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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 148 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: diagnose my group  (Read 2023 times)
Loki
Member

Posts: 117


« on: November 11, 2003, 09:48:52 AM »

I've been reading some of the threads and articles on the site and I'm thinking about my game group with an eye toward making play more fun. We're in a bit of a trough right now because I (the latest GM) burned out on 3e dnd and dropped a campaign right before completion. Now we're planning some CoC and TROS in the future.

I've been particularly intrigued by the alternatives to the standard: GM writes scenario, players play scenario. I'm interested in finding out about Kickers, Bangs and the other jargon.

Here's what my players enjoyed in the last campaign:
-Having a clear "deliver this message before X happens" goal
-A side plot that they created when they killed a rival political group in a dispute.
-A side plot where they punished a community for rebelling against their family's rule.
-A intra-PC conflict where some characters believed another character's lover to be an enemy.

I'm not giving a lot of detail, but I have a theory that my players enjoy it when they have to pursue a goal that is not necessarily in their best interests.
For example:
-Deliver this message OR save your own skins.
-Ignore antagonistic political rival OR kill him with serious political/social consequences (best interest v pride)
-Punish community at great personal danger because it's the right thing to do (personal code v safety)
-Respect companion's feelings instead of eliminating possible danger.

I also think that this tension is happening because my group has strong min/max tendencies, but enjoy going against the grain when their character concepts demand it.

Can anyone offer their thoughts and point me at some threads/articles that discuss anything you think might be relevant. I'm very new to thinking about my game in this way. And I'd like to figure out ways of setting up this kind of strong character play instead of stumbling into it accidently.
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Chris Geisel
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: November 11, 2003, 10:19:08 AM »

Hello!

You'll get a lot of responses to this excellent request, I hope. Here's mine.

At the bottom of the Actual Play page at the Sorcerer website, you'll find a series of links about something called "Art-Deco Melodrama." The discussions these links lead to are extremely extensive, but they offer a great example of one way to go about what you're talking about. They should be read in the order that they're listed. I hope you enjoy them.

Best,
Ron
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JamesDJIII
Member

Posts: 201


« Reply #2 on: November 11, 2003, 12:33:50 PM »

Make sure the players involved agree to the adjustments before hand.  Wouldn't hurt to talk about it, I think.

I've tried this with people who were not interested. A painful, embarrasing evening ensued. First time in my life I'd ever admited to myself that I'd rather have stayed home than game.

I would like to, one day, see it all happen with a committed, interested group of players. Please post if your experience/experiment meets with success.
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Loki
Member

Posts: 117


« Reply #3 on: November 11, 2003, 01:17:38 PM »

James, just to clarify, I haven't got any specific changes in mind, just trying to figure out what's going on in my game and then, possibly respond to it. But your warning is well taken.
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Chris Geisel
JamesDJIII
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Posts: 201


« Reply #4 on: November 11, 2003, 01:23:42 PM »

Yeah, I'm eager to see what other people say about making these kind of changes. Again, best of luck!
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Loki
Member

Posts: 117


« Reply #5 on: November 11, 2003, 01:28:17 PM »

I think my group could be committed to some kind of conscious change in the way we play, but I'd have to present them with some concrete "okay, this is what I think 'we' like, and this is how I propose to encourage that kind of game".

Given the skeletal details I've provided, what are your thoughts about my group? Do they remind you of anyone you've played with? Do they remind you of the group that was unwilling?
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Chris Geisel
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #6 on: November 11, 2003, 02:29:19 PM »

Quote from: Loki
I think my group could be committed to some kind of conscious change in the way we play, but I'd have to present them with some concrete "okay, this is what I think 'we' like, and this is how I propose to encourage that kind of game".
Actually, I'd do the reverse. Come up with the modifications, and then, if the players ask why, then you tell them what you think it supports. My reasoning is that players don't like to be categorized. Doing that first may make them object to your proposed changes. They're smart, so let them figure out the why's and such and if they'll like it first. Better, present them with an example of play that highlights the changes. That should give them a real feel for if it's something that they'll like. In the end, it doesn't much matter why they like it to them, so much as that they do like it. If they want to talk theory later, then there's always time.

Quote
Given the skeletal details I've provided, what are your thoughts about my group? Do they remind you of anyone you've played with?
They sound pretty Narrativist to me. That is, the min/maxing sounds like an extension of their personal priorities for the characters, not about doing well personally (people get that mixed up constantly). All of the situations that you've presented are Narrativist quandries.

That all said, this doesn't mean that they're neccessarily ready to abandon their other priorities to get better Narrativism. I'm betting they're looking for a good Hybrid game. You're considering TROS, right? Well, I think that just playing that system should do the trick. But, even if they have other play priorities, I think that the Bang, Kicker, RMap thing is something everyone should try out. I don't see a downside to it for any mode of play.

Mike
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Loki
Member

Posts: 117


« Reply #7 on: November 11, 2003, 02:52:00 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
They sound pretty Narrativist to me. That is, the min/maxing sounds like an extension of their personal priorities for the characters, not about doing well personally (people get that mixed up constantly). All of the situations that you've presented are Narrativist quandries.


Interesting, I hadn't made the connection that Gamism has to do with player success, not character success. An example of the type of characters we tend to have are a warrior who is entrenched in a struggle for power in his clan hierarchy, and the adventures tend to involve that sort of thing--however, he's a demon with his weapon, with social interaction skills coming second. I'm interested to hear more.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I think that the Bang, Kicker, RMap thing is something everyone should try out. I don't see a downside to it for any mode of play.


I appreciate your comments... where can I find definitions/examples of Bangs, Kickers, etc? I've done some searches but mostly found uses of the terms.
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Chris Geisel
ScottM
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Posts: 221

Fresno, California


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« Reply #8 on: November 11, 2003, 03:40:33 PM »

I had the same problem, so I created a page of links to many of the thread sources.  Here's my page: RPG styles.

The specific three you're looking for:
Kickers, Relationship Mapping , and Bangs. The second post in the Bangs link clarifies them quite a bit.
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Hey, I'm Scott Martin. I sometimes scribble over on my blog, llamafodder. Some good threads are here: RPG styles.
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #9 on: November 12, 2003, 11:12:01 AM »

Check out the Art Deco Melodrama threads in the Adept Press forum, and this one:http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6696

These will give you a really good insight as to how to prep for such a game.

Mike
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Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #10 on: November 12, 2003, 12:58:11 PM »

Hey There,

I think you're on the right track with TROS. From what it looks like from your post I'd be very surprised if they didn't warm to it quickly. There's a wealth of stuff in the TROS forum, but especially nice is the forum directory, which can be found here. It's shortcuts to a lot of the really meaty threads, organized by topic.

-Tim
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