*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 13, 2022, 04:23:50 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Shooting the Moon] Dreamation: Love's Reflection, or The Daughter of Deception  (Read 7447 times)
Emily Care
Member

Posts: 1126


WWW
« on: January 29, 2007, 06:32:32 PM »

On Saturday afternoon at Dreamation, I got to play Shooting the Moon with Dave Cleaver, Matt Gandy, Michelle, Kat and Michael Miller. Dave and Matt were the two who had signed up for it, but since Michelle, Michael and Kat were interested I thought either we could split up into two groups, or try something different and have teams for the characters (2 people per).  We did the latter, and just as in Breaking the Ice and It was a Mutual Decision, it worked very well. Michael, Michelle and Kat were organizing the Indie Gamers party at various times, so it was convenient to be able to allow them to come in or go out as needed. 

Matt had missed getting to play the Shakespearian game of Don't Rest Your Head the night before, so he suggested that we try doing an Elizabethan comedy.  We immediately started talking about characters having twins and false identities. I've been hoping to get to do a comedy, the Rose of Stalingrad and some other game had showed me how well the game works as a tragedy, and I was wondering if it was more tipped in that direction than for humor. An ungrounded fear, it turns out.

Dramatis Personae:
The Beloved: Duke Silvio, a handsome, gentle, educated and very rich fellow who was musically inclined, a bit naive and wooed by many.  The good Duke was a widower, who longed for a son.

Suitor 1: Dorina, a rough but tender, childlike woman, was nursemaid to Duke Silvio's "daughter".  In fact, the girl Immanuella was the Nursmaid's child. The poor Duchess had apparently lost her child when she lost her life in childbirth, but Dorina's mother who had been the midwife had switched her grandchild. Dorina had made the sacrifice to give her child a better life than she could give her, but became the wet-nurse so that she could remain with her and raise her "as her own".   

Suitor 2: Lara, an cultivated and sly but lucky woman, was governess to Immanuella.  She had pretensions to rise in her station, but was secretly low-born or low-status. Lara had a secret just as Dorina did--there was a warrant out for Lara's sister, Ilara, who was a bandit and also Lara's twin. 

Both Dorina and Lara sought the Duke's hand in marriage. These folks were on a course for disaster of the most delightful kind.

Act the First--In which secrets begin to arise
The first scene finds Dorina and the Duke together in a cozy drawing room. Despite the Duchess' death six years before, he is still in deep mourning, with black cloths over mirrors and colors of clothing muted and dull. The child Immanuella comes in, fresh-faced and rosy cheeked from playing outside in the snow.  Dorina says something about how lovely the child is and, drawing open the curtains, how like she is to the Duchess.  Enter the conflict. Immanuella looked nothing like the slight, dark late Duchess. She was a tall fair-haired child with freckles and a face that looked like her real mother, her nurse.  Immanuella compounds this by calling Dorina "mother", and the Duke reprimands her, showing his class-consciousness, leaving Dorina feeling and looking guilty.

In the second scene, Lara shows off her tutorial talents to the Duke by having Immanuella recite a poem by Ovid in the original latin for him, which she does admirably (though in truth, it is the only poem she knows). But while Lara revels in his praise, and starts to imply that Dorina is really much too old to have a nurse anymore, Ilara appears by the window, looking for Lara and tapping on the glass.  In what became a most beloved recurring theme, the Duke mistook the identical sister outside for Lara's reflection in the pane of glass.  Lara successfully shut the curtains and distracted the Duke by speaking persuasively about how mature his daughter was. 

Following this, the Sheriff arrives, searching for a bandit that had been sighted near the Duke's manor.  The Sheriff and his men turned the manor upside down, looking for the bandit who had stolen from a nearby tavern that had been looted and burned by the bandits. The law-abiding Duke with nothing to hide, cooperated fully. Ilara is almost sighted, except for a convenient arch which makes him think he is again just seeing the reflection of the governess. With some further quick thinking, the women distracted the Sheriff, but nonetheless Lara was shown off the best effect in the exchange, appearing most attractive to the Duke's (later to be revealed, near-sighted) eyes, and the Sheriff's wife turned out to have been the midwife at Dorina's child's birth--revealing that she had in fact had a living child, not a stillborn as she had said in the past to cover the exchange of the babies.

