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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 24 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [A Penny For My Thoughts] Audience Investment and Distributed Fictional Entities  (Read 4813 times)
GreatWolf
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Posts: 1157

designer of Dirty Secrets


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« Reply #15 on: July 14, 2009, 03:35:06 PM »

Some of the text suggests even special seating arrangements and lighting leading to a feeling of "trance narrative."   By "trance narrative" I mean there is intense focus on the current Traveler who sort of loses himself as much as possible in his story until the critical moment when he asks for guidance.  

Okay.  This is very interesting to me.

When I was heading over for the game I thought, "Hmmmm.  I wonder if we're going to be playing the patients who are attempting to recover their memories."  That is, adopt personas of the patients in the "present tense" who are working to recover their memories.

As it was, there was little of this.  Jesse, we might not have had as much table-chatter as possible, but we had a heck of a lot.  Now, part of this was because it was our first time through. It was very much, "Here are Jesse and Laura and Eric and CK talking words to make up stories."
 
But I'm wondering what the effect on the session would have been if we'd treated it more like a session.  If we'd gone over the living room area, sat in the comfier chairs, spoke only "in character."

Paul, I'd love your thoughts on this.

I'm not Paul, but here are my thoughts.

When I read this comment (and Jesse's comment below it), I thought, "Aha! Now it makes sense."

When we played most recently, we were doing the whole "in-character" approach to playing the game. Even when explaining the rules (which I did by reading the rules text out loud), we acted in-character, discussing all the matters and procedures as if we were actually patients in a ward somewhere. We approched play the same way. Jesse's description (quoted below) is exactly how we approach play.

Quote
Given the very strict division over who can speak when and about what it seems very anti-table chatter.  Some of the text suggests even special seating arrangements and lighting leading to a feeling of "trance narrative."   By "trance narrative" I mean there is intense focus on the current Traveler who sort of loses himself as much as possible in his story until the critical moment when he asks for guidance.  Until that moment the Guides sit quietly absorbing the narrative being spun.

Yeah, this. Table chatter doesn't make sense. After all, I'm not authoring a story. I'm sitting in a therapy session, trying to pick out a true memory from the Traveler.

Now, yeah, this is obviously ridiculous. However, the actual process I was following looks like a combination of following the improv rule "Be obvious" and trying to discern reasonable yet acceptable outcomes to decision points. "Reasonable" means "I thought of it", but "acceptable" means "desired by the player of the Traveler". But a lot of the "table chatter" is actually unspoken; to offer suggestions for the story would "break character" and therefore makes no sense.

Now, I have this nagging sense that I'm not totally communicating myself here, so please ask questions, and I'll try to explain myself further. But, yeah, this game doesn't seem to encourage Author stance per se...um...sort of. Perhaps it would be better to say that the game encourages an in-character Author stance of sorts, but it doesn't work well if you think about it like that.

Um, I think.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
ptevis
Member

Posts: 63


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« Reply #16 on: July 16, 2009, 06:06:01 AM »

Now, I'm assuming A LOT here.  I'm really honing in on, "how to construct a three act play" with A Penny For My Thoughts and maybe that wasn't a concern of yours.  But both CK and Laura expressed a lack of investment in the developing narratives and I think really focusing on what you need to do in Act I, how to develop that in Act II and what that amounts to in Act III is the key to fixing that problem.

Three things: First, you're not really make a big assumption, given that I say basically that at the top of page 69. Second, that's only one way (albeit the default way) to structure the game. Other, less thematically structured ways don't require you to do as much heavy lifting with reincorporation. Third, I think people are pretty good at reincorporation, as that three-act structure happened naturally in every playtest of Penny I saw. I didn't design the Questionnaire to create it; I realized in playtesting that it tended to naturally.

The lack of investment thing is something I have less of a handle on. Needs more thinking.
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Paul Tevis
Have Games, Will Travel @ http://www.havegameswilltravel.net
A Fistful of Games @ http://afistfulofgames.blogspot.com
ptevis
Member

Posts: 63


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« Reply #17 on: July 16, 2009, 06:10:33 AM »

My point is that it might be up to the Players to plant a useful agenda for the character as quickly as possible.  Or maybe not.  With this game, I don't know yet.  And this concern might be only a concern for me -- so it might all be moot.

I think it's always a good idea to have characters want something, so yeah, absolutely. I think what I've seen that first memory do is establish what the character wants, while the second focuses on how they can't have it. Did that not happen in your game?

Amusingly enough, our improv troupe has been working on starting scenes "in the middle" recently.

--Paul
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Paul Tevis
Have Games, Will Travel @ http://www.havegameswilltravel.net
A Fistful of Games @ http://afistfulofgames.blogspot.com
ptevis
Member

Posts: 63


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« Reply #18 on: July 16, 2009, 06:13:36 AM »

Paul, how do you view Table Chatter working in this game?  Given the very strict division over who can speak when and about what it seems very anti-table chatter.  

I'm agnostic on the subject, though see Chapter 5 for a few spots where I specifically recommend breaking character for dealing with issues.

I keep trying to play "fully in-character", but I can never pull it off. But playing one way or the other isn't a deal breaker for me.

--Paul
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Paul Tevis
Have Games, Will Travel @ http://www.havegameswilltravel.net
A Fistful of Games @ http://afistfulofgames.blogspot.com
Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1159


« Reply #19 on: July 16, 2009, 06:28:23 AM »

I think what I've seen that first memory do is establish what the character wants, while the second focuses on how they can't have it. Did that not happen in your game?

Nope.
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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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