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Notes from Halfway - Qualified Perceptions
firstfrost
firstfrost
Notes from Halfway
For all that I do not really know many of the players, I find that I like a lot of the ones that I have just met. Many of them acquire quite a lot of gravitas when in dark suits with priest collars.

"You can make the players do anything, as long as it's a mechanic" seems to hold as true for "do research about the Nicene Creed" as it did for "walk around Killian court tied together with a rope." They're talking about the moral infallibility of the Shepherd and whether "God is in everyone" is schismatic, and carrying Pope's body around in a pine box. Sure, in the end it's all paint on the numbers (and justom claims it's just Conspiracy anyway) but the paint still feels solid to me.

I stress about the mistakes, though. Mostly about the ones I made, but probably way too much. One was just failing to recheck a mechanic once the stats were nailed down (and I knew I needed to, I just didn't make time), and I think the problem was that a scale that was from 0 to 1 in my head the first time became from 1 to 5 much later. The other mistake, I still don't understand. I playtested the widget. I used it enough to figure out how long it would take me to do the thing. How could it have had a sign error? (The AFS @^ error, not my fault. But still annoying).

harrock has been fetching us food and crusading in search of empty trash cans, and reporting on some of the meetings... yay!

I had forgotten how the actual running of a ten-day goes. The first several days, you think "Oh my God, they're going to finish all their plots on day four and riot out of boredom." Then people start dying, and the whole mood shifts to "what do we do about the people who are killing the people who are dead?" and suddenly there's more things to talk about and worry about and run about doing. Even if there isn't strictly more plot.

I had also forgotten how different the instinct for GM'ing assassin is than sit-down. If someone says "This is in my concept, but there's no mechanic for it, and it's a clever solution to the problem" then the answer is much more yes in sit-down than it is in Assassin. If we give you a mechanic for digging a pit, we really should have given everyone one, so you can't have one, even if pits are a completely reasonable thing. The perfectly constructed (and played) Assassin game, the Platonic ideal, would have no GM intervention ever needed. The perfectly constructed (and played) sit-down RPG doesn't have that limitation. In that sense, assassin is much more like a board game in philosophy, though in reality it never approaches that ideal.

Current Mood: indescribable devoid of ice cream

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Comments
dpolicar From: dpolicar Date: January 25th, 2006 05:08 am (UTC) (Link)
Agreed about sit-down vs. live. I've been hanging out on Champions MUSH lately and find it's a similar sorta thing - ad-hoc mechanics are sorta OK, but only sorta, since they can hose the people who IC should have known/done/realized X but OOC didn't think to ask a GM. OTOH, with all the players on "the same side" the potential for distributed GMing is significant, which is a cool effect that neither sit-down nor live allows for that I find I like.
desireearmfeldt From: desireearmfeldt Date: January 25th, 2006 01:35 pm (UTC) (Link)

All paint on the numbers

But the paint *matters*. The paint is what the story is about.

The point of a *roleplaying* game is to have them talking about papal infalibility in the common room.

Even in a board game, which is arguably just about the numbers, you want to be thinking about your star destroyers or your indigo production, not merely "my 4 beats your 2."

Hooray for paint! :)
rifmeister From: rifmeister Date: January 25th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. Your "Mood: Devoid of ice cream" brings up a new hypothesis: the direct true cause of the decline of ten-day games is the closing of the Student Center Toscanini's. It tips the whole balance of incentives. As a GM, if I can't walk to Tosci's, why would I want to spend ten days on campus? As a player, you offer me the choice to play in a one-day or a ten-day, but in the one-day, I have to stay "in game". If I've got Tosci's, the ten-day wins. Otherwise, who cares?
From: (Anonymous) Date: January 25th, 2006 02:42 pm (UTC) (Link)

Tosci's?

It all went downhill when the 24-hour coffeehouse closed. I need donuts and tea at 4AM on day 8.

-JWM
chenoameg From: chenoameg Date: January 25th, 2006 05:53 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Tosci's?

Yeah. (says someone who didn't know the 24-hour coffeehouse closed)
firstfrost From: firstfrost Date: January 25th, 2006 04:23 pm (UTC) (Link)
But I can walk to Tosci's. :)
rifmeister From: rifmeister Date: January 25th, 2006 01:58 pm (UTC) (Link)
Hmm. Your "Mood: Devoid of ice cream" brings up a new hypothesis: the direct true cause of the decline of ten-day games is the closing of the Student Center Toscanini's. It tips the whole balance of incentives. As a GM, if I can't walk to Tosci's, why would I want to spend ten days on campus? As a player, you offer me the choice to play in a one-day or a ten-day, but in the one-day, I have to stay "in game". If I've got Tosci's, the ten-day wins. Otherwise, who cares?
countertorque From: countertorque Date: January 25th, 2006 05:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
But, this fails to be the root cause, as the Tosci's closed for some other reason.
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