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 Post subject: Dune: Some Observations
PostPosted: Sun Jul 08, 2007 11:19 am 
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I'm a little lost on the Dune game so I spent some time thinking about it. Here are some quick observations.

- The fremen details are great complete with music, food and description. It really makes it feel like we are on Dune.

- The NPCs are all well done. The pictures and the way they are played are wonderful.

- Though I like the descriptions they are a little long and can throw off the pacing.

- I'm a little lost as to what we are suppose to be doing or what is going on. Winter said we made a lot of progress last time and we are starting to figure things out but I'm still just as lost as I was on the previous game.



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 11:10 am 
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Things aren't meant to be altogether clear at this point in the story, the events of the past few sessions are supposed to raise questions. Why was the harvester attacked, and by whom? How did Ben Ali know where to find the spice, and what's become of him? Why is Fryderik Zajac now in control of Buet Industries? There should be plenty of other questions you're wondering, and I highly encourage you to seek out answers in character. Although there are certainly events that you and the other PCs are involved in, there is no set road you're forced to follow. Depending on the actions taken by your character, parts of the story will be emphasized, missed out on, or even omitted altogether.



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 12:55 pm 
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Wintermute wrote:
Depending on the actions taken by your character, parts of the story will be emphasized, missed out on, or even omitted altogether.


Ok, cool. I wasn't sure what we were suppose to be figuring out. I'm more of a reactive player then a proactive player so any suggestions you have would be helpful.



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PostPosted: Mon Jul 09, 2007 1:09 pm 
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So, you were these spice miners for various reasons. Some of you are really spice miners. Some of you have other goals that you should probably be trying to pursue.

A few days ago you were working on a spice mining operation with cushy two year contracts. Then something bad happened and as a result the company apparently has the legal authority to turn you into indentured servants. Clearly finding this to be unacceptable, you fought your way out and got to a town. It was remarkable for a bunch of outsiders to walk out of the desert and you've had some notice because of that.

You saw a routine shakedown of a household known to be involved with the resistance against the harkonnens and involved yourselves rather spectacularly in that. This city sees a lot of 'sectarian violence'.

It sounds like Jeff's character wants to be a part of the resistance. He's looking for shit to blow up. That's certainly one direction you could take. You might also have bigger fish to fry - your own Harkonnen point of irritation - the guy who tried to make you an indentured servant.

You have a lead on some papers, you have basically no assets. You're in a middle of nowhere town, but you seem to have some good connections.

So, you tell me, where /do/ you go from here? You've got the beginnings of a lot of threads. Some of you should be able to reason that what happened to you is a part of something bigger. Some of you know that even offworlders are watching this situation.

What's happening in this game? The whole world is happening. Paul Muad'dib is preparing the Fremen for a mass assault. Huge powers are moving events on Arrakis, all of them fighting for control of the most precious resource in the universe. What part of that world you choose to interact with is your choice. You tell me where your character wants to go. You tell me how he feels. You tell me how he chooses to change the world. Anything a person can do, you can do. The world is open to you. You're not supposed to do anything. You can side with the Harkonnens, you can side with the Fremen, you can run away and hide, you can go be smugglers, you can go rescue Mord's daughter, you can go.....

As for the descriptions, I want you all to get used to some description. Take some notes. If you need the descriptions posted so that you can get used to using the text and information, I can make the prefab'd descriptions available to you in printout during the game. I want to see more, not less, character and setting. Part of the problem I see people having is that they're not in their characters. They're not roleplaying /from/ their character. I want to see us spend less time out of character and more time in character. I think you'll find it easier to make decisions from your character standpoint if you'll spend more time acting from your character.

What can we do to facilitate more roleplaying and more in depth use of character and setting? What questions do you have about what's happened or what can happen that will give meaning to your next IC actions?



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 9:53 am 
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Hello?



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:16 pm 
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Neuro wrote:
What can we do to facilitate more roleplaying and more in depth use of character and setting? What questions do you have about what's happened or what can happen that will give meaning to your next IC actions?


Thanks for the explanations.

I'm not really sure what we can do. IC all Demitri can think about is getting back to Arrakeen and starting over. Do you have any suggestions?



