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As mentioned before [personal profile] peaseblossom and I are running a 1:1 Nobilis game, He's the GM, I'm the Player. We're doing this as a podcast which is fun, though I must be honest I'm not so great at that part.

A listing of the episodes so far:

Episode 1The God GangThe God Gang: Recap
Episode 2The Feathered SerpentThe Feathered Serpent: Recap
Episode 3Punching Out Fires 

I recently posted our social contract.

I am pretty excited to do this. It feels different than past 1:1 games we've done together. We're keeping it to an hour because we aren't sure anyone would want to listen to anything longer, so feedback is definitely appreciated.

jeregenest: (Kale Trust)
The last time I posted even regularly on live journal it was when [personal profile] peaseblossom and I last played Nobilis seriously. We have decided that this is a game we want to play together again 1:1 and as such I have decided to resurrect the medium.

Why Nobilis? Good question. Jess and I haven't done a lot of serious roleplaying in a while. Don't get me wrong, we've told lots of stories to each other but they've lacked the formality that moves it into a roleplaying session. We've decided that it would be fun to try this again, and then we started brainstorming systems.

To be honest neither of us are all that into current game design. We're both about 4-5 years behind so our options were limited (Nobilis, Gumshoe, and whatever older games might have survived the great rpg cull). At the end we came down to a NBA style game (Frankenstein files cries out to be told) and Nobilis and Nobilis was just the best choice for both os us.

Jess is still debating estates. One we have that we will sit down and plan the world.
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Some key Individuals

Roxanne, Power of Photography: our protagonist

Time: Time’s an androgyne and not on the same timeline as everyone else. Which makes hir seem like a scatterbrain, but they aren’t. Time is fascinated by creating little alternate realities, in snow globes. It seems to treat them as bonsai-like art forms. Most others don’t get it. Hu is Roxanne’s sibling.

Elena, Power Resonate: Roxanne’s other sibling. She dwells in a night club where the dream forms of important 20th and 21st century artists/musicians/thinkers mix and mingle. The first time Roxanne met her she was watching a performance of Coltrane, Gillespie, Hendrix and someone who is currently 5 perform some very out-there Jazz.

Jason, Power Thunder: Arrogant and thousands of years old. He claims to have been born in Thule. He’s a pretty boy and seems to know everyone and everything. He is sibling to Max.

Max Ernst, Power of Signifiers: He’s from Babylon, or something. Less arrogant than his sibling they may have been lovers at some point. Might still be. He’s a player and a manipulator and a powerful sorcerer. He also strives for an apocalypse. But only his apocalypse. He doesn’t like other’s. He’s only started wanting an apocalypse in the last 60 years.

The ErlKing: King of the Los Angeles Fae. He’s dangerous.

Llewleyn: Master thief and scion of a noble house of the fae. Past lover of the ErlKing. Irreverent and probably a little too influenced by movies of the rat pack. And Hudson Hawk.
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[ profile] peaseblossom and I have been running a Nobilis game with the numbers field off and its probably past time I detailed the basics of cosmology a little more. This is incredibly rough.

The Cosmos (Creation/Universe/Stuff-where-we-live) can be thought of as a large n-dimension medium, sort of like water, sort of like gas. Let’s call it Aether (mainly because I’m a sucker for the term). Somewhere far away from us is a light source. Call that the point of creation, the Source, or even anthropomorphize that as a creator. It is not the only light source, there are others, but it’s the brightest and most important (the other light sources will become important later).

The light is possibility. As it travels through the aether and interacts with it in several ways (and not exclusively just one).

When the light refracts it changes. Sometimes like a prism, other times like a lens, and even in other ways. This refines, enhances, and changes properties; usually in ways that refine the possibilities of the light. Some of these have a type of sentience (it’s highly possible that everything has a some sort of sentience). The way the rays of light act on the aether often self-generates these (there are probably other factors involved, call it gravity or quantum flux or what have you) and so the rays pass through one, are transformed, pass through another, are refined, etc. The ones closest to us are Patrons/Imperators.

There are some places where the aether coalesces, usually because they are nexus of many, many strands of transformed light. These opaque places take on the colors of the light and are worlds. Many worlds take spherical or platonic solid shapes. Many have tails. These tails are many-world/timelines/branching-worlds. Often they have multiple tails. Sometimes they shed smaller selves.

