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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 153 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [MLwM] My unsatisfying Life with Dr. Ernst (long)  (Read 13640 times)
TonyLB
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« Reply #30 on: November 16, 2005, 08:19:14 PM »

Indeed, the More Than Human (in this case) almost certainly makes the horror of the minion's actions greater.  Before MTH he could have committed violence against any number of anonymous, heavily armed guards.  That would have been very nearly a fair fight.  Likewise, he could have persuaded the canny theater owner to let him "borrow" the actress using villainy ... again, something that seems like a fair fight.  But after the use of More Than Human, the minion is now alone with the victim, and still has to do something terrible.  The only possible target now is the actress herself.

That's what I find that MTH does most reliably in the game:  it gets you alone with your victim, without "wasting" your required roll on something less horrifying than you're capable of.
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Sven Seeland
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« Reply #31 on: November 19, 2005, 07:23:11 AM »

First of all, sorry for my prolonged absence.

I find your discussion very interesting and these thoughts have occurred to me as well but unfortunately they don't solve my problem.
My players take a very conservative, gamist(-ish) approach to MLwM. The point is: the MTH and LTH don't make a difference to anything if the game is played like Ron and Paul suggested. I'm talking technicalities here, not story. For the players, when the bottom line is drawn, it doesn't matter if they did use they MTH or LTH at all. The success of the job still depends on a diceroll. They still risk self-loathing.
Part of this problem is the vagueness of the concepts of "scene" and "turn" and "conflict". I can break down a conflict into several sub-tasks and turns, each requiring a roll or I can wrap a whole job into one dice roll, including the return to the master. So, if I have to roll one dice anyways, why not just roll the dice, see whether I succeed and be done with it? Why use a MTH to prepare for a diceroll?

Oh, wait. Something is dawning on me... If they use MTH to complete a job they might technically be out of danger, meaning they can not fail the job any more. But they still have to roll. That is indeed cool. It has been mentioned before in this thread but I didn't quite see it that way back than. The success of the job isn't endangered any more but self-loathing still is. Does that nail it more or less?
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- Sven

Mr. Sandman bring me a dream...
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #32 on: November 21, 2005, 06:35:26 AM »

Well, if that works for you, Sven. The thing is that MLWM is designed to support a decidedly narrativism mode of play. Meaning that if it's played instead with gamism in mind, that quite simply parts won't seem to make any sense. The horror revealed, for instance, will seem to be nothing but a "Lose a Turn" result at best.

Given that the system is designed this way, and that it should incentivize narrativism, it's hard to say what you can do to alter your player's play. But if you can't do so, or simply don't want to do so, then MLWM is just going to present some problems for you. Not terrible ones, actually. But MTH and LTH will either have to be adjusted in how they work, or, yes, they'll be non-important to play.

Mike
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Sven Seeland
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« Reply #33 on: November 22, 2005, 03:21:10 AM »

Hmm, I see.

For some reason I was probably expeting the narrativism to "just happen", especially since I've heard good things about people discussing things from a rules-standpoint in game. Well, I guess I'll have to talk to my players about that and see what they think. This probably won't happen in a while though since I just became the father of an amazing little boy who tends to keep his parents busy, as newborns have the tendency to do.

Thanks again,
Sven
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- Sven

Mr. Sandman bring me a dream...
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #34 on: November 22, 2005, 05:38:56 AM »

Hello Sven,

I'm not sure whether a particular feature of the ideas being discussed is really getting understood, so I'll clarify, just in case.

No one can make any other person prefer a given Creative Agenda.

If you say to your group, "Hey guys, this rules-set won't work unless you play with Narrativist priorities," that typically will not be met with, "Oh, well then, I guess we'll do that." It is instead typically met with, "Oh, well screw this rules-set then."

In practice, the response is nowhere near that clear, and usually confounded by people thinking that if you play this rules-set, you must be playing according to a specific Creative Agenda, or confounding Creative Agenda with Techniques. That means the dialogue breaks down into confusion and hurt feelings, not the least because yes, one person is suggesting to the others that he doesn't like the way they want to play.