Act the Second--In which doubles now are seen
Now the the Duke has heard that Dorina has a child, he wants to meet her. Dorina strikes upon a plan to truthfully introduce him to her daughter: she takes the child Immanuella and puts her in a room with a large mirror beside her.  From somewhat far away, Dorina resourcefully introduces him to the child in the mirror as her daughter, "Ella". The Duke obligingly accepts this other girl, but unfortunately, very cordially asks her show him something she has been learning. Immanuella promptly begins again reciting the same poem by Ovid in the latin.  However, Dorina and another servant too, start chanting it. In fact, the whole household know it, since Immanuella has been saying it over and over, so the "other" child knowing it seems natural.  The Duke also, due to his class-consciousness, just assumes that all well-bred folk would teach their children latin, regardless of their penury.

Later, Lara takes advantage of the bandits' tavern booty her sister has and avails herself of some excellent wine to woo the Duke with.  But when she steps out for a moment, her sister walks in through the other set of doors in the room to take back the wine and a wonderful scene follows with Lara and Ilara entering and exiting stage left and stage right--"I've brought the cork screw" "But you took away the wine!"--which we imagined staged with the Duke on a settee facing the audience, women coming in and going out, crossing the stage behind him.  Lara eventually ended these escapades by locking her sister out.  This scene firmly established the Duke's poor eye sight, and gave Lara the trait of quick-witted.

Enter another rival. The Duke (who was wooed by many) is visited by a Lady Beatrice, sent by the Duke's superior in the court who feels that the Duke has been wasting himself pining for his lost Duchess so long.  The two household Suitors leapt into action together against the new rival, trying to frame poor lady Beatrice for their misadventures by putting the bandit booty in her carriage and the engagement ring in her things, then calling the Sheriff back to find them on the poor maligned Lady.  But their plans are overturned by sister Ilara who ends it all by stealing the ring and riding off with the carriage, stranding Lady Beatrice at the manor. Lara's plans are thwarted too, in that an eyewitness enters who has seen the bandit and mis-identifies Lara as she, though Lara denies this.  By some strange quirk of fate, the witness is none other than Dorina's old intended,  who is now thrown into her company once again.


Act the Third--In which secrets are revealed
The wife of the Sheriff returns, taking Dorina to task for hiding her child's birth and speaks of her engagement, but Dorina pleads with her to conceal it. Unbeknownst to her, Lara lurks outside the door and hears of this, learning that the child Immanuella is Dorina's own.  However, Ilara too is nearby, and Dorina seeing Ilara think she sees Lara and so breaks off her tete-a-tete with the Sheriff's wife. 

Lara meets with her sister, telling her to leave the manor and leave her in peace to woo the Duke. But she in turn is overheard by Dorina, who flees to find the Sheriff's wife to get her husband to come take the governess and her outlaw sister into custody. The whole cast convenes, joined even by Dorina's mother, as Lara is confronted by the Sheriff with a  warrant for her arrest and the eyewitness.  The Duke, in his naivete, hands the warrant to Lara, who smudges it to say "Ilara" and claims that it is not her, but is in fact her sister.  She reveals Dorina's abandoning her engagement to the witness, van Derwent, but Dorina's mother reveals that Dorina is the true mother of Immanuella.

