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Author Topic: [Dirty Secrets] Gym Teacher Goes To Jail, Assualts Prominent Doctor  (Read 4949 times)
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« on: October 13, 2007, 09:10:26 PM »

We just finished playing Dirty Secrets.  Like, 30 minutes ago.  It took a bit, but in the end I loved it.  I was playing Josh Bishop-Roby and my wife Meghann.  I was playing the investigator.  I deliberately choose private citizen as I wanted to maximize my personal involvement and minimize my ability to do anything about it.  Another player made the investigator Female which was interesting since there isn't a whole lot of hardboiled noir out there with female detectives.  At the end of Character Setup I used my veto option to change her race from Pacific Islander to Hispanic and totally had Michelle Rodriguez cast in the role in my head.

Note: You might want to add "Illegal Immigrant" to your Legal Status option.  We're from the LA Area and that's a really big political topic around here.

We played a Short Story which I know isn't the recommended beginners story but I think it worked out in the end and since we didn't have any experience it took way longer than I'm sure a more experienced group would have taken.

I decided that the investigator, Lilo was an inspirational gym teacher and that she had been a big influence on the initial suspect, Angela back when she was in high school.  The initial Contact was Angela's significantly older and poor boyfriend Carlos who comes to Lilo at Angela's request when Angela is arrested for stealing the car of an drug associate of hers Leigh.  In the first investigation sequence Leigh's found hanging in her backyard.

I followed the book's of advice of having us agree on a style of story and we agreed on "small town crime" which I think worked very well and is essential to not making character setup totally random.

One of the things we found is that having a working theory of the case is VERY important.  There were a couple of times we felt kind of stuck of how to drive things forward.  But I found that as soon as I made conclusions in my head about what "happened" then pursuing a course of action that would illuminate (or deny) that fact became WAY easier.  For example it turned out that Leigh was responsible for the "murder" of Leigh.  So I had decided that the car must have been stolen to cover up the fact that her death was suicide, so I had Lilo pursue finding the car.  I should note that Lilo hadn't yet figured out that it was a suicide.

I'm apparently a pretty gutsy Liars Dice player because I lost a lot, especially in the end game.  By the end of the game I had a sprained shoulder, a dog bitten leg, a knife wound and finally I was tasered.  Recovering my dice involved talking to a student, watching old boxing matches, listening to the advice of and old lady in the hospital and finally questioning the value of my pursuits as I sat in jail.

I really, really, really, love reflection sequences.  I think they're a key component of the noir genre that has been largely overlooked in rpg renditions.

Sadly, we never had a Violence sequence.

In the end it turned out that Carlos was having an affair with this rich successful plastic surgeon named Doctor Morrison.  Doctor Morrison ended up being the sister of Leigh (as the result of a Revelation Sequence) and I was a little sad that didn't play a bigger role in the story.  I ended up hating Doctor Morrison because any attempt to talk to her ended up in failure as she lived in a very posh private community with their own security.  I was kind of glad she ended up being responsible for the car theft.  My wrap up of the case had Doctor Morrison stealing the car (which had Leigh's suicide message in it) to make Leigh's death look like murder and frame Angela to get her out of Carlos life so Doctor Morrison could have him all to herself.  In the final confrontation my goal was to get Doctor Morrison to confess and I failed.  Instead I got tasered and sent to jail for assault and Doctor Morrison got away.

It was awesome.

Unfortunately, I don't think the other players enjoyed it as much as I did but for different reasons.  My wife isn't very keen on action without motivation.  When we play other games she often asks me to clarify an NPC's motivation when he does something she doesn't understand and uses out of character understanding of NPC motivations to spur her own character to interesting action.  So to play a game where the whole point is to have characters act and then SPECULATE about motivation in retrospect was very frustrating for her.  She also doesn't like very "gamey" systems and the Liar's Dice mechanic was very distracting especially since she's not a fan of the raw Liar's Dice game.

I admit I was a little skeptical about the Liar's Dice mechanic myself as I'm not very fond of the game either.  But in the end it worked for me and did its job of raising tension in conflicts as I constantly questioned whether what I wanted to get was really worth making a more risky bid.  I think the more comfortable and more familiar you are with Liar's Dice itself the more it blends in with the created fiction.

