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Author Topic: [Cold City] Thoughts on a revised trust mechanic  (Read 2851 times)
Malcolm Craig
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Posts: 263


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« on: February 13, 2006, 04:07:36 AM »

These three threads:

Introduction and character creation: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17325.0

Character creation (revised) & consequences: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17512.0

Mechanical basics: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=17696.0

talked about the devlopment of Cold City. Now that I'm much further on with the game and much valuable playtesting has taken back and revisions done, I was struck by the lack of use that the trust mechanic received in game. It's use was sparse to say the least, even though players enjoyed the aspect of assigning trust during character creation and how this immediately created tension within the group.

The existing mechanic, as talked about in the threads above, places the power to spend trust in the hands of the trusting character. But why not reverse this? Why not give the power to spend the trust assigned to the trusted (rather than the trusting) character? To my mind, this (along with some other changes to the benfits received from trust) would hopefully encourage use. A further change is to the way trust flows back and forth. As outlined below, tokens move back and forward between players as they spend trust? Who do they give trust to? Will they ever get it back? Do they give it to the characters they trust, or do they feel betrayed by them because of some occurence in game?

Feedback on these initial thoughts would be appreciated, particularly in regard to the flow of trust around the table. I'm interested in looking at how the concepts of betrayal and trust-reinforcement could be worked into this by some means, particulary relating to the removal of trust of the a character does something another finds objectionable or untrustworthy.

Trust

Trust plays a big part in Cold City. Are your fellow team members spies feeding information back to their political or military masters? Are they in league with more sinister forces? Do you trust their personal or political motivations?

In order to reflect this element, once the group has sat down to play, find out what the other characters are and decide what your character thinks of them. Do they trust them and if so, how much do they trust them?

Trust can vary a lot, even within the time frame of an individual games session. The actions of a character can heavily influence what the other PCs might think of them. If they start acting in a suspicious manner, trust might go down. If they start acting in a manner which inspires trust, it might go up. But hang on, why are they acting like that? Maybe you shouldn’t trust them…

At the outset of the game, each player will have a pool of trust to assign to the PCs equal to the number of characters, minus 1. Players should look around the table, think about the other characters, let the other players describe their characters and start to think about what their characters feel about the others.

However, players should take into account their characters nationality, attitudes, traits and hatred. How will this influence the assignment of trust? Who do they feel they can rely on in a tight spot?

Assigning Trust

To represent trust in the game, the players will need to have some form of representative token. These can be poker chips, card counters, dice or whatever.

Trust is assigned by the players voting trust to the other characters. Prior to the voting, the players should note down who they trust and by how much. If, say, a player has three trust points to spend, they might spend one on one character and two on another. Or maybe all three on a different character, it’s up to the individual and how they see their character trusting others.

Once all of the players have noted how much they trust the others, go round the table asking “Who trusts………?” If a player has noted that they trust the character who’s name has been called out, then they push and appropriate number of tokens across to them. The receiving player then notes down how much trust they got from each other player, if they got any at all.

Example

Colin, Kris, Myles and Richard have all sat down and created their characters, so now comes the process of assigning trust. As there are four characters, each character has 3 trust points to assign.

Colin is playing Ivor Smidt (German), a former scientist now assigned to the RPA as a technical liaison offer. His name is called out first and those who trust Ivor push token across to. Sadly for Ivor, nobody seems to really trust him and only Myles, playing British linguist David Johnson, pushes a single trust token across to him.
Next to be called out is the character played by Kris, the stoic and reliable Ivan Kovochyva, a Red Army soldier. Rather surprisingly, Jean-Pierre Lasseau (a former Maquis radio operator player by Richard) trusts Ivan quite a lot, and Richard pushes two tokens across to Kris.

The previously mentioned David Johnson (played by Myles) is up next and in this case, Colin (Ivor Smidt) pushes two tokens across to Myles and Kris (Ivan Kovochyva) pushes a single token across.

Last to go is Richards character, the former French resistant Jean-Pierre Lasseau. All of the other players show a certain amount of trust in Richards character and he gets a token pushed across from each of the three other players.

