*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 24, 2014, 04:30:53 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: 70 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2] 3
Print
Author Topic: [Dark Ages Vampire] Assessing Creative Agenda  (Read 3113 times)
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #15 on: January 26, 2008, 04:31:18 AM »

Frank, there are still serious contradictions in this argument.  In the parent thread, you among others made suggestions that, for example, this group may be engaged in 'sim by habit', and that this is not serving or is contradictory to their goals.  But in this thread, citing the example of your Reign game, you have said that any given technique can be used in support of any given agenda anyway.

Caldis makes a (reasonably) fair point about intent but we already know from Reithans account that he has openly and explicitly discussed CA with his group; thus, their intent is established.  Now why is it that this intent on the part of Reithan's group does not overcome any notional difficulties arising from the techniques in the same way your Reign game can?

This makes no sense, it is self-contradictory.  Furthermore, if given techniques are neither here nor there in terms of CA, we should have been able to kick straight into discussions of techniques that supported the specific goal of "creating a community" without any diversion into CA or suggestions that Reithan is failing to understand his own group's priorities and dynamics.
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 277

Hamburg, Germany


WWW
« Reply #16 on: January 26, 2008, 04:57:54 AM »

This is not an argument. This is an explanation of how to assess a CA, using my game as an example. In the other thread, I make suggestions about Reithan's game, knowing fully well that I may or may not be right. My suggestions in the other thread, as I have been repeating all over, have NOTHING (N-O-T-H-I-N-G) to do with CA. They have to do with a disconnect between applied Techniques and stated goals of fictional content (Exploration).,

See, this is exactly what I predicted would happen if we start talking about the two things all at once. Now it happened. It's a total mess and nothing constructive whatsoever is coming of it. It's a waste of time and nerve.
Logged

If you come across a post by a guest called Frank T, that was me. My former Forge account was destroyed in the Spam Wars. Collateral damage.
Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 277

Hamburg, Germany


WWW
« Reply #17 on: January 26, 2008, 05:15:25 AM »

Also, FUCK IT, Gareth:

Quote
any given technique can be used in support of any given agenda anyway
Logged

If you come across a post by a guest called Frank T, that was me. My former Forge account was destroyed in the Spam Wars. Collateral damage.
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #18 on: January 26, 2008, 07:44:38 AM »

Caldis makes a (reasonably) fair point about intent but we already know from Reithans account that he has openly and explicitly discussed CA with his group; thus, their intent is established.  Now why is it that this intent on the part of Reithan's group does not overcome any notional difficulties arising from the techniques in the same way your Reign game can?

Because I dont think that intent is established.  It may have been discussed but look at this post.  His group is flitting from stated CA to CA, they dont really know what they want.  He even says it's hard to tell what they are aiming for anymore.  I can make a guess based on actions in the game so far but until we look more closely at his game and his group I dont feel comfortable that I can blurt out advice with much hope of it being relevant or received.  In the parent thread Paul Czege handed out some great advice but look at his last post.  He's stated right there that it's about more than just finding the right techniques, it's about changing the way you think about gming and getting your players to trust your actions.  That sounds a lot to me like finding a common agenda.
Logged
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2807


« Reply #19 on: January 26, 2008, 08:20:50 AM »

 
Because I dont think that intent is established.  It may have been discussed but look at this post.  His group is flitting from stated CA to CA, they dont really know what they want. [/quote]

Which is quite possible in a given group; a moment of play may indeed so wander, it is the operation of the reward cycle overall, not in any given instance, that determines the CA.

Hence I think this is massively over-pathologised.  The query raised was about specific techniques, not a "my game is totally screwed" problem.  This seems to be a bad habit of such analysis; not every problem is an existential crisis.
Logged

Impeach the bomber boys:
www.impeachblair.org
www.impeachbush.org

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Reithan
Member

Posts: 108

I'm a ninja


WWW
« Reply #20 on: January 26, 2008, 10:16:56 AM »

Ok, I'd like to step back a bit, and try to get this back on a civil note.

