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Author Topic: [TSoY] I fought "The Party" and "The Party" won  (Read 7348 times)
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1159


« Reply #15 on: April 08, 2008, 03:01:48 AM »

Hi,

Absolutely.  Which is why I said upfront I didn't know all the details.  There was of course a great deal I don't know about that happened at the table. 

I was only addressing the details I was provided.

My only other point -- to reiterate -- is that sometimes Players (whether new to these games or not) don't always know how to articulate their character's motivations.  Especially if they've been playing games that required taking guesses at the GM's plot for years.  So that feeding the player dollops of, "Oh, you want to protect the Zar, cool... here are some Zar, protect them as you see fit" and letting them find their way in this manner let's them find their way in a very different set of behaviors. 

I've seen this slow process myself -- both in myself and in others.

So, while the Player might have been confused, sometimes being patient is all you get.  I know it was a convention game, so it feels like the clock is on.  But giving a player who is struggling dollops while letting him watch how other people are seizing forward motion is sometimes the key.

But that word "sometimes" is important.  Different people, different circumstances.  I was only pointing out that details provided by Joel, she was in fact doing what she said she wanted her character to do.

CK
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Lemonhead, The Shield
Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #16 on: April 08, 2008, 09:38:18 PM »

Hi, Chris!

You're making a lot of good points. I don't think there's many lessons I haven't heard before, but there are a lot that I haven't quite internalized. Hearing your story, I'm tending to conceptualize it as my being a few years behind on the same exprience track that you're on (more or less).

For instance, my first new-fangled game was Primetime Adventures. I looked at it and said, "Hell, the Producer doesn't do anything." So I tried to run it GMless so I could play a Protagonist, and it was problematic as hell.

So anyway, I've learned a lot since then, but I haven't (due to some frequency and regularity of play issues) actually played that many Indie RPGs, and certainly not in a sustained manner. So I do fall down a lot on a lot of stuff, including "putting pressure on the PCs moment by moment."

Looking back I see that lack in both my TSoY and HQ games at the con (the Heroquest session I'll write up in due time; it went pretty well, in fact, but then I didn't actually get a mixed group of Lunars and Heortlings). I had an OK conflict web for the TSoY game, but I didn't really do much with it, except "this group is attacking that group!" If I had done exactly what you describe, it could have been a much stronger  game.

No player can "create her own story."  I'm being very blunt and literal about this, just stating a fact.  So I'm not trying to "catch" anyone here in a misstatement.  I'm just stating a fact.

[SNIP]

I want to clarify that the GM of these games never feeds anyone a story.  A story is the accumulated events, and if we're making them up as we go along, there's nothing to be gained by expecting any character is going to have one kind of story or another.  All the GM can do is keep putting pressure on the PC with fictional elements. If these fictional elements are call backs and heightening of ideas, NPCs, events and so from earlier in play, all the better.

So, when you wrote you "fed" Petrea a story I get a little jumpy.  Now, you might think you didn't mean it that way.

Well, I didn't mean it that way in fact. I meant to say "story elements" (still probably not the best choice of phrase), and the practice I was getting at was no more than giving a player a situation: "This thing is happening, right here, right now! What you do?"

In a word, Bangs.

Still, though. . .you make a good point about getting sloppy with our concepts and terminology. I got caught up in Gilbert's phrasing and repeated it, and as we both used and reinforced that phrase it distorted the concept we were talking about, and in my case at least caused a slide in my thinking about the concept as well. I used to refer to the games I played that way when talking to non-roleplayers, as in: "We play my friend Colleen's story one week, then switch and do my story the next week." it seemed useful shorthand at the time, and I hate the term "campaign." But in the end it really distorted my thinking about the fundamental act of RPGs and whose "story" it is.

So quite right, I shouldn't let myself fall into a habit like that.

So, when you wrote you "fed" Petrea a story I get a little jumpy.  Now, you might think you didn't mean it that way.  But let me point something out:

Petrea declared that her character was about Protecting the Zar.  And then, later on, when the Zar enter combat she makes a tactical decision to stand back and heal as needed.  And this disappointed you for some reason.  I don't know why.  What did she say she wanted her character to do?  Protect Zar.  What was she doing?  Protecting Zar. 

