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Author Topic: [Stranger Things Bootleg] ‘City of Lost Wolves’  (Read 5422 times)
Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« on: April 17, 2006, 05:15:16 AM »


To do something different for a good friend’s birthday, I decided to try and cobble together the rules for John Harper’s fecking awesome Stranger Things from his blog posting and all the other AP I could find on the game- hence the ‘Bootleg’ in the thread title.

I found copies of the current versions of the Stranger Sheet and the Dream Sheet, and gave my players the basic rundown on the nature of the game and the City.

I had some major obstacles, because I just couldn’t figure out what to do with some of the elements of the two sheets- feeling my way in the dark, as I was.  But by and large, I think we pieced together enough of the meaty coolness to get a solid idea of what the actual game is going to be like.  Three words: God Damned Amazing.

Basic Down-Low on What I Was Missing

Geomorphs
I looked and looked for something to stand-in for the game’s Geomorph tiles, but could’t find anything I felt provided enough queues and color.  My collected RPG maps didn’t have enough ‘coolness per square inch’ to do the job.  I was really disappointed with this, because from all the AP I’ve read players love this aspect, and it serves to ‘root’ the game’s sometimes abstract structure- HERE is where you are, now tell me WHY. 

[/i]Mechanical Details:[/i] 
*I had to infer a fair bit from Trollbabe… such as how scenes and conflicts were declared, the effects of failed rolls (I assumed first fail was free, second fail made you Injured, third fail made you Incapacitated). 

*Without recovery rules (which I have since learned are based on taking ‘recovery scenes’) I sort of hand-waved this a bit. 

*I had no idea what those lines with the check-dot under a dream-person’s Appearance was all about, so I ignored it (I really WANTED to know what it was for, but couldn’t puzzle it out). 

*I wasn’t sure how Strangers formed Relationships- but I went with the assumption that they could form them with anyone (or anything) from a scene where they succeeded in a conflict (rather than making the relationship formation a required independent conflict), and several players formed relationships during play.

*I had no idea what a Ghost was though… I assumed it was something like a Relationship… but reflected a Stranger’s memory of something which continues to haunt him.  We didn’t use this at all. 

*I didn’t know whether Trollbabe’s conflict Pacing scheme ported over, so we pretty much resolved everything with 1:1 single-series conflicts.  Given the gaming setup (with two little kids to wrangle) this was the easiest to mange, but in a more trad gaming environment, I’d still enjoy the “zoom for more detail” pacing. 

* I had the players name their Dream People, because I didn’t want to do it in the game itself… how would this normally be handled?

Basic Setup, Players & Characters
We gathered at my parent’s place (they were out of town, and for some reason I thought their house would be more kid friendly than ours… big mistake), and played on their back porch looking back into the woods in rural northern Georgia.  It was neatly isolated, and would have made primo gaming save for the two young’uns we had to wrangle, both of whom very much needed one of us keeping an eye on them or bouncing them on the knee.  Here’s those involved:

Me:  I Directed (rather than doing the ‘pass it left’ thing). 

D:  The Birthday Boy.  D and I can go on for hours on the vagaries of game design, and he was really interested in seeing how Stranger Things (or at least my approximation of it) played.  He’ll be along in a bit to fill in the details I leave out (or correct the mistakes I make recounting the session), and to share his thoughts.  D and T are married.  D played…

Ardeth Bey (7):  A tall, thin, middle eastern looking man, robed and beneath the robes covered in glowing scrip which seems to be etched into his stony skin.  Concerned with occult matters, Ardeth Bey is especially adept at Bindings.  He wears John Lennon spectacles, and carries a book bound in human skin.  (Rerolls:  Flesh of Stone (B); Hypnotic Script (F); Read the Invisible Script of Reality (S) ). 