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 2:34 pm 
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Well, starting over probably is a pretty tall order. You're absolutely wanted fugitives for skipping out on your contract, even if no one finds out about capping the guy in the desert. (Hey, accidents happen in the desert.)

Even if you tried to show up to fulfill your original contract, you already know they're holding you responsible for the equipment loss. That situation's likely to get bleaker for your buddies back at the company. Life under the Harkonnens is not good.

Your character, specifically, is now surrounded by terrorists. What does he think about all of this? All of you do, in fact, need a game plan. You do need to talk together amongst yourselves and try to decide what you're willing to do. You've got an in with some smugglers. You've got an in with the resistance movement. Some of you have some pretty big goals you're interested in and need to do something to further those goals. So, what /do/ you want to do? This is something your characters should undoubtedly be talking about. I absolutely encourage you to post about it. IC or OOC, whatever you have to do to get moving. If you don't run your characters, this is going to be a real, real boring game for you.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 3:07 pm 
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One thing that I've been slightly frustrated with, in a minor way, is what my character is supposed to know. I personally don't know the Dune setting very well. So if there's something my character should know during any interaction or encounter, it would be helpful if one of you GMs could give me that info. I.e. - "You know that it costs somewhere around 3000 credits to book a flight out of town," something like that. If it seems reasonable for our character to know it, let us know. Assume (most likely correctly) that I'm pretty ignorant.

Also, Liz, can you PM me the secret info you told me about during one of the smoke breaks about that mysterious guy with the garrotte? Thanks!

For sure, Connor is going to want to save his daughter at some point. The trouble I have is figuring out how to get to that point and making it work IC. I'll work it out.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:46 pm 
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We probably just need to have a talk among the PC's. I think once all the PC's are aware of each others intentions and they've shared what knowledge they've each acquired about the situation, things will clear up pretty quickly. Marcus can guess at Judes intentions, but I'm not sure he knows about Connors daughter or Dmitri's and Mordekai's plans.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 10, 2007 6:57 pm 
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Connor is keeping his daughter very close to his vest, so he wouldn't have told anyone yet. But as things go along, he'd be trusting his compatriots more.

OOC, though, Connor hasn't really had a good reason to talk about his daughter. Most of the events have been about other stuff.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 11, 2007 4:24 pm 
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I do feel like I totally spaced out on following any of the Ben Ali leads in the first game. Hopefully I can do some in-character digging to resurrect that portion of the plot-line that I should have paid more attention to in the first game. I think part of the reason that we are so out of the loop is that no one (myself included) is really trying to figure things out. We need to be more proactive and less reactive in the future games. If we stay in reactive mode we are doomed. (Doomed I say!) Being on the run from the Harkonens is going to be tough, and we are not going to be able to shoot our way out of every situation. The emphasis in character creation on history, attitudes, and demeanor was supposed to help us get a grip on our characters, but I feel that there's been a disconnect between the character concept at the start and what has happened in the game so far.

Like Neuro sez, I'm all about doing my own gorilla warfare, but that may not be the best thing for the group. I also doubt that the other spicers really have the motivation necessary to become a proper terrorist cell. I do try to stay in character, but my character is from the desert where life is harsh and you deal. I do think that it is a mistake to let the 18 year old Fremen run the show. I'm finding it increasingly difficult to understand why the other characters don't do more to put Jude in his place. I mean every other character is probably at least 10 years his senior. Is it the lack of character or setting understanding? Why hasn't anyone even tried to talk Jude out of his fanatical leanings? At this point Jude just needs some Jihad talk, and he'd be more than prepared to be a suicide bomber. (Fedaykin here I come...I wish!!!) Why hasn't Dimitri even attempted conflict with his increasingly erratic Fremen companion. I mean I am playing right into your "Fremen = Terrorists", yet I get nothing. Don't you think it would be easy to blame Jude for the situation that you are all now in? It is not like you are trapped in the middle of the desert and need his help to get out.

