*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 24, 2017, 09:42:58 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 156 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [With Great Power...] From a Certain Point of View  (Read 3146 times)
Michael S. Miller
Member

Posts: 846


WWW
« on: February 09, 2005, 09:54:50 AM »

My wife gave me a gift. She ran With Great Power... for me. That's right, I got to play my own game as a player.

The reason I call it a gift is because I haven't been enjoying running the game lately. From talking with other designers, I know that this isn't uncommon. Since the players have obviously been having fun, I figured it was just me and paid it little heed.

She first ran the game for me at Dreamation, in a short session with Brennan Taylor (aka inthisstyle) and our friend Michele. It went really well. The three of us were laughing nearly the whole time. The constant need to choose between defeating the supervillain and preserving one's Aspects shone through, and did form the center of play, just like I'd intended. I had a blast, suggesting things the others could do to Suffer their Aspects, playing NPCs in their supporting scenes, using the Thought Balloon. It rocked.

However, by the end of the short session, there was a small wrinkle on my wife's brow. "I don't think I ran it very well," she said. I reassured her that the session went great and that she had nothing to worry about.

On Sunday, she ran the game for 5 players. I had booth-like things to do, so I only observed in passing from time to time. By the time it was over, that wrinkled brow had become positively furrowed. "How'd it go?" I asked.

"Horrible," she said. Perhaps it was just too little sleep, I thought. (Yes, my talent for denial is impressive)

This past Monday, Kat ran the game again, this time for just Michele and I. We, the players, had a great deal of fun. Kat, the GM, did not. Those brows were knit, I tell you. Finally, my denial cracked. It wasn't "just me" or "too little sleep" or anything like that. The game in its current form was fun for players, but not-fun for the GM. There's a hole in the middle of my game and I never saw it, until now.

So for me, it's definitely back to the drawing board as far as "What is a WGP... GM supposed to do?" But the point is that I never would have seen the problems with the GM role if I had never stepped outside of it. Play your game. You'll be glad you did.
Logged

Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
Incarnadine Press--The Redder, the Better!
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2005, 10:45:36 AM »

Michael,

You've seen my threads about "http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=4546">Type2" Narrativism, right? My Life with Master places the GM very much in a service role relative to the players. And sometimes I absolutely love that. But I've yet to find a game that satisfies my Type2 creative interest in determining setting/situation/conflict that the players respect and engage with, authoring their characters as protagonists to an antagonism I put down. EPICS didn't do it, despite my initial optimism. And after all the My Life with Master, this other interest is positively screaming and bawling for attention within my distraught cerebrum. (I remain convinced it's possible, with the right system.) Perhaps your With Great Power... frustration is similar?

Paul
Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
timfire
Member

Posts: 756


WWW
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2005, 10:48:05 AM »

Micheal, can you identify what's 'not fun' about GM'ing WGP?
Logged

--Timothy Walters Kleinert
Brennan Taylor
Member

Posts: 499


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2005, 12:47:36 PM »

I have to say that it was extremely satisfying for me as a player. I was quite impressed with the game and had a great time. I am working on getting one of my friends to play, so I will post a report after I run the game. It may be that I have the same experience as you and Kat.
Logged

Michael S. Miller
Member

Posts: 846


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2005, 09:02:36 PM »

Paul: Yes, in light of recent discussion, I just reread Type2 Narrativism this week. I used to think that I understood it, but now I think that I don't. If Bangs in Sorcerer, Commands in MLwM, Towns in DitV don't scratch that itch to have the players respond to the GM's Situation ideas, I don't quite see what you mean. Unless you're talking about starting game prep with the question "What are we all fighting against?" and then having just the GM answer it alone. Is that it?

Quote from: timfire
Micheal, can you identify what's 'not fun' about GM'ing WGP?


That's the big question, isn't it? I'm still working at figuring it out. The symptoms include a lack of clarity on what I, as a GM, should do next. I've got plenty of options, but they're all kind of jumbled together. Another symptom is "What should I do with my Enrichment scenes?" Basically, the system goads the players into a lot of get-up-and-go action, but the GM is left a bit lost.

I think I've cut too much away from the traditional role of GM to give to the players, and haven't replaced it with any kind of structure. The game as it currently stands says "Players do this, this, and this. The GM, um, the GM kinda does whatever else needs to be done." I GM largely by instinct and haven't had to think about what makes being a GM fun in any detailed way.

Since I've taken away scene framing and pacing from the GM, the main thing left is playing the Adversity. I found this great entry on Eric Finley's blog about the Anatomy of Adversity. He breaks adversity into Stakes (what you're trying to achieve), Uncertainty (the doubt about when, whether, and how the Stakes will be won), and Price (what the Stakes will cost you). These map rather nicely onto the WGP... conflict system. Uncertainty is provided by the card mechanics. Price is primarily in the players' hands in the form of increasing the Suffering of Aspects. Which leaves Stakes to the GM. If the Premise of the game is "You can save the world, but are you willing to pay the price?" then I've really got to design things and advise the GM to put the world in peril, to see just what the heroes will pay to save it. I think I'm onto something here...
Logged

Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
Incarnadine Press--The Redder, the Better!
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2005, 09:42:40 PM »

Hello,

We haven't played it yet. We meant to, but Nine Worlds seems to have grabbed us by the collective throat. Hence WGP, Dogs, and a few others languish in waiting.

