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Author Topic: Adversity: What's in a scene?  (Read 7793 times)
JMendes
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« on: April 25, 2006, 10:14:27 PM »

Hey, all, :)

So, here's my second question about our second session of Capes. I could have put this in with the other one, but I feel these are both complicated enough issues to warrant their own threads. (Tony, I hope that's ok.)

We decided to play with spotlight characters, this time (as opposed to the first session). Took us a while to make up all the chars and exemplars, but finally, we were done.

It fell upon me to create the first scene, and I had a story to tell, so I wanted to set up a main villain, and I wanted to find out what everyone else cared about (well, yeah, it was in their char sheet, but I wanted to know if their guts were in there as well). So, I set up a scene in a construction site of a building project that was running late, and this is the night shift, and so here's this super villain attacking. Everyone else thought it was cool and they brought in their spotlight heroes, so it was 3 against 1 time and some interesting conflicts were on the table, but really, nothing majorly gripping. I came out of it with a pile of story tokens and a couple of inspirations, which was cool.

Then, in the next scene, the player called a scene in the office building where his spotlight character works, and his love exemplar works there as well. He would be playing his own spotlight hero, though. Everyone was like, yeah, ok, but now what? So, we all kinda decided to see where he was going with this. The next player decided to play a bunch of "attackers", whatever they might turn out to be, another player kinda fumbled around for a character to play with, then ended up settling on the character's boss and father of the exemplar, and then everybody looked at me. I kinda didn't want to play supervillain twice in a row, but I didn't feel like my own hero would have anything significant/interesting to contribute, here, but, I did have a story I wanted to tell, so I decided to play Mystery, instead.

All this, of course, frustrated the hell out of the scene caller, who was expecting some sort of opposition to his character, seeing as he even already had those two debt tokens that could be farmed and all, and he didn't quite understand why someone didn't, say, play the exemplar, or something.

Relevant mechanical stuff did end up happening at the table, but only because the mook player decided to fight for the capture goal (this is all discussed here, btw) rather than introduce his own, which he later admitted was a tactical mistake, and because the player of the boss actually came up with an interesting goal. I got the Answers Are Revealed event for free, as nobody cared about it, but that's fine, as I got a 4 insp for it and got to further my story, actually sort of preempting the mooks' master plan.

So, here's my question, really. What exactly is the responsibility of the scene caller? Is he supposed to have an agenda for the scene? If he lays it out but other players dismiss it, then tough, I suppose, but if he doesn't, just exactly what is everyone else supposed to do?

We discussed this after the game, and consensus was a bit unreachable. I maintained that you're supposed to come to the table with something to say or risk having the game bypass you completely, whereas he maintained that that something is going to emerge from whatever opposition is present anyway. I also comes down to whose responsibility is it to provide adversity, the scene caller's or everyone else's. The example of play seems to support his position, but chapter 8 seems to support mine. Or does it? I'm not so sure, actually...

Here's my feeling: I think his way of playing is bound to be great fun... for all of three sessions. After that, it's going to grow stale. There's a limit to the number of times I want to lay down Goal: kill the hero and gloat off it, and there's a limit to the number of times I can lay down Goal: kill the hero's mother before he gets fed up with it and finally lets her die out of sheer boredom.

Here's his feeling: he wants to me constantly challenged on his character, he wants people to throw down adversity at him left and right, to force him to choose what it is that he actually cares about, and in the process of getting rewarded for doing so, a story is bound to emerge, and it will be fresh and vibrant every time, provided opposition is passionate and enthusiastic every time.

And you know, I totally see his point. I don't see how default opposition can continue to be passionate and enthusiastic on a consistent basis over long term play, but I totally see his wanting for it. Except, I have no problem thinking up a fresh brand new story in all of fifteen seconds, and then I have no problem deciding on whether a given conflict puts me in check or not, and in a like manner, I have no trouble throwing out conflicts that put other people's goals in check.

But mainly, if I don't have something to say, then what the hell do I need story tokens and inspirations for? And if I don't want them, then why the hell should I want to provide opposition for his character, if really, that's all I have to gain?

