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Author Topic: Anatomy of a SHOCK: Social Science Fiction game  (Read 4865 times)
Andy Kitkowski
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« on: February 10, 2006, 09:09:47 AM »

Hey all, if anyone is interested in following along, I'll be documenting my attempts to get my group into a "Novel"-sized campaign of SHOCK. My group has folks that are really into SF, including the wife of an Uber SF Geek: We're talking "He hits the "GenCon" of SF every year, no matter what country it's in, and his wife pretty much shares that love", and others.  This is a pretty laid back gaming group, and we've never played any game where someone essentially "GMs" someone else.  There's lots of newness here.

Anyway, here's the first post:
http://zigguratbuilder.livejournal.com/22414.html

Nothing major yet, we still haven't set up completely (Tagonists are taking shape, but not statted out yet. Antagonists will be exceedingly simple to birthe, I think).

Anyway, if you want to see how this kind of game can take shape, feel free to take a peek. I'll try to update roughly weekly.

-Andy
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2006, 10:34:08 AM »

Cool, Andy! I look forward to the full AP. It sounds like you're off to a solid start. Vincent and I are going to do some playtesting today that will, I hope, clarify a weirdness in CR. I'll let you know what the results turn out to be.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2006, 11:06:44 AM »

Hey dude, you hit a question that took me off-guard on my LJ and that I totally missed on my first few readings of the game:

That the Praxis scales are the same for Everyone.  That was a little hard to swallow, as especially in a game with 5 players (which probably usually breaks into 2 issues, 3 shocks or 3 issues, 2 shocks) it's hard to imagine that every character in every field will address problems in the exact same scale. 

On my first reading, I thought the praxis scale was seperate for each character, to show how that character dealt with the world. That made more "sense" to me from the whol background of "characters are made up of jumbles of different unshared stuff" sensibilities. But thinking on it more, making them the same across all characters makes a kind of sense.

But still, I'd love to hear more about the rationale behind that. And I was wondered if you experimented with, say, taking the top praxis scale and make that the same for ALL the characters in the story, and take the bottom praxis scale and make it:
1) Different for each character, to show how that protag personally "deals" (to get a more personal level of story), or
2) Different for each character, but shared by other Protags that were created in that intersection. (so, in my case, the two protags that are in "Economic Stratification" and "Genetic Manipulation" will in fact share the exact same praxis scale, but for the characters in other boxes, they'll only share the top part).

Any thoughts to say option 2?  It would seem to hold up easier over a longer campaign (Novel, Series, etc), but I'd like to see if you had done any thinking on that.

-Andy
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2006, 11:45:31 AM »

Mechanically, you have to be able to challenge other players on a particular scale. This was truer in previous versions of the rules.

See, the thing is, your dude is about Violence over Negotiation. My dude is the opposite. That means we each have an interest in getting into a conflict with each other. We get to see in the course of play what those moral stances mean.

I've been considering the things you're suggesting here. They'll require tweaks one way or another; the rules right now are unclear on when you can use a particular Feature on offense or defense. I'll have a clear answer to you by this evening, but rest assured that your suggestions are under consideration.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2006, 01:08:48 PM »

Quote
Mechanically, you have to be able to challenge other players on a particular scale. This was truer in previous versions of the rules.
Here, do you mean the Protag and Antag? Or Protag and Protag?  If the latter, how have things changed?
Quote

Also, could you still have a conflict between protag and protag using the "second praxis set": I have honesty vs lying, and Jake has violence vs peace... Couldn't we still play out our conflict against these, with winner getting his way? Or am I getting too close to PTA land there?

Quote
See, the thing is, your dude is about Violence over Negotiation. My dude is the opposite. That means we each have an interest in getting into a conflict with each other. We get to see in the course of play what those moral stances mean.

