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Author Topic: Trollbabe GM prep: public, private or neither?  (Read 1839 times)
Moreno R.
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Posts: 547


« on: January 04, 2011, 11:27:15 AM »

Hi!

I am posting this in a different thread because I think it merit a separate discussion.

I was asked recently if the map the GM create in preparation of the adventure is to be shown to the players or if is to be used as a GM aid, as the list of names.  The first answer that I thought was that the map is for everybody at the table, but then I realized that in my past Trollbabe games I usually didn't show the map to the payers at all times. Sure, when I needed to show them the layout of the land I did show the map, but I didn't leave it on the table.

This was for practical reasons (out game table is always so full of drinks, biscuits, cakes, chips, wine and other things to eat and drink that I have barely the space to keep a little notes block, and wine glasses have to rest on the character sheets because there is really no other place for them) and, I realize, a little guilt about the awfulness of the products of my drawing ability. But the question made me think about it, and now I am wondering if this thing that I do without even thinking about it is right for the game or not. it's important to leave the map on the table for everybody to see at all times, or not? 

This would change the way the map is to be drawn, too: it's different to draw something that other people would have to be able to understand (a common question when I show my maps is "is that a forest or water?")

And what is to be drawn? Let's make a practical example: ad adventure in a coastal city, with a harbor, some inns, taverns, and whorehouses. Much of the action happen inside these buildings. The "adventure map" is of the city, of the harbor zone, of the relative position of the buildings, of the intern layout of the most important building? Streets or rooms? (in this situation I used a layout of the relative position of the buildings, but then during the adventure I discovered that I needed to do a room layout sketch, too. But this happened because of the trollbabe's choices, other choices would have needed a map of the town...  and a map of the internal layout of a building have to be more precise than a quick sketch)

And, apart from the map, what about the other parts of the GM's prep? A question a lot of people ask is about the stakes, for example: the GM should say what they are during an adventures? My own answer was "no, but if the player deduce them from the way the NPC act - and usually it's easy - it's not a big deal". But the amount of times this was asked make me doubt that this is so clear as I think it is from the rules, and so if I am missing something.
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: January 04, 2011, 12:40:39 PM »

Hi Moreno,

I'll do this as a list.

1. The big map from the book is public information.

2. The GM's back-story is private information. It may or may not become known through play.

3. The Stakes are definitely private information. Players (and therefore their trollbabes) should make decisions on what they think is important and not ever concern themselves with what is or isn't formally defined as the Stakes.

4. The map that the GM sketches may be used whenever and however it seems fun and practical, for that group and for that adventure. Trollbabe is best played "from her eyes out," so that map is most useful in terms of what the trollbabe can see and do, rather than a player's overview.

Let me know if these answers spawn more questions!

Best, Ron
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #2 on: January 04, 2011, 08:27:28 PM »

Thanks, this answer my game-procedures questions.

I have still some questions about maps, but they are more about personal game practice and reasons behind the design.

1) Adventure after adventure, the big map fills up with locations visited by the Trollbabes: how do you keep track of where is what and what happened where? I thought at first that keeping the prep notes after the adventure would be enough, but after a while it become difficult to remember where so many adventures happened. Do you have any advice?

2) Can you expand a little on the function of the maps in the game prep? I get the sense that they are a big deal (and I remember the importance you gave them during the translation) but, maybe by habit (mine and of the other players) they are seldom looked at in our adventures
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: January 06, 2011, 07:18:58 AM »

Hi Moreno,

I'm preoccupied with the Ronnies at the moment and will have to answer later. I do have a lot to say about the issue, though.

Best, Ron
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2011, 12:41:11 AM »

Hi Moreno! At last ...

Quote
1) Adventure after adventure, the big map fills up with locations visited by the Trollbabes: how do you keep track of where is what and what happened where? I thought at first that keeping the prep notes after the adventure would be enough, but after a while it become difficult to remember where so many adventures happened. Do you have any advice?

My original goal for the game, back in 2002, was to have a website function in which you could click on the map locations and enter your adventure's details in the database. It would serve as a record for your own stories and also a huge comparative device to see what other people were doing with the same map. It was a good idea. Every webmaster I've talked to says, casually, "Yeah, you could do that," and then doesn't do it.

In the absence of this service, I can only suggest that you come up with your own record-keeping device. Perhaps in addition to prep notes, you can make an after-adventure sheet which lists the location, the Stakes, what became of them, various significant outcomes of conflicts, and the Relationships.

Quote
2) Can you expand a little on the function of the maps in the game prep? I get the sense that they are a big deal (and I remember the importance you gave them during the translation) but, maybe by habit (mine and of the other players) they are seldom looked at in our adventures

Local geography should become a way for the group to share the imagined space more fully. If everyone knows that the lake's shore is defined by a broad, muddy bank, and the best fishing spot requires walking partway around the lake to the south, then they start using such terms in talking about where their trollbabes go and what they do. The Color is very helpful by itself. It can also lead to more profound statements both for goals and for narrations, drawing upon the local circumstances. This is especially important concerning the "no new information" rule - the more Color generated through local geography, the more information becomes usable.

I also think that the maps tie into the larger aesthetic strengths of the game. The character begins in very vivid form, but the world is quite foggy and sketchy. The map helps the location become vibrant, something to be experienced rather than simply fought in.

Best, Ron
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