At the end of this, the characters each have the following trust pools:

David Johnson         3
Ivan Kovochyva      2
Jean-Pierre Lasseau      3
Ivor Smidt         1


You will note that some of the players did not spend all of their trust at the outset. This is perfectly permissible, as long as the players spend at least one trust point during the assignment process. The remaining trust can then be held back and assigned to characters during play, as events unfold and their nature becomes apparent. This reserved trust can be assigned at any time.

Trust In Play

Now that each character has their trust pool (represented by an appropriate number of tokens), how does this function in play?

Trust never goes away, it merely circulates about, changes form and gets assigned to different people. When you choose to spend trust, you take a token from your pool and pass it across to another player. The player spending the trust gets to choose who they push the token to. Receiving the token increases the receiving players trust pool by one., meaning they now have more trust to spend in critical situations.

Remember: if a player spends a trust point, they must give a token to another player, thereby increasing the amount of trust they have to spend. Who should they give the token to, how will the receiving player use that trust? Will they ever get it back? Trust tokens should flow around the table, always changing hands and moving from player to player.

At its most fundamental level, characters can draw on trust to increase their chance of success. Spending a trust token allows the player to double the active stat being used for the purposes of forming a dice pool. [further results of spending trust to follow]


Cheers
Malcolm
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Malcolm Craig
Contested Ground Studios
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Matt Machell
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« Reply #1 on: February 13, 2006, 05:32:28 AM »

Malc,

what do you want the trust pool to highlight? At the moment it seems to highlight who is the most trusted character at any given moment and draw attention to who they trust when they spend it.

On the subject of usage, if trust isn't getting used and you want it to be, I'd be tempted to revise resolution so that it's much more likely to fail if trust isn't involved. Mountain Witch is good at this, the resolution is brutal unless you spend trust. This would mean it would flow around more regularly.

-Matt


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Malcolm Craig
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« Reply #2 on: February 14, 2006, 01:29:01 AM »

Malc,

what do you want the trust pool to highlight? At the moment it seems to highlight who is the most trusted character at any given moment and draw attention to who they trust when they spend it.

On the subject of usage, if trust isn't getting used and you want it to be, I'd be tempted to revise resolution so that it's much more likely to fail if trust isn't involved. Mountain Witch is good at this, the resolution is brutal unless you spend trust. This would mean it would flow around more regularly.

-Matt

One thing that trust should represent is, indeed, how trusted the character is. The more trusted the character is, the more opportunities they have to utilise that trust to improve their situation.

If the existing emchanic (i.e.: the one presented in previous thtreads) is used, then it could be strengthened by allowing a trust point to double the effective stat being used, as outlined in the revised trust mechanic above. This would have the effect of making trust much more powerful. Looking at the current system, it only gives a bonus of one die. In a pool where a stat and a couple of traits are being used (adding up to 5 on average), this doesn't give much of a bonus or an incentive for it to be used. Allowing trust to double the effects of the active stat would make it far more beneficial.(in this example, the pool would be increased to 8, rather than 6 under the previous system).

One thing that the revised system presented above does is that it makes the stereotypical starting views of the characters less valid, as trust is based not on their opinions, but the opinions of the entire group. Thinking on this, there is probably a case for combining these two mechanical approaches into something that brings trust more centrally into the game and encourages its use.

What I'm thinking of here is:

1) As discussed above, trust doubles the active stat being used.

2) Trust is decided by each individual player, based on their opinions of the other characters. Reverting to the original mechanism as detailed in previous threads, the player holding the trust can choose to gift' it to a character involved in conflict, rather than the active character actually choosing when to use it.

3) When the trust point is 'pushed' across to the active character, they add it to their trust pool for the character who just spent trust on them. In play, they now have an increased trust pool to spend on that character. This could all get very reciprocal and boring, however...

4) You can spend trust given to you by another character on someone else. How will this make the other characters feel about you? How does this affect your relationship with them? Spending trust using the point that another character has puished to you costs double, but has the same effect.

