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Author Topic: [IaWA] First try!  (Read 2669 times)
jasin
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« on: January 21, 2009, 10:42:54 AM »

Hi everyone, first post and first try at IaWA...

The players almost unanimously chose Blood & Sex. We got:

... A monastery and its associated shrines, each to its own god, tended by monks of uncouth habit...

... The celebration of local fertility or harvest rites...

... The graduation of an apprentice swordmaker to mastery, and its attendant celebration...

... A siren-ghoul, who entices the amorous into deadly peril...

We tried In a Wicked Age yesterday.

The characters were:

Jenna, the fertility priestess, secretly a siren-ghoul, seeking to drain the precious bodily fluids of those chosen for the ceremony.

Harold, the amorous victim and a poet, in love with Jenna.

Richard, the swordmaker and a swordsman, looking to smack some sense into his brother Harold.

Thomas, Jenna's minion and an alchemist, seeking to drain Jenna's precious ghoulish bodily fluids.

Lamur, a god of love from one of the monastery shrines, seeking to seduce Jenna.

Omid, another amorous victim, trying to be chosen over Harold (or anyone else). (NPC)

The system is weird. I've been reading a lot of Q&A with Vincent on lumpley forum, and I was trying to push for the rules as explained there, which are pretty weird for a crowed quite comfortable with traditional RPGs. We're still getting used to the weirdness, like being able to lose on dice but still accomplish whatever sparked the contest, or being able to fast-forward days between two actions in the same contest, but go from one contest to another in seconds.

Most of the elements from the Oracle slipped our mind. The monastery and the monks faded into background, to be represented exclusively by Lamur. The swordmaker's graduation and the celebration got folded into the fertility festival, which itself only served to framed Jenna's role as priestess. I also statted up some more NPCs (the master swordmaker, and another goddess from the monastery shrines), but with five players they ended up being superfluous. Omid was useful to stir things up, but ultimately quite forgettable.

We had to end the session without finishing the chapter, but there was a suitable cliff hanger: Lamur is in Jenna's chambers and they're each trying to seduce the other, Richard (let in by Thomas) came to kill Jenna, Thomas is scrambling for his alchemical apparatus to capitalize on the moment of the priestess's weakness, and Harold just climbed through the window and started reciting his sonnets at people.

So far, Harold seems to be emerging as the protagonist. There was a string of first-round absolute wins, and no-one else even got on the list.

It was fun, but was mostly independently of the system; the group is rather story oriented and enjoyed the Oracle and the characters in themselves. But I hope to play more, at least another chapter or two, because reading the forums convinced me that there is also a lean but sharp core of mechanical awesome in IaWA.
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: January 21, 2009, 11:39:39 AM »

Cool!

Anything I can help you with? Questions or anything?

-Vincent
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jasin
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Posts: 3


« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2009, 03:17:13 AM »

What is the optimum number of players? How many is to many, and how many is too few?

I had five, and it seemed like too many for beginners. Some times it was cool to have enough PCs to drive the action themselves, but if I had more/better NPC, I think I would've been better able to prod them on in case they lost momentum, which they did.
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Ouroboros
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Posts: 9


« Reply #3 on: March 25, 2009, 04:06:25 PM »

Not to revive a kinda older thread... but.

I recently played for the first time too! I ran it for a group of three, and we did Blood and Sex as well. I'd have to say everything went pretty well considering it was a pretty traditional RPG group, except that when we were coming up with characters, people wanted to create the world and the character histories a bit too much for my liking. This might not be exclusively in IAWA, but it always seems to me that developing details like that spontaneously IC instead of having it all ready to debate the details of before you even begin play is a bit more fun, creative, and generally enjoyable.

Then, there was the rules debate. I have to admit, I'm still a bit confused on how conflicts work as well. And, having played Dogs in the Vineyard before, I gotta say I thought I would understand the mechanics of this game a bit better. But I think the rules had me a bit confused, as to when you dictate who has the right to narrate a conflict, who does it, and what the dice determine is the outcome. I've read a bunch of examples, but, I think I just might need it in different, simpler terms. Or maybe I just have to run it a few more times and see what happens.

The players didn't really enjoy the conflict resolution either, partially I think because I was a bit confused by it. They wanted to just narrate what happened in general without rolling at all (we only rolled 2 conflicts! and neither were physical!). Maybe because they didn't want to get into conflicts with each other as PC's, or maybe because they didn't want the dice telling them what to do and were so psyched about the shared storytelling mechanic and what that allowed them to do, I'm not sure.

