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Author Topic: [S/lay w/Me] Lukuls the Savage and troubles  (Read 1419 times)
Bret Gillan
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« on: September 07, 2010, 09:22:29 AM »

So I played S/lay w/Me with Carly over the weekend. She's not particularly new to roleplaying since she's in my Apocalypse World game that's been going on for a couple months, but she's never GM'ed before. So after a relatively smooth session of my "I"ing and her "You"ing, we switched rolls and I played Lukuls who was journey to the Lunar Citadel with his tribesmen.

There was some interesting goes, and then it hit a point where she struggled quite a bit. She had planned on the monster springing out at a certain point, and I narrated Lukuls past that point on my go. She kind of floundered a bit after that point and I think she was uncertain of how to proceed with the monstering. In the meantime I was stacking up a massive pile of dice.

She ended up narrating that Lukuls heard his tribesman shouting outside. He forced his way out of the citadel, through the priestesses after they were blandly nonhelpful and nonresponsive to his escalating anger. Carly sort of corrected course at this point and (rightly) had the moon goddess show up. I kept urging her to have the moon goddess kick Lukuls's ass all over the place but she was like "the moon goddess wouldn't do that!" So we hit this weird point where I realized that Carly had no monster. The moon goddess was filling that spot, but Carly wanted her to be just and good, so basically in order to advance the plot I had to have Lukuls be a total shitbag.

And afterwards she did that thing that was like "Your tribesmen were fine the whole time!"

We did a little bit of deconstructing but not much since she was pretty clearly tired and frustrated, and since she'd never GMed before I didn't press it since I didn't want to come off as criticizing her. I emphasized, though, that the monster has to want to kill Lukuls. By narrating that the moon goddess, or nobody in particular really, wanted to kill Lukuls, it was bringing the game to a standstill and all I could do was keep piling up dice and wait for something to confront me.

I can't put my finger entirely on what happened, but I think it was part narrative inflexibility, and also a certain point where she had sided with the moon priestesses and the moon goddess and so wanted them to be 'right' which left me kind of floundering.

We're going to try to play again tonight. She's already talking about having people after me for revenge as monsters which makes me sigh a little because I never WANTED Lukuls to be a priestess murdering psycho, but there was a lot of stymying going on. We'll see.
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Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2010, 10:15:39 AM »

Hey Bret

One thing I've wanted to do with S/Lay w/Me is to have a Go where I don't get a die at the end of it. If the other person isn't accumulating dice I feel that would allow me to take a Go "off" from shooting at my Goal/Lover and just immerse myself in the world where we are right now. Y'know, find a forward-moving event but not one directed at the Lover or Goal.

And from that fiction see where it goes.
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Bret Gillan
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« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2010, 10:31:53 AM »

Gregor, we actually had a long series of Goes that was like that when Lukuls was trying to escape the Lunar Citadel and rescue his men. He was neither working towards his Goal (get the blessing of the moon goddess) nor working towards the Lover (he only got the one die when he rejected her). We actually had quite a few Goes where dice were not gained on either side.
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Gregor Hutton
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« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2010, 10:46:04 AM »

Great! My games of it so far have been very sharply angled towards the getting dice on each Go, so I'm hoping to get more of that stuff you've had where that's not the case.
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #4 on: September 20, 2010, 03:23:06 AM »

Hello Bret

I recently played with someone new to Story Now, and she also had a pretty precise idea of how things were supposed to work out (except they didn't, of course). When I noticed that, we managed to quickly talk about it and she let loose and just played the monster (a small military company) and everything worked out very well after all (I'm really jazzed about my character, will write up an AP report after we've played some more).
Not wishing to sound pretentious, but I wonder if you too should take care of not preparing too much concerning Lukuls. The way I understand the game, the only decisions that are truly and solely yours are the forward moving events of Goes (including climax outcomes and decisions concerning the Lover(s)), as well as your written character description. If Carly prepares a monster that is intent on revenge for some past actions of your character (which doesn't contradict your description)... well then your character has to deal with his past. What you get to decide is how he deals with this shit now. Of course, the Monster's player cannot decide everything about your past and due to "playing loose" will have to accept some of your twists, as we just saw, so you get quite a bit of leeway.

If you've played again, I'd love to read about it!
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Regards,
Christoph
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: September 20, 2010, 09:12:50 AM »

Hi Bret,

I realized the reason that I couldn't reply coherently is that I wasn't understanding your descriptions.

Help me out a little with that. Am I correct in saying that Carly wasn't building her dice, so the Climax was not mechanically going to happen? Because if so, then that's an issue, but none of the rest of what you're talking about is really deal-breaking.

It doesn't matter where and when the monster strikes, so if you narrate a character somewhere, then the other player can have it strike there too. I'm not sure whether this is helpful, though, because I don't know if Carly wanted advice about this.

There's a little flexibility built in about what the monster wants. It may or may not want to kill the character, or to do something else with him or her. But it's true that the monster is engaged in killing the character, directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally.

It may be the case as well that you played too loose, narrating farther forward on your Goes than she wanted you to. Again, though, this is too third-hand for me, trying to address her concerns through the lens of your description of them.

