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Narrative Control


May 27, 2009

Hey all.  This week is a little long.  We’ve got two guests on the show, a convention to talk about and secrets to spill.  Check it!

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Justin Evans

Guest Hosts: Shaun Hayworth and Kirstin Hayworth

Warning: TMD + Con + NC = Swearing.  Lots of it.  Not safe for work (or kids)

Length: 38:49

[00:27] Intro to the show.  We’re at Kublacon with Shaun and Kristin from This Modern Death to talk about secrets in games.
[00:41] Where did I just wake up?
[01:31] Talking about secrets and segues.
[02:07] The games we’ve been in and how they handle secrets. 
[02:33] Sean’s Game – The Gift.  Lots of secrets.  We kept them secret from the players and I think it could have been improved if the players knew in advanced.  Actual Play write up here: http://wildljduck.livejournal.com/67833.html (scroll down a bit)
[05:29] How did the secrets get revealed.  Some were pushed for, others revealed to just some players,  and one I revealed in the middle of the game. Thus leading to what should have been a secret: A hall full of naked dwarves.
[06:30] Justin’s Game – Serpents in the Garden, a Fallout 3 LARP.  All of the players had secrets they could afford to trade.  Secrets turned into currency.
Comparing open (known by all players) vs. closed secrets.
[08:15] The conversation continued on This Modern Death… A link to the forum thread where the controversy started:  http://forum.thismoderndeath.com/comments.php?DiscussionID=202
[09:55] How secrets “can” be awesome if the reveal is just right.  How hard is it to make this happen?
[11:47] The excitement of everyone knowing the secret and pushing to see it revealed.
[13:08] Making a character out of a secret. Where does this go?  Telling stories to yourself.
[13:57] Sean’s disaster of a segue.  Recapping value of open vs. closed secrets.
Getting player buy in to reveal player secrets.
[15:41] Assure the players that revealing secrets won’t ruin their character.  Also getting an agreement from the other players not to step on each other’s fun.
[17:02] How this compares between campaign play vs. one shots.  Allows the players to moderate each other.
[18:13] When everyone knows about the secrets they are better at determining when they should come up.
[18:39] What about the player who enjoys the power of having a secret?  Make it into currency.  Allow them to trade the secrets for power or other secrets.
[19:38] As the currency starts flowing, let the secrets come back around.
[20:52] Use secrets as actual currency for plot elements.  Buying from the “secrets” vendor.
How to make the secrets come out in game
[21:46] Give the player a benefit for revealing their secrets. 
[22:17] Use that technique in Dread mechanically by allowing them to get free pulls by revealing their secrets.
[23:19] Segue to point 4! What are some good ways to make it happen.
[24:40] Incentivizing it.  Any system that has cookies you can hand out (fate chips, drama dice, etc).
[24:45] The GM can set expectations in advance about how and when secrets will be revealed.   Using an act structure that dictates when secrets must come out.  Also works as part of the pacing mechanic.
[26:25] More love for Luke Crane.  In Burning Wheel secrets move at the speed of plot.
[28:36] Having secrets revealed in advance, talked about outside of character, will push towards them being revealed in game.
[29:07] Confessionals.  Giving space for characters to speak directly to the audience.  
[30:43] How will this work in games that it is not genre appropriate?  Featured in Inspectres, but could be used in any game as a confessional scene, an interstitial scene, a journal entry, or as a thought bubble.
[32:06] One left… I hate it. Character Goals to get information from another.
[33:00] Secrets are best given voluntarily, not because of a malicious action of another player.
[33:32] This can work better in a large game like a LARP where secrets are traded around.
[33:58] Character goal secrets can also be something you want to reveal instead of hide.
[33:38] Going off script here!  What if you want to share a secret but don’t know how.
[37:50] Our secret goals…

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