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Author Topic: [Carry] But, I want endgame now!  (Read 3845 times)
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« on: February 19, 2006, 02:23:08 PM »

A few weeks ago, me and a group of people played Carry.
I'm going to skip around a bit in this thread, partially because I am cloudy on parts, and partially because I want to focus on certain things.

I'm going to give an overview of the 5 players I had, and the burdens that each arrived at:

Casey Spooner
Casey is often a very goofy kid. However, he is really smart and inciteful too, and if you hit the right vein he can definately tap into some great Roleplaying potential.
He's very lazy, but I don't think that really applies to the conversation at hand.
Quote
Hates athority.
Molested by father,
and now thinks women are inferior.

(ended up playing Professor)

Mat
Mat is a pretty quiet guy. He tends to really feed off the other players at the table. When people act silly, he will embellish it. When people are serious and thoughtful, he becomes very quiet and thoughtful as well.
Quote
Wants to see his commander fail,
loves the war.

(played Raven)

Cade
Cade is the oldest of the group, and the most interesting to roleplay with at times. He offers interesting angles and approaches when the spotlight is on him, but tends to just roll with it at other times.
Quote
I tried to dodge the draft,
because I didn't want to leave behind my girlfriend,
who was vietnamese.

(Played Jesus the medic)

Steve-O
The youngest player of our group, I frankly didn't invite this kid. He tends to be silly, a bit overbearing, and hard to work with in a group.
Quote
Blind in his left eye,
because his friend shot it out.
Wants vengeance.
(played Skid)

Patrick
Patrick used to DM d&d, a year or two ago. He's a good player, and really moves play along when it starts to lag a bit.
Quote
Was born into a pacifist family,
but loves violence.
abuses coccaine.

(Played Elmo "Saint".)


So, that's my overview.
I just want to stress that burden creation, then picking characters... was REALLY REALLY fun.

Which brings me to problem #1:
The burdens didn't get used enough during gameplay.
probably because they started out being a d4.
They should start being a d8 or something.


I'm going to post this now, then start with gameplay in the next post.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #1 on: February 19, 2006, 03:04:35 PM »

First, a correction: Patrick actually played "Big White", not "Saint". Sorry, I got confused there for a second. He had been debating between the two, but Big White was his end choice.

...

If you were astute, you would have noticed the following:
I had 4 characters from Bravo, and one from Alpha.

I asked the players what they wanted to do about that, and they said just transfer Big White into Bravo.
I know the game is meant to have a few players in each fire team, but this seemed a pretty reasonable solution, so we went with an all-Bravo group of players.

Opening scene: Call for help

Fire team Charlie radioed back to the camp for help, "Deadwood and Cowboy are severely wounded! We were ambushed, and they both took heavy fire. They won't be able to walk out of here on their own."

So Raven (Mat) makes a decision that the whole fire team should go, in case the enemy returns or has any other ambushes set.

So, the team makes their way down to Fire Team Charlie. Deadwood and Cowboy are in critical state - one with a huge gaping whole in his side, and the other with what seems to be broken ribs and a collapsed lung.
Locker (the team captain) is yelling at Bull (the big oaf who is quite sensitive) about how its his fault that Cowboy and Deadwood got hit. Bull is getting more and more furious...

...and Raven intercedes, telling Locker to back down.
He decides to enter into a conflict, using Peaceful to tell him to break it up. Locker uses Violent, to push him back out of the way and continue yelling at bull.

Locker wins, and shoves Raven away.
However, Raven decides to push the conflict, and go for Honourable - telling Locker that he needs to think about the morale of his squad.
the Professor (Spooner) enters the conflict, saying that he steps up to Locker, and trips him - right after he pushes Raven.
Locker says that he is using subversive, and that he will try to retort to Raven that "Raven, you know nothing about taking care of a squad."

So... for the push, the stakes were:
Raven - wins he makes Locker look like a chump in front of both squads.
Locker - wins, he shifts the negative focus to Raven, and goes back to yelling at Bull.
Professor - wins, he trips Locker into the mud, and makes a comment about picking on Bull.

So, the professor won, and Locker got the lowest score.
Locker was thrown into the mud, and Raven scorned him for being a shitty leader.
Locker picked himself up, and stormed off into the woods.

Anyways, from there... Jesus got the two guys onto stretchers, and had the squad help him carry the men back to HQ.

