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Author Topic: Establishing Premise in Serenity RPG  (Read 9710 times)
JB
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Posts: 29


« Reply #15 on: February 13, 2009, 12:16:46 PM »

About Loyalty as a premise: Yeah, it's a big theme on the show.  Depending on where you want to go during play, you may not want to make it a primary theme in your game.

Lemme toss out the biggest difference between 'Premise' in a game and 'Premise' in something like a novel or a script. 

* In a novel, the theme is 'asked and answered' by the author.  As a reader or viewer,  it's all there already, just waiting for you to uncover it.  And as the author, you can answer the question first and then very carefully construct and assemble the pieces  in order to 'state your case'.

* In a game, you're starting by asking the question and then answering it thru play.  In that respect, it's similar to what the author does, but without anywhere near the level of control over the story that an author has.  And since you don't have total control over everything in the story, you don't always know just what's gonna happen next or what side of the argument the final tally is going to be on, which is pretty similar to the role of the reader or viewer.

Let me tie this into the Loyalty thing: You watch Firefly and the Loyalty question comes up a lot. 

Let's state a Premise of, "Which is more important, being loyal or getting the gold?" (I'm over simplifying - most good premises are going to be a bit broader or deeper, like the ones Vincent poses above.  This lets you approach the question from more angles, and thus build a more convincing answer.  But let's keep this simple so the example doesn't become a novel itself.)

As observed in the show, the characters most often come down on the 'pro-loyalty' side of the issue.  By the end of the episode you're left with a pretty compelling 'argument' for choosing to be loyal when the question comes up.  I could state this Theme in a number of ways, but lets go with, "Loyalty is more valuable than money." 

Cool. By taking those characters and putting them in those situations, having them take the actions they do and presenting the consequences of those actions, Joss Wedon or whoever makes a case for 'Loyalty'.  Notice that you can do this by making positive or negative examples of characters - if Jayne chooses 'Take the money and to hell with being Loyal' and then dies in a hail of gunfire, it's making a pretty strong argument for loyalty.

But here's the rub: If you're going to play a Story Now game and make the story about loyalty, the game has to be open to the other side of the argument.  What about the movie where everyone's trying to screw everyone else for some prize, and the most ruthless guy wins? It's still about loyalty, still asking, "Which is more important, being loyal or getting the gold?" but the final tally comes down on the side of, "Gold is more valuable than being loyal." (Again, I'm simplifying for the sake of example. That kind of film is going to have  Premise/Theme of something like, "There is no true loyalty when this kind of money is involved, so go for the damn gold!")

So finally, we get where I'm going with all of this: 

Joss Wedon can decide to make his show about loyalty and ensure that the show comes out as an argument for loyalty by showing that loyalty is consistently the best choice. 

If YOU make your game about Loyalty, you may end up with an argument for or against loyalty - Characters could be loyal and victorious, or disloyal and defeated, or loyal and defeated, or disloyal and victorious - and noone knows at the beginning how it's going turn out in the end. 

That's cool, and that's why I would play that game.  (Mountain Witch, anyone?) But I'm not going to make 'Loyalty' a Premise of play if I don't want to open the doors to those options.  You can set it up so 'loyalty' isn't really an issue to be addressed thru play, and focus on other things instead.

Okie, this is getting long and I still haven't gotten around to deconstructing the Serenity RPG.  I'm still willing to do that, but if the option is there to play Dogs In The Vineyard, or even just read the game, I would say do that first.  That'll give you more traction for getting a grip on this 'Narrative/Story Now' thing than revamping Serenity, IMO - The analogy that occurs to me is this: If you want to know what it's like to ride a race bike, just take Vincent's excellent machine out for a spin. Then we'll worry about hotrodding a Serenity 650 for the track.

