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Author Topic: [Burning Wheel] The game that didn't lift off  (Read 5096 times)
Bastoche
Member

Posts: 64


« on: August 17, 2006, 06:53:23 AM »

I don't know if Ron or any others remembers me. I asked a few GNS related questions a while back before the forum was rearranged. Anyway, those discussions led to the conclusion: Try DitV, sorceror or etc.

So we broke down and bought burning wheel. I manage to have my GM try to convince me and the other players to play BW and here we are. We are long time 2nd Ed AD&D players who converted to 3E as soon as it came out. We had successful campaigns in the past until the GM got deeply involved in a LARP game organization. Due to lack of time, we stopped gaming (we were also all players in that LARP game which was somewhat successful for some time). Then the LARP died to to some personnal problems of the main promoter and we went back to the table.

We then played a 3E game and it seems like the GM changed during his LARP years. The campaign so somewhat fun but we had fairly major disagreements at many points of the game. We played the campaing for almost 2 years in a row once a week every week minus summer breaks and christmas holidays. I'd say that at every 4-5 sessions we had to stop mid game due to some major problems. I might give some example if necassary along the way. Although it was fun at times, I think it was a failed campaign due to these events.

I believe (or believed?) that BW might brings us back to the glory years of drifted 2E AD&D. We had our first gaming session yesterday and it appears to me that the things that were bad of the previous campaign are not only still there but even MORE present which is the opposite of what I was especting...

Some proto points:

We're 5 players. The GM who I know since childhood (I know him since 20 years about) and we've game somewhat regularly since that time. His girlfriend since high school (about 7-8 years... time flies!). Me and my wife and finally a friend of mine. I know him since almost 10 years and my GM and him knows each other since about 6-7 years via LARP mostly. Let's give them name: JF, Jacques, Mel, Doris and me.

I'm thrilled with the game. It speaks to me especially from the character burning point of view. The character creation priorities match my own. My wife was quite unwilling to learn a new system but for some reason she spent about 5 hours to burn her character since CB session. The GM's wife seems to be in the same boat: not willing to learn a new system but seduced by the possibilities it might offer. Jacques is unthrilled but willing. He's by far the least interested in the system change. The GM and I settled on BW because it's closely related to D&D theme-wise. That is elves, dwarves, wizards and sometimes clerics, relatively "high fantasy" in that regard. We hope to eventually adapt the system to a well known official WotC campaign setting.

CB went bad in the sense that we failed to get all beliefs from all players and go further. We struggled a LOT with (game) concepts (i.e. situation with Luke's vocabulary) and with lifepaths. We were throwing ideas at the GM and we had lots of 'No' due to the concept needing some tweaking of the LP something we wanted to avoid. The important point of that session was Jacques saying at the end of the CB session: "I cannot imagine how and why that game could be any fun. It's a complete failure". It seems like after CB session, he was even LESS thrilled with the game. I guess that's because the BITs didn't speak to him (and we didn't make it to stats, abilities and skills selection which IMO would've given some substance to the CB session in a 'convetionnal gaming' sense).

So he suggested that I burn his character. Since that campaign is supposed to be short lived and getting our feet wet with the system, it doesn't really matter. Not much different than running one of the demos. So we burned 4 characters building on the common beliefs we had chosen during CB session:

The situation:

Technicallities: man only. Maybe sorcerers but not among PCs. Faith is important and we use the miracles rules. We begin with versus test only. No "rim of the wheel" mechanics. So up until page 77 of the main book.

We're in a recluse monastery in a border region. The monastery is reknown throughout the kingdom as being a place that makes the finest warriors of the nation. People from all stations and all origins are welcome to join that "templar-like" religious military order that serves as a martial school, a defending army for the surrounding village and a first outpost at that border. Our characters are students in that martial academy and before the game begins, the village and the monastery is being attacked and the head of the order is missing. We vonlunteered to find him. It's the day after tomorrow and we set out to search for the mentor.

I won't type each and every details about each characters. I'll go with the essence of each.

