I anticipate a corpse count

Here’s our play experience with Ola’s Compact Stories, which is well-timed considering our recently-concluded season of Primetime Adventures. It’s a chance to perceive precisely what distinguishes his design, and for him to see what to dial down or to dial up inside it.

It’s a continuation of the consulting seen in How “right now” turns into “what happened”, and the embedded video is in the same playlist, but if I had to choose one Adept Play thing which goes with this session, it is Monday Lab 3: Boiling Pitch.

We were using Miro as a play-table, and my plan to use screen images as part of the video just didn’t pan out. It’s not that I had any technical problems, it’s a matter of effort and time. So some of the recording presented here is blacked out, for portions which would have been reversed or incomprehensible.

I’m going to ask Ola for some of the things I missed or didn’t recall fully, but as far as I can tell, we came up with:

  • The Weird West
  • Max’s character (associated with the Ancient Indian Burial Ground and the Wendigo): a hungry grave-robber, also a servant of one of the other characters
  • Helma’s character (associated with the Ghost Town and the Secret Agent): a confused journalist, intuitive (there’s more going on with her but I don’t recall)
  • My character (associated with Sacrifice and the Lone Gunman): a devout gunslinger, seeking to sacrifice everything to control a mystic being
  • We’re drawn together by a collective curse, we’re conducting a seance at the Ghost Town, and we seek (or the story is “about”) solving a murder.

I recommend seeing how these elements were chosen or determined, in what order, and to what extent they were independently derived or riffed from what someone else had just done.

5 responses to “I anticipate a corpse count”

  1. Session 1! (bonus: squick)

    We arrived with character names and images, and Ola had his preparation ready. I'm not sure he was ready for the degree of grim-ick that we were about to apply, but when the genre is Weird West, and the character cards in play are Sacrifice, the Lone Gunman, the Ghost Town, Secret Agent, Ancient Indian Burial Ground, and the Wendigo, then I might as well warn you that "pretty" is not on the menu.

    Here's the direct link into the playlist.

    One of the already-established features of the design is to begin with a sketchy but very individual character by choosing things from cards, but then to establish the nine mechanics-relevant features one by one, via play, scene by scene. We're now 'three features in" and I think you can see that it's a strong combination of character creation, discovery, and activity.

    Ola and I have not yet talked about the session, but I'll preview a little, because one thing is obvious: we did not get into the "guts and garters" of resolution as Ola and I had discussed in the consulting conversations. The critical topic of when we know we need to roll needs a workout.

    • Here’s our follow-up

      Here's our follow-up conversation! It requires a little warning in that it includes some direct comments about the three of us as players (me, Helma, Max; all good though), and thoughts on personal ways to play.

      I also think that Ola deserves heroic recognition. If you're designing a game, and you don't consider the questions I'm asking him, or aren't as willing to reflect as deeply as he does, then frankly, you should stop.

  2. Session 3!

    More corpses! I think this part finally brought in a steady diet of dice rolls so we could internalize how they relate to the overall procedures. I'll save my specific consulting stuff for a conversation, but you'll see Ola call out his own text or design more than once, which is very helpful. It's design via action.

    Here's the direct link into the playlist.

    Incidentally, have you ever imagined a kind of green room or meta gathering of your own player-characters over the years? Mine is disturbingly consistent, in a motley way. My fellow here, G. Whilliker, fits right in.

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