Wednesday, February 23, 2005

As Above, So Below Playtest Follow-Up

James was a little shaky during the short scene, but began to get a grasp of how it worked, Adam seemed to get into it and he brought up the drive-by shooting way as an example of how you would use corruption to get out of the same situation. So he really fed on the interactions. Suzanne was the quiet one, she was the least experienced role-player and wasn't used to the
shared narrative style of play.

During the actual play each had a different way of approaching the situation, they talked out how they would approach the situation and then came to deal with it. James started and as Adam listened and observed, he would that sparkle in his eye of an idea and then either use it then or wait for his moment. Suzanne observed mostly, but as she got the feel of the game, she came up
with some really good ideas. I thought her having some of the villagers be sick with ecoli was an inspired idea, in order to nudge the priest in the direction the Angels wanted. The back and forth worked really well.

I'm looking to foster the spirit of Coopetion in my players (cooperation and competition.)

I think I've also figured out how to involve the Devil's Advocate a little more, make his power more concrete, so to speak.

When the Devil's Advocate concedes the narration to the player, he is rolling against, it allows him to interrupt and introduce a scene at a later time. This scene could involve the backplot/uberplot of the story or it could involve introducing a dilemma to a player who hasn't been as active in the game. (Giving a player more face time.)

Also, I'm introducing the idea of player's introducing dilemma's or complications to other player's characters. If they choose to do so, they gain a point of corruption.

I've discovered that corruption is the fuel for players to use to further their own stories. It allows them to introduce their own issues, dilemmas, conflicts and complications to the game. Thus giving them more to do.

As Above, So Below Playtest

So, I ran my As Above, So Below play-test with Adam, James and Suzanne.

First we chatted for a bit and then I had them help me set up the Laws of Heaven.
I think we have a good list. (Now I just need to work on the Laws of Hell

Then we began to create characters. Suzanne created the Angel of Filth,
James, the Angel of Mercy and Adam, the Angel of Music.

From there, we did a short scene to show how the dice and the narrative aspect of the game works. James was the guinea pig. I, as the Devil's Advocate, introduced the test scene by having his faithful, a doctor having dinner with the daughter of one of his terminally ill patients. The set-up is that one of the Fallen is using her to corrupt the doctor through the daughter who is discussing the possibility of "mercy" killing for her mother. This is also opened up the ways James' Angel could proceed, would he intervene through Love and follow God's plan or would he intervene through Will, because he wished to protect his faithful. James was aloud to decide which path his Angel would take through this choice. He chose Love. James' Angel had to keep his Faithful on the right path and protect his Flock as well. ( His flock was terminally ill patients.) James won the narrative with his role and I showed you use your successes to put forth elements in the story. Each element I placed forward, James used one of his successes to counter and carried on the narrative. I then used my last die to add a new conflict to the scene. I had both his beeper and his cell go off at the same time. A 911 appeared on the beeper, the hospital emergency signal and on the cell was a patient whose father was going through cardiac arrest, as James pondered Adam added one last element. Adam used a point of purity to introduce an
element related to his character. He had a song that the daughter's mother used to sing to her come on the radio.

It was a cool sample scene. We also discussed how one would use Corruption to achieve the same goal. A driveby shooting would occur near by and a stray bullet would hit the daughter. As the cell phone and beeper go off. Thus removing your Faithful from danger, but causing greater headaches in the long run.

Then we began the short scenario.

Honoriel, Angel of Speech, Patron Saint of Missionaries had prevented a small village of Missionaries from dying in Thailand by stopping the Tsunami from hitting their area and thus was interfering with God's plan.

Michael, Archangel told them to deal with it.

James, Adam and Suzanne spent the first fifteen minutes of the game discussing how they were going to handle the situation. James' Angel looked down upon the Village, Adam's Angel listened to what was happening, not wanting to look upon their (possibly) Fallen Brother and Suzanne's Angel observed. They witnessed a village untouched by the devastation around them. The Angel of Mercy (James) sent in a survivor of the Tsunami, Mao, to speak to the Missionaries and try to indirectly influence Honoriel's decision and perhaps get him to change his mind. Mao engaged the Priest in the church where some villagers were singing the praises of God.. The discussion went to suggestions for the Missionaries to spread out and share their good fortunes with others. However, Honoriel was having none of it and offered to assist by opening the village up to those who need succor and to bring them by vehicle. The Angel of Filth (Suzanne) added in an element by having some of the missionaries suffering from ecoli due to a contaminated well.
This was used to get the Missionaries to seek out help, as they offered to help. A conflict was then initiated by the Angel of Music (Adam) within the narrative, would the Priest and the Missionaries leave to help or stay?
They reached an impasse for awhile, the goings on went back and forth with the Angel of Music (Adam) gaining the upper hand until the Angel of Speech, screamed a Primal scream that knocked all the villagers unconscious. Then the contest of wills began, with the Angel of Filth (Suzanne) attempting to wrest the wave from Honoriel's control. What Honoriel had done was to hold the wave back through physically interposing himself between it and the village. He hung within the water in a christ-like pose. As the Angel of Mercy (James) attempted to convince Honoriel to let his people go and accede to the Will of God, the Angel of Music (Adam) lay his hand upon the weeping Honoriel's shoulder and opened him up to the Singing of God's praises. Honoriel, his wings tinged slightly red by Sin, floated upward, but would not allow the wave to crash down. he would not be the agent of his Flocks destruction. Also, the three Angels realized that Honoriel had been using his Wings in part to hold back the Tsunami wave. The Angel of Filth (Suzanne) finally sent the Wave crashing down upon the Missionaries and the Angel of Mercy (James) saved his Faithful, Mao by placing him upon a floating pew.

The game went very well, the system works (yay!) and everyone had a good time. The most important part.

Now, I need to do it again and work out some issues I foresee the Devil's Advocate as having.

Hunter S. Thompson: Gonzo, but not Forgotten

Hunter S. Thompson went out like Hemingway on Feb 20, 2005.

May he rest in peace at last.