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Author Topic: Universalis - as yet unnamed story  (Read 3076 times)
Nev the Deranged
Member

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« on: January 10, 2005, 09:57:50 PM »

So I finally wrangled my friend Shannon into playing Uni again. I'd hoped for a third player but none was available, so I was like "screw it- we're playing something tonight!".

 So this is what we did.

1.0 TENETS:
 1.1 Nev's Story Rule: This Story is Not Silly.
 1.2 Set in early 70's rural America.
 1.3 Mutants!
 1.4 Mutation is caused by resurgence of recessive inhuman ancestry.
 1.5 Mutants have psychic powers.
 1.6 Hellfire & Brimstone church.
 1.7 Mutants are kept secret by tacit agreement.
 1.8 Church rhetoric holds that mutants are demonic.
 1.9 Church is run by a Preacher... who is himself a mutant.
 1.10 All of the mutants were fathered by the Preacher.
 
2.0 RULES
 2.1 Existing Fact Rule: Any existing Fact may be added to a Master Component for free. The MC itself must be paid for, in addition to any new traits.
 2.2 Tenet Translation Rule: Any Fact, Component, or Component Trait specified by a Tenet is created as such and considered paid for by the cost of the Tenet.
(this may already be how it's meant to work but we were unsure so I just made it a rule).
 2.3 Shannon's Trait Inheritance Rule: Any individual Components defined as having been separated from a previously defined Group automatically inherit all Traits of that Group.
(again, this could probably have been covered by some reworking a la Master Components or some such, but it seemed the most expedient path at the time. feel free to make suggestions).
 2.4 Fan Mail Rule (courtesy of PTA): If someone describes something particularly cool, you may give them a coin from your stash.

3.0 MASTER COMPONENTS
 3.1 Mutant (xref 1.3)
  3.1.1 Throwback to Inhuman Lineage (xr 1.4)
  3.1.2 Psychic Powers (xr 1.5)
  3.1.3 Children of Preacher (xr 1.10, 4.1.4)

4.0 COMPONENTS
 4.1 Preacher (role)
  4.1.1 Name: Prometheus Burns
  4.1.2 Goes by "Father Theo"
  4.1.3 Mutant (xr MC 3.1)
  4.1.4 Father of all the other mutants (xr 1.10, 3.1.3)
  4.1.5 Mutation is that his body is flawless- no blemishes, contusions, or irregularities of any kind. His head is smooth as a cueball, a phrenologist's dream.

 4.2 Katharine Meadows
  4.2.1 Housewife

 4.3 Group of Boys
  4.3.1 Adolescents

 4.4 Ryan Talbot
  4.4.1 Adolescent (inherited from 4.2.1)

 4.5 Doug
  4.4.1 Adolescent (inherited from 4.2.1)
  4.4.2 Mutant (xr MC 3.1)
  4.4.3 Mutation is patches of scales on his lower abdomen.
  4.4.4 Devout
  4.4.5 Wound on forehead from rock (Scene 2.11)
  4.4.6 Unconscious (Scene 2.13)

 4.6 Owner of shadow/voice from end of Scene 2

SCENE 1 (Nev)
Setting: Bedroom of a home. "Katharine's Bedroom"
Time: Early Afternoon
Present:
1) Preacher (4.1)
 a) sitting on the edge of the bed
2) Katharine (4.2)
 a) sitting in the bed, covers pulled up under her armpits.
Action:
1) Preacher is putting on his boots.
2) Katharine lights a cigarette, leans back into the pillow with a satisfied sigh.
3) Preacher speaks, without looking at her: "Partaking of the devil's weed is a mortal sin."
4) Kate replies with a snort of amusement: "Oh, you have a lot of room to talk, mister adulterer." she favors him with a sidelong glance and takes another puff.
5) Preacher retorts angrily: "Blasphemy! I am on the Lord's errand!"
6) Kate immediately begins to cough violently. She can't seem to stop.
7) Preacher finishes lacing his boot, stands, and EXITS.
8) As Preacher leaves the room, Kate immediately stops coughing and gasps for breath.
9) Focus on blood specks on the sheets in front of Kate as her breath rasps.
SCENE 1 ENDS

