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Author Topic: [Trollbabe] novice questions, pls help  (Read 12230 times)
MacTele
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« Reply #15 on: November 01, 2006, 05:03:31 PM »

I wanted to wait but i have to write few words.
Ron, Your metaphore is very good and very usufull, i would use it in conversations with my friends. So the first platform is, let say, a medium of rpg, or something what has to be created during the process. Creative Agenda is something build over it, on the basement. In Trollbabe and all narrativism CA is to tell the story,meaningfull one, collectivly by using issue and theme  - in Trollbabe, the stakes and consequences. In Dead of Night or all simulationists play the CA is to simulate something, which You called the Dream (or maybe to produce the dream colectivly) and i can add that the goal (an CA) can be to live something, i do not know how to say it in English but i mean when we sim in rpg a football match it would be to sim it and to feel what players or maybe coaches (depends who PCes are) feel, think, do and decide during the match. So Dead of Night is not about creating a horror stories issues and themes but to live the life of prey or predator, to be in their positions and see through their eyes in the situation. I am sure that sim play maybe mutch different then that, but thats what i can take for me from it. Dead of Night as i understand You can be very good in producing Alien/Aliens session (which i have always dream of) as movies number 1 and 2 were: just horror or thriller one. PCes are rescue team going to space station which stoped to respond, the rest is rather obvious, the goal is to produce thrill and scare in PCes as they would play. 
So over the same platform two different buildings: narrativ (Trollbabe) and sim (Dead of Night). Do I understand You correct ?
As You can see i do not need system to produce sim of physics or sim of detailed realistic action, so i think numbers heavy systems are not for me, they just steal my time and try to concentrate me on not important things.  From the other side i need systems which would help me in realisation of my goal - CA. I love vivid and rich Exploration but this is not the system which produces it, but group (setting - color helps) and it can be done at same level in Trollbabe and Dead of Night because CA is build on it not the other side.
Wait for Your precious answers.

Trollbabe is not only very good mechanics is also very vivid setting and very mine setting, too. I do not know how say it in English but my biggest work at University (the one You have to write to get academic title) was about daily life of Islanders in 10th century basing on the sagas. So You may understand now why i love the setting too. And the troll - humans situation is perfect and from my imaginary stuff, too. The Trollbabe as a character, protagonist, is really one of the best ideas i have met (i love idea from My Life with Master very much too, but it is different story, Sorcerer is nice too). So now i have many stakes and consequences some of which are taken directly from sagas: Njalls Saga for example. I always wanted to use the material but i had no good enough tools. Now i have them, thanks a lot.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #16 on: November 02, 2006, 06:31:44 AM »

Hi Maciej,

You are exactly right in all the things you're said.

As you can see, most readers will have a very hard time talking about CA, because whenever they think about what they felt or visualized during play, they are really just talking about the platform. This was the point that I made in my essay "GNS and other matters of role-playing theory" in 2001. I also made the point that hundreds, possibly thousands of systems/procedures are possible, and that no single technique (e.g. what dice are rolled, or who talks when) can be associated 1:1 with a given CA.

Many people continue to struggle with these basic points and sometimes invent things they think I'm saying, which I'm not.

I'm not surprised to learn about your expertise with the Nordic sagas. I have read many of them, especially Njal's Saga, which I've read many times, including aloud. They did have a very big influence on Trollbabe, so I'm glad my game allows the two of us (and others) to share our enjoyment of those great works.

Best, Ron
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MacTele
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Posts: 20


« Reply #17 on: November 03, 2006, 01:21:50 AM »

So we are after first game. First thing i have to admit that we role-played after long break and it was felt very much. I mean exploration platform was not as good as i wanted to. I like to role-play very much "in", when there is an atmosphere and everyone "feels" the "world". But i am sure it would come with time. In the past there were no problems with improvisational descriptions and acting npces, yesterday it wasn't as good as i wanted. The second problem was our old habits. It wasn't easy for players to play with conflict resolution and they wanted to treat their tasks as conflicts. And here comes the questions: when a trollbabe said she wants to cast a spell to sleep few warriors, i asked what is the goal? She answered: to sleep them (but i knew that the goal was to prevent them to attack a viking who was supposed to come, they were waiting in ambush) so i asked again and she said after a conversation that indeed the goal is prevent them from attack. Was it correct from my side? The other problem was that they was not stating goals but rather tried to describe what they do. And then i was saying that it should be the conflict throw. I am sure it is a matter of habits.
The last was they say that adventures were two social oriented and they want to play more action. I realise this, i would have make less talking ones and more fighting, action ones.
We were playing two separate scenarios in the same time (2 trollbabes), and players said they prefer to play together in the future.
Any advices, especially how to level up our exploration skills.
But overall i am rather happy. It was good restart after too long break and i have good material to improve.

