Full Light, Full Steam - Narration Passing

edited October 2010 in Story Games
Hey all, I'm looking at Full Light, Full Steam again (I have been working through/admiring/working on this game for several weeks now). I have a question/topic to throw out there for people who have played/enjoyed the game.

How important is the "winner narrates" element of the game?

In Primetime Adventures, I think it's quite important who narrates, in Dust Devils who narrates is AMAZINGly important, but in FLFS, it seems like I can just switch it back to normal GM-and-players without much difficulty. The players of course can still call for rolls and charge their batteries and so on, but how does "winner narrates" fit into this game?


  • edited October 2010
    In PTA who narrates is important because the winner doesn't always narrate. So, you end up narrating your failures in addition to your successes.

    I'm trying to think if messing with narration rights would screw up the scrip passing mechanic, but it's been too long since I played.
  • I ran 3 sessions of FLFS earlier this year, and wound up doing the scene framing and "who talks when" structure in a fairly trad manner, because that's what my group is comfortable with. It actually seemed to work pretty fine. The only issue with had with the scrip passing was that since we wound up not having alot of explicit "scene begins/ends" kind of moments, the rules as written on when you clear the signatures on the scrips weren't working out too well. So we changed that to "scrip clears once everybody has signed it at least once" and that worked fine.

    So to answer your original question, I don't think "winner narrates" is all that critical.
  • Posted By: rafialThe only issue with had with the scrip passing was that since we wound up not having alot of explicit "scene begins/ends" kind of moments, the rules as written on when you clear the signatures on the scrips weren't working out too well.
    Could you go into some more detail on this? I haven't quite grasped the scrip system yet myself.
  • The tricky thing about the scrip system is that it's the part of the game that requires you to adjust your play stye and learn how to use it, and it works differently from anything you've encountered before.

    To work well, you need to focus your role-playing efforts on tagging other players' thematic batteries to drive scenes forward. If you do it well, scenes will end fairly naturally, and all players will be active and involved. There are some helpful tricks too: if you split the party in two, you can toss scenes back and forth by tagging one of the other groups' batteries, for example.

    If you don't engage the scrip system, the game will probably feel oddly paced and disjointed, but play with it mindfully and you get all sorts of great social effects in the game.
  • Can you be more specific, give an example? I've read the section, but could use some more thinking on it.
  • We didn't have any problem engaging with the scrip system in so far as people were tagging each others batteries and passing the the scrips back and forth (and grabbing the appropriate number of reward points when doing so). When a scrip is passed, the receiver signs it, and the reward for passing a scrip is greater for handing it to someone who hasn't signed it so far. So that's great, it incentivizes handing off to somebody who hasn't got pulled in yet. When scenes end, you "clear" the scrip (actually just start a new row of signatures), so all scrip are once again worth their max value to hand off to anybody.

    There is however *also* a rule to the effect that you /can't/ end a scene until there is a scrip that has been signed by everybody. This was a problem for us, because it was causing scenes to drag out. Part of the problem was, I think, that we had five players. Conversely there were times when we had "running action" bits, where the point of view was bopping around between widely separated characters, and it just didn't feel natural to include explicit scene breaks. So our hack, which worked well for us, was simply to decouple the scrip clearing condition from any explicit scene framing, and say it happened whenever a given scrip "filled up". That scrip would be cleared by whoever received it, and we'd just continue.

    Of course we can be condemned for refusing to play RAW, but it worked quite well for us :) Our group has got a vibe for spotlight passing that is comfortable for us, and works well, but which doesn't always fit in with some of the more aggressive story-gamer explicit scene management systems. Does this mean there are some games that won't work for us? Sure. Our group failed miserably playing PTA. But with a simple hack, FLFS worked just fine for us. If I was playing with a different group that was more into explicit scene management (and was smaller) I totally see how the FLFS RAW would work for that.

    The only real drawback I found to FLFS in play was the lack of an extended conflict mechanic. Sure the rules talk about how you can have just as much action with one roll resolution by blathering on about all the cool stuff that you are doing, but I'm one of those weirdos that prefers more touch points between in-fiction action and mechanical resolution. I worked around it some, by using the Mouse Guard/BW idea of chains of linked tests, and that helped, but it still was ultimately a mis-feature for me.
  • edited October 2010
    I'm concerned about that extended conflict thing as well.

    One thing I'm puzzled by, you ONLY sign a scrip when it's handed to you, right? Like, at the beginning of the game, everyone prepares a scrip. Let's say we play and you hand a scrip to me. Now I have 2. I want to hand it off to someone else. Which one do I hand off, or does it matter? (Obviously I will want to pass one of them to someone who hasn't signed it yet, if possible.)

    Finally, any thoughts on adding some kind of Strange Abilities to the mix? What would that be like?
  • It's the passer's choice which scrip to hand off. If you've got several scrips parked in front of you, it can be quite a tour de force to engage in a short bit of narration that enables you hand off each one to a different person :)

    An additional comment on the scrip passing: the rules for the ship batteries say that when a player tags a ship battery in narration the scrip should be passed off to the GM. As the GM, with everything else on my plate, scrips handed to me dead ended, as I never remembered to move them on. It's not that I wasn't engaging with players themes, it's just that I would typically forget that I had the scrips. Our solution was to stop passing scrips to the GM. Another solution would be to get a better GM :)
  • Wilhelm,

    In my experience, the 'scene breaks' when bopping back and forth between separated PCs usually do end up being sort of fast and loose. You don't need to do much explicit framing when the next scene is 30 seconds after the last one, in the same place (though you do have the possibility of framing something more distinct). I've had jump cut 'scenes' that were literally just a quip, tag, and frame back to the first player 2 seconds later. It sounds like all you would need to do to be doing it 'right' is clear your scrips when you make those jump cuts.

    Similarly, if I recall, tagging the ship battery always triggers the opportunity for the GM jump-cut to the ship and/or to a scene of the his choice. If you take that opportunity, it's a new scene, all scrips clear, and you're back to blank slate. It's also a perfectly good way to cut out of big-group scenes that you're having trouble resolving via scrip completion.
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