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Author Topic: [HeroQuest] Temertain is Dead!  (Read 7844 times)
Peter Nordstrand
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Posts: 501


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« on: March 23, 2004, 01:33:07 AM »

Hi,

Here's a (very) brief actual play report for those who are interested.

Purpose of session: To playtest "The Assassin" a convention scenario I've been working on.

# of players: 2 (the scenario is written to accomodate 2-4 players).

I had prepared an extensive relationship map, and a couple of bangs for each player hero. Only the parts of the prep that had any significance in actual play will be repeated below. So remember: I came to the table with a lot of stuff that I never used, and don't mention here.

Setup
The heroes are members of Prince Temertain's Telmori bodyguard. By an old treaty, the Telmori wolf-people send 100 warriors to serve as bodyguards to the prince of Sartar.

A secret organization known as The Collegium by its members is planning to destabilize the region by assassinating the idiot prince.

Player Characters

Ostling--leader of the Telmori bodyguard.

Zu-Bokku--shaman and spiritial leader of the guard.

Narrator Characters
Here are few of the NPCs that played a part in the session. There were others, but I want to keep this short. It is somewhat complicated ...

Temertain: Prince of Sartar, incompetent fool and Lunar puppet.

Cronman: Officially a successful Lunar merchant. Secretly an agent for The Bearers of Good News. Secretly a double agent working for The Collegium.

Iwis imBulith: An interpreter at the Boldhome Chamber of Commerce. Secretly an assassin for The Bearers of Good News. His closest superior is Cronman. Iwis is a magnificent assassin (10W3 or so), who has no idea that his real employer is The Collegium.

Reyhari: Lord Chamberlain of Temertain's household. Hates Telmori, and has come up with this plan to invade Telmori territory (thus breaking an important treaty). He gave the plans to Temertain, who signed them without reading. Reyhari tried to send it to the Lunar commander in charge of Telmori affairs, but it was intercepted by Cronman, who now plans to use the documents for his own purposes.

Actual Play

Ostling was contacted by Cronman, who claimed to have information of great importance to the Telmori. After some haggling, Cronman gave the Reyhari documents to Ostling in return for later, unspecified, favours. Who is he loyal to: his own people, or the man he has sworn to protect? The player found the dilemma very painful, indeed. This was the most important Bang, and naturally the one that soon involved the other player as well. Rather unsurprisingly, they choose their people in the end. They even managed to capture Iwis imBulith, only to release him when they realized that he was the assassin supposed to murder Temertain ...

At first, the players seemed somewhat at a loss, as if they were trying to figure out the right thing to do, which is understandable, since ... well ... there was no right thing to do. I was preparing to introduce a little follow-up pressure to kick them into action, when Zu-Bokku's player suddenly claimed to be able to verify the authenticity of the Reyhari documents by talking to the spirits. I explained to him that finding such a spirit was highly unlikely. To my delight he replied that he knew that, but that he was planning to make up an answer anyway. Arbitrary guidance is better than no guidance at all, he said!

Zu-Bokku made a short trip to the Spirit World, discovered clues to another related plot (which I won't go into here), but nothing about the authenticity of the Reyhari documents, as expected. When he returned to the Mundane World, he explained that the spirits had spoken: The documents are genuine!

From this point on, the players really took charge of their own destiny, and we all had a great time. I felt very relaxed, yet focused the entire time. One thing led to another. I introduced new plot elements, as did they. I was never, ever even close to railroading, or otherwise trying to force the players into one action or the other. They surprised me and I surprised them.

When we were done, the players kept talking about how great the session was, and how inspiring it was. They even became very enthusiastic when I told them about r-maps and bangs! Lifting the veil, "peeking behind the GM sceen" (not that I use one), apparently made it even better--I think it was because they realized that there truly was no illusion, no secret GM maneuvering whatsovever.

