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Author Topic: [zero-prep] Need more Challenge scenarios  (Read 1148 times)
stefoid
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« on: January 16, 2011, 04:53:17 PM »

Hi, Im playtesting a game that I did call Ingenero, but then decided to change to Zero-prep.  Ingenero doesn't tell you anything about the game.

I could post a link, but I think its easier to just post the details relevant to my request straight here, so you dont have to download and hunt.

My specific questions are:
1) Is it clear what the GM and players have to do?
2) I need more challenge scenarios -- please help me come up with some.  Like I want to roll d100 percentile dice to select.


Here are my thoughts on the attributes a challenge scenario should have
a) the key effect of the phrase should be to kick start the players imaginations.  They are sitting their saying "what happens next?".  The challenge phrase should get all sorts of ideas churning  about how the story might go from where it is towards satisfying that phrase.
b) it shouldn't be restricted to a certain genre - it should be open to interpretation, which could be affected by word choice
c) It phrase should imply something challenging is about to happen.  Not something banal or something that did happen.

thanks for any suggestions given!

Relevant excerpts from doco follow:
---------------------------------------------

"GENERAL PLAY:
After initial setup, the game proceeds in two alternating phases: 'Story phase' -- a kind of cooperative story-telling system that provides a back-story, and the 'Challenge phase' .  The Challenge phase is more of a gamey system with the GM being adversarial.

At the start of each Story phase the GM randomly selects a Challenge scenario from a list that presents a situation that must be addressed by the player characters.   The challenge will be described by a short phrase that is not specific at all about the finer details of the situation or who in involved in it.   examples might be:

A direct confrontation
A stinging betrayal
Sweet revenge
Rebellion!
etc...

During the story phase, the playing group narrate the series of events that lead from the current situation directly to incorporating the new challenge, up to the point in which the exact nature of the challenging situation is finally determined and it is about to occur.  Once the new challenging situation is established in this way, story phase ends and Challenge phase begins, and it is played out to its resolution in a more 'traditional' role-playing fashion, with the players saying what their characters are going to do to resolve the challenge and the GM taking on an opposing/adversarial role with dice rolling and so on.

Everything that occurs during story phase 'just happens'.    Players can call BS on other players, but otherwise if they accept a players assertion during story phase, then no dice rolling or anything else is required..

The idea of the story phase is to give the Challenges meaning by giving them context, and to have fun inventing fiction.  The key to the story phase process is for everyone to think about the story as it has progressed so far, and what would be a natural, cool or fun thing to happen next.  Suggestions are accepted or rejected by the group, with the GM having final say.  It might be a good idea for the GM to concentrate more on the goals of any significant NPCs during the story phase, and what they might do to achieve them, as other players will naturally be more concerned about the goals of their own characters. 

Players (and GM) can just say anything they think should occur, bearing two things in mind –
a) the aim is to steer the near term story (eventually) towards defining exactly the details of the next Challenge and the moment just before it occurs
b) their own characters individual short and long term goals.
"

And the other relevant part of the doco:

"CHALLENGE SCENARIOS:
Below is the list of challenge scenarios.  Be creative with their interpretation.  To apply in some situations, they need  not be taken literally.   For example, number 20 (A ritual is enacted)  might simply mean that some often repeated behaviour occurs – it does not necessarily have to be a religious ceremony.

Some Story phases or Challenge phases might turn out to be epic, while others might be over in a minute of real time.  Don’t worry about how long it takes to play a particular phase – just play it to its natural conclusion and move on to the next phase.  The same goes for the in-game time period that the phase covers –  minutes or years is fine, as long as it makes sense in context.

01   A direct confrontation
02   Make an enemy
03   An unexpected windfall
04   Thievery!
05   A stinging betrayal
06   Sweet revenge
07   Rebellion!
08   Make a friend
09   A chance to shine
10   A tense meeting
11   Attracting unwelcome attention
12   A problem with authority
13   Searching for answers
14   Infiltration…
15   Party!
16   Ambush
17   An interesting proposal
18   Hot pursuit
19   Imminent disaster!
20   A ritual is enacted
21   A reputation is tested
22   Rescue…
23   Stave off the inevitable
24   A tough decision
25   Waiting for the other shoe to drop.
26   A request for aid
"
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Simons
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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2011, 05:07:52 PM »

A few new scenarios that I can think of.  I might post more if I think of any...

A stranger approaches
First contact with others (aliens, foreigners, demons, your estranged father, etc)
New technology discovered
Colonizing/founding a new area/place
Something involving love (?)
An election in approaching... (or just over)
A need to escape...
An illness (or possibly wide-scale plague)

Simon
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stefoid
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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2011, 05:24:31 PM »

Thanks!

I just thought of another guide line. 

One of the keys to genre flexibility is that the phrase should be able to be (also) interpreted in a political or social context, if possible.

Like, "Ambush" could be a physical ambush, but it could also be a social ambush in the sense of having a plan to unexpectedly confront someone.
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stefoid
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Posts: 657


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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2011, 05:55:06 PM »

I got this from your input, in order of your list:

Newcomer(s)... 
Outsider(s)...
Contact!
A discovery
Exploration
A claim is struck
Establishing relations
Improving relations
A change at the top
Taking the lead
A real occasion!
Out of the frying pan...
Cut and run

<couldnt think of anything for the last one>

AWESOME!

keep em coming!