Absolutely. And I can totally see that with fewer characters in a more focused, shorter story: And already we've started to see ideas for praxis scales and how protags will be at opposite ends of them.  However, in our group we currently have as protags:
a genertically modded child
a freedom fighter who is overthrowing economically corrupt govts (these two share the same "box" on the shock table)
a genetic higher caste member, sequestered from all lower castes as "the man"
an alien agent in a robotic body of sorts
a genetic lower caste member who works as a slave for the higher castes

With the above, I can think of a few shared praxis scales, but to say that all the characters will resolve all conflicts in the same four ways... it's focused, but perhaps doesn't fit what we have.  Which may be cool, and we're turning the thing on its ear by making characters before situation.

If this is the case, though, I'd almost say that, if you plan on playing with more than 3 players, that character generation should state that you make your praxis scale first, then look at Shock vs Issue and place your protag.  This will keep people with their eye firmly planted on that praxis scale, so that you're not left with 5-6 characters and trying to figure out "what common baselines do these radically diverse characters all share?"

I can think of a few, like Control vs Autonomy, or Priveledge vs "By Your Own Hand", but it'll be hard to shoehorn all these five characters into the same praxis scales in a way that will be satisfying for all the players.  I'm sure we can come up with one common one that everyone would agree on (the "World Praxis Scale"), but after that it would be hard, and I'd fear (though only playtest will reveal) that they'd only end up using the praxis scale that they think fits their concept closer anyway, largely ignoring the other scale.

However, I'm a big fan of Just Two Scales.  I think three or more per character would lose the overall focus.

Quote
I've been considering the things you're suggesting here. They'll require tweaks one way or another; the rules right now are unclear on when you can use a particular Feature on offense or defense. I'll have a clear answer to you by this evening, but rest assured that your suggestions are under consideration.

here, with features, are you primarily referring to Player vs Player?  In that case I can't really see a diff between offence and defense: You're still rolling extra d10s for "your side". Or am I missing a new rule?

Thanks! I'm really psyched!

-Andy
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Mikael
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« Reply #5 on: February 11, 2006, 03:39:16 AM »

How about: all Praxis scales need to be shared with someone. That would cover the spectrum from all the scales being the same to widely individualized scales, to be decided by the particular group of players.
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Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #6 on: February 11, 2006, 08:35:16 AM »

How about: all Praxis scales need to be shared with someone. That would cover the spectrum from all the scales being the same to widely individualized scales, to be decided by the particular group of players.

Well, I do think that, for the function of the story-world, that having a Praxis scale shared by EVERYONE is cool, perhaps even "critically important".  It's like a social commentary on how, from priveledged to poor, from East to West, everyone in the Known World often addresses problems along this single scale for the purposes of this story.  I really dig that.

After kinda "sleeping on it", I think I'm a little more open to having all characters share both praxis scales... but I think I need some solid reasoning to make it passable for my group for a longer-term story; that is, not just so that "Protags have the ability to fight against each other", but more along the lines of "All Praxis scales are shared for all Protags: This is important to SHOCK because in Social Science fiction yadda yadda yadda mini cool explanatory essay yadda."

-Andy
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #7 on: February 13, 2006, 09:21:06 AM »

How about: all Praxis scales need to be shared with someone. That would cover the spectrum from all the scales being the same to widely individualized scales, to be decided by the particular group of players.

Well, I do think that, for the function of the story-world, that having a Praxis scale shared by EVERYONE is cool, perhaps even "critically important".  It's like a social commentary on how, from priveledged to poor, from East to West, everyone in the Known World often addresses problems along this single scale for the purposes of this story.  I really dig that.

... and that's good, because that's how it is!

Don't forget: just because a story ends doesn't mean you've used up the metaphorical value of the world you've created. Use the same Issues, Shocks, and Minutiæ, but make new Praxis. Or just keep the Minutiæ if you've explored your Issues and Shocks enough.

Quote
After kinda "sleeping on it", I think I'm a little more open to having all characters share both praxis scales... but I think I need some solid reasoning to make it passable for my group for a longer-term story; that is, not just so that "Protags have the ability to fight against each other", but more along the lines of "All Praxis scales are shared for all Protags: This is important to SHOCK because in Social Science fiction yadda yadda yadda mini cool explanatory essay yadda."

