*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
March 20, 2019, 06:41:08 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: 161 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [TSOY] GMing in heavy gloves  (Read 2887 times)
Rob Alexander
Member

Posts: 76


« on: May 31, 2007, 12:23:35 PM »

I just run my first TSOY game with our semi-regular Castles and Crusades group, and although it went ok, and people seem to have enjoyed it, it was pretty confusing. It felt at times like I was working with boxing gloves on.

Players (all male, late twenties):

I played a lot of stuff in my youth, but stopped for about five years after college. I'm *very* anti-illusionist, test strongly for gamist preference but am interested in what I've heard about narrativist play (hence TSOY).

R is the GM of the C&C game. Had red box D&D as a kid, and collected some 2E stuff along the way, but didn't play at all until recently.

M I introduced to rolegames, he's played 5 C&C sessions and one of DitV. I've spent 4 years in an office with this guy

J is my flatmate, rpg experience is same as M

After taking some advice in this thread:  http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=23848 I decided to run a version of Frank T's 'Snakes in the Shadows'. I didn't know for sure how many players we'd have, and wasn't really sure anyway how to adapt SitS for fewer roles. So I let the players choose characters, and we ended up with R - Dancian, M - Amoux, J - Edmund. This obviously removes the tension of the Dancian-Edmund-Kiana triangle, and weakens the links between the Panther Clan and the PCs.

I made some basic errors (like forgetting to set stakes before rolling the dice) which I guess will vanish with time. But my overall feeling was that the story limped to a inconclusive end, whereas I was hoping for something a bit more dramatic. The pace also didn't seem as consistently fast as I'd expected, given the exclusive use of conflict resolution (we didn't bring down the pain at any point). 

The best sessions I've had in the past, I think, were ones where I improvised and adlibbed with minimal prep. But I suspect that much of that stuff (e.g. see http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17449.msg184722#msg184722) was pretty illusionist, and I was very conscious of wanting to avoid that here. Perhaps as a consequence, I seemed to spend a lot of time 'stuck', not wanting to be heavy-handed (forcing the players into the a single obvious action) but not having an idea for a compelling bang either.

Perhaps because of the above, I kept forgetting about most of the SGC characters (Phillipe, Kiana etc)... I had the idea that it wasn't "my story" and I think I was reticent to have the SGCs take action. Of course, that's what bangs are about

The first bang was pretty easy. I started with the expedition set down on the riverbank. Dancian wanted to make camp and have Edmund cook up something spicy, and I had Phillipe try to intimidate him into. We settled this with sway versus sway, Dancian got an xp for forcing his decision (Key of the Overlord).

The highlight of the game was soon after, when the Panther Clan attacked the PC camp and, after the Ammenite warriors had been routed, Dancian challenged the clan chief to a duel for control of the tribe. I had the clan chief rise to this immediately, and Dancian won. I think this really got across how flexible I was able to be with this system and style of play, and how different it was to traditional rpg assumptions. But there wasn't anything else like that for the rest of the session.

I got the feeling that M and J were sidelined a bit compared to R.  This happens a bit in the C&C game also - it's easier for me and the other experienced player to drown out M and J who are less confident in proposing actions - but this may also because R was Dancian, was sitting opposite me and on the same level (M and J were lower down, on the couch), and is the most enthusiastic rolegamer of the three.

In the end, Amoux tried to take the moonsilver for himself and slip away, but Dancian and Edmund caught up with him in the forest. Dancian tried to persuade Amoux to come back to Ammeni with him, but Amoux won the contest and convinced Dancian that purpose of the moonsilver was to dampen the user's desire for physical pleasures. Dancian was of course appalled at this, and gave up his plans to return to Ammeni and his father. The players seemed to think that this was a reasonable conclusion.

(Not convinced this played out according to the rules - we had Dancian's Sway against Amoux's Resist, but this presumably should have limited Amoux to just ignoring the attempt, not persuading back?)

A few oddities/issues:

I think the players were expecting the moonsilver to have powerful in-game, putting the first to the grove in a powerful position. In the the mechanics it doesn't, really.

J commented afterwards that there wasn't really any threat apart from the initial Panther Clan attack. I can relate to that - there weren't any obvious threats or obstacles after that, nothing to hold up the mission.