Josh isn't very familiar with the genre and so wasn't exactly connecting with game in any particular way other than following the procedures.

One concern I had before playing is that how large of a leap of logic would I need to make to fit in the final Crime Resolution in a single scene.  I found out not much.  I simplified the ending in my summary above but the only detail I had to really invent to make it work was the possibility that someone who looked like Leigh reported the theft of the car and not Leigh herself.  In fact, just to amuse myself I came up with three other endings for each of the other three characters and improving solutions to the crime was very simple.

I think what makes this random resolution to the crime work so well is the First Person narration rule as all it took to shift solutions from one character to another was to simply rewrite that character's motivation relative to the established facts.  Of course motivation can never be narrated and thus ultimately the game is about the investigator's judgment of the people even in the finding of a supposedly "factual" conclusion.  Philosophy majors should play this game.

Jesse
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2007, 12:19:35 PM »

This was a fun game, although I did feel a little lost due to my lack of experience with the genre making me uncertain what standards the game should be attempting to live up to.

Jesse is a lousy Liar's Dice player. Wink  His initial bid would be, like, "SIX threes!" and I'd look under my cup and, sure enough, no threes and no ones.  And I'd call on his initial bid and he'd lose.  And then get tasered.

I can totally see what you mean, Seth, by the short story being a poor choice for a first-time game.  The players really need to pull things together quickly, and have few ancillary details with which to make those ties and connections.  I suspect that a Novella would have a lot more "stuff" available to play with, and thus make the process of weaving the elements together easier.

I'll second the motion that players having an agenda is absolutely essential to playing the game.  The game is actually rather agnostic as far as narrative direction goes -- there is no push towards escalation or a built-in characterization of conflicts or characters -- and so players need to supply this.  Which is absolutely fine, but it needs to be outlined explicitly and up front.  Jesse is prepping to run Dirty Secrets at the upcoming strategicon, OrcCon, in February, and our final lesson learned in our game was that you should open any such con game with "This is a game about implying who did it." and "You need to have an agenda for who you think did it."  Append a little qualification that said agenda should be flexible as the game progresses, and I think you have a good foundation for the players understanding play.
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GreatWolf
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designer of Dirty Secrets


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« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2007, 12:46:24 PM »

Heh.  There's a fun parallelism going on here.  I'm over here, posting about Joshua's game, while he's here, posting about mine.  Plus, on Saturday night, I was playing Joshua's game, while he was playing mine.  Nice!

Anyways, to comments!

First, Jesse's thoughts.

Quote from: jburneko
Note: You might want to add "Illegal Immigrant" to your Legal Status option.  We're from the LA Area and that's a really big political topic around here.

In the Designer's Notes, I talk about modifying the Demographics lists.  This was mostly directed to the international audience, but I can see them being adjusted for local concerns.  If you're going to do this, just make sure that you all agree on the changes and that they happen before you make characters.  Freeform Demographics doesn't work.  I established this in playtest.  Trust me.  (shudder)

Quote
One of the things we found is that having a working theory of the case is VERY important.  There were a couple of times we felt kind of stuck of how to drive things forward.  But I found that as soon as I made conclusions in my head about what "happened" then pursuing a course of action that would illuminate (or deny) that fact became WAY easier.

Quote
My wife isn't very keen on action without motivation.  When we play other games she often asks me to clarify an NPC's motivation when he does something she doesn't understand and uses out of character understanding of NPC motivations to spur her own character to interesting action.  So to play a game where the whole point is to have characters act and then SPECULATE about motivation in retrospect was very frustrating for her.

These two things go together.  Just like it's important to have a working theory of the case, it's important to have working motivations for characters.  And what I mean here is to say in your head, "This character obviously wants this" and then describe actions based on that.  Early on, yes, you need to simply create actions, simply to create a supply of "facts" to work with, but I find that it's best to move quickly to develop a personal vision of the character, which you then use to guide further actions.  Now, just like with your theory of the case, you need to be willing to accept that you might be wrong.  But, at the same time, if you really like a certain aspect of the character, you should feel free to Appeal in support of your vision of the character.  That is the best way to bring your theory to the surface and "compare notes" with your fellow players.

