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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: My Life with Master: Origins  (Read 10361 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« on: July 02, 2003, 07:34:03 AM »

Well, Origins was a great time, as usual. Late one evening I found myself in a hotel room with a bunch of folks, and we were trying to decide on a game to play. It looked like we were going to do TROS until someone asked about MLwM. I told them that it had been great in playtesting, and that I'd run it if I could remember the rules, and they were really interested. I did, and they were, so off we went into that danse macabre that is MLwM.

Names have been ommitted to protect the not-so-innocent. If players want to admit to their characters and their actions, they can post below. Instead of trying to do a recount of play which I feel could not possibly recapture what happened, I'll just post some tidbits and impressions. I'll also leave the secrets of the mechanics alone unless Paul wants to talk about them.

First, however, the Dramatis Personae:

The Master: I gave him a name, but it seems that you rarely use such a thing in play. It's just more fun to call him "The Master". Our Master, as devised by the players was a very wealthy man who had inherited a chemical company. He had used profits to set himself up in a building he'd purchased in a sleepy little town in upstate New York. He resided in the loft/penthouse atop the small tower. A completely emotionless man, the master had a desire to conquer women, and to do so required a concoction that was mad in part from the tears of children. Here's where the minions come in...

The Minions:
Albert the Albino - the buttler and chaufeur for the master, Albert was a giant who could intimidate anyone when not intimidated himself by the sun. He also could not speak unless a bell was rung in his presence.

The Gardener (name not remebered) - this man had been employed by the Master to tend to the gardens about the tower, and to other "chores". He was adept at disposing of bodies that tended to occur around the master, but somehow could never conceal well the bodies of pretty women. In fact he was unable to speak to women at all unless it was on the subject of gardening.

Pug - Pug was part dog, the result of an experiment my the master than had produced him a son. Human enough looking, pug could pass amongst people, but tended to have some dog-like behaviors like the tendency to "mark his territory". He also retained his canine sense of smell.

Wolf Boy (name forgotten) - another son, and result of experiment, the Wolf Boy appeared completely as a dog, but was possessed with the brain of a human. Thie meant that he wasn't allowed out of the apartment without a leash, and the pretense that he was merely a pet. His heritage had left him with immense speed, which allowed him to outdistance others except when he came across water which he feared for some reason.

Ridiculous (given name forgotten in preference of the Master's nicname for him) - a chemist obtained from the company, Ridiculous was a dwarf nebish who had no real experience with the outside world. Tiny, he couldn't use most equipment unless it had been sized for him. He was, however, capable of creating almost miraculous concoctions, though in the end they never really seemed beneficial to anyone.


Tidbits:

Albert looming over the Master's date to prevent her from fleeing.

Wolf Boy knocking a grandmother down and stealing her cane so that Pug could grab her granddaughter.

The Garderner barging into a lady's appartment to get some Begonias, and being beaten back outside with a watering can.

Ridiculous's trip to the Peep Show.

Pug giving the little girl ice cream. Then later having to beat her to death and using her grandmother's cane to do it.

The elevator with the Master's date on it opening up to see Pug holding the little girl in a tarp.

The gleeful look on Albert's face as he resisted the Master's command to clean the kitchen and instead pursued Wolf Boy and the Gardener who had orders to kill the Master's date (she having seen too much).

The Gardener's insistence that, after Wolf Boy had knocked out the Master's date, that she be put into the shed instead of buried.

Riduculous then showing up and suggesting that if Wolf Boy were to use his scalpel to disfigure the woman that then the Gardener would be more inclined to get rid of her properly.

Wolf Boy dragging the body off to the river, and Albert's thrashing about in the water looking for it.

Wolf Boy's several pathetically unsuccessful attempts to kill himself.

Albert using Ridiculous's new concoction to bring the Master's date back as a zombie, and the implications that followed.

 
MLwM is amazing in play. Players are constantly agape at the play of the other players ( I know I am). And it's not like this is just the players willingly being overly grotesque, somehow when players are making this stuff happen, it all makes sense in terms of the characters and the situation. Basically the system serves to create what seems to me to be amongst the most intense moments of play that I've ever encountered. And it does so with remarkable regularity and fecundity. Like every 15 minutes of play or so.