He wants to have to defend his character. I want to have to defend my story.

Wait a minute, you say, why don't you play your way and he plays his way? Basically, because if we do, we simply won't provide opposition for each other. I don't see a way out of this conundrum.

And I really hope the answer isn't "you two should just not play Capes together", because that would be very much, you know, blah...

Cheers,
J.
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Zamiel
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« Reply #1 on: April 25, 2006, 10:52:40 PM »

And you know, I totally see his point. I don't see how default opposition can continue to be passionate and enthusiastic on a consistent basis over long term play, but I totally see his wanting for it. Except, I have no problem thinking up a fresh brand new story in all of fifteen seconds, and then I have no problem deciding on whether a given conflict puts me in check or not, and in a like manner, I have no trouble throwing out conflicts that put other people's goals in check.

But mainly, if I don't have something to say, then what the hell do I need story tokens and inspirations for? And if I don't want them, then why the hell should I want to provide opposition for his character, if really, that's all I have to gain?

He wants to have to defend his character. I want to have to defend my story.

Wait a minute, you say, why don't you play your way and he plays his way? Basically, because if we do, we simply won't provide opposition for each other. I don't see a way out of this conundrum.

And I really hope the answer isn't "you two should just not play Capes together", because that would be very much, you know, blah...

I'm going to say it:

"Why don't you play your way and he plays his?"

Seriously.

If you play your way, you know you'll maximize the resources you wrangle out of him by opposing him at every turn, in every Scene you two share. You know what his hot buttons are, because he points big red arrows at them in order to get you to kick him right in the nards between them. He wants to get kicked! If you want to earn the resources you'll need to tell your story, you'll have to actually spend some time kicking him in the nards with a variety of shoes. Believe me, despite how much you might wonder now, you never get tired of kicking someone in the nards.

Likewise, he knows that to farm resources out of you, he needs to put his size 10s into your story-nards, to threaten the implicit or explicit story crumbs you're dropping around. You've actually given him a harder job, because Traits and Exemplars and Drives all tell others about what you want right now, but nothing mechanically tells folks about what kinds of stories you want to tell. That just takes time, probably at least a few rounds of Scenes, so that he can get a bead. But be clear, talk about things in the social context, and not only will he get it, he'll start taking great pleasure in the fact he puts the boots to your cojones regularly and you pay him to do it.

Capes is particularly demanding of Players in a very specific way: Everyone can get what they want only so far as they're willing to compromise with everyone else at the table, and the better someone gets at giving others what they want, the more that Player gets to do what they want. Its very much a GM's gambit. If you don't, or can't, turn loose of control long enough to let others get what they want out of the game, you both lose out. The moment you recognize that the best way to get what you want is to give others what they want, you've got it.

Tony talks a lot about bringing "passion" to the table. I'm not quite so high-fallutin'. You come to the table, I assume you came to play. If you don't, why come to the table? Capes doesn't care if you have a story to tell, and neither do I, any more than the blackjack deck and the shark across the table from you care that you're trying to earn money for your mother's operation. If I find out and it lets me milk you for your chips, I care just that far. And you don't care that I just care about making brilliant card plays, except insofar as that lets you read my play to win and get money for your mother's operation.

Capes takes as an axiom that all I have to care about, as a Player, is what you care about, as a Player. It creates a market. If you don't care about buying, and you don't care about selling, why are you in the market?
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ricmadeira
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« Reply #2 on: April 26, 2006, 03:13:57 AM »

Then, in the next scene, the player called a scene in the office building where his spotlight character works, and his love exemplar works there as well. He would be playing his own spotlight hero, though. Everyone was like, yeah, ok, but now what? So, we all kinda decided to see where he was going with this. The next player decided to play a bunch of "attackers", whatever they might turn out to be, another player kinda fumbled around for a character to play with, then ended up settling on the character's boss and father of the exemplar, and then everybody looked at me. I kinda didn't want to play supervillain twice in a row, but I didn't feel like my own hero would have anything significant/interesting to contribute, here, but, I did have a story I wanted to tell, so I decided to play Mystery, instead.

