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Author Topic: The indie-netgaming folks are playing Trollbabe  (Read 11023 times)
Bob McNamee
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Posts: 685


« on: April 12, 2003, 06:58:57 PM »

Two fairly short sessions of Trollbabe so far last Mon and Tues, over IRC chat.
I've got a combined synched up log of the Narration channel and OOC channel in the Files area of the indie-netgaming group (click the sig below).

So far so good, a bit of a learning curve, but not too bad. I'm GM-ing with Nathan (Paganini) and Chris Edwards playing.
These were pretty short sessions 2-ish hours, maybe less the first night. My scene setting got better later. So far no relationships set yet, although they both could do so. Its a bit strange for me narrating the character's successes after play of other games, but not far from playing old-style GMing really. We haven't used multiple Action types yet.

I like ReRolls!
All of the Conflicts where Rerolls occurred seemed to have extra apeal for me...maybe it's the added color of Trollish magic or tripping over tree roots.

The IRC format makes things take longer real-time, due to typing etc. but has the added benefit of an automatic log.

When the text says "adventure" I'm assuming that it means until the Stakes get their Consequences, which isn't always in one session?
(For things like Scale change and Trollbabe travel-which change between adventures)

 I plan on running a few more weeks (4-6 more sessions), and would like to see the Stakes increase etc.

Having a good time!
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: April 14, 2003, 06:16:26 AM »

Hi Bob,

You wrote,

Quote
When the text says "adventure" I'm assuming that it means until the Stakes get their Consequences, which isn't always in one session?
(For things like Scale change and Trollbabe travel-which change between adventures)


My answer is, Righty-O!

Also, you might want to turn some attention to Modifiers. One thing that isn't well-stated in the rules is their most important use: when a player announces a goal in a Conflict which exceeds the Scale of the character's abilities. This is what the group at GAMA kept doing - trying to do things like influence a whole troll tribe or similar, when they and their relationships didn't operate at that Scale. Modifiers all over the place = use up re-roll items = need relationships. The good thing about this is that the Modifiers aren't arbitrary, but relying on a gold standard of Scale. It's just that the GM has to keep his eye on it.

Best,
Ron
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Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #2 on: April 14, 2003, 08:05:14 AM »

Ron,

Do you commonly discuss the Stakes with the Players before, during and after play?

I know in the rules it says the GM doesn't have to.

  I have so far delayed discussing the Stakes. I wanted to get to a point where the Trollbabes encountered, or acted in such a way as to impact the Stakes.
  Perhaps, I should have cut even closer to the action during the first session, but I also wanted to feel out the game and the Trollbabe inclinations during play.

  The stakes at the Person(s) level have now been effected, so I'll be discussing them a bit before tonight's session.
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: April 14, 2003, 08:14:42 AM »

Hi Bob,

I never discuss the Stakes openly. I think it biases players toward "what they should do" in a very please-the-GM kind of a way. Stakes aren't Goals of play, and people are inclined to think that they are, no matter what you say otherwise. So I find it a lot more constructive to keep them a GM-tool, not a player-tool.

Best,
Ron
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Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #4 on: April 14, 2003, 09:06:20 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi Bob,

I never discuss the Stakes openly. I think it biases players toward "what they should do" in a very please-the-GM kind of a way. Stakes aren't Goals of play, and people are inclined to think that they are, no matter what you say otherwise. So I find it a lot more constructive to keep them a GM-tool, not a player-tool.

Best,
Ron


That's why I didn't discuss them at first. I think I'll keep it that way and talk about them after that adventure is over.

So would you start a session in mid-adventure by discussing more the same kinds of things that would be brought up in the Free and Clear phase?
I'm thinking of starting with- Want any Relationships from folks you've met so far?" ,"Remember what happened last game", and "Here's some possible implications?" then diving into individual scene setting.

I also realized I need to stress that Players with Relationships get to conrol that character general actions as well as the bonus of ReRoll. I didn't make that first part clear (Although,I'm sure Nathan knows).

Thanks for the quick responces Ron!
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: April 14, 2003, 10:20:21 AM »

Hi Bob,

Everything in your post seems reasonable and fun to me, so go for it and see what happens. Don't forget to play NPCs pretty aggressively - every NPC who's engaged in the Stakes sees a trollbabe as either a serious threat or a key to getting his or her way.

Best,
Ron
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C. Edwards
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Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #6 on: April 14, 2003, 11:23:04 AM »

Hey Bob,

I wasn't even aware that I could use multiple Action types in one Series until after our second session.  I purchased Trollbabe after the first session but couldn't download and read it until after the second.  Now I know!  Same thing for controling the general actions of Relationships.

