thread: 2009-12-18 : Seed content

On 2010-01-23, Joel wrote:

Hey, Marshall, thanks for explaining. That feels a whole lot better than me fidgeting in embarrassment at some mysterious faux pas while those in the know nod in dismayed agreement.

I weep about it because I really want it to be WSB: the game. Because I would love that game. But OTE is, as written, an adventure game with Burroughsian Color, which just isn't the same.

OK, I can buy that. It squares with my constant feeling during play that OTE was pointing toward something cool and amazing, that I and my fellow players didn't know how to implement.

I readily cop that I'm a total Burroughs novice, having only read Naked Lunch and that only in an attempt to make sense of OTE. Now you've got me much more interested in reading further.

OTE almost has support for this with its power groups, but they're really kindof pathetic—if any of them are competent, why are there so damn many of them that can't do anything about each other? Nah, they're really just minor players scrabbling for tiny advantages. Which is part of a Burroughsian universe, but not enough. It's missing the capital-C Control. The time, inertia, entropy, shit-death-and-taxes Control on a cosmic level.

The text hangs a lampshade on this, basically telling the GM that he's gonna have to come up with some plausible reason why the groups don't just squash the PCs flat. But yeah, it's a problem. I was constantly struggling in play to maintain player agency without the groups looking silly and incompetent.

The Cut-Ups supplement (written by Robin Laws) seems to move further toward what you're talking about, especially with the audacity of its surrealist heroes. But it doesn't much for Capital-C Control other than postulate its existence.

That "audacity keeps you alive" theme reminds me a lot of the Invisibles. And the forces of Control definitely don't feel limp-dicked there.



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