We're starting a novel-length game of Dirty Secrets tonight, so I'm thinking that we will be seeing a lot of character development in that game.  I'm looking forward to it!

Quote
I think what makes this random resolution to the crime work so well is the First Person narration rule as all it took to shift solutions from one character to another was to simply rewrite that character's motivation relative to the established facts.  Of course motivation can never be narrated and thus ultimately the game is about the investigator's judgment of the people even in the finding of a supposedly "factual" conclusion.  Philosophy majors should play this game.

You know, I knew this subconsciously, but I'd never actually verbalized the necessity of First Person narration to make the Crime Grid work.  You're absolutely right.

Now, Joshua's thoughts.

Quote from: Joshua BishopRoby
I can totally see what you mean, Seth, by the short story being a poor choice for a first-time game.  The players really need to pull things together quickly, and have few ancillary details with which to make those ties and connections.  I suspect that a Novella would have a lot more "stuff" available to play with, and thus make the process of weaving the elements together easier.

Exactly.  I discovered this in playtest.  The game is guaranteed to end by itself, but it's not guaranteed to wrap up by itself.  Without the early stage of the game (which is essentially what you skip with a Short Story), you're scrambling to create enough details while reincorporating quickly to resolve the entire situation in the eight Chapters (max!) that are available to you.  It can certainly be done, but it's a hard place to start.

Quote
I'll second the motion that players having an agenda is absolutely essential to playing the game.  The game is actually rather agnostic as far as narrative direction goes -- there is no push towards escalation or a built-in characterization of conflicts or characters -- and so players need to supply this.  Which is absolutely fine, but it needs to be outlined explicitly and up front.  Jesse is prepping to run Dirty Secrets at the upcoming strategicon, OrcCon, in February, and our final lesson learned in our game was that you should open any such con game with "This is a game about implying who did it." and "You need to have an agenda for who you think did it."  Append a little qualification that said agenda should be flexible as the game progresses, and I think you have a good foundation for the players understanding play.

Definitely!  I spell this out in the Handbook part of the rulebook.  By the way, which of the players were able to read the book?

Finally, were there any moments in play that brought the awesome?  Any moments where you felt like the game abandoned you?  Any additional player aids that you would find helpful?

Thanks for playing!
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2007, 01:26:51 PM »

Seth,

I was the only one who had read the rulebook.  There's A LOT in that handbook that's hard to covey in summary to people when you're teaching them the game.  As we played and problems arose I remembered key phrases from the handbook and would impart them, like all the "working theory" advice.

With regards to the stuff about motivation I think there's a fine line between the First-Person Narration rule and meta-commentary among the players that might be worth examining explicitly.  For example you can't narrate, "Beth, simmering with her hateful memories of Joe, throws his picture on the ground", but I'm not sure there's anything wrong with saying, "Man, it seems like Beth really has it out for Joe.  I think she throws his picture on the ground."  One establishes inappropriate facts into the fiction, and one is just explaining where you as a player are coming from or what you think of the current state of the fiction.  The problem is that meta-commentary can run into pushes or pleas for agreement.  "I think Beth really has it out for Joe!" with an implicit, "We're all on the same page about that, right?  right?"

I mean it would seem ultra-weird if we're doing a multi-session novel and over lunch on Tuesday I can't say to my friend, "In our Dirty Secrets game, I really don't like that Jimmy guy, it feels like he's up to something.  Like maybe something to do with that Brenda woman."

Jesse
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GreatWolf
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designer of Dirty Secrets


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« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2007, 01:47:36 PM »

I was the only one who had read the rulebook.  There's A LOT in that handbook that's hard to covey in summary to people when you're teaching them the game.  As we played and problems arose I remembered key phrases from the handbook and would impart them, like all the "working theory" advice.

Excellent.  In that case, I have a follow-up question.  What bits of the game were the hardest to teach?  I'm starting to plan out some video demo material, and it would be good to know what I need to cover in detail.