Ardeth’s Dream (Dream Words in bold)
People: 
* Annabell (Old woman in a elaborate dress) desires Chain obstructed by Silver… her path was unresolved. 
* Katz (flickering flame with crying eyes) desires Book obstructed by Flame… his path was unresolved. 
* Domino (black and white spider) desires A Spell obstructed by a Forgotten God… his path was successfully resolved. 
Moments:
* Burning river running underground. (hinted at, but not used)
* Grand Ball of Dancing Skeletons (used in play)
* Wolves Running Through the Streets (used in play)


T:  T is a gamer with a different agenda at the table then D’s or my own- she isn’t overly concerned with the mechanics, and seems to prefer them as transparent as possible when handling story.  T and D are married, and due to wrangling duties, had few scenes together (as one was chasing A- their daughter, who’s Kung Fu is powerful).  T’s character is…

Ooze (5):  Short, thin, unassuming geek with wolf-like features (fangs, claws, ears & big yellow wolf-eyes).  He screams HACKER and so in riffing a background for the character, we came up with Cogspace- the stereoscopic shadow-play virtual reality compu-mechanical system running through the City.  When someone says “bandwidth” they mean the width of the actual band running the clanking and clattering Babbage mainframe in the basement- whirring belts, cables, and pneumatics.  Ooze carries an abacus and a stereoscopic cogspace interface helmet.  (Rerolls: Rending with Teeth (B); Unassuming (F); Cogspace Hacking (S) ). 

Ooze’s Dream (Dream Words in bold)
People:
*  Flicker (like a Victorian gentleman in an old movie w/ a menacing aura) desires Silver obstructed by love.  Unresolved.
*  Bettie (the heroine tied to the train tracks, but with wolf-like tendencies) desires Wolfbut obstructed by Betrayal.  Resolved.
*  Drang (wolf with many battle scars) desires Love obstructed by Chain.  Resolved.
Moments:
*  Flicker has Bettie tied to a pendulum, Drang tries to save her.
*  Drang is dead, bound by silver. (used in play)
*  Flicker searches for something in determined, dark-lord kind of way.

S:  S and I are married, and she’s almost entirely a non-gamer.  I’ve gotten her into reading some of the weird things I like, and we enjoy some (but not all) of the geeky things I brought into the marriage.  S has been looking to try gaming some, and T & D have been encouraging her.  Previously, her only experiences gaming have been little one-off solo things with me.  S has been trying to grok the whole gaming mojo- it seems weird and embarrassing to her in some ways- and we’ve been trying to share that creative thrill you can get from a good character well played.  I had her read a bunch of Stranger Things AP, and she came up with a really slick character she got the first burst of that thrill when talking about. S played…

Angela “Angie” Rathburn (7).  Angie is covered in a menagerie of tattoos which move when you see them out of the corner of your eyes- except for her hands, feet, and face, which are unmarked.  Her tattoos can come to life, and this magic is often her first trick in a conflict.  She is a school teacher by day, and a mystery-woman by night.  She wears librarian clothes during the day, covering everything but hands and face.  By night, she reverses her clothing, and wears mask, gloves, slippers… and nothing else, revealing her tattoos.  She is a retired circus acrobat and carnie freak.  She carries cats-eye glasses, and a weird mask.  (Rerolls: Trapeze Flexibility (B); Sell Anything to Anybody (F); Secretive (S) )

Angela’s Dream (dream words in bold)
People:
*  Ingrid Lawn (Bearded Lady in Moo Moo)  desires Faith obstructed by Clock.  Unresolved. 
*  Lawrence Rike (Tall w/ big protuberant joints dressed like a mortician) desires Death obstructed by Silver.  Resolved.
*  Asher Golden (a young boy like from the Decemberists ‘Chimney Sweep’) desires Hand obstructed by Despair.  Resolved.
Dream Moments:
*  Field of blood-splattered daffodils.
*  Pond with metal fish leaping for coins.
*  Two old ladies drinking tea. 
 

Starting Out
Since I didn’t have tiles, or even a decent map, we sort of riffed starting locations for the characters:

*Ardeth Bey:  Crossing the Bridge of Sighs to get to the Libra Lupa, where he plans to trade the book of power that he carries for information on the dream-images of the flame with eyes. 

* Ooze:  In the basement of his rundown apartment, jacked into Cogspace via his Stereoscopic Helmet to meet a contact who will give him info on Flicker, the man from his dreams.  Amended to be meeting the contact at the Libra Lupa through the library’s telepresence automatons.

* Angie:  On a fieldtrip to the Field of Stone Heads with her 7th grade students- the Heads only appear under the light of the full moon, and speak strange histories to those who listen.  The 7th graders think the whole thing is lame.  She is looking for the Bearded Lady from her dream, who Angie knew from her carnival days, and who is now the curator of the Field.     

First Steps
… will be posted in a follow-up post, closer to lunchtime. 



-Ben
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2006, 05:22:17 AM »


Crap- forgot about the Trait spread.

