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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Afraid] PC Nightmare  (Read 7042 times)
Judd
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« on: May 14, 2006, 11:14:39 PM »

Who was at the table:

Me:  I feel like the playtest of Luke's secret project filtered into this, in that the GM has this really well defined role as the bringer of brutal conflicts without mercy was alive and well in this game.  The other two players were in that playtest group too.

Aaron:  A Dogs in the Vineyard veteran with a wargamer's savvy eye for the way conflict shakes out.  He isn't afraid to take some fallout and also isn't afraid to look at the dice and give in, unwilling to take too much fallout for a conflict he's lukewarm on.  Aaron often plays bad-asses but in this game played a young brother of the victim, helping her troubled coma dreams through music.

Neat.

Aaron and I were both tired today, not sure if that meant anything but there it is.

Kolja:  Another Dogs in the Vineyard veteran, the youngest player in our group.  During the playtest of Luke's project it was Kolja who said something about me not wanting to kill him during a conflict at that point in the story, to which I replied, "Bullshit, I am trying to shank you in this scene and if the dice let me, I will do so and leave you in a state worse than death."

I think that they were both DitV players was significant (both players in the first game I started when I got back from Gen Con a few years ago with that hot book in my hands) and I think I didn't prep them for the two and a half hour ass-kicking they were to receive.  I really slammed them with brutal conflict after brutal conflict, framing unwelcoming and tough scene after scene.  When they would look upon the dice I had rolled they would slump down in their seats and know what was coming.

Aaron, looking at the fallout system, was probably the first at the table, myself lincuded, who realized that a PC had to die in order for them to be anywhere near ready to take on the Devourer of Dreams.

Example scenes framed while a PC was In Trouble:

"You are surrouned by orderlies who are telling you about your parents making it clear that you are not to see your sister...ever.  Police boots can be heard down the hallway.  What do you do?"

After Kolja's private detective lost a conflict and entered the Devourer's first stage of victimhood: "You are holding a smoking gun in a grimy alley, a man's body is at your feet.  The murder feels like a distant nightmare and police sirens can be heard in the distance."

Once they made it clear that they were coming between the monster and its victims, particular the high dice victims I took the gloves off.

Towards the end of a two and a half hours of play, Aaron had lost a conflict but had amassed some dice for a follow-up conflict with the Devourer, which led into a direct conflict scene over his sister.  He tried to die in that scene but the fallout dice didn't quite back him up, despite rolling 6d10.

Thoughts:

- Man, the players need to be warned that they are going to be in for a grind.  I think CoC players will like this game a whole lot.  I think it captures that kind of brutal game well.

- Players need to embrace the idea that sacrificing their character on the altar of giving the rest of the group Reflection Fallout.  Aaron even went so far as to say, "If I wanted this brother to defeat the monster with music, as I pictured when I made him, then I should have made a grizzled veteran, played him 'till he died and taken the dice and made the brother as my second character."  He said it a bit bitterly but I don't think he was far off. 

 - The scene framing is really neat but it needs to be described in the book really carefully,  I think I made a mistake in framing many scenes as a conflict and then launching over to the other play too quickly.  We didn't have much play away from the dice at all and it gave this feel of a really relentlless night of my kicking their ass around the table.

I would have done well to re-read Sex & Sorcery's paragraphs on Bobs, page 91.  I needed to give some scenes of respite, just allowed them to take a breather, even if it was just to reflect on what deep shit they were in.  I also, if I could go back, woudl have pushed for the game to continue until when the two protagonists triumphantly met and both knew that some really deep and terrible shit was going down.  I think that was coming right up and would have been a really nice and uplifting scene.  My main regret was that we didn't play that out before Aaron kind of flew the white flag, letting me know that I had kicked in the groin for as much as he could take that night.

I have e-mailed them the link to this thread and have encouraged them to participate.
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Marhault
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Posts: 185


« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 05:28:27 AM »

Aaron, looking at the fallout system, was probably the first at the table, myself lincuded, who realized that a PC had to die in order for them to be anywhere near ready to take on the Devourer of Dreams.

Judd, what brought about that situation?  Was it because there were only two PCs, or was the Devourer just that tough?

I'm familiar with the rules, but have no AP on either Dogs or Afraid, so I'm curious as to how this shakes out dice-wise.
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lumpley
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 07:03:48 AM »

Judd!

Quote
I really slammed them with brutal conflict after brutal conflict, framing unwelcoming and tough scene after scene.

Was this easy for you to do? I'm asking about whether the circumstance mechanism does its job, which is to make it non-taxing for the GM to frame hardcore scenes. How much head-scratching did you do, trying to accomodate the circumstances?

