Something That Isn’t Pull

2006 Nov 21

Until fairly recently I assumed that what Mo meant by Pull was actually something else. This something was Making Other Players Awesome (which Mo suspects might be my primary play socket).

To me, one of the primary questions about roleplaying in practice is, to use a volleyball metaphor, are you setting the ball or are you spiking it? Are you Doing Awesome Stuff or are you Setting Up Other Players To Be Awesome?

Obviously this changes from moment to moment, but I suspect that people who are good at the latter are rarer and often less recognizable, like a basketball player who has 4 points and 14 assists. Those are the kind of people you want in the GM’s chair or, better yet, as a Producer in Primetime Adventures. But they are an absolute joy to play with in any capacity because they make everyone else more awesome. And that’s the kind of player I want to be.

Now I think I need to go re-learn what Push and Pull are.

3 Responses to “Something That Isn’t Pull”

  1. Mo Says:



    This is how I see you, which is not to say that it is right because I’ve not had the chance to observe your play, I’m just going by what you given me.

    Profile of Jonathan Walton, gamer:

    Primary Sockey: Social
    Secondary Socket: Story
    Payoff: “Participating in a social Endeavor where we mutually, harmoniously, create something that is greater than the sum of our collective input.”
    C/I Scale: 6.5ish
    I/O Scale: 6.5ish (Remember that Other=Social / Story here, *not* character)
    Goal: Create a supportive, constrained environment where everyone at the table can bring everything they have to the game and surrender myself to the story (possibly: in hopes that others will too).
    Methods / techniques to achieve goal: Pull (and likely, Push).

  2. Thomas Robertson Says:

    You may recall that we discussed this a bit on the way back from Gen Con. One of the reasons I’m so excited about your personal interpretation of the ideas behind push and pull, despite how different they are from what I take Mo to mean by them, is that they result in cool games and cool play.

    I mean, you operate from this basic assumption that everyone has all the cool ideas they need for play in their head, they just need to let them out. People don’t need systemic guidance for what to contribute, only for when to contribute (all the time). That’s why you get games like W/T and 5K, which are awesome.

    I also really like your volleyball metaphor here. I think that there are tons of reasons to use a ‘set’ in play beyond just wanting to make other peoples’ play awesome. I mean, sometimes having other people doing cool stuff sets you up so that you can do cool stuff. Immersing in a character, for instance, might be more fun if the other characters at the table are awesome.


  3. xenopulse Says:

    Interesting stuff. I played volleyball in a youth league, and my position was “setter” — at the same time, I was almost always the GM in our group. I basically always figured my role was to entertain everybody else. It was a different dynamic, though. I had no idea about “bringing out the awesome” because we were playing very traditionally, and there wasn’t much room for player-awesome to come out. It was more me presenting things that make the players go “aahh” and “oohhh” (and “OMG!” in KULT).

    That’s why I’m all about player empowerment these days. By that I mean opening up as many venues as possible for players to be awesome and help others be awesome, too.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: