Saturday, April 26, 2008

Things we did not according to the PtA rule set

We made some errors again. Different ones than the first time though:

1. We did not properly set up the scene with Agenda, Focus and Place...

2. We forgot that the player with the highest single card tells the output... Instead it was mostly the Producer.

3. The players' did not want to decide up front who would have a spotlight episode when. It seemed like that the want to grow the spotlight out organically. (That reminds me of the way I was very sceptical about the "unorganic" drama model in my first script writing course.)

4. I was really stupid to misinterpret the rules and tell the players that they could only spend on fan mail in each scene. I have no idea, where I picked that up. I reread the rulebook and it is definitely not the case...

Captain, my Captain s01e01 Scene Overview

Scene 1 (Producer): Plot
Cook and Assistant take over commando and tell about their ship from back in the Freedom Wars
Conflict: ?

Scene 2 (Tali's player): Character
Meeting of the protagonists in a small room to discuss what to do now
Conflict: Crew member Michael is sent to order them back and wants to convince them to cooperate
Outcome: The protagonists come along, although Waine stays in control of the situation and bullies Michael

Conflict ideas afterwards that would have been easier to integrate with the agenda given by the players: there would have been a NPC like Michael as part of the meeting and he would have discussed with them instead of giving orders

Scene 3 (Mafalda's player): Plot
The pilot tries to steer the ship dispite being drunk
Conflict: will she be able to take it to Zebulon
Outcome: she fails and it goes somewhere random

Scene 4 (Algernon's player): Plot
The ship comes out of hyperspace near a space station that is attacked by 2 pirate ships. It is on collision course.
Conflict: the cook-captain has post war trauma and tries to attack the space station, there will be people injuried
Outcome: they can't stop the cook and the Michael (scene 2) is killed in the crash as Waine is not able to save him
(Added scene: flashback to Waine's and Michael's happy times in the holo deck)

Scene 5 (Waine's player): Character
There is a space funeral for Michael.
Conflict: will the crew blame Waine for Michael's death? especially as he bullied him before?
Resolution: they don't blame Waine

Scene 6 (Producer): Plot
The Federation commander of the space station comes on board to find out who was guilty for the destruction
Conflict: will they offer the cook on a silver plate or play the card that they were able to scare of the pirates and therefore helped?
Resolution: they cook is blamed and receives the Collar of Punishment

Conflict ideas afterwards that would have been easier to integrate with the agenda given by the players: Tali's role as daughter would have been used, for example as an excuse...

Scene 7 (Tali's): Plot
Tali sneaks shape changed on board of the ship and seduces the captain of the station to steal data about the Captain James Herbert
Conflict: can she get the data while the captain wants her to "explore the galaxy"
Resolution: she can

Scene 8 (Mafalda's): Plot
Can Tali escapefrom the space station while Mafalda is able to start the ship despite her alcohol problem
Conflict: straight forward, action scene
Resolution: they can

New opened plot developments: what's really on Zebulon?, 2 space pirate ships running of, the cook's collar of punishment, the data from the Federation's space station

Old open plot thingies: the memory crystal with Tali spying on Algernon & Co.


We played the first real episode of "Captain, My Captain" in a meeting room with a really cool gadget, a digital whiteboard. We saved it as a pdf, so I am not completely sure how to make it visible here.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Minigolf Family

I want to use this place to recommend the blog of a friend. She writes in German, but we will turn her adventures of the Minigolfkombinat into a Primetime Adventures show one day. I am sure about it.
She does a very different kind of role playing. Kind of live action role playing with some friends, where they always take the same roles as members of a family. In a way it can be defined as Augmented Reality gaming, as they play it while hanging out in bars or on real mini golf courses or just their living rooms.
Now she turned it to 11 by creating write ups of a fictional TV show based on their Mixed Reality LARP experience. Very interesting.
If you can read German, have a look!

PtA and Immersion

We played today episode 1 of "Captain, My Captain". Obvisously it turned out completely different, than I planned. We had really cool scenes, but did not go anywhere with the plot - just forcing a little bit of advancement in in the end.
But that is not what I am writing about here. This is more about the fact that one player said, he missed the immersion in the game. Okay, I am the Producer, so for me it is different, but I guess the point of PtA is that players and the Director are not that much different.
Because I was totally immersed into coming up with cool ideas. Okay that is something different than being immersed in character, but for me it feels the same. I want to do cool stuff with my character anyways.
I can't play shy or afraid characters, because that takes out the over the top madness, that I immerse into. If I create one liners for my specific character or for another one, does not matter, as long as I can enjoy creating them.
If my character jumps for a cool action scene feels the same as if I descripe another character's jump.
In that sense I guess PtA is perfect for me. I would just need players that feel the same. And I got some. :)

But maybe it is not even so much the contribution of narrative power that makes PtA different for some people but just the fact, that it is a conflict resolution, not a task resolution (I hope I use the terms right...).
I wonder if we could play with the very same narrative powers, but conflict resolution and how it would feel then.

Monday, April 14, 2008

A narratish challenge system

Inspired by 4th Edition Dungeons & Dragons, a future challenge system could ask for a certain number of success by the group. A certain number of failures, would let them fail. This numbers don't have to be open to the players.
But instead of only taking into account sucessfull skill checks, there shoule also be a possibilty to manage the clever use of items. Basic manouvres like spillling perfume on a monster are maybe not handled by a skill check (although a trick out of Savage Worlds would work perfectly here), but by loosing of resources. The only question is, how abstract resources should be in this context.
She you literally use perfume from the character sheet, just improvize that this kind of character has perfume along or just tick off one (of for example three) abstract pieces of equipment or - even more abstract - uses of equipment.

Narrative about it is that the players themselves come up with skills to use. What counts is only the number of successes. Most of the rest is decided by the narratively empowered gamers.