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Author Topic: Spreading the Legends: Of Legends and Legacies  (Read 2506 times)
dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« on: August 25, 2009, 06:34:06 AM »

So I was thinking that at the beginning of every game session, both as a means to recap on what happened last session, get people in the game mindset, and to serve a mechanics function of generating Legend Points (used to influence scenes, affect Arcana character aspects, etc.) for the Players of Legends that each person could take turns around the table citing the exploits of the PCs, but not as the Player. Instead as NPCs who have either heard about it or witnessed it, be it peasants, scientists, those aided by the Legends or defeated foes. Award one to three Legend Points to each Player. My thought on this was that the Players had to spread the tales of OTHER Legends so that it wouldn't be Players bragging about their own characters. As a means to share the fame by paying attention to the other characters in the game. This could also generate in-story responses from these tellings if the Players can theoretically be anyone they could also be persons who want to invite or avoid or threaten the PCs.

By the way, I already do a version of this for my face-to-face Star Wars group with just the Players talking and it helps a lot, but isn't integrated into the game system via NPC scenes, although I may have to give it a try sometime.

What do you think of this? And where else have you seen it done?

Thanks!
-David-
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dindenver
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Posts: 928

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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2009, 03:15:17 PM »

Dave,
  I like this. What if, each player gives the narration a thumbs up/thumbs down. And for every thumbs up, the legend that the narration is about, gets the LP?
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2009, 07:55:29 PM »

Dave,
  I like this. What if, each player gives the narration a thumbs up/thumbs down. And for every thumbs up, the legend that the narration is about, gets the LP?

Thanks. That could be an interesting way to do it. And I know a few people who would be for it. Especially if it was at a convention or with a group of competitive players who trust each other and can summon a witty telling of what happened.

Though at least with the group I GM there are roughly 50% of diehard experienced gamers and 50% been doing it off an on for a few years or as a secondary hobby. I don't want to turn the opening event of each gaming session into a potentially cutthroat competition that could drive the less enthusiastic or less experienced Players away from the table. Especially if the rest of the game is based on a kind of collaborative story telling process of creating goals and challenges for each other. I see this part of the game as a great opportunity to help get the Players around the table into the game, warming up their narrative engines as NPC voices. Reminding each other of what was exciting last time. And then generating some character currency through the short tellings. With possible new campaign ideas coming forth as well.

-David-
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dindenver
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Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2009, 08:07:03 AM »

Dave,
  I did think about that. But if the points go to another player, then it should engender more cooperation than competition, no? I mean if the points go to the narrator, then THAT is more competitive, because the points are awarded directly power up the player you are voting for...
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2009, 01:07:50 PM »

Dave,
  I did think about that. But if the points go to another player, then it should engender more cooperation than competition, no? I mean if the points go to the narrator, then THAT is more competitive, because the points are awarded directly power up the player you are voting for...


I reread your post and now noticed the key phrase I may have misread, "the legend that the narration is about, gets the LP" and that is a great idea, but I don't think it's what I'm after, at least not at the moment.  :-)

I guess I will need to test this to see which returns better results. Feel free to try it as well and let me know what works.

Players getting LPs for talking about other Legends or Legends getting LPs for having other Players talk about them. I'm concerned, and perhaps baselessly so, that if I reward the Legend the telling is about it becomes more of a popularity contest rather than a way to entice Players to just do something fun at the beginning of a session.

Let me "think out loud" here and see if I can communicate this... I want to entice and reward _Players_ for getting into the spirit of the game and to observe and comment on _other_ player characters in a proactive format more than reward PCs for having done really cool things (which I would have rewarded through LPs directly to that Legend at the end of the session). And also, I am trying to reward Players for playing NPCs in a quick scene at the start of a new game session more than reward PCs for what they already did last session.

Thoughts?

-David-
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #5 on: September 05, 2009, 09:57:11 AM »

I use a similar mechanic in my own games, without incentives and for a different reason; it shows what the players are remembering about the various characters.
Getting other players to narrate means that players have an audience and a feedback loop for people to tell them what they think about their characters, with the exalty flavour meaning that it's likely positive feedback on the specific good things they were doing, rather than critical stuff.
Getting the player themselves to narrate (how I do it, yes it does include a bit of bragging!) is a signal to the GM of how well they are fitting the game to the players expectations, and a bit of how they see the game, but your mechanic can do that a bit as well; it's a little harder but you can get a perspective on how the speaking player views the game from the way they talk.

