2006-04-27 : How about another one...

supernatural horror

Playtest document T minus 10 days.

1. On 2006-04-27, Ninja Monkey J said:

Holy crap, man. You're on a roll!


2. On 2006-04-28, Emily said:

Go V!


3. On 2006-04-28, Vincent said:

T minus 9.


4. On 2006-04-29, JasonN said:

*So* looking forward to this.


5. On 2006-04-29, Matt Wilson said:

"Is this that one game?" he asked probably in order to make himself sound all cool and conspiratorial and insidery, which was most certainly a desperate attempt to counter the feelings of insecurity that arose upon confronting the fact that Vincent had churned out four games while he struggled in vain with the one.

"Well, is it?"


6. On 2006-04-29, Ben Lehman said:

I know how Vincent has written so many games in such short time.  He's outsourced his game design to cheap Chinese labor.



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This makes...
XP go "Would that be you? :)"
LPL go "You're on to him"*
BL go "We, kemosabe?"*

*click in for more

7. On 2006-05-01, Vincent said:

Let's see, been away from the internet.

T minus 8.

T minus 7.

T minus 6.

I believe that catches us up.


8. On 2006-05-01, Kaare Berg said:

Now this pickled my cucumber.

How do you find time to do all this. I have to negotiate for even enough internett time to write this, lets not even mention the time to write one game.



9. On 2006-05-01, Vincent said:

I find the time through honed techniques of sleep deprivation and taking my notebook with me to the can.

Matt: yes, it is that one game.


10. On 2006-05-01, Larry Lade said:

Now this one (horror) is apt to be more up my alley. (than fantasy heartbreaker redux.)

No! I may be out of town at T minus zero!


11. On 2006-05-02, Vincent said:

T minus 5.

Afraid is based mechanically on Dogs in the Vineyard. I've been watching Dogs play for a couple years now, and there are a bunch of things that Dogs can do, mechanically, that its players aren't doing - so Afraid makes some of those things the foundation of play. Like, I've wanted to see more of [x], so here's a game where you do a ton of [x].

[x] in this particular case includes having real villains. Real honest-to-god unsympathetic enemies to humanity, no underlying justification, no foothold for compassion. Real monsters.

It's updated and adapted in several ways. Most significantly, it has hot scene framing rules. (Er, that is, it has unplaytested but theoretically hot scene framing rules. We'll see.)

You could play Dracula the original novel with it - the player characters would be the men in Mina's and Lucy's lives. You could play a more supernatural-horrific Silence of the Lambs, or very easily an awesome haunted house. Its grab is going to be its unique, original, and fucking scary villains; I expect to see the same trade in villains that we have now in Dogs towns.


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This makes...
JasonN go "'Fraid's monsters = DitV's towns?"

12. On 2006-05-02, kreg said:

ooooo...interesting!  can't wait to check it.



13. On 2006-05-02, Meguey said:

I've been using the monster-making part of Afraid to create big-bads for the Buffy game, and it works great.


14. On 2006-05-02, Vincent said:

Jason: 'Fraid's monsters = DitV's towns?

...Yes. Kind of.

In Afraid (Lord, please, not 'Fraid) the GM sets up a monster, his victims, slaves and acolytes, and the people around them. Dracula + Lucy + Mina + Renfield + Dracula's three women + those scary Transylvanian people + Harker, Van Helsing, the cowboy, Dr. Seward, the other guy, the other guy, the parents, etc. Some of these last might turn out to be PCs.

For a foretaste, look up my posts in an old thread in the lumpley games Forge Forum about "Delta Green in the Vineyard."


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This reminds...
VB of the thread in question

This makes...
Judd go "first thing by buddy Pete said..."*
JC go "10 legged spiders make me shudder..."*

*click in for more

15. On 2006-05-03, Kirk said:

Vincent: ...its unique, original, and fucking scary villains...

Its always nice when you come up with something cool like that. Too often supernatural villains end up being absurd or stupid. They need that edge to them that either brings them home or makes them unbearably unnerving. Monsters in closets and balding megalomaniacs with critters just don't cut it anymore. Although it does seem that creepy little girls with secrets are quite in vogue right now. It'll be great to have a system to assist in that creation.


