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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [My Life with Master] Black ooze oozes forth  (Read 14808 times)
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #15 on: October 17, 2003, 01:16:54 PM »

Problem #3 (the first) The problem really only happens if the players stop doing overtures. Because with enough Love, killing the Master is always possible. An easy guide would be to say that if two rounds pass late in the game with no attempts, then they've given up trying. If that happens, then I think it'll become readily apparent that the Master has won, and the game should end on some appropriate note.

That'd be hella cool. I love games that can win against the players.


On problem #2, there are cases, especially when the character's Self Loathing+Fear is greater than 10 that you could end up with a less than 1% chance to kill him (It's never a statistical impossibility, however, even without bonuses). To get to that point takes missing multiple rolls at a much better chance of success. So, its unlikely to happen.

I'm assuming that at some point the GM will stop using bonuses, and the player will be going for Sincerity. If it looks rough for the Minion, then it seems logical to me that the GM should take this as the Master's cue to gloat and he'll hardly be Intimate or Desperate.

Also, the odds are increased if another Minion helps. Which they should if they want to avoid some of the nastyness of the Endgame. Further, if the player goes in with more than the minimum Love it helps a lot. Your game ended, as you say Ron, early, meaning as soon as possible, because of player competition to be the one to kill the Master - a gamble on your part. In fact excess Love is the the only way an extremely high SL character is going to make it.

If it does happen that the odds get that bad, however (GM is rolling ten more dice than the character or so), then I suppose you'd have to be very determined to play out the potentially hundreds of rounds that it might take to get him. At that point, I think the player should probably admit his impotence and say that the Master has won as well.

I like that this can happen. It makes deciding when to "go in" strategic, and the chance of failure gives the player a sense of tension that he might not make it.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #16 on: October 17, 2003, 04:51:18 PM »

Hi Mike,

It never ceases to amaze me that you bring Gamist rhetoric to discussions of Narrativist play (as with the Little Fears discussion). "Player competition" in our game, regarding defying the Master? Bzzzz, wrong answer.

As it happens, I very nearly did not have my character attempt to resist the Master's command. I did so for a single reason: the other players and the GM really wanted to see my character show the Master the demerit he had scribbled into his little book. Egged on by their cries, I decided to take the pain and do so. Also, as I mentioned, I didn't even go for the Sincerity die but earned it more-or-less through an unexpected onset of Actor Stance.

Best,
Ron
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #17 on: October 17, 2003, 06:15:45 PM »

Hey Ron,

I did so for a single reason: the other players and the GM really wanted to see my character show the Master the demerit he had scribbled into his little book. Egged on by their cries, I decided to take the pain and do so.

Out of curiousity, do you think this translates to a likelihood they'll author their characters providing aid to you during Endgame?

Paul
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #18 on: October 18, 2003, 08:58:45 AM »

Hi Paul,

I haven't thought about it, and I think it's immaterial. If we end up "teaming up" that'd be one story (or kind of story); if we don't, that's three separate stories (kind of like the one implied through the illustrations in the rulebook). Either way or something in-between (based on inter-scene issues unknown to the characters) is fine by me.

You know me; it's all Premise and Theme stuff realized through high-Actor Stance play when the real crisis hits. I find thinking about questions like yours to be counter-productive, speaking for myself only.

Best,
Ron
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GB Steve
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« Reply #19 on: October 18, 2003, 11:13:11 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi Mike,

It never ceases to amaze me that you bring Gamist rhetoric to discussions of Narrativist play (as with the Little Fears discussion). "Player competition" in our game, regarding defying the Master? Bzzzz, wrong answer.
Regardless of whether one is playing to defeat the Master or not, there is a problem with the endgame in that sometimes it's nearly impossible to defeat the Master if the character with whom the Master is fighting has very high self-loathing. You can just stay in the endgame with this PC accumulating weariness and it's not clear what to do.

That's exactly what would have happened in our game had the other minions not joined in, and even then it was a very close run thing.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #20 on: October 19, 2003, 07:53:03 PM »

Hello,

We finished our game today, and I decided to present my notes from the session, as I was the self-appointed "scene-recorder" during the game.

The Master: Adrian von Auenbrugger, Lord Schwartzschlamm.

