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Author Topic: What is it about MLWM...  (Read 3643 times)
Don D.

Posts: 29

« on: August 19, 2004, 08:44:30 AM »

What is it about MLWM that makes it so popular with those who play it and love it?  Is it the stories that are told?  If this were the case couldnt it be done just as well in a more traditional RPG format?  Is it the game mechanics (this is what I tend to think it is)?  What is it about the mechanics that thrills everyone?  What do the mechanics do to make it a better game than if say White Wolf came up with MLWM?  Has anyone tried using the MLWM genre and story format using a different rule set?  How did it work out or how do you think it would work out?

Posts: 5

« Reply #1 on: August 19, 2004, 06:00:26 PM »

I am waiting to run MLwM. It is no. 2 on the list (I have to run Conspiracy of Shadows first...apologies Mr. Goat...). But it is burning a hole in my backpack and bookshelf. But the reasons I love MwlM:

1. I just find that it is singularly the most evocative game I have ever read. I am constantly getting ideas for Masters and scene ideas.

2. The mechanics are perfect for the premise. Shoehorning MLwM into a different system would make the premise difficult to play out without heavy railroading. And how much of the alternate system would you have to trim out to make it work?

3. I love stories of redemption. MLwM seems to give me the ability to tell such stories, with a good dose of black comedy and catharsis. Vampire was the first game I owned that promised that, but it doesn't deliver it with the same emotional intensity. And for my own reasons, I can relate to the minions...that can't be good...

4. Low Handling Time.  

5. Easy Learning Curve.

Some of the things of the top of my head.

Don D.

Posts: 29

« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2004, 12:50:39 PM »

What if you took a traditional rules set (I think Savage Worlds would work perfect) and used it as is but added the Self Loathing, Weariness, Fear, Reason and Love traits.  I would use Weariness to represent emotional tiredness (wearying of life) and the Wound levels in Savage Worlds for physical damage.  Then I would roleplay the game as a normal RPG game  and when the scene came to that pivital moment I would roll the 4 sideds and base how I run the rest of the scene according to the outcome of those dice (or roll the dice at the beginning of the scene to see how to run the scene.)

I dont know...these are just some thoughts I had after running MLWM for one session but thinking it lacked the excitement of some other rpgs (although I love the premise).  Of course this could all be because I have never ran a 'narrative' game before and I may be doing it wrong.

Posts: 576

« Reply #3 on: August 20, 2004, 01:14:56 PM »

I think a big kick out of MLwM is it answers so many "obvious" RPG questions differently. The players lose some major power:
(1) there are limited player choices - i.e. if you fail to resist master, you fail to resist, and you have to play to that
(2) player character archetypes are streamlined to be very broken and pitiful persons (in the sense of being unhealthily dependant on the master)
(3) very severe scene framing

But players get major powers, too:
(1) defining the "plot"
(2) the story will move of its own accord (dice rules), and the ending is much more in neutral hands rather than GM hands.
(3) players can request their own scenes, at will
(4) indeed, I find that having some major choices preset can actually give you, the player, that much more freedom to play out the role

It's not just the stories: it's that the mechanics are very, very aggressive in promoting a certain kind of story. It's not just a "narrative game", but also a game that is almost our defining example of a "Finite RPG", so there's lots of different things to get used to.

I think a way to look as it is MLwM goes quite a ways to establish genre conventions as absolute laws. You never can act out of Strength, or Wisdom, or for that matter even Rage - no, all your power comes from Self-Loathing and Love, plain and simple, and it is on these axes that your minion exists and feels pain.

As a GM, I've found MLwM gives players the right prompts to get into their characters, and I find the rigid structure very easy for me, as a GM, to work with. (I've only played one-night games with it, which is unfortunate, but even these worked well.)


So about these changes you suggest? I think it would be a very different experience, and would lose the charm that MLwM players might find. Of course, don't take my postive raves to be proscriptive - it's your game, and if the MLwM fodder inspires you to play out some game that is awesome, that's great. And I do know where you might be coming from - if I haven't made some genre rules clear (i.e. a minion's player shouldn't always serve the master without question, PvP combat to the death just isn't possible), and a player tries something out of scope, there's a bit of odd confusion where we figure out how to go forward without deprotagonizing.

I'd love to hear more about the MLwM session, because it IS a game that runs very differently. (Narrativism is wicked hard if you're used to Sim like me. I wouldn't want to play that way *all* the time, as much as I do enjoy it.)

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