I almost forgot it when play started too, so to speed things along I gave each player (I had three) a catagory, and told them to make half Demonic traits, and half Human traits.  We didn't get into any kind of universal "human V demon" biggotry thematic stuff though. 

-B
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #2 on: April 17, 2006, 05:54:31 AM »


Experience as Director

Handling the Dreams of three Strangers was a real challenge, but my style of GM’img really tends toward the improvisational anyhow.  I was a but rusty, and didn’t start to hit my stride until the session was almost over, but I had started to feel out how to leverage the Dreams into a good role playing experience.  Right off, I noticed how often Silver and Wolf images figured into the dreams, and I started forming mental links between the dreams I could use to cross everyone’s individual paths… there was actually a gamey kind of fun in doing this, and when the players picked up on how I was using one person’s Dream Moment to link their paths together, they got a kick out of it. 

It reminded me somewhat of one of those movies like Pulp Fiction with lots of seemingly divergent stories that still converge and crossover- I didn’t play with time or chronological order of events (something I like to do as GM-craft), but this game could really handle that kind of thing well.  There’s no reason to assume all the Strangers are even operating in the same time-frame when they begin play.  I even imagined one could be in the distant past, one in the future, and both could participate in the same overlapping “Scene” with the past Stranger’s action altering the shape of the future stranger’s scene or dream resolution.  Something I’ll try next time I run it, if I’m feeling ambitious. 

The dream sheets were mines of sparkly scene gems, and since I learned you aren’t expected to resolve everything in one session, next time I’d take more time, indulge in more descriptive weirdness, and take an easier pace. 

All told, once I was in the right head-space for this game, I loved running it.  I had more “game” style fun running this one than almost any other game, because my position as Director was significantly different than the trad-GM roll, and it really let me stretch myself a bit.

Because I was juggling so many sheets, and trying to suss out the new system, I wasn’t especially aggressive with my scene and conflict declaration, leaving this mostly to the players.  As a result, they were able to pick the Traits they wanted most of the time (and I was fine with this, for this game).  Given more focus, I’d have pushed some more conflicts on them- and hurt them more.  I had some really nice ideas on how to use some of their dream material, and was disappointed I didn’t get to use it (due to time… and sleepy baby constraints). 

Generally, I thoroughly enjoyed running this, and with a better handle on the Dreams (and a more complete set of actual rules), I could really get a lot out of it as Director.

 

-Ben
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2006, 12:05:38 PM »

Alright…

Ardeth Bey began on the bridge, and D asked me if anything happened- so I asked him if anything was happening.  Ardeth listened to see if he heard anything or anyone lurking, and (with a successful conflict) noticed Domino (the spider) from his dream.  Domino asks him if he’s going to the library, and in the conversation Domino reveals he’s been kicked out of the library, and they won’t let him back in.  When the Libra Lupa bans you, they don’t just take your borrowing privileges away, they take away all the things you’ve learned from their books- right out of your mind.  Domino doesn’t remember what he was looking for or why- just that he really really wants to get into the library, but they won’t let him in.  Ardeth agrees to ask about his problem, and catches Domino trying to hitch a ride into the library on his clothes (with a successful conflict).  He relents, and lets the spider ride in with him when Domino reveals he knows something about a great river of fire beneath the city, and the weird beings of living fire which dwell there.  Seeing another link to his dream, Ardeth allows the spider to ride.

Angie leaves her 7th graders looking at the stone heads (“Lame.  So Lame.  This sucks.”), and looks for her old circus friend- and fails to find her.  She tries a reroll, and fails this as well (S rolled the way I usually roll… she must have gotten my luck with the ring).  She decides not to push it, and describes the failure- the rat she conjured from her tattoo (a manifestation of her Spirit Sight reroll) gets eaten by one of the stone heads.

Ooze hacks into the Libra Lupa’s system, and tele-controls one of its research automatons.  He looks for his contact, and finds him in the antiquities room.  His contact is ‘in the boiler room’- present in reality rather than projected through cogspace.  He grills the contact about Flicker, and discovers he is a professional villain, working from offices on Ash Street- a partner in the firm of Flicker, Thompson, and Gorgongi.  If you’re to have heroes, then you have to have villains- and for the good of society it is better that villains be a professional lot, with standards and licensure and codes of ethics.  Flicker is one of the best. 