The stakes and consequences were:
1. The stakes: marriage of Gunhild and Njolfur (it is directly from Njals Saga). Desc and consequences: during wedding party Njolfur divorced with Gunhild (they both about 50 years old) because of her cynical texts to him and because a young girl was not directly offered to him as a wife. Gunhild had to go out of farm where the party was rolling and she knew she would lost position and money and would have to live with and under the distant relative. From the other side Njolfur had enough of her tongue and their relationship was very bad last time and they had no children. So Njolfur was quite happy (and drunk) when a young, pretty face was offered to him. Trollbabe met Gunhild in very bad shape walking alone from the farm. After all she repaired marriege of Gunhild and Njolfur but i admit it was no action at all.
2. The stakes: relationship between young ones: Hrefna and Scarphedin - it was Romeo and Juliet. Trollbabe comes to farm where few relatives propose her to take part in their revenge on Scarphedin (they do not know their sister loves him). Trollbabe didn't want to but later on Hrefna asked her for help to stop them. Trollbabe cought them when they were waiting in ambush, spelled them and then went away with Hrefna and Scarphedin. It could be some action but first long time was talking all this in the farm.
So they said that it was too less action and too much talking and i admitt that my scene framing wasn't very good.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #18 on: November 03, 2006, 07:33:01 AM »

Hi Maciej,

Here are two things you can tell your players. Both of them involve the power they have, both during an adventure and between adventures.

1. If a player wants fights, all he or she has to do is to declare Fight conflicts, during a scene. The GM has no power to disagree or to block this announcement. (The reverse is also true - the GM may declare a conflict and define it as well, and the player cannot disagree or block the announcement.)

So the player cannot say to the GM "I want more fights in the next adventure" and expect the GM to do anything different. Yes, the GM could announce more Fight conflicts, but that is a kind of backwards way to get what you want. The player has full authority to announce Fight conflicts, if he or she wants them, and that is the direct and simple route to that end.

2. If the players want their trollbabes to be in the same adventure, then all they have to do is announce the same location for the next adventure. The GM has no power to dictate where a trollbabe is for a new adventure (I bet your players don't really realize that). That's right - no power at all. This isn't like point #1 above, in which player and GM are mirrors (have the same rights about announcing conflicts). This is player-centric and you cannot meet their demand. Only they can do it.

Regarding descriptions, Exploration, tasks, and conflicts, here are some ideas.

1. Descriptions of actions are good things. I suggest keeping and encouraging them. Focusing on conflict resolution does not mean ignoring or abandoning good, fun descriptions of actions.

2. Your emphasis on what the dice are for is good. Your question about the goal of the sleep spell during play to the player was, I think, a good one.

3. Beware of one common trap: pre-narrating possible outcomes before rolling. This is a very bad idea and ruins the fun of the narration rules.

It sounds like you and your group have made a great start!

Best, Ron
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MacTele
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Posts: 20


« Reply #19 on: November 03, 2006, 07:46:40 AM »

Thanks

I was net surfing and have read some of lumpel blog esseys about gaming. I think that are some major points i missed concernig story structure. First i was thinking that trollbabes choice (protagonist choice) is making cllimax and i think i was wrong. I rather should start all story or give it another kick. Then should come obstacles and escalation of conflict and then climax which is the resolution of conflict and it decide what consequences would appear. Am i right ? So description of all situation should come rather quickly and then, according to his decision protagonist should act to obtain what he has chosen. So i should not let the players finish story quickly after they choose the side but rather make as many trouble in executing it as it is reasonable ?
What do You think ?
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James_Nostack
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« Reply #20 on: November 03, 2006, 11:11:28 AM »

The Lumpley Blog is very, very good stuff.  Vincent has a gift for explaining things very clearly.

I'm not sure I understand what you're saying, Maciej, because it's very abstract.  Can you give an example of what you did?

Usually in Trollbabe, the GM introduces the the story (or a scene).  The player gets involved; there is a Conflict.  As a result of the conflict, the story changes.  The GM figures out how the NPC's react to these changes.  The players figure out how the Trollbabes react.  This usually leads to more conflicts.  As the conflicts progress, and the story keeps changing, eventually the Stakes (Gorgh's life, in this case) will be decided, and that's the end.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: November 05, 2006, 07:30:48 PM »

Hi Maciej,

I think I understand your point, and I agree. Let me say it in my own words, and then you tell me if we are communicating.

