The con as a whole felt a lot nicer now that I knew some people by name or face and had even played with some. I got to meet new folk and some previous acquitances, too. I played in a Tjuvradd playtest and Fabula, and ran Burning wheel and Coup under Maure.
A game by Karl Otto Kristoffsen with formal boardgame elements centred around outlaws who do stuff in the night, while the suffers during the day. Under playtesting and with mechanical and thematic issues, so I will not comment much.
The key question seems to be: what role should free play and the boardgamey half have, and how to integrate those in a meaningful manner?
Tomas H.V. Mørkrid is publishing the second edition of the game, much darker and more adult than the first edition. The method of the game is special:
- High identification between player and character, also on level of body language and manner of speaking; if you want to should, at least pretend shouting, and if your viking is rowing, do rowing motions, and if you are asked what you do and you hesitate, so does your character
- Scenes set by players and the game master: sometimes the game master asks the players to set scenes with a certain framework, while sometimes the game master sets scenes themselves, and sometimes these are mixed up. We always had one scene framed per player in these cases, maybe between GM-framed scenes.
- The scenes are cut ruthlessly short to keep the pace up.
- Player skill in making good decisions counts a lot for character success and survival, though sometimes the scene setting makes it impossible to do the things one would have wanted to do.
- The strong identification and player skill association tends to lead to feelings that you are playing yourself in that role or that the character’s success is yours and there was assumptions of the same and at least playful encouragement to this direction by the game master.
- Tomas seems to associate good roleplaying with getting into character and being sufficiently on the same wavelength to have long scenes of talking, but also with having your character survive and thrive (make good decisions).
I run a brennandi viking one-shot at Midgardcon yesterday. The characters had some blood opera potential and some inner conflicts. Four players; the two elder ones took to it like fish in the water and noticed and played the inner conflicts, too. One of the younger ones bounced off hard, the other was involved but it hard to say. The younger ones chose to or had to leave midways, after which the game really gathered speed.
Conclusion: these kinds of introspective characters with inner conflicts are risky in con play.
On the other hand, just straightforward blood opera is kinda boring and meaningless to me now; that I can do with any game, while BW has an edge in communicating inner conflicts to players via BITs and also a plethore of social skills to make the situations nuanced in that way.
Coup under Maure castle
Four players, one with good knowledge of OSR, three new to the method of play. The first was mostly fairly careful and kept themselves to the rear, and in the end managed to escape with some 100 gp worth treasure, too.
The group first provoked some skeletons, handily defeated half of them, but then the skeletons had a series of critical hits and good rolls, from which only one character managed to escape. The fight was entirely voluntary and was more of a learning experience than anything well thought-out, but though the group had initiative and could have escaped, they chose to fight instead. There was no treasure in sight either.
The second expedition with mostly new characters was more measured; the group managed to avoid obvious dangers and fights, found out things about the adventure location, and then provoked a group of koukos, baboon-like creatures of evil with special powers. they escaped, but started planning at a distance of a couple of rooms. Slam door shut, escape again to leave non-hostile dungeons denizens between them and the foes. These are easily routed by the koukos, at which point the group, now strengthened by armed hirelings, makes their stand (though they could have escaped again). It does not end well, and one wizard manages a mishap with shroomy consequences, leading to a TPK of the remaining characters. One turns into a kouko, but does not manage to keep any shred of their identity.
The players had stared at the map and figured out a likely hidden room, but did not know how to get in. Too bad the koukos got them at this point; their play had been pretty good before this last episode.