Cheers,
J

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mcv
Member

Posts: 34

Martijn Vos


« Reply #16 on: February 13, 2009, 03:46:57 PM »

Okie, this is getting long and I still haven't gotten around to deconstructing the Serenity RPG.  I'm still willing to do that, but if the option is there to play Dogs In The Vineyard, or even just read the game, I would say do that first.  That'll give you more traction for getting a grip on this 'Narrative/Story Now' thing than revamping Serenity, IMO - The analogy that occurs to me is this: If you want to know what it's like to ride a race bike, just take Vincent's excellent machine out for a spin. Then we'll worry about hotrodding a Serenity 650 for the track.

That was my plan. I'm seeing the group tomorrow (for a birthday instead of a game this time), and I'll insist that the guy who brough up narrativism GMs a game of DitV or something similar.
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Martijn Vos - gamer, coder, soon-to-be dad
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #17 on: February 13, 2009, 04:47:01 PM »

I think it's important to recognize that the game won't make play Narrativist unless the players do, and we're always cautioning people not to put their hopes into games or expect games to change their play groups just by whipping out a game. So I'm on-board with the suggestion of "play some Narrativist RPGs" to get your feet wet and hopefully see how they work (or might work in the right environment), but I'm also wary of the suggestion as well because it isn't going to be a magic bullet.

So, yes, do it. It's a good step towards understanding! But don't put a whole bunch of expectations into play, just have fun.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1159


« Reply #18 on: February 14, 2009, 01:13:19 AM »

This has been an awesome thread.

I want to expand on some of the points Marshall brought up and tie them back specifically to Firefly.

Marshall wrote, "right down to having rules for the Black acting as a character," in reference to having the thematic Issues personified by characters within an RPG game.

It's important to note that that Firefly, and the movie Serenity, do this already. 

The Reavers.  The Alliance scientists who experimented on the population of Miranda.  The damage that was done to River (making her almost another person when her "possession" clicked on.)

It is not possible to overstate the importance of this.

Many people, when they discuss Firefly in RPG terms, always discuss the crew, the ship, the bits.  But they seem to fail to notice that the arc of the first and only season was built around River and the experiments of the Alliance.  (Not in this thread, but in general.)

The original, two hour pilot lays all this out clearly.  For the first hour we're introduced to the characters, we have terrific Joss Whedon banter and so forth.  But at the mid-point of the pilot, River -- naked, vulnerable and terrified -- crawls out of the freeze unit.  The show changes at this point -- you simply can't have a girl that exposed and freaked out without changing the rules.  The rules are changed because something is wrong

No matter all the other moral complications, River, the Alliance experiments, and the Reavers are the other side of the moral coin, dramatized and personified.  There is no show without this.

(I'll add quickly that Whedon conceived of the show as a seven year arc.  Many of the plot elements of Serenity are from what would have been the second season.  The original two hour pilot, which I just watched again tonight and is amazing television, was deemed too moody by the FOX executives, who demanded a happier captain and bigger than life characters.  In short, the tv series was not the tv series that Whedon actually envisioned.  To get that, watch the original two hour pilot, and then watch Serenity.)

So, Martjin, as you think about your Firefly game, keep in mind that the show isn't just a crew running around doing space hijinks.  To make it a Firefly story, you'll have to find that way of making the Blackness literal -- personified by characters and their actions. 

Moreover, there will need to be something wrong -- a transgression that anchors the show morally but still creates ambiguity.  Remember, no one lives with more freedom in the Firefly universe than the Reavers.  They live by no rules and break every taboo of human culture.  They are the embodiment of The Black... and every character in the show has to place themselves on the spectrum of freedom to better or worse effect.

Without the GM manifesting these moral issues with transgressive actions and characters for the PCs to interact with, you don't have Firefly, you have Guys Running Around Making Money in Space.  Which might be fun.  But it will gut the attempt to grab after what made the show actually work.
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
mcv
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Martijn Vos


« Reply #19 on: February 14, 2009, 01:22:12 PM »

This has been an awesome thread.

Yours in an awesome response. You make a really good point that always has a tendency to go really wrong in my games.

