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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 121 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Hero Points for Scene Framing  (Read 3656 times)
Peter Nordstrand
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Posts: 501


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« on: January 02, 2005, 06:36:03 AM »

Hi,

Ordinarily I tend to remove rules from HeroQuest when playing. The core rules are such a well-oiled and beautiful machinery that additions, such as the redundant Wealth rules or the Circle of Infinite Ad Hoc Horror also known as the Size rules, tend to make the game worse, not better, in my opinion. (Hey, I'm just telling you where I come from, the above paragraph is not the topic of this post.)

However, here is a new rules idea that I would very much appreciate feedback on. The basic idea is stolen from Prime Time Adventures (buy it!), but it will probably work quite differently in HeroQuest. Anyway, here we go:

It is assumed that the players are running a short campaign consisting of five play sessions. If you want a longer or shorter campaign adjust the rules accordingly.

During character generation each player determines the importance of his hero in each of the upcoming sessions by assigning a Heroics Rating to each session: Two sessions will have rating 1, two will have rating 2, and one will have rating 3.
    Example:
    John want his character to have most impact during the final session, so he assigns the following values:
         1st session = rating 2
         2nd session = rating 1
         3rd session = rating 2
         4th session = rating 1
         5th session = rating 3[/list:u]

    At the beginning of each session the narrator gives each hero 2 hero points.

    The Heroics Rating is used in two ways:
    1) It tells how many times a player (i.e. not the narrator) may frame a scene during the session. Ordinarily new scenes are set up by the narrator, but a player with rating 2 (for example) may set up scenes two times during the session. What is a scene? Well, the player decides
      where the scene takes place (in the forest, in the throne room of Lord Grunt de Brute, at the top of Mount Kero Fin, etc.),

      who is in the scene (my hero and his wife, your hero and my hero's wife, my hero's wife and Lord Grunt de Brute, etc),

      what is going on when the scene begins (my hero is trying to convince Lord Grunt de Brute to murder your hero for sleeping with my hero's wife... well, you get it)

      the general purpose of the scene (to establish my hero's character and personality; to move the plot forward in regards to your hero's affair with my hero's wife, etc).

      See Prime Time Adventures for ideas. [/list:u]
      2) Each time a player frames a scene, his hero receives a number of hero points equal to his Heroics Rating for that session.
        Examples:
        During a session where your hero has Heroics Rating 1, you will receive one extra hero point when setting up a new scene. Maximum number of extra hero points = 1.

        When your hero has Heroics Rating 2, he will receive two extra hero point when you set up a new scene. Max number of extra hero points = 4 (2 per scene, max 2 scenes).

        When he has Heroics Rating 3, John's hero will receive two extra hero point when he sets up a new scene. Max number of extra hero points = 9 (3 per scene, max 3 scenes).[/list:u]

        The purpose of these new rules is to encourage players to think in terms of scenes and scene framing, to encourage them to get to the point of the story.

        What do you think?

        All the best,
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        Mike Holmes
        Acts of Evil Playtesters
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        Posts: 10459


        « Reply #1 on: January 03, 2005, 09:26:06 AM »

        I think that it'll work. Basically you're trying to move players from actor to author stance here - players frame scenes frequently using the "I go to the Tavern" method. What they don't do is to really consider if there's a good story reason to go to the tavern. That is, they rarely consider the "Purpose of the Scene" portion. By explicitly enticing them to do so, I think that you'll get what you're looking for to some extent.

        One problem, however, is that, since they're not in on all of the scene framing, they might not have a sense of the continuity of the story in these terms. That is, I'm not sure that they'll end up driving the plot. What if the player says that the purpose of the scene is to show just how much ass his character can kick? Suitable early on, but later in the story, if we've seen ass kicking already, then it really doesn't take the story anywhere.

        I think that there's a more general technique that you can use where you simply engage each player on each scene in deciding what makes sense to have there. Not that they have to comment on every scene, but that they should feel that they can do so, and understand that there's a purpose to each scene.

