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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 93 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Sword & Sorcery  (Read 2077 times)
Brother
Member

Posts: 24


« on: March 17, 2009, 06:08:06 AM »

Anyone run a sword & sorcery series? With fireballs, dragons and all that?
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Brother
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #1 on: March 25, 2009, 11:37:41 AM »

Ok what about a mystery horror type game? Would that cause problems seeing as it's a collaborative effort?
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FredGarber
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2009, 12:41:30 PM »

Look at the thread for Epidemonology (linked from the main PTA website) for an example of this.

One of the things I would look out for is that in some other game systems, the GM is encouraged to have sort of a timeline in his head, and the players interact at their own speed with the NPCs all ticking along this timeline.  (There are three days until the full moon, and in three days the secret evil priest will do a ritual and DOOM! ) 

For example, how long does it take for the evil priest to do his ritual in the basement?  It takes exactly as long as it takes for the characters to burst in at the most dramatic moment.  In some fictions, this is just before the ritual is completed, allowing the protags to save the day.  In a differently toned fiction, this is just after the ritual, and now the Protags must deal with the DOOM! let into the world, and either contain it or escape the Doom.

What's important is that the Producer and the players keep to the tone and the premise indicated.  There must be tension without the potenial for death, which is hard for some TV shows, let alone PTA groups, to do effectively.    Mystery Horror in other systems contains the potential for Total Party Kill as a method of tension.  But because PTA is about the Protagonists, unless the group is playing a series finale, TPK should never be on the table.  Horrible Mutilation, yes.  Wesley Windham-Price comes back as a ghost, Fred is possessed by an ancient Death Goddess, Cordelia Ascends, and Angel is a muppet?  Yes. 
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Brother
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #3 on: April 03, 2009, 12:45:22 AM »

It looks to me that PTA does opne thing very well, social dramas per se. Mystery doesn't seem to lend itself too good, and I can't get my philosophical view around a standard fantasy genre. Strange though because it does sci-fi.

Why do you think this is (if indeed it is) the case?
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jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #4 on: April 03, 2009, 11:12:51 AM »

You can do mysteries just fine.  There's just a few things you have to keep in mind.

1) When a conflict leads to revealing Producer controlled information the High Card player doesn't narrate that.  In those conflicts the High Card player narrates the methodologies and circumstances leading to the reveal of the information and then the Producer tells you want the information is.

2) Remember that the mechanics of PtA are about conflicts.  Searching for evidence is not a conflict.  NEVER use cards for a routine search for clues or library research or anything like that.  If that's what a player is doing (a) just give them the information and (b) spike the scene to be about something else.

3) Interrogations ARE conflicts but the focus shouldn't necessarily be on getting the information.  It's okay if the cards determine whether he talks or not (because if he doesn't talk that leads to new choices the character has to make) BUT the High Card narration to focus on the methodologies of the interrogation.  Does he bribe him?  Does he torture him?  Does they both play mind games with each other?  What does the interrogation LOOK like.

4) As information about the mystery comes into play it should alter the player's understanding of the situation such that it puts pressure on their character's Issues.  Once the mystery is "solved" it should be really tough for the players to decide what to *do* about it because of how it all relates to their Issues.

Example:

I ran a PtA game set in town where Heaven and Hell meet and there was a supposed truce between Angels and Demons in the town.  The show was defined as a cop/legal drama.  One PC was a straight up Angel cop with a mortal husband.  Her Issue was balancing work and marriage.  Another PC was a P.I. who was a Fallen Angel.  His Issue was that he wanted to get back into Heaven (i.e. Redemption).  The third PC was a demon lawyer whose issue was Letter of the Law vs. Spirit of the Law.

The PC P.I. had a Connection with a singer in a night club he described as having features of both angels and demons.  I opened the episode with her coming to him and explaining that she thinks she may have murdered someone.  The murdered someone happens to be an Angel and of course the PC Angel cop is assigned to the case.  The PC lawyer is hired to defend the night club singer.

Here's what I as the Producer planned: There's a Priest in town (another P.C.'s connection) and the murdered Angel confessed to him that he's the night club singer's father.  Indeed the night club singer is the child of a demon and an angel.  The priest believes that her existence is causing moral decay on a cosmic scale.  The priest also thinks that the marriage between the PC cop and her mortal husband is wrong so he threatens to petition to have their marriage annulled if the husband doesn't help him frame the night club singer for her father's murder.  Mean while, the night club singer's demon mother shows up and asks the lawyer to find a loop hole that will lift the ban on her using her powers for 5 minutes so she can save her daughter.

So all of this played out like a cop/legal procedural.  But once it was all on the table (and even as it was coming to light) the pressure on the Issues is mounting.

The PC Cop's husband is guilty of obstruction of justice at best and conspiracy to commit murder at worst.  The P.I. wants back into heaven but his client has been framed by one of God's messengers.  The lawyer wants to help night club singer but is making a deal with a demon the way to do it?

Does that make sense?

Jesse
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Brother
Member

Posts: 24


« Reply #5 on: April 04, 2009, 02:14:29 AM »

Wow, that sounds like an awesome drama! Congrats

So you could through mystery in there without a hitch? I'm thinking of running a Cthulhu style episode wherein the Producer knows what's in the shadows and of course the players do not.

But yeah, this should be a sticky or something

Thanks!
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jessecoombs
Member

Posts: 20


WWW
« Reply #6 on: April 09, 2009, 04:26:30 AM »

Anyone run a sword & sorcery series? With fireballs, dragons and all that?

I have, but only for one session. The players and I couldn't get our schedules to coincide at the time. It was fun. The basic premise was that a Sauron-type villain had already taken over the land, the good guys were mostly gone or dead, and the two main characters have been in a dungeon during the entire war. The series was about these two characters dealing with a world that they no longer knew.
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stefoid
Member

Posts: 319


WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 21, 2010, 02:38:59 PM »

Wow, that sounds like an awesome drama! Congrats

So you could through mystery in there without a hitch? I'm thinking of running a Cthulhu style episode wherein the Producer knows what's in the shadows and of course the players do not.

But yeah, this should be a sticky or something

Thanks!

How did this turn out, if at all?   I guess my question is, why does the producer have to 'own' the mystery in a PTA game?    Isnt the eventual mystery/plot  only apparent at the end of an episode as a sum result of the narrative of each scene?  i.e. nobody knows whats in the shadows at the start of the episode...
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