Well, I'll think about that. It's certainly true, that it's to make the world work a certain way. Violence, for instance, is not a successful method of action in any of Asimov's Foundation stories; it's part of the problem sometimes, but it's never a functional solution. That's a statement he's making. The players can make that kind of statement, too.
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

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« Reply #8 on: February 13, 2006, 10:03:34 AM »

Quote
Mechanically, you have to be able to challenge other players on a particular scale. This was truer in previous versions of the rules.
Here, do you mean the Protag and Antag? Or Protag and Protag?  If the latter, how have things changed?

Also, could you still have a conflict between protag and protag using the "second praxis set": I have honesty vs lying, and Jake has violence vs peace... Couldn't we still play out our conflict against these, with winner getting his way? Or am I getting too close to PTA land there?

You can never get too close to PTA land. I'm sending Matt a copy of Shock: as soon as it's done as a royalty payment.

Here's how it works (and this will be how most conflicts work anyway):

You roll a number of d10s equal to the number of Features you've got on the scale you're using to get what you want. If your opponent is rolling on the other scale, you roll d4s equal to the number of Features you've got on that scale. Antags roll dice equal to the number of Credits they spend, plus 1d10 and 1d4.

Quote
Quote
See, the thing is, your dude is about Violence over Negotiation. My dude is the opposite. That means we each have an interest in getting into a conflict with each other. We get to see in the course of play what those moral stances mean.

Absolutely. And I can totally see that with fewer characters in a more focused, shorter story: And already we've started to see ideas for praxis scales and how protags will be at opposite ends of them.  However, in our group we currently have as protags:
a genertically modded child
a freedom fighter who is overthrowing economically corrupt govts (these two share the same "box" on the shock table)
a genetic higher caste member, sequestered from all lower castes as "the man"
an alien agent in a robotic body of sorts
a genetic lower caste member who works as a slave for the higher castes

With the above, I can think of a few shared praxis scales, but to say that all the characters will resolve all conflicts in the same four ways... it's focused, but perhaps doesn't fit what we have.  Which may be cool, and we're turning the thing on its ear by making characters before situation.

Yeah. The world should really be generating your situation. That's part of why Praxes are all shared by *Tags: it drives them into conflict.

That said, I don't see how you only have four ways to do things; the characters don't have Features yet. If you have big enough Praxes, you'll be fine. Just don't make it "Knife Fights vs. Gun Fights" and "Car Chases vs. Explosions".

Quote
If this is the case, though, I'd almost say that, if you plan on playing with more than 3 players, that character generation should state that you make your praxis scale first, then look at Shock vs Issue and place your protag.  This will keep people with their eye firmly planted on that praxis scale, so that you're not left with 5-6 characters and trying to figure out "what common baselines do these radically diverse characters all share?"

I'll think about that. I don't think you're right, but I can't articulate why, so you might be right. You may be right, I may be wrong, but I may be right*.

... No, I've thought about it: the problem here is that you skipped a part of World Creation and now things are predictably out of order. Even though your character concepts are interesting, they're broken because they don't share Praxis. Since you make Praxis in World Creation, before you make *Tags, you'll be thinking about how these characters work given those avenues of expression.

Sorry, man. I think you gotta ditch the characters, make Praxis, then make new *Tags.

Quote
I can think of a few, like Control vs Autonomy, or Priveledge vs "By Your Own Hand", but it'll be hard to shoehorn all these five characters into the same praxis scales in a way that will be satisfying for all the players.  I'm sure we can come up with one common one that everyone would agree on (the "World Praxis Scale"), but after that it would be hard, and I'd fear (though only playtest will reveal) that they'd only end up using the praxis scale that they think fits their concept closer anyway, largely ignoring the other scale.

However, I'm a big fan of Just Two Scales.  I think three or more per character would lose the overall focus.

Yep. That's why you don't use too many Shocks at once, too.

Quote
Quote
I've been considering the things you're suggesting here. They'll require tweaks one way or another; the rules right now are unclear on when you can use a particular Feature on offense or defense. I'll have a clear answer to you by this evening, but rest assured that your suggestions are under consideration.

here, with features, are you primarily referring to Player vs Player?  In that case I can't really see a diff between offence and defense: You're still rolling extra d10s for "your side". Or am I missing a new rule?

