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Author Topic: London CoS Game  (Read 32326 times)
rrees
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Posts: 15


« on: April 23, 2006, 02:48:19 PM »

I've put up an advert in Playin' Games so I thought it wouldn't hurt to mention the game here as well. There's room for one or two more players in a CoS game in London, currently Wednesday night in Streatham.

You can have a look at the advert at the game homepage
http://carnel.sdf-eu.org/rp/campaigns/cos/index.html.

And read about the sessions here:
http://games-log.blogspot.com/
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GB Steve
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2006, 03:39:17 PM »

Damn! We play on a Wednesday night and have been looking for players in Clapham for a while. Our last few games have all been Forge games too (Polaris, PTA). Had we been playing on another night I'd have loved to have joined in.
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #2 on: May 24, 2006, 09:52:25 AM »

Hey,

I've been meaning to ask you about your game and how it is going.  Was wondering, outside the gameblog, which I have been reading, what is going on at the table.  Things like how you are using the mechancis and shit (particularly Destiny and Doom).  Do certain mechanics do anything to the story you find interesting.  Shit like that.

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
rrees
Member

Posts: 15


« Reply #3 on: June 25, 2006, 01:58:38 PM »

Hey,

I've been meaning to ask you about your game and how it is going.  Was wondering, outside the gameblog, which I have been reading, what is going on at the table.  Things like how you are using the mechancis and shit (particularly Destiny and Doom).  Do certain mechanics do anything to the story you find interesting.  Shit like that.

Keith

Sorry about the huge delay in getting back to you (there are good reasons too tedious to get into) but to provide an answer... The blog has the points that were spent in each session in a comment on the main post. So far since we switched from Destiny providing an extra die to Destiny allowing a narrative element the number of Destiny points used during the game has substantially reduced and the Destiny used so far has been on relatively superficial narrative elements. I would guess that one of the possible reasons is that players do not want to derail a GM's narrative or train of thought, I'll have to ask.

Doom has proven pretty popular with a lot getting burned up recently. We play it as one Doom point allows you to narrated an outcome to a situation or if you would otherwise die you lose a Doom point. I think this tends to favour very creative players and again would be tempted to add a mechanical alternative, say double-dice for the duration of a scene, to encourage less extrovert and prolific players to use some.

Faith and Taint has been the subject of much debate, there are two Faith 1 characters (Sedziwoj and Anatoli) and this just feels wrong to me. I would be tempted to set the default Faith to 3 and only allow a buydown to 1 by the addition of a negative descriptor that would definitely have a social effect. I'm not sure the idea of being a "secret atheist" really works with the historical flavour of the game.

A lot of the discussion around Taint has been argument as to whether or not a character should have acquired it or not and whether it is subjective or objective. If a character regards his actions as being moral should he acquire Taint or not. Applying a modern moral code to medieval characters can be a losing proposition. My argument is that Taint is an objective thing. The Albin may or may not exist but the Dark definitely does exist and wants to swallow the world. Anything that feeds the Dark may be subjectively justified but still feeds the demons in their quest to destroy the world.

In terms of the mechanics there is one thing that really drives the game and that is the Descriptors (there is a reason that Sedziwoj is welded to a horse and Little Alexander uses a stave with the same piety as drives his vespers). Descriptors are a really strong aspect of the system and I would really like to see players some Destiny acquiring additional Descriptors, perhaps in the same way that benefits are cemented in HeroQuest.

That's it for the moment, I'll mail the thread to the players so they can have their side of the story.
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #4 on: June 26, 2006, 09:39:57 AM »

Hey Robert,

Destiny
What you mention about the use of Destiny Points is interesting.  The idea behind it is to give the players greater control over the game.  To let them drive play as much as possible.  It also takes the burden of plot creation off the GM since he is in a more reactionary role.

Doom
Well, what we end up doing, is when someone gets stuck with narration at any point, it becomes a round-table style discussion to help them articulate what they really want.  This way everyone feels like they can use it to its maximum effect.  It is like positive reiniforcment to get everyone in on the action.

Faith & Taint
Secret athiest?  That's some crazy shit.  It is tough divorcing the notion of a modern relativist sensability to the game.  I mean Albin is real in the minds of the people.  So is the Adversary (or the Dark which is equally cool ).  The moral codes that govern life and religion are meant to be absolute cause the idea was to latch on to the medieval mindset.  I got to say I agree with you, anything that feeds it, even though it may be a greater good sort of thing, is still bad.

