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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [MLWM] A first run  (Read 2810 times)
Satchmoe
Member

Posts: 4


« on: August 05, 2006, 02:43:57 PM »

I recently bought My Life with Master.  I ran my first game today, with three friends, two with whom I play regularly.
We decided to run counter to the advice in the book, and generated characters on the same day.  All in all play lasted five hours.

Master: Odilon Télesphore, petty noble child, orphan, 10 years old
Outsiders: The other noble's children
Wants: To dominate and persecute the other children, who mock him incessantly about his dolls.
Needs: An army of animate dolls, a "perfect" family of dolls
Type: Collector (dolls); Aspect: Beast
Demesne: A small, old, crumbly castle, mostly in disuse, overgrown with vegetation. 
A moat filled with brackish water surrounds the castle; floating in the moat are the smashed limbs and faces of destroyed dolls.

Fear: 2, Reason: 3

Minions:
Igor, the snakelike footman.
Weariness 1, Self-loathing 2
Scaly skin, forked tongue
More than human: Superhuman agility, except when it is hot
Less then human: An irrepressible desire to lick bare flesh, except when being watched

Connections: John, the loyal and proud captain of the guard
                    Sarah, the barmaid with beautiful skin

Felix/Norton, the cat/butler
Weariness 2, Self-loathing 1
More than human: Can animate small objects, except when they are wet
Less than human: Has the shape of a cat, except when around the likeness of a dog

Connections: Agatha, owner of the tea parlour, always has fresh cream
                    Thérèse, the crazy old cat-lady, seems to genuinely care for her feline friends

Erménégide, the governess
Weariness 3, Self-loathing 0
More than human: Makes exotic doll clothes.  Can sew any two objects together, except when sitting.
Less than human: Can only speak in baby-talk, except in the presence of babies

Connections: Martha the midwife, because there are often babies around
                   Samson the village idiot, doesn't mind the baby talk.

I will share what happenned during the game in my next post, soon!
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TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 05, 2006, 04:55:33 PM »

Wow.  A child master.  Which means killing the child master in the end-game.

I am looking forward to this with a morbid anticipation.
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Arturo G.
Member

Posts: 333


« Reply #2 on: August 05, 2006, 05:34:54 PM »


The interactions between the child and the minions should be surely weird! Was he using his position to control the minions? Or was it a more complicate and nasty relationship? Please, tell us how it went.

Arturo
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Satchmoe
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #3 on: August 05, 2006, 09:15:09 PM »

We decided that it would be neat if play began right after the prince's birthday, in the summer.  The child is humiliated in front of everybody, including the prince, because of his gift (a doll) and because of his hobby (the collection of dolls.)  It was awesome when we all looked at each other smirk uneasily, as a player said "yeah. Kids can be cruel."  So the game opens to the master essentially throwing a temper tantrum, destroying all his dolls and toys, and beginning to assign blame;  the clothes were not exquisite enough, the expression on the doll's face was not cute enough, he arrived tardy, his livery was not fine enough.  Basically, the whole fiasco is the fault of each of the minions.  He assures the minions that this time, his collection will be *perfect* and that the dolls would look so lifelike that they could be taken for real.  He assigns tasks: the governess will bring him a baby, so the dollmaker will have the perfect model to base his first doll on, the butler will bring a carpenter, who will make the first doll, and the footman will get some fine paints, the kind the village's best artist uses.

The governess decides that stealing babies is not fer her, and resists the master.  This turned out to be fairly easy for her; no self-loathing, 2 fear, all she had to do was go for the intimacy die, so I beat her to the punch and went for it myself.  The minion holds the governess's hand as they walk to the castle gate, and treats her like a surrogate mother.  The governess ultimately won by taking the desperation die, although I forget what exactly she did to get it.

The butler had a problem from the beginning.  He had the shape of a cat.  So he decided the best thing to do was to make himself bait.  While on a walk with the castle hounds, he lets it be known around town that a cat belonging to the lord is missing, and that a large reward is expected for anyone who returns it.  He then gets his cat self to the carpenter and has himself captured.  I found this solution to the conflict sort of shady, but figured that it would be best to just roll with it.  We figured it was Villainy, at which he succeeded.

