2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby Gilliam » Tue Apr 22, 2014 11:20 am

I don't have any objections to more PC/PC interactions although I know for myself my posting is either briefly first thing in the morning before I need to get ready for work like now or late at night after the kids are in bed which can slow scenes down if the other player is waiting for a response.

I don't think Jackie knows how to relate to Mockingbird either, she has seen him as a young man who turned into an old man before coming young again yet does seem "old". She also saw him take the lead in ordering the Aeon soldiers about which is why she has nicknamed him "General" which I can drop it if it is annoying.

Although Jackie is still trying to the right thing she does have a habit of being late, forgetful and getting drunk when she lets her hair down :D

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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby Ysariel » Wed Apr 23, 2014 8:50 am

baixiwei wrote:Hey gang, I thought I'd raise a couple things I've had on my mind for a while. These are thoughts of the form "I'd like this game even better if ..." so I want to preface it by saying, first of all, that I enjoy the game tremendously already and will continue to do so even if these thoughts are totally ignored, secondly these are based on entirely subjective preferences and not everyone may agree with them, and finally that even if all the players agree with them it's of course Ysariel's prerogative to accept them or not, and I'm fine with either outcome. All that said -

(1) I felt like PC-NPC relations got more emphasis than PC-PC relations in the first chapter. I'd like it better if the reverse were true. More time spent on out-of-combat interactions among PCs. More secondary plots that intrinsically involve more than one PC and fewer, or none, that involve only one PC. To the extent that NPCs who belong specifically to a particular PC's backstory appear, as much as possible, creating reasons for other PCs to care about and be interested in those NPCs. Less compartmentalization of and more connections between the different PCs' lives.

(2) The combats were easy for my taste. While there were lots of chances to showcase how awesome we are, I rarely felt there was a serious risk of losing. Even against the biggest bosses, they were more or less losing or at best holding their ground from the very start of action. I'd like it more if we had more skin-of-our-teeth victories, with some characters being badly hurt or even incapacitated, and even some actual losses. For me, heroism has more to do with dealing with adversity and setbacks than with effortlessly kicking ass.

Thoughts?


For 1), If you want interaction among PCs you have to seek it out yourself. Your relationship with the other characters is part of your own character development and should be up to you to decide. Having the GM steer it in a particular direction by doing the things you suggested feels a little artificial and forced to me.

For 2), I will only increase the difficulty if all of you unanimously agree that the game is too easy as is. I don't want players to feel frustrated by extremely challenging villains, nor do I want to encourage cutthroat tactics like PA 5 AOA 5. I want players to feel that taking actions that are not 100% optimal in combat is not a death sentence. The way I see it, if you want adversity to overcome, just pass on the rerolls for a while.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby kenseido » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:09 am

I agree with Ysariel on both points.

Especially #2. It is very common for PCs to fight in a genre-savy manner - they tend to go straight for the "Blazing Sword" or "finishing move." They use AO/PA because they know if they stun the bad guy, the All Out has no consequence. And even if they don't stun them, the opponent may not even attack them, so again, the All Out has no effect. Or, if they are Toughness shifted and expect to get hit anyway, well you get the idea. (Incidentally, this is why I House Rules combat mod feats).

Sometimes we do these things on accident. We hit someone and it doesn't faze them. Did they make their Toughness save by a lot, do they have Impervious, or do they have Immunity to that particular damage type? Often times the GM will tell us OOC, and then we adjust our tactics accordingly. In reality, we shouldn't; it should take a few rounds for us to figure which one it is.

Players shouldn't count on the GM to keep them from accidentally killing an opponent who may be squishier than expected. Players shouldn't count on GM getting bad rolls (I kid you not, this is a legitimate thing in another game). Players shouldn't use the results in the OOC box unless they are obviously explained in IC. And players shouldn't count on the GM "protecting" them if they screw up royally.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby badpenny » Wed Apr 23, 2014 9:41 am

baixiwei wrote:penny & ken, from your replies, I actually am not sure whether you both are personally interested in shifting emphasis from PC-NPC relationships more to PC-PC relationships with respect to your own characters?


I'm open to it, but it should feel organic. I suppose that's why I wouldn't want a GM emphasis on two-PC interludes (rather than solo), unless the two players work that out with the GM. I think it starts with a particular PC seeking another out and starting a relationship (friendship/mentor/romantic/what-have-you). I think it's best to work it out (or at a minimum, plant the seeds) via PM first--just so cues aren't missed.

