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Author Topic: The care and feeding of emergent campaigns  (Read 6493 times)
GreatWolf
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« on: November 17, 2008, 07:51:02 PM »

Our Friday group just completed our sixth chapter of In a Wicked Age<In a Wicked Age<per se<episodic<Dogs in the Vineyard, Trollbabe, 3:16, and, of course, In a Wicked Age. (I also wonder if games like Shock: or my own Legends of Alyria and Dirty Secrets  would work well in this mode.)

The distinguishing feature of these designs that I want to discuss is this long-term episodic play. Each of these games produce units of play that are self-contained but are not intended to remain self-contained. So, while you can play a single town of Dogs<Primetime Adventures<Dogs<3:16<In a Wicked Age well.

So, how do we do this sort of play well?

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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2008, 10:48:15 PM »

Hi Seth,

My bid for training and developing such things was Sorcerer & Sword. I've found that each Sorcerer book contains an early-chapter insight that tends to make people go "spoo!", jump up and down, and cease to process anything they read in the later chapters, if indeed they ever do. The material in Sorcerer & Sword about how to build setting often falls into the hole.

Because that's what you're doing. The answer to what you're asking is, to build setting. But it's not like drawing a huge map at the outset like all those damned things in the beginning of fantasy novels (I am convinced that putting them in the front has had horrible consequences for the genre and for gaming; they should go in the back), it's about finding a thing to add with each new adventure, whether it's a new area in the setting, an organization, or a new situation and status for a given character.

That's what you did in this game. You know which character is featured, and given the elements from the Oracle, either she is transformed into a new shape/status by being identified with one of them, or she now has to deal with one or more of them in the form of new stuff. The point I'm making is that given four elements, you might transform the character, but you will add to the setting, and often in a way which clarifies/enriches what's already happened instead of simply tossing more stuff into the sink. The Ashtari is the perfect example.

As you may remember, all of that is codified in Sorcerer & Sword, exactly how you begin with a nearly-empty sketchy map at most, how you focus only on one precise spot for the first adventure, exactly how you propose the material (area, organizations) for itt and allow people to place their characters into it, and exactly how Kickers factor in. And then, most importantly, how you repeat all that somewhere else. In retrospect, I'm kind of sorry that I included the accurate point that you can even skip back and forth in time in doing this, because that was so sexy that people glommed onto it without buckling down to learn what to do, time-skip or not.

It's a bit surprising to read these questions from you because you're the one who developed those ideas into one of the best setting-generators-through-scenarios in game texts, Legends of Alyria. I've always thought of that game as the go-to for long-term play - perhaps your history of running demo one-shots with it has obscured what it does best? After all, what is right and wrong for the people of Alyria, in the long run? What is the fate of their tenuous (if surprisingly long-lived) presence on the planet? If they do survive, or one group does, then is that a good thing given what they might have become? I have always wanted to play multiple stories there and to present you with the map we generated, preferably drawn by someone who knows what they're doing.

Best, Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2008, 08:45:49 AM »

A correction my friend.  William did not get promoted away from Ninshi...I know because it was in Zahir's Best Interest that he not, and I got all of my Best Interests in that first session; including most importantly that Valkyr fell in love with me -- even if she can't yet bring herself to admit it.  It was Valkyr that got promoted thanks to my setting things up so she would be the hero who saved Ninshi instead of that foreign boob William.  Ensuring that the king would name her commander of the armies was just a small token of my love and adoration.  And yes, while Zahir is a ruthless manipulator...the look on Seth's face this Friday when he realized that Zahir's d12 is in "For Love" was priceless.

I'm especially fond of the dark, evil, and creepy (in the dirty old man sense of creepy) Kiragalzu.  I so want to see the usurper suffer and die painfully, he's probably my favorite villain since Darken Rahl.  This, inspite of Keith's repeated insistance (both in protests and in actions in play) that he is neither evil nor a villain.  If Keith were playing him as a villain, he'd just be a caricature of evil sorcerer.  But his trying desperately to play him as a good guy while the rest of us conspire to paint his every action in the worst light possible makes him all the more delicious as a villain.

