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Independent Game Forums => lumpley games => Topic started by: Willow on September 06, 2007, 06:25:24 PM



Title: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Willow on September 06, 2007, 06:25:24 PM
Ok Vincent, let's go.  Bring it on.


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: JC on September 06, 2007, 10:47:48 PM
interested too!


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Temple on September 06, 2007, 10:53:56 PM
Id love to find out more about the design goals of Poison'd!


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: lumpley on September 08, 2007, 02:48:57 PM
I'm not ignoring you! I'm composing.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: lumpley on September 10, 2007, 06:30:03 AM
Okay.

Here's a piece I wrote elsewhere:
Quote
Here's the broad picture:

a) Pursuing your ambitions is (maybe) good for you, but it's (certainly) bad for the company. Some of your ambitions are REALLY bad for the company, like "to be pardoned." Others, like "to spit in the eye of God," will just bring grief down on the whole ship.

b) To pursue your ambitions freely, you need Leisure. Your company gets Leisure by taking prizes, and your captain divvies the Leisure out. Your captain has ambitions too, that he needs Leisure to pursue freely. Also if your ship gets damaged you have to spend Leisure to repair it. There's just not enough Leisure to go around.

c) You've made agreements with your captain and your fellow pirates, some of which involve people giving you some of their Leisure. If your captain and fellow pirates make good on giving you all the Leisure you deserve ... it's bad for the company, because you'll be off pursuing your ambitions and bringing grief down on the whole ship. If they don't, you have various ways to get back at them.

It's a game where everybody wants too much of the limited resource, and trust and betrayal are the tools you use to get it.
Here's another way to say the same thing: you know The Mountain Witch? Poison'd covers basically the same thematic territory, following pretty closely The Mountain Witch's design. Ambitions are Poison'd's Dark Fates (pursuing them is bad for the group) and bargains & Soul are Poison'd's Trust. I think it's interesting that Poison'd's Ambitions are public knowledge where The Mountain Witch's Dark Fates are secret, and that Poison'd's bargains are more concrete, less abstract, than The Mountain Witch's Trust, but that's a technical, not a thematic, matter.

Okay! Technical matters.

The most important thing about the game's technical design to me is how the mechanics and the fiction are so coequal. This is (half of) why there's no mechanical link between doing things and fulfilling ambitions: you can't buy your ambitions fulfilled with points, just like you can't buy up your Devil or your Brutality with points.

The other half of why is also important: ambitions have mechanical significance whether you fulfill or abandon them. Creating a mechanical link to fulfilling but not to abandoning them would've inappropriately emphasized the former.

Making success rolls to accumulate Xs to spend in the fight is a reiteration of Sorcerer, of course. And the Cruel Fortunes are a take on a budget for the GM.

So there's a start. I'm happy to answer questions.

-Vincent


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Temple on September 10, 2007, 10:24:52 AM
Could you talk a little more about the Cruel Fortunes? What role, specifically, do you see them playing in the game?


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Ben Lehman on September 10, 2007, 05:19:31 PM
hey, Vincent:
 
Aren't the Xs more directly a rip on Lucky Dice from Steal Away Jordan? I mean, the whole mechanical structure (small rolls to get resources for big rolls) seems identical.

yrs--
--Ben


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Andrew Barton on September 11, 2007, 08:06:04 AM
Okay.

<snip>
Here's another way to say the same thing: you know The Mountain Witch? Poison'd covers basically the same thematic territory, following pretty closely The Mountain Witch's design.

As it happens, no I don't.  That game appears to be out of print and I've had no luck tracking down either copies or a description of how it works.

Can you suggest a source that would tell me enough about it to follow discussions like this?  The game seems to be pretty influential but those referring to it always seem to assume that everyone reading them has a copy.

Andrew


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Moreno R. on September 11, 2007, 09:54:32 AM
Here's another way to say the same thing: you know The Mountain Witch? Poison'd covers basically the same thematic territory, following pretty closely The Mountain Witch's design.

As it happens, no I don't.  That game appears to be out of print and I've had no luck tracking down either copies or a description of how it works.

Can you suggest a source that would tell me enough about it to follow discussions like this?  The game seems to be pretty influential but those referring to it always seem to assume that everyone reading them has a copy.

