*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 22, 2014, 09:06:16 PM

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: 58 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: 1 [2]
Print
Author Topic: two sessions in: how it's going for my group  (Read 3497 times)
Welkerfan
Member

Posts: 43


« Reply #15 on: April 19, 2009, 08:34:37 AM »

>More scenes per episode.<

Here is where the job of the Producer comes in.  One of his major duties is to push scenes to conflicts and to not let the players dawdle in dialogue and exposition.  Again, think about a television show--a conflict happens every few minutes.  This being a 2-3 hour game instead of an hour television show, the conflicts should happen every 10-15 minutes (or more frequently in my case).  Push to have shorter scenes which really focus on the conflicts.  Dialogue is all well and good, but it is most exciting when it is building up to or winding down from a conflict.

On the 4 Act structure, perhaps discuss it as a group to make everyone aware of it, but don't make it a hard and fast rule to be followed.  Generally, I found that an act occurred each time we went around the table, but not always.  If each player requests a scene that focuses on his Issue or on the parallels behind his character and the spotlight character (essentially a character scene with some light amounts of plot), then, when the Producer gets his scene, he can introduce a new plot twist that starts the new act.  That doesn't have to be a rule, though, just something that is likely to happen.  Think of it this way, the Producer is playing the plot and the show's premise as a character and is bringing it up when he frames scenes.

What is the ideal amount of Budget to Scene ratio?  I mean, I know Budget needs to go up and down with respect to the Screen Presence of the Protagonists, but given a combined SP of 6, for example, how much Budget is right for a 5 scene episode?  10 scenes?  15?

Hmm.  Perhaps with 10 scenes, the formula gives the right Budget, combined SP of 6 equals 15 Budget?  With five scenes (what we had) we had been thinking more like 9 Budget.  Maybe a better formula would be:

[(combined SP) x (expected scenes/5)] + 3

Or something?  So maybe determine what our actual scenes/episode ratio is, and use that to influence the multiplier applied to the combined screen presence?

Well, if the current formula works for 10-15 scenes, that is your number.  The differences in Budget that come from SP differences serve to make the mechanical power of the Producer more in line with the players'.

Just taking out the doubling would probably be easiest.  You probably don't want to try to guess what how many scenes you are going to have.  You could always try out the formula without doubling SP with the knowledge that the Producer can have a few extra points at the end if you find that he had too little--playtesting, so to speak.

> First of all, it is interesting to note what the book does and does not say about this.  As Welkerfan points out:
Quote
On page 63, it says, "Once the producer has set the difficulty, the players whose protagonists are involved [in the conflict] must then decide how many cards they'll get for their protagonists."
Keep in mind that this game was revised last in 2006.  This was before the theory terms to properly describe how it works were developed.  You are, as far as I can tell, the first person to ever consider letting players put their cards onto other characters.  No one else in the six years that this game has been out has discussed that on these forums (I might be wrong, but, if so, that was extremely rare).  I think you are reading too hard into the language of the rules to find support for your interpretation.  Matt is just using readable, somewhat conversational English; it is not a legalese document like a D&D rulebook might be.  It doesn't ever talk about players acting as a group--ever.  It only ever talks about players acting individually in conflicts.  The only time that that is different is when a protagonist is not in the conflict.  Then, that player can spend Fan Mail to help or to get into the scene.  No where else is helping ever mentioned.  That says something about the intent of the rules.

Quote from: Sindyr on April 19, 2009, 06:45:21 AM
Welkerfan
Member

Posts: 43


« Reply #16 on: April 19, 2009, 08:36:06 AM »

>Stakes must be written based on the wants of the protagonist, and must be written from his perspective. <

The reason that protagonist stakes are so exciting is that it opens up both success and failure as enjoyable outcomes.  If the stakes are player-centric, you really only want one thing to happen (the stake you set).  When you set them from the character's point of view, you can make the stakes such that both success and failure are appealing to you as a player.

    <<
    I don't think that that is good.  Doing that means no one is advocating for the SP 1 character, and he becomes a prop to the scene instead of a character.  The SP 3 characters already have a high chance of winning stakes (4-5 cards plus any Fan Mail, usually).  They really don't need help.  Generally, I've found that SP 1 characters don't get into a lot of conflicts.  They either are in scenes which talk about the spotlight or which are in contrast to the spotlight (the lazy character goes to play pool instead of working, in contrast to the spotlight character whose Issue to putting her career in front of her family) or they make stakes and conflicts which set up a later episode with a higher SP (they make stakes that they expect to lose in order to get the ball rolling on their upcoming spotlight episode).