Descriptors
We are currently playtesting a new Descriptor/Destiny system.  For every three times a player uses a Destiny Point to cause a complication for the group (like this Saturday, Oscar made life tough on the group by having the Noyar be at this important meeting that sent everything into a tailspin), he can either take a new Descriptor or change an existing one.  Players also earn new Destiny Points by using Negative Descriptors in conflicts.

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
rrees
Member

Posts: 15


« Reply #5 on: July 04, 2006, 01:52:05 PM »

Hey Robert,

Destiny
What you mention about the use of Destiny Points is interesting.  The idea behind it is to give the players greater control over the game.  To let them drive play as much as possible.  It also takes the burden of plot creation off the GM since he is in a more reactionary role.

Doom
Well, what we end up doing, is when someone gets stuck with narration at any point, it becomes a round-table style discussion to help them articulate what they really want.  This way everyone feels like they can use it to its maximum effect.  It is like positive reiniforcment to get everyone in on the action.


I had an interesting experience with Another Game System on the weekend which reminded me how difficult running a game can be without some kind of narrative hijacking. It was a case of "fairness" and an "enjoyable" experience versus the narrative logic of a story. A particular element of the game really mattered to one of the players (to the point where he became very tedious about it) and I wished the system had had a way that would have allowed him to "buy" the element he wanted while avoiding the risk of caving in to every demand a player might have.

I guess the Destiny mechanic is maybe something that I have just become used to and I haven't been appreciating it enough.

Your mention of round-table Doom discussion reminded me that that does happen in our game and often the other players can suggest a way to use Destiny instead of Doom or get more "bang" for the Doom point "buck". However creative and quick-thinking players will still tend to dominate a round-table discussion and therefore drag the game into alignment with their own view of what the campaign should be about. I guess the real question is whether that is a problem or not.
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #6 on: July 05, 2006, 07:42:46 AM »

Yeah I don't know if I could run a game without that kinda input mechanic.  I don't have the energy for it anymore...

I don't know if it is a problem or not.  I don't remember the last time I played with a group that didn't have everyone firing on all cylanders.  What I would suggest is for the GM to go socratic in the discussion.  Ask questions of the less apt to jump into the fray to draw them in.  That is, I think, the best way to keep them involved if they are sitting on the sidelines.  I use it in game play with creative folks, so I don't see why it wouldn't work with the timid.
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
rrees
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Posts: 15


« Reply #7 on: July 08, 2006, 02:22:37 PM »

I like the idea of gaining a Destiny Point whenever using a Negative Descriptor. It makes it more of a choice as to whether to buy off a Descriptor or not. I think I am going to introduce that immediately. For the idea about creating Cell complications I was wondering if the Cell shouldn't have some kind of Doom pool itself (perhaps called Nemesis) that players create and the GM can spend in empowering NPCs or enhancing situations. On the one hand its a bit gamey because the GM usually does this anyway but I kind of like the idea of the players creating recurring villains and rival organisations via the same mechanisms they can access Allies or information.

I was also having a think about what else had come up about Destiny and the other thing is that people have tended to increase Attributes ahead of Skills due to them having the same cost. I'm not sure Attributes should ever be increased since they should be more a definition of the character that would take a lot to change.

The final rules thing that could probably do with a bit of expansion is the whole Witchblood aspect. I'm not sure I would allow it again as a standard option as inevitably other characters get wise to it and it causes unproductive group friction as the only realistic response is to burn the witch, most likely upsetting the player concerned. I see full-blown Witchblooded as being a special type of CoS game one that deserves its own little expansion to the main game probably.
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rrees
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Posts: 15


« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2006, 11:02:03 AM »

I've updated the game blog with the final episodes of Season Two (http://games-log.blogspot.com/).

We're currently short a couple of players for the game so the campaign is on hold at the moment. This does mean we can be more flexible with the day of the week, if that makes a difference to anyone (like Steve).

If anyone is interested let me know.
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #9 on: September 27, 2006, 04:29:47 AM »

Hey Robert,

Curious to know what has and what hasn't worked in the game.

Silent K
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
Steven
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Posts: 2


« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2006, 01:39:58 PM »

Hey, I'm one of Rob's players. I've been meaning to post something for a while, so here goes.

I very much like the destiny mechanic. I am rather guilty of not using it too much, and the principle use seems to have been to gain combat advantage - we don't seem to have gotten quite used to the idea that destiny points cannot be used to buy an extra die in the current edition! However it has been used to good effect. One of the other players conceived of a peculiar desire (a creepy assassin child to follow him about - it takes all sorts, I guess!) and it was nice for him simply to 'buy' it with destiny, rather than having to persuade the GM of the idea's plausibility.

