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Author Topic: RPG novice seeking advice  (Read 8023 times)
xenoss
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Posts: 8


« on: August 29, 2006, 03:01:52 AM »

Hello everyone.  I am new to the Forge and sort of new to the hobbie.  I don't know if there are anyone like me, but let me say a little about myself.  I say I am "new" to the hobbie and in most respect this is true, but it is a little more complicated than that.  I had been following RPGs for years ever since I discovered the term used in this context while browsing online (I played video games, and I am from an Asian background.  The concept of Paper & Pen RPG was new to me.  In fact, back then, it took me a while to understand why there were no screenshots of any kind or info about which console the game is on.  That game I remember was Mekton Zeta).  This was many years ago, perhaps 1995 or so.

I have since then learned a lot more.  I had been following product releases and read some source books even.  I know some things about D&D, Shadowrun, White Wolf stuff, GURPS, to stuff like Paranoia, UA, Cyberpunk2020 and other more obscure systems.  It seems though, in my area, people only play mainstream stuff (RPG=D&D and some Vampire; miniature game automatically = WH40K and more recently includes WarMachine, CCG=only Magic).

Despite this, I seemed to have emerged as a more or less Indy guy compared to others, knowing games that most players never heard of.  I am often surprised that nobody knows Netrunner CCG; or for RPGs, nobody knew Fudge.  At most, people claim "they heard of it but know nothing about it"; I roughly translate that to "didn't know it existed".

That being said, I have never actually played any RPG beyond Play by post D&D and NWN DMed sessions.  I am a RPGer who never played an actual game, yet I already tire of the more mainstream stuff without actually playing them.

Till a few days ago, the most Indie game I considered actually playing was Fudge/FATE.  Since no one runs these, I will have to be GM.  But knowing that I have no gaming experience, I am a little overwhelmed by the Fudge system.  I am not sure I can run it at all.  But then, a few days ago I discovered these wonderful Indie games that are even more Indie than Fudge is, and even more inspired than I thought Fudge was.  Instead of a freeform system that plays more or less like a traditional RPG, games like Breaking the Ice, Mortal Coil, PTA are barely RPGs in the traditional sense.

I am determined now to get myself at least 2 of these wonderful games.  Since from what I have read, a lot of these are GM-lite, which should in a sense help me practice.  But then, what do I know?I'm planning on getting either Breaking the Ice or Shooting the Moon.  I am leaning towards StM because of its relatively competitiveness.  The high concept is unique AND provides for great drama.

BUT, I'll be running a game (for the first time) with people who have no prior experience with RPG (completely no experience).  I am wondering how I will be able to guide other newbies into playing when I myself am little more than a newbie?  Can someone please give me so advice on this?  (And as I have knowledge of RPGs, don't worry about my not understanding some terms.  I'll understand you most likely).

Thank you for your help.

Also, I am wondering where I should post a post like this for Indie games in general?  Like say, I want to post the similar questions outside of BtI or StM... but questions for Mortal Coil, DotV and PTA?  Is there a general forum for this?
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Emily Care
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« Reply #1 on: August 29, 2006, 08:10:02 AM »

Hi Xenoss,

Welcome to the Forge!  My name is Emily. I wrote Breaking the Ice and Shooting the Moon.  Thanks for your questions. I will do my best to guide you.  What is your name?

Quote
BUT, I'll be running a game (for the first time) with people who have no prior experience with RPG (completely no experience).  I am wondering how I will be able to guide other newbies into playing when I myself am little more than a newbie?  Can someone please give me so advice on this?
On thing that will help you will to be very conversant with the game ahead of time. Run through the mechanics on your own to be sure you understand how to apply them. If you run Shooting the Moon, I'd be happy to talk you through the process on this forum so you could come to the game with the others having really gotten it.   

StM is meant to be created on the fly with the participation of everyone at the table, so you won't have to do too much ahead of time other than learning how the game flows.  For another game, say Dogs, you might want to do the prep ahead of time, so you can devote yourself to helping the players get into the swing of things. For PtA, again the whole group makes up the setting and characters for the game. This game really sizzles if you do the pitch session right, and find something that everybody gets on board for and finds exciting.  I'm not sure how much prep Mortal Coil takes, though I know it has collaborative development of world via the characters.

What kinds of games have you most enjoyed playing? What draws you to these indie games?

