RPG Theory Glossary: D

Death Spiral
Mechanics which have positive feedback. More specifically, this refers to wound mechanics which give a penalty to all combat rolls. This means that once wounded, a character is more likely to be wounded again, and soon there is an inexorable progression to defeat.
Techniques for Action Pacing in RPGs
Gamism: Step on Up
A term coined by Paul Czege on The Forge, meaning to limit or devalue another person's opportunity to establish their character as a protagonist during Narrativist play. This is specific to Paul's use of Protagonism strictly in the limited Narrativist context.
Is Director Stance Real?
not functionally equivalent to handling a protagonist
Short for Drama, Karma, and Fortune, as originally presented in the game Everway by Jonathan Tweet, and adopted by Ron Edwards in his GNS theory. The terms refer to the resolution mechanics of a given game, which may include any combination or blending of the three. Drama is deciding on the basis of what makes the best story. Fortune is deciding on the basis of a randomizer. Karma is deciding based on the defined character abilities and difficulty.
System Does Matter
Diceless play
Literally, play without dice. However, this most commonly is used to mean play without any sort of randomizer -- including cards, spinners, or rock-paper-scissors.
Dice and Diceless: One Designer's Radical Opinion
The fictional reality being portrayed by the game. A term from film and narrative theory borrowed by Nordic role-playing theory. It is discussed extensively in "Beyond Role and Play". This is essentially the same as the Forge term Shared Imaginary Space.
As Larp Grows Up
Beyond Role and Play
Director Stance
Originally from Kevin Hardwick's Narrative Stance Model , later adopted by Ron Edwards as just Stance. The original included any thinking parallel to a film director, while Edwards separated Author and Director as separate stances. In the latter, Director stance means the player determines things beyond character actions based on meta-game priorities -- i.e. action separate from the character's knowledge or ability to influence events. The player thus determines context, timing, and spatial circumstances of those actions, or even features of the world separate from the characters. Director Stance is often confused with narration of an in-game event, but the two concepts are not necessarily related.
A term from the rgfa Threefold Model. It is defined as the style which values how well the in-game action creates a satisfying storyline. Different kinds of stories may be viewed as satisfying, depending on individual tastes, varying from fanciful pulp action to believable character drama. It is the end result of the story which is important. However, on The Forge it came to represent only a subset where the story was directed by the GM -- distinct from Narrativism. In GNS theory, it is considered a problematic term and not included in later discussions.
The Threefold Model
Dramatism, what is it?
The Dream
Within Ron Edwards' GNS theory, the characteristic phrase of GNS Simulationism. It is defined as "commitment to the imagined events of play, specifically in-game cause and pre-established thematic elements".
Simulationism: The Right to Dream
What is the Dream?
Within Ron Edwards' GNS theory, movement from one GNS mode to another during the course of play, which involves changing or ignoring of the game and rules as written. It can be relatively simple, as in the case of Abashed design. However, it is distinct from Transition which is change GNS mode using rules which are designed for that purpose.
GNS and Other Matters of Role-playing Theory
Simulationism: The Right to Dream
Common Forge term, meaning simply role-playing which is not fun.

John H. Kim <jhkim@darkshire.net>
Last modified: Tue Mar 18 15:19:07 2008