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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 148 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [AG&G] Cooking for Leviticus  (Read 10018 times)
Dean Chung
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Posts: 5


« Reply #15 on: June 16, 2006, 04:31:26 PM »

Hi, been thinking about getting back to RPGing, so can use the practice...

I'll make my lead NPC to be the bandit captain's bodyguard.  His two strong interests-- he wants to rescue the caught burglar,  and take the burglar and the bandit captain in order to sacrifice them to the devils of the waste.  That may be more like one interest, so here is another-- keep the executioner alive but humiliated
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colin roald
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« Reply #16 on: June 17, 2006, 10:15:26 AM »

I'll make my lead NPC to be the bandit captain's bodyguard.  His two strong interests-- he wants to rescue the caught burglar,  and take the burglar and the bandit captain in order to sacrifice them to the devils of the waste.  That may be more like one interest, so here is another-- keep the executioner alive but humiliated

I would say that "sacrifice the burglar to the devils" and "sacrifice the captain to the devils" are two different interests, but they sort of lose interest value for being so similar.  "Humiliate the executioner" doesn't count as  a strong interest, because both the bodyguard and executioner are GM characters, and it probably won't be much fun arguing that scene with yourself.
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colin roald

i cannot, yet i must.  how do you calculate that?  at what point on the graph do `must' and `cannot' meet?  yet i must, but i cannot.
-- Ro-Man, the introspective gorilla-suited destroyer of worlds
colin roald
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« Reply #17 on: June 18, 2006, 04:27:55 PM »

I'm taking the rule to be:  the lead NPC's interests should constitute a direct attack on at least two PC's characters.  On review, my interests aren't quite *direct* attacks.  Are they close enough?  Would it be stronger to, say, want to torture and sacrifice the burglar himself?  I'm thinking no. 

On reflection, I think I should restate that as:  the lead NPC's interests should constitute a direct attack on things at least two *players* care about.  So for instance if the player wants to play Philip Marlowe, you need to *not* attack Marlowe, but attack a weaker third party that Marlowe can sympathize with.

So to do this, you need to either know your players well, or infer something from whatever they've done with their character sheets.  Though it seems like the the only character creation thing that might possibly serve as a flag is any non-standard endeavour they may have picked or, in later chapters, their starting mastery.   But are either of these clear flags?  They're skills, not necessarily things the character (or player) cares about.
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colin roald

i cannot, yet i must.  how do you calculate that?  at what point on the graph do `must' and `cannot' meet?  yet i must, but i cannot.
-- Ro-Man, the introspective gorilla-suited destroyer of worlds
lumpley
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« Reply #18 on: June 19, 2006, 06:15:59 AM »

I think these are all good!

Nobody's made the bodyguard actually loyal, so how about:
The bodyguard's interests are to keep the bandit captain from following through on her way-too-risky rescue plan, and to kill the caught burglar painlessly before he can reveal their names and hideouts under torture.

Colin, you're going first, without having established any context or backstory. At the moment you start talking, the players' characters do not exist, they're just some semiformed notions and some numbers on paper. You can't possibly follow the players' leads right now - the players aren't leading. They're waiting for you to give them something to work with, so that's your job. Give them something to work with! Something you think is cool and hardcore yourself, not something you've guessed or intuited or mind-read from them.

Let's do another.

* A note written in an elegant hand, sweetly perfumed.
* The country fort, mostly wood, of a local warlord.
* A much-decorated company of the enemy's light cavalry.
* The daughter of an emperor, denied nothing, prey to fleeting whims, craving discipline.

The PCs are the local warlord, the captain of the cavalry company, and the emperor's daughter. The NPCs are the cavalry captain's right hand man, the local warlord's chief advisor, the local warlord's household (whomever you might want), the emperor, and the emperor's daughter's chaperone. Further we've decided that the note is a love letter from the emperor's daughter to the cavalry captain, but we haven't established who has it or what specifically it says.

-Vincent
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colin roald
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« Reply #19 on: June 20, 2006, 06:46:38 AM »

Colin, you're going first, without having established any context or backstory. At the moment you start talking, the players' characters do not exist, they're just some semiformed notions and some numbers on paper.

I was going to say, but they've made up their characters before we get to the declaring interests part.  But then on reflection from actual play, I don't think anyone ever did make up any backstory that would limit me declaring any interests I liked.

* A note written in an elegant hand, sweetly perfumed.
* The country fort, mostly wood, of a local warlord.
* A much-decorated company of the enemy's light cavalry.
* The daughter of an emperor, denied nothing, prey to fleeting whims, craving discipline.

The PCs are the local warlord, the captain of the cavalry company, and the emperor's daughter. The NPCs are the cavalry captain's right hand man, the local warlord's chief advisor, the local warlord's household (whomever you might want), the emperor, and the emperor's daughter's chaperone. Further we've decided that the note is a love letter from the emperor's daughter to the cavalry captain, but we haven't established who has it or what specifically it says.