Ahm... I think I've answered this now, but in case I haven't:

You roll d4s equal to the number of Features you have on the Praxis Scale your opposition's using. If you're both using the same Scale, divide the d4s and d10s in whatever proportion you want.

Dig?

Write down the number of Features you have on a particular Scale. So when you have three Violence vs. Compassion Features, you roll 1 die for that Scale, then three more for each Feature. Write the "3" down beside the Scale in question.

The current player sheets don't have a space for it. They will.

(I realize I'm waffling on the "free 1d10 and 1d4" thing. They're officially back in now.)

* Without a doubt, one of the silliest non-silly song lyrics ever.
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Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2006, 01:06:57 PM »

Hey man, thanks for your replies and all!  I feel like I'm walking this tightrope, where this is going on:

* Joshua is cool. SHOCK looks cool. I will play shock and give hopefully good feedback from the "average gaming table".
* SHOCK isn't completely ironed out yet. To get the best experience without drift, and sticking as close to designer goals as possible, I have to be clear on the rules.
* The rules changed quite a bit from one 0.2 revision to the next (not incomprehensibly, mind you). To pursue the above, I have to ask Joshua clarifying issues on this.
* Joshua spending time to clarify changes that have already been made might add stress to him and take away time from his overall project.
* However, Joshua never *asked* me to playtest for him, I just kind of took it upon myself, so it may be asking a lot of him to keep me up to speed.

So, the above are all floating around in my head, and I hope I'm not straining you too much by these ongoing questions on stuff you've already fixed.  If so, it's totally cool, just let me know and we'll play with what we currently have.  I totally don't want to be That Questions Guy who bothers Coleridge from completing Xubla Xhan. :-)

Anyway, with that in mind, a couple followup questions, most of which are probably in your notes already. I'll reread both 0.2.2 Doc and 0.2.4 Addendum to make sure I'm not wasting your time covering old ground. Also, I was going back and forth with you between forums and email: I'll keep all my questions to you in the Forum from this point on just to keep things consistent.

Fluff questions:
1) Just curious, why is the person on the Right your Antag? Is it because, since they sit close to each other, it creates a stage-like enviornment for the others to "view" like a "play"?  Or so they can be next to each other in case there's kissing? :-)

Quote
Re: Conflict
You roll a number of d10s equal to the number of Features you've got on the scale you're using to get what you want. If your opponent is rolling on the other scale, you roll d4s equal to the number of Features you've got on that scale. Antags roll dice equal to the number of Credits they spend, plus 1d10 and 1d4.

OK, I think I've got this, but let's review to make sure I don't fuck up when explaining it to my group, as I'm blending two documents plus extra notes from forum posts plus email:
PROTAG vs ANTAG
*Protag gets one free 1d10 for playing on one of the Praxis Scales.
*For each Feature, they get to roll an additional 1d10. I'm assuming here that that Feature has to be narrated into the action (LMK if that's mistaken).
QUESTION HERE:
* Antags used to roll a number of d4s, take the highest, and use it to "move the scale to the opposite end that the Protag was aiming for".
* Antags used to get 1d4 per feature, plus more by spending creds.
now, though:
* Antags automatically get a 1d10 and a 1d4, which they roll. How is the action resolved then? Since they now roll d10s as well as d4s, I'm not sure how you determine the 'winner'.
* They get to spend creds for more dice... Can they choose which are d4s and which are d10s?

PROTAG vs PROTAG
This I've pretty much got down, save one thing:
I take 2d4 and 3d10 and roll 1, 2, 4, 8 and 10.
The other Protag player rolls 2d4 and 3d10 and rolls 1, 2, 4, 8 and 10.
No other players use minutia to influence the conflict.
Who wins?