I think the technique we've used most successfully in this campaign is to give the oracle a thorough thrashing and brainstorming before jumping into play...a couple of times we treaded a little close to playing before we played (this Friday especially) but we're experienced enough to recognize that and call a halt to it.  But IMO its what really has driven play.  I don't think anyone found this round of the Oracle's items all that compelling initially.  But we hammered away at it hard enough that it reached a point where it felt like a right and natural chapter to follow on the previous ones.  And as it turned out the main "plot line" that we'd wrestled with "before we played"...was never made explicit during play.  I think it informed some of the decisions of who went after who...but the whole "seeking an alliance through marriage with a desert cult" story line got bypassed by the events of actual play partially because of the decision to make the actual desert god a character rather than using a cultist (because our game has something of a thematic history of using minor local gods as characters).  Instead of arranging an alliance with the desert cult by marrying off the infant prince and heir to the realm...Zahir simply bound the god and contained him in a wine bottle...a rather spur of the moment decision but one that I don't think would have fit so well if we hadn't spent all the time in advance coming up with a reasonable justification for why Zahir (now regeant to the prince) was even there at that mystical way station.

I think a campaign of IaWA (at least how we've played it) follows very closely the way a session of Universalis goes.  Initially there's lots of random stuff getting invented and thrown together and there's a joy in seeing all this stuff get jumbled up.  Then at some point people's inherent story-sense kicks in and it becomes natural to start taking all these disparate pieces and finding ways to tie them together.  Like in one story we had a fertility god imprisoned in a stone.  In another story we had the main temple of some cult.  It was absolutely natural for that temple to be the main temple of the fertility god who, having escaped from the stone in the earlier chapter, was now returning to his ancient center of worship to reestablish his cult.  In the previous story the crazy prophet of the one true god had been revealed as Molly's father and had had fought with the pagan fertility god over her and wound up being eaten by a tree.  In this new story the "father of a child possessed by a hungry spirit" obviously had to be that same crazy prophet, and the possessing spirit (which I elected to interpret as possessing him instead of the child by a judicious comma placement) was part of the spirit of the fertility god which had possessed him when they fought.  So this new Chapter was essentially the continuation of the duel between this prophet and the fertility god from the previous chapter.  The oracles fed us the pieces but it was our natural story sense that made the pieces make sense and tie together.

I think the discussions we have in advance of each session are invaluable to this, because they give us all a common aesthetic about "what this chapter is about" and "what's its role in the overall story arc".  Without those discussions these would just be random disjointed tales that only minimally tie together largely by accident and coincidence and it would require someone like L.Sprague de Camp to come along and try to pick up these disjointed tales and forge them together into something recognizable as a coherent narrative ;-P

We now have a coherent story arc.  The main story line (where "main" = most obvious not necessarily most interesting) is that of a kingdom over thrown by a usurping sorcerer.  We now can see that one of our future chapters will have to involve the fight against the usurper and to that end Seth picked God King's of War as our next oracle.  Everything else is tied to this story line.  We see Molly transformed from a young girl, to a pirate, to queen of the realm, to mother of a child protected by Djinni.  We see Zahir transformed from master of spies, to regeant for the hier under the usurper, to desperate patriot fighting to restore the throne (all the while diven by his...as yet...unrequited love.  We see Valkyr transformed from a young girl, to an inspiring general, and I suspect it will be one of the next few sessions that will complete her transformation into the character that may very well prove to be the ultimate protagonist of the story.  And we see Kiragalzu transformed from a aged sorcerer seeking power, to a powerful master of the dark arts driven by a desire to return to youth so he may better court the young Molly.  In his pursuit of her he destroys a god and topples a kingdom and now stands poised to be the ultimate antagonist of the story...or...since IaWA leaves such things easily up in the air...potentially HE'S the true protagonist.

But all of that arc, I think, was made possible because we players a) love story arc stories ala Babylon 5 and Heroes and b) actively seek to recreate such in how we choose to interpret the Oracles. 


I also think our group's previous experience with explicit Stake setting has proven invaluable to most all of our subsequent play together.  Thinking back to the rousing success that was our PTA show "Eat at Joe's" I credit our use of negotiated binary stakes setting as being the moment where we all figured each other out as a group and really gelled.  Before each conflict we'd spend a great deal of time hammering out the whole "if I win...this happens, and if I lose...that happens" aspect; often having a 4 or 9 box matrix of possible outcomes if there were multiple players opposing the Producer at the same time.  That exercise, I think, really let us see what makes each other tick and what we find interesting and exciting and what we find boring. 

