The Saturday before last, I got a chance to play Hannibal of Carthage, the mighty chrono-vigilante, on a quest to negate tomorrow's dark dystopia. There were elephants, and everything.
Imagine you mixed time travel with the three stooges. You might get Socrates, Lenin and Hannibal on a mission to save the future. My favourite parts included Socrates convincing the hospital orderlies that Lenin was suffering a "rupturing of the three major humours," Hannibal riding his laser mounted war elephants in the far distant future, and Lenin using the Tarantula-esque Walker to destroy the city ("Lenin Smaaaaash!") just after he'd thrown JFK from the cockpit (had we somehow made a political statement?).
After Lenin was evaporated form time and Socrates was tricked by Stephen Hawking, it was up to Hannibal to save the day. It involved a boot, an uppercut, time delay explosives and a wink across time into the Jurassic age. The last shot was Hannibal materialising under the belly of a Apatosaurus with artillery shells peppered through his chest like cocktail sticks. Badabooooom! Cheeeeeese. Beautiful, tasty, fatty cheese. Yum.
We used the new Quick Framing rules, where players build the Frame by bidding their ideas with tokens.Joe had an idea for a Prologue: November 22nd 1963. The characters were sent back in time to kill the would-be destroyer of humanity, John F. Kennedy.The game plan went something lie this: Chrono-vigilantes running from the time cops. After assassinating J.F.K. we would have to steal his brain to overcome the ruthless dystopian future.
Musings: The Quick Framing rules work well. There's one guideline I love: there's no such thing as "no." You don't like a suggestion? No problem, suggest something else. Can't think of anything better? Then shut up. This kind of creative blocking is nasty. It stifles play. I think the Quick Framing rules monitor that pretty nicely.
In the revised rules, there is a Dealer who sets up a scene. He provides atmosphere (Backdrop), awards Story Pips if people are roleplaying well (Applause), and presents a Challenge (so players get to use the tower of dice mechanic).
Musings: Once again, Backdrops were confused with Challenges. That is, the Backdrop part (where the Dealer should present a scene without conflict) was being used to present conflict (the domain of a Challenge). Oops. Big time.
The Dealer rules are there to ease the creative pressure. Spotlighting one player as "controller" gives everyone else some room to stretch. During this session, I was able to chill out and and enjoy a great scene without the obligation of contribution. Sometimes it's nice to watch.
Prologue: 60s, time travel, JFK's assassination
Adversary: Time Cops
Gore Threshold: 4
Connection: Former time cops, now chrono-vigilantes!
Drop-Off: Grassy Knoll
Destination: Pleasant Island, Nuclear Testing Area
Checkpoints: Set off EMP bomb, Steal Kennedy's brain, Stow away on the test subject battle cruiser
Finale Missions: Steal Mecha-Kennedy's brain...again, Destroy the temporal Nexus, Escape to the land of dinosaurs
Playing time:2 1/2 hours. End Game:Finale. Survivors: None. Ruleset:1.05