I also hope that we can have more in character role playing. It just seems that most of the characters are really quiet, and the only lively times are when some OOC conversation starts up. I know that this group can be really good, but I've really not seen it with this game.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:07 pm 
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I think we all need to spend the first part of the session talking /in person/ about your characters and their goals. We'll talk OOCly and then it may be the case that you need a little down time to speak ICly among yourselves.

I want you to answer the following questions BEFORE you come to the game:

-What are my characters goals?

-What would I do if I had to reach those goals under my very own power in that situation surrounded by these people?

I don't want you to look at some overarching story that I'm telling. I want you to look at the situation and decide what a person would have to do. You people have to drive your own stories by acting in the world I'm providing. The NPCs don't really care any more about your personal goals than you would expect them to. You're just another person to them, until /you/ cultivate a relationship or until /you/ effect an action.

You let me worry about any story I'm telling above and beyond that. There's a theme, there's a plot, but it's not what you need to worry about.



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PostPosted: Tue Jul 17, 2007 3:49 pm 
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mordraine wrote:
One thing that I've been slightly frustrated with, in a minor way, is what my character is supposed to know. I personally don't know the Dune setting very well. So if there's something my character should know during any interaction or encounter, it would be helpful if one of you GMs could give me that info. I.e. - "You know that it costs somewhere around 3000 credits to book a flight out of town," something like that. If it seems reasonable for our character to know it, let us know. Assume (most likely correctly) that I'm pretty ignorant.


I want to address this point very specifically. Money in our planet is exactly equivalent to money in Dune because that's the best way we can conceptualize things. How much money would it cost to transport all of you people at once on short notice in the real world? Now what if you probably aren't legitimate travellers? Air fare is expensive in our world and probably just as expensive on Arrakis, if not moreso. Imagine offering some guy at Palomar Airport or Brown Field 1200 bucks to fly you and your four friends to Tahiti. Next, consider that the odds were incredibly good to those pilots that you probably weren't legitimate, as your request was rather odd - even your being there was rather odd, so they have every reason to suspect you all. So, how much do you imagine it would cost to smuggle you all on short notice? Black market services cost. Those pilots were already employed, besides.

If you get in a situation where you do not understand /AS A PLAYER/ why a thing is happening and you feel that it is unfair, you need to tell me /right then/. Say, "I think it is reasonable that I should know how much to pay them." Then I can ask you all of the questions I asked above right then. I think the problem was that you hadn't grasped the situation, not the cost. We needed to talk more about your situation so that you can act ICly how you need to be acting.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:28 am 
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Neuro wrote:
I want to address this point very specifically. Money in our planet is exactly equivalent to money in Dune because that's the best way we can conceptualize things. How much money would it cost to transport all of you people at once on short notice in the real world? Now what if you probably aren't legitimate travellers? Air fare is expensive in our world and probably just as expensive on Arrakis, if not moreso. Imagine offering some guy at Palomar Airport or Brown Field 1200 bucks to fly you and your four friends to Tahiti. Next, consider that the odds were incredibly good to those pilots that you probably weren't legitimate, as your request was rather odd - even your being there was rather odd, so they have every reason to suspect you all. So, how much do you imagine it would cost to smuggle you all on short notice? Black market services cost. Those pilots were already employed, besides.


This is exactly the information we need. I couldn't assume *anything*... I don't even know what the standard way of buying a flight out of town would be. As far as I knew, we weren't doing anything odd at all, and I had no way of knowing that the pilots would've thought we were a suspicious lot. We were just trying to find a ride out of town. We didnt' see a ticket counter anywhere, otherwise I would've just gone straight there.

Neuro wrote:
If you get in a situation where you do not understand /AS A PLAYER/ why a thing is happening and you feel that it is unfair, you need to tell me /right then/. Say, "I think it is reasonable that I should know how much to pay them." Then I can ask you all of the questions I asked above right then. I think the problem was that you hadn't grasped the situation, not the cost. We needed to talk more about your situation so that you can act ICly how you need to be acting.


Actually, I said several times "Wouldn't we know how much it would cost?" Although, I'm just using the flight cost (or the situation, even) as one example. I'm pretty ignorant of *everything* in the Dune world.

