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Author Topic: [Sorc] Toon Town Confidential - final session bangs  (Read 6788 times)
hix
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Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« on: March 14, 2005, 10:37:51 PM »

I’m prepping for the final session of our game described in ‘Sorceror freaked us out’. To recap: it’s Sorceror in the Who Framed Roger Rabbit universe.

We’ve got four characters. Here are their Kickers and what they're currently trying to do.

Calvin “Home Run” Hoswell, Ex-con Burglar wants to steal a collection of ancient Toon images from his old enemy, the Police Commissioner before they both retire. Melvin, his gadget-making Toon ally (not bound), has been telling everyone about the heist and now most of the criminal underworld want a share of the loot.

Wes Ripley, Detective in the LAPD, has a female detective competing for Wes’ upcoming promotion. He’s also been assigned to run surveillance on Home Run and arrange an informant in Boss Pig’s Toon crime-ring. Wes has chosen to try and turn Danny O’Rourke.

Danny O’Rourke, B-Grade actor & hired muscle for Toon Crime Lord, Boss Pig has been asked to deliver the Road Runner (currently bound to an 8-year old girl) to an ally of Boss Pig. He’s also been asked to frame someone for Keith Byrne’s murder.

Keith Byrne, Socialite & Vigilante wants to marry Stella, his Toon girlfriend, and has just discovered the whereabouts of an artefact that will turn her into a human – making the marriage socially acceptable. But Boss Pig, Stella’s ex-boyfriend is jealous and has sent an assassin to kill Keith.

After thinking about previous sessions of this game and a lot of recent Sorcerer threads, I’d like the bangs to directly tie into their Kickers and also present situations where using demons (Toons in this game) would give them an advantage.

** BANGS **

Home Run.
Do the surveillance team notice him?
The Heist. Not sure of how much detail to go into with this.
Splitting the loot. Boss Pig wants his share. Hell, everyone wants their share.

Wesley.
Turning Danny into a police informant.
Informed that his promotion may go to Detective Laura Pesci, because she’s been solving more homicides.
Laura wants to take the next murder that’s called in.
If Wes’ surveillance team notices Home Run's heist, maybe present a choice between investigating murder and stopping Home Run.
Graystone (Wes’ Toon) is implicated/framed for Keith’s murder.

Danny.
Will he give his gun Toon up to the LAPD when he’s booked?
Will he turn on his Boss?
Re-establish stakes: his cherished job in the movies will be taken away if he doesn’t deliver the Road Runner.
If Keith Byrne dies, Keith’s car Toon shows up to be bound.
An O’Rourke family dinner where the little girl and the Road Runner show up as guests of Danny’s brother.

Keith.
I’d like two streams of Bangs: one if he survives the attack and one if he is killed.
If he’s killed, I'd like to do flashbacks of when he met his girlfriend Toon and Boss Pig.
If he survives, he'll probably want revenge but he has also promised to run interference for Home Run during the heist.

That’s my starting point. I’ll keep adding as they come to me, but any suggestions for other bangs? Anything you need me to expand on?
Logged

Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: March 15, 2005, 05:01:35 AM »

Wait a minute ... all this is to be wrapped up in one more session? That seems like a tall order to me, and that it would rely on a hell of a lot of fiat on your part.

Danny's Bangs seem weak, with the exception of the "will he turn," and even that one seems motivational rather than action-based. The better way to put it is, "Danny gets a really meaty, yummy opportunity to turn on his boss," and make up a few examples to choose from during play.

None of the statements for Keith are Bangs. They're scene framing at best.

Best,
Ron
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hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #2 on: March 15, 2005, 08:43:24 PM »

Working up more Bangs, and thinking about Ron’s comments above.

Danny

* Danny’s family is (according to the player) important to him and doesn’t really know about his underworld activities. I’m hoping that during the ‘Family Dinner’ (above), placing Danny’s target under the protection of a family member will trigger a crisis.

* The former ‘owner’ of Danny’s gun Toon – who Danny beat to a pulp in a previous episode – returns with a newly-bound Toon, probably a bigger gun or a knife.

