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Author Topic: B&B released by 5DP!  (Read 1800 times)
5DP
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Posts: 5


« on: March 17, 2002, 12:37:35 PM »

Brains & Brawn Basic EditionTM is now available for download!
Sure, you had fun playing Battle Scarred Veterans Go HikingTM, Or maybe you just had fun scoffing at us when you saw it. Oh yeah?! Well, are you ready for the serious butt kicking superhero action of Brains & BrawnTM? This latest release from 5th Dimension Publishing has a custom system that epitomizes the dichotomy of good and evil, but plays smoothly enough to allow your buff Mr. Invincible type hero to interact with your regular-Joe-turned-crimefighter. Best of all, the Basic Edition is available online -- FOR FREE! How cool is that?!
Download available at http://5thDimension.Bookpub.net
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5th Dimension Publishing
 -New Ideas In Gaming -
Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2002, 05:51:30 PM »

Quote from: 5DP
Brains & Brawn Basic EditionTM is now available for download!
Sure, you had fun playing Battle Scarred Veterans Go HikingTM, Or maybe you just had fun scoffing at us when you saw it. Oh yeah?! Well, are you ready for the serious butt kicking superhero action of Brains & BrawnTM? This latest release from 5th Dimension Publishing has a custom system that epitomizes the dichotomy of good and evil, but plays smoothly enough to allow your buff Mr. Invincible type hero to interact with your regular-Joe-turned-crimefighter. Best of all, the Basic Edition is available online -- FOR FREE! How cool is that?!
Download available at http://5thDimension.Bookpub.net


Welcome to the Forge, guys.

Before you do anything else, I highly recommend y'all read the various FAQ-ish info at http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1604

We will look at, read, discuss, play your game! But this is first and foremost a community, not a promo message board.

Word up, peace out.
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
5DP
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #2 on: March 18, 2002, 05:38:56 AM »

Jared A. Sorensen wrote:
Quote
We will look at, read, discuss, play your game! But this is first and foremost a community, not a promo message board.


These are the things I truly hope will happen. The announcement was posted here so that people on The Forge would download the game, then start discussions about its format, rules, writing etc., and I'm fully prepared to answer any questions people have about the game here or through e-mail at 5thdimension@BookPub.net.

If this was posted in the wrong forum, I apologize.

Steve
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5th Dimension Publishing
 -New Ideas In Gaming -
joshua neff
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Posts: 949


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« Reply #3 on: March 18, 2002, 05:51:40 AM »

No, you posted in the right forum. It was more the...tone. We're not interested in advertising copy & hype. If you want us to look at your game, just post & say, "Hi, guys, my name is Bob & I have this game. I think it's pretty nifty, but I'm not sure if the mechanics really work the way I want them to. Would someone like to take a look & tell me what they think?"

We're a pretty casual lot here. Don't try to sell us your game, assume that we're all fellow game designers (which many people here are). Read the other posts in this forum  & see the tone they use before posting your own.
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--josh

"You can't ignore a rain of toads!"--Mike Holmes
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: March 18, 2002, 06:35:58 AM »

OK! So Steve is not a spamboy, and all is well.

Welcome to the Forge, from all of us, especially Jared and Josh. (Chime in, you two.)

I wandered over to the site and checked out the game, which offered a couple of surprises.

1) Dominoes for the resolution mechanic, with an interesting twist regarding the "good side" and the "evil side." I'm a little curious about what happens if the character does something, well, evil - does the evil side work in his favor, then? Or is the "evil side" terminology there only for flavor, really meaning, GM's side.

2) The metagame mechanic for Luck, which allows a nice bit of Director Stance. [Warning to Steve: grim Forge jargon just entered the conversation.]

3) Some interesting connotations about GM and player interests, most obviously in the development system - apparently the player handles the character's improvement in skills and abilities, and the GM handles the character's improvement in powers.

I have a number of other comments about the game, based on first glance, but I'll wait for further reading and others' comments.

Do check it out, folks. It's a different philosophy of design than a lot of stuff on the Forge, but that should be a good thing. I also think it should provide some grist for the Illusionism discussion, if we can get that thread back to work.

Best,
Ron
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5DP
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #5 on: March 18, 2002, 09:21:46 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
OK! So Steve is not a spamboy, and all is well.

