*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
November 22, 2017, 08:32:46 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 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 162 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: DD prep, and the power of the narrator.  (Read 2541 times)
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« on: October 02, 2003, 11:30:33 AM »

Hey Folks,

Over here I have the opening session of my group's new Dust Devils game. We're pretty excited about it. One of the major questions that came out of play came from how to handle the power that the narrator has during a conflict. Specifically, there was some wondering about how much story impact the narrator can have in a given conflict. A corollary for me as the dealer is how best do I do prep in order to prepare for this?

So how do people handle this in practice? Do you play (to relate to a couple of other games) with a style closer to Inspectres, or Sorcerer? Do you leave any background story prep out entirely, letting the narration in game drive everything?

In the game we played the narrator was given a fairly free reign, but that the details were negotiable. Case and point one of the PCs successfully won both a conflict and narration; tracking a badguy into town, specifically to a hotel. Instead of the hotel name he suggested, I prompted that perhaps we use this other one instead, which better fit into the NPCs at hand as I understood it. I think if there was a reason for his choice, I would have happily rolled with the punches, but in this case I wasn't too concerned with asking for a detail change.

So how do people handle this? What kind of prep do you?

-Tim
Logged
Matt Snyder
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 1380


WWW
« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2003, 08:11:47 AM »

Hello, Tim! I'm finally getting around to getting some feedback to you about your superb questions.


Quote
One of the major questions that came out of play came from how to handle the power that the narrator has during a conflict. Specifically, there was some wondering about how much story impact the narrator can have in a given conflict. A corollary for me as the dealer is how best do I do prep in order to prepare for this?


Excellent question, albeit one that's hard to "answer" definitively. I'll give you my take on it.

Dust Devils was created, in part, to remove authority from the traditional Game Master. It was my attempt to learn-by-design how other players might contribute to the creation of a compelling story (in this case, a gritty Western, obviously).

So, with that in mind, I very much intended for the narrator to do things every other player might not expect. The game is likely going to end up not at all where anyone, least of all the Dealer, expects.

Now, this doesn't mean that no preparation is in order. The Dealers key job, as I see it, it to set up from the onset a compelling situation that forces players to make really interesting and dramatic choices about what's going to happen.

I'm not speaking here of setting or color. That is, I really don't see the creation of specifics as any way problematic one way or the other. You can have a fully fleshed-out town, complete with saloon names, train routes, etc. Or, you can have a "Last Oak," Kansas, with only a few details colored in.

What matters for Dust Devils, though, is whether or not that town has STUFF going on, typically people with to-the-limit passions and conflicts just ready to burst.

So, your solution of giving the narrator free reign, but making subtle "corrections" regarding saloon namees, etc., is perfectly viable in play, particularly if all the players acknowledge that's the agreement from the onset.

When I play Dust Devils, I usually have a farily limited amount of details colored in. At Origins, for example, I set the whole session aboard a train carrying a cavalry payroll to Denver. I had three or four NPCs detailed (based on the PC concepts players told me), and we were off and running. It ended badly. And I mean that in a good way, of course!
Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2003, 09:39:58 AM »

Hey Matt,

First off thanks for the response. Looking back on the game I realized that while the hotel name nudging I did was a-ok with everyone, I need to get comfortable with moving things around what gets narrated. Some of that is me being out of practice in general I think, and some of it is remnants of old modes of play. We've gotten some guidelines going, the main one being that everyone speak up if they've got an issue.

I'm wondering about how long your games (and anyone else's games) seemed to run in practice, in terms of number of sessions? Ours seems like it took last session to ramp up, but I fully expect the whole thing to blow up this week. It certainly seems that given how quickly you can end up having a zero attribute that games have a tendency to go for an all or nothing boiling point.

-Tim
Logged
Matt Snyder
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 1380


WWW
« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2003, 10:09:11 AM »

I have run Dust Devils almost exclusively as one-session shoot-em-ups. That said, my best intentions for the game were that a "campaign" would roughly equate the events in a Western film. Therefore, I envisioned games that lasted 3-4 sessions, for example.

As a PURELY OPTIONAL rule, you might consider running a series of games in which the players have no control over their devils. In session 1, the Devil for every PC is 1. In sesson 2, it's 2, and so on. To further Bust the Bank, you could send that Devil as high as 5, which is a break from the rules (which limits the Devil at 3). Actually, that sounds like a lot of fun!

Ron has had success running a longer term game (that is, longer than one session), I believe, as have others.
Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #4 on: October 06, 2003, 10:15:27 AM »

Hey Again,

Quote
As a PURELY OPTIONAL rule, you might consider running a series of games in which the players have no control over their devils. In session 1, the Devil for every PC is 1. In sesson 2, it's 2, and so on. To further Bust the Bank, you could send that Devil as high as 5, which is a break from the rules (which limits the Devil at 3). Actually, that sounds like a lot of fun!


Ooooh.. that does sound pretty slick. I've got in mind a "Cowboy Bebop" DD game that might be fun to run that way.

-Tim
Logged
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #5 on: October 07, 2003, 09:25:06 AM »

As a bit of followup. In following a couple of other threads I ran across The Pool, and realized that the guidelines we ended up with for narration are essentially the same as the MoV guidelines. Just a moment of dovetailing across games.

-Tim
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #6 on: October 07, 2003, 10:21:49 AM »

Hi Tim,

I consider the principles involved to be the same for the following games:

Elfs (using Dumb Luck), InSpectres narration of all kinds, The Pool and The Questing Beast, Dust Devils, Trollbabe, Donjon, Pace, octaNe to a lesser extent, Universalis in a negotiated fashion, and Legends of Alyria.

For my money, Dust Devils is the game that nails down every corner of the issue, simultaneously providing maximal usable structure as well as maximal freedom within those constraints (or "with that material" if you prefer).

Best,
Ron
Logged
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #7 on: October 07, 2003, 10:40:00 AM »

Hey Ron,

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Elfs (using Dumb Luck), InSpectres narration of all kinds, The Pool and The Questing Beast, Dust Devils, Trollbabe, Donjon, Pace, octaNe to a lesser extent, Universalis in a negotiated fashion, and Legends of Alyria.


This is interesting, as I've only had the chance to play DD. The others you've mentioned are almost all on the hotlist of games in the pipeline for me. It also reinforces some of the reason I tried to steer the players away from creating a hard ruleset to guide narration; that if we handled things through social contract, we'd be better prepared when we tried a game with related properties.

Quote
For my money, Dust Devils is the game that nails down every corner of the issue, simultaneously providing maximal usable structure as well as maximal freedom within those constraints (or "with that material" if you prefer).


Once again I have to say how happy I am with this game, and I'm a bit surprised it doesn't see as much play as it deserves. Maybe I've gotten an innacurate picture, but man, this game needs playing.

-Tim
Logged
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!