Demographics 11: Story Themes!

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Brovo, Jun 5, 2016.

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Which of these narrative conflicts do you find interesting?

  1. Man vs Fate/God

  2. Man vs Self

  3. Man vs Man

  4. Man vs Society

  5. Man vs Nature

  6. Man vs Supernatural

  7. Man vs Technology

Multiple votes are allowed.
Results are only viewable after voting.
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  1. @Staff: Keep in mind that (with Diana's permission and Astaroth overlooking it) I'm posting threads in GC first, leaving them there for a week, and then moving them to RP Help & Discussion after! This way, my demographics threads can have the widest breadth of community input without asking for unfair administration favouratism. Thanks. :ferret:

    Special Thanks: @Hana & @RedWillow who are helpers on the Demographics project.

    [​IMG]

    Demographics
    Demographics threads are, essentially, an attempt to record the community's thoughts and feelings on RP-related subject matter via a series of votes. Iwaku's tastes, habits, et cetera. If you want further information on prior demographics threads, you can find the demographics hub thread here. (There are ten other Demographics Polls to check stats on & vote in so far!)

    Demo threads are not an appropriate place for hardcore multipage debates. You can ask questions about each other's positions, but keep them professional in tone. Otherwise, the spirit of the demographics threads will be lost. They're meant to sample the community and put it into an easily digestible form of numbers that anybody can look at later when creating their own RP threads or when curious about Iwaku's general demographics. If you're really interested in discussing the subject matter, create your own discussion thread. I would be delighted if demographics threads started to spawn further topics of interest by the community itself.


    Previous Community Choice Poll

    • A. Pace: 1
    • B. Politics: 1
    • C. Mechanics: 1
    • D. Story Themes: 6 (Winner--Most votes!)
    • E. Power Levels: 4
    • F. RP Completion: 2
    • G. Character Depth: 5
    • H. Romance: Pursuer vs Pursued: 3
    • I. Surprise me: 0


    Question: Which of these narrative conflicts do you find interesting?
    Clarity: There are many, many, many, many themes. Many themes. I tried for a solid four hours to come up with a fair list of themes without extreme repetition or invading the territory of genres, banged my head against a wall, and gave up. Instead, here is a list of narrative conflicts. Sorry if it isn't quite what you expected, but, well, there is no way in hell I'm getting every potential story theme branch in a single poll, considering even basic human emotions count as individual themes. These are, however, still central themes to a story. Just not likely the ones any of you were thinking would be. If you need additional information on the answers, answer clarity can be found here.

    Additional Questions
    • Q. I am never doing something this broad again. My head hurts. Sorry if this doesn't meet your expectations. Here, let me make it up to you.
    • Q. How many conflicts did you find interesting on the poll? Some, or all of them?
    • Q. If you found any of the conflicts on the poll dis-interesting, why?
    • Q. Which would you say is your favourite conflict type, or which do you think you use the most?
    • Q. Would you say that any of the conflict types don't work well in role playing? If so, why?

    Community Choice Poll: Vote for the topic of the next poll! (You can choose multiple options. To vote, simply post in this thread which option(s) you want.) (Yes, this poll will shrink in size at some point. Some topics dead end after a while. :ferret:)
    • A. Pace. (How fast RP's go/how fast you and the rest of the community post on average.) (Single-choice poll.)
    • B. Politics. (New topic expansion: Polling to see the community's general interest in how politics manifests in role playing.) (Single or Multiple choice poll.)
    • C. Mechanics. (New topic expansion: Polling to see the community's general interest in how artificial mechanics like dice rolls and stats influence role playing.) (Single or Multiple choice poll.)
    • D. Power Levels. (As a follow up to "Genres" and "Character Archetypes." Has to do with the average level of power player characters possess.) (Single choice poll.)
    • E. RP Completion. (As a follow up to "Longevity." Has to do with how many have successfully completed role plays, and/or how many completed role plays they have.) (Single choice poll.)
    • F. Character Depth. (New topic expansion: Polling to see the community's general interest in how facets of character creation and development function.) (Single or Multiple choice poll.)
    • G. Romance: Pursuer vs Pursued. (Specific follow up to "Romance." Has to do with whether someone prefers to be pursued or do the pursuing in romantic arcs. Will be gender divided for further clarity and curiosity.) (Single choice poll.)
    • H. Villainy. (New topic expansion: Polling to see the community's general interest in antagonists, villains, and evil in general.) (Single or Multiple choice poll.)
    • I. Surprise me. (None of the above.)
     
