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

Plane Sailing

Astral Admin - Mwahahaha!
Seonaid said:
How much do the players know of their relationships to the other characters? Do they know any of the other questionnaires? From what I've heard it sounds like no, but if there are pre-established relationships, it seems like role-playing them out during a 4-hour session would be too time consuming. How do you deal with that?
When I played in PC's game I answered the questionnaire without realising that anyone in the questionnaire might be appearing in the game being run by another player - although one of the other players quickly realised that THEY knew ME once the game started and soon started taking pulls to prevent me from recognising THEM :)

Cheers
 

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Piratecat

Writing Fantasy Gumshoe!
The characters only know what's listed in their questionnaires. Thus, if you want a player to know or assume something, you need to form the questions so that they point you in the right way. The secret is to do so without being too blatant or insistent.

I can give an example, if you're interested.
 

Seonaid

Explorer
Piratecat said:
The characters only know what's listed in their questionnaires. Thus, if you want a player to know or assume something, you need to form the questions so that they point you in the right way. The secret is to do so without being too blatant or insistent.

I can give an example, if you're interested.
I am interested, indeed. :D
 

JoeBlank

First Post
howandwhy99 said:
We played a game I ran in November at our first Loki-con up in the north mountains.
This game was truly the highlight of Loki-con. I had a blast, and will never stop pestering howandwhy99 to run another.
 

Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
Piratecat said:
The characters only know what's listed in their questionnaires. Thus, if you want a player to know or assume something, you need to form the questions so that they point you in the right way. The secret is to do so without being too blatant or insistent.
From memory, we had a couple of instances (non-critical) in the game at GenCon where related answers in separate questionnaires contained contradictions; I'm guessing if there'd been anything crucial that fell into the same bucket, though, you'd have made a note to one or both players that some detail of their answer should be Y instead of X.

-Hyp.
 

Hypersmurf

Moderatarrrrh...
Rodrigo Istalindir said:
My next attempt (maybe to premier at GenCon) will be using Dread to run a game based on the old Simon Hawke 'Time Wars' books. I just have to figure out the right setting...
Ooh!

I'll have to keep an eye out.

-Hyp.
 



Asmor

First Post
I think I'm about ready to run a Dread game, so I wrote up some questionnaires. Would like some criticism from those of you with experience running the game. :)

Set in the 1920s in a secluded mansion a couple hours from Chicago. Beatrice Simon, matriarch of the Simon family, has passed away, and the PCs have all been summoned for the reading of her will. Supernatural hijinx are the backdrop and catalyst for simmering inter-personal drama...

[sblock=Alex Simon Police officer, son of Beatrice and Montgomery Simon, brother of Felicia Hartwood]Why did you become a police officer?

What is your specialty, professionally speaking?

When it comes to corruption, are you part of the solution or part of the problem?

What did you bring with you to the reading?

Why do you think you deserve the family estate?

What object do you hope to get because it reminds you of your father?

When you found out your father was involved in the occult, why did you keep it a secret?

Why did you submit the anonymous tip about your sister's heroin addiction which ultimately lead to her losing her job?

Do you think Enrique, the gardener, made you gay, or was he just a case of “right place at the right time?”

Does anyone else know that you're gay?

What's your best feature?

What hobby do you spend your free time on?

How long have you been working on that double-homocide?
[/sblock]

[sblock=Felicia Hartwood Former FBI agent, daughter of Beatrice and Montgomery Simon, sister of Alex Simon, wife of Darren Hartwood]What kind of training did you receive in the FBI?

What do you do with all your spare time since being fired?

Are you still on heroin, despite losing your job over it? If so, when was your last fix; if not, how did you beat it?

What are you going to do when you find the person responsible for ratting you out and getting you fired?

Why do you think you deserve the family estate?

What object do you hope to get because it reminds you of your father?

What did you bring with you to the reading?

How do you feel about the fact that this your husband's second marriage?

