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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 137 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [AG&G] A Mother's Day Treat  (Read 9801 times)
Jason Morningstar
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« on: May 15, 2006, 05:35:51 AM »

Me, Lisa and Eric Provost, and Andy "roll that bonus dizzle" Kitkowski threw down with two episodes of AG&G yesterday and it went very well.  We all had fun and there were some dramatic moments and satisfying conclusions.

Some observations - we interspersed some furious games of BANG! with our role-playing and everyone enjoyed the mental break and change of pace.  Andy suggested trying out some drills/warm-ups prior to play but for some reason we didn't.  I realized that "I'm gonna make you awesome" is an exercise much better suited to long-term campaigns.  Still, I wish we'd tried a couple. 

I'm still a little fuzzy on some of the AG&G rules, so there was a lot of consultation with print-outs and apologies.  We may not have done everything correctly as a result, particularly three-way conflicts.  Also, I think narration took a back seat to mechanical resolution at various times.  We all agreed that our problems related to playing a game that was, in current form, just a bunch of blog posts - once it gets fleshed out and solidified it'll be fine.

We had two conflicts that went back and forth for a long time - like 15-20 exchanges long, with closely matched sets of opponents trading bonus dice back and forth.  We all agreed that this wasn't all that fun, but I have a nagging suspicion that we were doing something wrong.  I don't recall it happening in previous games. 

The Owe list worked great, although we ignored the rule stating that if you are immediately doubled you don't get on it.  I don't understand why this should be, so we drifted a little.  While we're rebelling, I'll mention that all of us were like "GM wha...?" and didn't see the need for that particular role at the table. 

In the game I played a mean old matriarch who kicked a lot of ass.  Early in the second episode I won a series of conflicts and very deliberately hammered the other player's big dice down, which allowed me to dominate throughout.  If I recall correctly I lost a single conflict and won many.  It remained satisfying, because I had to pull out some nasty business to stay on top and in the game - first I schemed to marry my lout of a son to Eric's character's innocent daughter, then I tried to cement my son's ties to the apron strings, and finally I went nuts and seduced him.  Everyone lined up against me, my son was murdered in flagrante delicto in my bed, and they presented the lord of the land - my husband - with evidence that I was an adulterer, murderess, and incestuous monster.   I couldn't believe how awful it got - Cyril Tourneur awful!  John Ford awful!  After a prolonged conflict I beat the slanderers down and had them killed, banished, or both, despite being soaked in my own son's various bodily fluids.  It was epic revenge tragedy, perfect for Mother's Day.
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2006, 05:54:45 AM »

Playing AG&G is kinda like riding an experimental rocket engine carefully tied to an old skateboard with used kite string. 

The over the top incestuous relationship came at an awesome moment during play.  See, Jason had been poking us with the blunt stick of No-Stakes-Setting in previous scenes and when it was his turn to get the game fired up, he totally kept trying to set stakes against Andy, and getting nowhere.  When I pointed out what he was doing to him, it was pretty obvious that a fresh spark of imagination flared up in my favorite John Turturro look-alike.  The narration about seducing Andy's character's newlywed husband who happens to be Jason's character's son came straight out with a triumphant "How do you like that?!?  Gonna do anything about that?!?"

Oh yeah, we all tried to do something about that.  No luck tho'.  Which was totally awesome.

I commented after the game that what I'd really like to see added to the system, besides taking care of that pesky and annoying over-extended conflict issue, is to have a rule or two about a player's responsibility in narration.  Like, we each had the authority to go ahead and describe all the intersting and nifty things that were around us, but we rarely did.  We just didn't have much incentive or responsiblity to do so.  Which I thought was a shame.

Anyhow, it's a fun as hell little half-game.  I'll be interested in seeing if and how it gets polished up.

-Eric
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lumpley
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2006, 06:50:58 AM »

Ha ha! "Hm, I know, let's play without the rule where there's someone whose responsibility it is to describe things!" "Hm, know what? I wish there ware a rule somewhere in the game about taking responsibility for describing things." Not only did you drift, you drifted halfass! If you're going to do away with the GM, you have to divvy up her responsibilities, you can't just leave 'em out.

I suspect that you did do something wrong with the extended conflict. I've never seen one go longer than 4 or 5 rounds. 15-20 rounds is possible in principle but twice in a day? Also, maybe read up on how you can give instead of going forward with your opponent having the advantage. You should do that if a conflict gets too long.

So there.

Sounds like a fun game anyway though! My own group's playing it pretty light and comic, so it's good to hear about blood-soaked incestuous adultery.

-Vincent
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2006, 07:10:00 AM »

Hmm, half-ass indeed.  We were up on giving in conflicts and did give in some, but in the long ones nobody wanted to, and the degree of advantage seemed small enough that another round wasn't a huge risk.  Not sure where we went astray. 
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lumpley
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2006, 07:11:22 AM »

Were these one-on-one conflicts or three-or-mores?

-Vincent
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2006, 07:29:25 AM »

The final conflict was me vs. everybody, so two sides.  I was using a specialty and thus my two best traits, and I had beaten the three of them down throughout the game, so it was a pretty even fight.  The other long one - I do not recall the circumstances.
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lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2006, 07:41:04 AM »

The final conflict was me vs. everybody, so two sides.  I was using a specialty and thus my two best traits, and I had beaten the three of them down throughout the game, so it was a pretty even fight.

