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General Forge Forums => Actual Play => Topic started by: Ron Edwards on March 05, 2003, 10:15:13 AM

Title: [Le Mon Mouri / kill puppies] Dang!
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 05, 2003, 10:15:13 AM

In the thread Two [censored] at once! (, Vincent wrote:

are y'all gonna play Le Mon Mouri and puppies on the same day every time? Cause if so, dang.

Dang it is, then, because that's what we're doing.

The second session(s) were very enjoyable, because they provided the opportunity to see the longer-term aspects of both systems begin to gel. I suggest that both games are adequate for one-session play, but that both also have features that really don't fire on all cylinders until multiple sessions are involved.

In the case of 'puppies, certain acts can garner most horrible amounts of Evil (I believe the character Trixie gained 9 in one go, and that Travis gained 8 similarly; is that right, Maura & Tod?), which then allows actions that can affect the whole landscape of play in a long-term sense. You really need lots of sessions to look forward to in order to see all the repercussions play out and overlap, I think.

In the case of Le Mon Mouri, sessions operate on two theme-producing levels. The first is much like most Narrativist role-playing experiences (which is what I think LMM is), in that you have linear scenes and episodes that as a whole construct a novel-like or movie-like item; the second is more like a tone poem, in which each session has a particular tone or aesthetic that gets "rung," and multiple sessions are like a harmonic arrangement of separate tones. This latter is represented mainly by the level at which characters' Aspe (existence) are at risk or are being re-distributed, which is something that progresses from session to session, especially when conducting elaborate Travays.

I'm proud of my NPC Hoccccthulius, Baron of Body Fluid Coagulation. A disgruntled demon goes a really long way for the necessary GM-NPC who more-or-less defines the Situation in many High Concept, fast-playing Simulationist games (which is what I think 'puppies is).

I'm also stealin' a bit from Unknown Armies, regarding a porno tape which, viewed, is a spell-book, and (for one version of it anyway) casting the spells requires duplicating the acts depicted by the tape at particular moments.

High points of play (besides the Evil-gaining, which squicked me again but maybe not so bad this time) included dosing the Holy Guy with a mouthful of fire-extinguisher stuff, an amazing roll by a heretofore utterly-incompetent player-character which endeared the demon to him (lucky him; in another scene, Hoccccthulius, irritated, inserted a player-character's head up her own butt), and perhaps the most icky rat-catching, bitin'-off-heads bit in role-playing history.

Perhaps I shouldn't have seen both Meet the Feebles and Pink Flamingos for the first time each in the same short span of time. They seem to have colluded in my head for a truly horrid array of NPCs and satire. Did I mention that my first in-game announced event in this game, the first session, was inflicting one of the player-characters with a severe vaginal itch?

In this game, I'm not the GM, so I get to have a great time simply playing Sebastienne. Julie has now presented the primary problem at hand, which is that someone is exploiting our characters as Ti-Bon-Ange reservoirs. At this juncture, our characters (primarily mine) only struck back at the nearest target, but the situation - and its attendant constructed-dramas for each Sans-Souf involved - is shaping up.

One of my great joys in role-playing is to get into violent mood swings in Actor Stance, briefly, often set up or maneuvered into existence via extensive Author Stance. Which is to say, I make most character decisions from out-of-character agenda, but when the hard-core thematic crunch eventually comes, I don't deliberate or plan how the character reacts, I just identify with him or her as much as possible and let things rip for a scene or so. This game is enormously well-suited to this process, as the Aspe shifts are excellent cues and the mental state of the characters is simultaneously desperate, poetic, and bestial.

I also liked the images of the horrid, hulking bestial player-character laboring over a love poem (I imagine him with his tongue sticking out slightly), and the shift from a Grangou combat into a Ti-Bon-Ange combat right in the middle.


Title: [Le Mon Mouri / kill puppies] Dang!
Post by: jburneko on March 05, 2003, 11:42:31 AM
So, there's this ride at Disneyland called the Haunted Mansion.  I don't know how many of you may have ever been on this ride but it's basically an animatronic haunted house.  There are two parts of this ride that always make me get that sort of macabre giddiness from reveling in something truly nightmarish.

The first is a scene of a ballroom where down below you have ghosts merrily dancing and whirling away.  But just above them you have two paintings that depict men preparing to duel with pistols.  Repetitiously, ghosts emerge from the paintings, turn and fire at each other over and over and over again.

the second scene is out in this graveyard, where some ghosts are busy singing this kind of happy go lucky song about being dead and others are busy just trying to escape their horrible fate.  Near the very end there's this headless opera singing holding her head singing a beautiful aria while right next to her some skeletal form is attempting to brick himself up inside his own tomb!

