Ancestral history, Quantum or Otherwise.

I hardly think I need continue. This perhaps will be the last.

What am I talking about?

Let's start with this.

Reddit is a cesspool. Let me be clear.

I like this one subreddit, it's called legaladvice. You aren't allowed to post ignorant shit. There was a post, 300 comments, 16 approved.

5% of comments contained true information, that's pertinent. This actually means  284 people were engaged enough with the topic to post inaccurate, illegal, and ignorant comments—even though they know that posts are deleted if they aren't factual. . . . or legal. Right? It's in the name!

They have to think their comments are correct or they possess a vested interest in yelling into the void. That's what's in reddit—the popular opinion. It is literally an eidolon, a manifest spectre of mediocrity and blind devotion to the whims of the masses, facts or nuance be damned. 

So, guess what I found on reddit the other day?
What's your hot take on "the Quantum Ogre" technique?
Alright you bungling loudly croaking magpies, let's do this.

Am I doing this? Let's find out!

The post contents:
Do you employ it [Ed:the Quantum Ogre] in your games as a DM? Do you enjoy or dislike it's use as a player?


Already my blood pressure is going up.

What we have here is an ignorant misunderstanding. A quantum ogre is a magician's switch—a tool used to make someone feel they have a choice, when they do not. See here.

Let's be crystal clear. Both are completely fine in a roleplaying game. You can decide things, and/or you can let players decide things.

I cannot find any utility for deciding something, but pretending to give players a choice. It's a game, literally founded upon socratic debate! The whole point is choices matter—it's not a video game, due to tactical infinity, you can have choices actually matter. But—I digress. Let me begin the shit-talking.


The Present


There is no shit talking. (Well, there's gonna be a little shit-talking)

The top comment is this:

The argument against QOs is that it's bad to take away choice from the players. I would argue that it's only bad to take away informed choice. If the players gather information on ogres, look for tracks, etc. and come to the conclusion that the ogre must be down the left path, the ogre has to stay where I planned. However, if they just select the left path at random, I don't feel like changing the ogre's position takes anything away from them

That's what's on reddit. The popular opinion. That's u/ParsleyForJehovah, who I don't know, and who knows. He understands the issue.

Here's a rocking socking shocker. There's no juice left in the onion. There's minuta, history, new content and setting and a ton of games—but the path is set. People know about the style of play. Even Matthew Mercer killed a player character on the hit show Critical Role. If there was ever a time or place where illusionism or narrative priorities were going to attempt to reinfect the game of Dungeons and Dragons, it would have been then. The understanding of the old ways is documented and passed on. We have held the wall and the light has won the day! Victory lies upon the long shadowed ages of pastoral paradise anew! Rise! Rise! Rise!

My sword and shield lie fallow. And though I will pick them up here, it is only to demonstrate how we fought for the world we live in. An old knight, returning for one last theater, his focus no longer on his enemy, but on the creation of his own realm.

Some hot takes 

It's clear that Shrek had the cultural impact that Avatar lacked. 

They note that schrodinger is a more accurate (but much less catchy) name.

Gus L. from the redacted Dungeon of Signs still posts on Reddit, and here's an example of the hivemind, he's downvoted out of visibility. 
If you need and[sic]  ogre encounter there should be one path - own it, and best to have a way this works in the setting. Spending time tricking players into specific set piece encounters is a bad way to spend play time.
His text is correct, but people read it unwilling to debate a point, who just don't like when their fragile feelings are hurt. Even though Gus and I are a bit like oil and water, his opinions are well reasoned, and he's a great player and gamemaster. 

It's hard to convince a room full of narcissists talking out loud to each other that they have anything to learn. 

Gus's points are excellent, and bring this little gem into the light from Pseudo boss:

At the same time, when I feel that the players are giving up their agency to rely on dice or chance instead, it's no longer my story, nor the player's story, but the dice's story. In my mind, this is a game failure: a game state with a very high potential to result in an unpleasant experience for everyone. Quantum ogres are a way to rectify game failures when they occur.
Do you see the confusion?

"When I feel the players are giving up their agency to rely on dice," That's the agency! They made the choice! Based on their understanding of the odds! The unpleasant experience mentioned is the consequence of choice.

Out of curiosity, if I decided that an important piece of evidence was in the same manor that the rogue was casing, would you consider that railroading or a quantum ogre?
What does this sentence mean? What I'm told is "I don't understand the differences and distinction between the various terminology discussed," but look at how certain! "this game is a failure if consequences come from actions!"

This person isn't evil, malicious, or ignorant. 35,000 times in 5 years people have said, "Yeah, I push up arrow!" That's 7,000 a year, or around 20 times a day, everyday, for half a decade. His other comments indicate a fascination with numbers, symmetry, that he's been committed to a mental institution, and has strong liberal opinions, which he is happy to share, along with his science background.

It's back to bad things happening in the game must be bad because it's not fun to lose—but it's more fun for the game to be meaningful, which is really the whole point of the classic tabletop fantasy gaming. The game as written is fun, meaningful, and chock full of emergent play.

He says as much himself:
There have been instances where an encounter that I place turns out to be way too hard, or maybe just the dice completely screwed the sorcerer over. Once it's clear that the mood of the table is souring, I feel that player satisfaction is more valuable than game integrity.
And there you have it.

I think maybe Gus and I rub each other the wrong way because we are so alike in a lot of ways, at least evidenced by how well he argues the Quantum Ogre.

It's percolated into the modern consensus. Even when disagreeing and calling me a dick (yes, really) they are agreeing. Note this comment from Author X. 

