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[PTA] Phoenix, Season 2

 
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hix



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
Posts: 406
Location: Poison'd

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 3:27 pm    Post subject: [PTA] Phoenix, Season 2 Reply with quote

A bunch of us are playing out the story of a small town (like Waco) just after a cult based there has been smashed to pieces by the law.

We're using Primetime Adventures (PTA), which is a system that gives a massive amount of responsibility to the players to generate the story. That means things tend to go in unpredictable directions.

Anyway, I have a lot to say about this game, but I'm also working on a post for Gametime about prepping for an improvisational game like PTA. So I thought I'd start this topic so the other players and audience members can share their thoughts ...

---

We've just played the third episode in our second season (which is supposed to consist of nine eps). There's a fairly extensive summary of what Season 1 was like, here.
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Steve

Gametime! A Kiwi groupblog about RPGs. Come and join the conversation.
multi-dimensional: my script-writing blog.
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MattCowens



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 654

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 7:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I joined the game this season, and it was interesting to see how different the show became in the first episode of season 2.

The core cast is the same, but the focus for the season - the cult and the compound, were scattered and burnt down respectively at the end of season one.

Season one had the feel of an impending crisis - the confrontation between the town and the cult - which permeated every episode I saw. It was heading inexorably toward disaster, and the protagonists were either going to try to prevent, or manipulate that disaster.

Season 2 began with a very exploratory episode - in keeping with the nature of the season, which looks to be shaping up to explore the consequences of the cult's destruction, as well as the origins of the cult.

I like that season 2 is looking both to the future and the past of the cult, and the town. I also like that the line between the cult and the town is getting blurrier as we move forward.
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hix



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
Posts: 406
Location: Poison'd

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had some thoughts (which I've bullet-pointed here, to expand on later). I've found this season extremely challenging for a variety of reasons. We've been:

- recording all the sessions
- living up to a great Season 1
- introducing a new player / cast member
- changing how we introduce and process conflicts
- finding a new situation for the story (since the obvious 'Cult vs. Good guys' story was concluded at the end of Season 1)
- committing to playing a season's episodes in sequence
- keeping track of a vast array of NPCs and their motivations
- figuring out what a Producer does in a game like this.

And yeah, you're right Matt. This season's all about context & the big picture. That's why I love 'Rissa Lopez, the true-crime author. She's a great writer device for pointing that stuff out.
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Steve

Gametime! A Kiwi groupblog about RPGs. Come and join the conversation.
multi-dimensional: my script-writing blog.


Last edited by hix on Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:52 pm; edited 1 time in total
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morgue



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 556
Location: Lower Hutt

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

hix's list is dead on. This is a hell of a challenging game. I can feel us struggling to find the sweet spot, but to avoid forcing it, looking for the right balance between trusting the creative process and working hard to bring what should rock, desperately hoping to avoid Twin Peaks season two way-losing, etc etc etc...

In episodes 2 and 3 I felt we found some direction. I'm hoping and expecting that once we hit episode 5, we won't be thinking about direction any more, because it'll be set.

It's damn hard, so it is. But my oh my is it good.
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hix



Joined: 25 Jan 2006
Posts: 406
Location: Poison'd

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 9:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The screenwriting blogs I read refer to delivering exposition as 'laying pipe'. We have laid so much pipe down in the first 2.5 episodes - setting up characters, hatreds, histories.

And then someone attacks 'Rissa and she ends up unconscious in hospital, ... and I was so satisfied on a professional-scriptwriter level because the reason for all that pipe snapped into focus. What we'd 'really' been doing is establishing that everyone had a motive for killing the nosey reporter.*

Almost like it was planned, and it all makes sense in retrospect.

I do love this game.

Oh, and I think we've laid enough pipe now. From here on in, all the pieces are in play. I hope we all want to just go for it.

---

* As well as establishing that Season 2 is going to be about 'The Town' and how it's been affected by the cult.
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Steve

Gametime! A Kiwi groupblog about RPGs. Come and join the conversation.
multi-dimensional: my script-writing blog.
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morgue



Joined: 24 Jan 2006
Posts: 556
Location: Lower Hutt

PostPosted: Wed Jun 20, 2007 11:21 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Agreed on the pipe-laying. I think all that remains now is to figure out what direction all this pipe is pointing in. The conflicts in this season are all concealed, and I think episode 4 is where we're going to start see the shapes that have only been hinted at thus far.

I knew Rissa was for it as soon as I decided that Boyd would fall for her, either for the obvious reasons or in spite of both them and himself. Heh. Turns out he didn't get the chance to fall for her yet...
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MattCowens



Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 654

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It will be sweet when we reach the tipping point, and get into pay-off of this 'pipe' we have been laying. (Does that make it a fountain? A faucet? Or is it a pipe in the sense of a tunnel, that we will emerge from into storyland. This pipe business is puzzling when one tries to look into it further with no actual knowledge Smile )

I like the pattern of pipe laying, build-up of tension, pay-off, then resetting of stakes, build-up and so on. I anticipate a bunch of mid-season pay-off, then a ramp up for the end of the season. Sweeeet!
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Mashugenah
Site Admin


Joined: 23 Jan 2006
Posts: 1239
Location: Gallifrey

PostPosted: Thu Jun 21, 2007 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

First the internet was pipes, and now roleplaying too. Man... I need to get some of this pipe action.
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