A few new scenarios that I can think of.  I might post more if I think of any...

A stranger approaches
First contact with others (aliens, foreigners, demons, your estranged father, etc)
New technology discovered
Colonizing/founding a new area/place
Something involving love (?)
An election in approaching... (or just over)
A need to escape...
An illness (or possibly wide-scale plague)

Simon
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2011, 06:28:51 PM »

Hiya,

Do post that link, please. It's now a requirement for posting in this forum.

I mean, it's great that you broke out the part you wanted to talk about, no question. But the link does need to be there.

Best, Ron
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stefoid
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Posts: 657


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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2011, 07:24:35 PM »

https://sites.google.com/site/zeroprep/files/ingenero.docx?attredirects=0&d=1
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stefoid
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« Reply #6 on: January 17, 2011, 02:54:32 PM »

The more I think about this, the more my idea of what constitutes a challenge phrase is beginning to morph.

Initially, I started thinking about challenge phrases as more of a description of a certain type of situation - a rebellion, a confrontation, etc...

But now I am starting to think they should be more about a vibe.  Im up to 46 at the moment - almost halfway there.

01   A direct confrontation
02   Make an enemy
03   An unexpected windfall
04   Thievery!
05   A stinging betrayal
06   Sweet revenge
07   Rebellion!
08   Make a friend
09   A chance to shine
10   A tense meeting
11   Attracting unwelcome attention
12   A problem with authority
13   Searching for answers
14   Infiltration…
15   Party!
16   Ambush
17   An interesting proposal
18   Hot pursuit
19   Imminent disaster!
20   A ritual is enacted
21   A reputation is tested
22   Rescue…
23   Stave off the inevitable
24   A tough decision
25   Waiting for the other shoe to drop.
26   A request for aid
27   Sharing the load
28   An obligation
29   Newcomer(s)...
30   Outsider(s)...
31   Contact!
32   A discovery
33   Exploration
34   A claim is struck
35   Establishing relations
36   Improving relations
37   A change at the top
38   Taking the lead
39   A real occasion!
40   Out of the frying pan...
41   Cut and run
42   The truth? You cant handle the truth!
43   A series of unfortunate events
44   Altered states
45   Recognition
46   Be careful what you wish for
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stefoid
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« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2011, 07:35:34 PM »

I have added the following to the doco, in an attempt to describe to players new to the game, what they have to do and why.  (everyone in the world at the moment, including me)

My specific question is:  Does this sufficiently explain why the phases exist and what each player has to do.  Do you 'get it' from reading this or do I need more?

FLOW OF THE GAME:
The Challenge phase is supposed to be the ‘high drama / action’ part of the game where player characters try to achieve things that are important to them (individually, and/or collectively) and the Story phase is supposed to link those scenarios together, so in that sense, no significant conflict occurs during the Story phase.   In movie parlance, think of exposition scenes, montages, character development, cut scenes etc..

However, that doesn’t mean that the Story phase is inconsequential.  During the challenge phase, the GM narrates the immediate consequences of players actions, within the scope of the scene.  During the following story phase, everyone has a chance to outline the long term consequences of what occurred in the challenge phase – the fallout.  Characters reassess their goals, and players plot the twists and turns that eventuate from that challenge scenario, leading towards the next dramatic conflict.

So at the start of a Story phase, the process can roughly be:
•   What are the consequences resulting from outcome of the previous challenge phase?
•   How does my character react to those consequences?
•   How does the above propel the story into the next challenge scenario?


WHAT THE PLAYERS DO:
•   Agree on and stick to the tone of the game throughout.
•   Help establish the initial situation, and reinforce that situation with their Background and Goal inventions
•   During Story phase, help to come up with a good story by coming up with:
o   suggestions about how the story might move to the next challenge scenario
o   come up with new long and short goals for their own character, and the why/how these goals came about
o   elaborate, when appropriate, new details about how their character is going about achieving existing long and short term goals
•   During Challenge phase:
o   Switch firmly into their own characters viewpoint, saying what their character is intending to do at appropriate times during the scene
o   Attempt to achieve short or long term goals where possible

WHAT THE GM DOES:
•   Guides initial game setup and character creation
•   Checks/passes all official character techniques for suitability – scope and game mechanics
•   During Story phase, help to come up with a good story by coming up with:
o   suggestions about how the story might move to the next challenge scenario
o   acts as final arbiter of all story/goal assertions, where necessary (where players cannot agree)
•   During Challenge phase:
o   Sets the initial scene of the Challenge phase, as established during story phase
o   Narrates anything that happens that isnt an intended action by a PC
o   Decides when players should resolve a particular intended action with dice using the conflict resolution rules (applying backgrounds and techniques)
o   Decides if the scope of an intended action for an improvised technique is appropriate
o   Decides on the mechanical effect of an intended action for an improvised technique, if any
o   Narrates the outcomes/ consequences of character intended actions with a view towards what the character was ultiamtely trying to achieve by employing that action.
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