The Forge Archives

General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: Per Fischer on August 24, 2005, 07:11:48 AM



Title: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Per Fischer on August 24, 2005, 07:11:48 AM
I mananaged to persuade a couple of friends to join me in a game of PTA. We play IRC due to the fact that I am based in the UK and they are in Denmark.

I think we all felt that PTA would rock, but that IRC mode could possibly kill it or at least make is less fun. We were all mighty surprised. IRC can be painfully slow, but it works, especially for brainstorming, and the sessions have so far left us on a high note.
Chills and goosebumps factor: Maximum.

The people

I more or less skipped roleplaying for a couple of years, partly due to disappointment with my games and GM experience (incl. use of Force to get a game going my way and other nasties). Then I bought Dust Devils and Sorcerer and never looked back. I am the Producer.

Peter has recently rediscovered roleplaying after, like myself, being fed up with it for a while and then suddenly stumbling on a Forge-related game. I have never played with Peter before. Peter owns Sorcerer and other Forge games.

Thomas agreed to enter the game on an “OK, I’ll do it because you ask” kind of basis. I have played a lot with Thomas, including my best game experiences. Thomas and Peter have also played together before. As the rest of us, Thomas is in a perpertual must…buy…Forge…games frenzy, except he hasn’t bought Sorcerer - yet.

Rune is Peter’s friend and they have played together a long time ago in a local roleplaying club. Rune has been reading Forge posts, especially regarding PTA, as I am the only one with the book at the moment. Rumour has that he has tried to play OTE, and he owns Sorcerer and Universalis.

Logistics
We play 3 hours in one session and try to complete an episode in that period, and once a week if possible. This post comprises to sessions, ie. 6 hours play, plus email correspondence where protagonists where fine-tuned.

The TV Show

The first session was dedicated to presenting the game and to come up with the show and characters. It went amazingly well, and we just instantly bounced ideas and jammed on each other’s input like mad. In IRC you can actually speak at the same time, but your input is still neatly presented one after another, which is a great tool for throwing ideas.

We ended on a show about a mysterious care home/former hotel far away on a small island where a bunch of pensioners are practising spiritism to talk to spirits and ghosts. The home and the show is called The Last Shore, and will be dark, cold and off beat in the best Scandinavian tradition. Think von Trier and Ibsen.

5 parts, no pilot.


The Protagonists

Gustav, aka “The baron”. Played by Thomas.
Veteran from the last world war. Slightly senile. Big moustache.

Screen presence 2 3 2 1 1

Issue:
Guilt. Based on an old, yet unknown, secret. Gustav has either fled himself or has been pushed away by his family. Haunted by his past.

Connections:
The big masseur. Also a bit of a DIY healer. A kind of physio therapist with added psychologi and a hint of magic on top.

The Kite Flyer. A strange islander. Middle-aged, polite.Probably lives in a house on the island, but sometimes drinks his morning coffee on the beach. Often seen flying kites, but rarely speaks to anyone.

Edge:
Outdoor person. Bird watching, photography, winter bathing, rambling, hunting.

Set:
The home’s old, now disused, turkish baths.


Henrik, accountant. Played by Rune.
Has been hired to clear out the finances of the home after the Head Mistress Mrs Samuelsen died. His mother died young on this very island.

Screen presence 1 1 2 3 2

Issue:
Control. Lack of willpower and self-assuredness to be able to control his own life like he would like. He is burdened with the death of his mother, a pointless job and a cancer that is eating him slowly.

Edges:
Number cruncher. Budgets, statistics, anaysis and everything that can be put into numbers. Brilliant maths skills. Solves sudokus to relaxe. Numbers comfort him.

Straight-faced. Facing a client, players at a poker table or telling a lie to his family. Whatever, Henrik controls his body language and is almost impossible to read.

Connections:
Martin. Old friend from university. Got a good job after graduating and has speculated on a couple of prestige projects. They see each other 3-4 times a year and keep in touch via phone or emails.

Set:
The accountant’s office at The Last Shore.


Elvira. Widow and spiritist medium. Played by Peter.

Screen presence 2 1 1 2 3

Issue:
Loss. Her life got empty when her husband Henry died many years ago. She hasn’t been able to overcome his death and the spiritism is a desperate attempt to contact him.

Edges:
Explorer/adventurer. Elira had a wild life when she was young. She travelled around the world and had to compete with fellow male travellers. Met Henry in USA. She can pick a lock, shoot a gun and is generally not holding back when faced with challenges.

Connections:
Henry, her dead husband. She talks to him and gets no answer.

The Fisherman. A strange, mumbling man who is often seen staring out over the ocean.


