The Forge Forums

Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Lars M. Nielsen on January 21, 2008, 02:56:14 AM

Title: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Lars M. Nielsen on January 21, 2008, 02:56:14 AM
I was trying sell IAWA to a group of friends I have played D&D with for many years, doing my very best to convey the things i find awesome about it. None of them has had any contact with indie/forge/story games before. Two of them thought it sounded like fun. One complained that it didn't sound like her thing. And one named a couple of things she was apprehensive about.

Which leads me to my question. Explaining the game, my friends were shocked (slight exagerration here) to hear that the PCs weren't in a party together, and also that there would be inter-PC conflict.

On a later date, I am going to describe the game in full, and hopefully we will play at least once.

If I knew beforehand what other shocks the game might contain for people who have mostly played D&D, I could give a better presentation of the game.

What would you consider the shocks of IAWA, besides not having a PC party and inter-PC conflict? Also, if you have other good advice for introducing a game like IAWA to people who are used to "classic" rpgs, I would love to hear it.

Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Christoph Boeckle on January 21, 2008, 05:43:44 AM
They might also be surprised at the fact that the GM role can easily rotate. Or that conflict can be non-physical (depending on how you apply the rules for D&D).

My advice would be not to mention the word "role-playing game" at any time (for example, Ben Lehman does that in the text for Polaris). If they ask, just say it's "kind of" an RPG, but not quite. It's a game to play vicious fantasy. Then just ask if they'd like to play a chapter, with no further commitment. You could reasonably pull that off in an hour. Let them see how awesome it is to really be able to play a wizard who summons demons and lives in a tower. To play a druid who actually commands the whole forest around him. Stuff like that.

Then if they don't like it, no big deal, it's okay to give an hour for trying out a new (board/card/computer) game, right?

Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Valvorik on January 21, 2008, 08:15:46 AM
I think it's also important to note that it's also a game with an emphasis on story, you're creating a story as you go, and that individual characters may come in and out of it, your character may not be in every scene.  Players need to be prepped for possibility of their Chapter 1 character not being in Chapter 2 and not see that as a reason to be disengaged.

That IAWA rewards you for being an underdog at times is also important.  Traditional systems give you no system love at all for using your weak suit.  The uber Fighter has no reason to engage in a social conflict.  In IAWA, getting drubbed in social conflict may be the owe-list lever to get a stunning victory in a fighting conflict.


Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Rustin on January 21, 2008, 09:42:32 PM

I found myself in a similar situation some time ago. 
It’s a tough situation. Let me give you some observations and suggestions.

You say you’re “trying to sell IAWA.”  Right from the beginning you risk placing yourself in a position where if the fun does not happen, it’s (in their minds) your fault, because it was your game and it was your job to make it fun for them.

Like any sales pitch, it comes down to you as the salesperson to fix all the problems with the service you are trying to provide. Sadly, this usually turns out poorly because most of these hippy games (IaWA included) require everyone at the table to bring the fun.  Everyone is responsible for success.  When you try to “sell” the game, you’re setting yourself up for failure. 

So, if I could do it over again, I would have approached it differently.
I would have told my group I had a new game. I’d let them know it was not a role-playing game.  Then I’d just give a date and time.

Anyone who showed without any manipulation, cajoling or persuasion would be the person that could play the hippy game.

Alas, I have already poisoned the well, so to speak. My main D&D group still eyes me with suspicion ever since I tried to “sell” them on Sorcerer and The Shadow of Yesterday. 

I had to find completely new people that shared my enthusiasm, before I could enjoy playing these hippy games.  On-line play ( has been really enjoyable.  Though I have found people to play face-to-face with as well. It was just a relief to game with people who “got it.”

Good Luck, and if you manage better than I did, please let me know what worked for you.

Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Lars M. Nielsen on January 22, 2008, 12:17:08 AM
Thank you for your advice. We'll see how it goes.

Valvorik, you mention social conflict. But as far as I can see, there isn't any in IAWA, right? No throwing dice for just talking, the rules say.

Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Troels on January 22, 2008, 05:22:41 AM
A consideration that may be important:

If your players are looking for the same jollies in IaWA that they would be looking for in D&D (or whatever), they might be disappointed. So it could be important to "sell" them the jollies that are actually to be found in IaWA, namely good lurid S&S story (now) and hard conflict with your friends. For instance, I had a player pretty much put off because he came looking for the warm mushy feeling of team play against common adversity. That is a perfectly legitimate jolly, IaWA is just the wrong place to look for it.

Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Lars M. Nielsen on January 22, 2008, 07:01:42 AM
Good point, Troels.

Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Valvorik on January 22, 2008, 09:10:00 AM
Valvorik, you mention social conflict. But as far as I can see, there isn't any in IAWA, right? No throwing dice for just talking, the rules say.

See examples on page 12, examples of actions unopposed and happening and others opposed with dice to be rolled to determine outecomes.  The first example is how words are used, in what is a conflict over whether those words incite passions.  That's the sort of thing I meant as "social" not just "combat".

I read "just talking" to be no dice as meaning "talking with just arguments, ideas floating around".  Sometimes words are sharper and talking is an action.  I think going out in the public square and denouncing so and so as a traitor to all could be unopposed or someone could oppose it narrating their rebuke of your false accusation etc. and the dice are about what comes of your haranguing each other in the square, before the mob.  If the two characters were just in a room arguing with each other, that's not much to throw dice over until someone pulls a knife.  To me the essence of "social" conflict is that it affects standing, relationships, image, investor confidence etc. and those are likely actions that someone will very much want to interfere with and bring out dice over.

Somewhat off topic, I find it intellectually interesting as violent conflict tends to be "about the character from the skin and inwards" (is their heart pierced) while social conflict is about the character "as they are outside their skin" ~ and really so much of what we want in life, seek out, crave (rightly or not) is in the second category.


Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Lars M. Nielsen on January 23, 2008, 04:18:54 AM
Valvorik, I was just about to write a post about how I was confused, and then it sort of clicked. Neat :)

Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Nathaniel on January 24, 2008, 12:57:29 AM
When I told my friends about me running IaWA, the thing they didn't like was not having their "own character."  I explained about the owe list, the mechanisms related to bringing characters back and so on.  They thought it was cool. 

One problem they had though, was waiting until a character that really grabs them shows up.  You know, when you see a certain oracle result and you think "yeah!  and that's the type of character who can show up again and again and be cool."  In a given chapter, only one or two of the four players found an character in the oracle they really would like to see as a recurring character.  One of them did grab onto a character that became a recurring villian.  It took 3 chapters until everyone had adopted a "pet" character they were trying to bring back into play.

It could be the players pretty much only ever play D&D3.5 and BRP Call of Cthulhu though, as I don't think the rules themselves necessarily encourage having a "pet" character that you always try to bring back in.  Could just be a coping mechanism from the "shock" that will diminish as we get more experience teasing interesting characters out of the oracles.

Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: John Harper on January 28, 2008, 12:30:20 PM
A "game" of Wicked is about 5 chapters (minimum), I think. Maybe 6. So yeah... in the first couple, you might still be searching for "your guy." And you might not ever find him. That's pretty unusual for an RPG, and not to everyone's taste.

Title: Re: IAWA shocks!
Post by: Danny_K on January 28, 2008, 04:01:34 PM
One thing I've run into already in my experience is that everybody starts in with picking characters and then, around the time everybody's making stats and nobody's done Best Interests yet, people start trying to make up backstory about how their characters know each other and who stole from who and all that. 

It really helps to jump in and say, HALT!  Not until we pick Best Interests!  Otherwise, a lot of unconnected character-concept cruft builds up that will clog up the nice smooth game mechanics.  It's also helpful to point out that the relationships implied in the oracle entries are totally adjustable: it's up to you if your wizard's servant guy is a loyal retainer or a treacherous bastard who's been studying magic in his off hours.