I think, to put it in "Forge Terms" this thread is completely 'incoherent'. Tongue

I'd like to clarify my intent here, and maybe clarify a few things about the 'where I'm coming from' bits. (stuff about my game)

Ok, first, as Caldis said, the group IS flitting from between 2 CAs. HOWEVER, in every discussion we have about what they want out of the game they all throw straight bullseyes at Nar, so I think that intent IS established - but this is open for discussion.

Maybe reward cycle is the disconnect here, I don't know - I've never been fully brought up to speed on all the intricacies of Reward Cycles, I don't think.

Also, Contracycle did bring up a good point - the game is not totally screwed. It has it's ups and downs - but over the course of a YEAR playing, I think that's fairly normal. Overall we all have a good time and look forward to the games. This is more of a question on "My players want X, I want X - we've discussed it and talked about X...but we KEEP GETTING Y!? WHY??"

One thing I would like to point out, though, Frank, and I'm not trying to poke you and rile you, I'm just trying to get you to further explain yourself, as you said this thread is for explainations, anyway:
You said Gareth (though I don't know who that is, I think Caldis? lol) was wrong that you'd never said that any given technique can be used to support any given agenda. I don't think you've said exactly that, but you have repeatedly stated that techniques do not matter to the CA. Any technique can be used with any CA. This seems like the closest shades of grey imaginable, and I'd like it if you could explain a little further to clarify your intent here, if you don't mind.

So, to clarify, one more time, want I wanted was not "ZOMG! FIX MY BROKEN GAME!" what I wanted was "My group keeps doing X, even though they say they want Y, what can I do?"

The obvious answer is: nothing - if the game works, why screw with it?

My answer, even the GAME works and we have fun - I think if we had the fun everone says they want, we'd have MORE fun. I'm trying to IMPROVE my game here, not FIX it.
Logged

There is no true power with but one edge.

Penetrator - WIP, Cyberpunk/Sci-fi RPG
Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 277

Hamburg, Germany


WWW
« Reply #21 on: January 26, 2008, 01:13:15 PM »

Hi Reithan, I have repeatedly said that looking at Techniques doesn't work for identifying CA. That's a huge difference to they don't matter to CA. (Gareth, by the way, is contracycle.)

I am trying desperately to keep two topics apart that do not have anything to do with each other, but it does not seem to work out. One topic is your game and how to improve it. I must admit that I had not imagined it as a "played one year, fun overall" game from your first brief description. My idea was that the other thread was directed at helping you, as you put it, get X instead of Y, and I hope I made some useful suggestions. But then you started talking GNS, and from how you were talking, it appeared to me that you had not fully, y'know, figured it out.

That's why I started this thread, because you asked me to explain. I tried to show you how to go about finding out a group's Creative Agenda, if they play by a shared one. The key is looking at how positive reinforcement of certain things work within the group. The Techniques you were talking about? They may support a certain Creative Agenda, or they may be part of play without particularly supporting the group's Creative Agenda. You'll only ever find out if you look at those reinforcements. Then there are of course also Techniques that openly conflict with a given Creative Agenda, and the best way to identify that is to look at negative reactions by the players towards these things in play. But Creative Agenda is not the way you play. It's the purpose of your play.

So, well, I don't know, I didn't expect this discussion to go south that way. Let's try to get it back on track. I guess talk about your group should best go back to the other thread. I thought that Caldis' idea of doing a "CA analysis" of your group in this thread was pretty good, but it seems it wasn't after all. So, if anybody has any questions about the Vampire game, please feel free to ask. For talk about Reithan's Mage game, I suggest the parent thread is the place to continue. Maybe you should qoute that last post over there, too.

- Frank
Logged

If you come across a post by a guest called Frank T, that was me. My former Forge account was destroyed in the Spam Wars. Collateral damage.
Reithan
Member

Posts: 108

I'm a ninja


WWW
« Reply #22 on: January 26, 2008, 03:57:34 PM »

My idea was that the other thread was directed at helping you, as you put it, get X instead of Y, and I hope I made some useful suggestions. But then you started talking GNS, and from how you were talking, it appeared to me that you had not fully, y'know, figured it out.
Yeah, you made some great suggestions, I think. Most of the ones there were at very least pretty good. I've started trying to use a few of them already and they seem to be working out pretty good.