Skid was sent to scout ahead, and came up on Locker's body - he was laying face down in the mud, and it appeared his head had smashed into a jagged rock.
Whether he had tripped, or been pushed... was a mystery at this point.
Regardless, Skid realized how this would look - Raven sends Locker off, then he turns up dead.
In a panic, he decides to hide the body.

Then he returns to the group, and leads them through a slightly different path.



Okay, IMO, this scene went great. There wasn't a player who didn't like this scene.
The conflict worked well, and players pushed a little.


I have to head out now, so I'm going to post this part...
More to come - focus on a combat scene, and on endgame... and the problems I experienced with both.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2006, 05:51:59 PM »

Okay, now for the two trouble scenes...

I'm going to skip through a couple other scenes we did.

Brief synopsis:

Deadwood and Cowboy were hospitalized, meaning only Bull and Chameleon were left from Team Charlie.
While in the sergeant's office, the leaders of Fire Team Alpha (Anaconda) and Fire Team Bravo (Raven) argued over who should take Bull and Chameleon on. Mat (Raven) actually managed to pull out his burden, by throwing around his aggressive nature in the office room to undermine the sergeant's authority.

There was a huge fight in the mess hall, with Chameleon and the members of Team Bravo. A knife got pulled, and some racial comments were thrown around (which actually really added some depth to Big White and Chameleon's regard of the squad.... although touchy, it definately added something to the scene.)

The sergeant got fed up with how much  trouble Bravo had been causing around camp, and gave them what was essentially supposed to be a "make work" mission - exploring and securing a bridge and an abandoned bunker complex.

The group decided, after Chameleon failed to show up to a team meeting that Raven called, to leave him behind.

Next... The Bridge Scene

The team approached a bridge, and at this point decided to split into two groups - Professor, Bull and Jesus staying behind to guard, with Raven, Big White and Skid going on to check out the bunkers.

I, personally, hate breaking up in-person groups. I'm glad we were playing in a youth centre which just happens to be situated next to a pizza place... because I sent them off for a slice of pizza so I could work with the bridge group.

So, the bridge group:
They lit up, and began getting stoned to pass the time.
There was a large explosion, which prompted the three to hide out under the bridge, in the ditch.
After a few minutes (game time) a single figure walked out, dazed and apparently suffering shock or some kind of trauma...

Bull was ordered to shoot him, but thought that shooting might attract attention.
So he entered a conflict, using Peaceful to refuse shooting... with Jesus using Violent to order him around.
In the end, Jesus just ran up and knifed the dazed guy.

But, this conflict (the mechanical term, I mean) seemed stupid to me. Wasn't this something better to just roleplay out?

My question to the general populace: How small can something be and still require conflict resolution?



The Bunkers - And why I don't like combat resolution in this game


So, the other group went exploring the bunker complex.
There were one or two small ones they cleared, and a bigger, multi-room bunker/hideout.

All three entered that, and I decided that the enemy troops had picked up on their location... and while they were in the bunker surrounded them and staked them out.
So, when they tried to leave the bunker they were shot at, and they retreated back in.

They regrouped, and decided that they couldn't bear just waiting it out... so they fought their way out.

Anyways, the combat scene wasn't that great.
I am bringing it up because of one thing:

I love the regular conflict resolution. So did my players.
No one liked the resolution system with handing out orders, and passing dice. Also, it meant that the more combat scenes you were in, the less dice you had.

Okay:
Endgame.

The bunker squad returned to the bridge, to find it deserted.
I cut back to the bridge group at this point, with:
"You see three figures making their way out of the woods at this point."

They smirked, and asked "do we know its our own guys?" I replied "you can decide that for yourself."

Anyways, Bull told Jesus/Professor that he saw figures moving, and got the orders to shoot immediately.
He clipped the captain's leg.

Immediately, the rest of hte group returned fire, and I narrated them dropped Bull dead.

At this point, all fodder had been removed from the game...
And people thought this would be an AMAZING endgame scenario.
Not everyone had a cardinal profile at this point though, and it would take a LOT of conflicts for some people to get there (specifically one person had 9 or 10 dice at this point.)

I really wanted to see this be the endgame too, so I cheated. I skipped the part about needing a cardinal profile.
Really, at that point - there aren't any practical implications of profile anyway, are there?

So, everyone declared stakes, and made their roles.

