Non-nominated Fastaval Scenarios

SeeMeNow

Gæsteindlæg af Mo Holkar, som ellers blogger her.

This is a response to Troels Ken Pedersen’s recent post, looking for some publicity for scenarios that didn’t get nominated for Ottos at Fastaval 2016! I played in or GMed a few such, and think they’re absolutely worth a bit of attention, as he suggests. Here are my experiences:

The Legends of Camelot (Louise Floor Frellsen and Johanne Schilling)

An opportunity to re-examine and question the Arthurian legends. Five players, taking the roles of Arthur, Guinevere, Morgana, Merlin and Lancelot. We customized the characters to our vision of their drives and needs, and then set about constructing scenes that would build towards a heroic narrative.

The main mechanism within the game was that of legacy – each character has decided how they want posterity to think of them. They seek to manipulate and shape events such that this becomes true, with the GM giving occasional feedback non how the current state of legacy is progressing.

The real fun in this scenario lay in the what-if – how might things play out differently, if the principals in the story act differently? So with us, Lancelot never fell for Guinevere, but remained loyal to Arthur. Morgana seduced Arthus in the disguise of Guinevere and bore him a son, Mordred. Guinevere retired from court to become the next Lady of the Lake. Merlin lost his magical powers, and gave up on humanity in disgust at their pettiness.

This was all very enjoyable, although it did feel like we had to do quite a bit of narrative heavy-lifting to get the story to come out satisfactorily for everyone. Players not used to framing their own scenes might struggle: the GM is really more of a facilitator.

See Me Now (Liz Gorinsky and Sara Williamson)

A group of friends, appearing in scenes from their childhood, adolescence and young-adulthood together. The scenes are chosen from a selection of 50 or so that have been provided by the designers: they focus on issue relating to gender, sexuality, and queerness in general.

The question is about how people deal with and relate to their friends’ changing gender and sexual identity as they mature: what tensions does it place? – what sources of support emerge? – how can understanding be communicated?

I was GMing this one, in an evening slot, and the players were so into their characters’ development that they wouldn’t let me finish… we ended up overrunning by an hour. But that allowed them to put together some very tender and powerful moments as their group of ill-assorted friends tore, polarized, recombined, and eventually reached an accommodation at their ten-year high-school reunion.

I thought it was a clever and approachable way of presenting this delicate material. It’s structured so as to be very accessible to non-gamers, and there’s a great emphasis on support and safety throughout.

YOLO (Lasse Blichfeldt)

Four teenagers go to a back house to party. One of them is found dead in the morning… what went wrong?

A short (2-hour) and punchy game which involves cutting back and forwards to build up the events of the night from both directions. The four characters have public and private personas that are deeply at variance – their secrets are damaging and destructive. It felt like any of us could have been killed by any of the others, but as it turned out, the story that we built made good emotional sense and had a terrific escalation of drama. Our GM cut aggressively and fired questions at us, which was absolutely necessary to keep the pace and energy level up.

There’s a social-media element – the characters have Facebook-like walls, and can text each other – but given the short timescale we didn’t really do much with this. We played the characters gender-swapped (they are 2 M and 2 F, at least apparently – there is a good deal of queerness in the narrative) and this seemed to work really well – it put a lot of power into our interactions.

And a couple of nominated ones that didn’t win

Trigger Warning (Oliver Nøglebæk)

An interesting look at the situation when one person among a group of friends is triggered by something the others innocently say. Four people talk through happy memories together, prompted by a stack of photographs. But for each of them, some of the photos will trigger an unhappy thought or feeling, related to that character’s personal trauma. They have to sit silently and blindly, thinking about their misery, while the others continue to chat happily.

It’s a powerful concept, but I’m not 100% sure that it worked as well as it could have, in my group (I was GM) at least. Two of the four players said that they had difficulty identifying with their character’s emotions and psychology: it seemed that where the ‘secret’ was something that the player also had some experience of, this became a lot easier.

It’s given me a lot to think about, both in its successes and in its failures.

Old Friends (Jason Morningstar and Ole Peder Giæver)

A retired team of paranormal investigators are reunited at the site where the death of one of their number caused their breakup. Can they cope with the buried tensions between them, with their relationships towards the dead Sara, and with her possible return as a vengeful spirit?

I facilitated this one as well, but it’s designed in such a way that I got to play a character too: I like this feature! There was no real ‘GMing’ as such required. As in Legends of Camelot, the players are set the task of finding their own resolution and making it feel satisfying.

The building of the team and their interrelationships is done very cleverly and efficiently, in an intro workshop: this is one of the features that got it nominated.

The most interesting feature for me, though, is the use of a mask to denote possession. This was a powerful and effective technique, working well both for the possessed player and for the others.

Dodging the penguins

So as it turned out, I didn’t get to play or to GM any of the scenarios that won Ottos. I’m sure they’re all terrifically good – but as Troels said, it would be a pity if they monopolized the discussion. Any scenario that makes it as far as running at Fastaval will have at least something good about it: and one of them might be just the perfect thing for you. Check ’em out!

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~ af troelsken på 26. april 2016.

En kommentar to “Non-nominated Fastaval Scenarios”

  1. […] forgot to say, this was a couple of months ago now, I wrote a guest post on the excellent Plan B Rollespil blog – about my experience playing and GMing scenarios at […]

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