Now YOU as a player might have made a different choice.  But you weren't the Player.  She was. 

Moreover, I'm a little confused as to how the battle played out.  Were there other PCs involved, or just NPCs against NPCs.  I ask, because the way you spoke of it, it sounds like NPCs vs. NPCs, and yet -- you "wished" the battle had gotten bloodier.  To which I can only ask (if that was indeed the case), "Why didn't it get bloodier?"  I mean, it's your choice, right?

OK, I should clarify what was actually happening in the game at this point. I'm sorry you're having to jump at shadows on account of not having been there and relying on my incomplete description.

It wasn't a huge, massive battle with whole armies arrayed against one another. It was a small, struggling outpost in the jungle raided by a modest war-band of tribal fighters. SO while I never nailed down exact numbers, the forces were measured in terms of "a band of raiders," or "a handful of Zaru, or "a squad of soldiers."

I broke the action into chunks in terms of location around the camp, with separate contests all around as we jumped from location to location. Wind, Duval and Griskin were in the makeshift manor house on the southeast side contending with guards in there, Thag and the Chieftan battled in the center of the camp, and Long-Whiskers was in the northern quarter seeing to the Zaru's safety. WHen a motley force of Zaru rose up, they rushed to the center of camp where the Ammenites had the Chieftan surrounded, and a small part of the Ammenite force broke off to put them down. So for that engagement we were talking about total combatants that you could probably count on your fingers. A sningle Ratkin could definitely (especially TSoY) do some good.

You're damn right I didn't like the choice she made. Yes, it was hers to make. I still have the right to judge it, which is what this discussion is about. There's a fairly narrow set of parameters, I think, for when a choice of "I do nothing" will be satisfying to me. There were certainly a lot of options she could have gone for that didn't consist of "nothing." She didn't even boost the Zaru with "Zu."

It seems (though I can't speak for Petrea) that she wasn't impressed with the drastic immediacy and sheer crisis of the situation. This wasn't "a bunch of people are fighting, including these people fighting those people." This was "the pacifist slave laborers armed only with artisan tools are desperate enough to attack trained soldiers."

The reason I didn't just have people start dying was. . .well, I felt like I needed to roll for it. I had a Contest between the two NPC groups (Scrapping Untrained (0) vs. Spear-fighting Competent (1) plus bonus die for better weapons), which both groups failed. In hindsight (again with the hindsight!) I could and maybe should have just said what was happening and only brought in the dice when a player took action. I definitely could have introduced the strife I wanted that way, and I think that's an interpretation within the scope of the rules. Just like in Heroquest--which makes it ironic that later that day I reviewed Mike Holmes' HQ Heresies in preparation of the next day's game, too late to save TSoY. I just got stuck in that old habitual thinking, like the mechanics "model" the world or whatever, and if something of questionable outcome is happening, you "gotta roll for it."


If you describe the battle about to be lost and then offer up some prize that can save the day, my guess is she would have jumped at it.  If you say there's a wizard wiping them all out, and she's seeing the Zar fall, and if that wizard falls the Zar have a chance, there would have been a narrative focus that would have given her direction in her action.  Now she's got pressure -- can I get to that wizard before the Zar are killed.  And what will I do to make that happen.

Was there anything like that?  Or was it two armies fighting. Because if you had removed the plot shenanigans from The Lord of the Rings and dumped Frodo into a big battle between Gandalf and Morder -- sure Frodo would have participated in the War of the Ring... but he would have lasted two pages and it wouldn't have been much of a story.

Honestly the reason there was no One Ring or Holy Grail or whatever was. . .I didn't think to put it in, for no good reason. I was so focused on setting up the network of conflicting people 9good in itself), that I didn't think to have anything wondrous or powerful in the fiction. . .or anything pivotal or sought-after at all. I guess in trying to avoid the traditional "quest for the McGuffin!" trope I over-compensated. Even though there was plenty of awesome stuff lying around to pick up and run with. I came to the game really jazzed about the sheer cool of stuff like Zu words and Moon Metal. . .but without the faintest idea how to bring them interestingly into play. So that sie of things kinda fizzled. Blegh.