(snip)
1) Dominoes for the resolution mechanic, with an interesting twist regarding the "good side" and the "evil side." I'm a little curious about what happens if the character does something, well, evil - does the evil side work in his favor, then? Or is the "evil side" terminology there only for flavor, really meaning, GM's side.

(snip)

3) Some interesting connotations about GM and player interests, most obviously in the development system - apparently the player handles the character's improvement in skills and abilities, and the GM handles the character's improvement in powers.
(snip)

Best,
Ron


Thanks for the welcome!

1) As long as the hero thinks he's doing it for the better good, the evil side is still directed towards the GM.
There will be a seperate mechanic for playing evil characters in the expanded edition, whenever we get around to that. Sidekicks will also play a bit different in the full version, either as NPCs or PCs.

3)I thought this made the most sense for development, keeps down on the power gaming which is far too prevalent in this genre.

Steve
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5th Dimension Publishing
 -New Ideas In Gaming -
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #6 on: March 18, 2002, 11:18:48 AM »

Hey,

Seems like when we get into what-the-hero-thinks, and if that's what's affecting the game mechanics, then some potential trouble starts brewing.

Videotape: say I'm playing Doctor Zap, a solid good-guy superhero. But, today, I as player have decided that the good Doctor is going to become less of a nice guy, and I'm looking forward to the day when he realizes this was Bad, and that he should stay with being a good guy. Sort of a

What happens during play? I say, "Doctor Zap zaps the cornice of the building, so it crumbles off and nails Le Mort Rouge on the head!" This is pretty mean - we all know LMR ain't a physical tough (unlike his buddy Vendetta), and it's kind of gratuitous property damage as well.

H'm, says the GM. Do I use the evil side or the good side?

My question is, what the character "thinks" is kind of tricky here. I as the player say that Dr. Zap thinks he's doing the right thing, but by gum, I know full well as the player that he's not. And let's point out that the GM can't read my mind; he doesn't know that I'm really looking forward to the day when Dr. Zap repents his hasty and nasty actions during that set of sessions.

How does this get resolved without descending into one of those during-play head-wringing discussions about character motivations?

I choose this issue because there are a lot of things in B&B that hint at a certain, "player just plays his guy, and GM pretty much handles all the 'meaning' and story" approach. This isn't a bad approach, by any means - but if you're going that route, then certain rules or mechanics have a high potential to bring the game to a halt, very painfully.

Game features especially prone to such problems include anything for which the GM suddenly has "author power" over the character, which players (in this mode of play) often find intrusive.

Best,
Ron
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5DP
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #7 on: March 18, 2002, 11:46:17 AM »

This shouldn't really be handled on an action by action basis. As long as you are primarily playing a hero, the posted rules apply. If you decide to make that character a bit more rough around the edges, he still gets the good side of the dominoes.

If, however, you decide you want your character to cross the line and fight for the other side, then you start playing the character as a 'villain' from that point on.


Basically dark heros, and nice heros having dark moments will be played out as posted...only if you play a full blown villain, or make your hero turn villain, that you play with the alternate rules that will be in the expanded version.


Steve
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 -New Ideas In Gaming -
Valamir
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« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2002, 10:18:46 AM »

Ok, I gave the game a once over, have a couple of issues with it.

1) Why dominoes?  I give you bonus points for trying something new, but I don't see any real value added to them the way they're delivered.  Mechanically its mostly the same as roll 2d6 and add the difference to your trait and attribute.

Its possible that there is some strategy involved in which tiles to play, but I don't know that it would actually work that way in practice.  All of the tiles are "good", they are always worth between 0 and 5.  The bit with the "good side" and "evil side" seems like nothing more than color.  mechanically, just take the difference between the numbers and add.

The fact that you only have 3 in your hand to choose from doesn't seem to add alot to me.  If you get stuck with 3 "weak" tiles, a player is motivated to just select some throw away actions to burn them on and get new ones.

Also, it seems that the mechanic is FAR better suited to resolving a whole scene at once than action by action.  One example included drawing dominoes for a single "karate kick to the head".  You'll go through dominoes like crazy at that pace.  The high recycle rate will further erode any added strategy from dominoes over dice.  Instead of drawing to resolve a kick...draw to resolve the entire fight, or at least a fair sequence of it.  

