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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 71 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [WoD 2.0] Freak Jersey, Actual Play  (Read 10837 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #30 on: November 26, 2004, 08:49:46 PM »

Let's make it very clear. Bangs are meant to spur movement in the plot. No doubt about it, that's precisely what they're for. In fact, in order to get them to work, you can be quite heavy handed in some cases.

What Bangs are not, are situations in which the player only has once choice. That is, they are not meant to spur the action in one particular direction, they're meant to spur it on in any direction the player likes. A good Bang can't be "walked away from," it forces a decision that displays the character. It just doesn't force a particular choice to be made in response to the situation.

Is that clearer?

Example, being attacked by a monster that wants to kill you, is not a bang. Because what choice does the player have? It's defend yourself or be killed. No real choice.

But what if the player gets the drop on the monster, and finds out that it's really a mutated little girl? Does he kill it, or capture it to see if he can change it back? Or just let it go off to kill more people? If you don't know which choice the player will take, then that's a bang.

The way to create bangs is to look at the character issues that the player has built in. Kicker first. Then other obvious stuff.

Mike
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Trevis Martin
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« Reply #31 on: November 26, 2004, 09:04:19 PM »

Rob,

Quote from: RobNJ
The truth is I didn't use the Bangs I had in mind, since the Kickers seemed to drive the plot along.


Yeah, I've had that happen. Especially in the first session. The amount of players you have affects it too. The less time you have the less likely you are to use a lot of bangs.  In fact the kicker is really a bang.  Its often said  that its the first bang. The only thing special about the kicker, is that its player generated instead of GM generated.

best,

Trevis
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #32 on: November 26, 2004, 11:36:33 PM »

Well, and the Kicker, being the first Bang, and indicative of what interests the players, should inform the rest of the Bangs. It's hard to make Bangs in a vaccuum, you have to consider something about the player's interests in making them. When there's a kicker, all other Bangs should be involved with ramifications of play of the kicker.

If the kickers were running play, then you shouldn't have had the wheel's spinning feeling. That is, if they're really driving play, then no, you don't need another kicker yet, you're doing fine. But that's not what it sounded like above was happening.

Mike
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Robert Bohl
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« Reply #33 on: November 27, 2004, 05:28:09 AM »

I guess what I meant was that the bangs I had in mind diverged from the path of the Kickers, and the Kickers hadn't yet had a chance to finish playing out.
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Mike Holmes
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #34 on: November 27, 2004, 07:39:53 AM »

Right. Which seems to be the problem right there.

If you're using a kicker, that's your cue as to what sort of things should be further Bangs. Not that all Bangs have to be 100% about the issue that the kicker presents. But most of them should be; and those that are not would do well to be informed by the kicker as well in some way. Most importantly, they shouldn't distract from the story that the kicker, well, kicks off.

What I think you're missing is the idea that all of the plot centers around the kickers. And when they're resolved, that's a good time to consider ceasing play. A kicker should probably take at least a couple of sessions to resolve, and possibly a lot more. Kickers aren't just an event that gets the ball rolling, then to be resolved in the first session, and left behind. They are the key to the entire "campaign" (or chronicle, to use WOD parlance).

As a little exercise, try finding a common premise amongst the kickers, and then make a title from that. Then think of that as the title for the game. So, for instance if you have two players, one with some problem with his son being kidnapped, and another that deals with a man having an affair (note that neither of these are kickers as stated, they'd need a lot more fleshing out to be valid), then you might call the game Family Affairs. And use that to inform your prep and what sort of Bangs are appropriate.  

If/when a kicker is resolved, then what happens (at least in Sorcerer play) is that the game doesn't continue unless another kicker is presented, and everyone wants to continue playing - at least the GM in addition to the player in question. The resolution of the kicker is the resolution of this portion of the game.