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This makes...
AJF go "I want balding megalomaniacs in closets. Brrr."
ERP go "Balding megalomaniac little girls... in closets."

16. On 2006-05-03, Vincent said:

T minus 4.


17. On 2006-05-03, Ben Lehman said:

Film reference: Raise the Red Lantern.


18. On 2006-05-03, Kaare Berg said:

we're hitting the horror genre this saturday. Anychance of a playtest document by then?


19. On 2006-05-03, Vincent said:

A chance.


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This makes...
ksb go "May your bowels . . ."*

*click in for more

20. On 2006-05-03, gains said:

Damnit, you're going to make my horror concept gamist and uninteresting by comparison, aren't you?

Eh. It's a low priority project now anyway. Maybe if I hang onto it for a while I can avoid market oversaturation.


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This makes...
GS go "What's wrong with"*
BL go "Dude, don't step to Gamism"*
GS go "You're On!"*
KM go "Clusters"*
GS go "It's all because of"*

*click in for more

21. On 2006-05-04, xenopulse said:

Funny how this comes along just as I'm reading Sex and Sorcery.


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This makes...
BL go "How do you like it so far?"*
GS go "I don't get it."*
XP go "Quite a bit"*
GS go "Okay, I'm not sure though"*
XP go "Fair enough :)"
XP go "Now..."*
GS go "Well, I would but.."*

*click in for more

22. On 2006-05-04, Vincent said:


As far as I can tell, Ron's already had all the ideas and done all the work. All I can do is write about what he's done.

So yeah, Ron's books will be ALL OVER the acknowledgements page, of this and really all of my games.

Ha! I should make a sig! "If these ideas are news to you, you need to read Ron Edwards more carefully."

T minus 3.


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This makes...
KM go "Ron Edwards is like The Beatles"*
TH go "the beatles stole as much as they invented"*
BL go "More like velvet underground"
KM go "Yeah, my analogies suck."

*click in for more

23. On 2006-05-04, gains said:

Damnit! Using Ron's ideas? Now I really sound like I'm plagarizing you. Just don't put an exclamation point at the end of the title okay? Leave me that.


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This makes...
KSB go "You too?"*
NinJ go "Exclamation points are for the weak:"
KSB go "Colons rule"*
KM go "Really, really wrong."*
MSM go "Elipses ..."*

*click in for more

24. On 2006-05-05, Kirk said:

Yep. But Vincent, you make Ron's ideas understandable to the newbie. I read Ron's stuff for years and didn't get it. And then you come along with a single essay and it all clicks (I don't remember which one though).


25. On 2006-05-05, Vincent said:

T minus 2.

Kaare, I'll post what I've got tonight. It'll be missing some details but it'll be enough to go on, if you've got a pretty good working knowledge of Dogs.


26. On 2006-05-05, Kaare Berg said:

Hey thanks.

I'll refresh, but yeah, I got dogs down.

Tried the can thing yesterday. It works.


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This makes...
KSB go "Luke Forgive me"

27. On 2006-05-06, Vincent said:

Okay, Kaare.

Notably missing, to do by T zero: slaves, acolytes, and a cool GM fallout option.

Except where I say otherwise, assume that it's just like Dogs.

Afraid: Characters
Afraid: Scenes
Afraid: Resolution
Afraid: Monsters


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This makes...
Adam go "Very cool!"
KSB go "Printed"*
lpl go "Yaaaaaaaagggghhh!"*

*click in for more

28. On 2006-05-06, Darren said:

Looks very cool, and many interesting tweaks to the dogs system.
When you escalate instead of answering:
what happens to the raise that is interrupted? Does it get ignored, and the raiser lose or keep his dice? Does it remain to be resolved after the escalation, or does something else happen?


29. On 2006-05-06, Vincent said:

A way to say it would be, escalating instead of answering is an automatic block or dodge. Escalating counts as answering with two dice.


