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Author Topic: [OLaL] Table Talk and Solo Player Scenes  (Read 1710 times)
dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« on: October 03, 2009, 03:01:17 PM »

I've been considering two issues in a number of games and wanted to find a solution that handles them both in Of Legends and Legacies.

1. Getting Players who are not involved in a scene to stay interested in the game. Handling NPCs by rewarding Players to RP them with Legend Points is obvious and works for me. However, in solo scenes where there is no way for another NPC to show up and maintain the tone/believability I needed another solution.

2. Table talk during the game that is about what's happening but not in-character often times by Players whose PCs are not involved. Suggestions to the Player of a solo scene even if the player can't remember something from last session or is stuck with a conflict at hand. I don't want to stop the table talk, but rather route it through an in-game mechanism.

So my solution to both having one PC in a scene and table talk is this: In OLaL there is something called the Void that in-game handles a few things, like where the Legends come from and where they go when they are done in the world of Mythos. It's a kind of GM's device that can have its own agenda in the game. But more to the point the Legends, who are connected to the Void (depending on the nature of the game with the Legends as spirits, gods, virtual reality constructs... and the Void being a Limbo, Olympus gateway or Matrix Computer Network) that the Legends can hear Voices from the Void. Maybe the Voices only speak in riddles or if the Legend is dreaming/unconscious, but there is a possible communication avenue for table talk to enter into the game through an in-game format. And that the Voices can be played by other Players or the GM. The catch is that for the Voices to be heard I am going to have the Player spend Legend Points to listen. The Player of the Legend could earn back LPs through functional and/or entertaining narration of how they go about listnening (imbibing a self-made sleeping drug or small dosage of poison, meditation ritual, running a programming subroutine). Players get awarded LPs for participating as Voices in the same way and can then offer facts, suggestions, etc. through functional/entertaining methods.

Also, I'd like to include the possibility for the Voices to have their own agendas as the Voices may be Arcana or former/yet unformed Legends vying for attention. The Voices could be false or deceptive or offer solid info but in a way that the living Legend refuses to accept. How I envision this part working is by letting the Legend who calls on the Voices to either roll dice, or negotiate with LPs, to decide and tell the group who would play the Voices how many things they communicate are accurate and how many are not so. So the Players know from the get go that there may or may not be falsehoods introduced into the Voices. For each accepted inaccuracy from a Voice determined the Legend's Player gets awarded a LP. Let me spell it out again... So if a Player of a Legend calls on the Voices from the Void and rolls or negotiates LPs for two whispers from the Voices, then the same Player decides if either whisper is "true" or "false." The GM and other Players then narrate the Voices' response. If the Legend takes any "false" whispers from the Voices then they get a LP as a reward.

What are your thoughts on this?

-David-
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #1 on: October 08, 2009, 05:52:26 PM »

The game demon souls has an advice system which is quite interesting, in that you benefit if the person takes your advice and succeeds, but on the other side you get to mess with other people without retaliation.

In your idea it seems like the incentives are quite different, not least because you are playing locally, with all that entails; in this one if you do mess with them, or rather their character, they get points for it. It's certainly a way to complicate scenes, with voices from beyond poking at the character and getting them to shift their actions, but it sounds like it could be quite an LP farm! It could also be a bit of a tone wrecker, given how close it sails to the 4th wall.

Another thing to consider is that sometimes it's ok for a player to sit and watch something, we do it with TV after all, and many games have cutscenes. The question is whether what is being done is interesting to watch.

But taking it as an subgame of it's own, rather than a hole filler, you could have quite a fun time setting up a central character with multiple "advisers" or voices in their head, could be pretty interesting. That's almost a whole new game though!
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dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #2 on: October 09, 2009, 08:12:44 PM »

The game demon souls has an advice system which is quite interesting, in that you benefit if the person takes your advice and succeeds, but on the other side you get to mess with other people without retaliation.

In your idea it seems like the incentives are quite different, not least because you are playing locally, with all that entails; in this one if you do mess with them, or rather their character, they get points for it. It's certainly a way to complicate scenes, with voices from beyond poking at the character and getting them to shift their actions, but it sounds like it could be quite an LP farm! It could also be a bit of a tone wrecker, given how close it sails to the 4th wall.

Another thing to consider is that sometimes it's ok for a player to sit and watch something, we do it with TV after all, and many games have cutscenes. The question is whether what is being done is interesting to watch.

But taking it as an subgame of it's own, rather than a hole filler, you could have quite a fun time setting up a central character with multiple "advisers" or voices in their head, could be pretty interesting. That's almost a whole new game though!

