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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 215 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Just started Orkworld game last week  (Read 3441 times)
Ben Morgan
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« on: July 16, 2002, 12:38:09 AM »

It kinda sucks that John Wick has gone MIA recently. I just started a new game of Orkworld last saturday. There were four players, the same four as the Elfs game I'd run several weeks previously. After running Elfs for a couple of sessions, they expressed interest in running a more serious game.

It took a little while to explain basic rules and stuff, and we went through the process of creating a household (the Piranha tribe) and characters. So, we've got two thraka, a tala-in-training, and a bodalay-in-training (I warned the player that there wouldn't be any spell lists or anything like that, and that everything having to do with "magic" was going to be handled purely through roleplaying, but he was still interested). They seemed particularly keen on the concept of objects (read: weapons) earning bonus points based on the things that were accomplished with them, and the stories told about them.

We ran through a brief intro, just the four of them and two NPC thraka out hunting for food. It was spring, and they were following the reindeer herds northeast after the winter.

The reindeer inadvertently got scared off by a small pack of humans who, being the humans they are, were blundering through the valley. There was a bit of a debate among the still-concealed hunting party, the outcome of which was the decision to attack. A short fight ensued, and the players were victorious.

Now for the really clever bit. I love it when I can take some little detail that a player came up with as meaningless color, and turn it into something more.

These players being major D&D guys, the time inevitably came during character creation for choosing equipment. They were a bit surprised to find that there was no equipment list to speak of, simply a rough list of the sort of things they'd have access to depending on the zhoosha (rank) of their dowmga (mother/leader). I decided to simplify things a bit (from what they're used to anyway), and said "pick three things that your character always carries with them", and added that if they picked all weapons, the rest of us would make fun of them.

Well, my brother did something totally unexpected. For this third item, he came up with "Shiny Thing." "What is it?" I asked. He said, "He doesn't know. He got it off some other ork who'd gotten it off a human a long time ago. It's probably some kind of jewelry or something." The wheels began to turn in my head, and I thought "Wow, and it's not even my birthday. And it's got a bow and everything..."

Cut to later on in the session, at the aforementioned combat. It was going fairly straightforward, the two opposing sides were pretty much evenly matched. One of the humans came at my brother's character, stopped dead in his tracks, went pale, and screamed something the characters couldn't understand. Then he tried to run away. This turned the tide of the battle, allowing the orks to kill the remaining monsters with little difficulty.

Now, my brother's character has a mystery to investigate, ie: "What is this shiny thing, really, and why are the humans afraid of it?" As you can imagine, this can go any number of different places.

My current plan is to try and hook the other players' interest in this thing, then sit back and let them all speculate OOC as to the nature of the thing, and then pick whichever of their theories I like the best and see where it takes us. I'm also working to give each of the other characters at least one possible subplot of this type (of direct interest to specifically their character), if not more. There is also the possibility of political maneuvering later on, regarding the aforementioned debate.

I laid it out to them beforehand: "I'm not running any preplanned story, you guys are in charge as far as where this thing goes. I only have a couple of vague notions about what is currently going on in the world around you (and I'm willing to modify that if necessary). Whatever interests you, I'll throw more of at you." To guys who are used to modules (D&D) and endless sourcebooks (Vampire), I hope this will be a refreshing change. I also had to give them the whole "Level of description does not denote importance" speech, to keep them from wasting energy on "well, he described that NPC in detail, that must mean they're important to The Plot(TM)."

I don't know if this is Narrativism, as I don't really have any central moral Premise in mind, more like exploration of Situation (a once-great household was ravaged by war, and is now struggling to re-establish itself), but I am trying to throw narrativist tools in (scene-framing, bangs, etc).

On the whole, I think it went quite well, and they're interested in coming back next week. It feels good to strech my GM legs again.

-- Ben
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
Valamir
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« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2002, 03:50:34 AM »

Orkworld is great for that sort of thing.  Apparently my old web hosts haven't taken down my inactive site yet.  You can see what we did with it for a part of our campaign at:

http://www.ravenhold.lpk-computers.co.uk/

Unfortuneately I didn't get the second half of our campaign stories up before the story ended, but there are some cool scenarios and "monsters" there.  Wick was planning on using some of it for some Orkworld supplement until he decided to surrender his spot in my personal gaming pantheon and join the fallen.

