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Beasts, Pools, and plot emergence

It was a surprise to see The Questing Beast there at IndieCON, in Italian, as well as that anyone would hold it up and say, "Let's play this" when we were surrounded by so many other acclaimed or recent titles, and that the anyone happened not to be me. Here's my take on the session that we played.

It gives me a chance to consider the differences between TQB and the other game by the same author, The Pool, which I've mentioned here once or twice, which I have felt strongly about for almost twenty years and got a chance to observe in play and with much more experience behind me.

I didn't record play, so this is just me talking, but I hope you can still enjoy the travails of Lady Violet, Sir Gelion, and the ever-helpful Gunther.

Here is The Comics and Art of James V. West, where you can browse mightily, and where praise be! both games are free for download.

Department: 
Actual Play

Comments

Dreamofpeace's picture

Interesting! So based on your experience during this session, do you still prefer the Pool? Like, would you still rather run QB with the Pool rather than its own system?

Ron Edwards's picture

Preferences and assessment of design aren't the same thing, so I have to answer for each.

My preferences lie with The Pool. It has a "no safety net" property in terms of plot emergence which I like. I should clarify: not "anything can happen" in a kooky way, but rather, "we have no options but to do things and see what happens" way.

The Questing Beast is better designed than I had thought, or better, leaned toward thinking (I never thought it was bad). Playing it definitely needs that feature I mentioned, to treat success or failure as very distinctive and literal to the immediate fiction, so that the Guided Event outcome takes on properties of its own. More so than before, I'm inclined to play it as itself, for itself, as much as other games I like.

Both games definitely work best when the GM has a solid prepared situation and active NPCs, rather than winging it through whatever seems "funnest" next ... but is also aware that each system utterly eviscerates any planned outcome once play begins, so you really shouldn't have any.

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