* One of Danny’s contacts from the back of his sheet is a photographer. I guess she took the incriminating photos of Boss Pig. Now the journalist she gave them to is dead, and she fears she’ll be next. [Note: this doesn’t have much to do with his Kicker or using sorcery, but it seems very appropriate to the current situation.]

* 2 retro-active Humanity checks (for causing a car crash and dropping the Road Runner down a manhole).

Quote from: Ron Edwards
The better way to put it is, "Danny gets a really meaty, yummy opportunity to turn on his boss," and make up a few examples to choose from during play.

I'll keep thinking about that.

**

Keith

Yeah, I should have specified that I had no bangs for him yet.  I presented two possible contexts to put Bangs in because I'm uncertain if he'll survive the assassination attempt. Anyway …

If he survives:

* Does he get the artefact he needs to make his girlfriend human?
* Will he choose taking revenge on Boss Pig or getting the artefact?
* He needs to get married today (a legal requirement from his inheritance). Who will he marry?

None of these seem particularly Bangy to me. Maybe because I don’t believe he’ll survive the assassination attempt (at the moment he’s got about –11 penalty dice) and therefore haven’t been particularly invested in generating material for this outcome.

If he dies:
This is played in flashback.

* Keith finds out that his girlfriend is dating Boss Pig. How does he handle that?

* The Police Commissioner has a word in his ear that inter-anime/fleshie relationships are frowned on.

* How does Stella react to the news that Keith wants to make her human? I imagine she reacts with great reluctance. She likes being a Toon.

Man, I’m looking at the chart on the back of this character sheet. It’s pretty crappily blank and not that inspiring. Another lesson for the next run.
Logged

Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #3 on: March 15, 2005, 08:46:29 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Wait a minute ... all this is to be wrapped up in one more session? That seems like a tall order to me, and that it would rely on a hell of a lot of fiat on your part.


Not sure what you mean by 'fiat'. Are you talking about coercing players towards deciding on particular outcomes, or me framing scenes having assumed that certain events have taken place, or what?
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Cheers,
Steve

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2005, 04:18:35 AM »

Hi Steve,

My concern is that Sorcerer, as a game, makes no provisions for major resolutions to occur per session. My experience has shown me multiple times that when I say, "OK, this is the final run," I'm wrong, when playing this game. Instead, the "rising action" (or any similar terms of your choice) receives its pacing and integration, among its parts, through play itself - you can't tell in advance what's going to prompt and twist what, and how it's going to become "oh man, this is it, this is the showdown, now!"

Given that experience, when I see someone say "Next run is the last one," I get worried - it can indicate a willingness to use Techniques which interfere with Sorcerer's strongest dynamics. I know this through painful experience as well, and have learned the hard way that for this game  the best way to plan "how many [more] sessions," at any point, is not to know.

Best,
Ron
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hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #5 on: March 17, 2005, 02:25:03 PM »

Thanks for that, Ron. I’ll let the group know that we should take the game at its own pace rather than consciously force it to end at a certain point. I’m also familiar with that ‘now it’s the showdown’ feeling that you mention. That was exactly what happened with our Buffy game which I thought would last one more session but all of a sudden everyone’s stories flowed into one unstoppable climax.

**

More Bangs …

Wesley, the detective
* Last session, Wes ignored the reporter who gave him the incriminating photos when she was obviously in a lot of distress. Instead, he choose to satisfy his Toon’s Need. Now, I wonder if she turns up killed in a non-Toon related (and therefore out of Wes’ patch) homicide.

I established earlier that the rival female detective wants Wes’ to get in touch with his emotions – something that makes him very uncomfortable. The question is: why? Maybe she wants to date him. However, I get the sense that she’s more of a political animal and that maybe she just wants to exploit his weakness. That’s not a Bang, just a musing.


Danny, the Gunsel
* Danny’s gun Toon is in need – and starts complaining (with various clicks, whirrs and thumps) from the moment the game begins. The Need can be fulfilled by having the gun’s photo taken with someone famous.