Who's more important to you: your husband or your brother?

Were you surprised when your mother confided in you that your father's sudden death wasn't due to illness, but suicide?

What are you good at, yet try to keep that skill a secret?

What's your best feature?

When will you tell your husband that you're pregnant?[/sblock]

[sblock=Darren Hartwood Accountant, husband of Felicia Hartwood]Why did your first marriage fail? Do you ever miss your ex, Claire?

Are you a faithful husband?

Why do you think you and your wife get along so well?

Why do you blame yourself for your wife's heroin addiction?

What did your mother-in-law tell you on your wedding day which you've kept secret all these years?

How did you feel when you found that your mother-in-law passed away?

What did you bring with you to the reading?

What's your opinion on homosexuality?

What's your best feature?

Do you get along well with children?

Why do you still keep that ratty old baseball card in your wallet?

What's your secret shame?

Why is the mob after you?[/sblock]

[sblock=Donald Covini Owner of the Seventh Heaven night club]How long have you been in the mob?

Do you still remember the first man you killed? Is it a cherished or a haunting memory?

What big mistake did you make while disposing of some “garbage” last week?

What did you bring with you to the reading?

Why was the Widow Simon so fond of you?

How long ago did you stop visiting your mother's grave?

Why haven't you settled down with one woman yet?

How do you know the Widow Simon's gardener, Enrique?

How did Darren Hartwood's first wife Claire compare you to he in bed?

What's your best feature?

Why is that gold watch so special to you?

Are you more worried about whether you'll be busted or whether God will forgive you?[/sblock]
 

scholar

First Post
ok, just picked this up, and considering I had 2-3 games all but designed after one reading of it, I whole heartedly approve of the game

I now have two questions

first, where's the cheapest place to get a jenga set nowadays, and which ones work the best?

I see a halloween one on amazon for about eight bucks, but I saw some talk of the the paint being an issue with the stacking an so on

and also, does anyone have any ideas for adapting the trust mechanic from cold city to dread? since over all, I think the setting would be amazing, but I really like the idea of that mechanic
 

Epidiah Ravachol

First Post
scholar said:
and also, does anyone have any ideas for adapting the trust mechanic from cold city to dread? since over all, I think the setting would be amazing, but I really like the idea of that mechanic
Tell me more about the trust mechanic. I'm intrigued.
 


Asmor said:
I think I'm about ready to run a Dread game, so I wrote up some questionnaires. Would like some criticism from those of you with experience running the game. :)
Some general suggestions:

I'd be really leery about defining a character's sexual orientation. That's a big thing to decide for someone unless it's absolutely critical to the plot, and even then, I'd rather hint at it and let the player decide to go in that direction rather than make it explicit. Some people would be really uncomfortable forced to roleplay that if it was a big part of the scenario, and if it's not important, there's no reason to include it.

Don't be overly explicit with the hooks. For example, instead of asking "When you found out your father was involved in the occult..." think about asking "Why do you think your father was so secretive?" In my experience, what a player will invest in the character is more meaningful and creative the more room you give them. And the game will play out in ways you don't expect based on how their answers change things, which is a hell of a lot of fun to DM. I've run my Morro Castle game three times now, with mostly the same characters, and each time it's played out very differently.

You've done a good job of intertwining the characters -- the intra-party distrust has been half the fun of the Dread games I've played/run. Be prepared for that to sidetrack things, though. You've gone out of your way in the questions to bring those issues up; most or all of the players are going to sieze on that, so if you're not ready to incorporate that into the scenario, it's going to throw you off.
 

scholar

First Post
Epidiah Ravachol said:
Tell me more about the trust mechanic. I'm intrigued.
basically, the setting is monster hunters in the begining of the cold war in berlin, they recomend having one character from each of the powers in charge (US, UK, USSR, and france)

to build the conflict between the party, every character has national agenda's and personal agendas...

everyone has a trust score for the rest of the group

in high tension points, they can get bonus dice for trusting other members of the party...

the example they use is while one character is picking a lock, another is playing look out to keep trouble off of them

if there's a trust score of two, the person picking the lock gets two bonus dice on the lock pick roll because he's trusting the other one to watch his back...