I'd like to hear any input on what jasin has asked, because I had similar things happen that he did, pretty much.

Thanks!
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Ouroboros
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« Reply #4 on: March 25, 2009, 04:12:27 PM »

I forgot to mention the most important part. Everyone had a blast! We may not have understood how everything worked, but we made the best out of it, played some awesomely entertaining characters, and really loved it. I'm excited to run it again, but, I'm hoping for some rules clarification before we do it again. I can post more detail as needed.
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lumpley
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« Reply #5 on: March 26, 2009, 12:10:39 PM »

Well, you know when to roll dice, right? When one character goes to do something, and another character acts to stop her?

If that happened only twice in your game, rolling only twice was the right thing.

-Vincent
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Ouroboros
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2009, 11:39:14 AM »

Vincent,

Good point. I guess players just weren't really getting into conflicts. Which made me feel like I wasn't doing my job. Perhaps the NPC's should've pushed a bit harder to make up for the lack of conflicts the PC's were having with each other.

I've been talking a whole bunch about it with my husband, and something else has come up in discussion. I guess I ask about the conflicts because it seems like in order to "advance" in the game (have your character go on the owe list) you have to go up against people who have higher dice than you and actually get into a great deal of dice rolling conflicts. That's kinda like a built in mechanic to get you to do stuff, drive conflict and be a sword and sorcery hero (my guess). I dig that. But, conflict only happens really when there's a "direct opposition" happening. Does that mean most conflict is supposed to be physical? ie: a chase scene, a theft off someones person, a sword fight, a brawl... because ultimately the fallout you're taking from "losing" the conflict will be described as "exhausted or injured". If you have a conflict where its a "direct opposition" between two characters and isn't physical, do you just go with that "exhausted injured" metaphor even if it doesn't fit, or is that a spot where negotiation of the outcome HAS to occur? In situations like this (or even a fight) why even begin rolling the dice if the only outcome of rolling the dice is the ability to negotiate with the stick of "agree with my desired outcome or take damage" when the possibility of negotiating the consequences of the conflict already exists at the table and people are willing to compromise the outcome of the conflict? The bigger question surrounding this question is: do sword and sorcery heroes (or re-occurring protagonists) have to get into a bunch of fights to define them as such?

Something else: you get that extra d6 just for going up against someone with higher dice than you, and simultaneously gain the possibility for another one by going on the owe list, ya? That was a little confusing.

Mostly, I think I'm going to have to drive conflicts a little more as ST, so we can actually roll some dice. Otherwise, the system just seemed secondary to us just naturally negotiating how the story was being told and having conflicts resolve that way. But, if we just talk the whole game and don't roll any dice, no-one gets put on the owe list, no-ones characters can progress into the next story, and no-one gets the potential for extra dice. Then again, I guess if we're not rolling at all, it could become more diceless and fluid. But... we like rolling dice. :)

Thanks for anyone who could offer insight to these rules, and Vincent for being on top of things. I appreciate it! On a side note, we're starting a Star Trek game this weekend using Dogs in the Vineyard rules (my friend's running it, but I've done Firefly in the Verse in the past with much success), so that should be awesome... two of Vincent's games running bi-weekly, I hope our brains don't explode with awesome!
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lumpley
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« Reply #7 on: March 29, 2009, 08:34:14 AM »

The bigger question surrounding this question is: do sword and sorcery heroes (or re-occurring protagonists) have to get into a bunch of fights to define them as such?

That's exactly how I figure it, yep.

Not necessarily battles, but they should definitely be doing things that other people will try to physically stop, and trying to physically stop other people from doing what they're doing. Particularly, other more powerful people.

Quote
Perhaps the NPC's should've pushed a bit harder to make up for the lack of conflicts the PC's were having with each other.

Probably so. You should always be prepared to make serious villains of your NPCs.

Quote
Something else: you get that extra d6 just for going up against someone with higher dice than you, and simultaneously gain the possibility for another one by going on the owe list, ya? That was a little confusing.