5) Trust can be raised and lowered, as per the current mechanics, depending on character actions, reactions and perceived circumstances (perhaps as the result of the consequences of a conflict).

Cheers
Malcolm
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Malcolm Craig
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Matt Machell
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« Reply #3 on: February 14, 2006, 04:46:42 AM »

Are you intending the trust aspect of the game to start out "how we expect each other to be" and drift towards "how we actually are". In which case I'd be tempted to start with arbitary values based on nationality (plus maybe one free point to assign, based on initial gut feeling), and then push hard for trust movement during play.

If trust only gets moved when you've a high chance of failure (since you need the extra dice), you need to make those situations as common as possible, but with the current system that means always targeting what the character is bad at, as that's the time they're most likely to need that boost from trust. I'm not sure of a good way to resolve that issue with the current mechanics, maybe it's not as big an issue as I think it is.

Another question that might be worth pondering is what part of the character creation gives a genuine reason not to trust the other group members? At the moment trust acts as a barometer for who is trusted, but what are my reasons not to tust them? Do they have conflicting agendas? In which case make sure that's a defined part of creation "I want something the other's don't, what is it?", maybe based off government orders? Going back to TMW as an example, it does this by giving everybody a dark fate, thus creating the situation where trust needs to be given, but you can never be sure if the guy you've given it do will use it against you later...

I like the idea of trust moving as a result of conflict consequences. Maybe add something whereby trust can be knocked out of you instead of damage? Then passed on. I think a key thing with all trust movements will be requiring from the player a reason for why that use of trust to boost is passed on to that other player, to help build the story. For example, conflict blows two trust out of my PC, but I give it to Heinrich's player. "Because the blow actually just crushed that pack of cigarettes he game me." Same with spend to boost and who you hand it off to.

-Matt

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Malcolm Craig
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« Reply #4 on: February 14, 2006, 06:28:47 AM »

Are you intending the trust aspect of the game to start out "how we expect each other to be" and drift towards "how we actually are". In which case I'd be tempted to start with arbitary values based on nationality (plus maybe one free point to assign, based on initial gut feeling), and then push hard for trust movement during play.

I can see where this would come from and how it would work, although such a system would create certain challenges within the context of the game. Laying down who trusts who based on nationality would lead (from my point of view) to the Soviet or German characters always being in the position of least trust, thus they require to prove themselves the most during play. However, there are certain aspects to this that could replicate real Cold War tensions and the creation of power blocs within the party. The availability of a single 'free' point of trust would go some way towards giving a small amount of personality to the trust scores.

Quote
If trust only gets moved when you've a high chance of failure (since you need the extra dice), you need to make those situations as common as possible, but with the current system that means always targeting what the character is bad at, as that's the time they're most likely to need that boost from trust. I'm not sure of a good way to resolve that issue with the current mechanics, maybe it's not as big an issue as I think it is.

This is indeed a valid point and as you say, it's unclear as to how to resolve it with the current mechanics. Perhaps some of the changes proposed below may link into this and change the dynamic as regards trust and its use within the game.

Quote
Another question that might be worth pondering is what part of the character creation gives a genuine reason not to trust the other group members? At the moment trust acts as a barometer for who is trusted, but what are my reasons not to tust them? Do they have conflicting agendas? In which case make sure that's a defined part of creation "I want something the other's don't, what is it?", maybe based off government orders? Going back to TMW as an example, it does this by giving everybody a dark fate, thus creating the situation where trust needs to be given, but you can never be sure if the guy you've given it do will use it against you later...

In agreement with you here. Although the text makes it clear that there are varying national interests at work within the RPA, it's never made explicit that individual characters will be following these agendas. The introduction of a a characteristic such as 'Hidden Agenda' would be a way of reinforcing the variety of viewpoints on interests that the characters have. 'Hidden Agenda' could inform the characters viewpoint, guide their actions and, if they are acting upon it, provide bonuses in conflicts where the character can advance their agenda. Each player would be aware that the everyone has a hidden agenda, but would be unaware what it is or how far they are pushing it.

