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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: The Pool working in Detective Stories?  (Read 2731 times)
Parandro
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Posts: 2


« on: March 16, 2003, 04:26:41 AM »

Hi there,

until now I haven't yet played a game of The Pool, although I like the idea of giving narrative power to players very much.

The problem is: as a Gamemaster sometimes I like to make up 'detective style' stories, where the characters have to find out certain information to solve the problem. So before actual play, I already have an detailled idea of what each of my NPCs knows and is willing to tell the PCs, or where the PC's can find which kind of information. Thus I wouldn't like a player tell a MOV like this: "After hours of questioning, poor Lobelia breaks in  tears, admitting that her husband Fluridoc killed his brother in a fight, trying to make it look like an accident", or even "By a close look in Fulidoc's eyes, my character just FEELS that he is the murderer, and since intuition is one of his traits, he cannot be wrong", if Fulidoc isn't involved in the murder case at all.

Can someone help me with that problem?

Thanks,
Parandro
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Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #1 on: March 16, 2003, 06:39:19 AM »

I know there are some threads around on this sort of subject.
Looking into some of the InSpectres threads would be very helpful to you. Its all about solving a mystery, with next to no info at the start, and lots of Player narration.
One thing I can tell you for sure, you'll need to drop the standard way of preparing.
Figure out what the situation is (dead body locked in a room etc), create a bunch of interesting NPCs, relate them to the Characters and each other (the more ties the better). Make sure ANY of them could have 'done it'... then start Play. Let the way it plays through the Character MMOV and Guided events determine 'Who Dunnit".
Trying to prepare like normal will only drive you crazy! MOV's would derail it very quickly.
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #2 on: March 16, 2003, 06:45:26 AM »

Quote from: Parandro
Hi there,

...snipped..... Thus I wouldn't like a player tell a MOV like this: "After hours of questioning, poor Lobelia breaks in  tears, admitting that her husband Fluridoc killed his brother in a fight, trying to make it look like an accident", or even "By a close look in Fulidoc's eyes, my character just FEELS that he is the murderer, and since intuition is one of his traits, he cannot be wrong", if Fulidoc isn't involved in the murder case at all.

Can someone help me with that problem?

Thanks,
Parandro


Keep in mind the next Players MOV, or a Guided event by you, may indicate that "Lobelia is a  pathological liar...Bartender John says she drank at the bar all night", or ,for the intuition character, someone could follow up with "He is A murderer, but not this murder..." or it could come down to "You know he's the murderer, but there's no proof..."
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
James V. West
Member

Posts: 567


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« Reply #3 on: March 16, 2003, 07:15:43 AM »

Bob's right. The MOV you described could be followed up with something that totally negates the legitimacy of the character.

But he's also right in that MOVs will alter your story idea. No question. I say prep as normal, with less emphasis on who actually dunnit. It's ok to have someone in mind, of course, but you might have to abandon it in the end. I've ran sessions in which I had an idea of who or what was going to be the big problem in the end, but the players' MOVs very quickly altered my idea. Let the story unfold naturally, is all I can really say.

If you do play it, let us know how it goes!
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: March 16, 2003, 09:07:44 AM »

Hello,

All of the above offer good advice, but I have an idea which permits a little more traditional play.

Agree with everyone beforehand that the players cannot insert valid information about the crime or question at hand through their Monologues of Victory.

That's it. Just an agreement. Otherwise, MoV's do whatever they do, and that's fine. The range of MoV's are always, and forever, merely an expression of Social Contract anyway, so just make that Social Contract detail explicit. It's really no more drastic than any other pre-game explicit agreement, including things like "We're playing dark and gritty street superheroes" so that no one makes up Cosmic Joyboy.

In my experience, many people merely use them to provide Color to their characters' success in order to make the characters into the kind of protagonists they want, and never insert the kind of scenario-rearranging information that some people fear.

In a game like what I'm thinking of, the GM's prep regarding the back-story is very solid, not InSpectres-like at all. However, play itself will be nothing like (say) Call of Cthulhu, i.e. following the trail of bread-crumbs scattered in order as the GM sees fit. It will be much more dynamic and capitalize on dice-outcomes as sort of an assistant-director that everyone is working with.

A lot of people seem to think that The Pool enforces highly, highly improvisational play in terms of the world and the back-story of the scenario. I don't think it necessarily does.

Best,
Ron
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James V. West
Member

Posts: 567


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« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2003, 10:18:32 AM »

I'm glad you said that. I had the same thought earlier, but I held off because I wasn't quite sure about it. I've always felt that MOVs should be as loose as possible and that any tacked-on conditions are contrary to what I want from the game. But in this light they are not.

Actually, I've made conditions before that you can't kill this guy or that guy in an MOV, so this is really not that different. Very cool.
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Parandro
Registree

Posts: 2


« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2003, 12:19:25 PM »

Thanks to all of you for your tips! I've had some thoughts heading the same direction, but it's good to see them confirmed ... makes it easier for me as a traditional player to actually give the 'indies' a try!

Best,
Parandro
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Blake Hutchins
Member

Posts: 614


« Reply #7 on: March 17, 2003, 01:15:44 PM »

Ron's solution neatly addresses probably the only real snafu I've encountered in Pool play: how to run mystery or intrigue-based games without MOVs making relationship structure an arbitrary hash.  My players wanted to discover something, to navigate the puzzle rather than create it.  Solving this via social contract axioms - sort of a Universalis-style spin for the particular game - makes a ton of sense to me.

Best,

Blake
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