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Author Topic: [MLWM] Advice for a one session game  (Read 4408 times)
andrew_kenrick
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« on: August 05, 2006, 12:17:12 PM »

Hi guys -

On Tuesday I'm running my first game of MLWM as a stopgap for our usual weekly game. I'm hoping to play a complete game in the space of a single session probably about 4 hours long. Thing is, I've never ran MLWM before, let alone in a single session. So can I ask for some advice?

I've read some of the other threads, including the one collating data from sessions. I think I'm going to go with Fear 3/Reason 2, and start everybody with 1 Love.

But what else should I consider? How can I stack everything in my favour so that we can get through a whole game in one evening?
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2006, 03:28:24 PM »

Hi, Andrew.

I think you're in for a good time. My advice on running a single-session game is in this thread and my Manifesto on Mastery. Good luck.
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andrew_kenrick
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« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2006, 07:46:23 AM »

Thanks for the advice Michael. I notice Paul says in the back of MLWM to begin the story at the point where the social structure begins to collapse. From your experiences, would you suggest doing the same?
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
Jonas Ferry
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« Reply #3 on: August 07, 2006, 03:39:55 AM »

Hello Andrew,

Yes, listen to Michael; I've learnt a lot from reading his posts and the Manifesto.

Iíve run MLwM on conventions a number of times, in sessions between four and five hours. I think itís an excellent and very rewarding single-session game. Especially the epilogues give a nice sense of ending, with the players being able to end the game in a way that satisfies them (*).

There are a couple of things Iíve done to speed things up a bit. The first thing is during Master and minion creation. You should take the time necessary for the group to be able to invest something in the characters, but shouldnít let the thing drag. I usually introduce the different parts of the game gradually:

1. A general introduction of the game, the default setting and the kind of story arc thatís expected (perform evil orders, befriend townspeople, kill Master).

2. Master creation.  Itís more important to have a grasp of who the person is and what the group finds most disturbing about it than to try to figure out exactly if itís a Feeder or a Collector. I announce the numbers for Fear and Reason, and explain roughly what they represent. I use Fear 2, Reason 3, with groups of three to four minions.

3. Minion creation. Here I explain the character sheets and the different scores. I have them start with two Connections with one love each. One thing Iíve learnt is to not spend too much time hammering out More and Less than Humans. Iíve noticed they are rarely used as anything more than color, so you donít have to know every possible use of the power before the game starts. If someoneís stuck I use the examples from the book, or neat ones from previous games. I also encourage the players not to try to tie everything to the same aspect of the character (More than Human: Super strong, except when hungry. Less than Human: Super slow, except when recently fed. Connections: Town baker and butcher), because itís more important that itís interesting and fun than that it conforms to some single idea. The players should also know that there's no need to try and to figure out how "useful" something is compared to something else; a power that's off during the night is no less useful than something that's off when it rains, as you as GM decide in each instance whether it's night or raining.

 4. Formulae. I describe all formulas briefly, without going into details exactly what scores are used and what their relationships are.

5. Brief pause. Michael is right in that you want 15 minutes or something to come up with the first couple of orders. I look at the Connections and ask myself how they can be used for the Masterís plan. I write down a bunch of orders on a piece of paper without assigning them to a minion, and then I tick them of as I use them in the game. New orders will present themselves as the first ones are being carried out unsuccessfully (the Master is never happy).

As the game progresses you have to know that killing a connection can severely limit the chances of that minion to trigger end game. If you donít keep their Love scores yourself itís good to check with the players from time to time to see whoís the closest to end game and perhaps help that minion to more overtures. I think itís better to have a shorter session with some discussion afterwards than running longer than expected and risk losing the playersí attention. Make it clear that they are the ones that can end the game, and they do it by performing overtures and resisting the Master. I sometimes allow multiple overtures for a single character in a row, say three in a row, as the minion is bringing a kidnapped victim to the Master. I cut to scenes with other minions in between, to mix things up a bit. Remember that the minion gets a point of Love both if they are successful or unsuccessful.

As the game is coming to and end, itís important to know that just because a minion has enough Love to trigger end game, itís not certain that they can refuse an order. I allow the other minions to help the one triggering end game by passing dice for disobeying the Master. If timeís running out I usually skip the back-and-forth scene framing, and instead focus only on killing the Master. I also allow minions to pass dice for helping, which can lead to multiple Sincerity or Desperation dice on the side of the minion killing the Master, as Iíve found thatís sometimes needed to stand a chance of defeating the Master.

Finally, the old suggestion to take a break if you donít know what to do works great. Take a coffee or toilet break and figure out the next couple of orders for the Master. Remember that the Master doesnít have to make complete sense, and if the players find orders illogical and canít see how they furthers the Masterís goals in any way, itís all the more fun when their minions are forced to perform them.

Good luck and have fun!

(*) A fun incident in one of the sessions at a convention during the Easter weekend was a woman that turned from obviously not enjoying the game to really liking it because of the epilogue mechanic. Her minion was the Masterís quite headstrong maid who after the Masterís and the town mayorís deaths was integrated into society, and she described how the minion became the new mayor of the town. The player didnít like the constrictive nature of the mechanics (violence or villainy as the two only ways of performing orders) or having her character looked down on by the Master or townspeople, so she really liked the feeling of liberty and revenge as the game ended. The fun part is that she praised the ďscenarioĒ for the cool ending for her character, when all the game did was step out of the way and let her describe how she thought it should end. It was cool.
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andrew_kenrick
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« Reply #4 on: August 08, 2006, 07:23:32 AM »

Thanks for all the great advice. I'm running the game this evening, and have just printed off all the character sheets and formulae sheets I can find!
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
andrew_kenrick
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« Reply #5 on: August 09, 2006, 01:48:37 PM »

The game went really well, despite a few hiccups on my part. I've posted a report of it here.
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
aeble
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2006, 05:04:34 AM »

[...]
My advice on running a single-session game is in this thread and my Manifesto on Mastery. Good luck.

The manifesto is no longer available under that address. Is there a new place for it?
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