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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Trollbabe Review at RPGnet  (Read 2105 times)
Jason L Blair
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Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


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« on: September 03, 2002, 09:35:41 AM »

http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_7069.html
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Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 03, 2002, 09:59:12 AM »

Got it, Jason (mentioned it in the Announcement thread above ...). Jeffrey did a nice job, I think.

Best,
Ron
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damion
Member

Posts: 198


« Reply #2 on: September 03, 2002, 10:35:56 AM »

Not sure if this is the right place, or if this is one of those 'just get the game questions' but....

Quote

The stakes of the first adventure starts low, a single (or a few) persons. The stakes can only be raised at the request of a player (between adventures), and they can never be lowered.


I was reading along and going 'this sounds, <sigh> another thing to add to the list' and then I read the last phrase and was confused. I guess I'm asking 'what was the modivation for not allowing stakes(scale) to be lowered?'.
There doesn't seem to be a literary precedent, the end of LoTR is hobbits fighting ruffians in the Shire.  Basicly there is a bunch of stuff about player narrative control and then this seemingly arbitrary rule, which doesn't seem to fit.

Like I said, maybe it's one of those things you have to read in context.
Sorry if this is a silly question.
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James
Jeffrey Straszheim
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Posts: 112


« Reply #3 on: September 03, 2002, 06:59:10 PM »

Thanks for the kind words on the review.  Trollbabe has got me really excited and I hope it gets lots of exposure  -- plus well deserved sales.  There are many great games out there, but I haven't found to many that just seem to work effortlessly.  Prince Valiant was one.  When we played it, lo these many years ago, stories just happened.  It wasn't because I uses some stunning GM tricks (far from it).  And while the players back then were really good, we had played other games that didn't gel the way our PV games did.

There is something about simplicity that I don't have the words to describe, but Prince Valiant had it, and now I think Trollbabe does to.  I hoped to bring that out in the review, but if I'd just repeated, "This just works! It's magic!" folks might have balked.
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Jeffrey Straszheim
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: September 04, 2002, 12:09:52 PM »

Hi Damion,

Sorry I didn't get back to this earlier. I was drafting a reply, then I got distracted, and forgot that I never finished it.

Anyway.

One clarification, which is explicit in the rules: it is perfectly OK for specific conflicts in play (including the ones that the character, in-game, cares about most) to be at a smaller Scale than the Scale of the Stakes. You can still have a story in which, from her perspective, the conflict is all about one lost orphan kid or something - but in which the Stakes are at the Scale of the whole realm. So don't get the idea that the trollbabe characters' attention is constrained to rise in Scale throughout play.

However, I freely admit that the "Scale always goes up" rule is a deliberate constraint on the context of the players' thinking. "Narrative control" does not mean "without constraints"; in fact, I consider constraint to be a fundamental element of creativity.

As with all my games, Trollbabe is emphatically not a "free-form" or "improvisation-based" RPG. It contains structural rules of one kind or another that have an impact on the emergent theme.

Most of these rules are relatively subtle, as with reward mechanics. The Scale-up-only rule is relatively blatant. Its purpose is to say: listen, when anyone in the group wants, the trollbabe characters become more important to the setting. When this happens, it accentuates the idea that the character's existence is itself important. Regardless of her actions, regardless of her successes and failures, regardless of the positive or negative consequences. This is a big deal for the game-experience.

Best,
Ron
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