One thing I like about this legend thing is that it can act as a more immersive version of table talk, for the reasons I suggested above. Once people understand it's value in that sense I suspect they won't need any points to do it!
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Sebastian K. Hickey
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Posts: 141


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« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2009, 03:36:47 PM »

I like the idea, though I think cautious groups could end up rewarding every narration with the same number of points, just to keep everyone happy.  If that's the case, you lose the incentive, and then there's no point in having a rule.

You could offer a formal system for running the legend.  Let's say you use a budget of tokens that's spent by players on one another at their discretion.  Here's how it might run...

Legend system

1) Each player gets 5 tokens, which they keep in their hand and a small container which they put on the table in front of them.
2) The GM describes the scene in which the legend is being told.
3) The first player takes on the role of a character in the scene, and describes, as rumour or fact, a deed of another character.  The player whose character's deed is being described can then put some, none, or all of his tokens in the narrator's cup.
4) The next player continues the narration, as the same or another character.
5) Once all the player's have had a narration, the GM takes a turn, and can introduce new characters, can change a scene, or add a foreshadow (see below).
6) Narration continues as before, repeating from step 3, until all of the tokens have been spent.
7) At the end of narration, the player with the highest number of tokens takes 3 Legend Points, the second highest takes 2 Legend Points, and everyone else gets 1 Legend Point.

Now, I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but the 'blind' token scenario, where no one knows exactly who put how many tokens where, might keep the competition non-specific and jovial.  I don't know much about your game yet, so forgive me if this sounds like rubbish.

Foreshadowing

I mentioned foreshadowing above.  I was thinking that major allies / enemies from previous gaming sessions might step into the legend narration, directly or indirectly, to help narration or to foreshadow upcoming events.  See the rough example below to see how this might work.

Example

Let's say Bob is running a game for Rog, Jay and Graham.  The three players take 5 tokens each and a cup.

Bob:  There's a violent duel, ringed by heavy jawed barbarians.  They jostle and shout in an enormous, muggy barn.  At the back, tucked away and lit by candlelight, a handful of well dressed men sip brandy from wide glasses, leaning back in their fur lined chairs, enjoying the sport.  Rog, you go first...

Rog:  One guy says "Did you hear about that foreigner?  Came into town with a bull on his back... Scared the watch no end.  Think he'll be trouble?" Then the other one replies, "Trouble?  TROUBLE? Cost me a warehouse!  A bloody warehouse!!! Thing was burning down in the middle of the night.  Spencer was there to set it right, thought it was the old guardsman falling asleep.  Then that Oak Armsman, or whatever he calls himself, bursts out of the flames with a maiden in each arm.  What were the maidens doing there in first place!!"

->> Jay, who played Oak Armsman, laughs at the telling of his exploits, and drops some tokens into Rog's cup...

Bob: Right Graham, you're turn...

Graham:  Ok, so, the guy is outraged.  The first one laughs at him, "hahahaha!"  The other one slams his drink down, looking all pissed off.  Then calms down and smiles, "Don't know why you're laughing so much... Oh, didn't you hear?  Apparently he's got a Gloveman with him?" "A Gloveman?  Ridiculous!"  "Oh, we'll see who's ridiculous when the Talon Brothers get wind of that...

ETC.  You get the point...  Rog, Graham and Jay tell yarns or truths about one another, according to their exploits, until it's the GM's turn again.  Let's say Bob wants to add some foreshadowing.  It might go like this...

Bob:  Just as he puts down his drinks, a shadow looms over the table.  The men stop silent.  All of them shrink away and duck into the crowd, leaving one, pot bellied, quivering fop.  "Wha.. wha... What are you doing here?" asks the frightened man.
"You knew of Armsman?"
"...." replies the fop.
"What use are you if you cannot at least speak?"  The figure makes a sudden movement, but the noise of it is drowned by the roar of the crowd.  At the end of the duel, when the crowd disperses, the fop reclines lifeless in his chair, his throat severed by animal claws... THUNDERFLASH. Dah-Dah-Dahhhhh!

Ok, CHEESY, but you get the idea.
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dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #7 on: September 13, 2009, 05:27:01 PM »

I use a similar mechanic in my own games, without incentives and for a different reason; it shows what the players are remembering about the various characters.
Getting other players to narrate means that players have an audience and a feedback loop for people to tell them what they think about their characters, with the exalty flavour meaning that it's likely positive feedback on the specific good things they were doing, rather than critical stuff.
Getting the player themselves to narrate (how I do it, yes it does include a bit of bragging!) is a signal to the GM of how well they are fitting the game to the players expectations, and a bit of how they see the game, but your mechanic can do that a bit as well; it's a little harder but you can get a perspective on how the speaking player views the game from the way they talk.