So there you go; I'm not sure if that clears up your puzzlement, but i know your posts have been enlightening for me. We probably don't need to harp much on these issues (I've already written about the problems and hangups of the game at a length that sort of distorts their magnitude in my memory), but I'll be interested to see what you make of my conclusions and discuss any directions that folks want to take from here.

peace,
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1159


« Reply #17 on: April 09, 2008, 12:38:54 AM »

Hi Joel,

I want to move on... I really do.  But it's stuck in my craw.  And now I'm being an obsessive ass.  But I can't help it....

The Player did not say she was doing nothing.  She said she was waiting to help the slaves if they got hurt. That is a choice.  She might have been passive in her body language, she might have spoken softly.  I don't know.  But I do know is that she made a choice for her character that was active.

The ability to see that as active and to go "Ah! I'm close!" is vital to spotting the cues and clues the player is giving.

Now that you're past the "rules mimic reality/roll dice to determine every effect" issue, you can have NPCs drop like flies in such circumstances.  My guess is (we'll never know) the PC would have taken the next small step of healing the slaves... and as the crisis grew she might have done more.

But the key would be to follow her choice instead of saying, "Can't she see how cool this is?" 

This kind of play requires a good deal of back and forth.  The Player tosses the ball to the GM, the GM tosses it back.  And you catch the toss you're given.

Not all tosses will be genius, and certainly not all tosses will be what anyone at the table expected. 

You might thing I'm trying to discuss parallel time streams that never happened, which isn't my point.

I'm layering on the words in an attempt to make you see there are opportunities in choices that we might not see yet as GMs, and part of our job, beat by beat, is to take that catch from the player and see where our next toss leads. 

The fact that you're saying she chose to do nothing makes no sense to me.  She said she wanted to heal the slaves if they suffered -- and they never went down!  I now understand why they didn't. 

But the important point I'm trying to make for future circumstances is that she tossed the ball to you, and you didn't toss it back.
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Lemonhead, The Shield
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1159


« Reply #18 on: April 09, 2008, 12:48:52 AM »

And here are some game prep threads you might enjoy:

This is the four thread Sorcerer Prep Ron did with some folks online to show how he sets up a game:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=753.0
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=770.0
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=828.0
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=876.0

And this is the prep I did for a Sorcerer & Sword convention game:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=24800.0

I bring them up because both preps show what kinds of details a GM can add (in terms of objects and situation) that give specific fictional elements that the Players can grab onto and focus on to help move forward in the fiction -- both in character creation and during the course of play.

CK
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Lemonhead, The Shield
Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #19 on: April 09, 2008, 04:25:16 PM »

And here are some game prep threads you might enjoy:

Thanks. I'd already hunted up the Art Deco threads and I'm on the third now. It's really inspiring, helpful reading. I'll read yours next.
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #20 on: April 09, 2008, 05:45:49 PM »

Chris,

The Player did not say she was doing nothing.  She said she was waiting to help the slaves if they got hurt. That is a choice.  She might have been passive in her body language, she might have spoken softly.  I don't know.  But I do know is that she made a choice for her character that was active.

Ok, fine, she wasn't doing nothing. She made a choice as a player that involved her character acting a certain way in the fiction. I believe I've already acknowledged that. It wasn't a choice I liked. "I wait until someone I supposedly care about is wounded and possibly killed before stepping in" seems an awful lot like "nothing" to me. . .but whatever. it's not an interesting choice to me in any case, at least in context of the particular game--both the social dynamic of the players and the narrative scope of the fiction. It wasn't "Ooh, you're just letting them get themselves massacred! Hardcore!" with any accompanying Thematic statements like "They got themselves into this mess, I'll be there to m\pick up the pieces." There was no buildup or tension to the decision that would have made it "pay off" in this regard. It just sorta "hit" the table with a dull thud and sat there.

Which is partly my fault, as I've acknowledged! If that was truly the choice she was gonna make, then people shoulda died over it. Then there can be remorse or protective vengeance or "see I told you so" or whatever. I've learned my lesson well on this score. If I'd done my job then the ball would be in Petrea's court to make something interesting of the choice and its consequences. Can you just take my word for it that the vibe I was getting offa this player (which of course you can't perceive directly) was not one of active engagement but one of passivity and opaque motivation? If I had to guess (and it IS nothing more than a guess) I'd say she was simply into some sort of character "portrait" for its own sakeadpoting the pose of this sweet, meek little Ratkin with no expectations that the character would be a dynamic force to influence the game's conflicts.