Better in my mind would be to make the "evil" / "good" thing actually have some meaning.  Every tile has an evil side and a good side, the good side is always the lower number and the evil side is always the higher.  A true hero on the side of good would limit themselves to only using the good side i.e. they voluntarily limit their effectiveness. ("I could blast the villain with my super power ray, but there are innocent bystanders nearby").  "Honorable" villains may do this as well, but the truly dastardly would take any advantage they could get.

The player is thus always tempted when he holds that 1/6 domino to say "to hell with this, I'm not letting doctor destructo get away this time...I'm using the "evil" side and getting the 6."  This then should have all manners of repercussions.  The difference between the two numbers would be a great measure of the severity of the evil.  with a 2/3 domino taking the 3 would mean some minor transgression (hitting him while his back was turned...tsk, tsk).  With the 1/6 domino taking the 6 would be a difference of 5, a severe trangression likely involving endangering innocents or similiar.  Regardless of how the GM handles the transgression, it would have some effect on the characters reputation.  Wolverine and the Hulk tap into the "Evil Side" frequently.  Superman on the other hand is pure "good".

Just a brainstorm idea, but without something like that there appears to me no point whatsoever other then novelty to using the dominoes.

2)  Once you get past the dominoes...where's the game?  There's a brief list of powers...we're instructed to make our own but given minimal guidance.  Theres the obligatory weapon damage table, with more advice to create our own.  There is no distinct feel or flavor to the game, its really pretty basic straight forward add some numbers game design of the type seen a zillion times.

I really hate to sound negative about it, because I'm really kind of intrigued by the possibility of dominoes, but to be bluntly honest, I see nothing in the game that would make me want to play it instead of Villains and Vigilantes.


3) In otherwords, the game isn't really ABOUT anything.  "About being a Super Hero" isn't very unique...theres alot of games that have been about that.  

Take Jared's The Code, for instance.  Its a superhero game too, but in that case its schtick is that the superheroes aren't super.  They're just ordinary people trying to make the world a better place.  Some of them are honest to god samaritans, and some are just delusional, but the point is, there is something MORE there then just being a superhero guy.

The domino thing could be B&B's schtick, but as I mentioned, unless I totally missed something critical, I'm not seeing it there.  You kind of teased me with the promise of something new and incredibly clever ("dominoes, wow, I've never seen that before") and then didn't deliver.  The system is just basic stuff I've seen a hundred times.

The idea I had above for the dominoes (incomplete as it is)would give it more meat as a mechanic.  The game becomes about something, even if that something is as simple as trying to walk that thin line between good and evil, while the game mechanics themselves are encouraging you to take the easy road to evil.  Do you choose to "fight fair" and use the "good side", or do you choose to "fight dirty" and use the "evil side".  Sure you could just karate kick him and use the "good side" at two, but the "evil side" is a four and could be described as a vicious eye gouge.  I'm reminded of the scene from Karate Kid 3 where the evil sensei is teaching the Kid how to fight dirty "A man who cannot see, cannot fight; A man who cannot breathe, cannot fight; A man who cannot stand, cannot fight".  Choosing which side of the domino to use should be like that.
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5DP
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Posts: 5


« Reply #9 on: March 19, 2002, 10:54:11 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
Ok, I gave the game a once over, have a couple of issues with it.

1) Why dominoes?  I give you bonus points for trying something new, but I don't see any real value added to them the way they're delivered.  Mechanically its mostly the same as roll 2d6 and add the difference to your trait and attribute.

(snip)

Also, it seems that the mechanic is FAR better suited to resolving a whole scene at once than action by action.  One example included drawing dominoes for a single "karate kick to the head".  You'll go through dominoes like crazy at that pace.  The high recycle rate will further erode any added strategy from dominoes over dice.  Instead of drawing to resolve a kick...draw to resolve the entire fight, or at least a fair sequence of it.  

Better in my mind would be to make the "evil" / "good" thing actually have some meaning.  Every tile has an evil side and a good side, the good side is always the lower number and the evil side is always the higher.  A true hero on the side of good would limit themselves to only using the good side i.e. they voluntarily limit their effectiveness. ("I could blast the villain with my super power ray, but there are innocent bystanders nearby").  "Honorable" villains may do this as well, but the truly dastardly would take any advantage they could get.

