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PTA as narrative management module?

Started by Albert of Feh, August 28, 2004, 07:00:38 AM

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Albert of Feh

Well, the Moose in the City thread has already convinced me that I absolutely must buy this game. That said, I'm a bit curious... (I'll note that what was said in that thread constitutes the limit of my knowledge of the game on any mechanical level)

How possible (alternately: worthwhile) is it to use PTA as a sort of inter-session narrative management system on top of another more specialized rules system? For example, what if I wanted to run a Star Trek game, and wanted to have more Simmy crunchy spaceship bits thrown in than (and I'm just guessing, here :P) PTA provides? Would anything really be needed other than translating the Screen-Presence values into some system-specific meaning to provide the appropriate effects?

Ben Lehman

My suggestion:  Combine PTA with the excellent article "Getting rid of *tech*" from Daedalus #2, written by neelk, and you will have more and better technical bits and crunch than Star Trek could ever dream of.

Offhand, I would say that PTA would not work well overlaid onto another system -- the way that dramatic arcs work just doesn't play well with others in the same way that, say, Universalis does.

yrs--
--Ben

lumpley

For the love of all that is good, play the game straight at least once before you start screwing with it.

-Vincent

Matt Wilson

Hey Albert:

I think there's a few concepts in the game that you could probably port to other games, and someone somewhere has probably been playing that way since long before I started writing.

As for the crunchy bits, the game is pretty much devoid of them. Conflicts are one roll, and protagonist sheets are extra simple (I have a mockup of one on my site that you can take a look at).

If you want big-combat adventure with round-by-round progress bars (e.g. hit points), you won't get that. But if you want something that feels a lot like an actual episode of Star Trek, you won't need to make any changes.

Alan

Quote from: Ben LehmanMy suggestion:  Combine PTA with the excellent article "Getting rid of *tech*" from Daedalus #2, written by neelk, and you will have more and better technical bits and crunch than Star Trek could ever dream of.

(Causality and Choice: getting rid of the {TECH}, an article in Daedalus Winter 2004, Issue #2)

I actually considered preparing charts of how the drives, etc. function for PTA Spacehunter but our series focused on planet-bound activities, so it didn't seem worthwhile.  As it turned out there weren't any space chases or battles, and the one time tech was really significant, we just creating details collectively and the result did not disappoint.  

In a game where tech played a more frequent role, I can see two possible approaches, which could be used in different degree of combination

1) in preparation, encourage the group to define some "how does it work" details, or even give each player Neelk's article and homework to chart one crucial system for the game.

2) build things on the fly, but make notes so they work the same way in future.
- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com

Albert of Feh

Point taken, Vincent. :)

If it makes you feel any better, I was asking this question more from the perspective of "Using mechanical narrative techniques from PTA to spice up a different game" than "Using a hacked up resolution system in PTA". I still want the game for itself, even if it will (for now) just be going into the Massive Pile of Indie games I need to find opportunities to play.