Miseries & Misfortunes Stream

Eric Vulgaris is currently streaming M&M session 1 on twitch:

Looks to be part of an ongoing series.

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Session 0
Session .66
Session 1

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Thanks for posting this! Here’s the youtube playlist for the game so far.

Sorry about getting some of the rules wrong. We’re gonna get better as we play, but stuff like losing rep being within intimidate distance in a DoW is stuff we only caught after the fact.

We’ll be back this Saturday, but down a Grant (he’s off galavanting in NYC this weekend). My Friend Kikka is excited to play and she’ll be coming on as a powerful NPC. We’re gonna be dealing with some fallout of pissing off a priest. So she’ll be possibly playing as Adam’s employer, Aden, or someone else equally of note.

Speaking of which, if there’s any interest in what I’m doing behind the screen to run this game, I’d be happy to post up my notes. Most interestingly I’ve generated city locations using Kevin Crawfords Silent Legions (ignoring the most zany/unbefitting options) as backdrop conflicts our childhood friends get swept up in!

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I would love to have GM’s chat about M&M. I’m spinning up another game soon and I’m still learning what the game requires in terms of GM resources.

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new episode!

Ok so my GM process for this game is tricky. Luke, your 1648 game recap has been a tremendous help as well as other report – the one shot necromancer adventure. Starting situation-wise, I was originally going to start with them getting Anton’s notes in a letter, but I felt having his death be present would invoke more pathos and more what Alexandre Dumas would do.

I know what I want out of this game: I want a political storm/faction conflict overture while my players are getting revenge for their dear friend and finishing his research into the holy grail and the knights templar. Like that much is clear when I started.

So the first thing I do is I write down the characters names and relevant info: religion, nationality, politics, age, dependence, debts, and their XP triggers… as well space for notes like anything involving goals/aspirations etc.

If I’m to have political storms, I’ll need political fronts. I need factions that form the mass of my movements. Putting names to factions and creating allied sub-factions to causes really helped me. I used silent legions cult generator to create the Holy Legion of our Lady – the Fench-HRE Catholic alliance of scholars in pursuit of templar artefacts for profit and prestige! Their trust (or lack) between both branches is a cause of great concern. They’re strength AND their weakness in one.

I ripped others out of the necromancer one shot. But I needed ones for the frondeurs, royalists, etc. Eventually I’ll make several subfactions with different interests… especially frondeurs… but I’m getting ahead of myself.

Next I needed a district for where this game is playing out. I can’t rely on an entire city starting out. I need the equivalent to a town in D&D. This is where I turned to Silent Legions again. I rolled a location with tags of Buried Riches and Forced Relocations. JACKPOT. So of course this is a part of paris thats closely associated with buried templar stuff along with people getting kicked out. I combined that to be my Catholics kicking out debtors and non-catholics plot. This is where I named The Rue de Temples. I already am stealing the court of miracles and the cemetery of the holy innocents too as extra places.

I forget when in my process but I got the notion the church is using armed men to help expedite their evictions – which is where I get the idea of a mercenary. I roll up their origins and politics off special people tables that includes non-french and got a Bavarian. Perfect! I think he’ll make a great foil to my own soldier PC, Picard. All my other NPC generation stuff has already been transcoded into Roll20 by myself for easy NPC generation via macro. In a single click I get names, looks, affiliations, motivations, etc.

And this is where I put it all together. My group already knows their fourth best friend is to die and their death brings people together (see our session 0’s). So now I just gotta get this sap kidnapped by the holy legion and forced to decode some things for them and die dramatically and this is my episode 1.]

Episode 2 I review my characters once more and their debts, dependents, and experience tracks. I knew this was going to be “FOLLOW UP ON ANTON” for my players, but I needed to set up conflicts between their dependents and explain how the city is progressing worse (I introduce Malazin’s declaration certain chambers aren’t getting paid) and how this is turning into riot time. I want to setup how life will make them choose between honoring their duty to friends and duty to family.

