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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [1st Quest] Another Playtest: Glamour, Mundanity and Damnation  (Read 2938 times)
Judd
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« on: January 31, 2006, 02:42:03 PM »

I playtested 1st Quest with the monthly group that has been playing Conspiracy of Shadows for a bit over a year now with breaks due to schedule problems.  It is a fun group of people who genuinely enjoy each other's company.

With this group, they had been e-mailing a concept back and forth.  One player brought forth the idea of the tiend, a Scottish legend about faeries having to pay a tithe to hell, seven faery souls.  We decided to have that idea be the foundation of the game and answered the three questions based on that.

We tripped over some Changeling: the Dreaming roots in the road and I can feel those of us who knew that game or LARPed it back in the day falling back on it at times.  Janaki doesn't know anything about it and at times it meant she was left out of the loop.  In a way this is the Changeling game I always wanted to run.

We answered the three World Gen questions and this time I pushed for more motifs for the bad guys and I think we came up with some good stuff.  I had been watching the e-mails and came up with pools that I thought would fit and everyone liked them, so we stuck with Glamour, Mundanity (no one liked Banality) and Damnation.

There are a few things I am going to change between this session and the next:

1) I had taken TSoY's Secrets and Keys off of the character sheet and the players had folded up pieces of paper for them.  I am going to put Secrets back on the sheet, so that when the players look across the table, all they see are the Keys (called Banners) facing out at them and each player as what they need to do in order to get XP facing them at all times.

2) The main difference between Keys and the re-named Keys Banners, is that players can hand out XP for certain Banners to other players for doing certain things.  After the Indie RPG roundtable, on Luke and Jared's advice, I had the players pay each other out of their own XP but after a playtest, I am going to change that.

It doesn't feel like a reward but it feels like the players who pay out are being punished for bringing others into their plans.  It is exactly the opposite of the effect of what I wanted.

People still used it but in post-game e-mails, it came up that it felt more like a punishment.

3) I want Bonus Dice to act more like Fan Mail.  I want players bribing one another with them.  There was one really cool moment when Robert tried to bribe another player with bonus dice and I dig that.  That goes right in the rules. 

The players besides me were two men and two women.  The women ended up playing young girls and really captured that scary 11-13 age group.  The men both played faery mentors, a seidhe huntsman and a goblin tutor.  It was a neat dynamic and it really felt like a young adult novel.

In the middle of the game we made up some Secrets to fit with the characters, a process that I dig.

One of the players came up with the brilliant idea that when you ascend there is a fairy tale made up about your character.  Neat.

No one Brought Down the Pain and I wonder if that is a symptom of not setting rough stakes.  I'd imagine it will happen when they run into the three Big Bad Guys and want to bring them down.

I will post character sheets, pools and how said pools are refreshed later.
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Spiral Jacobs
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Posts: 9


« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2006, 02:55:49 PM »

This is Paula, who played a shape-shifting raccoon/girl character, a thief and rogue given over to be a student of Rob's goblin mentor.  I'll let Judd post the details before I get into specifics, but I have to say that this game was one of the most fun I have ever played.  I loved the dynamic between Janaki and me as pre-teen girls who can't decide if they love or hate each other.  I also liked playing an UnSeelie character who hurls herself against every authority figure she can discern, which was both cathartic AND got me XP!  Taunting Jeff's character, the huntsman, with the inappropriate candor of a 13 year old girl was also quite fun for me.  Rob is at his campy best as the formerly dastardly, now upstanding goblin taskmaster.  It rocked all the way around.

Overall, this system, gaming group, and story get a very enthusiastic endorsement from me, and I am very excited to play it again, schedules allowing.  Thanks, Judd, for letting me be in on this playtest.

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ubergeek2012
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Bob Manning


« Reply #2 on: January 31, 2006, 03:36:43 PM »

3) I want Bonus Dice to act more like Fan Mail.  I want players bribing one another with them.  There was one really cool moment when Robert tried to bribe another player with bonus dice and I dig that.  That goes right in the rules.

I'm not too familiar with PTA, but fan mail circulates in some kind of an economy, right?  You might do something like that with Bonus Dice, like have the player who received them add them to the pool he awards them from, or something like that.  Of course, if the bonus dice don't disappear when used, they will probably get bounced around and used more often that the game's design originally intended.
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Judd
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« Reply #3 on: January 31, 2006, 03:39:47 PM »

I'm not too familiar with PTA, but fan mail circulates in some kind of an economy, right?  You might do something like that with Bonus Dice, like have the player who received them add them to the pool he awards them from, or something like that.  Of course, if the bonus dice don't disappear when used, they will probably get bounced around and used more often that the game's design originally intended.

I think I will keep Bonus Dice as they work in TSoY but I will read carefully how Clinton said they were to be used and possibly change or add to it.  I want that kind of creative bribery right along with the, "Hey that ROCKS, have a bonus die."  I love those ways in the system for players to show appreciation for one another.
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Judd
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« Reply #4 on: January 31, 2006, 05:19:53 PM »

I also liked playing an UnSeelie character who hurls herself against every authority figure she can discern, which was both cathartic AND got me XP! 

Paula,

It is my pleasure to have you on board.