The GM's first job is simply to provide descriptions of the situation, including the physical area and the actions and words of the NPC characters. Sometimes this will involve conflicts with the trollbabe and sometimes it doesn't. Sometimes the trollbabe player puts in their own reactions and conflicts.

You will find, very swiftly, that once the trollbabe becomes active in the situation, you will have to generate a new scene using information and attitudes that did not exist until just recently. For example, if a trollbabe insults a chieftain, no matter how much you liked that chieftain or how you thought perhaps he and she could become lovers, then probably your next scene, or a later one, will involve a confrontation between the two.

So when you say "The GM starts all the story," that is right if you mean that the GM is constantly generating new situations. But it is not correct if you mean that the GM controls where the story is going, because he does not.

You are entirely correct in that when the protagonist acts, that does not necessarily mean the story is now over. In most cases, in fact, the actions of the protagonist will only change the situation, just as James says. But in Trollbabe, you also have a guide in play, the Stakes. Sooner or later, if you are doing your job and involving the Stakes a lot, then the person or group who represents the Stakes will eventually come to a final point: killed, escaped, whatever, however you phrased it originally.

At that point, the story of that adventure comes to an end.

Best, Ron
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MacTele
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« Reply #22 on: November 06, 2006, 02:06:48 AM »

Thanks

Thats all true, and i want to say about few other things.
Presenting the stakes to the players: i mean not literally but rather presenting them the situation. In my example in the begining of the topic there is a troll and humans. There is trolls point of view and humans one. The first scene: lets say (it is how i did in our second game which was much better then first) trollbabe walks the path and meets five vikings who was looking for troll or trolls who killed three viking warriors and took their heads. They propose her to go to the camp to meet with the chief... and so on. Later on trollbabe meets the troll and talk with him. Now she knows both sides and decide to help the troll. Then as she met the troll during looking for him with humans, she escapes from them and meet the troll, then helping him to run away with climax battle in the end. The question is how to present both (or more) sides of conflict (all participants views and what they want and what they do or would do), when to do it and how to develope action after that. I admitt that a lot is dependand of what the players decide or how would conflicts finish but i as a GM have to give them 1st scene and maybe (if there is a chance) present the other point of view. In our second game all of it appeared rather naturally without "must scenes" from me as a GM and with a lot of improvisation. Off course we have problems with some mechanics and still learn to build the scenes and story together but it was much, much better then the first time. As i said my first concern is how to present the situation to players to let them now the problem (isuee) and produce the theme. And how to make later on action amusing (what i as a GM have to prepare to do that). It also include how to build first and next scenes? Thats my problem now, also as i said during our second game all of it worked well. I have read lampley blog and some of the problems are described there.
I have to admit that i was little worry about how descriptions of actions would go using conlfict resolution but it much more amusing then in task resolution play. There were some action which i could not imagine to occure during typical task res. play. 
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #23 on: November 06, 2006, 05:06:45 AM »

Hi Maciej,

I understand! You're making a lot of sense, and I think your posts will be helpful to many people who ask me questions about Trollbabe.

It also sounds as though you and your group are arriving at all the right solutions and skills very quickly.

Best, Ron
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Arturo G.
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Posts: 333


« Reply #24 on: November 06, 2006, 07:44:53 AM »


Hi, Maciej!

Ron is right. The posts in this thread make a lot of sense to me. You are helping me to better understand things I had on mind but I had a hard time to express in words.

I started to play Trollbabe in July, and since then I have not had the time or opportunity to play anything. Some of my experiences playing Trollbabe for the first time were somehow similar.

One of the things that took me sometime to realize is that to initiate the action is enough to actively expose the different sides of the situation. However this does not directly create the theme. The nice part is that players may easily introduce their priorities, not only to the kind of actions that take place (more action/more social), but to what they like or think about the situation. This is what really creates the theme.

During play the GM's job is just a matter of reacting to Trollbabe's actions involving them more and more in the Stakes. This naturally leads to complications and a climax when the Stakes are to be solved.