Ardeth passes into the Libra Lupa (where it is revealed that the reason for its name is the howling sound made by the basement calculation engine’s drive belt).  He enters the office of Mr. Grizzle- the library’s head of Acquisitions.  He offers his book in exchange for access to the forbidden stacks, but D decides to roll against a Human trait rather than his much stronger demon side because he wants to fail, and get the narration rights.  And he does so, describing Mr. Grizzle sniffing the air and announcing “Is that Spider I smell?”  Ardeth enquires as to the reasons for Domino’s banning, and with a Flame series (re-rolled with the revelation of the hypnotic script on his arms), Grizzle tells him.  The spider was seeking a spell- an ancient spell created by the Jester God as the grand finale to the God King’s ball- a ball which could never end until this last spectacle was revealed.  As with all the Gods, their names have been lost to time.  Legend has it that the skeletal dancers swirl and waltz forever, waiting the finale they were denied.  Domino was banned for trying to get into the forbidden stacks and claiming the spell.  Realizing this is another aspect of his dream, Ardeth negotiates for the spell, and Grizzle heads for the forbidden stacks to get the book containing the spell. 

Ooze sees this, and abandons the automaton he was using, and hops from catalog terminal to catalog terminal to terminal, following Grizzle into the forbidden stacks (what kind of hacker could resist that temptation?).  After getting a look at the book, she decides to bugs out, and hijacks a traffic control clockwork bat to ride over to Ash Street where Flicker has his offices.

On the offhand chance that Ash Street has something to do with Asher Golden her little dream orphan, Angie also heads for Ash Street when it comes up.  She finds a little orphan and asks him about Asher- and blows the roll (see?), she rerolls (using Sell Anything to Anyone) to try and trade a monkey (conjured from her tattoo menagerie) and the awesome line “Hey kid, want to see my monkey?”  Great fun ensued.  But this roll also failed- taking her to Incapacitated.  She decided not to push it further, and the little kid takes off down the alley screaming “Weirdo!  Sick Weirdo!”   But coming the other way up the alley is Ardeth Bey.  In the distance, they all hear a funny sound.  To Ardeth, it sounds like the Libra Lupa.  To everyone else, the howling of wolves.

A weird old guy in black, like a mortician, creeps up on Angie, saying “Yeah, they think I’m weird too”.  He has huge joints- like in the dream.  He’s staring across the street, at two little old ladies having tea, and he starts going off on the two old bitches who refuse to die.  He’s Lawrence Rike, a nearly retired mortician who’s bound by contract not to retire until his last two pre-paid clients (the two old ladies) finally die.  But they titter, and sip their tea.  Among the Strangers, there is discussion of that the assassination of two little old ladies is worth. 

That howling?  It gets louder.  Until the street is full of wolves, howling and ravaging. 

Angie uses her acrobatics, swinging from a street light across the street, intending to sweep the old ladies up with her muscular legs… and fails… the wolves end up resolving Lawrence’s path… and then eat Lawrence himself while he is distracted while cackling and doing a creepy mortician dance. 

Ooze tries to steal the spellbook from Ardeth- and here I improved a Stranger VS Stranger conflict (T picked how Ooze would try and swipe the book, D how Ardeth would resist, and both rolled.  If both failed, they got to say how.  If both succeeded, Ooze would get the book, but Ardeth would know it.  If one succeeded, then they get their thing… anyhow, Ardeth swung it, and Ooze failed and used the failure as the chance to ‘meet’ Ardeth.  Ooze speaks Wolf, and Ardeth grabs one from the pack- the wolves are pissed, because Flicker captured and bound their Prince and his love in an act of villainy. 

Together, they compare notes- the wolves, the dream images, and they all decide to raid Flicker’s office.  And do so.

Inside, they run into the iron-faced receptionist behind an immaculate polished brass and mahogany.  The office is very tasteful.  The receptionist is not smiling.  “The tradesman’s entrance is around back.”  These three Strangers are not going to take this.  Ardeth demands to know where Flicker is, and fails.  Then uses his ‘Read Invisible Script of Reality’, slamming his hand on the desk, sending streams of weird script outwards from his palm and covering the desk and the receptionist- he simply reads the answers he wants.  Flicker is upstairs in his well appointed office.

