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Inactive Forums => CRN Games => Topic started by: Stephen on January 26, 2005, 04:44:33 PM



Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Stephen on January 26, 2005, 04:44:33 PM
Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
Quote from: Andy Kitkowski

* I LOVE the idea behind Character Endgame (sorry, the book's in another room: "Transcendence", is it called?). Very cool idea, saves the game from being bogged down with "high level characters".


Thanks, especially after my recent experience with a guy who just didn't get it on RPG.net.


Would that be me?  :)

I apologize for reviving an old debate here, but I'd like to think my objections went a little beyond me "just not getting it".  I honestly believe I "get" the point of Transcendence, that is, I understand what it was intended to do -- place an in-game structural limit on the length of a character's story, and provide a resolution for the character once he'd reached the absolute pinnacle of ability within the system -- and why you would want to do it.  I simply had reservations about its implementation in practice.

For the room (and to invite other commentary), my reservations were as follows:

1)  System-imposed character loss presented as a good thing

If we take it as given that loss of control over a character when you're not yet tired of playing that character is a bad thing, then Transcendence is, to a player who isn't tired of his character (this distinction is important later), the same thing as death -- it takes away the character for good.

The difference is that, everywhere else in the TSOY rules and especially in Bringing Down the Pain, loss of character control, and ultimately character removal, is presented as a penalty and a consequence of character failure.  Transcendence as it's structured now makes character removal the ultimate consequence of character success, in that once you hit 10 in any ability, the first 12 you roll (in the standard rules) means your character has Transcended.

Put simply, I've always believed that the player should be the one who decides when he wants to retire a successful character -- the system can terminate characters who have failed, but it shouldn't put arbitrary caps on success stories.

(Clinton addressed this by putting in a note about making Transcendence optional -- i.e. the player had to choose when he rolled that 12 if he wanted his character to Transcend -- and I felt this was a good compromise solution.  But this didn't address my second reservation, as below.)

2)  Tying dramatic resolution to character power

If Transcendence is meant to be "the end of that character's story", then it should be tied not to the character's gamist aspects (an Ability reaching 10, the maximum), but to its narrativist aspects.  Successful character stories should end when dramatically appropriate, and in TSOY there's only one way to measure that: Ability level.  This is certainly one way to denote the climax of a character arc, but it's not the only way -- and if the system is going to structurally impose endings at all, it should allow for other ways of defining it in-game.

(This is my counter to the reasonable point, "Well, you can always just say your character's accomplished his goals and retire him yourself," but if you don't need rules for resolving arcs for characters with Ability 9 or lower, why do you need them for Ability 10 characters?)

My suggestion (which I'll present again here for other thoughts) was that Transcendence be tied not to Abilities but to Keys and Key Buyoffs, which are the most obvious signposts on the character's narrative journey.  There are a number of ways this could be done:

1)  Define one Key for each character as an Essential Key, which can only be bought off through a Denouement, an ingame dramatic resolution; when this Key is fulfilled, the character's story is over.

2)  Set limits on the number of Keys a character can go through, depending on the desired scope of the campaign, and when that number is reached the character cannot buy more Keys with advances; eventually, he will find reasons to Buyoff all the Keys he has in play, and the last Key to be bought off determines the nature of his Denouement.

3)  Create a new Ability called "Destiny" or "Fate" or some such, which works like an Ability as a fallback "uber-stat" to get the character out of any desperate plight (perhaps it can only be used when the character is Broken; a successful Destiny Check thwarts any Opposed Ability).  This score starts at 1 for all players, and rises by 1 for every Key Buyoff (or 2 Buyoffs, or 5 Buyoffs, to set the scale), and when it reaches 10, the first roll of 12 the character makes on that Ability indicates that his Fate has finally arrived, and the player must provide a resolution.  (The difference between this and normal Transcendence is that the player controls his dramatic progression not through becoming more powerful, but through the evolution of his character's personality.)

Ultimately, my objections to Transcendence as it stands come down to this:  I don't like the system taking my character away from me as a result of becoming the best I can -- the system should take my character away from me as a punishment, not as a result of success.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on January 26, 2005, 07:08:43 PM
Stephen,

You and I aren't going to see eye-to-eye on this topic. Your ideas are all good, though.

I'm going to change the subject a bit, though:

Why choose Transcendence?

Stephen makes a good point above - you can retire your character whenever you want. Why wait for Transcendence? As written, the rule looks like it punishes people who play their characters too long. What's up with that?

My answer: it's not a punishment. It's a reward. It is the only time in the game where narration does not come from consensus, but from one player. Even more, the text explicitly tells you to change the world in your narration. A transcending character might:

* Become a new type of being.
* Discover another world.
* Blow up a walled city.
* Unite two of the Ammenite Houses.
* Stop a war.
* Wander off past that hill over there and never be seen again.
* Die a brutal and wonderful death.

You've been playing for this moment the whole game. Do what you want with it.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: James_Nostack on January 26, 2005, 07:59:19 PM
Quote from: Stephen
...what [Transcendence] was intended to do -- place an in-game structural limit on the length of a character's story, and provide a resolution for the character once he'd reached the absolute pinnacle of ability within the system


One design factor was left unmentioned: Given TSOY's [2d6+skill] system, a character with a skill rank of 11+ will always defeat a character with skill rank of 1, no matter how many Bonus, Penalty, or Gift Dice are involved.  From this perspective the issue isn't transdence per se, but rather that the player has broken the system.

Why is this breaking the system?  Once you become some kind of uber-dude who can shrug off the nobodies, it starts playing havoc with one of the game's themes.  The impression I get from reading TSOY is that it's a world where little people matter--maybe not much, but some.    No one is invincible.  That feels like a very deliberate choice on the designer's part: TSOY is most decidedly not about Drizzt, or Elminster, or any of those other infallible supermen of fantasy fiction.  It's simply not that sort of game.

But there are other consequences beyond gamism.  Once a guy hits 11+ in skill ranks, not only can other characters not stop him, the players cannot stop him.  No matter how many penalty dice the uber-dude gets, or how many Gift Dice the other players assign to an opponent to give him an exciting challenge (or knock him down a peg for story reasons), they can't.  The guy wins--even in the face of 25 Gift Dice, including any given by the character's own player!  The people who are telling the story no longer have any influence over that character's story.

