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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 82 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Afraid] Party is split up, not understanding the game, frustration galore.  (Read 4409 times)
opsneakie
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Posts: 87


« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2007, 11:22:38 PM »

Character death is on the table, but I'm not using it as a device to work against the players. It's supported in the system greatly, and actually serves as a benefit (power-wise) to the party. As a GM, I'm in favor of the idea that players who repeatedly do things that are stupid should suffer a bit for it, although that doesn't mean character death, necessarily. There are plenty of other nasty things that could happen based on their bad decisions.
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2007, 11:51:58 PM »

Uhm, just for reference, haven't we established that you've discovered a system break in the game, and the game you are currently playing is thus not really going to have its problems solved? At this point it seems prudent to move onto playing something else or pester Vincent to write you new rules.

yrs--
--Ben
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opsneakie
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Posts: 87


« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2007, 12:01:37 AM »

I'm not really that convinced that there is a break in the game. I mean, in DitV the characters could choose to just leave the town to fester, they move on and do something else. Similarly, the characters here could leave the monster to its own devices, and let it eat babies to its heart's content. They're choosing not to, and they're just being slow about trying to deal with the monster. As the GM, I could always introduce a different thing, wrap the campaign up, or otherwise move away from this particular monster. I wouldn't say Afraid is broken any more than D&D, when the DM sits you down and goes "this horrible demon thing is attacking/the planes are imploding/an army of <generic creature> is pillaging the countryside!" and the PCs are free to say "whatever," and leave the world to its problems.

All RPGs rely on the players wanting to do something about it. They can pull the "I don't wanna" in any game, and GM has to either force them on track or move on. Similarly, they can bludgeon themselves stupid on the wall doing something ineffective, and there's no way to deal with that without breaking out the "I'm the GM and I say so" trick. The problem here might be player motivation. It seems like they just lack the follow-through to really go after the monster, break bonds, win conflicts, and take him down.

I think I'm getting the chance to run this game on Saturday, so I'll see how it goes. If things continue to go poorly, I think I'll call it a game and move on to something else. I've got some ideas for how to motivate the players to get going on this one.
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2007, 06:39:19 AM »

John,

The thing is, at this point...

Quote
All RPGs rely on the players wanting to do something about it. They can pull the "I don't wanna" in any game, and GM has to either force them on track or move on.

...there is no game in the first place. You just have a bunch of people acting in disconnect at the table.

You agree to play a game that involves saving the town, clearing the dungeon, stopping the victimizations or whatever. Then, nobody actually tries to save the town, clear the dungeon or stop the victimizations. It's no longer the game you agreed to play as a group.

If the players pull the "I don't wanna", the GM pulling the "I'll force you on track" won't change anything. At this point it's forcing people to do something they no longer like, and even if it goes on likr that a session or ten more, the dynamic at the table is seriously screwed.

Now, if everyone agrees that in the game you do something, and then the system you use actually pushes the game in a different direction, that's another thing (e.g. the players are expected to act based on characters' motives, and they lack any motivation to save the town, clear the dungeon, stop the victimizations or whatever). There is an agreement about what to do, but simply no good tools to do it. At this point you can try to repair the tools and houserule the hell out of them, or abandon the tools and start over using another game. Or, do the White Wolf trick and ignore the rules when they go in the way.

The question for this game in particular is whether it's a case of someone pulling the "I don't wanna", the tools indeed being broken, the group being confused on how to use the available tools effectively or there being no good agreement on what to do as a group in the first place. And considering the way you introduced the players into the game the root of the problem here might go deeper than just broken tools or their inefficient use. Those new players came to the game with certain expectations, and nothing effective was done to change these expectations. Possibly, this might go back to the way you yourself were introduced to DitV, I think.
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opsneakie
Member

Posts: 87


« Reply #19 on: December 07, 2007, 08:07:41 AM »

Thanks for the reply. I'm not saying I want to do the GM "I'll make you follow the plot"  and I really think they just don't understand the tools the game gives them well enough. I should be running it tomorrow, and I'll see if it's a keeper or not.

Sorry for the short post, finals week, I should have a lot to say tomorrow evening.

