Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

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Davies
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Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Sat Apr 01, 2017 6:59 pm

So here's the deal. After the ATT archive went down and then came back up again, I spent a great deal of time reviewing the Project Freedom thread as I saved it to my own personal records. I think enough time has passed to give me some perspective on the subject, and I hope that such perspectives might be useful to other would-be PbP GMs. Is there any interest in this subject?

FuzzyBoots
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by FuzzyBoots » Sat Apr 01, 2017 8:56 pm

I would love to get more insight into it. :) Will this be objective "how to run a campaign" advice, or will we be getting "And I can't believe I accepted that bonehead into the game. Can you believe they did this?" commentary?

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Sat Apr 01, 2017 9:51 pm

As always, a little of column A and a little of column B. I think I have only one positive insight, but I have a whole swath of "don't ever do this dumb thing I did" pieces of advice. And I'll try to be a little more fair than that to those who aren't present.

But if those who were present are present, they are more than welcome to contribute as well. :D

Okay, Chapter One tomorrow, hopefully.

Shock
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Shock » Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:22 am

I'm very interested in seeing what your thoughts are a few years on. I'd be happy to contribute, assuming I can remember details from that long ago.

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ClassDunce
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by ClassDunce » Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:01 am

I just started a reread today. It's odd to read now, eight years after it started. I'm surprised how long it lasted especially with how rough the start was. The PvP was real in those first days.

FuzzyBoots
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by FuzzyBoots » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:39 am

ClassDunce wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 1:01 am
I just started a reread today. It's odd to read now, eight years after it started. I'm surprised how long it lasted especially with how rough the start was. The PvP was real in those first days.
Welcome back, ClassDunce! :) We were recently commenting about you in the "noted missing" thread.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:17 pm

Prelude and Chapter One

Prelude

Chapter One: March 23, 2009 to April 28, 2009

I started the process that led to the Project Freedom PbP ten years ago. My god, ten years ago. This is exactly the way that I felt when TNG was ending and I realized just how long it had been on. Only more of it.

My original intention was to run a one shot adventure that used some of the detail that I'd come up with for my setting thread, which included a campaign framework for a Project Freedom campaign. I was basically inspired by Jalinth's "Average Joes in Freedom City" PbP. And ... huge confession time ... this was my second time, EVER, acting as a GM. I think it showed in my occasional focus on NPCs over PCs, which has always been something of a problem for me.

The first action scene was a pretty blatant steal from Marvel's Damage Control mini-series, turned into a fight scene instead of a comedic moment.

Allegria was literally born on the spur of the moment when it was suggested that we have an eccentric costume designer show up in the OOC thread. The lesson here, I guess, is to be spontaneous and use your players ideas. The counterlesson, illustrated by leodiensian, is to never assume that your players are as informed about certain pieces of jargon as you are -- he didn't know what a domino mask was, and I should have sent him a link to this as soon as I'd introduced it.

The section where the players attend the theatre with Toxic and Beaumont was supposed to lead into a confrontation with Toxic, her brother and her mother at their family's home. However, I quickly realized that it was much more important to deal with the themes and events that the players had introduced, and so my own plot was put on the back burner for quite some time. Be willing to do this.

Which brings us to Ray vs. Mike. It's important to remember that I'd wanted player-vs-player conflict. The setting was supposed to support players who wanted to be heroes and players who wanted to be villains. Unfortunately, leodiensian was the only player in the latter category. I imagine that made him extremely uncomfortable.

I also made a pretty big mistake in letting Ray use his electrical senses as "detect anything always". This is one of the times I should probably have said "no". I think it's important to say "yes" to PC actions but that it can be just as important to sometimes say "no" to PC capabilities. This is best done during character creation, and I may have been in too much of a hurry to be vetting the characters as much as I should have. Pay attention to their capabilities, especially their sensory ones, as they determine how much you have to describe for them.

Anyway. Wainwright and her portal to the Terminus. Basically, this came out of Wainwright's inspirations (a mix of Amanda Waller and a somewhat affectionate parody of Sarah Palin) and a desire to keep in everyone's mind that this was a superheroic campaign that could go cosmic even if it was often fairly street level. I didn't expect to have to play this reveal so soon, but it's probably good that I did.

ClassDunce, the floor's yours, and then we'll take some questions.