Having done an entire series of PTA that way we can now come to a game like IaWA and apply those lessons.  Our negotiations with the stick are often compelling and many conflicts have ended without inflicting injury or exhaustion because we offer the other party something they find compelling in the fiction instead.  We can offer those things to each other, because we have a good sense of what we each find compelling.  And we have that sense because we taught each other what we find to be compelling when we wrangled over setting stakes in our PTA game.  I also noticed our ability to do this in our 9 Worlds game and also in our Grey Ranks game where we were able to narrate outcomes to conflicts that held everyone riveted...because we'd gotten good practice as to what people find riveting by playing that PTA game.   In our current IaWA game I think only Raquel was not part of that Eat at Joe's series and I credit that with a great deal of our success at this. (Long Live the Explicitly-Negotiated-Binary-Stake-Setting technique!)
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Gabrielle
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« Reply #3 on: November 18, 2008, 11:17:22 AM »

Something else that I think is important to campaign play is the valuation of the campaign over one's personal character. I really liked playing Dumuzi, the fertility god, and he's on the Owe list, but I don't think he has much more to add to the over arching story. So in my mind he's more of a resource sitting to the side, a possible advantage die to grab some time in the future. Before we played last time we had a conversation about which characters we thought were the main characters and it was remarkable how much we all agreed. So the characters that aren't main characters should be played like that even if they're your favorite.

At the same time, if you have a main character it's important to play your character in three dimensions and really push for his best interests. Like Ralph said, the only reason Kiragalzu, evil sorcerer and creepy old man, is of any interest as an adversary and possible antagonist is because his player keeps insisting he's a good guy. The rest of the group has decided he isn't, but we all agree that he is a main character so Keith should be pushing for him to get what he wants. It's what makes it interesting.

I'm not playing a main character and so I've tried very hard to give my characters closure at the end of each chapter so that they don't have to come back. It's not about them. They need to walk on stage and do their part and then walk off. If they happen to come back for another chapter as in the case of Bel-Danesh, the Djinn who had bound himself to the baby prince, the chapter should push forward the bigger story and not just his personal story so the rest of the campaign can carry on focusing on what it's about. Whatever that happens to be.

Gabrielle, the player of secondary characters with really cool exits.
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #4 on: November 18, 2008, 12:11:00 PM »

Quote
A correction my friend.  William did not get promoted away from Ninshi...I know because it was in Zahir's Best Interest that he not, and I got all of my Best Interests in that first session; including most importantly that Valkyr fell in love with me -- even if she can't yet bring herself to admit it.  It was Valkyr that got promoted thanks to my setting things up so she would be the hero who saved Ninshi instead of that foreign boob William.  Ensuring that the king would name her commander of the armies was just a small token of my love and adoration.

Doh! You're right. That's what I get for working from memory.

Quote
And yes, while Zahir is a ruthless manipulator...the look on Seth's face this Friday when he realized that Zahir's d12 is in "For Love" was priceless.

Yeah. Actually, Gabrielle and I were talking on Saturday, and we realized that there's really a fine line between Zahir and Kiragalzu. Either could have worked out to be the antagonist. But what made Zahir more appealing to the table (at least, to our section of the table) is the verve and style that Zahir brings to what he does. I mean, being a manipulator is cold, but Zahir is just so darn cool when he does it that it's hard to hate him.

Reminded me a bit of Eero's tips for surviving Zombie Cinema by making a character who is sympathetic to the other players.

Quote
I think a campaign of IaWA (at least how we've played it) follows very closely the way a session of Universalis goes.  Initially there's lots of random stuff getting invented and thrown together and there's a joy in seeing all this stuff get jumbled up.  Then at some point people's inherent story-sense kicks in and it becomes natural to start taking all these disparate pieces and finding ways to tie them together.

I agree. The same kind of thing happens in Dirty Secrets. But, what I'd like to know is how to instruct someone else's "story-sense" to help this sort of play along. How would you explain that story-sense to someone who is not as awesome as we are? *grin*

For example, this:

Quote
I think the discussions we have in advance of each session are invaluable to this, because they give us all a common aesthetic about "what this chapter is about" and "what's its role in the overall story arc".  Without those discussions these would just be random disjointed tales that only minimally tie together largely by accident and coincidence and it would require someone like L.Sprague de Camp to come along and try to pick up these disjointed tales and forge them together into something recognizable as a coherent narrative ;-P

I totally agree, and I would point at our conversation last Friday as having been an important synchronizing of our creative vision. In general, I think that we were all on the same page, but it was good to "check in".