All this, of course, frustrated the hell out of the scene caller, who was expecting some sort of opposition to his character, seeing as he even already had those two debt tokens that could be farmed and all, and he didn't quite understand why someone didn't, say, play the exemplar, or something.

Scene caller here... I wasn't frustated by lack of opposition, quite the contrary. On the first scene, I ended up with 2 debt, and 2 story tokens, after having spent 2 debt. On this scene, the second one, I ended with the 6 debt, the same two story tokens, after having spent 6 debt... If you do your math, you'll see that on the first scene I got 4 debt (just to get the story tokens from a conflict after I saw two other players were fighting for it and staking debt) and then in this scene I got 10 debt to make a stand on two conflicts I really didn't want to lose. I was pretty enthusiastic, better believe it.

However, I was a bit disappointed - mechanically speaking -  that no one else played a super-powered character in the start of the scene because that meant I couldn't get story tokens from any of you guys. If you hadn't brought in your supervillain in a later page after your "Mistery" exited the scene without anybody paying it much attention, the scene would have ended on that page... I could split my dice all the way to hell and back and won what I was set on winning easily.

Now, the player who played my Love Exemplar's father / my boss had a perfect reason to play that character and not a superpowered character. He had no story tokens and that character was the sole reason my hero and his Love Exampler couldn't get together, plus he was my (secret identity's) boss, the owner of a powerful media empire, and he hated superheroes with a (Spiderman's J. Jamieson like) passion... he just had to be alive and breathing in the same room as me that conflicts would appear out of thin air and he would get to milk me for Story Tokens. I loved that player for choosing that character and rewarded him accordingly whenever I had to split inspirations/tokens between him and other player allied with him! :)

What frustrated me was our argument after the game about this... how you wanted to force me to have a story to tell with clear cut events that you could then fight over me for. The story I want to see told is how my character deals with adversity and how he manages (or not) to be true to his beliefs/ideals/passions when the he can't do everything and win them all... will he find happiness or become a bitter person? Capes encourages the other players to create meaningful adversity for me... a lot of meaningful adversity for me... And for me, that's all it takes, or at least the most important ingredient. That's what happens in my PTA games, it's Story Now all the way; the players create characters and I as a Producer use their flags as target practise... the only reason I want control over the story events is for the hability to bring bigger and scarier guns into play to turn on the character's flags. If you look at With Great Power, it works the same way... the GM has a story to tell - the villains' plain - and that is just the villains trying to wrangle from the heroes the things they care about the most... no more, no less... the villains goal might be to take over the world, but that's just a colorful excuse for the GM to use the villain to hurt the heroes where it hurts the most. I accept you find my point of view boringin a story-sense, but then... you're not really into Narrativism, right? So maybe that's all.
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Hans
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« Reply #3 on: April 26, 2006, 05:11:38 AM »

Quote
The story I want to see told is how my character deals with adversity and how he manages (or not) to be true to his beliefs/ideals/passions when the he can't do everything and win them all... will he find happiness or become a bitter person? Capes encourages the other players to create meaningful adversity for me... a lot of meaningful adversity for me... And for me, that's all it takes, or at least the most important ingredient.

I don't know what was actually said in your game, so please don't take this as a criticism.  Assume I'm speaking about someone elses game that happened to be somewhat like yours.

Lets say you want to have a more intimate scene, a scene where there isn't much "action" but lots of interpersonal drama between characters (which it sounds like Ric wanted with his office scene).  In my experience, there are two ways to get to this. 

The first way is be VERY evocative on how you set the scene.  That is, don't just say "Ok, the scene is the office where my spotlight works, and he is there at work, and his girlfriend and boss are there."  Say something like "The scene is my spotlight and his girlfriend are in the lunch room, getting friendly with each other, when the Boss bursts in!" or "the scene is the office, where I have just been called to the bosses office for that stupid stuff that happened in the last scene...boy, am I going to get it!"  In other words, really telegraph where you want to go with it.

