mcroft: (Default)
Random flipped the over the card. "See? It's the Five of Wands, but it's not marked. I marked it and locked it in this case last night. Checked it earlier, too. It was still there. Now? Gone." He spread his hands, as if showing that he didn't have the missing deck.

"Hmm," said Flora. "It's hard to think that something is missing, just because it cleaned itself up after you vandalized it."

"Look," the young King said, sharply, "have you ever known this cabinet not to have a deck or two in it? No, because it always does. Even if we take the ones that are there. Did you think the servants were putting them back, like soap in the privies?"

"Actually, yes. That seems quite likely," replied his sister. She brushed an imaginary spec of dust from the sleeve of her long gown.

"Well, they don't. I asked." He looked to his brother. "Julian, what do you think?"

"I?" replied Prince Julian. "I think you are inquiring down the wrong branch of the family tree. This is a matter for Caine or Bleys, surely."

"Yeah. Not here. What do you think?", Random replied.

Julian stroked his beard. It was his latest affectation. "Hmm. I suppose I think that I would be interested to know what someone might do with hundreds or thousands of Trump Decks, stolen two a day for perhaps centuries."

"Again, Yeah," replied Random. "I think this is bad, but damned if I know why."

Flora fanned herself, and feigned indifference.

I wrote this as a comment here, but decided I liked it enough to make it one of my (rare) posts.
mcroft: (HoC)
It's been an exciting week in House of Cards, with people dying, people being-missing-on-purpose, people-being-missing-by-accident, people-being-secretly-missing, people-not-answering-trumps, people-answering-trumps, and what-have-you. It's been fascinating to hear lurker-opinions (on- and off-list) about what's going on. I really get a kick out of what other people make of the story so far.

That being said, I think [ profile] prince_corwin may be trying to get uninvited from future redheaded picnics.
JN3: Okay, Bleys moonlights as an actor in B-movies, and I claim my five pounds.
GMM: So, your guess is that all those "Bleys is doing something dashing" intros when people trump him are really B-movie serial roles? Interesting...
JN3: It fits all known observations!
JN3: And what else would Bleys really be doing with his spare time and surplus ego, other than BEING A MOVIE STAR!
GMM: Hmm. We need a masked avenger Bleys...
JN3: A space pirate Bleys!
GMM: Tomb Raider Bleys! No, wait, that's what Huon is trying...
GMM: We've had War Hero Bleys!, Bleys of Arabia!, Bleys Carter Warlord of Mars, Gone with Prince Bleys...
GMM: Bgum!, I think you're right...
JN3: It fits the facts, I say.
The only fact that doesn't fit is Bleys' notorious weak chin...
mcroft: (Default)
[ profile] jimhenley said you have to enjoy using the rules to resolve rules disputes in reference to a discussion of how Polaris was a good system because the rules could be used recursively. Jim's point is vast and covers an aspect I think is underconsidered in game design.

If you enjoy using the rules you'll like games that spend a lot of time using the rules. If you don't enjoy using the rules you'll like games that don't spend a lot of time using the rules. System does matter, but 'least intrusive' is a plus for some gamers and it's not something the 'rules enjoyers' consider a virtue.

It set off a lightbulb over my head about what I don't like particularly about DitV. I love the drive towards conflict, I like the setting. I don't enjoy the conflict resolution. The drive of the game pushes me towards an activity that I want to be lighter. I am willing to give the GM a great deal of whimsy-latitude in exchange for less time spent on the mechanics of game. I don't know if it's a complete zero-sum system, but more game seems to lead to less role-playing. 'Role-playing' and 'game' are an uneasy alliance, brought together by accident and wildly successful, but not necessarily striving for the same goals. One of the reasons I think that D&D isn't for me is that we spend a lot of time on the game: managing hitpoints and spells and tactics. I'd rather do that solo on the computer.

DitV tells you to break free and work on stakes and conflict and moral dilemmas, until conflict resolution happens. Then it becomes the DitV abstract tactical dice game for many rounds. It works for a lot of people, but I never invested. It seemed like a step back for me, personally, to something I wasn't interested in. All the rules and advice were to push for more conflicts faster and more traits and relationships. The game advanced exactly in the opposite direction of my goals. More and quicker and longer abrupt stops to the real action for the dice.

Prime Time Adventures is much more like Everway (or Kobolds Ate My Baby!): Conflict resolution is fast. Decide what's at stake, decide how invested each player is and on what side, shuffle, deal, flip, done. On to narrating the results and orchestrating moving the story to the next conflict.

It could have been the groups. It could be that we do a kickass job of setting worthwhile stakes in PTA and didn't get it right in DitV. But I think it's the PTA embrace of 'rules-light' mechanics that don't get in the way that really let it work for me. The abstractness of the resolution and the minimal characteristic/relationship definition work towards hiding the flaws that a truly in-depth system just exposes. Everway's elemental stats hide complexity similarly. "Fire" incorporates physical action and decisiveness, so I don't need to worry about an specific trait like strength (or the differences between agility and dexterity), I just have an abstract "action" element to base my conflict resolution on and expectations from.

I thought I didn't like forge-derived games. It turns out I didn't like forge-derived games that had elements that I didn't like in old-school-derived games. I think I need to look specifically for rules-light forge games to rock my gaming world.
mcroft: (Default)
Update: The game has started. Rules are, unless changed, here.

I read Neel Krishnaswami's The Court of the Empress (a complete RPG in a single 20x20 room blog post!) and my immediate thought was that it would be easy to play it in LiveJournal. It's a simple, interesting RPG that starts en media res and unfolds in a series of formal statements and responses.
The Empress is an immensely powerful and utterly unchallenged despot over a vast empire. A single word from her can cause a city to be built, and a second word could take all the lives within an entire nation. She lives within a vast palace filled with the wonders received as tribute from every nation under the sun. Thousands live within, spending their lives maintaining the gardens, cooking the delicacies, playing the songs, and guarding the jewels that make her life the most opulent in the world.

The players of this game take on the roles of the Empress herself, and of minor courtiers who seek her out, chancing death to petition her for a favor.
As I said on that blog, if we were to run this game in LJ,
it would be a writing exercise in portraying emotion, feeling, body language, tone, and picking up on them, as well as an opportunity for persuasive writing to shine.
Neel didn't know if it would work in LJ, so I figured, I'd try it.

< Proposed Rules behind the cut > )

The game will start Thursday night, Jan 5th. This will give us a few days to discuss the rules and let everyone who might consider participating some time to think.
Edit : As rules changes and clarifications are made in the comments, they'll be incorporated here. Anything changed after play starts will be marked as such.
Rule Clarifications:

  • The Empress will wait for an adequate number of Courtiers to present themselves before calling upon them for her amusement.

  • (Proposed, still under discussion) The Empress is expecting the Courtiers to entertain her with their discourse. She will not speak in a Service thread except to end it.

[updated: game closed, some time ago...]

October 2013



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