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Inactive Forums => Adamant Entertainment => Topic started by: GMSkarka on March 08, 2002, 08:25:05 AM



Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: GMSkarka on March 08, 2002, 08:25:05 AM
Tim Gray has posted a new review of UnderWorld up at RPGnet.

http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/reviews/rev_5923.html

His criticism is pretty fair, in my opinion.  I disagree with some of it, but I think he stated his opinions clearly and non-flamingly.

So, with that in mind, here's your chance:  Given the fact that we're currently working on UW2, what would you like to see "fixed"?  Be as specific as you can...because if you're not clear, and we don't address your concern, you don't have room to bitch.  :)

GMS


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: TheMouse on March 09, 2002, 10:37:02 AM
One of the prime things that really needs to be fixed is the editing. There are just alot of points where the grammer or spelling is a bit off.

I felt that the text to illustration ratio was a bit off as well; it just doesn't seem necessary to have a full page spread every three or four pages. It just seems that you didn't have enough text in the book to justify that many illustrations.

I would also like to see a little more clearity on the Charms section. Using Glowsticks for an example, How long does it last? How many can one character create at once? What happens if she creates more than this limit?

I'd like to see seom examples of other UnderWorlds. Is there any way from one to another without crossing into the world above? Is there trade between the UnderWorlds of differrent cities?



TheMouse


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: CCamfield on March 09, 2002, 08:05:03 PM
Well, I don't know that I can give too much feedback, since although I bought a copy of Underworld, I played a grand total of 1 session of it, and had a bad experience with it which isn't necessarily the game's fault.

I think I would appreciate some more advice on how flexible the descriptor system is supposed to be.  For instance, in that one session, I believe a Navigator who was Fast was getting a coin in combat from it.  Was this appropriate, or was the player being a twink?  It jarred my suspension of disbelief that this Navigator was better than my Bravo at fighting.

Also, on a tangible kind of note... I imagine 2nd ed will use coins.  I personally would not, if I ran the game.  Since I'd be playing it at the table-top, I'd probably use d6s and rule 4-6 as a success.  I simply found handling the coins to be a pain.  They're hard to pick up, they don't roll... I simply didn't enjoy using them as much as dice.  Maybe if we'd used BIG coins like (Canadian) loonies this would have helped.

Other than that, I think I'd be echoing The Mouse's comments.  Things like the text/box problem on page 37 shouldn't happen, as I'm sure you know.  Some of the art was pretty bad, in my opinion.  A bit less art is better if the average quality goes up as a result.

More cool content!!! :)


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: Jürgen Mayer on March 11, 2002, 03:31:41 AM
Quote from: CCamfield

I think I would appreciate some more advice on how flexible the descriptor system is supposed to be.  For instance, in that one session, I believe a Navigator who was Fast was getting a coin in combat from it.  Was this appropriate, or was the player being a twink?  It jarred my suspension of disbelief that this Navigator was better than my Bravo at fighting.


Hm, a possible solution would be that the "Fast" trait gives you an extra coin for initiative, but not for the actual fighting?

Quote from: CCamfield

Also, on a tangible kind of note... I imagine 2nd ed will use coins.  I personally would not, if I ran the game.  Since I'd be playing it at the table-top, I'd probably use d6s and rule 4-6 as a success.  I simply found handling the coins to be a pain.  They're hard to pick up, they don't roll... I simply didn't enjoy using them as much as dice.


This is only a matter of taste. Some people like the coins, some people just prefer their dice. Most of my players seemed to prefer dice (for table-top play), I let them use any kind of dice they wanted: even counts as success, odd not.
But I would guess that Gareth maybe has other optional dice/coin systems up his sleeve for 2nd Ed. But that's just a wild guess.

Jürgen Mayer


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: CCamfield on March 11, 2002, 08:30:49 AM
Quote from: MadMoses

Quote from: CCamfield

I think I would appreciate some more advice on how flexible the descriptor system is supposed to be.  For instance, in that one session, I believe a Navigator who was Fast was getting a coin in combat from it.  Was this appropriate, or was the player being a twink?  It jarred my suspension of disbelief that this Navigator was better than my Bravo at fighting.


Hm, a possible solution would be that the "Fast" trait gives you an extra coin for initiative, but not for the actual fighting?