Home Run, the Burglar

Before the Heist
* Does Home Run notice the criminal Toons that are surveilling him?
* 4 Humanity Loss checks (binding Swifty Frisco, intimidating Melvin)
* 1 Humanity Gain check (intimidating Melvin)

During the Heist
* He notices the owner of the house torturing a Toon (or the owner’s plans for destroying downtown L.A.)
* His Toons go into Need – Miss Minx wants him to steal something pretty and unrelated to the heist, Swifty Frisco wants Oreos, fresh Oreos.

The Twist

So I had this really exciting moment where I asked myself “How did Melvin, the gadget Toon, find out about this heist in the first place?” Well, I figured it was given to him by one of the Commissioner’s Toons. That means …

* The Commissioner is setting Home Run up.

I think it makes sense, and it retro-actively explains why the Commissioner (deliberately) pissed Home Run off in the first scene. He was taunting him into making a mistake.

At first I thought this meant that when Home Run cracks the safe he’ll find nothing inside, but now I think that’s too … ah, predictable? Deprotagonising? Anyway, the valuables will be there – it’s just he knows he’s a marked man.

I think I’ll reveal this via a conversation between the Commissioner and Wesley – so it’s OOC knowledge that Gino’s aware of.

After the Heist
Maybe his backer, Rich Uncle Vince, has betrayed him to Boss Pig for a bigger split of the loot. Maybe.


Keith, the Vigilante

If he survives …
* Rosebud, his car Toon, is in Need. Maybe.
* Keith’s ex-girlfriend has heard a rumour that he’s dating (or – horrors – in love with) a Toon. If that’s true, she’ll blow his cover.
* He sees Stella, the Toon, dating someone else.
* If he has the artefact that can turn Stella human, she resists.

If he dies …
* He sees Stella, the Toon, dating someone else.
* Rosebud wants them to go on a mission – their network of Toon Taxi informants have told Rosebud there’s a Toon in trouble.
Logged

Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2005, 07:44:00 AM »

Hi Steve,

I'm gonna machine-gun this post in hopes that the bullets really chew up the target.

1. Don't kill the reporter. Unless the player already feels a very strong human connection to her, this just takes her out of the story and makes her cease to be a problem. The opposite of a Bang. Reporters cause trouble!

(almost-Bangs suck. Don't have the trouble be "she threatens to run a negative story about you." Have the negative story about Wes appear in the morning edition.)

2. Why just muse about the female detective!? My God, man! Have the very next run begin with her showing up in Wes' bed! And quit maundering about whether she cares or is just using him ... the obvious answer is "both," and then play her during actual play with maximum guns for both, making your eventual decision about it through play itself.

3. "Demon in Need" is not a Bang!! Demons go into Need all the time; it's routine. Sure, it's great to have it express its hunger for its Need. But if you want a Bang, the gun or car has to freakin' DO something.

4. Why are you concealing this information about the commissioner? Here you ask two questions, (a) gee, what will Home Run find during the heist, (b) gee, how will he find out about the Commissioner. OBVIOUSLY the house-owner will blurt it out and the safe contents (which the Commissioner doesn't know about) will confirm it. And doesn't Melvin have any reason to let Home Run know about where the information came from?

5. 'Confronted by ex-girlfriend' is a good Bang. But you need to take out those "ifs" in your notes; they're just little almosts making suckiness. It strikes me that you need to have this girlfriend really want something specific, and really be forthright about it - does she want to blow his Cover? If so, she'll do it. If not, then she gives him "one last chance" so she won't.

Best,
Ron
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hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2005, 04:14:33 PM »

Okay, I feel Wes is done. Thanks Ron, I felt uncomfortable about killing the reporter. Also, I’ll try to phrase my Bangs (a) actively rather than speculatively, and (b) starting with the NPC’s motivation and then bolding the Bang.

Wes, the Detective

* Wes needs to create an informant inside Boss Pig’s organisation (to impress the Commissioner and increase his chances of promotion). He’s just brought Danny on possible charges of mayhem and civil disturbance. Wes sits down at the interrogation table with Danny.

* Marion, the female Detective, cares for Wes and wants to gain any advantage she can to get the promotion. She shows up on his doorstep with a bottle of whiskey and tries to seduce him. (I feel like framing this as aggressively as Ron’s (2), above, would be cheating the player.)