The footman was sneaking up on the artist, who was painting a landscape in a field.  He was about to just grab the artists box-o-paints and run, when he remembers...  he is compelled to lick the nape of the artist's neck!  Violence ensues.  The footman escapes with the paints.

The governess then brings some nice hand made clothes to the village idiot.  He gratefully accepts them.  In other words, before even performing a single errand for the master, the governess has resisted him, and succeeded in an Overture.  Someone is lining herself up to "win" (as she put it), and everybody knows it.

Various conflicts occur at each person's turn, with overtures far surpassing actual errands for the master in number. (Which leads me to a question: can the minions have more than one overture in a row?)

Two interesting points occurred; each a Horror Revealed.  The footman's player got to narrate how the artist, ruined now that his fine paints are gone, kills himself in public, by climbing up the statue in the village square, declaring "you will at least remember me by my final masterpiece!" and slicing bits of himself until blood covered most of the statue, the onlookers (who did nothing to stop him), and the cobblestones.  The butler's player narrated a scene in which an older brother puts his sibling in a box, in the carpenter's workshed, and leaves him there to die of hunger or suffocation, so that he can finally get all his parent's attention (very à propos to the game!).

By the end, the footman no longer truly considered himself fully human.  He had slaughtered a bearded lady and a whole tentful of freaks with no remorse.  He killed the village idiot as the governess pleaded for him to stop.  He was *evil*!  And yet, he ended up triggering the endgame.  Somehow his Weariness was low enough, and his love gradually got high enough, and then everybody ganged up on the master.to resist him.  The endgame lasted one round, in which the governess finally committed a murder (she had only used Violence as a recourse once before), and the butler escaped injured from a run-in with an angry mob of circus folk.  The master was shredded.


The interactions between the child and the minions should be surely weird! Was he using his position to control the minions? Or was it a more complicate and nasty relationship? Please, tell us how it went.

Arturo

The minion acted mostly like I imagine a beast aspected minion is supposed to, mostly with appeals to raw physical sensation and debasement.  He would on occasion manipulate the emotions of the minions, but this only by using body language and physical contact which accented his childish "vulnerability."

Wow. A child master. Which means killing the child master in the end-game.

I am looking forward to this with a morbid anticipation.

You haven't heard the best of it.  The footman's player, trying for the desperation die, as he charges at the master with a long knife, intending to hack him to bits, says "I won't let you make me commit any more atrocities!"  Priceless!

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Satchmoe
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2006, 01:35:39 AM »

Oops!  almost forgot the epilogues.

The butler, now in cat form, escapes to the town.  There, the mother of the boy who dies in the Horror Revealed, intensely superstitious, blames the black cat for her misfortune.  He is destroyed in a cruel and hate-filled way.  We toyed with a more dramatic, tragic ending, where the cat escaped to the cat lady's home, only to get torn to shreds by the other felines, but it just didn't feel right for the player.

The governess also got destroyed; she was burnt as a witch on a stake.

In a surprise twist, the footman, who played the most monstrously by the end, got a happy ending.  He fulfilled both the suicide requirements and the integration requirements, so his player had him attempt suicide, but be talked down from it by one of his connections, the barmaid with the nice skin.  This really confused me, since the other two players seemed a lot more earnest in trying to avoid monstrosity.


There's a lesson to be learned in this...  I'm just not sure what it is.
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Arturo G.
Member

Posts: 333


« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2006, 02:37:41 PM »

Pretty nice scenes and situations around !
The horror revealed is always an intense and surprising moment. It is having a mechanical function to cut the over-escalation of self-loathing, but its repercussion in the development of the game theme make me always forget about its pragmatic connotations.

Quote
Various conflicts occur at each person's turn, with overtures far surpassing actual errands for the master in number. (Which leads me to a question: can the minions have more than one overture in a row?)

This is the reason that you manage to finish play on time, and the reason that the footman finally had the choice to get integrated in the community. They accumulated love quickly. There are people that restricts the number of available overtures to one per each master's command. However this is not specified in the rules, and it should not be really necessary. You may find a couple of discussion about this theme in:

[MLwM] Unlimited Love?
[MLwM] Question on Commands and those Tricky, Tricky Minions

However, if the footman was doing so many overtures to have enough love to fire that epilogue, there would have been an important amount of humanity shows played by the minion. Surely he was doing terrible things, but he was also trying to keep being human enough, looking for love and humanity constantly. Don't forget to play hard the overtures scenes, to make them percolate in the players mind with their meaning.

