*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 22, 2014, 12:37:27 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 58 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Afraid] With a Nerfed Monster  (Read 4011 times)
Rustin
Member

Posts: 91


« on: August 07, 2006, 04:15:03 PM »

Sunday I got a chance to run Afraid with the Monster found here .

Overview
My players much preferred battling a monster to the regular rooting out sin, passing judgment of regular dogs.
Escalation equal to a block or a dodge worked great.
The clarity of physical, fighting then murder made defining fall out dice easier.
I, as GM, really liked the NPC rules and basic traits.  I rolled every NPC's stats on the fly.  Worked fine.  I also liked Bonds.
 
I struggled to work circumstances into the flow of the game.  When I did work them in it seemed a stretch.  And more often than not I just waited for an appropriate scene to spring the circumstance on them.  I struggled even more in defining exactly what opposed a character when they set stakes to get out of the circumstance.   In some cases we just implied if they won the stakes of the larger conflict and to do that the circumstance necessarily would toggle upon victory, we toggled it.
At the end of the adventure, my players eagerly rolled experience traits and seemed keen on trying it again. 

I nerfed the monster so we could resolve everything in one go.
Only 1 victim, so once they saved that victim, the Monster had no more Bond dice.

Specifics
The players hear word of a victim acting strangely.
They head out to the house and I feed them information (again, I can't stress how much a joy the Dog's system creates because I can dole out information and not feel like I'm going to kill the adventure).
They find out that a few slaves (Mr. and Mrs. Smithe) fed the victim bread and lard, and hanging outside her window at night (first two levels of victimization).

They set the scene at the Smithe's residency.  I ignore their special circumstances because it just didn't make sense.
I have the monster objective, do they get away to feed this cursed bread and lard to another victim.
I set the scene with the Smithe's (Slaves) just leaving their home with a basket of cursed bread, they are going to go victimize a new person.
The players want to get the couple back into their house so they can get to the bottom of the cursed bread (they are not 100% sure at this point the bread is cursed or not, or rather, they know it is cursed but they want these NPCs to admit it and give them more information).

As GM i'm pushing the Monster's goal, so I set the stakes: does mr. Smithe convince you to let Mrs. Smithe deliver her breads? Again, I did not use the circumstances here-- mostly because Alone, didn't make sense.   Nor did I know what sort of opposition

They soundly beat Mr. Smithe, he gives, and retains some dice for follow up conflict.

One player took Mr. Smithe into the kitchen to review the bread recipe. Ah ha, he's now alone!!

The other player remained in the foyer with Mrs. Smithe. Ah, ha, I'll now make him in trouble. 

I went with the Mrs. Smithe in the Foyer scene first. Again, I want her to get out and serve the bread to a new victim-- so the stakes are, does she sneak away?

Since, the player had circumstance, in trouble (doing something foolish or stupid) I had him distracted, while looking at an interesting painting.  I set the stakes, do you hear Mrs. Smithe open the door.  Overcoming the circumstance of him stupidly getting distracted by the portrait.   Here I struggled if I should have a non-human opponent or what... I ended up using her physical stats vs his physical stats. 
The player had some great narration.  He wins the stakes and turns to see her leaving.  The follow up conflict went to physical.  She ran.  He got on his horse, chased her down. It ended when he slapped some irons on her.

With that victory he prevented a level 1 victimization.  Had he failed the  Monster would have had another 1d10 bond.

The player, now alone in the Kitchen set the stakes, does mr. Smith tell me what is behind the Cursed bread and butter.  Circumstance, alone didn't really matter much.  He wins the conflict.   We discuss whether he overcame his Circumstance.  I figured since he never specifically set the stakes of finding someone the circumstance remained true.  We talked about what sort of stakes and what sort of conflict he would have needed to win to toggle the "Alone" circumstance.  Nothing jumped to mind.  I mean, he could just call out to his partner, why set stakes to that?  Thinking now, perhaps the kitchen had some eerie maze like powers??  hrmm..

The player won his stakes. He learned of the Monster. The slave gave a detailing of how they were victimized (they called it a holy transformation.. but they got the picture).  That the Butter was really lard rendered from human fat.
 
The players called the magistrate, and had these two put in jail, or house arrest or something.. i can't remember.  They effectively cut off the 1st and 2nd level of Victimization here. 