Minerva: played by Maura, a scary silent midwife type who I think never made an Overture without gaining Self-Loathing.

Nestor: played by Tod, a hairy sniveling groundskeeper; kicked into Overture overdrive during the pre-Endgame session.

Augustin: played by me, the dried-out intellectual schoolmaster with sadistic overtones.

Endgame hit at the close of our previous session. Julie went over the sequence of scenes rules with us, and then we kicked in ...

1. Nestor was attacked by his Connection's brother or cousin with a butcher knife, and took some Weariness (spurt spurt).

2. Minerva was confronted by a staggering slimy bog-zombie woman and successly did some Violence to keep from being zombie-hugged (nrrr ...). She gained Self-Loathing ... which by the rules prompted a Horror Revealed next time.

3. Augustin was rather soundly thwacked by the Master (Julie's total was 25; mine was 2) for a point of Weariness. Oh, just to give perspective, Augustin begins this session with Self-Loathing 6, Weariness 3, and Love 9.

4. Tod requested a scene for an Overture to the aunt, and Nestor succeeded in getting some Love without Self-Loathing.

5. Maura had to cut away from Minerva and do a Horror Revealed, and wouldn't you know it, but now the black ooze was streaming through the streets, and all sorts of appalling children-ick things started emerging from the sewers.

6. Augustin pulled a burning log from the fire to attack the Master, but even with the Desperation die, my roll failed. More Weariness.

7. Julie isn't letting Tod off easy with the butcher-knife boy, and Nestor fails to escape via Villainy (note: he does not gain Self-Loathing).

8. Minerva uses Villainy to get the now-several bog-ladies to follow/chase her toward the Master. Success = guess what, another Horror Revealed coming up next for Maura.

9. Augustin pulls out the stops and taps right into the Master's deepest Wants in his monologue, getting me the Sincerity die, but you know, it doesn't work too well now that he's carrying all that Weariness. And now there's one point more to grow on, too.

10. Nestor gets slashed again, but Tod's request to get into the Master-confrontation is honored, and he contributes 5 dice to my next resistance attempt.

11. Maura has a horror-fest for her Horror Revealed and we learn that the black ooze is subsuming animals and old people in town, and the defective children are all hunching and stumbling toward the estate, saying "Daddy ... Daddy ..."

12. All right, Augustin's Weariness is now ridiculous, but I go for the Sincerity die by having him call on God and acknowledge his failures, and beg for aid. Clearly this is a Swedish movie because my total ( although higher than any so far) is not successful. Augustin's down to way low dice now.

13. Adrian commands Nestor to kill Augustin, but Nestor resists, and Julie rules that Nestor is now empowered to attack Adrian directly as well.

14. Minerva, confronted by a swarm of evil defective slimy children, uses Villainy again to get them pointed in the right direction, i.e., toward Adrian.

15. Nestor and Augustin are now essentially in the same scene, and I have Augustin aid Nestor instead of the other way 'round. This time, the rolls tie! So obviously, this means the bog-mommies and bog-kids must swarm in and disrupt everything.

16. Finally, Minerva can help too, and with both of our dice to help, Nestor succeeds in killing the Master. Julie narrates that he's dragged by the swamp kiddies back into the bog, and we all approve heartily.

I have lots of further points and comments and questions about some rules-stuff and decisions during play, but I'll wait on that. I figure it's more fun for now to talk about the Epilogues.

Augustin gained enough Weariness from Adrian's beating to change his Epilogue from re-integrate with townspeople to being killed. I decided to have him die during the fight, and Maura suggested that Adrian killed him in a fairly offhand-way during with the fireplace-poker that had come into narration a couple of scenes into the fight. That worked great for me: Augustin's moment of greatness came when he defied Adrian, and to die as an afterthought seemed perfect for this guy.

Minerva qualified for being killed as well as for suicide, which surprised no one who'd watched her Self-Loathing hit the roof. Maura opted for having her torn limb from limb by the bog-children, as she had facilitated their horrific production as the bog-midwife.

Nestor actually gained enough Love to get the re-integration ending! This was a big shock to Tod; ever since he had Nestor drown poor little Franc in the black bog, I think he'd been resigned to a pretty foul ending. But Nestor had busted his hump to save his Connection Hilde time after time, and now it all paid off. He discovered Hilde in the wilds before she got eaten, assaulted, dismembered, and/or frozen to death, and she gets him integrated with the townspeople.

