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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 10:23 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:32 pm
Posts: 23
I think the biggest thing here is this is an rpg, NOT a shard or what have you. While it seems silly to mention it, there's different underlying assumptions in play. While you might try to do the best to stick to canon (or not, depending on your preferences!) you don't NEED to. In fact, there's no way to really enforce most of it.
It's assumed in an rpg that each campaign is for the most part self-contained and independent of any supposed continuity. While you CAN work within a given external one, at some point you're gonna have to snap things free to go your own path, unless you want to railroad it. There's a lot less worry in a static setting like Mystverse, assuming you try after things wrapped up, but at some point unless you habitually avoid all characters known you're gonna hit the thing again.

It's your own game. Canon is what you declare it. The fundamentals shouldn't change, although to be fair they already did. Trap books may or may not work depending, Gehn may have been right, and Wingrovianisms may actually be truth. Even Uru wasn't right on this, as noted. The result is ignore the whole strict adherence to 'canon' like it was a holy tract, and go your own way. Stay as close as you want, but don't feel beholden to follow it. If you want to have Yeesha lose an eye in a fight with an alternate Grower (Kadish!) then go for it. If you have players who suddenly say "Well that never happened, that's not in canon!" then say "Oh, sorry, you're not in canon either, so you don't exist. Bye!" because you don't need them. It's YOUR story at that point. It has no bearing on other settings by others playing Unwritten, the same way it has no bearing on anything Cyan does.

Now, if this somehow takes off enough to come up with a "Continuing Unwritten Adventures" thing (which would be madness to keep track of in a more freeform game like this, but still possible) that may change, but as it goes, it's assumed you're in alternate canon by existence, and you should embrace that fact.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Thu Nov 07, 2013 11:55 pm 

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:36 am
Posts: 41
J'Kla wrote:
Zander wrote:
(assuming I manage to find some players round here)


Where is here for you?


West Wiltshire.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 2:41 am 

Joined: Wed Aug 14, 2013 2:12 am
Posts: 157
Gondar wrote:
It's your own game. Canon is what you declare it.


I originally had a really elaborate pun/metaphor here for canon being just the standard issue weapon for taking shots in the dark, but it became too tortured and had to be put out of its misery.

So, yeah, I'll just highlight this particular quote of Gondar's and say that Unwritten isn't about canon - it's about possibilities.

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Scott L Hamilton
(BladeLakem and J.D. Barnes in Myst Online)
Unwritten designer and rules monkey

Unwritten RPG G+ Community: https://plus.google.com/communities/105 ... 0139147797


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 6:58 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:10 am
Posts: 5
As I mentioned before, I'm mainly looking at canon as a resource. Having read the books and played the games, and with a decent knowledge of Fate-hacking, I could theoretically go ahead and run a Myst RPG without Unwritten (which may be more or less recognizably Myst, depending on my memory and your point of view)... but I'd be doing all the work myself (the same goes for any setting with any game, in principle). Thus, I would be looking to Unwritten primarily as a resource to make this easier.

Given that, the reason I asked the initial question is that Myst, to me, is the setting found in the books and the first few games; Uru and EoA felt decidedly un-Myst-like (and I know there are many who feel the opposite, which is why I'll call this out as nothing more than a personal preference). Thus, the easier Unwritten (and its supplements) makes it for me to run a game in that variant of the setting, the more valuable of a resource it is to me. Thus, while I realize that, by default, it will be written to support those who wish to run a MOUL-esque game, I would love it to provide enough to make it equally as good of a resource to people like me.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Fri Nov 08, 2013 12:38 pm 

Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2013 1:20 pm
Posts: 5
PlasmaPhoenix wrote:
Given that, the reason I asked the initial question is that Myst, to me, is the setting found in the books and the first few games; Uru and EoA felt decidedly un-Myst-like (and I know there are many who feel the opposite, which is why I'll call this out as nothing more than a personal preference).