Such characters have literally transcended: not only are they more powerful than anyone in their world, they're more powerful than the "gods"  who control their reality.  

That's weird territory to be in, and it looks like the choice was to say, "All right, this guy wins!  Congratulations!"


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Ron Edwards on January 27, 2005, 05:38:05 AM
Hello,

James, I'm staring in admiration. That is brilliant.

Best,
Ron


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Stephen on January 27, 2005, 08:06:54 AM
Quote from: James_Nostack
One design factor was left unmentioned: Given TSOY's [2d6+skill] system, a character with a skill rank of 11+ will always defeat a character with skill rank of 1, no matter how many Bonus, Penalty, or Gift Dice are involved.  From this perspective the issue isn't transcendence per se, but rather that the player has broken the system.


Perhaps -- but there are different kinds of breakage.  Breaking a system through revealing an inner inconsistency in its mechanics is one thing; breaking it by simply becoming too powerful for it to support is another.

If the design goal is to ensure that nobody is invincible, and that everyone has some chance of success or failure regardless of power, there are other ways to do it than by simply putting an arbitrary structural cap on character power.  A simple "2 always fails, 12 always succeeds, regardless of Ability Level" rule would do it, and retains the ability of bonus/penalty dice to tilt the probability outcome as desired.

As for Transcendence being a "reward" by giving sole narrative control to one player and one player alone: that's not quite true.  The player is still obliged by the game to narrate the end of his character's story.  If he doesn't want to do that in the first place -- if he isn't finished with the character yet, regardless of what his scores are -- no amount of narrative control over how he does that will make it feel like a "reward".

It's like saying to me, "Congratulations -- you cooked the best steak!  You now get full control over the kitchen!  You can cook these eggs any way you want, make any kind of egg dish, and none of us can interfere!" and me staring blankly back at you and saying, "But it's still eggs.  I hate eggs. I don't want to cook eggs.  At all.  Why can't we keep making more steak?"

I think Clinton is right in saying that he and I will never see eye-to-eye on it, and that's fine: it's pretty clear that TSOY is not the game for me, and nothing's wrong with that.  But I also think it is worth pointing out that the structure of Transcendence as it stands does seem to me to be confusing narrativist and gamist goals in the system.  By conflating the gamist goal of acquiring Supreem Powahr with the narrativist goal of achieving a desired single-author dramatic resolution, it seems to me to be trying to reward an Actor stance by requiring a last-minute switch to Authorial stance -- something that could stand to be made clearer in the rules or the presentation.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: joshua neff on January 27, 2005, 08:39:56 AM
Stephen--

ALL games force characters to do things their players may not want to do at that moment. In D&D, your character dies when your character's hit points drop to -10. You may not want the character to go at that moment, but your character is dead. Same in Sorcerer; if your character's Humanity drops to zero, by the book, your character is removed from your control. Now, in both games I've seen groups wiggle with those rules, allowing the player to retain control of the character in some way.

Retaining complete and total control over the character is not a narrativist hallmark. My Life With Master has an endgame mechanic which forces characters into certain outcomes. Paul Czege won't come to your house and beat you around the head if your group tweaks the endgame mechanics, but endgame is a part of the game's mechanics, and in actual play I've found that it doesn't inhibit or frustrate narrativist play at all.

By that token, don't completely discount Transcendence in TSOY until you've actually played it and actually been frustrated that your character had to transcend when you didn't want the character out of the game yet.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Christopher Weeks on January 27, 2005, 08:52:12 AM
Quote from: Stephen
The player is still obliged by the game to narrate the end of his character's story.  If he doesn't want to do that in the first place -- if he isn't finished with the character yet, regardless of what his scores are -- no amount of narrative control over how he does that will make it feel like a "reward".


But, if he weren't "done" why would he have set it up so that this outcome could happen.  I mean, the player does have total control over the possibility.  

Further, and while I get that maybe this isn't the kind of game for you, I'll be planning the transcendant event from the get-go and thinking about very cool ways to change the world.  In fact, the very idea that to make "real" change, one must use themselves up is neat theme and supported by the history of Near.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Stephen on January 27, 2005, 09:43:31 AM
Quote from: joshua neff
ALL games force characters to do things their players may not want to do at that moment. In D&D, your character dies when your character's hit points drop to -10. You may not want the character to go at that moment, but your character is dead. Same in Sorcerer; if your character's Humanity drops to zero, by the book, your character is removed from your control.

Retaining complete and total control over the character is not a narrativist hallmark.


No, but losing narrative control of your character before you choose to release it is almost always presented as a bad thing.  Character death in D&D is seen as the ultimate consequence of player failure, if it comes about as a result of error, misjudgement or bad luck; likewise with character loss through depleted Humanity in Sorcerer.  A game that makes this character loss the ultimate consequence of successful play feels frustrating -- like an editor telling me when my story "should" end.  (Which real editors do all the time -- but we game to escape reality, don't we?)

To use a gambling metaphor, you may find it satisfying to simply give your winnings to the dealer once you're finished playing, rather than stake it on another contest, but that should be your choice; I'd be very suspicious of any game whose rules made this the result of both winning and losing.

As to "why set it up so the outcome's possible at all if you aren't finished with the character yet" -- simply, because the rest of the game's structure encourages you to do so.  The game is designed to encourage Ability improvement to the point of Transcendence, and consciously avoiding this means you have to work against the rest of the game's thematic and mechanical structure to do so.

Again, the gambling metaphor is: play until you lose your stake, or play until your winnings pass a certain level at which point you lose them anyway, or carefully balance your winnings and your losses so you can play as long as possible but with a rather unsatisfactory feeling (to me, anyway) of working hard to stay in the same place.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: joshua neff on January 27, 2005, 10:54:04 AM
Quote from: Stephen
No, but losing narrative control of your character before you choose to release it is almost always presented as a bad thing.  Character death in D&D is seen as the ultimate consequence of player failure, if it comes about as a result of error, misjudgement or bad luck; likewise with character loss through depleted Humanity in Sorcerer.


