Brian's goals for after OWBN.

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Brian's goals for after OWBN.

Post  Stbrian on Wed Sep 11, 2013 10:03 pm

Been thinking a lot about what to tinker with as we metamorphose.  I don't get a lot of feedback from players beyond the core group, or from what I overhear, so a lot of this is left with being my impression.  I think it's best to look back at the choices we made a few years ago, and see how we can twink them.  For amusement, I'm also grading our results.

Stated goals of Falling Waters.

(a) Minimal NPC Control - A
----Review---- We started out with the stated goal that the game would be in player hands, with no or minimal NPC leadership.  This was as much an experiment as anything.  Your characters were young and inexperienced as you were, so as you struggled to find your own voices, you also put together what Garou feels like in Buffalo, separate from ST or Player expectations of what Garou SHOULD look like.  We got a lot of intermittent pushback from players who really felt like they needed more guidance from NPCS, but I think we've gotten to a better place because of it, or at least a place that belongs more to the players.

At least to start, we're going to have *more* NPC Garou for you guys to deal with.  This is as much an intentional counterpoint to what has come before as it is a shift in tone.  How folks react to a more NPC rich environment, and how much it gets on our nerves, will go a long way to determine how our story develops.


(b) Player vs Environment structure - B+
---Review---  Players are always going to be competing for position and prestige, that's pretty much the goal.  But we wanted to make sure everybody got to the point that when it was time to mount up against the baddies, y'all would work essentially together.  I think we got there.  Problems are cropping up with this basic structure, that I'll talk about more when I talk about short term vs long term.


(c) Show what the NPCs are thinking - A
---Review---  Interludes are spoilers.  They take some of the mystery away from the game.  At the same time, in a world where one half of the chess board (the bad guys) is pretty much forever cut off from your view, we thought it was important to show that we put a lot of thought into the world y'all were seeing; and that player actions could draw as many long term reactions from the antagonists as it does among players.  Plus, they're fun.

(d) Balance long term threats vs monsters of the Week -C+
---Review---  The idea always was, The Western Door is a weird place, where monsters, spirits and other baddies are always up to something or other.  The Destroyer of Cities provided the long term threat, one which we really never intended to pull the trigger on, but which would drive the motivations of our more story driven characters and NPCs.  The other long term story lines; the conflicts between (Fishman vs. Dostoyevski) and (Roadkill vs Everybody), served more to spawn off our monthly monster of the week stories.  On paper, this worked great.

The problem is, the long term story, which was always intended to be paid off slowly, if not at all, slowly began to drive more night to night story than we wanted to.  While that was fine, and indeed with some nightly stories, desirable, the background started becoming the foreground to the extent that newer players often they needed a flowchart to figure out what the hell is going on.  As this is something I was specifically trying to avoid, I think we're going to for an even more gentle local metaplot next time around.


(e) Be aggressive with props and locations and general theatricality- C 
----Review---I've always wanted to make LARP as big as it possibly be.  In a perfect world, every session would be run at a cave beneath the Falls that I dug with my bare hands.  As that sadly is both unrealistic and frowned on by the appropriate authorities, I started off really trying to run in locations outside of Baldy and push immersion and 'ICness' as much as possible.  Unfortunately, we had to stop running the park games because we were bleeding players pretty badly, and we were no longer getting the walkins and word of mouth that Baldy provided.  I'm open to going back to this well in the future, and actually running a game on Goat Island has long been a goal of mine, but I can't do this without player buy in and players giving us the word of mouth we need to survive.

That said, we've had good, if limited, use of music (more than the other games at least), and the session titles create the illusion that we're telling a longer story and I actually know what's going to happen.  Which is nice.

(f) Bring new players into Garou, and keep them. - B-
---Review--- Full disclosure, I spent the weeks before this game started burning every Garou resources I could find into my retinas... because I didn't know jack about Werewolf.  And a lot of our players started off, or are still in a similar boat... this is a complicated and difficult world, and a lot of the education that new players need must, by necessity, fall on other players.

We've grown to be a very large game... and I hope we can hold onto most of you through the months and years ahead, but we've also lost a lot of people who felt overwhelmed or confused by the world.  We have to be better at keeping players and bringing them up through the ranks.  I'm... fuzzy... on how to do that.