Nope. You don't get an extra d6 for going up against bigger dice. Here are the rules:

1. When you go up against someone with bigger dice, AND you don't get shut out in round 1, you go onto the owe list.

2. You can scratch one of your characters' names off the owe list for a bonus d6 (a d6 with pips, to add).

3. No matter whether you're rolling against bigger dice or smaller, if you win in round 1, but not by double, you get a bonus d6 (with pips, to add) in round 2. Same if you win in round 2, you get a bonus d6 in round 3.

Thanks for playing my game and writing about it, by the way. I'm glad you're having a good time.
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Ouroboros
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« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2009, 06:37:16 AM »

Cool. That explanation of the D6 rules makes much more sense to me now. So does the clarification behind your intentions of what makes a sword and sorcery hero, makes me feel less like I'm guessing about how to interpret the game, and more that I have a solid hold on the themes and direction. I think it was also just cathartic for me to write all that out on this forum as I was working it out in my head. I think by asking the questions, I kinda answered a lot on my own.

I'm excited to see what will happen in our next game. The only person still on the owe list is an "evil" wizard, a demon worshiper in any case. This game will have more players too, the last one had 3, this week it'll be more like 4-5.

I've been wanting to play IAWA for awhile, I'm glad I'm finally getting to test out some of the mechanics! I'll keep ya posted.
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lumpley
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« Reply #9 on: March 30, 2009, 07:42:49 AM »

Cool! I'm always happy to answer more questions if any come up.

-Vincent
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Ouroboros
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Posts: 9


« Reply #10 on: April 09, 2009, 03:20:25 PM »

Session 2: A Success! Although lots of rules questions were brought up, we all poured over them trying to find solutions, and did to most but a few, which I will ask after this brief and entertaining summary of the session.

Oracle: The God Kings of War

Elements:
  • A great army's marching orders, passwords, and signals and the unfortunate aide who lost them.
  • A captured warhorse with a taste for human meat.
  • A speaker for the ancestors carrying secrets and warnings.
  • A bitter and unseasonable cold, caused by warring elements.

Characters we developed:
  • Unfortunate Aide = Eishal the Djinn, a messenger of the Air Elemental
  • A Ruthless Barbarian = Artax of Gudeth, the owner of the flesh eating horse
  • Speaker for the Ancestors = Ador Palasar, a Satrap speaking for the local Kings
  • One of the Warring Elementals = Water Elemental = Sealord Marianus Magnus, Dark Prince of the Unfathomable Gulfs
  • The other Warring Elemental (an NPC) = Air Elemental = General Erishti of the Glorious Golden Zephyr

NPCs I Added:

  • Syrax the sacred horse, a servant of fire, who has a taste for human flesh
  • The Undead Ancestors

What Happened:


Everyone had a sufficient tangle of Best Interests so off we went! All the players played their characters to the hilt, and had fabulous interactions. It was decided that we were at a peace summit, that was literally on the summit of this cold mountaintop in a war-torn palace of the Earth Elemental. Earth and fire no longer existed in this realm, and Water and Air had been duking it out causing the freezing snowy weather. They were here for peace, but (surprise!) not REALLY! The Glorious Golden Zephyr was planning to attack Sealord Marianus Magnus, and that's the plans that were "lost" by her "faithful" Djinn Eishal. Turns out, when the Djinn stole the Barbarian Artax's flesh eating horse, the Barbarian somehow ended up with the plans. After much to do and hilarious encounters between the Djinn and the Barbarian, the plans were recovered and instead of returning to the Glorious Golden Zephyr, they were revealed to the Sealord because the Djinn wished the fighting between them to stop. After all, they were breaking many ancient accords that existed amongst the Elements by continuing to fight.

So amongst these Elementals fighting for control of this once fruitful land are the two humans in the mix, Artax the Barbarian and Ador Palasar the Speaker for the Ancestors. The Ancestors know the truth behind all this subterfuge and lies, and are constantly telling Ador what is truth. He works both sides, just wanting the war to come to an end so his people can have their normal weather back. The Barbarian gets hired for assassinations, and more hilarity ensues, and he inflicts a frightening blow with his mighty thews upon the Golden Zephyr. He recovers his horse (in captivity by the Golden Zephyr) and the horse wants him to kill the Djinn for ever imprisoning him. And the tangled web of secrecy and vendettas escalates...

