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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 85 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Giving players control of risk  (Read 9640 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2005, 06:07:13 AM »

That sounds pretty good, Adam. Some extra rolling, but it might be worth it. But to be clear, you roll this whether or not you succeed, right? Because, if not, then you're back to the same curve again, likely (I haven't looked at it closely). This has the advantage that characters can learn from failure, which I think is cool.

Again, however, if you get to roll on failure, I'm still a little concerned about players occasionally just going with the failure. That is, if my pool is 10, why select a Volume of 20? I'm so likely to fail that I'm probably not counting on winning at all at that point. So why not make it 30, or a million dice?

Is there some downside to losing big?

Also, with this system does Drive directly add to the Frequency of the opposing roll? Or does it add dice to the opposing roll?

Quote
Drive never goes down, though. There's no mechanic that reduces it.
Page 21 "Defending Your Drive" seems to say otherwise.

Mike
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2005, 06:25:35 AM »

The other alternative I was considering was a 'subtract pools first, then roll' method. If Volume is less than the pool size (for which I need a clever name for discussion purposes), then you're rolling to see how many Experience you lose. If Volume exceeds pool size, you're rolling to see how many Experience you gain.

It has a shorter handling time, but I like it less.

Yes, you roll whether you succeed or fail.

There is no downside to losing big (yet). My thought was that for conflicts that involved no trait at stake, the players don't care as much anyway. Plot stuff is at stake, but not the character. It bothers me that a scene can have nothing rules-tangible at stake. So many other games do this but I think it's a weakness. I like how something rules-tangible is always at stake in My Life with Master, for example.

When a trait is at stake in Verge, losing definitely has a downside. Either you will lose a point of Life, you won't get the Gear you wanted (which is useful for later scenes -- free rerolls, essentially), and I'm seriously considering moving the "cure a friend" and "destroy an enemy" options from Development Scenes into Conflict Scenes.

I am still vacillating between whether Drive is a trait that generates rerolls or just a number that influences the reward system. I think the game will play better if it's an ever-increasing pressure mechanic that is impossible to reduce. However, getting Drive under control might make a cool Conflict scene (to reduce it by one point, for example, when you're trying to convince your wife that you HAVE to miss your son's birthday party because this job is very important).

I'm considering making Life the primary pool trait instead of Drive but I flip back and forth on this.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Lxndr
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Master of the Inkstained Robes


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« Reply #17 on: May 05, 2005, 09:52:14 AM »

Quote from: AdamDray
I ended up buying your game to do an analysis of the similarities and differences (and for ideas, of course). I'm a big fan of Fastlane.

Check out Verge and tell me what you think. They're similar but I think Verge is different in a number of ways.


Adam,

Even before checking Verge out, it was obvious there were differences.  I was more impressed/amused/curious about the parallel evolution than everything, but you're definitely playing the whole thing out very differently - just looking at character creation tells me that.  I think this is a great cross-promotion opportunity, though, once both games are in print.

I'm going to look the game over in more detail before I let you know what I think.  But I do know that they're different games, just pointing in the same direction.  :)
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Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #18 on: May 06, 2005, 05:36:13 AM »

Quote from: AdamDray
There is no downside to losing big (yet). My thought was that for conflicts that involved no trait at stake, the players don't care as much anyway. Plot stuff is at stake, but not the character. It bothers me that a scene can have nothing rules-tangible at stake. So many other games do this but I think it's a weakness. I like how something rules-tangible is always at stake in My Life with Master, for example.
I have the same prejudice. If you feel this way, then why not just say that the only time you roll is when some trait is at stake?

This provides your mechanical counterbalance. Go high on Volume, and risk your trait for experience. Go low on volume, save the trait, but likely lose experience.

The losing experience thing seems...odd. Can you explain the rationale there?

Quote
Either you will lose a point of Life, you won't get the Gear you wanted (which is useful for later scenes -- free rerolls, essentially), and I'm seriously considering moving the "cure a friend" and "destroy an enemy" options from Development Scenes into Conflict Scenes.
I'd just have one sort of scene - all scenes have conflict. It's always a matter of what's at stake. Nothing at stake, no conflict.

Mike
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #19 on: May 06, 2005, 09:58:23 AM »

I don't agree that every scene must have a conflict to be interesting. Every scene must result in a change to the character to be interesting.

I wanted to divide scenes into Conflict and Development to emulate the "down time" that occurs in books and movies, for pacing, but still have it be interesting. I want character growth to occur as a result of conflicts but take place on screen. A player might take one or two Conflict scenes then take a Development scene to spend Experience. During that scene, he'd get a chance to narrate how his character is changing. If playtesting proves that this isn't compelling play, I'll delete it.

Losing Experience seemed the "stick" method to ensure players took enough risk. Take too little and you backslide. You learn bad habits, you learn the wrong lesson, you go down the wrong path, you become wary and hesitate when you should act, and so on.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #20 on: May 06, 2005, 10:31:29 AM »

I'm saying that development is conflict.

I think I have something. Instead of getting a roll at the end of every scene, instead they record the Volume and pool dice. Then, when they have a development scene, they roll those dice, the resulting EXP, being what's spent. Yes, this is just a matter of timing, but there could be other mechanical effects involved in how they train or otherwise develop, etc.

This way every scene has one roll. Either to generate Pool for development, or to turn that pool into actual development. This way, the mechanical tension matches the scene tension in each case.

Mike
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Adam Dray
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« Reply #21 on: May 06, 2005, 11:24:13 AM »

I love it. Thanks for that idea.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Adam Dray
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Posts: 676


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« Reply #22 on: May 07, 2005, 11:47:36 PM »

I dropped a new Verge playtest PDF today.

After working all day Saturday, I can now comfortably say that Verge is a "complete" game. It's not done by any stretch of the imagination, but it contains a sample of everything one needs to play a game. Complete rules and a bit of setting information.

I have to spend the next three weeks writing 60 characters for a LARP for a convention my wife and I host for our MUSH so I won't have much time for Verge till June. I do want to run a playtest at the con. Meanwhile, I have a friend who is going to run a game or two for some high school students she teaches.

Hopefully, I've fixed the problems Mike pointed out.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
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