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Author Topic: Ascendancy; Thoughts and questions  (Read 3022 times)
thurak
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Posts: 9


« on: February 07, 2005, 05:16:36 AM »

Greetings,

I'm gearing up to begin development on my own campaign setting, which will use the TSOY game mechanics.

I've been looking at ascendancy, and I wonder, since the game is Open Source, what do people think about the following adjustment to Ascendancy:

Instead of making Ascendancy an "End Game" for the character involved, I was thinking of  making it work like a key. If a character rolls the 22 needed to ascend and achieve End Game, she gets an option -essentially a Buy Off - of either resisting the ascention and continuing play as an "Ascendant", or taking the buy off, ending game, and becoming a divine being.

Resisting Ascention basically changes the character to the point where they no longer advance normally. An ascendant only advances after gaining 100 experience points, but they will gain certain advantages that immediately set them apart from other people in the  game 'verse I'm creating.

Ascendants will be able to Inspire Awe or Fear in others,  making it much more unlikely that someone will try and do them Harm. The Ascendant will also experience a sort of distancing of sorts, with regards to how they percieve mundane life. This, I think, helps to discourage combat somewhat.

It is still kind of sketchy, but I'm hoping to flesh it out more and make Ascendancy a vehicle for characters entering into a new  sphere of Role-play.

Any thoughts, comments?

I'd really appreciate the input.
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thurak
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2005, 07:24:55 AM »

Ok, this is why I don't post so early. I meant to say Transcendance, not ascendancy,

sheeesh....

I feel like those zombies running around  shouting Brains... brains!
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timfire
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« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2005, 08:12:59 AM »

If you haven't already, you should check out the thread [[TSOY] Transcendence (split from First Impressions)]. If you don't want to play with the Transendence rule, fine. But there are reasons for the rule. The most compelling reason (to me, at least) is this, lifted from the above thread:
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 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!"
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--Timothy Walters Kleinert
Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2005, 10:01:26 AM »

Tim is right in his reasons. As written, TSOY is a game with absolutely no gods. (I don't make that perfectly clear in the main book, with good reason. The people of Near might well believe in a god, and that might give them power. In this game, at least, belief = power.) My upcoming supplement will make that more clear.

But - your idea is interesting. I think it could work well in the context of your game if that's what you're looking for. I find it very interesting that your idea of Ascendents matches the game's elves very well. Of course, there's no rules for becoming an elf for the same reason: the goal is to become more human.

Your idea strikes me as being kind of like dual Humanity in Sorcerer. In games with dual Humanity, there's often two different results that can happen at 0 Humanity. In my own Inside mini-supplement, the player gets to choose to become totally human or totally inhuman. If this was set up where at Transcendence you could choose to take the traditional route or the Ascendant route, well, that's pretty cool.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
thurak
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2005, 10:03:08 AM »

James Nostack Makes a compelling argument for Transcendance and how it relates to the "Theme" of The Shadow of Yesterday.

I guess, I'm just not sold on the concept of an "end game" for a character, no matter what the "level." Certainly, characters should retire in time, and maybe it's just me wondering how Transcendance fits into the whole concept of group play, and group goals and such.

I mean, theoretically, a roll of 22 can happen at any time, once the character gets to a certain level of competance, so,

A) tHe player sees it coming.
B) His fellow players see it coming.
C) The Story Guide sees it coming.

How can Group goals and campaigns designed to achieve a specific end stand at that level, when all any character need do is roll that magical number, Transcend, and reach his goal?

Please don't  think I'm being sarcastic. I'm geniunely  curious. Transcendence, as I see it, can cause problems for the whole party in the context of how a campaign ends.

If the Character who transcends can simply state that "he goes off and kills the evil overlord," ( An NPC that the party has been struggling against for the longest time) doesn't that take something away from the rest of the group?

It seems to me like it would diminish the whole experience of role-playing the campaign, if it ends on a note like that.

It's just my opinion. I'm certainly not trying to cause flak. I'm just in a bit of a conundrum about this.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2005, 10:08:26 AM »

Almost all arguments against Transcendence revolve around the idea that one player will screw over another character. The two big ones:

a) But, my character will get taken away from me right when I'm enjoying him the most!
b) That other guy will transcend and mess up my plotline!

Both of these are problems that can occur. They occur because of a lack of consensus and working together among players, not because of Transcendence. Transcendence merely catalyzes that dysfunctional group's problems into a bigger one.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
thurak
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2005, 10:11:30 AM »

Quote from: Clinton R. Nixon
If this was set up where at Transcendence you could choose to take the traditional route or the Ascendant route, well, that's pretty cool.


Yeah that's pretty much exactly what I was thinking.

It needs alot of work. Lot's of things need to be rationalized, such as a high-powered being staying in a land where he is nearly god-like. What would change about character motivations, how far removed would a character become from society, and what keeps the character from just "Buying Off" and embracing his divine essence?

Things liek that could make it cool, but again. James Nostack is Right. The Character has essentially broken the system when he gets that high... so in the end it might not be worth tweaking.
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Bankuei
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« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2005, 11:25:32 AM »

Hi,

Quote
How can Group goals and campaigns designed to achieve a specific end stand at that level, when all any character need do is roll that magical number, Transcend, and reach his goal?

(snip)

If the Character who transcends can simply state that "he goes off and kills the evil overlord," ( An NPC that the party has been struggling against for the longest time) doesn't that take something away from the rest of the group?


I think to follow up on what Clinton's saying, you also need to recognize that everyone in the group is going to see it coming.  By the point you get your skill up to the point where transcendence is an issue, everyone at the table is going to be watching to see if you decide to ramp it  up to 10.  If so, then you're basically saying to the group, "I'm ready, let's do this in style!"

As far as long term campaign goals, also understand that while you might kill the uber-warlord- the limitation of trancendence is that it is the LAST thing you get to do with that character.  It's a one time "wish spell" that kicks ass, and then you're done.

Also recognize that most of the problems presented in Near aren't easy to mop up in one action.  Take out a dictator?  Ok, what about the general class of oppression and exploitation?  Who's going to move in to conquer next?  Even if the oppressed folks overthrow the rulers, who's to say they won't start a new bloodbath?   Hell, even if you stopped the nasty eclipse week, you'd still have problems.

But, just the same, transcendence means you go out as a hero, or at least a legend.  It means your character made a lasting difference.

Chris
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thurak
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2005, 12:25:47 PM »

Very good points,

 Thank you for your input. :)
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