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Author Topic: [WoD 2.0] Do I Stay (human) Or Do I Go Now?  (Read 4840 times)
Robert Bohl
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« on: November 28, 2004, 02:02:33 PM »

I am trying to decide whether to "make" my players' characters into supernaturals or not.  This is a World of Darkness, investigating-the-supernatural chronicle (it's called Freak Jersey), so it's quite possible the players may want their characters to remain normal people.

So here's an email I wrote to them which will probably have consquences beyond just the issue I outlined above:

You can feel free to email this privately to me if you prefer.  Please select one of the following (if you can't, or if they're unclear, we can dialogue over it privately):

1) I want the GM to run the game without any input from me, thus making the entire game a mystery and its direction is in his hands and my only control over the plot will be the occasional Kicker and choosing my character's actions in-game. (if you pick this, read no further)

2) I want the GM to do his best to anticipate what I as a player might like, and he should ask me questions if need be.  I realize that these questions could potentially spoil surprises for me, but that the GM will make an effort not to do so.

3) I want the GM to ask me blunt questions about the PC's future, possibly spoiling future plans for me, as a player, but I will continue to play as if the character doesn't know.
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Robert Bohl
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« Reply #1 on: November 28, 2004, 02:06:30 PM »

I'll post their responses in case you're curious.  And, as is often the case, Judd/Paka has helped me out quite a bit with articulating this.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #2 on: November 28, 2004, 03:04:38 PM »

I'll post my approval, even though approval without content posts aren't approved of much! :)

I seem to remember Ron saying somthing about surprises and how they may not be needed, but can't quite remember (perhaps it was something he said about meta plot).

I find the 'I want to be surprised' issue to make game content discussions problematic and would like to hear from other posters and Ron on it, if Rob thinks such is on topic (if not, ignore this part). Its just that I wonder if, although the players might like those latter options, the urge to be surprised will make them dismiss them.
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Robert Bohl
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« Reply #3 on: November 28, 2004, 03:06:13 PM »

I would be very happy if we got into a, "How do you do surprise and still allow for author or (more difficultishly) director stance?" conversation on this thread.

EDIT: Oh, and thanks for the note of confidence, Noon.
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Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG
Robert Bohl
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« Reply #4 on: November 28, 2004, 03:32:55 PM »

First reaction:  Ricky's player said he wanted #2.  That is, I should do my best, ask when I feel I must.

Of course, this is difficult since that's the least information for me.  I'm left pretty much where I started out.

Then again, Ricky seems the most obvious case of vampire-bait I've seen in a while, so I think I'm safe letting it go that way.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #5 on: November 28, 2004, 03:47:34 PM »

Given the way you formulated the questions, I'll be quite shocked if anyone picks anything other than #2.  But time will tell, I suppose.
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Robert Bohl
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« Reply #6 on: November 28, 2004, 03:48:28 PM »

How would it be better to handle this, then?
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TonyLB
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« Reply #7 on: November 28, 2004, 04:18:22 PM »

I'm not quite sure.  You wanted to get more information from them, but you offered them the best of both worlds by saying that you thought you could "guess" what they wanted, with maybe a few minor and inconsequential questions.  Really, what lazy player wouldn't want that option?

Can you say to these people "I'm trying to figure out how far I can script events for your characters before I'm intruding on your right to contribute to the game.  Let's talk about what sort of power over the character you want to reserve to yourself and what you'd rather delegate to me."?
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Blankshield
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« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2004, 05:11:47 PM »

Quote from: RobNJ
How would it be better to handle this, then?


Use examples.

Something like:

Pick one of these examples that, if it happened to your character without your input, you would think the GM went too far:

A total stranger approaches you with an offer.

A total stranger approaches you with an offer.  You agree to listen to him.

A total stranger approaches you with an offer.  You hear him out and take him up on it.

Pick one of these examples that, if you learned about it as a player, it would spoil your fun and/or make playing the character properly very difficult:

Your brother, who seems to like you, is up to something shady.

Your brother, who seems to like you, doesn't, and is trying to undermine you.

Your brother, who seems to like you, is actually not your brother, and is in your life to try and ruin it.

Your brother, who seems to like you, is a vampire who plans to kill you and sire you, after destroying everything else in your life, so that you can only turn to him for support.