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ClassDunce
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by ClassDunce » Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:52 pm

Project Freedom was my very first play by post game and also the first time I ever played Mutants & Masterminds. Hell Strong Girl was the first character I ever made for the system, which is probably why she was so simple and not built like most power houses were built. Going into the game itself I had no idea who she was. I barely had a background for her and no voice for her at all, that's odd for me going into a game but I had to find Charlie as we played.

Everything was very hyper aggressive amongst the PC's for that first little bit. The relationship between Mike and Ray kind of set the tone from the get go. I think Charlie, Zalman and the Doctor kind of were in the backseat while they drove the narrative. Probably the most interesting, character building, thing for Charlie in these opening chapters was her interaction with Toxic. They played off each other pretty well. Charlie and Zalman as well but it was hard for any of us to related to Zalman there at the beginning.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Sun Apr 02, 2017 9:21 pm

Oh, yes, Toxic. She's adapted from a character I created for a fanfiction about the next generation of the DCU, where she was the daughter of Metamorpho. I was also surprised by how well she and Charlie clicked -- I think it starts when she finds Charlie's comments funny instead of offensive -- and the scene where she casually exposes her scars is a pretty memorable one.

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Arkrite
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Arkrite » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:12 am

I recall seeing the game show up for recruitment and thinking to myself: "I can't build a character at work. I'll wait until I get home and then create something."
When I got home the game was already filled.
And years later, looking back at the job I was in... I should have just made a character at work ;~)
Davies wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:17 pm
And ... huge confession time ... this was my second time, EVER, acting as a GM.
I would not have guessed that. You seemed to have a really good handle of changing the game on the fly, improvising, and pulling the players in, all things that most people have a lot of trouble with at first (myself infinity included).
I'd always just assumed you had a lot of experience under your belt.
ClassDunce wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:52 pm
They played off each other pretty well. Charlie and Zalman as well but it was hard for any of us to related to Zalman there at the beginning.
Speaking from the outside:
Charlie seemed to have a strong (ha ha ha) character right out out of the gate.
And I agree, Zalman, due to his personality, really needed a few episodes to really start coming out of his shell.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:23 am

Arkrite wrote:
Mon Apr 03, 2017 12:12 am
Davies wrote:
Sun Apr 02, 2017 6:17 pm
And ... huge confession time ... this was my second time, EVER, acting as a GM.
I would not have guessed that. You seemed to have a really good handle of changing the game on the fly, improvising, and pulling the players in, all things that most people have a lot of trouble with at first (myself infinity included).
I'd always just assumed you had a lot of experience under your belt.
I was very lucky both in my choices of 'moves'* and in my selection of players. I also did have some experience in collaborative story-telling outside of a structured 'game', which served me in good stead.

* To borrow some Apocalypse World terminology.

Jalinth
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Jalinth » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:11 am

Zalman was quite a challenge to write and play. I had an idea for him but it really took some time to gel. One thing I did was set some arbitrary rules about his actions and did my best to follow them for all time. One of those was he would always refer to people by their chosen use name, or by their last name. He almost never used titles, save when they were part of said usename. Captain Thunder was Captain Thunder not just Thunder. Which is good given that one member of Team A.

I just finished a session of Mutants and Masterminds over voice comms, but I'll toss in some more thoughts after work tomorrow. Thank you for doing this Davies, Project Freedom remains my favorite PBP game I've ever played and very near the top for any RPG in person or otherwise.

Also thank you to Arkrite to bringing this thread to my attention.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:46 am

I actually think we start to get a glimpse into Zalman's mind in Chapter 1, when he gives this speech:
Zalman wrote:"Wherefore does this disdain for prostitution come? Is the courtesan's art not highly regarded in this time and place? Everywhere I look, I find woman displaying themselves. Your art on bill boards and bus stations leave little doubt to what they are promising. The woman that grace your television, the words to the noise that is claimed to be music, even the dress of your champions such as Lady Liberty, Siren, and Seven do say but one thing. Surely this is a land where the niceties of lifebonding are little more then unnecessary formalities. Does Wainwright perhaps come from another land where the customs are different?" Zalman sounds honestly puzzled.
And it's left to poor Toxic to give an answer to this. :oops: But yeah, he really doesn't come into his own until Chapter 2, which I'll try to get to tomorrow.

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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by MacynSnow » Mon Apr 03, 2017 4:18 pm

i wish i'd had a chance to play in this,as i've wanted to have a "true Freedom City" experience.....

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Mon Apr 03, 2017 8:01 pm

Well, maybe someone will be inspired to start up a new PbP along those lines.

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