After the events depicted in THIS
thread our group played two more sessions.
In the last one the importance of properly using "Veto
" became apparent.
After eight sessions we barely ever use it as we are on the same page most of the time and, through active play, we learned to just present our ideas as non-intrusive suggestions... most conflicts are seamplessly solved within the normal flow of the game-talk.
But Veto is still an important tool that should never be forgotten!Case One
When Harlan and Freya met "Achmed, the best man" from a local cult of heretics and were actually presented with a young girl (my idea) they were both surprised... and so were their Players!
To me it was a very cool idea and Luca took it as just an amusing weirdness.
Dario (we discovered much later) didn't like the idea, but only espressed this with a mild "meh" comment, even though he seriously found the mismatching description somehow wrong and irritating.
So the game progresses and Achmed becomes quite an enigmatic and important character, and all the time Dario seems more and more irritated by something me and Luca fail to graps.
Finally we take notice of the situation and directly asked about it: Dario didn't know exactly why that character rubbed him the wrong way so much, but it did, and it kind of spoiled the game for him, like when you are seriously invested in doing something cool and "done right
" and suddenly someone comes up with something stupid and inappropriate that, to you, sticks out like a sore thumb.
He said "I should have put the Veto on it
" explaining that he instantly thought "damn I don't like this!
" but he did not say it because he had gotten accustomed to the fact that just running along with other players' ideas had been mostly fine, up to that point.
The character's name was not important to me nor to Luca... it seemed like a good idea so we supported it against the "meh" expressed by Dario because we couldn't possibly imagine how much he truly disliked it.
And since Dario doesn't like to argue about other peoples' contribution to the fiction he felt more comfortable just expressing that "meh" comment, that went basically unnoticed.Veto
was the proper tool to use, expressing the "damn I don't like this!
" concept with no arguing whatsoever and no possibility for the other players to misunderstand it.Case Two
Harlan and Freya had to perform a terrorist strike against NovaCairo in order to win the trust of an heretic group they were trying to infiltrate.
They also secretly needed to perform a terrorist strike against NovaCairo in order to fake the presence of a different heretic group that was not actually there.
They thought of using the former to perform the latter and, as good Players always do, tried to squeeze some extra help and resources from the boss of the operation.
"You will get the assistance of my best man!
" ... and so I came up with the Achmed character.
I started with no specific ideas, but eventually the character grew on me... it had the potential to showcase some of the most disturbing reality-bending tricks heretics were capable of... so I started pushing for the character to be and act in a certain way.
Keeping within the rules I just described what I liked when I had the chance, and offered ideas and suggestions when others were the main voice.
I got very involved in this... I had this "Achmed Speaks the Truth" idea where this girl could make
something true just by speaking it... and I was savoring the moment I could show such a surprise to Dario and Luca.
When finally an opportunity arised and I made my descriprion, I was met with an almost simultaneous "Veto! Too much weird and powerful, she definitely can't do that
Without the Veto I would have argued that yes, being an Heretic and possibly an Abomination she could have done that, and that it looked perfectly fine (and actually uber-cool) to me... they were just surprised, but surprise is good, right?
Turns out they both (independently) clearly saw it coming and decided they did not like it, but having I not described anything yet, it was all cool... until it wasn't, so they put the Veto on the unwelcome bits.
I was completely blindsided, I didn't expected my idea to not be universally liked... the Veto told me clearly that I was not anymore on the same page as the others, it told me clearly that the others did not want the game to go too much down the rabbit hole with crazy reality-bending displays of unnatural power.
No arguing, no discussion, just a quick and effective "reality check" and a bunch of very cool ideas to substitute the "offending" ones.
In the end Achmed did something less scenographic but way cooler and more disturbing than what I originally came up with... with the added bonus of totally surprising me (in a good way).Conclusions
From what I'm seeing, the Veto mechanic is havin a "wave-like" development curve.
At first it is very important; people don't know each other and need it to get on the same page.
Then its importance fades, as players start to get accustomed to one another and work in concert.
Now I see it becoming important again as I noticed that the more we all get comfortable with the rules and the more the story flashes out and all the misterius bits start to make sense, the more we tend to "draw conclusions
" in our heads.
This kind of ideas tend to have a certain inertia
, making us a bit blind to what others may prefer; sometimes we all (independently) draw the same conclusion, producing a satisfactiry sense of mutual confirmationand reinforcement, and sometimes we don't, producing friction and dissonance.
Veto is essential here to help us stay on the same page, making the "Awesome, I knew it!
" moments the majority, and turning the potential "Damn I don't like this!
" ones into very satisfying "Awesome, what a surprise!