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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 59 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [There and Back Again] Tolkien Style Roleplay (Take 2)  (Read 2318 times)
Evan Anhorn
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Posts: 59


« Reply #15 on: August 24, 2009, 06:57:21 AM »

Jerry, I like that idea.

@Ken, I was going on the assumption that this hypothetical "Lord of the Rings" campaign preceded Tolkien writing his trilogy.  Before Frodo fumbled (in-game), neither the players nor the referee actually suspected there was a negative side effect to the ring.  When he fumbled, the referee had to narrate some negative side effect: he described how Ringwraiths are unaffected, and this became a plot element.  From here on out, everyone at the table knows that Ringwraiths can see you while you wear the Ring.

I probably wasn't as explicit with this as I should have been, but narration was meant to build a permanent canon "world physics and logic".  Frodo wouldn't have to fumble again for the Ringwraiths to see him - they will now see him automatically whenever he wears the ring.  Everyone at the table agrees that the narrated fumble is cool, and boom - it's fact.

About fumbles; my goal is to get rid of the flat "I lose, nothing happens" as much as possible.  Therefore, in most cases, either the player wins a roll and narrates as much as he can, or the player reaches too far and the referee narrates a single twist.  In both cases, the end result is narration (and always one that everyone at the table is kosher with).  I don't want to rule out the "I lose, nothing happens" entirely, mind you, as I don't want to back players into a corner with an iffy die result (thus, you can choose to keep no successes, and the action is not attempted, for lack of confidence or some other narrated reason) - something that allows for Companionship encouragement.

In any case, you certainly could use all "open rolls", as I described above.  In those, a fumble means you get to narrate any of your successes and the referee narrates a bad twist as well.

I think the "flat failures" of other games can bring a narrative game to a dead stop, but maybe I am just over thinking it?
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Callan S.
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« Reply #16 on: August 24, 2009, 07:15:53 PM »

@Ken, I was going on the assumption that this hypothetical "Lord of the Rings" campaign preceded Tolkien writing his trilogy.  Before Frodo fumbled (in-game), neither the players nor the referee actually suspected there was a negative side effect to the ring.  When he fumbled, the referee had to narrate some negative side effect: he described how Ringwraiths are unaffected, and this became a plot element.  From here on out, everyone at the table knows that Ringwraiths can see you while you wear the Ring.he "flat failures" of other games can bring a narrative game to a dead stop, but maybe I am just over thinking it?
Heh, I suspect something like that is how the ring came into the story to begin with. I'm strongly suspecting Tolkien had no great history for the ring in mind when he had a poor scared Bilbo in a dark place fall upon a seemingly inoculous object. Almost a random treasure roll that then snowballed in fictional importance to staggering levels! Though I might be wrong and he had the whole history worked out already while writing that.
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Philosopher Gamer
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Ken
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« Reply #17 on: August 25, 2009, 01:18:13 AM »

Before Frodo fumbled (in-game), neither the players nor the referee actually suspected there was a negative side effect to the ring.  When he fumbled, the referee had to narrate some negative side effect: he described how Ringwraiths are unaffected, and this became a plot element. 

OK. That absolutely answers my question, and that is pretty cool. I'm sure that all fumble-inspired narrations won't always have so epic a consequence, its nice to see that there is an opportunity to take the story in unforeseen and spontaneous directions.

About fumbles; my goal is to get rid of the flat "I lose, nothing happens" as much as possible.  Therefore, in most cases, either the player wins a roll and narrates as much as he can, or the player reaches too far and the referee narrates a single twist.  In both cases, the end result is narration (and always one that everyone at the table is kosher with).  I don't want to rule out the "I lose, nothing happens" entirely, mind you, as I don't want to back players into a corner with an iffy die result (thus, you can choose to keep no successes, and the action is not attempted, for lack of confidence or some other narrated reason) - something that allows for Companionship encouragement.

I like the last bit about the players being able to check out their rolls and decide not to proceed. In a way, that provides the flat failure aspect to the game. So far, everything I've read supports group fellowship and cooperation; that is a good thing and hope this works out for you.

Good Luck
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Ken

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Evan Anhorn
Member

Posts: 59


« Reply #18 on: April 26, 2010, 07:41:55 AM »

Just popping in to add an expanded take on the "Settings" subsystem...

Settings (Expanded)
In addition to any other setbacks the referee wishes to levy, a band of heroes that fails a setting could incur one or more of the following statuses (which are removed when plot development warrants it, the heroes complete extra challenges, etc):

Despair:  Upon hearing the news, the heroes lose all hope (do not refresh Courage).
Confusion:  A recent turn of events disorients the heroes (do not refresh Wisdom).
Discord:  Dissension rankles the party (do not refresh Fellowship).
Pursuit:  Hounded by the Enemy, the heroes get no rest (do not refresh Agility).
Hunger:  Lost in the wilderness without provisions, the hunger saps the heroes strength (do not refresh Might).

After completing a setting, heroes should partially restore select attributes, as the referee judges, and gain a number of experience points (which may then be added to justifiable attributes exercised in the previous setting) according to the speed of the campaign (usually 1 to 3).  Full attribute restoration should only come when the band of heroes reaches a safe haven (e.g. House of Elrond) between settings (more common in the early steps of the journey).  Late in the journey, the players will have to carefully manage their attribute economy to tackle several settings before a full refresh.
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