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Author Topic: [The Pool] Stagefright and Questions  (Read 1596 times)
Halzebier
Member

Posts: 216


« on: August 03, 2005, 08:11:11 AM »

Hi there!

I've finally scheduled my first game of The Pool (Whee!) and now a bit of stagefright is setting in (though the game is still a few days off), so I have more questions.

(a) How do you deal with multiple PCs working in tandem (rather than in parallel scenes)?

My take: Whoever narrates, narrates all the successes and also the complications for the failed rolls. If several players want to narrate and don't want to back down, roll a die. (I'm tending towards avoiding a bidding contest, because it favors those with many dice. Then again, many dice may indicate that a player hasn't used director stance much.)

My problem: With several players rolling, there will always be at least one success, meaning that the party cannot fail.

(b) Loss of control

I've been thinking of lowering the limit of dice which can be gambled (from 9 to 7 or lower), so as to ensure failures and complications. Then again, I fear this is just the old-fashioned GM in me, afraid of giving up too much control.

(c) Here's the first character I've been mailed. There's still time to suggest changes:

[Note 1: This is translated from German, so it's not 50 words.]
[Note 2: The setting is a low-magic fantasy world which we've been playing in for years and years.]

Nicolodus, an orphan who grew up in a circus, is a versatile artiste, though he actually hates public performances. He ran away at age 14 and has been doing odd jobs ever since, preferably as a stableman or, in hard times, as a thief. He is small, thin and easily overlooked, but far stronger than he looks.

+2 competent artiste [Note: think tight-rope walking and mid-air antics]
+2 thief, scoundrel, bum
+1 strong, well-trained
+1 far-travelled, restless

Wish list:
+0 hates public performances
+0 prefers honest work

There are too many commas for my tastes and two psychological facets ended up with +0, but otherwise it seems alright. I plan on asking for more precision regarding the second and the last trait.

(d) The adventure

At the moment, I've got my sights on an old module, wherein a merchant hires the PCs to accompany him on his quest for a lost temple in the jungle. There's lots of travelling (by ship and through the jungle), all sorts of encounters (pirates, man-eating apes), and mad cultists at the end.

I plan to flesh out the merchant and some crew-members, hooking them into relationships to the PCs (which is somewhat forced if none have relationship traits). And then, I'll play it straight, but hopefully open to the players' input. If someone makes the pirate captain fall in love with his PC or if the party wins over the cultists, so be it.

*-*-*

I'd be very grateful for any comments and tips.

Regards

Hal
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: August 03, 2005, 08:51:57 AM »

Hello,

Line by line, I'm afraid.

Quote
(a) How do you deal with multiple PCs working in tandem (rather than in parallel scenes)?

My take: Whoever narrates, narrates all the successes and also the complications for the failed rolls. If several players want to narrate and don't want to back down, roll a die. (I'm tending towards avoiding a bidding contest, because it favors those with many dice. Then again, many dice may indicate that a player hasn't used director stance much.)

Highly not recommended. Very bad, in fact. Instead, whoever rolls successfully is now "on the narration team." The narration team must arrive at an agreed-upon narration.

And also, as usual, remember that "narrator" does not mean "speaker in the midst of deathly silence." Anyone may offer suggestions - the narrator or team of narrators merely reserve the rights to ask suggestors to stop, and to rubber-stamp the final version of what happened.

Quote
My problem: With several players rolling, there will always be at least one success, meaning that the party cannot fail.

Heh. You might be a little more trusting of the dice. Those ones can sometimes be elusive.

More importantly, what makes you think that everyone rolling will be trying to achieve the same goal? That's ... uh, not usually what happens in my experience of the game.

Quote
(b) Loss of control

I've been thinking of lowering the limit of dice which can be gambled (from 9 to 7 or lower), so as to ensure failures and complications. Then again, I fear this is just the old-fashioned GM in me, afraid of giving up too much control.

Oh, just play it as written for God's sake. Then change it later if you'd like.

Another point is to remind you that you can call for rolls any time! I am reminded of a Pool game in which the GM asked me about one player who'd always had his character skulking around, avoiding conflicts. "He never had to roll," he complained. Heh. Just have someone look for the guy and the player has to roll.

I think the character looks great and you really ought not diddle with it and carp about the details. Let the player apply the traits as he sees fit and simply say "That's stupid" during play if he tries to get god-knows-what out of them.

Quote
(d) The adventure

At the moment, I've got my sights on an old module, wherein a merchant hires the PCs to accompany him on his quest for a lost temple in the jungle. There's lots of travelling (by ship and through the jungle), all sorts of encounters (pirates, man-eating apes), and mad cultists at the end.

I plan to flesh out the merchant and some crew-members, hooking them into relationships to the PCs (which is somewhat forced if none have relationship traits). And then, I'll play it straight, but hopefully open to the players' input. If someone makes the pirate captain fall in love with his PC or if the party wins over the cultists, so be it.

I'm kind of yawning at this point, I'm afraid. Screw the merchant hiring the PCs. Screw the quest. Instead, have them be on the ship as it nears the island, maybe as people think "we should be right about there." Introduce a few people on the ship and let the conflicts arise from there. Don't attack with pirates or apes unless it can also be associated with interesting reactions from at least one NPC. Use your NPCs as sources of conflicts, not as ways to get the characters to do something.

Suggestion: do a search here in Actual Play for "Jasmine," and find my thread about playing The Pool. I hope that will be helpful.

Best,
Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: August 03, 2005, 08:54:48 AM »

Found it! The Pool: Dragons and Jasmine. Also see the internal links within it.

Best,
Ron
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Halzebier
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2005, 06:18:48 AM »

Hi again & sorry for the delay!

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Instead, whoever rolls successfully is now "on the narration team." The narration team must arrive at an agreed-upon narration.

And also, as usual, remember that "narrator" does not mean "speaker in the midst of deathly silence." Anyone may offer suggestions - the narrator or team of narrators merely reserve the rights to ask suggestors to stop, and to rubber-stamp the final version of what happened.

Good advice, thanks!

Technically, this might mean that all successful players save the one who "takes the MOV for the team" get a bonus die, right?

Quote from: Ron Edwards
I'm kind of yawning at this point, I'm afraid. Screw the merchant hiring the PCs. Screw the quest. Instead, have them be on the ship as it nears the island, maybe as people think "we should be right about there." Introduce a few people on the ship and let the conflicts arise from there. Don't attack with pirates or apes unless it can also be associated with interesting reactions from at least one NPC. Use your NPCs as sources of conflicts, not as ways to get the characters to do something.

Thank you for calling me on that. After reading The Pool I've become so enamoured of it that I've been subconsciously assuming it will work like magic. Even on reflection, I *am* interested in seeing how (and showing off that) The Pool can handle bog-standard situations, but that's no excuse for a bog-standard adventure. I think the rules alone will make this a memorable evening, but I should aim higher. Not that I expect an unqualified success or our group to adopt The Pool, mind you. [gush] I'd love to, though, I'd love to. I'm *so* in love with the rules. [/gush]

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Suggestion: do a search here in Actual Play for "Jasmine," and find my thread about playing The Pool. I hope that will be helpful.

I've already checked that out when reading up on The Pool. Good stuff.

Monday's the day. I hope to get back with some Actual Play later.

Regards

Hal
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