Episode 1: Ashes to Ashes


I set the starting scene where the former head, Mrs Samuelsen, was being laid to rest at the home’s own cemetary. In rain. Her daughter in law was there and accused the pensioners of killing her mother in law and stealing her money. First conflict was if she would disrupt the ceremony. She did and I won the narration and described how she suddenly ran forward causing the coffin to be dropped, bounce open and reveal its contents: beach stones wrapped in a blanket.

No idea where that came from, but it certainly worked and set out a great start to a great game.

Everyone chimed in. Everything was discussed, suggested and jammed upon. The general feeling of collaborately creating something (worthy, I should add) was overwhelming and I was completely wasted after 3 hours.

We got all the main characters introduced and conflict into all scenes, though conflict was what we struggled with the most. Especially getting the conflict to directly tie in with the protagonists’ issues.

In some scenes, though, it clicked. Elvira was trying to summon the spirit of Mrs Samuelsen, and it was close to working, except the tension got a bit much for some of the other pensioners at the seance, including protagonist Gustav. We had ectoplasma - perhaps - knocking sounds, stange voices and flickering candles. And maybe, just maybe, there was a real contact in a moment that could have been sliced with a knife.

Peter’s girlfriend was looking over his shoulder during that scene and he told me that she got sucked into it as well.

In another scene one supporting character was more or less controlled by all of us, taking turns describing her actions and dialogue. Thomas didn’t like that, Peter did, but we decided to have only one player controlling each character at a time to avoid confusion.

How can we press harder towards issue relevant conflicts?

Feel free to chime in, the rest of you, if I left something important out. This is my personal impression of the game.


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: David Bapst on August 24, 2005, 03:11:51 PM
Hey pfischer,

Great post. I've been talking with my friends about playing PTA this fall, and I think your post is another good example I'll have to send them the link for.

I'm very curious about something I've seen in PTA accounts, the way the story becomes very collaborative. I am, however, somewhat confused on how precisely this gets put into the SIS. I know PTA has the nifty narration mechanic, but I'm rather curious how other stuff, like off hand comments and "out of character" talk gets made into part of What's Happening (the SIS). Does no one authorize it? The producer? The whole group?

Related to that, I'd also love to hear about how the supporting character was controlled by all of you. I'd love details about that.

Thanks,
Dave


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Munkholt on August 24, 2005, 11:45:30 PM
I played Gustav. It was my first experience with RP via IRC, but I used to MUSH.

Collaborating in the scenes generally worked very seamlessly, even though all input came under our real name. Like so:

> Thomas: Gustav walks to the window.
> Thomas: Hey, that thing with the Traits ... can I use my Connection here?
> Thomas: Johannes slumps in his wheel chair.
> Thomas: I think we should start moving for conflict ....

Four different types of input (me playing my character, asking for rules clarification, playing a secondary character and commenting on the flow of the story), but it was actually surprinsingly clear to everyone what was going on. Once the scene was set and underway, most of the entries would be IC. At one point me and Peter tried putting OOC-talk into cursive, but it felt cumbersome and unnecessary.

If a main character was in a scene the player would focus on him/her. If not (or even then), you could still add descriptions, play minor roles, and everybody would suggest conflict. Authorization was generally in the form of "yay!", "cool!", "goosebumps!" or similar comments.

Now the specific scene that I had a problem with ... well, basically I just felt 4 players actively controlling one supporting character was too many chefs, and I think the character, Linda (the daughter-in-law from the opening scene) would have been stronger with one clear motive. As it was, I felt that I had to spend too much energy just aligning previous statements given by other players with my own "poses" for her. Even with one main controller, everybody could still have input without giving dialogue, through a description of her body language, something she notices, another person bringing her "that thing" they talked about etc.

It was great. And I even played with a slight fever.


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: pedyo on August 25, 2005, 12:40:31 AM
I played Elvira (think Mrs. Drusse from The Kingdom and you're pretty close).
The feeling that sticks with me is that Fan Mail is one of the greatest rules in a RPG ever - and I do mean that quite seriously. I can't think of just one single time that I've said to another player: "man, you rocked!". Fan mail makes for a great collaborative and positive atmosphere - and, the best part is: it affects the character rules-wise. That, my friends, is ingenius game design.

Fun was had - and the part about my girlfriend is absolutely correct. She waltzed around in the background, trying to read over my shoulder and when Elvira (perhaps) made contact with "the other side" at the seance, my girlfriend got the spooks :-)

/Peter


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Matt Wilson on August 25, 2005, 03:50:48 AM
Quote
First conflict was if she would disrupt the ceremony. She did and I won the narration and described how she suddenly ran forward causing the coffin to be dropped, bounce open and reveal its contents: beach stones wrapped in a blanket.

Wait, I'm confused. Which protagonist was in this conflict? Elvira?


