AP in a car

  • 1 Replies
AP in a car
« on: October 15, 2011, 11:28:17 AM »
testers: Michael Loy and Nicholas Henry

I playtested MG yesterday during a long car trip (which went fine as a thing to do on the road, though obviously neither of us was the driver).  I was the player, playing a character with my own name, and Nick had the MC book.  Nick is a reasonably experienced GM, but he hasn't run a game in at least a few years.

This game ran about 35 or 40 minutes, though we didn't really get that far: I was murdered pretty promptly.  It went that long, I think, mainly due to a certain amount of scenery-chewing and a bit of man-to-ghost conversation toward the end.


Michael-the-character finds an old workers' infirmary in the factory sub-basement, and there is evidence that it saw use sometime not too recent, but since the factory went out of business.  Detritus, like food litter and pamphlets, is scattered around, and it looks like the place was used for a while as a meeting place of some kind.

Poking around a little, he finds that the pamphlets are some really disgusting anti-Semitic literature, and then he uncovers a plastic-shrouded cross made of welded iron, with a body (portion of a body?) still bound to it.  He pulls back the plastic enough to see a decayed arm that looks like it'd had its hand chopped off and another hand sewn onto the stump.  Then he drops the plastic and retreats, not wanting any more of that.

He still has a bit of phone reception down here, so he calls 911, and then the first ghost appears: a man in a priest's cassock, standing before the cross and screaming and gesturing at an invisible audience.  Michael can't hear the words - the ghost is entirely silent.

There's a bit here, where Nick was intending to do something with the 911 call, making it a ghost on the other end of the line or something like that, but it gets cut off.  I draw to see my reaction to the ghost, and I end up just whimpering into the phone, frozen up, and then the ghost attacks and the phone call's cut off as I run for my life.

So Michael freezes up, and the ghost advances with physical violence, its mouth hinging open as it reaches for Mike.  Michael fights back, screaming, striking at the thing with his flashlight and running for it, losing track of both his flashlight and the way back to the sewers.

He ends up in a smaller room of the infirmary, where there's a couple of cots set up and a good bit of human filth.  There's a woman, the second ghost, and Michael tries talking to her.

She's been clearly tortured, she's missing three limbs, but she appears to be alive and human, so Michael tries to offer to help her get out of there, but accidentally offends her (before he sees that she has no legs: "Can you walk?"), and then he lashes out at her when he sees how ruined she actually is.

At that point, she murders him fairly handily, lashing out at him verbally, backing that with supernatural hatred, making her own cold blood well up in his throat and drown him.

^ End Summary

1) We didn't have any major problems with the mechanical processes.  I drew, discarded, went bust, all that with no problems.  The page directions were generally clear.

1b) Nick had trouble, a little bit, with the core loops ... at first, when I asked questions and described incidental actions, he was looking for something to point him at another page, I think?  I explained, and we settled into having a back and forth until triggering a direction on the page, but maybe that wasn't described clearly enough.

2) Afterward, Nick was wondering why he even had a hand, which I had to explain: I never made any real progress toward escape, so he never came across those pages.

2b) Speaking of, I think the MC book has incorrect page references in the "Your Draw" section.  It refers you to p3 and p23, which aren't actually the pages about player escape and the MC's hand.

3) With the second ghost, I was really fighting myself.  She hadn't registered my presence, so I could totally have just turned and left, likely making progress toward escape and maybe not getting killed.  And I knew that she had to be a ghost, and that any interaction with her was likely to end horribly.  But she looked like a hurt woman, so it just didn't make sense to abandon her.  That's not a problem, exactly, but there was definitely a major difference between what I wanted and what my character wanted, there.

4) There's a definite death spiral-ish thing.  If you go bust, you have a pretty good chance of going bust again on your next draw, just under a 40% chance.  So going bust in the vicinity of a ghost can end things really quickly.  I don't know if I'd go so far as to say that's frustrating, since I went in expecting to die, but it did make the ending feel kind of abrupt.

5) Every now and then, I was called upon to say something about my character.  I think we hit where I say when I came closest to death, and when I say what I hope to accomplish before I die.  That was fine, but hard to make use of.  We talked a bit.  On one hand, we figured that in a game with more progress, Nick could've reincorporated details ... I died in the second scene, so he had limited opportunities.  In the shorter game, though, they did end up kind of floating.

5b) Though, I also noted that those questions tended to come up just before I had to decide how to react to something.  And I think they did serve to anchor me a little in this character, giving me something more than "23, brave, athletic, smart" to guide my decision.  That happened a little less this time, since my answers to the questions were a little uninspired, but I've more noticed it in my online (not yet complete) game here.

6) Nick noted that with the first ghost, he didn't really want me to die.  He wanted me to escape, and he suggested that I get lost rather than "wounded, most likely dying" or one of the other likely options for surviving a ghost attack.  With the second ghost, not so much.  I legitimately pissed her off, and then Mike went bust on a p10 draw and was forced to freak out and lash out at her, and neither of us liked him for that.  I think this was largely because ghost 1 was the victimizer while ghost 2 was the victim, but it's something to note: that shift in mindset is one of the first things he mentioned after the game.

Re: AP in a car
« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2011, 11:33:51 AM »
Oh, and we did both enjoy it.  Nick was maybe not sure at first, not sure what to make of it, but he quickly warmed to it as we discussed afterward.

He did wonder if it had much replay ability, like it might get stale after a second or third round.  I'm more optimistic, but I guess the formula could get old.  Even if you changed the context, putting it out in a forest or something, I think there's still only one kind of story in there?  Since, mechanically, it's all about trying to get out of the haunted place.