Mrs Frieda’s Halfway Home Session 17 – Operation: Group Hug


It’s Sunday morning, as so often happens to the Frieda’s kids. All are awakened this time, however, not by Mrs. Frieda’s screeching, but by the sound of shearing metal, breaking plaster, and a loud thump onto the floor. In an unsurprising turn of events, Mrs. Frieda’s Halfway Home, built sometime between the 1800s and the 1940s, doesn’t have ducts capable of supporting the weight of a young commando.

The kids are going to be moved out of their room, in order to not choke on the atmosphere in their room which has now become pure asbestos.

In the meantime there is coffee to be ingested, love triangles to stretch to the breaking point, and Scott’s being moved into Butch’s room. To hang out. With Butch. And all of his friends. Alone.

There’s no way for this to go badly.

PLAYERS

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9 Comments

  1. Claes Svensson
    Posted September 27, 2011 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    The hilarity of the sex ed was almost too much for me, it brought tears to my eyes. Also…I dont want to go to bed! I want to stay and listen!

  2. Claes Svensson
    Posted September 29, 2011 at 1:29 pm | Permalink

    I was wondering. Would it be possible to listen in at some point? Or have a chat with any of you? I am kind of about to start my own game on Skype and could use some advice.
    Best regards
    Claes Svensson

    • drunkandugly
      Posted September 30, 2011 at 9:10 pm | Permalink

      I’m going to say in the plainest terms that listening in to one of our games would be like listening to one of our APs, except without any sound levelling, noise removal, silence truncation, and an assload more side chatter. You can always send messages to the main podcast or our email if you want to ask questions or whatnot. I’m not quite sure what advice you want, but I could probably answer the question here too.

      • Claes Svensson
        Posted October 1, 2011 at 1:14 am | Permalink

        About the questions.
        Well first off, is there anything special to think about when doing a game over voice only compared to when you are actually in the same room?
        How would I try to keep things at least fairly diciplined? I mean is there alot of problems with people talking all at once?
        How do you guys schedule the game, is there a set time or do you try to check with people what time they could each time? For me one issue could be that I will have players from Sweden, Austria, Canada and the US. And several have variating schedules.
        To be honest I am not really much of a GM, I am more of a player but I am so desperate to play that I will take the role of GM just for a chance to play and I am really hopeing that the players will be spontanious and get things rolling without me having to push them forward.
        Is there any way you know of to encourage that?
        I am kind of worried that the whole concept will fall flat if the players do not interact much. How much preparations do you usually make to have things ready to spring on the players should things not develope on its own?

        Well that is all I can think of right now.
        Best regards
        Claes Svensson

        • drunkandugly
          Posted October 1, 2011 at 10:44 am | Permalink

          Well first off, is there anything special to think about when doing a game over voice only compared to when you are actually in the same room?

          One thing (that I still haven’t gotten) is that nobody can see anything you’re gesturing in a Skype game. It’s very obvious, I know, but if you speak mostly with your hands there are going to be a lot of things lost in translation.

          How would I try to keep things at least fairly diciplined? I mean is there alot of problems with people talking all at once?

          Keep in mind that there’s no ability to really filter out other people like you would have if you were sitting at a table. One policy we have for this is for people to mute their microphones if they’re not in a scene, and if they want to make any side comments, they do it through the chat interface (which is why you will occasionally hear us laugh at nothing on the recording, though I’m pretty good at cutting those out). In general, you should try and wait for one person to finish talking before saying something, as two people talking over each other turns into nothing you can possibly understand. Also, the chat interface is pretty good for people putting in their dice rolls.

          How do you guys schedule the game, is there a set time or do you try to check with people what time they could each time? For me one issue could be that I will have players from Sweden, Austria, Canada and the US. And several have variating schedules.

          We have an actual calendar with players’ availability that we check when we’re figuring out what we want to play. Not everyone has a consistent work schedule, so occasionally it takes a lot of effort to get a game scheduled. You run into a unique problem with having players in timezones 6 – 7 hours apart, though. Unless you want to be nocturnal, your window to actually run a game is pretty limited (well, depending on the day. I don’t actually know what your players sleep schedules are like).

          To be honest I am not really much of a GM, I am more of a player but I am so desperate to play that I will take the role of GM just for a chance to play and I am really hopeing that the players will be spontanious and get things rolling without me having to push them forward.

          And so you described my first time running a game. Keep in mind that no two groups are the same, and in my time I have spanned the complete spectrum of RP to G. You should probably preface any game that you’re going to run by asking the players what they want to do and what they want out of a game. This way you don’t try to bring a roleplay-heavy scenario to people who just want to beat up bad guys or vice-versa. Also if you’re not good at improvisation, you should learn to get good: Players will always take any plans you have made and ruin them in ways that you never thought possible. The latest episode of our main show describes a number of ways to keep going after your best-laid plans have been thoroughly ruined.

          Is there any way you know of to encourage that?

          Uh. . . not particularly? If you have a lot of one kind of player, they will tend to influence the other into doing the same thing (or rather the other player will learn to play that way). I generally allow for a lot of player freedom, or at least the illusion of freedom. However, if you want to prompt them to make up stuff as they want it, describe things in less than exact detail: The players will fill in any gaps in their heads, and sometimes will state these kinds of things out loud.