-John
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Jonathan Walton
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« Reply #20 on: December 07, 2007, 09:27:27 AM »

John, I ran 5-6 sessions of Afraid this summer.  As I recall, it's pretty much impossible for the group to triumph over the monster, mechanically speaking, unless several characters die.  Characters just don't grow in strength as fast as the monster does without a regular bodycount to give them a fighting chance.  This is one of Vincent's core ideas in the game, I think, that killing characters makes the rest stronger.  So I worry, if you're tweaking the game a bit to keep characters from dying or keeping death off the table in conflicts (as if Afriad was a more traditionally minded game, where character death is uninteresting or to be avoided), I don't think the game mechanics are really set up to support that and I'm not sure what it means for your campaign as a whole.

Just a thought, based on my experiences.  We also uncovered several other part of Afraid that our group had trouble with, most of which I've talk to Vincent about at one point or another.  In the end, I just decided to tear the game apart and put it back together as something completely different.  That's always an option too, especially if you're ditching other important parts of the game, like character death.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #21 on: December 07, 2007, 05:52:30 PM »

I'm not really that convinced that there is a break in the game. *snip*

All RPGs rely on the players wanting to do something about it. They can pull the "I don't wanna" in any game, and GM has to either force them on track or move on. Similarly, they can bludgeon themselves stupid on the wall doing something ineffective, and there's no way to deal with that without breaking out the "I'm the GM and I say so" trick. The problem here might be player motivation. It seems like they just lack the follow-through to really go after the monster, break bonds, win conflicts, and take him down.
Dude, your looking right past the man behind the curtain. The players didn't make this option they are taking, where they just keep throwing themselves at the monster - Vincent put that option in. Stop blaming your players for taking a choice that the games author put in.

Maybe Vincent wants that option there - or maybe it doesn't meet his goals for the design. If it doesn't meet those goals, it is most definately a break in the game.

Quote
Character death is on the table, but I'm not using it as a device to work against the players.
Again, just follow the rules in the book - it's the authors responsibility if the results don't meet the authors goals. From what Jonathan says, it sounds like the rules make multi PC deaths commonplace - so don't decide how your going to do it, just do as the book says. If the book isn't clear on the matter - well again well see if that meets the authors goals.

Can you let go of responsiblity for this? I'm serious - can you? Smiley
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #22 on: December 07, 2007, 08:38:08 PM »

All right, I'm thinking that's enough. Give the guy a break, folks. This isn't a fucking self-help seminar where we all surround someone and shout encouragement to cry or admit something or to take off his shirt or whatever.

Besides, he's got finals.

... Yeah, I think that matters.

Best, Ron
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devonapple
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« Reply #23 on: January 08, 2008, 11:29:33 AM »

My apologies for the thread resurrection, but I was recently steered to this thread for my research, and I wanted to comment with an anecdote.

I was running a d20 D&D game, and during an adventure, the PCs got trapped in a room with a puzzle solution.  I made two errors: I made the presence of a puzzle too obscure, and I gave the trap/death mechanism the characteristics of a construct, a monster they could theoretically fight (if they were much, much higher level than they were). 

Because they parsed the "hammer" of the trap as a construct that they could fight and destroy (if they just tried hard enough or used the right strategy), they were slaughtered.  Since they were focusing on the "monster" they didn't even think to look around for a puzzle which would make the monsters go away. 

If I had simply locked them into a room, left them to fiddle their thumbs until they figured out how to deactivate a door, they would have lived, game would have gone on.  Instead, they sallied forth against an overwhelmingly powerful construct,  were defeated grievously and then captured by the enemy.

The players of an "Afraid" game may need to have it revealed to them explicitly that simply fighting the monster head-on will not work, no matter how lucky they are at rolling dice.  One way to make this clear might be for the research people to find tomes detailing the number of monster fighters who died against Monster X until somebody managed to find its Bond Item, isolate its Victims, and then finally corner it. 

If there is still a disconnect between the fighters and the researchers, then the players will need to be told OOC that the monster is similar to a video-game level boss (I'll use the "Evil Dead" games for my examples), which can't be harmed until it opens its mouth, or gets its horns stuck in a wall after charging a hero and missing, or (and to extrapolate a bit) until all of the souls its has gathered are freed so it can't use them as ammunition/power.  The videogamer players can be brought to heel if they just knwo what the object of the game is.
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-- Devon

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