Too Many Misses

Man…usually I jump for joy when the players roll failures in PbtA games. But you can get too much of a good thing, I guess: my home game (with guest star MadJay Brown​!) so thoroughly screwed the pooch, like literally all night, that I was mentally exhausted from dumping awful shit on them every 15 minutes. Please don’t roll again AAAAGH YOU ROLLED AGAIN aaaand there’s the snake eyes. You fools.

Fun session, a perfect guest appearance (ie the kind where the character dies beautifully), and now my home game is in an entirely new place.

More details tomorrow. Or not! I’m pooped. Lots of make believe packed into a week. Con drop here I coooooooome.

0 thoughts on “Too Many Misses”

  1. I had this in Apocalypse World a few times. After so many failures I became exhausted. It’s hard to be constantly spinning off the consequences of a miss.

  2. oof, yeah. Been there on both the dishing out and receiving ends with other PbtA games. It is creatively exhausting and sometime discouraging. (I’ve also had sessions where it was great fun, but that depends on everyone’s attitude towards the failures and if they manage to hit the right note.) In those moments, aside from wanting to destroy the dice, I find myself wishing desperately that characters had BW-style Beliefs written out so there’d be a little more to work with for making things interesting.

  3. My short affair with Dungeon World did this to me too. So many failures in a row. So many. Everyone got really discouraged.

    For some reason, taking a ride on the fail train in, say B/X, where everyone dies on their first foray into the caves, is all fine and good. Everyone just laughs and rolls new characters. But a PbtA game doesn’t have the same levity.

  4. It was actually an epic session, maybe the best of the campaign so far. But after a week of bringing my A-game at NMCon, tons of travel, and restarting our US game after a three week hiatus…phew. Tired brain.

  5. Rachel E.S. Walton​​ Really good point about wishing for Beliefs. Me too! Sometimes I feel like PbtA characters’ uh…aboutness can get a little vague. Hard to maintain a thematic escalation, easy to let the moves snowball Fiasco style into total chaos.

  6. I use the beginning of session moves to get at Beliefs. The rumor or conflict that players come up with tell me what they’re interested in that session and they can help me draw an overarching trajectory, simulating short- and long-term Beliefs respectively.

  7. So, re: Beliefs, that’s something I do under those circumstances. Somewhat like the “disclaim responsibility” thing—I either ask them some questions to get my creativity flowing enough again, or just straight up “OK, I’m spent. What sorts of ways can you see this going badly?” (that latter question usually to the table, less the individual who rolled low).

    Paul Beakley ya gotta tell, though! I’m so eager to hear.

  8. This happened to me with Dungeon World once. On the one hand, everyone was happy with all the XP they were earning… on the other, they were unhappy to learn that the goblins worshipped a purple worm… and they were standing right over its nest… and the ground was unstable… and full of giant ticks that fed on worm droppings…

  9. Rob Brennan Yeah, I’m feeling like the threat/faction moves are actually a little too abstract for me to use as moves. They almost feel more like Principles.

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