My character:

His Eminence, Joseph-Antoine Abriel

He's a noble in good relation with his family. His father is count. He joint the order because his fiancee was brutally murdered and he saw in that event a sign from God. He's his chosen carrier of justice. (It's inspired by the dogs in DitV). He wants to find the master at all cost since God asked him (one of his beliefs). He also wants to find the murderers of his wife.

My wife's:

Her Grave, Anne-Ophelie de Languedoc

She's her father's, the Duke, only child. A girl, to his dismay. She joined the order as a mean to show her dad she can be an as valuable heir to his legacy as any man. She want's to find the master to show her father she's worthy of his title. She also wants to show to men that she can be their equals. A proto-feminist of some sort ;)

The GM's wife character:

I forgot the name...

She's a sort of ne'er do well of a noble child. She's rebellious and so she was forced to the order by her parents. She wants to get out of there by any means so she wants to find the master in exchange for her right to leave the order. She's also vocal about station and the general lack of respects nobles show to their lessers.

And then Jacques's character:

Elie Pelaud of Edbon (Edbon is the name of the village where the game begins)

He's the only non-noble of the band but also the only native of the region. The village was attacked by outsiders a while ago and he joined the army. They push the invaders back far into their lands, during which he saved his brother, the regiment's captain, from certain death and he turned a pilgrim. He found an holy relic of some sort and he's now on a quest to put it to safety. He joined the order in the process and since he's of undying loyalty, he believes it's his duty to find the master.

Ok so now on to actual play.

Play begun by the Friar (I'm not good with names...), the master's second send us on the quest of bringing back the master. We were kinda lost as we didn't quite know where to begin. We tried to ask around and nobody knew much. We tried to find the tracks of the attacking band... they went in all directions. We were set on going out as soon as possible to reach to the escaping band as quickly as possible.

The ladies looked for info in the monastery and the lord and the peasant went outside. Inside, some dice were rolled for social skills. Failure meant... nothing. We had a guy and might have wanted to speak to us but only at a later time (like tomorrow).

Then the peasant had the idea to go see his brother in case he knew something... He was hurt during the battle and knew of an ennemy laying around that might not be dead yet. After a failed surgery tests, we were out of options. So we set course on the 'trail going out with the most prints'.

At some point we were ambushed by 2 mercenary. One died and we successfully circled the other at sword point. We asked for infos. There were none... Except that they were paid to attack anyone sporting the colors of our military order.

We reached a village and managed to have confirmation that a band of strange people went through with 2 enclosed wagons. They were heading for the border. And so we went. At the border, on each side, there's a keep. So we entered inside the keep on our side of the border and asked around. The head of the keep was obviously lying to us (succeed check). So here it went bad...

The rebellious character tried to use her charm. No dice. The Ob was too high considering the skill rating the character had. The player felt cheated a bit. Then I tried to incite the guy to drink. The GM just plain said no. No dice rolled and it just plain didn't work. Then Lady de Languedoc went to some guards that were talking... and hushed as soon as she closed in. She entered a duel with the "head" of the bunch. So failed but not too miserably. So later that night, the guard went to us and showed us 2 fresh graves in the graveyard (it seemed like a dead obvious clue in the eyes of the GM) and left us to ponder what the hell the GM was hinting at???

And then we called it a night. Jacques left right away since it was late and he works early every weekdays. We discussed with the GM for an hour and when he left we still haven't really understood what had (not) happended that night.

Every encounters felt improvised. So there weren't any encounter to really speak of. Most of the skill check were of the kind of "if you succeed, maybe you get something to do and if you fail, find something else". There was about 6-7 die of fate that were rolled for various low relevance reasons (For example: was the head of the border keep gay? on a 1 he is...) not counting the bow shot DoF. Not any single encounters was related to any belief or instinct (unless we, the players, fudged it so) except the general concept that we were 'looking for the head of the order'.

