Glossary for shock: social science fiction

These are terms used in shock: social science fiction.


*Tagonists are the "main characters" of a story in shock: social science fiction. It's short for "Pro/Antagonist". The "*" is a "wild" character from Unix. The *Tagonist players in shock: have certain responsibilities to each other that other players don't share: Antagonists ruin the Protagonist's lives and force the Protagonist player to choose between meaningful possibilities, while Protagonists pursue a Story Goal.


The Grid is part of the worldbuilding process in shock. It is used to look at particular social issues through the lens of a Shock and establish the Situation for the *Tagonists.

Grey Ranks also uses a grid as a play element. In that game, the Grid is used to track the emotional states of the player characters, along axes of love-hate and enthusiasm-exhaustion, and is also used to provide situation elements.


Issues form the left side of the Grid in shock. While Shocks are a distancing technique, Issues are things close to the hearts of the players. They're things that evoke an emotional reaction when the player hears about them. They are usually large-scale social issues, but sometimes personal ones, too.


Slavery (Blade Runner), Mistrust (2001: A Space Odyssey), Don't Trust Anyone Over 30 (Logan's Run), Class Segregation (Zardoz)




Praxis is the system of "stats" used in shock. They are established, like the Grid, MinutiƦ, *Tagonists, as part of the world creation system. They represent what kind of control, if any, the player (and the Protagonist) has over their place in history. If the player chooses a high or low number (3 or 8), they'll be able to use one end of the scale fairly definitively to make things happen during conflict resolution. If the player chooses a middle number (5 or 6) they're more likely to have their result altered by the MinutiƦ used by the Audience.


Shocks are the eponymous element in the game. They represent "a radical difference between the experience of the players and that of the characters in the story." This is what makes the fiction Science and opens the door for metaphor. Like Issues, they are defined over the course of the game, with only the barest bones being laid out at the beginning of play.


Replicants (Blade Runner), Space travel (Solaris), Psychic powers (Firestarter), Omniscient government (Minority Report), Omnipotent, distant aliens (2001: A Space Odyssey)

Story Goal

A Protagonist's Story Goal is implicated in the Intents of the final conflict in a particular story in shock. It's a set of stakes, similar to those used in Dogs in the Vineyard, set at the beginning of the game, making the whole story into a single long-form conflict resolution. It's identical to the Story Stakes in Under the Bed.

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