Let's make this into an example:
Praxis is "Peace vs Violence, Empathy vs Logic"
My Protag, Joe, has Peace-Violence at "7" (favoring Peace, as there's a better chance of hitting Peace) and Empathy-Logic at 4 (favoring Logic)
Hir Protag, Fred, has Peace-Violence at "4" (favoring Violence), and Empathy-Logic at "7" (favoring Empathy).
My Protag Joe is using Empathy to bond with Fred to get him to understand my point of view, hoping that he doesn't beat me up. I have 3 E-L features and 2 P-V features.
Fred is using Violence to steal my money so he can pay for drugs (not mutually exclusive: I can still get the other person to understand and empathize with me, while at the same time being beaten up for drug money). Sie has 3 P-V features and 2 E-L features.
We narrate all those features into play. We roll all our dice.

A) Miraculously, we get the same results: 1, 2, 4, 8 and 10. What happens?
B) How about in a situation where Joe rolls 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6. Joe rolls 3, 6, 7, 8 and 9. Who wins?

Quote
... No, I've thought about it: the problem here is that you skipped a part of World Creation and now things are predictably out of order. Even though your character concepts are interesting, they're broken because they don't share Praxis. Since you make Praxis in World Creation, before you make *Tags, you'll be thinking about how these characters work given those avenues of expression.

Sorry, man. I think you gotta ditch the characters, make Praxis, then make new *Tags.

Yeah, I didn't notice at the time that in 0.2.4 it now shows that Praxis comes before Tag creation (unlike 0.2.2). S'cool. I think we'll open on Thursday with making our Praxis scales, then looking at our characters again, perhaps ditching them.  However, I don't want to frankenstein the game, but I thought of a few Praxis scales that fit the world AND can still apply to the characters, but either way the characters will either face minor or major (ie "do over") changes.  We'll back up and follow 0.2.4 rules in that regard. Praxis then Protags.

Quote
Yep. That's why you don't use too many Shocks at once, too.

Fluff Question 2) It looks like in the original rules draft it suggests, if you have 4 players, that you can do 2 shocks and 2 issues, 1 shock and 3 issues, or just as easily 3 shocks and 1 issue.  Does that still stand, out of curiosity? It seems that since that draft you've been advocating One Shock pretty heavily.

I think that this is all I had for now... I had one question on somethingorother that was on the tip of my tongue, but I forgot it.  I'll surely remember in a day or two after reviewing 0.2.4 again.

Oh, here's one or two more Qs or Observations:
1) I'd love to see a box for "Story Stakes" on the Protag sheet, just so they're not forgotten. It's almost like a "Mission Statement" for the character.

2) Question on Links:  Do the Protags even use links?  What would be the benefit of bringing them up in the conflict? It looks like they are used for the Antag to put into danger, but I don't see the benefit of being a Protag and engaging in a conflict where the Links are at stake. What's to gain for the Protag by putting the Link on the line?

-Andy
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Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2006, 01:22:05 PM »

Fuck I hate not being able to edit posts after I think things out a little longer.

I still have questions on PROTAG vs ANTAG (the part about antags now getting 1d10 and a 1d4 is throwing me off a bit), but here's my followup on PROTAG vs PROTAG:

My main question is, what do you do with those 2d4s in my example below? Like previous rulesets on Protag vs Antag conflict, do you simply take the highest 1d4 and move the Protag's result along the praxis scale "towards failure" appropriately?

Also, on my "who wins" questions: Duh, if both win then they both Win, as the stakes aren't mutually exclusive.

-Andy
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« Reply #11 on: February 14, 2006, 11:08:24 AM »

Dude, I'm totally into you playtesting. Writing this stuff for your benefit helps me figure out how to explain it. I write weird games, it turns out, and it's good to have to explain it to someone.

OK, here's what I think is confusing you:

Both parties declare their Intent (née Stakes) at the beginning of the Conflict.

e.g.
Alice wants to talk the terrorists down from their demands. She's Negotiating (i.e. on the scale described below).
Bob wants his terrorists to get what they want. He's acting Passionately.

Both decide what Praxis Scale they're using.
Alice is using Violence vs. Negotiation
Bob is using Reason vs. Passion

The dice they have:
They each have 1d10 and 1d4.

