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[MLwM] Question on Commands and those Tricky, Tricky Minions

Started by Solamasa, September 09, 2005, 03:16:26 PM

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A question regarding commands from the Master.  On page 27, the text states:

QuoteIf the Master wins, the minion is obliged to carry out the command ... And to be specific, a minion's obligation to act on a command is lifted after a single dice roll is performed in service to it.

And from the Sebastian and Carlotta example, page 54:

QuoteCarlotta wins the roll, compelling Sebastian to attempt the thievery ... The GM resolves individual scenes with each of the other players before returning to Sebastian's player and asking if he wants to go ahead with the wig theft scene, or if he wants some other scene, with a Connection or something.

I read this as meaning that the minion failing to resist a command is not obligated to immediately act on that command.  Am I correctly interpreting this? 

This is how I've been playing it, and, consequently, my minions are doing a very fine job of shirking their duties.  They may be obligated to carry out the command... but only when they feel like getting around to it.  And because the Master acts only through his Minions, I'm finding it a tricky to mete out punishment in a timely manner.

Thank you!
- Kit

GB Steve

I usually play that if a minion accepts a command they have to make an attempt in their next scene. I think you can be a bit more fluid if players do get round to acting out their commands. But if they interpret it as doing the master's bidding "some day" then you are missing out on the element of compulsion that is vital to the game.

The Master is an evil nasty taskmaster. He's not about to let them get away with shirking their duties! It's time for you to get gothic on their asses.

Adam Dray

Yes, next scene. But I'm generally fluid about that. If I think the player is stalling, then I remind them of the Master's order. I've had players manage to work in an attempt to get Love even while doing Villainy. As long as it flows, it's all good. Reward player creativity but absolutely require them to complete the Master's orders. Otherwise, they will have no desire to overthrow Master.
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Michael S. Miller

The way I run it:

The game contains only three types of scenes: Command scenes (where they receive a Command); Bidding scenes (where they carry out the Master's bidding); and Overture scenes (where they make an Overture). I tell everyone up-front: "You cannot make two Overtures in a row." What normally happens is the minion gets a Command (try to resist and fail), then take an Overture for their next scene. For their 3rd scene of the game, they cannot have another Overture, and can't go back to get another Command since they haven't carried out the last one, and must do the Bidding. It really keeps the game moving at a great clip.

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Victor Gijsbers

I allow two Overtures in a row - it can be great sometimes, and I think it would be a shame to disallow it - but I have not yet met players who will abuse this to shirk their duties. If it's clear to them that the tragedy in the game comes from having to do all these terrible things, why would they want to? Are you sure your players actually understand that they don't have to 'play to win', but have to entertain themselves and each other by telling the coolest gothic yet written?

GB Steve

I don't really have a fixed idea of what the minions should do after an attempt at the Master's bidding. Some just go scuttling back, some try to get in as many overtures as possible. My reaction to this depends on how much time we've got to play.

If we've got a fair while, I'll instruct PCs to kill connections, especially if the player is having his PC avoid the Master. After all, the Master sees all.

If playing time is restricted, I'll be a bit more lenient.

Eero Tuovinen

In my MLwM the compulsion to act on the Master's command is an in-game psychological fact for the character, not a metagame restriction for the player. Remember, somebody has to frame the scenes in the game, so framing an overture scene means taking responsibility for the between-scenes actions of the characters. In practise this means that you can only have an overture scene after a command if you can frame it convincingly to happen as the minion is going to deal with the task. In some games some minions seem to have much more leniency in their psychology, too, so they might be able to set the command aside for a while. But that's 80% the player's problem, not mine as the GM. The player knows how his minion is motivated, and thus knows whether or not the character is able to go for an overture. Much depends on the command, too: if the minion has a couple of hours to kill anyway before the dark or something like that, then it's very easy to frame an overture.

Managing different kinds of scenes is at the heart of the game. I distinctly remember writing something about it earlier, and Michael has of course offered his view in that manifesto. The GM should find a method that makes sense to him.
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