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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 128 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: head games  (Read 4545 times)
stefoid
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« Reply #45 on: March 06, 2011, 10:01:22 PM »

Im a recent convert to establishing the game premise as 'thing 1'.  Like, a lot of indie games have a very specific premise. this is what the game is about and nothing else.  So you woulnt run into this problem of a character having goals, whether explicitly stated or assumed, that are at odds with what the game is about.  

But if you arent playing one of those games, then everybody can specify it up front :  In this game , the characters try to (general description of character aims)  by (general description of how they intend to achieve aims)  Or (general obstacles they will face to achieving their aims)

So using that structure, Paul, what is the (unstated?)  premise of the game you are currently playing?  and does Matt's love interest character motivation fit into that premise?
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C. Edwards
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« Reply #46 on: March 07, 2011, 10:55:16 PM »

Is there something specific about the game that keeps the players from just having their characters pursue exactly the course of action they want to take? For example, if I were in Matt's shoes I'd probably point my character directly towards reuniting with Kaia. Any NPC that was handing out distractions without helping me reach that goal would probably get a pretty cold shoulder.

Matt, are you actually being that direct but getting caught up in the ever increasing branches of the setting tree that leads you farther from your goal?

Paul, from what you say the game sounds very sandbox-ish to me. But then Renee and Matt talk about story arcs and such. Is this just a big misunderstanding about the style of play the game is designed to accommodate?

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Alfryd
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Posts: 118


« Reply #47 on: March 08, 2011, 06:47:57 AM »

Your relationship with Khaia is the most dramatically powerful thing about your character. I think every player has been waiting on the resolution of that situation. If other NPCs are a distraction, my advice is to bypass them and pursue the things that are important to you.
I think part of the disconnect is that is that my character has "back-burnered" the Khaia situation while he tries to get his head together about how he's going to deal with it, but I as a player never intended to back-burner the story at all... ...I think your story arcs are interesting and pretty entertaining, but ultimately they rarely tie in with my character. They consistently focus on NPCs and quite consistently with NPCs that have no ties to the Khaia storyline. That leaves me in the situation that Ben mentioned where I either go with the story arcs placed before me or don't play.
This.  I mean, this is akin to the role of BITs in Burning Wheel- it's not just a way of defining your character's personality and motives, it's a signal to the GM about what the players want the story to be about.  The NPCs here should, at least a fair percentage of the time, be presenting dilemmas that centre around the players' interests as expressed through their characters' Positioning (I think that's the term anyway?)  The characters can't just go off and 'do their own thing', or pursue goals solely on their own initiative without GM involvement, because then they'd have to fabricate both impetus and adversity out of whole cloth- i.e, play with themselves.  And if GM involvement is needed, then it's the GM's responsibility to prime conflicts so they hit the PCs' emotional buttons.
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Matt Gwinn
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #48 on: March 08, 2011, 08:20:24 AM »

Is there something specific about the game that keeps the players from just having their characters pursue exactly the course of action they want to take?

Our characters are assigned positions of employment by the GM which we have no control over. You can change your job status, but doing so  requires a manipulation of the mechanics and the use of game resources and takes at least two scenes to get through the process. The the GM then  assigns you a new employer that may or may not be of any more use to you than the first one.
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #49 on: March 08, 2011, 11:23:58 AM »

Chris?

Paul, from what you say the game sounds very sandbox-ish to me. But then Renee and Matt talk about story arcs and such. Is this just a big misunderstanding about the style of play the game is designed to accommodate?

Yeah, it's sandbox-ish. It's a rich setting RPG aimed at longer term play with no authorial powers or overt out-of-character flag-setting powers granted to players. But it's sandbox-ish in the way that Gareth describes, promising the players impact on what the GM preps, and that the GM will prep stuff when character actions make it clear what the players are interested in, and not sandbox-ish by the unrealistic "go anywhere, do anything" definition from Ben.

At this point I'm thinking Matt and I have just been having a miscommunication. He played along with all the stuff I've been prepping, thinking it was important to me and trusting me to bring it back to what he cared about, and also because he knows I'm using this playtest to build out the setting a bit, even though he wanted to be pursuing his inevitability with Khaia. And I prepped and kept throwing out new stuff because to me it seemed like he'd back-burnered his interest in Khaia, and I was trying to find something that would hook him.

When Matt and Renee use phrases like "story arc," I think it's in keeping with the definition of character protagonism that I articulated earlier: the players create expectations of inevitable future events with their characters and then we play with the managing and releasing of tension about how and when.


Paul
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Renee
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #50 on: March 08, 2011, 02:24:28 PM »

Quote
When Matt and Renee use phrases like "story arc," I think it's in keeping with the definition of character protagonism that I articulated earlier: the players create expectations of inevitable future events with their characters and then we play with the managing and releasing of tension about how and when.

This is correct, in how I use it.

People should keep in mind that when we say "story arc", that that's not something we start out with, because the game literally does not allow for any flagging of any sort before play begins. Rather, you find an arc from among the stuff the GM throws at you. It's old-old school in that way and while I suspect some people may have a disconnect with that, I've found it really, really satisfying when communication is good and we (the GM and I) are hitting all the right notes.
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