---
Those are just off-the-cuff examples, but it's the sort of thing I would do to get the answers you're looking for.

James
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Robert Bohl
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2004, 05:17:29 PM »

James,

Those are good examples in one way, and I almost pasted them to my players, but then I thought the answer would be, "Depends."  I mean, wouldn't it?  Like I'm sure Harris's player wouldn't care if I had something really horrible happen to Harris's wife.  But if I forcibly Embraced Harris in the next session, I'm pretty sure his player would be mad at me, Rob, the ST.
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Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG
sirogit
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« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2004, 06:15:41 PM »

So the problem is:

A) You don't know if your players want to be supernaturals.

B) You don't want players to know when they're going to become a supernatural or not.

C) You don't want to wait too long for a character to become supernatural if the player wants to, nor do you want to force a character that doesn't want to become supernatural to do so.

D) Presumably, you want to work off of a model in which becoming a supernatural si a non-consensual activity, and preserve this feeling out-of-game.

Here's my idea:

Create a threat of infection in-game. Vampire says he wants you as his kid and he ain't asking, werewolf bites someone, etc etc.

See how the players react. Players, not characters. Open the way for people to chat about their feelings. See if they're sort of rushed to maintain their character's mortal status, or if they're squeaking about what nifty powers they're gonna get.

Apply some pressure for them to become a supernatural. See how hard they push back.
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Robert Bohl
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« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2004, 08:22:31 PM »

Well, I should mention that I don't necessarily want the change to be non-consentual.  Werewolves in this World of Darkness 2.0 are by definition non-consentual, and I'm assuming Mages remain utterly consentual.  Vampires could go either way.  So barring the werewolves, I can actually handle these by giving the characters a choice and letting the player decide in his "my guy" stance if his character wants that (and maybe let them throw in a little "what do I-player-person want and the character can go screw"--inasmuch as they want to).

And you have a good point in terms of testing the waters.  And it actually works perfectly for werewolves.

In Werewolf: The Forsaken, lyncanthropy is hereditary + Luna chooses you for no reason anyone can understand.  It's not transmitted by bite.  However, Uratha (that's their own name for theysselves) know when someone's about to pop.  So they bite him or her.  For a year after you tasted someone's blood, it's much, much easier for you to track that person.

One of the players already knows this.  I can arrange it so that he and another character I'm considering for werewolfhood get bitten by gold-eyed dogs that might be really big alaskan huskies, and then these "dogs" just run away.  Gauge how the players react, and see how they seem to feel about it.

And if I don't wind up going werewolf with them, it's just something freaky and fucked up.  Maybe if I do keep the vampire thing, it's the vampire screwing with them.
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Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG
sirogit
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Posts: 503


« Reply #12 on: November 28, 2004, 08:46:15 PM »

Actually, I knew about the bite thing, and assumed that the players would know of it as well. Its function would be to create a chance that they would be werewolves, and a chance that they would not(Other people get bitten.) thereby opening the water-testing.

Here's another difficulty, what if the players do not want their character to be a supernatural but the characters do? I could easily imagine that happening with Mage.

Besides my advice for using in-game pressure to evaluate players' choices, you could also take the option of asking player at the moment of turning into something "Hey, do you wanna be a supernatural?" and if they say no, someone gets staked in the back or something.  

In any account, I think that this nexus between being human and being turned to something else is one of the most intereasting aspects of the whole WoD "Thang" and one of the few I've ever seen ring with sincerity, so you should defnately exploit the hell out of it, slowing turning people to this or that at the horror of their close friends, rather than just some short "'K you're all vamps now."
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Robert Bohl
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« Reply #13 on: November 28, 2004, 09:14:54 PM »

I don't know why I always make things more difficult on myself than they need to be.

I just got off a phone conversation, and expect to have 2 more just like this.

Me:  I'm not saying this definitely is or is not going to happen, but would you be okay with it if your character wound up becoming supernatural?  I know you're not into vampires, so that's out, but mage or werewolf?

Harris's player:  Not really, no.  I mean, mage is the only one that could work, and it'd have to work out right in the story.

Me:  But definitely not werewolf, and definitely definitely not vampire.

HP:  Yeah.

--

The tone and content said, "This may never happen, but I want to know."  It seemed to work out fine.
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Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG
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