    >What about the bored GM?<

    Precisely.  Also, encourage the Producer to drive the scenes toward conflict and call for conflict when he sees one and everyone else is just talking through it.

    >Perhaps what we have been using as the conflict should be the Agenda. <

    It depends.  I'm fond of just saying what in general is happening with the Agenda ("This is the scene where we unknowingly take the crystal to the bad guys.") and leave the outcome in the air.  This does three things.  First, it leaves that anticipation and uncertainty of what is going to happen (the audience tension).  Second, it lets the way the individual stakes fall have an influence on the scene.  If it is more appropriate, given the way that the stakes worked, for a given outcome of the overall scene to happen, it can happen.  For example, if the characters were too distracted by their bravado, hangover, or pocketing of cash to stop the bank robber, the robber can get away.  Third, it lets the narrator and the group have fun at the end of the scene by describing what happens.  It can be agreed that a certain outcome will happen, but you should let that be decided after the cards have been drawn, so you can do what is most exciting at that point in time and inject creative ideas that have come to you as a result of the conflict outcomes.

    That being said, sometimes deciding what's going to happen is helpful.  Think of a police procedural drama.  The Agenda could be "This is the scene where we find out whose fingerprints were on the candlestick."  or "This is where we learn in an interrogation that our friend, Johnny, was at the crime scene."  In those scenes, you just need a minor thing to happen to push the plot, so it can be okay to pre-narrate what will happen, I think.

    >The lopsided Fan Mail of our first session was based on lopsided Merit, and as far as I can see, not on lopsided awards. <

    That's good.  If someone consistently can't get good ideas which demand Fan Mail, try to help them to come up with an idea and then give them Fan Mail for it, even if you did most of the creative work.  That way, they might get into some habit on coming up with better ideas.
Logged

Brenton Wiernik
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2591


WWW
« Reply #17 on: April 19, 2009, 09:12:37 AM »

I think Welkerfan's doing a fine job of explaining the game - I pretty much play the same way he does, it seems. A very clear explanation, overall.
Logged

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Matt Wilson
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 1121

student, second edition


WWW
« Reply #18 on: April 20, 2009, 04:16:11 AM »

Grr, I tried to post a couple times this weekend and got a server timeout. Glad Eero and Welkerfan are covering it all.

The only-five-scenes thing was what concerned me the most. Eero's recommendation of at least 4 scenes per act is spot on. I will put that in any future rev I do.

Giving your cards away to other players is not technically allowed by the rules, and I wouldn't include this as an option in a future rev.

Back to the five scenes, what I wanted to ask in my previous attempted posts is what your scenes look like. What happened in them that they went on for so long?
Logged

Sindyr
Member

Posts: 795


« Reply #19 on: April 25, 2009, 04:43:42 AM »

Grr, I tried to post a couple times this weekend and got a server timeout. Glad Eero and Welkerfan are covering it all.

The only-five-scenes thing was what concerned me the most. Eero's recommendation of at least 4 scenes per act is spot on. I will put that in any future rev I do.

Giving your cards away to other players is not technically allowed by the rules, and I wouldn't include this as an option in a future rev.

Back to the five scenes, what I wanted to ask in my previous attempted posts is what your scenes look like. What happened in them that they went on for so long?

OK, back with more info.  To start with, I am not sure why our scenes took longer, perhaps partly because we were new to this and feeling our way along, and partly perhaps because we may have lingered in the scenes awhile because we wanted to - if it is more the latter, then we have two choices - stop lingering or reduce the budget. (or play much longer.)

When you write a future rev, It wouldn't hurt to include a single sentence making it explicit that you intend people to be able to play cards outside their own stakes ONLY when using Fan Mail and they are not in the scene.  Of course, for the reasons previously stated, especially with the new understanding that stakes are personal to the PC, and not player-based, I am wholly on board with the idea of still permitting all cards to be played on any stakes - because there are really only two instances where that can now be expected to happen - when playing your one card on your own stakes is the statistical equivalent of doing nothing at all, and when you really feel compelled to support another character's stakes above your own.

Unfortunately, this whole effort has become moot, on account of an unreliable player in our group becoming even more so.  Our group of 4 people have dwindled to 3, and as far as I can see, PTA works best with at least 3 players and 1 GM.  So for now, we are going to hang it up. 

Thanks very much for the support and assistance, I am extremely eager to come back to this game in the future.  One thing that would assist in coming back to it, by the way, is if some kind of variant was possible that eliminated the need for a GM.  Is this possible?

In any case, thanks everybody, will be back when the opportunity arises again.

In the meanwhile, I will just continue working on my *own* secret narative RPG project...  Wink
Logged

-Sindyr
Pages: 1 [2]
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!