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Author Topic: [Trollbabe] First run advice  (Read 3935 times)
Bailywolf
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Posts: 729


« on: July 12, 2004, 12:24:00 PM »

I'm planning on running Trollbabe for my lovely and indulgent wife this week.  I just downloaded the game, so haven't fully read it yet, so I don't have any specific questions yet.  

However, I was wondering is Ron or anyone who has run the game can offer me some practical first-time advice, point out some things I should keep an eye on, or suggest ways to make things run well.

I'm reading my way through the Trollbabe Actual Play threads as well BTW.

I'm sure I'll have more questions after I read and digest, but I wanted to put this thread out here sooner rather than later.

Thanks

-Ben
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #1 on: July 14, 2004, 04:50:40 AM »

OK!


I've read and pretty much digested Trollbabe....  I think...

For such a little game, there is an amazing crunch-density to this game....  I kept thinking "You know, THIS would be a perfect game to run the movie version of LoTR..."

Anyhow, Sarah and I are going to bake challah this evening, and play Trollbabe between the mixing and kneading, and while waiting for the dough to rise.  We're going to play in the kitchen while the challah bakes.  I'm really looking forward to this.

She created her character last night:

Lillian
Number 4 (Athletic, Trollish Magic, Insightful)
Large spiral-curling horns, red braided hair (worn up in tight Dutch-style buns or loose and free depending on her mood).
Carries a human-carved walking staff (from her father) and a trollish charm bag filled with herbs and healing unguents (from her mother).
Other than this, she carries a simple dagger for utility, and wears a soft leather tunic and sensible boots.  

When I asked her about horns and hair style, she said "You're kidding." but in picking them, they fleshed out the character in some interesting ways, and got us talking about some things we might not have considered.

We ended up with a personality like a sexy assertive librarian.


Anyhow, this is what I have planned for the adventure itself.

She is wandering somewhere... when a band of outlaws bursts across her path- they are carrying (in addition to the usual bandit junk) a covered basket they handle with great care.  If Sarah doesn't want to enter in a conflict, they will note her horns, and ask her if she works for Tuloth.

Depending on the outcome of this exchange, she will likely end up either in Tuloth's camp or in a nearby human village (a bunch of armed villagers follow the bandits, and also confront Lillian).  

Hampstien's famous Sacred Peaches have been stolen, and the village's patron goddess is pissed about it.  Three women of the village have gone into premature labor, and will likely die in childbirth if the deity can't be appeased (with a sacrifice of sacred peaches...).

I took to heart the bits in the game suggesting that the action of the adventure should be interesting to the player as well as to the imaginary character, and since Sarah is a student midwife, she is all baby, all the time.  I figured this would be a good way of introducing the main Stakes of the game:  Who will end up with the Peaches?

Turloth is a powerful troll shaman who needs the peaches as bait for the Death Bear.  If he can lure the Death Bear away with the peaches, he can slip into the Underworld and reclaim his dead son.  He is pretty powerful with all his charms and spirit-allies (A -1 Modifier for first roll only, and a -1 modifier to all Magic).    

Turloth hired the human bandits to steal the peaches.  The people of Hampstien hate trolls (and distrust trollbabes) and they killed his son in a raid on the trollish camp.  

There you go...  this is what I have planned.

However, I well know that I'll have to tweak, modify, or out and out scrap this prep if Sarah wants to go in a different direction.


Any comments on my thinking thus far?


I'll post the Actual Play when it comes in.

-Ben
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: July 14, 2004, 06:21:00 AM »

Hiya,

I think you're doing fine. Your most important task is to convey what the trollbabe sees, and then frame scenes. As you go on, make sure Sarah knows (a) that you or she can always initiate conflict and (b) that she can request scenes. There's a subtle difference there.

I suggest that as the GM, when you instigate a conflict, just set it at the one-roll level every time for the first session. That'll get you guys used to the re-roll series. Go ahead and let her do whatever Pace she wants, but don't make things more complex by doing anything but one-roll on your side of things. And don't alter the Pace yet, again, unless she wants to.

