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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 58 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: PTA: No Myth structure?  (Read 838 times)
Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« on: April 29, 2003, 12:12:07 PM »

I started thinking about the following rules for Primetime Adventures soon after the current playtest started. I think what I've got below might actually promote the no-myth play that's been recently discussed, but it might just be the diet coke talking.

Anyway, PTA is a game about a player-created TV show, in the vein of the currently popular action-drama hybrids, like, say, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. You create a show and then play it. One player is the Producer, who does the GM-like stuff.

Since it's a show, there are sets and established supporting characters. The players get to create some of these at the start, and can pull them into the story, sort of like requesting a scene in Trollbabe.

For each episode, the Producer has the right to introduce new sets and characters.

When play is in motion, the sets and characters work sort of like the genre expectations. Players can do whatever they want, as long as it includes established sets and characters.

From my perspective, I think that's a structure that might keep "GMs" interested in No Myth play from completely freaking out. "Holy crap, they could go anywhere and do anything."

What I'm wondering is what sort of limits a Producer should have, like, say, how many sets can the P introduce? How many new characters, and so on.

I'm also thinking that new characters and sets might make for a good reward mechanic for players. The series is successful, and there's more budget for sets, which the players can come up with.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #1 on: April 30, 2003, 08:05:34 AM »

Quote from: Matt Wilson

From my perspective, I think that's a structure that might keep "GMs" interested in No Myth play from completely freaking out. "Holy crap, they could go anywhere and do anything."


This is a problem? Hmm. I suppose it might make some GMs uncomfortable.

Anyhow, I think your structure, regardless of the above statement, should work fairly well, as long as it's communicated clearly in the rules. For example, I'm a little confused about the idea of players getting to make sets. Does this mean that they are a "producer" or GM for that episode?

People have attepted to make multi-layer roles for RPGs before. And it can work. But you have to be careful. So, if the player's role is to play a character, that's one thing. But if it's to play an actor playing a character, that's waaaay more complicated. Just as you have to separate player vs. character, you have to do so carefully with any number of layers that you put into a game.

This is the hardest thing with reading TQB, right now, BTW. Does the player play the character? Or a Bard telling the character's story? Very different.

Mike
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Jeffrey Miller
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« Reply #2 on: April 30, 2003, 10:08:37 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
This is the hardest thing with reading TQB, right now, BTW.


TQB?  0_o

-j-
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #3 on: April 30, 2003, 10:23:51 AM »

Don't people read the Independent Publishers page here? Sheesh! :-)

TQB = The Questing Beast, a version of The Pool by James West of RandomOrdercerations.

Mike
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Matt Wilson
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« Reply #4 on: April 30, 2003, 10:53:01 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes

Anyhow, I think your structure, regardless of the above statement, should work fairly well, as long as it's communicated clearly in the rules. For example, I'm a little confused about the idea of players getting to make sets. Does this mean that they are a "producer" or GM for that episode?


Actually, no. To clarify, the game has kind of a philosophy to it regarding the whole TV show thing. It's sort of taking the actor/director/author stance viewpoint, and saying, okay, so what you're already doing when you're playing a lot of games is kind of like creating a TV show, so let's pick rules that focus on that a little more. There's no scenes where you play the actors backstage or anything like that.

There's a whole bit in prep where you create the show. None of the classic GM "this is my world" thing, but group-created. Maybe the producer pitches an idea, but the game encourages (and hopefully empowers) the other players to request certain things. Kind of like in Universalis where people can pay coins for setting/story elements, but not quite as formally laid out.

During this and chargen, players (including producer) get to create the sets for the show, as well as supporting cast. The producer can introduce new sets for every episode, and situations along with them. Note that I'm still working out a few things on how sets work.[/ i]

And yeah, I'm personally a little daunted by the "go anywhere, do anything" idea. But I also think that when certain elements of a game are restricted (e.g. you only play cops), other elements get more focus.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #5 on: April 30, 2003, 11:20:30 AM »

I'm still not getting it.

You mean that all participants are producers first, and then they become actors later? Or are these in-between roles non-existent?

I think that rather than clarifying by making the TV/Stance analogy you're really muddying the waters potentially. Unless there's just something I'm not getting.

It's exactly an informal statement of roles that I'm against. This is where ambiguity causes problems in play.

Mike
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Matt Wilson
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« Reply #6 on: April 30, 2003, 11:43:53 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I'm still not getting it.

You mean that all participants are producers first, and then they become actors later? Or are these in-between roles non-existent?

I think that rather than clarifying by making the TV/Stance analogy you're really muddying the waters potentially. Unless there's just something I'm not getting.

It's exactly an informal statement of roles that I'm against. This is where ambiguity causes problems in play.

Mike


I think we're getting off on a weird tangent, but I want to make sure I'm making sense. If Mike Holmes is confused, I'm done for.

I said this way back in the first post:
Quote
One player is the Producer, who does the GM-like stuff.


... and I still mean it. That's one person. If someone else wants to be producer, then it's really a different game. Can you tell me where I got you off that track? If I said something that sounded contrary to that, I'll reiterate.

What my previous posts would boil down to, hopefully, is this:
    * Shared creation of setting, including NPCs and genre expectations.
    * Limits on GM's (that's the Producer) ability to impose too much story control.
    * Attention to multiple stances in play. All I'm saying in print is that it's officially okay to use OOC knowledge, since you aren't actually that guy. You're you, trying to make a cool story happen.
    [/list:u]

    And this all done through the lens of "it's TV."
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kregmosier
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« Reply #7 on: April 30, 2003, 11:48:42 AM »

This is what i thought you were talking about 'til i re-read the first post...

-k
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #8 on: April 30, 2003, 01:17:26 PM »

Quote from: Matt Wilson
II think we're getting off on a weird tangent, but I want to make sure I'm making sense. If Mike Holmes is confused, I'm done for.
Quote
One player is the Producer, who does the GM-like stuff.


... and I still mean it. That's one person. If someone else wants to be producer, then it's really a different game. Can you tell me where I got you off that track? If I said something that sounded contrary to that, I'll reiterate.
First, I'm the most confused person I know. So don't let that bother you. Actually it's because I intentionally confuse myself. But that's another topic...

My point is that you say that the Producer can make Sets. Then you say that you'd reward players by giving them the ability to make Sets. Well, from a perspective of a second level of role, this would make them, temporarily producers by definition. Those who make scenes.

I think I get what you mean, really. But my point is that by calling the participant the Producer, and likening the whole to a TV show, you beg for player's to believe that this layer of reality exists. And that can be confusing. Is the Producer just the GM with a fancy-shmancy title? Then you had better make it known. I'd just use GM. :-)

This is especially true when you get all "pervy" with stances. See, the Producer isn't strictly analogous to what most players would think of as GM. So suddenly all the preconceptions of what the Producer is go out the window.

If you make it clear what each participants' prerogatives are in the text, I'm sure it'll be fine. Just keep an eye on that when writing. Thas all...

Mike
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