*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 24, 2014, 05:01:08 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 74 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Systemic Value of Steal Away Jordan  (Read 3521 times)
Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« on: September 07, 2007, 08:59:14 PM »

Hey there, Julia.

This is my follow-up thread to the one I started on Story Games.

I'm curious about the systemic, mechanical, procedural structure of Steal Away Jordan, how it works and how that structure lends itself to the subject matter of slavery.  From what I've gleaned from AP reports:

1) You are always or often at a die-disadvantage compared to the GM.
2) Your short-term goals (motivations) are known to the GM, but the long-term consequences of those goals are not.  Therefore the GM may know you want to get some nicer clothes, but not because you want to use them to pass yourself off as freed slaves as you run Northward.
3) There's some tempting-fate thing with a skull die that might kill you.

So it seems like the game is about creeping around the GM/slaveowner, making things happen in such a way that they don't get suspicious and stop you, and then try to accomplish your goals in the space provided by their ignorance.  Is that accurate, or am I completely off-base?
Logged

Parthenia
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 63


WWW
« Reply #1 on: September 07, 2007, 10:09:04 PM »

You're off base, but not too far off base. And you mean Knife Fight, right? Or are there other questions at Story Games?

Quote
1) You are always or often at a die-disadvantage compared to the GM.
You are generally at a die-disadvantage compared to the whoever is the Master, overseer, etc. There are exceptions, though, and your disadvantage varies depending on your worth.
In the beginning of play, the GM plays all NPC's including NPC slaves and subjugators. Also, in the beginning of play, all PC's are slaves.

All characters' worth is assessed by the GM based on age, skill, gender, race, and whether the character is free or not (to be bought and sold).

Slaves are at a disadvantage compared to a slave owner. So while a young, healthy, skilled, male slave, fresh from Africa is worth almost as much as a slave owner (because they fetch the highest price at auction), slave owning households are not populated solely with young, healthy, skilled, male slaves fresh from Africa. You have children, women, unskilled laborers of all genders and age, and elderly slaves. And elsewhere in the setting you have free blacks, whites who don't own slaves (including people who can't afford them, and people who refuse to own them like abolitionists). Depending where and when your setting is you would also have Native Americans and immigrants, etc. Everyone has a worth.

And slave owners have problems of their own. Being in debt, being drunk, sick, too young, female, etc., bring down the worth of slave owners.

Because where you have slavery, every person is a commodity.

If your character dies, or otherwise leaves the setting, you start a whole new character, slave or free. You can also take on one of the GM's NPC's, including a slave owners, and flesh him out as your new PC. So then you can roll the big dice. And you probably know what the other slaves are plotting, and so they might want to try to dispose of you if they want.

So the GM's job primary functions are to name the PC slaves, assess characters' worth, play the NPC's. The story-telling is the work of everyone.

Quote
2) Your short-term goals (motivations) are known to the GM, but the long-term consequences of those goals are not.  Therefore the GM may know you want to get some nicer clothes, but not because you want to use them to pass yourself off as freed slaves as you run Northward.
No. Short term goals are goals. Motives are "why I want to do this". And there's a third thing: your task, which is how you go about achieving your goal, no matter how small it is.The GM knows none of this. You need to actively participate in setting scenes in order to get what you want, do what you need to do. All the while, the GM can throw circumstances at you. You share your goals, motives, and tasks with other the players (see above).

Quote
3) There's some tempting-fate thing with a skull die that might kill you.
Yes. You roll it at the end of a conflict if the outcome is that you are to be punished, you roll it if you are unhappy with the outcome, and want to push for a different outcome, and you can roll it just for kicks. But any time you roll the skull die (or a 1 on a d6 if you don't have a skull die) you're dead.

