*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 17, 2018, 06:11:33 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: 142 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Play group size for MLwM  (Read 6745 times)
Harlequin
Member

Posts: 284


« on: November 27, 2003, 12:34:31 AM »

One question... the Actual Play reports I've been reading have all been relatively small playgroups, three to four minions, at most five.

I want to introduce MLwM to my regular Friday-night crowd when our current 3E Gamist-catharsis ends, in a week or two.  However, it's a large group, and it's not impossible that I'll have 7-8 players wanting to play.  I'm disinclined to break up the group, because we're only just regaining momentum after a lapse, and I'd end up sending people back out into the black void of no regular gaming.

I'm willing to have MLwM run long, four or five sessions which I understand to be on the high side, if warranted... but with that many PCs and a turn-based scene-by-scene rotation, I think I'll end up with bored players due to being too far out of sequence.  While I can do some to offset this, having their Connections in the scene and so on, I suspect it'll still be harmful to the experience nonetheless, especially at the beginning when the importance of Connections probably won't have sunk in.

Any suggestions?

One that I'm considering, is to run the minions in pairs instead of singly.  Run a theme of dualism and do Mutt & Jeff (or Croup and Vandemar!) linked-couples, always seen together, getting their scenes simultaneously.  I think it could be doable but it in turn makes a lot of things (Overtures, etc) fiddly.  It's actually tempting to stat each pair as only one Minion, except with respect to More-thans and Less-thans... the Croup and Vandemar model makes it feel like shared Self-Loathing, shared Weariness, and shared Love are all reasonable.  (The ending of Neverwhere, in particular, with the peculiar loyalty of Vandemar, feels like a conjoined minion going to an apt end.)  

Does that sound feasible?  If not, what would you suggest?

- Eric
Logged
Lxndr
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 1113

Master of the Inkstained Robes


WWW
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2003, 11:26:01 AM »

It's an interesting experiment, if nothing else.

Though which of the pair of players would actually roll?  IT's one roll per scene, more or less, so who gets to handle the dice?

It might be best to keep the stats separate, but still rule that they travel together.  Then, when you have ABCDEFGH around a table... A and E would share scenes, with "A" being the primary activist in his scene, and "E" being the primary in his scene... but both always able to act in the same scene, and rarely (if ever) allowed to separate.

Though a general rule of "two minions per scene" could be even more interesting if you didn't require the SAME pairs.  So A and E would be together during one round, then E and G together while A gallivants off with C, and so on...

I'm just thinking aloud.  I'm tempted to try this, though.
Logged

Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming
Harlequin
Member

Posts: 284


« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2003, 11:49:35 AM »

My group is mature enough that who handles the dice is not too big a deal; if they're statted together, then I'd be inclined to split the dice pool (it is a d4 dice pool system, more or less, isn't it?) in half, and let them each roll half.  Bonus dice rolled by whoever's idea or RP generated the bonus.  This would be interesting because one could also consider, on a kind of subtextual level, the relative numbers of successes on each half-a-roll as indicative of the contribution of that minion out of the pair.

Hmmm...

- Eric
Logged
xiombarg
Member

Posts: 1183


WWW
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2003, 07:23:42 AM »

Call me pedestrian, but I don't see why you couldn't play the game with that number of people. It's a matter of justification, really -- imagine a game set in, say, a circus or a sideshow, and I could see that many Minions for the "Ringmaster" quite easily.
Logged

love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
Harlequin
Member

Posts: 284


« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2003, 08:49:47 AM »

The problem isn't in-game justification, though... it's spotlight time for the players, and the lapse between one of your own turns and the next.  Waiting too long leads to bored players, and with too many players in the queue then all the 'tricks' in the world (include their Connections, etc) won't reduce this to zero.  See Cheapass Games' unfortunate Unexploded Cow for an example, or the classic Shadowrun conundrum of either the decker or the rest of the team going out for coffee.

I've discussed the paired minions thing with my crew, and they seem to like the idea.  So we'll see.

- Eric
Logged
Paul Czege
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2003, 10:18:23 AM »

Hey Eric,

Yeah, it's definitely not an ideal situation. But I think you can have some success with it...proportional to how well you handle Master and minion creation as a group. If you can get everyone involved in Master creation, and have a structured whole group round-robin minion conversation, with suggestions offered and received, you'll have everyone interested in the Master as an antagonist and each other's minion characters as protagonists.

Paul
Logged

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
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2003, 10:34:27 AM »

Alternately, if one of the other participants was willing to GM, have a whole group Master creation that produces two rival Masters. Divide players evenly between the two Masters, but still have a whole group minion creation. Then play two separate games, with each Master as the other's Outsider. Come together as a group at the end of each game session to retell events just for fun.

Paul
Logged

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
Harlequin
Member

Posts: 284


« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2003, 11:04:13 AM »

That latter is also a neat idea, although I still don't want to split the group at this stage of its social dynamic.  I suspect if something like that happens it'll be because a noticeable minority don't like MLwM once we discuss its concepts in depth and opt to play something else upstairs for the duration, though.

However, in the same spirit that led to your 'labworks' here, I think I'm going to try the dualism thing.  People seem happy about it, and I really like the idea of having each minion pair share only one set of Self-Loathing/Weariness/Love stats, and being differentiated only in their MoreThan/LessThans.  It seems to express the "Mister Croup and Mister Vandemar" model very neatly.