Quote
Also, I am wondering where I should post a post like this for Indie games in general?  Like say, I want to post the similar questions outside of BtI or StM... but questions for Mortal Coil, DotV and PTA?  Is there a general forum for this?
Posting in any of the independent game forums for these particular games would be fine, for questions about running or playing the games. Also, when you are prepping for a specific game, you could post in the Actual Play forum and ask for pointers from the forum readers in general. 

best,
Emily Care
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xenoss
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« Reply #2 on: August 29, 2006, 05:51:33 PM »

Thank you very much for your reply, Emily.  My name is Wilson.

I did some research last night and downloaded some AP recorded sessions; I am going to have a listen to them to get some idea on how PTA, Polaris and Dogs are ran.  That should give me an idea on how these sort of narrative games are supposed to be like.  I couldn't find any for BtI or StM though.  Having read the AP for the Stalingrad game you ran a few days ago had me very excited about the possible sorts of stories that can emerge from StM; from the posted APs I get the stories and sort of the flow, but lack the details on the actual play sessions and what the players say/do.  I guess having no previous experience play experience puts me off a little.  Do you know of any recorded BtI or StM sessions out there?

I am drawn to the indie games after I listened to some podcasts and discovered they exist.  I guess I am drawn to these games because they are totally the sort of game I am looking for; story and interaction are the focus, with little to no book keeping of stats and D&D style dice resolution of "hit or miss and how much damage".  Also, most of these systems seem to breed interesting and dynamic characters and interactions as a sort of built in mechanic of the game, this interest me a lot as well.

The problem though, is that I will be playing with people who have absolutely no prior experience with RPGs.  Perhaps this is a good thing in a sense, since they are not going to be confused by preconceptions stemming from traditional RPGs.  But on the bad side, I am a bit worried that we will sit around the table not knowing what to do.  Say for example, resolving a situation (in any game) may require the player to create and narrate, but the player doesn't know what to say (because she can pretty much do it any way she wants, it could be overwhelming).  I dont think StM would have as much problems here if I run a generic modern love story, plus the character traits pretty much guides them in creating the scene.  But I worry I may be a bit too confident about this... those potential players I have are not exactly creative, and are known to sit there saying "err......" when put on the spot.

I guess I am afraid of running a dull game and turning everyone off; killing the chances of drawing them in.  I am almost dead set on using StM as the gateway game, so I really want to be sure I know what I am doing first.

I'm going to run the game using some older rules.  Though I am going to buy StM from IPR.  I am a student with no budget so I can get only 1 other game with StM.  I would still need to pay shipping (since I live in Canada... sigh), but at least it would seem better to pay shipping for 2 books instead of just the one.  I am deciding between Mortal Coil, Roach and Polaris.  Any advice on that?

In addition to PTA which I cannot get from IPR... but shipping only cost $3 for PTA.... where it is $10 on IPR for one book.

I am going to try a StM trial run with just 1 player tomorrow to see what I need to work on (or if I can run it at all).  I don't feel right asking for help without having tried and with specific questions in mind; otherwise, what I'd be asking is "teach me everything I need to know" and that's just not very reasonable.
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Emily Care
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« Reply #3 on: August 30, 2006, 12:29:40 PM »

Hi Wilson,

Quote
I did some research last night and downloaded some AP recorded sessions; I am going to have a listen to them to get some idea on how PTA, Polaris and Dogs are ran.
That is great. Those are three fantastic games, and listening to them get played will give you a very good feel for how they are run.  There aren't any recorded sessions of Breaking the Ice or Shooting the Moon (that I know of) yet. I'll have to remedy that. I'd be happy to talk to you here, though, about anything that you may have questions about.

Quote
I am drawn to the indie games after I listened to some podcasts and discovered they exist.  I guess I am drawn to these games because they are totally the sort of game I am looking for; story and interaction are the focus, with little to no book keeping of stats and D&D style dice resolution of "hit or miss and how much damage".  Also, most of these systems seem to breed interesting and dynamic characters and interactions as a sort of built in mechanic of the game, this interest me a lot as well.
Sounds like you are in the right place then, posting here at the Forge.  The mechanics of all these games support creating engaging characters and stories that allow the players to make meaningful choices about things they care about.  In my experience, most of these games have made it much easier to be a player or gm.  Either because the players are involved in creating the setting and situation using a metaphor most people have a lot of experience with, that is television (as in Primetime Adventures), or because the gm is given rock solid procedures for creating a problematic situation that the characters are both immediately involved with and have the power to affect.  Or because the tasks of the players and gm are split up in an unusual but clear and dynamic way supported by extremely evocative setting material, as in Polaris.