Alice has two additional dice, named "I can read your emotions" and "I'm willing to make sacrifices". They're on the Scale she's using to accomplish her goals, so she's rolling those as additional d10s.
Bob has three additional dice on the second Scale, "The Russian Federation killed my sister", "Chechnya deserves its freedom" and "Power comes from the barrel of a gun" and is rolling those as additional d10s.

Alice has three Features on the second scale, Reason vs. Passion. They have names but I'm not going to make them up. So she gets an additional 3d4.
Bob has two additional Features, so he gets 2d4.

Note: If they were rolling on the same scale and each had, say, three dice, they could choose how many were d10s and how many were d4s.

What the dice do
d10s place your efforts on the Scale.
d4s are used to alter your opposition's dice. Protagonists can choose which d4 to use. Antagonists must choose the largest one.

How to read the dice
If the die falls in the end you declared you were using, your opposition moves the result by the number on hir d4: the largest one if the Antag player is rolling it; whichever one you like, if a Protag player is rolling it.
• If the die is still in the area you declared, you have accomplished your Intent.
• If the die is in the opposite area, you have failed to accomplish your Intent.
• If the die is exactly on the number on your scale, the Intent is not resolved. Increase the intensity of the Conflict — someone's fighting back unexpectedly, a hostage panics, a helicopter gets shot down.

What you can do about it
You can risk one of your Links to roll your die again. Narrate how the Link is risked — "Commando Cody rushes in. If he survives, he'll lose his confidence in me as a commander," or "I kiss the cross around my neck. If I lose this, I'll lose my faith," and reroll. Either the Protag who owns the Link or hir Antag can risk it. Other Protags can't. Write down a new Feature on the same Scale you're using to roll. Only roll 1d10. The Antag then pays to roll more d4s.

Fallout

You gain a Feature when:
• You lose a Conflict. You may write a new Feature on the Scale on which you lost it. If you can't think of a new Feature for the character, you don't get the die.
• You risk a Link. This means that, when you end a Conflict, you stand to gain three dice as a Protag if you lose both conflicts.
• Note that Antags do not gain dice. They gain Features, but these don't turn into dice. Only Credits turn into dice for the Antag.

The Antag regains a credit when:
• Sie loses a conflict

Remember: d10s are for doing stuff. They're offensive. D4s are for keeping your opposition from succeeding.

The Number of Shocks
In a short story, more than one Shock is distracting. You wind up with characters that have nothing to do with each other. There's not enough time for them to get together, really. Save it for 5+ session games. I think I called that "Novel" length. And even then, start with no more than two and cash out characters to bring in new Shocks so they're always relevant.

Player Sheets
I'll get you the new ones. They have a space for Story Goals and other goodies, besides.
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« Reply #12 on: February 14, 2006, 12:08:59 PM »

Great explanation.  I think that resolves all the questions I had.  Just two comments:

• If the die is exactly on the number on your scale, the Intent is not resolved. Increase the intensity of the Conflict — someone's fighting back unexpectedly, a hostage panics, a helicopter gets shot down.

AWESOME

Quote
You can risk one of your Links to roll your die again. Narrate how the Link is risked — "Commando Cody rushes in. If he survives, he'll lose his confidence in me as a commander," or "I kiss the cross around my neck. If I lose this, I'll lose my faith," and reroll. Either the Protag who owns the Link or hir Antag can risk it. Other Protags can't. Write down a new Feature on the same Scale you're using to roll. Only roll 1d10. The Antag then pays to roll more d4s.

DOUBLE AWESOME

I think that pretty much sums up all my questions.  If anything else arises through play, I'll let you know.
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« Reply #13 on: February 22, 2006, 11:58:35 AM »

Another update (from last week) on my LJ. Tomorrow we being "the roleplaying":
http://zigguratbuilder.livejournal.com/23512.html

All in all, good stuff.  We got our Praxis scales in alignment, made up riveting protags, made up solid, change-driving antags, added a lot more world/minutia detail. We also tested Issue/Shock ownership, and came up with some cool Features and Links to boot.