Boy, am I glad I found the Forge!
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Peter Nordstrand
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Posts: 501


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« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2004, 03:51:04 AM »

Thinking about the session, I realized one more thing. A large part of the success had to do with this:

Are you ready?

    Trust.[/list:u]

    I trusted myself. I trusted the players, and, most importantly (from my point of view), the players trusted me. Here's a good rule of thumb for the future:

    Play only with people you trust. Play only with people who trust you.[/list:u]
    It is the only way to avoid disaster.


    Cheers,

    /Peter N
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Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
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« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2004, 07:28:50 AM »

Fantastic, Peter! As a big fan of the Gloranthan events that you worked with, I love to see people work with a dynamic, canonical setting without using it as metaplot.

When people ask me "what does 'Address Premise' mean," I'll point them to this thread. The player who decided to fake the spirits' answer is doing exactly that.

Regarding trust, it always amazes me that people (specifically, self-identified gamers) treat your point as an insight. Yeah - trust.

That doesn't necessarily mean that the people are my best friends or closest acquaintances, or that I would trust them with anything else especially. But regarding this particular activity, I do trust them to be present, involved, and ready to participate.

And think about that - it's just the same as you find in any social leisure activity, such as a basketball group or a quilting circle. If anyone is demonstrably unable to be present, involved, or ready to participate, they are not welcome.

Why is that such a "boink" insight for gamers, as opposed to the "duh"-obvious requirement for everyone else, for all the things they do? I have an answer for this question, but it's not going to make anyone happy.

Best,
Ron
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pete_darby
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Posts: 537

Will dance with porridge down pants for food.


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« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2004, 08:00:39 AM »

Ron, you old tease... but don't hide it away in the HQ forum.

Peter... full marks for full disclosure, and taking as liberal a hand with "canon" Glorantha as you have. Like I've said before, it's not a straightjacket, it's a toybox.

As goes faking a message from the spirits... again, it surprises me that people think this sort of thing isn't going on all the time in Glorantha. Just because the otherworlds can be visited, doesn't mean that your holy rollers a) have the whole story as to what's really going on there or b) aren't lying to you about it.
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Pete Darby
pete_darby
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Posts: 537

Will dance with porridge down pants for food.


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« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2004, 08:04:12 AM »

Just notice something I think Ron missed: Trusting yourself.

Oh yeah, letting go of that fear, that you can run this way without the beeg steecks of traditional GM'ing can be a hurdle, but feels soooo much better on the other side.
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Pete Darby
Bankuei
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« Reply #5 on: March 23, 2004, 11:26:53 AM »

Hi Peter,

It's been my firm belief that the real fun of Glorantha comes in the the disjunction between ideals and reality, beliefs and facts.  Where the two fail to meet, intentional or not, is where the magic happens.  I'm glad the players picked up on that idea, and ran with it.

Chris
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Peter Nordstrand
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Posts: 501


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« Reply #6 on: March 24, 2004, 05:42:39 AM »

Hi all,

I don't have much to add, except ...

Canon -- I think the scenario is fairly canonical, which is cool. The only difference from official events that I am aware of is that Temertain ended up being assassinated a few years earlier than expected. So I don't think I was very liberal with canon at all,  I just used the setting to my advantage, as written. The way I see it, the canon of the Hero Wars is this: The old world is ending. What will you do about it?

Trust -- I suspect that lack of trust is the underlying reason for most dysfunctional play. It is just disguised as something else most of the time: Disagreement about the rules or interpretations of the rules, "my guy"-behavior, etc. Since the distrust is disguised, it is sometimes hard to recognize. (Lengthy posts about trust is probably better posted here, I think)


Quote from: Bankuei
It's been my firm belief that the real fun of Glorantha comes in the the disjunction between ideals and reality, beliefs and facts. Where the two fail to meet, intentional or not, is where the magic happens. I'm glad the players picked up on that idea, and ran with it.


Amen!

EDIT: Oh, and thanks for your comments, gentlemen. It is most appreciated.
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