Well, it's a question of how far do you take the flexibility of the system.  I mean, Fast is described in the book as giving a bonus to initiative.  And obviously it would play into a chase situation...


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: CCamfield on March 11, 2002, 08:32:05 AM
Quote from: MadMoses

Quote from: CCamfield

I think I would appreciate some more advice on how flexible the descriptor system is supposed to be.  For instance, in that one session, I believe a Navigator who was Fast was getting a coin in combat from it.  Was this appropriate, or was the player being a twink?  It jarred my suspension of disbelief that this Navigator was better than my Bravo at fighting.


Hm, a possible solution would be that the "Fast" trait gives you an extra coin for initiative, but not for the actual fighting?


Well, it's a question of how far do you take the flexibility of the system.  I mean, Fast is described in the book as giving a bonus to initiative.  And obviously it would play into a chase situation.  But you have to draw the line somewhere.

"Well, my character is Experienced, and he's a Bravo, so shouldn't he get a bonus coin for any sort of fighting?"


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: Valamir on March 11, 2002, 08:53:50 AM
What I generally do as a rule with any "descriptor" based game (and I can't recall if this was a part of UW or not) is attach a short sentence to them to differentiate further.

For example
Fast:  Olympic quality sprinter
Fast:  Lightning reflexes
Fast:  Gets work done quickly


On the Coins note.  It absolutely is a matter of personal preference.  I also REALLY dislike Coins as a resolution tool, I always default to even/odd dice rolls for any game that uses them.  But I do think that the way the mechanic is described in the text "Head Counts" etc is part of the unique charm of UW, so I wouldn't change the rules at all, except maybe to include a sidebar (if there isn't one already) about rolling dice as an alternative.


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: Jürgen Mayer on March 11, 2002, 08:56:17 AM
Quote from: CCamfield

"Well, my character is Experienced, and he's a Bravo, so shouldn't he get a bonus coin for any sort of fighting?"


IIRC Bravos get some kind of special ability (is it called Battlecraft or something similar?), which gives them a bonus coin for any sort of fighting.

Jürgen Mayer


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: Jürgen Mayer on March 11, 2002, 09:00:32 AM
Quote from: Valamir

On the Coins note.  It absolutely is a matter of personal preference.  I also REALLY dislike Coins as a resolution tool, I always default to even/odd dice rolls for any game that uses them.  But I do think that the way the mechanic is described in the text "Head Counts" etc is part of the unique charm of UW, so I wouldn't change the rules at all, except maybe to include a sidebar (if there isn't one already) about rolling dice as an alternative.


I second that. Seems that many people already go for even/odd dice (e.g. 'cause rolling four dice is faster than throwing four coins), so why don't you just make it an official optional alternative.

*nitpick, nitpick*
Jürgen Mayer


Title: Bugged about bugs
Post by: Daymon on March 12, 2002, 05:06:27 PM
I guess my two complaints are a little more clarification of the rules and get rid of the bug
race. If you want bugs make them different, maybe more like Mimic, but with more intelligence.

Daymon

ps: rules on undead


Title: Re: Bugged about bugs
Post by: GMSkarka on March 13, 2002, 08:43:23 AM
Quote from: Daymon
I guess my two complaints are a little more clarification of the rules and get rid of the bug race.


Bug race?   What bug race?

GMS


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: Daymon on March 13, 2002, 11:26:58 AM
the ones that feed of fear, don't have my book borrowed it to a friend,
if I remember right, they were thinking of posing as cops. i just wish I could think of the name. You can't play them as a breed but they were in
the moster section of the book. I really need to read it again to refresh my memory.


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: GMSkarka on March 13, 2002, 11:38:34 AM
Ah.  Schreckenskäfer.

Since they're not actually a Breed, your "race" comment threw me.

GMS


Title: System requests
Post by: Thalaxis on March 16, 2002, 08:26:51 AM
Now that I've read the sections about the system and combat (haven't
gotten to magic yet, I'll probably get there tonight), I can see a few
issues that are bound to frustrate some of the people in my group.

Basically, it doesn't seem as if there's any way for a character to improve
their skills. They either have them or they don't.

While I was reading last night, I was thinking that this would make for a
great Risus conversion, though. I love the setting, and Risus seems like a
cool system, and converting the UnderWorld head-count system to Risus
looks like it would be a fairly trivial task.