I disagree. Losing Humanity in Sorcerer isn't a "failure," it's an outcome of player decision on what to do with one's character. The last time I ran Sorcerer, my wife's character went to zero Humanity, and she was fine with that--it was all due to the actions she had her character perform and the decisions she made. Her character didn't have to kill his foster parents, but his demon egged him on and she had her character go through with it.

In Nine Worlds, Dust Devils and Primetime Adventures, you lose narrative control of your character whenever another player--not necessarily the GM--gets final control of the narration of conflicts. In Burning Wheel you lose a certain amount of narrative control of your character when ever you fail a Steel test. In Trollbabe, you lose narrative control of your character whenever you succeed at a roll (but if you fail, the GM loses narrative control). Never is the loss of narrative control of your character seen as a "failure" of the player, it's simply part of the game.

Now, as Christopher pointed out, you have control over how you spend your advances in TSOY, so you have control over when you hit that level of skill. I just rolled a pair of six-sided dice and added them to 11, pretending I was rolling for a TSOY character. This was, admittedly, without any bonus dice--just two dice. It took me quite a few rolls to get a 22 as an outcome. Which means you, the player, get to choose when your character hits that plateau, and then you can plan for what you want to happen when you get that magical 22. It's not like it will happen out of the blue without any decisions on your part. It's something (again, as Christopher said) that you can plan for and look forward to with anticipation.

You may still not like the concept of Transcendence, and that's fine. But I don't think it's the "loss of control over your character" or the "failure of the player" that you seem to think it is.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Valamir on January 27, 2005, 02:17:08 PM
Quote from: Stephen
 
No, but losing narrative control of your character before you choose to release it is almost always presented as a bad thing.  Character death in D&D is seen as the ultimate consequence of player failure, if it comes about as a result of error, misjudgement or bad luck; likewise with character loss through depleted Humanity in Sorcerer.  A game that makes this character loss the ultimate consequence of successful play feels frustrating -- like an editor telling me when my story "should" end.  (Which real editors do all the time -- but we game to escape reality, don't we?).


Hey Stephen, I think maybe you have your facts wrong.  Unless I'm greatly misremembering Transcendence can't happen unless you roll a very high number.  And the only way to roll that very high number is to have a very high score to add to the roll.  And the only way to get a score high enough to make that number is if you the player buy it.

Therefore there is never a time in the game where the mechanics of transcendence are taking your character away from you without you wanting it to happen.  If the story of your character is not finished you simply never by your score high enough to hit the Transcendence number and then you never have to worry about it.  

When you the player buy the attribute up to that threshold level, you the player are essentially deciding "my characters story is fulfilled, I'm ready to Transcend".  Until you're ready you simply don't make that purchase.

How is that a problem?


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: James_Nostack on January 27, 2005, 03:25:54 PM
I can't answer for Stephen, but it sounds like the objection is, "Why should my desire to make the character really good at something translate to enforced retirement?"  For one thing, because he still wants to play.  But for another thing, why tie retirement to skill ranks, which is one of the more gamist-y parts of TSOY?

I suspect this may be a fruitless argument, since it comes down to design aesthetics on a fairly minor part of the rule set.

Stephen, did you ever play AD&D 2e?  Way back in the early days, before they released ten million supplements, there was a level cap on the game: if you hit Level 20, that character had to be retired.  Did that annoy you for the same reason?


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Judd on January 27, 2005, 10:20:21 PM
In play, I would imagine, this isn't going to happen all at once, out of the blue.  

Transcendence is going to be the slow train-a-comin' and you will know it is coming down the tracks.  You will have taken your abilities up that high with purpose, knowing that it could take your PC out of the game.  Otherwise you could do something else with your well-earned advances.

When you see that your PC is approaching Transcendence, it should be a conversation with the table, thinking about how they could go out.

On paper it might read as cold and all of the sudden but I don't think it would play that way.  And I think, and I could be wrong, having just read the system once and not played it yet (but will get to at Dreamation...YAY) that it'd be the choice of the player to make their stats so the PC is transcendable.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: John Burdick on January 28, 2005, 11:48:48 AM
When I read the section on Transcendence, I looked for comparisons in books, tv, or movies.  I quickly thought of examples where a character, through actions taken, established himself as too strong to fit in the story as it had previously existed. In the cases when it was the end of the story, it was for me a satisfying conclusion. When the author or authors kept writing the character in the same kind of story, it was usually disappointing. Usually only a new approach to character or story, as in rewriting a Sorcerer character after resolving the kicker, can make the character continue to work.

I think that trying to extend the Matrix beyond Neo's transcendence was almost doomed because all the drama of the first movie is redundant from that point on. Neo fighting one or many agents can never be cool again after that point.

Stephen R. Donaldson's Thomas Covenant series works after the first trilogy, because he changes the nature of the conflict.

Lloyd Alexander's Prydain series has the main character achieve beyond what the naively eager youth concept could support.

Okay, that's a couple non-anime examples for those that don't watch it. Witch Hunter Robin and Sailor Moon each ends with the title character transcending. In order to deal with the absurdity of extending Tenchi Muyo as an action series, they restarted the story as a disconnected origin. Twice. Dragonball completely ignored the idea of transcendence and kept expanding the scale. You wind up having a comic relief sidekick that can destroy (unarmed) two planets per scene. I haven't watched anything after Saber Marionette J, because it finished with the end. Slayers Next ended with such powerful enemies and magic that trying to crank it up another level is boring. If the show took the end of Slayers Next (personal relationship, rather than adventure) as the basis for the third season, I might watch that. More of the same, no, I'm not going to buy it.

I make these comparisons with fiction not because I think games and fiction are the same, but to show how I picture transcendence ending a character's story. I can easily think of counter-examples, and to play something similar to those stories, I wouldn't want such a rule. I might want a lifetime model along the line of Pendragon.

My actual play experience tends to have such short play times with a single game that the rule would never come up.

John


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Stephen on January 28, 2005, 01:43:40 PM
Quote from: John Burdick
I make these comparisons with fiction not because I think games and fiction are the same, but to show how I picture transcendence ending a character's story.


But those stories ended for every character at once.  An RPG can't do that.  What would the reactions of people "gaming" The Matrix have been if the player running Neo had hit Transcendence, and the Story Guide then ended the campaign?  I'd be willing to wager you'd get at least a few people saying, "Buh? Whah?  No, wait -- I haven't gotten to X-level / do Y / pull off Z yet!"

