*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
July 23, 2014, 08:20:03 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 70 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Late-stage playtest  (Read 3630 times)
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« on: May 07, 2003, 01:16:48 PM »

Hello,

We played My Life with Master with the campus group last night. I was the GM.

Both Master creation and, character creation worked wonderfully and set up all the usual responses during play itself: massive protagonism (even including when one minion beat another one mercilessly), cheers at the end at the fates of the minions, and apparently a real hatred for the Master.

The Master = Tasos von Bech, a Teacher Brain with a tad of Beast - his whole schtick was using living humans as "canvases" for works of art, in the burning desire that agony-as-art would become a highly imitated form. Interestingly, almost none of the minions were physically grotesque; their More Than / Less Than statements tended to be vocal, artistic, and behavioral.

Everyone got it right away, such that when a new mechanic came into play (e.g. Fear ceasing to be relevant to most tasks during Endgame), players tended to nod and grunt in agreement - they grasped the sort of uber-score represented by Fear without trouble.

I assume the S&M proclivities of everyone on this thread wants to know the following ...

Archimedes, the rather hideous baby stealer who could command women's minds did some neat stuff by scheming with the local witch against the Master; in his first scene, he rummaged for bread in the baker's garbage bin, and he died after much shenanigans (his confession scene was especially horrible), attacked by the baker's wife, breaking his neck in falling into that same garbage bin.  

Natalie, the usually croak-voiced singer, was quite obedient to the Master, but racked up the most Love and the least Self-Loathing, mainly because Archimedes carried out most of the awful acts involved. Hence she was the Endgamer. She listened to the horrified and desperate pleas of the art critic the Master had brought in (which is where most of the commands were directed throughout the game), and hurled the Master's twitching body (impaled with various instruments) from the tallest tower, to the accompaniment of lightning. She was integrated into the town.

Samuel, the blurry-visioned strongman, was the classic hideous toady. He obeyed every command without resisting and accumulated no Love at all, bulking up to a gross amount of Self-Loathing. He got to kick everyone's butt, including the horrid swarm of discarded but still-alive canvasses that surged out of the boarded-up East Wing eventually ... the player decreed that Samuel was the Master's only success in terms of prompting an artistic imitator, as he went and used his own body as a canvas, killing himself by doing so.

Rossi, the charming male guitarist and singer (we were especially impressed that the player wrote his lyrics in-between overture scenes) was beaten by Samuel, saw his girlfriend beaten by her father and killed by Samuel, and finally was seized by the mob and torn apart by oxen. His final curse on the Master was pretty heartfelt on the player's part and we all felt it necessary to make it simultaneous, in-game, with the Master's actual end.

Sonya, the up-close beautiful hideous albino, did a fine job of being horribly wrong in all of her overtures, such as bringing little Janie's mother to where the Janie "canvas" had been discarded out of kindness. The player did try to double-dip both obeying the Master and rolling for an Overture with the same acts, but quickly conceded that the two things couldn't possibly be compatible. She ended up dying neglected in the insane asylum.

ISSUE ONE: Not enough love in enough time
metagame pacing and mechanics - problem. Tons of self-loathing, not enough love; had to force endgame via dropping Fear just to see what it was like - it didn't *develop* through actual play.

One consideration: the number of players. We had five minions in play. This means that the number of scenes per person per unit time was low, which in turn means a reduced number of chances per unit time for Love to build up. On a related note, a couple of the players pointed out that they thought the game was far better suited to multiple-session play rather than a single session. Part of this had to do with the accumulation of Love, but it also makes sense considering that the GM has to frame scenes on the fly, and it's worth having a few in mind that can really punctuate the various More Than / Less Than statements.

Another consideration: Endgame occurs when Love outstrips Fear + Weariness, and hence simply when Fear is low. It has nothing to do with Reason, and thus the text's claim about the results of specific Fear/Reason ratios is mistaken. I also suggest providing starting values for Love and Fear; some of my players had a hard time seeing that putting them into double digits was silly.

Yet another consideration, and more reasons to modify the general comments about Fear and Reason in relation to one another: gaining Love is based on the opposition of Fear - Reason. Given the rules for 0 or negative pools, this means that Fear - Reason = 1, Fear = Reason, or Reason > Fear all have the same result: a single opposing die for gaining Love. These effects are scale-independent.

ISSUE TWO: Sometimes you need task resolution
Question: one minion is attempting to kill a woman. The other one is attempting to flee with the woman, enabling them both to escape. What does each one roll? I decided it was an opposed roll (rather than two separate and separately-opposed rolls), but had a hard time figuring what the second minion's roll would be (the first obviously rolls Self-Loathing + Fear).

As a related issue, the existing text needs some basic standards for handling scene requests, especially when players want them simultaneously. When all the minions' activities start to intersect, then who goes when becomes awfully important.

