The Forge Archives

Independent Game Forums => Incarnadine Press => Topic started by: sirogit on July 30, 2008, 01:43:13 AM



Title: Scene-type Flexibility
Post by: sirogit on July 30, 2008, 01:43:13 AM
Hello,

Gearing up to run my first game of WGP on friday. I had a few questions about the flexibility of scene types:

1) When is the type of scene decided upon? Most of the examples of the book have this occurring before the scene is framed - Could it also occur after that? Say, we start of with the plan for an enrichment scene, but decide that a brief contact with a foe expands into an out and out brawl, would we say "That was going to be an Enrichment scene, but now its a Conflict Scene."

2) What happens if at the end of an Enrichment Scene, there's no obvious stakes? Theoretical example:

Rage man is pissed off that the police did nothing to stop the Sequined Samurai from cutting up half of city council. Player of Rage Man sets a scene of Rage Man bursting into the police department, ready to give them a stern talking to. He gives Player B a cop to portray. Player B's Cop explains that the department is still piecing itself back together after an attack by Awful Dog. The Player of Rage Man likes this and says that Rage Man has a turn of heart, and sheepishly makes to leave the police department without giving them further grief.

In such a scene, it doesn't seem like there's anything that Rage Man obviously 'Wants' out of the scene at that point. What should the GM do? Ask for revision of the scene till there's stakes? Skip stakes-setting and note it as an example of needing more conflict? Tell people not to remove sources of conflict till the end of the scene? Make sure scenes have stronger impetuses for conflict?


Title: Re: Scene-type Flexibility
Post by: Kai_lord on July 31, 2008, 07:44:24 AM
On 2, I'd say you have two options, one - no conflict = no scene, just a bit of fluff narration. But your example, it seems pretty clear what Rage Man wants out of that scene - he wants the police department to admit that they should have helped out with the Sequined Samurai, and he's clearly lost those stakes - sounds like a good scene to prime or stress Rage Man's Anger Management aspect. ^_^


Title: Re: Scene-type Flexibility
Post by: James_Nostack on August 22, 2008, 02:47:24 PM
As a meta-comment about Forge designs in general, I think these sorts of games have conditioned us to seeing every scene in terms of conflicts and fiddling with mechanics.

I'm all in favor of scenes being about something--instead of the meandering "what's your guy doing now?" sort of thing that characterized a lot of my trad play--but I think it's a handy thing to just watch the characters sometimes, without mercilessly hammering things toward a conflict.  These sorts of scenes can deliver exposition, establish mood, or highlight little quirks that build the audience's enjoyment of a character.  In Sorcerer these are "bobs," but I don't see them too often in other games.


Title: Re: Scene-type Flexibility
Post by: scottdunphy on August 23, 2008, 02:06:58 PM
1) When is the type of scene decided upon? Most of the examples of the book have this occurring before the scene is framed - Could it also occur after that? Say, we start of with the plan for an enrichment scene, but decide that a brief contact with a foe expands into an out and out brawl, would we say "That was going to be an Enrichment scene, but now its a Conflict Scene."

I think the by-the-book answer is that you finish the enrichment scene fast and immediately you pick a fight - still at the same location and only seconds later. I'd suggest making the conflict in the enrichment scene about something other than kicking the bad guy's ass though.


Title: Re: Scene-type Flexibility
Post by: Michael S. Miller on August 24, 2008, 04:45:13 AM
1) When is the type of scene decided upon? Most of the examples of the book have this occurring before the scene is framed - Could it also occur after that? Say, we start of with the plan for an enrichment scene, but decide that a brief contact with a foe expands into an out and out brawl, would we say "That was going to be an Enrichment scene, but now its a Conflict Scene."

Kat and I normally decide on scenetype and Stakes very early in playing out a scene. The usual steps are:
1) decide on Aspect(s) featured
2) change Suffering of those Aspects(s)
3) set the scene and cast supporting roles (Where and when is this happening? Who's playing which characters? What's those characters motivations?)
4) declare Stakes and CounterStakes. Write them on Synopsis Sheet.
5) roleplay out the scene until it becomes clear that the Stakes must be decided before any further roleplay can occur
6) choose cards and reveal. Check off Stakes on Synopsis Sheet.
7) roleplay out the remainder the scene to show how the things resolve.

When we're not quite sure what characters want, we will occasionally switch the order of steps 4 and 5, but that's really the exception, rather than the rule.

Of course, nothing in the game is going to break if you thought you were about to have an Enrichment Scene and decide you want to make it a conflict instead, particularly if you haven't set Stakes yet. If you have set Stakes already, then just finish the Enrichment quickly and start a Conflict scene immediately after. It's like turning the page in a comic and seeing a full-page panel of one friend punching another.

Quote
2) What happens if at the end of an Enrichment Scene, there's no obvious stakes?

In your example, it's not the GM's job* to criticize Player B for undercutting the conflict in Rage Man's scene. It's the job of RageMan's player to give Player B motivation when handing him the cop to play. Check out page 39 in the book. It should go like this: "Hey, Bob, will you play the cop that's stonewalling me and won't even let me talk to the comissioner without an appointmenr?" rather than "Hey, Bob, will you play the cop?"

RageMan's Stakes should be "If I win the scene, the commissioner admits to dropping the ball, and offers to deputize me" or something like that. The whole reason the unnamed police officer, or even the commissioner, is present in the scene at all, is to provide opposition to RageMan. If they fold like a card table, they're not doing their job.**

I think if you play out a few scenes using the structure above (slightly refined from the book, I know), your group will learn how to focus their scenes more directly on meaningful, interesting conflicts. Particularly if your group has a background of "What do you do next?" play, as James mentioned above, this strict regimen will feel uncomfortable at first, like stretching muscles you'd forgotten you even had. But the results of limbering up are well worth it.

*-If the GM also happens to be the person teaching the game--as is often the case--then it is her responsibility as teacher to point out to players when they're missing opportunities for conflict. But more as a coach, and less like a traditional GM.

**-All this is not to say that the other players must be simply mouthpieces for the active player's whims. However, any sort of discussion like that should happen while the scene is being framed and Stakes are being set. Something like Bob saying "I thought it might be more interesting if the cops tried to lay a guilt-trip on RageMan, distract him from their own mistakes with the city council, by throwing the Awful Dog fiasco in his face." would be spot-on.