After this dramatic pronouncement, loud sounds and cries are heard.  The bandits have come looking for Ilara and their booty (which she stole from them), and they attack the manor, lighting it on fire.  All of our cast but Ilara manages to make it out of the house. However, the lovable but not so fast on the uptake Duke heroically looks around for Dorina's "other daughter" and seeing only one child runs back into the house to save the child--where he is confronted by the second sister, Ilara.  Dorina's mother grabs Immanuella and brings her back inside to convinced the Duke that she is the child, so Dorina runs in after her to save her daughter.  The bandits arrive and think that Lara is Ilara and chase her back into the burning house.  After a merry chase through the flames, they are all safely brought back out of the house with Dorina leading the way, with her child in her arms, proudly proclaiming a mother's love to all, losing her guilty demeanour.

L'envoi
In the final analyis, who would win the Duke? Lara with her bandit's blood or Dorina and her daughter of deception?  Neither!  The Duke instead gained his dream on his own: to have a son. How? Dorina's mother, who had aided his wife the Duchess at his child's birth now revealed that the child was not born dead, but instead had simply been hidden all these years to make way for her granddaughter to someday be a Duchess in her own right.  The Duke, inflamed with love and pride at finding he had a son after all--especially the son of his beloved wife--pardoned everyone, including the grandmother, and happy endings came to all:  Dorina's old betrothed on finding that she had their daughter asked her to marry him, and she accepted.  Lara's father, who was a bandit and was the cause of the banditry in her family, had been a king in another country. News arrived that he had been re-instated at home, and Lara and Ilara were whisked away to regain their true lives of dignity and wealth.

Matt gave us the play's ending couplet:

We must beware our true love's reflection,
Compromise, the daughter of deception.


fini
Logged

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Simon C
Member

Posts: 495


« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2007, 07:56:42 PM »

That sounds awesome!

I don't know how Shooting the Moon works, so it's possible a lot of the work was done for you, but how difficult did you find it to make everything tie up neatly like a good comedy should? 

I think for me one of the most difficult things about this kind of game is making sure that everything that's introduced stays relevant to the game, and contributes to the outcome in a meaningful way.  It's important, especially for a comedy, that there be a neat resolution which ties up all the loose ends.  Did you find it difficult to achieve this? Did it constrain what you were able to do in the preceding scenes? What mechanics in the game helped with this.

I'm really interested in games with more formal scene framing structures, so this post was great for me.

Cheers,

Simon
Logged
Simon C
Member

Posts: 495


« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2007, 08:02:30 PM »

Edit: I checked out your site, and the teaser you have for this game got me really intrigued! Can you tell me more about how the game mechanics create tension between the Beloved, and the two suitors? What mechanical effects determine who ends up with the Beloved, if anyone?

I think romance is a really untapped theme in roleplaying games, so it's really cool that you're exploring this in your games.  From my own experience, some of my most enjoyable games have been about unrequited love, love triangles, and failed romance.  I'm very interested in games that mechanically support this kind of play.

Cheers (again),

Simon
Logged
Emily Care
Member

Posts: 1126


WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 30, 2007, 08:19:24 AM »

Hi Simon,

Glad to have piqued your interest. Romance is a great source of conflict and tension--I'm glad it is creeping into more games as time goes on. It's fun to focus on it in these games, and make it (hopefully) a bit less scary and hairy for folks to deal with.

Quote
Can you tell me more about how the game mechanics create tension between the Beloved, and the two suitors? What mechanical effects determine who ends up with the Beloved, if anyone?

The set up in this game casts the whole narrative in terms of the tensions between the characters.  You start with a setting and create a Beloved that is an expression of what is desirable and sought after in that time and place.  Then you take the attributes of the Beloved and spin off pairs of other attributes that will be given to the suitors. The pairs are an antonym and a synonym of the original attribute. So if you have a Wise beloved, you might end up with one Suitor being Foolish and one Suitor being Insightful (as happened in this game). 

As the Suitors are created, everyone has an opportunity to assign and create aspects for the character, so a lot of negative traits get implanted by the opposing parties.  I can choose to give your Suitor the attribute "Foolish", but later on you might decide to give me a dark secret in my past.  The traits are assigned at the start of play, and also can be created through out the game--if a Suitor loses on their turn, the other Suitor's player gets to nail you with a new complicated trait that you'll have to deal with.

