Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

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Jalinth
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Jalinth » Mon Apr 03, 2017 10:52 pm

I had forgotten about that bit. Zalman certainly started early with making Toxic uncomfortable. I suspect that people felt Zalman was the friend you'd be glad to have at your back but you always worried when he started talking.

Shock
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Shock » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:02 am

Davies: I think the most impressive thing to me about your GMing was how well you understood the psychology of the PCs. And how you managed to move your story forward without it seeming like the whole game was about your characters. Two. Two things ;}

Players: I was most impressed with everyone's ability to keep player and character interaction separate. We went at each other's throats with almost disturbing frequency and yet everyone who was around with me still tolerates my existence. :lol:

I'll pitch in with more specific examples after Robin joins the game.

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ClassDunce
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by ClassDunce » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:08 am

I think a lot of that had to do with how active the OOC thread was. We were posting in that almost as often as we were posting in the IC thread. There was also a point where I communicated with most of you almost daily through Instant Messaging programs. For the most part we each knew where everyone was going with our posts. There was constant communication between the players.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:24 am

Chapter Two

April 28, 2009 to May 21, 2009

Those dates don't accord with my memory at all. I remember this chapter taking longer than the first one did, but they tell me it was actually a full week shorter. Well, the mind is its own place.

This is the one where it almost all fell apart. We lost two players, one in the midst of the game and one towards the end. I at least know that leodiensian got busy with his studies, but I have no idea what happened to MinerCotren; he just disappeared without a word at the climax of the adventure. (I have a tendency to take responsibility for things that aren't my fault, so I'm going to try and avoid speculating that he was upset at the last minute plot twist.) I learned from the experience how to deal with an absent player, which I'd use when I was dealing with temporary absences in later scenarios.

Even more than my own neurosis, I regret the loss of Miner Cotren for the end to Dermos' surly friendship with Zalman, who in his turn really came into his own in this episode. Charlie's odd friendship with Sumire also gave her a clearer voice.

The second and third act of Everyman were a blast to write. I love mythology and world building, and enjoyed the opportunity to describe how people in Verecia think the afterlife works. It might have been a bit too infodumpy, though.

Ultor's name came from that of Dassem Ultor from the Malazan Book of the Fallen; his nickname inspired by that of Jack Rakan in Mahou Sensei Negima. His mission in this one came out of the fact that I'd already killed off Freedom City's Dr. Atom in my version of Time of Vengeance, and thought that there ought to be a parallel event in Freedom's Reach.

I always intended for Mike's fantasy counterpart to turn out to be a pretty good guy, in contrast to Mike; the fact that this occurred when his original was unavailable was a coincidence. Dermos' fantasy counterpart was, as he guessed, busy elsewhere, serving as the chief medic of the Dragonfly's army after he saved her life when she was a child.

Efforts to get Ray to calm down a bit continued in this one ... yeah, I think that's all I'm going to say on this matter.

This chapter also represented one of only a couple of times where I tried to use a map to guide the players in envisioning the area, in the form of a conveniently available map of a real-world shopping mall. I think I could have done this a lot more often -- in particular, I think I should have drawn up a map of Project Freedom's headquarters so that everyone had a common frame of reference. I would really strongly suggest that any would-be GMs should get good at making maps.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:58 am

Shock wrote:
Tue Apr 04, 2017 12:02 am
Davies: I think the most impressive thing to me about your GMing was how well you understood the psychology of the PCs. And how you managed to move your story forward without it seeming like the whole game was about your characters. Two. Two things ;}
(Emphasis mine.) I'm glad to hear someone thinks that, I often worried that it was the other way around. I suspect that we'd get a different opinion on my understanding of the psychology of the PCs if any of those who didn't stick around until the very end made their opinions known, and I'll get into that at the appropriate time as well.

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Tattooedman
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Tattooedman » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:06 am

Just wanted to chime in real quick - I think this thread is a great idea! Though I'm likely biased for obvious reasons.

This was technically my second PbP game (my fist only lasted a little while [like a month total, & I might be overstating it] as the other PCs fell away for various reasons), but I learned so much about PbP games by playing this one that I consider it my real first game. I'll add any thoughts I have once you get to where Donnie joins, but I am enjoying this a great deal.

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:28 pm

Tattooedman wrote:
Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:06 am
I'll add any thoughts I have once you get to where Donnie joins, but I am enjoying this a great deal.
Coincidentally, that happens tonight. :D

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:53 pm

Chapter Three

May 25, 2009 to June 10, 2009

This was supposed to be a short chapter to bring three new members onto the team and also give the rest of the group their first day off. This brings me to my one demonstrably true positive lesson for anyone running a M&M (or any other rpg) PbP, and I think it's an important enough one that I'm going to put it in bold. Have a method for quickly introducing new player characters to the game.