Arturo
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Arturo G.
Member

Posts: 333


« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2006, 02:43:00 PM »

Quote
The minion acted mostly like I imagine a beast aspected minion is supposed to, mostly with appeals to raw physical sensation and debasement.  He would on occasion manipulate the emotions of the minions, but this only by using body language and physical contact which accented his childish "vulnerability."

I assume you meant Master, instead of minion in the first sentence. Isn't it?
Please, may you give me some examples of your interactions based on raw physical sensation and debasement? I'm not yet feeling so much comfortable playing beast masters.

Thanks,
Arturo
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Satchmoe
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2006, 07:45:18 AM »

The way I played it, the master is always attacking the minion's self-worth.  Any contributions that are made are not good enough; when the carpenter is brought to the castle, the next minion that receives an errand has to mutilate the "useless carpenter."  The minion after that has to get rid of him, despite the fact that the carpenter has not even come close to completing his work.  The feeling that I tried to the players is that nothing the minions do is worthwhile to anyone.

I can only give you a few examples of direct minion-master interaction, though.  I had the master be as bratty as possible; he would first coldly appeal to a minion's desire to help him (which of course never worked, except once with the monstrous footman).  Often I had him take the Intimacy die right off the bat, with physical measures intended to evoke a parent-like bond, like soft touches and the use of child-like "cuteness" being the norm.  Finally, temper tantrums of the kicking-screaming variety, along with insults levelled at the minion occurred once or twice  to try to startle the minions into acceptance.

An example of this would be when the butler was asked to get rid of the carpenter.  The master started right off with tugging at the minion's sleeve (in human form, obviously), and looking up at him pleadingly.  When the minion refused, the master started a tantrum, ripping the minion's sleeve, throwing things to the ground, stomping and screaming incoherently.  The dice are rolled, and the master wins the conflict.

The example is pretty restricted to this particular situation (the master being a child), so I know that the example might not be entirely helpful.  I do hope this answers your question, though.

Irrelevant anecdote: The players cleverly found loopholes which permitted them to avoid violence; the mutilated carpenter had his ears stitched shut instead of removed, and he was sold to a freakshow instead of killed.  But when the footman player was coerced into replacing the shards of broken dolls in the moat with real human flesh, one of the players asked the footman's how he was going to manage this.  His reply?  "Well, the freakshow is in town..."  I still smile when I think about how this person in which two minions invested so much was killed, without my involvement, and most importantly, without breaking the game.  (Clarification: I smile about how the game was not ruined, not about how the carpenter died.  That was gross.)
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Arturo G.
Member

Posts: 333


« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2006, 07:40:16 AM »


Quote
Often I had him take the Intimacy die right off the bat, with physical measures intended to evoke a parent-like bond, like soft touches and the use of child-like "cuteness" being the norm.  Finally, temper tantrums of the kicking-screaming variety, along with insults levelled at the minion occurred once or twice  to try to startle the minions into acceptance.

I was trying to imagine the kind of interactions between a beast master who is a child and his minions. You have provided good examples. Of course the kind of tasks is also important to deliver the appropriate bad feelings. I think you managed to portrait a nicely focused master.

Quote
The way I played it, the master is always attacking the minion's self-worth.  Any contributions that are made are not good enough; .... .... The feeling that I tried to the players is that nothing the minions do is worthwhile to anyone.

Sure. This is key for any kind of master play. Like it is explained in the "Manifesto on Mastery".

Quote
The players cleverly found loopholes which permitted them to avoid violence; the mutilated carpenter had his ears stitched shut instead of removed, and he was sold to a freakshow instead of killed.

I would probably forced them to stay with the Master desires. When I'm GMing and player do such a thing, in the next meeting with the Master the minion is interrogated (although the Master always knows every detail from the start), and the command entails to finish the job properly, probably enforcing the behaviour the player was finding inappropriate and was trying to avoid.

Your last paragraph is delicious. I like this kind of players investment, when they horribly tie together several plot-lines on themselves.

Arturo
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