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Per Fischer on August 25, 2005, 04:06:19 AM
Quote
First conflict was if she would disrupt the ceremony. She did and I won the narration and described how she suddenly ran forward causing the coffin to be dropped, bounce open and reveal its contents: beach stones wrapped in a blanket.

Wait, I'm confused. Which protagonist was in this conflict? Elvira?

Sorry, my mistake. Protagonist Elvira was in the conflict, but on the side that would like to keep the ceremony running without incident and she tried to calm the NPC Linda (who is "she" in the actual play quote above) who wanted to disrupt it. Does that make sense?

Per


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Rune on August 26, 2005, 12:24:42 AM
Hi all,

I played Henrik. First of all it's probably worth pointing out that I had a great time playing The Last Shore, and the problems we ran into did not mean that the evening was a waste at all. However, I do think that we can make our game even better by addressing the problems already pointed out.

The problem of "too many cooks" pulling a NPC in different directions can probably be solved fairly easily just by a bit more restaint on our part, and a bit more procedure with regard to how we hand out control of characters in scenes.
I don't think anyone were actively trying to pull characters in different directions, but the parrallel writing style and latency of IRC meant that we would at times fire off conflicting statements. Part of the problem was that you couldn't see that someone were in the process of writing a new statement about a character until they were done and sent it off. So, you'd start preparing your own statement too, and so on.

The problem of "not enough issues-focused conflicts", I think, is partly due to lack of experience on our part (this is definitely the case for me). This was the opening episode, and more of an ensemble episode than a character spotlight. Having said that, we probably need to get better at throwing really difficult/challenging situations at the characters, and focus less on setup/exposition. The next episode will be Gustav's spotlight episode, and I think that focus will aid us in constructing good conflicts.

- Rune


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Matt Wilson on August 26, 2005, 06:03:50 AM
Hey Vikinger! Hva' saa?

Jeg er altid glad for at have nogle dansker at gennemprove min spil.

When I was in Denmark (Frb) 10 years ago I actually roleplayed with both a Rune and a Peter.

Glad you guys had a good time.


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: pedyo on August 27, 2005, 07:28:12 AM
Hey Matt!
Næste gang du er i Danmark, så sig til og vi byder på vin, mad og rollespil!
Glæder mig til at læse PTA 2nd Ed...
/Peter
PS: next session is this coming Tuesday, so we'll have much more to tell by then...


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Munkholt on August 30, 2005, 03:32:09 PM
Episode 2: The German Connection

We had some rules clarifications which took up the first 20 minutes, but it was time well spend. I think we all felt better prepared, where as the first session had been more lose. Then we played 5 scenes (same as last time). This was Gustav's spotlight episode - an old man with a whole lot of secrets and guilt (my character, sorry for the bias).

*

Brief scene rundown:

Gustav on the shore. He has one foot in a dreamworld, where he is meeting a soldier blown to pieces, dying. Gustav is dressed in uniform, but it's hard to tell from which country. Gustav is looking for something, finds it: a gold cross. The soldier grabs hold of Gustav's hand, but he manages to jerk free and return to reality. He is empty-handed, no cross. But a man in black is observing the scene from the Shore Hotel.

A scene at the hotel. Physical therapy. A lot of old people being drilled by a pumped-up by a young PE-instructor. Gustav is grumpy, doesn't like it. The music is "Lili Marleen" - out of tune. Gustav makes a stand, grabs hold of the girl and leads her into a frenzied valse. It's almost violent. He storms out, leaving her on the floor.

Gustav returns to his room. Henrik (the accountant replacing Samuelsen, whom we buried in episode 1 (except the coffin was empty)) is there. He brings a package from Germany. It has been opened (probably by Samuelsen). There's also a letter - likely a will. Henrik wants to help open and read, but Gustav is making veiled threats. He manages to grab the package and push Henrik out the door.

Another senance. Spirits assail the room. Elvira has made contact. But with whom? Someone at the session is guessing it's her old teacher, but Gustav thinks it might be the same person who sent him the package. Elvira starts having a vision - bad stuff - concentration camp stuff; a girl with a cross of gold. Contact is broken.

Gustav and Elvira on the shore. The man in black is passing by, flying a kite. Elvira is trying to make Gustav talk about his past, but he turns the topic to her visions. She confronts him about them, but he denies everything: yes, he was a soldier in Germany, but a Danish citizen and never a part of the Endlösung. She asks about the cross in his drawer. He slaps her. She leaves. He breaks down.

*

Commentary:

This episode became extremely moody. For the best, I think, because it pushed our play, and we can always plays it down again (before the storm of a climax that I feel brewing!).

Rune commented that we have created our issues to be quite introvert, which makes it hard to bring them into play. I agree that has been the case, but I also think we're quite good at addressing these hurdles and will try to bring the issues more into the light. Issues could still be attacked more head on, but we've improved.