Thanks for this thread!
Arturo
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MacTele
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Posts: 20


« Reply #25 on: November 06, 2006, 12:35:12 PM »

Arturo,
I generally agree with You but want to say few words about the problem. First, it is not always easy to present different sides in elegant way. In narrativism as i understand it, we play to create meaningfull story. I would like it to be a good one in estheic way also. So i don't like to create scenes which are without sense according to situation. In the earlier example when trollbabe was in the vikings camp she didn't know and could not know trolls point of view. She could choose to help vikings to kill the troll just after hearing what humans said to her and after spotting him near the river declare conflict with a goal to kill him and win. The story is finished, or i rescue it, improvising other, lets say, two trolls which came to rescue the first one and so on. Thats ok but that is what i am learning to do in elegant fashion. It is technique i think which have to be mastered. So i asked about techniques of creating begining and next scenes in a way to elegantly and smoothly build the story with high participation of players. The other problem are mine and players old habits which sometimes are not what i want to see. In trollbabe a player as i understand it, is mainly an author and then actor, for players and me as GM sometimes it is not so easy to remember about it, and to know each other new responsibilities. For example a players creates a trollbabe, who wants to live in peace and wants to rather avoid engagment in npces problems - it always was not easy to gm but now, when PC forget about his/her author responsibilities and just play the character i was cought in a very strange siuation. But all of this are matters of expirience and techniques i think. Maybe the post was not very usefull but i had to write it :)

To make it more interesting, i hope, i would ask a question. My next play of Trollbabe would be still on personal level and i have a story idea. The stakes: old trolll shaman/chief life and position. His name is let say Nargh. From a month or two he does not leave the cave in which his troll group/family live. He says he cannot because there are some strange spirits/ghosts awaiting for him outside. Firsty he wanted others to do not go out also but after a week they started and nothing happend so everybody goes out. There are some other groups nearby very worried about the situation because the tribe leader and very powerfull shaman, Norgh is, become mad as they are sure. Some wants him to be cured by other shamans (he doesn't agree), some wants to kill him (he is danger for community) and some wants to leave him in the cave. But his relatives wants to cure him in the first place and to know what is the reason (if it is) of his fear. Trollbabes approach. After few scenes the secret is uncovered:
A) His wife has died a few months ago but he was able to stay her soul/spirit in the reality bonding her to the tree. He could not let his love to pass. She wanted and he agreed to let her posses a body of a young troll girl and the love to continue. At that moment Nargh realised what he is supposed to do and started to hesitate and decided to not do it. But the wifespirit has learned her new powers and was pushing him, started to scary him. All of this make him stay in the safe cave. Both of them know that if trolls discover what happended they would be dead. When trollbabes come he wants to use them as: a) a body for wife or b) the solvers of his situation. But many other trolls know what they want: his mad and his position should be given to someone else. If they discover what happened more of them would like to kill him but some of his family would say that what he's done was done because of love and he would never do it again. How to make such an attack at trollbabe cause litrerally it can be done by herself only with rerolls (i think it would be better to give him only "b" way of thinking maybe)?
B) Generally the same but he has a wife and the spirit in the forest is a dryad, and they felt in love with each other.
What You think is better ? 
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #26 on: November 06, 2006, 01:16:58 PM »

Hi,

I think (B) is better because it's simpler and the emotions can be strong without so many layers and secrets.

Best, Ron
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MacTele
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« Reply #27 on: November 06, 2006, 02:02:39 PM »

So the dryad You think. Thats how it came to my mind. Firstly it was much like a fearie tale, with little sprites acompaniig her. As i understand You, You suggest to stay at family level with strong jeolousy of his wife, his children emotions and so on, giving up all the chief position attack situation ?
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James_Nostack
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« Reply #28 on: November 06, 2006, 02:42:18 PM »

Hi Maciej, how much pity do you want the players to feel?  The first option--dead wife--makes Nargh seem sad, insane, dangerous, wrong, depressing, and complicated.  The second option--alive wife, dryad girlfriend--makes Nargh seem foolish and petty.   Personally, I like the first way more--but it puts the players in a strange spot, because it is harder to pass judgment on him.  In a lot of Forge games, the players discover a strange situation, explore the reasons behind it, make a judgment, and move to the next town to do it all over again.  It is hard to judge Nargh in the first version with the dead wife.  This complexity might be fun, but it might be frustrating too.  Depends on your players, maybe.

I would make the situation more "grabby" too.  In both cases, Nargh is a pathetic character, and players might say, "Eh, this guy's problems give me a headache.  Let's go away."  So they might need more reason to care about what happens to him.  (Just a thought.)
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Alan
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« Reply #29 on: November 06, 2006, 03:04:02 PM »

Give Nargh a child who takes a shine to the Trollbabe.
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- Alan

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