These posts have been immensely productive for me so far, but it's hitting a threshold now where we're just treading around and around this one issue that shouldn't even be that important set against the backdrop of the very real progress we're making in communication and I'm making in Nar GMing. I'm getting a sinking feeling regarding Petrea's reaction if she does happen to find her way to this thread. I'll give ya one more post for closing arguments if you want, but I'm done discussing this particular sub)topic.

The ability to see that as active and to go "Ah! I'm close!" is vital to spotting the cues and clues the player is giving.

Now this! This is a productive insight. This I'll take to the bank!

I think this statement in conjunction with the more concrete examples and principles in the thread gives me a good springboard for how to approach "the job."

Peace,
Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #21 on: April 09, 2008, 05:59:59 PM »

Oh, and Petrea, if you do read this, I apologize if this furious debate hurts or offends you. I wish we had been able to hammer out better communication at the table (this thread will lay bare a dozen ways I suck at that!). I hope you had a fun experience; I did despite what it looks like with the game's warts under the forum microscope.

peace,
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1159


« Reply #22 on: April 09, 2008, 07:11:03 PM »

Hi Joel,

I'm on the edge of being an ass.  Trust me, I know, and I hesitate to post the following.

But if you're able to write this:

Quote
Which is partly my fault, as I've acknowledged! If that was truly the choice she was gonna make, then people shoulda died over it. Then there can be remorse or protective vengeance or "see I told you so" or whatever.

Then whatever I was trying to do to communicate to you has failed.  And since I'm failing so badly, I'm certainly will willing to let the matter drop after this post.

How you can possibly say that people should have "died over" her choice to heal people should they become wounded boggles my mind. 

As a GM, here's a tact you could have taken: Someone is wounded (or many people are wounded) and she steps up to try to heal them.  At this point dice would be rolled.  Some people might die.  Some might not.  But this is where we'd be finding out if her efforts failed.

The notion that you would simply jump over even giving her a chance to heal anyone -- going straight to vengeance or remorse -- is, in my mind, perverse.  You are simply dicking over the Player for not stepping up to the situation you thought she should have.  You had a clear image in your head of what should have been happening.  In a previous post you wrote: "It seems (though I can't speak for Petrea) that she wasn't impressed with the drastic immediacy and sheer crisis of the situation. This wasn't "a bunch of people are fighting, including these people fighting those people." This was "the pacifist slave laborers armed only with artisan tools are desperate enough to attack trained soldiers."

Okay, that's all your excitement and all.  You you clearly had a clear vision of what was supposed to be happening.  But you know what? That's just not your call -- not when it comes to the PCs, and the Players controlling them.

She clearly wasn't getting the vibe. Maybe she just wanted to sit in her head.  Maybe you didn't communicate in a way that sparked her.  Maybe you did -- and it still didn't spark her! 

You're talking about taking away the chance for her to do with her character what she said she wanted to do (heal) because you're pissed she's not excited about the circumstances the way you want her to be and not fitting into the picture you had already built in your head?  Um, no.  You're railroading under a different guise.  You're trying to shove her into a state of passion and excitement that she either didn't feel -- or didn't feel yet. 

You're saying you'd kill NPCs so that "Then there can be remorse or protective vengeance or 'see I told you so' or whatever..."  See?  You're doing it again. You're expecting her to respond a certain way to the Bang you're providing -- which you're not allowed to do.


I got a couple of more things to say:

Not everything is going to be a big Thematic Statement.  Even when you see the opportunity, that doesn't mean the Player is going to see it as such.  Just slow down.  Especially in the first session, which this essentially was, the Players are often feeling their characters out.  For you, it was time for big thematic statements... for her, who knows?  Maybe she was in her character, someone passive who hadn't yet made that big choice to take action...?

But we don't know what was going on in her head, so its a tough call. 

