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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 73 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [The Shadow of Yesterday] Agenda not yet emerging  (Read 3276 times)
Frank Tarcikowski
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« on: February 26, 2007, 10:43:06 AM »

A while back, Ron posted an interesting actual play
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #1 on: February 26, 2007, 11:18:27 AM »

Shoo me away if this is off-base, but I have a bit of a relationship with using TSOY with newbies. The relationship being, I've done it once and it's a horrid endeavour. Nowadays I categorically refuse to do it, and bash the teenage TSOY fanboy who's always suggesting that I run a game for his female friends with a heavy object whenever he brings it up. MLwM or Mountain Witch, sure, but I'm not going to run TSOY for anybody who doesn't already have a thing for fantasy and experience with lighter rpgs.

The process of consolidation you describe is very typical for TSOY. The thing is, the game works best with experienced roleplayers, who have learned to be very skilled in not only creating characters, but also in managing resource flows and developing a situation in play. Therefore I find that an experienced trad group can create characters and get into a flashpoint in TSOY in 3-4 hours. An experienced indie group can do it in a hour and a half. But a newbie group... they can't do it in one session, they'll need so much time for shifting through the setting for the relevant bits, for creating characters and hooking them into the situation. They can certainly do it, but I suspect that it is more frustrating than it needs to be, as TSOY doesn't make character creation and setting consolidation particularly easy. That more often than not leads to there not being a second session.

As a curiousity, one could do even worse than playing TSOY with newbies. You could play with a mixed group. That follows, in my experience, very tidyly along the exact same track you get with D&D: the veterans leave the newbie minority behind, or feel dragged down by the new guy who needs to learn all the basic stuff. The reward cycles in TSOY are all about leaving the other guy behind, though, so most likely the experienced guys are having fun and forget all about the silent one in the back. Needless to say, the girl I tried this with didn't come back. Can't blame her, spending over an hour in character generation is not very fun when you don't have the experience to understand how the choices made at that stage reflect in play to come.

So OK, that's my spiel about the one great flaw of TSOY, which is that it's a geek game compared to some other choices. Obviously it doesn't pertain that much to your play, as it seems that you have a group that's comfortable enough with each other and caring enough to entertain themselves with simple romping around. I agree with you very much that you have all the cards at hand for making the game go tight in the next session, now that the characters are somewhat settled in the setting.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #2 on: February 26, 2007, 01:33:45 PM »

Most of my TSOY posts these days read "What Eero said," and this one's not that different. Using HeroQuest as my model for what TSOY should be did give it a big flaw, as I learned recently running HeroQuest for people new to the game - it's overwhelming and hard.

However, I have found that by taking it easy and not pushing too hard, conflict will come in a few sessions. Play it like you would any traditional game for a few sessions - introduce some clear bad guys, give the characters something to do. In the second session, introduce something you know will split the characters a little. Keep applying light pressure. Within 3 sessions, you'll have conflict both within and without the characters.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Frank Tarcikowski
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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2007, 02:19:59 PM »

Hi Eero,
I agree totally about your hour/session count. Our advantage is that we are taking our time. We have settled to play once a month on Sunday, and bring some time. So the commitment is already there, I don't have to try and wrench it from a bunch of sceptics. Also, I trust in my skill to gently guide them and take care that no-one gets left behind.

Hi Clinton,
Absolutely, I'm going to take this one slow. If I hit some Awesome in the third session, I'll be totally on schedule.

- Frank
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: February 26, 2007, 02:58:58 PM »

Hi Frank,

For all the games in this "family" of design, the agenda takes at least two sessions to emerge, and sometimes longer. The games I'm mainly thinking of are HeroQuest, Sorcerer, Dust Devils, Trollbabe, Dogs in the Vineyard, TROS, the revised Burning Wheel, The Shadow of Yesterday, and Nine Worlds. None of them have explicit issues at hand in the way Primetime Adventures does, nor any fairly rigid chapter structure like Polaris or With Great Power, nor any endgame mechanics like My Life with Master.

In these games, the progress of the developing story often begins in a meandering fashion. What happens next depends entirely on how innocent-seeming conflicts take on more and more significance as time passes, and turning points are passed without much fanfare, resulting in disproportionately passionate or horrific conflicts arriving soon.

It's always the GM who feels most at sea, in the beginning. It seems as if nothing is happening, or that people aren't really grabbing things and running with them. But if it all clicks, then by the third session, the tables have completely turned and the GM suddenly feels like he is mating with a large, bucking beast of prey. This may or may not happen with your group, but so far, the signs are very good. Let them experiment a little bit with the system, learn how to spend and refresh their pools, and let the fiction's components shake into place through plain old-fashioned role-playing. This may be the calm before the storm.

Best, Ron
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2007, 04:07:29 PM »

Ron,

Out of curiosity, how much of the time does the rule of three games hit your groups?

I've seen exactly what you describe a lot, and usually around games 3 to 5 (games with fewer players take longer, but hit harder when they come), and so it just struck me as amusing and fitting that you'd pick 3 as your target.
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- Brand Robins
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2007, 06:17:52 PM »

Hi Brand,

Three is approximate for purposes of the current discussion; it's based on observing and playing with literally dozens of groups. Sometimes it's a bit faster or slower. It's not a rule or law.

I confess I do not understand your post at all and don't see what is amusing (why?) or fitting (to what?), or what would be not amusing or not fitting if I'd said (oh) two instead of three, or whatever. I'm not annoyed, but definitely baffled.

Best, Ron
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Frank Tarcikowski
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Hamburg, Germany


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« Reply #7 on: February 27, 2007, 02:42:19 AM »

Hi Ron,

I totally agree with you. And you know what? I actually like<that
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #8 on: March 03, 2007, 04:39:43 PM »

Ron,

Amusing is just... hell, it has to do with my personal sense of language and coincidence. It wasn't designed to reflect on you at all. It was just that while I was reading the OP I thought, quite literally, "Wait three sessions." I don't know why I thought three at that moment, I just did. It wasn't a scientific or reasoned response, just my gut acting out. And then you said three in your post, but with obviously a lot more thought and experience behind it, and it just kinda tickled me. So it was amusing because I'm a weird, weird guy.

Anyway, sorry for the hijack to your thread Frank!
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- Brand Robins
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: March 03, 2007, 04:45:17 PM »

Well, I'll take what I can get and count it as agreement! Brand's gut reaction says "three!," so there's two of us.

Best, Ron
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