But! Michael, I thought you might be interested to know that Julie (jrs), on first reading, immediately suggested that the specific GM role in WGP seemed superfluous to her.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Michael S. Miller
Member

Posts: 846


WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 10, 2005, 04:03:34 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
But! Michael, I thought you might be interested to know that Julie (jrs), on first reading, immediately suggested that the specific GM role in WGP seemed superfluous to her.


Well, of course Julie saw it. She's insightful.

For me, I keep getting hit over the head with that snippet from the Nar essay:
Quote
I think that whatever a role-player is best at is the last thing on earth that occurs to him or her to write about


I mean, I can GM in my sleep, so of course I completely overlook the GM role. This thing happens to me over and over.

But I ain't licked yet.
Logged

Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
Incarnadine Press--The Redder, the Better!
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 10, 2005, 04:37:42 AM »

Quote from: Michael S. Miller
I think I've cut too much away from the traditional role of GM to give to the players, and haven't replaced it with any kind of structure.

One of the great realizations handed to me here (by Sydney, I think) was that when you're at that cross-roads you actually have two choices:  Give the GM more to do, or take what little he still has away and dispose of the role entirely.

I don't see (myself) how that would work for WGP, since you have a very strong GM-mechanic built into the system, but maybe you can see a workaround, like saying "Players who choose to play Villains have such and so wild-cards at this stage of the story" rather than "The GM has such and so...."  So I figured I'd mention.
Quote
I've really got to design things and advise the GM to put the world in peril, to see just what the heroes will pay to save it. I think I'm onto something here...

You can never go wrong threatening something that makes the players sit up straighter in their seats.
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Kat Miller
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2005, 07:35:17 AM »

Hi,

I ran the WGP events at Dreamation.  In my defense I'd like to say that the first game I ran went really well.  It was only the second time I sat on the villain side of the story arc, and it was blast.

I was frustrated with the game I ran on Sunday.  Much of my unhappiness comes from being a novice at running the game.  I forgot 2 important rules- one involving when to reduce the hand size of cards.  More importantly I tried to run the game for 5 players because I love this game and I want to share the joy.  There was much Joy shared during that first game that was missing from the Sunday game.  My GM programming demands that I must be at fault if a game does not go well and from the GM side of things the game did not go well.

WGP can handle 5 or 6 for at home campaign play, but a convention event has to be tight.  There is a time limit.  Pacing is a problem with any new game and WGP has some interesting liabilities pace wise when more than 4 players compete to prime aspects during the Enrichment phase.  More pacing hazards bog the game down during combat.   So the second game ran too slow for me.

Also I had my one villain being attacked on 5 different fronts. I was holding my own but in the back of my mind I’m thinking. . .this isn’t right.  It didn’t feel right.

Also I like being GM.  (There is discussion and discovery of why gamers like to play games, has there been much discussion on why we like to run them?)  There is something missing from the GM side of WGP.  The player side is solid.  What you do, and why you do what you do is all spelled out.  

Mike and I have been discussing the GM side of WGP.  As written the role of the GM is to – make up as villain name, take the thugs aspect and a cool power aspect and then wait for the players to tell you what to do. Beat them up until they sacrifice enough cards and then have them beat you up at the end of the game.-  I want more.  I like my villains to have some purpose.  I don’t mind them being doomed to fail, but I want them to fail at something really cool, something that demanded they fail or the world would have been dramatically altered!

Mind you I can sort of do that already.  But it’s hit or miss and completely up to me.  If I’m good I’m good if I’m having an off day, the game suffers.  Saturday’s game was a hit, Sunday’s a miss.

-kat
Logged

kat Miller
daMoose_Neo
Member

Posts: 890


WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2005, 09:23:50 AM »

I'd almost say the answer for you is right there.
Villians, as a rule, are proactive, not reactive. The best villians are, at their heart, heroes but for a number of poor choices. Its one thing for Lex Luthor to go after Supes with a new ray cannon, its another for Magneto to fight for the right of mutants to live free, the same philosophy that Charles Xavier preaches, only Magnus relies on force whereas Xavier wants understanding.

I can't say I'm familiar with the system, but from the post here my thought would be to ditch the "GM" angle of it and go with a "Villian-Player" angle, allow the GM to function as a player but as the "Designated Opposition".  If its fun and a blast to be a player, could the GM be made to be a player as well? Wouldn't (from the sounds of things) radically alter the face of things, just focus those options from "I can do anything, go anywhere" GM to "I'm a player, this are my options and this is what will net me the best results".
Logged

Nate Petersen / daMoose
Neo Productions Unlimited! Publisher of Final Twilight card game, Imp Game RPG, and more titles to come!
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!