Advice for new "story now" GMs

I'm in two minds about your second para. On the other hand, as soon as I read your first para I though "Make your move, but misdirect"!
Yeah when I run games for new players, I keep things very carefully in character. That is I refer to things in diegetic terms. I think that's what DW is saying to do.
 

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darkbard

Legend
And that's what makes it Story Now, that the story was created NOW. My AD&D Ranger's hatred for demons was not SN, it was something I made up AFTER the character got attacked by demon worshippers. It was dramatic enough, no argument, but as a player I wasn't involved in any sense in building that story at the start. Later I would go find demons and such, that was my shtick, but even after years of play it didn't really relate to anything about the character except what was devised AFTER the action happened. My BitD character OTOH was a specific construct, which I invented in order to play out a certain kind of story, which had to thus arise AFTER the character and in response to the character.
I take and agree with your overall point about how/who is established/establishes the fictional position. But I'm going to quibble a bit with this casting of Story Now play. For me, one of the germinal and fundamental aspects of SN play is "playing to find out what happens," to be surprised ... not only by what turns up in play as a result of the randominzation mechanic but also by how concepts I had about a character change over time. What you seem to be describing seems like your initial conception of a character sets the sole and only arc of play, without downstream inputs, whereas I think a key part of SN play is finding out how I think a particular character may respond to unexpected inputs, including ways that may change my initial conception of who that character is!
 

I take and agree with your overall point about how/who is established/establishes the fictional position. But I'm going to quibble a bit with this casting of Story Now play. For me, one of the germinal and fundamental aspects of SN play is "playing to find out what happens," to be surprised ... not only by what turns up in play as a result of the randominzation mechanic but also by how concepts I had about a character change over time. What you seem to be describing seems like your initial conception of a character sets the sole and only arc of play, without downstream inputs, whereas I think a key part of SN play is finding out how I think a particular character may respond to unexpected inputs, including ways that may change my initial conception of who that character is!
Well, I agree totally, characters evolve and just turn out not to be who you think, or even who they 'think'. Probably true for every PC with a decent arc of play. This is a big reason not to nail stuff down too much.
 

niklinna

učim hrvatski
Well, I agree totally, characters evolve and just turn out not to be who you think, or even who they 'think'. Probably true for every PC with a decent arc of play. This is a big reason not to nail stuff down too much.
Skewth, my Whisper in our Blades in the Dark game, certainly changed in some ways, and in others remained true to my original concept. Tober, my Ranger in Stonetop, has already developed in ways I would not have guessed.
 

loverdrive

Prophet of the profane (She/Her)
Yeah when I run games for new players, I keep things very carefully in character. That is I refer to things in diegetic terms. I think that's what DW is saying to do.
I do too (and the rules say that pretty explicitly), but now I'm thinking maybe sharing how the sausage is made is a good idea. And for a new MC, saying things out lout can help to internalize how the things work.

But then maybe it's not exactly playing the game, more like learning it.
 

I do too (and the rules say that pretty explicitly), but now I'm thinking maybe sharing how the sausage is made is a good idea. And for a new MC, saying things out lout can help to internalize how the things work.

But then maybe it's not exactly playing the game, more like learning it.
Fair enough, I sort of feel like paying too much attention to the sausage making might distract from the story aspect. I have a bit of an unusual perspective there since I started playing in the mid-70s when things like "players should not read the DMG" was like just standard wisdom!
 

I have a question for story now GMs about the intersection between safety tools and setting stakes for player actions.

My example is from 5e, but I believe it trandlates to story now games.

In an Arabian Nights inspired game, a player established both that he came from a very wealthy merchant family, and that one of his sisters was soon to be married to a wealthy African (-inspired) prince.

I figured that the wedding was an excellent setting for the adventure. The adventure kicked off with a member of the city guard advising the character’s father that they had raided the office of a criminal broker, where they had discovered that “someone” had paid an assassin a large sum of money to assassinate someone at the wedding. The father beamed at his adventurer son and charged him with foiling the attempt and identifying who had hired the assassin. The guard also insisted on having his own men present.

What followed was roleplaying at its finest, with the characters’ actions leading to consequences that drew on each of the characters backgrounds. There were characters from the past complicating the mission, one character disguising himself as another and inadvertently getting him into trouble, etc.

Things built to the climax. The characters had captured the assassin’s accomplice, and the wedding banquet was about to start.

Suddenly, a twist. A minor character introduced previously was found murdered, suggesting that the main assassin was still on the loose. Two players went to investigate the murder, the other two remained to guard the wedding banquet.