But this, not knowing what's going on in someone's head, is a big deal!  I remember taking note of this at a LARP years ago.  I was invited to tag along, but I didn't participate, so I just watched the events, like a guy at a 3D movie.  (It was pretty cool.)

Anyway, there was this woman there... an elderly woman, who barely spoke or said anything to anyone.  But there was this intensity to her -- in her eyes, and the way she observed things.  And for the life of me, for a while I couldn't figure out what was going on.  And then it hit me -- because I'd seen this in LARPS before but hadn't recognized it -- she was REALLY INVOLVED.  I mean, in her head, she was building layers of relationships and thoughts and what she thought of the other characters and so on.

Of course, she wasn't articulating any of it.  She wasn't giving it shape in what we call "The Shared Imaginary Space" around here.  But instead of blowing her off for not bringing all her stuff in to play, I just remember thinking, "Wow, there must be a lot going on there."


My mission after that revelation was to help people bring stuff into the SIS.  Bullying certainly wasn't going to help, since that might well be why such people shut down in the first place.  I decided to try the tactic of small engagements.  If the person seemed interested in such-and-such, I would offer such and such.  I couldn't expect them to come blazing out with Thematic Statements blazing.  I had to treat their choices (even their quiet choices -- even choices that might not look like choices) with respect.  I had to say, "Okay, so kids are important to your character.  Okay, here's a kid.  Okay, so now you've got a relationship with the kid. The kid comes to you with a tough question about life.  Okay, the kid is trusting you with something: her mom's a witch and she's coming for her."

You can see how, through a slow building of beats, the Player might be more willing to go out on a limb to assert herself into a dangerous situation than if a child came screaming into the PC's hut and shouted, "There's a witch! She's mom! Help!"

So folks just need to take it slower. Why?  Sometime to get comfortable with the fiction.  Sometimes to get comfortable with the character.  Sometimes to get comfortable with the GM.  See, in this kind of game, they're going to need to know you won't dick them over with what they care about.  Many GMs do dick over Players with fictional elements they care about.  Let's say we twist that example above.  The Player creates a child as part of the Player's background.  We know there are GMs out there who are gonna crush that child within three sessions.  "Okay, she's dead! Now what are you going to do?"  I've read of this very situation happening on these very Internets.  A woman clearly invests her female PC in an NPC child -- and the GM, thinking he's providing an awesome Bang KILLS THE CHILD.  Hey, guess what?  The Player thinks her fun's being taken away from her.  You why?  'Cause it WAS. 

So some Players are going to need to time to realize, with one small example after another, that investing in fictional details -- and making them public -- isn't going to get her fucked over. (Like, I don't knows, saying I want to be medic during a battle, and the GM killing everyone off because I didn't take aggressive enough action right away....?  Hmmmmm???)


Your Player: She frustrated you.  I get it.  She was passive. I'm seeing clearly a certain slump of the spine and shoulders.  A certain lack of energy in the voice.  Her declarations always came after a pause of some kind. 

And all I'm saying is, hitting her with some sort of Thematic Bitch Slap is not going to encourage her to engage more.  Dude.  Slow down. 

In the example I offered in my last post, I said, "She says she wants to heal them if they get hurt, so let some of them get hurt so she can heal them."  And you jump the fence and have them dropping dead so she can feel remorse or vengeful or what the heck....

Hey.  Slow. Down.  Let her get a chance to heal a fallen slave.  Let her get to know that you're going honor her requests about what she wants to do.  Maybe she's decided her PC is scarred by battle and only wants to help others.  Maybe she's decided that she wants to see more of the system and how you run it before she runs into a fight.  I don't know.  Maybe she should have said something out loud -- but some people are bad on this stuff... And a lot of it is unspoken and how you handle yourself.  And she's a girl and it sounded like the rest were boys, and that's going to matter, too.


Finally, fiction.

I know you saw it as the big climax.  All I can say, some people might need more fictional foreplay, if you will.

If you look at stories -- well, movies at least, and plays, and most fairy tales -- you'll discover that every character wants something at the start of the story.  And an opportunity presents itself to get that thing.  But that as the character moves toward that thing, the obstacles become greater.  The character is tested in new ways, what what seemed maybe a relatively easy path to get what she wanted becomes more and more difficult.