The receptionist says, “You can’t go up there!”  Angie says “Shit up, bitch!”  And S rolls her first success of the night- laying the receptionist out like a pork fillet.  Queue the music baaaaa’da-baaaaaa!  They throw the doors open, and all hit the stairs.  Except for Ardeth who rides up the pneumatic lift, to a whistly rendition of The Girl from Ipanema.  Cut back to the stairs Baaaaa! Baaaaa! Cut back to Ardeth humming.  Cut back to stairs Baaaaa! Baaaaa! And they all arrive at the top at the same time.  Ding.  Doors open.

They bust into Flicker’s office- wood paneling, books.  He’s got the suit, the stovepipe hat, the curly waxed mustache, and the cat (which hisses and legs it when the wolves bust in).  Where’s Drang the wolf-king and his lover?  Where’s Asher the orphan boy? 

“Ha ha ha!” says Flicker.  “Bettie is tied to the tracks of the Eastbound express which is due to arrive at her location in 11 minutes.  Equidistant from this location, Drang the wolf-king is bound upon the banquet table the Eternal Ball, and will be eaten in 11 minutes.  It will take you at least 5 minutes to destroy me, while it will take you far longer than 6 minutes to rescue either of these innocent victims.  And I, have this!”  So saying, he draws forth a tiny hand of glory- the mummified hand, each finger tipped with a candle.  “Made from the hand of a hanged man, these charms are potent.  Made from the hand of a poor orphan boy… they are awesome!  Ha ha ha!” 

Ooze races for Bettie (a Swift Blood conflict), Ardeth races to the roof, to cast the Spell from the book (ending the ball, and saving Drang) with an Arcane Shadow conflict.  Angie whips off a tattoo like a coil of rope, and uses it to snare Flicker around the throat and choke him into submission, and keep him from saying magical invocations (a Precise Blood conflict).  All three roll successes.

Ooze frees Bettie, clawing away the ropes tying her with the mecho-bat’s little claws.  Ardeth invokes the spell, and Domino grows, assuming again his natural form as the Jester God.  The storm above coalesces (ghost riders in the sky style) into the image of the dancing skeletons, the lightning forming the chandelier.  At his final invocation Domino springs up into the clouds, and releases the finale.  From the bursting light, the body of an enormous wolf bound in silver falls onto the roof in front of him.  This resolved Domino’s path.   Back in Flicker’s office, Angie snags Flicker around the neck and chokes him but good, demanding to know where Asher is (for, it is Asher’s Hand used in the charm). 

The final scenes played out thusly- Ardeth (being a specialist in occult bindings) freed the wolf, who sprang back to life.  Howling (to be answered by all his subjects) he tears off to find Bettie.  Angie goes to the memorial gardens by the cemetery, and fallows the blood splattered across the dafodills (an image from her dream) to find the orphan boy who is crying and holding his stump.  When the hand of glory is placed on his wrist, it joins and un-withers.  His path is resolved.  Drang finds Bettie, and she hops onto his back, and they ride off together into the moonlight (resolving both their paths). 

And on that note, we wrapped.

-B
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John Harper
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2006, 05:36:33 PM »

Ben, this makes me SO happy. So, so happy.

Cogspace! Wow. That's very cool. I really like your interpretation of the city. I may even have to mention cogspace in the book somewhere, if you don't mind. Ardeth, Ooze, and Angela are wonderful Strangers.

Of course you're dead-on about Strangers crossing paths and possibly having stories in other time frames. That kind of thing is remarkably easy to do. To borrow a recent phrasing of Ron's, "black belt" play for Stranger Things is when players start conspiring together and take a common dream word so their dreams weave together. Your players seem to have found their way to that bit of fun.

I wish I had known you were running this. I could have provided map tile sheets and other goodies. Let me know if you're going to play again and I'll send you some stuff.

The Pace options from Trollbabe are part of the game, yes. A Stranger becomes Injured when the first re-roll is failed. A second re-roll failure leads to Incapacitated. I think you handled that correctly.

The lines with the check-dots for the NPCs: Those are for NPC traits. You can give each NPC 1-3 traits, taken from the conflict types on the Stranger sheet (Brutal, Swift, etc.). The Director can activate an NPC trait to make the Stranger re-roll (to help or hinder them). When a Stranger resolves a dream, they can choose to take one of the NPC traits as an Empathy item, which are free re-rolls for any conflict they apply to.

Dream NPCs are normally named by the Director. The player writes their appearance only. It sounds to me like you handled the dream sheets very well, though. The guideline in the text is to try to reveal at least one "box" on the dream sheet in each scene.