In the end, it was great.
Skid tried to shoot at the guys in the ditch, but Big White realized they were friendly... and disarmed and held him down.

Jesus leapt up in a fury -having finally snapped under this war he hated in the first place... He unloaded and dropped Skid.

Professor ran out to help the Captain.

The captain watched in horror as Skid and Bull both got shot to pieces. He was obviously getting court marshalled for this failure.



..........

So, the endgame was so wicked. A bunch of stoned guys accidently fire on their own squad, and the squad ends up tearing itself to pieces.
The big problem was all the rules and stipulations leading up to the endgame - Once you reach the appropriate endgame spot, you should be able to just enter into it.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2006, 05:55:35 PM »

To recap - and provide suggestions:

-Burdens were so cool, and we were disappointed they didn't really enter play much.

-The squad combat resolution stuff was a drawback, in our opinion. Why can't you just use regular resolution, and make it just as storyline based?

-endgame was wicked, but you shouldn't have to wait to have everyone set at a cardinal profile to enter the final scene - you should just be able to enter the endgame.
Or... have the ability to automatically switch to a cardinal profile when ready.

So, two suggestions with burden die:
-start it at d8

or....
-start it at d4 like usual, but instead of increasing it with wounds (which didn't make sense to me), increase it each time it is used.
That way, there is incentive to use it.
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Nathan P.
Member

Posts: 536


WWW
« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2006, 05:24:57 PM »

Awesomeness. I have some responses and questions and answers to specific things, but overall I'm glad it went well! Thank you for the writeup. The scenes you noted all sound great and appropriate. How long did it take to play through the whole game?

Quote
Hates athority.
Molested by father,
and now thinks women are inferior.

(ended up playing Professor)

Quote
Wants to see his commander fail,
loves the war.

(played Raven)

Quote
I tried to dodge the draft,
because I didn't want to leave behind my girlfriend,
who was vietnamese.

(Played Jesus the medic)

Quote
Blind in his left eye,
because his friend shot it out.
Wants vengeance.
(played Skid)

Quote
Was born into a pacifist family,
but loves violence.
abuses coccaine.

(Played Elmo "Saint".)

So, that's my overview.
I just want to stress that burden creation, then picking characters... was REALLY REALLY fun.

A great bunch of Burdens. I particularly like Jesus's. Could you say a little more about why it was fun? And how long did it take?


I asked the players what they wanted to do about that, and they said just transfer Big White into Bravo.
I know the game is meant to have a few players in each fire team, but this seemed a pretty reasonable solution, so we went with an all-Bravo group of players.

Personally, I use the Fire Team designations primarily as color, but it's cool to see how you used them. Gnarly.

Quote
Okay, IMO, this scene went great. There wasn't a player who didn't like this scene.
The conflict worked well, and players pushed a little.

Yeh, totally awesome scene. I'm surprised that Raven didn't pull in his Burden (Wants to see his commander fail) or Professor (Hates authority). Was there any specific reason they didn't?

There was a huge fight in the mess hall, with Chameleon and the members of Team Bravo. A knife got pulled, and some racial comments were thrown around (which actually really added some depth to Big White and Chameleon's regard of the squad.... although touchy, it definately added something to the scene.)

Is it bad to say I'm glad you got somewhere touchy? I'm glad it added something. How did the players react to the material, or did they?

Quote
Bull was ordered to shoot him, but thought that shooting might attract attention.
So he entered a conflict, using Peaceful to refuse shooting... with Jesus using Violent to order him around.
In the end, Jesus just ran up and knifed the dazed guy.

But, this conflict (the mechanical term, I mean) seemed stupid to me. Wasn't this something better to just roleplay out?

What were the stakes? It sounds like Bull's were "If I win, I don't shoot the guy." And then Jesus kills him anyway, and it's lame. What about stakes like "If I win, I talk you into interrogating the guy peacefully." Stakes that can be easily "undermined" tend to be not what you really want to happen, would be my general advice.

Quote
I love the regular conflict resolution. So did my players.
No one liked the resolution system with handing out orders, and passing dice. Also, it meant that the more combat scenes you were in, the less dice you had.

Here's whats in my head, and what I think is in the text, but may very well not be - any Action (combat) Scene necessarily involves the whole squad. Everyone has to give the same amount of dice (equal to the number of rounds of orders), so it shouldn't change the dice pools relative to each other.