Transformed light from the imperators can coalesce on a given world. These are the powers. Differentiated rays of light from the same light are considered siblings.
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So I'm working on story trees for a variety of forgery related topics for this game I'm going to run for Jess. I have most broad areas of forgery but not musical forgery. So, public brainstorming powers activated!
jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
Games go wrong, fact of life. And hopefully people do post-Mortems on games, figure out what went wrong, why, and what they can do better next time. Frankly all the learning is on the wrong end this way, but what would happen if more games did pre-Mortem’s? This is something I do in projects all the time, because ideally team members, with all their collective experiences, can usually see the bad assumptions that go horribly wrong and the things that bring us off-track. And we can thus open a space at the inception to directly address the risks. This is similar, but different from the more formal risk analysis in that it is more designed to tap into experience and intuition. This probably raises the importance of an exercise like this to game groups, who usually have a lot of experience but few real formal risk management tools can apply easily to the decision (yes I want to do a FEMA on Fiasco).

So start with the simple question, “What will go wrong?” or corollaries like “What will lessen play.” This will allow the group to name risks or elephants lurking in the room. The exercise is deceptively easy and exists to deliberately create a space to share past learning at a time when the gaming group can best act on it. Closing the exercise it is probably good enough to do some social contract brainstorming to address the concerns or take other game based document decisions (house rules etc).

Peaseblossom and I recently did this for the game and it went well. The real issues were around grind, how depressing, the issues of victory, and content. There was also a good discussion on sexualization of NPCs. It lead to a great discussion, that I then was easily able to apply to my thinming and game development.
jeregenest: (sandbaggers)
Even in a game between partners there is a need for some set agreements, i.e. a social contract. Here's what we've been discussing.

Read more... )
jeregenest: (Kale mayhem)
[ profile] peaseblossom recently read "Mr. Humphries and His Inheritance" by M. R. James, a story that contains, amongst other things, a character who specializes in Hedge Mazes. At this point she carefully told me that she wanted to play this character in a forthcoming game.

So I’m thinking of a game, and I do remember that conversation. Me, being utterly predictable, I’m thinking of an occult spy game, influenced amongst other recent influences by the tv show Rubicon, which I pretty much loved (except for the last episode). And I start thinking hedge mazes.

I’m intending, to capture the feel of slow paranoiac buildup, to start from a position of little awareness of the occult and move forward. Which probably means hedge-mazes are move of a Chekhov Hobby than anything else. So now I’m pondering ways to do that in a fun, and story building way.
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Hedgemazes are originally there because [ profile] peaseblossom said recently "I want to play this concept" after reading a short story. Some digging shows there are lots of interesting chocies, and I really need to get a copy of Schafers, Fons. "A Catalogue of Labyrinths & Mazes in the Netherlands" Caerdroia 32 (2001), pp.28-35. (Catalogue of Netherlands hedge mazes).

Mind maps are usually useful for me to expose those areas aI need more work on. Unsurprising its in the area of chaarcters and places. So off I go to develop those.
jeregenest: (Shazam)
Peaseblossom and I are currently playing around with a 1:1 superhero game about a Sorceress Supreme active in a larger world of superhero craziness. I wanted to outline some of my current working assumptions as I contemplate making this something more serious.
Read more... )
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[ profile] peaseblossom and I have been playing, for a while, long road to when, our Nobilis game. A bunch of things have happened --go and look at her write-ups if you are interested.

One of the many things that happened during the game was her character gaining a secondary estate so here's the write-up.

The estate of the Purple Thought covers a deep reverie of decadence that leads to renewed energy, vigor and life. This estate covers a senescence so deep that from it comes a deep and true creativity so powerful that it can penetrate the secrets of reality. This estate covers aspects of sexuality, inspiration and the arts.

The Imperator of this estate, Itari hails from the world of the Ten Thousand Orchids. This world is inhabited by a graceful race of intelligent, humanoid, flowers. As such this is an understanding of life that can be very difficulty for outsiders to grasp, most can only understands two of its aspects: the decadence and the naked sexuality; and the inspiration that forms community. But to truly understand the Purple Thought one much capture the inter-textuality between the two.

Miracle chart )
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[ profile] peaseblossom has been posting a bunch of stuff lately for a long road to when, the Nobilis game we've been playing 1:1. Some neat stuff, though to be honest I firmly believe that looking at story synopsis really fails to catch the coolness this game has to offer. Its actually a little frustrating to be running a game and know that only one other person will ever see just how cool it is. Luckily that person's opinion is indeed the most important in my world, so thats no small bit of satisfaction.

