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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 67 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [MLwM] Becoming the Master  (Read 2218 times)
Sven Seeland
Member

Posts: 40


« on: November 01, 2005, 04:49:29 AM »

Hello everybody...

This weekend I will finally (FINALLY!!!) play my first game of MLwM. There will be four minions and I will be the master. I tried to prep myself as good as possible by re-reading the rules, reading the forums for actual play reports and advice and by reading Michael's manifesto a couple of times. I think I understand the gist of it all pretty well.

My problem is the social part of it. I already warned them that I'm gonna be a prick and that they are probably gonna hate me so I'm not really concerned about someone taking it personally. I *am* concerned over the issue of authority.

Let me first introduce my playgroup:
Jana: She's my girlfriend and usually pretty hot-headed and stubborn. Normally we get into power struggles all the time but I believe she understands the game pretty well. I even told her about the manifesto and she's cool with all that. She was the one who wanted to play the game this weekend and asked me to run the game for her and a couple of (mutual) friends. It's her birthday and this is kind of the birthday party.
Anja: She's quite tender and sensible. A bit on the soft side. She's easily scared and intimidated. I think that she'll get the most "feeling" out of the game. In fact, I'm worried that it'll be too much for her. I'll probaby be a little softer on her.
Daniel: He is the one I know the least about. He's Anja's boyfriend and seems to a very pleasant and shy guy. I'm not sure how he will cope with the game, whether he can take it. In case he can't handle all the nastiness I'll be a little softer on him as well.
Falko: he is the one I'm worried about most. A friend of mine, always in a good mood, always joking around. Very nice, very pleasant, everything but shy. He's huge! A good bit taller than me and I'm not exactly small either. And he's pretty massive, too, making him kind of an authority figure. He exercizes this power very rarely but he has this little problem with authority and power. He can be quite competitive when he senses a power struggle coming up and if he should challenge my authority as Master I'll have little to oppose him with.

As a group we've been playing a while now, mostly Shadowrun. Daniel is the odd one out. He's only played a single session of CoC with us (the only CoC session we've played till now).

My concernes are twofold:

a) What if somebody questions my authority. I know they can't resist the commands without a diceroll. My main concern here is Falko. I imagine the following situation: I give a "bad minion, no cookie!" performance as described in the manifesto. Myself standing, Falko sitting. He gets up and tells me to not talk to him like that - as a joke in order to lighten the mood and ridicule me. What should I do? By his pure stature he puts me in a situation of inferiority. I have to look up to him and he is just much more menacing than I am.

b) Does anybody have any tips for me to get into the mindset of the master? I was brought up as a very diplomatic and compromising person, respecting the boundaries of others. The anti-master so to speak. Not that I can't be mean and nasty, especially in the context of such a game, it's just... well... I don't have any practice in putting people down, making them feel miserable, making them cower in fear and say "Yes, Master! I will, Master! Please don't beat me again, Master!" I mean, if the group plays along it'll be fine but if somebody refuses to be impressed by my performance I'll run out of insults and inferiorating statemants real fast. I just couldn't put up a fight with a minion. And I'm afraid this lack of trust in my own abilities will show and make me less a figure of authority, no matter how much I consciously try to use body language to my advantage. In a way, my girlfriend would be a much better Master but it's her birthday and she's never been GM before...
I read some great examples of evil master monologues here on the forums but they are just that: examples. I have no clue how to reproduce them without reciting.

Any help is greatly appreciated!
Thanks.

Regards,
Sven
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- Sven

Mr. Sandman bring me a dream...
Michael S. Miller
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Posts: 846


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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2005, 07:24:57 AM »

a) What if somebody questions my authority. I know they can't resist the commands without a diceroll. My main concern here is Falko. I imagine the following situation: I give a "bad minion, no cookie!" performance as described in the manifesto. Myself standing, Falko sitting. He gets up and tells me to not talk to him like that - as a joke in order to lighten the mood and ridicule me. What should I do? By his pure stature he puts me in a situation of inferiority. I have to look up to him and he is just much more menacing than I am.

Don't blink. Don't flinch. Just look up at him as if he's a worm. Insult him, remind him of his task, and immediately end the scene and move to the next player. "I'll talk to you however I like and you'll be grateful for it, you mindless mass of meat. I've given you a task and you're already late doing it. Do i need to write it down for you? Get out of my sight!" Then break the Master persona and talk to the next player about their scene.

As for getting into the mindset of the Master, I just find myself repeating every mean, self-confidence sapping statement I've ever heard. SOmetimes you threaten them, sometimes you pity them, sometimes you insult them, sometimes you let them off the hook because "I know you're too worthless to have done any better."
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TonyLB
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2005, 08:04:53 AM »

I mean, if the group plays along it'll be fine but if somebody refuses to be impressed by my performance I'll run out of insults and inferiorating statemants real fast. I just couldn't put up a fight with a minion. And I'm afraid this lack of trust in my own abilities will show and make me less a figure of authority, no matter how much I consciously try to use body language to my advantage.
And there you have the in-game problem of the Master in a nutshell.  You've already delved deeper into his psyche than people who immediately say "Ah yes, I have a long list of effective, terrible tortures for my poor minions!"  You have realized that the Master is helpless in the face of his minions.

How does that make you feel?  Out of control?  Scared?  Desperate?  Great.  You're good to go.  It's your stupid players and their stupid minions that are making you feel that way.  Here you are, just trying to complete the Great Work of having a good session of MLwM.  They know what needs to be done!  It's not as if it weren't OBVIOUS!  But they are too self-involved, too incompetent, too malicious and spiteful and cowardly to play their proper parts in the Great Work.  And what's worse, you can't do it without them.  Ah, what terrible crime have you committed, that you find yourself constantly surrounded by incompetents and fools?

God, my stomach is churning just thinking about it.  It is terrifying to be the Master, and to realize how very close everything always is to slipping away.  The terror is so overwhelming, and the players never understand.  If they understood ... it would be the end.  You would never be able to command them again.  So when you feel frightened, you must act sure, even when there are no right answers.  When you choose the wrong thing to do, and you know it's the wrong thing, you must do it far more confidently than if you thought you might be doing right, or else they will see that you have no power, and so it will be true.

The only chance, the only chance! that you have of completing the Great Work is to completely cow these people.  For their own good.  Because they too will benefit from the Great Work, even if you have to UTTERLY DESTROY THEM for their own benefit.  So remember to reward abject subservience to your will ... but remember also that they will use abject subservience as a tool to undermine the Great Work, so punish it before it gets out of hand.  Reward initiative and clever thinking ... but remember that it will inevitably lead them astray, and must be nipped in the bud.  Above all, have compassion for the plight of your players:  they are all too human, and their imperfections will lead the game, your Great Work, away from a path that they find painful and odious.  But that painful path is exactly the way toward success.  Show compassion for your players, and drive them toward their pain without relenting and without mercy.
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Eric Provost
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2005, 08:23:44 AM »

Tony...

You rock.

-Eric
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Sven Seeland
Member

Posts: 40


« Reply #4 on: November 01, 2005, 08:48:18 AM »

Wow... just... wow!!!

If that ain't the best advice I ever got! That definately helps getting me closer to the master. And definately scares the shit out of me. I mean, I know I'm capable of this. And this knowledge scares me like hell - which is the absolute beauty of this game! Hell, I already love it without even having played it once!

In a way my relation to this game is like the relation of a minion to its master. I am repulsed by it and scared of it and still I love it and can't help myself but follow its call!

Thanks guys!
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- Sven

Mr. Sandman bring me a dream...
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