Control of secondary characters was addressed pre-play, and we didn't have that problem this time around.

For Gustav, this became all about the power of his secret. He might potentially be a Nazi war criminal. That potential gave him power, and three dice backed that up quite well. When we threw around ideas for our characters, one aspect of his issue ("Guilt") was actually "Haunted", and that was very much how it played out. I think the his character was well developed, but we're still bringing plot-elements into the mix, and at some point some of all this latent story should be "made real" for the characters.

So much is still up in the air: What happened to Samuelson's body? Is she even dead? Is her daughter-in-law right - have the old people killed Samuelson? Was is something to do with money? What about the spirits haunting the Shore? Does Elvira really speak to the dead? What about Gustav and the will, the cross and his WWII-past? and more ...

Gustav ended up striking another character, Elvira, and that made me think that he should be "relegated" to Screen Presence 1 (rather than 2 as planned) for the next episode, because otherwise I think his every appearance will be extremely loaded. We need to make room for some alternative interpretations.

We all wanted to insert just a little bit of light and humour into the scenes, and again I think IRC worked to our advantage: you could read the line and react to it/laugh out loud, all the while keeping the intensity of the scene and not reacting to it in-game.

... Yeah, this is really working out to be something special. Glad I joined the fun, and I've ordered my copy. :)


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: pedyo on August 30, 2005, 10:20:19 PM
It was, indeed, a moody and exciting episode from start to finish and we learned a great deal about Gustav that I think not even Munkholt (Gustav's player) knew beforehand. Very nice. Especially the scene with Henrik and Gustav in Gustav's room was pure genius - Rune (Henrik's player) requested the scene and described how Henrik was carrying a small package under his arm. That was just ripe with possibilities. The package was never opened and that leads to so many great potential scenes. Can't wait to see how that turns out.
It was really crunch time for Gustav and I did my best to support that and not run wild with some crazy idea. As Munkholt wrote, we had discussed focusing tighter on the issues at hand and we also talked about how this episode would fit into the whole series beforehand. That really made for a better focus - but, alas, I also felt that some of the jammy, free and loose atmosphere (that admittedly wasn't ONLY a good thing) from ep1 got lost somewhere. I felt a huge pressure in the first scene or two not to interfere too much - to the point of feeling a bit stifled, actually. It wasn't a huge problem - and the episode as a whole came out the better - but I think I'd like to discuss ways of taking part without stealing the other players' thunder and without muddying the play. I certainly felt that play over IRC was slower when we stayed more controlled.
We finally got the dice right and that made a huge difference - much more power behind a lot of actions and fan mail was spent on both sides - the culmination was, I think, when Munkholt rolled for Gustav but used 1 fan mail on the producer's side. Right now I dont' recall what the situation was - guys? We all wanted to know more about Gustav but we also wanted him to try his darned best to keep his secrets.
Finally, I think we could award even more fan mail - there were two scenes where no one got any and those were great scenes! I got the feeling that people forgot, actually.
Best
Peter


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Rune on August 30, 2005, 11:25:35 PM
I enjoyed the second episode very much. I liked the much tighter play, and I think it suited the quite serious theme of the character of Gustav. There was probably a bit of overcompensation wrt. the style and mood after the first episode, but I think that's only natural. With time, our "steering corrections" will get smaller, and when we end the show, we'll have it all down. ;)

About "jamming": getting some more recurring and memorable NPCs might help. The only time I really did from-the-hip improvisational play last night was when I controlled Ove (an obnoxious retired gymnastics-teacher). He probably also provided one of the few comic relief elements in the episode.

- Rune


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Munkholt on August 31, 2005, 12:08:52 AM
I certainly felt that play over IRC was slower when we stayed more controlled.

"Felt" being operative: we did shoot off the same amount of scenes, since we were less worried about cutting to the chase.

The only time I really did from-the-hip improvisational play last night was when I controlled Ove (an obnoxious retired gymnastics-teacher). He probably also provided one of the few comic relief elements in the episode.

Grrrr. Ove is going to have a little accident before the end, I think. *lol*


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: pedyo on August 31, 2005, 12:16:07 AM
I certainly felt that play over IRC was slower when we stayed more controlled.

"Felt" being operative: we did shoot off the same amount of scenes, since we were less worried about cutting to the chase.

True - but I really "felt" that we simply used less words, less sentences bouncing about. Now, that's both good and bad. Good, since we were able to focus better, bad (for me at least), since it tended to disrupt the flow - especially in the first scene.

I was very unsure how to strike the best balance between being "too pushy" and "too quiet". Playing over IRC means that every time you're quiet, you don't show your interest or your attention. I feared that you guys would think that I didn't take my share of the play - while I was also being very careful not to disturb the flow by introducing new elements.