My lukewarm take is that I don't run any games that require me to plan the contents of every room in every building, or keep track of which corridors the players are moving down. Therefore, it doesn't matter which room a particular encounter is in, unless the players are trying to avoid encounters, in which case their success or failure determines whether or not they run into an ogre, not the left-hand-rule.
That is EXACTLY THE—

No. No reason to get worked up. But you see, right?

Aqua intestines says:
The quantum ogre is only acceptable if the game was full of meaningless choices anyway. Meaningless choices are universally boring. Thus one should avoid the QO, because it is a symptom of meaningless choices.
Yeah, brother. You know it.

Who is that guy? I don't know. But he understands a quantum ogre.

I think that means we made it to the future. I can tell because some dude is named AQUAINTESTINES. That's a future name. No historical 14th century Aquaintestines, of the seven seas.

There are a lot of responses by people who are just completely ignorant of what a Quantum Ogre is. They are so confident about it, while not understanding it at all, that—well, see for yourself:
The world doesn't revolve around the PCs, and they are not the most important people in the world, just in their story. Quantum ogres are a good way to simulate that kind of agency, and one I prefer over random encounters, because there's still planning in quantum encounters. Certain details are left open to get filled in, but the plan exists, versus random encounters where it's literally just, well, random. The encounter doesn't matter except as a tool for the GM to extract resources from the PCs to weaken them for a future, actually interesting encounter.
There's a lot of people who went, "Yeah, this is good!" Who can tell why? Maybe to confirm they don't understand what these words mean?

Guys. Guys. . . .Guys. Words mean things!

I'm pretty sure (although not certain) that he's simply talking about designing a random encounter table, instead of one filled with random monsters. He's clearly confused "Quantum ogres. . . simulate that agency". Clearly not!

Encounters designed in response to player choice and action do give agency; how he came to the conclusion that designing thematic encounters instead of a less specific and more random table is a quantum ogre? His comments show that he thinks the Super Mario Brothers movie is "A delight to watch" and is a "social justice duskblade" on the GamerGhazi subreddit.

Boy am I glad he posted this confused screed about something he doesn't understand! Isn't the internet wonderful?

There's some real. . . intensity in that thread. There are lots of people who are certain their factually incorrect take is correct, and assert that aggressively and without compunction. To wit:
Confident guy who's wrong: I disagree. The point of Quantum Ogres is that they're unavoidable once planned so that you don't waste time prepping content you don't need; it's a tool for managing limited planning resources. I only plan encounters for the next session, so last session when the decision was made there wasn't an ogre yet, so no need to involve Quantum Ogres.
Rational dude: If your sessions end with a player choice and begin with the repercussions from the last session’s choice, there’s no quantum ogre. 
Confident guy who's wrong: Not what I said. I said that the decision was made last session, not that it was at the end of last session, nor did I say that the ogre encounter happened at the start of the next session.
A lot of people point out that I sound angry about the quantum ogre. Some of that is because I am aggressive and excitable and have terrible emotional regulation skills! Most of that is because people are mouse shit in the pepper. Damn my eyes!
[the Quantum Ogre] can preserve the illusion of agency enough to prevent things from blowing up while still ensuring that the story continues. Which situation would you prefer: that the players don’t have pure agency but the story always plays out in a satisfying manner, or that the players do have pure agency but the story will sometimes collapse? The answer to that will be a bit different for every gaming group (and likely for every gamer).
Look at how pride telegraphs a fall! How confident his wisdom, in preventing any real risk and failure. How knowledgeable he is to know from the holy spirit who rides his soul with the power of god ABOVE, that the STORY will play out in a manner SATISFYING, as he has SEEN the glory and the power, HALLELUJAH.

I mean, what? You want proof? You're reading my blog and not his.

I laughed at Mr. Didz, who's like:

As I understand the definition of 'Quantum Ogre' (and I had to look it up to be honest) then yes I do use it, but mainly because WFRP as a system is based around a number of published adventures that basically require the party to face a series of increasingly challenging, but logically connected encounters.
First, what righteous dude! He looked up what something meant. And yeah, if you're running those, man, CHOO-FK&N-CHOO. Get on board. You are not kidding brother. Good luck with that Albatross.

Cptnfiskedritt says "Quantum Ogre is bad, and I dissagree![sic]" -
"The problem is railroading where an ogre is avoided consciously by the players, but then presented to them anyway. This hurts a game if done a lot."

You think?

I mean, I am taking crazy pills. They are supposed to keep me from going crazy. But I'm PRETTY SURE that guy say he hates a thing, and then immediately argues for exactly the thing he disagrees with.

You think that guy votes?

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5 comments:

  1. I stopped reading or participating on message boards years ago. This is why. It makes my head hurt. It doesn't matter what the topic is. They all look like this.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Internet! The place where idiots lose their modesty.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm relatively new to the concept of the "Quantum Ogre" (and to this blog), but my biggest problem with it is that it's a terrible misnomer. If you know anything about quantum mechanics, then you know there's nothing really "quantum" about that Ogre. There's no uncertainty, so it's actually the opposite of quantum....

    But I realize that's entirely besides the present point.

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  4. The only thing I really take issue with here is your dismissal of my favorite movie. I'll admit it's objectively bad, even terrible, but I definitely consider it a joy to watch.

    ReplyDelete
  5. It's weird when ideas you came up with start to take on a life of their own. The only thing I ever wrote that ever went viral (http://www.enworld.org/forum/showthread.php?317715-Very-Long-Combat-as-Sport-vs-Combat-as-War-a-Key-Difference-in-D-amp-D-Play-Styles) still pops up in the most random places.

    ReplyDelete

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