The second way is to set it up over the long term.  In other words, don't try a scene like this in the 2nd session, when no one really yet has a feel for the way the campaign is going, or necessarily cares that much about anything.  Give it some time to build up.  Every chance you get, throw in things that set up that scene in narration ("my spotlight things, 'boy, the boss is really going to ream me for this'") or goals (Goal: Spotlight gets to work on time).  During this process you can gauge the feelings of your other players, and get an idea of what interests them.  That way, when you do introduce the scene, you can write into it specific spots that you are pretty certain at least some of the other players will be into, since you have a handle on their feelings.

However, even given the above, while the scene framer has a lot of power, you have to be ready to run with things.  Even if you give a REALLY strong pitch for your vision of the scene, and you've laid a lot of groundwork, the bottom line is that you can propose a scene, plop a character down, and the next person in order can plop a character down you never in a million years expected, and grab every other player around the tables attention.  Suddenly, what you thought the scene was going to be about is really MILES away from what the scene is really going to be about.  Sorry, but that person's story-fu is just better than your story-fu that scene.  This uncertainty is the price we pay for playing a game that gives such freedom. 

That being said, as a non-scene framing player, I usually try to respect what the other person seems to be setting up in the scene, even if I think I have a better idea.  I do this for two reasons: first, because I want to give my friend a chance to show me where he is going, he's a creative guy and his ideas, even if at first I don't get them, will probably end up being cool, and second, if I dig into what the scene framer is giving me, I know there is at least one person (the scene framer) who I can compete with in the scene for resources.
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ricmadeira
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« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2006, 06:06:16 AM »

But mainly, if I don't have something to say, then what the hell do I need story tokens and inspirations for? And if I don't want them, then why the hell should I want to provide opposition for his character, if really, that's all I have to gain?

He wants to have to defend his character. I want to have to defend my story.

I think you answered your own question. You want tokens and inspirations to defend your story.

Don't you see there's a perfect balance there? I need tokens/inspirations to defend the things my character cares about against everybody else... you need tokens/inspirations to defend the story you want to see happening (which, one could argue, is just what I'm doing too) against everybody else. We need to attack each other because we need to defend from each other. That's the real reason for: "GM? We don't need no stinkin' GM."

I have only played two sessions of Capes, but I can't possible imagine a situation with this system where a player has more tokens/inspirations than he could use... that would either mean Capes is flawed in terms of game balance (for what I think it tries to achieve) or that disfunctional play is occuring (i.e. that player is playing the game but doesn't really care about any of the characters/events/situations on the table, he's just there to watch and wherever the story goes is exactly the same to him... meaning, he's earning more and more story tokens and inspirations and just sitting on them).

I'm not saying that everybody will provide opposition all the time. If you want to do your thing, just put the required preventive goal on the table and win it, like you did. But there's a handful of people on the table, so there will always be somebody opposing someone, like what happened in our game. Even a person that just wants do her own thing, will eventually find herself in need of Tokens/Inspirations to make her story happen... and since she doesn't want to get Story Tokens by loosing the conflicts she most cares about, she will create or directly involve herself into conclicts other people care about just so she can lose them after having faked putting up a real fight. That's (one of?) the winning strategy(ies?) the mechanics seem to want to encourage.

[Edited]As a Post Scriptum... Here I'm only repeating what Zamiel already said previously in a much cooler and mas macho way than me. Thumbs up for him being so cool and representing of I what think, and thumbs down for me for making people thread over the same ground. :)[/Edited]
« Last Edit: April 26, 2006, 06:28:27 AM by ricmadeira » Logged

TonyLB
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« Reply #5 on: April 26, 2006, 06:13:34 AM »

First, let me say that this sounds like a hella good second session.  I'm sorry you folks had frustration, but it does sound like you're shooting right up the learning curve.

We discussed this after the game, and consensus was a bit unreachable. I maintained that you're supposed to come to the table with something to say or risk having the game bypass you completely, whereas he maintained that that something is going to emerge from whatever opposition is present anyway. I also comes down to whose responsibility is it to provide adversity, the scene caller's or everyone else's. The example of play seems to support his position, but chapter 8 seems to support mine. Or does it? I'm not so sure, actually...