Perhaps I could help more if you wrote more about what you wanted to know or to address, rather than Carly.

Best, Ron
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Bret Gillan
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« Reply #6 on: September 22, 2010, 04:53:11 AM »

Christoph, I didn't come in having decided on a background for Lukuls. I came into the game with my blurb and my ten words about his appearance, which just said that he had a skull mask. Everything else emerged during play in narration. When it was my turn to have him enter the game, I just narrated him arriving with some tribesmen. I'm not sure what you're finding fault with, exactly. We have played since this game and it's been very good. Lukuls has since assassinated the leader of the Ursu tribe and banished their bear god to the stars, and Carly has created Mirabelle who is a sorcerer with a mechanical arm who's been fighting some ghosts.

Ron, you are correct. Carly was felt stymied and did not know how to bring the monster in, so dice weren't getting stacked up on her side so Climax could not happen. We knew the Monster could strike anywhere and anytime, but Carly struggled to bring it to bear. It could just be a practice thing. We did another game later and she did okay (though ended up feeling frustrated and stymied again when I made Goes that didn't go along with her plans). And you're right, we could be too loose, but the too loose/too tight thing is something I struggle to get a grip on. I think we've found a place where we're both comfortable but I'm not sure if it's "right." Sometimes the definition of a forward-moving action seems difficult to grasp.

But let me try to re-explain the events of what happened in the game I wrote about. She had planned ahead that the Monster would ambush Lukuls while he was climbing the stairs of the Lunar Citadel. When we arrived near that point, I narrated a Go past that point to where he had climbed to the Lunar Citadel's roof. She grumbled a little bit and then there were a bunch of Goes where I was pursuing my Goal and stacking up dice while she just narrated Goes while trying to figure out how to bring the Monster back into play. Eventually she brought the Moon Goddess out and had her reject Lukuls's pleas for a blessing (which makes sense, I couldn't get my goal at that point and Lukuls had fought some of her priestesses) so, groping for ways to make my Go, had Lukuls attempt to steal her blessing from her. Oh, and prior to that Lukuls had heard his tribesmen who accompanied him that he'd left outside the Citadel cry for help. He fought is way outside and then it turned out ok. It seemed like a weird, jarring, punitive sort of thing where she felt as though Lukuls had behaved in a way she (Carly) didn't approve of, so then she had to demonstrate that he was wrong. I think we've all encountered this in games before, sometimes through the voices of NPCs and sometimes just through presenting a PC with evidence that their beliefs/actions were wrong.

I guess what I'm looking for is advice on how to act as You when I is floundering. Maybe I just need to call a time-out, and maybe this is all game stuff specific to my game with Carly so there's not really any advice that would be helpful.

We had this question from the last game, though - should the Monster be a literal Monster? I've been playing it that way just because I like having weird unnatural creatures.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: September 22, 2010, 05:24:50 AM »

Hi Bret,

There's no way to be sure from here, but I think we're talking about a learning curve issue which is showing solid progress. If that's correct, then going more deeply into explanations and deconstructions probably isn't helpful. Since you and Carly are apparently having more fun as you go along, and it's fun enough so far to keep going, then reflection may be most helpful well after this stage, rather than now.

Regarding what to as You when I is floundering, I think the brief time-out, to collect one's thoughts, to review the rules-mandated requirements (and in some cases, lack of requirement), is a good idea. I do think that at such moments, one person should not start telling the other specifically what to say, or even list things they might say, no matter how helpful that may seem from that person's side of the table. The book is pretty prescriptive, so I would recommend a relatively silent and non-pressured moment for reviewing what it says about Goes or what "I" can do or whatever.

Given the topic and your descriptions of play, I think it might be best to stay with the simplest construction of the Monster as a weird unnatural creature. I'm not sure what you mean by "literal Monster" anyway, but again, at this point, introducing conceptual flexibility for that particular game mechanic might interrupt the learning curve concerning more important things.

Best, Ron
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Christoph Boeckle
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« Reply #8 on: September 22, 2010, 05:58:41 AM »

Hello Bret

I was talking about this bit:
Quote
We're going to try to play again tonight. She's already talking about having people after me for revenge as monsters which makes me sigh a little because I never WANTED Lukuls to be a priestess murdering psycho, but there was a lot of stymying going on. We'll see.
If I misinterpreted this part, then I apologize, just ignore my post. But Ron has the better advice overall.
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Regards,
Christoph
Bret Gillan
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Posts: 425

That's Bret with one 't' damn it.


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« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2010, 06:33:31 AM »

Christoph, I see now. I just didn't want to play a bad guy and felt like the way the fiction worked out my choice was either be a bastard or have the fiction flounder. I didn't have too much planned out. It's worked out okay in the long run. Lukuls has turned out to be a bit of a jerk, but not a horrible person.

Ron, I meant literal monster in that it has claws or fangs or tentacles and not in an "all men are monsters" sense. Basically, we're agreeing. And I really think it's a learning curve thing too. I'll keep your suggestion for calling a time out in mind next time there's frustration with the fiction. I have been definitely avoiding feeding specific answers or recommendations, and generally try to avoid making recommendations at all unless we're really hung up.

Thanks!
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