But, there can be a fine line between coordinating our aesthetic and "playing before you play". How would you explain this line to someone else?


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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
GreatWolf
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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2008, 12:25:59 PM »

Ron,

My copy of Sorcerer and Sword is on loan to someone else, but I'll look it over when it returns to me.

And Legends of Alyria....

In a way, I see In a Wicked Age as the meeting of Alyria-style scenarios with Sorcerer-style conflict resolution, all done with a distinctive Vincent flair. (Actually, playing IAWA has helped me understand Sorcerer better.) And I think that you're right that Legends of Alyria would support this type of play; I've just never done it and hadn't really thought about it much. When I was designing it, I wasn't thinking about campaign play of any kind.

But, In a Wicked Age has an advantage, in that it has formal tools in place for campaign purposes. I'm talking about the Owe list and the Oracles, of course. Due to the rule that you can interpret an Oracle to mean a recurring character, any player can insert any character at any time, technically speaking. However, if you are using the Oracle entry, you are also accepting additional information being created about the character. And, of course, the Owe list links in-game performance as the underdog to being a recurring character.

Trollbabe also has a mechanic to assist with this in its Scale. Over time, the game will eventually escalate to world-changing conflicts.

What other sorts of tools exist to assist this sort of behavior?

Also, we're generally focusing on setting tools. How would these apply to (say) 3:16, where the setting changes radically from session to session. (Or does it?)


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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Valamir
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« Reply #6 on: November 18, 2008, 12:54:48 PM »

Quote
But, there can be a fine line between coordinating our aesthetic and "playing before you play". How would you explain this line to someone else?

I think I would emphasize the difference between situation and plot...not with the idea of defining the two but in keep that distinction in mind when working up the explanation.

I would describe it in terms of an aesthetic check between players. 

I think the question of "who do we think are the most likely main characters so far" ("so far" or "might be" being an important distinction from "are".

I think "where does this episode fit in the overall story arc" is a good question...though it may require some background in story arc plotting.  PTA does a great job of this with its discussion of TV, spotlight episodes, and "next week on". 

I think "spend alot of time discussing how the episode starts...what's the situation when things kick off; but no time speculating about how it ends or what twists there might be in the middle" is a good approach.

I think "Best Interests" are brilliant both as a concept and as implemented in IaWA*.  Have two or maybe three of these...the specific phrase "it is in so-and-sos-best-interest-to...", the fact that you go around and build off each other's Best Interest, that you and only you have authority over what it is and what it means and how it manifests in play but that input and suggestions are welcome, and most importantly that there's absolutely no mechanical reinforcement around them at all.  That's the key.  It isn't a ring-the-bell-get-a-prize system like Artha or Spiritual Attributes (or even to some extent Kickers), its purely a story seed fiction generator.  It's also crucially NOT a goal.  Its a rudder, a guide, a thing to keep in mind...but not a thing to just drive for expeditiously (like it would be if there were mechanical reinforcement to it).  For instance in Friday's game it was in Zahir's best interest to replace the proprieter of the Way Station.  Not only did he not do so...but that whole thread never even came up in any way.  The story drifted in a different direction and while I did spend some time thinking about how to go about getting control of the waystation in the end...it may have been in my best interest...but it didn't happen and there was no mechanical need to force it to.  I think that's crucial to keep story generating mechanics from becoming a "sausage factory" as its been said.



*I think on the occasions where I've played Alyria we pretty much ad hoc'ed our way into defining the equivalent of "Best Interests" for the characters as part of the scenario creation / mapping.  IIRC you do this before selecting characters rather than after...although I could make a case that its more effective to do it after selecting characters (basically because everyone is an advocate for their character at that point motivated to make sure everyone is equally interesting).  If you wind up doing a rewrite of Alyria, I think I'd try to envision a way to make that  "Its in my Best Interest to:" aspect even more strong
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lumpley
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« Reply #7 on: November 18, 2008, 01:52:00 PM »

I'm GMing two campaign-style games right now, using the same resolution rules but radically different continuity rules. I'm learning some fun, fun things.