For some reason, I'm put in mind of the 'devil' in Dust Devils, a part of the character which really tells you what the heart of the individual is like. 'Hidden Agenda' could tie into trust quite well: you can use you hidden agenda to boost your chances of something or use your trust, but one will affect the other and vice versa.

I'm not sure how to implement this at the moment though, but it's a worthwhile thought for further exploration.

Quote
I like the idea of trust moving as a result of conflict consequences. Maybe add something whereby trust can be knocked out of you instead of damage? Then passed on. I think a key thing with all trust movements will be requiring from the player a reason for why that use of trust to boost is passed on to that other player, to help build the story. For example, conflict blows two trust out of my PC, but I give it to Heinrich's player. "Because the blow actually just crushed that pack of cigarettes he game me." Same with spend to boost and who you hand it off to.

Linking in with the above, the consequences for trust if you use your hidden agenda could be magnified if you fail. When you fail, narration may indicate that you were up to something, gradually revealling your hidden plans to the other characters and decreasing the amount of trust they have in you.

Cheers
Malcolm
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Malcolm Craig
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Matt Machell
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« Reply #5 on: February 14, 2006, 07:01:10 AM »

Quote
Laying down who trusts who based on nationality would lead (from my point of view) to the Soviet or German characters always being in the position of least trust, thus they require to prove themselves the most during play

Depends. If you made it so each nationality's starting trust for another is 0, 1, 2, the gut reaction point has a bigger impact. If you push trust at every conflict, it should change quite rapidly. So you might have the starting trusts for others being:

American:
Other American: 2
British: 1
Soviet: 0
German: 1
Soviet
Other Soviet: 1
American: 1
British: 1
German: 1

Then each character gets a starting pool based on how much others trust him.  This might skirt to close to what zodiac animals do in TMW, however. It is very effective though...

Quote
The introduction of a a characteristic such as 'Hidden Agenda' would be a way of reinforcing the variety of viewpoints on interests that the characters have. 'Hidden Agenda' could inform the characters viewpoint, guide their actions and, if they are acting upon it, provide bonuses in conflicts where the character can advance their agenda. Each player would be aware that the everyone has a hidden agenda, but would be unaware what it is or how far they are pushing it.

Since the situation is generally "Mission-based", the logical kind of hidden agenda is one that subverts the mission aim to their governments interests. You could come up with some generics and make each player choose one for his character at the start of the mission, then fill in details as they go. I don't think it necessarily needs a mechanical benefit, after all they can always spend trust to have more chance of achieving their agenda, and that gives a nice thematic charge to things: "I trusted you, and you use it to do what?!"

-Matt



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CommonDialog
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Posts: 31


« Reply #6 on: February 14, 2006, 09:27:59 PM »

Malcolm,

I've read your initial description of the trust mechanic and so I hope the following comments are in some way helpful.

First of all, I think that trust is a tricky thing to turn into a mechanic since it's such a mysterious real world concept.  It's also pretty much been abused in every gaming and interpersonal relationship I've ever been in.  So modeling and putting rules around it are problematic.

If I can paraphrase the way your rules are working, basically what happens is that my PC is empowered because other people trust him/her?  Basically, my ability to resolve tasks in difficult situations is directly related to the number of people who trust that I will not double cross them (as opposed to say, they believe in my ability to perform the action.)  Am I missing something?

If you go with this, I see a real potential for abuse and min/maxing.  I can foresee a scenario where I go around, make everyone trust me, collect all the tokens and then suddenly behave completely crosswise to how I acted before (which should actually deplete the amount of trust I've built.)  However, since I have everyone's tokens, I can now perform super feats, and can influence the game according to my secret agenda.

This leads me to a couple of thoughts.

#1  I think it was hinted, but not necessarily formalized that each trust token records in some way who owns it.  So when I start off with a pool of say 4 trust tokens, each will have a C on them (or they may all be read or what have you.)  So when I give a token to you, it's a symbolic representation that I trust you.  Not Bob or Steve trusts you, but I trust you.  When you use my token, I choose who that token goes to because I trust them, not because you trust them (or it may go back to my pool.)

