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[PTA] Erie Nights

Started by Meguey, February 24, 2006, 04:56:43 PM

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Ok, so my friend Julia who lives behind me brought over the big glossy hardcover 'Buffy:the role-playing game'a few weeks back and said "Hey I want to play this, and I've never gamed before, and I know you do, so can we?"

Erk. It's amazing how nearly knee-jerk my reaction to just the book was. We handed her Dogs and PTA. "If it's Buffy via PTA, I can do it, but I don't really have it in me to read the actual Buffy book."

So a week later, it's Valentines Day night and I'm sitting there with three people my age, in my town, who all have young kids so we get the scheduling thing, trying to gracefully explain why I'd rather use PTA. Thank god they went for it. We have as players R, S, Julia, the incomparable Emily Boss, and myself as producer. R, 32, female, had played a lot of D&D in high school, and wanted gaming badly. She'd even gone to the flgs a few years back, asking about adults who gamed, and got a 'well, you could put up a card' reply. S,34, male, played D&D and Torg in high school and college. Juila had never played an rpg, but is in the Society for Creative Anachronism, which is close enough. All of them are Buffy fans. The show is post-canon Buffy and just post-Katrina, set in Cleveland, where the new hellmouth is being fed by all kinds of stuff coming up from New Orleans.

We had our pitch session last Saturday, our first episode is this Saturday, and things are going well so far. The D&D players are getting the hang of broader participation (scene framing, fan mail,etc), and the never-gamed-before player doesn't have a single bad gamer habit to overcome, so she's doing fine. I'm very glad to have Emily in the game as a veteran player and veteran PTA player, because that helps a bunch with the explaining. I'll let you know how it goes, but the responsibility I feel as a GM to these people is much higher than when I was GMing at GenCon.

We got through the whole pitch session and character creation and a decent pilot, although it was cut short by other stuff we had to go do that night. Did I mention this was all while R&S parented their 4 and almost-2 y.o. kids , Julia had her 6 and 2 y.o. kids, and I had Tovey (2.5 mos, if anyone's keeping track)? We played from 1-5:30 pm, and could have gone longer. I'm totally happy/amazed, and I hope it continues!

Everyone's at 1 for the first episode, so it's got to be majorly plot-heavy. Then we've got 2-2-3-1, 3-2-2-1, 2-3-2-1, 2-1-3-2. Two-parter on the matching threes.

Emily = Cybelle, a Slayer from the 1500s who had a child before being turned into a Vampire. Her last living descendant is one Marie Soileau. 2-3-2-1 arc, has Boredom as her issue.

Julia=Mistingnette Soileau, a vodoo mambo from the 1800s, was in suspension until Katrina,  2-2-3-1 arc, has Adjustment as her issue, is related to Marie Soileau much more recently.

R=Jan Brady, a transdimensional being sucked here yesterday after pushing her child out of the vortex responsible. 2-1-3-2 arc, highly magical, has Wants to get home as her issue.

S=Prof. Andrew Fredkin/Daedelus, an anthropology prof/demon fighting aikido master who is obsessive about keeping his worlds  from colliding. 3-2-2-1 arc, has Insecurity about a chronic illness as his issue.

They all have good connections, etc, and the first full session is tomorrow. Tune in at 8, 7 central, only on PTA!


I can't wait to hear how it goes.

Quote from: Meguey on February 24, 2006, 04:56:43 PM
I'm very glad to have Emily in the game as a veteran player and veteran PTA player, because that helps a bunch with the explaining.

I have found that having one ringer at the table is enough for others to model stakes setting and fan mail behavior off of.  Should be fine.

Emily Care

We had our next episode on Saturday night, Meg may write more about it. It was a bit harder due in large part to the fact that we didn't start playing until 8:30 (we none of us are the night owls we were in our younger days, so 11:30 looms large now).