        Also, and this may just be me, but I like to see scene purposes stated as unanswered questions which the scene answers. Otherwise what you get is "Let's have a scene where we determine that my character is an orphan," followed by precisely that. Which seems like redundant play to me. If, instead, you say, "Let's have a scene in which the question of my character's parenthood is established" then playing the scene still has some tension as we don't know the outcome. Just why we're there.

        I think that the nine HP might be a tad out of line for the spotlight session, and why should any one framing be worth more than any other? That is, if one HP is a good enough reward for the guy making only one scene that night, then it should be good enough for the guy making three. Perhaps make it two just to give slightly more incentive. This brings the rewards a little more inline at 2, 4, or 6 HP for a session.

        Another concern - let's say you have four players, and it's the 3 session for one of them (I'm assuming that only one can have a "spotlight session" per session), and that the other three are 2s. That's 9 scenes that people have to get through to get all of their rewards. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think that I get through 9 scenes in a session total very often. Even if I did, in this case, it would mean no narrator input for scenes in such a session. Basically, I'm not sure that it's sustainable (especially if you have more players than this). What happens if a player simply doesn't get the opportunity to frame in a session?

        Mike
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        Peter Nordstrand
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        Posts: 501


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        « Reply #2 on: January 12, 2005, 10:46:06 AM »

        Hi Mike,

        I appreciate your input. Helpful as usual.
        Quote from: Mike Holmes
        Another concern - let's say you have four players, and it's the 3 session for one of them (I'm assuming that only one can have a "spotlight session" per session), and that the other three are 2s. That's 9 scenes that people have to get through to get all of their rewards. Now, I don't know about you, but I don't think that I get through 9 scenes in a session total very often. Even if I did, in this case, it would mean no narrator input for scenes in such a session. Basically, I'm not sure that it's sustainable (especially if you have more players than this). What happens if a player simply doesn't get the opportunity to frame in a session?

        You do have a point. Let's get concrete, though. I am considering using these rules in my own upcoming game. There will be three players, which means a maximum of 3+2+2=7 scenes. However, that is still a lot, so if several players want to frame scenes at the same time, we'll just follow a priority list (is this English?).

        1. The player who has framed the least number of scenes this session gets priority. If this leaves us with more than one player, go to 2.

        2. The player with the highest Heroics Rating gets priority. If this leaves us with more than one player, go to 3.

        3. The player whose hero has the least number of hero points gets priority. If this leaves us with more than one player, determine randomly.

        Quote from: Mike Holmes
        I think that the nine HP might be a tad out of line for the spotlight session, and why should any one framing be worth more than any other?
        Because it is unlikely that the player with the spotlight session will be able to frame three scenes before the session ends, and I want him to get more Hero Points and do more cool stuff.

        Because I, quite frankly, want the player's with Heroics Rating 1 to take a step back, shut up and listen and let the hero in focus do his thing.

        Does this make sense?

        More later ...
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        Ron Edwards
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        « Reply #3 on: January 12, 2005, 11:35:44 AM »

        Hi Peter,

        It sounds as if you're using Hero Points to play the role of Screen Presence in the game Primetime Adventures, which I think works very well. Check out PTA if you haven't already; it has amazing scene/story advice that will benefit any HQ game.

        Best,
        Ron
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        Mike Holmes
        Acts of Evil Playtesters
        Member

        Posts: 10459


        « Reply #4 on: January 12, 2005, 01:35:28 PM »

        Heh, he referenced PTA in his initial post, Ron, as his primary influence here.

        I like what you've got now, Peter. The one thing that I'd change the priority to the player with the most scenes left to frame. Which is different from your #1 condition. This means that the player with 3 beats those with 2 until he's at 1. If you want to break that up a bit, then make the second tie breaker who posted latest is lowest.

        So:
        Player A: 3
        Player B: 2

        Player A frames, and drops to 2 remaining, Player B gets the priority, because A has framed since him. Or, simply use a card with the term "priority" written on it, and pass it to the person with the most scenes left, closest to the left of the latest poster with same number if there is one (I'm stealing this from the 18xx series of railroad games).

        Mike
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