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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 88 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Burn (working title)] - Teamwork and Grief mechanics  (Read 3838 times)
reaction
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Posts: 30


« on: February 20, 2006, 12:22:34 PM »

Following a suggestion by Marus, I came up with Teamwork and Grief mechanics, basically as follows,

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At the end of each session where your character fights alongside a teammate, that player puts a box next to that teammate's name on the character sheet. When performing a team manuever with that character, you may add that number of free successes.
This isn't *exactly* what I want, but it starts to get the point across. I'm worried about the number of successes added, but i think it might be somewhat counteracted by grief.

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After a character dies, each character has a penalty to all rolls equal to the number of unchecked boxes next to the missing character's name. At the end of each session, each player can check off one of the boxes, as part of the grieving process.
Hopefully this acts as the punishment (via other characters) to counteract people purposely burning out, also mentioned by Marus.

My main question is whether or not anybody thinks this will help stop the cycle of high-powered characters burning out quickly?

I figure I'd better link to my other thread, and explain at least that character turnover rate is very high in this game (100%), so I'm not worried about the bonus becoming incredibly high. Also, I'm sure that there are things I'm thinking about that I'm not expressing, and things I'm not expressing that I should be thinking about, so ask if there's anything you're wondering about.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2006, 01:23:55 PM »

So to use an Example:

1) Alphamale "fights alongside" Betablocker: they both get a box next to the other character's name at the end of the session.
--"Fight alongside" need more specifics, I think: how long of a fight? What if they are rivals in the fight, trying to outdo each other while defeating a foe? What if one dies in the fight: does the other get a box, yet has to then clear it with Grief?
2) In future sessions, A and B get one free success each time they perform a maneuver with the other.
--Presumably, that "combined" maneuver is during a time they are "fighting alongside" and also grants another box(?). If so, this is a positively reinforcing feedback loop, and will increase rapidly, as long as A and B keep "fighting alongside" and taking those free successes by combining maneuvers. In essence, everyone will have n-1 free successes, where n is the number of times that they have been teammates.
3) Later, A dies.
4) B now has an automatic failure on all efforts for each remaining box next to A's name.

Am I right, here? If so, I suggest you watch out for #2 vis a vis two "high-power burnouts" who might use that feedback to go out in a plot-breaking blaze of glory (after all, who Grieves if both die?).

Or do you mean one can only get a single box per Teammate?

Or maybe there will be an increase in requirements (i.e. cost) to get a second, then third, and so forth? Maybe you don't just combine, but combine for the win, to get the second? Then, you have to combine for something very improbable (insert task difficulty mechanic here) that leads to the win, for the third. THEN, you have to combine for the impossible, for the win, and lose a huge chunk of power (e.g. "He's going to push his Mind Control until he's catatonic! He'll lose his powers!"). Ad torturum.

Some spit-balling by;
David
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reaction
Member

Posts: 30


« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2006, 07:40:08 PM »

Yeah, wow... I was way off base on that idea. However I get the feeling I was bumping up against something in the dark, so I'm going to work things out and hopefully post back later today. Maybe something with a teamwork dice pool...
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reaction
Member

Posts: 30


« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2006, 10:23:27 PM »

Ok, I've come up with a few simple additions that I think help accomplish some of what I was going for.
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At the end of each session where your character fights alongside a teammate, that player may choose one of those teammates and pay Time Points to put a box next to that teammate's name on the character sheet. When performing a team manuever with that character, you may add that number of dice (not guaranteed successes).

The point cost would probably be equal to the new value of the teamwork stat, and grief would work pretty much the same way, paying points equal to the value of the stat each session after the teammate's death to lower the stat by one each time. That should prevent an unchecked cycle of power growth. I was also considering a sort of 'fumble' idea, where any teamwork dice that came up ones lowered the teamwork stat.

Do you think this solves the problem David brought up, or just softens the edge on it? I know I won't be able to prevent every problem with this game, but I'd like to do my best.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2006, 07:30:12 AM »

Quote
At the end of each session where your character fights alongside a teammate, that player may choose one of those teammates and pay Time Points to put a box next to that teammate's name on the character sheet. When performing a team manuever with that character, you may add that number of dice (not guaranteed successes).