     That does sound like its own new game. I don't know if it's a kind of Don't Rest Your Head spin off or what.

     I think that I want this to be optional for the Players who don't have their Legends in the spotlight. I have some Players in my group who really like to be involved, even as NPCs so this is a way for them to play in the scene if they like. I have Players who love to sit and listen as others play their scene. I also have some Players who get stumped very easily by puzzles/tests or just forgetting massive things and this could be an in-game way to help resolve some of that.

     Tone could be an issue for some. Not for the group I currently play with which is nice. I think that the amount of LPs can be tailored to each group. If they want things to be easier or grittier/less forgiving then change the reward system a bit.

     I am not concerned about the LPs stacking up as they are the currency of the game and you earn them for that session so hoarding them won't do anyone any good necessarily. I'm working to find incentives to engage Players to participate as they can and influence each others characters and stories along the way. Rewards from creative storyplaying and LPs to give their own Legends some direct narrative control are one main reason I hope to reinforce this. I've had success with variations of this in other games so far at least.

     I think that if I can offer Players a way to do what they normally do, table talk, in the game with a reward system then they still get to do what they like and I get a better method of filtering it through the session. I'll have to test it out and report my findings.  :-)

-David-
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 09, 2009, 09:48:07 PM »

Hey David,

I like it. As a solution for disengaged, idle players, I think it has a lot of potential. Here's a possible implementation that would excite me as a player:

    I don't have to pay to listen to the voices. I don't even have to establish that I'm listening. But I may roleplay how I'm listening if I want to encourage the voices.

    The other players who aren't in the scene may play voices as they wish. They may affect vocal mannerisms, and even establish recurring personas. But only within the confines of a specific powerful creative constraint: they may not make statements; they may only ask questions; and sure, rhetorical, leading questions. "Who was the third man at Round Lake?" "Why does Aloysius rise early on Saturday?" "Would a loving wife have stayed for the verdict?" They do so to influence and guide the players in the scene.

    And I may answer. I may guess. Or I may answer from a position of knowledge, or opinion. "Hemeny never loved Rupert."

    And if the player of the voice likes my answer--not whether I'm right or wrong, the other player probably doesn't know for sure, and maybe he's wanting to lead me astray anyway, so, yes, he only has to like the  answer I gave--If he likes my answer he may pay from his own accrued Legend Points toward my efforts in the current scene.

    voice: "Does he falter? Does his weak knee ache? Does he present an opening?"
    me: "Yes! He fought his way up the stairs and now he's nearly spent. Briefly, he drops the tip of his sword, and I strike!"
    voice: ("Here's a Legend Point. Good luck.")

    voice: "Does she love him? Would a loving wife not have stayed to hear the verdict?"
    me: "I think she was looking at me during the tournament." I'm going to visit. And I'm bringing flowers.
    voice: ("You're a madman. Here's a Legend Point.")

    And this is the only way Legend Points get spent. So it becomes an economy of players earning Legend Points in the usual ways, but never spending them on the behalf of their own character; players only gain effectiveness from Legend Points by gifting them and being gifted them via the device of the voices.

Paul
« Last Edit: October 09, 2009, 09:49:53 PM by Paul Czege » Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2009, 08:56:54 AM »

Hey David,

I like it. As a solution for disengaged, idle players, I think it has a lot of potential. Here's a possible implementation that would excite me as a player:

    I don't have to pay to listen to the voices. I don't even have to establish that I'm listening. But I may roleplay how I'm listening if I want to encourage the voices.

    The other players who aren't in the scene may play voices as they wish. They may affect vocal mannerisms, and even establish recurring personas. But only within the confines of a specific powerful creative constraint: they may not make statements; they may only ask questions; and sure, rhetorical, leading questions. "Who was the third man at Round Lake?" "Why does Aloysius rise early on Saturday?" "Would a loving wife have stayed for the verdict?" They do so to influence and guide the players in the scene.

    And I may answer. I may guess. Or I may answer from a position of knowledge, or opinion. "Hemeny never loved Rupert."

    And if the player of the voice likes my answer--not whether I'm right or wrong, the other player probably doesn't know for sure, and maybe he's wanting to lead me astray anyway, so, yes, he only has to like the  answer I gave--If he likes my answer he may pay from his own accrued Legend Points toward my efforts in the current scene.

    voice: "Does he falter? Does his weak knee ache? Does he present an opening?"
    me: "Yes! He fought his way up the stairs and now he's nearly spent. Briefly, he drops the tip of his sword, and I strike!"
    voice: ("Here's a Legend Point. Good luck.")

    voice: "Does she love him? Would a loving wife not have stayed to hear the verdict?"
    me: "I think she was looking at me during the tournament." I'm going to visit. And I'm bringing flowers.
    voice: ("You're a madman. Here's a Legend Point.")