One game's continuity rules are the Anthology Engine's: episodes, oracle, owe list. We're doing an alien-world hard sf thing about contact between two distinct evolutionary branches of humanity. The Anthology Engine's rules are doing their thing, creating a story too big for any one character or even set of characters to encompass it. We're still in the expansive early stage that Ralph describes, the mysteries are just getting deeper, and by the time we turn that corner and start drawing threads together, we're going to have some genuinely Big Ideas in play.

The other game, it's always the same main characters and it's not really episodic, although of course focus shifts and relationships get highlighted and backburnered and threats come and go. I'm using (essentially) Trollbabe's scale and stakes system. I'm varying from Trollbabe in that I've got several stakes at different scales in play at once, both nested and overlapping. Consequently, there are always open questions and the PCs are resolving them at their own erratic paces, not in any kind of session-episode drumbeat. Also, instead of ... let's see how to say this ... instead of creating the setting by jumping around place to place, element to element, and then tying them together, it's creating the setting by growing outward from the center.

It's a lot like a more short-storified version of Red Mars vs a less episodic version of Firefly (if that communicates anything).

-Vincent
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Marshall Burns
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« Reply #8 on: November 18, 2008, 04:18:26 PM »

My game The Rustbelt is intended specifically for long-term episodic campaigns.  It's based around what I term an "Interwoven Yarn" structure.  That's when you take several short, independent stories (or Yarns) and weave them together to form a single narrative tapestry of sorts.  I didn't invent this structure; you'll find it in the works of William S. Burroughs; Voice of the Fire by Alan Moore; The Martian Chronicles, From the Dust Returned, and, to a lesser extent, Dandelion Wine by Ray Bradbury; Sin City by Frank Miller (he even calls his "Yarns").  And probably plenty of other stuff that I don't know about.  Someone told me that there's a fantasy series called Thieves' World that does it, but I don't know because I haven't read it.

In playing The Rustbelt, I don't worry about any story arc emerging from the individual Yarns.  I find that they weave themselves together pretty nicely (granted, I like holes in it, unanswered questions, vagaries, ambiguities).  The only requirement is that they're all set in the Rustbelt, and that they are, taken by themselves, stories, with rising action, a climax, and all that jazz.  Sometimes they have the same characters, sometimes they're in the same cities, sometimes not.  Sometimes they're in chronological order, sometimes not.  Sometimes they contradict each other, and I let it happen.  Because they're Yarns

Like William S. Burroughs did when compiling various pieces of text to form Naked Lunch, I don't worry about reconciling the individual parts.  They will take care of themselves well enough.  A random draw of Tarot cards can be read to gain insights about a person, his past, his prospective futures; given a random pattern of dots, people will find pictures in it.

There's a technique to maintaining a continuity in this structure.  You'll find it throughout the works I noted above, especially in Burroughs and Moore.  I call it Tessellation.  It's where you repeat things in different contexts over the long term.  Phrases, descriptions, objects, names, situations, symbols, whatever.  Tessellation has a really neat effect:  the first time the symbol is repeated, it reminds you of its first appearance.  That first appearance puts a certain spin on the new appearance.  And the new appearance colors the first one retroactively.  You end up with a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.

If I sound crazy, go read Voice of the Fire.  Grit your teeth and slog through that first chapter, it's worth it.  Watch carefully as the symbols are introduced, repeated, modified, aggregated.  Then read it again.

-Marshall
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #9 on: November 18, 2008, 04:51:40 PM »

There's a technique to maintaining a continuity in this structure.  You'll find it throughout the works I noted above, especially in Burroughs and Moore.  I call it Tessellation.  It's where you repeat things in different contexts over the long term.  Phrases, descriptions, objects, names, situations, symbols, whatever.  Tessellation has a really neat effect:  the first time the symbol is repeated, it reminds you of its first appearance.  That first appearance puts a certain spin on the new appearance.  And the new appearance colors the first one retroactively.  You end up with a whole that is more than the sum of its parts.

Ooh, that's good. We've seen that show up a couple of times. The best example is the Ashtari that I mentioned in my original post, which just emerged to explain a character who showed up in two different Chapters before we even knew that this group existed. That's a great example of that retroactivity that you mentioned.

