Dread [Dread] Jenga beat up my dice! My results from the indie horror RPG. - Page 4




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  1. #31
    Quote Originally Posted by Thornir Alekeg
    This sounds really cool.

    When mentioning the struggle over the gun, two players were making opposed pulls. Does the GM make pulls for NPCs to counter the player's action, or is it soley based upon the player at that point? I would think GM pulls could heighten the tension, but it also might discourage the players from trying things, because they don't want to end up in a Jenga duel.
    Fortunately for all that are involved, the GM should never touch the tower. When I'm running the game, I usually put some serious distance between myself and the tower, because I have the crazy legs.

    In fact, I've noticed that most players do, too, because the rules don't care why the tower fell, just who caused it. A player standing up to go to the bathroom and bumping the table could just as easily lose a character as a player making one of those heart-pounding end game pulls. I like to think of it as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre Effect. If you've seen the original, then you remember that horrific moment when Kirk is inside the house looking for help for their engine problems, the door behind him slides open and within a breath Kirk drops, twitches, and is dragged behind the door as it slams shut. And the audience is left with the most unsettling case of WTF in the history of audiences.

    That's Kirk's player knocking the tower over while reaching for a bag of Cheetos. There one moment, not even really trying to do anything, and then gone before anyone even has a chance to witness the events.*

    The Jenga duel only comes up when the PCs are in conflict with each other and willing to risk the tower for what they are fighting over. It is a special case that runs slightly different than the rest of the game. It is a game of chicken in which each pull does not necessarily have to mean something is happening. Normally, if you pull from the tower, you absolute succeed or get something for each pull. So an action that takes more than one pull has significant steps that you accomplish with each pull. But while the PCs are duking it out, the tower becomes more abstract, and pulls just represent each character's willingness to escalate the conflict and see it through to its inevitable end.


    * To be fair, I've probably run Dread games for hundreds of players over the years, taking into account all the cons and store demos, and I've only seen this sort of unfortunate demise twice, and it happened so early in the game for one of them that I used the dead man walking option on him. The game is about the threat of this happening and not so much about tricking the players into killing their own characters off.
    Proud father of the ENnie award winning Dread, founding member of the Imagination Sweatshop and now a publisher: Dig a Thousand Holes.

 

  • #32
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    Quote Originally Posted by FunkBGR
    I've had Dread sitting on my shelf, and I just can't seem to find the gamers for it.
    ^ What he said. ^

  • #33
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    Quote Originally Posted by Epidiah Ravachol
    I've probably run Dread games for hundreds of players over the years, taking into account all the cons and store demos.
    How in the bloody, oozing name of dread Cthulhu do you come up with the questionnaire? That was probably the one thing that turned me off to the game: I'm not smart enough to create good questions, and {most of} the people playing in my group aren't imaginative to fill out the questionnaire appropriately.

    :: cry ::

  • #34
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith Form
    How in the bloody, oozing name of dread Cthulhu do you come up with the questionnaire? That was probably the one thing that turned me off to the game: I'm not smart enough to create good questions, and {most of} the people playing in my group aren't imaginative to fill out the questionnaire appropriately.

    :: cry ::
    That's actually the hardest part for me, too. So I steal them. I will take some questionnaires from a previous game, go through them, crossing out everything that doesn't make sense for the current game, altering those that can be made to make more sense, and filling in the gaps when I'm done. I forget the exact number, but I think the book has over 200 questions in it to help get things going. Plus, I've collected a few on my blog in the interest of helping other GMs out. And I will shortly be adding Piratecat's questionnaires to that list. And if anyone else has run their own games, I would dearly love to add your questionnaires as well.

    Also, I find it much easier if my players suggest the sort of characters they would like to play to me, and I start thinking about questions specific to those.

    Last night I was just talking to a friend about this very problem. He said he liked to write a bunch of questions out first that relate to the story, but aren't character specific, and then start to mold characters out of those. He also suggested a sort of web-based questionnaire generator, which I'm now looking into.

    But let me be honest with you: you are smart enough, and your players will surprise you. And that's not just a vacuous pep talk. I feel the same anxiety every time, and cringe at many of the questions I've written, but the pay-off is grand and never disappoints. And as Piratecat illustrated in his original post, it is often the innocuous questions that surprise you the most.