This being a ride with animatronics, nothing ever changes.  But if for just one minute you squint your eyes and you allow yourself to pretend that it isn't a ride and that you really are glimpsing through a spiritual window at the undead, you get this horrible sense of desperate repetition.  You feel like you're witnessing a never ending repetitious passion play as these poor souls try to hold onto whatever meager "existance" they may have.

That's how reading Le Mon Mouri makes me feel.  With all the trading around of Aspe that hold the San-Souf together so to speak, I get that sense of eternal repetition in a effort merely to continue existing.  This is reinforced by the whole thing about trying to get in touch with the last few remaining memories of the real life you once had.

So, Ron my question to you is what does Le Mon Mouri feel like in motion from a Character stand point.  Do the Characters, both your own and the others actually feel like they're going anywhere?  How, in essance, does the story evolve?  Or is it largely the imagery and the the acts that change but really the Characters are just running on a macabre treadmill of desperate existance?

What does "resolution" constitute in Le Mon Mouri?

Just curious.


Edited Note: I just realized, I addressed the above question to Ron directly.  However, I did that because I wasn't sure if anyone else playing the game actually reads or posts on The Forge.  If you're out there, feel free to answer, as well as anyone else who may have actually played Le Mon Mouri.  It's a general question about the feel of actual play.

Title: [Le Mon Mouri / kill puppies] Dang!
Post by: Maura Byrne on March 05, 2003, 03:50:51 PM
Quote from: jburneko

So, Ron my question to you is what does Le Mon Mouri feel like in motion from a Character stand point.  Do the Characters, both your own and the others actually feel like they're going anywhere?  How, in essance, does the story evolve?  Or is it largely the imagery and the the acts that change but really the Characters are just running on a macabre treadmill of desperate existance?

What does "resolution" constitute in Le Mon Mouri?

This may not be what was intended, but I'm coming to the conclusion that my character is insane.  Or, perhaps, no longer capable of thinking sanely.  She is a servant, her name is Avarice, and one of her memories provokes a strong desire for vengeance.  But that may be neither here nor there.  Part of the feeling for me is that when we start a run, it's like we need a little kick start, which would work for characters who ... hmm ... I guess the best way to describe Sans-Souf is as characters who "are not dead."   Anyway, if we're moving toward the resolution of a storyline, I wouldn't be suprised if this game has a "Dust Devils" question for the characters.  I'm not all that certain about Sans-Souf, but if their time is strictly temporary and we're going to fall apart in a short while, then the question as I see it is about the issue that won't let us die.  Will we leave it behind, or will it destroy us in the end?

If that's the case, then the things we're doing have to push us toward the opportunity to resolve the issue that's keeping us not dead.  If that's not the case, then I don't know how the PCs resolve the story.  Not that that's a bad thing...

That's my initial response to this question, anyway.

Title: [Le Mon Mouri / kill puppies] Dang!
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 06, 2003, 07:56:42 AM
Hi Jesse,

That's a good question, because it permits me to make some points about Narrativist play that many might be missing.

You see, I usually provide examples from Sorcerer, Hero Wars, InSpectres, Everway, The Riddle of Steel, and Dust Devils, because these games are chock-full of explicit resolutions to personal-character conflicts, and furthermore, those personal conflicts are often highly integrated with problematic aspects of the immediate setting. Therefore they really nail the point that Outcomes and Theme are created through everyone's decisions during play (not just one person's). Whether we're talking about an episodic conflict in a longer-term saga, or the one resolution to the one conflict for this game, period, the principle applies equally. Universalis takes this whole idea and makes it so explicit that it's mind-boggling.

This approach corresponds to the most common stories: guy X, in situation X, he does thing X, and outcome X occurs, and theme X seems to "hit" most people who watch, read, or (in the case of RPGs) create it, based on that outcome.

However, Theme may often be more subtle than that. Trollbabe, The Dying Earth, and Maelstrom are all good examples of games in which personal, in-character resolutions are often confusing or non-insightful from the character's point of view, and even from the immediate character's-eye player's point of view. Theme emerges not from what happens with Sebastian, relative to Sebastian's conflict, and to whom Sebastian cares about, but rather from seeing Sebastian's situation and struggles, relative to the multitude of influences and confluences from both the setting and other characters engaged in similar situations, sometimes crossing Sebastian's path or sometimes almost totally disconnected. People experience everyone's situations and construct their emotional "hits" through perspective more than through identification.

Some books to check out that are like this include The Book of the New Sun by Gene Wolfe, We are All Legends by Darrell Schweitzer, and perhaps The End of the World News by Anthony Burgess. Films like this include many of John Sayles' movies (Passion Fish, Sunshine State), your favorite, Pi, and possibly Magnolia.

