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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 197 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Ban NonDescriptive Relationship!  (Read 9603 times)
Doyce
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Posts: 442


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« Reply #15 on: January 12, 2005, 12:12:47 PM »

Quote from: Christopher Kubasik
This might seem obvious, but let's use the "Estranged from X."  For people like Mike and me, this seems obvious: we've got a situation that's waiting to be resolved.  But in the case of Doyce's game, the passive player with "Estrange from Father" on the character sheet is (as far as I can tell) drawing on the long standing RPG tradition of cutting all ties with anyone who might actually be emotionally engaging.


Two points, since I seemed to have inadvertently prompted this part of the thread:

a) The character in question actually has a pretty strong interaction with her father -- he's there, she's there, and they snipe at each other quite a bit -- a minor goal for her (for all that she doesn't have one, officially), is "annoy Dad".   In this case, 'estranged' actually does mean 'involved actively in a dysfunctional relationship'.

b) While it's possible for a passive player to write down their relationships in a "what they think about me" way ("Dad hates me.  Village distrusts me.") and then simply ignore such things when they come up -- a truly passive player can write them from the PC's POV ("I hate Dad, I distrust the villagers") and ignore them or fail to engage them in exactly the same way.  If they're gonna do it, they're gonna do it.

Finally, a clarification -- that particular player isn't really the problem in that game -- not the big one, anyway -- she's got some bad habits, but we've talked, and I've reassured my self that my instincts were right -- while the *character* is trying to turtle, the *player* is digging what's going on.

Christopher's comments on the other thread did, however, start some good conversations about updating relationships and making sure they were meaningful and non-bland, though, which is great.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1153


« Reply #16 on: January 12, 2005, 12:35:22 PM »

Hi Doyce,

Sorry I imposed so much on your player.

Nonetheless, the situations I describe, I believe still stand as possibilites.

I think the key point -- for me -- was a simple reiteration of the notion that every player approaches rules in their own fashion.  To assume that the HQ rules of relationships and traits are simply going to "work" because someone puts a number down on the character sheet is a tiny point compared to the bigger issue of how each player is "approaching" rpgs.

But, its sort of moot. I got a much better idea of how others are uses the relationship and trait attributes in their games in the last few posts and am much better informed for it.

Thanks all.

Christopher
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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
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Bankuei
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« Reply #17 on: January 12, 2005, 12:45:14 PM »

Hi Doyce,

As has been said, all these relationships can be produced into Bangs.  Also notice, though, that I said the narrator can't just change them, but can produce a conflict that changes the relationships.

A key point of the Well of Souls, and the way I play in general- is that all the subconflicts and nested problems are designed to conflict with one or more of each hero's relationships.  For me, this is the point of play with these sort of community based problems.  So, don't take someone's relationships, but feel free to produce in game conflicts that challenge the nature of the relationship.  The player will either try to augment and keep the relationship the way it is, or they will fold, and let it change.

So, if someone is estranged from their father, what if there is something that is going to change that?  For example, perhaps the father decides he wants to make up, and real fast("I'm deathly ill", or similar).  He might still be generally an ass to her, but at the same time, he might open the door for things to get fixed, perhaps only because of other influences(and link into other conflicts...).

Chris
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #18 on: January 12, 2005, 01:05:07 PM »

Once again, I'm of the "Club them over the head" school of thought here. Uh, like Chris says, if the character has an estranged father, then said individual shows up terminally ill. Heck torque that up a bit, and say he came to say his last goodby to his offspring, but finds that he's not going to have the strength to make it back. The hero is the last person family that he'll ever talk to. And the father, despite still holding a grudge, needs his offspring to take back his last words to the village.

The point is to provide the standard Bang quality to the situation here. I think I'm almost quoting Ron here when I say that the key to something being a Bang is that, even if they do walk away, even that is a thematic statement. Turtling, as Doyce is finding out, can be quite thematic for a character. It's player turtling that's the problem.

So, yeah, if dying dad shows up, and the character walks away. I dunno, gives me chills thinking about it. I mean, that's cold. And speaks volumes about the history of these characters. I mean, things had to have been really, really bad for a character to decide to walk on a dying father. It gives us a real insight into the character, and just how far he's willing to go to make a point.

Now, do you need to get that melodramatic to make a Bang stick? Hard to say. My method is to throw lots of less potent bangs at a character, and see what sticks best. Then you can go down that road.

I mean, with the Player in question in Doyce's game, it seems to me that she's exploring themes of family disharmony. Don't ruin that by having one character try and make up. Instead escallate it. Have the next exchange be the straw that breaks the camel's back, and have Dad actually physically assault the character. Or have him go off fuming, and concocting a plan, "I'll teach that impudent whelp!" In fact, see if you can get the player to raise their "Estranged from Father" (sounds like a flaw to me, I'd allow them to raise it for free). Tempt them to strike back.

Then when it reaches a crescendo, have mom show up. :-)

Mike
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Doyce
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« Reply #19 on: January 12, 2005, 01:45:41 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei
A key point of the Well of Souls, and the way I play in general- is that all the subconflicts and nested problems are designed to conflict with one or more of each hero's relationships.  For me, this is the point of play with these sort of community based problems.  


And I'm having a grand time with this in the current game, and looking forward to it in the "Xian Quan" version upcoming.

Example:

* Emilile is Guilbert's squire.  He's a difficult guy to take care of on the best of days.
* Serge, whom she despises, AND whom is nominally in charge of the barony's squires, informs her that if she WILL NOT be Guilbert's squire if he becomes Baron, but if she keeps him out of trouble until then, he will actually assign her to another knight instead of kicking her out on her ear.
* Colette, whom she likes, asks her to "let Guilbert distract himself in his usual style"; if he's a worse Baronial candidate, then more people are interested in 'fixing' Eustef.

There is virtually no way to make everyone happy.  More to the point, it makes Emilie decide between 'doing my duty' or 'doing what's right' -- not to mention defining what 'right' is for her.

I think it's telling that I've come up with similar 'rock and a hard place' situations for most of the PCs -- hasn't even been a stretch in most cases.

Except Eilwen. :)  Luckily, the player and I are working on that.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
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