Quote
Moreover, there will need to be something wrong -- a transgression that anchors the show morally but still creates ambiguity.  Remember, no one lives with more freedom in the Firefly universe than the Reavers.  They live by no rules and break every taboo of human culture.  They are the embodiment of The Black... and every character in the show has to place themselves on the spectrum of freedom to better or worse effect.

Without the GM manifesting these moral issues with transgressive actions and characters for the PCs to interact with, you don't have Firefly, you have Guys Running Around Making Money in Space.  Which might be fun.  But it will gut the attempt to grab after what made the show actually work.

Yeah, that's exactly what I want to prevent. I mean, I do want them to run around and try to make money, but that should be a backdrop, and not the central focus of the game. Another reason why I'd like to abstract the money away completely, although that will certainly lessen the effect of finances as motivator in conflicts. In other words: I'm not really sure what to do with that yet.

But yeah, something needs to be terribly wrong, and that needs to point towards some terrible secret. But it's hard to find something suitable. I'd rather not use a River-clone, because I don't want this game to be a direct copy of Firefly. I want the players to make their own decisions, not copy the TV show. But on the other hand, messing with people is a lot more wrong than messing with stuff.

In my GURPS Traveller game I had a few starting points for a big conspiracy between nobles. I had no idea yet what the conspiracy was, but the players had found a MacGuffin: a big aquarium psionic shrimp-like creatures that could form a hive-mind to drive anyone mad that wants to kill them. They're extremely rare creatures, and somebody wants it back real bad. But it's not wrong the way messing with River's head is. But what?
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Martijn Vos - gamer, coder, soon-to-be dad
FredGarber
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Posts: 95


« Reply #20 on: February 15, 2009, 11:40:58 AM »

One of the ways I brought Color to my Serenity game was that I used the fact that Serenity's 'Verse grew out of Joss reading a book on the Post-Civil War era Southern US.
So I took real "wild west" things, and repainted them in Serenity colors.  There can be plenty of bad situations where the 'city slickers' (Alliance) didn't deal with the Frontiersmen (Browncoats) well. 

You could steal from Blazing Saddles/HHGTG, and have Blue Sun build a "commercial shipping route" right through a series of solar systems/planets, and so they are trying to convince everyone that these planets need to be depopulated, all the while they are buying up the land cheap and building rest stops with gas stations and roadside entertainment and raking in all the profits that ordinary entrepeneurs might have gotten, just by living on the right planet at the right time.

Stealing Land from People is Wrong, and it also can have echoes to the current economic Crisises (sp?) today, because these settlers are losing their homes to a big business, concerned only with profits and not sustainable economic activity.

-Fred
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mcv
Member

Posts: 34

Martijn Vos


« Reply #21 on: February 15, 2009, 01:10:40 PM »

In a SF setting, I don't see land being very relevant for shipping routes. What is interesting, however, is resources. Perhaps a crook or small corporation discovers valuable resources on some frontier moon, chases/scares the owners off, builds their own commercial infrastructure there, and then informs a bigger corp that's better able to exploit the find. Now it's the crook or small corp that gets to profit from the big corp's operation, when it should have been the original population.

Makes for an interesting adventure (or a couple of them even), but I don't see it as a Big Wrong to uncover during a prolonged campaign.

(Wait, isn't that Once Upon A Time In The West?)
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Martijn Vos - gamer, coder, soon-to-be dad
Callan S.
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« Reply #22 on: February 15, 2009, 10:55:21 PM »

I'd say everyone in the firefly universe lives with as much freedom as the reavers. As I understand reavers, it's not that they have freedom, it's what they do with it.

What all characters do with it is the question. What's interesting is that even if someone devotes themselves to some philosophy of only doing this or that, they still have that freedom regardless of how much they devote themselves to it. That's why play can't get stagnant - it doesn't matter if a character becomes a big peace hippy - he still has the freedom to become a mass murderer. Will he?

