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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 32 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [My Life With Master] Not so clear for us  (Read 1366 times)
czipeter
Member

Posts: 13


« on: April 26, 2012, 04:50:06 AM »

Hi there,

We finally tried this very much praised game. I held pretty high standards for it. Then during both reading and playing some pretty fundamental problems arose. (The same ones, I mean I have foreseen the holes in the procedure.)
In the session there were four of us. The GM and me had read the book before, he told us step-by-step what to do.
Actually we fantasized about the Master, made him kind of an architect (Brain, Teacher) who wants to make the perfect society. Living in an abandoned village he uses his Minions to bring more and more people from the nearby town (big village with a castle) to populate his village. He wants to show off to the landlord that his modern ideas are way better to live by. The 3 Minions became an intellectual authority one (a former teacher), a brute force one (an ugly-looking woodcutter) and a thievery type (a gypsy girl). They are atmospheric and that was (and is) enough for us. I think we followed the rules pretty closely and had a good time up to the point of starting the story, in the present of the game (not just inventing the history which is ok for this game to do by table agreement as I see it).
I practically spotted every fear of mine (based on one good reading of the book) arising while the group was fighting to make the scenes. We did make scenes, and some of them seemed ok, but I couldn't really get over the thought of 'This cannot be the game they talked about so lovingly.'
So how to frame / start / do a scene? How do we decide when to roll and if a More / Less than ... applies?
My best guess for a whole procedure: When the GM frames the scene (s)he has a goal in mind about what type of mechanic (s)he and the player will use (aka. what to roll). Then they fight a bit by fictional positioning and table agreement over if a Less than or a More than applies. When they are fine, they use the mechanic (rolling or not, dictated by the fiction made before). The GM narrates resolution based on the outcome of the mechanic (the points added and substracted). Too bad, if I am right, I don't see the 'When does a More / Less than ... apply?' question addressed.
So has this game a really full and clearly explained procedure? If yes, what's that?
Thank you for reading about my experience.
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My real name is Peter.
Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #1 on: April 26, 2012, 08:28:17 AM »

Hi Peter!

I am not sure I understood the problems you encountered, so maybe I am saying things that don't apply to your game. In this case simply let me know and I will correct my assumptions. My answer is based on some hypothesis on your game based on other actual play reports from other people, that maybe had similar problems.

The first thing I notice, is that the minion are "atmospheric"... but they don' do nothing... well...   EVIL!

Do they burn children's schools to scare the parents in moving to the new town? Do they kidnap people and then cut their ryes out and break their legs to avoid them getting out of the new town?

Why is the new town "better"? Do the Master take the children from the mothers to train them to be his "city militia"? Old people are killed to recycle them for spare organs or food? There are mandatory 16-hour/day work shift in the mines?

What did the Master force them to do in your game that made the PLAYERS really angry?

The game depends on the internal, HONEST, and VISCERAL loathing of the PLAYERS (not the characters) for the things that the Master force the Minions to do. If the players are enjoying the show, if they are playing some adolescent fantasy of a "children of the night"... they are playing the wrong game.

If you are playing the game well, during the game the players are hating YOU.  Maybe the minions don't, because they are convinced that the Master "really love them" or because they think they are monsters worse than him, but the players should jump from joy at the mere idea of getting to strangling you and feed you to the pigs.

I am using "you", not "the master", because you objective is to dissolve, during the game, the separation between the player's and the character's hate.  It's only at the end that you can join them in describing the atrocious end of the Master, "jumping ship" and joining them in the slaughter separating yourself from the Master.

Some techniques to getting these results are listed here: A Manifesto on Mastery: The Why and How of Making Minions Miserable

Then I see other problem:
Quote
in the present of the game (not just inventing the history which is ok for this game to do by table agreement as I see it).

No. Never, ever "invent the story by table agreement". Never pre-narrate what will happen, never discuss "what will happen". It's a a veritable engine of no fun that can suck the life and any fun from any forge game, not only from MLWM.  Never do it. Never. There is no gaming technique that can save your game if you do it.

Quote
My best guess for a whole procedure: When the GM frames the scene (s)he has a goal in mind about what type of mechanic (s)he and the player will use (aka. what to roll). Then they fight a bit by fictional positioning and table agreement over if a Less than or a More than applies. When they are fine, they use the mechanic (rolling or not, dictated by the fiction made before). The GM narrates resolution based on the outcome of the mechanic (the points added and substracted). Too bad, if I am right, I don't see the 'When does a More / Less than ... apply?' question addressed.

No, the Master should not have a goal in mind. Never force the story "before" playing it.

The rules about scene framing are on page 44 onward, and it's true that they are not really clear. They assume a basic knowledge of techniques used in other forge games, without really explaining them, as for example "scene framing".  But even without that knowledge, the meaning can be guessed by the words used ("frame a scene" ---> "describe a scene, as you see at the start of a scene in a movie" who is there and what they are doing, but no more than that - it's not "narrate a scene", you frame it as a... frame)

Remember the rules about the connection scenes (they are called by the players), go around the table framing a scene for every player in turn, and after you have framed  s scene ("you are at the bridge. It's dark. The noise of a carriage is heard from the road ahead of you, maybe a thousand yards from you. What do you do?") simply play it like you would play a dungeon room. Talking.

The kind of roll is NEVER decided before the scene. Even in connection scenes: you give the player the chance, but they are not forced to try the connection roll after all if they prefer to do something different during the scene.

The roll is decided by: "what are doing RIGHT NOW?". The Minion is attacked by a villager? OK, "what are you doing now?" . "ehm... I hit him with my axe" "OK, roll violence". "no, I try to convince him that his daughter was kidnapped by the judge, not by me" "OK, roll villainy", etc.

Use the rolls as you would use a "roll to hit": roll... when somebody try to hit!  Don't think about "deciding the next scene", but about "what is happening right now?". Don't think in terms of scene, think in terms of actions.

Read the "advice on having an enjoyable time with My Life with Master" posted for the Italian edition of the game: http://www.gentechegioca.it/smf/?topic=170

Then, if you need other informations, this is the list of thread I have found useful to better understand My Life with Master:
[My Life With Master] Radium power
[My Life with Master] Black ooze oozes forth
[My Life with Master] Hell and heresy 
[MLWM] My Easter With Master
My Life with Father
[My Life With Master] Lord Blackwell
My Life with My Life with Master
MLwM - Considering the Endgame
[MLwM] - The Horror Revealed
[MLWM] Advice for a one session game
[MLwM] Question on Commands and those Tricky, Tricky Minions
Question: Using More/Less-Than traits, and trying to avoid conflict
First time ST for My Life With Master: Advice?
[MLWM] Weariness; Why do I want it again?
[MLwM] Becoming the Master
First campaign: Resisting Master, etc
Self-Loathing and More Than Human
[Lab] Setting Premise?
MLwM scene construction Qs: how do player requests work?
When are the dice rolled? All things Narrative?
Being Captured & Sincerity
MLWM rules confusion: overtures and intimacy
MLwM mechanics thinkin'
When Endgame is Tardy
Play group size for MLwM
Captures- What do I aim for?
When Endgame crashes and burns
Accidental de-protagonization


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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
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