Over at the ol' Story-Games, there's been a flutter of threads about GNS stuff. The link right there goes to a discussion about whether or not Simulationism exists - a chat had many, many times before, for sure.
In any case, the poster JD Corley asked me to clearly define Narrativism against Sim, and, well, I decided something.
Ever notice how many games with strong Narr cred are all about relationships? At least, to me they are. Consider Hero Quest - your character's stats are basically all the strengths of his various ties to culture, spirituality, and family and friends (and enemies). Consider Polaris - your character sheet is literally a relationship web with some Themes (potentially more relationships!) surrounding it.
I think I'm onto something - maybe games that fail to quantify relationships at all are the ones that fall flat, story-wise. Games like D&D and the World of Darkness bunch all have character creation systems that focus only on the individual character (ok, ok, Backgrounds move beyond that a bit, but they're pretty simplistic and non-specific when they DO refer to things like allies and contacts, AND they give almost zero structure on determining the nature of said relationships. Anyway...) and not on how said character is part of a larger world.
I absolutely, 100% think that's why Questing Beast didn't work for me - it doesn't bog you down with too many rules to follow, but the ones it does have are too general - they don't give you much direction for character creation, and the stuff on resolution of conflict only exists to establish authority/credibility for description, nothing else.