/Peter


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Rune on August 31, 2005, 12:19:39 AM
Some pointless statistics of episode 2:

Scene 1: 20:15 - 20:47 = 32 minutes, 124 lines, 3.9 lpm
Scene 2: 20:52 - 21:14 = 22 minutes, 130 lines, 5.9 lpm
Scene 3: 21:29 - 21:50 = 21 minutes, 117 lines, 5.6 lpm
Scene 4: 22:00 - 22:30 = 30 minutes, 174 lines, 5.8 lpm
Scene 5: 22:39 - 23:04 = 25 minutes, 126 lines, 5.0 lpm

- Rune


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: pedyo on August 31, 2005, 12:26:07 AM
One fantastic feature of this episode was the way Gustav's connection "The Kite Man" was used symbolically. Could you elaborate on that, Munkholt? I think it's actually a very interesting little thing - including how it was used in the final conflict - dicewise (great word that).
/Peter


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Per Fischer on August 31, 2005, 12:43:49 AM
Great episode, as in: we created a great episode with lots of tense moments and good stuff galore. I was narrating at least two outcomes, and my fingers were covered in sweat, making them slide off the keyboard. The very second I rolled the credits I had no (as in zip, nada, zero) ideas about the first scene or what the episode's plot could involve. And this absence of me trying to outsmart or prethink the plot in any way actually opened the whole thing up.

We were all strictly directed by the fact that this was Gustav's key episode, and none of us wanted to screw it up or be too forceful on his own regarding the plot or Gustav's character. This tension slowed the intro scene down considerably but the thinking time was a good investment.

We, or rather I, are still struggling at some points. My brain is getting old, older than I like, and I seem unable to remember even the most simplistic rules, and then I read an old thread about PTA and get even more screwed.

But, conflicts. We seem to have quite a few conflicts between protagonists, and in at least one I as the Producer wasn't even rolling for the outcome. I am sure that's not intended - I am sure the conflict always has the Producer against a protagonist with others rolling Fan Mail if they want.

Per


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Rune on August 31, 2005, 12:57:55 AM
But, conflicts. We seem to have quite a few conflicts between protagonists, and in at least one I as the Producer wasn't even rolling for the outcome. I am sure that's not intended - I am sure the conflict always has the Producer against a protagonist with others rolling Fan Mail if they want.

I don't have the book, but this quote from Matt suggests that protagonist vs. protagonist is OK:

If your protag is in the conflict, then you roll screen presence, and you compare it to the producer.  If there's protag vs. protag conflict, you could also compare it to another player's roll.

- Rune


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Munkholt on September 03, 2005, 11:07:10 AM
One fantastic feature of this episode was the way Gustav's connection "The Kite Man" was used symbolically. Could you elaborate on that, Munkholt? I think it's actually a very interesting little thing - including how it was used in the final conflict - dicewise (great word that).
/Peter

I created him to begin with because I wanted someone to represent a slightly downplayed or symbolic element - Per used the Bergman-reference for the show, something like that. Since he was Gustav's Edge, he would likely have something to do with Gustav's issue, but I didn't decide on the particulars beforehand. If Per hadn't introduced him into the scene, I would have: this was Gustav's spotlight episode, and when we got to that last scene I still hadn't used any of his Edges yet - and if I wanted the Kite Man to feature in the series, this was the time to introduce him. Per, as Producer, gave control of him to Rune, but he had mainly provided mood when we got to the conflict:

Gustav was quarrelling with Elvira, Peter's character. He was still being secretive and hard, she wanted him to admit the supposed crimes of his past. Up until then I had taken the side of Gustav's violent desire for privacy, but for this conflict I switched sides, pushing for him to reveal the truth. That's when I brought in the Kite Man on my side, representing Gustav's guilty conscience that was prompting him to confess. Actually, there was a moment, where it looked like I had a too favourable advantage, and I thought, "arh, I should've had him be symbol of Gustav's dark side instead, in favour of repression," to even the odds and make the outcome less obvious. Nice thing about allegorical old men: they can mean whatever you want them to. Instead I placed Fan Mail against myself, and so did the other players, so it evened out nicely.

In the end, I lost, and Producer narrated. Gustav told some of the truth, but kept the important stuff hidden. Elvira urged him on, revealing that she knew that he was hiding something. He slapped her, and called her er "sow" (in German). And he broke down, wounds freshly opened. End of episode.


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Eynowd on September 05, 2005, 04:24:35 PM
Out of interest, are you guys capturing the logs of the IRC channels? If so, would it be possible for me to have a look at them please?

