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Author Topic: [Trollbabe] A Tragic Misunderstanding  (Read 2647 times)
Brennan Taylor
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« on: June 14, 2006, 07:38:51 AM »

In my regular Friday night group last week the majority of the players cancelled at the last minute, leaving my friend Bill and spouse Krista as the two players available. I had purchased Trollbabe a few months ago, and with the small number of players I thought it would be great to try. Both players were totally game, and away we went.

The basic scenario I used was this: Sigur, a young woman in a remote mountain village, has befriended the solitary troll Mossback who lives in the boulder-strewn slopes above the village's sheep pastures. Sigur visits Mossback regularly, and her father, the village headman, begins to suspect they are sleeping together. He and other men from the village go up and grab Sigur as she is coming back from Mossback's territory. They are none too gentle, and Sigur cries in pain as she is dragged off. Her father locks her in a woodshed until the village decides what to do with her.

Mossback, certain that his friend has been harmed, is enraged. He cannot tell one human apart from another very well, and he sees a human sneaking along the trail a short time later and bashes the man's head in with a rock. This man, unfortunately, is Sigur's real lover from a nearby village, Aelred. Aelred's father, the headman of the second village, learns of his son's murder and gathers a gang of men to go and hunt down the troll. Enter the trollbabes.

Bill's trollbabe is Rowena, her number is 7, and she is a rough-and-tumble, hard-drinking type. Her companion, Krista's character, is Siegfrieda, whose number is 4. She is a thoughtful if hard-hearted trollbabe, and tops her more physical friend by more than 8 inches in height.

The pair come across the gang of humans hunting Mossback, and plan on skirting around until they see it is a troll the humans are hunting.They think these guys are just bigots, stop the hunt, and persuade the villagers to take them back and show them the body. Then they go talk to Mossback and figure out it was probably a mistake. From there, they go down to Sigur's village and convince her father to let her loose and talk to Mossback. Sigur blames her father for Aelred's death when they break the news, and the big conflict moments come with Sigur, her father, and Mossback up on the mountain. In the end, Sigur agrees to say goodbye to Mossback and return to the village. The trollbabes convince the other village to accept a payment from Mossback in the form of manual labor to compensate for the mistaken murder of Aelred.

As far as player reactions go, all three of us viewed the system very favorably. It is simple but still gets to the good stuff. We definitely all observed that things got far more interesting when you failed a roll, and Krista got her character involved in a physical conflict that brought out some of the best drama, including a new relationship with Sigur.

We have all three played Dogs in the Vineyard, and the influence of Trollbabe on that game is pretty clear. I did notice that the players relied pretty heavily on their social rolls, and I think that was a combination of factors. Social is the best roll each character has, and the trollbabes were mostly trying to stop bloodshed, not start it. When it got to a physical fight, the trollbabes were blocking blows and taking hits meant for other people, rather than dishing any out. The next scenario will have to have some definite bad guys, or at least NPCs who aim to eliminate the trollbabes by violence, to bring some of the other rolls into play. Magic did play a major role, actually, with several spells cast by Siegfrieda to block the villagers bad intentions.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: June 14, 2006, 03:57:05 PM »

Cool!

You might be interested to know that I now recommend completely different rules for Social rolls.

Specifically, the Social roll is now one unit better than the lesser of the two other rolls.

Hence Tha, with a Number of 3, rolls 1-2 for successful fighting, 4-10 for successful magic, and 1-3 for successful social. Retta, with a Number of 6, rolls 1-5 for fighting, 7-10 for magic, and 6-10 for social.

Best, Ron
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Brennan Taylor
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« Reply #2 on: June 15, 2006, 05:59:24 AM »

Interesting. I will try that out and see how it works. As the players observed, the interesting stuff happens when you fail, so the rule change will definitely spice it up a bit.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: June 15, 2006, 06:11:06 PM »

I also suggest that you are softballing them a little bit.

Come up with problems that are less Next Generation. By which I mean, problems that don't merely stem from simple misunderstandings or unquestioned prejudices. That way, the clever and multicultural Enterprise crew cannot merely give everyone a little time-out and then suggest a group hug to fix the problem.

The easiest but least satisfying version is to present a really despicable character doing a really despicable thing. That does fix the Next Generation problem, but in a pretty boring way - they swing into action to stop the guy, and then it's all logistics.

The best way is to come up in with a situation which you, personally, think all the characters are at least understandable ... but which also includes something that you, personally, think is wrong.

Check out The Sorcerer's Soul for a few hints on that. If you come up with a relationship map featuring only four or so characters, with all the guidelines provided in that text, it's brutal Trollbabe material.

Best, Ron
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