Then as each player takes their turn (first of Suitor 1, then Suitor 2, then the Beloved's) the job of each of the Suitors' players is to wreak havoc during their opposite number's turn.  And in the Beloved's turn, the Suitor players are rewarded with more dice to roll for creating complications for each other, and for accepting new negative traits suggested by the other.

Who ends up with the Beloved is determined by a final roll of dice.  Throughout the game, in each turn the players are trying to gain points that will give them dice for that final roll. However, the Beloved's player is also trying to gain dice, in order to acheive their own independent Dream.  That's why in this game the Duke got his son and chose neither.  If there had been a tie, he might have gotten the son by falling in love with one or the other of either Suitor.


Quote
I think for me one of the most difficult things about this kind of game is making sure that everything that's introduced stays relevant to the game, and contributes to the outcome in a meaningful way.  It's important, especially for a comedy, that there be a neat resolution which ties up all the loose ends.  Did you find it difficult to achieve this? Did it constrain what you were able to do in the preceding scenes? What mechanics in the game helped with this.

I'd be interested to hear from the other players about how they found the game supported this. 

For my part, the character and situation creation at the start of the game is a time when a lot of the future twist of the plot get thought of.  The mistaking of the twins for one another was immediately discussed. Other aspects developed over time, laying in wait until the time was right.  The "Wooed by many" trait on the Duke's sheet was untouched until the second Beloved's Turn, when Matt suggested it be used as the next trial that both the
Suitors would face: stiff competition on their own ground. 

The neat resolution was a product of resolving each of the outstanding dramatic stories: the Duke's other child, Dorina's daughter and Lara's familial banditry.  Some of the elements needed to resolve these (the mother who returned the Duke's son, the jilting suitor who took Dorina back) had been introduced in the preceding scenes, either as plot elements or as new "traits" created.  I suspect this may have been done with the end in mind.  That would be totally cool in this game.  We did other forward planning: as soon as the tavern got burned to the ground in the first Beloved's turn, we all started looking at the manor house (which was a trait on Michelle and David's sheet) as the next logical target for the bandits at the climax of the story.  Lara's father regaining his former glory was introduced from whole cloth at the end, and but fit completely naturally.

best,
Emily
Logged

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Dave Cleaver
Member

Posts: 14


WWW
« Reply #4 on: January 30, 2007, 05:29:21 PM »

I think for me one of the most difficult things about this kind of game is making sure that everything that's introduced stays relevant to the game, and contributes to the outcome in a meaningful way.  It's important, especially for a comedy, that there be a neat resolution which ties up all the loose ends.  Did you find it difficult to achieve this? Did it constrain what you were able to do in the preceding scenes? What mechanics in the game helped with this.
Every scene ends with a trait being added to the characters involved in the scene, and you can call on those to gain dice in later scenes. It really helps you to play up to those aspects of the character that develop in play.

I think as a group that we had a good grasp of exactly the tone that we wanted from the game. Once someone suggested that the final scene had to involve the manor house on fire, we sat down and tried to figure out what would happen to lead us up to that point. We had two Suitor scenes before the final Beloved scene which would involve the fire, so it seemed natural to have the two Suitors discover the other's secret in their scenes. We didn't have the specific ending in mind when we cast those two scenes, so I don't think it constrained us.Upon further reflection, I think we could have made a modified version of the ending to support whichever way the dice fell.

I believe that the game has also been used to create tragedies, so I would say it doesn't support comedy over any other  genre. The important work it did was support the framework of the story, while letting us set the genre and tone.
Logged
Matthew
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #5 on: January 31, 2007, 05:53:46 AM »

Simon,

To follow up on what Dave said, we were all pretty conscious of the conventions of Elizabethan comedy, so we all had an eye toward that. Also, the game's three act structure, with three scenes per act (Suitor 1, Suitor 2, and Beloved), really helped us focus on what scenes would make sense. I think I realized the fire idea midway through the second act and was already thinking of possible endings. After all, one of the conventions of Elizabethan comedy is that all's well that ends well - regardless of how the dice fell, I was confident we would be able to sew everything up. Everyone would get a happy ending, or at least learn something important to them and change. Shakespeare is notorious for last-minute arrivals and revelations, so no one seemed to find it a stretch that Lara and Ilara's father had been a king before being a bandit *and* had been returned to the throne, giving them a happy ending playing toward their traits and conflicts. The low-born who desired to improve her station finds she's been high-born all along.