Quote
Aaron even went so far as to say, "If I wanted this brother to defeat the monster with music, as I pictured when I made him, then I should have made a grizzled veteran, played him 'till he died and taken the dice and made the brother as my second character."  He said it a bit bitterly but I don't think he was far off.

New rule. It's an "injured" fallout option. Goes like this:

Put your current character in seclusion. She's safe but she can't help out. Make a new character with your current character's dice - like if your current character had died, but without the reflection fallout. Play the new character to death or to seclusion, then return the old character to play.

Quote
I would have done well to re-read Sex & Sorcery's paragraphs on Bobs, page 91.  I needed to give some scenes of respite, just allowed them to take a breather, even if it was just to reflect on what deep shit they were in.

I can come up with some mechanical support for this too. I have a couple of ideas, I'll post 'em when they're cooked.

Quote
Aaron, looking at the fallout system, was probably the first at the table, myself lincuded, who realized that a PC had to die in order for them to be anywhere near ready to take on the Devourer of Dreams.

Sweet!

I'll admit that I just made up the monster's dice out of my head, figuring playtesting would reveal if they were too many or too few. I still figure that, and here we go. But yeah, it's fine with me that a PC has to die.

Thanks Judd! And Aaron and Kolja, I'd love to hear about it from you too.

-Vincent
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2006, 11:43:38 AM »

Was this easy for you to do? I'm asking about whether the circumstance mechanism does its job, which is to make it non-taxing for the GM to frame hardcore scenes. How much head-scratching did you do, trying to accomodate the circumstances?

It is easy as long as the player get's experience fallout and their situations change often but when someone is lost or alone or in trouble again and again it can get rough.  This happens when they look at the dice and bail on a conflict early.

Aaron had In Trouble for the most of the game and I think I really railed him with it.

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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2006, 11:46:59 AM »

Aaron, looking at the fallout system, was probably the first at the table, myself lincuded, who realized that a PC had to die in order for them to be anywhere near ready to take on the Devourer of Dreams.

Judd, what brought about that situation?  Was it because there were only two PCs, or was the Devourer just that tough?

I'm familiar with the rules, but have no AP on either Dogs or Afraid, so I'm curious as to how this shakes out dice-wise.

I had far more dice at my disposal than I would in a Dogs town and I was rolling like a demon from hell last night too, which didn't help.  I think I had one mediocre roll all night and the rest were filled with box-cars and brutality.

There was a palpable moment when, during a Dogs game, the characters would be kicking ass and rendering judgement but in Afraid, they just got mired deeper in the shit and I think that is where I felt the frustration level really amp up for Kolja and Aaron and we stopped, talked about it and ended the game for the night.
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Ilmryn
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2006, 12:43:56 PM »

It was harsh.

Vincent: Be careful!  Judd will someday capture you and keep you locked up as his rolling muse.  Whenever he touches Dogs (and it would seem Afraid as well) he just turns into a mushroom-cloud layin' mother-bleeper when it comes to rolling.

I really dig the game.  I dig the vibe too.  As a matter of fact, when I first heard of it I thought of 'The Mask of The Red Death'.  I will run it as such after my out-of-Ithaca summer is over.

There were of course a few hitches...  For the most part, not knowing the rules hurt us a bit.  No, a lot.  But now, better armed with how to attack these monster-types, I think I'll do fine.  It did seem that Judd had substantially more dice than Kolja and I also, though there were only two of us PC's and we were never together. 

A few other factors:

I was very tired.  In some ways that added to my reactions in play.  But mostly it made my tolerance for losing every conflict a bit lower.

Also, I was playing a very different type of character than I normally do.  When playing Dogs, I have the Gunslinging, uber-principled, slightly dark, will-die-at-the-end-of-this-one-shot character well in hand.  Last night I was playing a frail, smoking, run-away of a brother who had traded his weapons for track shoes and a harmonica.  I liked him a lot.  I don't regret playing him.  But there is no way for him to win in his first 'life'.

More to come! 

Thanks for another solid game Vincent.  I can't wait to run/play it again.

-Aaron from NH
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"...By hoef, heel and wing!"
Mark Woodhouse
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2006, 02:42:41 PM »

Judd, et al, would you be willing to elaborate a little bit on how the scene framing rules worked for you? As I read them, they seem like they'd really put the screws to the players by making it very difficult to be pro-active.
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2006, 06:06:45 PM »

Judd, et al, would you be willing to elaborate a little bit on how the scene framing rules worked for you? As I read them, they seem like they'd really put the screws to the players by making it very difficult to be pro-active.

Mark,

The mistake I made was that I was tending to have one-conflict scenes and then rushing over to the other player.  I'd think player pro-activity would come from declaring bold follow-up conflicts.

I picture conflicts having to do with research on the beast and such, with a follow-up conflict with the best itself.

But until this sucker is played more, I am talking out my behind.
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