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Author Topic: Accidental de-protagonization  (Read 2814 times)
DevP
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« on: October 27, 2003, 02:01:27 PM »

I had the following problem in my last game, during the Endgame in particular. Consider two minions, the Traitor (trying to kill the master) and the Faithful (the one serving the master to the end). It is said that once the Endgame is activated, that the master WILL die; but I had a problem resolving conflict between the two minions. When I told the two to freely roleplay, I made the mistake of adding "just make sure that 'traitor' isn't killed", which suddenly added a gust of deprotagonization into the game. Major oops.

I recovered by letting the Faithful one "kill" the Traitor, and go on elsewhere, but then le tthe rage of the Traitor rise up to finally finish off the Master. But this was a very marginal recovery.

Any guidelines for what to do here?
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #1 on: October 28, 2003, 07:49:14 AM »

Hey Dev,

If you go strictly by the rules, once Endgame is initiated, the Master is done for, and it's just a matter of how. Your faithful minion could have provided aid to the Master when the "traitorous" minion was attempting the resistance that would trigger Endgame. And if not that, he could have hinted he would provide aid to the Master during the Endgame, possibly deterring the other minion from his resistance effort. But geez, that threat only goes so far. If I were running the game, and the faithful minion followed through on the threat, the other minion who was up against the Master and the aiding minion in Endgame is probably going to be getting the Desperation die every single time, if not the Sincerity die.

Honestly, the game is set up to force the death of the Master. There's some kind of group disconnect if a player waits until Endgame and then sincerly tries to prevent the death of the Master. Authoring a minion's sincere attempt is one thing. But actual player frustration and claims of deprotagonization is something else.

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
Paul Czege
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« Reply #2 on: October 28, 2003, 10:38:20 AM »

Hey Dev,

After a bit more thinking, a question:

With lots of railroaded games, the only real player-initiated impact on whatever story is produced comes from player vs. player stuff. This, though, is emphatically not the case with My Life with Master. And typically the act of collaborative Master creation gets everyone on the same page, creates a shared investment in the Master as the primary antagonist. In my experience, players who've authored their minion as loyal to the Master have actually had their eye on Epilogue constraints 2, 3, and 5. They want a tragic ending, or a monstrous one in which their character emerges from Endgame as a force of evil in their own right. They don't seriously want to prevent the death of the Master. They're as invested in the Master's demise as everyone else. The Master was created to be destroyed, and they took part in that creation. Are you sure your player really wanted to kill the other player's minion? If he just wanted to prove his loyalty to the Master, because doing so was in keeping with the theme he was working up for his character, you could have had the Master issue a command: "Get out of here. This is between me and him. Go do this..."

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
DevP
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« Reply #3 on: October 28, 2003, 12:10:19 PM »

Hm... the "faithful" player was very invested in creating a despicable master, but ultimately her character was one that actually never resisted any commands (although we roleplayed the Master's manipulation of her), and she was in fact quite happy to carry them out. Perhaps I did not explain the concept to her properly.

I still think it's possible (thematically, even) that a minion's experiences may culminate in a wish to obey the Master til the bitter end. I suppose the problem here more generally really is inter-Minion conflict that goes beyond mere competition. That is, a minion may desire to genuinely kill another; will this necessarily fail, deprotagonizing him (my case) or should this have been avoided in Minion design? If this was a ground rule ahead of time, the characters could have shifted their development slightly.

Honestly. adding the minion's score as "aid to the master" could have helped; I could have allowed a beatdown on the traitorous minion while still allowing appropriate closure. (There's also the temptation to simply resolve a minion's death in these closing scenes, rather than look ahead to the Epilogues.)
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #4 on: October 28, 2003, 12:31:21 PM »

Hey Dev,

Honestly. adding the minion's score as "aid to the master" could have helped; I could have allowed a beatdown on the traitorous minion while still allowing appropriate closure.

Yep. But did your faithful minion actually have Love greater than Weariness?

(There's also the temptation to simply resolve a minion's death in these closing scenes, rather than look ahead to the Epilogues.)

Entirely permissible, at the player's discretion. From page 43 of the rules (the section on Epilogues):

"It's also not a bad idea to figure out which of these five conditions apply to the minion responsible for the death of the Master before that death actually gets described, just in case that minion's player wants to incorporate his character's self-destruction or something in with the Master's own final scene."

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
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2003, 02:59:14 PM »

Hi there,

I'm confused about something in this thread: it is impossible, as I understand it, for the mechanics of the game to permit one Minion to kill another. One will get more Weary, that's all.

The conditions of Endgame don't change this rule, as far as I can tell.

So I guess I'm wholly puzzled about the in-game situation that's being described. I understand that Minion X is acting to prevent Minion Y from killing the Master. I also understand that this could lead to the situation currently being discussed in the other thread, which is to say, prolonged Endgame with no dead Master happening soon.

But I don't understand this business of Minion X killing Minion Y during Endgame through announced/resolved actions. Yes, it could happen after the game is over, as an Epilogue that describes how the Minion was killed, but I don't see how it applies to as-it's-played events during Endgame itself.

Best,
Ron
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DevP
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« Reply #6 on: October 28, 2003, 03:23:29 PM »

The problem in my game was precisely this: minion A had motivation to prevent the other from achieving endgame, and that minion had several syringes of a potion that froze its victim instantly.

During Endgame, I asked minion A what she wanted to do (honestly hoping she'd try to take down the master). When she announced that she was going to use the syringe on the resiting minion, I tried saying "No", and the mood broke immediately. (I came to my senses. and allowed the rebellious minion to be frozen, only to be unfrozen by his own internal Rage.)

I suppose that inter-minion killing should happen after the game is over, but I'm not sure how to prevent it (other than suggested to player beforehand that they avoid such situations).
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2003, 03:46:00 PM »

Hi there,

It seems to me that the potion's freezing ability has exactly the same ability to kill a Minion that an axe (or to go off-genre, a machine-gun) has - that is to say, none at all.

Literally, a Minion can't be killed during play by the mechanics of the game. It's not a matter of the GM decreeing this or that; it's simply how the rules work no matter what's announced. Push a Minion off a cliff, skewer him with spears, discharge a musket into his mouth - same thing. Minions get more Weary and conceivably much more ugly, but that's about it.

That's more or less what you did - "OK, he's frozen, but whoa! a minute later, he's not any more." Seems very reasonable to me.

I guess I'm seeing two issues entirely: (1) the potential killing (or lack thereof, as I say), and (2) the Endgame that won't End, due to inter-Minion opposition. It seems to me that #2 is the main issue, though.

Best,
Ron
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DevP
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2003, 04:01:13 PM »

Well, #1 is my issue, but I think I get an idea for what's more thematically appropriate; I'll inform my future players more in this direction.

Thanks.
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