I'm not the greatest GM. I'm sure that I misremembered some of the details of the rules. And I had no prep at all. And still we were able to have a great time, just based off the basic concept of play driven by the mechanics. I'm probably sounding like a raving fanboy here, but this really is quite a game, IMO. I'm sure other's will agree...assuming they want to admit to playing. :-)

Mike
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Jason L Blair
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« Reply #1 on: July 02, 2003, 08:04:43 AM »

I may or may not have played the Wolf Boy who may or may not have been named Tobey. The gardener's name was Geraldo, btw.

MLwM is everything Mike said and more. It is a truly amazing game. Paul has hit it way out of the park with this one.

The actions your characters take in-game are oftimes hilarious, oftimes repulsive but, as Mike said, they fit. Even though, as a person, you're going "Dear sweet Jesus, what's going on here?" you realize that everything the characters are doing falls within context.

Poor Tobey...resolved to a life sleeping inside the dishwasher....
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Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Matt Snyder
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« Reply #2 on: July 02, 2003, 08:04:54 AM »

Thanks for posting this, Mike. I think you hit all the main points. I've been trying to write up my gonzo-journalism style write-up of the con on my Live Journal. I was hoping someone would get to posting about our mad, macabre and darkly humorous game of My Life with Master.

This session was EXTREMELY fun. I really, really like My Life With Master (and heck, I'm probably not even playing it "right"). Paul, you've got a winner on your hands. Run with it at GenCon, man!

Quote
Pug giving the little girl ice cream. Then later having to beat her to death and using her grandmother's cane to do it.


This was the single darkest and most troubling event of my role-playing experiences to date. I loved it, and for that I should probably seek counseling. Oh yes, my only excuse is that I played Albert, the tragically lovestruck albino Lurch. I can safely say I had nothing to do with said cane-beating.

The session also generated some interesting takes on the game:

My So Called Life With Master -- Nicotine Girls meets MLwM. That got more than a few chuckles. Go Paul!

My Life with Santa Claus -- The players take on the roles of elves and reindeer in an effort to cope with the slave-driver himself, St. Nick. (I want to play the dentist!). This is wrong on so many levels . . . .

My Life with Elvis -- A game set in Graceland, 1977, where the minions of the King are trying to depose him. Hey, we'd just played octaNe
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: July 02, 2003, 08:46:16 AM »

Everything I did I did for Science.
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Alan
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« Reply #4 on: July 02, 2003, 09:04:41 AM »

For those struggling to find out more about this game, like me, check out
http://www.halfmeme.com/

EDIT: Oh heck, I just checked and discovered the website is only a release date announcement.  Where can I get a copy?  I'd love a download pdf.
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- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 1121

student, second edition


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« Reply #5 on: July 02, 2003, 09:13:55 AM »

Alan:

Clicking on that link leaves me struggling to find out more. Unless there's a button that isn't loading on my browser, there's no info at that address other than the title of the game.

But based on that brief description, I'm wondering about the "self loathing" part and how it might have shown up in play. Mostly the above is a list of horrific acts. I could do that with D&D. What about the insight into the pain and sadness of the characters? How is that facilitated in play?
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #6 on: July 02, 2003, 09:36:05 AM »

Hey,

I'm momentarily between meetings at work, so this is necessarily brief:

1. Good lord. Mike, Ralph, Jason, Matt...you guys are depraved! The game is a reflecting pool, you know.

2. As far as availability is concerned, My Life with Master will be for sale in print at GenCon, at the Forge location, booth #1841. It is 64 pages, 7" x 8.5", with deluxe margins, saddle-stitched, and priced at $10.00. It has amazing cover art by Will Terrell, of Lucid Comics, and awesome interior art by the Forge's own Colin the Riot. If I have a few print copies left over after the convention, I'll probably just post to the Forge and sell them off that way. If I have more than a few left over, I'll sell them at http://www.halfmeme.com. PDF sale is planned for after that.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #7 on: July 02, 2003, 10:40:47 AM »

Quote from: Paul Czege
1. Good lord. Mike, Ralph, Jason, Matt...you guys are depraved! The game is a reflecting pool, you know.


Bullshit!

I deny the alligation and I deny the alligator! - Rev. Jesse Jackson

They made me do it! I was going to run TROS!

And I blame the designer for making the game work the way it does! :-)

Matt, sure this stuff could happen theoretically in D&D with players who were just sick and twisted, and wanted to do something like this, I suppose. But this game makes it happen. It's not that it's an enabler or something - I don't want to give that impression. But like any really good RPG it suports the exploration of something.