Some unfortunate investigative rolls later, and a cake filled with gunpowder was headed to the happy couple and the character’s father. Those guarding the couple likewise failed to detect danger, and the cake exploded, killing half of the character’s family.

I later found out that the player was extremely upset. He had created the character’s family as a counterpoint to the many ictional characters with broken home lives.*

My question is this: by its nature, story now encourages the DM to stake things that matter to the PCs, including friends and family. The conventional safety tools I am aware of are good for phobias or other elements that bother the player in any context, but it seems unlikely that it would have caught the fact that the player wanted his family’s death to be off-limits.

*We resolved the situation adequately and in a manner consistent with the fiction. In his father’s study, he found a jar with a sealed top. The jar revealed a genie, and after an extended role-playing session with established stakes, the genie agreed to send the character one hour into the past to foil the assassination.
 

loverdrive

Prophet of the profane (She/Her)
@FrozenNorth

"Creating family as a counterpoint" is not exactly in the spirit of Story Now play. Play to find out what happens, all that, and it's generally not exactly a smart idea to have plans.

As of safety tools, it's kind of murky. There's a difference between "I had another idea in mind and now upset that it didn't work out" and "this #### triggers me". Both could be the case, and in the case of the later, the well-being of a real person in a real world obviously has a priority over the game.

Overall, Story Now is a very aggressive subset of narrativism. If we imagine a scale between "writing a TV show together" and "watching a TV show together", SN is waay closer to the latter rather than the former. Being upset that your favorite character ####ing died is part of the experience.
 

pemerton

Legend
I have a question for story now GMs about the intersection between safety tools and setting stakes for player actions.

My example is from 5e, but I believe it translates to story now games.

<snip>

he adventure kicked off with a member of the city guard advising the character’s father that they had raided the office of a criminal broker, where they had discovered that “someone” had paid an assassin a large sum of money to assassinate someone at the wedding.

<snip>

Some unfortunate investigative rolls later, and a cake filled with gunpowder was headed to the happy couple and the character’s father. Those guarding the couple likewise failed to detect danger, and the cake exploded, killing half of the character’s family.

I later found out that the player was extremely upset. He had created the character’s family as a counterpoint to the many fictional characters with broken home lives
Here it seems to be the GM, rather than the player, who is setting stakes. As I understand the events, it is the GM who decided that the assassin was present at the wedding, and the GM who decided the cake was full of gunpowder, and the GM who decided that the stakes for failing "detect danger" checks was explosion.
 

I have a question for story now GMs about the intersection between safety tools and setting stakes for player actions.

My example is from 5e, but I believe it trandlates to story now games.

In an Arabian Nights inspired game, a player established both that he came from a very wealthy merchant family, and that one of his sisters was soon to be married to a wealthy African (-inspired) prince.

I figured that the wedding was an excellent setting for the adventure. The adventure kicked off with a member of the city guard advising the character’s father that they had raided the office of a criminal broker, where they had discovered that “someone” had paid an assassin a large sum of money to assassinate someone at the wedding. The father beamed at his adventurer son and charged him with foiling the attempt and identifying who had hired the assassin. The guard also insisted on having his own men present.

What followed was roleplaying at its finest, with the characters’ actions leading to consequences that drew on each of the characters backgrounds. There were characters from the past complicating the mission, one character disguising himself as another and inadvertently getting him into trouble, etc.

Things built to the climax. The characters had captured the assassin’s accomplice, and the wedding banquet was about to start.

Suddenly, a twist. A minor character introduced previously was found murdered, suggesting that the main assassin was still on the loose. Two players went to investigate the murder, the other two remained to guard the wedding banquet.

Some unfortunate investigative rolls later, and a cake filled with gunpowder was headed to the happy couple and the character’s father. Those guarding the couple likewise failed to detect danger, and the cake exploded, killing half of the character’s family.

I later found out that the player was extremely upset. He had created the character’s family as a counterpoint to the many ictional characters with broken home lives.*

My question is this: by its nature, story now encourages the DM to stake things that matter to the PCs, including friends and family. The conventional safety tools I am aware of are good for phobias or other elements that bother the player in any context, but it seems unlikely that it would have caught the fact that the player wanted his family’s death to be off-limits.

*We resolved the situation adequately and in a manner consistent with the fiction. In his father’s study, he found a jar with a sealed top. The jar revealed a genie, and after an extended role-playing session with established stakes, the genie agreed to send the character one hour into the past to foil the assassination.
I would maybe classify this as a player expressing a neo-trad agenda in conflict with a more trad one, possibly with nar elements.
 

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