m a r k a n d e y a

The Threefold Model

Posted by Brian on April 29, 2007

A controversial theory in the RPG world is the GNS model of player types. It’s a contentious issue because some believe that players can’t easily be dropped into any one category… that there is too much overlap. I believe it does have some value:

The Threefold Model is one way of grouping many aspects of “group
contracts” into logical categories. Full group contract includes every
facet of how the game is played: not just the mechanical rules, but
also how scenarios are constructed, what sort of behavior is expected
of PCs, how actions not covered by the rules are resolved, allowance
of outside distractions, and so forth. The Threefold divides up many
of these into categories known as Drama, Game, and Simulation.

OK, here is the short definitions:

“narrativist”: is 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.

“gamist”: is the style which values setting up a fair challenge for
the players (as opposed to the PCs). The challenges may be tactical
combat, intellectual mysteries, politics, or anything else. The
players will try to solve the problems they are presented with, and in
turn the GM will make these challenges solvable if they act
intelligently within the contract.

“simulationist”: is the style which values resolving in-game events
based solely on game-world considerations, without allowing any
meta-game concerns to affect the decision. Thus, a fully simulationist
GM will not fudge results to save PCs or to save her plot, or even
change facts unknown to the players. Such a GM may use meta-game
considerations to decide meta-game issues like who is playing which
character, whether to play out a conversation word for word, and so
forth, but she will resolve actual in-game events based on what would
“really” happen.

More here:

I’m definitely a dramatist. The well-being of my characters takes a
back seat to creating great story for the group as a whole.

I’m definitel a narrativist, as I always put the story first ahead of any personal preferences.


2 Responses to “The Threefold Model”

  1. I was booted from SuperPower and Chile was reassigned to someone else … I have no idea why as I have even been participating on the threads and exchanged emails with other South American nations. That site is buggered as far as I am concerned.

  2. Brian said

    It’s official: Superpower Classic is a joke. On top of that, I noticed a lot of anti-newbie rants (“fucking newbs”) directed at people who are guilty of no more than being new at something.

    Fuck them…


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