Certainly it's possible for a player to avoid Transcendence as long as he likes by merely never buying an ability to 10.  But given the fact that three of the six options for advance spendings are ability improvement, you can only have 5 Keys at a time, and there are most likely a finite number of Secrets available to buy, that just means that eventually you wind up with a character who's almost the best at just about everything -- which makes it progressively more difficult for other characters to find a special niche/role in the group.

And, again, there is a difference between the following scenarios:

- A player chooses to sacrifice narrative control of a character, temporarily or permanently, in order to accomplish an in-game goal;

- A player voluntarily risks the loss of that control via a system mechanic which is one of several options, in order to accomplish a goal;

- A player involuntarily risks the permanent loss of that control via a system mechanic which is not optional (in that you have to work against everything in the system to avoid this eventuality and artificially stagnate your character).

The first two I find acceptable.  The third I do not.  Put simply, I don't want a system that tells me: "Your character has *this much* room to grow, and that's *it*.  He outgrows this, his story's over."

It's pretty clear I'm in the minority on this point, and I don't want to exasperate people to the point of irritation (I've already sent a message to Clinton apologizing for dragging this up and being a pain).  Likewise I appreciate the patient responses here.  My thanks for listening to me airing my opinions.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Mike Holmes on January 28, 2005, 02:28:16 PM
Quote
A player involuntarily risks the permanent loss of that control via a system mechanic which is not optional (in that you have to work against everything in the system to avoid this eventuality and artificially stagnate your character).
Again, there are loads of people here saying that they think that spending advances on other things is simply not working "against everything in the system to avoid this eventuality and artificially stagnate your character." I mean, what makes a decision not to raise that one last point "artificial"? It's going to be implausible to use that advance in any other way? There's just some point where it's going to be obvious that the character "has" to spend that advance on that point, or plausibility is blown?

And, even if you do have to "fight" this at some point, again, as John says, won't you see it coming a long way off? Won't that allow you plenty of time to start thinking about the end of the character's story? This isn't forcing an end to a character, it's just giving an indication to the player that it's time to start thinking about it.

There's another option:
- A player chooses to sacrifice narrative control of a character, temporarily or permanently, in order to accomplish a player goal;

The goal in this case being to end the character in a satisfactory way.


On another note, I'd have no problem with the game ending when the first character ascended if that seemed appropriate. That is, again as said above, I'm sure that not only the player sees the end in sight, but everyone else. And, in fact, in some RPGs, the game does end this way: All the games of Sorcerer that I've played have had all of the characters end their kickers within a session of each other, and in MLWM, endgame is endgame for everyone.

But, in any case, the analogy you make doesn't matter. It's not fiction, and you can have people endgame in different sessions. The point he was making is not that TSOY ends like fiction, but that each character's end is, like the examples he gave from fiction, thematically interesting. Just as enjoyable as a similar ending from one of the examples.

Mike


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: joshua neff on January 28, 2005, 07:42:53 PM
Stephen--

You've already said you don't want to belabor the point, but for the benefit of others, I want to expand on something Mike said:

Quote from: Mike Holmes
On another note, I'd have no problem with the game ending when the first character ascended if that seemed appropriate. That is, again as said above, I'm sure that not only the player sees the end in sight, but everyone else.


That's really important. The Transcendence rule isn't just about 1 player and his/her character, it's about the entire group and their characters. It's one player saying, "Stephen, dude, your character is really close to being able to Transcend!" And another player says, "Yeah! He'd be the first character to Transcend. Hey, wouldn't it be cool if..." And the other players (including the GM) start throwing out ideas and getting really jazzed about it.

So, I'll propose this: before you completely decide you hate Transcendence, consider that if you had played the character for a good long while--and since you choose when to advance your character to the point where your character could Transcend--and everyone in the group was really excited about your character Transcending and was giving you positive reinforcement about it, you might not find it objectionable.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 29, 2005, 10:08:37 AM
If I may interject:

I can see both sides of this argument. I understand how the mechanics of the game don't really support play beyond a certain level of character expertise. IMO, neither did AD&D, beyond a certain point. (Hence, so many undead with "energy drain".) It gets boring to have to come up with new challenges that draw the same rush of excitement you had when there was a serious chance your character could stumble at a critical moment.

But, when I first read the rules on Transcendence, I was also a bit put off. "You mean all that time I spent dragging that character from danger to danger, with all those ups and downs, finally getting him to the point where he's the badass I'd always dreamed he'd be, and my reward for this is to retire him? What a rip! I don't give a damn how sweet his goodbye party is, I still have to get rid of him! This blows!" That was my honest gut reaction, no matter how much sense it makes from the standpoint of the rules.

My question, Stephen, if you're still paying attention to this thread: What to you would be a reasonable reward for Transcendence, given that you have to retire a well-worn, well-loved character because he's gotten so powerful that the world can no longer contain him anymore? What would soften the blow and sweeten the deal?

I know I for one might be interested in rules to maybe soup up the next character a little bit, a la The Riddle of Steel. But maybe we should be talking about other options, since boosted characters run the risk of Transcending that much faster. So what other kudos can we give, in-game or otherwise, that might balance the loss of the character? Granted, some people play for the story, not the character, but since some do invest a bit of themselves into their characters, what could be done to help them let go of a much-loved fictional character they created?

Let's be fair. There is no game that will suit everyone, and some people just aren't going to be happy no matter how many compromises and considerations you give. But I think Stephen has raised a legitimate issue, and since The Forge is supposed to be a mad-rpg-scientist collective, perhaps something could be cooked up in the lab? I wish I had an idea where to start, but my rpg-fu is weak and underdeveloped.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: James_Nostack on January 29, 2005, 10:32:07 AM
Quote
But, when I first read the rules on Transcendence, I was also a bit put off. "You mean all that time I spent dragging that character from danger to danger, with all those ups and downs, finally getting him to the point where he's the badass I'd always dreamed he'd be, and my reward for this is to retire him?


I guess that's not my take on it.  Your reward for all that is that this bad-ass character who has done so much heroic stuff Wins The Game.  He or she achieves whatever objective was driving them all this time.  What's the point of playing any further?  To achieve a long term goal?  Bingo, you transcended and achieved it!  Good for you!

