[Remember Tomorrow] Some questions and comments after a game

edited September 2010 in Actual Play
Five friends and I had a game of Remember Tomorrow last night and had a lot of fun. We played for around 5-6 hours and even skipped dinner everyone was so engaged. Before the session I was a little worried the game would fall flat on its face, as we’d all mostly played more traditional RPGs before, with prep and a single GM, but not at all, the game went very, very well.

It’s a little difficult to tell exactly how much fun each player has in a game, but judging from the aftergame buzz and the level of engagement during the game, I’d say it was a rousing success – certainly I had set my expectations of others’ reactions ranging from polite ‘interesting, but not for me’ through to ‘fun, but a novelty’. Instead there was quick consensus to play again next week, with everyone really enthusiastic about what we’d created together.

There’s a link to the game writeup here: http://roleplayingstuff.pbworks.com/Remember-Tomorrow , which is a little dry but will give us the notes needed to pick things up in a couple of weeks – with 6 players we quickly established a Byzantine plotline which got difficult to keep tabs on at the best of time, so I think this will be useful.

Comments

  • edited September 2010
    So I have a couple of observations to share and a few questions/clarifications for anyone who can help:

    With 6 players, setting the game up is time consuming! We spent a lot longer than I expected discussing the shape of the world of the future and we ended up with 12 intro scenes to bring in all the PCs and Factions. This was still a lot of fun, as Intro scenes are playing the game, but seemed pretty daunting when 2 + hours in we were still going through these. Some of this is down to unfamiliarity with the rules and game concepts, so I guess it’s very similar to a chargen session before a typical RPG campaign. Worth bearing in mind for a one-shot though.

    I had suspected 6 players would stress the game, especially by leaving some players with nothing to do a lot of the time but watch the roleplaying of others. This wasn’t generally the case I think – some characters had more spotlight time than others, but the ones that didn’t I don’t think minded, as they were often playing Factions and this was as much or of more interest to some players as the story of their PC.

    This was also alleviated as Controllers proactively sought to include as many other players as possible each scene, drawing from their previous roleplaying and GMing experience to assign everyone NPCs to play – as written, Remember Tomorrow makes a nod towards this, but I don’t think this is as strong as we had it in play. A lot of the time we each had an NPC role to play, playing a member of a company board or a secret hacker cabal, with the Controller assigning each of us agendas to pursue on an ad hoc basis.

    We had a couple of scenes where multiple PCs were targeted by a Faction, but this was limited as initially there was little reason to explain why this would be the case. The Byzantine web of factional and PC agendas took awhile to weave together. We probably didn’t need the Cross rules, although I appreciate their purpose. We were actively looking for Cross opportunities anyway, which meant when a Cross was rolled we probably overstated how much an impact this needed to have on a scene. This especially applied to my character, who ended up in several Face Offs solely by rolling doubles a lot.

    We struggled a bit with the oppositional role of Controller in a FaceOff, as Deals feel quite different and you’re advocating for your PC in those and in FaceOffs you’re restricted to trying to hurt another PC all the time. We sort of resolved this, as we wanted to have a scene where two PCs got together to discuss information and propose alliances and ended up using a Colour scene to do so – using a FaceOff meant we kept trying to Coerce one another. Using a Colour scene instead seemed to work okay but looked a bit of a fudge going by the rules. I’d appreciate any thoughts on how to set up an alliance scene between PCs if anyone’s dealt with a similar example.
  • We also struggled with joint winners. I had a headache and was losing the plot by the end so that probably contributed, but I think Scene Goals and Outcomes are bought and implemented simultaneously, is this correct?

    In our game we had a joint result with opposed Scene Goals meaning we decided who won the conflict by the highest successful die result, in this case to Injure my character. I lost the Scene Goal and was Injured, but we still had 3 outcomes each to spend (we each rolled 3 successes to tie) and we got into a tit for tat spend: the Faction had Injured me, then tried to make me Dying, which I bought off with an Outcome, which they reinstated, etc. so that the joint results cancelled each other out.

    How I think this should have worked, I get to be Injured, plus anything else the Faction wanted to spend their 3 outcomes on and the only NCons I could remove are ones that were on my sheet before the conflict. Which means my PC would have been Written Out (Injured, then Dying, then Killed, plus another outcome for the Faction to spend).

    Does this sound right? Because it means if I’d lost the whole conflict by only rolling 2 successes, my character would have been better off, e.g. the winner wins with one Margin, and could only buy Dying with it – and as Loser I could reduce this by scrubbing one of the Faction’s NCons. Which sounds counter-intuitive.

    Hope that makes sense!

    Also, what happens if you want to inflict a NCon, in this case Coerce, on someone who’s already Coerced and you succeed? Do you have to buy off the existing Coerce with an Outcome, then replace it with your Coercion (which seems a bit mean on the winner), or is success at the Scene Goal mean you replace the previous Coerce with yours for free? Or can you be Coerced twice? Or does it mean that Coerce is not a valid Scene Goal is the target is already Coerced?

    Last question: Can Factions boost their INF increase after a FaceOff to +2 by scrubbing one of their PCons? Or is this an option for PCs only

    Based on my experience of two sessions of this game (I played in a 2 player game previously), I can’t recommend this game enough! It’s exhausting creatively, but an exhilarating ride.
  • edited September 2010
    To answer your second question first, getting a double raise appears to be limited only to PCs. Since all a Faction needs to do to succeed is get to a certain Influence, it gets different advancement rules (can't raise Inf on the introduction, can't double raise by scrubbing a condition).

