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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 113 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: what to do when you're feeling icky  (Read 4578 times)
Paul Czege
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« on: November 03, 2002, 08:03:18 PM »

Last Monday, after five sessions of play, Matt's horrific playwright character Gideon was rolling something like 16 dice of Self-Loathing. And I can't help but think it wasn't far from becoming preposterous. So consequently, I'm not unsympathetic to requests from folks for a mechanic whereby Self-Loathing could be reduced. There seems to be some risk to a minion of deprotagonization from Self-Loathing gone too high: violent scenes don't feel like conflicts, because the outcome isn't the least bit uncertain.

And so having been quite taken with the sequence Blake described from his playtest, where the minion Hans foisted a command issued to him by the master off onto the minion Jakob, I came up with the following:

A player character minion can use physical and verbal abuse to force a command issued to him off onto another player character minion by rolling his own Self-Loathing minus Reason against the target minion rolling Love plus his own Weariness. If successful, the acting minion reduces his Self-Loathing by one, and the target minion is considered responsible for the Command in question. It's delusional, of course, but the acting minion has just shrugged off a little bit of feeling icky about himself by getting someone else to do something he didn't want to do. If the acting minion fails, there should be a consequence; I'm hesitant to make it a point of Self-Loathing, because there's a good probability the minion will earn one of those when he carries out the Command he just failed to delegate, so I'm thinking a point of Weariness. The conflict with the target minion leaves the acting minion either wrung out psychologically or a bit roughed up physically.

So, what do you think? It incentivizes Weariness, which is something Blake pointed out was lacking in the game. Is it deprotagonizing to allow one player to force the character of another to take on a Command this way? Do you think the mechanic is a good addition to the rules? Or do you think it's a bad idea? Do you think it risks eclipsing the game's Master vs. minion conflict with a competitive minion vs. minion dynamic, once the minions start avenging themselves on each other?

Paul
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quozl
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« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2002, 06:41:06 AM »

Disclaimer: I haven't played MLWM but I have printed out every post here and read them this weekend (because of the amazing similarities to my own game in development, Frankenstein's Monsters).

O.K., that said, I really like the "passing the buck" option onto another minion.  I don't like how you're proposing to simulate it with your mechanics.  How does more self-loathing make you more effective in issuing commands?  I would think it would be the opposite and I think you might be using this just to ease the "too much self-loathing problem".  I think that increased Weariness would help in the issuing of commands; I'd probably use Weariness-Reason vs. Weariness-Love and make the loss of a Love point the cost and the loss of a point in Self-Loathing the benefit.

As for your "too much self-loathing problem", make it so that when a minion reaches a certain threshold, something "snaps" in the minion.  This could be a major act of rebellion or even suicide.  Perhaps something like the Epilogues or maybe even a "Self-Loathing Bonus Die" could work here.

I know I haven't played your game and I'm a little biased about mine but you might need to change some attributes so that there is another positive attribute besides Love to help with asserting onself.  For example, in Frankenstein's Monsters, I use Love and Will.  A high Will (and/or Love) allows one to assert oneself against the Doctor but a low Will (with the associated "Monster Die") represents what Weariness and Self-Loathing repressent in your game.  

I know that our games are quite different while still being quite similar but I wonder if both might benefit from some combination.  As I was planning on releasing my game for free, I would happily "donate" anything you wish to combine into your game.  Please let me know.

I hope this rambling post somehow helps. :-)
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xiombarg
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« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2002, 10:56:29 AM »

Yes, what you're describing is exactly what happened to Shawn's character in my playtest.

I really like the way of dealing with the problem, "self-esteem through shirking".

I'll note, by the way, that this also might have avoided the way Emily seemed to manage to do what she wanted with impunity -- the others could have shirked onto her.

Regardless, let me see if I can get this straight. Let's say Minion A is the one getting the original order, and Minion B is the one he wants to foist it off onto.

Minion A gets the order. Minion A rolls Self-Loathing minus Reason while Minion B rolls Love plus Weariness. If Minion A succeeds, he reduces Self-Loathing by one, and Minion B is considered responsible for the Command in question. If Minion A loses, you're proposing he gets a point of Weariness and has the carry out the command, which will probably earn him more Self-Loathing.

