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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 180 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Shab-al-Hiri Roach] Eating Regina  (Read 5148 times)
Jason Morningstar
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« on: October 11, 2005, 12:03:39 PM »

Eric, Lisa, Steve, Joel and I had a very successful playtest of the Roach last night.  It went well and raised some interesting issues which I'm addressing in the game text.  Just a taste of the mayhem:

Eric's Dr. Boatsend emerged as the mumbling, mutton-chopped villain of the evening.  He was the hub of all our malice, powerfully Roached early and often.  If he had managed to get rid of it he would have kicked all our asses.  Some highlights included...

Dr. Bunn being called before the faculty senate to explain why he incited the Panthercats to vandalize Dr. Boatsend's Packard.

Dr. Boatsend getting roaring drunk to avoid obeying the Roach's Command, which was "protect Dr. Bainbridge-Vasey".  A wonderful screw-you move by Eric!

Professor James interpreting "eat until you burst" as applying to the consumption of hapless co-ed Regina Sutton.

That bastard Boatsend, again, successfully poisoning the Pemberton Panthercats offensive line with herbicide-spiked champagne.  Funerals for days. 

Professor James jumping Boatsend and beating him with a trashcan behind Scadwell auditorium during the Follies - with the support of all the other players, giving Boatsend the "beating of all time".

Steve and I both drawing Roach cards before the final Event, giving the win to Lisa.  This actually led to some discussion of the possibility of an anticlimax, but I'm not overly concerned.

There were the requisite car crashes and human torches, burning frat houses and deflowered undergraduates.  It was awesome.

Some numbers:  Steve kept careful track of Reputation (an "r" means Roach-bound during that Event):

Jason:  1,1,2,3,1,0r

Eric:  5r,9r,1r,8r,11r,0r

Lisa:  1,1,1,0,0,1 (winner!)

Joel:  9r,5,4,5r,9r,18r

Steve:  2,2r,4r,8r,9r,18r

The Roach die was the deciding factor in nine conflicts, as opposed to eight in which it was not the deciding factor and seven in which there was no Roach die. 

I hope the players will chip in with their reactions and concerns.

--Jason
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2005, 12:12:12 PM »

We played "no PC death" and that's the way it will go.

Specific issues: 

Enthusiasms - is it necessary to limit them to two players only?  This seems like a non-issue with groups of four or five.

Self-Destruction - is the special rule awarding this Enthusiasm a D12 necessary or good?  I'm leaning toward "not" but can't decide if it needs to be retained as a regular Enthusiasm or purged completely.

"Roach Card Fiat" - Should you have no opportunity to escape getting Roached up?  Eric suggested that it should be a player decision rather than random, maybe allowing you to sacrifice most of your Reputation to get the chance to draw another card.  It is arbitrary (Steve and I were Roached in the last Event) but thematically sound. 

NPC ownership - should the spotlight player be allowed to play NPCs?  Or can he invoke and allocate them to others to play, and if so, must they roll their dice as he wishes?  Unclear at present but I am tightening this up.

PC destruction - do I need to articulate some ruling on PCs who end up in jail, in a coma, in a body cast, physically removed from play?  Is this different from death?

This stuff is all pretty minor.  I'm stoked.  Tons of good ideas emerged from this session on everything from graphic design to card handling.  I think Steve was surprised when Eric gleefully started counting cards to see how many Roaches were left! 
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2005, 12:37:38 PM »

Hiya,

I think you need to set up a website solely dedicated to the fates of Regina Sutton in actual play.

It would have Edward Gorey style illustrations.

Best,
Ron
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Jon Hastings
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2005, 01:08:51 PM »

Jason,

I have to admit I got a little jealous when I saw you guys brought cannibalism into your game.  That level of nastiness is truly inspiring.

Here are my thoughts based on my vast experience with the game (i.e., I've played it twice):

Enthusiasms: I'm not sure if this is a non-issue--or at least if it is a non-issue for every group of players.  In each of the two 3-player games I played, I was the only player NOT to choose the "Sociability" enthusiasm.  Other groups may not have this problem, but I'd almost prefer a mechanism that forces the less popular enthusiasms (perhaps those that are seen as less useful) to enter play (i.e., a mandatory random draw).

"Roach Card Fiat": I prefer keeping it arbitrary and unforgiving.  However, I do think it is important to let new players know this BEFORE starting the game.

NPC Ownership: I can't imagine playing the game without allowing the spotlight player to control NPCs.  First, it would make it way too easy for the other players to gang up.  Second, it would take away one of my favorite tactics: bringing one of the Spotlight PC's NPC allies into the conflict AGAINST the Spotlight PC before the Spotlight player has a chance to take control of the NPC himself/herself.  For example, in the last game I played, one of the other players created the NPC head of the psychology department, and he brought him onto his side in just about every conflict.  But then, in this player's final Spotlight scene, I managed to bring this NPC into the conflict against him.  I'm not sure if that's at all clear, but the last minute betrayal was very cool in play.

PC Destruction: We managed to get through PC imprisonment, poisoning, and beating without any explicit rule.  It might be cool to point out that the PC can have influence on events from a distance (i.e., the Byronic professor of drama & poetry who just got locked up in the asylum can have a lovestruck coed do his bidding on campus).  I think though that this is more an example of a place where "advanced techniques" can be brought into play, rather than something that needs a special rule.

Hope this helps.

Cheers,
Jon
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2005, 01:29:43 PM »

I think you need to set up a website solely dedicated to the fates of Regina Sutton in actual play.

In the works - we arrived at this conclusion independently last night! 

Thanks for the feedback, Jon.  You make a great point about NPC ownership - I have not seen that kind of "defensive NPC grabbing behavior" yet, but it is a viable tactic I'll definitely employ in my next game. 

I'll probably add a paragraph illustrating player influence at a remove, just to make it clear that a stint in the mental hospital isn't such a bad thing. 

--Jason
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2005, 04:55:37 PM »

Quote
You make a great point about NPC ownership - I have not seen that kind of "defensive NPC grabbing behavior" yet...

Dude.  It totally happened last night.  I stole the Inspector from Joel in the last Event.

I'm about to send you an email about it, but I've totally flip-flopped on my opinion on changing the manditory Roach implementation.  The cards are excellent and should not suffer any major changes IMO, to the contrary of my earlier stand.

Why? 

Well, earlier I was afraid that the lack of player-control could suck.  But!  It occurred to me that the player control is there!  As is!  I just didn't see it.  If you're thinking ahead, and you see that there's a large possibility of drawing a Roach card in the final Event, then you should voluntarily take on the Roach in the penultimate Event!  *slaps forehead*  It's so simple it eluded me.  Then, with the Roach in your sinuses a Roach-card draw will free you!  Yay!

And how could you not mention my final action?  Lisa's got the last scene, we know she's gonna win, but her last act is to try to turn the university to women-only.  As her character (can't remember the name) is chatting up the topic with a bigwig, I narrate Boatsend quietly shambling from the frat house he just torched towards the lake... and he's completely in flames.  Quite the distraction to the bigwig.  Which, as it turns out, is exactly why he agrees to make the school an all girl uni.

Woot.

I just loved the image of him looking out the window, watching this shambling, flaming, quiet figure walking across the snow.

The Roach rawks.  I can't wait to have a printed copy.

-Eric
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