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Author Topic: Peregrine - the season in perspective  (Read 1137 times)
Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 1121

student, second edition


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« on: May 23, 2003, 12:50:09 PM »

So last night wrapped up a six "episode" playtest of a game I'm working on, which I won't shill here, other than to explain how some fun stuff happened.

First observation - the combo of "playtest my game" and "I wonder if I'm any good as a GM" are really incompatible. I think the insecurity is multiplied.

Second observation - having a playtest group made exclusively of heightened-awareness Forge folks probably isn't the best way to test game coherence.

But playtesting aside, I enjoyed some new experiences as a GM, this being the first game I've GM'ed since bein' schooled on all this good Forge stuff.

I'm far from feeling comfortable with it yet, but I really like the whole "step back and play bass" approach. The rules of the game facilitate this pretty well with strong player narration rights. The players - for what it's worth-  went gung-ho with it, so in that sense it was probably the best environment I could have had to try out this kind of style.

One observation - I think the difficulty in adopting this "release the tight grip of control" method is more in the resistance than the actual doing. To quote a certain movie: "You must unlearn what you have learned."

The game was set in a far future post-apocalypse setting, a TV show called "Peregrine," which I proposed to the players, and they filled in some blanks during chargen. Still a lot of empty canvas at the start of play, which worked out great in on-the-fly narration from all of us. If the rules don't say "there's no such place as Nebbins III," then there's nothing to stop you from creating it in a reference.

During the game, the players used their narration rights not only to declare immediate information like Donjon's facts, they also took the opportunity to paint the canvas. One character explains how a piece of equipment works, another refers to a certain culture, someone invents this whole running gag about this strange cheese in the cargo hold, strange robotically controlled razor-tooth puppies, cloning tanks, the list goes on. We started with a few scraps of setting info, and we ended up with a really rich galaxy.

Any unlike the last game I GM'ed, I only came up with a tiny amount of the overall detail. It was great.

One last observation - it seems to me that while narration rights and narrativism aren't the same thing, having the former in player control made it easier to pull off the latter. I don't know that there were many real N decisions made during the game, but the ones that seemed like it were largely brought about by the players, not me.
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2003, 01:17:50 PM »

I am interested in how the Episodic nature of the game worked. Did you work at as a TV show or were the episodes all very closely related.  Or more precisely was it very close relation like 24 or over-arching story like B5?

Sounded like it was fun


Sean
ADGBoss
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: May 23, 2003, 01:28:21 PM »

Quote from: Matt Wilson
Second observation - having a playtest group made exclusively of heightened-awareness Forge folks probably isn't the best way to test game coherence.

John Wick once told me that you haven't really tested a game until you've put it in front of a bunch of really bad players (or dumb players or something to that effect). And that's certainly true.

OTOH, you want both, really.

Mike
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #3 on: May 23, 2003, 01:33:15 PM »

Quote from: ADGBoss
I am interested in how the Episodic nature of the game worked. Did you work at as a TV show or were the episodes all very closely related.  Or more precisely was it very close relation like 24 or over-arching story like B5?


It was like a closely-related TV series. With only 5 episodes (the last was a double-plus-big season finale), we didn't have time to have unconnected episodes.

Still, it seemed that each one focused on a separate piece of the story, and while, for example, the episode my character Friday faced off with his long-lost (and thought-dead) buddy Jerusalem told a little story of its own, it was a subplot in the larger over-arching plot.

It was a damn good time, by the way. Matt - if you want to explore the details of the story, I'll post my highlights.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Matt Wilson
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 1121

student, second edition


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« Reply #4 on: May 24, 2003, 09:33:16 AM »

Quote from: Clinton
Matt - if you want to explore the details of the story, I'll post my highlights.


That'd be cool.

I had a really vague idea in my head about an overarching story, based loosely on a game I GM'ed a year or so ago. But I didn't have any specific thoughts about players needing to be in specific places or find specific things, aside from a few bits in the "pilot episode." The group kind of came up with their own purpose, and I kind of let them do the work for me, and filled in story around them. It worked pretty well.

My "step out of the way" attempt didn't really kick in, I don't think, until the third game session, which Clinton posted about previously. At that point, I was thinking, okay, I'm starting to see what this kind of play can be.

In prep - from then on - what I ended up doing was making a whole bunch of notes about who could be related to/in business with/etc whom, but nothing anchored down, so that if a player said, "hey, I bet that guy's in league with the bad guys," and it seemed pretty cool, I could uproot the NPC and make it a fact.

But really, for me the most fun was when the other players would dream up cool stuff to add to the story, and everyone would feed off each other's ideas.
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