-Chris
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Bob McNamee
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Posts: 685


« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2003, 01:15:02 PM »

I wasn't too clear on the multiple action types until after the second session myself. I was avoiding recommending them until we had had several 'normal' conflicts before mixing things up.

Making something a multiple conflict type will be more important when someone makes the conflict type something different than you want for your Goal. Like if I made something a Fighting action type when you wanted to do Social interaction.
Like if I made you use Fighting, when attacked by the Page. You could probably add Social to it saying "I'm parrying his attacks while trying to reason with the twerp"

Even after reading the rules several times I wasn't sure I had everything down well enough. I wanted to start us off using just the basic stuff bringing everything else in later.
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Bob McNamee
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Posts: 685


« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2003, 09:26:24 AM »

Updated the combined Narration and OOC doc for session 1-3 in indie-netgaming file area.

Ok, bit of a reverse from session 2...
this time Nathan (who had limited time to play) had an all dialog role-playing session, and Chris had a couple of cool Conflicts.

Both of them took on Relationships (comrades for both of them).

Chris's first conflict was convincing the Herald (now a Relationship) to consider that perhaps the Regent-to-be (who's family may have killed Trollbabe Yulari's sister) was actually behind the apparently natural death of the King of Greteham. Chris succeeded, and it changed some of the game.

Because of this, I decided it would be cool if they travelled next to a town run by the Family, since it would provide the potential of getting into trouble for Yulari, while Kincott announced the death of the King and coming Regency.

This changed a bit too, since, I remembered that Chris got to control his relationship Kincott. Kincott went to pay his respects to the local Nobleman, while Yulari and the Page got rooms and stable space.

I made the nobleman a bit paranoid, this blew right up into a Conflict!  Kincott refused a Truth Elixir precipitating a Fight. We ended up using the Relationship 'Going First' rule and brought in multiple action types -Fighting (trying to get my way out of here) and Social (trying to goad him into revealling family corruption) for an Exchange by Exchange Pace.
Chris rolled really well, succeeding with both exchanges, and both action types each time. As a result I came up with some stuff off the cuff about this guy having big plans to rule the kingdom himself.

Unexpected and cool.

GMs call-on Relationships and First Actions.
Kincott was Going First on an exchange by exchange pace- I let him finish out the whole Conflict by himself since he was succeeding. I figured if he Failed a roll I would require the Trollbabe to jump in to save him- starting conflict from scratch, or if she didn't, then things would be very bad for Kincott and the Trollbabe, cutting to a torture chamber or something.

Seemed a bit strange having a pivotal Conflict with no Trollbabe on one hand. Yet, Chris had control of Kincott, so player satisfaction was there. The potential of Trollbabe pro-tag was there though, in the possibility of heroic rescue.

Fun stuff, hope things work out to play tonight.
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
C. Edwards
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Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #9 on: April 15, 2003, 01:18:22 PM »

Quote from: Bob McNamee
Seemed a bit strange having a pivotal Conflict with no Trollbabe on one hand. Yet, Chris had control of Kincott, so player satisfaction was there. The potential of Trollbabe pro-tag was there though, in the possibility of heroic rescue.


Ahh, but I knew that if I wanted her to Yulari could come to the rescue and have some of the action and glory. That makes a big difference as far as player satisfaction is concerned. With Kincott being a comrade, and now convinced that high level corruption does exist, it became a "Hurray for my side!" instead of a "Hurray for my character!".

Since I had intitiated the action based upon the agenda I had given Yulari the situation was focused on player protaganism.  The GM can have my character do 'cool stuff' all day, whether I care or not is another matter entirely.

Looking forward to tonight's play session!

-Chris
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: April 15, 2003, 01:34:13 PM »

Hi there,

The relationship concept in Trollbabe owes a great deal to the Hero Wars rules. In playing Hero Wars for so long, the precise point that Chris makes about followers/protagonism was illustrated to me multiple times. Trollbabe is my bid to make it a central rather than an auxiliary mechanic.

Best,
Ron
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Bob McNamee
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Posts: 685


« Reply #11 on: April 15, 2003, 04:37:03 PM »

A Tip to those folks planning an IRC Trollbabe game.

Make a 'session' equal to 3-4 actual play sessions for purposes of re-roll refreshment (and other refreshes).

Due to the nature of typing speed and slow connections etc, you get a lot less done in a 2-3 hour game session than you would face-to-face. Re-rolls will never get scarce at 1 session = 1 session.

Unless you're all much faster typists than we are... :>
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #12 on: April 24, 2003, 02:25:59 PM »

Well, we had a major instance of player input and director stance last game, all combined with the first huge failure of the game.