  2. Q. How many conflicts did you find interesting on the poll? Some, or all of them?

    I enjoy all of them.

    Q. If you found any of the conflicts on the poll dis-interesting, why?

    Nope, they all have their negatives and positives honestly and I can at least pick a book/movie/series/game/comic/etc that does one of those themes fantastically.

    Q. Which would you say is your favourite conflict type, or which do you think you use the most?

    my favourite two though is Man VS Fate/God and Man VS Nature. I feel they both can be used together to create some interesting events and plot points, whether it be literal or symbolic, in my opinion. I really enjoy the type of stories in which the main character's nature is considered evil/destructive/etc and they fight it no matter the cost to either show they aren't monsters/shits/etc or for redemption.

    Q. Would you say that any of the conflict types don't work well in role playing? If so, why?

    I think some are harder to pull off, such as Man VS Self, something like that to me is a very personal story and sometimes can get lost in a group focused roleplay. the others I feel could definitely work better.
     
  3. Question: Which of these narrative conflicts do you find interesting?
    Man vs Fate/God
    Man vs Self
    Man vs Man
    Man vs Supernatural

    Additional Questions
    • Q. How many conflicts did you find interesting on the poll? Some, or all of them?
      There were only three that I didn't click. I don't believe I've done a Man VS society before. But that was the only one that wasn't on my list that would be fun to try.
    • Q. If you found any of the conflicts on the poll dis-interesting, why?
      Man vs Nature and Man vs Technology. The nature one just because it doesn't really fit my interests and technology because I've never been interested in technology rps, most likely because I feel I don't know enough to play well in those kind of settings. Which is why I stay away from sci-fi, futuristic and ___ punk style rps.
    • Q. Which would you say is your favourite conflict type, or which do you think you use the most?
      Most likely a Man VS Man or Man VS self.
    • Q. Would you say that any of the conflict types don't work well in role playing? If so, why?
      I think all of them would work well, it just depends on your story and how is playing. After all everyone has different tastes.
     
    • Q. How many conflicts did you find interesting on the poll? Some, or all of them?
    All of them. :P I almost left out one or two, but when I thought about it for a bit I realized it's really difficult to dislike any of them.
    • Q. If you found any of the conflicts on the poll dis-interesting, why?
    Man vs. Self can be annoying for me, especially if the conflict centers around a character being a screwup. It's agonizing to watch someone be so weak-willed/incompetent/immature/whatever.
    • Q. Which would you say is your favourite conflict type, or which do you think you use the most?
    Man vs. Man is the most common, but Man vs. Society is one of my favorites. If I can't be a rebel in real life, at least I can be one in stories.
    • Q. Would you say that any of the conflict types don't work well in role playing? If so, why?
    No, not really. Any one of them can work just fine.
     
  4. This is... I don't know, I've liked the previous polls but I this one is a bit... crappy? It's a good summary of every possible conflict, but any of those could be interesting or boring depending on execution. And there's no option for that.
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. I struggled pretty hard to make something coherent out of "themes." I bit off more than I could chew, and mention that in the first post. In the future, I'm aiming for more specific subject matter than a concept that encompasses the entire range of human emotion and ideas. It's a learning process as I make these demographics threads what will and won't work. Kind of like how Demographics 01 & 02 are very similar, I bandaged a mistake I made with Demo 01's answers in Demo 02 and learned. Now, I'm learning about subject matter: How broad can I go without diluting the question too far?

    Well, now I know. I'm sorry this poll isn't up to the usual snuff, but, everybody makes mistakes. :ferret:
     
  6. Happy to help! You could credit the banner I made, but no worries :P


    Question: Which of these narrative conflicts do you find interesting?
    All of them except Man vs Fate/God and Man vs Nature