...until the Summit is supposed to begin! All gather, and talk of peace seems to be everywhere until The Zephyr's true intentions comes to light and she attempts her attack on the Sealord with no success... her plans were revealed! He attempts to shame her on account of her breaking ancient accords, but to no avail, she unleashes her anger upon him launching into attack! Ador calls upon his ancestors to attack the Sealord as well since he seems to have attempted an assassination on the Zephyr and doesn't truly wish peace! The Djinn and the Barbarian, finding themselves in the same room, attack each other as well! What an action packed peace summit.

But in the end, the Sealord subdued both the Zephyr and Ador with both his reason and the great tides he commands, and the Barbarian crushes the Djinn under the table, where he craftily hides (being made of air, he wasn't -actually- squished) until he has his chance to escape. A kind of peace is achieved... for now, and all leave more unsettled than they were before. Except for the Barbarian, whose horse's saddlebags are now filled with rubies and gems from the underwater palaces of the Sealord. He leaves rich, and his horse complains of hunger, and that they should certainly find some human flesh soon.


Overview and Mechanics Questions:

So, we worked out how the dice worked except one pattern we noticed emerging. Whoever wins the first round in a conflict tends to win the conflict, because having that extra d6 advantage just pretty much beats anything the other person can do. If this is the case:

1. Why continue rolling. You already know who won.
2. How can fights remain dramatic if you know who's won so quickly.
3. Maybe we were doin it wrong? But I followed Vincent's advice from his last post on the d6 advantage die rule, and that's how we did it.
4. Maybe not enough people are on the Owe List yet to cross off their names and call upon d6's of their own?

This was a pretty enjoyable session. I'm feeling more confident in creating fun conflicts for the players to tackle, and in framing scenes and governing over where the flow of the game is going from one scene to the next, even regarding themes that I see emerging, potential action that could occur, and kind of just overall managing the game kinda like you would direct a movie. I'm diggin it. And everyone seemed pretty jazzed, there were lots of points where I would put two people together, or three, and they would just start goin at their Best Interests and I would just sit back and watch and take notes as to where to direct them next. I definitely think this is the biggest strength of the game. Good fun! Next session in a few weeks.

[/list]
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Noclue
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Posts: 351


« Reply #11 on: April 10, 2009, 05:33:50 PM »

Session 2: A Success! Although lots of rules questions were brought up, we all poured over them trying to find solutions, and did to most but a few, which I will ask after this brief and entertaining summary of the session.
Cool!

Quote
So, we worked out how the dice worked except one pattern we noticed emerging. Whoever wins the first round in a conflict tends to win the conflict, because having that extra d6 advantage just pretty much beats anything the other person can do.


That doesn't make sense to me. I've seen tons of conflicts where the advantage switches from one person to the other, or the person with the extra d6 loses. Its almost as if that extra d6 suckers you into over-reaching and then getting the big smack down.
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James R.
Ouroboros
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Posts: 9


« Reply #12 on: April 11, 2009, 08:38:07 AM »


Quote
So, we worked out how the dice worked except one pattern we noticed emerging. Whoever wins the first round in a conflict tends to win the conflict, because having that extra d6 advantage just pretty much beats anything the other person can do.


That doesn't make sense to me. I've seen tons of conflicts where the advantage switches from one person to the other, or the person with the extra d6 loses. Its almost as if that extra d6 suckers you into over-reaching and then getting the big smack down.

Yea... I dunno, in every conflict we had, if one person didn't win after the first roll outright (beating them by double) then the person who gained the advantage die in the first round won the entire conflict even after two subsequent rounds of rolling. Its good to hear you're having a different experience, maybe when we have some more conflicts we'll see that change happen as well. So far that's how its been. Are we jumping to conclusions? Maybe. I'd like to think on our part its more of an analysis of what happened to make sure we're "doin it right."

Thanks for the input though! Does it sound like we're doin it right? Do you experience more success when people bring in additional d6's to challenge that one that's gained in the first round of a conflict? Any other strategies you find fun to employ in that dice rolling stage of the game?
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Noclue
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« Reply #13 on: April 11, 2009, 04:30:15 PM »

I'd say you probably just got some weird rolls that session. An extra d6 is nice, but its far from a sure thing.
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James R.
lumpley
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« Reply #14 on: April 13, 2009, 12:03:26 PM »

My experience matches James': it's good to have that d6 with pips, but it's sure not a guarantee.

If you weren't doing something weird, like accumulating and adding advantage dice or something, then you probably just had a run of luck. Happens!

-Vincent
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