But, we had some great character interactions--establishing the parallels between the two characters who are displaced from their home time/dimensions, and setting up the professor/martial arts master as being both 1) unsure of what to make of all of this magic & hoodoo stuff coming to  life, and 2) unsure of how he can help.  I mean, it was just vampires before, but now there's all manner of crazy magical creature roaming the city streets, and both Julia's mambo & Rachel's sorceress are just out of his league. Next episode it is his spotlight, so that should be good.

I'm actually experiencing an issue--my character is kind of outside of the others' group, she's basically evil and some of her scenes are on her own. One in particular brought a lot of interest from the other players: We had a flashback about the character's past and the conflict was whether she drove her daughter out of a dangerous place in a nice way, or if she did something awful:  tons of fanmail went on awful--so she allowed her daughter's fiance to be killed in front of her. shudder.  But I'm not sure if I'm doing enough to engage the other players since I am not quite in their orbit. Any feedback Meg? Or have others been in a similar spot?

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games

Frank T

I am wondering about the idea of having antagonist protagonists. Would this work? I guess so. If there is a game that does not, at all, support player vs. player adversity (as opposed to character vs. character adversity), it's PtA. So even if the characters were grimly opposing each other, the players should still be sharing the experience of telling a story together, not trying to beat each other.

In our "Veritas Mundi" game, one of the protagonists turned evil at the end of season one and one more turned at least half evil. It would have been interesting to see how that plays out in season two, but up to now, there was no season two.

Of course, a former antagonist can become a protagonist and vice versa, especially in the Buffyverse (see Angelus, see Spike).

- Frank


In the PTA Speed Demons game I ran, ( one of the players played a cop trying to bust up the underground racing circuit, that the other players were involved in. 

Because PTA encourages people suggesting stuff during each other's scenes, everyone's involved whether the characters are in "scene" or not.  I really like that dynamic, as it keeps everyone invested in the scene, and that's fun for everyone involved.

I think this would be one of the few games that not only works with characters at odds with one another, the mechanics and play actually encourages conflict in all it's juicy forms.  And it all works under the general consensus of the players and director.  I love PTA.
Hi, my name is Jon.


What Emily said wrt starting late. We all agreed to not do that again - too much interferance with bedtime for kids.

I think Cybelle is playing out really well, for the reason Frank cited about shifting from antagonist to protagonist. I feel like I flubbed a scene that was supposed to "go badly" for the PCs, and it wasn't fighty enough. Something that's weird is that the Issues writen on people's sheets are not really matching up with actual play. I'm not too surprised, and I'll just poke at the real Issues, but this up-coming 3, where the Prof. has to deal with his illness, is going to be challenging.

Matt Wilson

I totally missed this thread!

And I'm really interested in seeing how the two-part cliffhanger goes. I don't see a lot of those in play reports.

QuoteSomething that's weird is that the Issues writen on people's sheets are not really matching up with actual play

Any idea why that might be? Are the players not tossing the protags headlong into trouble, do you think?

Emily Care

We haven't had a spotlight episode yet, so that is likely part of the deal. We haven't shone the light on anybody's issues in particular.  I really think we ended up with a great lead up to Steve's character, though. The professor is ripe for a crisis of faith. 

But there is something else--sometimes the issues that are strongest for a character are emergent.  I remember thinking that about Cyrus Dunn the character I played in the Epidemonology PtA Meg & Vincent, & I played with Joshua and Carrie.  His issue was grief, and yeah he had lost his wife, but somehow it didn't come out as grief, really, as much as a question of responsibility and possible betrayal.  Meg ended up playing his wife Helen in flashbacks, and she was a major character that tied together my protagonist with Meg's, but what I got pushed on wasn't necessarily that I was grieving Helen, but whether his demon fighting had put her in the way of danger and perhaps gotten her killed or damned even.

So, as long as our characters are facing hard moral issues & quandries, I think we're all good. It may be that the issues create a framework within which you can discover what is really at issue for a character in play.

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games