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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby baixiwei » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:33 am

Hm. Regarding #1 I can kind of see where you guys are coming from, and I agree halfway, but here's why I don't agree fully. The interludes we had in the first chapter were, by default, solo. Thus, having these interludes means we are portioning out a substantial amount of game time during which it's assumed the characters will not interact with each other unless they specifically seek out such interaction. Of course we also have the rest of the game time not devoted during the interludes, during which the characters are by default together. However, during these non-interlude periods, the great majority of time is devoted to fighting villains and other kinds of action scenes. There is interaction among PCs during such scenes but as far as I can see, the possibility of building relationships among the PCs based on such interactions alone is limited. Thus, considering interludes and non-interlude scenes together, there is no scene which is intended specifically for relation-building interactions among the PCs.

It's fine to say that for such interactions to occur, you must seek them out, but on the other hand, why shouldn't opportunities for such interactions be built into the structure of the narrative? After all, we do not say "for fights to occur, you must seek them out" nor "for interactions with your PC's family and friends to occur, you must seek them out" - both of these types of opportunities are built into the structure so that they will occur as long as you don't specifically avoid them. You don't need to seek them out. Why should not the same be true for PC-PC interactions? Maybe my specific suggestions were not good, but I feel like there should be *something* that could be done here.

Our court scene on Aeon was a good example of this IMHO. It was not an action scene and it provided an opportunity for interesting interactions among the characters that would potentially help flesh out their relationships. We didn't have to specifically seek it out, because it was part of the story. It differs from my specific suggestions in that it was a group activity rather than involving only two characters - fine. I'm not specifically wedded to having pairwise interludes. What I would like to see is just more stuff like the court scene that where the default assumption is that the characters are going to interact in a meaningful way doing something other than fighting. Secondarily I guess I would also like to see substantially LESS time spent on scenes where the default is solo, but I realize others might differ on this.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby FuzzyBoots » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:47 am

I can see where you're coming from. That said, I feel like we're kind of back to the difficulties involved in running a PbP game. We're all posting at different times. Take, for example, the courtroom scene. A lot of the dialogue was more a matter of dilogue if you'll pardon the pun, with two people speaking back and forth and other players later having to shoehorn their responses in, something difficult to do without it making look like the later poster's character was being ignored since none of the other reactions were to their speech. That or the talking becomes kind of snake-like, going forward and backward in time to address their comments. It's kind of a peril of the medium. Combat is simpler because everyone has a turn in order, more or less.

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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby kenseido » Wed Apr 23, 2014 10:54 am

Again, those opportunities have existed even before then. The players need to take advantage of the opportunities.

We could have done it when we were choosing team name, but didn't.

There could have been some after the fight in the simulator.

There could have been more when Philip was taking Chrysalis to the prison and later to Rheia's place.

There could have been some between Jackie and Chrysalis before and after the interviews.

The flight to Aeon.

The pre-trial stuff.

The post invasion.

The flight back.

The time between returning and the press conference.

I think I have made my point. Ysariel has given plenty of opportunities. When players don't choose to roleplay, the game gets moved forward to avoid inertia killing it. The onus is on us as players because Ysariel has provided ample opportunity. We just haven't used it. Timing makes it difficult but as long as the players are interacting, I don't think Ysariel is gong to overrun us and force us to move on.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby baixiwei » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:40 pm

Ken, I get what you're saying but many of the things you mentioned are not opportunities in the sense that I am talking about. These are mostly occasions on which we COULD interact if we wanted to, but there was no particular reason to do so. The plot went on normally when we did not interact.

I'm talking about occasions where there is actually a reason to interact in the story. Compare: in the solo interludes involving NPCs from our backgrounds, there is usually a ready-made reason to interact with those NPCs, it's not just "now you can seek them out if you want". There is often some event which it would be very strange *not* to react to.

Similarly, in the court scene, there was a reason for us to interact, and so we did, much more than usual. I would like more scenes like this. I personally would like it if sometimes they involved only some of us rather than all of us, but that's not essential. I do take Fuzzy's point about possible issues with this kind of scene, but in general, would you (or anyone else) object to having such scenes a little more often, if Ysariel were willing?
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby kenseido » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:46 pm

You gave the Court scene as an example. I did NOT like the court scene. I don't particularly like the confrontational nature of that scene.