The key is looking at how positive reinforcement of certain things work within the group.
Ok - that's a good idea. Not sure if you wanna discuss that here, or back in the other thread, though.

The Techniques you were talking about? They may support a certain Creative Agenda, or they may be part of play without particularly supporting the group's Creative Agenda. You'll only ever find out if you look at those reinforcements. Then there are of course also Techniques that openly conflict with a given Creative Agenda, and the best way to identify that is to look at negative reactions by the players towards these things in play. But Creative Agenda is not the way you play. It's the purpose of your play.
Ok - cool, this is probably the best explaination of what I was trying to get you to explain so far, lol.
I think what the confusion here comes down to is my poor understanding of the 'reward cycle'. Would that be on-topic for this thread? Talking about reward cycles and how they help to "Asses Creative Agenda"? (it IS the thread title. Tongue)

I thought that Caldis' idea of doing a "CA analysis" of your group in this thread was pretty good, but it seems it wasn't after all.
I just probably did it wrong. It still seems like a good idea to have more than one example in this thread. Maybe you can guide me back on-topic?
Logged

There is no true power with but one edge.

Penetrator - WIP, Cyberpunk/Sci-fi RPG
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #23 on: January 27, 2008, 08:33:21 AM »


Ok it looks like we've made it to a good spot to start the discussion of CA and it's relevance.  The initial talk was based on community and getting players invested in that community, but that can mean different things depending on several factors including CA.  For instance a gamist could become invested in a community for the resources it provides or he can see it as win condition to protect the community.  A simulationist could see it as structures to test his dream against,how do mages deal with mundane political forces?  A narratavist can see it as a perfect tool to question premise, check out any of the Dogs in the Vineyard towns if you need examples.

Another way to say this would be that the term "invest" can mean different things to different people.  Depending on why you want the players to invest in the town and the CA you are aiming for you will have to take a different approach to creating the community and getting the players into it.   Some of the advice you received was great and can even work in a general 'building the setting' basis for all exploration but some is more tied to certain CA's.  Paul's advice about changing the way you think of GMing is definitely aiming you towards narrativism, which you said you wanted but I'm not sure based on some other things you said about the game and while it's good advice Mage isnt seen as generally supportive of Narrativist play so you may be working against the grain. 

Let's look at that summary of your game I asked you for.



Social Contract: We're a group of players that met over an online MMO and after our guild in that game broke up after a few months we decided we had a friendship worth keeping around and looked into other things to do together. As such, we now play other online games together, as well as 2 RPGs that we play using a combination of MSN Messenger and Ventrillo voice chat. We're all adults (18+).

So you play via internet chat and you've never met each other face to face right?  That's not a problem but it is a different social makeup than most groups I've been in.  I've never played a game with everyone on chat, had one person on a chat program while the rest of us were around face to face but not for long enough to get a feel for how it would work long term.

More relevant to CA however I'd ask what MMO (or MMO's)  you were involved in and what aspect of the game you really enjoyed.  Was it grouped combat, doing quests, dungeons, did you speak in character at all, role play, crafting, making money, were you usually teamed up or was their a significant amount of soloing time?

One other general question, how long are your game sessions?

Quote
Exploration: The characters came into the game as newly indoctrinated into their respective orders and given a 'gift' of an area for their cabal to call its own. This is Monterey, CA. They, so far have met with several supernatural treats in their area, attempted politics with a few different groups and had both alliances and enemies made. (more the latter than the former). They engaged in some intra-party conflict and exploration of adult themes for a while. They tried investigating some local mysteries but gave up on that quickly. They've had their share of loss and gain (still, more the former than the latter).

I've never played Mage and am not very familiar with WOD so I'll definitely miss out on the intricacies of the setting but I think I know enough to make some comments. 

It's modern day, there's a lot of political intrigue going on.  I know in Vampire there is the Masquerade to keep themselves hidden from normals, I suspect this is true of Mages as well.  First question then, which community is it you want the players to invest in?  Is it a normal human community or is it the greater secret societies community?

