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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 73 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Multi-GM Trollbabe possible!  (Read 1689 times)

Posts: 52

« on: July 15, 2004, 05:53:55 PM »

(this post is written more or less stream-of-consciousness just after a great game, so there's bound to be plenty of splelng erors and grammar mistakes -- please bear with me)

We had an interesting game of Trollbabe tonight, and I would like to tell you about it. What we did was to shift the GM-duties around the table, alternating narrative control of the game between us. It made for a very exciting, but mentally straining game of Trollbabe.

The setup:
* Due to the events of the previous game, the TBs started in the same village.
* We had previously agreed that we would pass authoring duties along during the game, but we had not formalized any method for handing over this control (As it turned out, the GM ended up passing control along whenever he felt like it).
* No houserules or social contract was specified, apart from the above point.
* Though it must be said that we all wanted the same out of the game, namely more plot and story coupled with fast and furious combat. No 25-minute combat rounds for us.
* To see how far we could freestyle, we all went in with no prep whatsoever (OK, that could come in under the social contract).
* I began as GM, and had my own character ready, still off stage.
* The Stakes were the future of the village. Some mysterious, but undeniably powerful creatures had shacked up in a local burial ground and demanded tribute (children!) from the villagers. The TB's decided to immediately investigate these gods(?), to release the village from this vile tax.

There was a short discussion about raising the Scale from Personal to Village but it was decided against, and play began in earnest.

I won't go into the details of the plot, other than to say that the TBs soon got sidetracked by strange and magical events. After about 40 minutes I started running on empty, so instead of calling a short break for cigs (my usual way of handling GM fatigue), I just handed the GM reins to Tom by saying "OK, you take it from here, Tom". And so he did. And so on.

Interesting stuff & incidental info:
* Martin and Tom never GMs in other games; Mike is an experienced RQ GM. All took to GMing TB like ducks to water.
* We noticed that nearly all GM turns lasted between 20 and 30 minutes before control was passed on.
* Conflicts and resolutions went well, with all grokking the reroll and pace rules.
* We did mess up conflicts involving multiple TBs, but the GM would then just resolve the conflict ad-hoc by saying "OK, you first, and then Mike". This worked well, and no one felt left out.
* Players would often want to fail an action to gain the narrative, and so bumped up the pace, and/or simply aborted at first failure without going for a reroll. So clearly, narrative control is seen as a positive.
* Change of GM felt almost transparent; every GM would studiously pass "GM-friendly" situations to the next GM. We had not made any agreements over this, but it just felt natural to hand over a nice, juicy setup to the next GM, so thats how it went.
* GMs enforced strict attendance: More than once a player would say, say, "well, my babe is still kinda dazed" to postpone making a choice, but the GM would invariably intrude in player-space and say "Not anymore. You're up and about now, so what will you do?" This worked well, IOO.
* Compared to our previous TB game, there were much fewer "I'll fight some monsters, and get nowhere plotwise" moments.
* The GMs character was never played actively; she would just tag along and only be involved in conflicts as a relationship reroll. No one felt bothered by this.
* In this session the TBs did not really split up for extended periods of time.
* The general atmosphere of the game was very open and cooperative; people went out of their way to play to the team.
* People really seemed to dig that the authorial rights are so clearly delineated between failure/player and success/GM rights. Failure is almost seen as setbacks the heroine must endure, until she can set up her master plan.

We have decided that multi-GM TB is not only possible but a lot of fun too, at least if you play with people who know each other. I now think that we had an unspoken social contract along the lines of "we know what we all want, so lets go get it", or at least it felt that way: We were all focused on making this game a good game, and so cooperation and mutual respect flourished. It was a very pleasant and fun game all in all.

However, we only really played for just about 3 hours when we decided to call it quits: Mike had to get up early. All felt remarkably drained after the game, and even though the 3 of us could have played for another hour, all felt sated (for lack of a better word). The decision to stop did not feel forced or rushed, in fact it felt just right. Further sessions will tell if TB is in itself a demanding game, or if it just delivers rich slices of story in short spans of time. Certainly, TBs ultra-lite combats and conflicts does not serve as time-padding.

Trollbabe is an RPG that has very little fluff, and therefore lends itself well to experimentation. In fact we found our little experiment so worthwhile that we may switch permanently to this multi-GM TB variant. If you like regular TB but tend to "burn out" while GMing it, I can certainly recommend this variation.

Best regards,
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