One thing I like about this legend thing is that it can act as a more immersive version of table talk, for the reasons I suggested above. Once people understand it's value in that sense I suspect they won't need any points to do it!

     The immersive thing was really what I'm going for to get the Players creativity going and to feel part of the game before their characters even enter the game. So there is anticipation.

     And I do like your observation of this to use to see if the Players understand the world and the GM changing the game to fit better. Everyone can help in or out-of-character to refine or steer Players with suggestions or talking and providing examples if they are stumped. I'm very informal in this capacity so long as people are enjoying the game.

     I have played and run a lot of games where much time is divided with the characters go in different directions, which I don't want to change. I don't want to force the Players to have their characters always be together. So I want to design a way for the Players to all have opportunities to stay in the game even if their characters, the Legends, are not in the spotlight. So far, giving them points for playing NPCs has worked very well. I think this really works in groups where gaming happens infrequently so that everyone has an opportunity to contribute to the game at every session even if your Legend is detained far away for an entire session. Play montages and flashbacks and dreams. Get everyone pitching in and it can be rewarding and fun.
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dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #8 on: September 13, 2009, 05:49:17 PM »

I like the idea, though I think cautious groups could end up rewarding every narration with the same number of points, just to keep everyone happy.  If that's the case, you lose the incentive, and then there's no point in having a rule.

You could offer a formal system for running the legend.  Let's say you use a budget of tokens that's spent by players on one another at their discretion.  Here's how it might run...

Legend system

1) Each player gets 5 tokens, which they keep in their hand and a small container which they put on the table in front of them.
2) The GM describes the scene in which the legend is being told.
3) The first player takes on the role of a character in the scene, and describes, as rumour or fact, a deed of another character.  The player whose character's deed is being described can then put some, none, or all of his tokens in the narrator's cup.
4) The next player continues the narration, as the same or another character.
5) Once all the player's have had a narration, the GM takes a turn, and can introduce new characters, can change a scene, or add a foreshadow (see below).
6) Narration continues as before, repeating from step 3, until all of the tokens have been spent.
7) At the end of narration, the player with the highest number of tokens takes 3 Legend Points, the second highest takes 2 Legend Points, and everyone else gets 1 Legend Point.

Now, I don't know if this is what you're looking for, but the 'blind' token scenario, where no one knows exactly who put how many tokens where, might keep the competition non-specific and jovial.  I don't know much about your game yet, so forgive me if this sounds like rubbish.

Foreshadowing

I mentioned foreshadowing above.  I was thinking that major allies / enemies from previous gaming sessions might step into the legend narration, directly or indirectly, to help narration or to foreshadow upcoming events.  See the rough example below to see how this might work.

Example

Let's say Bob is running a game for Rog, Jay and Graham.  The three players take 5 tokens each and a cup.

Bob:  There's a violent duel, ringed by heavy jawed barbarians.  They jostle and shout in an enormous, muggy barn.  At the back, tucked away and lit by candlelight, a handful of well dressed men sip brandy from wide glasses, leaning back in their fur lined chairs, enjoying the sport.  Rog, you go first...

Rog:  One guy says "Did you hear about that foreigner?  Came into town with a bull on his back... Scared the watch no end.  Think he'll be trouble?" Then the other one replies, "Trouble?  TROUBLE? Cost me a warehouse!  A bloody warehouse!!! Thing was burning down in the middle of the night.  Spencer was there to set it right, thought it was the old guardsman falling asleep.  Then that Oak Armsman, or whatever he calls himself, bursts out of the flames with a maiden in each arm.  What were the maidens doing there in first place!!"

->> Jay, who played Oak Armsman, laughs at the telling of his exploits, and drops some tokens into Rog's cup...

Bob: Right Graham, you're turn...

Graham:  Ok, so, the guy is outraged.  The first one laughs at him, "hahahaha!"  The other one slams his drink down, looking all pissed off.  Then calms down and smiles, "Don't know why you're laughing so much... Oh, didn't you hear?  Apparently he's got a Gloveman with him?" "A Gloveman?  Ridiculous!"  "Oh, we'll see who's ridiculous when the Talon Brothers get wind of that...

ETC.  You get the point...  Rog, Graham and Jay tell yarns or truths about one another, according to their exploits, until it's the GM's turn again.  Let's say Bob wants to add some foreshadowing.  It might go like this...

