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Author Topic: Anatomy of a SHOCK: Social Science Fiction game  (Read 4895 times)
Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #15 on: February 22, 2006, 02:31:25 PM »

Quote
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.

Hah, ok I'll need a refresher then, as I was under the assumption that the above was "Protag/Protag" and Protag/Antag was simply "roll xd4 and thwart the Protag".

Let me try, is this right?
1) Antag gets one die "for free" that they can use either to succeed or thwart.
2) Then, they get one die for each of their pre-written Features (they start out with just one) that they bring into the narration. Each pre-written feature is based in one of the Praxis Scales.
3) Then, after that, the Antag spends X creds to get X extra dice, and they can choose d10s or d4s. d10s get "placed" on the Praxis scale, and d4s are used to "bump back" the other person's highest/lowest die to the opposite direction in which they intended.

Is that pretty much right?

Also, are there any special rules to setting Antag scales? Because I can imagine that there'd be a few that their players will want to set at the very extremes (like, the Angel-Alien player's Antag is the Aliens, which will be highest possible on the Alien scale), which will be hard to "thwart". Some folks will put their antags' scales towards the middle to keep things interesting and "mutable", or insist on using the weaker scale to try to overcome the conflict, but I imagine those will be outside the norm. Any suggestions on that front?

Thanks again!
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Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #16 on: February 24, 2006, 03:52:08 AM »

You actually get 1d10 and 1d4 for free, Protag and Antag both.

Everything else is right.

Setting Antag scales totally, 100%, has to do with context. Your examples are all perfectly reasonable.
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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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Posts: 827

I LIKE GAMES


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« Reply #17 on: February 24, 2006, 01:58:20 PM »

j0!

So, we had another session last night after working on our antags.  We went over the minutia creation and how they come into conflicts, conflicts themselves, and how experience works.  We didn't go over Dirty Tricks yet.  We also decided to stick the game somewhere between Short Story and Novel.  "A Novella", two folks said at once.  40 Credits.  No one used any last night, but we were still working things out.

However, right from the start, there was a lot of hangup on how the Praxis Scales work.  It was hard for them (and they brought this point up quite loudly) that it was hard to keep track of which was which, and it was hard for me to explain, "No, a 2 on the "Humanity/Alien Influence Scale" means that you are strong with ALIEN INFLUENCE, not HUMANITY, because there's more filled-in squares on that scale."

It was really hard for them (and I do mean all of them, save Jeremie who didn't say much on the matter; he's pretty adaptable to anything, though) to get used to it. In fact, they asked me to tell you to consider changing it.  "What would you like to see instead?" "Hnmmm... Maybe a pie chart or something?" I dunno about that.  Anyway, I was really behind the sheet-as-is, because I like how they portray two ends of a single scale. However, after getting their feedback, and dealing with their confusion for a bit, and thinking about it on the ride home, I came up with an alternate way to portray the scales in a way that makes more sense, and instead of "sometimes you want to roll low, sometimes you want to roll high, and you'll slide those d4s up or down accordingly".

Original Protag sheet
http://www.kitkowski.com/lj/shock/original.pdf
"Revised" Protag sheet (of sorts, very rough)
http://www.kitkowski.com/lj/shock/revised.pdf

...crap, I've got a lot more to say (we had fun, in short, but had a couple followup questions), but I need to leave work now.  Will post the rest tonight.

-Andy
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The Story Games Community - It's like RPGNet for small press games and new play styles.
Andy Kitkowski
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Posts: 827

I LIKE GAMES


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« Reply #18 on: February 24, 2006, 07:59:58 PM »

OK, back at home, but have to do a few things.  To explain the sheets above:

1) The "scale areas" are big enough that you can set dice in them to visually orient yourself as to how well you succeeded (or failed).

2) The scales start at 10 and go down. It would be effectively saying "OK, split nine points between the two sides, but each side has to have at least one. Do this for both scales. Fill in that many boxes, working from 10 and going down. Put a "Star" (or mark of some kind) in the box below your last filled square." (the star represents landing on the "exact number of the scale").

3) This way, assuming that the player is really trying to "succeed", they pick the side of the scale that they want to use, roll a number of d10s and (then most likely, if they really want to succeed) pick the highest one.

When countering the other with d4s, they choose the one they want to use and (using the new scale, they will always) lower the protag's number by that amount. If that makes them fall off the scale, they fail.

=============

Anyway, that explains what I was doing when I came up with the alternate sheet template, above.

I'll put another LJ post about how the game went in a day or two (it went really well, considering that this was the first shared-GMing experience for most of the players, and I think was in fact the first time three of the players ever actually took on a "GM" role before! Yeah, my group is a great example of the typical milquetoast "brought up on D&D, interested but not a lot of experience with indie games" play group, which I think is great; it'll really point out where more work is needed for those games that are lacking folks who are really used to these kinds of games). 

I also have a few questions, namely on minutia dice and how they adjust the results, as well as what to do when the Protag, Antag, or both hit their "Scale Number" exactly (how to escalate conflict for one "tag" when the opponent effectively just succeeded, etc). I'll frame those questions this weekend.

-Andy
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The Story Games Community - It's like RPGNet for small press games and new play styles.
Joshua A.C. Newman
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« Reply #19 on: February 26, 2006, 04:45:18 PM »

Ah, yes. Reading the God Damned Praxis Scales. I've made a subtle change on the most recent one that, I think makes it easier to read.

Yours is easy to read, but really hard to explain.

Here's the deal: if you want to succeed by the scale on the left, you roll lower than the number. If you want to succeed by the one on the right, roll higher than that number.

Vincent pointed out that you could do it so that you can have two parallel numbers that total 9, and if you roll over by 1, you escalate the situation. The question there is whether that says, "The two represent a choice".
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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.
Joshua A.C. Newman
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Member
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Posts: 1144

the glyphpress


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« Reply #20 on: February 27, 2006, 01:41:40 PM »

Andy, I doubt you'll want to integrate this rule so late in the game, but maybe:

Assume that anything longer than a short story is, in fact, made up of a bunch of short stories. So do a series of stories with smallish Story Goals and around 27 Credits, which should be good for three or so sessions. Determining the direction of the story from there should be much more dynamic. Plus, it keeps the scale of conflict interesting.


(Edited because it's 27, not 17.)
« Last Edit: February 27, 2006, 01:47:46 PM by Joshua A.C. Newman » Logged

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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