Posts Tagged ‘Men of Action’

Thoughts on InSpectres

September 3, 2009

We had our second session of Howard Hughes’ Men of Action last night, and I am very pleased with the way it’s been going. The system is fast and light and doesn’t get in the way of the gonzo, collaborative storytelling. The modified Franchise mechanics are allowing me to add some rules heft to the game’s non-linear, era-jumping narrative structure. And I’m finally getting the hang of calling for Stress Rolls as opposed to Skill Rolls. The group took some major licks last night, and I think that added to the sense of urgency and paranoia.

And props! Oh, how I love using props in games. I had mission briefing handouts, mp3 recordings of number stations to play for the team, and a cool MacGuffin for them in a biohazard bag.

But most importantly, my players are great. They just run with the premise beat I lay down in the beginning, and riff over it like great improvisational jazz musicians and take the story in wild, wacky, and entertaining directions that keeps everyone on their toes. Everyone gets to bring their own individual geek cred and passions to the table, and weave them into the plot.

I think this game truly captures what Rob MacDougall was talking about a few years back in this post on 20×20 Room:

Too often, though, it’s the GM who does all the research, who strings together all the conspiracies and gets the most jollies out of the elaborate setting. How much more exciting it could be, I wonder, if all the players were in on it, all Googling up connections and conspiracies, jointly spinning out the mad secret history of their game world?

Indeed. Five heads are proving better than one in this game.

I’ll try to get into more specifics later about the game’s story, mechanics, and group dynamics… but unfortunately I do have to get to work. I’ll just close by saying: if only Agent 15 would read the frigging mission briefings, maybe Control wouldn’t always be so irate. 😉

Oh, and a big shout out to Chris, who proved himself to be a Man of a Thousand Voices last night. His Patrick McGoohan was impeccable. 😉

Ruminations on PTA, pt. 1

July 24, 2009

I’ve been gearing up for a possible game: Howard Hughes’ Men of Action. It has been recommended to me that Primetime Adventures would be a good way to go. I know a lot of you reading this love Primetime Adventures, and you’ve run and played in a lot of fun games with it.

But, allow me to steal Rachel Maddow’s bit for a moment: (more…)

Listen: [Your character name] has come unstuck in time

July 7, 2009

While we wait for the D&D Insider to update and give us some sweet Psion love, John & I were tossing around some ideas recently and I’ve hit a brick wall. So I’ll toss it out here.

How do you handle an “anthology” game where each session may take place at a different point in your characters’ history?

Here’s the framework: it’s a retelling of the greatest pulp adventures of Howard Hughes’ Men of Action, as told to his biographer Clifford Irving in 1970. Hughes, addled with codeine and  syphilis, relates his fantastic tales but each time it starts with “I recall the time when we…” and they’re of course not in a sequential order.

Aside from completely abandoning the concept of character as a quantifiable entity and just grabbing Baron Munchhausen off the shelf what system might have the flexibility to handle this? Most systems, even PTA, involve linear development of abilities or contacts or resources. But here you might have a session in the late 60s, then one in the early 40s, then the third in the late 40s. Would you have to reallocate “character points” or some such each session? How would you handle such a thing?

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