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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

RP with Parents - UP

As my parents were here for the holidays, I couldn't help but get them into another roleplay session. At first we were going to continue the pulp adventures started during our last vacation, but then we watched UP, by Disney/Pixar. What happened is that we didn't like the movie that much... but we liked its beginning very much. After discussing this, I suddenly exclaimed: "I know! We should reset their story to when we stopped liking it and do our own version by playing the characters, and use Mythic to guide us." And that's what we did yesterday night.


I didn't want to bog down enthusiasm with rules like the FATE ones we used last time, and since I've been into the Mythic rules lately, I went with a variation of these. The result was a mix of FATE, Mythic, Risus and recently discovered Lady Blackbird.
The characters were described through two attributes: Body and Mind, 0 being average, 1 above average, -1 below average, etc... These work like Mythic attributes. Then, I went "Risus"/"FATE v3" and simply described the characters with little sentences such as "Wannabe Explorer" and "Fan of that Cool Explorer Guy". It was pretty easy to find four or five short phrases describing each main character.
At first, I gave these ratings (1, 2, ...) but then I discovered Lady Blackbird that very day and used their system: if one of the phrases fits the situation, add a bonus rank to your roll (+10% with Mythic). If you're trying to calm down a wild animal and you have "Best Friend of all Animals" as a description of your character, you'll start with your Mind attribute and add a rank. If you have "Explorer of the Wild", you'll add another rank because, well, it's a wild animal.
Of note: I picked something from FATE v3 in that some of the phrases were goals and motivations rather than skills, just like Aspects might be. This would yield bonus ranks if your action happened to follow one of these goals directly.

Apart from game mechanics, Mythic was used to generate obstacles and the scene system was used with its characters and threads lists.

How it went

Pretty good! It seemed like everyone actually enjoyed the session more genuinely than it might have been last time. The "describing phrases" system was grasped very quickly and dice rolls were easy to prepare: pick Body or Mind depending on wether it was a physical or intellectual challenge, then go through the character description and add a rank for each fitting phrase. This would give us xx% chances of success, followed by the d100 roll of course.
I also kept Mythic's "Extreme Yes/No" rolls which gave us some interesting surprises.

Mythic's GM emulator was mostly used by myself, since I didn't have any character to play at first (I was waiting for a new NPC to appear and take its role). I asked questions that I hoped would yield some obstacles or fun situations. Following my lead, my parents soon started asking questions of their own. Furthermore, my mother came up with a story of her own at some point and I let her explain it. I only stopped her after some good exposition to keep her surprised by having Mythic decide a few of the finishing touches.
From that point on, though, Mythic took a nap because everyone was getting a good idea of where things were going. I tried to push Mythic forward once or twice to avoid having a single player tell the whole story, but it felt forced. I did use it still to settle some little disputes ("The next room is bigger" "Uhh, I'd have thought it would be smaller" -> "Is the room bigger? *roll*")

The GM emulator helped us a few times with its random events. Once it got us out of a rather uneventful situation and later it created tension where a character had to hide from a threat. The characters list was also used for these events. The threads list was updated with mysteries encountered during the story but didn't come up through events so far.

Considering how things went once everyone was comfortable with the story and mechanics, I think my parents would actually work better with a story-game. Probably not one with systems that push players to create stories within a framework (FATE Aspects were, I think, too restricting and meta), but one that allows everyone to chip in with bits of story. Heck, they might enjoy not *being* the characters but controlling them all "from above", so to speak. Collaborative storytelling... I know I found a game that used chips that players would use to introduce facts in a story and that could be payed off by others if they didn't like it... I bet this would work well for them.

The future

We're supposed to resume this game this afternoon but I don't know if it will be possible. My parents are leaving tomorrow and they're already tensed up (one day of car trip). If it keeps up like this, they won't be in the right mood for it and prone to bickering. We'll see...

In any case, I'll study the simplified system we used as I might enjoy it for my own games. It's easy to describe characters and very easy to find out bonuses.

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