As opposed, I think (I'm not sure) to simulationist play. Where if your guys a big peace hippy, he stays that way and that's the fun of play, that things stay the same way and show an integrity that almost makes them tangible.
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Marshall Burns
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American Wizard


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« Reply #23 on: February 17, 2009, 03:31:51 PM »

Marshall wrote, "right down to having rules for the Black acting as a character," in reference to having the thematic Issues personified by characters within an RPG game.

It's important to note that that Firefly, and the movie Serenity, do this already. 

The Reavers.  The Alliance scientists who experimented on the population of Miranda.  The damage that was done to River (making her almost another person when her "possession" clicked on.)

It is not possible to overstate the importance of this.

Yes! That's precisely what I was getting at. And the examples go further. Everyone in that show has been touched by the Black, and it has left their mark on them somehow. River's is the most pronounced (and I love the fact that her power -- effectively created by the Black -- is what enabled them to defeat the Black in the form of the Reavers), but everyone's got it to some degree.

Take Mal, for instance. The Black got to him when the Browncoats lost the war, and it ripped a big chunk out of him. We never see the bottom of the hole that this left; we see only glimpses of it, in "War Stories" and "Out of Gas" and the last act of Serenity. But the hole is obvious:
"In the time of war, we woulda never left a man behind."
"Yeah, well maybe that's why we lost."

Back then, he cared about people and things. A lot of people and things. Now, he just cares about "me and mine." That is, until the final act of Serenity, when he decides to make a stand for all the dead of Miranda.


So, back to Serenity RPG. I had read it before, but I couldn't remember all of it, so I bought it yesterday to give it another read over.

Now, it ain't a bad system. It's pretty much functional, although some of the GM advice is stupid. But it would be best for Simulationist play. The main reason for this is the way that traits and Plot Points work, and work with each other. Everything else in there can actually be fine and dandy for Narrativist roleplaying, as long as you're clever enough to make it a source of conflict and escalation.

As written, Plot Points are a positive reinforcement tool, not an authoring tool.  They're in the same family as Fate Chips in Spirt of the Century, Thematic Batteries in Full Light, Full Steam, and TILT! in Super Action Now! (yeah, I referenced my own game, whatcha gonna do about it?). While all of these provide some increase in power over the SIS, and that power could be used to author (by which I mean "drive plot through player agency"), that's not what they're built for. They're all about reinforcing the Dream, maintaining a shared understanding of it, so that everyone can Get It Right.

What you need is something that provides authoring tools: stuff that helps players address Premise by calling attention to the issues and providing "handles" to make conflict easier to establish, complicate, and escalate for maximally engaging stories. Some examples are Keys in The Shadow of Yesterday, Spiritual Attributes in The Riddle of Steel, Humanity and Lore in Sorcerer, and the Psyche and Push mechanics in The Rustbelt (yeah, I referenced my own game again, whatcha gonna do about it?). As a matter of fact, any of these could be made to work for a Firefly-themed Narrativist roleplaying experience. But none of them would be easy to "drop in" to Serenity RPG. And, while you can get along without something like this, it's that much easier when you have it.
(Mathijs, for any of these mechanics that you're not familiar with, just ask. If I can't explain 'em, then there will be someone else who can)

-Marshall
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Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1159


« Reply #24 on: February 17, 2009, 04:19:08 PM »

Back then, he cared about people and things. A lot of people and things. Now, he just cares about "me and mine." That is, until the final act of Serenity, when he decides to make a stand for all the dead of Miranda.
Yes. But...

Just a quick stretching of the example.... As in any good Story Now driven game, Mal is constantly struggling to define what is "me and mine."

In the original pilot, he's ready to surrender Simon and River if it will spare him the wrath of the Alliance Feds.  But later, he takes Simon on board as part of the crew.

In "The Train Job" he robs the medical supplies for a third party... and then returns them to the town, stating quite clearly, "I didn't have a choice," in the matter. 

So, he's got a code where he's trying not to get burned again... and we see him struggling with this.  The last act of Serenity is vital because it's the point where he gives up all pretense of sticking with me and mine.  Going to Miranda means putting "me and mine" in jeopardy -- and Mal knows this.  (And he's proven right.) 