Shooting the Moon is particularly structured in a way that is meant to make it easy for players to be able to come up with interesting events. At each moment, what kind of narration you are asked to give is specified.  For example, if you are playing a two player game, when it is the other player's turn,  you are charged with looking for an opportunity to create complications, or a Hurdle, for what the other person is narrating.  When it is your turn, you first narrate how your character is working together with or trying to aid the Beloved, and then you make three responses in answer to the Hurdle that involve some trait of your character's or the Beloved's and so on.   The character and setting creation support this, because since you do it collaboratively, the characters are created with weaknesses and achille's heels that give a lot of play for the other person to take advantage of in making things go wrong.  In a three player game, it is even more fun since you then have three people throwing the opposition around. : )

And as for recommendations, I would heartily recommend each of those choices. Mortal Coil is reminiscent of Neil Gaiman's work such as American Gods and Good Omens. The Roach is a hilarious and biting send up of competition in academia. And Polaris is bloody fair tale goodness. I'm not sure which you would be most inclined to want to buy, but I hope you get a chance to play each of them in time. And I can't see enough about Primetime Adventures. That is the game I personally have played the most out of all published rpgs, and each time have had a completely different but equally fantastic time. Have you seen the PtA lineup?

Quote
I am going to try a StM trial run with just 1 player tomorrow to see what I need to work on (or if I can run it at all).  I don't feel right asking for help without having tried and with specific questions in mind; otherwise, what I'd be asking is "teach me everything I need to know" and that's just not very reasonable.
Seriously, I would love to walk you through how to play. We could even start a new thread where we do a sample game. It would be fun and I'd love to be able to teach it to you and give other folks a chance to see it step by step. Just say the word.

all the best,
Emily 
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xenoss
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« Reply #4 on: September 01, 2006, 12:16:14 AM »

That would be excellent, Emily.  Thank you very much for your offer.  Playing the game with the creator isnt something one can pass on (especially for one such as myself, who doesn't get to attend conventions; a pain of living in Canada).

I tried explaining the rules to my sister (whom I planned to try StM with).  She seems to be able to understand the rules and basic structure of the game.  Though she expressed fears of drawing blank on the spot when she has to make up a scene.  She also brought to my attention a mechanic that I didn't quite understand myself, which is the endgame portion of activating the dice pools.
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Emily Care
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« Reply #5 on: September 01, 2006, 09:59:14 AM »

Hi Wilson,

Quote
I tried explaining the rules to my sister (whom I planned to try StM with).  She seems to be able to understand the rules and basic structure of the game.  Though she expressed fears of drawing blank on the spot when she has to make up a scene.  She also brought to my attention a mechanic that I didn't quite understand myself, which is the endgame portion of activating the dice pools.

Do you have the playtest draft? The final version has changed a bit, including the final sequence. Let's tawk.

best,
Em
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xenoss
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2006, 03:14:01 AM »

I have tried running StM with her; it is late so we only got through the first round, but I have at least experienced it now.  I am more confident about playing/running, it turned out both easier and harder than I thought.  I also have some trouble understanding the rules from the draft, but I am sure they will be clear once I get the book (and if not I can ask you here).

I have half an AP.

Setting:  Based on a TV show we love.  This is done so we don't have to write extensively about the setting during game set up since we both know the setting well enough.  It is a foreign show about Vampires, sort of like Buffy/Angel.

Beloved:  A Buffy type girl who's family had been fighting supernatural threats every generation.  She is the last of her bloodline.  Their family had been trying to slay the first vampire (a Caine sort of figure).  Her traits: Beautiful, Brave, Emotionally Strong, Compassionate, Skillful, Loved by Friends.  Her opening: She is trying to find a good student capable of helping her and continuing her family's skills/knowledge in case something happens to her.  Her obstacle we set as: Duty to fight supernatural beings.

Female Suitor 1 (my sister):
Weak willed but protective of her family.
Pretty but her face lacks character.
Unskilled but hardworking.
Sympathetic but naive.
Person: A little brother who is very ill.
Place: The apartment building she lives in (same as the Beloved)
Thing: An artifact that once belonged to the Beloved's family (suggesting some connection).
Conflict:  her sick little brother requires her care and attention.