SCENE 2 (Shannon)
Setting: Bend in the river with a small waterfall. "Swimming Hole"
Time: Hot Summer Afternoon
Present:
1) Group of Boys (4.3)
2) Ryan Talbot (4.4)
3) Doug (4.5)
Action:
1) Ryan shoves Doug to the ground.
2) Ryan speaks: "You're of the devil!"
3) Doug, not moving from the ground, replies: "My momma says God loves everyone. Even you, Ryan Talbot!"
4) Boys laugh derisively "Aww, your momma says"
5) Ryan picks up a large rock in one hand and raises it menacingly.
6) Doug does not flinch or move.
7) Making eye contact with Ryan, Doug says calmly "God won't let you hurt me."
8) Ryan scoffs "God doesn't love you. Your daddy is the devil and your momma is the whore of Babylon. You go back to hell with your daddy!"
9) Ryan throws the rock.

COMPLICATION 1: Will Ryan hit Doug with the rock?
YES: Ryan (named), Rock = Total of 2 dice
NO: Doug (named), Psychic Powers =  Total of 2 dice
RESULT: YES

Action Continues:
10) The rock dashes against Doug's head with a soft thud, (11) drawing blood (+4.4.5) and (12) knocking Doug onto his back.
13) Doug is unconscious. (+4.4.6)
14) One of Boys calls out: "Did you kill him?"
15) Ryan grins maliciously and replies: "Not yet."
16) Ryan starts to drag Doug's unconscious form toward the water.
17) The Boys join in.
18) Focus on the sunlit backs of the Boys gathered around Doug and Ryan who is about to push him into the water.
19) A shadow falls across the group.
20) A voice speaks: "Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord."
END SCENE 2

COINS:
Shannon 20
Nev 17

 questions, comments, suggestions (esp. for a name for the story), anything?

 I hope to continue this story later in the week. I want to get at least 2 sessions in just to prove it can be done, lol.

ps. really REALLY looking forward to the new edition of Uni!!
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Nev the Deranged
Member

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« Reply #1 on: January 11, 2005, 04:46:00 AM »

I meant to mention a couple things. One, some of my (fairly obvious) influences for this story include:

 Carnivale (the new season kicked off with quite a bang!)
 Freaks of the Heartland (great comic from Dark Horse IIRC)
 American Gothic (did anybody besides me ever watch this show?)
 The Tales of Alvin Maker (Orson Scott Card's lesser known work)
 Midnight, Inc. (another excellent comic)
 The Devil's Footprints (another comic, with Lovecraftian leanings)

 Partly in spite of the pretty direct homage to some of these sources, I engaged in conscious and deliberate pastiche avoidance where I could, most obviously when I did not have Doug's psychic powes manifest and do something particularly nasty to Ryan, which we both saw coming from a mile away. I have some vague ideas that Doug never uses his abilities, as his mother has told him they are against God's will, and therefore when they finally do break loose (after much more provocation than is typically necessary in this kind of story) they will be both far more powerful and far less controllable than anyone in prepared for. On the other hand, if that's true, why did he say "God won't let you hurt me", which seems to imply some history of "divine intervention" on Doug's behalf in moments of crisis. So, I decided not to peg anything down with Facts and just see what happens. The more I play Uni the more I realize that although I like my ideas, it's often more fun to hold back a bit and let the other players contribute without too much interference until I really feel something is important.

 Also, I apologize if the scene descriptions are cluttered, I format them that way for easy reference during continued play, hence all the numbers and line spacings and such.
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ScottM
Member

Posts: 221

Fresno, California


WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2005, 11:48:13 AM »

I like the story so far; the setup seems to have contributed to a strong mood that's consistant.  Do you plan on bringing other people in later (to get your 3+), or will the two of you continue the story together?

Did either of you ever use the PTA inspired coin donation?

Here's a story name contibution: Preacher's Brood.

Hope you get your second session.
--Scott
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Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2005, 02:37:22 PM »

I misread Scott's good suggestion, which gives me another for the title: Preacher's Blood. Blood as in family, and as in genetic flow, etc.

I like your fan mail gimmick. There have been lots of "loan" gimmicks, but I like the simplicity of this one, and the drive it likely creates.

Fun, fun. Needs lots more play. I agree that likely Doug doesn't use his powers. Which means that Shannon will likely have him use them first chance she gets next game. ;-)

Either way, good theme coming, I think.

Mike
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Nev the Deranged
Member

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2005, 09:12:42 PM »

Woohoo! Wrangled a second session. Only 2 more scenes, but still, it's progress, right?

