*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 22, 2019, 02:08:26 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 41 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [On the Ecology of the Mud Dragon] Ronnies feedback  (Read 1793 times)
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« on: December 30, 2005, 08:55:03 AM »

Hello,

With a certain reluctance, I assigned On the Ecology of the Mud Dragon by Ben Lehman to the Bake It, Betty category. Check out out [On the Ecology of the Mud Dragon] First impressions for some points I'll be pursuing.

Ben, I don't know if you're still chewing your nails about my mysterious comments back in November, but regardless here's what I was talking about. This game represents your first one-toe steps onto entirely different ground in game design - specifically, putting everyone into the position of facing whatever adversity there is to face, without negotiating and reassuring one another about it. Don't get me wrong; Polaris is brilliant work - but I'm interested in seeing whether you can turn your attention to a different kind of work. We discussed this before (in my kitchen, actually), and you were very resistant. I think this game is the result of your brain turning those points over on its own, though.

It's not "there" yet, though. There's still too much agreement, too many re-roll opportunities, too much fear-of-failure, too much room for editorial preference. I say, you need to get unsafe!

And glory be, your recent blog post [On the Ecology of the Mud Dragon backs me up, doesn't it? This is a game about adversity. Not only are these little lizards pathetic and incompetent, they are also driven by great passions. Yup, great passions. I didn't say great passions for great things. You'll note, I hope, that my following suggestions are all about getting adversity into play without any negotiation or recourse. In Sorcerer, when I say, "You wake up and the demon is sucking your dick," there isn't any "You ask far too much" or spending a Story Point to change "demon" to "wife." These are perfectly good techniques in other games - not for Sorcerer, and not for its little buddy, On the Ecology of the Mud Dragon. In these games, adversity is there due to someone (GM, other players, whoever), and off we go.

1. Remove Petty Greed, which as your text notes has to work backwards anyway, and let that behavior take care of itself (you spotted this already in the First Impressions thread linked above).

2. Remove the "re-roll if you don't like it" aspect of scenario creation. All the scenario creation stuff that's rolled for needs to be substantial - you're going to have fart jokes anyway during play, so don't put'em on the list - put stuff on there which means, "adversity, opportunity, drop-dead funny."
 
3. I suggest crossing off stuff you've done already from the scenario creation list.

4. Only one Token can be spent per action for a re-roll. If that's already part of the rules, then spiff; I wasn't sure.

Most importantly, RAMP UP INJURY. One little damage point at the GM's option, for some rolls, is just lame. You gotta have a mechanics-solid, unavoidable method of getting hurt. The actual combat system is not it, because the backing-down, biting-ankles part is perfect. Keep it in the failed task-roll realm, and make it hurt - if you fail (your "attribute succeeds"), then wham, hurt li'l dragon. Hurt a hurt dragon, get a dead one ... bummer.

OK, last little bits, mostly good, so I'll be quick. The whole "fail to succeed" bit is a verbal amusement, as you know, and it should work just fine once someone gets it. Tokens and Throwback are all brilliant, and so is the Princess rule. You can see the fruitful void, missing-corner thing, right? It is love for the little guy, in which turning into a great big golden beautiful dragon is a failure and cop-out. Fuck the swan - this game is about whether an ugly duckling can himself be a hero.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Ben Lehman
Member

Posts: 2094

Blissed


WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2005, 10:22:52 AM »

Hey, Ron:  Thanks for the feedback.

Yes, indeedy, this game badly needs a way to hurt characters.  Or, really, to hurt players.  And you've hit the game's premise exactly.

Rules note:  Spending a token doesn't allow a reroll.  It allows a success, period, flat out, done.  Provided that the player can come up with a way that his Mud Dragon's incompetence nonetheless leads to success.  I'm curious what you think of this.

The thing about a reroll is that it will almost certainly result in yet more failure.

Other than that... yeah, I'm probably going to implement most of those suggestions immediately.

yrs--
--Ben
Logged

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2005, 10:45:11 AM »

Hey Ben!

Quote
It allows a success, period, flat out, done.  Provided that the player can come up with a way that his Mud Dragon's incompetence nonetheless leads to success.  I'm curious what you think of this.

Should be obvious what I think. You're talking to the guy who wrote Elfs! Dumb Luck might be the first textual rule in role-playing history in which the player's success is underwritten by character failure. So yeah, my response is "go little dragon, go!"

Fix it up. Can't wait to play. Not sure why I'm writing in Tarzan-speak.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!