Chris's Trollbabe and friends were hightailing it out of town, ahead of an angry Lord and his army. The Lord is determined to stop them before they can alert anyone that  he is going to make a grab for control of the kingdom.
Chris suggested, "Hey, how about I cut across a spooky swamp as a shortcut to the Capital?"
"Great!", I said" How about we make crossing the swamp and exchange by exchange conflict using Fighting,(for physical)"
"So that's what we did"
Chris made the first roll easy...cool, The sun is rising, and the Herald says "We're over halfway..."
1 exchange for the good guys.

Then the second exchange! Heh,what a difference.
Initial roll 1-6- Fail
ok discommode, you could accept a failure and continue rolling othe exchanges. Naw, lets do a reroll- Sudden Ally-a weird Hermit (more important that he seems)

First Reroll-ally-1-6 =Fail
Doh!
Now you're injured, you could accept this and narrate?
Naw lets do a reroll on Geographic- Hermits cave

Second Reroll-Geo1-6= FAIL
Oh my,
Incapacitated! End of Swamp crossing conflict!

Chris opted not to  reroll for narration rights.

So now they are captive in the middle of a swamp, held by the crazy hermit, who is expecting a bounty from the Lord on his two spies (the herald and page), and is going to keep the babe for himself.

In the meantime, the army is marching to the capital with no one to warn anymore.

Heh, I can't wait to see what happens next!

One question?
Do you typically call all physical conflicts Fighting, like skulking etc?
We had this question when Nathan's Trollbabe wanted to evade the zombies she had attracted to her in the woods. He actually called for action type - social which required a bit of a stretch. I worked it in, but we were a bit unclear about what to use. Magically evading would have been easy to decide.

I thought about vetoing Social and saying Fighting, since if you failed to evade it would become a Fighting situation. However, I thought I would let it ride, and start a new conflict if the evade failed.

Having fun with Trollbabe. Definitely not a light game for the GM, since you do lots of narrating of successes and dialog. But it builds itself well from the rolling, especially the rerolls.

After playing, I can say I will be a big fan of altering the social roll as you talked about before, Ron. It will mix things up a bit, as well as encourage a bit more missed rolls.

The first adventure should be wrapping up next session or the one after that...which makes it session 7 or 8 for one adventure for on-line play.
It would be hard to add more than one more player unless they ended up linking up physically for on-line play.

I'm liking ths a lot!
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #13 on: April 25, 2003, 06:30:30 AM »

Hi Bob,

Wow, when I read, "First big failure of the game," it really hit me in the pit of the stomach. Oh, fuck! What??

Now I realize you meant failed action, with the attendant enthusiasm of a whole story to play set in this hermit's cave in the swamp ... ah, that's better! Excellent - just what the game is set up to do.

As for the Social zombies roll, it pretty much comes down to whether you want to play the zombies "socially" or not. I can see a Yes or a No depending, either way - but it's definitely a GM-concept thing, not a rules thing.

If the zombies have some modicum of intelligence and social status among them, then yes, a Social roll is possible - but the trollbabe would actually have to interact with them (Gandalf's trick with the trolls in The Hobbit comes to mind), not just "evade" them. If they don't and are, basically, rrrr-zombies, then forget it - Fighting is the only way to go unless you use Magic.

Even then, there's a possible limit on that choice. Don't forget that Magic as an Action Type (not as a re-roll) takes a long time; you don't pop off spells as stated Action Type. That's reserved for re-roll magic ("remembered spell" or perhaps "relationship" in some cases). You, as GM, have to judge whether the zombies' pursuit is desperate enough to enforce Fighting as the sole possible Action Type.

People should realize that Fighting is not Strength and Dexterity, and Social is not Intelligence. Fighting, Magic, and Social each require all "attributes" as usually conceived in a role-playing game.

Best,
Ron
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #14 on: April 25, 2003, 06:36:22 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi Bob,

Wow, when I read, "First big failure of the game," it really hit me in the pit of the stomach. Oh, fuck! What??

Now I realize you meant failed action, with the attendant enthusiasm of a whole story to play set in this hermit's cave in the swamp ... ah, that's better! Excellent - just what the game is set up to do.


I had a similar, "Oh, that's too bad." reaction until I too realized what you meant. Sounds like a blast and a half...

I'm definitely taking a page or two from Trollbabe when it comes to the next big game I'm working on (Decay), where part of the social contract is the "Law of Telling" -- where the group decides at the start of the game who narrates successes and who narrates failures (this could be the GM, the acting player or any other player)...

But Trolbabe, man. Yeah!

- J
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
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