(g) Be aggressive in pushing forum play -C+
---Review--- Well, this one worked a little too well.  I wanted to be able to run full scenes on the boards so folks could play their werewolves whenever they want.  That worked... but a lot of folks have felt excluded or irritated that they're not getting 'the full story' by not playing on the boards, or that forum play is an obligation that we ask of our players.... none of which was my intention.  I just wanted to increase the entertainment value of the game.  This is another one I'm not sure how to handle.  I want Forum play to be engaging and fun for those who have the time and inclination to take part in it... but I also don't want that to feel exclusionary to folks who don't.  So, yeah, looking for answers on that too.

Thoughts?  Concerns?  Reviews?  Feel free.  This seems to be a good moment for reflection on the last few years.  Personally, I'm fired up and ready to go.  I've never gotten burned out from running this game, because you guys are just really great and impress the hell out of me.  In so much as the game hasn't lived up to its potential, that's on me.  In so much as it's great, that's all you guys.

- Brian

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So many thoughs so little time

Post  works for food on Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:54 am

So many thoughs now how to organize them.
 
(a) Minimal NPC Control - A

I agree that minimal NPC control is desirable I am not sure how to do that in a LARP full of Cliaths with the Odd Fostern.   It takes a minimum amount of Rituals to run a Caern, preform a Moot, and open a moon bridge and none of these things are supposed to be taught to anyone under the rank of Adren ?????

In addition whatever Cliath or Fostern just volunteered to be the Warder gave up ranking for over a year.   As an Example Todd playing Bob did his job stayed at the Caern and read alot of books.   There was very little for an Ahroun to do to gain Glory unless the Caern get attacked.

So my conclusion was a few Elder/Athros are needed to run the moots, open the moon bridges and in general do what Elders do which is sit in the Caern teach the young and give advice and prepare for the really big world ending things that only they have any chance of dealing with.

(b) Player vs Environment structure - B+

We had some good roleplaying and some bad but even bad Role Playing is usally better than ROLLplaying.   The desire to achieve position was strong in some of the characters and in the long run how the Bonegnawers ended up in so many positions is just wierd.

(c) Show what the NPCs are thinking - A

Agreed the interludes were neat and revealing like the look at what the BSD were thinking after the Jumped Works for Food and Wishbone and Lost.... good lord I still dont know how we won enough test to live thru that fight and only come out of it with a Battle Scar Each...

(d) Balance long term threats vs monsters of the Week -C+

Agree a bit more player driven plot and a few more just plain your looking for Random Wyrm Critters need to be available.   Not everything can be world ending importance affraid  so a Binder of Random Minor Banes, Fomori, and maybe the odd Wandering BSD Pack need to be on hand.  For when the PC corner the poor Storytellers and say were going to go look for trouble.

(e) Be aggressive with props and locations and general theatricality- C

I liked meeting out doors but lord it could get Hot I still think we can schedule say 3 or 4 outdoor sessions per year, I wonder how much or even if a Goat Island Pavilion would cost.    Hmmm... something to investigate online latter.

(f) Bring new players into Garou, and keep them. - B-

Maybe those quiz they give to players in the new MES group will help you got me on how to get people into the flavor of the game?!?

(g) Be aggressive in pushing forum play -C+

Hmmm.... the first scene the persuit of Love Canal into the Legendary realm was completely.. Legend.... {wait for it} dairy....

But after that I dont know some people just dont have the time to do the full time online stuff and it shouldnt be required.   I know it drove several people including several of the Alpha KNUTZ.bounce  So maybe restrict it to scheduled scenes and more general stuff.   And since it is not worth Exp any more nobody will feel compeled to participate.

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Re: Brian's goals for after OWBN.

Post  Stbrian on Thu Sep 12, 2013 12:58 am

On Forum play:

It might be advantageous to allow unlimited forum RP for scenes in the Caern, but then only have one set "scene" outside of session per month.  Just spitballing, and I can see some problems with that already.  Hrm.

Thanks for the feedback!