Also, it seemed fairly obvious that we as players were struggling with the situation. The action came to a screeching halt. It's not a horrible thing for a GM to give a nudge here and there, when it seems the players are at a loss. I'm not talking about leading by the hand or anything like that. Just give us the tools to be more successful and less frustrated.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 8:56 am 
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I sort of thought the lack of ticket counter/small airport thing would tell you that it's not a standard passenger oriented airport. It's a little airfield. I don't think I grasped the magnitude of your disconnect with what was going on and that's why we need to sit down and discuss in detail the situation as it's developed so far and let you guys talk out what you've been through and where you're going so you can get a feel of what's really happened and what's going on. I guess I also perceive that some people aren't paying a whole lot of attention at all and that's something else we need to discuss. If you guys aren't getting it and aren't having fun and can't get into it, I'm going to shelf the game. We'll try again this Friday and if people just aren't having fun and space out and can't pay attention and just can't seem to get the information they need, it's time to do something else.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:41 pm 
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Well, part of the disconnect, for me anyway, was my frustration. I can give you another example of what I'm talking about offline, if you're interested. I'm confident it can be worked out. And I apologize for the disruption I personally caused last week. Bad form on my part. I actually thought about it and made a conscious decision to behave better this week.

I don't think there's a need to shelve the game. Not at all. I don't think this is an insurmountable problem. I think it's good that we're having this discussion, and I hope that you're not getting offended, cuz I'm offering up suggestions as a means of making it better for everyone.

As an aside, I can certainly understand the feeling of "well let's just quit then," because I've been faced with that sort of thing before as a GM. But I really think it's not as bad as all that.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 12:58 pm 
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I would love examples. Anything you can think of, throw my way. I prefer to do it publicly because if anyone else is having the same problem, they can say, "Yeah, you did that to me, too."

For me, it really is as bad as all that. Last week was really thoroughly awful for me and it really just sapped any motivation I have to work on the game, which is really sad for me since I've wanted to do something with Dune for so long.

I thank you guys for being willing to reel it in and pay attention and stuff. an I think if I can be better about picking up on your needs I'm not always sure where your questions are coming from and with last week's other problems, I had really stopped feeling helpful by the end of it. So, we all need to try to be stronger communicators. You tell me what you don't get, I'll try to explain. A lot of the time, I'm trying not to railroad you because I have one idea, but I want you to formulate your own, too. There may be more to a given situation than I have thought of on my own, so you need to tell me what's going on in your head when you face these difficulties. We don't always think the same things are important. What your character ultimately deems to be the important part of what's going on really sort of determines how things turn out, just like in real life.

If we manage to have fun at it this Friday, great. If not, it's just not worth the frustration to me. My spare time is very, very precious, I don't play any other games and so it's not like if this one sucks I can play another one tomorrow. I really like gaming with you guys and when we have fun, it's worth it, so if we're not, we should stop doing whatever we're doing.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 1:27 pm 
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Neuro wrote:
I would love examples. Anything you can think of, throw my way. I prefer to do it publicly because if anyone else is having the same problem, they can say, "Yeah, you did that to me, too."


Okay, I'll write it up later when I have more time.

Neuro wrote:
For me, it really is as bad as all that. Last week was really thoroughly awful for me and it really just sapped any motivation I have to work on the game, which is really sad for me since I've wanted to do something with Dune for so long.


I had a campaign before that went south quickly with regards to certain players, and I just had absolutely no motivation to continue after that (way, WAY worse than our situation). So believe me, I can strongly empathize with you, which is why I'm saying that in this case it's not a lost cause. We all want to have fun too. I can't speak for the other guys, but I'm willing to keep trying.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:06 pm 
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I'm going to babble for a minute about some more of my thoughts on the game. But first let me also apologize for being a distraction with miniatures and what not.

When you told us to make miners I imagined a Dune game about spectacular situations happening to normal people so that is what I made. I was a bit surprised when every one else made characters like nobles and mentats. As a result I never bothered with major goals. My characters goals would have been that of an average guy from Dune like save some money, get married, have kids. These are not the type of goals to drive a game.