Quote
With regards to the stuff about motivation I think there's a fine line between the First-Person Narration rule and meta-commentary among the players that might be worth examining explicitly.  For example you can't narrate, "Beth, simmering with her hateful memories of Joe, throws his picture on the ground", but I'm not sure there's anything wrong with saying, "Man, it seems like Beth really has it out for Joe.  I think she throws his picture on the ground."  One establishes inappropriate facts into the fiction, and one is just explaining where you as a player are coming from or what you think of the current state of the fiction.  The problem is that meta-commentary can run into pushes or pleas for agreement.  "I think Beth really has it out for Joe!" with an implicit, "We're all on the same page about that, right?  right?"

I mean it would seem ultra-weird if we're doing a multi-session novel and over lunch on Tuesday I can't say to my friend, "In our Dirty Secrets game, I really don't like that Jimmy guy, it feels like he's up to something.  Like maybe something to do with that Brenda woman."

Hmm.  You're right that the second option is technically legit.  Probably the best way to address it is simply to say, "Beth throws his picture on the ground.  She seems awfully angry at Joe."  This keeps narration in the realm of what the investigator can actually see.  If you really want Beth to be angry at Joe, just be prepared to Appeal narration that steers away from Beth's anger.  At that point, you'll find out if the table agrees with you or not.

I don't think that this interferes with audience speculation.  I've made comments almost exactly like your hypothetical lunch discussion.  Stuff like, "You just know that So-and-so is dirty."  Of course, I'm generally able to be conscious of when I'm speaking as author and when I'm speaking as audience.  So my speculation is kinda like my speculation about what happens next in Veronica Mars, which is separate from what happens when I sit down at the table.  It's a weird headspace, though, and I can see how this might not be an obvious divide.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2007, 02:43:18 PM »

I think the hardest thing to teach in the game is all the stuff in the roles section of handbook.  Especially the "why" of it.  I'm a big fan of the idea that an RPG should still be able to word its objective like any other game.  In Dogs in the Vineyard the objective is for the players to root out sin in a town and clean it up.  The objective of Sorcerer is to try and resolve your Kicker without losing your Humanity.

So I can tell the Authority that their job is to oppose and stonewall the investigator, but why?  What does the player earn by doing that successfully?  Because you can narrate anything anytime subject only to Jurisdiction, Appeal and some rules 9 times out of 10 I can get what I want fictionally just by clever narration.  In our game as the investigator I often narrated answers to my own questions because the person with Jurisdiction had no desire to stop me and I had certain facts I needed to establish to start supporting my working theory of the case.

One point is that by winning conflicts you get to be the one who moves the witness, which a) has an impact on pacing and b) increases the likelihood that someone in the fiction you don't like will be guilty of something and c) if you end up with Crime Resolution you get to pick the crime the person was guilty of.  And that reward is the same for the Authority and the Investigator but their roles are different.  It has been my experience that fiction acts as good *limiter* (see my talk of The Narrative Wall) I'm not convinced yet that it works well as a primary REWARD.

I think the link between conflict resolution and crime grid manipulation is key, but I'm not sure that link is strong enough or simply is not presented in the right way.

Jesse

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GreatWolf
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designer of Dirty Secrets


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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2007, 09:53:40 AM »

Quote
I'm a big fan of the idea that an RPG should still be able to word its objective like any other game.  In Dogs in the Vineyard the objective is for the players to root out sin in a town and clean it up.  The objective of Sorcerer is to try and resolve your Kicker without losing your Humanity.

Let's talk about this.

The two biggest design influences on Dirty Secrets, procedurally, are probably Spione and Universalis.  Neither of these games could easily word its objective in the way that you're describing.  Now, each game does have an objective.  In Spione, you are collaborating with your fellow players to create a spy story; in Universalis, you are using the game procedures to craft a story together.  But I can't think of any additional specificity that I could bring to the game description that would jive with the mechanical procedures being used.

I can see two differences between these games (and Dirty Secrets) and games like Dogs in the Vineyard and Sorcerer.  First, there's not a hard lock between player and character.  In Dirty Secrets, the Investigator has a unique lock to his character, but that's not quite the same thing as "playing the character" in the traditional RPG sense.  Spione and Universalis are similar in this regard.  In this style of design, characters are simply story elements to be manipulated by the author-players, not avatars to use to pursue narrower objectives, such as you outline.