Bob:  Just as he puts down his drinks, a shadow looms over the table.  The men stop silent.  All of them shrink away and duck into the crowd, leaving one, pot bellied, quivering fop.  "Wha.. wha... What are you doing here?" asks the frightened man.
"You knew of Armsman?"
"...." replies the fop.
"What use are you if you cannot at least speak?"  The figure makes a sudden movement, but the noise of it is drowned by the roar of the crowd.  At the end of the duel, when the crowd disperses, the fop reclines lifeless in his chair, his throat severed by animal claws... THUNDERFLASH. Dah-Dah-Dahhhhh!

Ok, CHEESY, but you get the idea.

     Great ideas and thoughts here. I've really enjoyed reading all of these ideas.

     That's one heck of a neat rundown on how to handle the narration. Certainly not rubbish.

     Initially I was thinking something a little simpler where if any Player did any narration they would get a LP. If they did that plus either something functionally important like a plot point OR was very entertaining in the narration then another LP. And if they did both function and entertained well then a total of 3 LPs from the GM. I can see how if other Players are allowed to weigh in it could become a mixture of competitive or nicey-nice sympathy donation too.

     The use of foreshadow you described is certainly in line with this. Though the way you've described it it sounds like this in an of itself could be a game where you never see the protagonist, but only hear about it from others.  :-)

     This whole process is meant merely as an entertaining way to help Players get into the game by playing characters in the world other than their PCs, talking about other PCs so they can both get to know each other and help everyone remember what happened last time--and as listed foreshadow (which I don't think I was explicit about but should be as that is very cool)-- things to come, all while getting some rewards to use on your own PC after this. I don't have a good one word description for this. The best I can come up with is Prologue.

     I'm definitely going to have to try these suggestions out. Feel free to do the same and let me know which ones prove more beneficial to the gaming group.

-David-
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Sebastian K. Hickey
Member

Posts: 141


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« Reply #9 on: September 14, 2009, 02:50:16 AM »

I run a game for some old timers three times a year, and one of the moots is around the corner.  I'm going to use this tool at the first session.  I'll let you know how it went.
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #10 on: September 15, 2009, 05:20:04 AM »

Jason Godesky calls it seperation, the idea that your getting yourself into an alternate world and identity. To my mind the same thing happens when you take off your tie at the end of work, or plop down your schoolbag or whatever. You go "right different mode now".

To put it another way, I'd call it "getting into the world" or something like that. Course the important thing is not that you know how to name it, but that you know how to communicate it to someone else!

I do like the idea of telling a story via bystanders. I was once very taken by the idea of "it's an rpg, but you don't play the hero", before I realised that almost everyone is the hero of their own story, the difference being a change of scale. On the other hand this could actually be a way of doing that; by pushing narrative authority out of the characters and onto that unknown hero, never on screen during conversation, then people can actually play those orbiting guys quite well! Imagine people saying "I heard he was ten feet tall!" "Well I heard he was a very slight man, with mysterious eyes" and then doing roll-offs for who has the better sourced story, or saying "perhaps he was ...." to negotiate, or even leaving the answer unknown and rumorous.
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dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #11 on: September 16, 2009, 05:30:37 AM »

I run a game for some old timers three times a year, and one of the moots is around the corner.  I'm going to use this tool at the first session.  I'll let you know how it went.

I can't wait to read how it goes.  :-)
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dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #12 on: September 16, 2009, 05:32:52 AM »

Jason Godesky calls it seperation, the idea that your getting yourself into an alternate world and identity. To my mind the same thing happens when you take off your tie at the end of work, or plop down your schoolbag or whatever. You go "right different mode now".

To put it another way, I'd call it "getting into the world" or something like that. Course the important thing is not that you know how to name it, but that you know how to communicate it to someone else!

I do like the idea of telling a story via bystanders. I was once very taken by the idea of "it's an rpg, but you don't play the hero", before I realised that almost everyone is the hero of their own story, the difference being a change of scale. On the other hand this could actually be a way of doing that; by pushing narrative authority out of the characters and onto that unknown hero, never on screen during conversation, then people can actually play those orbiting guys quite well! Imagine people saying "I heard he was ten feet tall!" "Well I heard he was a very slight man, with mysterious eyes" and then doing roll-offs for who has the better sourced story, or saying "perhaps he was ...." to negotiate, or even leaving the answer unknown and rumorous.

     I can totally see how this could be quite entertaining for a gaming group to build a community of characters in the stories.
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Sebastian K. Hickey
Member

Posts: 141


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« Reply #13 on: September 30, 2009, 02:43:53 AM »

Hey there,

I tried the 'Legend System' at a game over the weekend.  I'll post about in the playtest section...
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dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #14 on: October 02, 2009, 06:43:17 AM »

Hey there,

I tried the 'Legend System' at a game over the weekend.  I'll post about in the playtest section...

Thanks. I'll take a look there.
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