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Author Topic: 10 Dogs, 6 Ronin and Assorted Bombastic Aristos  (Read 26392 times)
Russell Collins
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Posts: 78

What do you have to lose?


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« Reply #15 on: February 01, 2005, 12:27:18 PM »

Well, I missed my chance to play Dogs, but heard enough good things about it to pick up a copy and now I'm trying to wrangle my players into giving it a try ASAP.

Not that I made poor decisions at the con. I got to enjoy Clinton's Shadow of Yesterday scenario which rocked along like a truck with its brakes out. Seriously, I was at first amazed that he was trusting all sides of the conflict to the players, but then as alliances of situation and brutal rivalries came toghether and fell apart I couldn't have imagined playing any other way. My Ratkin heavy got to beat and be beaten by two warriors who were ready to turn on each other at a moment's notice. Fun stuff!

Conspiracy of Shadows provided the kinds of horror headgames I was expecting, and I got to be the curmudgeonly bastard inn keeper, so I got lots of legwork running around from player to player, giving them drinks and getting caught up in their madness.

Lacuna. I later described it as the game in which players get to ask deep questions about the nature of being and the depths of the human psyche while the GM just sees how badly he can mess us up. Jared warned that we might not like him after the game, I'm only angry that there wasn't more time to play.

I'd been drifting away from Role-Playing as a hobby over the past years. Still running my Orpheus game, but giving it little thought outside of that. This convention and the very intelligent, friendly, REAL company that was mostly supplied by the indie developers and their faithful players has done a lot to make me want to get back in the game. See, I'm posting on an RPG message board. Ya wouldn't have seen that before I tell ya.

Thanks.
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My homeworld was incinerated by orbital bombardment and all I got was this lousy parasite.

Russell Collins
Composer, sound designer, gamer, dumpling enthusiast.
timfire
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Posts: 756


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« Reply #16 on: February 01, 2005, 12:31:49 PM »

Hi everyone, didn't mean to ignore this thread, just its taken me a bit to get re-settled.

Baron Munchausen: I like the idea of the game, but unfortunately I suck at it. Like Vincent, I had alot more fun being the audience than when it was my turn. I would try it again, though, but preferably with alcohol next time.

Dogs: Dogs definitely deserves its reputation. Thinking back to the game I played (with Josh, Tony, Andrew M., and obviously Vincent), I'm struck by how I actually enjoyed the mechanics. The game definitely went places it probably wouldn't have gone if it wasn't for the escalation feature. I had a  ton of fun, and now that I own the book, I look forward to playing it some more.

(As a quick aside, I could tell that I've been focusing on The Mountain Witch lately. All weekend I was pushing inter-PC conflict like in MW.)

Mountain Witch: Y'all are making me blush. It really was a great game. I think every single scene at at least one really cool moment about it. I unfortunately don't have much time now, but I'll write more about it later when I do.
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Keith Senkowski
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Posts: 725

On A Downward Spiral...


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« Reply #17 on: February 01, 2005, 12:32:25 PM »

Quote from: nikola
Yeah, it helps a lot that Westerns and Samurai movies cross-polinated so much. I don't really follow the Noir aspect, though. Tell me about that?


I was talking to Tim about this on the long (very long) ride back to Chicago.  You could easily replicate a movie like the Maltese Falcon (something I so want to try) using the Mountan Witch.  If you have not seen that movie, well for shame!

I mean, the Mountain Witch is just a Macguffin (I don't think I spelled that right), like the Maltese Falcon.  It is a plot device and not actually important.  What is important is the character interaction, trust and betrayal, which the Maltese Falcon is full of.  Hell all noir movies are full of issues of Trust and Betrayal.

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
timfire
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Posts: 756


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« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2005, 12:37:36 PM »

Quote from: nikola
Yeah, it helps a lot that Westerns and Samurai movies cross-polinated so much. I don't really follow the Noir aspect, though. Tell me about that?

Actually, alot of (early) chambara films had noir-ish elements to them. You know, with the whole outlaw-samurai thing, torn between self-interest and duty/goodwill. But still, Mountain Witch is definately a samurai/noir/Resevoir Dogs hybred.
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Jared A. Sorensen
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Posts: 1463

Darksided


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« Reply #19 on: February 01, 2005, 02:24:42 PM »

Last week was incredibly busy and chock full o' game stuff.