I don't think that reading The Mountain Witch is really essential to understanding Poison'd (I read what Vincent wrote more like a "and if you know TMW you already saw something like this" than a "you need TMW to understand this"), but if you want to buy that game the pdf version is still available at this link at IPR (http://www.indiepressrevolution.com/xcart/product.php?productid=16224&cat=0&bestseller)


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Christopher Kubasik on September 11, 2007, 04:19:04 PM
And The Mountain Witch will be back in print in 3-4 weeks.


Off topic, but there it is.

CK


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: lumpley on September 12, 2007, 06:46:22 AM
Could you talk a little more about the Cruel Fortunes? What role, specifically, do you see them playing in the game?
Here I go again. They're Mount Fuji, the Mountain Witch, the Oni, the wolf packs, the enemy samurai, the storms, the whole world of grief.

Their purpose is to apply generalized, overall pressure to the PCs, so that whatever the fault lines between the PCs are, they crack.

I'm very happy to hear that The Mountain Witch will be back in print. Meanwhile, if you want to, check out Cold City, which follows The Mountain Witch's rules closely.

Aren't the Xs more directly a rip on Lucky Dice from Steal Away Jordan? I mean, the whole mechanical structure (small rolls to get resources for big rolls) seems identical.
I don't think so... There are tiny technical differences between Steal Away Jordan's lucky dice and Sorcerer's carrying bonus dice forward, and I think that Poison'd's Xs are closer to the latter.

They're all three absolutely no doubt about it the same kind of thing. I hope I'm not telling lies if I say that both Julia and I learned that thing from Sorcerer.

Poison'd's bargains, though: they aren't mechanically similar to Steal Away Jordan's bargains, but Steal Away Jordan totally inspired me to handle trust that way.

(Did I miss any questions?)

(Willow, are you still here? What do you think? Boring enough?)

-Vincent


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Parthenia on September 12, 2007, 09:09:42 AM
Quote
They're all three absolutely no doubt about it the same kind of thing. I hope I'm not telling lies if I say that both Julia and I learned that thing from Sorcerer.

I won't call you a liar.

Quote
Poison'd's bargains, though: they aren't mechanically similar to Steal Away Jordan's bargains, but Steal Away Jordan totally inspired me to handle trust that way.
Gosh that just warms my heart. It's funny how learning about other game designs that you can realize something about your own.


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Willow on September 13, 2007, 12:21:43 PM
Keen.  That opens up some big doorways.

Ok Vincent, what do you feel that Poison'd does that The Mountain Witch doesn't?  I've hacked tMW for Battlestar Gallactia, so I'm confident in my ability to hack it for pirates.  Why play Poison'd instead?  (I know my answer, but I'd want to hear yours.)


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: lumpley on September 14, 2007, 05:51:43 AM
Poison'd has way better mechanical GM support.

Also, like I say, it's interesting to make all the elements public (in a way that works, which simply making the Dark Fates in The Mountain Witch public wouldn't). Not to say better, at all, but interesting and different.

What are your reasons?

-Vincent


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: Willow on September 14, 2007, 12:00:35 PM
For me, it's about the color, the dark humor of rum, sodomy, and the lash.

The Devil and Soul really colors that, letting you know right from minute one you've got a bunch of overarmed murdering rapists with bad teeth.


Title: Re: [Poison'd] A Boring Thread About Theory
Post by: lumpley on September 17, 2007, 06:14:44 AM
There was something else cool about Poison'd I wanted to talk about, and I remembered what!

You know how you mark the violence your character suffered at the hands of former Capt Pallor? That's really good stuff. As GM, you need to pay super close attention to those, they give you his character.

One cool thing is when everybody independently marks the same things. In our GenCon game, the tone was set when two or more players marked "damnation": their characters had suffered damnation at Brimstone Jack's hands. Fuckin' A.

Another cool thing is when one person marks a bunch of things, and another marks few or none. There's a bastard captain who had his favorites.

And the third cool thing is when no one marks much at all. Then "Brimstone" came from his treatment of his enemies, not of his crew, and you can make him a gentleman or a good captain.

However it turns out, by noticing those marks you can totally play the guy in flashbacks. In fact, I've found that it makes me excited to play him, so I'm enthusiastic about suggesting flashbacks. As soon as a player doesn't know what to have her pirate do for Xs, I'm there with a good flashback.

-Vincent