 Whereas before I typed up my session log and posted it, this time I have already added to my logfile, so I can just relate what happened in hopefully less cluttered fashion. Should be more engaging if it's easier to read, I'm thinking.

So here goes:

UNIVERSALIS - Still Unnamed Story, Session 2

First I decided to add a Tenet that came to me while at work:
* The mutants are like tadpoles.

Shannon was reluctant to ratify this without knowing exactly what it meant, but I convinced her it was cooler to leave it up in the air. I think it's neat to have something that's unavoidably important but doesn't need to be addressed immediately, something to keep in the back of our heads while we play.

We also added a bunch of new Rules, which I will detail when I run across them (working from the notes rather than my log which is not in play-order).

SCENE 3 (Shannon)
Time: Night
Setting: A large wooden storage barn, with bales of straw and farm equipment.

Farmer Daniel Thompkins stands in open in the middle of the barn. He is looking disheveled, and reeks of moonshine, of which there is a half full jug on a nearby bale. He is digging a hole in the center of the barn's dirt floor with a shovel. As he digs, his wife, Martha, comes to the door of the barn behind him. She carries a small bundle in her arms, and she looks at it sadly.
"Is it deep enough yet?" she asks.
Without looking over his shoulder, Daniel replies " I don't reckon it'll ever be deep enough, Martha."
She looks hurt. "Daniel, don't be like that. It's our son." she looks down at the bundle plaintively. Daniel sighs and continues digging. Shortly, he stops and throws the shovel down carelessly. He steps over to the moonshine and takes a long pull as Martha walks over. She hands him the bundle, which he places in the hole.
As he lays it down, a corner of the blanket comes free, and we see a face- the face of a weathered, plastic baby doll. One of it's "winking" eyes stares out blindly, the other is missing.
Focus on the doll in the hole as shovelfuls of dirt fall atop it.
(here I considered the cheesy "looking out of the hole-cam", but decided it was too cliche)
SCENE 3 ENDS

During the above scene we decided on some new rules to facilitate play:
Free Character Activation Rule: If you control a character in a scene you do not control, you may pay to give them an action without paying to Interrupt first.
Refresh Boost Rule: If a scene ends and a player has zero coins, refresh for that round is increased to 10 for everyone.

During the next scene, we decided that Scene 2 was actually a flash-forward, which we could keep returning to and maybe showing a bit more of each time... something that all these other scenes would lead up to. We also added the Free Dialogue Rule:You don't have to pay for dialogue for a character you control. (another rule that might be recapitulation of the defaults, but oh well).

SCENE 4 (Nev)
Time: Evening
Setting: The Meadows' Family Dining Room

Katharine, John, and John Jr. are eating dinner. Around a mouthful of mashed potatoes, John Sr. addresses his wife:
"Dickie Evans says the Preacher stopped by here today." He takes another bite and is about to go on when John Jr. pipes up:
"Daddy, does the devil have children?" Kate looks aghast at him and then at her husband.
"Why, John Junior, what ever possessed you to ask such a question?" she exclaims. Still wolfing his food down, the boy answers conversationally:
"Ryan Talbot says Doug Hickman's daddy is the devil, 'cause he gots scales on his belly like a snake." Kate looks at her husband, too shocked to reply.
John turns to his son, punctuating each sentence with the end of his fork:
"It's 'cause of sin, boy. The sins of the fathers are visited on the children for seven generations. Says so in the Bible." He nods and continues eating as if that's settled.
Kate looks troubled. "Now, John, he's too young to hear that sort of talk."
John scoffs: "I don't think he is. Shoot, when I was his age, my pappy read the Good Book to all seven of us for an hour every night before bed. You're never too young to hear the Word of the Lord."
Kate admonishes "Well it ain't polite to talk bad about other people."
John nods and looks at his son. "Your mother's right about that, son. Gossip's a sin, too."
John Jr. looks suitably dejected as he finishes his supper. His father shoos him off.
"Now go on and rinse your plate, boy. There's chores to be done yet."
John Jr. gets up and takes his plate into the kitchen. His parents exchange a look across the table for a moment, then finish their meal in silence.
SCENE 4 ENDS

we cut scene 4 a little short because we were starting to burn out. I think it could use some more finishing touches, but Shannon was lagging and needed to get home. We may finish it if we play again or we may just launch into scene 5.