Male Suitor 2 (me):
Willful but openminded.
Ugly but stands out
Knowledgeable but doesn't like to help others
Cold but respectful of his elders
Person: Main villain of the show (who is a vampire and chairman of his corporation)
Place: "Red River Valley" (where the main villain and his rival were bit by "Caine" long ago in WWII.  We figured, Suitor 2 is a descendant of 1 of Villain's soldiers.  But I don't know if Place should be used this way now that I think about it.  This is more like mentioning a Person, a grandpa who served as a soldier.  Perhaps I should change that to Suitor 2 have visited there or something?)
Thing: Laptop computer.
Conflict: Working for main villain.

Goal:  To become the Beloved's student/sidekick.

Some issues during this process:
Like I said, in retrospect, my character's Place seems more like I am mentioning a Person.  Is this how we should be doing it?  How much detail are we supposed to go into Person/Place/Thing?  Do we simply need to put something there without really going into story justifications (like how we tried to explain how my character is related to the Red River Valley, and why Suitor 1 has an artifact that once belonged to the Beloved.  Or are these things we can justify during narration)?

We also had some trouble with Buts.  Some conditions we thought up seem to have nothing to do with the attribute (it looked more like an extra attribute attached to an existing one with a But.)

The setting word web we didnt do, since we can add anything we want anyway during play and we both know the setting well enough to know what should be there.

Suitor 2 went first, because my sister didn't want to go first after all.

S2 is having a drink at The Waiting Bar (a place in the show).  He knew the Beloved would eventually show up since she frequents there.   When she showed up, S2 approached her and starting chatting with her, just a normal conversation.  (I think I didnt do very good here, since I didn't really put into play any attributes and this ended up being a normal "chat her up" scene... very empty and against the spirit of the rules.  No wonder it felt so dry at the time.) So S2 started talking about her duty and about vampires, showing her that he is "in the know". My sister stepped in with a hurdle: Villain's men showed up, telling S2 that he wants to see him.  My sister surprised me here with a very nice hurdle; to think I was worried about her drawing blank... turns out I am the one who didn't do very well.  So now, I am exposed as being 1 of the Villain's men and on top of that, this is pushing me out of the scene.

My response is a little clunky.  I am not sure if I did it right... a lot of my reasoning seem to be a bit of a stretch:
I used Willful but openminded (mainly just being Willful):  S2 admits to his ties with a confident straight face, "Yes, I work for him."  "So what, does that faze you?", here I am using the Beloved's Brave trait, my reasoning is that this sounds like a challenge to her and she isn't going to back down so easily.  And finally, my 3rd response: S2 leaves with the men since he is cold but respectful of his elders.  Again, I feel as if I did it wrong, since I say S2 is leaving without a fuss and how does that advance his goal of making her accept me?  Perhaps I should have said S2 attempts to fight these men and expresses he doesn't blindly follow instructions (is using Willful twice allowed?  or perhaps I can sort of justify it with the trait Knowledgeable but doesnt like to help?)

So then we rolled.  She has 5 dice and I have 5?  Or 6, since each response gives 2 dice in a 2 player game?  We rolled 5 each just to try things out.  She won.

We were at a point where we didn't know what to do.  I suspect this is explained better in the book?  But our problem was this: does she narrate how this scene ends?  And we didn't quite understand the Second Pool thing and we just skipped it.

We forgot to name a trait before rolling, but we reasoned that her hurdle is generally to make Beloved suspect S2.  So S2 gained the trait Suspected.

S1's turn.

S1 is just moving in to the apartment as Beloved returns.  S1 approaches her and asked if she was the "slayer", having some slight idea of what she looks like.  S1 introduces herself and then quickly shows her the arifact she carries with her.  S1 had moved here in the hopes to find her.  Their families have history.

I throw in the hurdle at that point.  I invoked S1's trait of Unskilled:  Beloved invites her to her office and asks her to demonstrate what she can do, expecting that she has at least some skills seeing that her family has some sort of ties with her own and that she came looking to be her assistant.  I forgot to sate a trait to add, again.