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This makes...
DH go "Cool, thanks."*

*click in for more

30. On 2006-05-06, Darren said:

The other question I meant to ask:
When escalation occurs, that's an opportunity for other people to join in.
What dice pools do they come in with? If it's like Dogs in that escalating people only get to use each stat once, and each trait/stuff once, won't the newcomers have an advantage?


31. On 2006-05-06, Vincent said:

Darren, good catch.

The newcomers roll dice for the current arena, and are otherwise considered to have already rolled the same stats as everyone else.


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This makes...
Guy S. go "Well, they still are ahead"*

*click in for more

32. On 2006-05-06, Vincent said:

Guy: Well, they still are ahead...Seeing as their dice are "Rolled" but not "Used"?

Depends when you escalate, and from what to what. It should be easy to imagine circumstances where the original participants have more dice showing than the newcomer.

The original participants will have been bringing in traits and belongings, as well.


33. On 2006-05-06, Guy Shalev said:

I'd like an example. Newcomers can also bring in traits and belongings, and the newcomers can also "Escalate" and "de-escalate", where he gets to add new dice(to him) but the original participants had already added these dice!


34. On 2006-05-06, Judd said:

Can you make PC's into Victims?



35. On 2006-05-06, Vincent said:

Guy: No - that's what I said. The newcomer is considered to have already rolled the same dice as everybody else.

Two people are arguing. They roll acuity and heart.

They escalate to physical. They roll body (they've already rolled heart).

They escalate to fighting. They roll will (they've already rolled body).

I join in when they escalate to fighting. I roll body and will, for fighting. I'm considered to have already rolled acuity and heart, same as they have. I can't escalate to talking or physical - same as they can't - and if I escalate to murder, I don't get to roll my acuity, I'm considered to have already rolled it.


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This makes...
Guy S. go "You mean used?"*
VB go "uh...sure."*

*click in for more

36. On 2006-05-06, Vincent said:

Judd: Yes, by staking it.

Oh boy. Let me think about that before I commit to it. But unconsideredly, yes, by staking it.


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This makes...
KM go "I really like that idea."

37. On 2006-05-07, Judd said:

What is up with the mumble during First Aid Conflicts?


38. On 2006-05-07, Judd said:

And I'm not sure I understand the difference between Bonds and Traits.


39. On 2006-05-07, Judd said:

One more question, sorry to badger ya.

If you are framing a scene with two characters, how do you reconcile their different circumstances?

Hm, maybe that question will be thrown out with play.


40. On 2006-05-07, Vincent said:


1. Um. Mumble. You know.

For now I guess reroll the fallout dice.

2. You roll bonds at the beginning of the conflict, with stats and relationships, every conflict, as long as the bond remains true. Like, "I never cut my hair 1d10": that's 1d10 at the beginning of every conflict until and unless you cut your hair.

3. Yeah, either you'll think of a way to frame them both into a scene, or you'll frame them into separate scenes.


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This makes...
CEP go "How about Highest Victimization + fallout dice?"*

*click in for more

41. On 2006-05-07, Charles Perez said:

1) If a bond is not true, how do you make it true again?

2) I take it slaves and acolytes are bonds for the monster - the monster gets a slave's or acolyte's dice if her service is true and the service is relevant to the conflict. Do I have this right? For example, does the GM even bother to establish the relevance of the slave or acolyte to the conflict?


42. On 2006-05-07, Judd said:

Now I want to Monster up a haunted house whose victims are all places.

It is late, though and my buddies weren't up for gaming tonight.


43. On 2006-05-07, Vincent said:

Charles P: 1) If a bond is not true, how do you make it true again?

In the fiction, same as how you made it not true.

Sometimes it'll be impossible to make it true again, or maybe just impossible within the timeframe of the game. That's life.

2) I take it slaves and acolytes are bonds for the monster - the monster gets a slave's or acolyte's dice if her service is true and the service is relevant to the conflict. Do I have this right? For example, does the GM even bother to establish the relevance of the slave or acolyte to the conflict?

Slaves and acolytes are NPCs in their own right. The monster doesn't get dice for them (unless they're also listed on the monster's character sheet as traits or relationships or whatever) - but no, they roll dice for themselves.