I'm not sure how that would work with the pull mechanic... but I love the idea of how it builds on the relationships between the characters
 

scholar said:
I'm not sure how that would work with the pull mechanic... but I love the idea of how it builds on the relationships between the characters
In the games I've run, I've had situations come up where people could take pulls for other characters. To borrow your example, the task is 'pick the lock without being seen'. I'd let either party pull; if the guy picking the lock pulls and succeeds, it means he did it so quick that there were in before anyone could wander by. If the lookout pulled, then he spotted a stranger wandering by and managed to intercept and distract him. And I've pulled people away from the table in similar circumstances to clue them in before hand and give them the chance to shaft the other guy without the him knowing.

Depending on the setup (and I think your scenario certainly qualifies), the trust/suspicion dichotomy is going to be a major factor without any additional mechanics. Although I've not seen your 'trust mechanic' in play, so maybe I'm not grasping the nuances.
 

scholar

First Post
Rodrigo Istalindir said:
In the games I've run, I've had situations come up where people could take pulls for other characters. To borrow your example, the task is 'pick the lock without being seen'. I'd let either party pull; if the guy picking the lock pulls and succeeds, it means he did it so quick that there were in before anyone could wander by. If the lookout pulled, then he spotted a stranger wandering by and managed to intercept and distract him. And I've pulled people away from the table in similar circumstances to clue them in before hand and give them the chance to shaft the other guy without the him knowing.

Depending on the setup (and I think your scenario certainly qualifies), the trust/suspicion dichotomy is going to be a major factor without any additional mechanics. Although I've not seen your 'trust mechanic' in play, so maybe I'm not grasping the nuances.
that's kind of what I was guessing I'd have to do

not to thread jack about another game too much, but basically I liked the idea of getting a bonus for actually trusting another character in game where there are so many things pulling you in other directions, and it's probably not in your best interest to be trusting than

thanks again:)
 

Cassander

First Post
Rodrigo Istalindir said:
In the games I've run, I've had situations come up where people could take pulls for other characters. To borrow your example, the task is 'pick the lock without being seen'. I'd let either party pull; if the guy picking the lock pulls and succeeds, it means he did it so quick that there were in before anyone could wander by. If the lookout pulled, then he spotted a stranger wandering by and managed to intercept and distract him. And I've pulled people away from the table in similar circumstances to clue them in before hand and give them the chance to shaft the other guy without the him knowing.

Depending on the setup (and I think your scenario certainly qualifies), the trust/suspicion dichotomy is going to be a major factor without any additional mechanics. Although I've not seen your 'trust mechanic' in play, so maybe I'm not grasping the nuances.
Just don't pick a lock AND act as your own watchman!
 

Asmor

First Post
Rodrigo Istalindir said:
Some general suggestions:

I'd be really leery about defining a character's sexual orientation. That's a big thing to decide for someone unless it's absolutely critical to the plot, and even then, I'd rather hint at it and let the player decide to go in that direction rather than make it explicit. Some people would be really uncomfortable forced to roleplay that if it was a big part of the scenario, and if it's not important, there's no reason to include it.

Don't be overly explicit with the hooks. For example, instead of asking "When you found out your father was involved in the occult..." think about asking "Why do you think your father was so secretive?" In my experience, what a player will invest in the character is more meaningful and creative the more room you give them. And the game will play out in ways you don't expect based on how their answers change things, which is a hell of a lot of fun to DM. I've run my Morro Castle game three times now, with mostly the same characters, and each time it's played out very differently.