I picked up a copy of PTA at Gencon. I'm intrigued by the concept (it's very close to the sort of game I've been wanting to play/run for years). Unfortunately, I'm still struggling to wrap my brain around how the game plays out in practice, with respect to regular roleplaying vs the metagame aspect. A friend tried to explain it to me, but it's still not making a whole lot of sense. It just seems that there's something that I'm not getting.

I think that being able to see how an actual game played out would be a great help in clearing up my confusion.

cheers
Geoff


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: pedyo on September 05, 2005, 10:15:56 PM
Hi Geoff,
Well, in fact we are capturing the logs - but since it's in Danish you might have some trouble understanding it :-)
That being said, if you do a search for "PTA and IRC" you will find a few logs here on The Forge - and they've been instrumental in explaining the game to me.
Best
Peter
PS: I received my copy of PTA 2nd ed. yesterday! Yay! Funnily, my copy has a dedication to Luke????? So, Luke - if you're reading this: I have your copy of the game :D


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Eynowd on September 06, 2005, 03:53:12 PM
Hi Geoff,
Well, in fact we are capturing the logs - but since it's in Danish you might have some trouble understanding it :-)
That being said, if you do a search for "PTA and IRC" you will find a few logs here on The Forge - and they've been instrumental in explaining the game to me.

Ahhh, yes, Danish would in fact be something of a problem for me :)

I'll do the search though. Thanks for the heads up.

cheers
Geoff


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Rune on September 07, 2005, 05:45:42 AM
Episode 3: Samuelsen

By now, we knew the rules pretty well, and we were fairly used to the strengths and weaknesses of IRC too. We played 5 scenes again. The scene presence had originally been planned to be Gustav 2, Henrik 2, Elvira 1, but after discussing last week's episode, we decided to swap Elvira and Gustav around, to move him a bit more to the back after his intense spotlight episode. We had briefly discussed using this episode to set up Henrik's and Elvira's spotlight episodes, but on the game evening, we jumped right in with no planning of the episode.

*

Brief scene rundown:

In Henrik's office. After Samuelsen's disappearance, he's busy sorting out the hotel's business, meanwhile struggling with his illness. Weber, an attorney, is investigating Samuelsen's disappearance, his firm unwilling to pay out the life insurance sum until the matter is better explained. He revals that Samuelsen was a cover name, and that the considerable insurance sum is to be paid out to Elvira, the spiritist. The scene culminates with a power struggle between Henrik and Weber, won by Weber, who pushes Henrik aside, demotes him, and assumes control over the hotel and its affairs.

On the minigolf course. Most of the old people are enjoying a relaxed game of minigolf, but the tension between Gustav and Elvira leads to a mean-spirited competition, and harsh words are exchanged. With Weber watching from a hotel window, Elvira attempts to humiliate Gustav on the golf course, but fails in the end, and walks out.

In Henrik's new, smaller office. Henrik is on the phone to the hospital, on hold, stressed from the run-in with Weber. When he's finally put through to a doctor, there's no good news: even with chemotherapy, his chances of survival don't look good, and a heated discussion ensues. In the midst, his mobile phone starts ringing, and to top it all off Ove, the gym teacher, shows up. The room starts spinning, Henrik faints, and rumors of his illness start to spread through the hotel.

In a small sick ward. Henrik is in the bed, stable but weak. Elvira walks in - he has asked to see her. Henrik warns her of Weber, and advices her not to cooperate with him. He is also hoping he can get her to collect his briefcase and laptop - he's gathering ammunition to strike back at Weber. Elvira's supernatural talents kick in, and she senses Henrik's illness, and his looming death - as with her husband many years ago. Henrik, on the other hand, sees Elvira as his mother. The spell is broken as Weber walks in, threatening to reveal Henrik's illness to the board members.

On the beach. Elvira is taking an evening stroll, thinking of her husband, when she is approached by a local fisherman, a friend. He leads her to a shack where, he says cryptically, someone wants to say goodbye. Inside the shack, Elvira sees Samuelsen, who attempts to warn her of danger at the hotel. They are interrupted when the ghost of Elvira's husband appears, and begins to strangle Samuelsen. Confused and desperate, Elvira holds back her husband's ghost in an attempt to get the message from Samuelsen. In the end, the ghost disappears, and Samuelsen's body drops to the ground.

*

Commentary:

The episode started very slow, but picked up a lot of pace from the end of the first scene and until the start of the last one: the three middle scenes felt very tight.

We demonstrated a good range of conflicts this time, and made excellent scenes both with big stakes - Henrik's fall - and on a more intimate level as with the minigolf game. However, the conflict in the last scene, revolving around Elviras ability to control the spirits, felt forced to me, and I wonder if the episode would have felt better as a whole if we'd gone for a quieter last scene - perhaps skipping a conflict completely and savde the appearance of the husband for a later time.