The player is thus always tempted when he holds that 1/6 domino to say "to hell with this, I'm not letting doctor destructo get away this time...I'm using the "evil" side and getting the 6."  This then should have all manners of repercussions.  The difference between the two numbers would be a great measure of the severity of the evil.  with a 2/3 domino taking the 3 would mean some minor transgression (hitting him while his back was turned...tsk, tsk).  With the 1/6 domino taking the 6 would be a difference of 5, a severe trangression likely involving endangering innocents or similiar.  Regardless of how the GM handles the transgression, it would have some effect on the characters reputation.  Wolverine and the Hulk tap into the "Evil Side" frequently.  Superman on the other hand is pure "good".

(snip)

2)  Once you get past the dominoes...where's the game?  There's a brief list of powers...we're instructed to make our own but given minimal guidance.  Theres the obligatory weapon damage table, with more advice to create our own.  There is no distinct feel or flavor to the game, its really pretty basic straight forward add some numbers game design of the type seen a zillion times.



3) In otherwords, the game isn't really ABOUT anything.  "About being a Super Hero" isn't very unique...theres alot of games that have been about that.  

(snip)





Actually, it would be closer to rolling 2 D7 dice (since there is the possibility for getting a 0-6 result on each tile). But this is also an ineffective substitute. First off the pure statistics are very different, I don't want to get into the nitty gritty (and quite outwardly boring) math here unless people are REALLY that interested in it.  Also the critical success of failure comming about from having 2 sixes on either side cannot be mimicked as cleanly in your substitution of dice.

I tend to agree with you on the resolution of combat as scenes instead of individual actions, with damage being decided for the entire battle at once. This should have been explained a bit better in the rules. The example described was for a 'one punch' fight essentially.

Although I do find your concept of the good side always being lower very interesting, I feel that it open up a whole world of problems that I haven't even considered yet. I'll give this one some more thought and get back to you.


The system as released doesn't necessarily have any 'deeper meaning'. As stated in the intro, it was designed to be a generic super-hero game, to be used much like GURPS, FUDGE or the D20 system. As much as I like using these for other games (Fantasy, SciFi, Horror) I don't feel that normal generic systems work well for supers, so B&B was created for this purpose. The expanded version will include a section that describes 1 or 2 'unique' ways to play the game, which is what I think you are looking for in the Basic Edition.

Steve
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Valamir
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« Reply #10 on: March 19, 2002, 11:38:18 AM »

Quote

Actually, it would be closer to rolling 2 D7 dice (since there is the possibility for getting a 0-6 result on each tile). But this is also an ineffective substitute. First off the pure statistics are very different, I don't want to get into the nitty gritty (and quite outwardly boring) math here unless people are REALLY that interested in it.


Yeah, I'm well aware of the statistical differences between a purely random roll, and randomly choosing from a diminishing set.  But with a fairly high recycle rate, this difference shrinks dramatically.  

The real question is whatever the difference is between them, how does this method, with all of the added handling, used in a way that's superior to simply 2d6 and take the difference.  How is the difference capitalized on?  It just seems a fairly involved way of generating what is essentially a 0-6 number.

Quote
 Also the critical success of failure comming about from having 2 sixes on either side cannot be mimicked as cleanly in your substitution of dice.


I meant to mention this.  I didn't follow those rules.  What does this mean, can you give me an example.

Quote

Although I do find your concept of the good side always being lower very interesting, I feel that it open up a whole world of problems that I haven't even considered yet. I'll give this one some more thought and get back to you.


It might, as I said it was just a brainstorm, not a finished idea.  The point being that IMO you need to tie some actual meaning into the mechanic.  Otherwise its just YAR ("Yet Another Randomizer"), and one with a relatively high handling time to boot.


Quote
The system as released doesn't necessarily have any 'deeper meaning'. As stated in the intro, it was designed to be a generic super-hero game, to be used much like GURPS, FUDGE or the D20 system. As much as I like using these for other games (Fantasy, SciFi, Horror) I don't feel that normal generic systems work well for supers, so B&B was created for this purpose. The expanded version will include a section that describes 1 or 2 'unique' ways to play the game, which is what I think you are looking for in the Basic Edition.


Hmmm.  If you're going for the Super Hero alternative to GURPS, FUDGE, or D20, you're going to have to do something to set your game apart from that crowd, or else I might as well use one of them.   You say B&B was created for the purpose of doing supers which makes it superior to those others which weren't created expressly for supers.  I agree with the sentiment...not being a big fan of generic games, but what exactly does B&B do better in regards to supers?

Steve[/quote]
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