Pre-playtest: Season Moves & Inciting Action

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Pre-playtest: Season Moves & Inciting Action
« on: January 28, 2015, 08:39:08 PM »
Excited to try a better-late-than-never one-shot playtest with my gaming group this weekend.

Looking over the seasonal moves, I am concerned that my players may not have enough at stake to provide a really crisp opening moment that propels the rest of the session.

I am going to run the characters through them of course as they do provide excellent context for the interpersonal dynamics and history of the stronghold. However, as it stands I am interested in opening the game by making a strong move against the players and letting their reactions dictate the course of the game from there.

Basically the move boils down to this:

"The air is thick and hot, bittersweet with the taste of copper. Your hands now soaked with blood, flip over the corpse to reveal _____(Name)______, heir to the throne of the _____(Rival People)____. His face fixed in a pathetically horrified half-scream. The Gods are cruel, and war is almost certainly upon you. One question remains: Did you do it?"

Either in innocence or guilt I've got a few idea/question trees mapped out, and can certainly count on the players to generate additional conflict.

Thoughts? Am I pursuing my own sense of magic, mystery and danger too much here? Can I rely on the seasonal moves surprise me if I employ some zesty consequences?

Re: Pre-playtest: Season Moves & Inciting Action
« Reply #1 on: January 31, 2015, 06:21:12 PM »
Did more research:
http://indie-rpgs.com/reference/index.php/welcome/topic/21694

Apparently, there is precedent and justification for scene framing in other Vincent Baker games, so unless the gameplay for AW:DA is intended to be a departure from that technique, I have my "bang" standing by.

Game is tomorrow evening. I'm excited to post the playthrough and any questions that arise.

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Munin

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Re: Pre-playtest: Season Moves & Inciting Action
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2015, 03:46:18 PM »
I just waded through that entire thread (slow day at work), and the tail end of it should be required reading for anyone involved in a role-playing game. It outlines where the explicitness of the MC's Agenda and Principles come from, and why they are applied the way they are applied. Fascinating stuff, and core to that all important middle ground of "where theory meets practice."

In the context of your particular game, the concept of the "Bang" might feel less forced if it stems from the result of a seasonal move rather than from some situation you have pre-fabricated. That is to say, a "Bang" is a fine and fantastic way to start a session - but it's even better if that Bang can be tied into one (or more) of the players' opening moves.

Make no mistake, though - the latter approach is harder to do, simply because it deprives you of the ability to do any prior prep-work. You may have no idea going in which seasonal moves the players will attempt, nor what the results of those moves will be a priori, so in some sense you're "winging it." But ultimately I feel like it is a more appealing approach because it places the players' choices (and the consequences thereof) in a more central position in "the plot."

I fully acknowledge that this is my own bias talking, however.

Regardless, let us know how it turns out!

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Munin

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Re: Pre-playtest: Season Moves & Inciting Action
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2015, 03:46:48 PM »
Hahaha, which you did as I was posting this!

Re: Pre-playtest: Season Moves & Inciting Action
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2015, 04:13:56 PM »
Thanks!

It turns out the bang approach had to be squeezed in a little heavy-handed, as I just did not do enough theoretical mind-exercising to deal with the rather idyllic opening season moves my players took. So I simply popped the scenario on them, and used the season moves to color in the context a bit.

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Munin

  • 411
Re: Pre-playtest: Season Moves & Inciting Action
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 05:31:24 PM »
Sounds like a good compromise.  Thanks for posting it!

Re: Pre-playtest: Season Moves & Inciting Action
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 10:37:34 PM »
I think that's an awesome and exciting way to start the campaign, but you might want to get buy-in from the players to approve a "fast start" -- not telling them exactly how it's going to start, but offering the choice of "I've got an idea to get things moving pretty fast; do you want to go that route, or would you rather take a couple of sessions to build things up?"

Re: Pre-playtest: Season Moves & Inciting Action
« Reply #7 on: February 03, 2015, 11:37:19 AM »
I think that's an awesome and exciting way to start the campaign, but you might want to get buy-in from the players to approve a "fast start" -- not telling them exactly how it's going to start, but offering the choice of "I've got an idea to get things moving pretty fast; do you want to go that route, or would you rather take a couple of sessions to build things up?"

Agreed. Our group has been playing together every Sunday for about ten years now (playing Shadowrun, Unknown Armies, Godlike, Dungeon World & The Sprawl) so consent and willingness to experiment is an easy gauge for the party, who tend to enjoy things moving at a filmic pace.