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The Story Now Discussion

Campbell

Legend
When it comes to Monster of the Week I have put in a fair number of reps as a player, have watched a few APs, have read the text, but have no interest in ever running the game. I enjoyed it well enough as a player, although it generally does not fit into the sort of play I generally seek out. What follows is based on playing a Monster of the Week game that lasted more than 6 months pretty much played on a biweekly basis.

My experiences with Monster of the Week basically proved to me that I should not take the Powered by the Apocalypse label so seriously. It's a really well designed game, but really nothing like my faves in that space (Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts, The Veil, Masks). It's probably one of the best designs I have seen when it comes to that Neotraditional / OC space mentioned in the other thread. It really does a good job of bringing the investigations (and GM prep) and what's cool about the individual playbooks to the forefront.

It's just not what I look for in a Story Now game. The beating heart of Story Now play from my perspective is exploration of character. That inversion of play where players hook the GM with their characters and play is about finding out who they are under pressure. That's where we find theme. Through these characters we get to explore a little bit about our selves.

Monster of the Week is not that in my experience. It's the GM hooking players to investigate mysteries and players playing these badass hunters who they get to show off. The way the moves are structured pretty much guarantee that eventually players will solve the mystery and take on the monsters (and look cool doing so). The playbooks are pretty much about cool stuff the character is good at, tropes, ways they solve mysteries. There's no real inversion of traditional play going on here. The game is still kind of hard to rail road, but it's thoroughly traditional. It might not be super high myth, but that's more of a technical detail.

I think Monster of the Week actually illustrates why we should be careful about getting too caught up in just technique. Creative agenda (and not always one of the big three) is still the most important piece when it comes to how our play works. Techniques like No Myth, Kickers, Apocalypse World style asking players questions can easily be applied to other creative agendas especially that Neotrad / OC space. I myself have a lot of experience pursuing a Story Now agenda in a high prep way utilizing systems that were meant for more Trad approaches. I think you have to start with creative agenda first and then talk about the techniques that can get you there.
 
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Fenris-77

Small God of the Dozens
When it comes to Monster of the Week I have put in a fair number of reps as a player, have watched a few APs, have read the text, but have no interest in ever running the game. I enjoyed it well enough as a player, although it generally does not fit into the sort of play I generally seek out. What follows is based on playing a Monster of the Week game that lasted more than 6 months pretty much played on a biweekly basis.

My experiences with Monster of the Week basically proved to me that I should not take the Powered by the Apocalypse label so seriously. It's a really well designed game, but really nothing like my faves in that space (Apocalypse World, Monsterhearts, The Veil, Masks). It's probably one of the best designs I have seen when it comes to that Neotraditional / OC space mentioned in the other thread. It really does a good job of bringing the investigations (and GM prep) and what's cool about the individual playbooks to the forefront.

It's just not what I look for in a Story Now game. The beating heart of Story Now play from my perspective is exploration of character. That inversion of play where players hook the GM with their characters and play is about finding out who they are under pressure. That's where we find theme. Through these characters we get to explore a little bit about our selves.

Monster of the Week is not that in my experience. It's the GM hooking players to investigate mysteries and players playing these badass hunters who they get to show off. The way the moves are structured pretty much guarantee that eventually players will solve the mystery and take on the monsters (and look cool doing so). The playbooks are pretty much about cool stuff the character is good at, tropes, ways they solve mysteries. There's no real inversion of traditional play going on here. The game is still kind of hard to rail road, but it's thoroughly traditional. It might not be super high myth, but that's more of a technical detail.

I think Monster of the Week actually illustrates why we should be careful about getting too caught up in just technique. Creative agenda (and not always one of the big three) is still the most important piece when it comes to how our play works. Techniques like No Myth, Kickers, Apocalypse World style asking players questions can easily be applied to other creative agendas especially that Neotrad / OC space. I myself have a lot of experience pursuing a Story Now agenda in a high prep way utilizing systems that were meant for more Trad approaches. I think you have to start with creative agenda first and then talk about the techniques that can get you there.
So, to begin, I don't actually disagree with you. MotW can be run exactly as you describe, and feel very neotrad, to use a current buzzword. However, that's not how it has to be run, or even, I might submit, how it's supposed to be run. A close reading of the actual game, which I've done recently because I'm going to run it, would suggest that the focus is on the players and their characters, with the mystery as background. There's no more prep in MotW than there is in AW, or DW, IMO anyway. The mystery is secondary, what's primary is the players playing their characters and deciding how they respond to all the terrible things that are happening. They have to make hard choices, they have to save bystanders (or not), they have to decide what's worth sacrificing to accomplish X. Maybe it's just me, but when I read it, I didn't get a neotrad feel at all.

You have characters and you put them in difficult or impossible situations and they have to react. I think the reason that the mystery part is so, IDK, 'easy', is because it's not the goal of the game, unlike say, CoC, or better yet the GUMSHOE versions thereof. It's just a cool genre puddle for characters to stomp around in. Pert of this might be how I approached the game and my expectations, based on previous PbtA play, I'm not sure.
 

Aldarc

Legend
I have used Dresden Files Accelerated (Fate) for an 1840s Vienna (Austrian Empire) paranormal investigative society game. It was fairly neo-traditional. If I were to pick up the setting again, in addition to DFA, I would now consider using either Monster-of-the-Week, Urban Modern Fantasy ("Dungeon World Modern"), or Vaesen (albeit adjusted to include Central European monsters).
 


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