This is a copy of all the posts and comments from the old blog. New content now appears on the main blog.


Sieges and Mice

Montsegur 1244 is an impressively replayable game. I facilitated it this weekend at Endgame, and I want to play it again. But I've talked about that enough here.

I also played a session of Mouse Guard, which I really enjoyed. I think the conflict system is simple but tactical enough to be interesting, and the way it makes cooperation work is great. The Belief/Goal/Instinct trifecta gives you just enough character mechanics to drive the story. But the real engine of the game is the Traits and Checks system. I'd love to explore that more.

Montsegur 1244, Parts 1 and 2

I played Fredrick Jensen's Montsegur 1244 at Dreamation, and while I expected that it would work for our regular group, I didn't expect it would work as well as it did. One problem I expected to have revolved around the fact that we (and especially Christina) like to use resolution mechanics to help make decisions for our characters. I realize this is a heretical view to some roleplayers, akin to rolling on the NPC Reaction Table in the way it seems to prioritize "roll-playing" over "role-playing." However, in certain systems we've found ways to let the mechanics give us a "push" when we're not sure how a character should react to something. Given that Montsegur lacks resolution mechanics, I expected this would be big drawback. And yet strangely we didn't have a problem with it at all. I was also surprised that Ted enjoyed the game as much as he did, but I realized afterward that the structure of the game meant that his character's fate was entirely within his control, which meant that a lot of his normal concerns about things not working out "right" went away.

All in all, a great pair of sessions. (Yes, we play slowly, so we broke for the week between Acts II and III.) I enjoyed it so much that I'm going to run it up in Oakland at the Endgame MiniCon at the end of March. I'll have more to say about this game in the future.

From The Sea, Episode 5

We wrapped up our Primetime Adventures game about Malagasy pirates last week, but I only now realized that I'd forgotten to post about it. It turned out to be a pretty solid end, with most of the action focusing on Fatima, the sister of Christina's character Jassa and love interest to Roy's character Woz. The session used a technique that we exploit often: make an NPC the focal point of the session, have that character interact with everyone, and allow those interactions to reveal things about the PCs. In the end, the implacable Ismail Khan finally met his demise, William (Ted's character) sailed off to America, and Jassa and Fatima passed up the opportunity to return to India. The ending was nicely ambiguous in case we want to return to it. For now, though, we're going to move on to Montsegur 1244, which I played at Dreamation. More on that shortly.

From The Sea, Episode 4

In between my trips to OrcCon and Dreamation, we found time to slip in the penultimate episode of our current Primetime Adventures season. I didn't take particularly detailed notes on this one, but to me it seemed to be the first episode that really clicked. It felt comfortable and familiar in a way that our previous games haven't quite.

On the fiction side of things, our becalmed crew managed to return to St. Mary's, where they found the Moghul's fleet attacking it. We got some thematic resolution on Roy's character, but mostly we focused on plot. And tasty plot it was. There continued to be intimations that Ismail Khan is a wizard of some sort, and Woz discovered that Fatima and Jassa are siblings. It looks like it's all headed to a grand conclusion tonight.

From The Sea, Episode 3

Due to illness, we had to cancel our regular Primetime Adventures game this week, which means that my comments on the previous episode are late but not too late.

The third episode was the first of the spotlight episodes, this on focusing on Ted's character, William. There were lots of conflicts, most of them revolving around the question "Can William's crazy scheme to take the Emperor's flagship  succeed?" (Yes, as it turns out.) I kept chunking down Budget, but Ted's base of three cards per conflict meant that he really had a leg up on me. I was ready to come up with ways to make failure interesting, but by-and-large people didn't fail very much. I also experimented with actually writing down what people got Fan Mail for, which helped to fix those moments in my mind. And this episode, like the two before it, ended on a cliffhanger, reminding us that we really are playing a mini-series, rather than a full season of television. I'm disappointed we didn't get to play this week, but we'll resume next week with Roy's spotlight.
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