My sister responses:
"I don't have any skills, but I am very hardworking."  (clunky... is stating a fact about herself using that trait?  it doesnt seem right), And at that moment, her brother gives S1 a call, needing her. (using that Person I gave her character) and that leads to Beloved's compassionate:  "Part of why I need the job is because of my sick brother too".

So we rolled 5 each.  As luck would have it, we had a tie.  We suspect again this is likely in the book, but where we were, we are not sure who narrates the ending of this scene, do we give each other traits, and do we need to have a 2nd pool... those sort of things.  So, with that we stopped; it was getting late anyway and we had a lot of fun even with just that.  It took about 30 minutes (since I explained the rules to her last time, I guess it would have taken longer otherwise).

The game turned out to be easier and faster to run than I was expecting.  I was so worried of my lack of experience, but it turned out not to matter too much.  I am a bit surprised that my sister responded quite quickly, and I wasnt as fast as I expected; in spite of my familiarity with making stories.

We had a lot of fun.  My sister is sold, even though we played less than half a game.  This is simply THE gateway game.  Many more family/friends will be sold.  Hopefully, they will get dragged into other games as well.

THANK YOU for this inspired and wondrous game, Emily!!
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Iskander
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2006, 04:49:01 AM »

This whole thread makes me delirously happy!
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Winning gives birth to hostility.
Losing, one lies down in pain.
The calmed lie down with ease,
having set winning & losing aside.

- Samyutta Nikaya III, 14
Emily Care
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« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2006, 02:01:52 PM »

This whole thread makes me delirously happy!

And me too!  Wilson, you are so welcome and thank you for trying it out!! You and your sister did a great job of coming up with an interesting story. I'll try and clarify some of the things you had questions about.

Quote
Like I said, in retrospect, my character's Place seems more like I am mentioning a Person.  Is this how we should be doing it?  How much detail are we supposed to go into Person/Place/Thing?  Do we simply need to put something there without really going into story justifications (like how we tried to explain how my character is related to the Red River Valley, and why Suitor 1 has an artifact that once belonged to the Beloved.  Or are these things we can justify during narration)?
That sounds perfect to me, though what you write on the sheet only needs to be a word or phrase, I've sometimes used a sentence for a trait. eg "the ghost of the spanish captain of the ship, who loves Suitor 2" etc. But with just "Red River Valley" written in, you could add the other stuff you came up with based on it as traits later in the game, like the fact that Suitor 2 is a defendant of the Villain's soldiers.   You don't have to know anything about the person/place/thing initially, though.  They can be spun anyway you like as the game goes on. Also, the fact that you guys didn't use the "world web" is telling. It seemed like just one more thing to do, and got jettisoned from the final version of the game. 

Quote
I used Willful but openminded (mainly just being Willful):  S2 admits to his ties with a confident straight face, "Yes, I work for him."  "So what, does that faze you?", here I am using the Beloved's Brave trait, my reasoning is that this sounds like a challenge to her and she isn't going to back down so easily.  And finally, my 3rd response: S2 leaves with the men since he is cold but respectful of his elders.  Again, I feel as if I did it wrong, since I say S2 is leaving without a fuss and how does that advance his goal of making her accept me?  Perhaps I should have said S2 attempts to fight these men and expresses he doesn't blindly follow instructions (is using Willful twice allowed?  or perhaps I can sort of justify it with the trait Knowledgeable but doesnt like to help?)

So then we rolled.  She has 5 dice and I have 5?  Or 6, since each response gives 2 dice in a 2 player game?  We rolled 5 each just to try things out.  She won.
That was awesome. If you had won, you could have started establishing yourself as a force to be reckoned with by the Beloved.  Buffy was always falling for the evil ones like Spike and so on. One thing that might have helped you with this is that you get to count things like "willful but openminded" as two separate traits.  And, yes, you would get 6 dice since it was your turn. 2 for each response.

Quote
We were at a point where we didn't know what to do.  I suspect this is explained better in the book?  But our problem was this: does she narrate how this scene ends?  And we didn't quite understand the Second Pool thing and we just skipped it.
Yes, the draft is not as clear. The winner narrates an outcome and adds a trait to the Suitor whose turn it is. It's fine to not state the new trait up front.  It's easier to come up with something after you've seen how the scene comes out, though you can add something totally new, too.  But the second pool bit is important. Let me explain it. Here's a description of how it goes:

It's Suitor 1's turn.  Suitor 1's player describes how their character interacts with the Beloved. In a three player game, the Beloved's player might frame a scene where the Suitor can help them achieve their Dream. In a two player game, the Suitor's player can simply narrate a situation where the Beloved and the Suitor are interacting positively, angling them toward the Suitor achieving the Prize.  This is in free narration or free play, it doesn't have to call on any traits, though you can use any and all of them to help you figure out where the characters are and what they might be doing together. But everything is just a free resource for you to use to help you think of things, not mechanically implicated in any way.

