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[Breaking the Ice] 2nd session: NDW and a funeral

Started by Frank T, June 23, 2005, 03:36:19 AM

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Frank T

So yesterday was our second session of BtI (first one see here). We played another four scenes, so we were even slower than last time since we didn't have to create characters and the handling time of the rules also went down. I didn't even notice time passing, which is a good sign, I think. Here's how it went:

Scene 5 of 1st date: Linda and Henning arrive in the club. Unfortunately, there is an NDW party going on (NDW being "Neue Deutsche Welle", German music from the 80's that can take on very strange forms). There is some nice little banter and Henning reveals that he was a punk in the 80's, thus creating a new trait. The scene ends with them heading for a table with two gin tonics and a fresh attraction level.

Scene 6 of 1st date: Henning walks Linda to the door. She forgot her key, so they sneak to the back garden to climb through an open window. We defied all probability in this scene. Here's what we rolled: 3 attraction dice, 3 bonus dice, 6 re-rolls, 3 conflict dice and 4 compatibility dice, making for a total of 19 and only getting one success. We had a feeling the scene just didn't want to end well. As we didn't see any way to still bring that last compatibility in, we finished the scene by Linda heading off to bed alone.

Between dates: We had 2 temporary attraction levels and rolled 1 instant success. Then we mulled over a re-roll, discussing some lame ideas until Nicolas came up with: Henning's mother dies, and this blow threatens to knock his fragile mental state off balance again. Then I said: "So the second date is a funeral?" And there it was. It's probably not a date in the strictest sense, but we were both delighted by the idea. Plus, the re-roll came up a success, making that a total three permanent attraction levels and three compatibilities after the first date.

Scene 1 of 2nd date: By the open grave. The day is brooding hot. Linda consoles Henning, and they talk. The scene stretched long and longer as Nicolas kept rolling crap again. We had used up all attraction, bonus dice, re-rolls and the conflict, too, so it was "comp or die". It really required some hard thinking to get two of the existing three compatibilities into the scene without it being totally ridiculous. We did it, however, and finished by creating a compatibility: Linda has also lost someone dear to her, her father.

We both think, however, that the compatibility issue is a problem. You can only address a given compatibility ever so often before it starts to suck. I understand that normally, you should create new compatibilities and enough attraction so you don't need to bring those same old comps in again and again, but well, if you are one unlucky bastard like Nicolas, you have to.

Scene 2 of 2nd date: In the car, driving to the obsequies. I brought out the big guns this time, starting with the conflict straight away as Henning told Linda he'd had some problems of late and was in therapy, also addressing a compatibility by referring to work stress at the agency they both used to work for. That was enough for 3 successes, so it was a quick scene. Linda sympathized and admitted there had been a time when she herself took some mild anti-depressants. Though this screamed "comp", I opted for a temporary attraction level since I didn't think this was a compatibility you could address very well.

This was it. I like how the whole funeral thing really fits the tone we had agreed on in the beginning, making the story a little darker and more thoughtful. Can't wait to continue.

- Frank

Larry L.

QuoteJERRY: So, you goin' to the funeral?
GEORGE: Why, you think I should?
JERRY: What, are you kidding? It's a golden opportunity to advance the relationship. She's crying, you put your arm around her and console're the consolation guy!
GEORGE: I'm the consolation guy...?
KRAMER: Consolation Guy is big.
JERRY: Her aunt dying is the best thing that ever happened to you.
KRAMER: It's like ten dates in one shot.
JERRY: This confers upon you instant boyfriend status. The family's're taking care of're gettin' the're the rock!

So, you didn't play the funeral scene for laughs, right? Trying to be serious and everything? Interesting. Do you think the attempt to create real pathos was successful?

Dang it, I'm so gonna break down and play this game.

Andrew Morris

Quote from: Frank TWe had a feeling the scene just didn't want to end well.
This is one of my favorite experiences in role-playing -- the moment when, for an instant, you think that there is some active force present at the table (or computer, in this case) other than the players. Interestingly, I didn't get that sensation the first time I played Breaking the Ice, but it seems that Emily has put in some significant changes since the version that I played.

Thanks for posting about this, Frank. I'm quickly becoming a big fan of this game, and I'm very interested in how others' experiences compare to my own.

Breaking the Ice is definitely on my "must buy as soon as it's available" list, right next to a print version of Trollbabe. I'd encourage anyone who's been on the fence to grab a partner and try this game out.
Download: Unistat

Frank T

Hey Larry, I don't know if we were being pathetic, or trying to. But we were about tragedy, not comedy. Since we were not sitting by the same table I can only speak for myself, but to me it felt right, not funny or ridiculous at all.

I just looked over the rules again and think we made a mistake. I somehow thought that you can get bonus dice only once per source and scene. Meaning: If you already introduced a setting element that made your character look good, another setting element wouldn't gain an additional bonus dice, but one of the other four things that grant bonus dice (addressing traits, doing something nice etc.) could. Reading the rules over again, I don't have the slightest idea where I got that from.

- Frank


If the dice say it's your day to get kicked to the curb... well... what's wrong with that?

It sounds like you're saying that the game would be a failure if these two people decided that they just weren't compatible, and ended up going their separate ways.  But shouldn't a dating game have the possibility of ruinously bad dates, as well as good ones?  The same way D&D needs the possibility of people going down into the deadly crypt and being eaten alive, every last one.

Or are you saying something else?
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum

Frank T

Hi Tony, to whom or what are you refering? I'm afraid I don't get you. Whoever said it would be a failure if they don't fall in love?

- Frank

Andrew Morris

The game is still fun, even when the characters don't fall in love. That happened when I played it, and it was still enjoyable.
Download: Unistat

Emily Care

Wow. That is great stuff. (Sorry it took me so long to reply, I was away for the weekend.) The funeral as a second date gave me chills.  As for playing it for laughs, sounds like the tone of your game would not have supported that.  Approached differently, it could work out the way Miskatonic suggested.  The players get to work that out between them.

And yes, you definitely can use multiple traits, setting elements, etc in any given scene for bonus dice et al.   You must have been starving for dice with that constraint.  I'd like to make clear that you can only use a given trait once, but perhaps that restraint need not be so for the other things. You can make as many new traits as you want in a scene.

QuoteYou can only address a given compatibility ever so often before it starts to suck.
Could you say more about how this was for you?  Was it that it was too contrived, or that the comps you chose made things unpleasant for the characters?   Also, per some more thought and our discussion of your last session, I'm definitely going to rephrase when a turn ends. Ie you shouldn't have to pull in comps if you don't want to. I want to stress that people should try to use as many dice as they can, but not require them too.  

Looking forward with great anticipation to seeing what happens next to Linda & Henning!

Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games

Frank T

On the comps: I don't think they made things unpleasant for the characters, it just seemed far-fetched and inappropriate at some instants to bring them in. Here's the comps we created in the first session, and how they worked out:

- Met at a party: I mean, how many times can they possibly refer to the party, the place, and the people there? I think we used it at least three times, and after that, it was just... used up.

- Don't like sushi: Even worse. I probably wouldn't create a comp that constrained any more. OTOH, it was a cool thing to have. I think we used it twice or so, but that was just about as much as you could get out of it.

- Both worked at Springer & Jacoby: Well, that one was easier to use, because you could find many different ways how the firm or the job could come in. They could talk about it, meet someone they both know from work, etc.

I think you'll be fine if you do it the way you outlined.

- Frank