- ...the ability to resort to human discretion when the book fails (i.e. the application of the Lumpley Principle when necessary).
- The Lumpley Principle was presented precisely as a response to the sort of thinking you are attempting to support in your rant, because it is a widespread misconception that mechanics need to model physics, or the physics of the world (and their exceptions), that such is their purpose. They do not, unless that is their purpose -- unless the purpose of the game is Simulationist "what would really happen if." It is not necessary for the mechanics to model physics or reality, as long as they support the goals and ideas of the game.
- ... is meta-gaming, and while this is something for the GM to do, if the PCs are doing it you've lost the suspension of disbelief (which is what *role playing* is about). In fact, if the players are having to think about this significant, it violates the vaunted Lumpley principle, because you no longer have a shared illusion.
- I would say, rather, that the Lumpley principle is merely a summation of the concept "once you have what you want, stop trying".
- This principle is the reason freeform and Rolemaster ultimately have the same "amount" of system.
- [The Lumpley Principle is a] concise, effective way... of summing up... Vincent’s view... on gaming.
- [Y]our character only ever exists in your head and the heads of your fellow players - in what your group says and does and thinks and feels. The stuff on your "character" sheet isn't about your character at all - it's stuff that you, the real live player, have at your disposal when it comes time to decide how the game's going to go. [...] This, by the way, is a simple restatement of the so-called Lumpley Principle.
- [T]he most powerful insight to arise from the Forge is, IMHO, Vincent Baker's "Lumpley Principle".
The actual definition of the principle in the Provisional Glossary is bound to be a bit of a disappointment, after that. It merely states:
System (including but not limited to 'the rules') is defined as the means by which the group agrees to imagined events during play.Take a good look at it and see it what it really is, and what it not only is but also explicitly proclaims to be: a definition of the term 'system'! That is all. Nothing more, nada. It merely says: "this is what we mean when we use the term 'system'"; it doesn't say anything at all about any of the things mentioned above. You can believe it is a useful definition or believe that it obscures more than it enlightens, but you simply cannot agree or disagree with the Lumpley Principle because it is nothing but a defintion of a single term.
Of course, I will not deny that choosing this definition of 'system' has a certain ideological background - when it was proposed, it was probably a powerful rhetorical weapon against people who thought that the social level of roleplaying was not the concern of game designers. But that ideology is not part of the analytic content of the principle. As behooves a definition, the analytic content of the principle is zero.
So, please, let us stop making such a fuss about it. Everybody makes a different fuss, and none of it is going to further our understanding of roleplaying games. If you want to refer to the insight that the social level of roleplaying is important, just say "the social level of roleplaying is important". The same holds for all the other uses the LP is put to - when you need a hammer, don't call it a screwdriver.
Of course, Vincent has been downplaying the importance of the LP for ages now, but I hope my examples have made clear the confusion generated by its widespread use. Let's use it as stated, and for nothing else.