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Advice for new "story now" GMs


I feel more precise language is required here, as the GM should be in charge of these elements, only basing them on the characters rather than the setting.
Probably a "unilaterally" or similar adverb is implicit.

In my experience it's not trivial to explain the difference, because even "unilateral" is probably not quite right - as per a recent thread looking at the advice to GMs in the 3E D&D DMG, it is possible to be not completely unilateral yet still set up a railroad (the example is of having the quest-giver offer as their reward something that speaks to some player-established concern).

I'm happy to discuss further if you think it's worthwhile.

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Victoria Rules
It's both. It's a situation in that the changes as escalating rapidly and you have to adjust. It's a setting in that the campaign is set during this rapidly escalating ice age, which means glaciers forming. Crops failing. Fairly primitive(I assume) peoples. Ice age animals to be encountered.

I'm also curious what "escalating rapidly" means. For an ice age that could mean over the course of 20 or even 200 years instead of thousands. Taking even 20 years to escalate the changes would move it entirely into a setting.
In the situation I'm envisioning (and am currently running, as it happens) the ice age is escalating dramatically year by year. Three years ago things were normal. Last summer saw snow in the in-world equivalent of southwest England on summer solstice, and the sea off the in-world equivalent of Norway (usually ice-free 8 months of the year) did not thaw.

Spoilered on the off-chance any of my players are reading:

Due to a long story of events sparked by the actions of previous parties, the game world is rapidly moving away from its host star, and will - if this isn't fixed* - become uninhabitably cold within just a few more years.

* - the party I'm running right now is working on trying to fix this but the jury is still very much out on whether they'll succeed; and if they don't I'll be starting over with a whole new setting before much longer. :) [/SPOLIER]

Reminds me of things like Aspect Invocations and GM Intrusions. So is this something the player chooses to roll, or a mandatory response to the fiction? And how is this resolved when the temptation is constant? Is it once per scene?

So I'm not familiar with the Cypher system, so I'll have to defer to your instinct on that. However, yes, a bit like Aspect Invocations and a fair bit like AW's hx and Monsterheart's Strings. Here is what the game has to say about it:



So on triggers, temptation frequency, and rationing responses:

* Here is the move:

Resist or Indulge Your Attachment
When you fight the temptation to defend your Attachment, or struggle to act on its behalf, work out with the GM what it is you’re afraid you’ll do—or want to do. Then roll with that Attachment. On a miss, you hold steady and mark experience as normal; act as you please. On a hit, immediately give in to temptation; you may also choose the appropriate option below. On a 7-9, increase that Attachment by one.

So typical AW "if you do it (trigger the move in the fiction), you do it (the move's procedure)." So when you do the italicized above, we perform the procedure and resolve the situation-state and attendant gamestate.

* A good game like this should be aiming to generate temptation and struggle around Self, Drive, and Bonds as much as possible. So they should be in play a fair bit.

* Once per session, you can dramatically Betray your Attachment. If you're Obsessed (at some point you were at +3 value w/ either Self, Drive, or a Bond, and you triggered RoIYA with that Attachment) when this happens, you don't get the free narration below, but you clear Obsessed status. Afterwards, your character changes; you mark a box and reset the Attachment to +0 (now triggering Obsession on an earlier value than before). Its sort of like Trauma in Blades in the Dark where, if you're out of boxes your character retires in a way that is thematically fitting to the Attachment in question.
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A game about players overcoming challenges demands that outcomes are only contingent on how well (or poorly) the actions taken are suited for the challenge at hand, so the players can express their skill.

In a game about creating satisfying stories, on the other hand, the exact same action in the exact same fictional situation would have different results depending on the broader context of the story, and no amount of smart planning will ever help you to weasel out of putting things you care about at stake.

"Doesn't matter" as in "whatever you do it will be interesting" and not "actions don't have consequences".
Right, but also in a sort of game activity sense. Like, you will be encountering the next outcome of a GM move, and you're going to be overcoming whatever challenge/taking some action, a move will happen, 2d6 will be tossed again, etc. There's generally room there to reach goals and to do more and less effective things, but the overall shape of play is very set.

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