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Independent Game Forums => Half Meme Press => Topic started by: Ola J. on August 28, 2003, 06:11:58 AM

Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Ola J. on August 28, 2003, 06:11:58 AM
[First post to the Forge - a bit nervous, actually, since the level of discusssion here seems to be pretty high - easily the highest signal to noise-ratio I've ever seen on any interenet forum - and I'm not sure I can achieve that level of elegance and clarity in my posts, english not being my mothers tongue]

 I bought "My Life With Master" only a few days ago, printed it out at university and got it cheaply bound at a printshop - first time I ever bought a PDF, and if they're all this good I'll certainly be buying more ;-) Kudos to Paul for writing a game that looks extremely good after the first couple of readings. I really can't wait to try this out, even though I'm not sure I'll be able to do that for some time yet.

My problem is understanding the "Horror Revealed" part. I understand the rule itself, but I don't really understand how it works in the game - in a thematically appropriate way, that is; any examples from litterature or film on this?  I've been reading through most or all of the actual play threads of MLwM here on the Forge, but there doesn't seem to be too many examples of it anywhere.

 The example from the book also confuses me a bit; how does Lewis raping his brothers wife come into play in a way that matters to the Master and the Minions?

 I'm pretty sure that I can come up with both "Captured" and "Overture" and all the other kinds of scenes on the fly, but I woudn't know how to make up a "Horror Revealed" one, and so can't expect my (potential) players (who most likely won't have read through the book, but will rely on me explaining it to them) to do so either. Is this one of those things that will become apparent once we sit down to game? Or is there some small but crucial element that I'm just not getting here?

 Any help on this would be greatly appreciated.

Ola J. Joergensen

Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Valamir on August 28, 2003, 07:17:10 AM
Greetings Ola.

The trick to understanding The Horror Revealed is right here:
how does Lewis raping his brothers wife come into play in a way that matters to the Master and the Minions?

Answer:  It doesn't.

If the game was a movie this would be a side scene that demonstrates how the overall "evilness" of the master is spilling over into the town by the mere presence of he and his minions.  Its sort of like the magical concept of contagion.  The more acts of depravity the minions committ, the more depraved the citizens become under the corrupting influence of the master.

Mechanically its a way of keeping the Minions Self Loathing stat from spiraling up to game breaking levels.  At some point the Minion will have gained so much Self Loathing that future gains in Self Loathing spill over into the community instead of increasing his stat further.

In actual game play, when I've seen it work, its been a pretty powerful tool.  A despicable act is described by the player.  But the player doesn't have the defense of "I'm just playing in character, so the depravity isn't really me, its my character and I'm just being true to my character"...because the character isn't involved.  It is pure gratuitous depravity narrated by the player simply because the rules called for the player to narrate something.  

But after the fact, when all of the players are sitting there staring out you, and you think "did I just come up with that...on my own?...sick"  that's when the true impact of the mechanic is felt.

Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Alan on August 28, 2003, 07:19:01 AM
Hi Ola,

Welcome to the Forge!

I think the key sentence from the rules is:

"It is as if the horrific psychological forces within the minion have overcome their containment and bled out into the environment."

The link is thematic, rather than real world.  The minion's actions don't cause the events in The Horror Revealed - they inspire them.  

Think of it this way: During The Horror Revealed, the town is possessed by the same evil that drives the minion.  This possession is (usually) an artistic device, not to be taken literally.  The player gets to paint pain upon the town.

I hope that helps.

Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Ola J. on August 28, 2003, 08:57:50 AM
Valamir, Alan - thanks.

 That makes a lot of sense - I was simply hung up on thinking that it should relate more directly to the Minions. Sounds like it could be a lot of fun in actual play - even though I'm still slightly uncertain how my players would react to it - very unfamiliar concept to them (as well as to me, obviously).

Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Alan on August 28, 2003, 09:07:02 AM
Hi Ola,

You might run a game of InSpectres first.  It's simpler and still demands that the players create in areas they're not used to.

Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Mike Holmes on August 28, 2003, 09:41:34 AM
Ola, welcome aboard. You'll have no problem here from what we've seen from you so far.

We just finished up with a game of MLwM last night (I got to kill the Master, yay!). One of the characters got into a Self-Loathing spiral early, and ended up causing no less than four (or was if five?) Horror Revealed's before the game was over. In the endgame, it took me several rounds to get the master, and so in the interim, this character was fightning off all sorts of attackers causing more and more nastiness. Before all was said and done, there were a couple of murders by a maniac (a connection, actually), lightning had struck and burnt down an orphanage, the townspeople had been attacked by wolves, and a rockslide had destroyed the university. Five, total I think counting up.

