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Author Topic: The Pool: 4th Play Session Comments  (Read 1470 times)
Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« on: February 12, 2003, 03:07:18 AM »

Previous threads...

The Pool: 1st Play Session Comments
The Pool: 2nd Play Session Comments
The Pool: 3rd Play Session Comments

This was the last session in the short game I ran as an introduction to The Pool. The lead PC was dispached to Angmar to receive the tender mercies of the Witch King. A desperate escape by the other three culminated in one of the PCs sacrificing their life so the other two could escape. All in all a good end to the game, highly enjoyable.

The players' thoughts..

Despite reservations by one of the players about the rules-lite nature of The Pool I think that he eventually "got it" in the end.

The concencus of opinion among the players was that they felt they "did more" and had to "think more" than in our typical games; they felt more involved.

My own thoughts...

In the absence of a recongnisable set of rules to control the action it's important that the players have a common frame of reference so that they know what they can do, and what they can't do. Even then some of my players were initially a little lost without 'rules' to refer to, it takes time to "get it", but when they did, it worked.

The Pool would be ideal games in other settings that my players have a degree of familiarity with, i.e. an X-Files spin off, Highlander, Marvel, Star Trek, etc.

I'd be interested in running a pseudo Vampire game using The Pool. Anyone ever see a British 6 part show called "Ultraviolet" by the way? It had a very different take on the whole Vampire mythos which would be ideal for The Pool.

To sum up, I can honestly say that playing The Pool has been a very positive experience.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: February 12, 2003, 08:13:08 AM »

The player who "got it" in the end was the same player who had the problem in the last game? Or someone else? I'm curious as to what it took to get that player back on track with the Pool's mechanics.

Mike
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #2 on: February 12, 2003, 12:13:35 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
The player who "got it" in the end was the same player who had the problem in the last game? Or someone else? I'm curious as to what it took to get that player back on track with the Pool's mechanics.


As it happens, yes, it was the player who had a problem last game.

I had a couple of talks with the player after 3rd session about the issues he had with the game.

In essence I tried to get across to him again that The Pool was about creating stories based on the combined imagination of the players and has nothing whatsoever about creating a simulated reality via a set of rules, tables and charts like D&D. I did try and do that even before the very first session, I just didn't do it forcibly enough. It's not until you actually play The Pool that you get a grip of what the underlying concept of the game is all about. Reading the rules and browsing this forum only tells you so much. It was a learning curve for all of us but at least next time the players will know what to expect and what is expected of them.

Does it make for a good story? Is it plausible? If I can answer yes to those 2 questions then thats what I make happen when I''m guiding the narrative. That's what I told him to do when he gets the chance to make his MOV. Instead of being "character centric" (i.e. my character) to try and think "story centric" (i.e. our story).

He did take that on board.

It was near enough the final scene and the group (there were 3 PCs left, their leader was en-route to Angmar) were fleeing from their Hillmen captors. A failed roll from one of the PCs and resulting MOD led them to an apparent dead end gully. The Hillmen were mere moments away and escape was seemingly futile. I called for a roll from everyone (seeing that a melee was about to ensue) and everyone except the player I had a problem with last session failed. He gambled all, got a 1, and took his MOV.

There was a tense exchange between him and the other two PCs as he told them to start climbing the gully. He turned, drew his sword and then rushed the 8 Hillmen who were almost upon them.

We played out the narrative of combat for about 10 minutes with the player making his MOV and calling the shots. The other players adopted the role of 3 of the Hillmen. Minatures were placed, melee commenced. Hillmen went down, the player took a wound, then another, and another, until finally he narrated his own demise as he was finally overwhelmed and slain.

It may have been because the knew it was the last session that he chose to sacrifice his life. It doesn't really matter. It made for a good story, it was plausible, and it was precisely what the player wanted to happen. Good enough for me.

Don't know if he is a Pool convert yet but in the end he did realise what the game was trying to achieve.

The 4 sessions we played were an eye opener for everyone. If anything it made everyone think about "how" we roleplay rather than "what" we roleplay. Everyone agreed that the two players from our regular group who did not take part probably wouldn't have "got it" at all.
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Bankuei
Guest
« Reply #3 on: February 12, 2003, 12:16:59 PM »

Quote
In the absence of a recongnisable set of rules to control the action it's important that the players have a common frame of reference so that they know what they can do, and what they can't do. Even then some of my players were initially a little lost without 'rules' to refer to, it takes time to "get it", but when they did, it worked.

The Pool would be ideal games in other settings that my players have a degree of familiarity with, i.e. an X-Files spin off, Highlander, Marvel, Star Trek, etc.


I have found that this is absolutely true.  My personal rule of thumb is what I call the Rule of Mechanical Relativity: "The less the mechanics define what is and is not possible, the more the setting must define it for players".  For games which I create new settings, I almost always pull out a couple of movies or comics, or something to serve as reference material for the players in terms of style and physics.

Chris
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James V. West
Member

Posts: 567


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« Reply #4 on: February 12, 2003, 07:30:02 PM »

Wow! The fact that everyone enjoyed the game in the end brings a huge smile to my face. And the one player sacrificing his character during an MOV is pure gold. Pure gold.

As you and Chris have said, it is necessary to define a "reality" for play. I think I usually take this stuff for granted when writing a game, which is a sign of my inexperience as a game designer. I tend to leave out information that my brain files away as understood. Never assume anything. You always have to make sure the players know exactly where they are or things will fly apart. This has bit me in the ass once or twice in the past (especially in my first-ever game of Visions where an obscure character trait called "magic" resulted in a character who was doing everything with this miracle trait).

Thanks for the wonderful posts, Cassidy!
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