Yeah, Banner of the Rebel rocks.  I wonder if we coudln't put granted XP onto every Banner.  You could give 1 XP for a player's PC rebelling with you and to a player for playing an authority figure for you to rebel against.  The granted XP thing with players handing each other XP really is nifty; I'm diggin' it.
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Spiral Jacobs
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Posts: 9


« Reply #5 on: February 01, 2006, 04:38:26 AM »

I think the idea that all banners should have granted XP is great, and would enhance play.  I think these bonus XP should come out of some group pool or work like fan mail.  That would be cool.  Also, we'd advance faster if you want a game that runs for a finite period and ends with the heroes becoming legendary and retiring, or arriving at whatever conclusion they want.

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Russell Collins
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« Reply #6 on: February 01, 2006, 10:14:50 AM »

The sting of losing XP in an exchange to another player could be lessened if it entitles the player to some bonus dice or fan mail equivalent later. Trading off long term rewards for a short term boost? Economics are important to my current project so the concept of loans and investments in points and dice are hot topics for me.
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My homeworld was incinerated by orbital bombardment and all I got was this lousy parasite.

Russell Collins
Composer, sound designer, gamer, dumpling enthusiast.
Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #7 on: February 01, 2006, 04:32:32 PM »

The sting of losing XP in an exchange to another player could be lessened if it entitles the player to some bonus dice or fan mail equivalent later. Trading off long term rewards for a short term boost? Economics are important to my current project so the concept of loans and investments in points and dice are hot topics for me.

Russel, I think in your game of killing people for money a more complicated economy of loan and barter might be cool but in this game I'd like it fairly simple.  Adding Granted XP where players can give each other XP is complicated enough, I think.

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Russell Collins
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What do you have to lose?


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« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2006, 07:13:24 AM »

I don't think it need be complex. Just explaining my interest.

For example if a player is given a bonus die, they could roll it, or trade it for an XP if they don't think they really need it.

When I get gift dice it's because the other players really want me to succeed so I usually end up with too many, succeeding to excess every time.

I think I really want the players giving each other XP because it feels like they're investing themselves in each other. I would love to turn to the guy next to me and thank him for helping my character grow. Maybe it doesn't play that way because everyone still owns their own character. Maybe this is a concept for the "de-centralized ownership" Vincent is blogging about now.

See, it's all touchy-feely crap. No loansharks or toecutters.

Yet.
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My homeworld was incinerated by orbital bombardment and all I got was this lousy parasite.

Russell Collins
Composer, sound designer, gamer, dumpling enthusiast.
Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #9 on: February 02, 2006, 04:36:06 PM »

I don't think it need be complex. Just explaining my interest.

For example if a player is given a bonus die, they could roll it, or trade it for an XP if they don't think they really need it.

That is a great idea.  Consider it yoinked.


See, it's all touchy-feely crap. No loansharks or toecutters.

Yet.

Yeah, keep your loansharks and toecutters away from my fantasy RPG...unless that is the kind of fantasy RPG you want to play.

Thanks, good feedback.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #10 on: February 03, 2006, 07:10:52 AM »

2) The main difference between Keys and the re-named Keys Banners, is that players can hand out XP for certain Banners to other players for doing certain things.  After the Indie RPG roundtable, on Luke and Jared's advice, I had the players pay each other out of their own XP but after a playtest, I am going to change that.

It doesn't feel like a reward but it feels like the players who pay out are being punished for bringing others into their plans.  It is exactly the opposite of the effect of what I wanted.

Just a stray thought. IIRC, experience awards in tSoY happen at the moment they're earned, right? If this were my game, I'd hand the player a stack of poker chips, and point out that 2 of them were bonus XP because he got 2 other players to help him with his banner, and that he was free to hand it to them if he wanted. I think the physical handing out of a thing would really help here, as well as the explicit pointing out of "You're only getting this because of what she did. Are you going to pass it along to her?"

This may be the same thing you and Russell were talking about in the last few posts. I couldn't really follow it to be sure.
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #11 on: February 03, 2006, 02:27:01 PM »

If this were my game, I'd hand the player a stack of poker chips, and point out that 2 of them were bonus XP because he got 2 other players to help him with his banner, and that he was free to hand it to them if he wanted. I think the physical handing out of a thing would really help here, as well as the explicit pointing out of "You're only getting this because of what she did. Are you going to pass it along to her?"

One of the things I really like about TSoY XP is that it takes the whole handing out of XP right out of the GM's hands and puts it right in the players'.  For the first few scenes or even the first session we have to stop and make sure everyone gets their XP but after a while the players are just taking (and with Banners, dishing out) XP as their Banner sees fit.  I dig that as a GM, it allows me to put my mental energy elsewhere.

So, basically, what you say above is happening but the GM is not necessarily in the picture at all.
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ubergeek2012
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Bob Manning


« Reply #12 on: February 03, 2006, 02:43:51 PM »

Actually, I meant to ask you this earlier, but I forgot.  Are you using the key scene XP from page 77 of TSoY?
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Judd
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Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #13 on: February 03, 2006, 06:19:37 PM »

Actually, I meant to ask you this earlier, but I forgot.  Are you using the key scene XP from page 77 of TSoY?

I've got to go throught TSoY with a highliighter and a red pen, deciding what I want to keep and what I want to re-phrase and what I want to toss.

Key Scenes are something I've never used as a TSoY GM.  It is something to talk about with my playtesters and future playtest GM's.

Good heads up, Bob.
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