Things will happen to your players. They will realize that they aren't a good fit for the group, or will meet a new girl/boy/genderfluid-friend and no longer have time for such pursuits, or suffer injuries, or just disappear without explanation. I suppose that applying a filter to your new applicants and only accepting players who have demonstrated that they're in this for the long haul can cover this, but I think of that as being on the same level as "no one will hire me unless I get some experience and I can't get any experience if no one will hire me" paradox. Also, things can happen to anyone even if they haven't ever happened in the past, so while past behavior is a good guide to future behavior, it' s not the guarantee that some seem to think. So you very well might need to recruit new players midway through your campaign, and that will mean that you have to find a way to introduce their characters. An established method of doing so, like the transferal process that Project Freedom used, makes the job a lot easier.

So Donnie and Zane and Eddie -- hey, where's Eddie? (See what I mean about things happening?) -- were now on the team, and I immediately dropped Zane into the middle of the Terminus storyline because Charlie had inadvertently tipped off Wainwright that the Raven was poking around. That never did produce the results that Wainwright wanted, but it did make for some interesting events later.

I actually think that Eddie's disappearance might have been good for Donnie, as the two of them were actually quite similar characters, and Donnie's opportunity to become Team B's one sane man might not have flourished if he had competition for the role. Anyway, I didn't really give Donnie a lot to do in this first chapter, and I hope I made up for it later.

This chapter was also the first time that I was able to put a bit more focus on the members of Team A beyond Toxic, in the form of advancing the Thunder & Lightning subplot that had been introduced back in Chapter 1. Contrary to what you might think, I honestly had no idea that Thunder beating Charlie up would result in Charlie developing a crush on the other paragon ... though in retrospect I probably should have expected it. The fallout also gave Zalman a chance to demonstrate the strong loyalty that would become one of his most important traits, in ways that also surprised me.

And so on to Ray. I was a bit surprised when StickMan claimed that I'd managed to portray Ray's parents (who were apparently inspired by his own) in ways that seemed strongly familiar to him. I'd pretty much used my own parents as templates. Likewise, his experiences in the public library system derived, in part, from things that had happened to me in the past. Finally, I tried using some of the counseling that I'd received in an all-out effort to calm Ray down a little ... which didn't work out all that great.

I wonder ... if I hadn't exposed what Wainwright was doing to the players, if I'd used PM "blue booking" to reveal it only to leodiensian and later Arkrite, would StickMan have been more willing to have Ray trust in her? We'll never know. It's a tool that I did use later, and one that I would recommend.

Lastly, Mona. Her reveal as a double-agent was another "trust the players" moment. To belatedly answer Shock's question about her fate, I had it in mind that she'd be exposed as part of the Meek during their final assault on Project Freedom, and be sent off to jail. Whether she'd actually have ended up there, or been murdered in custody like the Meek killer in this episode, I leave to your imagination.

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Arkrite
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Arkrite » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:05 am

It's been so long I only remember bits and pieces of this adventure.

I do remember building my character based on mind readers being "game breaking" and this urge to prove that wrong. Thus a telepath that used his mind reading so infrequently that the GM had to remind me it was actually my power...

I don't think Shock will ever let me live that down. ;~)

I also recall that originally I wanted Zane to be far more evil. He kind of took a life of his own and went in a direction I wasn't expecting. Though this early on he was entirely self centered.

Key parts I remember: Hitting on a completely indifferent Charlie, trying to escape the sheer evil of the portal room, stroking the ego of our costumer, and the first defining encounter with Ray.

Now one thing I should say, I never had any problems with Stickman. Heck, I kind of enjoyed the intense relationship that formed between Zane and Ray. They didn't like each other, had no trouble saying it... and yet it never reached a point that it actually hurt the game, and it never followed us OOC.

It added a bit of spice to the game.

Though the fact that none of the players hung me for playing Zane shows huge restraint on their part ;~)

I also loved Donnie's character as, in any other game he would have been overshadowed by the cast. But in a band of such complete misfits with over the top personalities? His everyman/only sane man persona made him actually stand out.
Though I do love the one concession TM threw in, with Donnie wanting to fly all the time ;~)

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Davies
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Davies » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:14 am

Okay, it's years later, but I've got to know ... what was going on with Zane's inner voice?

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Arkrite
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Arkrite » Wed Apr 05, 2017 4:43 am

The answer I'd like to give? He lost his marbles a little after being locked up without his powers and needed somebody to talk to. Somebody who wouldn't simply accept his viewpoints, who would challenge him, who would keep engaged.

The reality? It was never planned.
I'd start writing and the voice would just come to me. The first couple of times were one offs... but then another thought would come to me. And another. It just took a life of it's own.

Which makes me sound insane.

