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Author Topic: On the sequential faces of the clock  (Read 2956 times)
Marhault
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Posts: 185


« on: June 28, 2004, 12:07:31 PM »

It's been a while since this topic has been discussed, and it has been simmering in the back of my mind since then.  In the last thread, Seth showed some interest in the possibilities that lie in the sequence of the die faces (what would have once been the wax and wane of the moon) and the possible uses thereof in the mechanics of the game.  One big problem (which was pointed out by Lxndr, IIRC) was that there are three "half-and-half" die faces, what we're calling "twilight" rather than the two that occur during a natural day.  Mechanically, this leads to a spike in the probability curve, which is at least a somewhat desirable effect.

Anyway, this is really not much more than brainstorming, maybe somebody can pull something useful out of it, even if it's just "Nah.  This won't work."

Problems to overcome:
1:  I may be difficult to tell a.m. faces from p.m. faces when they're placed on the die.
2:  The third half and half face.
3:  Actual mechanical effect of the different faces.

1 isn't a major problem.  Either work the top of the clock into the graphic somehow (this would be clear, and not too difficult), or just say that the top of the clock is towards the "point" of the die (which leaves the possibility that people will place their labels wrong on the die).

2 is a pain, but resolvable, depending on how important that probability curve is to Seth.  I brainstormed the use of all kinds of dice, nothing works very well excepting the 1d8 and 1d10 solutions.  Unfortunately both solutions necessitate removing that extra half and half face.

1d8 solution:  If you take out the Devil's Hour (what I call the "wild face") and roll it's effects into the "Midnight", or all dark face, it might be workable (it would have worked better with the moon phases, where the Blood Moon wasn't really a part of the sequence).  This may not be as bad as it sounds, the "best possible" outcome would be noon, and the "worst possible" outcome would be midnight.  Very symmetrical.

1d10 solution:  What I think is a better alternative would be to add an additional wild face in the stead of the half and half.  Possible outcomes would be; the conflict is nullified without resolution, the conflict is resolved by chance regardless of the characters intentions and abilities, the "best possible" outcome effect from Noon (Full Moon).  Possible symbols would be; the Clock Tower (a wide view of Cron itself), a Bell (that tolls for thee. . .) and my favorite, the Sign of the Gear (representing the inner workings of the Clock).

Personally, I like using Gear as the additional face on a d10, representing the best possible outcome of the die roll.  The Gear feels like it is in opposition to the Hourglass, representing the clock as it works, rather than the period where it stops, and it could also be seen as a "good" force, being a holy symbol for the Keepers.

3 is pretty tough, and without it, the rest of this is just color.  A character following the path of Corruption/Redemption is already handled by an in-game mechanic.  Maybe I/C could only be spent on a conflict where the character is using a trait that is "moving toward" the darkness or light (as appropriate) players would have to decide whether scores were a.m. or p.m., and thus moving towards darkness or light.  That is somewhat limiting though. . .  This particular aspect is a little too deeply tied in to the game system for me to speculate on very much.

Oh, and one more thing.  I would name the clock faces in order as follows:
Gloaming (1 quarter, dark from 3-12)
Dawn (1 half, dark from 6-12)
Morning (3 quarters, dark from 9-12)
High Noon (Full light, no dark)
Afternoon (3 quarters, dark from 12-3)
Dusk (1 half, dark from 12-6)
Twilight (1 quarter, dark from 12-9)
Night (Full dark)

Anyway, like I said, it's little more than a brainstorm, take from it what you will.
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M. J. Young
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Posts: 2198


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« Reply #1 on: June 29, 2004, 12:33:32 PM »

Hmmm...it seems to me that what you're seeing as a problem is a feature. That is, the clock faces are supposed to replace the moon phases, which already have that spread.

There's no reason to distinguish AM from PM because the point is only to have the six distinct clock faces (of which the hourglass is the sixth). There was never any complaint that the half moon appears three times on the die but only once in the sky.

I'm not sure whether you're trying to solve something that isn't a problem.

