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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: JMendes on July 27, 2006, 03:49:33 PM

Title: [MLwM] (June Retreat) Eyes and Tears
Post by: JMendes on July 27, 2006, 03:49:33 PM
Hey, :)

For those of you who don't know (which is probably most of you), last June, four role-players organized a week-long RPG retreat.

These players were me, my wife Ana, Rogerio, the house owner, and Rui Anselmo, a friend.

For nine days, we did nothing but eat, sleep and play. We playedtested Shreyas Sampat's game Torchbearer (here ( and Rui's own game The 101 (here ( and here ( We played a whole lot of Shadow of Yesterday (forthcoming). And, we played a little bit of My Life With Master, which is what I want to talk about right now.

The reason I want to talk about it is that something happened to me as a player that had never happened before, and it was wicked fun.

But I'm getting ahead of myself. Allow me to begin with describing the master.

Count Hieronymus Gustt has had to live his whole life with horrendous physical defects, which resulted from a freak hunting accident during his childhood. As a result, he grew up to be a lonely and bitter man, searching for a way to find acceptance again, to regain access to the circle of noblemen he once belonged to. He has decided that the way to achieve this is to rebuild himself. Literally. In order to do that, however, he needs body parts and bodily fluids, which he has his minions procure from the town populace, by whatever means necessary. And so, in a dark and somber castle atop a hill, secluded in his laboratory, he performs gruesome, unspeakable experiments, in the name of health, longevity, and most especially, good looks.

Mechanically, the Count's Aspect is Brain and his Type is Collector. The Outsiders, of course, are the other nobles. We started with Fear 3 and Reason 3, although Fear eventually rose to 5 though the death of both innocents, namely Gunther the milkman and Erika, a young widow.

On to the minions. Alas, I no longer have the original values for Self-Loathing and Weariness, but they shouldn't be important for my point.

Me, I was playing Viktor, who has a skilled rhetoric, except in the presence of food, and is extremely clumsy, except during thunderstorms. Viktor admires Lord Kaarlo, the chief magistrate's wit and is in love with Geoff, a young stable boy.

My wife Ana was playing Morgeena, who is extremely beautiful, except under direct moonlight, and has a nasty falsetto voice, except when alone with the Master. Morgeena appreciates Sophia, a little girl in town who she thinks is impervious to her nasty voice, and from afar, admires Piotr, the dashing son of the local blacksmith.

Rui was playing Sebastian, who can build beautiful clay statuettes, admired by all but their subject matter, and does not speak, but rather grunts inhumanly, except when conversing with children. Sebastian is fond of Hannah, the milkman's daughter, and he also enjoys the company of a small, slightly irritating stray dog, whose name eludes me at the moment. (He died rather soon in the game and is no longer written down on the character sheet...)

Rogerio was GMing, so no minion for him. He did, however, come up with the aforementioned innocents. He's also the one who decided to make Gunther into Hannah's father and Erika into Sophia's mother. Why is that significant? Well, nothing drives home the death of an innocent like the tears of the daughter of the deceased, a scene which we got to see twice. In fact, the two little girls, Hannah and Sophia, were the only ones we actually saw crying throughout the whole of the game.

Which was, you know, significant.

Because then, Rogerio turns to Anna and says: "The Master calls you over and gives you an order. 'Morgeena,' he says, 'fetch me the eyes of someone who has recently wept!' It occurs to you that you've never seen the master shed a tear."


Seriously, for the first time in my long and distinguished RPG career, I actually had to get off the table and take a peek outside the back door for breath of fresh air. Bleagh!

And Ana's sitting there going "wait, I have to choose between Hannah and Sophia, don't I?" We told her she could make someone else cry, but I guess she felt that to be a harder task than to simply swipe one of the little girls.

So, we took a short break from playing, just then, so as to catch our collective breath. Rui seized the opportunity for a short trip to bathroom. Why am I mentioning this? Because Rui, who had already lost one connection, wasn't back yet when Ana announced that she'd be going after Hannah. He must have heard her, somehow, because at her mention, there as a loud yell of "noooooo" coming from said facility, which just cracked us all up.

So there you have it. In many an RPG session, I've loved and hated, laughed and cried, shouted and whispered, but I had never, ever been so physically disgusted as to have to leave the table.



Title: Re: [MLwM] (June Retreat) Eyes and Tears
Post by: Arturo G. on July 27, 2006, 04:21:25 PM

Boy, this is the kind of feelings that MLwM is expected to arise. I don't know if it is really appropriate, but congratulations!

Probably your retirement also helped to create the proper atmosphere, but you also need some time of play for the investment of both, master and players, to begin to provoke really intense reactions.
I'm interested, how long have you played before that moment?


Title: Re: [MLwM] (June Retreat) Eyes and Tears
Post by: JMendes on July 28, 2006, 11:35:24 AM
Hey, Arturo, :)

Interesting question. The answer is: a couple of hours, on Friday. Well, that and Thursday's character-making-master-defining session, where no actual play was involved.

We were going to continue play on Saturday, and perhaps even a little bit on Sunday, but as it turned out, we were all emotionally and creatively tapped out and we decided to just loaf about all of Saturday and take Sunday to clean up house before returning.

Of course, if you ask how long we had played including all the games, then the answer becomes a lot! We'd gotten there the previous Friday after work, took a few hours to set up house and dove right into character building for our TSoY arc (of which, report forthcoming).


Title: Re: [MLwM] (June Retreat) Eyes and Tears
Post by: Arturo G. on July 31, 2006, 02:10:45 AM

Impressive! My question was about the time of playing to MLwM. Two hours is really very little time, for my standards, to get such kind of involvement. I'm jealous.

But perhaps the answer to the other question is also relevant. Being confined and playing together for some days you were probably achieving a kind of connection between the players which helped to get involved. Interesting.

Did you finish the MLwM play?


Title: Re: [MLwM] (June Retreat) Eyes and Tears
Post by: JMendes on July 31, 2006, 04:55:18 AM
Ahey, :)

Alas, no. We were emotionally and creatively tapped out!

When we got up the next day, the original plan was to have a light and lazy lunch, then sit at the table again for more. The general consensus, however, was that it just wasn't going to happen... Instead, we just sat around and talked about our experiences that week and role-playing in general.

Back in the days of traditional role-playing, we were the sort of people that could go on and on and on in indefinite play.

MLwM, TSoY, 101, Torchbearer, these games ask for more from you than just "I attack the Orc"... :)


Title: Re: [MLwM] (June Retreat) Eyes and Tears
Post by: Arturo G. on August 01, 2006, 06:07:26 AM

I would say that this story-oriented games produce more involvement because they let you invest more and more quickly. And of course this means they move you more. Thus, some time of reflection after the play, especially when hard emotions have arisen, is a good thing.