The thing about Story Now game is the flexibility of the statement about what the Protagonist values.  It can slide all over the map during play, rising to a climax of one kind or another where the character commits, through action, to a final big decision about the thematic content.

As Callan points out, the characters of Story Now can shift their bearings and decisions all of the place. In fact, its a good game where the thematic issues get tested in a variety of ways -- with different emotions, relationships and responsibilities.  That's how we find out who the character really is.
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Marshall Burns
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American Wizard


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« Reply #25 on: February 17, 2009, 04:40:13 PM »

The thing about Story Now game is the flexibility of the statement about what the Protagonist values.  It can slide all over the map during play, rising to a climax of one kind or another where the character commits, through action, to a final big decision about the thematic content.

As Callan points out, the characters of Story Now can shift their bearings and decisions all of the place. In fact, its a good game where the thematic issues get tested in a variety of ways -- with different emotions, relationships and responsibilities.  That's how we find out who the character really is.

Yes! And this is precisely the distinction between the "reinforcement mechanics" and "authoring mechanics" that I made. Reinforcement mechanics are there to keep everything where it's supposed to be. In Serenity RPG, Mal's player gets Plot Points when his "Credo" trait gets him into trouble because Mal won't break a deal or whatever, because that's what happens in Firefly.  On the other hand, if we were to do this with The Rustbelt, where Mal has a Faith trait labeled "Always hold your end of a bargain," the player will get a choice about whether to break the deal or not, and, whichever he picks, the Psyche mechanics provide support and reward in the form of fuel for making plot and transforming character. In particular, keeping the deal would enable him to be more effective when trying to do so, by allowing the player to use the "Push" mechanic to overcome a failed roll -- while breaking the deal forces the player to choose whether Mal a.) decides he doesn't care and loses the Faith, b.) feels bad about it and takes on a Woe trait (which will haunt him), or decides that he liked doing it and takes on a Vice trait related to conning folks. 

And if you're looking at those options and saying, "But that's not what Mal's like!" then, well, that's EXACTLY my point. These kinds of rules are for creating your own story, not celebrating someone else's. That's the difference between authoring and reinforcement.
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Marshall Burns
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American Wizard


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« Reply #26 on: February 17, 2009, 04:43:52 PM »

Oh, crap, Martijn, I called you "Mathijs." Sorry. The similar use of J confused me.
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Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1159


« Reply #27 on: February 17, 2009, 05:01:57 PM »

And if you're looking at those options and saying, "But that's not what Mal's like!" then, well, that's EXACTLY my point...

And I would go even further.  Go watch the pilot.  Watch how Mal is ready to turn in Simon and River...  Mal doesn't even act like Mal sometimes!


Okay. So, Rustbelt sounds great.  But it isn't ready yet. 

We've laid out what sort of qualities Martjin is looking for in a game.  But now the question: how can he do this now?
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
mcv
Member

Posts: 34

Martijn Vos


« Reply #28 on: February 18, 2009, 01:47:45 AM »

Take Mal, for instance. The Black got to him when the Browncoats lost the war, and it ripped a big chunk out of him. We never see the bottom of the hole that this left; we see only glimpses of it, in "War Stories" and "Out of Gas" and the last act of Serenity. But the hole is obvious:
"In the time of war, we woulda never left a man behind."
"Yeah, well maybe that's why we lost."

Back then, he cared about people and things. A lot of people and things. Now, he just cares about "me and mine." That is, until the final act of Serenity, when he decides to make a stand for all the dead of Miranda.
There's lots of little things. During the war, he was very religious (you can see him kiss a cross in the pilot). He feels like God betrayed him at the battle of Serenity, and wants nothing to do with Him anymore. His religious ideals, goodwill towards all men, love thy enemy, it got him nothing. He doesn't live entirely for himself (unlike Jayne), but exactly whom he still owes loyalty to, is a big question. It starts with just his crew. And his war buddies. And any other underdogs down on their luck. And eventually it turns out that includes quite a lot of people.