    And this is the only way Legend Points get spent. So it becomes an economy of players earning Legend Points in the usual ways, but never spending them on the behalf of their own character; players only gain effectiveness from Legend Points by gifting them and being gifted them via the device of the voices.

Paul

     That's a very intriguing take on it. The Voices from the Void become more powerful in this suggestion. One I definitely hadn't considered before about Players only able to spend LPs on other Legends rather being able to spend them for themselves. I like the way it could get the Players to take more notice of what's going on at the moment. If I understand you correctly, I wonder if that will get into a problem of Players feeling like they too much have to depend on the other Players to be able to accomplish great things because they can't just blow their pool of LPs on themselves?

-David-     
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #5 on: October 12, 2009, 07:36:00 AM »

Hey David,

I wonder if that will get into a problem of Players feeling like they too much have to depend on the other Players to be able to accomplish great things because they can't just blow their pool of LPs on themselves?

Well, no game will ever please everybody. But I don't think you'd displease everybody with this. I had a chance to play Misery Bubblegum at Gen Con; it's a card-based roleplaying game with a mechanic where players gift other players with resource cards from their own hands by roleplaying how the card is better suited to the other player's character. So it's basically a free gift of resources. You give away cards you don't think are creatively well-suited to your own use. And players did it enthusiastically.

I think in this case, if you've got Legend Points that the game says you can't use, then players will want to participate in the economy of the voices, for the fun of it, and so as to benefit from the Legend Points gifting of others.

But yeah, rules that create social dynamics are probably the hardest to be confident about before you actually try playtesting them. You pretty much have to decide if you personally think it sounds like fun, and use that as a basis for deciding it's worth a try.

Paul
Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #6 on: October 12, 2009, 08:18:00 AM »

And one more thing. I see you have another thread where you're thinking about narration trading mechanics. My recommendation is to be careful about throwing too much of a kitchen sink of story game mechanics into the game. It's easy to burn out players with a head-splitting soup of game mechanics that rely on their ongoing and spontaneous creativity on several fronts or the game doesn't move forward. Games with multiple regimes of mandated spontaneous creation of story stuff or the game doesn't move forward can be pretty taxing in play, and narration trading is pretty much a full-bore unconstructed mandate to be creative. My suggestion is to decide whether you want the voices, or the narration trading.

Paul
Logged

My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #7 on: October 12, 2009, 04:22:33 PM »

And one more thing. I see you have another thread where you're thinking about narration trading mechanics. My recommendation is to be careful about throwing too much of a kitchen sink of story game mechanics into the game. It's easy to burn out players with a head-splitting soup of game mechanics that rely on their ongoing and spontaneous creativity on several fronts or the game doesn't move forward. Games with multiple regimes of mandated spontaneous creation of story stuff or the game doesn't move forward can be pretty taxing in play, and narration trading is pretty much a full-bore unconstructed mandate to be creative. My suggestion is to decide whether you want the voices, or the narration trading.

Paul

With the narration trading, are you referring to the component of telling tales before the game begins, or something else? The telling tales of the Legends as I envision it is a brief in-game recap of what happened last time rather than the game itself. It's a way to earn LPs before the Legends start up again.

I still see a GM in this game doing many of the normal GM things so that the Players don't have to come up with everything all the time.  :-)

-David-
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dmkdesigns
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2009, 04:25:25 PM »

Hey David,

I wonder if that will get into a problem of Players feeling like they too much have to depend on the other Players to be able to accomplish great things because they can't just blow their pool of LPs on themselves?

Well, no game will ever please everybody. But I don't think you'd displease everybody with this. I had a chance to play Misery Bubblegum at Gen Con; it's a card-based roleplaying game with a mechanic where players gift other players with resource cards from their own hands by roleplaying how the card is better suited to the other player's character. So it's basically a free gift of resources. You give away cards you don't think are creatively well-suited to your own use. And players did it enthusiastically.

I think in this case, if you've got Legend Points that the game says you can't use, then players will want to participate in the economy of the voices, for the fun of it, and so as to benefit from the Legend Points gifting of others.

But yeah, rules that create social dynamics are probably the hardest to be confident about before you actually try playtesting them. You pretty much have to decide if you personally think it sounds like fun, and use that as a basis for deciding it's worth a try.

Paul

     Good suggestions. I'll have to think it over more and how to explain it to the Players when I try it with them.

-David-
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