So, it seems that some of the skill brought to the game is simply to remember symbols (and such) from previous episodes and be willing to introduce them in later episodes. (Yeah, I know that I just essentially defined "reincorporation".) And, because different players will resonate more strongly with different symbols, the group will together produce this Tessellation.

Are there good techniques to remember these various symbols? Would blue-booking be helpful in this context, for example? Something else?

Also, a question: where does the term "Tessellation" come from?

I know that I'm asking a lot of questions here, but I think that there are a number of techniques floating out there that are applicable. Hopefully, I'd like to begin to see some of them accumulate in this thread.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Marshall Burns
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« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2008, 02:31:44 PM »

Also, a question: where does the term "Tessellation" come from?

I first heard it in geometry, where it has something to do with a plane that has a cleanly repeating pattern of symbols.  Like a tile floor and stuff.  Geometry stole it from mosaics, where "tessellae" (singular tessela) are the individual pieces used to make a mosaic.  My usage is somewhere between those two.

Are there good techniques to remember these various symbols? Would blue-booking be helpful in this context, for example? Something else?

Hm.  I dunno.  I guess one technique that I use is picking things that are peculiar enough to be recognized upon repetition, but not so peculiar that they can't be worked into stuff.  There's a phrase I've used a lot in the Rustbelt, "things that make those kinds of sounds have exoskeletons," sometimes as narration, and sometimes as dialogue.  Like braggart telling tall tales in the bar:  "And then I turns around, and I hear this dry rustlin' sound, with little clicks.  You ever hear a sound like that?  Things that make those kinds of sounds have exoskeletons, hombre."  Or someone delirious or panicking: "Things that make those kinds of sounds have exoskeletons!  Exoskeletons, Joe!" (to which the ruthless & deadly Persnickety Kendall responds by cocking her magnum and saying, "Yeah, and things that make that kinda sound make really big exit wounds! Quit yer prattlin', ya sumbitch!")
I'm also really fond of taking old proverbs and cliches, and abbreviating them, then putting them in the mouths of grizzled types.  "Does a bear shit in the woods?" becomes simply, "Shit in the woods."  "While the iron's hot." "Bird in the hand." "An ounce of pervention [sic]."
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tonyd
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« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2008, 09:41:56 AM »

Great thread!

I just finished Galactic North by Alastiar Reynolds (hard science space opera). In the postscript he talks about exactly this thing--how the large scale setting for his Galactic North stories and his Revelation Space novels evolved over time. His creative process in this sounds like a lot like an IAWA campaign. It began with one story that introduced a few concepts, locales, times, and characters. As other stories cropped up in the shared setting, different aspects became concentrated. The end results is a deep, living setting.

Another thing I'm curious about. Do you ever find yourself hitting a false note? Do you ever have a session that you decide really doesn't deserve to be setting defining? Myself, I find that I sometimes conveniently forget contradictory setting facts that no longer fit, and that if a coherent whole emerges, it's not just a creative act, but an act of editing and forgetting the stuff that doesn't contribute positively.
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"Come on you lollygaggers, let's go visit the Thought Lords!"
Marshall Burns
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« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2008, 10:00:12 AM »

Tony,
I'm of the opinion that such editing is not the same as failure, at least not when it's just here and there.  It's understandable when someone fires a dud when playing -- it happens, we all do it sometimes.

On the other hand, with The Rustbelt, I embrace discrepancies.  Just calling the scenario a "Yarn" suggests that it's the sort of story that a not-entirely-trustworthy person in a bar would tell you.  Any discrepancies in setting and chronology can be attributed to him, as lies, errors, and embellishments.  But that's not a solution that works for every game.
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Valamir
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« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2008, 01:33:02 PM »

Tony, we have yet to have that problem in our current IaWA run, because our group is full of win ;-), but I view such a selective memory / editing process as completely normal (and even preferable).  I mean any non-fictional account of historical events is going to be delivered with a hefty dose of perceptions, editing for interest, and survivor bias...so why should a fictional acount of a faux-historical events be any different?  Any such post-story editing that needs to be done surely is no more egregious than what goes into a history text book.

The quality of a movie is as dependent on the editing as on the filming.  I see no reason why a similar standard shouldn't apply to RPGs.
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