Enter the Opponent.
[You guys nailed this.] The Opponent's job is to introduce the Hurdle, some kind of complication that will trip up the Suitor and/or the Beloved in what they are doing, or in gaining their goals. Suitors always get 5 dice as the Opponent. In a three player game the Beloved can put more at stake for more dice.

Then three responses:  in a two player game, the Suitor player does them all and they are worth 2 dice each: six dice total. In a three player game, the Beloved's player and the Suitor's player each get 2 dice for the first trait of their own that they bring into play, but only 1 if either of them uses one of their own traits for a second response. Instead, either can get 2 dice for suggesting something that the other player's character could do based on their traits.  So they'll get 5 or 6 dice depending.

Roll and compare the dice: 
If the Suitor player's side wins, they check off a box on their character sheet toward winning the Prize, and can add a new trait. (in a three player game, the Beloved's player does the same for the Beloved).
If the Opponent wins or there is a tie, the active player's side gets to get more dice (ie the Second Pool). 

The Second Pool:
The active player's side can get 3 more dice for calling in their character's Conflict and adding a new trait to the character's sheet that expands on this complication. For example, in your game, you could have called on your character's conflict "working for the villain" by going against the grain and deciding to then resist the group of thugs who were walking you out.  (or in a 3 player game, the conflict or the Beloved's obstacle).

OR you can get 4 more dice by taking a suggestion from the Opposing player.  It's in the interests of the Opponent to think of something really nasty, and they get to add a trait to your character too--so the suggestions usually end up escalating the conflict. Which is good! Your sister might have suggested that the Villain walked in the door and started threatening the Beloved--which if you won would have put you in the position of narrating having helped her escape his clutches.

The opponent always gets to make a suggestions. The other player or players have the choice to choose it or not. And then you roll that many more dice and compare them with the Opponent's original roll.  So for example if your sister's roll had been 5-4-4-3-2, and your roll was 4-4-3-3-2-2, when your rolled an additional 3 or 4 dice, all you would have needed was to roll 1 six, or two 5s to beat her. If there is a tie, just pick up the tied dice and re-roll them. And ties are handled differently in a three player game.


Hope that makes sense! And I'm thrilled that it worked out well for you, and that you both had fun. It's meant to be quick and accessible. Glad it seems to be hitting the mark for you.

all the best,
Emily
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xenoss
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« Reply #9 on: September 18, 2006, 09:30:43 PM »

My copy of Shooting the Moon finally arrived today along with Burning Wheel and Mortal Coil.  I gave a quick read through, but I am still a bit confused with the 2nd Pool and the Final Scene setting.

Specifically for the 2nd Pool, in the example given in the book, the player refused the suggestion of Cowardice for 4 dice, and instead opt of 3 dice by bring in his conflict.  The thing is though, the example didn't really get into that.  The conflict is something that makes things hard for me to achieve my goal, so how do I draw upon it to help me beat the hurdle (it is supposed to work against me, right)?  Like the example you gave me with "Working for the Villain" in this thread, I'd draw on it by opposing the Villian's minions; but I am supposed to work for the Villain, wouldn't that be opposing my conflict?  Or are we supposed to oppose the conflict?

For the final scene (before the dice are cast), for each die we can roll we must bring in an element of character/world.  So the players frame a climax scene together, and after that bring in the "dice elements".  Does it matter who goes first?

Thank you again for your time, Emily.  You are simply wonderful.

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Emily Care
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« Reply #10 on: September 20, 2006, 07:47:27 AM »

Hi!

Glad all the games made it to you. Oh, you are going to have some fun with Burning Wheel and Mortal Coil! I'll try to clarify what you asked about StM:

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Specifically for the 2nd Pool, in the example given in the book, the player refused the suggestion of Cowardice for 4 dice, and instead opt of 3 dice by bring in his conflict.  The thing is though, the example didn't really get into that.  The conflict is something that makes things hard for me to achieve my goal, so how do I draw upon it to help me beat the hurdle (it is supposed to work against me, right)? 