I did notice a few reoccurring patterns, it spent a lot of time tearing him down when he was being full of himself, and demanding he "man up" when he wasn't living up to his potential at other people's costs. When he was a dick it was happy to pull him apart, when other people were at risk it would push him towards helping them.

Was it that inner voice of doubt that we all have ramped up to a hundred? Was it a self created friend that would challenge him to keep him thinking and sane? Was it just his own disgust at what he'd become, and a desire to change into something better? Or was it two different voices, one craving Zane's destruction, and another pushing him to greatness?

Honestly, I'm not sure.

Shock
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Shock » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:26 pm

I always thought it was his version of the Peanut gallery, trolling him at every opportunity.

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Tattooedman
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Tattooedman » Wed Apr 05, 2017 12:48 pm

As I said before I'd only played in one other game before this, not that it really went anywhere as it died off within a month & I never got a chance to interact with the other PCS. I'd been reading through the Project Freedom game for a little while and (ironically enough) had just gotten all caught up when Davies opened up recruitment.

Trying to come up with a power set was a little challenging given what the group had at that point & my inexperience at the time (I'd never played M&M until now) so I was learning as I was going. I did know that I wanted Donnie to be able to fly & at first his powers were going to be based around that as a theme though it ended up being very limited - high flight, minor super strength & durability then I realized that he was Charlie/Thunder lite and that wouldn't do. So I ended up scrapping most of the power concept in favor of an energy manipulator since there was only Ray possessing energy powers (though I did make it a point to keep Donnie's powers simple as I saw the headaches Ray's powers were causing).

Donnie's personality was partly on Dennis Leary in the movie the Ref - there's a scene where another character is giving Leary's character grief about being a thief and his response is that he spent years learning a trade, devoting years to becoming the best in his chosen profession. I thought that mind set would be something interesting to see in play. I tried to work in bits when I saw the chance to highlight this, though I wonder just how effective I was as I can only recall a couple of times I brought it up. The whole "normal guy in the room full of oddness" happened after a little bit of playing though as it dawned on me that I couldn't hope to compete with the other PCs in that regard, I'm just not that kind of player personally. So I figured playing the "straight man" to all the others would help Donnie stand out a bit, glad to see it worked. :D

Unfortunately my work schedule always made my posting difficult. I worked 2nd shift at the time & by the time I got caught up with what had happened while I'd been at work (as that apparently was the time that the rest of the group had the most free time, I mean some nights I'd log on to find several pages had gone by since my last post) I was too tired to think up anything to say if it wasn't combat related (though some dice actions were difficult, I'll admit when you combined tiredness & a lack of understanding of the rules in some cases). So I would wait until the next day (which for me was around noon, 1 o'clock), so for the entire run of the game I always felt like I was playing catch-up to everyone else. I was always grateful that everyone was understanding and never gave me any grief for it.

As for Donnie having "something to do" in this part - given everything Davies was trying to do story-wise combined with the antics of the PCs (who all were VERY entertaining to me all the time!) I was ok with how things went. Like I said - I was learning the basics of M&M (2nd edition) and figuring out PbP as well, so I was happy with how things went.

Shock
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Shock » Wed Apr 05, 2017 2:06 pm

Donnie was a great straight-man because he wasn't bland. Just the fact that he had a daughter really set him apart. I was a relatively new father at the time and that helped me identify with him.

Jalinth
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Re: Project Freedom DVD Commentary (?)

Post by Jalinth » Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:49 pm

What I loved about this game were all the very interesting personalities. Both PC and NPC. It didn't matter if Zalman was interacting with them or if he was off doing his own thing, I loved reading what was being posted. People were consistently interesting and I found everyone to feel very real.

Donnie being a straight-man was exactly what was needed. His connection to his daughter and his ex- helped put things into perspective. I'm not a crazy wizard from an evil alternate universe, or a mind-reading corporate executive. But I do have to earn money to keep myself fed, help the family, and so forth. No one involved with Project Freedom was normal, but Donnie helped us keep that fact in mind.

As for Zane... well my favorite bits with him are still to come. I will say that his growth as a character was awesome, along with his growing friendship with Toxic.

As for what I did with Zalman, I made sure he would be as loyal as could be to his team for a couple of reason. The primary one was the whole situation around his heel-face turn. Seven could generally NOT take Zalman in a straight fight one on one, but she never tried. She always had friends and allies with her. Zalman tried a couple of times to undermine those relationships, but he didn't understand them and his actions only served to make them stronger. It was this strength in unity that defeated him time and time again. Zalman always wanted to be stronger, because to be weak was to suffer. With Seven showing him such a clearly Superior path? Well he would be a fool not to walk it.

The other reason was that it was unexpected. Who'd think the bloody Necromancer would be so loyal? That was also the reason I tossed out things like the reference to 12 pounds of Jello. Zalman making pop culture references generally was good for a grin or two at least, and sometimes managed to break peoples brains a little.

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