MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

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Keeper Dan
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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by Keeper Dan » Sat Feb 15, 2014 1:22 am

Thank you sir. I appreciate that. :accept: :mrgreen:
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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by EddyPo » Sat Feb 15, 2014 7:08 am

Great work guys. I've had my doubts about sandboxing. I get nervous when characters go off script. But, I see how sandboxing could be very liberating. I'll have to give it a try.
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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by Citysliker » Sat Feb 15, 2014 2:35 pm

Got to second Keeper Murph's comments about the 'sandbox' session we had during Sense of Slight of Hand Man with Boscoboy, it was the most entertaining session we played, in my opinion. Mainly due to Murph's ability to react to our ridiculous actions and conjuring up challenging, entertaining but plausible outcomes. I think the burden is on the Keeper so much in this situation to be very agile and quick thinking but it can really allow all involved to blossom in terms of creativity and just having a great gaming experience.

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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by Dr. Gerard » Sun Feb 16, 2014 5:38 am

Different colored highlighters. Oooh nice.
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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by trevlix » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:25 pm

Great episode as usual.

I loved Phantasmagoria, although I liked Phantasmagoria 2 much better. Better story IMO, and more horror.

Question on Aron's And A Little Child Shall Eat Them games. Many (all?) of them are available to listen to. Should we start at a specific one, or is it OK to just jump in at any place?
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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by Dr. Gerard » Mon Feb 17, 2014 3:58 pm

Mind if I forward that question to Aron?
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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by iompaul » Tue Feb 18, 2014 1:34 am

trevlix wrote:Great episode as usual.

I loved Phantasmagoria, although I liked Phantasmagoria 2 much better. Better story IMO, and more horror.

Question on Aron's And A Little Child Shall Eat Them games. Many (all?) of them are available to listen to. Should we start at a specific one, or is it OK to just jump in at any place?
Hey guys!

Paul here from Ideology of Madness. Loved listening to Aron chat about his games - I've got to tell you, I've loved every game I've played with him! As to the question about which LITTLE CHILD to start with, they're not all available online, but the last couple of years are, and there's a pretty solid jumping on point with year 4. One day we'll "reboot" the first three (originally not recorded) years, but you should be fine starting with year 4!

Year 4: http://ideologyofmadness.spookyouthouse ... ives/19270
Year 5: http://ideologyofmadness.spookyouthouse ... ives/20262
Year 6: http://ideologyofmadness.spookyouthouse ... ives/22814

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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by skyman » Tue Feb 18, 2014 7:55 am

trevlix wrote:Great episode as usual.

I loved Phantasmagoria, although I liked Phantasmagoria 2 much better. Better story IMO, and more horror.
I loved playing Phantasmagoria too. Spent the night playing it with a woman I was dating at the time and she was more hooled on it that I was...even with the possessed rape scene :fhtagn:

BTW IMO sandboxing is fun :cthulhudance: I like to do it with Cthulhu Dark

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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by Scriven » Tue Feb 18, 2014 5:59 pm

Great episode, guys, and a worthy successor to MUP #14.

Not so very long ago, I too was pretty skeptical about sandboxing, especially in investigative games, for the same reasons that Keeper Chad cited in the show. I've come to adopt a somewhat different view, however -- and this particular episode of the podcast helped me think about that little more critically. Every game of CoC, unless it's run on very rigid rails, is sandboxed to a greater or lesser degree. On the one hand the Keeper might have nothing beyond a very rough idea as a springboard, letting the Investigators take the story where they will, inventing on the fly. Near the opposite side of the spectrum is the Keeper who has essentially scripted and sequenced the scenes, clues and plot points, and is ready to invent some minor elements as necessary, but generally expects that the players will be content to go along for a ride on the rails.

And then there's a broad swathe of middle ground, in which a Keeper might have a more or less solid sense of the story's premise (the "awful truth" to be revealed) and perhaps several scenes, clues or crucial NPCs in mind, but refrains from running the adventure on rails. Instead, he or she peppers these elements in more or less spontaneously in response to the mood or interests of the game table, changing even major details as necessary.

This approach I suspect strikes a happy medium between extensive prep work and totally-off-the-cuff roleplaying. Since we're really talking about telling good stories in a more or less extemporaneous fashion, my mind keeps going to the oral poetic/formulaic tradition of cultures going way back to the Beowulf poet and beyond. Bards and skalds in predominantly oral cultures didn't write out their epics -- while they did have a plot in mind, these were performance pieces that could be tailored to fit the audience and occasion. For the sake of ease, many word formations and story elements were standardized so that the performer could pull them out as needed and insert or rearrange them in the story as needed without breaking the meter and rhythm of the language. Now, it seems to me that there might be a rough and admittedly imperfect comparison with how sandboxing can work. I'm not suggesting that Keepers running sandbox games should rely on stale, over-used tropes, or have a definite conclusion/resolution in mind -- even though every performance of Beowulf was a unique event, I presume that most or all of them ended with the battle with the dragon and the subsequent death of Beowulf, Ecgtheow's son.

Rather, I'm suggesting that the Keeper know four or five broad, though crucial elements about his story very well, and look for opportunities to fit them into the ebb and flow of play at the game table when and where they seem appropriate. Admittedly, this can be tough to do, especially when it comes to the detail-work. For example, you may have to "re-write" on the fly that climactic showdown in the cultists' lair because the Investigators decided they'd rather spend all their time snooping around the harbor district rather than look into the seemingly abandoned farmstead outside of town. Some fast footwork could possibly move that scene to a dockside warehouse if it fits the mood and interest of the players. Still, I imagine it's tough to do from a Keeper's perspective, and I honor those who can pull it off and still preserve the mood and pacing of the game. Again, I'm speaking from a theoretical standpoint, not from experience, so take it all with as many grains of salt as you can lay your hands on.
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Re: MU Podcast 049- The Ideology of Sandboxing

Post by Dr. Gerard » Wed Feb 19, 2014 12:14 am

Nicely written post, Scriven, with interesting points. Very much enjoyed the scalds-and-Beowulf comparison.
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