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Author Topic: The moves and me  (Read 424 times)

Rafu

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The moves and me
« on: November 07, 2016, 01:41:59 AM »
After ten or so sessions of GMing Freebooting Venus, I sort of feel qualified to comment on various parts of the game and how well they're working for me and my group. It feels like a natural thing to do - I hope it's going to be useful feedback. I'm going to start with the moves, one by one.

Demand Something
This is one of the moves they most often make (second only to Recover, Regroup & Prepare, but barely). That's probably because it feels like a "versatile" move we can stretch to cover quite a wide range of fictional situation - for example, Enrico's PC Vetin often tries to get her way out of trouble by telling outrageous lies and, more often then not, we resolve that as Vetin effectively demanding that people believe her bullshit. Demands to be left alone are also matter of course.

As a GM, it feels different from any other move, in that it always requires me to inject new content into the current situation - effectively making a move of my own on the PCs - even on a hit. Which is actually great, most of the time: by choosing to roll this move, they only make their situation more complicated. To me, that's always an opportunity to evolve trouble - sometimes escalating it, sometimes creating new connections between previously unrelated situations, and sometimes handing the PCs new "jobs" altogether. These things sometimes spring from my prep, but most of the time it's just content I improvise on the spot (and add to my game prep notebook later): sometimes this marks the beginning of a whole new adventure. That makes it a slightly taxing, but very fruitful move, when observed from the GM side.

Sometimes, though, it felt like a pity there wasn't a superior success option available (on a 12+ or whatever) to have the demand met with absolutely no strings attached - because, once in a while, why not?

The problem with this move is when a PC initiates it in a way that obviously signals their means to their end: when the demand, before rolling, is accompanied by a threat of violence, an extravagant bribe, or phrased as a bluff. The problem being that, as the GM, I find myself effectively having an extra layer of choice to make on top of what the move always asks of me, i.e., whether to give the PC a "free pass" or not. Let's say a PC lies to an NPC and threatens them with violence just before formulating a demand and rolling, and hits in the 7-9 range: I can take the cue and say "They'll do it if you deceive them and threaten them", effectively making it an unmitigated success from the other player's standpoint, or I can choose either 1 or 2 different options, thus complicating the current situation.

OTOH, when I choose "if you deceive them" and the player making the move isn't already performing some kind of bluff, it feels like I'm judging their performance, evaluating whether and when it's enough (and good enough) of a deception.

Rafu

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Re: The moves and me
« Reply #1 on: November 07, 2016, 12:48:26 PM »
Intrude Somewhere

I like this move, and it doesn't get used as often as I'd wish for. I don't think we've ever had any issues with this one, except maybe missing a few opportunities to use it when it would have been a good match. When it does get used, it's pretty straightforward.

Sometimes PCs are trying to escape notice or attention, and my instinct is to call for a Bold or Quick or Patient save, depending on the exact circumstances - but then, in hindsight, I realize rolling this move would have served us equally well.

Sometimes I've thought about stretching this move to actually cover an escape attempt, through some somewhat twisted logics, because the potential outcomes were fitting enough - but I can't remember whether I've actually acted on that thought or not. One time I've actually stretched the move - it happened two weeks ago - was when a PC asked to speak to an NPC's boss. I chose to have the player roll to Intrude, instead of rolling to Demand, because the possible outcomes looked like a better match. In fact, the PC got a 7-9 hit: I narrated the NPC sending an underling for their boss, the boss coming into the room, listening to a few sentences of what the PC had to say, then making a harsh comment and leaving the room (actually, he didn't manage to leave the room at once because the PC Interrupted him - but that's beyond the point).

Paul T.

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Re: The moves and me
« Reply #2 on: November 07, 2016, 07:24:16 PM »
Great observations.

Looking at Intrude Somewhere, my hunch is that is is at once a) a classic, well-fitting move for this type of fiction (it just feels *right*, you know?), but, at the same time, b) hard to actually work into play and use on any kind of regular basis.

I hope you'll post about Prepare, Recover, and Regroup; that one's a curious beast, and you seem to have been using it a lot.

Paul T.

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Re: The moves and me
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2016, 02:09:15 AM »
Sometimes, though, it felt like a pity there wasn't a superior success option available (on a 12+ or whatever) to have the demand met with absolutely no strings attached - because, once in a while, why not?

I hear you. But probably you could achieve this fairly easily, just by being really *light* on your demand in return, no? For instance, "you owe them for it" could be a very minor demand, depending on the circumstances. "You deceive them" could mean, "You can tell all they need is a kind word to win them over; do you?"

Do you still plan to post about the other moves?

Rafu

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Re: The moves and me
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2016, 09:30:06 AM »
I hear you. But probably you could achieve this fairly easily, just by being really *light* on your demand in return, no? For instance, "you owe them for it" could be a very minor demand, depending on the circumstances. "You deceive them" could mean, "You can tell all they need is a kind word to win them over; do you?"
You're right, but... As I explained in the following paragraph, I'm a bit uncomfortable making judgment calls which concern how well things go for the PCs - as opposite to only deciding how they go south when the dice say so.

Do you still plan to post about the other moves?
I do! It's just that our FV game has been put on hold indefinitely for RL reasons (of the good kind: it's because of a birth) - I'm playing other games, now, both with other people and with a subset of the same people, and my free time activities are focused on serving the needs of the games I'm currently playing. But I do plan both to keep posting on this forum (albeit at a slower pace) and to eventually take the game out of the freezer and continue playing it as soon as we're able to.

Paul T.

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Re: The moves and me
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2016, 06:40:31 PM »
Indeed! (And congratulations to someone, far away!)

You could still do so on a 12+, I suppose, for some sense of "objectivity".