I find it curious that this "early retirement" system gets the same reaction that early retirement sometimes gets in real life: "Oh please don't force me to retire, this job means so much to me!"

I also find it curious that such a tiny rule has elicited such a long discussion!


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 29, 2005, 02:41:26 PM
Quote from: James_Nostack
I find it curious that this "early retirement" system gets the same reaction that early retirement sometimes gets in real life: "Oh please don't force me to retire, this job means so much to me!"


And thank you for giving me the perfect metaphor to explain where I'm coming from.

Yes, you've retired. You've survived ups and downs, heartbreak and triumph, and sometimes long, frustrating stretches where, no matter what you did, the best you could do was break even. You've gotten your farewell party and ceremonial pen or pocket watch, and you're on your way out the door, to a world of vastly expanded horizons.

Now what? You've spent the best, most vital parts of your life with the company, having focused most of your energy to get as far as you can go in it. You never had time to really think about what you'd do after it, because it took up so much of your time while you were in it. Where do you go? What do you do? Who are you, now that the most demanding task of your life is over, and you've more or less won? This is one of the toughest times in a person's life, whether retiree, soldier, or even a prison inmate who's finally free after so, so many years locked in a cage. Suddenly, all the life skills they have don't mean a damn thing anymore. Suddenly, your going-away party seems...kinda hollow.

In a highly exaggerated way, this is what some roleplayers go through when a character they've spent so much time and enthusiasm on. Their favorite character, who they've put so much work into, is being retired and it may not necessarily feel like the right time, no matter what the roll said.

You can argue that it's part of the contract they signed when they started playing the game. You can argue that the mechanics do not support a character at such a heightened level of competence. You can rant about "dysfunctional roleplaying" created by the glut of mostly-Sim games and their cursed focus on character advancement. You can argue about the needs of a good story over the need of a well-used, well-loved character. "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the one" is a truism, but when you're that one being outweighed, it's easy to feel a touch resentful, no matter how logical the reasoning.

I think the fact that it's mandatory, without player appeal (except through drawing out the story by putting skill boosts in other, non-character-concept skills) that chafes those types of players who really get into their characters. It's the primary part of the shared world they're in that they alone create, and may justifiably be proud of. Other games have ways to work around this: D&D 3.whatever got around this by creating The Epic-Level Handbook, which (IMO) just delayed the problem. The Riddle of Steel softened the blow by allowing some of the experience of the previous character to roll over to a new character. IMO, this won't work for TSOY because it brings up the problem of retirement all that much quicker. Games like Trollbabe and Sorcerer got around this problem by (Trollbabe) making "advancement" into "relations" that can be explored or discarded at the need of the ongoing story, or (Sorcerer) making  "advancement" a near-complete rewrite of the character. Both of these methods allow the character to continue without becoming too powerful for the world to contain, until the player decides that the character has run it's course. Other games just either dropped character advancement or limited it to modifying character concepts (ex. Primetime Adventures).

None of these options, as far as I see, will work for TSOY. From the get-go, it was implicit (even explicit) in games like Sorcerer, Trollbabe, and Primetime Adventures that the characters are only means to explore themes and tell stories. It's hard to argue that that's true for TSOY, because it looks so much like an AD&D-type fantasy-adventure game that most people, at first glance, have no reason to expect that character advancement won't be the primary focus of the game.  Thus, why the retirement cap at a (random) roll of 22 or higher is going to seem jarring until the reasons become clear. And for players who like immersing themselves in their characters, the "Once 22, retire, you!" law isn't going to be much-loved. And yes, when I say, "not-much-loved," read "dealbreaker." Which is sad, because Clinton's written a damn fine game, and no one will convince me otherwise.

But my main point in my earlier post was this: What is the best way to handle a character who is well-loved but is just too big for the world that he "lives" in? If we let this character stay, how do we deal with the fact that he might (will) overshadow the other characters and diminish other's enjoyment of the game? If we make him go, should we try to compensate the player for forcibly retiring his character, and if so, what's the best way? Clinton may not want TSOY to be the game that answers these questions (and I don't blame him!), but surely this is a good question to ask ourselves when it comes to game designing! That's why I wanted to get Stephen's opinion on what would, in his opinion, be "just compensation" for having his character removed before he felt it was time to retire it. It just might be the question that sparks a debate that shifts gaming forward. Why not brainstorm?


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Christopher Weeks on January 29, 2005, 03:13:17 PM
Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
I know I for one might be interested in rules to maybe soup up the next character a little bit, a la The Riddle of Steel. But maybe we should be talking about other options, since boosted characters run the risk of Transcending that much faster. So what other kudos can we give, in-game or otherwise, that might balance the loss of the character? Granted, some people play for the story, not the character, but since some do invest a bit of themselves into their characters, what could be done to help them let go of a much-loved fictional character they created?


One character's transcendance could easily enough result in the next character's birth.  Clinton wrote "change the world," so do it.  Maybe a new race rises up on the surface of Near -- and guess who's playing the first ever example?  Maybe politics change dramatically and your new character is made possible or protagonizable by the change.  Maybe you find a whole new school of magic and you get to play with it through your next character.  Maybe there are a trillion ways to impact the game world so that you get to continue to groove on the same story.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 29, 2005, 05:16:16 PM
Chris--

All the above is true, and it has the added bonus of not changing the rules a whit.

Downside is, does every group of players want to restrict the "first pick" to someone whose character has Transcended, and what about players who can't come up with something novel to exploit the opening that the retired character left for them?

Still, excellent suggestion. I'd still like Stephen's input on this.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Christopher Weeks on January 29, 2005, 07:44:35 PM
Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
Downside is, does every group of players want to restrict the "first pick" to someone whose character has Transcended, and what about players who can't come up with something novel to exploit the opening that the retired character left for them?


When the game started, every player had a "first pick."  Whether it was the first elf or the first Zaru goblin or the first character to focus on Priestly abilities or whatever.  But as a reward for engaging the system and taking your play to the limit, you get to transcend and engineer some wicked cool transformation and get a whole new "first pick" if you want.