Bless the Maker, I'm not the only one. :o


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Sat Nov 09, 2013 8:59 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:32 pm
Posts: 23
I suspect part of the difference of the two sets of games (1-4 vs Uru/EoA) is they're sort of different focuses. The first 4 games are about Atrus and company, directly about his family and the ages he (and other direct family) wrote, and it's more of a mystery about what's going on and how do you fix things and stop the big bad, whomever that is this time. In Uru/EoA.. it's already done. The mystery ended long ago, and we're finding the remnants. We're piecing together the history, but things already happened. The focus is more on everyone and everything that comes later.. Yeesha, the Bahro, the whole struggles with them. (Sure they came before, but they were really introduced in the incarnations of Uru, and then brought up in EoA)

I suspect that's also your whole issue, why they feel different. The four games are just that, they're a game each and have their own internal canon, give or take (trap books! :P ) but Uru was meant to be more of a setting and story laid out, with some puzzles to the side, and thus not as focused. Personally I like the setting of Uru, and as noted I'd be interested in a game using it (heck, Uru itself was run kind of like a very open story RPG with Cyan being a bit of a railroady GM). However I can perfectly understand wanting more of the feel of the games, because they're focused more on the narrative than the setting, and that's great for a game too. That is the fun of using an RPG, canon is what you decide it is. You might have to make a little up to fit it in something more like the games, but the important thing is to have enough D'ni history etc so you can add on from them.
Personally I think a thing set during the heyday of the D'ni empire would be the same... inter-personal conflicts! Class warfare! Intrigue and politics! Ages galore, and possibly even a few bootleg books hidden by a small secretive conspiracy with no connection to the maintainers! The perfect place to dump your group of D'ni Troubleshooters into! :D


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Sun Nov 10, 2013 2:11 am 

Joined: Mon Nov 04, 2013 10:10 am
Posts: 5
I may be at risk of derailing my own thread here, but I think this thought is relevant to what I'm trying to describe, so I'll just once again prefix it by saying that what follows should be taken as nothing more than my opinion and personal preference.

For me, there were two big things that made Myst Myst that Uru and EoA lost. The first was, to blatantly steal the tagline from The Shadow of Yesterday, the fact that it had "no gods; no monsters; only people". However else the world was different, we were dealing with what were otherwise normal men and women with their own desires and foibles, and I feel that gave it a lot of its meaning and power. I won't delve into this part too much, though, because it's the easiest to fix - I can happily simply ignore the "god" and the "monsters" introduced by Uru and be on my merry way, as long as they aren't so intertwined with the history as to make this difficult.

The second was that, while they were different from the world we know, the world of Myst had fairly consistent internal rules, and much of the story was built around discovering, understanding, and working within these rules. Even the aesthetic, with its odd mix of antiquated technology and super-advanced science, made a strange sort of sense when viewed from the lens of a people developing in a world with different, yet coherent laws. Uru and EoA, on the other hand, discarded these rules as they pleased - and not even in an evolutionary manner, but in a "these rules only existed because people were too afraid to look at them" manner.

Now, I think the solution BladeLakem implied is an excellent one - categorizing these out by time period. For example, if there was a section about playing during the height of D'ni or soon after its fall, it could have a subsection indicating that, during that time period, the Bahro are unknown, it is impossible to link within the same Age, linking books are left in the Age where they're used, etc. (maybe with a note presenting the possibility that the surface near D'ni is a desert with native camels nearby the trading city of Tadjinar which is part of a larger Empire, etc. ;) ). This would provide enough information for anyone who wanted to extrapolate those rules to be the "truth" of the setting, while presenting them in a way which doesn't otherwise interfere with what comes later.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:11 pm 

Joined: Tue Oct 08, 2013 10:23 pm
Posts: 5
When it comes to canon especially in regards to rpgs I find the best choice is always to lay out all possible options. I grew up with the games and Uru, but never found the books so I am lacking in my knowledge of the canon.
What will help new players and GMs is to see a list of the different canons or 'versions' with a short explanation of why they are different and what ones have compared to the other. That way if GMs want to stay as close to canon as possible while still making trap books a big plot element, they will understand how to do that.

Where was this 'divergence' in the Canon exactly?