Also, I think that the clock face system was going to use a progressively darkening face from best to worst. You've created an interesting die for a linear outcome, which would be great color for another game, but isn't the way the mechanics work in this one.

Is there something you're after that I'm not getting?

--M. J. Young
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Marhault
Member

Posts: 185


« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2004, 04:53:17 AM »

M.J. - Yeah, there is, but I'm not surprised you didn't get it (I doubt anyone else did either) since I was very unclear in my original post.  This thread is intended to discuss the possibilities of making that distinguishment between the hours that are approaching noon (and thus getting lighter) and the hours that approach midnight and the devil's hour (and thus are getting darker).  I think a few quotes from the Proposed updated iconography thread can serve to clarify a little:

Quote from: GreatWolf
One possibility is to adopt two sets of terms, one moving from light to dark and the other moving in the other direction. So, for instance, the former Half Moon would be Twilight and Dawn. This would add some descriptive flexibility by defining a Trait as tending to move in one direction, but it could also add a measure of confusion. Any thoughts?

(Why yes, Mike, this would be comparable to waxing and waning moon phases, wouldn't it?)

Quote from: Lxndr
Thing is, there are THREE half-moons, right? And thus three twilights. Which makes waxing vs. waning (or morning vs. afternoon) kinda hard to do. Day and Night come in pairs, so divide equally. Noon and Midnight only need one apiece. But three doesn't get easily divided by two.

Quote from: GreatWolf
*snip*after all this time, I was finally starting to consider waning and waxing. Although Alexander may have persuaded me otherwise. I'll have to consider this some more.


So. . . Maybe it makes a little bit more sense now?

That first post pretty much represents my thoughts on the matter.  Has anyone else considered the idea at all?  Seth?

Edit:  This is not to say, by the way, that there's anything wrong with just going ahead as is.  Like M.J. said, there was no complaint about there being 3 Half moons.  These things are only important if the sequential aspect of icons is desired.  The idea is interesting, and worth a little examination, but I doubt it would be worth actually implementing.  Especially considering the need for more playtests if it was.
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M. J. Young
Member

Posts: 2198


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« Reply #3 on: June 30, 2004, 01:09:17 PM »

Ah, I think I'm up to speed now.

I think the problem Alexander has is a confusion between the dice and the scores. The question of whether a score is getting brighter or darker could perhaps be relevant as a score (the waxing and waning that had been contemplated under the old system), but the die roll itself would still represent the current value of the score, not the direction it was tending.

Trying now to visualize your conception, though, I think it would be more confusing. If I'm understanding you aright, three (am) and nine (pm) would each show the same amount of light versus dark, but as scores we would want nine to show the same amount of light versus dark regardless of whether it was increasing or decreasing.

Of course, Seth might see something in this that I'm missing.

--M. J. Young
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GreatWolf
Moderator
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Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


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« Reply #4 on: June 30, 2004, 08:15:12 PM »

Hey, guys.

I haven't responded because I'm up to my eyeballs in a computer project at work.  (This has also prevented me from doing any meaningful work on Alyria.  Argh!)

Essentially, M.J. is spot on in what he says.  When my life calms a bit, I'm going to post a thread revealing a dirty secret about the Alyria system.  (This was prompted by a comment that Ralph made in another thread.  But that will have to wait until later.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Marhault
Member

Posts: 185


« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2004, 05:01:54 AM »

M.J.  -  Good point about the differentiation between the Dice and the Scores.  I had just assumed that if you changed one, you would naturally want to change the other.  Now that I think about it, if you cange the dice, that would necessarily make each different "time" a different score.  That would mess the system up in a big way, which isn't at all what I was imagining.

So that basically removes what I had listed as problems 1 & 2 in my first post.  That leaves us with 3.  The only possibilities I can think of are restricting the expenditure of I/C for conflict resolution or restricting the expenditure of I/C for the purpose of changing the value of a particular trait (meaning the 'hands' on the clock must go forward).

I can't see the system gaining much out of either of those.  Anyone else have any ideas about this?
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