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I Have Powers
I am the Monkey King!
[s7s] Thorsday: Drive & Play
So, drivingblind picked me up from the Greenbelt metro station, and we went up Columbia way to pick up rob_donoghue.

During the drive to NJ, much was discussed -- S7S modifications, Dead Inside the Second Edition, and Hyperworld -- as long range plans.

(Unfortunately, actually running and talking about S7S has, in retrospect, invalidated about 90% of the S7S ideas generated on the drive up to Dreamation 2008.)

We got to the hotel, checked in, and had a couple hours before we could register at the con. This time was spent in the company of several kickass-cool people, most notably ptevis and macklinr.

Eventually, I was able to register, and prepped for my demo slot.

. . .

As far as I can tell, I made every single rookie mistake for running a demo/playtest session that you could:
* I allowed 7 people to participate in what is essentially a 4 person slot.
* I talked a lot -- probably at least an hour and fifteen for setting description and going through chargen.
* I offered the full scope of the entire game for chargen.
* I am craptastic at describing systemic issues verbally (written, I'm okay).
* The simple fact that 7 ppl around the table made it difficult to pay attention to everyone.
* I felt I gave short shrift to Dreamation playtesters Richard Flynn Matthew Gagan/nemomeme, spring_violet, miranda1369, and Steve Harvey.

All that being said: the session ROCKED. Everyone seemed to "get it" and were willing to run with it.

The biggest problems were narrative control (I blame myself for falling into old GMing patterns) and PDQ style damage (a recurring issue).

I feel bad about the former in general (it was my first con game, and I got nervous) and sincerely bad about the latter (the reduction of Ranks in PDQ games from damage is a constant roadbump; it's inobvious to many folks what I'm trying to do with it and how it works; biggest issue is the divide between trying to treat it as representational of something or just treating it as an ability).

Despite a hazy initial premise and some rules potholes, I think we ended up having an enjoyable gaming slot. Everybody seemed to have fun -- and that's what's important.

Afterwards, we did a short debriefing -- what I like to call "What Was Good? What Was Bad? What Was Ugly?" Fantastic comments given, which -- along with a discussion with macklinr over brunch -- helped me refine stuff for running a pick-up game on Sabaday.

Good stuff, all around.

For a very brief comment on the Thorsday night game, see:


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15 comments or Leave a comment
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 29th, 2008 02:24 am (UTC) (Link)


I would be interested in hearing more about the possible _Dead Inside_ second edition and _Hyperworld_. I like the fact that your games are *different* from everything else on the market. I only know one other person who can do that so well (waves at bard_bloom ).
drivingblind From: drivingblind Date: January 29th, 2008 03:10 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

Ohhhh, those projects are still far off in the future. Really, we were just doing some fun/wild speculation about where we could go with all of that. Hyperworld's actual commencement would have to wait until the dust around S7S settles out, and DI2E isn't even started -- but will be a very, very long road to walk once chadu and the rest of us Evil Hatters kick it into motion.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 29th, 2008 03:27 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

That's understandable. It still sounds like fun, though. I'm enjoying the evolution of S7S. I've always loved the DI book and I'm hoping to run a DI campaign soon. So I like to keep an eye on things.
chadu From: chadu Date: January 29th, 2008 05:37 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

Everything Fred just said upthread is true...

We're just noodling DI2. A short summary of my feelings regarding it over the past five years, then a quick snapshot of what I'm thinking about it now:

Year One: Yay!
Year Two: Ooh, why did I do that?
Year Three: Please don't remind me of that embarassment!
Year Four: Okay, it's not as bad as I thought.
Year Five: I know enough to make this better now.

I'm somewhere between Years Four and Five at the moment.

Basically, what I'm thinking of doing with it is pretty simple: take what I know now (which I didn't know then), and apply it to the basic text. That covers everything from concept to content to production.

Because DI was my first product, and it deserves my best effort.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 30th, 2008 06:36 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

*chuckle* I can sympathize with the arc. I've always loved the game book, though. I'll be interested to see what improvements emerge eventually. You know where to find me if you need someone to help promote your stuff.

Oh, don't think I mentioned before ... on my list of classes to write for the Grey School of Wizardry, someday, is one demonstrating the usefulness of roleplaying games. I had in mind both _Dead Inside_ and _Truth & Justice_ for examples. I'm also hoping to find someone to write a Mathemagicks class on the math aspects of gaming systems (statistics, probability, etc.) but it's hard to get people to write the math classes. We do at least have an introduction to statistics in the works, though.
timgray From: timgray Date: January 29th, 2008 09:08 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

Ooh, now I'm imagining World Tree as a ZoZ supplement! Or maybe even Questers, or a secret love child thereof.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 29th, 2008 05:47 pm (UTC) (Link)

Re: Feedback

Well, the World Tree sourcebook specifically states that there are other worlds and that creatures from them have sometimes come to the World Tree. That lays the groundwork for a gamemaster to do crossovers with *any* other system -- though some are probably more suitable than others.
ysabetwordsmith From: ysabetwordsmith Date: January 29th, 2008 08:15 am (UTC) (Link)


It's good that you can see what needs improvement. In the end, though, if people have fun -- your game is a success. That you achieved this with your *first* con game is cause for celebration. You can practice more later.
nikotesla From: nikotesla Date: January 30th, 2008 05:32 am (UTC) (Link)
Dude, running games at cons is a unique skill. You've got four hours to be creative and entertaining with people who don't necessarily know each other — or might have a relationship entirely composed of smoky glances, innuendo, and in-jokes.

We can talk about technique sometime. Running demos at Gen Con really helped me trim the fat and actually got my game *design* to be better, since it helped me clarify just what I was doing.

chadu From: chadu Date: January 30th, 2008 01:11 pm (UTC) (Link)
Looking forward to technique talk... and yeah: the Thurs/Sat games I ran at Dreamation have inspired me to start cutting/revising/boiling down a lot of stuff on bothe the setting and rules sides.

nikotesla From: nikotesla Date: January 30th, 2008 04:52 pm (UTC) (Link)

(Hey, by amazing coincidence, *I'm* the Monkey King too!)
miranda1369 From: miranda1369 Date: January 31st, 2008 01:34 am (UTC) (Link)


well, ya look at it like this.. first time is always the hardest. so now you have the first time jitters out of the way and would enjoy seeing you up there running in the future.
Secondly yes we had fun.. and there are pictures of the game on my flickr page now... have a peek!

chadu From: chadu Date: January 31st, 2008 08:03 am (UTC) (Link)

Re: S7S

Send me a link, and lemme know if I can link from it in the next update post!

nemomeme From: nemomeme Date: January 31st, 2008 06:41 am (UTC) (Link)

I did have fun. It looks to me like S7S is going to deliver some great stuff. I just wanted more of it. :) Maybe for future playtests you could narrow down peoples options to one of two sets of pregen characters depending on whether they wanted a "Musketeer" or "Pirate" game.

It was nice meeting you. Best of luck with your game!
chadu From: chadu Date: January 31st, 2008 08:05 am (UTC) (Link)
Maybe for future playtests you could narrow down peoples options to one of two sets of pregen characters depending on whether they wanted a "Musketeer" or "Pirate" game.

Great advice! I totally did that for the Saturday pick-up game, then even further refined it down to Musketeers, so that we'd just hit the ground running.

Thanks for playing (and posting)!

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