How do these supernatural threats appear and what exactly are they threatening?  For that matter who are the characters and how do they relate to each other?  Do they have different sects or are they all united?

From the sound of things they are in a pretty dark situation; more enemies than allies, more loss than gain.  Is that a situation you've worked to bring about or is it something they've created by their actions?

Quote
Techniques and Ephemera: The players and GM collaborated on the setting, the 'goals' for play and the parameters for what was acceptable in characters and their behavior. One of the initally created characters was secretly (only that player and the GM knew) a hostile NPC spy. Dice rolls, due to restrictions from internet play are handled soley by the GM, and some of the players don't understand the system used very well. Rules apply MAINLY as written, with the exception of a few minor house rules to allow interesting character concepts and to eliminate some rules loopholes and confusions. Combat is actually fairly rare (maybe 1 out of 5 sessions) but battled intensely and in-detail when it happens. Willpower is spent often, as is mana. Most spells cast are improvised, though some characters are learning the importance of rotes in relation to character effectiveness.
Social roles are only called for in key situations or situations where one or the other party is directly opposed to the other (anything else is just sort of moot anyway). Scene framing is handled mainly by common suggestion and is open to all participants, though any element that's in-question usually comes down to a die-roll on a relevant attribute (Say, Intelligence+Streetwise to find an underground rave downtown). NPCs are authored mainly by the GM, as a default, though players may contribute as well.

Could you clarify in what ways you collaborated on the setting and especially on what you settled on for acceptable characters and behaviour?  The spy character as a secret, how was that handled when it was revealed?  Was there any grumbling or hard feelings or did the players move on? 

Another thing you mentioned in the other thread was deaths in this game.  Several seemed to be brought on by player dissatisfaction with the characters so they killed off the character to make way for a new one.  Can you say why they were unsatisfied with the characters?  How did the new characters differ from the old?  Was there a big change of focus and have the new characters been more satifactory?

Lots of things to mull over there so far so I'll stop for now.  If you think of any more information you want to impart that will give a clearer picture of your game and how the players are involved with it please do, especially anything the helps with the idea of community investment.  Do you remember any incidents in game where they were directly involved with the community?  What worked, what didnt?
Logged
Reithan
Member

Posts: 108

I'm a ninja


WWW
« Reply #24 on: January 27, 2008, 10:44:51 AM »

Sadly, I still haven't really gotten a chance to check out DitV. I've been looking into picking up a few more RPG books recently, both for insight on things to pull into my game I'm running, and for more ideas on how games systems can be set up for the one I'm making. So - is there somewhere I can see these DitV towns? Or do I need to get the book?

I would agree about Mage not being supportive of Nar play...if we were talking about Mage: the Ascension. That was 'old' World of Darkness. A while back (not sure on the actuall date) White-Wolf pulled the old World of Darkness play setting to a close as it'd drifted rather far from their vision of it, and also because any good story needs an end and they'd been foreshadowing one for a long time. They then came back with a 'new' World of Darkness. All the books and rules completelt re-imagined and rebuilt. There are some familiar faces and some of the system mechanics are similar, but it is a completely new animal.

That being said, the new World of Darkness book do provide a lot of good material for a group that wants to persue a Nar agenda. They include: Virtue/Vice system, Concept, Theme and Mood.

Each WOD book now include a section on the "Theme" and "Mood" the developers had in mind when they crafted it, as well as how they envisioned those being explored by the players and what they may mean. For example, the Theme of Mage is: "Power Corrupts" and the Mood is "Ancient Mystery"

Concept for each character is determined at creation and is basically a small one-phrase blurb about "who your character is". In terms of their personality, skills & generall meaning, to you. Like, to pull examples from my group, "Well-mannered Mechanic", "Passionate Occultist" or "Morbid Assassin." Concept is something that old WOD had - but it was a tool in a vacuum. It didn't tie into anything and most players simply ignored it. It's, honestly not much better now, but it does feed into a new System element: Virtue/Vice.