#2  I would suggest reworking the way a trust token is spent in a way that #1 becomes important.  Here's my thought.  Let's say you're playing a quickdraw expert who is great at mowing down enemies with your lucky revolvers.  I am playing an expert locksmith who can pick any lock given time.  You need to get through a superlocked security door and you have one of my trust tokens.  We determine that getting through this door is something where my intelligence would come in handy, so you use my stat to augment yours (perhaps we add them together or we double my intelligence stat) for the purposes of making the lockpick roll.  (Come to think of it I think there would have to be some sort of bonus over and above just adding them together as most systems have rules for characters working in cohesion.)  I think one of the most important parts is that if you spend my trust token, my PC pretty much has to work with you because you are playing on my trust unless doing so would be completely out of character for the PC (For instance, you can't make the 50 year old Catholic Priest help you find a human sacrifice no matter how many trust tokens you spend.  Unless that Priest has a Hidden Agenda, Dark Past, or is a general sadist.  You get my drift.  :))

#3  I think that under dire circumstances, one player can take trust tokens from another player if that player's character acts completely untrustworthy.  (Yeah, I know you helped me break into my bank, but you just shot my grandmother...)  This will keep people from hoarding trust.

I hope some of that helps.

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Malcolm Craig
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« Reply #7 on: February 15, 2006, 02:58:14 AM »

Depends. If you made it so each nationality's starting trust for another is 0, 1, 2, the gut reaction point has a bigger impact. If you push trust at every conflict, it should change quite rapidly. So you might have the starting trusts for others being:

American:
Other American: 2
British: 1
Soviet: 0
German: 1
Soviet
Other Soviet: 1
American: 1
British: 1
German: 1

Then each character gets a starting pool based on how much others trust him.  This might skirt to close to what zodiac animals do in TMW, however. It is very effective though...

It's interesting and something I might tinker with just to see how it works. The gut reaction point would have a bigger impact, as you say, if the initial pools were limited like that.

Quote from: Matt Machell
Since the situation is generally "Mission-based", the logical kind of hidden agenda is one that subverts the mission aim to their governments interests. You could come up with some generics and make each player choose one for his character at the start of the mission, then fill in details as they go. I don't think it necessarily needs a mechanical benefit, after all they can always spend trust to have more chance of achieving their agenda, and that gives a nice thematic charge to things: "I trusted you, and you use it to do what?!"

There could be the possibility for having a dual-agenda thing going on. For instance, you have your hidden agenda that is based on orders from your government/military superiors/controlling authority, etc. You could also have your own i=hidden agenda that is based on your own fears/desires/likes/dislikes, etc. I could see this very easily replacing the 'hatred' characteristic that currently exists, as it integrates much better with the themes and tones of the setting as a whole. Obviously, the hidden agenda would tie directly into trust/mistrust issues.

Quote from: CommonDialog
If I can paraphrase the way your rules are working, basically what happens is that my PC is empowered because other people trust him/her?  Basically, my ability to resolve tasks in difficult situations is directly related to the number of people who trust that I will not double cross them (as opposed to say, they believe in my ability to perform the action.)  Am I missing something?

If you go with this, I see a real potential for abuse and min/maxing.  I can foresee a scenario where I go around, make everyone trust me, collect all the tokens and then suddenly behave completely crosswise to how I acted before (which should actually deplete the amount of trust I've built.)  However, since I have everyone's tokens, I can now perform super feats, and can influence the game according to my secret agenda.

You're quite right. There are two potential options here. One where the character who is trusted is empowered to use that trust as a beneficial effect, or where the trusting character can 'gift' that beneficial effect to the character they trust.

One of the main reasons for revising and modifying the trust element of the game (which has caused some interesting and worthwhile other changes to the game), was exactly the point you laid out: the potential for min/maxing and the abuse of the system for the furtherance of character advantage. The 'hoarder' could indeed do this, which is why in the initial system idea, the onus was on the trustuing character to hand out the beneficial points at a time of their choosing, rather than when the trusted character wanted to.

