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Narrative Control


Sep 28, 2010

Hi, welcome back to Narrative Control.  It’s our 50th show! Commence fanfare now!  This episode is another response to a post from Rob Donoghue.  Why I try not to go to 11?

Hosts: Sean Nittner and Eric Fattig

Length: 37:21

Show Notes

[00:27] Intro to the show.  We’re 50!
[00:47] I remember the excitement of my first con.  I want to bring it to you at Big Bad Con
[01:17] Intro to the show. Why I try not to go to 11? By Rob Donoghue
[02:29] Excerpt from Rob’s post
[03:11] One of my favorite games to run is “The Gift” , which is all about instigating conflict.
[04:13] This came to our attention because of a Fiasco game we were in. 4-Ever “I don’t think these guys really have it.”  Our outcomes were really mediocre but we loved it!
[08:02] We sustained excitement throughout the game because our victories were so minor (in comparison to other Fiasco games) but so important to our characters.
[08:57] No murder and no sex in this game… it was downright puritanical for Fiasco.
[09:29] Other Fiasco games where we have slapped on gratuitous violence and sex and it always feels slapped on and artificial.
[11:50] Player egos get involved.  Feeling like you need to impress the others at the table.
[12:06] This happened in a Burning Wheel game (in the Burning Warcraft game) where the stakes got blow out of proportion.
[14:14] NPCs that go to 11? The quickly become one-dimensional and they are hard to scale back down.
[19:09] Players that go to 11? Become “that guy” who always goes over the top, or has the same reaction.  Makes it hard for your character to grow.
[20:41] Gaming is about what you are going to do in a situation.  If you’ll do the same thing every time, what is the point of putting you in that situation.
[23:24] Sean’s regrets having the “crazy” character.
[25:42] Some games really push towards conflict, like Burning Wheel. The 24 Effect! We become immune to 11.
[29:30] Dig a little deeper into the system and into the characters by taking a break from the game and reviewing the character’s beliefs.  Ask the questions, what do you think should happen next?
[30:59] Re-evaluate the stakes of your conflicts.  If they feel over the top, consider bringing them back down to a personal level.
[33:06] I think you know it when you’ve crossed the line.  You feel less confident in your actions, they seem farfetched.
[34:05] Its okay if you’re doing something over the top to stop, rewind a bit and dial the stakes down a bit.
[34:36] Apocalypse World says in the text “you should act like your character is a real person.”
[36:06] Closing: Why not go to 11? To make the characters feel more real.  To highlight their moments of awesome.  To keep them from becoming one dimensional.

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