The episode was less dark than last week. Henrik took some terrible blows, but it was exciting and the pacing worked well for the most part, and the minigolf scene was an excellent way of revisiting last week's theme without the subject becoming too heavy again.

We've definitely got enough plot threads and loose ends to keep us busy for the last two episodes of the season - both spotlight episodes! It's going to be a challenge to bring all the threads together.

Thomas had very little to do in this episode, as Gustav was only present in one scene. Was this boring? I'd like to hear what Thomas has to say on that point.

*

Statistics:

Scene 1: 20:05 - 20:43 = 38 minutes, 134 lines, 3.5 lpm, conflick talk 20:26 - 20:38 (31% of scene)
Scene 2: 20:50 - 21:18 = 28 minutes, 172 lines, 6.1 lpm, conflict talk 21:02 - 21:13 (39% of scene)
Scene 3: 21:23 - 21:47 = 24 minutes, 145 lines, 6.0 lpm, conflict talk 21:40 - 21:43 (13% of scene)
Scene 4: 22:04 - 22:34 = 30 minutes, 189 lines, 6.3 lpm, conflict talk 22:23 - 22:32 (30% of scene)
Scene 5: 22:36 - 23:19 = 43 minutes, 183 lines, 4.3 lpm, conflict talk 22:57 - 23:14 (40% of scene)

- Rune


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Matt Wilson on September 07, 2005, 02:56:08 PM

PS: I received my copy of PTA 2nd ed. yesterday! Yay! Funnily, my copy has a dedication to Luke????? So, Luke - if you're reading this: I have your copy of the game :D

How the heck did that happen? I shared a room with the BW gang at GenCon, and the copy Luke bought must have accidentally ended up back in the main box.

That means I got paid for it twice! Awesome!

Let that be a lesson for the rest of you. If you don't take good care of your books, I will resell them to people in Denmark who will appreciate them better.

Luke's replacement book is going to have an inscription to Peter in my very bad danish, and someday the two of you must meet and swap, to fulfill the prophecy.


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: pedyo on September 08, 2005, 04:31:09 AM
Not much to add about the third episode from my perspective. I think the miniature golf scene kicked so much ass - it was a very simple conflict, but it worked on so many levels and it felt wonderful to demean my own character. I really made her talk it up and then fail miserably. Great!
The scene with Henrik's phone-call was also great. A funny detail: I requested the scene and didn't actually think it was Henrik's new office, but just a small broom closet or whatever where he had gone in to talk privately on the phone. But there you go - more power to the imagination!
/Peter


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: pedyo on September 26, 2005, 04:03:54 AM
The Last Shore, episode 4:  Morituri te salutant

So, last Thursday was PTA-night and we continued the strange story of the care home The Last Shore.

Per, the producer started out by stating: ”I’d like to kill off Henrik”. Henrik Rask is Rune’s character and tonight’s spotlight. My initial reaction was ”What the fuck?!?” but Rune seemed to dig it so I went for it as well.

First scene, Per narrated how Weber, the EVIL guy trying to take control of The Last Shore, went to talk to Henrik – but Weber instead met the doctor who declared that Henrik was dead. Yikes! No conflict or nuthin’, just plain fuckin’ dead.

We discussed how to continue, and everyone agreed that flashbacks were the way to go

So, Rune requests the next scene – which is a scene with Henrik in bed, dying from his disease, Elvira tending to him and the doctor trying to convince Henrik to stay in bed. But Henrik has unfinished business and he wants to begin working again. So, that’s the conflict – and Rune wins. It turns out that there’s a latin quote (”Morituri te salutant/We who are about to die salute you”) on Henrik’s death date in the calendar that the old people gave him last time! Spooky business.

Next scene turned, well – real interesting. The old people had just finished dinner and Gustav (the maybe-nazi) and Henrik wanted to talk. Henrik knows Gustav’s secret (although we the players (and audience) don’t in that many details) and they wanted to make a trade-off. Henrik asked if Gustav could get him some poison (!) - and Gustav wanted to know everything about Elvira (”that busibody”) – and also wanted Henrik to forget all about what he saw in Gustav’s package way back in Episode 2 (I think). The conflict: did anyone overhear their conversation? Yup, someone sure did. The two men went up to Gustav’s room, Gustav opened a drawer – and there’s no poison there!! Then a voice says: ”Looking for this, Gustav?” – and Elvira’s standing in the doorway, poison flask in her hand!