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Damn

Post  Samuel Timmons on Thu Sep 12, 2013 8:01 am

I see a map of the park that shows a Picnic Area but Google shows that area to be overgrown woods.   I cant find a single picnic table or pavilion on the Island or off it.   As a matter of fact the park across the road where I once watched someone try to go over the Falls in space capsul style barrel [Yes the American Side]  and was stopped by the Opening of the intakes for the power project left his grounded a few hundred feet above the falls.

Anyway that large area along the American Side is gone the Robert Mosses Parkway is much wider than it was well back in the Mid 1970's:suspect: Shocked Embarassed   Oppps.... Sad

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Re: Brian's goals for after OWBN.

Post  Mischa Ivanoff on Thu Sep 12, 2013 11:42 am

Um, I dunno what map you are looking at, but as a Falls native who knows every inch of the area like the back of his hand I can tell you there are a LOT of picnic areas on Goat Island.

Like, not just a few, but a LOT.

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*shrugs*

Post  works for food on Fri Sep 13, 2013 3:15 am

Like I said I used Google and Street View and the one Map area show a Picnic area but its one of those cute cartoon maps not a real map.   Im not doubting you but I just couldnt find the things.   Do they have Pavilions !?! and if so and we want one we should probably book it months and months ahead of time...

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Re: Brian's goals for after OWBN.

Post  Mischa Ivanoff on Fri Sep 13, 2013 8:11 am

They do have pavilions, but they also have numerous picnic tables and grills just kinda chilling all over the place. I will admit to knowing nothing about picnic area reservations down there. Every time I've been involved in a group outing to the Falls, we've just gone, grabbed a pavilion or picnic area, and no one has ever asked us about reservations. I'm not sure it works like that down there.

John

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Re: Brian's goals for after OWBN.

Post  STBucky on Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:10 pm

Good to know....

Now can I cleverly nudge the thread back to informative feedback? lol

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Re: Brian's goals for after OWBN.

Post  Wishbone on Fri Sep 13, 2013 4:51 pm

(a) Minimal NPC Control

This may have seemed like a virtue from the STs point of view, and perhaps from the point of view of some players...but I think for a lot of the players who found themselves in leadership positions, it was far from uniformly positive.  The turnover of Alphas and the increasing reluctance for replacement Alphas to step up was indicative of that.  A support structure needs to be in place; Werewolf was never really designed for all of the Elders of the Sept to be PCs, anymore than Vampire was designed with the intention that all of the Elder vampires would be PCs.


(b) Player vs Environment structure

Overall, I'd say this was a success; player conflict happened, but was generally appropriate and character-driven.


(c) Show what the NPCs are thinking

I enjoyed the Interludes, and the speculation they generated.


(d) Balance long term threats vs monsters of the Week

This is an area where I feel a better balance can be reached.  A lot of players commented on how it felt like we were always rushing from one world-ending crisis to the next, and there was seldom time for player-driven plot.  I'd like to see more "downtime" months where there's not a lot happening with the overall story.

(e) Be aggressive with props and locations and general theatricality

I don't fault the STs for this one, but I'll admit that it drives me nuts.  I've been LARPing in Baldy Hall for twenty years now, and frankly, I'm so sick of the Kiva I could throw up.  We're playing a game set at Niagara Falls, and yet, we have never had a single session even partly set there.  I'd love to see more outdoor events when the weather permits; heaven knows we're going to have a solid six to eight months of indoor events no matter what we do.


(f) Bring new players into Garou, and keep them.

One suggestion here: you need an ST who focuses on new players, and that's it.  No big plot issues; no being "borrowed" to run a scene for experienced players.  An ST (or Narrator) whose sole role is to run scenes for newer players and help them with the rules.  If you need volunteers, I'd be willing to step up.

(g) Be aggressive in pushing forum play

There's a Catch-22 here.  Should those of us who are willing to put in the time and effort on the forums be limited because others choose not to?  I recognize the reality of the concerns, but at the same time, I see them as similar to a player who has to work Saturdays and can only show up to half of the sessions.  He or she is going to miss out on stuff, but I don't think anyone would argue that therefore, we should limit how much other players can do at session.

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