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Author Topic: Easy Rider meets the X-Files ...  (Read 2095 times)
aplath
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Posts: 63


« on: April 16, 2003, 11:01:02 AM »

Hello all,

Just posting an account of the first session of a new game I started yesterday using the Pool. After a few playtests with the Pool, this one is planned to be a looong story, hopefuly going on weekly for the rest of the year. :-)

I'm not planning on posting full transcriptions of the sessions here, only impressions on game play. I guess people are still interested in that? ;-)

In this first post though, I'll elaborate a little more just to give you an idea of the setting and the characters.

Well, as the subject of the message states, this is a modern fantasy story about two guys traveling around Brazil in their motorcycles and having all kinds of weird experiences.

One of the characters is a total skeptic, very materialist kind of guy while the other is a new-era all things esoteric and supernatural enthusiast. The supernatural stuff that I plan to happen is going to be subtle most of the time, leaving space for doubts, speculation and (as first session alredy shown) much discussion between the two PCs.

Though I enforced the 50 word limit at character creation, the following descriptions might have a different word count, since the original characters were written in Portuguese .... ;-)

Character's name: Santiago
--------------------------------

Santiago has been a hippie but today is a citizen of the world, a good storyteller who loves to drink. After four years settled down, his rebel and nomad spirit awoke once more. Still phisically fit at the age of 45, he decided to go on a new jorney with his old bike, in a spiritual quest, taking along his spoiled nephew.

Traits:

Good Storyteller +1
Citizen of the world +1
Nomad and Rebel spirit +1
Still phisically fit +1
Old bike +1
Spiritual quest +2

Character's name: Gwaine
--------------------------------

Gwaine never liked this name given by his mother, an ex-hippie that turned into a very succesful lawyer, who raised him all by herself. Recently he left a longlasting relationship (by initiative of the woman). Disapointed, he left his promising job at Sao Paulo's stock exchange to follow a reckless uncle in a crazy jorney. Skeptic, he only believes in what he can see, and even then not without reservations.

Traits:

Never liked his own name
His mother is an ex-hippie
His mother is a very succesful lawyer +1
Is disapointed after leaving a long lasting relationship +2
Left a promising job at stock exchange +1
Is following a reckless uncle in a crazy journey +1
Skeptic, believes only in what he sees, with reservations +2

--------------------------------

Now about game play:

The game went very smoothly and the first dice were cast only half-way into the session (after one hour or so). The players were having their first experience with the Pool, coming from a strong D&D background.

The first time they remembered the dice was in a "combat" situation, where they met a bear (that had ran out of a nearby circus) and a werewolf/very big dog (depending on which of the PCs tell the tale).

At this point, they ran into this bear and realized that it was being chased buy someone or something. It turned out it was the might-be-a-werewolf thing, but later one of the players asked: "What if my roll had been succesful and I stated that the bear was being chased by a group of regular everyday hunters? Then your whole werewolf thing would have disapeared in a blink!". After this, they were amazed by the possibilities and I was a little afraid of what might come in the future.

But as it turned out in post session discussion, both players seem to be planning to use the narrative power in a very interesting way: trying to force their characters views of the world into the story. That means, whenever the Gwaine player seizes narration, probably the situation will tend to have a more rational explanation. On the other hand, when Santiago's player narrates, things will tend to the supernatural.

In the kind of story we're attempting here, this might generate very interesting stuff, I hope. :-)

One last note: though we're using standard Pool rules, not once the players considered taking the reward die. They ended the session with pools of 2 dice each, counting on being reseted to 9 next session. :-)

Andreas
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2003, 11:14:16 AM »

Andreas,

First, this is a very cool concept for a game. I just saw Easy Rider for the first time a few weeks ago (I know... I'm an uncultured futz) and this sounds great.

Second, it sounds like your players are describing what they perceive with their successes not what happens. If that's so, that's a very interesting way to use the Pool. Keep us updated: I'd love to know how this turns out.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2003, 11:53:34 AM »

Hi there,

I love these characters and this whole approach to play.

I also suggest that you, as GM, call for rolls as often as possible.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: April 16, 2003, 01:08:15 PM »

One could easily see the appropriateness of a Player vs Player roll off, with pools being gambled to see who gets the MOV to ensure their perception getting built into the story.

In the even that a winning player elects to take a die instead of the MOV, than the GM handing the narration over to the OTHER player might also be an interesting twist.  What could have been a freaky supernatural experience turns into something completely mundane and ordinary when Santiago's player take a die and you hand the narrative over to Gwaine's player...

Groovy
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: April 16, 2003, 01:21:29 PM »

Hi there,

I've posted about this before, but it's pretty old.

Actually, when we have multiple characters involved in a rolling situation, we just play it normally.

1. Everyone rolls, which determines general conflict outcomes (I do not play 'MoV equals unlimited-outcome narration' Pool). So now we know the general ways that everything turned out.

2. Everyone who got one or more 1's chooses whether to take a die or to take a Monologue.

3. If more than one person takes the Monologue (and this includes the GM if anyone failed his or her roll, or if anyone took a die in lieu of the Monologue), then whatever gets narrated is a group effort among them - they have to agree on what "happens," that's all, and what happens can't have contradictory elements.

So far, it's worked beautifully. The often-feared "contradictions will arise!" phenomenon hasn't even glimmered, much less appeared.

Best,
Ron
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aplath
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2003, 09:20:11 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
One could easily see the appropriateness of a Player vs Player roll off, with pools being gambled to see who gets the MOV to ensure their perception getting built into the story.