Do I have that right? If so, I really like this idea, including getting Weariness when you fail to delegate. Also, it can put the minions at odds with each other, which seems to be a more natural thing than helping each other.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #3 on: November 04, 2002, 11:10:19 AM »

I agree with Jon that this seems weak. I actually like the idea of shirking, but it has it's own benefits. I don't see how shirking would actually make a minion feel any better about itself. Perhaps relieved that it didn't have to do something that would accumulate more Self-Loathing, but not an actual reduction.

I assume that you are intentionally avoiding the obvious choice. That being some sort of roll to reduce Self-Loathing when a minion does something good. We don't want minions doing good things to often, so we don't want to reward it?

BTW, this all argues for going back to the Sorcerer dice mechanics. Even at 16 dice, there's still a substantial chance of success with the Sorcerer method. And with a bonus die it becomes a very good chance.

Mike
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Emily Care
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« Reply #4 on: November 04, 2002, 11:29:48 AM »

Quote
How does more self-loathing make you more effective in issuing commands?


It's like when somebody has a bad day and comes home and takes it out on their dog. Petty abuse of power helps us forget our own helplessness. For the minions, getting someone else to take a command would be like getting a taste of the Master's power.  

--Emily Care
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xiombarg
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2002, 11:41:10 AM »

Quote from: quozl
O.K., that said, I really like the "passing the buck" option onto another minion.  I don't like how you're proposing to simulate it with your mechanics.  How does more self-loathing make you more effective in issuing commands?

I'll note that in the rules and in practice, Self-Loathing makes the character more capable of violence. The idea is you project all that self-anger outward. Characters with high Self-Loathing are very scary, so Paul's mechanic makes perfect sense in context.

Quote
I would think it would be the opposite and I think you might be using this just to ease the "too much self-loathing problem".  I think that increased Weariness would help in the issuing of commands; I'd probably use Weariness-Reason vs. Weariness-Love and make the loss of a Love point the cost and the loss of a point in Self-Loathing the benefit.

Interesting mechanic, but is someone going to something for you because you're lazy or hurt (i.e. Weary) or because you're scary? In MLWM, I'll take the latter.

Quote
As for your "too much self-loathing problem", make it so that when a minion reaches a certain threshold, something "snaps" in the minion.  This could be a major act of rebellion or even suicide.  Perhaps something like the Epilogues or maybe even a "Self-Loathing Bonus Die" could work here.

I think this is an excellent idea, however. How about the player can choose to have the minion "snap" at any point, directing one's Self-Loathing outwards, losing all one's Love (as they practically become another person, consumed by anger and coming out the other side) and losing a number of Self-Loathing points equal to the Love lost.  (Or perhaps equal to double the Love lost?) But they have to make a grand, but ultimately futile gesture, like destroying the master's laboratory -- not full-scale rebellion, but close. But they can only do it if they have some Love, as there's little motivation to rebel without Love.
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love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
quozl
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2002, 04:32:41 PM »

I concede all the above points since I have no actual play experience.

Quote from: xiombarg
How about the player can choose to have the minion "snap" at any point, directing one's Self-Loathing outwards, losing all one's Love (as they practically become another person, consumed by anger and coming out the other side) and losing a number of Self-Loathing points equal to the Love lost.  (Or perhaps equal to double the Love lost?) But they have to make a grand, but ultimately futile gesture, like destroying the master's laboratory -- not full-scale rebellion, but close. But they can only do it if they have some Love, as there's little motivation to rebel without Love.


I think we're on to something here.  Does the loss of all Love limit the "snap" power enough?  I do think the benefit of losing Self-Loathing equal to the Love lost is quite a benefit in this game.
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2002, 07:04:00 AM »

Hey everyone,

Thanks for the suggestions. The "snap" mechanic is under consideration.

Related to the mechanic proposed in my first post, does anyone have thoughts about the player vs. player question? If another player had his minion force a command off onto your character, would that have the effect on you in subsequent play of backgrounding your minion's conflict with the Master and foregrounding the minion vs. minion conflict? If so, can you see any way to avoid that, to avoid installing the other minion with antagonistic significance at the expense of the Master?

Paul
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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
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