From Monday to Friday I was knee-deep in a class at MIT (Jared at MIT, who would have thunk it?) re: "Storytelling in the Digital Age" -- basically a class about video/computer gaming, narrative frameworks and the business of gaming. Pretty cool stuff, a little too focused on "how do you make money" but by and large an interesting time. Part of the class was a group project where 4 teams designed and marketed a video/computer game based on a licensed/established media property.

DO I EVEN HAVE TO TELL YOU THAT MY TEAM WON?  Hahah.

Anyway, that ate up all my waking hours (class from 10-7, commuting and working on the project at home) so it was a relief to know that I didn't have to leave for NJ until Saturday morning.

OH MAN.

Turns out that (~8:30pm Friday night) I re-read the schedule and am surprised to see that my game design seminar is SATURDAY morning, not SUNDAY morning. So the Bride and I jump in the car and head out for the Garden State*. We get to the hotel about 2-ish am and she drops me off to stay with her relatives a few towns over.

DO I EVEN HAVE TO MENTION THAT NOBODY SHOWED UP AT THE SEMINAR?

Still, I had some fun. I ran a game (shocking!) and got to meet people from Here. Which is to say, not freaks...in the bad way. Good thing about the Forge is that it seems to filter out the uh, you know. Yeah. Bad freaks.

Except Judd. Judd slipped through!

So yeah, ran Lacuna Part I. which was fun but kinda tiring. I think it was a good intro but what the hell do I know...I was drunk. Sold a few books, hung out with friends, improved my pool game and I even got to play With Great Power... which was...okay. Not super (hah!) but it was fun (and frankly, could become super with a few minor changes).

So there! *ppfffttt*


* This one was dissapointed that Zach Braff and Natalie Portman were nowhere to be found. Peter Skarsgaard was absent as well but I find him a bit creepy...
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Clinton R. Nixon
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Posts: 2624


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« Reply #20 on: February 01, 2005, 07:56:15 PM »

My experiences are an echo of all the above...

MAGNIFIED ONE HUNDRED TIMES.

Seriously, it was a blast. I had the most fun running TSOY, but I'm biased. It was the first time I ran it for a very large group, and I was pleasantly surprised that it runs quick and well with six people. I normally hate groups over four, and am even uncomfortable at that number. Six people made for a rockin' good time.

I wish I could remember who played Musa the slave. He nailed the big bad NPC with a spear about fifteen minutes in, leaving me reeling for what to do next. Keith walked by (who has played the scenario) and I'm all "They killed Squall! Like fifteen minutes in! What do I do?" No help he was. It all turned out well, and forty-nine gift dice at the table meant we all had a blast. We even got to see the cross-cultural pollenization which is one of TSOY's big premises: a renegade human sun-priest blessed Night-Paws, female Ratkin chieftain and pillar of all that is Night and Moon. That was totally my favorite scene, and Judd should be proud of it.

The Mountain Witch was a great time. It's a testament to the game that I was so sleepy I had to kill off my character and I still had a blast. I got in a duel with the Portugese gaijin and it was tense as hell. He slept with my wife and I killed his child: it was destined we would destroy each other.

Lacuna was weird. Jared was weird.

Lastly, Conspiracy of Shadows is badass. I've already got the idea to run a modern-day Sin City version of it. It strikes me as the Frank Miller story RPG, which fits considering Keith's art.

Meeting everyone was a blast, and I can't wait to do it again.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Robert Bohl
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Posts: 525


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« Reply #21 on: February 01, 2005, 08:03:37 PM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
I wish I could remember who played Musa the slave. He nailed the big bad NPC with a spear about fifteen minutes in, leaving me reeling for what to do next. Keith walked by (who has played the scenario) and I'm all "They killed Squall! Like fifteen minutes in! What do I do?" No help he was.

That was me, Rob, the bald dude.  There's a lot of cool meat to that game, and while I enjoyed it I wish we had had a few fewer players so that we got the chance to really dig into our characters.  I liked Musa quite a bit.  I'm very curious about the rest of the setting too.
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Keith Senkowski
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Posts: 725

On A Downward Spiral...


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« Reply #22 on: February 01, 2005, 08:08:19 PM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
Keith walked by (who has played the scenario) and I'm all "They killed Squall! Like fifteen minutes in! What do I do?" No help he was.

The Mountain Witch was a great time. It's a testament to the game that I was so sleepy I had to kill off my character and I still had a blast. I got in a duel with the Portugese gaijin and it was tense as hell. He slept with my wife and I killed his child: it was destined we would destroy each other.

