[MLwM] Hungarian Hi-jinks

Started by KevinH, August 04, 2010, 07:09:11 PM

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Hi guys,

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.

Fear 5, Reason 3

The minions:

Helmut, Hpnotic gaze only in sunlight, Crippling shyness except at night
Marcus, Sneak like a cat except around bats, Fear of heights except when rescuing cats
Kragar, Superhuman balance except when noisy, Tourette's except in master's presence
Hoggle, Can carry any weight except when alone, Slow except when hungry
Mikal, Master sculptor except when sculpting loved one, Horrifying visage except when sculpting
Tavi, Unnoticable except by children, Clumsy except when under orders
Brundle, Run like a deer except when wet underfoot, Lazy except when helping women

The fun stuff (from Master's PoV):
Helmut dominates a young slav boy. "Follow me!" "OK, are we going to the pub? My mum won't let me go to the pub. She says I'm too young. Ooh, that's a nice knife. My mum won't let me have a knife, she says I'm too young. Kill a jewish girl? OK. Then can we go to the pub and have pork scratchings?"
Kid kills girl on steps of synagogue then stands there demanding his PORK scratchings.

Marcus places a doll under a child's pillow which later explodes.

Tavi is ordered to kidnap a young girl for Mikal to sculpt. After much faffing around, the whole gang eventually digs up a corpse, which is good enough for a sculpture.

Next morning, things get weird.

Tavi is ordered to kidnap another child. Kragar is ordered to steal communion wafers.

Kragar decides to help Tavi. Kragar scares the child, Tavi steps in to "rescue" her, grabs her and drags her to the castle.

At this point, Kragar's player got really upset. He was trying to help Tavi get some love, whereas Tavi was just obeying orders. I explained to Kragar that as he had NOT explicitly stated his plan to anyone and the Tavi was going to act under orders, then he had to face the consequences of his action.

Kragar was actually about to walk out, stating (not unreasonably, IMHO) that he disliked a system that took away his decision making. However, the system did not take away his ability to decide, it merely pointed out his inability to explicitly state his course of action and how upset he was when the default result did not result in good triumphant.

We discussed it a lot and I personally thanked him for investing so much personally into the game that he became that upset and I think (hope) we'll be OK for next week.

However, these discussions brought a few things about MLwM into view.

1) For most RPGs, the rules match the way to play. Ie, in D&D the games is about racially motivated robbery with violence and the rules support that, they enable that type of play and reward it. In Dogs, the rules reward and enable being Dogs. In MLwM, the rules enable obedience and evil. To succeed, you have to fight the rules. Default behaviour in MLwM is evil, ie the rules enable evil, but they reward good.

For me, this is a feature. You are fighting to do good, fighting to escape the master. D&D style, "you are good 'cos that's you're alignment" doesn't showcase that struggle.

2) The "party flinch" is a BAD THING. In my game, as soon as somebody got involved in something everyone else would start barrelling into their scene. Which meant that peeer pressure soon resulted in default behaviour.

I'd like to shout at every single one of my players, "Fuck the other guys! Don't you realise you are fighting for your lives/sanity/self worth/soul/whatever?!?! Forget them. Make your own connections, make your own overtures and let the other guys hang!" How can I get this across without actual violence?

3) This is part point and part question. I have a couple of players who are, basically RPG consumers. Very passive players. They don't request scenes, they don't suggest conflicts, they just sit there and wait to be told when to roll initiative/to hit/damage.

Any ideas how to wake them up? They're great guys, fun to be around; but somehow, when play starts, the lights go off and all the fun seems to leave them.

Any ideas/comments?


Christoph Boeckle

Hello Kevin

Quite an interesting and evil master (and some minions) brewing up here! How close to you are the themes contained in play, if I may ask? Your Gotham Primetime Adventures game played on sensible themes to the players, are you using this technique again and if yes, has it any connection to the  dissatisfaction of Kragar's player?

Seven player characters is an awful lot for any game in my book, but even more so for My Life with Master. I never played with more than three players, and the "downtime" between scenes was never problematic. If you only ever get to play in one scene out of seven (a bit more, admittedly), then I can see how people would want to involve their characters in more scenes than what pure credibility of the events would ask for. Also, these passive players might just be intimidated by the sheer number of contributors. What do you think?