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Actual Play Table Top

Primetime Adventures: Ironwall, Pilot Episode, “The Hill”

((Our pitch session is here. The cast includes:

  • Cam, mechanic and tinkerer-savant
  • Joseph, one of the pillars of the settlement, hiding a terrible secret
  • Lennox, border guard, the survivor of a wiped-out settlement
  • Sienna, practitioner of black magic who has already paid high prices

The rest of the session follows below, as recounted by TWoP.

But first, a few observations on how to achieve successful, fun play in PTA, garnered in part from a recent ‘tips’ discussion on Story-Games, proven by last night’s session:

  • SUPER IMPORANT RULE ONE: Keep Stakes limited to what the character wants out of the scene. Let me emphasize this: what the character (not player) wants (not ‘what will happen’).
    • Bullshit: “If I win, a, b, and c happens, in that order, in this way, such that we needn’t even play it out.”
    • Not Bullshit: “My guy wants to find out more about X if I win.” or “My guy wants to be impressively competent if I win.”
    • This is so simple, and in the past I’ve seen it done wrong (and done it wrong) so many times.
  • IMPORTANT Rule Two: The high card narrates the conflict, but THE GM STILL INTRODUCES “PLOT” FACTS. Put another way: “This is PTA, not Inspectres.”
    • Bad – The narrating player says: “You beat him up, pow biff bang, and pull him up by his collar, and he admits that he’s working for… “FATHER DONNELLY!”
    • Good- The narrating player says: “You beat him up, pow biff bang, and pull him up by his collar, and he admits that he’s working for…” *turns to GM to fill in the blank*
  • Do not include specific consequences of failure or success when setting Stakes. Leave that up to the High Card player. Just. Say. What. You. Want.

Other good things to remember:

  • The Producer frames all scenes. The players just take turns requesting scenes, providing a focus, location and an agenda.
    • On the agenda: Don’t overcomplicate. The agenda should simply be what the characters are “up to” on the surface, not what the whole scene is going to be about.
  • Not every scene must have a conflict.

Right: enough rules chatter – on with the recounting of heroics.