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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 69 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: When Endgame crashes and burns  (Read 3751 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: October 27, 2003, 11:25:48 AM »

Hi Paul,

Up in [My Life with Master] Black ooze oozes forth, Lisa Padol asked this question, including a quote from a previous post:

Quote
"2. Could some mechanism prevent the currently numerically-possible outcome that Endgame rolls do not result in the death of the Master?..."

Yes, I've been wondering this myself. What happens if the Master keeps winning to the point where the minions just ain't gonna win any rolls?


This issue gets brought up a lot. I'm beginning to think that a solution ought to be discussed. For instance, you and I talked about some kind of "everyone loses" outcome, but it did seem a bit clunky in game terms.
Maybe now's a good time to see what can be dreamed up that would work better.

Best,
Ron
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #1 on: October 27, 2003, 12:00:29 PM »

Maybe now's a good time to see what can be dreamed up that would work better.

That's cool. My own thinking is that a minion is advised to be cautious about resisting the Master's commands if their Love is barely greater than Fear plus Weariness, and if they aren't, that the other minions should maybe prevent them from doing so. It's in no one's best interests if a minion with a small die pool (relative to what the Master will be rolling) triggers a protracted endgame. But I'm curious how folks think the game might respond if the situation does occur.

Just to be clear though, it is never a impossible numerically for the minion to defeat the Master. The minion will always be rolling at least one die. And the Master could presumably roll all fours.

Paul
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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
Valamir
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« Reply #2 on: October 27, 2003, 12:16:03 PM »

Well, how about if the Master wins by a large enough margin he simply kills the upstart minion (or breaks them in some fashion), end game is over, the fear level increases by 1, and normal play resumes until someone better equipped to try manages to pull it off.

I would think this would also encourage a longer term play as players would be hesitant to enter endgame too early
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Lisa Padol
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« Reply #3 on: October 27, 2003, 02:41:43 PM »

Okay, so endgame isn't  somethng that is automatically triggered, but something that becomes possible when the stars, er, numbers are right.

Yeah, I know it's numerically possible for a minion rolling one die to defeat the Master, but playing out round after round waiting for that to happen sounds like the bad kind of torture.

-Lisa
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #4 on: October 27, 2003, 02:45:35 PM »

I like Ralph's solution, the ultimate gamble. And, yes, it means that you're out of the game.

OTOH, I also like the "Game Wins" option. How about leave it to a vote of the other players, ties broken by the GM?

BTW, Paul, while it is never statistically impossible, the odds can, in certain circumstances, the rarity of which I'll not speculate on, fall below 1% (including maximum bonus dice). Which means a metric buttload of rolling to get to the master's demise.

Mike
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GB Steve
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« Reply #5 on: October 27, 2003, 03:50:50 PM »

I don't like the idea of killing one PC and starting, even though it is quite a neat way of proceeding. That's because I don't want one person sitting out on their on whilst the others carry on the game.

In this respect I think that you should do something else.

For example, if the odds become insurmountable, the Others turn up and resolve the situation. The Master has clearly become a monster so they kill him. In this case they drag off all the minions that are still alive for their on foul purposes.

On the other hand if Love is high enough, the villagers kill the Master and liberate those minions that don't die.
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Maura Byrne
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2003, 04:18:46 PM »

Quote from: Valamir
Well, how about if the Master wins by a large enough margin he simply kills the upstart minion (or breaks them in some fashion), end game is over, the fear level increases by 1, and normal play resumes until someone better equipped to try manages to pull it off.


I think that thematically this wouldn't work.  I could be wrong, but I thought that the setting that the players set up is supposed to scream "This is an intolerable situation," and cannot continue.  After all, we've got horror being revealed left and right.  I always figured that the game is supposed to use the Fall of the Master as a backdrop.

But I like the idea of increasing the fear level.  Perhaps there could be some kind of threshold for Fear, and if the fear level rises over that threshold then the townsfolk just go mad and destroy the Master, and the town along with it.  Of course, when people turn into a mob there's a good chance that someone's source of love could be injured or killed, or perhaps that townsfolk are so hysterical that love overtures are impossible.  Some way, the endgame is changed, and not for the better, which would make sense if a mob ends the game rather than a minion.

Or maybe there could be a weariness check, to see if the minion can continue in a struggle against the Master.  But I see no point in discontinuing Endgame.  First, it would have to be renamed.  Second, I could see that turning into a kind of version of "Kill Dr. Lucky," and there's already a "Kill Dr. Lucky" out there.  It might be interesting, but  I think that in the end the game has to be about the Master being defied just once.  After that, chips start falling.