We have the D'Ni civilization rise and fall
Then the time after that focused on Atrus's family tree.
Then the time of the stranger who found the Myst linking book
Then the discovery of D'ni and its exploration by the DRC, which included the Bahro stuff and the Grower stuff.

If we can make it a simple flow chart that would be handy.


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Wed Nov 13, 2013 10:25 pm 

Joined: Thu Oct 10, 2013 10:32 pm
Posts: 23
The best thing about most of the rules is that they're sensible. The only thing even close to magic is the Grower and maybe the Bahro. The former is a plot device, the latter are alien and unknown in details.
The result is as a general rule, standard laws apply, with the caveats we know of. PHysics as far as we know applies, there are inherent rules to things, and most of the uncertainty is tiny level, or large level due to emergent chaotic complexity of a self-interacting system. If pulling the lever summons an elevator, pulling the lever will summon the elevator, unless of course the elevator is there or the mechanism breaks. It doesn't spontaneously call Willy Wonka's great glass elevator.

The big thing about the Bahro is that they may well apply to similar standards to the D'ni. They do vanish for a while when they link inside an age.. it's not teleporting. They visibly link out.. then link in in another spot. You can do the same with standard D'ni rules with two books. You link out to a 'hub' world, then the book you want is there and you link in. From the observer in the one age, you 'teleported'. The only change with the bahro is they can free-link, so they don't need the books, but it's very feasible they have to slingshot through another age to reach another point. Admittedly it's a hell of an evolutionary adaptation. At that point you are an apex creature and don't give a whit about predators, and prey is dead assuming the delay to re-link isn't long enough for it to get too far. I'm fine with bahro fitting in.. they're 'classical D'ni' creatures. The only holdup is we don't understand them, but that's a matter of xenopsychology and xenosociology. They aren't alien or beasts, just not understood.

The Grower.. is the exception. That's the part that irritated me about the whole Uru saga (not EoA, she doesn't do anything in that game), is that half of the stuff runs on Deus Ex Yeeshina. She snaps any of the rules of linking in twain, but worse than that she can apparently snap linear time up.. and once you introduce that into any sort of fiction, you'd BETTER have a reasonable well thought-out way for it to work. As soon as you add time travel to any story, your complexity of a coherent plot escalates by a exponential factor of n. You have the entire past and future, AND any effects made by both, and the present. And suddenly you get the feeling you shouldn't have done that. Add in the fact that we KNOW there's some sort of 'instancing' to Ages, including the people within, and you realize there's either a maddeningly ad-hoc set of universal rules to why you don't bump into 'other' explorers, or it's all fiction and has no internal consistency that it can follow. Cyan I think didn't think it out fully. Time travel can be 'fixed' with instancing, but instancing itself is screwy, and being able to pick it like Yeesha does is where it all falls apart.

Of course, the alternative is Gehn was right, and you DO create an age, and alter it, except it's always the "best fit" age. When you create dramatic changes to an age, it's enough to jump the best fit instead of just changing the age itself, and that new age is created and old one destroyed.


Phew. Uhm. I'm fully with PlasmaPhoenix... Myst had sensible rules, it's when Uru came about and mucked with them that everything fell apart. The biggest problem is supposedly the same rules apply the whole span across everything... but the best part I figure is the GM can (and should) heavily confine the setting to a given subset of those rules, like the games did. If the player asks how instancing works in your universe, you reply "Instancing? What's that? You don't know of any 'instancing' and haven't seen any proof that anything so weird would exist."

(In any in-game guide and such, I think as long as you avoid too much on both instancing and Grower-voodoo you're fine, letting the GM decide details and going from there. The bahro are perfectly fine, we don't know much anyways, and they work under classical rules.)


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 Post subject: Re: Alternate canon
PostPosted: Thu Nov 14, 2013 12:12 am 

Joined: Thu Aug 15, 2013 9:36 am
Posts: 41
Gondar wrote:
Of course, the alternative is Gehn was right, and you DO create an age, and alter it, except it's always the "best fit" age. When you create dramatic changes to an age, it's enough to jump the best fit instead of just changing the age itself, and that new age is created and old one destroyed.


Bingo.


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