Virtue/Vice is also chosen at character creation and it's basically what your character's good and bad natures are. The Virtues are the 7 heavenly Virtues, while the Vices are the 7 deadly sins. So if you'd like to play your character as someone with an indomitable spirit of Hope, someone who almost always can see the possible glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel, though he doesn't always have the strength to reach for it...That could be Hope/Sloth. Anyway, it gives you a very clear and usable way to establish what Themes you'd like to explore with your character.

Ok, moving along, don't want to spend all day on that...Yes and no to your next point. We do play online, but some of us have met face to face. 2 players are bf/gf and I've met one of the other players.

We've actually all played a lot of MMOs together, the one we all started on and met each other in, though, was "Lineage 2." It's a 'Korean Grinder' if you know the lingo (we didn't at the time, lol) and focuses on in-game politics between player factions. Players form "clans" which can battle to take control of castles & towns, though due to the game mechanics it's fairly improbably for this to be possible with only one clan. Players can also form "alliances" of clans to help. Then, the world is also pvp-enabled (though any pvp outside of seiges levies penalties on the participants). So basically, the game is set up such that players, to participate fully in the game, must form clans. Clans must form alliances, and even then, alliances are constantly vying against each other for power and wealth, so very intricate and impression social and political arrangements form in game. It's really very fascinating, IMHO.

Our game sessions usually last from 8pm CST till about 1-3am CST. So, 5-7 hours. This usually includes at least 1 hour of 'goofing off' at the beginning, where nothing game-related has happened yet, just conversation, so it's more like 4-6 hours.

Yes, in Mage, the players must keep themselves out of the view of mortals, for roughly 3 reasons.
1. Normal people, by their scrutiny, make magic screw up. So mortals around makes magic very dangerous to mages.
2. At least 1 Mage faction's creedo says that mortals should not learn of magic - so going against that earns their ire very quickly.
3. Mages try to hide their "true names" (birth name), because names have power, and mortals tend to ask for such name, or even already know them. (i.e: someone you went to HS with).

Our main goal, I suppose would be interacting with the Mage community, though interacting with the mortal community is fine, as well, and I think at least player's started moving in this direction since the first thread was started (thanks for the tips!).

The threats used so far have been, by-and-large threats to the community as a whole, or threats at least, to their area. There's been one or two threats that were directed entirely at the player group, but this has been the exception, rather than the rule.

The characters are related by situation, allegiance and proximity, mainly. They're usually under a common threat or situation, which has usually been what's been used to draw in new characters to the player group. They are now bound by allegiance as they're all sworn in to a cabal. They are also related by proximity, too, as they're also all staying in the same building at the moment.

They are also incidentally related in one other way: Vice. 3/4 (5th player's still remaking his new character) all share the same Vice.

The dark situation they're in is almost exactly as you described. More enemies than allies and more threats than gains. The answer to why? Both. It is the "World of Darkness" so, both I and the players, have introduced enemies and threats at every turn, though arguably any of these could have been turned to their advantage or at very least defeated or diffused. So far though, they seem like their default answer is just to fight their way out of most situations, seemingly more out of player habit than anything, and that's been turning out fairly bad for them, so things have gotten pretty grim.

How we collaborated on the game: I came up with a few different locations I was comfortable running the game setting in and we all dicusses and picked one, then we discussed what we wanted the focus of the game to be: mystery, horror, political intrigue. We also agreed that we'd like to focus on elements of plot and drama and whatnot, rather than just playing "kill the monster and take his stuff". We talked about "Why are the characters here?" and came up with the "land grant" sort of scenario. Finally we also discussed what exact sorts of characters would be acceptable, and that was pretty much left open to anything.

The spy character was suggested to me by a couple players and I basically flipped a coin to see who'd get it, as I figured if it fell in line with the group's planned goals for the game, but discussing it with the group would let the cat out of the bag, so to speak. So I told one player "maybe later" and the other "Yes". I gave the spy player some guidlines for how I wanted the character built, in terms of what organization was spying on them, and during the game I'd give him hints and directives from that organization on how to acheive his goals as a spy. When he was finally exposed and the players killed him, they seemed to think that it was a farily awesome little plot-bit and the player who was playing the spy was a little disappointed that he didn't get to take his plot a bit further, but overall he realized the players would have to figure him out eventually, so he was ok with it.