Which is all to say, the Player said she wanted her PC to wait and heal the slave if they were wounded in battle.  Which is was in keeping with her desire to protect them.

And my thinking is... if she had been given the chance to heal a few of them, she would have been protecting them... But if the battle was still raging and that her healing wasn't enough she would have been in more forward motion than she was before, but not enough yet to get what she wanted?

Would she have taken the opportunity to become more engaged?  I don't know.  You don't know either.

I do know you and I are looking at the situation you've described like we're looking at an Escher print: you're seeing one thing, and I'm seeing another thing.  I'm seeing opportunities with this Player -- not matter how long the odds! -- and you're seeing a dead end that could only be resolved by pushing her into a whole new direction of your choosing.

I'll say it one more time: Slow down. I'll repeat:  Don't expect Players to make the Big Thematic Statement when you think it's time.  Toss down Bangs, but be open to any response.  Be open to the clues a Player offers about what she wants to do or is interested in, and feed that interest.  Don't even think of punishing or trying to force Players into certain avenues of Thematic Choice or Play.  Earn the trust of your Players -- especially early on -- by meeting them at the level of speed or investment they are willing to make; if the Player is coming in small and quiet (or even passive) come in small an intimate and tease something out slowly.

I get that I wasn't there and you saw her passivity in action. I get you might not buy what I've been saying.

But I've said my peace now, and am done. 

I want to thank you for the various exchanges we've been having around here, by the way.  It's really forced me to pay attention and sharpen my expectations for myself and what I'm trying to communicate.

CK


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Lemonhead, The Shield
dindenver
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« Reply #23 on: April 09, 2008, 08:04:20 PM »

Hi!
  I'm still getting the hang of "nar" games. And on separate occasions, I have been accused of being "passive" and/or "Clinching."
  There is more to it than that though. There are a ton of moving parts that go into the roleplaying. Its not just a matter of doing what your char would do. Why not? Because its a group activity, you don't wanna be the person who acts like a dick and then says, "I was playing in character..."
  So, what feeds into it for me:
1) System support for players directing the narrative
2) GM support for players directing the narrative
3) Buy in from the other players. Meaning if I want to introduce a new story element, am I going to be playing that story element alone? Cuz, that's no fun...
4) What other story elements are already in play. In other words, There are times where I would rather support another player's contribution, than try and introduce another moving part, you know?
5) Understanding of the Social Contract (Are we playing No one gets hurt or I will not leave you or?). What can I expect to get thrown at me, what can I expect to be accepted as reasonable response to conflict, etc?
6) What is the PvP action going to be like? Will we be doing intra-party conflict? Will we be fighting each other? Or is it more of a pro-party atmosphere or?
  See what I mean, I try and figure all this stuff as I go and sort of re-calculate it as the game progresses. So, sometimes I am slow to decide and sometimes I just want to join in someone else's reindeer games...
  Anyways, good luck guys, sounds like you know what you want, you just have to get there.
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #24 on: April 09, 2008, 11:29:48 PM »

Chris:

But if you're able to write this:

Quote
Which is partly my fault, as I've acknowledged! If that was truly the choice she was gonna make, then people shoulda died over it. Then there can be remorse or protective vengeance or "see I told you so" or whatever.

Then whatever I was trying to do to communicate to you has failed.  And since I'm failing so badly, I'm certainly will willing to let the matter drop after this post.

How you can possibly say that people should have "died over" her choice to heal people should they become wounded boggles my mind.

Oh, God. I really need to address this. I know I declared myself done, but I've just got to.

You seem to have misinterpreted me. I never meant that there would be no wounded slaves. . .I just said there would be some dead ones as well.

I stand by that call. If I were to call the results of the Zaru/Ammenite clash without player intervention, my gut decision is that the Zaru would be routed with one or two fatalities and several wounded. That's the outcome that I believe satisfies both Player and GM desires and sensibilities. I'd be only too delighted to allow Petrea the opportunity to heal some slaves. I would probably have even had the guy to heal be the important NPC, the leader, so her healing contest would be fairly momentous. I'm just saying the decision to hang back and wait until after the fight to heal folks carries a risk of people getting killed before you can heal them. I believe that's my call.