Narration should be painless, not a matter of pressure to perform. Anyone can offer suggestions to anyone else during narration; the narrator is merely the person with whom the buck stops.

Don't forget to make it clear that Lillian can establish a relationship with anyone she interacts with during a scene. And conversely, Sarah should not be obliged to form such a relationship for her trollbabe if she doesn't want to. This is not one of those games in which you meet NPC X and are expected to become his loyal apprentice or deadly enemy or whatever.

Use the modified Social rules - the worst of the two rolls, including the Number. E.g. if the character's number is 7, then Fighting is 1-6, Magic is 8-10, and Social is 7-10. I'm very serious. Extensive playtesting across many groups always yields the same response.

Play the NPCs! They all have some interest in the Stakes in some way. You have quite a list of characters and groups prepped - perhaps too many, but instead of changing that, let's just go over what you really need to do.

1. Don't commit to the story being over in just one session. Not with a bang-arama-thon bucket of NPCs and priorities like you've got.

2. Make a list of names. I am not kidding. Just four lists: troll male, troll female, human male, human female. Do not associate the names with any of the NPCs except Turloth (already got'im). This is your gold mine during play - when Sarah says "Who's the bandit leader?" you just seize the first name under "human male," and you will be amazed at how this NPC immediately takes life in your mind.

3. Take moments for rests, pauses, musing, and baths. Trollbabes really shine when they get to stretch lazily or sip a beer. Then again, they also shine when swinging into action, too, but still, take the moments.

Best,
Ron
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Bailywolf
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #3 on: July 14, 2004, 06:32:17 AM »

Cool- thanks!

I had already adopted the low-social tweak, and decided to go with the 'fixed Action type' mod I read about in one of the Actual Play threads (not sure which one) in which you are stuck with the action type you start with (to keep things simple).

Good suggestion about keeping pace 1:1 on my part- this will keep things mellow.

I already have a list of names for this one- I can see how this would be VERY significant for a run on the fly Trollbabe kinda game.

I'm woried that Sarah will be sort of timid about taking over naration and requesting scenes- any suggestions on technique on how to encourage this?

Thanks

-Ben
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: July 14, 2004, 06:40:56 AM »

Hey,

Quote
I'm woried that Sarah will be sort of timid about taking over naration and requesting scenes- any suggestions on technique on how to encourage this?


I don't know Sarah personally, but I do know that female semi-role-players, in my experience, have no problems with these things unless they've received social smackdown in the past for trying them.

I suggest not pushing it. Just be expectant and welcoming about any hints she might give off along these lines, up to and including running with her cues (much like little tiny Kickers).

Sarah (as a joke): Ha, what if I ran into Old Glenna by chance at the market? That would be a hoot! Can you imagine Lillian's face?

You: Yeah! Good point! OK, you're down at the market ...

Sarah: Oh, hey, I was kidding.

You: I know, but really, if you want, let's do it.

Sarah: All right, wham! (mimes near-collision and makes face of astonishment) Old Glenna! How ... uh, nice to see you!

Director Stance rights are pretty limited in Trollbabe, so don't misconstrue this advice to mean that Sarah can put any NPC she wants into any locale she wants when she requests the scene. The above example presumes that both people consider it reasonable that Old Glenna might be at the market.

Best,
Ron
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Bailywolf
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Posts: 729


« Reply #5 on: July 14, 2004, 06:42:39 AM »

Cool.

I'll let you know how it goes tonight.

-B
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Bailywolf
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Posts: 729


« Reply #6 on: July 15, 2004, 06:41:23 AM »

I'm posting the writeup for Part 1 of  'Lillian and the Sacred Peaches' over in Actual Play.

-Ben
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Bailywolf
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Posts: 729


« Reply #7 on: July 15, 2004, 09:33:33 AM »

Here is the Actual Play

http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?p=128251#128251[/url]
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