We are both almost out of coins, so we need some CONFLICTS in the next couple scenes for sure!!

I'm leaning toward the name "Tadpoles", but I don't think she'll go for it. I'd also like to entice a third player, but nobody has been interested so far.

And that's that until next time ^_^

oh yeah, no, we didn't use the Fan Mail gimmick yet, for one we didn't have many coins left over and two we were just tired and not entirely on our toes.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: January 13, 2005, 08:53:01 AM »

Quote from: Nev the Deranged
First I decided to add a Tenet that came to me while at work:
* The mutants are like tadpoles.

Shannon was reluctant to ratify this without knowing exactly what it meant, but I convinced her it was cooler to leave it up in the air. I think it's neat to have something that's unavoidably important but doesn't need to be addressed immediately, something to keep in the back of our heads while we play.
I agree that leaving things undefined can be fun. But it's also sorta "risky." That is, I've seen lots of tenets just get left out of play entirely - and ones a lot more concrete than this. For example, someone might propose a whole race of people in the tenet phase, and then they never even make it into play at all.

Because nobody has any vested interest in seeing that elements introduced as Tenets get into play. They only have to worry that they're not violating a tennet somehow. So genre tenets always work. Because they're so overarching that they touch on everything, and inform all introductions. "This story is not silly" can inform players, but if they didn't intend to be silly at all to start, then it's also a waste. "Mutation is caused by a resurgence of recessive inhuman ancestry" is a classic example of a tenet that may have no effect on play at all. If nobody bothers to have a "discovery" scene, or somesuch, then the fact will not come out. These thigns are better left created as facts in play. Because then they are a part of play. Yes, with a tenet, you get the fact in "early." But if it's important to you, you can even get it in in the first scene if you like. And then it's expository, and adds to the story.

I'll stop short of saying that this is "bad" play. But it's play that one should think about.

Now, a character like The Preacher, OTOH, is so central in his presentation (father of all mutants), that it's hard to imagine that he'd be a waste. The point is that you have to think in terms of what's going to be compelling in terms of play to get the most milage out of your tenet coins. If you think you have one, but aren't sure that it's compelling, save it for an appropriate point in play to establish. That's my advice.

Now, again, with the tadpole thing...I think you're making a challenge out of putting something strange out there as bait for someone to grab and further define. So this sort of thing can work from that POV. But it can also fizzle just as likely.

Quote
Free Character Activation Rule: If you control a character in a scene you do not control, you may pay to give them an action without paying to Interrupt first.
Hmm. So if it's not your turn, but you control any character present in the scene, and want them to do something, then you can interrupt essentially for free, the only cost being the cost of the action? Do I have that right?

Well, the problem with this is that, given two players who have characters who want to do something simultaneously, who gets to go first? Does it then become an interrupt auction? Or does the player who interrupted simply get to do one thing before being interrupted themselves? In which case you'd always want to be the interruptor. Hmm.

Quote
Refresh Boost Rule: If a scene ends and a player has zero coins, refresh for that round is increased to 10 for everyone.
Hmm. Incentivizes spending those last 4 Coins or so in any scene where you get that low. With the only "downside" being that you're giving 5 more Coins to everyone else. I think you'd see that behavior. Which is not neccessarily a bad thing. It just might be a tad artificial at times - you're creating a use 'em or lose 'em situation. And 10 may be enough to get through the next scene without conflict. IOW, you may be making the game possible without complications. A ramification you'll have to examine yourself. If it seems to you that the game drives too many complications, then consider that you may not be looking at small scale conflicts as potentially cool complications.

OTOH, it just may be that you're looking at a particular pace you want, in which case, great. Have you considered the "normal" solution to pacing here which is simply to give a larger refresh automatically?

Also, there's one other way to affect Coin expenditure pace, which is to pay for less stuff. That is, simply start to aglomerate more statements, and declare more stuff color. Put another way, are you paying for things that just aren't important? If so, consider spending less.

Quote
During the next scene, we decided that Scene 2 was actually a flash-forward, which we could keep returning to and maybe showing a bit more of each time... something that all these other scenes would lead up to.
In one game we played, the first scene was a flash forward, and all subsequent play was about trying to explain why the events of scene 1 occured. This sort of thing can be really interesting. Have fun with it.

