Sunday, March 6, 2016

[Castle Falkenstein] The Ambiguously Fae Duo

In this mostly-improvisatory Story, the Dramatic Characters convene at the island of Barataria for a most unusual wedding. Can the Characters safely find their way through the Mist and Fog before the Explosive Conclusion?



Featuring:

Des
Jen
Renae
Dave S.
And...Edie the Dog

11 comments:

  1. Sessions that rely on fly-by-the-seats improv GMing are terrifying to me too. I think their success depends equally on the group and the system that's being played. For something like a D&D campaign, some groups would have a fantastic time where you just draw creatures out of a Monster Manual, google up a random dungeon and have them go at it. Some RPGs like Paranoia even cater to the idea that no one, including the GM, have any idea what's going on.

    In this case although you did have a really free flowing and open character creation screw over your long-plot methods, it meant that since everyone had their own backstories well developed, knew how to roleplay with each other, and were also free to allude however heavily they wanted to your old campaigns it seemed like a great romp.

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    1. It was indeed lots of fun, and restored my flagging spirits. I think part of my problem arose from the fact that the book heavily encourages a tight, scripted approach to "crafting the campaign," as was the style at the time, and I got caught up in that rhetoric. We'll just have to make this game our own in our particular 21st-century style. ;)

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    2. (Having said that, I need to get a big sign to hang above my desk that says, "Unless it's old-school D&D, ALWAYS HAVE A CENTRAL THEME FOR THE PC GROUP.")

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    3. The theme of adventures centred around love and marriage isn't the central theme of these campaigns? I had assumed that from the first session and this one has only confirmed it. It comes up in Jen, Des's and... Dave's (significant pause required here) quite prominently in one form or the other, and there's enough enthusiastic support from the rest of the table that Weird Fantasy Relationship Nonsense seems perfectly legitimate enough.

      Also I'm not a big fan of any D&D iteration except possibly for 4th, but that's only because of Gamma World. Even dungeon crawls need a central theme.

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    4. Oh yes, that's very much the theme: Romance and Fairy Tales. But there's nothing linking the characters together per se; they're not members of an organization, or bound to the same oath, or following the same lord, or whatever. It's been easy enough to come up with romantic plot ideas, but making the plot relevant to everyone has been more of a challenge.

      Hoping to rectify that with next week's session...

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  2. It's good to have you back and the adventure turned out great.

    Feast! I had a rueful shake of the head when Schimpff was listing feast cards. "Maybe a dance card or..." You know it's Time Flies for you.

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  3. Listening to your talk at the end there, and thinking back to last week, I can't help but feel like this game (or something similar) could be run almost like a trick-taking card game. You could set a certain number of hands to pre-define the length of the game, use the suit of each trick to determine what happens or the type of activity being performed, give people cards "up their sleeve" at the start based on attributes or skills (I.e. romance 6 might mean starting each hand with a 6 of hearts in addition to whatever you draw). I don't know. Seems like it could be interesting.

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    1. Interesting idea. I'd love to see a mechanic that uses the deck more and involves playing cards on the table to take the trick like you said.

      I was thinking of the card mechanic in the game myself and something David S. said about having the same cards in hand for the whole game got me thinking of drawing a new hand at the start of each "scene". the GM could place a starting spread on the table. Like a couple cards representing the enemy npc's, something for a threat or obstacle in the way, one for the panic and confusion of the crowd and so on. Players could then play cards over them to beat these threats and narrate their actions. The GM could respond and play over players cards again and so on.

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    2. That's a pretty slick system, actually.

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    3. Having defined card challenges on the table in front of you might limit the storytelling options as you try to reduce it to a series of obstacles, and also feel like more of a jerk for doing secret character motivations. Also at that point why not just play bridge? People love playing bridge!

      My solution is twofold: When you want to resolve an action, draw a card before playing. You then might get lucky and get something good, or get something so powerful you choose to fail now so that you can keep your trump card you just got for later. It gives you a little bit more option before playing.

      Step two of my master plan is to allow players to combine cards in their actions. If the plan is for a high-card heart-based approach and all people have is low-card spades, they can each play spades and sum them up so that at least they beat the target number, represented by all of them crowding around the target and giving the old stinkeye.

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