I knew I’d start the session asking how they grieve at home and here’s my notes on their homes and approach to NPC situations with my PCs. I knew going in that these conflicts probably wont be duel of wits today… but future session duel of wits material!

  • Valentin’s Younger Brother, Robert!, scolds his sister over her flamboyance to the clergy!

    • A creditor named axel levaign has come by demanding payments! I told him to piss off but now im not so inclined the next time he comes calling.
  • Olivier St. Michel (Blood) scolds Picard. – you must find work! We dont want to be put on the street by these catholic rats! Get some money! Dont come back here until you get some money

    • Debt - johan van floot
      • Wiry & sexy
      • Talkative
        • Regret – we must return this! It isnt right!
  • Mouston is greeted by their infirm aunt genevieve, telling him his Rabbi is pissed that he has heard him moving around threatening priests! Think of your aunt!

Rest of game:

  • Aden requires a secret message to be delivered to La Madame De Chevreuse in one of her salons.
  • They must get past customs officials and a riot

So far NPC wise Ive been using the books rogues gallery and the NPC priest from the necromancer one shot. More non-combative NPC default stats would be nice! Right now I just generate will on the fly if I dont have it… but the social stats seems to be the most important thing.

The rest of the game I was keeping it open to the players. I felt like I’ve done enough at this point to drop hints on follow ups for Anton, describe the city situation and what’s going on, and the status of their debts and dependents. I was curious how they wanted to proceed. This game works best when players drive the story (AFAIK) and I thought I was at that point. Overall we’re having SO MUCH FUN but my players admitted after the game that they need more on-leash as they figure out their character’s strengths. I’m fine with that. So I need to keep upping the ante some more for next saturday!

Personally I was so pleased with the conflict between the thieving urchins wearing stolen frocks and jackets trying to get into Mouston’s house!

I hope this breakdown into my thoughts and processes is useful to someone!

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Today we had two out of three players and managed to have a few great scenes, but I’m struggling as a GM… or at least I feel like it. I feel like I’m having to pull from all my gm tricks to run the game.

Today’s 2hr game consisted of party planning and our soldier accidentally following some enemies from last session walking into a laundromat and went to get demand satisfaction. It’s fun and fine but it feels harder than it should be. Sometimes a dramatic line or intention makes us go damn! And wish we were duel of wits-ing.

Here’s some examples of what I’m doing:

I have some simple project based goals for the factions spinning, keeping the political backdrop of the city alive. (Frondeurs pushing for parliament to put forward reforms and relieve taxes, the holy legion decodes the chalice’s clues, etc)

I’m relying heavily on die of fate to tell me how desperate a scene should be. It’s great for scene framing. Like when my soldier stopped buying eggs to follow those soldiers into the laundromat, my die of fate came with a 1. The laundromat was FULL of soldiers and he was outnumbered and a Chase ensued ending with him getting beaten up and thrown in the Seine to cool off.

For the game itself whenever I need it, a fence for my players wealth owed to him to use for instance, I generate a few more NPCs using the stuff from the book, some motivations and looks from blades in the dark, and needs/fears from silent legions to inspire me in the moment. The random generator came up with an actress and fence with the same last name. Of course the actress is this businessman’s daughter!

While on the social/NPC part of the game, I often wish I could just use a duel of wits attack without the entirety of duel of wits. Knowing when to DoW vs parley or something else has been a deal for me. A few times we’ve been in the middle of a great roleplaying moment and then I’d wish we were duel of wits-ing after a great line.

Just currently I don’t feel like I’m pushing the issue with my group mechanically. Maybe I’m demanding pacing when this game is just naturally slower than i think. (I was expecting like 4-5 sessions to be pretty resolving vis a vis 1648 playtest and when to judge vice/virtues but my 2hr games maybe are just slower.)

I also can’t help but feel like where burning wheel has resources, what is there to do when a noble wishes to throw money around the theater to attract attention of some popular patrons of the arts to attend their next party? How does that engage the wealth of a character?

Anyways were enjoying this game, just I feel like my gm engine is stuck in a lower gear than it should be and just overworking itself. Cheers!