Le Mon Mouri seems to me one of the finest examples around of this sort of Theme-producing approach.


P.S. Obviously, there's a continuum between the two extremes that I've presented. Pulp Fiction and Lone Star provide excellent examples of films that produce themes through an intermediate method. In practice, that's how most Sorcerer play turns out too.

Title: serendipity
Post by: jrs on March 06, 2003, 11:44:21 AM
N.B. This has nothing to do with Jesse's question.

Forwarded to me by someone who knows nothing of Le Mon Mouri:

Corpses for Sale

I'd say a new twist on game props.


Title: [Le Mon Mouri / kill puppies] Dang!
Post by: lumpley on March 07, 2003, 11:28:41 AM
Well, then.  Dang.

How many players do the two games have in common?  Any more thoughts about how they're cross-pollinating?

It must be a hell of a thing.


Title: [Le Mon Mouri / kill puppies] Dang!
Post by: Emily Care on March 07, 2003, 12:07:55 PM
Quote from: lumpley
Any more thoughts about how they're cross-pollinating?

ooooooohhhhh, cross-pollinating LMM and Puppies.  What would the offspring look like? Who's going to write it? Dare we imagine guest appearances of characters from one world in the other? Stop me, somebody....

--Em Care

Title: [Le Mon Mouri / kill puppies] Dang!
Post by: jrs on March 07, 2003, 12:21:57 PM
The same group is playing both kill puppies and Le Mon Mouri back-to-back with Ron GM'ing kpfs and me GM'ing LMM.  The first time we did this we played LMM first; the second time kpfs was first.  I prefer playing a PC in kpfs before GM'ing LMM -- I know that after the last gaming session I was not good for much other than sitting in a corner fondling my recently purchased back issues of McSweeney's.

I do not want to even think about swapping characters between the two games!

San Souf puppies on the otherhand ...

GMA - haunt
TBA - play
Grangou - maim


*edited to add san souf puppies

Title: [Le Mon Mouri / kill puppies] Dang!
Post by: Comte on March 10, 2003, 11:27:43 PM
Well lets see I have all sorts of little things to say:

1#: I am sorry that you saw Meet the Feebles and Pink Flamingos anywhere near one another.  That must of been very traumatic for you.  Just thank...well whatever it is you thank, that you didn't see Gummo on top of all that.  The damage would of been fascinating to watch.

2#:  Since the last time I posted I have purchased a copy of Le Mon Mori and dug up a copy of Kill Puppies for Satan.  I desperatly want to play either or.  Thank you for showing me a new toy and rekindling my interest in an old one.  And you know what if I can't play KPFS, then my players will just have to deal with people who are playing KPFS in some other game.  

3#: In responce to playing to similar games and them cross polinating.  You know I've found in my very limited experience that this happens less with games that are similar and more with games that are opposite.  I once went from game mastering Sla industires, to playing a bard in D&D.  That was a strange jump and my poor charecter suffered for it, I don't think I've ever played someone more misrable in my life.  Also a freind of mine was introduced into the hobby through paranioa.  Ever since then just about ever charecter he ever plays is based on his first paranioa charecter.  He dosn't wave his sword/gun/stick around and calls us commies in the name of the computer.  But he dose frequently lie, cheat, steal, rob, and kill us for his own personal gain.  We are less of a role playing group and more of a pile of arch enemys who need each other to survive.  Still it makes for some wonderful game sessions.  Anyway we have constant bleeding between our games no matter how diffrent they may be.  As a game master I do it quite offten.  I freely take bits of other games and introduce them to one another.  

4#: I hate numbered lists.

5#: Well I think that's everything.  I personaly would like to say that I would be interested in continued updates as to how the games are going.  They make for good reading.  Hmm I had more to say about my interest but my life is intruding I must go.

Title: [Le Mon Mouri / kill puppies] Dang!
Post by: Ron Edwards on March 11, 2003, 06:36:09 AM
Hi Comte,

Great post. As it happens, I did see Gummo during the same time period! No, I am not kidding.

Anyway, that is getting off topic. My thoughts on cross-pollination and these two games is that their superficial similarity - the willingness, encouragement, and reward system to cross Lines - is only superficial. I can best explain this using examples of "Damned if you" games:

'puppies has more in common with Dread than with LMM; LMM has more in common with Sorcerer than with 'puppies.

Unknown Armies seems more in the Dread & 'puppies zone, whereas Dust Devils is more in the Sorcerer and LMM zone.

All of the above is horribly vague, I know, but at the moment examples seem like my best bet until I can reflect a bit more. Both of the current games are still going and seem fair to continue for a while.