    Additional Questions
    • Q. I am never doing something this broad again. My head hurts. Sorry if this doesn't meet your expectations. Here, let me make it up to you.
      • IT'S FINE, I KNOW HOW YOU STRUGGLED!
    • Q. How many conflicts did you find interesting on the poll? Some, or all of them?
      • I found 5/7 which is pretty good I think! I don't really like the thought of having to play by a God's decision or Fate...
    • Q. If you found any of the conflicts on the poll dis-interesting, why?
      • ... vs Fate/God, mostly, because it feels like it robs the characters' freedom of choice. I tend to bring my life philosophy along with me in my roleplays (existentialism for those interested) so the idea that no matter what choices we make, we are doomed to the same outcome because of something silly like a God or Fate. Boring!
    • Q. Which would you say is your favourite conflict type, or which do you think you use the most?
      • I'm very much a fan of Man vs Society though I haven't played this one as much. However, it's my favourite because society is what grooms humans -- we are social animals, and if it is sick and corrupted, we must fight the system to make it better again. Hehehehe
    • Q. Would you say that any of the conflict types don't work well in role playing? If so, why?
      • I think in group RPs, the Man vs Self is difficult to play -- but could work very well in 1x1.

    Community Choice Poll: Vote for the topic of the next poll!
    • C. Mechanics.
    • F. Character Depth.
    • G. Romance: Pursuer vs Pursued.
    • H. Villainy.
     
    • Q. I am never doing something this broad again. My head hurts. Sorry if this doesn't meet your expectations. Here, let me make it up to you.

      Bravo, Brovo. =)
    • Q. How many conflicts did you find interesting on the poll? Some, or all of them?

      All but one. I'm not huge on Man vs. Technology, since that just seems like old people yelling at clouds and tweeters.

      I love seeing conflict of Man vs. Society though, especially if it's a secondary conflict that cannot be magically fixed. =D
    • Q. If you found any of the conflicts on the poll dis-interesting, why?

      See above. I'm not big on Man vs. Tech.
    • Q. Which would you say is your favourite conflict type, or which do you think you use the most?

      Oh god, I don't know.
    • Q. Would you say that any of the conflict types don't work well in role playing? If so, why?

      They all work! However, Man vs. Self may be difficult to pull off.
     
  7. All of them!

    ^ Above answer.
    I checked all, so... ^^;
    My favorite conflict types would definitely be Man vs. Supernatural, Man vs. Society, Man vs. Self, and Man vs. Man. I think I look into those the most when I'm looking for things to read, or themes to include in my roleplays.
    The conflict of Man vs. Self would be more challenging to pull off in a group roleplay, because it focuses on so many individual player characters and plots. It would be better to handle it in a 1x1, where you can focus more on a few characters at a time and write out their personal conflicts in more detail. It's why my characters in 1x1 tend to be very introspective.
     
  8. I vote for any of these four for the next poll~
     
  9. OMG that was so freaking cute! :heartbeat:
    The majority of them, actually. I don't usually play 'Man' per say, if 'Man' means human beings. ^_^
    The last option, Man vs Technology. It's simply not the kind of genre I like, really.
    Man vs Supernatural or Man vs Society for the most part.
    Depending on the person, I think all the conflict typed would work well. The hardest one to pull off would probably be Man vs Self.

    Woohoo new topic! I vote for Villainy as the next poll!
     
  10. All of them except...

    Man vs. Technology doesn't exist. Give me one example of man vs. technology that isn't man vs. society in disguise or "Old man struggles to understand iPad."

    Also. I fucking hate Brave New World.

    What I use most? Man versus self. Because that's basically character development 101 and you pretty much can't write a character arc without it. As a central theme, however, either man versus man or man versus supernatural but I'd have to count.

    I don't know what my favourite is.

    Man versus self as a central theme because it is far more player-dependant than the others, because you can't force internal conflicts from the outside. You can only put players in situations these might manifest. Ergo, you're giving the reign of the opposing force to your players and hope they do something good with it. Which in and of itself isn't a problem but Brovo you GM you know how this goes.

    Also Man versus God, or well, rather, fate, can be really fucking annoying to pull off, because it invites literal trash for character motivations or we deal with a roundabout way of avoiding the part where if X character stops posting the RP dies.
     