And I'm having a hard time imagining the inability to "come up with something novel to exploit the opening that the retired character left."  You have an in-game day to pull the right strings.  You have some real-life time to think.  And most of all, you're narrating whatever you want.  Presumably, if this whole "first pick" thing is so important to you, then you've been thinking about what you were going to do when transcendance happened for a long, long time.  So pick one of the cool ideas that you came up with and narrate.  Maybe I'm just not getting it?


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: joshua neff on January 30, 2005, 10:43:50 AM
Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
Chris--

All the above is true, and it has the added bonus of not changing the rules a whit.

Downside is, does every group of players want to restrict the "first pick" to someone whose character has Transcended, and what about players who can't come up with something novel to exploit the opening that the retired character left for them?

Still, excellent suggestion. I'd still like Stephen's input on this.


I hate to keep harping on this, but your post makes it sound as if only one player--the player with the Transcending character--gets to make the "first pick." And if another player can't come up with something novel, s/he is screwed. And that seems odd to me, because I see it more like this:

Player 1: "I rolled a 12! My character Transcends!"

Player 2: "Cool! What are you gonna do?"

Player 1: "Well, I was thinking of introducing a new race of beings."

Player 3: "Aw, sweet! What about those wolf-men we talked about before, from the frozen south?"

Player 1: "Yeah, I think that would be cool. How about my character goes off to the south, meets this race of wolf-men and leads some of them to Near."

Player 2: "That would be cool. I want my character to be connected to them, but I can't think of how."

Player 3: "What if you take the Secret of Animal Speech with your next advance? The wolf-men are part-animal...maybe that Secret could help you communicate with them?"

GM: "Sure, I'd allow that, although with a penalty die, since they're not really animals."

Player 1: "See? Your character could be the first person in Near to communicate with them."

Player 2: "Oh, that'd be cool. Okay, I'll do that. And then your new character could be the first of these wolf-men in Near."

Player 1: "Okay!"

GM: "Great! So, your character Transcends. Narrate what happens."

See, Transcendence affects one character, but it doesn't affect one player. Is there any reason to assume the group wouldn't be talking about this and getting psyched about it and coming to decisions about it together?


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: GaryTP on January 30, 2005, 11:17:25 AM
I've been playing TSOY for four weeks now. It's interesting. We're very excited about transcendance. And here's why.

In our version, we're having transcendance mean you go incorporal and only your conciousness remains. (Read the Reality Dysfunction.) It goes into a collective consciousness that inhabits an old temple. The minds in it then have the status of gods of old wisdom among our peoples. We can access the mind for advice, and have the original player of the character respond in a roleplaying manner. So we never have to cease having contact the character. It's just our own interpretation of transcendance.

Having the ability to choose what transcendance means to you and what your character wants to do with it is key to enjoying it.

Gary


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on January 30, 2005, 01:34:04 PM
Gary,

Man, that is cool.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Stephen on January 31, 2005, 07:05:28 AM
Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
My question, Stephen, if you're still paying attention to this thread: What to you would be a reasonable reward for Transcendence, given that you have to retire a well-worn, well-loved character because he's gotten so powerful that the world can no longer contain him anymore? What would soften the blow and sweeten the deal?


I don't want to sound like I'm being obstreperous or repetitious here, but honestly, the conflation of the phrases "reasonable reward" and "have to retire a well-worn, well-loved character" are fundamentally contradictory for me.  If the game's making me give up a character I don't want to give up yet, it's not a reward: it's a punishment.

This is why most videogames are not designed to be "won", or finished.  And one of the biggest draws of roleplaying games back when they first came out -- something I think I could probably find a direct quote about in the first D&D/AD&D books -- was, "There is no end, and no way to 'win' or 'lose' -- the game keeps going as long as you want."

If I want to give up the character, I don't need rules to tell me when I can do it.  If I don't want to give up the character, I don't want a system that forces me to as a reward for success rather than failure.  The very idea of system-enforced Transcendence is a bug for me, not a feature.

This is why I apologized and tried to withdraw -- it's pretty clear to me I'm being rather grognardishly cranky about this, and I didn't want to annoy people by being a stubborn old codger.  TSOY has many intriguing and compelling aspects and it's a very well-written game, but I think I'm not the audience it was written for, and Clinton deserves better than to have me griping about that.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Valamir on January 31, 2005, 08:22:04 AM
Its an interesting perspective Stephen.

I'd be interested in knowing your specific thoughts on the idea that the game isn't making you give up a character you don't want to, because you as a player have 100% control over whether you put your character in a situation where Transcendence is possible or not.

If you aren't ready to retire your character, you simply don't buy up the score to the level where hitting Transcendence is possible, ergo the game never takes your character away.  When you're ready to retire, you buy up that last point, and if you manage to hit Transcendence you go out with a bang.

Is that a suitable solution to your objection?


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Christopher Weeks on January 31, 2005, 08:38:34 AM
Ralph,

Unless I'm misunderstanding, he addressed that above:

Quote
A player involuntarily risks the permanent loss of that control via a system mechanic which is not optional (in that you have to work against everything in the system to avoid this eventuality and artificially stagnate your character).


So he's classifying it as an involuntary risk (where most of us do not) because the system is driving the characters (through limited inexorable advancement) toward transcendence.  Stephen doesn't buy that you can just not buy an ability up to ten because it ruins the verisimilitude or something.  (see his fourth post on the first page of the thread for more detail.)

I can kind of see his point, but I think it's a trivial complaint (unless you really just want to play the same character forever).  I'm sure that I'll be ready for the coolness of transcendence before it comes up.  And if I wanted to accomplish this one cool thing before it happened, I'd just do so (either before buying an ability up to ten or as my transcendental act) and then get on with things.

Chris


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Stephen on January 31, 2005, 09:43:35 AM
Quote from: Christopher Weeks
I can kind of see his point, but I think it's a trivial complaint (unless you really just want to play the same character forever).


It's not so much that I'd want to play the same character forever; I simply object to the idea of the system "deciding" for me when the "appropriate" time to retire my character is, rather than me making that decision myself based on what I want to accomplish with that character in-game.

