Wednesday, August 03, 2005

FLFS Part 3: Playing the Game

As Chris has put out his ideal outline for Making Round Wheels, I thought I'd post the outline of Full Light, Full Steam's Part 3: Playing the Game.

(Parts 1 and 2 comprise the first five chapters of the book, so this outline starts at Chapter 6.)

  1. The First Session
    1. Social Contract (Discussion)
      1. Roles Around the Table
      2. Power Around the Table
      3. Comfort Zones
      4. Expectations (Goals and Input)

    2. Game Structure (Discussion)
      1. Troupe Play
      2. Solo Play
      3. Multiple GMs
      4. Online Play
      5. One-Shots

    3. Character Creation (done concurrently)
      1. Power Level (Allocating Currency)
      2. Concept & Niche
      3. Thematic Batteries (Ammo Selection)
      4. Attributes and Skills (Spending Currency)

    4. Setting Creation (done collaboratively)
      1. Ship or Port Creation
      2. Superior Officer Creation


  2. Storymapping
    1. Conflict (Ammo Inclusion)
      1. ...from Player Expectations
      2. ...from Thematic Batteries
      3. ...from Character Histories
      4. ...from Setting

    2. Story Elements
      1. NPCs
      2. Challenges
      3. Obstacles
      4. Sets
      5. Props

    3. Developing the Storymap
    4. Resolution


  3. Roleplay (Procedures for Actual Play)
    1. Narration (Talking at the Table)

    2. Direction (Shifting credibility around the Table)
      1. General Rules
      2. Interruption (Shifting via Dice)
      3. Delegation (GM disbursing GM tasks)

    3. Checks
      1. Static Checks
      2. Dynamic Checks
      3. Cooperative Checks
      4. Using Thematic Batteries (Ammo Being Used)
      5. Condition Batteries (Health, Grace, &Will)


  4. Between Sessions
    1. Feedback
    2. Character Development (XP)
    3. Bluebooking


There are lots of similarities -- we've been thinking along parallel lines -- and some departures.

While it may appear that what Chris calls "Ammo" is not given much emphasis, this is more-or-less embedded in the game mechanics as Thematic Batteries. Much like stunting in Exalted, they have relatively little real estate on the page, but (should) become the focus once they start working in Actual Play. I wish the most important things took up more pages than the less important things, but this simply isn't the case -- thirty Skill descriptions will be longer than any (functional) description of how to shift credibility around the table.

Also, Chapter 9: Between Sessions provides what I think is a pretty essential piece that Chris missed: Feedback and Reinforcement. Any good system, whether it's a machine, an organism, or a social structure, needs to constantly evaluate its performance, keep doing what's going right and stop doing what's going wrong. Explicitly setting aside time at the end of each session for the players to discuss what they liked and what they didn't like should do this. I have players reinforcing behavior they liked by giving eachother XP, and identifying problems with "Feedback" discussions. This also allows for some scene-request goodness and helping to shape the future direction of the ongoing game.

5 Comments:

At 3:26 PM, Blogger Martin Ralya said...

This resonates well with some of the things I've been looking at over on Treasure Tables, but you hit it in much greater depth (and all at once) -- great outline, La Ludisto!

At the end of your post, you mentioned the feedback chapter of FLFS -- do you have that in handy outline form as well? I'd love to see it. :)

 
At 3:43 PM, Blogger Joshua BishopRoby said...

Feedback is the first section of Chapter 9 -- it's there in the post, just hard to see (that real estate problem again).

I don't have it outlined yet, because you see I don't quite have it written. I have notes and disparate thoughts, but I wanted to finish writing and shaking out Chapters 6-8 first, so the feedback could be accurately gauging the processes they describe.

That said, I do know that it's going to be difficult, since gamers (well, people) don't like looking others in the face and saying they didn't like what they just did. Alternately, I'm trying to figure out how to do XP in such a way that nobody gets totally shafted, even if they didn't participate much. Getting a big 'FU' is not good encouragement to try harder next time. Getting worthwhile criticism in there with some built-in tact will be my challenge in that part of the book.

 
At 4:14 PM, Blogger Martin Ralya said...

Heck, I've found that in general many gamers don't even like to tell you why they enjoyed a session, let alone why they didn't enjoy it!

That difficulty is why I'm so looking forward to seeing what you come up with. ;)

 
At 9:33 PM, Blogger Bankuei said...

Hi,

Also, Chapter 9: Between Sessions provides what I think is a pretty essential piece that Chris missed: Feedback and Reinforcement. Any good system, whether it's a machine, an organism, or a social structure, needs to constantly evaluate its performance, keep doing what's going right and stop doing what's going wrong.

That's exactly the reason I have "Input" - I talked about it both here and here.

But yeah- feedback? Vital to play. Great outline man.

 
At 9:33 AM, Blogger Joshua BishopRoby said...

Ah, I understood your "Input" to be a front-loaded "What I'd like to see in the upcoming game" rather than "This is what I liked this session; next session I'd like X." I can see now that you inteded it to be a continual process; my error.

I do, however, think that both the initial and the continual processes should be formalized, and to my eye, they should be formalized differently as they are somewhat different in terms of information communicated. That is, however, quibbling at this point.

 

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