That's exactly what was wrong in the 3E campaign we played: We were left to make up what to PCs were up to. We could choose anything out of nothing. We weren't offered any options at all. In the previous campaign, there was a "hidden" plot that we had the resonsability to uncover with a high failure rate. It seemed to me that the GM hoped us to 'stumble' on his 'great thing' but since we don't think like him (and don't have the omnipotent omniscient perspective of the GM), our 'logic' seemed quite 'illogic' to him. I remember a thread about the Final-Fantasy railroad game where the GM was hinting as something that the player could never catch on... When I was young, these sort of things were present, but when the players were stuck, the GM was handing out hints either freely or in exchange of a successful intelligence check (or skill check related to the hint).

But in the case of yesterday night it was worst because we still weren't offered options i.e. we could do anything and on top of that, there wasn't really a purpose for being there... Now that I ponder on this, it seems like the GM was hoping that "story" was to emerge from actual play rather than designing the encounters in such a way that we could drive the action.... Are my perception true?

My gut feeling is that the GM wants SO much to avoid railroading us that he restraint completely to give any input on what our character could/should do either thourgh OOC suggestions or via purposeful encounters. Something he seem to have learned running LARP. Such things never happened before he ran LARPs. As if running LARPs broke our GM. He let the DoF take a stand on minor issues instead of choosing on the fly either arbitrarily or because he liked the idea at the moment. He seemed uninvolved with the characters or the situation. As if our player ideas of tha campaign bored him or at least did not appeal to him... However we had the same problems with the 3E game we ran as canon as he dreamed in his favorite setting with character concept build around his campaign suggestion...

I'm at lost. What's wrong with us? I don't like to lay blame on the GM's hands but I think that's the case here.
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Sebastien
Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #1 on: August 17, 2006, 07:08:02 AM »

If you could post the PC's beliefs, that would be a big help.

One other thing really struck me:

We were throwing ideas at the GM and we had lots of 'No' due to the concept needing some tweaking of the LP something we wanted to avoid.

What was the GM saying, "No," during character burning about?
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Nathan P.
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Posts: 536


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« Reply #2 on: August 17, 2006, 07:39:12 AM »

Hi there,

I just started running a game of Burning Wheel, and I'm (strangely) finding myself struggling with some of the things it seemed like your GM was struggling with - trying to hold of on "railroading" in particular, and the game turning unfocused and meandering.

There's a big difference between railroading and between directing plot directly at the BITs of the characters. The BITs should be what the players find interesting and engaging, not the characters. So, hitting on those flags should be totally functional and awesome. The problem comes either when the GM is trying to do stuff around or against the BITs, or when the players didn't select BITs that they are actually interested in.

So maybe you should have a conversation about that. Also, if you're playing mainly to get familier with the mechanics, I heartily recommend downloading the Sword scenario from the BW website and having the GM run that. It's a limited situation that aims directely at the BITs of the characters, and it's really good at showing you how BW can run.

Finally, the part when the GM said "no" to a roll a character wanted to make in the game? That's pretty much against the rules as written, as far as I know. The GM can set an obscenely high obstacle (giving the character the opportunity to get helping dice, burn some Artha, etc), but in the text it says "say yes or roll the dice." So you guys may want to talk about that as well.

And Paka's questions are totally important too.

I hope some of that helps!
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Nathan P.
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« Reply #3 on: August 17, 2006, 08:06:38 AM »

I'm at lost. What's wrong with us? I don't like to lay blame on the GM's hands but I think that's the case here.

I wouldn't go as far as to say there is anything "wrong" with the group.  i have found with my groups that we needed to break the learning curve.  We needed to be willing to learn different means of gaming, not just learning different games (although that does help the porcess).  Going to BW will certainly help but that won't fix a broken play style.

My armchair diagnosis is that it sounds like burnout or the laws of diminishing returns rearing it's ugly head.

The question ends up being "how receptive is the group to a different play style?"  

Some suggestions that have been talked about on the forums...
- I have come to believe that in many games secrets are the game killer.  The GM holding onto some objective fact for the players to grasp at is a frustrating proposition for everyone involved - the players feel like their flailing around ineffectively and the GM is like "you guys are being oblivious!"  

Possible solutions:
- Players sharing secrets is a great way to alleviate this.  If the players know then it's up to them to drive the action toward getting the characters to know.  A secret that is not fleshed out due to poor rolls or missed clues does nothing for the story.  

