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Author Topic: [Dead of Night] Werewolves! Men with guns! Mom!  (Read 28818 times)
andrew_kenrick
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« Reply #15 on: November 05, 2006, 12:49:16 AM »

And, to follow up on Ron's point, I think simply by playing the game using the Tension options that have been chosen will lead to the intended tone and genre and feel without any overt need to make it that way.
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
rumble
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Posts: 19


« Reply #16 on: November 07, 2006, 11:03:31 AM »

It seems to me that this early part of the game is the players main chance to effect things.

Only for setup, and then only if they get the choice in the first place. If there is a single GM, he can decide how to spend Tension himself without player input.

Survival Points are the players' currency to influence the game.
Tension points are the GM's currency to influence the game.

The options for Survival Point expenditure are fixed.
The options for Tension point expenditure vary depending on the group and the scenario.

I could tell the participants exactly how to play, but I couldn't state a specific ruleset that would give them the "feel" they needed for throughout a scenario. That design element -- the setup -- was completely the responsibility of the participants. I've always found this setup to be difficult, and I like to think I made it much more simple and practical.
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"I don't get mad. I get stabby.
--Fat Tony, _The Simpsons_
andrew_kenrick
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« Reply #17 on: November 10, 2006, 01:17:42 PM »

Quote
I could tell the participants exactly how to play, but I couldn't state a specific ruleset that would give them the "feel" they needed for throughout a scenario. That design element -- the setup -- was completely the responsibility of the participants. I've always found this setup to be difficult, and I like to think I made it much more simple and practical.

And indeed I'm not entirely sure it's possible to sit down and decide on the feel of the game, even with various tension point settings - that sort of thing invariably comes up during play, at least in my experience. How about you Rumble? Have you tried to explicitly make the game feel one way or another via the tension mechanics, or does it just "sorta happen" for you too?
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
rumble
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #18 on: November 13, 2006, 10:54:06 AM »

And indeed I'm not entirely sure it's possible to sit down and decide on the feel of the game, even with various tension point settings - that sort of thing invariably comes up during play, at least in my experience. How about you Rumble? Have you tried to explicitly make the game feel one way or another via the tension mechanics, or does it just "sorta happen" for you too?

As my players might tell you, I rule with a rusty iron fist. I usually don't pass on the privilege of deciding how Tension is to be spent. But I let them live long enough to enjoy the scenario.

However, because the rules neatly separate the four major elements of horror plots, you can predictably manipulate the story by focusing Tension point usage on specific elements which are key to the scenario.

Remember _The Thing_ with Kurt Russel? That's all about the chase/hunt on both sides. You WANT the players to be able to catch up to the creature. You want to foil their attempts to get away from the Thing. Whether or not they Identify it is a secondary concern, and the creature's Assault and Persuade skills are so specialized there's very little hope for the PCs in the constrained scenario. If you focus Tension on Pursue and Escape, the others should take care of themselves.

Choosing which stat grouping (or even more specifically, which individual stats you modify with Tension will definitely allow you to predetermine (to some extent) the flow of a particular scenario.
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"I don't get mad. I get stabby.
--Fat Tony, _The Simpsons_
Yokiboy
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« Reply #19 on: November 13, 2006, 12:45:46 PM »

Remember _The Thing_ with Kurt Russel? That's all about the chase/hunt on both sides. You WANT the players to be able to catch up to the creature. You want to foil their attempts to get away from the Thing. Whether or not they Identify it is a secondary concern, and the creature's Assault and Persuade skills are so specialized there's very little hope for the PCs in the constrained scenario. If you focus Tension on Pursue and Escape, the others should take care of themselves.

Choosing which stat grouping (or even more specifically, which individual stats you modify with Tension will definitely allow you to predetermine (to some extent) the flow of a particular scenario.

Holy cow, that is so cool! Do you elaborate on this in the rules? My copy of the game is still in transit from IPR, so I haven't read it yet. If you don't touch on how to duplicate the feeling of known horror movies, you so should add to your web site.

TTFN,

Yoki
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Tim C Koppang
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« Reply #20 on: November 13, 2006, 05:39:47 PM »

Without a doubt, the relationship between tension and survival points is the key to the game for me. Much like the feeling I had while playing Space Rat and counting attention points, in Dead of Night I found myself very concerned with the number of survival points Chris had and the number of tension points that Ron had. The fact that I always knew that not only did every point I spend hose either myself or Chris in the long run, but also that Chris and I were the ones who helped to craft the tension rules kept me on the edge of my seat once things got rolling.