You guys are so freakin' far advanced beyond where I was after that few sessions.  And I wrote the game!  You're asking very good questions.  I'll give my answers, such as I've figured them out, but I did want to point out that this stuff is not obvious.

Capes doesn't deal in "responsibilities," it deals in "opportunities."  So the answer is that nobody is responsible for bringing the adversity ... but anyone can profit from doing so, particularly if they have a monopoly.  Other people have pretty thoroughly covered the ground about how you can sieze those opportunities.  I'm going to talk about the bit that is much harder (to this day!) for me to get my brain around ... what does it mean when nobody grabs the opportunities?

So here's the lesson that I (and my play group) have a hard, hard time accepting:  There is nothing wrong with a short scene.  Suppose the following:

  • Eric plays Clark Kent in the Daily Planet offices
  • Sydney plays Lois and I play Perry.
  • First page we play three goals:  "Clark finds out about Luthor's plans," "Lois scorns Clark" and "Perry rightly upbraids Clark for neglecting his job responsibilities."
  • Second page we claim and resolve all three (in whatever way).
  • Scene ends

I would argue that's likely to be a cool, low-key scene, and that it will establish a lot of good stuff for later scenes (how does Clark balance superheroics and his job, for instance).  More to the point, it's fast.  If that scene costs us fifteen minutes of game-time I'd be shocked.  Closing that scene and three more like it is almost certain to do more for the story than dragging that one scene out to eight pages while we try to inject more purpose into it than it started with.

So, like I said, I have trouble with accepting this, even though I know it intellectually.  I am bad at it, and I've deliberately practiced to try to become better, but I still stink.  But I think that part of the key is realizing that not only is no individual responsible for making the scene into a big pile-o'-adversity ... that, in fact, the group as a whole isn't responsible for doing that.  If a given scene is lower key, that's okay.  You get what you can out of it and you move on to something else.

Now, having built up to all of that ... I have to wonder whether I'm just projecting my own problems on you guys.  Does this sound like anything that is relevant?
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Hans
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« Reply #6 on: April 26, 2006, 06:33:00 AM »

Now, having built up to all of that ... I have to wonder whether I'm just projecting my own problems on you guys.  Does this sound like anything that is relevant?

Indeed it does.  We have a bit of a similar sort of thing planned for the first scene this evening in our game...Piers has let it be known he intends to frame a scene where the newly recruited members of the U.S. Military super-powered task force are meeting for the first time, and working out the new structure of the group.  It could be a long or a short scene, but I think your general comment here is good...short, low-key scenes are OK.  If the scene is really just a very short little vignette, with maybe only a couple of goals like "Goal: Col. Mustard establishes a chain of command", and "Goal: Johnny agrees to put on a uniform", that is totally cool.

On the other hand...it could end up being a really intense character drama, or some super-villains could show up and demand immediate team work.  That would be cool too.
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ricmadeira
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« Reply #7 on: April 26, 2006, 07:56:04 AM »

I have to wonder whether I'm just projecting my own problems on you guys.  Does this sound like anything that is relevant?

I think Joćo's original concern, and his reason to post this, is very simple. He is/was just worried that the game would feel like it's heading nowhere and get stale for him after a few sessions if people come to the table without a plot of their own to unfold and just have their characters more or less sitting there in some scenes waiting for the other players to challange them, while in other scenes playing opposition to other players just for the sake of opposing and in doing so getting tokens/inspirations. I defend just the opposite... that seems more or less how With Great Power works too (the plot is the GM using vilains to hurt the PCs where it hurts under the cover of some bogus but believable excuse, plus a few very short exposition scenes, and nothing more), and how I handle my side of the plot when I'm a PTA Producer.

He thinks that the way of playing I described, alone, would just degenerate into the same conflicts over, and over, and over again. "Goal: Kill your hero" four scenes in a row! "Goal: re-humiliate, again, your so proud hero" yet again! "Goal: kill your Love Exemplar"... it's the tenth time tonight, godamn!