I should like to report that the following exchange occurred between the two female members of the group:

[Julie has specified that the bog-women are no longer clothed]

"They're really slimy but they have attractive breasts!"

"Nekkid slimy bog-women!"

"Mud-wrestlers!"


Best,
Ron
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #21 on: October 20, 2003, 09:04:38 AM »

Hey Ron,

Minerva uses Villainy to get the now-several bog-ladies to follow/chase her toward the Master. Success = guess what, another Horror Revealed coming up next for Maura.

This, I love. Minerva chooses to disregard her lack of Love relative to Self-loathing, completely accept the Endgame she must know she has coming, and use the Villainous effectiveness she does have to color herself a role in the Master's demise. It's the ultimate self-sacrifice. Even a minion with Weariness greater than Love, who can't contribute dice to another minion locked in Endgame with the Master, can still color himself/herself into the outcome in a thematically meaningful way.

Paul
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #22 on: October 20, 2003, 09:15:41 AM »

Hi Paul,

Well, she did contribute some helping dice against the Master in the very last scene, but essentially, yes. I mentioned that her Epilogue was the quintessential "low self-esteem" lesson, and Maura responded that Minerva was "just following orders" ... and that's what you get when you do that.

We were interested in whether the Horror Revealed mechanics were utilized during Endgame, and it seemed clear that they were. The ramifications are very interesting - positing that the player chooses to use Violence or Villainy in the GM-framed scenes, and if Self-Loathing hits the ceiling, then the player is essentially giving up his or her subsequence requested-scene. It's a very strong little system feature.

Here are some system-musing questions that arose during play for me.

1. Does the Master get to utilize Fear either in issuing commands? Similarly, does the roll of a Minion who attempts an Overture take Fear into account during Endgame?

2. Faced with a conflict which seems to call for either Villainy or Violence to deal with it, what if a player says, "My Minion just takes it." An automatic point of Weariness?

3. Similarly, what if the player chooses to have the Minion simply flee the scene? I suppose it might be a Villainy roll, but what do you think?

Other fun observations about our final session include ...

- When the bog-woman attacked Minerva, both Tod and I stretched our arms forward toward Maura and leaned sideways in our seats, and went "Nerrr ... urrrgg ..." without any particular communication or orchestration between us.

- When Nestor did flee from the butcher-knife NPC, after taking another slash, Maura and I (i.e. the other two players) described his actions to one another, including making panicked faces and waving our arms over our heads.

- When the bog-children were first mentioned, everyone at the table gleefully supplied adjectives including "pasty," "defective," and "searching."

Best,
Ron
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jrs
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« Reply #23 on: October 20, 2003, 10:05:10 AM »

To follow up on Ron's questions, here are a couple issues that I was uncertain about as GM.  Can the Master issue commands to other PC minions during Endgame?  When Nestor appeared on the scene to lend aid to Augustin, I deemed it reasonable for the Master to elicit Nestor's aid in destroying the rebellous minion.  Also, is it acceptable to have the primary attacker switch from one minion to the other?  I wasn't certain if this was kosher, but it worked for us.

One of the things I really enjoyed about MLwM is how it seems to run itself with only a modicum of planning from me as the GM.  I just needed to get into the right mindset and be willing to think on my feet.  For example, the bog women introduced in the first Horror Revealed ended up being a major game component.  Before play I had decided the bog children in town were NPC minions and could not be used as overtures.  With the bog women I had to decide rather quickly how they would be treated in the game.  The two wives became Townspeople; the sister an Outsider.  Subsequently, two of the bog women became overtures (and since they're undead, a fairly safe source of love), and ultimately became the tools for the destruction of the Master.

Julie
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Borogove
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« Reply #24 on: October 20, 2003, 11:22:10 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
But Nestor had busted his hump to save his Connection Hilde time after time


<marty_feldman>
"What hump?"
</marty_feldman>
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #25 on: October 21, 2003, 08:37:31 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
It never ceases to amaze me that you bring Gamist rhetoric to discussions of Narrativist play (as with the Little Fears discussion). "Player competition" in our game, regarding defying the Master? Bzzzz, wrong answer.
Well it never ceases to amaze me how you miss it. Not that I'm saying that you had that experience. I was under the impression that your statement about the game ending early when two players had reached the threshold at the same time was an indication of Gamism. Apparently I was wrong.