- Information is never at stake.  When met with opposition the rolls should not bear out whether or NOT the PC gets the info, rather what the costs are.  Bad rolls means that resources are stretched or the bad guys are being alerted to your questioning.  Information moves the game forward and bad rolls create greater conflict.

- The facts aren't objective.  The GM can play coy but the reality is that the players come up with the answers.  The GM sets the stage and gives them leads and NPCs to speak with but it's their chatter and in game discussions that lead the GM and players alike to the conclusions.  Sometimes the players know this and sometimes they don't.  Some player leads turn out to create more story and are wild goose chases with some glimmer of their "second" idea was the right one.

Luke always tells me that the world outside the characters matters not at all.  That what is happening outside the characters actions is immaterial to the players having fun (please correct me if this sentiment is misrepresented, Luke).  I think there is a happy medium between setting, depth of the world and creating an illusion of a world bigger than the PCs but forgetting this idea can lead any GM down the primrose path toward oblivion - hours spent writing ideas and mechanics on paper where the players never tread.

Railroading is important to avoid but the way to avoid it is not through in game vagueries.  It's through engaged decision making on the part of the players (something that I had to learn the hard way - a campaign that failed due to that mistake).  If everyone is involved in the decision making process and everyone says they come to the table willing to learn new storytelling skills then the promise of great games is almost guartenteed.

A side anecdote:  So I ran several "official" games for Arteisa at Origins.  I ran the same adventure twice and much to my glee the group chose completely different routes and ended the game in suprisingly divergent ways.  I designed the adventure to do just that and hopefully remain seamless in it's flexability and these early playtest sessions really bore that out (yay me).  The point is that the second group gave me some great feedback and many were folks in this community or otherwise involved in the game design scene.  I did a fine job but I found myself falling back on old ways.  Now most of these folks didn't know me from the Secretary of Defense.  And I have been gaming and GMing longer than many of them had been alive.  I asked for feedback and after choking back my enormous ego I found that I couldn't much argue with any of their criticisms because it was all stuff I did on a regular basis.  These were tricks and techniques that I had been using for a decade that I seemingly ignored when running the last game of the convention.  No one introduced a new idea to me but it was a wake-up call to have people regirgitate my own GMing advice back to me.

The point being is that by being open and receptive to criticism we sometimes find out that not only do we still have a lot to learn but we also may be suffering from our own laziness and may need a reality check on occasion.   The problem is that we need to ask for that reality check.  I think it's rare that such criticism is well recieved when it's forced upon us unsolicited.

Thanks Jessica and Mendel and a handful of others, whose names I flaked on, for your inciteful suggestions and to help me be a better GM and design a better game!
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Don Corcoran, Game Whore
Current projects include The Burning Wheel, Artesia and Mortal Coil
"All Hail The Wheel!"
Bastoche
Member

Posts: 64


« Reply #4 on: August 17, 2006, 09:06:27 AM »

If you could post the PC's beliefs, that would be a big help.

From memory so bear with me... They might not be 100% quotes but I hope to gather the essential meaning/implication of each... Besides, we are french speaking and they often are hard to translate one way or another...

Joseph-Antoine:

- God chose me to find the master
- I am the sword arm of God. I shall spill blood to protect the weak I'm bound to protect by an oath
- In order to avenge my true love, I shall find the 'man with the mark' involved in the murder

Anne-Ophelie:

- In order to show my father I'm the equal of the son he never had I shall find the master
- I'm the equal of man. I shall show them with my battle prowess
- Everyone should be able to decide who they'll marry. I shall preach to those who don't adhere to these principles for the future generation.

The peasant (only has 2 beliefs)

- I'm utterly loyal to the figure of authority I found therefore I shall find him (implicitly this is the master)
- I'm the protector of the Holy Relic and I shall find it a safe haven in the St-Luc Abbaye.

The rebellious lady:

- In order to be freed from the monastery I shall find the master to earn his favor.
- Everyone deserves respect. I shall let it know to anyone who don't accept this.
 Unfortunately, I don't remember the 3rd belief but it's a good one and it's something personnal... Sorry.