* Laura, the reporter, has been threatened by the criminals shown in the incriminating photos of Boss Toon. Her sister has been kidnapped. She needs to get the photos back but she knows Wes is too idealistic and career-minded to go for that. He needs to be blackmailed. A story smearing Wes appears in the morning edition, with Laura’s byline.

* Danny needs to frame someone for Keith’s murder. He already dislikes Graystone, Wes’ Toon. Evidence connecting Graystone to the murder is found at the secondary crime scene.

Other things about the murder:
Keith’s ex-girlfriend was in the apartment and witnessed it.
Keith called Wes in Session 1. That’ll seem suspicious.
Logged

Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2005, 12:53:05 AM »

Here are the Bangs for two more characters. I'd appreciate anyone's thoughts on making them punchier.

Home Run, the Burglar

Bangs

* Melvin's feeling guilty about withholding some information from Home Run. Sensing this, Miss Minx (Home Run’s Toon) drags one fact out of Melvin: the Commissioner provided the info about this heist. Home Run learns the Commissioner is setting him up.

* The Owner of the house Home Run’s about to rob plans to turn a large part of downtown L.A. into Toon Town. Home Run finds The Owner’s plans.

* The house is a Toon (like Yzor, in the rulebook but way less powerful) and it doesn’t want Home Run to leave. Home Run becomes trapped inside a Toon.

Splitting the Loot

* A bunch of Toons found out about the heist because of Melvin’s big mouth. They give Home Run the finger of Rich Uncle Vince – his backer and fence – and ask for the goods.

* The Owner wants the items Home Run has stolen back. He needs them to go through with his plan. The Owner turns up and begins to banish Home Run’s Toons.

* Boss Pig (it turns out) is bound to the Owner. Home Run is attacked by a pathetic Toon. The Toon says Boss Pig has put out a bounty on Home Run’s head and all the Toons in Toon Town are after him.

Not Bangs
Do the surveillance team notice him?
Does Home Run notice the criminal Toons that are surveilling him?
4 Humanity Loss checks (binding Swifty Frisco, intimidating Melvin)
1 Humanity Gain check (intimidating Melvin)


Keith, the Vigilante

* Stella learns about Keith’s plans for her. She flat-out says she does not want to be turned into a human.

* Nichelle Spencer-Woodley, Keith’s ex-girlfriend, knows he has a deadline to marry someone. She wants to be that someone. And she knows something else. Boss Pig has supplied incriminating photos about Keith’s affair to a tabloid she has an interest in. Nichelle tells Keith that unless they become engaged, she’ll publish the photos.

* Stella needs attention from lots of male admirers. Keith reads a news story about her having a romantic night on the town with Bugs Bunny.

* Rosebud, his car Toon, causes a massive pile-up on the streets of LA. It informs Keith it wants to go out and do it again, for kicks.

Not Bangs
Boss Pig visits Keith’s hospital bed and offers his ‘condolences’ for the attack.
Logged

Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: March 21, 2005, 05:35:10 AM »

Hiya,

Now we're getting there. I suggest that a few of your "Bangs" are merely scene-framing, like "Wes sits down at the interrogation table with Danny." However, enough of them are real Bang-y and so I think you're good.

One suggestion: the Toon Car wanting another pile-up shouldn't be a dialogue - it should try to do it when the character is driving the car somewhere.

Best,
Ron

P.S. I am experiencing strong suspicious whiffs that the group is not utilizing the diagrams on the backs of the character sheets. I hope I'm wrong ...
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hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #10 on: March 22, 2005, 12:07:35 AM »

You are not wrong.

The backs of the sheets haven't been focused on during play, they haven't been frantically scribbled all over or added to during sessions. The diagrams range from having a decent amount of info on the back to being pretty sparse.

... ah, I'm pretty tired right now so I can't think of more to add - they haven't been treated like a living document.

Why do you ask, Ron? Is there a correlation between how players use the chart and their engagement in the game? (and if so, any tips on encouraging them?)
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Cheers,
Steve

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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: March 22, 2005, 05:15:55 AM »

Hiya,

Out of many purposes, the one which is most relevant here is the GM's ability to identify potential Bangs for each character. The difficulty you're having is precisely what those diagrams are supposed to be communicating.