The emperor's interests are to kill the enemy cavalry captain, and to secure the marriage of his daughter to the warlord.

I'm not sure where I would start the first scene, though.   I suppose we have to hear the interests of the PCs first.
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colin roald

i cannot, yet i must.  how do you calculate that?  at what point on the graph do `must' and `cannot' meet?  yet i must, but i cannot.
-- Ro-Man, the introspective gorilla-suited destroyer of worlds
Roger
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« Reply #20 on: June 20, 2006, 08:06:05 AM »

Let's do another.

* A note written in an elegant hand, sweetly perfumed.
* The country fort, mostly wood, of a local warlord.
* A much-decorated company of the enemy's light cavalry.
* The daughter of an emperor, denied nothing, prey to fleeting whims, craving discipline.

The PCs are the local warlord, the captain of the cavalry company, and the emperor's daughter. The NPCs are the cavalry captain's right hand man, the local warlord's chief advisor, the local warlord's household (whomever you might want), the emperor, and the emperor's daughter's chaperone. Further we've decided that the note is a love letter from the emperor's daughter to the cavalry captain, but we haven't established who has it or what specifically it says.

Hmmm.  I like to really get through the "element discovery / interpolation" stage before starting to invent interests, etc.  We've identified the characters, more or less, which is a good start.  One stage that I find handy, which I haven't really seen other people try, is identifying the implied scenes or events:

* The writing of a love letter.  Later, its delivery.
* The razing of a forest.  The construction of a fort in the untamed wilderness.
* The infamous victory in battle of the light calvary.  Their subsequent parade.
* The conception of the princess.  Her birth.

Then I ask myself a simple question:  Do any of these descriptions apply to the same event?

There are a few possibilities, but one pair stick out to me:  The infamous victory.  The conception of the princess.

So: This calvary unit actually managed to capture the empress.  They ransomed her back to the emperor for some ruinous sum of money.  But not before, shall we say, putting her in the family way.

Which I kinda like, but it feels a little flat in places, although there are some good elements there.  So.  Yes, the enemy calvary, after defeating incredible opposition, captured the empress.  But along the way, she seduced the captain of the company -- not the current PC character, but his predecessor.  Seduced him using a Mastery, which is starting to firm up in my mind.  And ended up with child, of course.  So he rescued her, and they fled across the country.  The emperor was so thankful that he awarded their hero with a grant of land, on which he built a fort.  This guy is the local warlord.

The empress appears to no longer be around, so another scene is her death.  Maybe during the birth of her daughter, maybe not.

If, as Colin suggests, the emperor now wants this young woman (as young as I think the other players will let me get away with... I'm thinking 12, right about now) to marry the local warlord -- her father -- we've got some sweet conflict waiting to happen.

Now, what did I leave dangling... Ah yes, the Mastery.  Something like super-aromatherapy: the ensorcelling of others by the means of scent.  Which the empress possessed, and so does her daughter.  Whomever opens that letter is in for a dose of the old Love Potion.  Now I care where that letter is going and who opens it.

I ended up short-changing the calvary here a bit, too.  They're decorated, but still tainted by the defection of their traitorous ex-captain.  So, who to put in charge?  Why, none other than the eldest son he left behind.  Who is burning with hatred for his father.  And, if you're keeping track at home, is the half-brother of the princess.

I'm totally stoked to play this.  If the GM or the other players find themselves a little lost at the beginning of a chapter as to where to go, we've also got a list of implied scenes to fall back on for inspiration.


Cheers,
Roger
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lumpley
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« Reply #21 on: June 22, 2006, 11:09:35 AM »

Roger, that implied scenes thing is pretty interesting.

Is that something you do as a GM in your head, or is it something you brainstorm with your players?

-Vincent
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Roger
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« Reply #22 on: June 22, 2006, 11:34:44 AM »

A little of both, actually.  With brainstorming (of any kind) I personally like to spend a bit of alone time, just working things out in my own head.  Not really for self-censorship, but just because once everyone else starts chiming in, I find it a bit hard to both listen to them and also be creative myself.

But, yeah, once I'm through that, I definitely want to go through this with everyone and hear their input.  There's a slight chance that, for some crazy reason, one of my players isn't all that keen about a 12-year-old getting pushed into an arranged marriage with her father.  Or everyone else at the table might think that Magical Aromatherapy is really, really lame.

And in addition to just slagging all my lousy ideas, they're likely to have some really good ideas of their own.  (Colin's idea about the warlord marrying the princess is entirely stolen here, for example.)  So there's definitely a synergy that builds up.  And psychologically, everyone can buy into a scenario that they've had a hand in putting together.

So, yes, I know it looks like One Big Monologue from the DM from out there, but I really want to convey that, ideally out there in the real world, this is a big dynamic conversation between all the players.


Cheers,
Roger
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