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[kpfs] lowercase, right? or: running it for complete strangers

Started by GDorn, June 17, 2007, 02:36:20 AM

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got in a game of kpfs, finally, after having bought the pdf a couple years ago and never finding people to play it with.  it was in the context of Go Play, a sort of casual indie games thing here.  (the other game that night was DitV, coincidentally).

this was my first Go Play, and while I knew some people who were off playing Dogs, I didn't know anybody I was running kpfs for.  I'm unclear, even, how much a couple of the players knew each other.  it made me a bit nervous, running it for total strangers, and I think some of that came out into play. 

the first really enjoyable bit was during character creation, wherein I tested out the idea of giving players grief.  This was immensely enjoyable from my perspective, as was passing the grief-doling to other players.

couple examples:

me (going around the table getting people to say stuff about themselves):  so, who are you?
Tim:  I'm Beelzepup, and I kill puppies for Satan.
me:  You're who?  what?  right, so you call yourself that cuz you have a really dorky name.  (looking at the other players) what's his name for real?
somebody, I forget who:  Melvin.  His name is Melvin.
..which became a running gag because I don't think anybody even once referred to him as Beelzepup, but the player had plenty of chances to get all bitchy about being called Melvin, so that worked.

me (moving on):  so, who are you?
Jake: I'm a 47-year-old transexual named Lisa and I kill puppies for Satan.
me:  Hi, Lisa.  How do you know Melvin?
Jake: Uh...  (he was tired)
me:  right, so one night you caught him watching you through your window.

handing out the grief was hit or miss, really, especially the character grief.  I mean, it highlighted how easy it is to sorta ignore the grief you don't like, just let it be forgotten, while the grief that entertains somebody sticks around.  particularly if it entertains other players, since as a gm I tend to get overwhelmed by other details - more on this later.  I'm not sure that's really a problem, though - this isn't D&D where every little detail matters.  in the kpfs movie, the grief that gets lost is just the grief that falls to the cutting room floor.  I mean, it's probably an extra on the DVD, so geeks even more pathetic than our heroes can get all encyclopedic about how Lisa cut her finger open in the first scene and nothing ever came of it, but who cares?  just let that shit go.

I did make one small change to the Evil system - I wanted it to matter how many people were affected by the killing.  more people scarred for life = more Evil.  but really, it barely made a difference.  animals died, and I gave out just enough Evil to keep the players wanting, and it worked out.

other random notes:  combat sucks.  it's supposed to.  it's important to make the players say something other than 'I shoot at him again.'  this isn't easy, and it may be better to avoid forcing the players into combat situations.  I was running the 'adventure' from the book, rescuing Gerald Stebbins, and storming Willard made combat seem basically inevitable, especially when I felt a strange urge to have multiple heroes to fuck with the players.  moral:  heroes and vigilantes suck.  fuck with the players with something more creative, or better yet, make the players fuck with each other.

in retrospect, it's not the best game in the world to play with total strangers.  this is nothing against the players themselves, it's just hard to get anywhere near the Line with people you don't know.  it might be more appropriate as an addon or diversion from an existing campaign-style game like D&D or something WoD.  sorta like how Ultraviolence and HOL are comments on that style, too.

in another thread, someone mentioned making players own more of the storytelling.  like, rather than having them ask you if they have something (rope, in that thread), just make them tell you what they have when they need it.  I think we started off on the right foot there, with them even jumping over each other to be the one driving over the dog tied up outside the 7-11, but later in the game (particularly when more combat happened) I got sucked back into being a reality-controlling gm and they got all tactical and simulationist.  vicious circle, that one.

one exchange in particular:
her (forget the character's name):  so, does the cop's talking into a radio, is it one of those ones that's on his uniform?
me (what I said):  yeah, he'd have one of those.
me (what I should have said):  I don't know, you tell me, what's he got?

that, I think, is the key phrase:  you tell me.  I'll make a point of saying that more next time, until they (and I) get it.


So... That sounds about right. Yeah? Warts and all? That game's showing its age, I think.