One of the things I wish came across better in the write-ups is how much both of us are treating this slow, really taking time to savor things. Pacing is such a vital part of gaming, and I feel that so often with large groups we are going at full barrels and we loose some of the pleasures of more slower pacing.
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Peaseblossom and I have been playing A long Road to When, our one-on-one Nobilis game. Her session summaries can be found here. Things are going well though there have been certainly some rough spots in characterization. Its really forcing me to break out of some established habits and try new stuff out. I also find the need to prep for a 1:1 game a lot heavier than group style, which is probably good for my lazy bones.
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People who have thought about public speaking or presentations usually know that silence is one of the most powerful tools in conversation, speaking and negotiation. Think about any memorable speech. The power comes from pauses. Look at any accomplished comedian. They use timing. What is timing if it isn't the use of silence. Music is punctuated by silence. Storytellers will often use their pauses in very real ways, the best using it ina way that borders on hypnotism.

Yet roleplaying is a medium that, to my experience, abhors silence. Think about it, we have a group of players and usually a GM. 3 and up people. That usually means that theres one or more conversations going on at the table. Thinking back to most gaming sessions there is usually one of the following types of conversations:
  • GM to all players
  • GM to one player
  • All players
  • Player to Player
  • Any breakdown above.

But I think at any gaming table I’ve ever been there hasn’t be silence. Well except for the odd moment of very uncomfortable silence and that’s usually broken very quickly.

In the one on one gaming I’m doing with [ profile] peaseblossom silence has become very important. It's texture is actually adding a lot to the plot. What is important, what is worthy of deeper thought. Silence adds power by its presence.

The difficulty is figuring out how to bring this to a larger group.
jeregenest: (Default)
So [ profile] peaseblossom and I have been playing our Nobilis game, a long road to when, she has some summaries of play up to know on her livejournal (she's not caught up yet!). These don't match 1:1 a given session, but we've been keeping sessions pretty short, about 1:30 to 2 hrs. Its easier because we do it after the kids go to bed and then we just play until we reach a nice point to stop.

Some things I should write more about when I get a chance include:
  • Silence as flow in the narrative

  • Erotic undertones in gaming (and when its not just an undertone)

  • Developing npcs you think your spouse will find attractive

  • As should become rather clear to the few who have read the entries and are familiar with the old Lexicon of the lost 500 years is I'm mining that old fertile territory for this game.

    Basically she's doing a backwards alchemical rite across the world tree touching on places important to events that never happened except to the miraculous. So far it seems to be working.
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[ profile] peaseblossom and I have just started a new Nobilis game and it should be interesting. One of the things I've noticed already that I have to think more about to articulate what is going on in my head, and get more actual play under the belt, is the issue of silences. Silence doesn't seem like a useful tool when gming for a group but already I've noticed it has a bigger importance.

I may create a no-Jess filter so I can post my Nobilis stuff and my GM ruminations and not ruin things for her.
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This Nobilis game (stealing from [ profile] peaseblossom's playbook) is about a member of a Noble family from earth (the Power of Breath I believe) who died on a world far from earth and was re-Nobled in an inhabitant of that world. Said inhabitant was sort of human, a vestige of a lost colony from the Lost Five Hundred Years (and yes time issues is important here). She must find out what is happening, without aid of Imperator of Familia and navigate a long way home.

This will be a game of exploration. Exploration of the physical world of the Ash, of the social worlds of Nobilis and of the interior landscape.
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After some starts and stops and stops again [ profile] peaseblossom and I have finally decided to try 1:1 gaming again. I think one of our problems was trying to develop a world and a game system (even if a variant) at once and that we would be better just starting with something we know. Since [ profile] peaseblossom has been thinking of Nobilis a bit lately, and because I'm always up for a game of Nobilis, we've decided on it. Which should be fun.

In doing my prep I decided to go look at the old Lexicon of 500 years (yes its relevant). Now I have a zip of the wikli at the state it went down, butthese are txt files and a pain in the neck to read. Is there a way for me to get these in a better format? Maybe point a wiki at them on my computer? Or some such? Its in PhpWiki 1.3.4 if it makes a difference.
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It should come as no surprise to most folks that [ profile] peaseblossom and myself tend to naturally fall onto the diceless side of light mechanics. We've been discussing a 1:1 game for a while and finally decided that of all the games we have and like Nobilis seems the best idea. So we took a stab at 4 attributes and relevant miracle tables.

This is a post-humanist world. Take a bit of Sterling, some Cowboy BeBop, some Robin Hood and a whole lot of Greg Egan and mix vigorously. I promise a background post very soon (mainly because we have to define some tech levels and such for this to work)

Stab at mechanics )


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