The conflict or the opponent's suggestion for the second pool of dice need not end up helping your character out. It's intended to be a sort of second hurdle the character has to over come. Another twist to the action and complications going on.  It can even be tangential to the action--adding an aspect to your character that only comes up in play at some later date. 

Here is an example from a demo I did at Gen Con with Judd and Tim Kleinert:  The situation was a knight riding up to a castle to save the widowed queen trapped inside.  Tim played the knight, and I played the Queen. Judd was the other suitor, so played the opposition in the scene.  Cue to Judd to create a hurdle. He said that the knight's way was barred by a ghostly figure.  Tim and I huddled about what the characters would do in response. Tim used his knight's bravado to keep coming, I used the Queen's beauty to inspire him, and I suggested that the ghostly figure dropped it's sword and gave the knight the opportunity to kill it, but the knight was too honorable, so let it pick it up. 

Rolled dice. Tim & I failed.  So Judd suggested that the ghostly warrior was in fact the king, the queen's dead husband, who had been the knight's lord.  We rolled and won, so the knight let him pass and urged him to protect the queen. If it had been a poor roll, we might have had the knight get cursed by the king for betraying his loyalty by falling in love with the queen. 

So, the conflict or suggestion should just escalate the conflict in some way, but whether it ends up helping or hurting the character in the long run can be taken from the context of the roll, and also will change over time as different players take advantage of that trait and bring it into play in different ways. Does that make sense?


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For the final scene (before the dice are cast), for each die we can roll we must bring in an element of character/world.  So the players frame a climax scene together, and after that bring in the "dice elements".  Does it matter who goes first?
The person with the most dice should probably start. If one person has many more than the others, it might be good to pace it out, so that the others don't lose input so much sooner.  That's a great question! I'll have to make that more explicit in later editions.

Thanks so much! It's great to talk to you. Hope you have fun.

best,
Emily
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« Reply #11 on: September 21, 2006, 06:59:07 PM »

Thanks for your reply, Emily.

On a related note, is the 2nd poll a "all or nothing" thing?  Using the example you gave in the book about the knight to clarify what I mean:

Since the opponent won the first poll, the trait is "turned into a frog", and the second poll is next.  My question is, has the first poll "happened" before we continue with narration of the 2nd poll, ie. suitor is turned into a frog before the story continues?  Or, do we halt the result of that (don't write that down as a trait yet) because the active suitor is given another chance in the form of the 2nd poll?

In other words, if the active suitor loses both 1st and 2nd poll, does he get 2 traits or just the 2nd trait?  Using the book's example, is he now a frog or a coward, or a cowardly frog?  If he instead wins the 2nd poll, is he still a frog with some new trait he gets to add, or does he just win the hurdle and give himself a trait?

Thanks again.

By the way, will we be getting any news on your new game any time soon?
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Emily Care
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« Reply #12 on: September 23, 2006, 07:33:44 AM »

Hey Wilson,

The trait from the first roll takes effect and is added to the sheet immediately.  So, yup, you can get two traits in a single turn.

In the example from the book, the knight's player and the beloved's player lost the first roll, so the knight gets turned into a frog.  The opponent gave them the suggestion that the knight turned and ran away, acting like a coward. So this would mean that the knight got both traits "turned into frog" and "coward". But in the example, the knight's player doesn't want to take that trait, so turns down the 4 dice it would represent, and starts to think about a different trait that would call upon his conflict: "betrayed his comrades".  It might be that a ghost of one of his fallen friends appears in his way, and the trait would be "haunted". Or it might be that someone in the crowd calls out that he's getting his come-uppance for turning traitor and the trait would be "seen as a traitor". Either of these would give the players 3 more dice to roll.

Getting back to your earlier question of how do the new traits end up helping you win: they may not, although the character may overcome the obstacles successfully anyway.  What they really do is give you and the other players an opportunity to ratchet up the pressure on your character. In return for which, you get to gain another shot at attaining the character's overall goals. 

And very cool that you're thinking about adapting StM to an online venue! It works really well for BtI. Keep me posted!

all the best,
Emily

ps And thanks also for asking about Sign in Stranger. More to come on that front soon!
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