I got kind of excited that your tribe name was pirahna, I thought for a second you were going to do an Orks in the rain forest spin...but then you hunted reindeer...  I guess those are the rare sub arctic pirahna ;-)
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2002, 04:26:58 AM »

Hi there,

Ben Morgan, you are the Amazing Kreskin. I was just yesterday bemoaning the possibility that people would ignore and cease to play Orkworld just because John wasn't active in the role-playing scene. And then here you come and save the day.

Orkworld is a tremendous game. It deserves to be played, critically reviewed, and considered as a real contribution to the hobby in several different ways.

Since you brought it up, what makes Orkworld Narrativist is Trouble. Every character is, simply through play using that system, "answering" a question - the question at its most general is, "What is worth risk?" Specifying it to particular circumstances, and bearing in mind that the orks as a race are doomed (which is explicit in the text), the group is very likely to get Story Now.

Best,
Ron

P.S. Ralph, I hope your Orkworld site remains available. It was a great resource.
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Ben Morgan
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« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2002, 05:37:39 PM »

Ron:

Excellent points. I'll be sure to play up the non-mechanical uses of Trouble in future installments. Thanks.

Ralph:

The household tends to range a bit farther than most, it having once been much larger than it is now. I'm going to try and tie the totem in with their long-term goal of rebuilding the household (they get a bonus die to Prowess when attempting to overpower an enemy with sheer numbers).

Also, I've been pillaging your site for the last couple of days. I'm putting together some things to help next week's (and beyond) session go a little smoother.

The glossary is absolutely fantastic. Thank you thank you thank you. I'll be printing copies for everyone. I'll definitely be incorporating at least some of your rules changes. I realized last week, that after reading Sorcerer for so long (and wanting more than anything to play), and after running Elfs for a short time, I REALLY don't like "Initiative-ToHit-Damage-Defense" systems. They just take too long.

I'm also expanding on names a bit, giving them birth names (that their dowmga still call them), Rite of Passage names (that they give each other), and adult names (that they get to choose themselves). A little more complicated than Wick wrote up in the book, but still nowhere near as complex as that of the Dwarves.

-- Ben
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2002, 06:27:51 PM »

Hi Ben,

I tend to use Trouble very mechanically, actually. I assign the dice according to various and sundry criteria (usually in accord with the written guidelines in the text), and people use'em all the time for metagame modifiers. Pay special attention to their role in character improvement; it's significant.

When you're using these mechanical elements of Trouble, it's especially nice to have a Tala player-character, because he can have the fun of actually making up the annals of the tribe regarding the events that were just played, and because the others will be dragging him by the neck into adventures so he can witness how brave they are, often well past the point of reasonable risk.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2002, 06:30:58 PM »

The Tala is the coolest concept ever.  In order to get any award the player with the Tala had to write up the story of the groups adventures and read it aloud at the beginning of the following session.  How he wrote the story influenced how I handled rewards for the others.

In our group the Tala was kind of like the D&D Cleric.  The other characters would overcome hell or high water to keep him alive...if he died...they got screwed with no one talented to relate their deeds.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2002, 06:45:12 AM »

Hi there,

We had a lot of fun with the Tala player-character as well, especially because Mario played him as a bit of a wimp - oh, quite loyal to the household, but prone to blubber a bit when things got dicey.

This thread inspired me to make up a GenCon demo for Orkworld. I'd forgotten how much fun character creation is.

We are the sons of Badomba! I am Rawoo, holder of the Spear for the Thornbush people! You are small, wizened, stinking things! Your penises point the wrong direction!

What's that, Mom? What?? They're not the Badger people? Shut up, everyone, she's talking. You say they're the Wolverine people?? Your best-beloved kin and the toughest fighters of the north??

Um, strangers! Hi there!


Best,
Ron
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Demonspahn
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2002, 05:13:26 AM »

Quote


                  Well, my brother did something totally unexpected. For this third item, he came up with "Shiny
                  Thing." "What is it?" I asked. He said, "He doesn't know. He got it off some other ork who'd gotten
                  it off a human a long time ago. It's probably some kind of jewelry or something." The wheels
                  began to turn in my head, and I thought "Wow, and it's not even my birthday. And it's got a bow
                  and everything..."


That has to be one of the funniest damn things I've read in a long time.  Sorry I can't contribute more to the thread.  :)

Pete
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