Now was the time for ”my” scene – I requested a flashback to a seance with Elvira and Henrik trying to contact Henrik’s mother (who died right on this here island, probably from the same disease). I ask if we shouldn’t just cut to the actual  connection with the spirits, since I think we’ve had our fair share of longs intros to seances. So we do. ”Is there anyone there?” Elvira asks – Henrik joins her: ”Mom? Mom, I really miss you.” (goosebumps all around). ”Especially now.” A scary voice, more a drawn-out breath than a real voice, responds. Is it Henrik’s mom? She’s not alone, evil spirits are shouting, mocking Henrik and saying that they don’t want him or his family here  - implying that perhaps they had something to do with his mother’s death. I got to be the spirits and that was great fuckin’ fun – shouting and being obscene and plain ol’ evil. Conflict: who prevails, the evil spirits or Henrik’s mom? Rune wins, so His mother manages to subdue the evil spirits and she and Henrik share a real emotional moment.

Next scene was Gustav breaking into the office (now Weber’s) trying to  find something. Finally, behind a portrait of the late Mrs Samuelsen he discovers a secret safe. He opens it and at that moment, Weber enters the room. So, now we have a conflict – and it’s a real mind bender to me. The conflict is about guilt (Gustav’s Issue) and Thomas wins – so Gustav gets away. He clobbers Weber on the head with his flashlight and we cut. I’m still not sure I totally understand the conflict but it was a nice, atmospheric scene.

The final scene was Rune’s to request – and here it became clear why Henrik had wanted the poison: he wanted to kill himself. The conflict was if he had the guts to go through with it. Rune won (with the help of FM) and Henrik swallowed the poison, lay down and died.


This episode was great and entertaining and there was a tendency for everyone to really surprise and twist the plot around. There were a lot of times where I thought ”What the fuck was that?” after someone had just revealed something new. Henrik’s issue of control played a steady role in the episode, right to the very end, where he controls his life by killing himself instead of letting the disease eat him up. Strong stuff indeed.

Next episode is Elvira’s spotlight episode and we need to wrap up at least a few things. Thomas thinks that Elvira is ”the evil mastermind behind it all” – and perhaps she is. We’ll see after the final episode...

After next episode I’ll post some thoughts on PTA in general and on playing over IRC as well.

´Till then

/Peter


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Per Fischer on September 26, 2005, 06:04:29 AM
Killing off Henrik was a suggestion before actual play started, and at least Thomas and Rune immediately dug the idea. The way Rune built Henrik death, and  what happended immediately before it, into the episode's storyline was no les than brilliant.

What I had in mind was the possiblities that Henrik had faked his own death to get things rolling, and then would pop up TaDaaa later in the episode, but gee, things went their own way. The other

Great write-up, and yes, this was the episode of twists and turns.

Per


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Munkholt on September 26, 2005, 07:11:44 AM
The final scene was Rune’s to request – and here it became clear why Henrik had wanted the poison: he wanted to kill himself. The conflict was if he had the guts to go through with it. Rune won (with the help of FM) and Henrik swallowed the poison, lay down and died.
[snip]
Next episode is Elvira’s spotlight episode and we need to wrap up at least a few things. Thomas thinks that Elvira is ”the evil mastermind behind it all” – and perhaps she is. We’ll see after the final episode...

My own addition to Henrik's death was having Gustav wearing hunting fatigues and black boots, raising his right hand in a fascist salute, and saying, "Morituri te salutant! You are a braver man than me." Was he pulling a Gladiator, or did he just admit to being a nazi? The idea was to at least keep the possibility open that Elvira, the otherwise nice old lady, is behind everything. Also, the secret package held proof that Gustav was a draft dodger, possibly clearing him of any war criminal charges.

So many great twists came up, but it was actually mostly build on existing ideas, so we're ready for a big wrap next episode.

It felt like play went pretty smooth, and even though all scenes were complex, we managed to find time for 6 rather than the usual 5 scenes. Practice, I suppose, as well as being fired up.

Oh, and regarding that conflict with Weber: the way I saw it … the Issue was Guilt, as in Blame. Who gets to point the finger, thereby getting rid of some his own guilt. Gustav won, so the scene was played out as Weber being the bad guy, easing some of the preassure from Gustav. Had Gustav lost, he would have appeared guilty, and I could have had to incorporate that in his Issue. I agree it was a bit tricky, but I still think it worked.


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: pedyo on September 26, 2005, 07:20:25 AM
Forgot one plot point that I feel may turn out to be important in the final episode: Before his suicide, Henrik mailed incriminating documents on Gustav and others to Elvira, thereby setting up the question: what will elvira do with that information (and also: what documents are in the envelope?).
Can't wait - and at the same time I'm sorry that we have to say goodbye to The Last Shore.
/Peter


Title: Re: [PTA] The Last Shore
Post by: Munkholt on October 07, 2005, 10:41:45 AM
For easy reference, this show's actual play is wrapped up here (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=16991.0).

Sorry to bring up an old thread. Consider it closed.