They returned to the original victim.  She remained in the house, craving flesh.  They wanted to protect her, so they put her in the Cellar.  At this point, I wanted to move the Monster's agenda forward, so I set a scene.  I aggressively placed the Player who remained in the "alone" circumstance at the outhouse.  Just as he leaves, two slaves arrive trying to force the third level of victimization (get the victim to eat the flesh of the monster.)

The one slave entered the house, trying to get in the cellar with his handful of flesh.
The alone player set the stakes, "can I get the slave to stand down."  He did this verbal combat, it ran well.  The alone stakes didn't hurt him.  He felt that he should be able to enter the house after this because he had effectively defeated the obstacle which kept him alone.   We talked it over, and I figured that made sense, so I toggled the circumstance.  He then rolled his fallout.  He chose, "in trouble" and "unprepared."

The other conflict ran well.  They prevented the Slave from getting to the cellar. 
At this point, they saved the victim by stopping the contact the monster had through her slaves. 

Next scene they went straight to the monster as she cooked her own flesh in the Kitchen.
I set the stakes, "does she drive them from her kitchen." I had a sort of a though that she had some bonds tied to the kitchen, where she felt vulnerable in the kitchen,  but that never became an issue.  As such, these stakes were sort of silly.

I quickly set the circumstance stakes, Because the player remained "in trouble" and "unprepared" I said: "as soon as you enter the kitchen you slip on the bloody floor and you drop your walking stick."  We set the stakes of his physical vs. the floors slipperiness.  Not sure how I'd escalate it, so I just went with the 5d6 1d10.  I rolled great.  He got up -- by using his buddy as a tool (because he was not alone his friend immediately usable).   He rolled more fallout, and still came up "unprepared."
I was pretty stumped at this point whether I play out that circumstance, or what stakes needed to be set for that to toggle.  He decided to enter the fray without his walking stick.

 So the stakes of her driving them from the kitchen took place.  I rolled for crap.  I then gave.  Kept my top die.  Rolled my fall out, gave them the top die of the fall out each of them caused.

Then the stakes were, "does she kill the unprepared player." 
A nice battle ensued. He almost died (19 fallout). 

Even a nerfed monster easily challenged two players.

Conclusion
Some frustration with circumstances.  Resolving circumstances first and then going to key conflicts really slowed the game down. 
My monster had little complexity, not much in the way of supernatural powers.  My next monster will have heavy, diverse supernatural history and powers.  Each level of victimization should challenge the group in different ways, or it might get a bit dull.
Plus, it will last longer than just the one session. 

Total play time: Approx 3hrs.

Logged
Marhault
Member

Posts: 185


« Reply #1 on: August 15, 2006, 04:35:29 PM »

I think Afraid requires nearly godlike scene framing skills to run properly.  I think character circumstances are both the most interesting and most difficult thing in the game.  You have to leave the situation open enough so that you can work in the circumstance changes that occur.  You might have better luck with a less geographically confined scenario, or with a broader monster like you suggest.
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 16, 2006, 08:29:41 PM »

Well... That's the opposite of how it's supposed to be.

If the scene framing rules don't finally make awesome scene framing easy, then you can expect me to not publish the game. That may mean I have to figure out wholly new framing rules, or it may mean that I have to figure out wholly new ways to explain the rules in my head. I guess we'll find out!

Meanwhile, Rustin, awesome! Thanks for giving the game a try unfinished as it is and thanks for posting about it. It's very useful to me to hear about when you used the rules and when you didn't.

-Vincent
Logged
Marhault
Member

Posts: 185


« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2006, 06:40:16 AM »

Well... That's the opposite of how it's supposed to be.

Vincent, that might just be my own inexperience talking.  As someone with very little background in actual play involving aggressive scene framing techniques, I find Afraid's circumstance mechanic to be both extremely exciting and extremely intimidating.  It's like one part of me is going "Wow!  This game will run itself!" and the other part of me is going "Ho-lee crap.  There's no way I can make that work."  (Additional caveat: my comment is based on having only read the rules, with no playtest to back it up.)