  11. That baby ferret's a punk.
    • Q. How many conflicts did you find interesting on the poll? Some, or all of them?
    Voted for everything except for vs. god/fate and vs. technology. They can be done right, but it's not as compelling for me a lot of the time.
    • Q. If you found any of the conflicts on the poll dis-interesting, why?
    God/fate: You kind of have to define what God is in this context. If it's an all powerful, omnipotent and omnipresent being then the only meaningful conflict you can have for a person is a crisis in religion, or do something Lovecraftian where it's beyond human comprehension and its very presence is maddening and renders your existence meaningless. Vs. technology is one of those ones where technology itself is rarely ever the source of the conflict. I mean, say you're fighting against an advanced alien race, it's the aliens that are the source of the conflict, not their machines. Maybe you're writing a short story about a man's struggles with the microwave oven or how much he hates the invention of the automobile, but yeah. Not a lot going on there.
    • Q. Which would you say is your favourite conflict type, or which do you think you use the most?
    Man vs. man for both.
    • Q. Would you say that any of the conflict types don't work well in role playing? If so, why?
    Cop out answer, but I think any and all of them can be done well in a roleplay setting.

    • E. RP Completion. (As a follow up to "Longevity." Has to do with how many have successfully completed role plays, and/or how many completed role plays they have.) (Single choice poll.)
    • F. Character Depth. (New topic expansion: Polling to see the community's general interest in how facets of character creation and development function.) (Single or Multiple choice poll.)
    • H. Villainy. (New topic expansion: Polling to see the community's general interest in antagonists, villains, and evil in general.) (Single or Multiple choice poll.)
     
  12. I couldn't answer the additional questions in a nice format. Apologies in advance, but I believe I ended up answering all of them.

    I think for conflict, I rarely tend to stick to a monolithic conflict, so much as I surround a central theme in various different kinds of conflicts. For example, the current central theme of one of my 1x1s, Spellheart, is "What does it mean to live in a post-scarcity isolationist society?" This manifests itself in basically every conflict type.

    Long-winded Example (open)

    Man vs Fate/God: One of the main character's Amiko is an aspiring politician who constantly has to jump through hoops because her family was disgraced. Born into a different family, she could have achieved greatness. Contrastingly, Shibo is born of a prestigious warrior family. Her interactions with Amiko are threatening to estrange her from her family.

    Man vs Self: The characters don't know how to react to Mio, the oddball foreigner, because her comments and behavior constantly call into question aspects of their belief system.

    Man vs Man: The "bad guys" of the story tend to be people who are fighting against Amiko's attempts to establish relations with other countries. This most recently showed itself through rigging a match in the arena so that she and her partner Shibo would lose their jobs in a high stakes match.

    Man vs Society: Amiko is trying to transition Spellheart from an isolationist society to a leader on the world scene.

    Man vs Nature: Well, this one is a miss. Probably because it is my least favorite conflict type.

    Man vs Supernatural: This one is difficult to qualify in a world where many people use magic. Literally everything is supernatural, so is everything or nothing a supernatural conflict..? This is why I prefer calling this particular conflict, Man vs The Unknown.

    Man vs Technology: In this society, they have developed a simulation tool called illusionspace. It is basically a simulated reality which people can tap into by pouring mana through an illusionspace node. The problem being, it is basically indistinguishable from reality, and you can only leave if you recognize that you are within one. Amiko, after being tortured by the government, asks her friends to remain at her side for the night because they were proof she had left illusionspace.


    If someone asked me, for Spellheart, which of the conflicts above were the central conflict, I'd have to reply, none of these are the central focus of the RP. They are all equally important struggles which fight for our attention. It is up to the players to decide what constitutes the central one, and they don't even have to commit to their answer. I'd even go as far to say that a defining marker that an RP is mine is that player agency defines the central conflict.
     
  13. I accept this offering. You are forgiven for your failure.
    All but one.
    Man vs Technology is the only one I didn't vote for. I've never seen it used in a way that was very interesting except when it's a secondary theme of the conflict slaved to a regular Man vs Man or Man vs Society thing, and in the stories where it really is purely technology as the enemy it could just as easily be Man vs Supernatural because at that point technology has surpassed the realm of the natural entirely. Technology as an antagonistic entity seems to always be a stand in for something else rather than its own inherent thing. I'm also a science nerd who loves technology stuff, so I have a hard time sympathizing with someone who says technology is evil rather than pointing the finger at the people who put it to evil uses.
    Man vs Self is the one I use the most for sure. I rarely ever make a character that doesn't touch on that theme.