So, I expected a game where our average characters would be reacting to extreme circumstances (similar to CoC). The game started out like this with our harvester being attacked. The second game was a little slow but still stayed on track. The third adventure required us to be proactive so I was waiting for something to happen and basically nothing did until toward the end.

So, currently my characters goals are: save some money, get married, have kids, and get back to Arrakeen which is the only one of real concern. He doesn't really care about any conspiracy, fremen, or rebellion beyond an opinion. So, he wouldn't volunteer to interact with any major events unless they directly effect him and he has to react to it.



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:46 pm 
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I think it's okay to play the straight guy to these freaks ;) But right now you're playing an ordinary guy in extraordinary situations. Like it or not, you have been -fucked- by the company, ultimately by the Harkonnens, since they're the ones who seem to have taken over the company, and now you've been involved in a fight against soldiers on the side of the local terrorists. It's time for an adjustment in thinking. Do you throw yourself in with the greater aspirations of others? Swayed by the awakening of themselves as a people by the hope of a savior and sick to death of the crush of oppression, the common people of Dune are rising up. Those people who lived at the desert's edge, the people of the pan and graben, are being stirred up to do heroic and wild things. They're common people who just wanted to get married, make money, and have kids, too. You share a situation with them. You are pushed, now, to the brink.

What does an average guy do?



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 18, 2007 2:49 pm 
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And here's another thought - your character is the one who saw Leto risk his life and his son's life (with no other heirs!) to save the lives of you and your people. You, more than almost anybody else on the planet, knows there could've been another way.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 7:13 am 
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I still don't think it is enough to push my character to join a group of terrorists in violence. No matter how horrible the Harkonnens are it doesn't make the fremen look any better. As far as Dimetre is concerned the fremen are just as much an enemy of the Atriedes as they are the Harkonnen.

The way I see it the fremen would have to prove themselves to him or if Demitre found out Paul was with them he would join the cause (just like Gurney).



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:12 am 
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So, you still need to come up with some kind of goal/action that's going to let you live. You're going to be a fugitive on Dune, otherwise. You may need to consider revising your notion of your character a little to give you something to do in the game.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:16 am 
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I mean, going back and signing the indenturement contract probably isn't going to work, since you can probably imagine that they radio'd back on sighting you before landing. I mean /maybe/ you could convince them the desert ate the guy who brought you the contract, but probably not. You could sell out all your companions in hopes that you could buy the price off your own head. You could go about trying to find a new identity and new papers and settle in some random city, but that probably doesn't really lead you to stick with these guys. Some of them have other goals you might support if you develop a friendship with them. But "Growing up and having babies" isn't much in the way of a character goal. You aren't going to have much to do if you don't figure out how to interact with the world around you.



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 19, 2007 9:18 am 
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You could be an informer. You could be a smuggler. You could ally yourself with the Atreides men remaining on Dune.

I promise you're not going to meet Paul or Jessica or see any of that developing plot line. We're all about what's happening out in the world as a mirror of the plot line in the books. You can see the effects of what they're doing, but not them, themselves.



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PostPosted: Fri Jul 20, 2007 7:07 am 
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Joined: Fri Jun 13, 2003 3:00 am
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Location: Clairemont
Ok, I had written this in my character background:

Dmitri was brought up to beleive the fremen are tourists and still beleives this though his mother is sympathetic to their cause. Dmitri never met his father but his mother has hinted that he is involved with the fremen.

He got his first break and got to serve in the Harkonnen military. He served for 4 years and got out asap as it was horrible experience.


Now, I'll add this to my background:

Dmitri also had an older brother, Khaleb, who was much like his mother and believed in the fremen cause. The two did everything together but Khaleb did not want Dmitri to join the military saying he would sell out to the Harkonnens.

When Dmitri returned from the military his mother told him that the fremen had killed his brother. At first Dmitri was incredibly upset but discovered that his brother might not be dead, but with the fremen.

---------------------------------------------

So, with the above Dimitri would be very interested in what happened to his brother. Another way to get him involved in the fremen would be to show him that Paul is leading the fremen. Dimitri is absolutely loyal to the Atreides and would give his life for them. He doesn't need to meet Paul (though I think that would super cool even if it is a brief cameo where he doesn't say anything).



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