Posted By: Jason MorningstarFor fuck's sake, tell me about Montsegur 1244 immediately.
First, a quote: when we hit act III, the Winter, the time when all hopes prove false, when our well was poisoned, our grain burned in an accidental fire set by the frustrated wife of Pierre Roger, and when a Templar peacemaker was murdered and dumped in the catacombs...the smell of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies wafted into the room.
Chris said: "Oooh, cookies!
It's the best siege ever!
Anyway. Montsegur is very, very structured. All characters are provided, including some juicy built-in subplots, and there is a rigid progression of scenes. In Act I, it's fall and we're all jolly and we think we can hold out. In Act V, we figure out who burns, who recants, and who escapes. There is a quota on all three fates.
Little educational readings by the characters are scheduled directly into the game timeline. This is good and bad; good in that they are very concise and well-written and it's nice not to have to absorb them all at once; bad in that some of the information scheduled to be exposed later in the game is really needed going in and probably contradicted and busted a few people's SIS. The Cathars were weird, as far as Christians go. I had no idea they believed in reincarnation until we hit the second act and read their statement of faith and principles.
Players take turns framing scenes. The scene framer sets the scene and assigns roles, if any are needed, and rules the scene by fiat. In practice there was lots of dirty hippie kibbutzing about outcomes as we adapted our story impulses to the game's framework. I LOVE this style of play. I love being granted some authority to destabilize things while not having to bear the entire burden of antagonization.
I also played the fabulous Geiger Counter on Sunday morning, which deserves a thoughtful AP all its own. This weekend was like "Go Play Siege Stories With Rotating Gamemasters" for me.
In both games I deemphasized my own player characters and spent most of my time thinking about how to toss monkeywrenches into the situation. For me, a good siege tale is all about how the occupants wither or are reborn in the siege -- "The Mist" is my siege canon -- and so in both games I used my GM slice trying to provoke the PCs into facestabbing each other. If this is a good style for Montsegur, then the rules might need to push that a little harder. There is another post waiting to be born here, I think.