It's also the particular mechanism by which the TSOY system "decides" that happens: a random roll linked to a character ability, any character ability (regardless of how relevant it is to the character's Keys or adventuring history), maxing out at 10.  What this does in practice is, as I said above, to make a narrativist goal -- sole control over your character's fate and departure from the game -- dependent upon success at a gamist mode of play, the "levelling up" often decried in other contexts.

(After all, purely logically, wouldn't my best "tactic" in a TSOY game be to boost my Stay Up ability to 9 as quickly as possible, and then take my leisurely time with the rest of the game until I feel like Transcending, virtually immune from being Bloodied or Broken by anybody of any lower ability?  Certainly this isn't the spirit in which one is "supposed" to play the game, but it's perfectly feasible by the rules as they stand.)

From my point of view, the problem is that the approach to play required to achieve that reward most effectively does not seem to be the same as the approach to play required to enjoy the reward once you get it.  The game is designed to evoke the old-style feeling of "levelling up" progress, growing from humble beginnings to become a mover-and-shaker of your world, but presents the ultimate reward as not being a mover-and-shaker but abandoning being a mover-and-shaker.  To use the game's own terminology, there seems to be a confusion between Intention and Effect.

I find this dissatisfactory both from gamist and narrativist points of view.  From a narrativist point of view, it means that my story progress is tracked and ultimately resolved by a meter that may not always match what's dramatically interesting or compelling -- not all character arcs are centered around, or end with, the achieving of Absolute Bestdom.  And from a gamist point of view, it means that the ultimate reward of successful progress is to lose the character; that it's in a manner of your choosing, rather than the system choosing for you as an outcome of a lost conflict or gamble, is little consolation, to me at least.

For others this obviously isn't so much of a problem, but for me, I have to admit, I have the same problem I had with level caps in the old D&D (to answer a question I was asked a while ago).  It was the reason I so seldom played demi-humans: the idea of knowing from the beginning I could achieve X level and no higher was just annoying to me; it made me feel like I was just spinning my wheels.

In Wraith: The Oblivion, Transcendence is a similar end-of-the-character mechanic, but achieving it has nothing to do with character power and happens only as a result of actions directed specifically and consciously towards that end (as opposed to TSOY's current structure, where one can achieve the potential to Transcend pretty much without thinking about it and only decide with the purchase of that last Ability level whether to pursue it or not).  Moreover, it's left open to each group how and when it should be achieved, or even if it can be.

To sum up: It's not the idea of Transcendence or the notion of retiring a maxed-out character I object to.  It's the way the system enforces that progress and resolution as it stands, and the fact it's enforced at all.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Keith Senkowski on January 31, 2005, 11:32:08 AM
Quote from: Stephen
It's not so much that I'd want to play the same character forever; I simply object to the idea of the system "deciding" for me when the "appropriate" time to retire my character is, rather than me making that decision myself based on what I want to accomplish with that character in-game.


Okay, so you don't like the mechanic.  Fine, don't use it or if it bothers you that much don't play the game.  I don't see what the point of this is anymore.  It isn't a discussion, just people cursing the wind for blowing.  You are adamant in your belief, fine.  Unless there is something to actually discuss, why is this thread still going on.

Keith


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: sirogit on January 31, 2005, 01:35:05 PM
I really think that people should stop confusing Gamism and numbers going up, indicating you can do stuff better. Because I see the Transcendence system as completely arrived at via the -narrativist- goals, and a completely sensical continuance thereof. Competency level and the pursuit of one's growing power are very big Narrativist currencies in TSOY, and to treat them as something different opens up absurdity.

The big narrativist premise of TSOY, as I se it, is that the world's a sandbox with a power vacuum. There's the amazing and the fantastic contained within, but it lacks anyone capable of really absolute power, as the apocalypse destroyed much of the world's amazing things and the old traditions have started to prove themselves unwise. Therein creates a strong invitation for the new generation to rise up from the rubble and make a name for themselves.

Enter the Player characters. How do they address this premise? By following their drives(Keys, which also enforce TSOY's thematic highpoints.) which criss-cross and cause question again and again, until they earn the advances needed to quickly grow more and more capable of shaping their world.

Ability level is very primary here because its the only thing which determines -how much you can do-, Pools, Secrets, etc. determine how likely you can succeed at something or how you can do it, but pure ability determines just how much is possible.

Getting an Ability at 10+ is meaningfull in Narrativist terms. In means that you followed your drives on an exceedingly long road, and if all the benefits it could have given you, you chose that one thing. Why? Because having a huge impact with that ability is meaningfull to you.

When you roll a 22, it means that you just proved yourself -above- the sandbox. You are now capable of deciding anything within. Whether you strove for this very directly, as soon as possible in your existence or merely arrived at it after a much longer time, Several realities are now clear:

A) You've answered the lingering question, how you would change the world.

B) You can get out of the sandbox now, and see the wonders beyond description that lie ahead.

C) Your level of ability doesn't belong here.

D) You're done here.

It's graduation... It would just be very silly to try to stay at school forever.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Stephen on January 31, 2005, 03:10:45 PM
Quote from: Bob Goat
Okay, so you don't like the mechanic.  Fine, don't use it or if it bothers you that much don't play the game.  I don't see what the point of this is anymore.  It isn't a discussion, just people cursing the wind for blowing.  You are adamant in your belief, fine.  Unless there is something to actually discuss, why is this thread still going on.


I already apologized for any annoyance I might cause, both here in public and directly to Clinton in private.  If the thread becomes useless, Clinton is perfectly within his rights to remove it.

If you don't find the thread productive (and I for one am appreciating the effort and explanations people are providing here, even if I haven't yet been swayed in my reservations), you're under no obligation to read it.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Stephen on January 31, 2005, 03:54:57 PM
Quote from: sirogit
The big narrativist premise of TSOY, as I see it, is that the world's a sandbox with a power vacuum.

Ability level is very primary here because its the only thing which determines -how much you can do-, Pools, Secrets, etc. determine how likely you can succeed at something or how you can do it, but pure ability determines just how much is possible.


I'm not sure I'm following you here.  It would seem to me, from what I understand, that it's the other way around -- it's the Ability scores which determine the likelihood of succeeding at an attempt, but it's the Secrets and the Abilities which determine what you can attempt.  A character with Scrapping 1 can do anything and everything a character with Scrapping 9 can; he just won't succeed nearly as often.