Quote
One other thing really struck me:

We were throwing ideas at the GM and we had lots of 'No' due to the concept needing some tweaking of the LP something we wanted to avoid.

What was the GM saying, "No," during character burning about?


Basically any skill check we haven't opened were labeled "not worthy to roll dice". For example, we wanted to "track" or "observe" for some prints leaving the monastery/village and the GM just never called for an untrained tracking skill check or obersvation check. We just had a "but nobody has the skill. There's nothing you can do". We sucked it up and decided to find a competent tracker by using the peasant's affiliation with the local militia. So we had to roll a circle test that happened to be successful. Nothing was ever really clear about what failure did but I suspect it was "nothing" as in "you found nothing". We succeed at the roll yet the NPC had to roll this tracking check in order to see the intent fullfilled. The NPC happened to fail his roll. Failure meant... nothing.

Many other example but often the answer "you can't do that" was suggested. The only time it went further was when a character insisted on trying it anyway so the GM set a Ob5 against a B3 seduction test. The stakes weren't clear in the sense that the intent was: "That guy is clearly lying. I want to seduce him to get the information". The player then expressed out game something to the effect that her character's skills were useless if they are to be perpetually put against such obstacles... And without being sure why the guy was lying, we weren't to hot on spending artha for this... The conscequences of failure were not clear so it's not clear either if dice were actually rolled... The player declared "I fail. Now what?" And then I interjected saying "You do not have to fail. The GM should say what happens if you win or accept your version and suggest what happens if you fail. You you're not willing to go along with the suggested failure, you character just "reconsider" her course and drop the issue. I.E. not try at all". As far as I understand BW, this sort of OOC dialogue is paramount to the game yet it was set aside as petty skirmishes... My impression is that the GM is still stuck in task oriented mechanics rather than intent orientied. Yet we dicussed that extensively and presummably he understood the difference. It seems like he gets the theory but once behind the "screen" he falls back in his old habits...

I must further stress at this point that the GM himself suggested we use BW after a long and profound consideration... He's a member on the BW forum he asked some questions theres and came here to learn about proper scene framing. It's not like I'm imposing that style of play on anyone. After extended discussion with my wife and the GM with his, I have the feeling that this 2 player 'get it'. At least get the idea of BITs and the intent rather than task thing. Jacques was less initiated to the game and yesterday's session was to "show him the way" sorta...

Anyway I think everybody played their BITs to letter as much as the scenario (or lack thereof) could allow. The Lady had her duel with a man. I was talking about God at every occasion, the rebellious charming lady wanted to use her charms and the peasant went to his borther (a relationship of his).

To Nathan:

My only thoughts is that, after the scenario, once I went to bed, al I was wondering was "Why wasn't there at least one prepared encouter in the game which sole purpose was to hit one character's (or many or all characters at once) straight on the head?". And more specifically: When we were playing both LARPs and the previous 3E game, the GM was ALWAYS taking "hooks" from our background to integrate them into the main plot. Sometimes he missed, sometimes not but at least that was the idea. I blame the "miss" on the lack of reinforcing tools toward that sort of play in 3E hence my suggestion to go BW. Actually, it all began when he sent me a list of house rules for the next campaign that were screaming "I WANT TO PLAY BW!". But in that campaign there was what seem to me to be 2 layers of problems 1) the lack of reward system for "roleplaying reason" ("roleplaying" being non-strategy-related instance of play) and 2) the absolute fear of railroading and the perfect avoidance of any 'hint' to the players. I alluded to that in that campaign from the very start enphasizing the fact that there was NO way we could "figure out" magically, out of nothing, what he wanted us to do unless he were to give specific clues in the game. Driving clues. But he dismissed that saying "Yeah bu I know what you have to acheive, where you're coming from but I want to let you choose "how" you'll do this". And I reply that there was no way this could happen. It works in a LARP because we're real people in a real world and we can "really" interact with the other players via their characters. In that case we "know" the "hows" because they are actual processes we can do. On table, we're at lost with such approach because nearly *anything* is possible. Couple that with the large array of magic spells from the PHB and imagine the worst....

