Master Mines

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A successful playtest

Last night I rounded up a few people who weren’t interested in the Superbowl and ran what I thought was the most successful playtest so far. I took all the feedback I got from Dreamation and various forums and tried to work it in, and it actually started working together. First off I changed the system over to coins. It needs some mathematical tweaking, but for the most part it really simplified things a lot. Also, I made it so that when a player wrote down a secret, they had to write what trait on the character sheet was based on. For instance, one of the characters had the burden of “Weak/Skinny.” A player wrote down the secret: “Your mother pushed you to become a beauty queen and would starve you in order to keep your weight down (weak/skinny)” I built in a kicker…a “what supernatural thing just happened to you,” and for those of you who took place in the earlier playtests, the longing is replaced with a “Light at the End of the Tunnel,” some driving motivation for why you don’t want to be homeless anymore.The first scene is called a survival scene. It’s a short scene that uses one of the locations and conflicts the characters came up with in the beginning and introduces them into the game world. It also introduces Plot Coins. Players get plot coins for the following:

  • Having their burden add a complication to the scene
  • Introducing a new element into the game world, like a new NPC or Location. There has to be some kind of conflict that goes along with it.
  • Having a character’s echo act
  • Giving another player a Realization

Realizations were the most successful thing I introduced last night. Essentially they’re hints that players can give each other. Anything from “You realize that you’ve held a gun before…only last time it was a hunting rifle,” or something that spurs them to act, like “you feel the need to get back to your truck.”The player with the most plot points at the end of the survival scene is the subject of a Revelation scene. Revelation scenes are designed to build up to a conflict that deals directly with one aspect of the character’s sheet, and ends with the revelation of the secret that stems from that aspect. There are two conflicts, one that builds the tension of the scene and one that pushes the character to a revelation. The subject of the revelation scene is the only one rolling the dice. Even if there are other, bigger things going on in the conflict, the scene is focused on the main characters role in it.Going back to the weak/skinny secret, the scene took place in a factory. The characters were looking around, when all of a sudden on of the characters’ sleeves got caught on a conveyor belt, and the thing started up. The weak/skinny girl was the only one close enough to the lever to pull it, but it was massive and rusted. Before the conflict, the girl has a flashback to her playing outside as a child and her mother angrily pulling her in, telling her that she doesn’t want her to become some butch tomboy. She has to stay inside and work on feminine things, like music. She flashes forward a bit, and her mother is punishing her for overeating. We go back to the scene at hand, and she rolls for the conflict. If she succeeds, she gets a hope. If she fails, she takes a burden. Either way, she now has the knowledge of what happened to her. All the while, players were chiming in with Realizations, which were increasing their odds of having their scene next and helping the main character get to their secret. Everyone was pretty pumped by the end of the session.

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February 4, 2008 Posted by | Kingdom of Nothing | 6 Comments