Circumstances provide plenty of ammo for scene framing, but it'll be the advice in the game text which will make it easy.  Since that text has yet to be written, you have to either already know how to frame scenes or else stumble around somewhat.
Logged
Mark Woodhouse
Member

Posts: 121


WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2006, 06:44:12 AM »

One thing that might be worth experimenting with: rather than having it be mandatory to frame using ALL true conditions, require at least one true condition be used to frame the next scene, and only conditions that are either (true and used to frame the scene) or (false) can be at stake in that scene. It seems to me that folks who are wrestling with the scene framing are wrestling with managing continuity while including multiple true conditions as relevant.

Plus, yeah, the actual text and examples will make this better.
Logged
Adam Cerling
Member

Posts: 159

WhiteRat


WWW
« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2006, 09:06:00 AM »

I have been trying Afraid with my group, and I'm running up against similar scene-framing challenges.

In order to frame a scene aggressively, I need to know where the next conflict is coming from. But I don't always know that.

For example, early in the story one character finds himself Unprepared and In Trouble. He wants to head home from the police station (thus, toggling off Unprepared). I can't have the monster attack him yet, because he hasn't done anything yet to attract its attention. So where should the conflict come from? That's hard to decide.
Logged

Adam Cerling
In development: Ends and Means -- Live Role-Playing Focused on What Matters Most.
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 18, 2006, 08:33:42 AM »

Hi there,

I guess I'm not seeing that issue at all. If the guy is walking home from the police station, and by definition he's unprepared, then isn't that ... well, obvious how he's going to get attacked?

Maybe I'm missing something about game play of Afraid that I don't know, but playing a monster, to me, means that I'm all about attacking the guy when he's unprepared. There he is. Pounce!

Best, Ron
Logged
Marhault
Member

Posts: 185


« Reply #7 on: August 18, 2006, 12:27:13 PM »

Ron, with all due respect, that doesn't surprise me too much.  I mean, you're relatively experienced at role playing with hardcore scene framing (the phrase "wrote the book" comes to mind).  Your post kind of reads to me like "the way you frame the scene is like this, you frame the scene."  Which is correct, really, but there's some unlearning that has to be done.  It's the difference between following the fiction in a natural "what happens next" sort of way, and jumping into the good stuff as fast as you can.

Hmm.  Alright, maybe I'm starting to get this.  Instead of beginning with the end of the last scene and working forward while trying to incorporate the conditions, you start with a cool scene that satisfies the conditions fill in the details about what must have already happened in order to get you to that scene?  So for Adam's police station guy. . .  You just set the scene with him being set upon by the monster or its minions, and figure how he attracted the thing's attention (in the brief time since he left the station!) later or not at all.

Is that the idea?
Logged
Spooky Fanboy
Member

Posts: 585


« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2006, 06:17:22 PM »

Hmm.  Alright, maybe I'm starting to get this.  Instead of beginning with the end of the last scene and working forward while trying to incorporate the conditions, you start with a cool scene that satisfies the conditions fill in the details about what must have already happened in order to get you to that scene?  So for Adam's police station guy. . .  You just set the scene with him being set upon by the monster or its minions, and figure how he attracted the thing's attention (in the brief time since he left the station!) later or not at all.

Is that the idea?

I'm not Ron, but that sounds good to me.

Keep in mind, if the player himself has any suggestions/ideas, it's good to use them or take them and twist them. It's not all on your shoulders. If they have a good way to set their character up, roll with it. It's okay to delegate some stuff, as long as everyone's on the same page. Combine that with what ou have, it sounds workable to me. We've all seen enough horror movies to know what would be cool if we were watching it on the screen or reading it.
Logged

Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!
Rustin
Member

Posts: 91


« Reply #9 on: August 19, 2006, 11:14:12 AM »

Vincent,

You said: If the scene framing rules don't finally make awesome scene framing easy, then you can expect me to not publish the game.

Eek! You must publish the game.  The monster creation rules, in and of themselves, could be considered its own game really.  My girlfriend and I spent about an hour or so generating the monster, and in all honesty, just that felt like a fun gaming session to me.  I digress.

Since this is a play testing thread, I've spent the past few days just sort of reflecting on my actual play, and I'm going to just focus in on what my brain did when I ran the game in terms of scene framing. 

The best scene framing, in my opinion occurred when I identified and incorporated the three key elements:
What are the players' intentions?
What are the monster's intentions?
What are the circumstances?

The one time this worked the best occurred when the Portrait distracted the player, and Mrs. Smithe tried to sneak away. 