Quote from: CommonDialog
#1  I think it was hinted, but not necessarily formalized that each trust token records in some way who owns it.  So when I start off with a pool of say 4 trust tokens, each will have a C on them (or they may all be read or what have you.)  So when I give a token to you, it's a symbolic representation that I trust you.  Not Bob or Steve trusts you, but I trust you.  When you use my token, I choose who that token goes to because I trust them, not because you trust them (or it may go back to my pool.)

One way of potentially looking at it (if using the trust mechanic shown at the top of this thread), is that the trust token is always handed back to the person who trusted you. You've now used their trust to give you an advantage, what have you done to decrease their trust in you? What has happened? But yes, it would be a symbolic representation of each characters trust in the other characters.

Quote from: CommonDialog
#2  I would suggest reworking the way a trust token is spent in a way that #1 becomes important.  Here's my thought.  Let's say you're playing a quickdraw expert who is great at mowing down enemies with your lucky revolvers.  I am playing an expert locksmith who can pick any lock given time.  You need to get through a superlocked security door and you have one of my trust tokens.  We determine that getting through this door is something where my intelligence would come in handy, so you use my stat to augment yours (perhaps we add them together or we double my intelligence stat) for the purposes of making the lockpick roll.  (Come to think of it I think there would have to be some sort of bonus over and above just adding them together as most systems have rules for characters working in cohesion.)  I think one of the most important parts is that if you spend my trust token, my PC pretty much has to work with you because you are playing on my trust unless doing so would be completely out of character for the PC (For instance, you can't make the 50 year old Catholic Priest help you find a human sacrifice no matter how many trust tokens you spend.  Unless that Priest has a Hidden Agenda, Dark Past, or is a general sadist.  You get my drift.  :))

So by this method, you would need to have the trusting PC directly involved in a conflict with the trusted PC in order for the trust to provide a bonus in the conflict? I agree that the bonus would need to be something more than just adding the relevant stat of the trusting PC to the pool, as this makes it too much like a fancy-dan method of dressing up the assisting of the character, as is common with many other games. The establishmnet of the moral/ethical viewpoint of the other character would be vital in this, especially if you are insituations where different people would take differing stances on what is going on. Would (to take an extreme example) a Jewish academic be willing to assist in the provision of assistance to a former SS camp guard, if it meant a successful conclusion to the mission objectives? That would be a matter for the individual players, but it raises all sorts of interesting questions about players refusing to allow the use of trust, depending on circumstances.

Quote from: CommonDialog
#3  I think that under dire circumstances, one player can take trust tokens from another player if that player's character acts completely untrustworthy.  (Yeah, I know you helped me break into my bank, but you just shot my grandmother...)  This will keep people from hoarding trust.

I think this is vital, yes. There should always be the opportunity for players to take trust away from characters who act in a manner which cause the other characters to mistrust them.

Thanks for the feedback.

Cheers
Malcolm
Quote
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Malcolm Craig
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Matt Machell
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« Reply #8 on: February 17, 2006, 07:23:26 AM »

Quote
I think this is vital, yes. There should always be the opportunity for players to take trust away from characters who act in a manner which cause the other characters to mistrust them.

You could always allow players to move one point or trust around the table each after every scene. So, after the scene where my PC betrays Gregor's by using trust to boost a roll that backs my hidden agenda, we get to re-evaluate how we stand.

You could do this trust movement in order of lowest trusted to highest, that way the guy who's currently most trusted can move his point he sees how the new situation is panning out. That could nicely reflect the political nature of the situation.

-Matt
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CommonDialog
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #9 on: February 17, 2006, 10:15:02 PM »

Malcolm,

I think you touched on the major weakness of my thoughts on trust.  It leads far too much into a as you put "boring" reciprocal arrangement.  I trust you...you trust me and we trade trust back and forth.  Then again... this is how trust works in real life.  In many larger gaming groups I've had, trust has tended to flow from me to another one or two individuals and that's all.  There have been a few notable exceptions where my PC has trusted other PCs.  The really funny example of this I can think of is when I convinced another PC (and her player, too) that she had me blood bonded when I was unbondable.  So, I was in fact lying.