I though that BW offered him the perfect tools to run the "background quirks" in the structured BITs. But he did not play any at all in the whole session...

I'm at lost. What's wrong with us? I don't like to lay blame on the GM's hands but I think that's the case here.

I wouldn't go as far as to say there is anything "wrong" with the group.  i have found with my groups that we needed to break the learning curve.  We needed to be willing to learn different means of gaming, not just learning different games (although that does help the porcess).  Going to BW will certainly help but that won't fix a broken play style.

My armchair diagnosis is that it sounds like burnout or the laws of diminishing returns rearing it's ugly head.

The question ends up being "how receptive is the group to a different play style?" 

Some suggestions that have been talked about on the forums...
- I have come to believe that in many games secrets are the game killer.  The GM holding onto some objective fact for the players to grasp at is a frustrating proposition for everyone involved - the players feel like their flailing around ineffectively and the GM is like "you guys are being oblivious!" 

Possible solutions:
- Players sharing secrets is a great way to alleviate this.  If the players know then it's up to them to drive the action toward getting the characters to know.  A secret that is not fleshed out due to poor rolls or missed clues does nothing for the story. 

- Information is never at stake.  When met with opposition the rolls should not bear out whether or NOT the PC gets the info, rather what the costs are.  Bad rolls means that resources are stretched or the bad guys are being alerted to your questioning.  Information moves the game forward and bad rolls create greater conflict.

- The facts aren't objective.  The GM can play coy but the reality is that the players come up with the answers.  The GM sets the stage and gives them leads and NPCs to speak with but it's their chatter and in game discussions that lead the GM and players alike to the conclusions.  Sometimes the players know this and sometimes they don't.  Some player leads turn out to create more story and are wild goose chases with some glimmer of their "second" idea was the right one.

Luke always tells me that the world outside the characters matters not at all.  That what is happening outside the characters actions is immaterial to the players having fun (please correct me if this sentiment is misrepresented, Luke).  I think there is a happy medium between setting, depth of the world and creating an illusion of a world bigger than the PCs but forgetting this idea can lead any GM down the primrose path toward oblivion - hours spent writing ideas and mechanics on paper where the players never tread.

Railroading is important to avoid but the way to avoid it is not through in game vagueries.  It's through engaged decision making on the part of the players (something that I had to learn the hard way - a campaign that failed due to that mistake).  If everyone is involved in the decision making process and everyone says they come to the table willing to learn new storytelling skills then the promise of great games is almost guartenteed.

About playing style: I've adressed that in this message above. For the rest, I think the best I can do is simply say: you're not off the mark.
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Sebastien
Mayuran
Member

Posts: 75


« Reply #5 on: August 17, 2006, 09:10:19 AM »

Folks,

Here's a set of threads on the BW forums where we talked with Bastoche about some of these characters and their Beliefs:
Part 1: http://burningwheel.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3023&start=0
Part 2: http://burningwheel.org/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3029

Sebastien,

I think the biggest struggle that seemed to happen in your game was about deciding intent and setting stakes before the dice were rolled. Everytime there is a success or failure for any test, it means something.

Quote from: Bastoche
Most of the skill check were of the kind of "if you succeed, maybe you get something to do and if you fail, find something else"

For example, here's one way the attempt to charm the head of the keep could have been handled.

When trying to charm the Lord, the player is able to say: If I succeed in my "seduction," the Friar is enamored with me. He's going to give me the information I seek.

The GM would offer his own stakes: "If you fail, he's still seduced, but he's expecting you to make good on your seductions" or something else which sets up conflict and hopefully challenges the players beliefs.

So even if she fails, it sets up the next conflict - getting out of this sticky proposition.