Quote
What you need is something that provides authoring tools: stuff that helps players address Premise by calling attention to the issues and providing "handles" to make conflict easier to establish, complicate, and escalate for maximally engaging stories. Some examples are Keys in The Shadow of Yesterday, Spiritual Attributes in The Riddle of Steel, Humanity and Lore in Sorcerer, and the Psyche and Push mechanics in The Rustbelt (yeah, I referenced my own game again, whatcha gonna do about it?). As a matter of fact, any of these could be made to work for a Firefly-themed Narrativist roleplaying experience. But none of them would be easy to "drop in" to Serenity RPG. And, while you can get along without something like this, it's that much easier when you have it.

Unfortunately I'm not familiar with any of those systems. I guess it's time to invest in some new games. I'm actually hoping our resident narrativist (at least, he says he doesn't like sim, has seen more than enough gam, and wants to try nar for a change) will GM a game in one of those systems he keeps mentioning.

Personally, while I appreciate escalating conflict as a basis for a good story in roleplaying (I don't have any experience with it, mind you), I'm not really willing to give up on the Dream altogether. I think, for me and a couple of other players in my group at least, the best games would have a bit of both. Or is that just Narrativism firmly gounded in Exploration? I do like immersion, in any case.

As Callan points out, the characters of Story Now can shift their bearings and decisions all of the place. In fact, its a good game where the thematic issues get tested in a variety of ways -- with different emotions, relationships and responsibilities.  That's how we find out who the character really is.

Is that an intentional Firefly quote? Didn't Niska say something like that when he tortured Mal to "meet the real you"?

Yes! And this is precisely the distinction between the "reinforcement mechanics" and "authoring mechanics" that I made. Reinforcement mechanics are there to keep everything where it's supposed to be. In Serenity RPG, Mal's player gets Plot Points when his "Credo" trait gets him into trouble because Mal won't break a deal or whatever, because that's what happens in Firefly.
In Firefly Mal most definitely does break a deal (in The Train Job. And he gets into quite a lot of trouble because of it. But if I were GMing Serenity RPG, particularly if I were doing it with an eye towards Story Now, I'd definitely award Plot Points for breaking that deal. In my game, you'd get Plot Points for making your Traits relevant to the story, not for obeying them blindly.

The main thing that irks me about Complication traits in Serenity is that you get points back for them at character creation. Due to them being a source of Plot Points, Complications are already well worth taking.

In fact, that brings me to an issue that's been bothering me about GURPS disadvantages lately: they put the burden on the GM for screwing you over for taking a Disadvantage. If he doesn't, you just get free points. The Plot Point mechanism puts the burden on the player for making it relevant. That makes it much easier on the GM. Getting your reward in Plot Points during play rather than as character creation points at the start, also gives the player much more control over how to interpret the trait for that character.

Quote
On the other hand, if we were to do this with The Rustbelt, where Mal has a Faith trait labeled "Always hold your end of a bargain," the player will get a choice about whether to break the deal or not, and, whichever he picks, the Psyche mechanics provide support and reward in the form of fuel for making plot and transforming character. In particular, keeping the deal would enable him to be more effective when trying to do so, by allowing the player to use the "Push" mechanic to overcome a failed roll -- while breaking the deal forces the player to choose whether Mal a.) decides he doesn't care and loses the Faith, b.) feels bad about it and takes on a Woe trait (which will haunt him), or decides that he liked doing it and takes on a Vice trait related to conning folks.
But none of those quite fits what happens in The Train Job. There, Mal breaks a deal, because he realises the deal would hurt people he doesn't want to hurt. He doesn't lose the Faith, he doesn't feel bad about it, and he doesn't like breaking deals either. He breaks it because it conflicts with something more important.