Quote
We also added the Free Dialogue Rule:You don't have to pay for dialogue for a character you control. (another rule that might be recapitulation of the defaults, but oh well).
Not precisey a recapitulaton. Dialog does cost under the normal rules, just like any other action. The question, again, is what dialog is color, and what not? You can often get away without paying for dialog without having a rule for it. I mean, if I start off, "Nice weather we're having" this is small talk, and doesn't really establish anything that would be problematic if contradicted.

From another POV, since the mechanical use of a fact is that it has extra weight in a challenge, only pay for things you think you would want to defend, should they get contradicted. This is an extreme viewpoint, but it illustrates just how far you can take the idea.

Traits, of course, have their own value.

Quote
we cut scene 4 a little short because we were starting to burn out. I think it could use some more finishing touches, but Shannon was lagging and needed to get home. We may finish it if we play again or we may just launch into scene 5.
As usual, returning to a scene costs nothing. So that option is open mechanically. You still bid for scene as normal, however. The winner simply gets to decide if they want to reopen the scene for free (though they must still bid the Coins they committed).

Quote
oh yeah, no, we didn't use the Fan Mail gimmick yet, for one we didn't have many coins left over and two we were just tired and not entirely on our toes.
One problem that mechanics like the one you're working with here have is that there's no "prompt" to use them. For example, Complications are prompted by players who are looking for a reward, and then mechanically by certain sorts of situations. So they happen. Nobody has an incentive to use Fan Mail, and there's no place that says, "hey, stop and consider using this!" As such, this sort of rule doesn't tend to get used a lot.

Consider something like having a "fan mail" phase at the end of each scene where everyone is asked if they'd like to give fan mail to the other players. The rituals involved will remind you to include your phase, and people will then have the chance to give consideration to whether they want to use the rule at that point.

Mike
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Nev the Deranged
Member

Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« Reply #6 on: January 14, 2005, 05:48:54 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Nev the Deranged
First I decided to add a Tenet that came to me while at work:
* The mutants are like tadpoles.

Shannon was reluctant to ratify this without knowing exactly what it meant, but I convinced her it was cooler to leave it up in the air. I think it's neat to have something that's unavoidably important but doesn't need to be addressed immediately, something to keep in the back of our heads while we play.
I agree that leaving things undefined can be fun. But it's also sorta "risky." That is, I've seen lots of tenets just get left out of play entirely - and ones a lot more concrete than this. For example, someone might propose a whole race of people in the tenet phase, and then they never even make it into play at all.

Because nobody has any vested interest in seeing that elements introduced as Tenets get into play. They only have to worry that they're not violating a tennet somehow. So genre tenets always work. Because they're so overarching that they touch on everything, and inform all introductions. "This story is not silly" can inform players, but if they didn't intend to be silly at all to start, then it's also a waste. "Mutation is caused by a resurgence of recessive inhuman ancestry" is a classic example of a tenet that may have no effect on play at all. If nobody bothers to have a "discovery" scene, or somesuch, then the fact will not come out. These thigns are better left created as facts in play. Because then they are a part of play. Yes, with a tenet, you get the fact in "early." But if it's important to you, you can even get it in in the first scene if you like. And then it's expository, and adds to the story.

I'll stop short of saying that this is "bad" play. But it's play that one should think about.

Now, a character like The Preacher, OTOH, is so central in his presentation (father of all mutants), that it's hard to imagine that he'd be a waste. The point is that you have to think in terms of what's going to be compelling in terms of play to get the most milage out of your tenet coins. If you think you have one, but aren't sure that it's compelling, save it for an appropriate point in play to establish. That's my advice.

Now, again, with the tadpole thing...I think you're making a challenge out of putting something strange out there as bait for someone to grab and further define. So this sort of thing can work from that POV. But it can also fizzle just as likely.
 


Hm... I guess we have been thinking less in terms of the "game" and more about the story... probably since there are only 2 of us the competition aspect seems less important. And it's only my 3rd game and her 2nd, so we're not exactly masters, heh. But I see what you're saying.

I'm actually thinking about a variation on the Fan Mail rule, which addresses the "facts not coming into play" issue, and that would be the "Topos Rule" (after the original version of Ed Heil's 24 hour game), wherein a player who had created a fact could give a token from the bank to anyone who narrated or created facts supporting it. We'll see what happens.

