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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 32 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [MLwM] New GM and the Baron Badass...  (Read 3715 times)
KevinH
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Posts: 19


« on: July 27, 2010, 01:23:59 PM »

... pronounced ba-DASH.

Baron Istvan Attila Von Badass is a young Hungarian nobleman, interested in ancient hunnish shamanism. He wants to impress the professors at his old university and is using the villagers of Makó Vjilisc as guinea pigs in experiments with sympathetic magic.

In real history, at this time (1805), the Austrians control Hungary and there is considerable tension between the old Magyar nobility and the new Hapsburg rulers. There is also an influx of slav, croatian, serbian, german etc immigrants, repopulating an area underpopulated after centuries of war against the Ottomans. Coincidentally, there is also a large Jewish population in the area.

The struggle against the Austrians could add to the master's story. I'm interested in the idea that it might even make him a bit of a hero. Of course, he is (personally) the master, ergo abusive. I would also want to give him some added characteristics that seem to go hand-in-hand with European nationalism; ie racism (and blatant anti-semitism), in order to counter the possible heroism.

HOWEVER! this is stuff I learned today and we did master and character creation last night. I'm planning to run the game starting next week.

So, my question is, as this new information is something that was not available to the players and therefore did not enter into their creation, would it be too destructive to the fiction to use it?

Essentially, I'd be saying to the players, "OK, here's the evil bastard you created, but here's some extra villainy you did NOT know about! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!" Would it be weakening their input? Does it add to the game? Does it make no difference?

I'd like to get some input.

Thank you,

Kevin
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: July 27, 2010, 02:00:57 PM »

Hi Kevin,

It seems to me there are a couple of ways you could go with this.

1. A bit old-school: spring it on them in play, deepening the villain, and hope that you aren't wresting too much of the Master as their personal connection away from them.

2. A bit new-school: offer it to the players as further prep, letting the group as a whole come to their conclusion about how much to include.

Either way seems functional to me in the abstract, but it's up to you to decide which is best for this particular group of people and this particular instance of play.

Best, Ron
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KevinH
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2010, 03:32:05 PM »

Hi Ron,

it's not just a question of how any new data is presented, as much as whether new data is beneficial to the game at all.

It occurs to me that the whole Austria/Hapsburg history may widen the players world view too much.

OK, that probably sounds nonsensical, but bear with me. As far as I can see, MLwM works because the master has the minions focused tightly on their little world; the town and the castle (in this case, the vjilisc and the var) to the point they can't see any other life.

Does a wider view disrupt that dynamic? Does it push the minions' (and the players') awareness too far outside the nasty, incestuous world of the master?

Thanks,

Kevin
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2010, 06:56:57 PM »

Hey Kevin,

Love the pronunciation of the Master's surname.

In order for the game to work the Master has to be incapable of getting what he wants and needs without the minions. And as long as the activities the Master puts to his minions are a problem for what the players care about you can confidently add all manner of content depth to the situation.

So, don't send the minions off on a covert mission to another province to assassinate an Austrian prince. (The Master should be more single-minded in his goals than to get distracted from what he Wants by other goals related to national politics.) But do have the ethnicity of townspeople (and minions' connections) play into the Master's magical theories and choice of subjects for his experiments. And if you can handle it carefully, maybe maybe bring in a dashing, but perhaps crazy or inaccessible Austrian NPC who carries a whiff of hope for the minions against the Master. Think of the Frenchman Rigaud in Little Dorritt, a man with a murderous reputation who might seem like a threat to the Master. It's a little tricky, because of course you can't have him actually carry out anything that threatens the Master or makes things easier for the minions. But if you're careful you can use him to get the minions' hopes up.

Paul
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"[My Life with Master] is anything but a safe game to have designed. It has balls, and then some. It is as bold, as fresh, and as incisive  now as it was when it came out." -- Gregor Hutton
KevinH
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #4 on: July 31, 2010, 05:46:52 AM »

Hi Paul,

Hey Kevin,

Love the pronunciation of the Master's surname.

Thanks, got to have me dark humour in there.

Quote
But do have the ethnicity of townspeople (and minions' connections) play into the Master's magical theories and choice of subjects for his experiments.

Oh yes. I've already planned to have the minion with Hypnotic Gaze order an immigrant to murder a local.

Quote
And if you can handle it carefully, maybe maybe bring in a dashing, but perhaps crazy or inaccessible Austrian NPC who carries a whiff of hope for the minions against the Master. <snip> But if you're careful you can use him to get the minions' hopes up.

... and then kill him?

Hmm... two minions have connections with Mikal von Shtup, the police inspector (apologies, but the Mel Brooks references were irresistable). Maybe his superior can ride into town to investigate the disturbances... of course! The masters' little ethnic-hate pot-stirring is to get a high ranking Austrian into town. Then kidnap him and use him for all sorts of hideous experiments!

Oh, I know who one of the innocents is going to be; Dudley von Do-right, the Austrian chief of police. Hmmm... could I get away with calling him Ivan Skavar?

Thank you Paul, I was kinda getting lost up a side alley with the RL history thing, but I can see how I can make it work to MY evil advantage! And you said it was impossible! You fools, I will show you and the world! Mwa-ha-ha-ha!!!!

Thanks again, Kevin
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #5 on: July 31, 2010, 08:29:30 AM »

Hey Kevin,

... and then kill him?

Perhaps after the minions have increasing hope that he'll give the Master a comeuppance he just turns out to be erratic or unreliable, or he leaves town abruptly, never to be seen again. You'll have so many opportunities in the game to drive self-loathing by giving the minions violent and villainous tasks. The opportunity to just dash their hopes is much more rare, because it requires such careful playing of an NPC over a series of scenes.

Good luck,

Paul
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"[My Life with Master] is anything but a safe game to have designed. It has balls, and then some. It is as bold, as fresh, and as incisive  now as it was when it came out." -- Gregor Hutton
KevinH
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2010, 02:05:44 AM »

Hi Paul,

The opportunity to just dash their hopes is much more rare, because it requires such careful playing of an NPC over a series of scenes.

This.

This needs to be included in the second edition rules, or the Manifesto, or something. Why bother adding to the characters' Self-Loathing when I can add to the players'? :)

Well, first play is tomorrow. As I said, we did Master and Character creation last week (and then went straight into 3:16). I think tomorrow will just be running them ragged, causing all sorts of mayhem and laying the ground work for Dudley Von Doright to show up next week.

I agree, there is no NEED to have the minions kill Dudley. He can fail on his own, maybe his misguided efforts to enforce the law will lead to his death at the hands of outraged immigrants, maybe he will turn out to have feet of clay... there are so many options.

I will post an AP and let y'all know how it went.

Thank you

Kevin
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