What I'm saying is, you cannot make them play MLWM the way you'd like, if they do not want to, or if their habits of play are firmly associated with a particular CA. Theoretically, a given person "can" enjoy play using any CA. In practice, most people are pretty dedicated to one of of them; the exceptions seem to be either vanishingly rare or experienced in playing the games by publishers mainly here at the Forge.

And most painfully, you cannot "just talk" to them to solve the problem. The issue might not be mere communication, but rather basic preference. All the communication in the world cannot solve a real conflict of interest; it can only reveal it.

Now, all of that is the worst-case scenario. It is possible that all you need is a little chat, and they'll say "Oh! We always wanted to play that way, but never realized we could," and all will be well. Unfortunately, the instances of seeing that, based on reports here, can be counted on one hand over the last six years.

Best,
Ron
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Sven Seeland
Member

Posts: 40


« Reply #35 on: November 22, 2005, 06:01:54 AM »

Thanks for the clarification Ron.

These things are quite clear to me. I'm sorry if I wasn't explicit enough by what I meant by saying "talk to them".
My goal was to explain to them how the game is supposed to be played and see whether they like it. If they don't, well, I guess we'll play something else then. If they do, though, we can give it a try and play the game the way it was conceived. The thing is that none of us (exept for me) have ever even heard of narativist games, let alone played one (I'm talking about the style here, not the term). They simply might not know that such a thing exists. I'm not trying to convert anyone.
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- Sven

Mr. Sandman bring me a dream...
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #36 on: November 22, 2005, 08:15:25 AM »

For some reason I was probably expeting the narrativism to "just happen", especially since I've heard good things about people discussing things from a rules-standpoint in game.
Without disregarding all of what Ron's saying, what a good rule set does (at least in the opinion of many here) is to provide a way to play that, if followed, will tend to be along a single clear agenda. So, in point of fact, many people playing MLWM do end up having a strong narrativism experience. Without "intending" to play that way. That is, they "just" play by the rules, and it comes out narrativism.

The only cases where this comonly doesn't happen is when the group that comes to a game like MLWM has a strong preference for some other way to play from play of other RPGs. That, or the game is presented in a radically different way than how it's presented. And, unsurprisingly, when an expectation for a different mode of play is brought to a game like MLWM, and players try to force play to be in that other mode, problems occur.

Basically, what I'm saying, is that narrativism does "just happen" in MLWM, as long as players are open-minded to it, and not expecting something else. You don't have to make narrativism happen, you just have to not make gamism (uphill, against what the rules support) happen. Basically there's no way to design a game to prevent people from forcing their prefered mode upon it. You can only make it a downhill ride for players who don't do this.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #37 on: November 22, 2005, 08:19:32 AM »

Damn it, Mike, that's just the phrasing that throws people off track.

It will "just happen" if it's something they want to do, which means it didn't "just happen."

What is correct, or rather, is an understandable paraphrase of your point, is that often people do want to play this way without being able to verbalize it and without knowing how.

Then, yes, it feels as if it "just happens" when they utilize a rules-set that is well-tuned to that desire.

But it didn't.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #38 on: November 22, 2005, 10:11:10 AM »

I was trying to communicate something close to your paraphrase, and further trying to be very careful about doing it. Basically this seems to be getting very near the sticky subject of consciousness, which is unimportant. Our agreement remains the same, that one shouldn't have to have some talk about play to make it happen "correctly."

I was trying to respond to the implication (possibly unintended) in Sven's post that narrativism can't happen without the group having some explicit up front agreement to play that way.

Mike
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Sven Seeland
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« Reply #39 on: November 25, 2005, 04:41:00 AM »

I still don't get it how a simple "Let's try to play this way and see if you like it" can be that wrong? To me it seems that they only know how to play gamist(-ish) because they simply don't know that RPGs can be played differently.
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- Sven

Mr. Sandman bring me a dream...
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #40 on: November 25, 2005, 03:23:26 PM »

Hi Sven,

It's not wrong to do that. It's just fine.

Whether this is a case of (a) Gamist preferences, period; or (b) unfamiliarity, with potential for liking this new thing, is something only you and they can answer, not us.

Best,
Ron
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