Still, for a single-session game, the head-count system would be great,
since it's so simple and would require very little time to create characters
with.


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: joshua neff on March 16, 2002, 10:21:49 AM
Regarding the head count:

In general, I'm not big on using coins as randomizers, pretty much only because then my hands smell funny & metallic after playing.

But the thing about using them in UnderWorld...it makes sense. For one thing, the original design idea was to make it easy to switch from tabletop to LARP, & coins are good for that. It makes sense for the subway setting, too. But they way they work in the first edition is pretty much the same way dice work in Story Engine--you could easily convert UnderWorld to using dice & just counting the odds (or evens). I like Jared's ideas of using the coins not just to generate a head count but as tokens to spend for game effects. Makes it more "subway-esque" & takes advantage of using coins rather than dice.

Just my two cents. (Ha! Get it? I kill me!)


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: GMSkarka on March 16, 2002, 10:33:14 AM
Quote from: joshua neff
(Ha! Get it? I kill me!)


*whap!*  No Alf references!

Bad neff.  No biscuit.


"Remember Alf?  Well, he's back....in pog form."

GMS


Title: My thoghts on UW
Post by: reptile2k1 on March 16, 2002, 11:25:29 AM
Layout and Art
Well, I already posted that on RPGNet: The interior layout, typesetting and artwork is - in my opinion - extremely horrible. I'd like to see a more 'conservative' approach, so reading the book gets easier... I almost did not buy the book because of the way it looks inside!

Rules
Generally I think the rules are pretty cool! I wrote a boiled down, generic version yesterday to use it as a 'hey, wanna do a spontaneous rpg session'-thing form me and my folks. I made some changes, but unfortunately I wrote it in German and I am too lazy to translate it... maybe later.
Nonetheless I can say what I would like to be changed (and what I did in my boiled down version):

Generic rules
Making a 'generic version' of the rules(charGen, head-count mechanics, combat), so they can be used for other stuff as well. Put that at the beginning of the book... 2-4 pages would be sufficient. Then graft the stuff that is important to the setting onto that system (magic, breeds, guilds, radiance).

Generic characters and charGen
1. Simple names for stats: Traits, Skills, Hobbies, Feats and Flaws
+Traits: well, as they currently are
+Skills: the stuff you get 2 coins for (guild skills)
+Hobbies(or Interests, whatever you like): the stuff you only get 1 coin for (non-guild skills)
+Feats: special abilities, like ambidexterity, undying and stuff
+Flaws: negative Traits or Feats, like 'weak' or 'drug addiction'
2. Point based charGen to allow more diversity in characters
+ every character starts with 1 Trait, 1 Skill, 1 Hobby, 1 Feat and 1 Flaw
+ the player can spend 8 more character points (CP): Trait 3CP, Skill 2CP, Hobby 1CP, Feat 4CP, Flaw gives 2 additional CP (limited to 1 additional Flaw).

Background-specific rules
1. CharGen
+ Guilds and Breeds 'suggest' which Traits, Skills, etc. would be appropriate
+ Guilds and Breeds 'determine' which Feats are allowed and which Flaws are not
2. Magic and Radiance
Haven't thought about it, since I'm not the one who uses magic in games that often... lazy and ignorant me! :D

Experience
Maybe I am blind, but I flipped through the book several tims and couldn't find a chapter about experience... I did not read the book as a whole, but picked out interesting chapters, so maybe I just missed it.
If not, then I would suggest implementing a system for experience, that has two main factors: Luck and Advancement!
Advancing a character should be rather tough, to avoid character inflation, but it should still be possible. The main emphasis should be on Luck, givin players the opportunity to manipulate tests: re-flip a coin, buy an automatic success, re-flip all coins, etc.
Conductor can award 0 to 4 XP per adventure
01XP re-flip one coin
02XP buy an automatic success (but the total number of successes may not exceed the total number of coins flipped)
04XP re-flip all coins
08XP buy new Hobby
16XP upgrade one Hobby to Skill
32XP buy one new Trait or buy off one Flaw
64XP buy one new Feat

Conclusion
I incorporated all that above (except for the background-specific stuff, LARP rules and abstract combat) and it all fits to a single A4 page... okay, I used a size 9 Arial font without examples, but I had enough space for sample weapons and armor. So I think it will be rather easy...