Quote

Quote
Free Character Activation Rule: If you control a character in a scene you do not control, you may pay to give them an action without paying to Interrupt first.
Hmm. So if it's not your turn, but you control any character present in the scene, and want them to do something, then you can interrupt essentially for free, the only cost being the cost of the action? Do I have that right?

Well, the problem with this is that, given two players who have characters who want to do something simultaneously, who gets to go first? Does it then become an interrupt auction? Or does the player who interrupted simply get to do one thing before being interrupted themselves? In which case you'd always want to be the interruptor. Hmm.


Well, we introduced this one and the free dialogue one (which I think others have used) so that we could play out a scene without having to constantly interrupt each other and blow a lot of coins. Since we are more or less cooperating (with a few key exceptions) on the story, it seems easier to lessen the points-of-contact for play where we aren't actually in competition. After all, we can still challenge anything that we don't like. If it came down to two characters wanting to do something simultaneously (Well, more accurately, if it came down to the two of us wanting different characters to act first), then it'd be a complication or a challenge, whichever seemed appropriate.

Quote

Quote
Refresh Boost Rule: If a scene ends and a player has zero coins, refresh for that round is increased to 10 for everyone.
Hmm. Incentivizes spending those last 4 Coins or so in any scene where you get that low. With the only "downside" being that you're giving 5 more Coins to everyone else. I think you'd see that behavior. Which is not neccessarily a bad thing. It just might be a tad artificial at times - you're creating a use 'em or lose 'em situation. And 10 may be enough to get through the next scene without conflict. IOW, you may be making the game possible without complications. A ramification you'll have to examine yourself. If it seems to you that the game drives too many complications, then consider that you may not be looking at small scale conflicts as potentially cool complications.

OTOH, it just may be that you're looking at a particular pace you want, in which case, great. Have you considered the "normal" solution to pacing here which is simply to give a larger refresh automatically?


Well, I specifically didn't want to increase the basic refresh for just the reason you mentioned- I don't want to shunt complications as the primary source of extra coins. But since I kept running out of coins in mid scene, I didn't want to be left with nothing in case a complication came up. Although I guess if you have Facts on your side you technically don't have to spend coins for those dice (is that right? we've only had one complication so far and I can't remember how we played it... seems like if you have to pay for existing facts it's no different than paying to make up new ones... so what'd be the point? but I might be missing something). It's true we probably glossed over some things that could have been complications... but as I said before we haven't really been approaching the game in a competitive manner. I do plan to ramp up complications in the next session though, partly just because I'm tired of running out of coins and I don't want to just earn them via gimmick.

Quote

Also, there's one other way to affect Coin expenditure pace, which is to pay for less stuff. That is, simply start to aglomerate more statements, and declare more stuff color. Put another way, are you paying for things that just aren't important? If so, consider spending less.


That's something we probably should do... we've kinda been iffy about what exactly needs paying for, with the basic guideline "if you want it to be a Fact, you have to pay", but since it's hard to predict what may be important in the future, it's still not easy to judge. I guess that'll come with  experience.

Quote

Quote
During the next scene, we decided that Scene 2 was actually a flash-forward, which we could keep returning to and maybe showing a bit more of each time... something that all these other scenes would lead up to.
In one game we played, the first scene was a flash forward, and all subsequent play was about trying to explain why the events of scene 1 occured. This sort of thing can be really interesting. Have fun with it.

Quote
We also added the Free Dialogue Rule:You don't have to pay for dialogue for a character you control. (another rule that might be recapitulation of the defaults, but oh well).
Not precisey a recapitulaton. Dialog does cost under the normal rules, just like any other action. The question, again, is what dialog is color, and what not? You can often get away without paying for dialog without having a rule for it. I mean, if I start off, "Nice weather we're having" this is small talk, and doesn't really establish anything that would be problematic if contradicted.


Given the setting and theme of this so far, I'm thinking anything that gets said is gonna be important, lol. But point taken.

Quote

From another POV, since the mechanical use of a fact is that it has extra weight in a challenge, only pay for things you think you would want to defend, should they get contradicted. This is an extreme viewpoint, but it illustrates just how far you can take the idea.

Traits, of course, have their own value.

Quote
we cut scene 4 a little short because we were starting to burn out. I think it could use some more finishing touches, but Shannon was lagging and needed to get home. We may finish it if we play again or we may just launch into scene 5.
As usual, returning to a scene costs nothing. So that option is open mechanically. You still bid for scene as normal, however. The winner simply gets to decide if they want to reopen the scene for free (though they must still bid the Coins they committed).