This week's ideas:
1) I'm thinking the Shock Grid should have much, much larger boxes.
2) I'm using a large sheet of sketch paper, with the shock grid in the middle, and minutia all over the place. So far, it's working great.
3) We had some problems thinking of applicable and useful praxis scales. We agreed that we'd love to see a page full of sample praxis scales, with like a sentence about the setting that they reflect, to get the brain-juices flowing.

This week's questions:
1) At the top of the Antag sheet there are praxis scales.  This is just to record this Antag's Protag's praxis scales, right? (so that the player doesn't have to keep looking on the other guy's sheet to see what his scores are).
2) Starting Features and Links: What's the new rules on these? This seems to have changed a few times, too. We went with 4 features (2 for each praxis scale) and 2 links for each character.
3) Does the Antag have to be a Person? Or can it be "A Bureau"? One of the protags wanted to have an Antag of basically "The NSA"... it didn't seem to fit with the "must be sentient" collary, so we made it "The Assistant Director of the NSA"... however, we were all thinking that that just doesn't quite fit, as this bureau is supposed to be sort of faceless. But in the long run, it won't really hurt.

Next session is tomorrow (Thursday), and that will be the dice explanation and starting off scenes!

Thanks!
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the glyphpress


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« Reply #14 on: February 22, 2006, 01:13:06 PM »

Another update (from last week) on my LJ. Tomorrow we being "the roleplaying":
http://zigguratbuilder.livejournal.com/23512.html

All in all, good stuff.  We got our Praxis scales in alignment, made up riveting protags, made up solid, change-driving antags, added a lot more world/minutia detail. We also tested Issue/Shock ownership, and came up with some cool Features and Links to boot.

This week's ideas:
1) I'm thinking the Shock Grid should have much, much larger boxes.

Sure. But since it's unlikely that anyone will be able to print such a thing, and I'm unwilling to have posters printed... wait... I can do this at Cafépress.... Hm. Well, anyway, write them down on a big sheet of paper.

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2) I'm using a large sheet of sketch paper, with the shock grid in the middle, and minutia all over the place. So far, it's working great.
Super wicked fucking awesome.

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3) We had some problems thinking of applicable and useful praxis scales. We agreed that we'd love to see a page full of sample praxis scales, with like a sentence about the setting that they reflect, to get the brain-juices flowing.

There will be. That's one of the appendices.

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This week's questions:
1) At the top of the Antag sheet there are praxis scales.  This is just to record this Antag's Protag's praxis scales, right? (so that the player doesn't have to keep looking on the other guy's sheet to see what his scores are).

Nope! The Antag has Scales, too. But instead of calculating by the number of Features the Antag has, you calculate by the number of Credits paid.

Does this make sense to you? If not, there's a big, big, bit problem in the way I've described CR.

Protag rolls d10s to succeed in the Protag Intent, d4s to thwart the Antag Intent.
Antag rolls d10s to succeed in the Antag Intent, d4s to thwart the Protag Intent.

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2) Starting Features and Links: What's the new rules on these? This seems to have changed a few times, too. We went with 4 features (2 for each praxis scale) and 2 links for each character.

The rule is to start with 3, though you only have to write one down right away, just to start the character pointed in a direction.

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3) Does the Antag have to be a Person? Or can it be "A Bureau"? One of the protags wanted to have an Antag of basically "The NSA"... it didn't seem to fit with the "must be sentient" collary, so we made it "The Assistant Director of the NSA"... however, we were all thinking that that just doesn't quite fit, as this bureau is supposed to be sort of faceless. But in the long run, it won't really hurt.

The Antag definitely doesn't have to be a person. It doesn't even have to be an institution. But it should definitely start with a character (or institution), and that character should be the one free Feature the AP writes down. If that character's not there later and there's a conflict going on, that's OK. Look at the Protag's Story Goal, Issue, and Shock, then, figure out what's going to push that issue, and roll the dice to make the dude pay for what he wants.

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Next session is tomorrow (Thursday), and that will be the dice explanation and starting off scenes!

I look forward to it!
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the glyphpress's games are Shock: Social Science Fiction and Under the Bed.

I design books like Dogs in the Vineyard and The Mountain Witch.
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