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This makes...
CEP go "So, monsters get relationships after all?"*
VB go "you're right, I misspoke."*

*click in for more

44. On 2006-05-08, Vincent said:

So yeah, T plus 1 and stuff left to do. I pray your indulgence!


45. On 2006-05-08, Adam B said:

Are the details of the monster secret from the players initially?

What order does stuff get made up in at the beginning, particularly with reference to player characters who are Attached to or Entangled with the initial victim (who presumably has to be made up after the monster)?

Do you intend this as a closed-form game, where you play it out until the end and then the story is over? Or do you intend for the game to carry on with the characters facing more monsters? (I'm guessing the former.)


46. On 2006-05-08, Kaare Berg said:

I bungled this on Saturday.

I blame allergies (spring has come in a big way) and the lack of prep.

I've run dogs towns with minimal amount of prep, Afradi really really demands prep. Not a bad thing. Just keep this in mind.

The lack of prep really compunded the errors caused by my lack of proper scene framing and the adherence to circumstances.
Further more the players made characters without me present, so I did not quite get the vibe they were after (We all forgot dice and I was the driver). So we ended up with a major disconnect between the characters and the victims. Didn't help.

But when all the bad has been said we had some tense conflicts and a dew though choices. Just not enough to rate the night a success.

We will try again, and as one of my crew said: "This is the perfect system for a horror game"



47. On 2006-05-08, Vincent said:

Kaare: bummer.

Adam: full answers forthcoming, but meanwhile:

1. The whole setup's secret at the start.

2. The GM should have the monster and the first victim made when the group meets to create characters.

When a player creates an attached or entangled character, read her the list. "Does your character: Love her for her innocence? Love her despite her innocence? Depend on her for strength, hope or courage? etc."

3. So you play the game vs. this monster for 3-5 sessions or so, is my plan. Then maybe you play again vs. a different monster - and maybe the entangled character this time is a veteran next time, and the investigator this time is still an investigator, and the other two players make new characters. That's how I see the game over longer-term play.

Also, I really truly hope that player characters die a lot in this game. If it turns out they don't, I'm going to step up the lethality. When your character dies, you just make a new one - plus your new character and everyone else's surviving characters all get reflection fallout.


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This makes...
CEP go "In Dracula, by Bram Stoker, Only Lucy and Quincey died..."*
VB go "over four whole games..."*
VB go "I'm very good at math."*
CEP go "Then Dracula wouldn't satisfy you ..."*
VB go "oh - by game I don't mean session."*

*click in for more

48. On 2006-05-08, Charles Perez said:

When you create a new character, is that by Afraid's new character creation rules or by Dogs' replacement character creation rules?


49. On 2006-05-08, Vincent said:

Dogs' replacement character rules, but replace the extra dice with the reflection fallout.


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This makes...
CEP go "Well, this alone will raise the player fatality rate..."*
CEP go "... player CHARACTER fatality rate, I mean."

*click in for more

50. On 2006-05-08, Adam B said:

I've not played Dogs long enough to see any player-character death, but the vibe I seem to get is that mostly when it happens, it's because the player chose to risk his character's life (by taking a potentially lethal blow) on an important conflict, rather than because the GM kept framing the characters into conflicts where their lives were part of what's at stake to begin with. Do you still want that to be the case here? Or are you happy to get your lethality just by being really fucking merciless with sending the monster and his slaves after the player characters?


51. On 2006-05-08, Vincent said:

Fucking merciless.

The monster is not motivated to let the PCs keep digging into and blocking her efforts, and she has wicked dice.

This is a horror game, after all.


52. On 2006-05-09, Sydney Freedberg said:

I once tried to write a horror story in which a powerful, wealthy vampire went after the investigator-protagonists in a remorseless but indirect way—getting them arrested, having a hireling wizard teleport cocaine into their bloodstreams just before a police drug test, cancelling their credit cards and phone service and heat, having henchmen kill their dogs, then their families, and only finally attempt killing the "hard targets" themselves.


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