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[Rifts PBP] Three dead instantly, fourth should be dead a bit latter

Started by Callan S., December 07, 2006, 03:25:11 AM

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Callan S.

I decided to run a gamist PBP and used a savagely direct method of screening players - win an initial scenario, or die and lose (can't reapply to join the game for a RL week). BTW, zero chargen at this point - no one makes up a whole character or anything.

Here's the game:
Here's that initial scenario:

I had four applicants. Three of them did not win, and died. And man, I felt some waves of guilt about that before I delivered the news. See, for a start I have an ideal solution in mind. Sure, other solutions might have clicked at enough levels to work, but given the situation I doubt there was much choice. That was deliberate - I wanted a scenario in which there was basically one solution - not a gazillion solutions where pretty much any way you want to act in the game world works out. This was to drive the stark line between winning and losing, right into the game.

But damn, when people came in with solutions - I know that I'm evaluating them. I don't have any illusion that if a PC pushes a vase off a balcony in the game world, for example, it's me saying it smashes. It's just me - there is no causality forcing me to say that. So basically it feels like I'm just deciding to say 'you lose!'. BUT then I get myself on track - did they get the right answer? No? They lose. Sure, all this other stuff about GM fiat and people feeling bad about losing is there, but ultimately they did not get it right. I don't want to give the impression that I got on track straight away, it took quite some time and thought. In fact I'd like to stress this point - if it were table top, would I have had the time to get over all this crap? Or would I have fallen for it all and essentially leave winning and losing behind?

Anyway, a couple of them had some interesting ideas, which I noted first before saying basically the same thing to both:
QuoteInteresting idea. But in a mere second or two there's a nearby explosion and you die.

Thanks for having a stab, feel free to try again in a week if you want. :)
Something to note; I set up death = losing earlier in the first post of the game. But I didn't actually bring myself to say it here. Thinking on it now, I think its hard to say 'you lose' to a stranger - I suppose it's basically just a slap and only really works if the other person feels some urge to gain atleast a small amount of esteem from you. I didn't know if they wanted that. And without it, it's just a slap.

Also, I wanted to look at one application/move from a poster called 'Lady Mia'
Quote from: Lady MiaThats easy... the premise: We are normal humans with no gear except that mentioned. The gear being peices of broken rock it seems...

Thinking A half blind novice could have hit me while I was caught unaware like that... did he deliberately miss or is he truely unlucky?! Either way the person seems rich enough to have lots of ammo to waste.
"I Surrender! Please don't kill me!" she calls out while staying hidden under the cover of the stone.

OOC: This is an odd game RTJ... is this going to be endless scenarios? Or will there be an adventure after the killing stops?
After I determined the result (not before, interestingly) I got this sense of satisfaction from this one. All this adding rich details and stuff and then what strikes me as giving up/surrendering as just another detail added. BOOM! Dead! Heh heh. No, you really did lose!

But I personally find that last line to be really black. It tells me 'I'm bored and just putting up with this till we get to the real game', which is a horrible block - she can be bored any time she likes, doesn't have to spend any resources to do that. Which would give her almost absolute control while you wait like a puppy dog to see if it pleases poor bored miss! Hmmm, nerve touched here - yeah, thinking on it I was with a group once where I fell into that role (partially caused by incoherance - hard to please someone when you've line up their motorcycle at a race track for them, when they want to turn it into a sculpture). But no! BOOM! hehe.

One really intresting thing to me is that I expected some bitter 'how dare you' responces or 'blah blah blah is proper roleplay, how dare you boil it down to winning and losing!'. But none came. They might not have bothered - but people often do whinge on the internet. I wonder if I really struck a cord and they realised thats how this particular game goes. It still hasn't been a week yet, so I don't know if any will have a second shot (Note: It has been a week since I started drafting this - no second tries).

The guy who beats it? Funnily enough I'd noticed him on the 'Looking for GM' boards before. The title of his post 'Looking for game with moral dilemmas' caught my eye, as it was surprisingly clear cut and self aware, relative to the usual RP culture. Anyway, I'd forgotten about him when he posted in responce to my game.

He beat the original scenario, congratulated him and brought him into the play area (He'd given his responce by PM). I then made up two scenarios he could choose between - I quite like the way I did it - each had the information of the scenario as if you'd already headed down that path, but you hadn't yet so you could choose which one you'd like to have a shot at. Also for one scenario I wasn't even sure of the answer. That was a stab at ensuring it wasn't just 'guess the GM'. Though on reflection I prefer there to be one definate answer (to deliniate success and failure all the more) but there may be other actions which also suceed.

One thing I noticed here is that making scenarios is and isn't work. It shouldn't become work - ugh! It should be a challenge. I realised this and felt a little wave of relief - so to properly establish it I noted in the OOC thread that:
Quoteworking out scenarios is a bit of a challenge, so if I can't keep up with the pace I can bow out. :)
To which he responded
QuoteAh wuss :p

No worries. I'll take things as they come.
Hehe, the bastard! I mean that in a good way! He's baiting me about giving up, which is great feedback to fuel further prep rather than 'Have to prep cause that's what you do' crap.

So, he gets to one scenario and it's a pretty tough one. And he comes up with a solution which hinges around whether the badguy knew there was a hole in the floor. I waivered on that point - was this like this, was that like that - had I really decided that before or made it up. But basically I think I wavered because I was going to make him lose. Make him lose? Or convey that information from the game worlds results? That's an issue in itself. But basically - I kind of wimp out! I do explicitly say 'You lost!' but I don't kill his character. I mean, the winning/losing is the important bit, character status isn't. Right? Ah, I wimped out on what I said I'd do, regardless of it's technical details.

So, I put up a new scenario. And a pause - a few days go past with no responce. Okay, this isn't a 'come on, engage or I'll take personal offense' game - it's like doing soduku - you pick it up if you feel like it. But man, do all the old insecurities come out - all driving me to do stuff that'd undermine what actual fun there is in this game. Basically coddle, build up on what he seems excited about, be soft rather than a big old meanie. Man, I could go on with more but I'm not in that state as I type this and I don't want to try and get my head into it just to report it.

But aha! Time for mental change. No, I have not just made a big mess of everything. No, I enjoy this moment and post why. I have made a puzzle that must be too hard to beat! I go from self accusation to a healthy sense of accomplishment.

Okay, that's set in my head. But here's a tricky bit - posting did prompt him to give a responce. That's good. But the scenario I gave asked how to get a gun in dangerous circumstances. When I posted about a tough puzzle, he said nah, it wasn't too tough. However, check his responce here:

It doesn't actually engage the 'how do you get the gun' scenario. He engages some sort of 'get the gun or escape' problem. That isn't beating the scenario at all, it's avoiding it but sort of framing it as having engaged it (by including it in a strategic issue of 'get the gun or escape').

My responce is
QuoteNah? Yeah! You've made a choice between getting the gun and escaping - that doesn't beat the 'how do you get the gun' scenario :) . The puzzle still stands >:)

Well see how it goes. But man, there's been a considerable amount of action in just 20 posts!
Philosopher Gamer