In essence, you have turned Teamwork into a skill: each teammate is a particular application of a more general "Teaming" skill. This makes sense. In fact, you may have hit upon your best solution: make it just a skill, like any other. Of course, that undermiens your push-and-pull with Grief....

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The point cost would probably be equal to the new value of the teamwork stat, and grief would work pretty much the same way, paying points equal to the value of the stat each session after the teammate's death to lower the stat by one each time.

So, in essence, the player buys Teamwork with a particular other character, then must pay it back once thaqt character dies? Sounds to me, then, that Grief is nothing more than a form of disadvantage (in White Wolf, a "Flaw"), no different from, say, having an "ugly" disadvantage that puts the character down one die on all "social" tests.

What's more, it's a NASTY disadvantage: the extra dice from Teamwork only apply to combined maneuvers. Yet the Grief negative dice (I am guessing) impact all tests until the boxes are bought off.

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That should prevent an unchecked cycle of power growth.

It sure will! :-) I know I wouldn't buy Teamwork dice... unless I was in collusion with another player who wanted to play a high-power, fast-burnout character, and we were planning to go out together in a blaze of plot-rending glory. >:-)

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I was also considering a sort of 'fumble' idea, where any teamwork dice that came up ones lowered the teamwork stat.

Making it, thus, less and less worthwhile, in the face of the eventual cost to be rid of the commensurate Grief. Hmm... or maybe not: such fumbles will make the eventual cost to buy-down the Grief less, of course. In fact, with a 1 in 10 (or whatever) chance to fumble with a teamwork die, it will probably force the Teamwork stat to stay at a particular value (any stat super-freaks want to fill in that value for me?) ICK! But think about the pain! To have just spent, say, 5 points for one's fifth Teamwork stat, and then roll a 1 and LOSE it. Ugh.

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Do you think this solves the problem David brought up, or just softens the edge on it? I know I won't be able to prevent every problem with this game, but I'd like to do my best.

I think ya went a bit too far, and have made Teamwork a "bad deal" in the long run, for all but the most NAR-oriented players (who might like to explore the notion of the prices we pay for loyalty or might want to test the theory that "it's better to have loved and lost, than never to have loved at all" and such-like).

Step back a moment and ask yourself what the whole Teaming v Grief was about, in the overarching context of your game of mortality? Did you want to encourage players to come up with creative combined maneuvers, but make them understand the "price" of such extra efficiency? Did you care more about the emotional bonds between characters: their source of strength and sorrow? Or do you see it more as a necessary mechanic that should model the way a team learns to anticipate each other to the point of being a "well-oiled machine" but can, in turn, be hamstrung when one who is expected and relied upon is gone? (Did you detect each Creative Agenda in those three examples?)

Once you answer those questions, then ask if you even need a mechanic to handle your goal? For instance, if you introspect and decide that you care about the inter-character emotionalism, you might find that trying to drive that with combat-related mechanics is an inadequate technique. You might just have to handle such a goal in your Situation design or Setting, not in System (in GNS terms).

Anyhow, I hope this is helping you to design.
David
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reaction
Member

Posts: 30


« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2006, 01:59:38 PM »

I think my main problem is that I was trying to handle in the grief mechanic something that should come naturally, which is a sense of loss at not being able to use that teammate's teamwork stat anymore. I was just worried that the loss would be dulled by the fact that the character could just immediately start building up his teamwork stat with some other character. Which brings up an obvious solution (I hope.) Instead of grief inflicting a penalty, while your character has a teamwork stat for a dead teammate, he cannot raise any other teamwork score. He can lower the stat once per session. I'll play around with the cost for that, not sure if it should be constant, or decreasing, or maybe just free, as a result of time. Also, I'll do away with the fumble idea, that was a stupid, clumsy way to resolve an issue that should be fixed by the rising teamwork costs.
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