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Author Topic: The Valedictorian's Death  (Read 8241 times)
Paul Czege
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« on: May 08, 2003, 05:10:25 PM »

Okay...since Tom let the cat out of the bag on the http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=6361">Profiling, spring 2003 thread, here it is:

http://www.123.net/~czege/death.html">The Valedictorian's Death

This is the game that took over my brain when I was supposed to be writing My Life with Master and forced me to draft it up as HTML. Cripes, that was annoying.

I'd like to call it mainstream Gamism. What do you think?

Paul
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And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Emily Care
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« Reply #1 on: May 13, 2003, 02:36:31 PM »

Hey Paul,

Some more good, ground-breaking stuff from you. As usual.  

I can see why you call it mainstream gamism--the old yearbook angle is great.  It's like putting plot and system to the kinds of things people do with them.  Getting to play out period digs and character is icing on the cake.

So, you've got "reactions", "actions", and "consequences":  three different stats, sort of, that give you three different kinds of currency in the game.  Scene framing currency and emotional relationships, physical actions and taking consequences to your own character which pays off giving you more currency. Good stuff. They make a sequence, changes in one affecting the next.  Question: what exactly is the interaction between the three? A point is added to the next in the chain when you take a consequence; how is the third affected?  

It looks like a fun time, and a good system for incorporating players into creating the fabric of the setting and crafting the mystery.  

Regards,
Em
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #2 on: May 14, 2003, 03:45:41 PM »

Hi Em,

Some more good, ground-breaking stuff from you. As usual.

Flatterer! Thank you.

Question: what exactly is the interaction between the three? A point is added to the next in the chain when you take a consequence; how is the third affected?

I'm not following the question.

"They are chained together such that a reduction in Actions precipitates an increase in Reactions, a reduction in Reactions precipitates an increase in Consequences, and a reduction in Consequences precipitates an increase in Actions."

Is that the answer?

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
jburneko
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« Reply #3 on: May 14, 2003, 04:17:40 PM »

Paul,

This is GENIUS!  I have a couple of questions though.

1) What values do the three scores start out at?  I couldn't find anywhere in the text that states anything.

2) Besides picking a Valedictorian what kind of prep work do you see the GM doing?

2a) What are your thoughts on what the GM DOES during actual play.

3) Since Reactions are the only things that allow a player to START a scene, I'm a little curious as to how you see the players introducing things like locations from the yearbook and family and reomantic relationships?

I think this is a really solid start but I think it needs a little more focus on who can say what when and what the structure of actual play looks like.

Just my thoughts.

Jesse
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Emily Care
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« Reply #4 on: May 14, 2003, 04:28:55 PM »

Quote from: Paul Czege

"They are chained together such that a reduction in Actions precipitates an increase in Reactions, a reduction in Reactions precipitates an increase in Consequences, and a reduction in Consequences precipitates an increase in Actions."


Let's see,  Consequences decrease when you take one and so Actions (or possibly Reactions) increase.  When are the number of Actions or Reactions similarly reduced? I can see how part of the chain works, but not all of it. Make sense?

--Em
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2003, 07:43:42 AM »

Hi Jesse,

This is GENIUS!

Thanks.

1) What values do the three scores start out at? I couldn't find anywhere in the text that states anything.

Well, I think the starting value should be the same across the board for Reactions, Actions, and Consequences, for all players. But what that value should be, I'm not sure. My gut tells me it should be between 5 and 7. I'd probably playtest with a value of 5 or 6. What do you think?

2) Besides picking a Valedictorian what kind of prep work do you see the GM doing?

2a) What are your thoughts on what the GM DOES during actual play.


My not-so-successful effort at writing the GM advice chapter of http://www.halfmeme.com">My Life with Master over the past two weeks has borne a mini-realization for me: I write my designs to be games that I know how to prep and run very naturally and intuitively. So when someone says, "How do I know when to assign an extra dice for Intimacy, Desperation, or Sincerity?" I struggle with how to respond.