Quote
So it seems like the game is about creeping around the GM/slaveowner, making things happen in such a way that they don't get suspicious and stop you, and then try to accomplish your goals in the space provided by their ignorance. .
The game is not about creeping around the GM. If the GM figures out what you're doing, she can try to stop you if it's appropriate for the story or she can let it slide, if only for another day.
That said, a smart slave puts on a poker face when talking to her master. She never lets him think she's unhappy or out to do anything but please him. Slaves played dumb for survival. They sabotaged equipment and injured work animals, so they wouldn't be worked to exhaustion or death; and they hid things they valued (like being able to read, or their love of their children) from their masters, so they wouldn't lose those things. I mean, wouldn't you?
« Last Edit: September 07, 2007, 10:30:16 PM by Parthenia » Logged

Josh Roby
Member

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite


WWW
« Reply #2 on: September 07, 2007, 10:28:45 PM »

You're off base, but not too far off base. And you mean Knife Fight, right? Or are there other questions at Story Games?

One of these days, I will be smart and change one of those forums off of the default yellow color scheme, thus making it easy to tell them apart.

Quote
Because where you have slavery, every person is a commodity.

Interesting.  And in-game actions can lower or raise your value, correct?

Quote
Quote
2) Your short-term goals (motivations) are known to the GM, but the long-term consequences of those goals are not.  Therefore the GM may know you want to get some nicer clothes, but not because you want to use them to pass yourself off as freed slaves as you run Northward.
No. Short term goals are goals. Motives are "why I want to do this". And there's a third thing: your task, which is how you go about achieving your goal, no matter how small it is.The GM knows none of this. You need to actively participate in setting scenes in order to get what you want, do what you need to do. All the while, the GM can throw circumstances at you. You share your goals, motives, and tasks with other the players (see above).

Ah, okay.  So the GM knows none of your plans.  Does the GM have an agenda that guides his scene-framing, or does he follow guidelines or something?

Quote
Quote
So it seems like the game is about creeping around the GM/slaveowner, making things happen in such a way that they don't get suspicious and stop you, and then try to accomplish your goals in the space provided by their ignorance. .
The game is not about creeping around the GM. If the GM figures out what you're doing, she can try to stop you if it's appropriate for the story or she can let it slide, if only for another day.

On what basis does the GM decide whether or not to stop you?  It sounds like the GM is not actually there to provide adversity, per se, but to portray a foil-like role against which the PC slaves can portray their characters.  Is that accurate?
Logged

Parthenia
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 63


WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 07, 2007, 11:31:20 PM »

Quote
And in-game actions can lower or raise your value, correct?

Correct! So the master can be impaired (i.e. feverish or drunk) in one conflict and lose a couple of dice, but the next morning be sober, feeling better and can gain those dice again.

Same goes for all other characters. There are short term losses (stomach bug), long term losses (prolonged illness, debt), and permanent losses (lost a limb).

Quote
Ah, okay.  So the GM knows none of your plans.  Does the GM have an agenda that guides his scene-framing, or does he follow guidelines or something?
Quote
On what basis does the GM decide whether or not to stop you?  It sounds like the GM is not actually there to provide adversity, per se, but to portray a foil-like role against which the PC slaves can portray their characters.  Is that accurate?
No agenda, really. I actually don't have many guidelines for the GM, for better or worse. We'll see!
The GM shouldn't make it impossible for PC's to do anything but be brutalized. Then it's no fun, and that's not what the game is about. The GM needs to use discretion and share the story-telling and scene framing. The main NPC's of the GM shouldn't be stereotypes or characatures, and the GM is encouraged to give his NPC's a goal or two.

GMing should entail a healthy mix of presenting adversity, and foiling. Besides, when a PC wins a conflict, he frames the next scene he's in.

So say you have a PC slave who sneaks off the plantation and runs away. It would make for a better and more logical story if this slave was chased by slave catchers--typically young, often poor white men employed by a slave owner to find a runaway. When they caught him (and when happened more often than not), they often beat him within an inch of his life and brought him back to the slaveowner, who most likely punished the slave some more.

The GM shouldn't let a runaway just get away. That's boring and not logical. There should be a chase.  But things happen. Slaves fight back. They have allies. They hrow dogs off a scent. The GM should throw hell at the PC because escape is hard, and the PC should fight back. Adversity and foiling.
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!