          For example, in one of the first D&D games I ever ran, the players were supposed to storm this old fort that a bunch of hobgoblins decided to squat in. They saw there were sentries posted at the front, and rather than storm in, they asked if there was any kind of back entrance. This idea interested me, so I offered up a former rear entrance that had been blocked off with some kind of improvised barricade. The same kind of skill challenges applied to enter, but they now had a little more surprise on their enemies. In general, if you reward player creativity/spontaneity, then the players will be more creative or spontaneous.

          I am kind of worried that the whole concept will fall flat if the players do not interact much. How much preparations do you usually make to have things ready to spring on the players should things not develope on its own?

          In general, you should have whatever plot you want for a session to have some kind of direct (and sometimes immediate) impact on the players. If nothing else, they will be motivated by self-preservation. As far as players interacting with each other, that’s a thing they may grow into over time. If players are really enjoying a scene, maybe hold things there until they’ve taken in whatever sights they’ve wanted to see or talked to whoever they want to talk to. If this starts to cut into the enjoyment of the game by other players, though, you should probably step in and move things along.

          I hope this advice helps.

  3. Claes Svensson
    Posted October 1, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for the advice.
    One point there did kind of focus what I think my main worry is. I have only really RPed with one of the 4 players before in anything other then an MMO setting, so Im not entirely sure how they play in this a bit more free way.
    I would have loved to play MaoCT but I think that game could really change depending on what the players want. So I decided to make my own setting for the players and use the rules from a system I know fairly well.
    I still dont really know what the players want to play as I just sent them a basic write up of the setting a couple of days ago.
    What do you think of pulling big twists on the players? Changeing the parameters of what they thought about things in a big way all the sudden?
    I was thinking of letting the setting be kind of a sandbox. So set up the world, make a number of NPC´s that populate it and some generic ones as well. Then make a troublesome situation and place the characters in it then let them do whatever they want.
    Hopefully it will be robust enough to not just get taken apart by the players.

    I really enjoy the Mrs.Frieda´s setting, So much that I just for fun made my own character that I in a way play along with as I listen.
    Thank you again for the advice and also for putting these sessions of yours up online so I can enjoy them.

    Best regards
    Claes Svensson

    • Posted October 1, 2011 at 2:21 pm | Permalink

      That is actually a very rewarding way of doing this. In fact, a sandbox type of game setup is almost always how I run game settings anymore. “The Tax Man Cometh,” a Sordid Dystopia playtest posted recently, is probably the closest posted example. Admittedly, there were simply enough players (about eight, if I remember correctly) that I required very few NPCs. Nevertheless, it was a written out setting that invited player input; having that worry out of the way allowed me to easier improvise the game entirely based on players’ motivations. Just be prepared for the potential for a campaign to have /a lot/ of sessions to it, especially if you take the above advice– and I highly suggest you do –about letting players roleplay out scenes they’re enjoying. One Sordid Dystopia game I’ve been running recently has gone on /much/ longer than I originally expected. It was supposed to be a two shot, but it’s gone on for five or six sessions, now, simply because I wrote it to be a sandbox setting. The important thing is that everyone’s still having fun, so I’m going to continue running it without railroading ’til the fun’s starting to dry up or the players actually go about finding and concluding the plot.

      Additionally, twists are great things to have. You don’t want to beat your players over the head with them, but if there are no plot twists, then the plot itself becomes predictable, which is likely to prompt the players into losing interest in it. But, if you just beat them with too many plot twists, they’ll start to lose a feeling of verisimilitude (i.e. “MY IMMERSION, NOO!!!”), and consequently start to lose interest all the same. So, it’s important to have an unpredictable, possibly twisting and winding plot, but you want to strike a balance. If it’s just one major twist we’re talking about, experienced towards the climax a’la many great works of literature, then it should be fine.

      Hope this helps, too!
      – Nate

      • Claes Svensson
        Posted October 1, 2011 at 11:47 pm | Permalink

        I am actually going to pull the twist on the players pretty much at the start. Since they are not very likely to find this I can say that I plan to have them make pretty normal people. Normal for a sci fi world that is. Then I am going to get all of them thrown in jail for various reasons. And they will be the only humans there. I am a little worried that it might be a bit limiting.
        Best regards
        Claes Svensson

  4. Ryster
    Posted October 15, 2013 at 1:45 am | Permalink

    Oh dear god, the feels! This was a very… spirited episode, and that shined right through. Going into this, I thought that I’d suffer a little emotional whiplash, but the feelings were distributed in a smooth manner. The love triangle was squelched for now, Elder Dane’s true nature, and Operation Group Hug happened, so the plot developed the characters pretty well, and it seems to me this fleshed out Elder Dane to a very reasonable point so far. I haven’t watched the later episodes yet, but it felt for a good while that Elder Dane would have ended up a semi-shoddy plot device. This felt really good to watch, and I’m pretty sure you guys had fun with it. Great job, guys!
    -Ryster

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