You've done a good job of intertwining the characters -- the intra-party distrust has been half the fun of the Dread games I've played/run. Be prepared for that to sidetrack things, though. You've gone out of your way in the questions to bring those issues up; most or all of the players are going to sieze on that, so if you're not ready to incorporate that into the scenario, it's going to throw you off.
Thanks for the suggestions! One of the things I was worried about was that I might be defining the characters a bit too strictly with them. I think you're right about the sexuality thing, I'll replace that with something else. Mostly I threw that in there because I didn't have a good way to tie a couple of the characters together. I was actively trying to create intra-personal conflict.

I'm a little leery about ditching the occult question, though, because I think that's literally the only clue I have before the game starts that there's anything "funny" going on. Well, that and the sister's question about her father's death being a suicide.
 

Epidiah Ravachol

First Post
scholar said:
basically, the setting is monster hunters in the begining of the cold war in berlin, they recomend having one character from each of the powers in charge (US, UK, USSR, and france)

to build the conflict between the party, every character has national agenda's and personal agendas...

everyone has a trust score for the rest of the group

in high tension points, they can get bonus dice for trusting other members of the party...

the example they use is while one character is picking a lock, another is playing look out to keep trouble off of them

if there's a trust score of two, the person picking the lock gets two bonus dice on the lock pick roll because he's trusting the other one to watch his back...

I'm not sure how that would work with the pull mechanic... but I love the idea of how it builds on the relationships between the characters
Okay, that's cool. Let me ask you this: is there a mechanic for betraying that trust?

Without a betrayal mechanic, a simple way to do this would look like this:
  1. For high tension situations in which an acting character has to rely on other character(s)--much like your lockpick with the lookout situation--inject an extra pull for what the acting character is relying on the other character(s) for. In the lockpick/lookout example, the lockpicker would have to pull twice: once to pick the lock and once keep a weathered eye out for dangers.
  2. If at least one of the other players says that the acting player can trust him or her, then they don't have to make that extra pull. But...
  3. If the tower falls, the trusted character shares the acting character's fate.

How does that sound? I know it doesn't exactly model what you're describing, but I think it would be fun. If you wanted to include a betrayal element, you could add the following between steps 2 and 3:
  • The acting player can decide whether their character wants to actually trust the character that offered the trust.
  • After the acting player has pulled but before the block is placed on top of the tower, the trusted character's player can call for a betrayal. In the fiction this doesn't have to be a big thing. In the lockpick example, it could be something as simple as the lockpicker finishing with the lock and turning to find the trusted character is not actually paying attention--perhaps he was picking his teeth, or tying his shoe, or cleaning his gun.
  • If betrayed, the acting player must give the block to the betraying player, who can now use it in the place of a future pull--just by placing it on top of the tower when they need to make a pull.
  • The betrayed player must now make the extra pull as if no one had offered their trust. There is no more trust so if the tower falls, the acting character is alone in his or her fate.
That should start some intraparty conflict.

Edited to Add: All of this inspired a blog post that takes what I mentioned above and refines it a little bit.
 
Last edited:

Asmor said:
Thanks for the suggestions! One of the things I was worried about was that I might be defining the characters a bit too strictly with them. I think you're right about the sexuality thing, I'll replace that with something else. Mostly I threw that in there because I didn't have a good way to tie a couple of the characters together. I was actively trying to create intra-personal conflict.

I'm a little leery about ditching the occult question, though, because I think that's literally the only clue I have before the game starts that there's anything "funny" going on. Well, that and the sister's question about her father's death being a suicide.
I think you'll find that the more leeway you give the players to define the characters, the more fun they'll have and the more fun you'll have DMing it. It'll result in events that you couldn't have planned in a million years, and it'll feel 10x better because everyone will know that it happened because of how they played, not according to some script. My 'win' in Piratecat's Dread game last GenCon is possibly the best experience I've had gaming, and it was all because of a throw-away question on the character sheet.

As for the occult, don't sweat it. They're gamers; they're inherently paranoid and apt to suspect the supernatural. They won't be able to help it.
 

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