But yeah, your post is still very relevant. I don't think anybody ended up happy with the scene as it was played. Being the target in the spotlight, I had a blast in that scene, but even I'll say it really, really dragged. Most of the fault for that was the lateness of the hour, plus people were reacting, and reacting, and reacting, and reacting, and reacting, and reacting (it was the first time, in maybe six scenes, that someone ran out of habilities to use in his character sheet), sometimes just for the sake of lowering the winner's inspirations by a couple of points. Since it was way past midnight, some reactions took 1-2 minutes... one minute for the player to check the dice and his sheet to decide if he would indeed react, and then another minute for him to decide how to narrate that to the table in case he was reacting.

Identifying the scene as low key and letting go of it instead of introducing more conflicts and more characters to stop the conflicts from being resolved would have cut it in half, at least... like I said, in first pages of the scene I was the only powered character, and so would have easily won any conflict that fancied my gut just by splitting my dice (unless the fires were so many I couldn't put them all out). If Joćo hadn't later introduced a supervillain capable of splitting dice too, it would have all been over much sooner... even with his splitting of dice, it took some luck to get one or two sixes on the dice and catch up with me (and since this was a gloatable conflict, it didn't disappear after the vilains won and I had to keep working at winning it)... but I can't say I blame him, and I can't say the blame isn't really mine for not going for the throat and spending tokens and raking debt to win the conflicts much earlier, and I can't say I wouldn't have done the same as him or much worse, and I can't say I won't do the same or much worse in a future similar scene... after all, if a player has conflicts with staked debt on the table and I think I can make a profit, I'll do it.

So yeah, I can totally see how you think it's a hard thing to do... especially since it seems to go against the "milk 'em for all the tokens/inspirations they're worth" attitude the game wants to reward... but it's perhaps a question of people asking themselves: Do I want to drag this on in the name of more profit? Or do I let it slide, because I'm itching to play another character, or change the subject/cenary, or just because I think the next scene will be more profitable and time spent farming these tokens here is time wasted not farming all those tokens there?
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JMendes
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« Reply #8 on: April 26, 2006, 11:31:49 AM »

Hey, :)

He thinks that the way of playing I described, alone, would just degenerate into the same conflicts over, and over, and over again. "Goal: Kill your hero" four scenes in a row! "Goal: re-humiliate, again, your so proud hero" yet again! "Goal: kill your Love Exemplar"... it's the tenth time tonight, godamn!

Just so everyone knows, yeah, that's the key, right there. If everyone is on that same page, how is it that that doesn't happen?

Also:

If Joćo hadn't later introduced a supervillain capable of splitting dice too, it would have all been over much sooner...

Tony, I guess this is where your lesson kicks in. Even though there was a gloatable goal on the table, there was no way it was going to get gloated at all if I hadn't stepped in. I got greedy for the story tokens at a time where (a) I didn't need them, and (b) the scene itself wasn't grabbing me. This meant I dragged the scene on for another hour and robbed myself of the chance to do what I really wanted to do, which was introduce my own spotlight character, all in the name of a net gain of Two Story Tokens. Yoohoo! :/

Which is kinda my point, actually, Story tokens are a means to an end, not the end itself. But if there's no "end", no goal to put on the table beside the simple goal of "farm story tokens and inspirations. more. more. mine, all mine, muwahahaha", then where does it stop? :)

Cheers,
J.
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Sydney Freedberg
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« Reply #9 on: April 26, 2006, 11:36:13 AM »

Ric's got it right -- think "opportunity cost": maybe I'm milking tokens and inspirations out of this scene here, but if I cut it short, I can introduce something even cooler in the next scene and profit even more.

I've been in this same position myself where I just throw out a vague idea and everyone says "uh..." You just have to pick up the ball you just dropped and spike it again. In this particular case, invented a Star Wars-esque galactic struggle out of nowhere, threw in a rather boring villain, and discovered the other two players didn't have the strong gut-level engagement with space opera that I did -- so they just pulled in characters with no strong stake in the scene and waited -- so I said, ok, that didn't work, and I paid a story token to play the younger self of a character they did care about (yay, time travel campaign) and had the boring villain threaten him. That got their attention and the scene came to life.

