Spot-Checking the Lie, Part 3

June 4, 2009

Final thoughts on the Bliss-Robed Lie playtest from yesterday.

Dev agreed with me that the names of the PCs / NPCs in the Meat Lightning example campaign need to be changed from Matrix-y names (Glitch, Cascade) to period appropriate names from fiction (like Dodger from Oliver Twist, or Tiger, Pirate Jenny, and Macheath from Threepenny Opera).

The role that Anchors have during missions is so small (I didn’t even mention them in my description above), that they aren’t really necessary, even in a sort of Operator role. Far more important is dialog and other expressions shared between the characters on a mission together (which doesn’t really happen in The Matrix or Bliss Stage much). There’s probably a “machinist” back on the icebreaker running the galvanism machine, but I don’t think you can contact them unless you’re near a lightning rod or open space where lightning can reach you.

As with the mesmerism / The Shroud of Death discussion, the setting needs to be playtested a bit more just to work out little logistical kinks that’ll impede storytelling and what the players actually want to be doing. Sure, in play, Raven handed over some scraps of cloth that the owner of the opium den took as money (because of mesmerism), but there need to be fairly clear guidelines about what those capabilities are, mostly so the players can forget about them and focus on the important stuff.

It’s not entirely clear to me yet how much information I should include about PCs and NPCs, where the line is between not enough and too much. Definitely, there should be a list of example missions to riff on or even some missions assigned to individual characters, to be brought into play at certain points in the game. Also, when I mentioned to Dev that one of the example PCs was a traitor, Cipher-style, trading information about the crew to Asmodeus, Dev wondered how that would work in play. I said I was just assuming that that player would hotshot objectives based on keeping their cover and getting information to Asmodeus, but assuming isn’t really enough. I should clearly but that on that character’s sheet.

4 Responses to “Spot-Checking the Lie, Part 3”

  1. DevP Says:

    Again, I think it’s an interesting point that it’s the setting and situation and need to be playtested (or maybe just played) to iron out logistical kinks that don’t come out until you’re applying the actual structure and constraints of gameplay. I think it’s helpful when settings explain away lame outcomes and comment them out of the core gameplay.

    • Jonathan Walton Says:

      Yeah, the whole concept of needing to playtest the setting is interesting, but it’s true of Mare Caspium as well, right? And things like Oracles definitely need to be playtested, because they’re bits of setting that directly affect how play goes.

  2. DevP Says:

    For the Traitor: she probably should already be in contact with Demonic agents trying to turn her, and maybe she’s already passed some info, but she isn’t pure Traitor yet. The player can then decide whether to drive towards being Cipher or being somehow caught in the middle or trying some double-double-agent stab or who knows.


  3. […] a while ago I playtested Bliss Robed Lie, a gnosticpunk hack by JWalt. (See also: AP Report.) I’d like to share some of my (rekindled?) thoughts from the playtest, and keep in mind that […]


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