Quote
And if you're looking at those options and saying, "But that's not what Mal's like!" then, well, that's EXACTLY my point. These kinds of rules are for creating your own story, not celebrating someone else's. That's the difference between authoring and reinforcement.
But don't you take away the option of handling that conflict just like Mal did? Not because that's what Mal did, but because you as a player at that moment feel that's the best way to deal with it?

In Serenity RPG, I'd definitely award Plot Points for that. Granted, that leaves everything to GM fiat and personal interpretations, but I'm not sure I like replacing that with game mechanics if those game mechanics limit or punish some very apropriate choices.

Another issue I'm still having with using game mechanics to drive story, is that game mechanics can be "gamed": manipulated for profit. I have no idea what Vice and Woe traits do, but they don't sound good. So that'd make Mal's choice one between gaining a bonus for sticking to his Faith, or gaining a new trait that he might not want. To me, that feels like interfering with his freedom to take his own responsibility for his choices. But maybe that's the simulationist in me.

And I would go even further.  Go watch the pilot.  Watch how Mal is ready to turn in Simon and River...  Mal doesn't even act like Mal sometimes!
He does act like Mal. Simon and River aren't part of "him and his", and they're endangering "him and his". The change in Mal is that he accepts them in his crew. Expanding his crew to embrace two fugitives (one of whom is a useless nutcase), is a big choice for him. Though it would be an unavoidable choice from a game perspective, because Simon and River are protagonists too, and it wouldn't make much of a game if you kick PCs out as if they were NPCs.

PCism is rather big in RPGs, and I don't like it much (because it breaks the Dream), but at the same time it's unavoidable if you want to keep playing.

Quote
We've laid out what sort of qualities Martjin is looking for in a game.  But now the question: how can he do this now?
I think I need to play a game with strong Story Now-oriented mechanics, just to experience how that would work out. Then I can decide if I prefer to use that for a pure Story Now Firefly game, or stick to Serenity for a sim-nar hybrid (which I think most of the group would be more comfortable with).

Oh, crap, Martijn, I called you "Mathijs." Sorry. The similar use of J confused me.
No problem. The names sound very similar. In my previous job I had a co-worker called Mathijs, and people would often mix up our names.
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Martijn Vos - gamer, coder, soon-to-be dad
Callan S.
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« Reply #29 on: February 18, 2009, 03:33:43 PM »

Quote
Is that an intentional Firefly quote? Didn't Niska say something like that when he tortured Mal to "meet the real you"?
I've thought of narrativist play as 'torture the character' play. You warp and change the imagined space in order to find tools to torture them with and expose their emotional innards.

You don't have a plausible universe for the stake of a plausible universe. You have a plausible universe because it happens to be one of the most excellent torture tools to apply to a character (that's perhaps why some sim slips into nar, on rare occasions).

However, it's only one such tool, so you warp/set up situations and people that wouldn't have naturally occured otherwise, to provide other tools.

Also, from what I've seen, didn't Mel give back the advance payment on the train robbery? He didn't break the deal - he declined it and handed back the advance payment. He found a way to fit his own values into the situation (though I imagine it was a painful one - he needs the cash)

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Though it would be an unavoidable choice from a game perspective, because Simon and River are protagonists too, and it wouldn't make much of a game if you kick PCs out as if they were NPCs.
Look no, your screwing up address of premise/nar by forcing a character choice 'in the interest of a better story'

If you were setting it up as a group, you just do a bit of story before - before play you talk about characters you'd all like to see. Then you'd ask each other 'would they all stay on the ship'?

I could imagine a group that might have a few characters 'kicked out' by a Mel character during the brainstorming (and hell, maybe Mel might get kicked out - this is brain storming a campaign, not sticking to formula), before someone suggests River and Simon 'Aww, yeah, he'd take them, but only just!' 'GREAT, were good to go!'

As opposed to traditional character gen, where everyone goes off on their own to make characters in secret, then they find at play they just wouldn't be together (and worse, nar play is then fucked up because 'in the interest of a better story' character choices are forced into accepting each other).
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