Front Transparency

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noofy

  • 777
Front Transparency
« on: October 13, 2010, 12:49:06 AM »
Given that MC prep is fundamentally conceptual (with some neat pre-determined possible mechanical effects), its primarily designed to give the MC something interesting to say, within the confines of the MC principles.

So, would it be detrimental to share this with the players at a meta-game level prior to play, in order to give them some focus in their roleplay? What I'm driving at is that as a story game, and principally reactive in nature, the concept of Always Say... (p.109) could be facilitated with a bit of shared knowledge all round.

Stakes, for instance. They are questions the MC raises in their prep that they commit to answering at the table. If the player's are privy to these questions before playing the second session, if they are vested in them, they can drive the narrative's internal logic and causality through their character's moves to find out the answers.

Threats become MC flags. The players can skim them over and note to themselves that hey, our MC wants to see this shit in play, how can I engage (given my own agenda and agency) with these priorities in play?

It doesn't change the reality of roelplay at the table. The principles stand, the players jobs stay the same, simply that their meta-knowledge gives them more front loading for tense, tightly controlled reactive play.

Thoughts?

Re: Front Transparency
« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2010, 06:37:44 PM »
Fronts, threats, stakes, and so on are prescriptive but also descriptive. So, yes, you tell the players about the fronts and the threats and the stakes. You tell them by saying "Oh yeah, there's this city on the horizon, and it's filled with monstrous cannibal-ghouls. So far they've stayed in their city, but man, if they got hungry enough, who knows?" or "Gnarly's gang runs this town, and if you cross them, they'll make you dead. I wonder if anyone is going to change that?"

If your fronts and threats and stakes aren't apparent from the fiction of play, then they don't matter.

That said, it's totally cool to be like "You're going to cannibal-ghoul city? Oh man! I hope you don't get them too riled up!" or "Fucking with Gnarly? I hope you're prepared for the consequences".  It's fun to comment on play as MC.

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noofy

  • 777
Re: Front Transparency
« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2010, 06:08:51 AM »
I like that Simon,
Commentary on play. Oh Duh, that's what Letters from the MC are huh? Mate, sometimes I try to be too analytical!
So yeah, MC priorities (threats and stakes) introduced via commentary and the fiction generated at the table.

Players are aware of this agenda (as they should be) both as authors and improv actors Sweet.

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DannyK

  • 157
Re: Front Transparency
« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2010, 05:46:49 PM »
I've been doing this too, mentioning things casually in descriptions or having NPC's mention them in passing. Brain-Opening rolls are good places for this too, you can flash to Cannibal Town and how much it sucks, even if you're just using it as a hellscape in response to a poor roll.

Come to think of it, the Coen brothers use this all the time in their films.  In Raising Arizona, which is totally a AW sort of film, the protagonist dreams about the Lone Biker of the Apocalypse before he ever shows up.

EDIT: I think it also follows the "make things seem real" principle.  I mean, if Gnarly's that bad-ass, everybody's going to be talking about him.  Gossip about the state of the NPC Hardholder's love life is a staple of conversation in my game.