Lastly, Conspiracy of Shadows is badass. I've already got the idea to run a modern-day Sin City version of it. It strikes me as the Frank Miller story RPG, which fits considering Keith's art.


Hey, what kind of help could I possibly be on my way to go get a smoke?  Seriously?

Oh, remember I own your ass in dueling.

And yes, CoS would work badass for Sin City. Surprise surprise Frank Miller is the head my my pantheon...

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
timfire
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Posts: 756


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« Reply #23 on: February 04, 2005, 12:15:12 PM »

Hi everyone,

Before this dicussion falls away, I thought it would be intersting to quickly bring up how our short tMW game was different from a longer game. The game we played was 5.5 hours, including explanation and chargen, 4 chapters and... err, 6-7 scenes depending upon how you want to count.

In our game, Fates were largely revealed and resolved both in the same scene. If we had had the time, I would have used those Fates to cause tension in the PC's relationships, and to cause internal conflict for the characters.

For example, I probably would have used the fact that Josh's character had "failed" to protect his lover/master to seed doubt in the other character ("If he can't even protect those he loves, how will treat you all, whom he just met?!"). I probably would have used Judd's character's father to try to get him to join the Witch. Stuff like that.

I probably would have run at least one more chapter before you guys met the Witch. But that's OK. It was an incredible game, that just seemed to work out perfectly. I'm really glad I got the chance to play with everyone.
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--Timothy Walters Kleinert
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


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« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2005, 08:01:29 AM »

Quote from: timfire
The game we played was 5.5 hours, including explanation and chargen, 4 chapters and... err, 6-7 scenes depending upon how you want to count.


Does this imply that most games are multi-session?

... and if so, what other elements are tweakable? I think the possibility of death (and definite resoltution of characters) has to be there, so no long-term characters, but what about other plots? This is the only system I can really see for running, say, Seven Samurai.

Quote
In our game, Fates were largely revealed and resolved both in the same scene.


That's something that was unclear to me: how, when, and why, do you reveal your Fate?

Quote
If we had had the time, I would have used those Fates to cause tension in the PC's relationships, and to cause internal conflict for the characters.

For example, I probably would have used the fact that Josh's character had "failed" to protect his lover/master to seed doubt in the other character ("If he can't even protect those he loves, how will treat you all, whom he just met?!"). I probably would have used Judd's character's father to try to get him to join the Witch. Stuff like that.


Neato.

I really want to know what your feelings are about abstracting the game to other plots and genres. What are the requirements a story must fulfill in order to work with tMW rules?
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Keith Senkowski
Member

Posts: 725

On A Downward Spiral...


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« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2005, 08:18:16 AM »

Quote from: nikola
... and if so, what other elements are tweakable? I think the possibility of death (and definite resoltution of characters) has to be there, so no long-term characters, but what about other plots? This is the only system I can really see for running, say, Seven Samurai.


The Mountain Witch could totally be used to run Sin City.  Has all the mechanics and elements needed to run it.  God do I ache for a Sin City game to play in...

Keith
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Conspiracy of Shadows: Revised Edition
Everything about the game, from the mechanics, to the artwork, to the layout just screams creepy, creepy, creepy at me. I love it.
~ Paul Tevis, Have Games, Will Travel
timfire
Member

Posts: 756


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« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2005, 09:03:35 AM »

Quote from: nikola
Does this imply that most games are multi-session?

Mutli-session? Yes (ideally). Long-term? No. In the book I advise planning on at least 2 sessions. Like I said, if we had had the time, I probably would have liked to run maybe one (or maybe two) more Chapter. That's all. That would have pushed the game to 7 or so hours. If you feel comfortable spending that much time gaming then go ahead. I know I, personally, am more comfortable breaking that into 2 sessions.

(My playtest with Ron and his crew was, like, 10 or 11 hours played over 4 sessions.)

I see real issues with trying to run the game long-term. I admit that I haven't experimented, but I think the longest you would want to run the game would or 6 or 7 Chapters, *maybe* 8. I think there's a limit to how long you can push the whole "Do we trust one another?" thing. I think you can only bounce on the fence for so long before taking a stand:

1. I trust them.
2. I don't trust him.
3. I'm not going to deal with it until I absolutely have to (ie, when we confront the Witch).

Once players have taken one of those three stands, the only thing left to do is take them to the Witch.

Quote
That's something that was unclear to me: how, when, and why, do you reveal your Fate?