    My favorite is probably Man vs Fate/God. I just like the idea of railing against what seems inevitable, especially when it's possible (but difficult) to overcome them. Ends up shitty when the inevitability is set in stone though.
    Only Man vs Technology, for the reasons I stated above for it being a crappy form of conflict. It could work just as well as it works in non-interactive forms of media though, and same for the other conflicts. There's nothing about roleplaying as a medium that really affects how well these conflict types can be used.



    For the next poll, gimme dat villainy.
     
  14. [​IMG]

    Man vs. Technology.
     
    • Nice execution! Nice execution! x 4
    • Like Like x 1
    • Bucket of Rainbows Bucket of Rainbows x 1
    • You Get a Cookie You Get a Cookie x 1
  15. I voted for "Man VS Self" and "Man VS Society". In truth, any of these can be interesting if done by the right author. But the two I voted for are those that just on the premise alone you could get me to drop what I'm doing and go "Oooooooh! Interesting!"

    Q. I am never doing something this broad again. My head hurts. Sorry if this doesn't meet your expectations. Here, let me make it up to you.


    <3

    Q. How many conflicts did you find interesting on the poll? Some, or all of them?

    Like I said above, all be interesting if done right. But only two of those are inherently interesting to me.

    Q. If you found any of the conflicts on the poll dis-interesting, why?

    Nature, Technology and God. Not to say they can't be interesting, but they're a harder sell, and here's why:

    1. God
    It's just rare for people to be able to make a God interesting. All to often they take the "Almighty, All powerful, All Knowing" route, where in all realism they should be winning big time. They become such a big mary Sue by their mere existence the writers are almost forced to write the Gods in a "Works in mysterious ways" or "Just doesn't care" route in order to gives humans a fighting chance. That being said, the Video Games Fire Emblem Radiant Dawn actually tackled this rather well. In that one Gods were powerful, but still limited. They had human emotions, they made mistakes. In essence they were more just powerful individuals than an all-powerful entity.

    2. Nature
    It has potential, but it almost ALWAYS goes down one of two routes. Either Climate/Global Warming/Natural Disaster kills humanity, or the Animals go nuts and start slaughtering humans for... reasons. I'm not really to sure what to suggest here, just that I don't like how they seem to always paint Nature in a "scary unknown" villain light.

    3. Technology
    Like Nature, but a bit worse. I have yet to see an example that doesn't play on people's fears of tech = evil, or AI will kill everyone. It's all you see in Movies when technology break through's happens. Now, to be fair it is Man 'VS' Technology, so there has to be a conflict. But... Surely more can be done than simply painting it as evil?

    Q. Which would you say is your favourite conflict type, or which do you think you use the most?

    It's a tie between Self and Society.

    Self because it shows deep personal conflict, how everyone grows, the demons that everyone has deep down.
    Society because I have a weak spot for when people learn to think for themselves, and not obey what others say just because 'society says so*'.

    *This might lead to a very long derailment, so I'll keep my reasoning for this short.
    It basically runs of the idea of if someone finds an ideal they follow, and proceeds to question why they think that, then question the reason for that etc. If it leads back to "Because X said so" then you gotta scrap the idea and re-evaluate it. Sure, take value in what others say and advise, but don't make it your reason for following it.

    Q. Would you say that any of the conflict types don't work well in role playing? If so, why?

    If they work well or not is entirely dependent on the role players in question. Do they understand it well? Can they treat both sides with respect? Will they take effort to make it complex or interesting? That can make it work well in an RP.

    But if instead they shove in personal agendas, look at it through a narrow scope/point of view, are they personally paranoid of one side and therefore likely to overly demonise it? That can make it work horribly in a RP, or in some cases make it cease to be an RP at all and rather just a circle jerk.
     
    • Q. How many conflicts did you find interesting on the poll? Some, or all of them?
    All of them. If there's conflict, it can be an interesting narrative.
    • Q. If you found any of the conflicts on the poll dis-interesting, why?
    I didn't find any of them dis-interesting!
    • Q. Which would you say is your favourite conflict type, or which do you think you use the most?
    The one I probably use the most is Man vs. Supernatural, but my favorite is Man vs. Fate/God. I also use quite a bit of Man vs. Self.
    • Q. Would you say that any of the conflict types don't work well in role playing? If so, why?
    All of them can work. It depends on the premise of the RP and having all the players on board with that narrative.
     
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