[Poison'd] Mild-Mannered Piracy

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[Poison'd] Mild-Mannered Piracy
« on: February 04, 2016, 06:07:14 PM »
We started a Poison'd game yesterday (and will hopefully get the chance to squeeze in at least a couple more sessions). Lots of great stuff about this game. My favourite aspect is how "Pick-up-and-play" it is. You read through the first few pages, and you're basically ready to go.

(The GM has a LOT of moving parts to learn, and some guidance on which ones not to worry about right away would have been great - like, for instance, all the uses of Xs in fights - but for the players it's very easy to just pick up and play. And even for the GM, there's no "prep" aside from reviewing the rules and, maybe, making a list of pirate names.)

I have a few questions and observations, but the main issue we struck right away is that everyone apparently decided it would be fun to "play against type", and made their pirates reasonable, "let's talk this through", and "I don't want to be in charge" types. Mild-mannered pirates, huh? Interesting. It didn't break the game, but it was definitely a bit challenging. Since I, as GM, kept expecting them to do something a little more active, the game dragged a little, and it took us about 2 1/2 hours of play just to settle the Tom Reed and election of a new captain issues. We enjoyed the attention to detail and learned lots about the characters, though.

One reason I think this happened has to do with ambitions: all but one ambition (a single pirate wanted to be captain) were very long-term things. (You can't meaningfully act on "I want to be respected by higher society" in the first hour or two of play.) This seems like a good thing to keep an eye on in the future.

I think that, from now on, at the beginning of a game I will...

Tell each player to choose at least one immediate, short-term ambition, whatever the others may be.

Tell each player it should be something they can imagine how they could pursue almost immediately, just by being on the ship.

One interesting thing happened:

One of the players, who ended up being the Captain, wanted to do so surreptitiously. He pretended to be reluctantly chosen for the role, while scheming to manipulate those around him to support his candidature. (We even used a flashback to describe him "priming" one of the other pirates to nominate him.)

This was a bit awkward in play. I wasn't sure whether this kind of scheming falls into "free play" (i.e. none of the rules were being triggered, unless he made a bargain) or whether some of it could be covered by "stealth and deceit". Talking to others and manipulating them is a bit of a grey area; sometimes we did one and sometimes the other, but neither was *great*.

Any advice on this point from experienced Poison'd folks?

(I also made a few minor adjustments to the rules I'd like to discuss, but I'll see if there's any discussion to be had about these points first.)

Re: [Poison'd] Mild-Mannered Piracy
« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2016, 02:05:31 PM »
An additional question:

* What makes for a good infernal or divine bargain (when you bargain with God or with the Devil)?

What are some things you've tried or wish you had tried, and can you suggest any principles to abide by?

* On a related topic, how do you interpret damnation (for backing out of a bargain with God)? It counts as a sin, yes, and God may withhold your Soul, but how else does this impact the character?

I'd love to hear your thoughts.