Well, the ultimate answer to that question is when/how/why ever you want. I think you knew that intuitively, though.

In regard to the when question -- in the book I discuss 4 'acts' or phases the game should go through. These are totally informal, but I believe thinking in that structure helps. I was following the structure in my GM'ing, but you probably didn't notice.

1. Introduction (1 chapter)
A time for the characters to establish themselves. (The fight w/ the bandits)

2. Tension Building (1 or 2 chapters)
The time for the characters to build their relationships and foreshadow their Fates. (The monks cabin + the trip up the mountain)

3. Fates Revealed (1 or 2 chapters)
I advice that somewhere around towards the middle of the game people start revealing their Fates. After that happens, play should focus on dealing with the consequences of those Fates. (All that stuff at the top of the mountain.)

4. Conclusion (1 chapter)
The group confronts the Witch and revolves any issues left open.

Obviously, the flow of the game will vary alot depending upon what specifically happens.

Quote
what other elements are tweakable?... I really want to know what your feelings are about abstracting the game to other plots and genres. What are the requirements a story must fulfill in order to work with tMW rules?

One of the reasons the game works so well (I think) is that the game hyper-focus the players on the situation and on their relationships to one another. So I think (I haven't experimented) trying to tweak the basic situation might cause the game to start to fall apart, or at least lose its effectiveness.

Hmm. I think first, you need characters in desperate situations. Everything to lose and everything to gain. Preferably they should be 'outsiders' to normal society. Preferably, they should also be shady characters, they should have reasons not to trust one another.

You also need a set-up where the characters can't simply walk away. Preferably, there should be some sort of physical boundary that the characters can't cross. The idea is to hyper-focus play on the characters and on the object they are going after.

Lastly, I think there should be some sort of object/person they are trying get/kill/etc. that serves as the focus of the adventure. I also think you need a situation where turning on the other characters is a viable option.

So what would work? Seven Samurai would probably work, though there's some question to whether it would seem acceptable to join the bandits. Heist-type situations with gangsters would work perfectly, I think, though you would want to constrain the location (ie, add boundaries). The themes would work really well for a western, too.

[edit] Edited for typos. [/edit]
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--Timothy Walters Kleinert
TonyLB
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Posts: 3702


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« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2005, 09:23:01 AM »

Quote from: timfire
I think you can only bounce on the fence for so long before taking a stand:

1. I trust them.
2. I don't trust him.
3. I'm not going to deal with it until I absolutely have to (ie, when we confront the Witch).

But doesn't Vincent's lesson on follow-up from DitV apply here?  Once they've made the decision, that's the time to start pressing them... "You trust him... even now?  Even in this situation?  Even when he says this?"  Or are those follow-ups going to be less charged than the original decision?  They might... I'm not sure.
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timfire
Member

Posts: 756


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« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2005, 10:05:40 AM »

Quote from: TonyLB
But doesn't Vincent's lesson on follow-up from DitV apply here?  Once they've made the decision, that's the time to start pressing them... "You trust him... even now?  Even in this situation?  Even when he says this?"  Or are those follow-ups going to be less charged than the original decision?  They might... I'm not sure.

Good question.  I was assuming that sort of pressure. I believe you can only press someone for so long before they take that stand.

Something to consider is that characters in tMW (and in all RPG's) are only 1 or 2 dimension. In other words, they have specific issues that are important to them -- their Fates and their backgrounds. There are only so many ways you on press a person on a single issue before the pressure starts being redundant. If he trusts them with his wife, won't he trust them with his sister or daughter? Maybe, but you see that there are a limited number of ways to press the issue. At some point the player will take a stand.

[Hmm, is this topic worth breaking off into a Theory thread?]
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--Timothy Walters Kleinert
Robert Bohl
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Posts: 525


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« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2005, 10:20:46 AM »

Quote from: timfire
Something to consider is that characters in tMW (and in all RPG's) are only 1 or 2 dimension.

. . .

[Hmm, is this topic worth breaking off into a Theory thread?]

Perhaps so, because I would disagree with this.  Given more time, I feel like I could've given my PC a few more dimensions, and one of the guys who's at my table regularly has a character so thoroughly thought-out he's said that he prefers him to most acutal living people he knows.
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Game:
Misspent Youth: Ocean's 11 + Avatar: The Last Airbender + Snow Crash
Shows:
Oo! Let's Make a Game!: Joshua A.C. Newman and I make a transhumanist RPG
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