I love that a relevant descriptor is much more powerful than a higher stat. It really lets the characters come out. If I was creating another character, I would think very much more carefully about my descriptors...

I'm a little troubled by the way Doom works in our game, however. The drama in the game is based on the antagonism between the Cell and the world (and to some extent between the players and the GM.) In these circumstances, it seems extreme to turn over such all-encompassing narrative control to a player. As a player, the temptation to abuse this power is great, especially since most of us don't have much experience with heavy player narrative control. Perhaps I am wrong, but I've always felt that Rob feels the need to keep a fairly close rein on what we can accomplish with Doom. Maybe we all need to get used to the idea of using narrative control responsibly.

I rather like your alternate Doom mechanic - an extra die for every rank of Doom. I find the escalation in benefits as you get closer to your doom rather clever.

Anyway, just some thoughts...

Cheers,
Steven
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2006, 02:49:27 PM »

Hey Steve,

Thanks for your thoughts.  The whole idea with Destiny is to get the players invested in the setting/characters in the game.  The idea was born out of my frustrations in the past with not getting players to care about characters in play.  With Destiny they care cause they brought them into play, or brought the place, or event, or whatever into play.

Yeah Descriptors are fucking everything in the game.  They really drive everything home.

To address your Doom concern, there is a restraint on what can be done with it by the player.  To use the character's Doom, the player has to narrate how his/her character's success is tied into their Doom.  So to take an example from one game I ran, the character's Doom was something along the lines that he would fall with the blood of his people on his hands.  So in one scene he used his Doom and narrated how he killed another native like himself.  In another scene he opted not to use his Doom cause the opponent wasn't a native and he couldn't think of a satisfying way to incorporate the conflict in with his Doom. 

Silent K
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
Steven
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« Reply #12 on: October 02, 2006, 09:39:36 AM »

Hey Steve,

Thanks for your thoughts.  The whole idea with Destiny is to get the players invested in the setting/characters in the game.  The idea was born out of my frustrations in the past with not getting players to care about characters in play.  With Destiny they care cause they brought them into play, or brought the place, or event, or whatever into play.

I think that next time I play, I will deliberately set myself a target of spending at least one destiny point to introduce an element of my own.


Quote
To address your Doom concern, there is a restraint on what can be done with it by the player.  To use the character's Doom, the player has to narrate how his/her character's success is tied into their Doom.  So to take an example from one game I ran, the character's Doom was something along the lines that he would fall with the blood of his people on his hands.  So in one scene he used his Doom and narrated how he killed another native like himself.  In another scene he opted not to use his Doom cause the opponent wasn't a native and he couldn't think of a satisfying way to incorporate the conflict in with his Doom. 

I hadn't really thought about it in those terms before. I have always thought in terms of deciding to spend the point of Doom, and then coming up with a reason, however contrived, for it leading toward my doom. I was thinking of Doom as the opportunity for the player to take more control at a time of his choice at a penalty to the character. Whereas, you are saying that it is the opportunity for the player to take more control at a time when his Doom is coming into play. Is that right?

Thanks for your help - I'm finding this useful, though I'm sure you have answered similar questions many times elsewhere!

Cheers,
Steven
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Keith Senkowski
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« Reply #13 on: October 03, 2006, 05:37:37 AM »

I think that next time I play, I will deliberately set myself a target of spending at least one destiny point to introduce an element of my own.

That is an interesting idea, setting goals for yourself in play.  Let me know how it works out for you.

I hadn't really thought about it in those terms before. I have always thought in terms of deciding to spend the point of Doom, and then coming up with a reason, however contrived, for it leading toward my doom. I was thinking of Doom as the opportunity for the player to take more control at a time of his choice at a penalty to the character. Whereas, you are saying that it is the opportunity for the player to take more control at a time when his Doom is coming into play. Is that right?

You can certainly approach it both ways as the text says you got to tie the Doom use into your Doom during the narration.  I find the latter approach is often time easier for some folks when they approach using Doom.  It is all about wrapping your head around it and being able to use it to better play at the table, so which ever approach works best for you is the one you should use.

My pleasure to help man.  If you got any more questions don't hesitate to ask.

Silent K
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
Gypelemo70
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« Reply #14 on: September 03, 2009, 11:26:59 PM »

No offence to whoever made that pano but its put me off skyscrapers in London for life, well until i next see the gherkin . Seriously though you dont want ES getting hold of that, as its perfect propoganda material for them.
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