Both of these are probably easily handled by the existing mechanics, but I strongly suggest providing examples.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 08, 2003, 04:47:12 PM »

Hey Ron,

Both Master creation and, character creation worked wonderfully and set up all the usual responses during play itself: massive protagonism (even including when one minion beat another one mercilessly), cheers at the end at the fates of the minions, and apparently a real hatred for the Master.

I'm really glad you had fun with it. Your report of spontaneous applause for the Epilogues, and grunts of approval for the various game mechanics really makes me happy.

Now let's see about these issues...

ISSUE ONE: Not enough love in enough time

My GM advice chapter, which you haven't seen, and which I actually haven't written yet, will suggest that groups interested in a single-session game start each minion with a few Love. Now that I think about it, there ought to be a simple rule of thumb...starting Love equal to some fraction of Fear plus the average Weariness score. Whaddya think?

The text about the length of play being related to the difference between Fear and Reason emerged from observations by Mike Holmes here in the playtest forum. His analysis is that regardless of how high a minion's Love is relative to Fear plus Weariness, the player still has to roll Love minus Weariness greater than the Master's roll of Fear plus Self-loathing in order to trigger Endgame. If Fear is high and Reason is low, it's more likely the minion will be earning a lot of Self-loathing for his overtures...and that will tend to offset the minion's efforts to trigger Endgame using the Love he got in conjunction with all that Self-loathing. If Love and Self-loathing go up pretty much in parallel, because there's a big disparity between Fear and Reason, the Master will always be rolling more dice than the minion, probably more than five or six more dice, which is generally going to be enough to offset any Intimacy, Desperation, or Sincerity dice that might be in play on the minion's side.

So, it seems like some text about that dynamic is worth having. But I agree with you, there needs to be some explicit language about how best to set up for a single-session game.

...a couple of the players pointed out that they thought the game was far better suited to multiple-session play rather than a single session.

My design intent behind My Life with Master was for it to be a multiple-session game. For a while, lots of folks were somehow envisioning it as not suited to multi-session play. So I'm real glad to hear otherwise.

ISSUE TWO: Sometimes you need task resolution

Based on the detail you've provided, my thinking on how I'd have handled it is that without a relevant More than Human, the minion who wants to help the NPC flee has only two options:

1. Use Love greater than Weariness to aid the NPC's attempt to resist the violence of the other minion. "Rebecca, you must flee. Your life is in danger!"

2. Resort to violence against the other minion.

Okaynowmyquestions...

You describe one minion whose Self-loathing got pretty high. Did The Horror Revealed ever come into play? Can you describe the circumstances, and the horror the player chose to describe?

What about minions aiding each other? Did it happen?

Your Master is cool. How the hell did you manage Master creation, minion creation and gameplay all in a single evening?

Was there laughter among the players? Was it from the shared appreciation of seeing genre conventions satisfied? Can you give an example?

Thanks,

Paul
Logged

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
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2003, 05:59:38 AM »

Quote
...starting Love equal to some fraction of Fear plus the average Weariness score. Whaddya think?


That there's probably a name for whatever afflicts you. Just say, "start with a couple points of Love."

I think Mike's analysis applies over the long term with multiple rolls so that the statistics have enough instances to get expressed as trends. I think that shorter-term games can leave out both the Weariness and the Reason factors.

We had, um, three Horrors Revealed, the latter two simultaneous. If I remember correctly, they were ...

1. Townspeople beating the farmer to death, because he dared speak against the Master while he was beating his daughter in the street.

2. Somewhat later, the townswomen going kind of berserk and marching on the Master's mansion in search of little lost Janie and her mother.

3. The baker's wife killing her husband.

Quote
Your Master is cool. How the hell did you manage Master creation, minion creation and gameplay all in a single evening?


Because I'm so cool. You may marvel, yes.

Seriously, though, we did skip some of the crucial metagame shift mechanics, most notably the actual prompt to Endgame.

We laughed quite frequently - (1) pure appreciation based on what I can only call basic humanity, especially for attempts to resist the Master's commands and especially during his death-scene; (2) the blend of approval and disgust that seems endemic to both this game and to Violence Future, e.g. when the lunatic got tortured (everyone felt pretty sorry for the lunatic), or when little Janie's mom got hung up on a meat-hook opposite from little Janie, so they could "keep each other company."

Best,
Ron
Logged
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #3 on: May 27, 2003, 04:44:50 AM »

Hey Ron,

One more question on your playtest...

Interestingly, almost none of the minions were physically grotesque; their More Than / Less Than statements tended to be vocal, artistic, and behavioral.

You wouldn't happen to have records of the character More/Less thans, would you? I'm currently writing up the GM advice section on the topic.

Paul
Logged

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
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!