As to player-killed characters for new ones, the first one was a character the player created that he made, through application of Flaws and Derangements entirely paranoid. Like, certifiable. He eventually just got tired of dealing with the character's psychoses and wanted to make a new one. The second one had created a character that was fairly religious and ended up putting himself in a very uncomfortable position for his character and the character basically started becoming depressed and whatnot, and the player decided he wasn't having fun playing a character than was only 2-shades away from suicide.

So far, most of the times the players have been involved with the community it's been in terms of them running in and going "OMG! We did this things and made this thing like 100x worse, you have to come help us!" or it's been with the community going "There's some stuff going down on your territory and it's spilling out into ours, kindly fix it before we beat you about the head and neck." So far it's not really been working, as the players, again, seemingly by habit, keep just treating the community like a tool, a means to an end, rather than just something to interact with and use as a part of their setting and experience.
Logged

There is no true power with but one edge.

Penetrator - WIP, Cyberpunk/Sci-fi RPG
Frank Tarcikowski
Member

Posts: 277

Hamburg, Germany


WWW
« Reply #25 on: January 28, 2008, 06:15:23 AM »

Just posting to let you know that I won't have time to contribute for at least two days. But it seems you're doing fine, so please continue! :-)

- Frank
Logged

If you come across a post by a guest called Frank T, that was me. My former Forge account was destroyed in the Spam Wars. Collateral damage.
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #26 on: January 28, 2008, 09:52:46 PM »


First things first Dogs Towns.  http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17964.0  The forums for the game are hosted at this site in the Lumpley games forums farther down the front page.   If you truly want to aim for narrativist play it's a good spot to look for clear examples, or you could check actual play for examples.

Secondly I apologize for the delay in my posting, I've actually had to do work at work and the weekend was quite busy.  I cant promise I will be posting much faster in the future but I will keep at this as long as you are still interested.

A few points on you latest post.

Mage supporting Nar --  I see what you are saying about Mage having some tools that can support Nar, however just like we discussed earlier those tools used slightly differently can also support Sim play.  The idea of having a set theme like "Power corrupts" is also indicative of Sim play rather than Nar if it's set in stone.  Narrativism would turn the idea of power corrupting into a question that is asked through play, "Does power corrupt?",  where Simulationism takes it as a given of facet of the game that we will have to deal with. 

Again I havent read the book but it sounds like the game is likely to lead to incoherent play.  It may have tools that can be used to support a CA but it is unclear on what an agenda is or could be or how exactly you would support it.  This forces you to either figure it out on your own or to fall back to what you know, which as you've stated is gamism for your players and quite possibly yourself as a GM.   

MMO experience  --  I know enough about Korean grinders to say that your group is dedicated to their hobby if you managed to get ahead in one. 

Mages and humans --   KS13 touched on this already but I agree with his statements in your original thread.  The mage/humna relation one is really thrown out of wack by their effect on magic.  It's an interesting twist that could be used in a Nar game to question power corrupting by juxtaposing the life as a mage with a life in the human community and seeing the affects of one on the other, but you dont really have any mechanical support for that unless you see it in their vices and virtues?  I can see how your players approaching it in a gamist manner can see it as a danger though.  Walking into town is essentially dropping your weapons and leaving themselves vulnerable.

His suggestion on supporting cast players is something you may want to take a look at as well.


I dont know if you'd be up to it but this talk has provided a lot of information on your game but it hasnt really shown it in it's glory.   Can you tell us of an instance of play, prerferably one where everyone really seemed to enjoy the game?  Some event that came up and the characters had to react to, what the players did and how you reacted to their actions, how it all wrapped up?   

