The Motley considered how they would carry out the wishes of the Summer Court. Each character had to somehow convince two dozen mundane humans to attend the Valentine’s Day re-Opening of the Court’s skeevy Bar/Club/Strip Joint/Buffet. And each guest would have to spend money freely. Several plans were tossed around- trying to figure out ways to best play to the group’s strengths and the resources they had available. While some ideas seemed far-fetched, they ended up being the most compelling as they allowed the PCs to really use their talents.
In the end, they settled on two approaches. The first revolved around a particularly outrageous, almost hokey display. John the Smith built a pseudo-Matchmaking device, complete with laser scanner and print-out. It looked super-goofy and amusing. Morosa crafted costumes for the group, focusing on enhancing their assets. Amber snuck them into a tech convention focused on computer builders and mother-board enthusiasts. Andi and the others circulated, drumming up business as John went around “matchmaking” attendees and distributing flyers. They used about half their supply in this operation. Next they targeted a local auto-parts swap meet and custom vehicle show in the parking lot of a strip mall. They hired a bouncy castle and the ladies of the group took turns in there. Via a combination of persuasion, seduction, and acrobatics to evade wayward groping they distributed more invitations. John backed up the plot by circulating among the crowd, talking up the girls, and offering automotive advice.
The night of the event, the group headed over, handing out the last of their flyers and confirming on some personal invites. Teodoro the Biblomancer and the mysterious Serenissima showed up- the later under the pretense that there would be an alien attack. The event went well. John found himself surrounded by what appeared to be some of the werewolves of the city, perhaps scenting the draught of Moon Milk he’d ingested days earlier. It went well- with Rumblestiltkin confirming that they’d managed to reach and beat their goal. However when Andi encountered Lean-and-Hungry Mike, leader of the Summer Court, her involuntary oracular talent took over. The motley was asked to leave shortly after.
I need to go back and rewatch this episode to see how I handle planning segments. I find they’re often difficult to manage- I want to have a light touch but I also want to be proactive in keeping discussions on task. I don’t know if I always succeed. One of my strategies is to restate, often, what I’ve heard as a plan or suggestion once I’ve heard it repeated or presented in a concrete way. I don’t do this for everything, but I like to break things a little to make sure a) everyone’s heard what’s on the table and b) everyone’s on the same page. I also try to keep players from shooting down their own reasonable plans. Sometimes I hear someone make an interesting suggestion, but they nay-say I try to clarify the situation to show why that might be viable- especially for those plans which would make use of multiple players’ talents.
Another goal I have is to take suggestions seriously. If something’s put forward in jest, I try to consider it. It can take some time to get a sense of the tone, realism, and GM’s level of exactitude. In another World of Darkness game- one crunchier and perhaps darker, the kinds of plans the group chose would not have worked or would have required more hoops to jump through. But, while tinged with horror, Changeling is a modern fantasy game to me. I think you need those moments of goofy use of magic and talents. That’s especially true when the players are dealing with normal people. Manipulating other Changelings or magical persons would offer greater difficulty. I want the players to have a sense of their powers- a little bit of competency porn, if you will. That’s a chance for me to offer a up wards beat, giving me room to throw a nice counter down beat later (as happened with Andi’s Oracular declaration).