In this case, it's exploration of the relationship between the typical Master character from fiction and his minions. You know what characters we're talking about here. And yes, Self-Loathing is a key element to making it all work. MLwM gets you inside their pathetic heads, and lets you walk around for a while. In the end it's a morality play that points out the fate of such ill-natured relationships in stark colors.

Basically you won't believe what comes out of your own mouth. You know it's the "right" thing for the character to do in the situation, but you're loathing saying it at the same time. As are the other players. It's that sense of loathing that puts the humor in the game. We laugh because we don't want to acknowledge how horrible it all is, and perhaps how small parts of our lives resemble the play in mundane ways.

You keep wanting to say, "Oh my God, I can't believe that you said that, you poor pathetic player, you. But it was soo right that I can see how you couldn't have sad anything else, so it sucks to be you." Does that make any sense?

Mike
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TSL
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« Reply #8 on: July 02, 2003, 10:52:48 AM »

Ahh, poor Pug.  Our lives often turn on the smallest chances - Pug failed in a control role against the Master, else wise, the tale might have been different.

The cane was a nice touch though, wasn't it? ;)

That said, I agree with Paul.  We are all clearly depraved.  Nobody in their right mind designs games.
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TS
Servant of Mantorok since 1863
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Jared A. Sorensen
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Darksided


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« Reply #9 on: July 02, 2003, 11:08:12 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Basically you won't believe what comes out of your own mouth. You know it's the "right" thing for the character to do in the situation, but you're loathing saying it at the same time. As are the other players. It's that sense of loathing that puts the humor in the game. We laugh because we don't want to acknowledge how horrible it all is, and perhaps how small parts of our lives resemble the play in mundane ways.

You keep wanting to say, "Oh my God, I can't believe that you said that, you poor pathetic player, you. But it was soo right that I can see how you couldn't have sad anything else, so it sucks to be you." Does that make any sense?



I think that's pretty much how the PARANOIA RPG should work. That game has a built-in survival mechanism that interferes with the "I want my character to get vaped" mindset that the game seems to *want* to get across.
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #10 on: July 02, 2003, 11:09:28 AM »

Depraved schmaved...it was a thing of beauty.  
The cane was perfect...have some ice cream little girl...WHAM WHAM WHAM.

Fortuneately I was right there to collect a blood sample for future lab work.




What?
Its for Science.
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


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« Reply #11 on: July 02, 2003, 11:19:29 AM »

Hey Ralph,

The cane was perfect...have some ice cream little girl...WHAM WHAM WHAM.

Mike messaged me earlier that there were spectators for the game. Ruth? Should I assume that Danielle and I no longer have an open invitation to visit?

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #12 on: July 02, 2003, 11:35:15 AM »

Quote from: Paul Czege
Hey Ralph,

<FONT COLOR="RED">The cane was perfect...have some ice cream little girl...WHAM WHAM WHAM.</FONT>

Mike messaged me earlier that there were spectators for the game. Ruth? Should I assume that Danielle and I no longer have an open invitation to visit?

Paul


Hell no.  You're more than welcome.  She was just tired from having driven 6 miles and was leary of being thrown in the deep end with those guys.  She'll play eventually.
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xiombarg
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Posts: 1183


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« Reply #13 on: July 02, 2003, 11:37:54 AM »

Quote from: Jared A. Sorensen
I think that's pretty much how the PARANOIA RPG should work. That game has a built-in survival mechanism that interferes with the "I want my character to get vaped" mindset that the game seems to *want* to get across.
Actually, I think you're on to something there, Jared.

Considering that nearly everyone -- even the most vanilla Sim roleplayers -- tend to agree that Paranoia's mechanics do not live up to the setting, and are often broken, why not run Paranoia using MLwM? Think about it: The Computer is the Master. The Townspeople are the rest of Alpha Complex, as wacked as you are -- very low Reason. (I'm thinking Fear 5, Reason 1...)
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Nick the Nevermet
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Posts: 352


« Reply #14 on: July 02, 2003, 11:42:27 AM »

Hi
I'm a bit lost trying to figure out is going on (a common condition for me, I admit).

What I think I got so far is that it's a game where you all play the twisted henchmen of an evil mastermind of some form.  I've gotten from this thread that something about the game encourages players to roleplay their characters as the horribly deformed things they are.

Anything else I should know about this game that is  attracting & revolting me in one united action?
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