Using cards instead of coins
Cards can as easily be used as coins: take a simple poker deck, put the jokers aside, shuffle, cut the deck in half and make 2 seperate 'half-decks'. Instead of flipping coins a player draws the appropriate number of cards; a black card (spades and clubs) is a success, a red card (diamonds and hearts) is no success. To keep the probability of drawing a black or a red card roughly equal, only draw from one half-deck. If that half-deck is used up, re-shuffle ALL cards and create 2 half-decks again. Okay... it's not 'really' equal to flipping a coin, buzt roughly... and cards are easier to handle, since flipping can be rather dangerous ;).

So much for now!


Title: Re: My thoghts on UW
Post by: GMSkarka on March 16, 2002, 12:54:43 PM
Quote from: reptile2k1

Maybe I am blind, but I flipped through the book several tims and couldn't find a chapter about experience... I did not read the book as a whole, but picked out interesting chapters, so maybe I just missed it.


The experience section is very, very brief.  It's on page 129-130, under "Rewards".

Specifically, it discusses the fact that with a simple system like UnderWorld, where Skills and Traits aren't graded (you either have them or you don't), an experience point system doesn't make much sense.  It suggests that Characters get rewarded through Hero Tokens and Bestowed Abilities.

It then goes on to discuss the Hero Token system.....and then completely ignores Bestowed Abilities (because those paragraphs were inexplicably deleted in layout....no, I don't know why).

UW2 will go into more detail, obviously---at the very least it will have the deleted information.  (Grrrrr.....)   But basically, my philosophy is pretty simple:  This is a story-based game (Narrativist, for you GNS fans out there).  In those instances where characters in a story (in television, or film, or literature) get better at their skills, it's a function of the tale being told....so it just makes more sense to link reward directly to the tale (i.e. making them "in-story" rewards) rather than some abstracted system of accounting.

As far as using UW as a generic system goes, I'll comment on that in the other thread that you started.

GMS


Title: Re: My thoghts on UW
Post by: Tim Gray on March 18, 2002, 02:04:09 AM
Quote from: reptile2k1
Layout and Art

Using cards instead of coins
Cards can as easily be used as coins: take a simple poker deck, put the jokers aside, shuffle, cut the deck in half and make 2 seperate 'half-decks'. Instead of flipping coins a player draws the appropriate number of cards; a black card (spades and clubs) is a success, a red card (diamonds and hearts) is no success. To keep the probability of drawing a black or a red card roughly equal, only draw from one half-deck. If that half-deck is used up, re-shuffle ALL cards and create 2 half-decks again. Okay... it's not 'really' equal to flipping a coin, buzt roughly... and cards are easier to handle, since flipping can be rather dangerous ;).


Er - surely separating the pack into two parts makes the chances of red and black UNequal in a random way. The pack as a whole has an equal chance per card. Also, you can't easily flip a card from a success to a failure. Apart from that, OK - but I don't think cards offer any net advantages over coins in handling.


Title: Fixing UnderWorld's Problems
Post by: AndyGuest on March 19, 2002, 04:14:24 AM
Stuff I'd like to see in UW2

The biggie for me would be an expanded and clarified Charms section. Mostly I'd like to know if a Charm is an object or the ability to create the object. To be honest I'd like it to be the ability to create the object but that makes some existing charms way out of balance with others. (Yeah I know, this isn't the type of game to worry about balance but some of the charms would be near universal if they could be made and handed out willy-nilly, I'm thinking specifically of those hot stones thingies).

I liked the opening fiction, but only after I'd read the rest of the book. On opening the book for the first time I gave up on the story because it used to much in game/setting stuff to follow. Maybe I'm just thick but I'd've followed it better if it was at the end of the book.

I want (even) more hooks ! I want throw away comments, paragraphs which mention something intriging that is never mentioned again to get my creative juices flowing. Myths and legends that the underworlders tell each other would be good.

I want fantastic locations, cool places that could only exist in fairy tale type stories. There was a setting for Changeling in a couple of old Valkyries (I think) called the Repository of Lost Things (again I think), a collection of books and odd things people had lost, stored in old subway cars on an abandonned station, I want places like that.

I guess I mainly want more, which is lucky if UW2 is gonna be twice as big as UW ;-). Rule wise the only thing I'm after is the Charms clarification. I'll second the request for a Risus rule-set but that's really such an easy conversion it's probably not worth the effort.[/img]