Here is a great set of threads by Judd about intent and stakes:
Intent: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17924.0
Stakes: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17897.0%22

We'd also love to hear from the rest of your group.
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Bastoche
Member

Posts: 64


« Reply #6 on: August 17, 2006, 09:38:06 AM »

Beyond that I think yesterday's session completely lacked any preparation on the part of the GM. I have the feeling he expected that the story would be made up as we went along. It seems like he didn't know where to start. I believe the first scene should've been "thrown" at us by the GM to propel the story in *some* direction. It seems like that duty was sent our way. I guess it feasable but I think our "joining beliefs" should've been shorter term and open to modification. For example:

- The master is missing and it's due to a traitor in the order. I will uncover him through trickery

And assume each player has a very short term belief like that related to the situation and assume the players chose each of their character a similar belief that is either directly related or in direct opposition. It seemed to me that everything was improvised.

As for the other players joining in. I hope my GM is reading this and that he'll chime in. My wife is home taking take of our 6 months old baby twins so you can forget about her chiming in lol. Jacques got a new job out of town so I doubt he could manage to show here too...

Anyway, to add to the topic at hand, it really amazes me that our GM never started a thread on the BW forum asking inputs from the BW forumites converning our characters/campaign. We asked for some rules clarifications, we asked for character creation but nothing about "Need some ideas with my player's beliefs [my players stay out (or not)]. We're not, as a group, against the idea of "GM secrets" as plot tools BTW.
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Sebastien
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« Reply #7 on: August 17, 2006, 11:27:22 AM »

Anyway, to add to the topic at hand, it really amazes me that our GM never started a thread on the BW forum asking inputs from the BW forumites converning our characters/campaign. We asked for some rules clarifications, we asked for character creation but nothing about "Need some ideas with my player's beliefs [my players stay out (or not)]. We're not, as a group, against the idea of "GM secrets" as plot tools BTW.

I can certainly understand your frustration.  I consider BITs to be the most crucial part of the character.  Without those the GM has nothing to go on. 
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Don Corcoran, Game Whore
Current projects include The Burning Wheel, Artesia and Mortal Coil
"All Hail The Wheel!"
Bastoche
Member

Posts: 64


« Reply #8 on: August 18, 2006, 05:52:11 AM »

Next week, we start all over again. Same characters, alternate universe. Stay tuned...
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Sebastien
Nathan P.
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« Reply #9 on: August 18, 2006, 06:12:41 AM »

Are you familier with "Bangs"? Is your GM? Because he should be.

I know there's good threads about constructing Bangs, but my search-fu is weak and I have none of them bookmarked. In short, think of pretty much any (good) action or comedy movie. Especially a good comedy-of-errors. Every time you think the situation is stable, bang, something happens that the characters MUST react to. The body falls out of the closet in front of the policeman. The aliens land next door. Mary Jane is kidnapped.

Moving into roleplaying terms, the best bangs are ones constructed such that the action taken by the characters is meaningful, even if the action is "do nothing." Doing nothing usually means that something bad happens that the character could have stopped, and now they have to deal with the fallout.

Anyway, that's a breif overview. The term comes from Sorcerer, but it's a play technique that applys pretty universally. In Burning Wheel, constructing Bangs that target character's BITs is always a good bet.

One more suggestion - if the GM is wary restricting choice, for whatever reason, or has trouble getting things moving right off the bat, you could offer to introduce your own bangs for your characters. Like, "Hey, how about for my first scene, soldiers burst in and carry away my son," or whatever is appropriate for your BITs. It may be worth offering.

Anyway, best of luck, and I hope some of that is helpful!
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Nathan P.
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My Games | ndp design
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Bastoche
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Posts: 64


« Reply #10 on: August 18, 2006, 06:54:34 AM »

Thanks for the suggestions. I think we pretty much get "it". I just think we dropped the ball last time. For the record, the thread about intents refered to above was read byt both my and the GM. And I do know from past experience both during the LARP, the previous 3E campaign and pretty mauch everything before that bangs happens all the time. In non-nar-supporting game they are fished out of the backgrounds and not always executed to the players liking due to the intepretation of the "hooks" provided by the player or their relative importances.

With BW in particular, the beliefs allow the player to forefront the most important "kickers" while those potential "hooks" in the background serve only as minor detail polishing the versimilitude. Is that color? I think it's the proper term. Anyway, the point is with nar supportive games, the player priorities are laid bare for the GM to grab. We'll see next week if the bulb lit up. 
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Sebastien
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