I get what you mean by having "game" style fun as Director. I feel the same way. It's a creative challenge to interpret and reveal the Dream Sheet in a cool way, and it's satisfying when you really nail it.

Thanks for giving the game a shot (even in its frankenstein state) and extra big thanks for posting about it.
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Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
philaros
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2006, 11:01:16 PM »

Quote
He grills the contact about Flicker, and discovers he is a professional villain, working from offices on Ash Street- a partner in the firm of Flicker, Thompson, and Gorgongi.  If you’re to have heroes, then you have to have villains- and for the good of society it is better that villains be a professional lot, with standards and licensure and codes of ethics.

That made me laugh, while this:

Quote
Ardeth invokes the spell, and Domino grows, assuming again his natural form as the Jester God.

made me exclaim "wow!" in awe. I totally didn't see that coming, but it makes perfect sense and is a great resolution.

I love that you guys worked the Forgotten Gods directly into the game - a first in any actual play report I've seen - and the whole thing is full of coolness. Great work.
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Dreez
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« Reply #6 on: April 18, 2006, 03:34:06 AM »

Hey, I’m D from Baily’s game. I had a great time and am looking forward to playing some more. Ardeth was really growing on me. And it was a good game to bring a new player in on. Simple rules and lots of freedom.

Baily hit most of these but I did have a few issues/questions:

The re-roll traits worked great in game.  Very descriptive and very powerful. However, with the PCs calling most of the conflict, most rolls were towards their strengths. We were playing “the player who calls the conflict sets the trait used.” So re-rolls seemed VERY powerful. Is that the correct order of things?

At one point I wanted to fail a conflict so that I could narrate a consequence. Is that done often? Are there other ways for players to take narrative control?
 
Are Stranger vs. Stranger conflicts covered in the rules? We made something up that worked but was a little forced.

On the Character Sheets there are spaces for Relationships and Ghosts. How, why and when do we fill these in?

Oh, Ooze never appeared in person in the game. The whole time he acted through tele-presence. T is actually thinking of rewriting him as a cogspace entity.

Thanks for the game, John.  I’ll be picking it up when it is released.

Dave


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Bailywolf
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Posts: 729


« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2006, 04:07:38 AM »

Ben, this makes me SO happy. So, so happy.

Cogspace! Wow. That's very cool. I really like your interpretation of the city. I may even have to mention cogspace in the book somewhere, if you don't mind. Ardeth, Ooze, and Angela are wonderful Strangers.

Of course you're dead-on about Strangers crossing paths and possibly having stories in other time frames. That kind of thing is remarkably easy to do. To borrow a recent phrasing of Ron's, "black belt" play for Stranger Things is when players start conspiring together and take a common dream word so their dreams weave together. Your players seem to have found their way to that bit of fun.

I wish I had known you were running this. I could have provided map tile sheets and other goodies. Let me know if you're going to play again and I'll send you some stuff.

The Pace options from Trollbabe are part of the game, yes. A Stranger becomes Injured when the first re-roll is failed. A second re-roll failure leads to Incapacitated. I think you handled that correctly.

The lines with the check-dots for the NPCs: Those are for NPC traits. You can give each NPC 1-3 traits, taken from the conflict types on the Stranger sheet (Brutal, Swift, etc.). The Director can activate an NPC trait to make the Stranger re-roll (to help or hinder them). When a Stranger resolves a dream, they can choose to take one of the NPC traits as an Empathy item, which are free re-rolls for any conflict they apply to.

Dream NPCs are normally named by the Director. The player writes their appearance only. It sounds to me like you handled the dream sheets very well, though. The guideline in the text is to try to reveal at least one "box" on the dream sheet in each scene.

I get what you mean by having "game" style fun as Director. I feel the same way. It's a creative challenge to interpret and reveal the Dream Sheet in a cool way, and it's satisfying when you really nail it.

Thanks for giving the game a shot (even in its frankenstein state) and extra big thanks for posting about it.
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John Harper
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2006, 10:29:36 AM »

Dave:
The player who calls the conflict sets the action type and initial pace. The other player then has the option of modifying the pace up or down by one level. This is just like Trollbabe.

Trying to fail a conflict so you can narrate: yes! That happens a lot and is good play in my opinion. Note: Unlike Trollbabe, Strangers are allowed to use re-rolls even on successful rolls, which can help you fail when you want to.