Logged
Reithan
Member

Posts: 108

I'm a ninja


WWW
« Reply #27 on: January 29, 2008, 07:32:41 AM »

Don't apologizing for posting late, I'm glad you posted at all. Tongue

I think we've adequately covered the fact that tool can usually support almost any given CA with the right twist, though maybe I was mistaken thinking Mage's tool are biased towards Nar. They do have suggested theme/mood in each book. However, I'm not really clear on how 'set in stone' the developers intended them to be. There aren't any real RULES set to show that "yes, power ALWAYS corrupts", but it is a theme to the setting/background. It's basically suggested that you explore this theme, though it's also not certain that power will corrupt in play, it's more of a "Watch out, power corrupts, you should be careful to make sure it doesn't corrupt you." So, to me, it's more like "Power Has Corrupted Others - Will it corrupt you, too?" So, there's still a question there.

In terms of the developers STATED goals? All 100% Nar. Everything's couched in Drama terms. A gaming group is called a "troupe", a game is a "Chapter" they explicitly explain "Scenes" in a game, and a game over a period of time is a "Chronicle" and they go over again and again and again "Story and Drama above all else" until it basically becomes a gregorian chant.

MMO - Yeah, we were fairly hardcore into that game at the time, but we've become a lot more casual over time. We originally had a HUGE very tight-knit clan in that game, and we got up to what could be considered "second-string" in terms of political power on our server. But eventually internal conflict within our alliance infected our clan and it all fell apart. Such is the way of politics, I suppose. It was a damn fun ride, though.

Mage/Human relations are 'complicated' in the setting. The 5 main Mage orders use humans in different ways, several of the orders try to do this in a more humanitarian way, but one of the big things that's driven home in the game is Mage ARE human. Sure, you can cast some spells, but you're still a flesh-and-blood mortal man. So, players are encouraged through both rules and color to not stray too far from their humanity and become monsters (power might corrupt, remember). It is easily possible for Mages and humans to coexist and even work together on common goals - but a mage's bigger nastier spells become dangerous and unstable in view of the "sleepers."

Supporting cast characters are actually already worked into the game rules. Players can use XP to buy a merits including: "Allies", "Contacts", "Mentor" and "Retainer" which can give them access to such benefits as he described. These can also be purchased at character creation.

As to an example of "glory" in my game, ah how in-depth are you looking for? I can think of a couple good "AWESOME!" moments there, but I'm not sure how much detail I can remember in-depth.
Logged

There is no true power with but one edge.

Penetrator - WIP, Cyberpunk/Sci-fi RPG
Caldis
Member

Posts: 359


« Reply #28 on: January 29, 2008, 07:05:52 PM »

In terms of the developers STATED goals? All 100% Nar. Everything's couched in Drama terms. A gaming group is called a "troupe", a game is a "Chapter" they explicitly explain "Scenes" in a game, and a game over a period of time is a "Chronicle" and they go over again and again and again "Story and Drama above all else" until it basically becomes a gregorian chant.

The only problem is that drama does not equal narrativism.  You can have "Story and Drama" with any CA the difference with narrativism is that the themes created by the game are in the hands of the players and that creating those themes is the point of play, address of premise.  If your players want that type of play then you will have to do as Paul suggested, change the way you think about gming.  You cant continue to worry about the setting being dangerous or looking to outside sources as inspiration for play.  What you need to do is get the players into creating those themes.  I think you may be on to something with talk of virtues and vices, I dont know that the limits WW put on their use are really helpful to this.  If you can use the vices & virtues the players chose and team them up with community members as tools to get the players to chose how these attributes define the character then you can have play that will reinforce the community and give you meaningful Nar play.

Again this is a big change and if you are just trying to make your game better and not fix it it may be more effort thant you want to put into it.  The Mage rules dont seem to be really helping you get this type of play, neither for you or for your players.  You might try looking at Sorceror for a similar content game that is narrativist and does treat that corruption issue as a question.

The other option is Simulationist play.  I dont think it's as much a stretch from where you are at, it may in fact be what you are doing now.  If you go for a participationist version you can use surprises and get the players wrapped up in your complex dramatic story.  However this does depend largely on your skill at creating something dramatic they can experience.  A good idea is to take things the players show interest in and wrap it into the dramatic story.  Maybe Frank can give some more detail on Sim technique, in this recent thread he discusses a game that sounded quite dramatic.