    As for the first one, I am OK with one Joint Winner using its successes to effectively "counter" another's - for everything except the Scene Goal, anyway First, the reason you mention, but also, that way could lead to some great scenes where you might have to choose between achieving your goal and some other consequence that you might be unwilling to see happen (your death, your opponent achieving their goal too, etc.)
  • Hey Adrian, thanks for that.

    Joint Winners can't give each other Negative Conditions as Outcomes, because neither side is a Loser. I think that answers the tit-for-tat thing?

    So, in your case with directly opposed Scene Goals then the only Scene Goal would be the one who rolled the highest success. All the other Outcomes have to be spent on Parameter increases (or an INF increase), Positive Conditions, a Goal tick or inflicting PCons, NCons and Goal Tick/Unticks on any Losers in the conflict (if there are any Losers, and it doesn't sound like it). So the result should have been your PC Injured and each side loading up on Parameter/INF increases, PCons and a Goal tick. Oh, and the player with the Faction getting an Edge die.

    If someone is already Coerced then they can't get "more" Coerced (you just are or aren't), so if they already are then they stay that way. I think I would add the fictional detail of the new coercion to their existing one. Say, a Faction has a Scene Goal for every PC there to get Coerced into helping with their stim-dealing operation. All the PCs not previously coerced now have Coerced with the detail "Helping with stim-dealing" and the one PC that was already coerced as "Ratting on Molly for the cops", say, now has "Ratting on Molly for the cops and stim dealing too". Of course, it still just costs one Outcome to buy off that coercion even though it's been made more complicated fictionally.

    I don't have the book in front of me but I don't think INF can get a +2 by rubbing off a PCon. It would say that explicitly if it could happen, I'll go check.
  • edited September 2010
    Thanks for the responses, the whole joint winner thing makes perfect sense now. On one level we were aware that Losers are the only one to receive negative consequences, but on another it all got really confusing after several hours or play and twisted plot development.

    We had Face Offs where a Faction sought to achieve differing Scene Goals for each PC. It made sense fictionally, (e.g. run over and Injure one PC and capture another with Trapped), so I'm guessing that's fine by the rules?

    On reflection, I'm pretty sure drnuncheon is correct and INF can only go up by 1 since it represents a Faction getting closer to their goal. We had a last scene of the session where a cabal of hacker/industrial big wigs were at INF 6 and trying for an Exit. It didn't happen in the end - they had to scrub their last positive condition to get a joint win with the PCs - but would have had a dramatic impact.

    As it is, they're sitting on INF 7 for our next session.

    How about PCs allying? Anyone else find these hard to frame scenes for? We had loose alliances result from Face Offs, but it meant that these started with one side trying to Coerce another and the alliance was a byproduct. The other one was framed as a Colour scene on the ourset.

    I guess one approach is for a PC to go after another PC with the goal of proposing an alliance, and being willing to exert force/coercion to get their way - if the other PC agrees right off, then it's a Colour scene, if not, then the aggressor PC initiates a conflict and it's a standard Face Off?

    The odd situation would be when the Controller uses their PC to propose an alliance, but isn't willing to push the other PC if they don't agree - which is pretty much what we did with a Colour scene. Is this against the spirit of the Controller role though, i.e. not antagonistic to the target PC?
  • edited October 2010
    We played the second part of the Episode and everything went like clockwork this time, so thanks for the advice/clarifications. Much shorter session this time, probably around 3 hours and we wrapped everything up with 2 PC exits and a Faction exit (and not the Faction we expected to exit either, they ended up losing ground from their seemingly unassailable position at 7 Influence in the prior session).

    Lots of fun with body-swapping and personality chips switching the identities of characters around, and we had a hacker PC left a drooling husk after a very literal interpretation of the Burned Out negative condition.
  • Played it over the weekend. Few quick questions.

    Who decides the Faction's agenda when a Controller seeks to have their held PC "Deal" with a Faction?
    I appreciate that the "Deal" should be rather demanding on the held PC, but should the Controller generate that, or pick someone else to?
  • As I understand it, strictly speaking the nature of the Faction's Deal is up to the current Controller, at least to give it a final rubber stamp of approval.

    In practice, in the games I've played we've tended to solicit opinions from the other players or have another player roleplay the Faction's side of things. I'm not sure it matters too much, as the chunky advantage for the Faction is the Influence point they gain from the Deal, and as long as the fiction makes that plausible it seems to work well even when the Controller is playing both the faction and his/her held PC.
  • Oh, oh, the cool thing is that I think it's up to the table (in a subtle way).

    Imagine I cut a Deal with a Faction and I decide that they give me my roll for not very much trouble to my PC at all. I can do that. It's the Controller that says what the Deal is. So, the Faction says, sure, look just give us this info on some schmoe NPC and we'll help you out. So I say my PC gives them their rubbish info that isn't much use at all, and I roll my dice cackling as I get 2 successes. Woohoo! I spend it on getting Armed and Able.

    And everyone else thinks that was a douche move...

    Oh, wait a minute, I just handed the table a Faction with INF + 1. I wonder if anyone else thinks the Faction will be pissed off at me? I wonder if anyone else thinks the Faction wants a little more for their money? Or that the Deal was just blowing smoke? Will anyone use the Faction I cut a Deal with to fuck me over? Ugh, yeah.

    That's why it's a good idea to hedge your Deal as being real trouble for you or for other PCs. Because in a four-player game that Faction can fuck you three times more than you can cut a Deal with them.

    So, I always figure that you find people doing what Adrian does because they don't want to be seen milking a Deal. And who says what the Faction thinks or is planning? Whoever is the Controller at any one time.
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