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Started by John Kim, April 23, 2003, 02:00:39 AM
Quote from: YouLastly, you want to limit catastrophic change and especially death. Basically, you don't want a little push to bring the conflict to a head and then resolve to a dull status quo.
Quote from: clehrichSo what he's doing is flinging the characters into the middle of a hideously complicated situation, and encouraging them to become important in it. The trick is that he really doesn't know the details of this situation; he's got Power Blocks and Relationships, but relatively few known details. So as the PCs go around talking to people and exploring the setting, they are also galvanizing and clarifying the situation.
Quote from: clehrichThe question, as Fang points out, is how to ensure player interest long enough for them to discover themselves as extremely important people, something which they can't be at the outset because there's nothing for them to be important to.
Quote from: Mike HolmesYou seem to be advocating at first a non-illusionist style that I refer to as Open Play. That is, the GM is forcing nothing to happen, but only responding as you put it "logically" to the actions of the players.But then later you point out how you are throwing in things as background that will make the game more interesting. This is the lightest application of Force performed after the fact (that is, you only make these things up once the PCs have decided to encounter the sources for he backgrounds, as opposed to having them pre-planned). This is very similar to what GM Skarka calls Intuitive Continuity or IntCon. That is, not only are you "going with the flow" of player activity, but you're retroactively trying to make what is encountered interesting enough that the outcome of eventual play is something like a "plot".
Quote from: Mike HolmesBut there are players who are less proactive than others. In that case, in the absence of Force, System, or Players creating plot, you tend to get little happening at all. Even more rarely does it look at all like what anyone would call a story.
Quote from: Mike HolmesSo, to get to some more of those particular points, John, I'd like to get to the use of the term "background". From what you've written, I see it as mostly a setting thing. Do you require players to provide character background that mesh's or anything? Or is that DIP?
Quote from: Mike HolmesAlso, what kind of techniques do you use with "loose cannons" when they occur? If you're not into using Force, then how do you make a player comply when he decides to break the Scope open? That seems problematic. The usual theory around here is to use up-front social contract, have character generation that doesn't allow for the "wrong" characters, and mechanics of play that serve to do this automatically. Do you ascribe to any of these, or do you have some in-game technique that you use?
Quote from: John KimHowever, I disagree that player inaction leads to "nothing happening". If that is true, then you have made an extremely dull setup -- or more likely you simply aren't playing in this style at all. If you have a Scope and conflicting Power Blocks, then each of the sides should be taking actions to further their cause. Ideally, the PCs should be designed as part of the Scope rather than disconnected strangers who wander in. (Well, darn, I did that in Water-Uphill, but they were special strangers who wandered in.) Then people will come to the PCs to interact with them: trying to get stuff out of them, or ensuring that they won't be an obstacle, or what have you.
Quote from: John KimQuote from: clehrichSo what he's doing is flinging the characters into the middle of a hideously complicated situation, and encouraging them to become important in it. The trick is that he really doesn't know the details of this situation; he's got Power Blocks and Relationships, but relatively few known details. So as the PCs go around talking to people and exploring the setting, they are also galvanizing and clarifying the situation. Agreed. Where play goes definitely pushes me into putting in detail. However, I am detailing a framework based on my pre-defined Power Blocks and Relationships. ... The other thing is that I generally start out with the PCs already important in the world. I've gotten better over time with grounding PC background, but I've almost always set up my games where the PCs have major power and/or authority. In Worlds-In-Collision, the PCs were among 80 or so superpowered figures in the world. If they set their minds to something they could be devastating (as they proved in-play by conducting a nuclear strike). Others in the world inherently respected that power. In later games the PCs often had significant authority as well.
Quote from: clehrichThis leads me to ask something about technique, John. In a thread about Star Wars gaming in Actual Play, Fang was explaining how to do something not unlike what you describe here. But he agreed that the true mystery is one of the most difficult, because the GM actually doesn't really know what the real story is, and has to react in such a way that the players think he does.