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[Actual Play] My life with roses

Started by Victor Gijsbers, August 17, 2004, 10:49:23 AM

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Victor Gijsbers

I recently bought My Life with Master, and have started a game today which I will tell about here.

Set-up session

In 1798, in a part of Prussia which is now Poland, an excentric aristocrat has two burning passions: roses, and the beautiful opera singer Esmeradla Maralis. His crumbling castle surrounded by dank swamps may remind one of a darker version of Sleeping Beauty, as roses of all sorts - including pitch black and sickly white ones, some strangely deformed and twisted - burst forth from its every crevice. Immanuel Protrov breeds roses, and uses alchemical mixtures of his own devising to create new species with unique - and sometimes dangerous - properties.

His desire to marry Esmeralda Maralis, the soprano of a journeying opera troupe, is overhelming, but she has spurned his avances the last time her group was in town, even though she was no longer engaged. (Her previous love had just died under mysterious circumstances. Some whisper that Immanuel knew more of that.) Now, as the opera group is on its way to town once more, Immanuel Protrov's master plan is also drawing to a close: to breed a rose which makes people who smell it fall madly in love with the one who presents the rose to them! He just needs a few more ingredients, and a few test subjects...

Aspect: Brain
Type: [Dubious, maybe 'Breeder', maybe 'Collector' - but who cares.]
Needs: Ingredients and test subjects
Wants: The love of Esmeralda

Fear: 4
Reason: 3

Minion: Marcel
Self-loathing: 1
Weariness: 2
More-than-human: Very strong, except when confronted by angry people
Less-than-human: Extremely slow, except when utterly alone

Marcel was a young man from the town, who, against the express warnings of his parents, one day sneaked to the castle of Master. There, intrigued by the many potion which he thought would give him great powers, he drank a draught made by Master to make trees bigger and stronger. The ensuing transformation made him unrecognisable to the townspeople, including his sister, and left him ashamed and afraid, with nowehere else to go than to Master.

Connection: his sister, the preacher (whom he secretly wishes to confess to).

Minion: Agatha Arabidobsis
Self-loathing: 0
Weariness: 3
More-than-human: Can commands plants to grow and 'move', except plants with flowers.
Less-than-human: Cannot feel any emotions, except if she has eaten flowers planted in commemoration in the graveyard today.

Agatha cares for the Master's flowers, but the dark atmosphere in his castle has alienated her from the townspeople and her own inner emotions.

Connections: her sister (whom she does not dare approach; this sister is the Innocent, a wise woman who supplies herbs to the town), the keeper of the graveyard (a nice boy, whose good care for the dead and the graves and the flowers are very touching).

Minion: Amarus amans
Self-loathing: 3
Weariness: 0
More-than-human: Appears hauntingly beautiful, except to those who love him.
Less-than-human: Extreme stutter, except when singing.

The Master's older, but much more weak-willed brother. He is totally dominated by his sibling, and has given up all rights to the property and even to his family name. He serves his brother unwillingly, but does not have the spine to stand up to him.

Connection: Mathilde, the woman who always sits in the balcony across them in the opera house, and who wears such beautiful dresses. If only he knew anything about her!

I'm planning on playing the first session later today.


Less-than-human: Cannot feel any emotions, except if she has eaten flowers planted in commemoration in the graveyard today.

Wow, I'm very curious to see how this works out in the context of MLwM.  Looking forward to your session reports.

Mike Holmes

I was thinkin the same, Raf. I think what I'd do is rule no overtures unless the exception had been accomplished for the day. Days when she didn't get to the graveyard, or when there were no flowers, or whatever, I'd pelt her with appropriate overture opportunities so as to make the lack of emotion show.

Sounds like an awesome game to me. :-)

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Victor Gijsbers

This game is great! My Life with Master gave us an action-packed, focused, intense and exhilirating evening with a constant high level of interest that I had not ever experienced before. For years all my roleplaying has been rather free-form, but one night with MLwM has proven to me that not only does system matter, it matters a lot.

It was our first time playing MLwM, but overall there was little difficulty in getting started. Everyone had read the rules beforehand, and play proceded very naturally, with scenes following each other with an inner logic and all the players well aware of genre-expectations and very creative in requesting and playing out scenes. I immediately loved playing the Master, and pulled all the dirty psychological tricks I could think of: convincing the minions they were worthless; calling on their friendship, loyalty or family duty; often reacting to failure with disappointment or fake despair instead of anger - leaving the minions feel guilty and worthless, eager to please the Master without being spiteful -; even reproaching them for making people unhappy (when they were actually carrying out my evil will). Mwahaha! The players invariably portrayed their characters as lovable human beings, while doing cruel deeds aplenty. There were a few minor issues to which I will return in my next post, but in the main all went very well.

For me as GM the system was a true help. With the Master as we had defined him and the Minions with their more-than-humans, less-than-humans, background and connections all laid out before me, I had no trouble at all in thinking up horrific quests.

There will be a follow-up post, in which I describe what actually happened, but I'm going to sleep first.