But my thoughts were informed this way because it would have been Gamism in my case, or in the games that I've seen. "There can be only one" character who gets the ultimate treat of being the protagonist that kills the Master. And I've found that competition to be that player is palpable. Even when players are going for a goal on their own, I sense that there's a Step-On-Up element about reaching that goal cleverly. Manipulating the events so that the system says that you did well. Anyhow, like I said, it amazes me that people don't see it because it seems so clear to me.

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #26 on: October 21, 2003, 08:59:17 AM »

Hi Mike,

Yup, it's a difference in how we play. Not necessarily an incompatible one, but perceptibly present simply when we're at the same table. Regarding the discussion of MLWM, I don't "miss seeing" this sort of approach - but it's not what I or the people in this particular group happen to do.

To some folks, a managed resource and a set of privileged or at least codified "directions" a character's fate can go, prompts immediate Step On Up. It may very consistent for that person or may not. To others, it doesn't, either at all or not very often anyway.

A while ago, I laid out some possible categories of game designs facilitating Narrrativist play, one of which included games like My Life with Master: lots of structure, highly behavioral scores which fluctuate, lots of conflict with a well-defined "this happens" general outcome. I also think this category of design is most likely to yield very easy and quickie Gamist Drift, which is not a bad thing at all if everyone's good with it. I'm pretty sure that if you and I were in such a game together, we'd have to resolve that issue very clearly or one of us would have a rotten time.

Which leads me also to point out the game/techniques in which (I think) we'd be most compatible: HeroQuest. I suspect that we'd both value the Explorative foundation of the material enough to maintain the integrity of what we each, respectively, wanted to do with it. HeroQuest as a game design is emphatically not in the category above, though.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #27 on: October 21, 2003, 01:25:34 PM »

I'd suggest that the incompatibility wouldn't be as large as you seem to make it out if we were to play MLWM together, because I see large Congruence in the G and N play. That is, no matter how Gamist I play, I can only get ahead by doing so in a way that looks nigh identical to how you'd play. I say nigh, because I think you'd detect my Gamism. But you wouldn't mind, I'd guess (forgive my presumption, but I think you're a more tolerant gamer than you give yourself credit for above) because of the story being created as a result of the play. In fact, I'm sure you'd be pointing out issues that I was addressing accidentally left and right. :-)

I know for certain that I'd not be annoyed by the percieved "lack" of competition. Because in playing for story, you push the competition envelope inadvertently. In way I'm not competing against you, but the system, which is pushing the ratings as a result of good Narrativist play.

Hybrid (GN) design at it's best, IMO. :-)

OTOH, I totally agree that Hero Quest would do an even better job of being a functional Hybrid for us in a more SN way (which I've posited as fairly unproblematic in the past). So, is that an offer to play, or would you prefer to run? ;-)

Mike
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #28 on: October 21, 2003, 01:30:42 PM »

Hi Mike,

Yeah, you're probably right about the GN compatibility for such a game - but only, I think, if I were to receive explicit positive feedback from you about those Premise-y issues as we played. And it wouldn't hurt if I were to give Gamist-type feedback to whatever tactic netted you something-or-other at various points as well, but perhaps not as necessary.

Anyway, regarding HeroQuest, that'd be another discussion, I think. Perhaps the Black Horse Troop? And me GM? Forget it. We'd play characters and Josh would GM it; he'll do it if we whine that "no one else can do it like him" or something like that ...

Best,
Ron
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joshua neff
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« Reply #29 on: October 21, 2003, 05:24:39 PM »

Yes, that's right, Ron. Whine for me. Beg me. Feed my ego. And go fetch me some dice, damn you!

And you! Mike! Make some copies of the character sheets! Now! And while you're doing that, calculate some statistics for me!

After you've done that, then I will run HeroQuest for you. Maybe.

(Hey, if we're going to go off-topic, we may as well do it in the style of the game that the thread's about, right?

*Ahem* Okay, back to the black ooze talk...)
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
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