the chars they play.

For me, that simply requires non-transparancy, everything else is less RP for me, more artificial, less fun. The exception to that are simple, contained, narrativistic campaigns, where focus is not on character interaction/surprises, but more on the GM telling a story, railroading to a certain extent, and without focus on the players as such. But StSC is a big, ongoing thing by comparison. I would not like transparancy there. Or, more concretely, I wouldn't like getting to know things myself, but I don't mind if others know everything about all who agree on transparancy being best for them. I just don't want my char to participate in that, because that would seriously lessen my RP enjoyment, and the point of RP'ing.

That's my personal view and preference, I'm not going to force it down on others of course smile

Re: OOC: Transparency

Of course, a middle ground solution could be that you can listen in the everyday common, non-secret stuff, but when the PC goes to do something where secrecy really matters (like comes up with a scheme), you go to secret mode.

Re: OOC: Transparency

Which would also reveal to everyone that something secret was happening wink

Re: OOC: Transparency

Well, I don't know what my character knows now, and in the opposite direction. All kinds of stuff I should probably know IC, I have no idea of. I don't like it.

I'm all for optional transparency.

I'd go on transparent by default, for instance, and I could always tell the GM when I feel I shouldn't be in a certain scene, right?

"Do not follow! The milk is not ready, and you are not ready for the milk!"
-Psychonauts: Milkman Conspiracy area

Re: OOC: Transparency

Darkhawk wrote:

Which would also reveal to everyone that something secret was happening.

It would not, if handled with care. In chat RP we don't need to take you to the other room. We can simply start a secret scene on a private channel and nobody will know about it.

Others, any comments?

Re: OOC: Transparency

I'm against transparency as default, though there are some things that could be said on the general channel, so the others get some idea of what's happening to the others.

For example,  say a PC is doing something in the Canyon, then the PC would say it in the general channel, or if working on a certain project that's not secret, then saying that also. Having a rumor channel would be okay too, and the player made content can improve things a bit, if we have situations, that require more then one PC. Also, if we could hear rumors from NPCs during the session without playing out the whole conversation with them would be nice.
Edit: right, Krygerofe already suggested this... :oops:

Anyway, I'm against total transparency, but we can agree on something that's okay for everyone.

Last edited by dustman (2007-08-13 10:14:42)

Re: OOC: Transparency

Considering that we skip days of time, transparecy to some extent would be good.  In those days our characters are sure to meet and exchange news.  This would be rather tedious and maybe even boresome to play out - having the not-so-secret scenes transparent allows this news-spreading to happen for free.  It might even outweight the fact that you get to know some things your character wouldn't.  I don't think blocking out OOC-knowledge would be a problem for me anyway.

As for how to implement transparency, I could add an extra flag for that to scenes.  If set on scene creation, it would take all players in as watchers.  They couldn't say anything on the scene until the GM /enters them, preventing interruptions from non-present characters.