So it's equally important for the scene-setter to (a) have a strong, dynamic idea that other people can react to and (b) be flexible and respond eagerly to the cool tangent the scene ends up going in instead.
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JMendes
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« Reply #10 on: April 27, 2006, 01:02:30 PM »

Hey, :)

Sydney, yes, good answer, but still not exactly on target.

I was kinda loosing the thread on this, er, thread (no pun), and in review, this is where I kinda lost it...

Quote
The story I want to see told is how my character deals with adversity [...]
Lets say you want to have a more intimate scene [...] as a non-scene framing player, I usually try to respect what the other person seems to be setting up in the scene

You see, Hans, that's not where we were going. If it were, we probably would have picked up on it and maybe go with it, or maybe go against it, or something. Thing is, the scene was, "Here's a scene with my spotlight character. Now, attack me." And we're like, "how, what's going on", and he was like "you know, whatever. I'm here, I'm open, I got debt, come and get it."

If we attacked his building with super-villains, he would have defended it. If we attacked him personally through his love exemplar, he would have defended himself. If we attacked the universe, he would have defended it. He didn't care, he just wanted to be attacked in some way. In his own words, he wants to see his character deal with adversity, and it becomes our job to provide it, because, after all, the system pays us to do it.

Which is why, Sydney, you came close to the mark:

So it's equally important for the scene-setter to (a) have a strong, dynamic idea that other people can react to and (b) be flexible and respond eagerly to the cool tangent the scene ends up going in instead.

(b) is not the problem for us, never has been, never will be, and the game text, specifically the example of play, makes is very explicit that (b) is a strong point of the game.

Thing is, as a player, I demand (a) from the scene caller, whereas Ric feels that (a) is entirely optional, because we don't have to react to the scene itself, we can just react to the presence of a farmable character, and it is, in fact, our responsibility, because, hey, he just wants to be attacked, and the system is paying us for it.

So, the question becomes:
1) Am I right in demanding (a)?
2) Is the scene caller right in discarding (a)?

Focus on those two questions, and we'll get this back on track. Tony, as the game's designer, I'd especially value your input on those points.

Cheers,
J.
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« Reply #11 on: April 27, 2006, 01:12:23 PM »

So, the question becomes:
1) Am I right in demanding (a)?
2) Is the scene caller right in discarding (a)?

Seriously, why do you even want to make this a question of moral right and wrong?  I can think of a dozen ways to ask that question which doesn't involve one side being right and one side being wrong.  Every last one of them seems more natural to me than your formulation ... yet the right/wrong formulation clearly seems natural to you.  Want to fill me in on why?
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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2006, 01:44:55 PM »

Hi, :)

why do you even want to make this a question of moral right and wrong?  [...] the right/wrong formulation clearly seems natural to you.  Want to fill me in on why?

Ah... Hum... er... <embarassment> It's not a question of morals, per se. Rather, it is one of procedure. I sometimes find that putting things in terms of right and wrong helps people come up with answers in terms of yes and no.

Evidently, if you can find more natural formulations for these questions and want to advance them, I'd be fine with that. Just so long as you also give an answer, of course. :)

(I'm rolling on "Goal: get easy answers to hard questions" with my trait "argumentative". Die comes up 4. I accept.)

Cheers,
J.
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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2006, 02:11:40 PM »

Okay, here's my most explicit, most broken out version of the same questions.

Quote
1) Can the scene framer benefit from introducing a strong dynamic?

Yes, very much.

2) Can other players benefit from the scene framer introducing a strong dynamic?

Yes, a little.

3) Who suffers if the scene framer fails to introduce a strong dynamic?

Everybody, but the scene framer most.
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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2006, 02:23:04 PM »

Hi, :)

Coolness. Gotcha.

3) Who suffers if the scene framer fails to introduce a strong dynamic?

Everybody, but the scene framer most.

I would like to ask you to expand on why that is. Grantedly, I have my own opinion, but would like to hear other visions of the dynamics involved.

Cheers,
J.
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