I'm not sure if I'm stating this well. But, again, the Kickers taken together are the core around which the entire game is put together. Any other prep has to take that into account. Because, again, the purpose of the kicker is to indicate what interests the player. If you go outside of that, you have to rely on other indicators as to what's interesting to the player. This can happen, often organically in play - but you'll see that happening as you go along, as long as you keep everything focused on ramifications of the kicker.

Sorry if I've gone on too long about this. Just trying to be crystal clear.

Mike
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Robert Bohl
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« Reply #35 on: November 27, 2004, 08:55:15 AM »

Mike, don't worry first of all.  If I feel you're being pedantic I'll tell you and I will know you don't mean to be.  You have not been, though, and I don't think it'll be a problem in the future, either.  Nor has Trevis, or anyone else on this thread.  Even if I don't wind up using these tools or wind up using them in a very different from from how you (plural) might, that doesn't mean anything you had to say here has been worthless.

Okay, disclaimers aside, I think I've finally come to understand something I wasn't getting before.  In fact, in the Kickers and Bangs examples I've read, something never made sense and now I think it's congealing to something resembling sense.

To whit:  The Bangs should work in concert with the Kickers, and the story, to further them.  They should not be additional cool events, they should address the plot and move it along if it needs it.

Now, figuring out how to construct Bangs that are open enough might be a problem.  But I think this is what Paka/Judd meant when he said that I had been doing them all along.  My outlines served as Bangs that would be introduced as needed to move the story along.  If read by someone outside they may read like railroading, but the way they actually get used is the way that it sounds like Bangs are meant to be used.

I should say that two of the Kickers (the ones I had time to ruminate on) are probably going to drive the action for the entire chronicle, or at least this subset of it (let's call it a season).  The only new concept for me, then, is Kickers.  And the Kickers have been a real success, and I think I will probably use them again in the future.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #36 on: November 29, 2004, 12:07:18 PM »

Quote
To whit: The Bangs should work in concert with the Kickers, and the story, to further them. They should not be additional cool events, they should address the plot and move it along if it needs it.


By George, I think he's got it! :-)

Right, they're not just there to mix things up more, or add more action to the events that are occuring. They're there to give the players opportunities to make decisions about things that are important to the character, which in this case has been indicated by the kicker.

And I bet that you do leave things open enough with the bangs that you have. Again, the test is: look at the Bang you've just written. Do you know how it will play out? If yes, then rewrite it so that there's an actual choice in there. If so, then it's good to go.

This isn't garunteed, BTW, some players will just not see a Bang as open enough. This is why you have a few per player. Expect some Bangs to fizzle, and be happy about the ones that work well.

And, lastly, don't entirely rely on your prep. Lots of times you'll see a better idea in play. Go for these.

Mike
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Sydney Freedberg
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« Reply #37 on: November 29, 2004, 12:48:32 PM »

Vincent Baker's Dogs in the Vineyard (not played it yet, but read it) addresses this point very neatly. His technique is to look at how your players answered the last moral dilemma you threw at them and then throw back an even harder choice along the same themes; the role of the GM is to keep saying, "you'd do that? Even in this situation? Even now?"

To expand on the example somebody gave above:

The players defeat the monster and discover it's actually the murderous were-form of a normal little girl. BANG: Do they kill her to ensure she'll never hurt anyone again, or do they try to save her somehow when her continued survival in itself puts innocents at risk?

If they choose to kill her, then you keep putting them in situations where they could save many people by sacrificing one, but where the price gets higher and higher. E.g. that nice hardworking father of four over there, he's got a demonic parasite in his blood, and it's using his body as a base-camp to work nasty spells -- but you could just pop a cap in him and save everybody -- like you did to that girl...

If they choose to save her, then you keep putting them in situations where they could save the one by risking the many, but the one is less and less clearly worthy of salvation. E.g. sure he ritually murdered two elderly ladies and their cats, but he had a traumatic childhood -- like that poor girl...

This "even now" principle of moral escalation means you're not just giving players what they want, but you are presenting them consistently with the kinds of choices they've already made clear they find interesting.
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