Quote
oh yeah, no, we didn't use the Fan Mail gimmick yet, for one we didn't have many coins left over and two we were just tired and not entirely on our toes.
One problem that mechanics like the one you're working with here have is that there's no "prompt" to use them. For example, Complications are prompted by players who are looking for a reward, and then mechanically by certain sorts of situations. So they happen. Nobody has an incentive to use Fan Mail, and there's no place that says, "hey, stop and consider using this!" As such, this sort of rule doesn't tend to get used a lot.

Consider something like having a "fan mail" phase at the end of each scene where everyone is asked if they'd like to give fan mail to the other players. The rituals involved will remind you to include your phase, and people will then have the chance to give consideration to whether they want to use the rule at that point.

Mike


Hmm.. that's an idea. I tend to think that this kind of rule enforces itself- IE if something is cool enough to remind you of the rule, it's cool enough to reward. If not, then, well, not.

 Thanks for the tips! Playing Crimson Skies tonight but we may get another session in over the weekend. Still want to find a third... but we'll see what happens.
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Valamir
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« Reply #7 on: January 14, 2005, 06:03:32 PM »

Quote
Although I guess if you have Facts on your side you technically don't have to spend coins for those dice (is that right? we've only had one complication so far and I can't remember how we played it...


Correct.  Traits are an investment.  Spend 1 Coin today, earn 1 Coin back every time you activate that Trait in a Complication.  Spend several Coins on related Traits and you have a ready made source of Coins.  Any time you're running low, just start a Complication (making sure you Control those Components) and draw on those Traits for Dice.  The Dice generate Coins, you save some of those Coins for later.  Voila.  Eliminates the need for your refresh booster.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2005, 07:18:45 AM »

Quote from: Nev the Deranged
Hm... I guess we have been thinking less in terms of the "game" and more about the story... probably since there are only 2 of us the competition aspect seems less important. And it's only my 3rd game and her 2nd, so we're not exactly masters, heh. But I see what you're saying.
I worry that you don't see what I'm saying. This has nothing to do with competition. It's all about getting the most story for the Coins spent.

See, since it takes Coins to establish things in the story, the Coins are a meter of your effort. That is, you don't pay Coins unless you have made an effort to add something valuable. What you're seeking to do is to create the best ratio of story output per unit of effort spent. Basically, you want each Coin to produce as effective an output as possible.

In real play, this is somewhat hit and miss. Some things you invest in just somehow never see the light of day again in the story. And this is good because it means that the people telling the story are doing so "tightly"; by which I mean to say that they're not just throwing things in because they can.

But that's the point. Knowing that people are going to be tight with their play later on, the best investments are ones that you can be relatively sure will have an effect later. This also means that you probably have more Coins than you need, and that there will be some "waste." Don't worry about this, it happens to every player. But the advice is meant to keep waste down to a minimum. Why take time to narrate a fact that has no impact to the overall story? Or, rather, why not wait and make the fact have some impact?

Quote
It's true we probably glossed over some things that could have been complications... but as I said before we haven't really been approaching the game in a competitive manner.
Consider that Complications are a team effort, not competition. How can they be competitions, if the result is that all of the participants profit? There is no competition in Universalis, except that to do your best to tell a story. You don't tear down other's parts of the story so that yours can be told (not generally - the challenge mechanic is for exceptional cases), you improve on the story that everyone else playing is telling.

Mike
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Nev the Deranged
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Posts: 741

Dave. Yeah, that Dave.


« Reply #9 on: January 31, 2005, 07:43:46 PM »

Well, I've tried to get Shannon to play again a couple times, but she pretty much hasn't been in the mood. She said that in the second session she felt like she was forcing it. I thought the second session went fine, but I wasn't inside her head so, what can I say?

 I would have liked this to go on... technically it's sitting next to "The Worlds Largest Theme Park" in my Uni folder, to potentially be picked up by the same or another group in the future, but realistically the chances of that are slim =/

 Alas.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #10 on: February 01, 2005, 06:04:53 AM »

Bummer.

Still, one of the neat things about Universalis is that it's easy to have another player come in and pick up where others have left off. You can even pick up more players than you started with, adding players is simple. It's one of the features of the game. So if you feel that the story needs finishing, perhaps you can find somebody more enthused to play it out with.

Mike
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