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Dog Eared Designs
Topic: [PTA] (Read 4857 times)
Reply #15 on:
December 08, 2007, 06:49:06 AM »
Quote from: Chris Goodwin on December 07, 2007, 07:30:25 PM
Did you ask them and they agree, or did you suggest it and they go "Oooh, cool!"?
I asked them if it was okay and they said yes.
BTW, this brings up something that I am not sure is stated in the rules, so please correct me:
I told the players that they have the ability to make stuff up in the game when they win narration rites, so long as it does not contradict facts that have already been stated or mess with someone else's character concept.
Take for example: one of the Protagonists had a talent called "I am a supper D&D fan" (or something like that). So, he stated in one of his narration scenes that "Necronomicon" was actually a rumored D&D supplement. His character recognized it as this rumored book that went to press by accident and had real spells in it (and that there were only supposed to be 4 of them). It was a clever use of his talent, so we all said cool!
Is that actually supposed to happen?
For as many cool things that happened in the three sessions, more things seem to get us stuck. The biggest problem was that things just did not seem to be going anywhere.
Reply #16 on:
December 10, 2007, 11:00:00 PM »
It sounds like this is a bit late to be useful, but these are some of the things I thought about as a player when I was setting an agenda or framing a scene in PTA. Obviously they reflect the sorts of things I enjoy and my group's play style -- if other people approach scene framing in significantly different ways or see major holes in this (not enough about conflict?), I'd be curious to hear about it.
Building on what's already happened:
-Based on what just happened, what's the most interesting thing that could happen next? What potential conflicts are raised by what just happened? How can I make a seemingly dry event more emo?
-Something just happened that surprised me and raised questions about why a character acted in a certain way. What sort of circumstances or conversations would let me find out more about that? (I particularly like this for when I feel like I messed up my previous scene somehow. Now let's find out exactly why Lena was so lame!)
-My character has an internal dilemma, an intense emotional state, or a decision to make. How can I depict it to the other players, show context that illuminates it (e.g. through a flashback), or otherwise put myself in a position to explore it?
-How can I set up scenes to get toward my next-time-on?
-What can I do to advance my character's goals?
-I have this idea for something cool. What scenes do I need to set up to get there? Otherwise, do it now.
-It's my spotlight episode next time. What do I need to do to set up my issue for crisis and resolution?
-What can I do to drive along along the series' overarching plot? What threads are still hanging that we need to resolve? What threads can I dangle now so that I have something to pick up later?
-What sorts of activities are characteristic of the show's location or premise? Choose one that intersects with your issue. (Despite the phrasing, this isn't a question for me, so much as it is a matter of picturing the location vividly and seeing what might happen there.)
-It's someone else's spotlight episode. Which of their connections would be interesting to talk to or mess with?
-Go fishing. Especially after you've been playing for a while, you may have a hunch that there are interesting things for two characters to talk about, without quite knowing what they are. See if whoever would be playing the other character shares your hunch. (This only worked well with two players for us. More than that, and people tended to wait for someone else to do something)
-What do I -- as a person, not a character -- find frightening? What makes me angry? What do I fantasize about doing? etc. Think of elements that you personally have a visceral reaction to and see if any of them can connect to your character's issue or current situation. (this is probably better for generating next-time-ons than scenes themselves, though)
Ideally I want a scene that tags more than one question, but the thing is, which set of questions I start from makes a real difference in how easily and quickly I think of a scene. I haven't been playing games with player scene-framing for all that long either, and I have almost no experience GMing. Especially when I first started out, scene framing from each of these three different perspectives felt like different, almost unrelated activities. Scene framing as building on what's already happened draws on the sort of things I think about during / between scenes anyway, so it flows reasonably well as long as everything's fresh. Situation-first draws on a more intuitive, visual sort thinking and IME leads to stronger scenes than you'd suppose from the apparent aimlessness of the questions. But I'm still annoyingly slow coming up with scenes when I start out by thinking about plot direction. I imagine that someone who spends a lot of time during scenes thinking about their character's goals might find scene framing from that perspective easier and more intuitive.
So my advice to someone who was just starting with scene framing would be first, to try different approaches along these lines, especially if you can figure out one that's continuous with whatever you're thinking about during scenes already. Then branch out. And second, before I show up to game, I like to have a loose set of ideas for how I can reach my next-time on and what other sorts of scenes and plot lines I'd like to see. This may be a touchy thing to recommend as the producer, but as a player, I think that daydreaming about this sort of stuff without people staring at you is genuinely fun, and also makes the subsequent game better. One of the reasons this worked was because our episodes weren't heavily focused around producer-produced problems, but it seems odd to me to assume that the producer will do most of the prep in PTA -- not in your particular situation, but in general.
Reply #17 on:
December 11, 2007, 12:37:11 PM »
Hey people, sorry this is slightly off topic. I wanted to reply to something Cooper said, but apparently you can't send personal messages until you've got 3 posts. Since I only wandered over here because I'm starting another game of PTA now, I'm not inclined to find enough other threads to post to in order to send personal messages. Besides, this way someone else can interrupt if they think I'm giving bad advice, or if they have better suggestions for games that might make playing PTA feel more natural to non-GMs.
Cooper -- I'm glad it looks helpful! If you do end up using it, can you let me know whether the players think it's useful or not? I'm curious about either reaction, since I'm not really sure how much of this is my own process and how much is more general.
I don't know if this would work with your group, but playing Mountain Witch right before PTA helped me get the hang of narrativist scene framing. (also, yay, Mountain Witch is back in print!) When you play Mountain Witch, you start to treat the other players as an audience that's interested in your story (like in PTA) and focus on gradually revealing your character's dark secret and probable dark fate to them. Players aren't obligated to frame their own scenes at any point, but they can do so if they think of something good, or simply incorporate details into other scenes that hint at their dark fate. Oversimplifiedly, in most roleplaying games GMs supply an event or detail and players give it meaning through their characters' reactions (e.g. the GM describes the content of the letter, and the player decides that it makes his character really angry). In the Mountain Witch, the GM sometimes gives the meaning first and has players fill in the concrete details based on their dark fate (e.g. the GM says, there's something in the letter that makes you angry -- what is it?). This approach apparently drives some people nuts and can be really slow if you don't have a strong sense of what your dark fate is, but it's good practice for the style of scene framing where you want to show your character's internal dilemma or emotional state to other players, or in PTA, where you have an Issue and want to create a scene that explores it. On the other hand, if you're shy, Mountain Witch can be a lot of pressure, because ultimately the responsibility to do justice to your character's dark fate is yours alone. I've never been so nervous about a game as I was about our final session of Mountain Witch.
Reply #18 on:
December 12, 2007, 08:25:35 AM »
Hey, I have been looking for an excuse to buy that game anyway (and Universalist and Story Engine and the list goes on). I am not going try these co-narative games with two of my players (the D&D gamers*), but the shy one (my wife) can be brought into this side of gaming. My two remaining players are open for any game. We are going to get back together next month and I am going to play it safe and run an Esoterroist game for them. After that, I am hoping they will want to try PTA again (or Dust Devils).
Thank you again, everyone, for your advice.
* (ironically the two that are big into D&D love Sorcerer)
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