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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 151 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Non Character Characters  (Read 2094 times)
Stickman
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Posts: 63


« on: February 11, 2005, 10:57:15 AM »

Hi Tony,

I've been reading through the rules and preparing for our game. I thought I'd kick things off in style with a giant orbital laser causing chaos downtown. Taking a look through the rules I chose the Disaster Phenomenon as a starting point and came up with this:

Orbital Cannon Goal: Save Lives

Multiple Shots 1      
Massive Destruction 4      Panicked 1
Moment of Truth 3      Desperate 2
Ominous Silence 2      Grateful 3

So without any experience I'm looking for a finger in the air opinion, does this look like it'll work? Any thoughts on the attributes I've picked?

Having a look over the Disaster example in the book, can you give an example of some of the attributes at work, say Selfish or Fascinated? Any thoughts on building successful characters this way?

Thanks
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Dave
TonyLB
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2005, 11:09:36 AM »

Sure.  Examples 'r us!

The Selfish and Fascinated are, as with Locations, attitudes that people trapped in such situations often manifest.  For instance, a mayor who says "Screw the populace, I've got my secret bunker, and I'm going to hide in it from the orbital laser bombardment" is worsening the situation (by removing any centralized authority) with the Selfish attitude.

Likewise, the little kid (holding a red balloon, of course) in the track of the oncoming laser stands there fascinated by its stark beauty, rather than (oh, say) running for his life.

Mechanics-wise, you need another ability, somewhere in there.  Characters with in-born goals get either 4/4 or 5/3 in two columns.

As for building successful characters:  The way to make the character successful is to really get a kick out of playing it.  I don't wholly know why this is, but I know it from experience.  Players respond to excitement with excitement of their own.

There's plenty you can prepare, to help keep you inspired.  For instance, you've bought a high level of Massive Destruction.  Invent something large and really breakable, and make sure that you describe it (in passing) early on.  Like maybe they're ushering old ladies out of the science museum, which has a ten-story front wall made entirely of panes of glass.  Then you've got something to slam a charged-particle beam into that will make a satisfyingly gigantic explosion, with the burning shards of glass and the falling I-beams and all.


What sort of group of players are you exposing?  Have they had previous experience with games where they do a large portion of the narration?  How many (including you)?  I'm endlessly fascinated to see what types of folks are playing!
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Stickman
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2005, 12:43:05 AM »

Thanks for the feedback Tony.

Most likely there will be three of us playing when we first try Capes. We've has little narrative experience beyond a couple of one shots we ran with The Pool and Snowball, and we're kind of still stuck in task resolution mode at the moment. Two of us are I think ready to go wholly narrative, the third player might need some prompting :) I'm hoping that sitting down and talking about the game first should help out there.

Related question, how do you handle the Locations / phenomenon gaining inspirations? Do they hang around for the next incarnation or get used by the 'controller'? Eg Doctor Despair has taken control of the orbital ion cannon in the example above, and is using it to rain destruction down upon City Hall. If the Orbital Cannon gets a 3 point inspiration from resoving the Goal, when would that inspiration come back into play?

And out of interest, what's been an optimum number of players in your experience? I might have the opportunity to ty this with six instead of three players .. is it more the merrier or is there a limit to how much story you can pack in without something going pop?
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Dave
TonyLB
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2005, 05:06:42 AM »

Inspirations... yeah, I should have described this better in the book.  I've learned how to talk about it since then.

Inspirations are adjudicated by the Controller, but attached to what the character did.  They're causal, in short.

So it's easier to use Inspirations when you have the character in the mix.  Just go "Hah!  You would face my cannon again after it destroyed city hall?  Cower in terror at its power!"

But you can use it most any time.  Hero's going out on a date, and is about to confess their love?  A background shot of repair crews rushing to the still burning city hall should help to bring them back down to earth and get them doubting themselves again.  That's spending the "Destroyed City Hall" Inspiration as well.

Does that make sense?

Optimum number of players varies with rules familiarity:  When you're introducing the game, 3 or 4 is perfect.  When people know the rules you can push to 5 or 6 and still be getting increasing story yummies.

In playtests, six people who did not know the game (in a crowded room, toward midnight, where we could barely hear because of the yelling LotR guys at the next table) can result in a certain level of confusion, particularly around the nested turn order.  

For larger groups I recommend props.  Designate two Objects-o-Power:  One to indicate the person who started the scene (which they hold throughout the scene) and one to indicate who has the current Action (which they hold while people are doing Reactions, then pass to signify group consensus that the next Action has begun).  My experience is that this helps people to recall the rules-structure in which things are progressing.  They'll forget about it while they're doing things, but this way when they say "Okay, where are we" they have a visual mnemonic.
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Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum
Stickman
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2005, 12:01:52 AM »

That makes great sense thanks, and I can see that adding a touch of humour to a lot of scenes too :)

The props idea sounds very workable too.

Ta
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Dave
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