Actually I don't think it would be Player vs. Player very often. But the idea of each player trying to build their character's perception into the story is very interesting, indeed. When I finally realized that possibility, I was very excited about it.

And if I know the players well, they probably will try to lead the story into their character's point of view but always leaving some space for doubt so that eventualy things might turn out the other way around.

Well I guess time will tell ... :-)

Andreas
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aplath
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2003, 10:56:17 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
Andreas,

First, this is a very cool concept for a game. I just saw Easy Rider for the first time a few weeks ago (I know... I'm an uncultured futz) and this sounds great.


Hey! Don't worry about that... it took me a long time to watch that one too.  And just prior to the game session, I was talking to one of the players and got trashed for not remembering the main actors ... ;-)

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon

Second, it sounds like your players are describing what they perceive with their successes not what happens. If that's so, that's a very interesting way to use the Pool. Keep us updated: I'd love to know how this turns out.


Actually it is a little of both. Sometimes they will narrate the perception and sometimes what happens.

For instance, the player with the skeptic character might narrate a scene with the werewolf thing as if it was a common wolf or even a big dog. That's his perception and for what matters at that moment in the story it really doesn't make a difference what the creature really is.

On the other hand, there might be a moment when it does make a difference. For instance the werewolf thing might get killed and then people would have the opportunity to make a closer examination. The result of that, depending on who did the narration, might give factual proof of one possibility or the other. In that case, the player would be enforcing his character view as a fact in the game world.

I think we have an agreement in our group that the fun thing would be to delay that decisive moment until the right point for that would be the climax of a particular chapter of the story. In my particular opinion, that alone would be the whole point in this campaign concept.

That's why when they are narrating the perception of their characters they should leave room for interpretation by the other side.

Andreas
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James V. West
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« Reply #7 on: April 18, 2003, 08:22:25 PM »

Excellent.

The character world-view approach to narration is great. So many possibilities!

Ron's use of multiple player rolls is also way cool. Seems like a simple way to handle that sort of thing, and right down the right alley for this game. I'll try it out next time.

Hell, now I have to watch Easy Rider! As if it isn't going to take me long enough to watch Seven Samurai!!
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aplath
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #8 on: April 23, 2003, 05:40:05 AM »

Hello all,

I forgot to mention last week that our Easy Rider/The Pool game is being played over the net, using audio conference software. That allows me to run the game from Sao Paulo, Brazil, and the two players to be at another city here in Brazil (Campinas), and Redmond, USA. The Pool simple mecanics help a lot to make this setup possible. ;-)

Well, last night we had our second session. Unfortunately it was a very short one because I showed up late (my daughter was having trouble going to sleep) and one of the players had to leave early.

Since it was a short session, not much happened: basically the characters arrived at a new city and met the main NPCs. There was only one roll.

That single roll was interesting, though: it was called by the player that runs Gwaine, the skeptic character. For sometime in the story, Gwaine's player was sensing something supernatural was going to happen, though his character was oblivious to it.

Suddenly when something weird was clearly going to happen, he called for a roll, got a success and quickly turned the event into something perfectly logical and mundane.

So, the motivation for the roll was to prevent something to happen that would put his characters beliefs against the wall. Being succesful, nothing happened and his character was "safe".

Post session, we had a brief discussion about this, and some issues came up:

1) We talked about the possibility of some kind of "counter roll": the other player, whose character believes in and seeks supernatural stuff, sensing what was going to happen, might want to seize narration from the other player. Our conclusion on this matter was that he might state he wanted to seize narration at the same time as the other player, so that both players would roll and resolution would be handled pretty much as Ron Edwards suggested before in this thread.

If the other player was already narrating the outcome of the event, he should wait until he finished, though he might make suggestions if the narration involved actions of his own character. And he could always try to seize narration after the other player concluded. This things should be short anyway.

2) Yesterday, during his MOV, the player narrated the outcome of the event in a way that ruled out any possible supernatural implication. In that particular event, that wasn't a problem but we saw where it might become a problem if this happened to key events early in a story. The player would be kind of destructive to the overall plot trying to protect his character's particular world view.

What we agreed is that we should always leave some space to doubt when it makes sense. Eventually, if everybody tries to keep things consistent, the story will develop to a point where resolution must happen (a climax?;-) and the final outcome would surface naturally.

The interesting thing we realized is that though I as the GM have an initial premise or at least an idea of what the outcome might be, the group (GM and players) will find out what's behind the misterious events as the story goes at the same time as the characters. Fun. :-)

Finally, some curiosities about our little game for you guys that are not brazilians:

1) In the first session, where the characters met with the "might-be-a-werewolf-thing" they were in a town called Joanopolis. In real life, this town is known as the "brazilian werewolf capital". They have several local legends about werewolves (that are somewhat different from european tales), sighting accounts, a museum and even a society called "The Joanopolis werewolf breeders society", whose sole objective is to spread the legend (and atract tourists to town). There is some material about the town on the net, but unfortunately all that I found was written in portuguese.

2) In the second session, the characters continued their journey and reached a town called Sao Tome das Letras. In real life this town is an esoteric center with all kinds of alternative culture manifestations. There are several UFO sighting reports at that town, though it is also a known fact that THC levels on the atmosphere there might make one see entire intergalactic civilizations, let alone flying saucers... ;-)

Other than supernatural stuff, both towns are known for beautiful landscapes, in particular waterfalls and caves.

regards

Andreas
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