But look at what you're doing. All of a sudden there's some magic rule that says when a player declares they don't want people to die, then nobody can die in that scene without a roll. Talk about restricting choice--now there's only one possible option for the GM on the table: player wants to heal wounded, therefore have some people wounded but none killed. I don't buy it.

My "Then there can be remorse or protective vengeance or 'see I told you so' or whatever..." is nothing more than my off the cuff list of some possible (and different!) ways to respond to some Zaru dying in that situation. None of that is "the one way I felt the story should go" or anything. No railroad, just a hypothetical list to say "look! there's still player choice if some Zaru got killed!" Dead Zaru just become another Bang following from the player's reaction to the previous Bang. That's the way this is supposed to work, right?

Also: this isn't D&D. We're not talking about some abstract loss of hitpoints, followed by an application of Cure Moderate wounds. We're talking about a deadly situation where sharp pointy things are getting stuck in people and hesitating or waiting could mean the difference between life and death. I don't think that's punishing or herding. That's my natural response to her response to my. . .and so on. Back and forth. Lobbing pitches. That's exactly what we did (excepting my tripping up on rolling it rather than deciding for myself). Nothing says I have to like her contribution.

Point taken about pacing, though. A gradual buildup is helpful and preferable. My problem is, this was a con game, so this session is it. So naturally I was wanting things to pop. If there's anything I still want out of this thread, it's some solid grounding in the art of facilitating a con experience with this kind of game that delivers the necessary oomph for this style of play. I suspect the rest of your HQ account will be helpful here.

I've never run a con game before. Hell, I've never been to a con before. This was a new and terrifying challenge which I think I did OK at considering, but with tons of room for improvement. The con game presents unique challenges for consensus building as well as pacing and climax, which I hope to continue to learn and improve on. But I'll be damned if I'll cop to charges like "perverse" or "dicking over" or "railroading" simply because I made (hypothetically! in coulda-shoulda-woulda-land!) a call about the fictional results of fictional action that I believe is completely justified and compatible with Nar aims in general and your principles in particular.

I'm exhausted. But I won't declare anything over (since I obviously can't stick to it). I'll leave it up to you-honestly though I'm half dreading it I'm dying to hear what you have to say.

Peace,
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1159


« Reply #25 on: April 10, 2008, 05:20:20 AM »

Hi Joel,

I wasn't misrepresenting you.  I read what you wrote and treated it as the statement you meant.  You've now clarified what you meant by expanding the possibilities.

This isn't meant as a "Gotcha!"  You said, people would die, there would be remorse and vengeance.  Which close off, to my eyes when I read your words, "People would be saved, there would be fear, and then triumph."

Now I know you didn't mean your words as the path you were you going to throw at the player, but one of a series of a possible choice you might make or expect.  You might ask, "How could you not know?"  I can only say, "Dude! I read you post!  That's what the words said."

It's all good.

CK
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Joel P. Shempert
Member

Posts: 484


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« Reply #26 on: April 10, 2008, 05:35:05 AM »

Well, it's not like. . .
This is a big issue.  And complicated.  And almost impossible to do over the internet.
. . .we didn't know what we were getting into. :P Guess I'm glad that's over with. ANd thanks, truly, for all the (hard-won) insight.

Peace
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1159


« Reply #27 on: April 10, 2008, 06:04:41 AM »

As far as insights go, it's not like I have busted a hump working on this stuff myself over the that last few years!

Best,

CK
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Joel P. Shempert
Member

Posts: 484


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« Reply #28 on: April 10, 2008, 08:26:31 PM »

Yeah, like I said, seeing us as being on different points of the same journey has been helpful and encouraging to me.

. . .

Huh, are we totally kin the phase where the bitter rivals have battled it out ruthlessly, and are now laughing about it and drinking beers and slapping each other on the back?

Peace,
-Joel

PS. If you're interested, I'd like to hear more about how you'd handle that pacing and patience stuff you were talking about in a one-shot like a con situation.
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1159


« Reply #29 on: April 10, 2008, 10:57:44 PM »

Hi Joel,

Just so you know, I never saw us as battling. 

I'll post details the next time the situation comes up and its clear in my head.

CK
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
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