Eh - it's probablly just as well not to add rules.  After all, a weak minion who successfully defies the Master just gives the other minions more time to achieve their goals while he gets his butt kicked by the Master.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2003, 07:01:34 PM »

Actually, I think that was proposed, just kicking the Minion out and raising Fear by one. Simple, and works, I think. Could make for long games in some cases.

Mike
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Lisa Padol
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2003, 02:52:34 PM »

Mm, I think for Endgame purposes, killing a Minion is not necessarily a Bad Thing. Think of the B-Movies where the Master does kill one of his own -- it means Things Get Serious.

But I agree that having a player forced to sit out from there on is undesireable. Either you make a new Minion or perhaps play an NPC -- someone's Love?

The Master kicking the Minion out is an interesting alternative. Mechanically, how does this affect the Minion's numbers? What can a kicked out Minion -- and her player -- do?

I do like the idea of the Fear level rising as a result.

-Lisa
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #9 on: October 29, 2003, 08:17:12 AM »

Well...the minion death thing ain't happening. I didn't design a game that precludes PC death only to introduce it back in. "Sucks to be you. Make up a new dude, dude. Or sit and watch."

Ron is right, the issue of never-ending Endgame does get raised a lot. But you know what? It has consistently been just people worrying about it. No one has ever reported an actual occurrence. And should it arise, my strong belief is that the endeavor of collaborative Master creation, group character creation, and the shared effort of play within the structure of the rules, being witness to failed Overtures and whatnot, actually results in game participants being eminently qualified to houserule their way out of a never-ending Endgame.

Once Endgame is initiated, the Master's death is a given. So in the event of a so-called never-ending Endgame, all we're really talking about is how long the group continues to play before deciding the minion characters have achieved Epilogue-conclusive scores. I believe groups are going to figure it out.

Likely after a few rounds of Endgame they'll look at the stats of the minions, realize they're all destined to die, and negotiate an Othello-esque ending to their game that's supremely satisfying to everyone. Or perhaps one of the characteristics of their Master is his capacity for mistaking his minions for each other...and so when the minion contesting with the Master grows Weary, they decide another minion (whose Love is also greater than Fear plus Weariness) will switch in for him.

Really, a group collectively realizing that Endgame is become protracted and threatens the integrity of the story is functional intrusion of social contract. Instead of fearing it, shouldn't we be thrilling to it? Isn't that what narrativism is all about...creating a mechanical basis for a story-focused play gestalt that handles risen concerns with uncommon power?

Why should I doubt that a group won't be able to resolve the situation in a way that satisfies them?

Paul
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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
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« Reply #10 on: October 29, 2003, 08:35:55 AM »

Welllll .... maybe. Speaking of functional play, I agree with you. In the last two games I've played, in both cases, when the rebelling Minion failed an attempt or two, the other players framed themselves right into the kill-Master scene to help. And both games were indeed characterized by honest, overt, verbalized hatred for the Master among all the players.

More generally, though, I tend to dislike hopping to "naked Social Contract" myself, especially for climactic resolution. I'm better with it in terms of not-especially Premise-relevant logistics or scene-changes. I don't think the issue is one of Narrativism at all - it's neither more nor less Narrativist to rely on Social Contract for resolution/outcomes than anything else.

I may have to make another one of those marginal notes, more or less exactly what you posted, into my book, so I can feel like we're "following the rules" in doing it.

Best,
Ron
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #11 on: October 29, 2003, 11:59:56 AM »

Hey Ron,

More generally, though, I tend to dislike hopping to "naked Social Contract" myself, especially for climactic resolution.

Yeah...actually, I kind of feel the same way. But I'm trying to resist that feeling. I have this notion it's a gamer thing, and that normal people, well-prepared by the play experience, will output a communally satisfying result when they arrive at the natural ending of the minion stories, like gestalt, pretty much without hardly realizing they were forced to fill in the gaps. Subsequent mental reflection for them will be "that was awesome," not "that really fell apart at the end." But maybe I'm wrong.

I may have to make another one of those marginal notes, more or less exactly what you posted, into my book, so I can feel like we're "following the rules" in doing it.

Did I tell you I've been vaguely putting together a small list of "official" rules annotations, suggestions for what folks might scrawl in their best deranged handwriting at various points in the margins of the book? So far I have three, but I'm mulling this one as an addition.

Paul
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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
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