You know in gothic films when the villain laughs and lightning flashes? Or a tree falls on a house in town as the wind builds up? All the terrible things that happen that don't have any bearing on the plot? These things are quite in genre, and they do serve, as pointed out above, to deter players. After a couple of the HRs had gone off, the player in question changed his goal from trying to become the new master, to trying to redeem himself. Very cool in action.

So I can only recommend it as a nifty part of play. A lot of the game will make the players feel uncomfortable. That's very much a part of play. I find myself laughing a lot because of all the horrible things that the players are forced to come up with. It's what makes the game so damned entertaining.


Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Ola J. on August 28, 2003, 10:04:02 AM
Wow. The more I read about this game and the more I understand about how the rules work the more I really really want to play. It seems so incredibly beautiful, the rules underlining and reinforcing the theme of the game in a way I've never seen anywhere else.

 I'll check with a couple of my players and see if wh can set a day next week. Even if they'll ble flabbergasted by most of the concepts of this game - no Party, stat-less NPCs, overtly requesting scenes etc. etc. I'll just explain it carefully and see how it goes.

 I mentioned it to one of them yesterday, in fact, just mentioning Igor and Dr. Frankenstein as examples of a Minion and a Master. He didn't seem particularly impressed - perhaps the idea of playing someone who's not Powerful and Cool (or at least have the potential to be so) isn't appealing to him - coming from a somewhat Gamist angle?

 Oh, and thinking about dr. Frankenstein - the Monster could be a Minion, couldn't it? Perhaps that would appeal more to them...

 Thanks to all

 (Alan, InSpectres is on my list of games I intend to aquire at some point ... along with most (or all) of the others available on the Forge Bookshelf.)

Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Mike Holmes on August 28, 2003, 12:30:19 PM
The monster is the quintessential minion. The monster is his child, which the Master has created to show the world his egomanaical brilliance. The monster as minion makes overtures for love repeatedly, sometimes being accepted (the blind man), and sometimes being rejected (the girl). His "greater than" is inhuman strength, except when calmed by beauty. His "less than" is dumb as a box of rocks, except when thinking through something very carefully. Or somesuch.

Oh yes. In the game we played, the character that ended up causing the Horror Revealed repeatedly was a big dumb brute. Classic. A minion with a high Self-Loathing and low Weariness is an unstoppable killing machine.

I do think that your concern is warranted. If they're used to typical play, they might not get it. Make sure that they know what the rolls are and how all the mechanics work before play. Because that will really inform how things work. What'll really throw them is the idea of there being no resolution rolls for many things, and the scene based nature of the rolls.

But it's all possible to overcome. Good luck.


Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Paul Czege on August 29, 2003, 08:51:34 AM
Hey Ralph, Alan, Mike,

I just want to say thanks for your posts on this thread. You answered Ola's questions way better than I could have. Something I've struggled with since releasing the game at GenCon is my brain feeling strangely empty relative to My Life with Master. It's like I poured out all my thoughts into the game text, and now I can't shake any more droplets out no matter how hard I try. It's a bit frustrating, actually.

And Ola, one of my secondary design objectives was for My Life with Master to be a game that can actually hook into people like your friends and deliver a payload of unconventional play. And I've been real pleased to hear from folks that it's pretty successful in this regard. So if you guys fail to have any fun, I'll be somewhat surprised. I think if your group does a Master creation they'll be hooked.


Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Ola J. on August 29, 2003, 10:08:09 AM
I think they (and I) will have a ton of fun too, and I'll definetly try to set up a small sesion next week to do some Maser and Minion creation. I have pretty good players, but they're very new to the paper-and-pen roleplaying (I introduced them to it about a year ago) scene. Having played a lot of computer RPGs they tend to think in terms of numbers quite a lot, though, so it'll be a small challenge to make them think in a more story-oriented manner, and not being concerned with having the most Wounds or highest Weapon Skill or whatever (we play WFRP btw). I completely think they'll be up to it, though, an it'll probably enrich our "normal" roleplaying sessions quite a lot too.

 I'll post here or in Actual Play as soon as we've tried it, to let you know how it goes.

Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Valamir on August 29, 2003, 10:29:03 AM
You might want to start your creation session with a screening of a classic master minion movie just to set the mood and mind set.

Title: The Horror Revealed ... question
Post by: Bryant on August 29, 2003, 08:38:22 PM
After some actual play, which I will write up sometime this weekend or next week, I have some additional thoughts on The Horror Revealed. It seemed, intentionally or not, to serve as a release valve for players. I note that it's the single type of scene in which the GM is not encouraged to aggressively frame both the end and the beginning of the scene -- it's the point at which the player (as opposed to the Minion) is the most powerful.

And then that freedom and liberation is deliberately channeled into narrating a horrific scene. The player wants to use his narrative power, after having experienced a lot of narrative framing and mechanics which specifically mandate certain courses of action for the Minion, and he must use that power in one specific fashion. I can't think of a better way to encourage really nasty Horrors.