Second, the games that I cite are GM-less games, which, as has been discussed here, are probably better called GM-ful.  (Dirty Secrets is odd in that it does has a player-style role:  that being the investigator.)  Dogs in the Vineyard and Sorcerer all have a GM.  And what is he supposed to do?  Mostly, provide opposition.  But why?  Ultimately, because it's his job.  He doesn't gain mechanical benefit from it; it's just the role that he's required to play.  So, in a sense, the descriptions that you give for those games describe what the non-GM players do, but they are not broad enough to encompass what all the players are doing.  In a GM-ful game, the players (through the procedures given) all are responsible for providing the necessary opposition, simply to make the game functional.  Dirty Secrets is an odd duck, because, essentially, all non-investigator players are essentially co-GMs of the game, with specific procedures to bound them.  So, ultimately, they bring opposition because that is their function in the procedure.

I also wonder if this allows for the Narrative Wall (or what I've called an "aesthetic sense"), which will sometimes make a person turn away from the stated objective to pursue a better narrative outcome.

In some ways, these games are perhaps more like "structured activities", like Jeepform (which is being discussed over here) than traditional games with narrower objectives.

That being said, when you say this:

Quote
I think the link between conflict resolution and crime grid manipulation is key, but I'm not sure that link is strong enough or simply is not presented in the right way.

I found it to be helpful.  Because the power balance that I wanted to design into the game is partly a struggle over both immediate narration and also the longer-term Crime Grid outcome.  So, making sure that this is pointed out is a good thing.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Josh Roby
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Category Three Forgite


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« Reply #7 on: October 16, 2007, 10:32:52 AM »

Dirty Secrets is the game where you play and watch a detective story, simultaneously deciding who you think did it and implying that they did.
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jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #8 on: October 16, 2007, 10:34:44 AM »

Seth,

I realized after I posted that Dirty Secrets probably belongs in the same category as Universalis and Spione, two games I've never played and that probably don't fit the criteria I was talking about as you say.  There's still something I feel like is missing or needs to be more explicit in the "feel" of Dirty Secrets I can't quite put my finger on.

There's definitely something about how "working theories", opposition, Jurisdiction, Appeal, and I think Reflection Sequences are all kind of supposed to hang together.  For me Reflection Sequences are big deals, I really looked forward to being forced into them.  With the key word *forced*.    Also injury, despite lack of mechanical consequence, was a big deal to me.  I had a clear imagine in my head of this gym teacher with a soar arm, and bad leg limping around town refusing to give up almost Terminator like.

So, now I'm just musing out loud.  But I think it's important for whatever concept I'm grasping at to be made explicit to the players when teaching the game or they flounder a bit.

Jesse
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jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #9 on: October 16, 2007, 10:45:51 AM »

Josh,

Your wording of the "objective" is probably very accurate and I think there in lies a danger.  If you get caught up in the "watching" part and don't really have a vision or care about pushing towards an outcome then things fall apart.  I remember at one point I wasn't really hooked on any one particular person doing it, but I was very very determined that the car was stolen to make the suicide look like murder.  And I noted that's also when conflicts started getting more intense, like the breaking into the police car impound and having Angela show up and tell me to drop the case because it was just a suicide anyway.

I think if EVERYONE is playing on that level Dirty Secrets will really sing.  The investigator player will be confused as all hell because everyone is working from a different page trying to make that happen.  But if you get caught up in "going along for the ride" and "seeing where the system takes you" you're not going to go anywhere at all.  I think this is most likely to happen if the players begin to perceive the outcome as random.

But it's not random.  It's semi-random and the more a single person controls the crime grid the less random it becomes.  Also all the implications and facts established greatly limit the WHY of the outcome which is likely to be very emotionally satisfying as the group moves towards a more unified vision of the characters.

But that's all very hard to see at the start of the game.

