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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 57 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [UTB] [DRYH] [TI] Three games in one day!  (Read 3122 times)
JC
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Posts: 150


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« on: February 18, 2008, 06:07:25 AM »

Hey people!

I played three different games this Saturday, and I’d like to give some feedback. I also have a few questions.

UNDER THE BED

We started off with Under the Bed. There were three of us. We’d all played story-games together before, but none of us had ever tried this one. Setup went fine. But when three toys were lost in just seven scenes, one player (who’d just lost his second toy) asked if we could play something else.

This was a shame, because I felt we were exploring something truly different from what we usually do. Toys are created quickly, but the game’s intimate feel means that losing one still hurts, and is a little deprotagonizing.

Now, losing three toys in the first seven scenes was the result of some very unlucky rolling. But it still happened, and it still sucked. Would it perhaps be a good idea to start the toys out with two Favorite tokens each, instead of one? Then, if you want to keep the game’s length roughly the same, maybe trigger the end-game when a toy has five tokens, instead of four?

Comments/ideas/whatever is appreciated!


DON’T REST YOUR HEAD

Same players. Since we still had some time before the fourth player would show up, we decided to give DRYH a whirl. I’d only played it once (over IRC), and never GMed, but I had some cheat-sheets prepared, and had given the game some thought. The other guys had never played it (or even heard of it, for one).

I explained the rules quickly, and we proceeded to char-gen. That went fine. I made a little R-map (openly), connecting what I could. I looked for a theme, and found one: organized crime. So I decided the Nightmares would have some kind of giant octopus vibe. That ended up with a Cthulhu cult fighting the Russian mob, people with tentacles coming out of their mouths, extra limbs, etc.

I also shifted the game’s premise a little bit. My idea was to have the protagonists’ world gradually go weird, as they discover its real nature. Naturally, I had them have flashes where everything seemed normal, just to mess with their minds!

Still, coming up with scenes, and building them into something coherent was a challenge. I feel like I managed something, but it was pretty hard work! Notably, one of the characters was a small-time crook, who was on the run after stealing a pile of cash from the Russian mob. He had no ties, and was looking to fill his emotional void. So I had the cult try and recruit him in their war against the Russians (in the end, he joined them).

Now, about threatening the characters. I did my best, moving from lots of Pain to very little, and back. Since this was a short game, I started the PCs out at two Exhaustion. In the end, I’d managed to get them to check off two Response boxes each, and I’d worked them up to four Exhaustion each (one of them peaked at five briefly). Again, this was OK, but I felt like I could have done better. Not that I’m trying to shaft the players, naturally. But I feel that hitting them harder makes the game more interesting and dramatic for them.

One thing I discovered during the game is that Despair Coins are not that good. You can often spend one to have Exhaustion or Madness dominate, thus moving them one step closer to Crashing or Snapping. But this will give the players a Hope Coin, which they can then use to reduce their Exhaustion or clear out a Response box, effectively negating what you’ve just done.

I’ll end on a positive note. The system was pretty quick and easy to get the hang of. And we managed to create characters and play out a whole story arc in a few hours, with no prep. Pretty cool!

Ideas? Comments?


THE INFECTED

The fourth player showed up, so we moved back to our “normal schedule”. Our last game of the day was Eric Provost’s The Infected. The extra player is an experienced role-player, but completely new to story-games.

I’d given the game a test-drive before, and prepped a cheat-sheet, so I had the rules down. I’d also given the players the link to the rules a week in advance, so they all had at least a vague idea of what is was about.

Going over the rules, plus creating the characters and the setting took about an hour. Playing out the whole game took another three and a half hours, with no down-time. Everything went smoothly, and we had a real blast.

The drama ramped up nicely as we moved from one reel to the next, with PCs and CNPCs gradually accumulating Infected dice. The Desperate/Crazed rule worked very well. The new guy had no trouble at all getting into it.

I was a little surprised at how few beads the players accumulated though (one, two and zero respectively). Is this normal?

I also have some rules questions:
-   can you get more that one CNPC to help your side of the conflict at once?
-   does the GM only get extra Infected dice (one per reel) when normal Infected or Monster NPCs are involved (not Infected or Monster CNPCs)?

Story-wise, creating something coherent was a breeze. Building the R-map together, combined with the PCs’ goals, combined with the fact that you don’t really have to explain why the zombies are there, made it all very easy and enjoyable. Everyone was on-board, and participated actively.

The CNPC cards are very good at focusing everyone’s attention. They also give the players a nice bit of control over the story, that meshes well with the game mechanics as a whole. So all in all, I’d say the Infection was successful!

Again, comments, questions, etc. are welcome.

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Eric Provost
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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2008, 05:07:13 PM »

Hiya JC,

Busy day!  That's a ton of gaming all at once.  Sounds like everyone had a really good time.

Quote
-   can you get more that one CNPC to help your side of the conflict at once?

Yup!  It's not explicit in the chapter Pens and Swords, but if you take a peek at Resolving Conflicts again you can see several references to multiple CNPCs being on your side of the conflict.  In fact, the section on Harm in that same chapter talks about applying harm to "...all of the Central NPCs helping you...".

Quote
-   does the GM only get extra Infected dice (one per reel) when normal Infected or Monster NPCs are involved (not Infected or Monster CNPCs)?

That's my intention.  The GM's 1, 2, or 3 regular infected dice come from non-central NPCs or monsters.

I'm glad to hear you enjoyed the game.  Thanks for the AP report.  I enjoyed reading it.

Eric
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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Posts: 1146

the glyphpress


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« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2008, 11:22:09 AM »

Hey, JC. That's some serious bad luck there. I have to think about what it would mean to up the number of starting Favoritism. It might be a good idea, but I have something itching in the back of my head about needing to end on an even number of Favorite.

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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
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