Cheers,
Matthew
Logged
Michael S. Miller
Member

Posts: 846


WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 31, 2007, 06:22:24 PM »

b]The Good<The Unclear<The Unflattering<might<afterThe Unclear<The Unflattering<might<after
Logged

Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
Incarnadine Press--The Redder, the Better!
Simon C
Member

Posts: 495


« Reply #7 on: January 31, 2007, 06:43:09 PM »

Cool! Ypur replies have been really interesting.  I have a bit of a follow up question:

Over in another thread, I talked with Ron about how mechanics that dictate too much (such as V:tM) can really suck the impact out of an emotional issue.  Humanity feels stale in Vampire becasue it's essentially outside the contol of the players - there's no room for interpretation.  Ron and I talked about the "Fruitful Void" concept, and about how good mechanics drive thematic play, but don't dictate it.  In both of Emily's games there are mechanics for determining how the romance turns out, but from reading the Actual Play reports this seems like it leaves a lot of scope for personal interpretation, and it seems anything but stale.  How do you feel the game achieves this balance between mechanics which drive a romantic theme, and mechanics which rob the game of romance by riding all over it with the rules? How did this manifest in the above example of play?
Logged
Emily Care
Member

Posts: 1126


WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 31, 2007, 09:32:47 PM »

Thanks for your comments everyone. It seems to support tragedy very well (one or none of the people gaining the beloved seems to scream of it, now that I think of it), Dave. I was relieved to see that it could be as funny as it was.

Matt, I loved the endings you devised for everyone. You mentioned that they were percolating in your mind before we quite got to the end, so I'm sure you had ideas about how to adapt them to whatever came to pass.  Speaking of the endgame, that's a good point, Michael that the firm clarity of the ending conditions made it easier to dole out the end. I've worried about that: what if the end "doesn't make sense"? But in play it has worked out fine.

And Michael, you have some other excellent critiques:
Quote
Ron and I talked about the "Fruitful Void" concept, and about how good mechanics drive thematic play, but don't dictate it.  In both of Emily's games there are mechanics for determining how the romance turns out, but from reading the Actual Play reports this seems like it leaves a lot of scope for personal interpretation...
The fruitful void business in Breaking the Ice seems to be about what's really at issue between the characters, both in conflict and in attraction.  There are attraction and conflict "stats", but what's really going on may be off the map, or emerge from the many traits in play.  Shooting the Moon I'm less clear about. Though it may be something about how though the suitors are pursuing the beloved, what they really get turned around on are the things they themselves bring to the table which--with a little help from the other players--are complex and problematic. 

This was so great. This session falls in my top 10 no question. Many, many thanks all around.

best,
Emily
Logged

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Michael S. Miller
Member

Posts: 846


WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 01, 2007, 04:17:03 AM »

I'm going to dip a toe into theoretical waters and put forward that the Fruitful Void in both BtI and StM is "Why?" The game mechanics tell you pretty firmly whether the characters get together, whether they stay together, whether they get what they wanted all along. But one of the fascinating things about human relationships is that people do things for different reasons. Did the Beloved choose Suitor 2 because he found her more appealing, or did he feel unworthy of vivaciousness of Suitor 1 and decided to "settle"? Did their dates go well because she liked the way people reacted to him (the trophy husband)?

Like the song says "Why do fools fall in love?" That's a question worth gaming about.
Logged

Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
Incarnadine Press--The Redder, the Better!
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!