One major comment afterwards was that the players need to be familiar with the secrets and keys so they know what they can be doing with their XP. In TSOY, because you can buy them as soon as you need them, this is a big part of the "what can I do next?". If you don't know what secrets and keys there are, that's a lot of book-referencing. This might have been ok if I and one other player knew the core options off by heart - I guess this will come with time.

I had the players calling scenes, and M struggled to get a grip on what he called "the richness of the environment". I.e. he didn't know what was there that he could interact with. For example, at one point he proposed a scene with a beggar on the forest path so that he could refuse him help, thereby getting xp from the key of self. I overruled that (basically, on the assumption that players aren't meant to have full director stance or be able to create SGCs) but I'm not sure I should have done.

The character Amoux, as noted elsewhere, was problematic because his keys are hard to hit in the scenario as setup, even in its pure 5-player form.

The players said it was fun, and did appear moderately engaged, but it was stop-start and I was often stuck for what to do next. The main problem was that conflicts often didn't seem to lead anywhere - we're back to a very abstract version of task resolution, and I think that true conflict resolution is meant to be more than this, meant to really drive the story forward.

Anyway, there's talk of playing again some time (although we've had awful trouble reconciling schedules with this group). R says he's planning to read the rules. I'm not sure if we'd carry on with the same characters, and I'd probably go for a city location next time.

Thoughts anyone? I think there's real potential with this system but I'm not sure how to access it.
Logged
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2007, 12:41:35 PM »

Keys do need to be really highlighted, in my experience.  In the games I've played, all of us took to putting each Key on an index card ... with little areas where each level is spelled out ("Key of the Kirk:  1xp:  Show interest in alien diversity   2xp:  Yeah, I hit that.  5xp:  Emotional involvement with non-humans makes you risk your life or ship").  Then we'd just make little check-marks whenever we felt it was appropriate.  When someone needed some XPs they'd look over their cards and tot up how many they'd earned (often a surprisingly high number!)

If you want to help people out, you could theoretically use a computer printer and some perforated index-card paper to make up these cards in advance, so that people could just pick them out of a deck.

Were you playing Keys for the NPCs?  I've never been quite clear on whether the GM should do that, but in my group he does and it seems to work out pretty well.  The NPC Keys are all entangled with our PC Keys, so his paying attention to them helps us pay attention to ours, and all that.
Logged

Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Rob Alexander
Member

Posts: 76


« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2007, 12:46:24 PM »

Were you playing Keys for the NPCs?  I've never been quite clear on whether the GM should do that, but in my group he does and it seems to work out pretty well.  The NPC Keys are all entangled with our PC Keys, so his paying attention to them helps us pay attention to ours, and all that.

There weren't any keys for the original Snakes SGCs, so no. I could have tried playing Kiana or Bowdyn by their keys, I suppose, but I largely forgot about them anyway.


rob
Logged
Judd
Member

Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: May 31, 2007, 02:55:17 PM »

Were you playing Keys for the NPCs?  I've never been quite clear on whether the GM should do that, but in my group he does and it seems to work out pretty well.  The NPC Keys are all entangled with our PC Keys, so his paying attention to them helps us pay attention to ours, and all that.

There weren't any keys for the original Snakes SGCs, so no. I could have tried playing Kiana or Bowdyn by their keys, I suppose, but I largely forgot about them anyway.


rob

Tony is dead on.  Keys and through them a flow of XP are where the TSoY game takes off into flight.  I tend to start thinking about a TSoY session by putting all of the players' Keys, Secrets and high skills on a single sheet of paper and figure out ways to get them into situations where they can go after XP how they want it.

Keys are how the players tell you what they want out of the game.  Refreshment Scenes are how the players interact directly with the feel of the game, which in TSoY is a very adult and sensual rock and roll fantasy. 

Any plans for a second game?
Logged

Rob Alexander
Member

Posts: 76


« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2007, 09:54:08 AM »

Any plans for a second game?

Yeah, possibly have another attempt in two three weeks. I'll talk to the players, but one possibility is to pick up the Snakes characters again when they're in a city somewhere in Maldor trying to offload the moon silver. I might find a city environment a bit easier to work with, and I'll be able to prep this time with some experience of what I'll need in play.
Logged
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!