The Valedictorian's Death is the same animal for me. If I were to prep a game, I'd spend some time with the yearbook, trying to get a feel for the relationships within it. During actual play, I'd frame scenes aggressively, drawing inspiration from my own high school experiences, and from player pursuit of points through the introduction of locations and relationships. I get to describe all the outcomes of Actions rolls, whether they're failures or successes. I get to describe the Consequences to characters when they fail the roll. And I get to frame all the scenes, except when a player uses Reactions. I'd pay attention to the current point totals of the characters; if a character was low in Actions, I'd try to put the player in a situation where they'd desperately want to succeed at a physical action. A great deal of the Gamism in it, I think, is forcing the player to figure out how to move their points around so they have high enough target numbers to accomplish the things that are really important to them. I'd try to play upon the fears of players that they might be universally voted the murderer by creating situations where they were implicated, putting them in the position of trying to create just enough doubt that not everyone votes for them. If someone was doing a good job of that, and getting lots of points, then I'd work to create doubt.

3) Since Reactions are the only things that allow a player to START a scene, I'm a little curious as to how you see the players introducing things like locations from the yearbook and family and reomantic relationships?

Dialogue, mostly:

"Is she still seeing Steve Hartwig?"

"I met him at The Karaoke Bowl last Friday."

Good?

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Paul Czege
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2003, 07:44:16 AM »

Hi Em,

When are the number of Actions or Reactions similarly reduced?

Aha! Whenever the player has rolled the dice, whether for Actions, Reactions, or Consequences, that value is then reduced by one point, and the next one in the chain is increased.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
jburneko
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« Reply #7 on: May 19, 2003, 03:05:18 PM »

Quote from: Paul Czege

My gut tells me it should be between 5 and 7. I'd probably playtest with a value of 5 or 6. What do you think?


Actually, I was thinking of allowing the player to destribute 12 points between them as they fit.  If they all started at 6 that would put 18 points into the system meaning that you have the chance of having them bunch up in a given score over 12, thus making success guaranteed for several rolls in a row on a score.

Perhaps that isn't problem.

My idea would only ever guarantee one auto success and that's only if all the points end up pooling into a single attribute.  I have no idea without playing how likely that is.

Your GM advice was good.  When I first read this game, I thought: Why do we need a GM at all?  But now, I see that you see it really as a very GM heavy game with GM acting as primary director and editor of action.

Jesse
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Tim Alexander
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« Reply #8 on: September 16, 2003, 10:51:38 AM »

Hey Folks,

For those folks looking for yearbooks, I picked up a copy of the 'National Lampoons' yearbook. Now bear with me, but given my first glance it seems to be fantastic for Valedictorian, and it's readily available. Lots of pictures, lots of text, less camp than I would have anticipated. It's worth taking a gander at.

-Tim
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xiombarg
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« Reply #9 on: September 17, 2003, 07:03:37 AM »

Two quick comments:

* An idealized "example of play" would clarify things immensely.
* This game has made me realize I don't remember who the Validictorian of my class was.
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Bellman
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« Reply #10 on: September 18, 2003, 06:52:16 AM »

I realise that this game is for Americans who understand the different schooling system you have over there, but most of it I still understand.

Just one question, though ...

What the heck is a Valedictorian?
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Valamir
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« Reply #11 on: September 18, 2003, 08:17:35 AM »

The guy who graduated top of his class academically.
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #12 on: September 18, 2003, 08:41:58 AM »

Geez...I wish I understood the British school system so I could use your terminology. Here in the States, you finish "high school" when you're 17 or 18 years old. The student who has the best grades at the end of their last year of high school (the "senior year") is the valedictorian. And there's a lot of status associated with it. Oftentimes the valedictorian gets to speak at the school graduation ceremony, for instance.

The student with the second best grades is the salutatorian.

Is there a British equivalent? Can you see how the valedictorian would be positioned central to stress within the game? There's the potential parental pressure on any student who's in the running for valedictorian to perform academically. There's academic competition among those students. There's fear of lost future prospects. There's the negative stigma of being overly academically focused, and the potential relationship consequences of that, as well as the struggle to be liked by others and perceived normal. Part of the fun of the game, I think, is that most of us can easily imagine the dramatic circumstances of how a valedictorian in our past may have ended up dead before the end of the senior year.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Valamir
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« Reply #13 on: September 18, 2003, 10:11:30 AM »

Interestingly, the valedictorian of my class was also:  Home Coming King, Captain of the Football team, and Mr. Popular Guy.  Which is a rather unusual combination of assets.
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #14 on: September 18, 2003, 10:31:26 AM »

Interestingly, the valedictorian of my class was also: Home Coming King, Captain of the Football team, and Mr. Popular Guy.

Don't you just want to kill a guy like that!

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
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