Quote
Getting an Ability at 10 is meaningful in Narrativist terms. It means that you followed your drives on an exceedingly long road, and of all the benefits it could have given you, you chose that one thing. Why? Because having a huge impact with that ability is meaningful to you.


Except that you aren't likely to stick around long enough to play out that impact.  If having a huge impact is so meaningful, why take away from the player the character through which he will exercise that impact, just at the point he becomes capable of it?

Quote
You can get out of the sandbox now, and see the wonders beyond description that lie ahead.


And the very poetry and appeal of that potential makes it all the more annoying to me that I can't play through that, because my character is going on, in a sense, without me.

Quote
It's graduation... It would just be very silly to try to stay at school forever.


But this isn't school; it's the character's life.  And life has no graduation.  Even Conan's adventures didn't stop when he became King of Aquilonia; heck, the very first Conan story ever written was set after Conan became King.

I'd like to go back to something I suggested way back at the beginning of this thread that nobody so far picked up on: the idea of tying Transcendence not to maxing out an Ability, but to Keys and Key Buyoffs, where it's the progression of the character's personality and not merely his power that measures the approach to Transcendence. What do people think of this idea?

Or alternately, instead of using a great many Abilities, boil them down into very broad capacities designed to be customized by Secrets, things that no matter what you Transcend in suggest great impact and majesty:  Prowess.  Lore.  Renown.  Inspiration.  Skill.  Knavery.  Stuff like that, where every level gained represents far more than simply getting better at Scrapping or Staying Up, and where simply knowing that a character is Level 9 in Prowess, or Lore, is enough to keep most people from Bringing Down the Pain.

I've shot down enough of people's well-intentioned explanations here; it's time people shot down mine.


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on January 31, 2005, 05:32:16 PM
Quote from: Stephen

I'd like to go back to something I suggested way back at the beginning of this thread that nobody so far picked up on: the idea of tying Transcendence not to maxing out an Ability, but to Keys and Key Buyoffs, where it's the progression of the character's personality and not merely his power that measures the approach to Transcendence. What do people think of this idea?


You should really write this up and put it somewhere (which of course you can do because of my license, blah, blah, blah.) I like it. You do have the one mechanical problem that a character cannot have more than 10 in an ability without changing the game completely.

Quote

Or alternately, instead of using a great many Abilities, boil them down into very broad capacities designed to be customized by Secrets, things that no matter what you Transcend in suggest great impact and majesty:  Prowess.  Lore.  Renown.  Inspiration.  Skill.  Knavery.  Stuff like that, where every level gained represents far more than simply getting better at Scrapping or Staying Up, and where simply knowing that a character is Level 9 in Prowess, or Lore, is enough to keep most people from Bringing Down the Pain.


This I love. It reads like what TSOY might have been if it'd been more focused from the get-go. Here's what I imagine:

  • Characters still have pools, abilities, Secrets, and Keys.
  • Abilities are associated with pools. Secrets are associated with abilities.
  • The abilities are: Grace (Instinct), Prowess (Instinct), Lordship (Vigor), Virility (Vigor), Lore (Reason), Insight (Reason). They are very loose abilities, and the structure is in how you can use them against each other.
  • Secrets provide new ways to use each ability.
  • You still choose 1 A ability, 2 B abilities, and 3 C abilities.
  • It costs more XP to gain an advance than before. Maybe 15-20. An advance can buy:
  • +1 to an A ability, its associated pool, and an associated Secret. (Awesome.)
  • +1 to a B ability, and either its associated pool or an associated Secret.
  • +1 to a C ability or its associated pool or an associated Secret.
  • [/list:u]
  • The transcendence mechanic stays the same. It's important to note that the Conan example above is moot. Conan as king is only getting near to transcendence. I'd say he has an eight in Scrapping, Battle, and Savoir-Faire.
  • [/list:u]


Title: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: DaGreatJL on January 31, 2005, 06:35:00 PM
Quote from: Stephen
Except that you aren't likely to stick around long enough to play out that impact.  If having a huge impact is so meaningful, why take away from the player the character through which he will exercise that impact, just at the point he becomes capable of it?


First of all, since when you hit level 10 is something you have complete control over, your character isn't taken away, you're letting him go. And they don't leave right when you can change things, that's not what Transcendence is. YOU CHANGE THINGS. You get a 22, you say, "Okay, so... everyone can use Zu normally again, it's not a broken language, and here's how it happens." And you narrate a groundbreaking change in the world. I guess what I'm getting at here is, your arguments against Transcendence don't apply to Transcendence.

Quote
I'd like to go back to something I suggested way back at the beginning of this thread that nobody so far picked up on: the idea of tying Transcendence not to maxing out an Ability, but to Keys and Key Buyoffs, where it's the progression of the character's personality and not merely his power that measures the approach to Transcendence. What do people think of this idea?


I think that in play, this would result in the problem you claim the rules already create- a PC being taken away at the height of their story.
I can choose to keep my Abilities from going over 9, if I'm not ready to give the huge moment of glory yet. I can simply put my advance towards more Pool points and secrets, and improving other abilities. Basically, the character doesn't get to Transcend until I think they're ready, and I'm not really held back by holding back. (At a 9 Ability, the lowest roll you get will be a SL 2.)

However, what if I'm one Key Buyoff away from retirement, and I'm not ready to stop playing, but I also really want to buy off another Key, as part of the story (maybe I've given up being a coward, and want to fight for what’s right) If Transcendence is tied to Key Buyoffs, I'm stuck, without the ability to play out the story further (as I want it to go anyway) without buying off the Key, and I can't buy off the Key without Transcending.


Title: Re: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: RPL on June 19, 2006, 07:13:58 AM
I've just finished reading the second edition rulebook and started reading the posts on this Forum about it and this one seems very interesting. If I got it straight the point of Transcendence is to cap characters that became to powerfull for the the story to deal with and at the same time provide closure to them, however I do see Stephen point, why should a player say goodbye to a character he doesn't feel is ready to leave the story yet. So my question is, was the Secret Of The Bodhisavatta created to prevent this?


Title: Re: [TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)
Post by: RPL on June 19, 2006, 08:22:01 AM
Sorry, i'll post it on a new thread.