Jesse

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GreatWolf
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designer of Dirty Secrets


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« Reply #10 on: October 16, 2007, 02:45:34 PM »

There's definitely something about how "working theories", opposition, Jurisdiction, Appeal, and I think Reflection Sequences are all kind of supposed to hang together.  For me Reflection Sequences are big deals, I really looked forward to being forced into them.  With the key word *forced*.    Also injury, despite lack of mechanical consequence, was a big deal to me.  I had a clear imagine in my head of this gym teacher with a soar arm, and bad leg limping around town refusing to give up almost Terminator like.

So, now I'm just musing out loud.  But I think it's important for whatever concept I'm grasping at to be made explicit to the players when teaching the game or they flounder a bit.

Quote
If you get caught up in the "watching" part and don't really have a vision or care about pushing towards an outcome then things fall apart.

Yeah, there's something in there.  For now, I'll call it "active play", but that's really just waving my hands at all the things that you're talking about and saying, "Yes, that."

Dirty Secrets betrays a design bias of mine that I've established over a few years, especially coming from the realm of boardgames.  I like focused design.  I like focused design in my RPGs, like I like focused design in my boardgames.  However, I'm finding that, in both realms, players are looking for "focused design" that they can immediately grasp and then play without bringing any skill to the table.  If a game fails to yield up its secrets immediately or somehow produce a less-than-satisfactory experience on first play, well, it's on to the next one.  In the realm of focused RPG design, it seems like the expectation is that a well-designed game should produce a good story, even if the players are on auto-pilot.

Rather, I see RPG design as a matter of providing specific tools to the players to assist them with creating a particular type of story.  My analogy is making musical instruments.  However, I think that it's better to make guitars or tinwhistles or even kazoos, instead of CD players or even hand-cranked organs. 

So, when I designed Dirty Secrets, I wanted to make a game that would allow people to make noir detective stories.  I decided that I didn't want to try to design a game for people who (for example) don't want to make noir detective stories or don't know how a noir detective story works.  I provided a Bibliography to try to assist this third group, but I didn't design the game for them.  (Now, I say this as one who has only really embraced the genre within the last year.  It's not hard to embrace, if you want to.)  I'm comfortable with a game that will sit there, inert, if the players don't do anything, if, in return, I get a game that will be more responsive to the players' desires.

At the same time, the need for "active play" needs to be communicated to the players.  From one perspective, the Handbook was my attempt to explain "active play" to the players.  But I'm on the lookout for additional items to point out to players to help them.  So, Jesse, if you have further musings, I'd love to hear them.  I think that you're onto something.

Oh yes.  Violence and injury was designed to drive the story.  The beat-up investigator is definitely a trope of the genre, so I'm glad that it worked for you.

And Joshua, if you are interested in experiencing the genre, I highly recommend Brick.  It's a good movie in its own right, and it's probably the best movie to watch for someone who wants to "get" Dirty SecretsVeronica Mars is pretty good, too, but it's a TV show, which requires a longer time commitment.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #11 on: October 17, 2007, 10:51:19 AM »

Seth,

If you haven't seen it you should check out the argument Judson and I are having over in the Game Theory thread Mike Holmes started on Story Games.  I'm really beginning to see two major schools of thought here.  I'm a very emotional player.  My emotional commitment to the fiction being created comes first and then I choose mechanics to express it.  So, naturally, I like games that given what I'm feeling about the fiction there's a mechanic on hand to push that feeling into play.

The other school seems to be that you shouldn't have to care of be invested in anything other than maybe the basic conceits of the game and good mechanics will eventually lead you to something you care about.  The mechanics at hand provide interesting story results but that even chosen blindly all combinations of mechanical applications produce at least coherent results.

I think games that work for the second camp will often work for the first.  But games that work for the first don't always work for the second.  Dogs in the Vineyard is the running example in the Story Games threads.  I think It Was A Mutual Decision is another that works both ways.

I have, in the past, though found it very frustrating to play with people from the second camp as it is very obvious that they are making mechanical decisions just because they can and not because those decisions reflect their investment in the story.  I recently played an It Was A Mutual Decision game that was like this.  That game is robust enough that the story produced was just fine, a cute little tale about people who ultimately had to choose their careers over their life together.  But at the social level I could tell they were just grabbing black dice just because they wanted to see what would happen, and not because they felt the fiction at hand warranted it.  It was a very frustrating experience for me.

Jesse
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