Stranger vs. Stranger conflicts are covered in the rules, yes. Both Strangers will roll if their goals are not totally mutually exclusive, which seems like the solution you found. If the goals are in direct conflict ("I kill him." "I protect him.") then only one Stranger rolls (the Stranger whose scene it is), but the other Stranger can force re-rolls using his or her own re-roll items (just like an NPC would).

I won't cover all the rules for Relationships and Ghosts here. Relationships work just like Trollbabe, though, so maybe Ben can give you the rundown. Ghosts are Relationships who have died but haunt the Stranger.

Thanks so much for playtesting and posting here.

Ben:
The action type can't be changed mid-series. You can use a re-roll item from a different action category, though (using a Shadow re-roll during a Blood type conflict, for example). This works kind of like "A remembered spell," re-roll in Trollbabe.

Stakes cannot normally be changed after the dice hit the table. However, since stakes are negotiated and agreed upon by the group (free and clear) then you could theoretically change them during a series, provided you got buy-in from the other players.

Advancement works in the form of Empathy items and Relationships only. The "extra" spaces for re-roll items are there just in case someone wants to create three re-rolls in one category.

I'll send you some map tile sheets for your next game.
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Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
Bailywolf
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Posts: 729


« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2006, 11:01:03 AM »

Dave:
The player who calls the conflict sets the action type and initial pace. The other player then has the option of modifying the pace up or down by one level. This is just like Trollbabe.

Trying to fail a conflict so you can narrate: yes! That happens a lot and is good play in my opinion. Note: Unlike Trollbabe, Strangers are allowed to use re-rolls even on successful rolls, which can help you fail when you want to.

Stranger vs. Stranger conflicts are covered in the rules, yes. Both Strangers will roll if their goals are not totally mutually exclusive, which seems like the solution you found. If the goals are in direct conflict ("I kill him." "I protect him.") then only one Stranger rolls (the Stranger whose scene it is), but the other Stranger can force re-rolls using his or her own re-roll items (just like an NPC would).

I won't cover all the rules for Relationships and Ghosts here. Relationships work just like Trollbabe, though, so maybe Ben can give you the rundown. Ghosts are Relationships who have died but haunt the Stranger.

Thanks so much for playtesting and posting here.

Ben:
The action type can't be changed mid-series. You can use a re-roll item from a different action category, though (using a Shadow re-roll during a Blood type conflict, for example). This works kind of like "A remembered spell," re-roll in Trollbabe.

Stakes cannot normally be changed after the dice hit the table. However, since stakes are negotiated and agreed upon by the group (free and clear) then you could theoretically change them during a series, provided you got buy-in from the other players.

Advancement works in the form of Empathy items and Relationships only. The "extra" spaces for re-roll items are there just in case someone wants to create three re-rolls in one category.

I'll send you some map tile sheets for your next game.


Ah!  All this makes sense.  I thought you had to take 1 of each re-roll types... I didn't realize you could spread them out a bit.  That makes much more sense from a character design angle. 

Good good.  Using your re-rolls to force an opposed Stranger to re-roll a success- or using your own to get access to the failure narration- brilliant.  By "winning" you hand narrative power to the "loser"- who can use it to crack open his dream further.

I'm really itching to run this again.

As an aside, S had a really cool idea for her tattoo thing that didn’t make it into play, but I wanted to post it because I thought it was really neat.  She was thinking that by forming a relationship with something in the game, she could absorb it and it would become a tattoo on her body, manifesting when she used the re-roll it granted.  Same with Empathy. 

I think I now have a handle on enough of the game to run a more ‘legit’ game- when I do, I’ll post the AP.

Thanks!

-Ben
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John Harper
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2006, 01:07:52 PM »

As an aside, S had a really cool idea for her tattoo thing that didn’t make it into play, but I wanted to post it because I thought it was really neat.  She was thinking that by forming a relationship with something in the game, she could absorb it and it would become a tattoo on her body, manifesting when she used the re-roll it granted.  Same with Empathy.

Awesome! That's perfect. Also, a Stranger can take a Relationship with a "thing" such as a building, tree, river, star, etc. This "thing" would become a "person" in the sense of interacting with the life of the Stranger in some way, becoming a re-roll in a conflict, and getting injured (or destroyed) as part of a series. Things can even become Ghosts. So, her tattoos could encompass something like that at some point, if she wanted.
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