This scene created great tension, because the player knew that his intention (questioning Mrs. Smithe) might not happen.
It created tension for me, because as GM I wanted the Monster's goals met. (go victimize another person).

The difficulty of the scene did not stem from the scene framing rules per se, rather it came from the core dice mechanic question: What do I look to when I assign dice to the opposition for the "do I toggle the circumstance" stakes?

If I could comfortably know where the dice came from and how many, as long as I did the little check list of player intention, monster intention and circumstance then I think the rules are solid and make the framing of the scene easy as it can ever get.

From Ron's Example:
Guy walking home from police station.  He's unprepared.

The GM could frame the scene and say, "you hear the howling of the beast, you can tell it will arrive in moments.  You reach for Ol'Bess, your sawed off shotgun, but it's not there!"
The player then sets the stakes, "Do I find my gun?"
Do I set the Gun's lostness at 4d10 and 1d8?

This is how I read the rules prior, and I think the rules really build impending doom and urgency.

Or, the GM could aggressively frame the scene and say, "The beast pounces on the hood of your car, snarling and slobbering, when you realize, you left Ol'Bess in the trunk!"

Now the opposition dice would reasonably include the beast's traits and abilities as our hero leaps from the car and tries to open the trunk.  This brings in more of the core mechanic and the ability to give, escalate etc...  Where if we just do the gun's Lostness, then mechanically the difficulty of play increases. 

Moreover, this scene only really pops when the beast had a reason to do this, this attack must necessarily forward it's agenda, and the player had some specific intent-- like get to the Cemetery before midnight.

I hope this helps.
Logged
Adam Cerling
Member

Posts: 159

WhiteRat


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2006, 12:21:54 PM »

Moreover, this scene only really pops when the beast had a reason to do this, this attack must necessarily forward it's agenda, and the player had some specific intent-- like get to the Cemetery before midnight.

This is where I was having trouble. The mechanics can call for a certain kind of conflict to occur, even though nothing in the story so far suggests it (e.g., it doesn't forward the monster's agenda).
Logged

Adam Cerling
In development: Ends and Means -- Live Role-Playing Focused on What Matters Most.
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2006, 01:55:46 PM »

Say yes or roll dice.

Player: I go home and get my stuff, so I'm not lost or unprepared anymore.
GM checks for conflicts, finds none.
GM: Yes! You do.

However, I suggest that you should begin play assuming that the monster knows all about the PCs and the threat to its agenda that they pose. You don't really need to justify this in-game. After all, your players want the game to be interesting.

By the way, Piers Brown at GenCon gave me the formula for what Afraid gets instead of Dogs' initiations, and it's going to kick ass.

-Vincent
Logged
Marhault
Member

Posts: 185


« Reply #12 on: August 22, 2006, 05:00:39 AM »

Player: I go home and get my stuff, so I'm not lost or unprepared anymore.
GM checks for conflicts, finds none.
GM: Yes! You do.

!

I thought circumstances could only be made true or false by stakes or fallout.  Am I dead wrong about that?
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #13 on: August 22, 2006, 05:06:15 AM »

My example makes the circumstances false by stakes.

If you prefer -
Player: I go home and get my stuff, so I'm not lost or unprepared anymore.
GM checks for conflicts, finds none.
GM: I roll no dice. I give! You win the stakes - you're home with your stuff. Now what?

-Vincent
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #14 on: August 22, 2006, 06:29:41 AM »

Ron's PMed me a maybe better way to say it.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Ron's logic: the Monster and the PC automatically have a conflict of interest; that's what a Monster is. They confront - so roll! Or, as you say, if the player says something prior to that that negates the conflict momentarily, then don't roll. Pretty easy.

...Giving, in Dogs and Afraid, simply means that the GM really really likes the action or intent just stated by the player, and decides he'd rather work that into a more interesting conflict than gutting out this one, which has just become "beta" level in comparison.

Importantly, changing your circumstances in Afraid is never the whole point of any conflict. Changing your circumstances goes along with resolution of some particular conflict of interest. "I want to get home safe." "Man the monster REALLY has other plans for you." There's the conflict of interest. We roll dice; we resolve it. Changing the circumstance on your character sheet from "I'm lost" to "I'm not lost" is just a P.S.

-Vincent
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!