As Ron said in his earlier post, Dead of Night may be the only game Iíve played where I honestly felt panicked about whether or not my characters would survive. Skillful GMing and a horror genre help to achieve that feeling for sure (without the color I would never have been in the mindset to panic), but the back and forth -- always riding on the edge of death and hope -- is what tension and survival points add to the game. While survival points give you hope that your character may make it out of the situation alive and in tact, itís the mounting number of tension points that kept me from ever feeling truly comfortable. And let me make one final point: I pretty much knew that my characters were going to die. Even so, with a decent die roll or a well-timed survival point I kept myself thinking that maybe -- just maybe -- I might make it out alive. Hope without reason. Now thatís a good horror game experience if I ever heard one.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: November 13, 2006, 08:20:08 PM »

Hi,

I'd like to emphasize that this is not about Ye Olde Talented Horror GM strutting his stuff. I think that's more ass.

What is going on, in addition to the points Tim just made, is a kind of physiological reversal. Given the rules for action and what in many RPGs is called "initiative" (what I call order/announcement), in playing Dead of Night, you literally are about to talk, but aware that you might not want to be the next person to talk, but that at any moment you might have to talk, and even that if you don't talk, your character might be involved anyway. That creates a breathlessness ... not as an effect, but as a primary feature of how one interacts during playing this game.

So physiologically, you're "breathless." And then, moving up the line to the imagination, so to speak, the shared imagined space (or "experience" of it) becomes a breathless thing.

See what I mean? It's not only about me being scary and the game being scary and ooohhh, scariness, so we got breathless. It's about getting breathless literally because we're following the (understandable, functional) rules about how to talk, and then that, in and of itself, generates a physical condition which then conjures up the apppropriate mental state, through association.

Combine that with the Survival/Tension dynamic that Tim just summarized so well, and you have the single best thriller-horror RPG that I have experienced in my (to date) twenty-eight years of role-playing experience.

Best, Ron
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Tancred
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Posts: 53


« Reply #22 on: November 14, 2006, 11:35:47 AM »

I've got the game but have yet to play it. This thread's got me all fired up to give it a whirl though. Just a couple of questions about the game:

Without a doubt, the relationship between tension and survival points is the key to the game for me. Much like the feeling I had while playing Space Rat and counting attention points, in Dead of Night I found myself very concerned with the number of survival points Chris had and the number of tension points that Ron had. The fact that I always knew that not only did every point I spend hose either myself or Chris in the long run, but also that Chris and I were the ones who helped to craft the tension rules kept me on the edge of my seat once things got rolling.

So were you guessing how many Ron had based on scene description and Survival points spent, or were the current Tension points right out there for everyone to see?

The initiative system kind of throws me, and it sounds like understanding it is key to making it work well. Can anyone clarify my understanding of how the 'player should roll when possible' rule interacts with the rule that the GM always seizes initiative in a direct conflict with a creature?
 
The way I understand it, the second rule trumps the first, meaning that while most of the time the GM can't take initiative unless the players are out of ideas (since in these cases, the 'players should roll' rule comes into effect), once the characters come into direct conflict with a creature the GM will be rolling/initiating every second action (always seizing initiative, but limited by the 'cannot roll twice in a row' rule).

In these direct conflicts, rolling the dice is synonymous with taking an action. The only time this wouldn't be true is if the GM is calling for a player to roll outside of a conflict, like an Identify check to spot something suspicious - in these cases, the GM is describing/governing the action, but the player is rolling the dice.

Am I understanding correctly?

Cheers

Adrian.

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rumble
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #23 on: November 14, 2006, 12:32:33 PM »

Am I understanding correctly?

Yes!

Basically, what it boils down to is:

Give the characters as much freedom/power/control as possible until they directly confront a creature.
Once they meet the creature, hammer them with all you've got.

It's an effective description of the situation, but without the mechanism in place, it's too nebulous to implement/enforce.

In most of my games, I NEVER pick up dice until a creature confrontation. Your players will learn to fear that cue. :)
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======
"I don't get mad. I get stabby.
--Fat Tony, _The Simpsons_
Tancred
Member

Posts: 53


« Reply #24 on: November 14, 2006, 02:50:50 PM »

Yes!

Basically, what it boils down to is:

Give the characters as much freedom/power/control as possible until they directly confront a creature.
Once they meet the creature, hammer them with all you've got.

It's an effective description of the situation, but without the mechanism in place, it's too nebulous to implement/enforce.

In most of my games, I NEVER pick up dice until a creature confrontation. Your players will learn to fear that cue. :)

Cool! Thanks for the clarification.
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Tim C Koppang
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« Reply #25 on: November 15, 2006, 12:49:27 PM »

So were you guessing how many Ron had based on scene description and Survival points spent, or were the current Tension points right out there for everyone to see?

When we played, all of the numbers were out in the open. If I couldn't read Ron or Chris' sheets, I could always ask for an update.
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andrew_kenrick
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« Reply #26 on: November 16, 2006, 12:45:21 PM »

I have this big steel d20 that I plonk down in the middle of the table and use to mark tension. I love the look of fear on people's faces when I reach over and tick it up or down.

I've thought about using counters for both survival and tension, so players can just throw their survival points into the tension pool as they spend them, but haven't tried that yet. Not sure if it would have the same tense feeling.
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
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