    Hmm, now you have me thinking. Perhaps I should do some sort of online questionnaire workshop . . .
    Proud father of the ENnie award winning Dread, founding member of the Imagination Sweatshop and now a publisher: Dig a Thousand Holes.

  • #35
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    I've gotta say, this sounds really, really freaking awesome. From a purely game-design standpoint, the jenga mechanic is probably the single most perfect mechanic I've ever seen. Simple, elegant, intuitive, and it actually serves the mood as much, if not more so, than the game.

    I really, really want to give this a try some time. Hopefully I can talk my group into trying a one-shot of it.
    -Author of the Encounter-a-Day blog

  • #36
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    It does sound like a great game. I wish I had the time to try to set up a one shot.

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    Just thinking about this game in the shower, I came up with this idea... Might be a little rail-roady, but it might be interesting.

    Have two questionnaires. One is mostly generic stuff that applies to everyone, What's your name, what do you do for a living, why are you on the train from LA to San Francisco, etc. Toss in a question or two that links people together, if appropriate, i.e. How do you know Barry's character? Let them do this one before the game.

    Then, prepare a second set of loaded questions, one for each player, which are to be randomly-distributed and filled out in secret right before the game. Some examples:

    *Why do you hate dogs so much? Do any of your victims' owners know you killed their precious little pooch? How old were you the first time you drowned a puppy?

    *How many times have you been in jail before? Why are you trying to avoid the police this time? What did you hide in your luggage, and how?

    *How does your father's suicide when you were a kid affect you as an adult? Describe the scene when you came home early from school that day. Have you forgiven him yet?

    *Why do you cut yourself? Do you try to hide your scars? What does your blood taste like?
    -Author of the Encounter-a-Day blog

  • #38
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    Having loaded questions is part of the Questionnaire according to the game. And not everyone should have the same questions now will players know what each others questions are.

  • #39
    Quote Originally Posted by Wraith Form
    How in the bloody, oozing name of dread Cthulhu do you come up with the questionnaire? That was probably the one thing that turned me off to the game: I'm not smart enough to create good questions, and {most of} the people playing in my group aren't imaginative to fill out the questionnaire appropriately.
    Well, you really can't fault somebody for coming up with a clever RPG that requires creativity and imagination, can you?

    I've been on a "story games" kick lately-- Agon, Carry, Mortal Coil, and the ultrapopular Dogs in the Vineyard have been run at my wonderful FLGS-- and Dread is now on my list of things to try. The guys that work on this stuff are the ones who are really evolving the hobby.

    It has really made me wonder how-- or if-- it is possible to apply some of these principles to something like d20. So I'm digging this discussion.
    I once worked for the now-defunct Big Finger Games. I miss it a lot; our stuff is still on RPGNow.

  • #40
    I have GMd two games of Dread now, and I have to GM one at the french Gen Con next month. I second everything PirateCat said, it is an really fine game and the system is really excellent.

    I had something just like the rifle thing in the "under a metal sky" scenario of the gamebook : a player was the CO of the team, another the casual ET. The CO ordered the ET something, which he didn't want. The tension was really high (because the order meant near death). Players decide their character do the chicken game : the CO orders and pull his gun, menacing an on-the-spot execution. The other, a cat-like humanoid (damn furries fan) pulled out his claws. They both pull and pull, until the CO decided not to. The player of the ET said to me after the game that he had big adrenalin rushes while pulling (as the tower was already in a dangerous state before their conflict).
    Excellent game !

    Three players sacrificed their character to save the others. Some players moved their character a little out the action when the tower was beginning to threaten to fall, which is also fine.

    The "13" scenario found on the website, which I used at the second game is, IMHO, not as good as the ones found in the book : it needs development and some rearrangement of the scenes. I will reuse this scenario at the genconFr, rearranging some elements : the little girl won't be one of the first thing encountered, the catlike thing will be found beforehand, and I'll try to be more subtle. Because my players found out the whole thing at the beginning, and one of my players was too much of a bully.

    A problem I've still got with the system is the combat. AFA I've understood the system, players pull for attacks and then pull again for dodges. I think I've been mistaken, and I'm going to change this in pulling for both attack/dodge and more pulls if the PC need to dodge more than one attack. I don't know, I need to reread the book or to have some insight from Epidiah (if you still read this).

    excellent game anyway,
    greuh.

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