Lastly there's always gamism.  Your group does seem to slip into it easily enough.  You can use some of the same skills you would use in Simulationist play for gamism when it comes to creating a dramatic story to take part in.  The focus is a little different on where the players have input.  You can check out this for a good example of gamism with a solid story.   Even if you are not interested in this style of play you should be aware that your players do show signs of thinking this way when they are wary of the unknown.  They dont want to make a mistake and 'lose' because they were too trusting.


Quote
Supporting cast characters are actually already worked into the game rules. Players can use XP to buy a merits including: "Allies", "Contacts", "Mentor" and "Retainer" which can give them access to such benefits as he described. These can also be purchased at character creation.
 

Did anyone buy them though?  If not handing out free ones can give them connections to the community you are seeking. Of course it's where you go from there that is really important.   

Quote
As to an example of "glory" in my game, ah how in-depth are you looking for? I can think of a couple good "AWESOME!" moments there, but I'm not sure how much detail I can remember in-depth.

It doesnt necessarily need to be in depth.  Start with how the situation came up, describe the characters involved, the steps taken to move the situation forward, who pushed it forward, and how it concluded.  The important things to remember and comment on is how you and the other players acted and reacted to make the game move and what made the people involved in the game.   
Logged
Reithan
Member

Posts: 108

I'm a ninja


WWW
« Reply #29 on: January 29, 2008, 07:32:33 PM »

Ok, maybe I'm wrong on this one, but I don't agree with what you're saying at the beginning, here. Just because you're playing for a Nar CA, does NOT mean you can't have a dangerous setting or use outside sources as inspiration, as far as I understand.

To my understanding, Nar/Sim/Gam is a descriptor of your group's basic goal or agenda (Creative AGENDA) to their playing.
The way I've explained this to myself and others is "What wins?"

For example, say I gave a group these questions:

1. Would you rather play a strong character with lots of tactics, powers and abilities who got to travel to cool places and take part in an epic struggle, or play an average character who gets to take part in a striking and in-depth drama that explores themes you're interested in and engages you on a deep creative level?

2. Would you rather play your character to his concept and really get into his skin, take part in all the cool things in a really engaging setting or play a character with a bit less defined background and setting, but a very intriguing story that changes and twists based on player input and lets the players really explore lots of thematic and dramatic elements and really craft an awesome story?

3. Would you rather play a character that takes part in a huge stuggle, has an opportunity to win against great odds and display a great tactical flair, or a normal joe in an awesome setting that you can really identify with and 'get into'?

Basically, at some point the players will have to choose what's MOST important to them. Do you win the fight, or explore your drama and theme? Do you stay true to setting immersion, or bend a little to win the fight? Eventually Gam, Nar & Sim will be at odds in your gameplay. It will happen at some point: which one is more important to you? Which one WINS?

On the other hand, even though Nar wins, it doesn't mean you're not allowed to have any Gam elements in your game, nor does it mean you can't have any Sim elements.
To say we can't have a dangerous setting or use outside inspiration, to me, reads like "Nar or nothing". I don't like that stance.

Quote
Supporting cast characters are actually already worked into the game rules. Players can use XP to buy a merits including: "Allies", "Contacts", "Mentor" and "Retainer" which can give them access to such benefits as he described. These can also be purchased at character creation.
 

Did anyone buy them though?  If not handing out free ones can give them connections to the community you are seeking. Of course it's where you go from there that is really important.

Yes, several people have a couple of those merits. I don't think anyone's gotten "Retainer", but we have a few with "Allies" and "Contacts" and one with "Mentor", so there are some SCC around - they've just been used as tools, mainly though - so hopefully we can move past that.

I'll put up that play description, but I'd like to read your response to this first, just so I know what you're driving at, here.
Logged

There is no true power with but one edge.

Penetrator - WIP, Cyberpunk/Sci-fi RPG
Pages: 1 [2] 3
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!