At any rate, and I wish I knew Cold City better, is there anyway to force characters into situations where they need to trust multiple people or trust character A in the first scene (I use the term loosely since it sounded better than block of time) and trust character B in another?
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Malcolm Craig
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Posts: 263


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« Reply #10 on: February 20, 2006, 02:50:21 AM »

Quote
I think this is vital, yes. There should always be the opportunity for players to take trust away from characters who act in a manner which cause the other characters to mistrust them.

You could always allow players to move one point or trust around the table each after every scene. So, after the scene where my PC betrays Gregor's by using trust to boost a roll that backs my hidden agenda, we get to re-evaluate how we stand.

You could do this trust movement in order of lowest trusted to highest, that way the guy who's currently most trusted can move his point he sees how the new situation is panning out. That could nicely reflect the political nature of the situation.

-Matt

I've toyed with the idea of trust moving around the table, conflict allowing change of trust and so forth and the idea of the most trust person be allowed to move first is interesting. or perhaps more interesting if it is reversed and the least trusted person goes first, changes their trust and the more trusted characters can change last, thereby giving them time to assess the moves of the others and incorporate it into their own machiavellian schemes. Then again, playing devils advocate, this could potentially result in a static situation where the less trusted characters make no moves, which feeds on up the chain and trust never changes through induced paralysis.

Quote from: CommonDialog
I think you touched on the major weakness of my thoughts on trust.  It leads far too much into a as you put "boring" reciprocal arrangement.  I trust you...you trust me and we trade trust back and forth.  Then again... this is how trust works in real life.  In many larger gaming groups I've had, trust has tended to flow from me to another one or two individuals and that's all.  There have been a few notable exceptions where my PC has trusted other PCs.  The really funny example of this I can think of is when I convinced another PC (and her player, too) that she had me blood bonded when I was unbondable.  So, I was in fact lying.

There are two major weaknesses, as far as I see them:

1) There is a danger of the 'boring reciprocal arrangement' situation.
2) The mechanics as they stand do not tie closely enough into the game or drive the story forward with any degree of alacrity.

I have a firm idea of what I want the trust mechanic to achieve in the game. My distilled thoughts on the game can probably expressed like this:

The entire game as a microcosm of the prevailing attitudes of the time. Unspoken agreement between the players that their characters may/may not trust each other, that there will be conflict within the party, rather than just externalised conflict.

On the surface, Cold City is a game about monster hunting. As you go deeper it’s all about the relationships between the disparate characters and on the deepest level, it’s about the Cold War and the spectre of evil that still hangs over the world.

So, it's achieving a successful marriage of these firm ideas with a means of representing them in the game.

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At any rate, and I wish I knew Cold City better, is there anyway to force characters into situations where they need to trust multiple people or trust character A in the first scene (I use the term loosely since it sounded better than block of time) and trust character B in another?

Again, this is something I'm wrestling with at the moment. All the suggestions given in this and other threads (and by the various playtest groups) have given much food for though, so it is a matter of attempting to distill into all down into something successful and workable.

Cheers
Malcolm

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Malcolm Craig
Contested Ground Studios
www.contestedground.co.uk

Part of the Indie Press Revolution
Matt Machell
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Posts: 477


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« Reply #11 on: February 20, 2006, 04:01:26 AM »

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Then again, playing devils advocate, this could potentially result in a static situation where the less trusted characters make no moves, which feeds on up the chain and trust never changes through induced paralysis.

I think as long as you have active character priorities that push against trust, like agendas, this shouldn't be an issue.

That said, perhaps you need some structured scenario design that makes it impossible not to be put in situations where trust will change. Something like Dogs town design that makes the monster, what it represents and the situation it's in promote distrust. From your playtest report, it sounds like you've pushed scenarios to be more morally grey than they first appear, and if that comes across in prep structure things are probably golden.

-Matt
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