Oh awesome! That's great, you've spotted a real thing. Thank you!

The statistics of when conflicts end go straight to shit when it's >2 dice vs. >2 dice. 4 dice vs 6, no wonder. It's obvious to me now that you've pointed it out.

So that requires a correction to the more-than-one-person-on-a-side rules, not an overhaul. Sweet!

Here's a possible correction, off the top of my head: if you win the advantage, then instead of taking the advantage die, you can put one of your opponents out of the conflict for good.

-Vincent
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2006, 08:04:43 AM »

Oh sweet.  That would be a good rule.  It'd certainly preserve the normal flow of a conflict, at least in the case I just described.  It also opens up fun possibilities during the conflict.
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2006, 08:07:45 AM »

Quote
If you're going to do away with the GM, you have to divvy up her responsibilities, you can't just leave 'em out.


I'm gonna go put on my dunce cap and sit in the corner.  I totally knew that and somehow managed to forget it when we sat down to play.
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #9 on: May 15, 2006, 08:23:38 AM »

It's interesting to note that, as GM, I played a single character pretty much the entire time.  As far as NPCs that were more than furniture, maybe my son Olgrimúr but that's it (and he was a specialization of mine).  All our conflicts were directly tied to one another and it rocked. 
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lumpley
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« Reply #10 on: May 15, 2006, 08:47:31 AM »

Okay, Eric, talk to me of "half-game."

(I'm not offended, nor will I be. Tell me what you mean.)

-Vincent
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #11 on: May 15, 2006, 11:20:16 AM »

Well, there seems to be at least one vital item missing from the text so far.  The part where we're told what we're actually supposed to be doing with the rules.  I see character creation, situation creation, gobs of color creation, and conflict resolution, but not a single thing about narration. 

Who's got the authority & responsibility for calling for a new scene?  Who's got the authority & responsiblity for framing the new scene?  What limits, if any, does a non-gm player have on their narration?  Can I only include the immediate actions of my own character?  Or can I stretch out and reach to every fictional element that I can imagine my character might have an influence over?

I dunno.  The text doesn't seem to tell me.  So, it seems half-finished to me.  That's all that I meant; unfinished. 

-Eric
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lumpley
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« Reply #12 on: May 15, 2006, 12:12:43 PM »

Eric, cool.

The tickle you've planted in my brain says: talk about the difference between free play and resolution. Say what happens during free play.

Anything else comes to mind, tell me. My vision for the game's so clear I have trouble seeing where the text falls short.

-Vincent
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2006, 06:47:00 AM »

Well, there seems to be at least one vital item missing from the text so far.  The part where we're told what we're actually supposed to be doing with the rules.  I see character creation, situation creation, gobs of color creation, and conflict resolution, but not a single thing about narration. 

Who's got the authority & responsibility for calling for a new scene?  Who's got the authority & responsiblity for framing the new scene?  What limits, if any, does a non-gm player have on their narration?  Can I only include the immediate actions of my own character?  Or can I stretch out and reach to every fictional element that I can imagine my character might have an influence over?

I dunno.  The text doesn't seem to tell me.  So, it seems half-finished to me.  That's all that I meant; unfinished. 

Vincent,

Just so you know, this is Eric's pet peeve. He said this about Trollbabe, too, and it almost made me never speak to him again. Not to say it isn't important: maybe it is. Maybe it's not, though: people don't necessarily need rules to say who can speak when if they've got a clear idea already in their head that anyone can speak and when we agree, that's what happens. That's the way RPGs have been played since, well, they were first made.

(Side note: obviously, yes, some RPGs are played like "we do what happens when the GM says what happens," but that's still a subset of the above rule, as you agree that the GM has authority. Any rules you put in the game about who has authority are still subsets of that rule, because we have to agree to them. In practice, we'll agree to whatever we want, as people are bound to do, and therefore those rules are little more than your personal preferences on how the game is played.)
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Lisa Provost
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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2006, 09:22:55 AM »

Vincent,

Just so you know, this is Eric's pet peeve. He said this about Trollbabe, too, and it almost made me never speak to him again. Not to say it isn't important: maybe it is. Maybe it's not, though: people don't necessarily need rules to say who can speak when if they've got a clear idea already in their head that anyone can speak and when we agree, that's what happens. That's the way RPGs have been played since, well, they were first made.

(Side note: obviously, yes, some RPGs are played like "we do what happens when the GM says what happens," but that's still a subset of the above rule, as you agree that the GM has authority. Any rules you put in the game about who has authority are still subsets of that rule, because we have to agree to them. In practice, we'll agree to whatever we want, as people are bound to do, and therefore those rules are little more than your personal preferences on how the game is played.)

I think in this instance, Eric was meaning it from a stand point of "how do you explain it in the rules to new players."  At least, that's the vibe I got from him anyway... a designer talking to a fellow designer but I could be wrong. 

As for if people need the rules to know when they have their opportunity to narrate and other things, I do not believe that it is implicit.  It may be in some groups mainly because those folks play together all the time, but:

a.  This was his first time playing it.
b.  He (and I) do not play with Jason and Andy as often as other do so the dynamic maybe isn't completely there.  *shrug* 
c.  I thought it was a good question too, he just asked it before I did.

Lisa P
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