The best explanation of this purpose is found in The back of the Sorcerer character sheet.

You should have a little "diagram scribble session" at the end or beginning of each session, if the players are not doing it as they go.

Best,
Ron
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hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #12 on: March 22, 2005, 04:46:21 PM »

OK, that was eye-opening. The chart = a target; yeah, I can see that. I can see that vividly. And it does explain why I’ve been having trouble. On one of the diagrams, there’s nothing in the centre – everything’s pushed to around the edges of the page. In another, the Kicker is completely blank.

There’s nothing in the cross-hairs.

Makes me realise that in Keith’s case, I should have said to the player, “You’ve come up with a Kicker that won’t really get started until Session 3 (because of the lack of detail provided), so let’s come up with something else you care about in the meantime.”

And that makes me realise that – because we didn’t have that conversation – I’ve had to come up with that stuff myself.
Logged

Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2005, 05:23:36 PM »

Bangs for the last character:

Danny, gunsel & B-Grade actor. Danny’s Kicker is that his boss, the Toon Crime Lord “Boss Pig”, has asked him to deliver the Road Runner (currently bound to an 8-year old girl) to The Owner for ‘processing. Right at the moment, though, Wes is trying to turn him into an informant.
 
Ron suggested I give Danny “a really meaty, yummy opportunity to turn on his boss." I present Power, Shame, and potential Fame. These are Bangs I've suggested before, but I've tried to give them more context and  immediacy.

Bangs

* If Keith Byrne dies, Keith’s car Toon (Rosebud) will want a new master. It’ll get angry, Christine-angry if it’s denied. Rosebud can confer the cover of Vigilante onto Danny. That’ll give him prestige, action and adventure – everything he’s ever wanted. But the cost will be: having to continue Rosebud’s vendetta against Boss Toon. Rosebud pulls up and demands to be bound.

* Danny’s family is (according to the player) important to him and doesn’t really know about his underworld activities. They’d hate it and disown him if they found out. His older brother (Billy) is a street-priest. Billy has placed the little girl and the Road Runner under his protection. Danny arrives at an O’Rourke family dinner where the little girl and the Road Runner are guests. They accuse him. “You tried to steal this little girl’s friend. Why?”

* Another of Danny’s dreams is to be a star. Making it on his own creates conflict with Boss Pig, who wouldn’t want Danny out from under his thumb. Humphrey Bogart gives Danny a shot at starring in The Big Sleep.

Other Bangs

* The former ‘owner’ of Danny’s gun Toon – who Danny beat to a pulp in a previous episode – wants his gun back. He’s just bound a big knife-Toon. Roland Begby jumps Danny.

Who else is in his life that needs Bangs?

He’s a stuntman/anonymous actor in a cliffhanger serial. Maybe he needs to reshoot a highly dangerous stunt. Or the continuity girl that likes him gives him a clue about some internal studio power struggle.

His Toon poker buddies are the same ones who are going to kidnap Rich Uncle Vince and try extorting Home Run.

There’s a Photographer/Potential Love Interest on the back of Danny’s sheet. I reckon she has a business relationship with Laura Pesci, the reporter blackmailing Wes. What could she ask Danny for? And why?

Not Bangs
Will he give his gun Toon up to the LAPD when he’s booked?
Time limit: He’ll lose his cherished job in the movies if he doesn’t deliver Road Runner.
2 retro-active Humanity checks (for causing a car crash and dropping the Road Runner down a manhole).
Danny’s gun Toon is in need – and starts complaining (with various clicks, whirrs and thumps) from the moment the game begins. The Need can be fulfilled by having the gun’s photo taken with someone famous.

**

Some other Bangs that have occured to me.

Keith, the Vigilante

* He interrupts a marriage ceremony between his Toon girlfriend and The Owner (who has Bound her).

Home Run, the Burglar

* After the heist, Miss Minx is in need. She wants him to steal Graystone (Wes’ Toon) for her.

**

All right, the game's in about 6 hours. Time to do some other prep and then come back to this. Thanks for your help, Ron. If you or anyone have ideas about what's here, please - suggest.
Logged

Cheers,
Steve

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