Not that the PCs should always get along, but I, for one, do not want a scene like that in every story.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby baixiwei » Wed Apr 23, 2014 6:51 pm

I totally agree and sorry if I was unclear about that. In general I detest confrontations among PCs. I sort of didn't mind it in that particular case because the disagreement was about something interesting. But I'm certainly not asking for more confrontations. I just meant - more scenes like that one, insofar as that one involved meaningful non-combat interactions among the PCs.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby Ysariel » Thu Apr 24, 2014 12:35 am

As regards AOA + PA, I really held off on house ruling it since my opinion is players should have that option open for when they want to do some sort of last-ditch super attack. The next time it is used 1) too often and 2) without consequence I will remove it.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby Ysariel » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:21 am

FuzzyBoots wrote:As regards interaction, that is a peril, particularly in PbP where inconsistent posting schedules and a desire to avoid puppeting others means that conversation can be halting as opposed to Ysariel who's around all of the time to post the next bit of the exchange. I'll admit that I haven't really put a lot of thought into how Mockingbird integrates with the rest of the team... I could see him getting almost grandfatherly with Chrysalis and now Aranea. Jackie, I have no real idea as to how they might interact. Kisai strikes him as a somewhat impetuous and passionate youth, the sort of soldier who needs someone to occasionally rein him in.


I don't feel that is a big problem, although it's admirable that you try not to leave out other characters. The only problem is conversations will get a bit snakelike as you try to reply to everything that has been said (which you don't need to do in order to avoid ignoring everyone; you can refer to what they have said indirectly or just acknowledge that they have spoken even if you have no specific response for them). :)

Also I am not around all the time to post the next bit of the exchange. It just looks that way because of the lengths I go to in order to give out timely responses. :) I have a busy life like all of you and I fight for the time needed to run this game.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby Ysariel » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:29 am

baixiwei, I get your point and in retrospect I agree as well that the early chapters of ECK were too action-heavy. I should have played out more investigation scenes and non-combat stuff. That's something I will try to correct going forward from here.

But I do have to comment on this:

baixiwei wrote:It's fine to say that for such interactions to occur, you must seek them out, but on the other hand, why shouldn't opportunities for such interactions be built into the structure of the narrative? After all, we do not say "for fights to occur, you must seek them out" nor "for interactions with your PC's family and friends to occur, you must seek them out" - both of these types of opportunities are built into the structure so that they will occur as long as you don't specifically avoid them. You don't need to seek them out. Why should not the same be true for PC-PC interactions? Maybe my specific suggestions were not good, but I feel like there should be *something* that could be done here.


Fights are easy for the GM to start, just have an NPC attack the character. And interactions with NPCs are easy for the GM to start too: just have the NPC go up and talk to the character. Interaction among PCs is a different thing since I have no control over your characters. :)

I will try to give you more chances for interaction, as well as scenes that do not involve all the characters, although you have to be prepared to take the initiative too. For what it's worth, I still have no idea what was different about the Aeon court scene that made everyone start talking suddenly.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby baixiwei » Thu Apr 24, 2014 7:50 am

Ysariel wrote:I will try to give you more chances for interaction, as well as scenes that do not involve all the characters, although you have to be prepared to take the initiative too. For what it's worth, I still have no idea what was different about the Aeon court scene that made everyone start talking suddenly.


Personally I think it is that there was something external to us that we had to react to - specifically, the Aeons' request for our opinions about what to do with Mars and Tsuki.

Just in the same way, in RL if you get a bunch of people together to watch a ball game - that's something that people do, isn't it? I'm never really sure - they can talk about the ball game. If they're just together in the same place, they might not talk at all.
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Re: 2e Emerald City Knights OOC (full)

Postby badpenny » Thu Apr 24, 2014 8:11 am

This is why I think you need to plan it out ahead of time. You can put PCs together in the same scene and that doesn't mean they're going to interact in any meaningful way. People play shy, withdrawn, anti-social, etc. They miss cues for interaction because of a host of reasons--chief among them the player is figuring out what their own character is going to do next.

If you want more interaction, interact more. PM players and work some business out.

That's what I did with Omega Girl: hey, we have similar powers, let's spend a point on a Mind Link and have some crazy things happen!


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