- Eric
Logged
xiombarg
Member

Posts: 1183


WWW
« Reply #8 on: December 01, 2003, 11:29:50 AM »

Quote from: Harlequin
The problem isn't in-game justification, though... it's spotlight time for the players
But isn't that a problem in any game with that many players?
Logged

love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
Harlequin
Member

Posts: 284


« Reply #9 on: December 01, 2003, 11:36:51 AM »

Yes and no - most games don't run such a rigid scene-by-scene structure, and tend to clump up players more.  D&D with that many players gets everybody at least the illusion of spotlight time, because they were part of the two or three who did X.  This keeps them interested enough (usually) to stick around until they really do get some spotlight time of their very own.
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #10 on: December 01, 2003, 01:18:50 PM »

Hiya,

My experience with My Life with Master is that if players want more spotlight time, they aim their characters' movement toward the other characters' scenes. So that the GM ends up running far fewer actual scenes, because more characters are in each one.

The nice thing about it is that the players are also free to split up the characters in the same way when they prefer them to have scenes by themselves.

I first observed this to happen when playing Soap, and it carries over directly from that game both into Universalis and MLWM.

It strikes me that in larger groups, the GM might make it clear to people that they have this option. It also strikes me that nothing stops the GM from framing initial scenes in which the characters are in the same room or area.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Harlequin
Member

Posts: 284


« Reply #11 on: December 01, 2003, 01:56:45 PM »

Hmm.  I had understood, from the Actual Play accounts, that the theory was that even if your character cropped up in someone else's scene, you were still "owed" a scene of your own when it came 'round the table.

Obviously that's not writ in stone, but it's the sort of "seems fairly fundamental" situation that I'm hesitant to tinker with on my first run of the game.

Ron, your post seems to imply the opposite - that a scene with two characters gets both of their "turns" out of the way, similar to the way spotlight time would get distributed in a more informal environment.  Can you clarify?

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


WWW
« Reply #12 on: December 01, 2003, 02:12:01 PM »

Hi Eric,

Well, it can go either way, especially when Endgame gets going. But it doesn't really matter. My point is that a character doesn't have to wait in the wings until that player's turn. Characters can be the same scenes, because (a) the GM puts them there or (b) the players put them there.

So the perception that playing MLWM means sitting around waiting for your turn might be a little extreme.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Harlequin
Member

Posts: 284


« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2003, 04:10:50 AM »

Just a crossreference: the game has begun, see here, with play of "half a minion" permitted but not required.  The initial six players (two or three have yet to make characters) split the option, so we have two solo minons and two pairs.  I'm going to use the version where the pairs share a common set of Self-Loathing, Weariness, and Love scores, and only ever roll as the pair.

We'll see what happens...

- Eric
Logged
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2591


WWW
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2003, 07:43:00 AM »

One way to do it (it being MLwM with too many players) that came to mind is to structure the game around one master, but have multiple "rings" of players that run their own turns at their own pace. Almost independent games, that way. Make it visual by having two or more tables, with the GM sitting at their juncture. The story reason would be a thematic, logistical or narrative structure. The clumsiest, clearest one would be a Master with minions in many different cities or different minions for his castle and the village. This'd depend on the scenario, and opens up all kinds of interesting possibilities I'll look at.

Change the social dynamics of the game so that you don't need the GM so much most of the play. Actually, make it so that the players regulate the scene going on in a ring by themselves and report shortly to the GM when it's finished. This way GM will have more time for the crusial scenes where he really is needed, and he can play the ring that needs him in a given minute. Even in MLwM there is routine play, and GM can consentrate on scene framing and key situations.

To faciliate player contact and make it more of a same game, make it possible to move from a ring to another. The mechanics depend on the scenario, but the simplest is to make it an alternative/reward/add-on to the players turn (not having the game, I'm a little hazy on the correct angle). This opens up an interesting formal narrative generation system when players are allowed to move to empty rings in certain situations. Players would presumably move from ring to ring to get more turns in smaller rings, to participate in the action in another ring, and so on.

I can't see how to formalize it at the rules level, though. It's one of the beautiful parts of MLwM how it's abstract system is used to generate a highly specific game. The rules conserning forming and changing these player rings would however largely depend on the scenario, as far as I see.

One such game would be the "International Espionage Master" where minions are the double zero agents of the british secret service and the master is the mysterious suitable letter (with London as the castle and Europe as the village, EU as villagers respectively, I guess). Missions would of course be repressive terrorism against innocent nations. The rings could simply be cities of Europe, with players moving from ring to ring when their minions get new assignments (GM fiat at the bottom). This'd mean that solo cities would be quite fast (one player getting turn after another), and presumably play would quite quickly form into a couple of rings (London, the other place mysterious letter sends agents to all the time) with minions going to others for specific reasons.

The main meaning of the rings would be in that a player would play only with the players in the same ring, and only moving players and GM would move influences from one ring to another. With this limit in mind, the above simulationist meaning to the rings wouldn't be the only possibility. In the "Master Tepes" you could have the gypsy ring of minions and the vampire ring of minions or something like that, with minions moving from the first to the second (and maybe back, depending on your overall twist). What implications it'd have if a player would move to another ring after his turn, with two players being able to form a new ring if both turns end simultaneously? Too extreme, probably, considering how the game breaks down if there's too much movement. Better to keep moving from ring to ring as a special move. How about players choosing their rings by the best stories (that is, sit where you want), or having all high self-loathing characters in one ring / different rings?
Logged

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
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!