Who was the ranking officer? How long did the scene last (how many rounds of orders?) Who ended up spending the fallout points?

My reasoning for the different mechanics to follow your recommendations.

Quote
And people thought this would be an AMAZING endgame scenario.
Not everyone had a cardinal profile at this point though, and it would take a LOT of conflicts for some people to get there (specifically one person had 9 or 10 dice at this point.)

In the end, it was great.
So, the endgame was so wicked. A bunch of stoned guys accidently fire on their own squad, and the squad ends up tearing itself to pieces.
The big problem was all the rules and stipulations leading up to the endgame - Once you reach the appropriate endgame spot, you should be able to just enter into it.

Whoa, thats an awesome Endgame. You're point about going into it when the time is right is a sound one, and one that needs further playtesting (though, my inkling is that the Cardinel Profile thing will be the final trigger, but if a good scenario comes up before then, then the group should go for it, like you did).

-Burdens were so cool, and we were disappointed they didn't really enter play much.

Did you note that Burden dice are NOT given away when you roll them? Mechanically, whenever you can sell the table on the appropriateness of your Burden for a conflict, you should roll it. Rolling that d4 will give you a higher total than not rolling it, every time. It feels to me that you didn't notice or play with this rule, which tells me it needs to be in big freakin bold letters. Let me know if I'm wrong.

Quote
-The squad combat resolution stuff was a drawback, in our opinion. Why can't you just use regular resolution, and make it just as storyline based?

Action Scenes are different because they are where the pacing of the game comes in, and they are where the tension between ranking officers and the rest of the Grunts come in. Something that should be in the text, and I think isn't, is that the only time that people die should be as a result of Action scenes. Action scenes should force the players to think about their characters relationship with his officer, and force the officer to do bad things to his own squad. Combat is also the big place where your characters Burdens can increase, which I think is a pertinent thematic statement.

That said, I understand that it's a wierd switch when the majority of the rest of the game is Squad scenes. Another thing to keep in mind is that it's essentially a really big conflict with the stakes of "If the Ranking Officer wins, the Squad is victorious in the situation. If the GM wins, the Squad is beaten," and the rules are determining the specifics of what happens to who at the end of the conflict.

Here's the big rub, and it's definitely my fault for whats not in the rules (yay playtesting!) - the GM does not have the power to arbitrarily kill, maim, hurt, etc the characters, Fodder or Grunts. The only way that anyone should ever be hurt is through Action scenes, which should drive Burden Die and kill Fodder, which should both bring the end of the game a step closer. Now, the problem with this is that, by the rules, you're fantastic opening scene is impossible. Which makes me think that the GM should be able to do something like spend dice that will go into the next Action pool automatically, or something, in order to do things to Fodder in non-action scenes.

Quote
-endgame was wicked, but you shouldn't have to wait to have everyone set at a cardinal profile to enter the final scene - you should just be able to enter the endgame.
Or... have the ability to automatically switch to a cardinal profile when ready.

Yeh. Again, that rigidness is probably going to go away. More playtesting will tell.

Quote
So, two suggestions with burden die:

I think if you played again with the prominent knowledge that you keep that Burden Die all the time, it would play a bit differently...again, tell me if I'm off-base here. Also, did anyone ever try to assume a Fodders Burden? Also also, did anyone ever establish Backstory with another character?

Thanks again for the great writeup and very solid feedback. Some general questions (I know some of this you already talked about, but just in case we're missing something...):

What was the coolest moment for you? Why?

What was the most lame? Why?

What made the whole table go "Whoa, awesome" if anything? Why?

What made the whole table go "that sucks," if anything? Why?

Would you be willing to play again?
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Nathan P.
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My Games | ndp design
Also | carry. a game about war.
I think Design Matters
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #5 on: February 21, 2006, 09:31:02 AM »

Quote
Yeh, totally awesome scene. I'm surprised that Raven didn't pull in his Burden (Wants to see his commander fail) or Professor (Hates authority).

Maybe I misunderstood burden.
Is it a d4 you can add ONTO your roll?
Like, rolling a d8 for peaceful and you ADD your d4 from burden?

or...
Is the d4 burden a dice you can roll INSTEAD of that d8 for peaceful or whatever?


I interpretted the rules to be "instead".
If that's not the case, then we would have used it a LOT more.

did I misunderstand this rule?


Quote
Did you note that Burden dice are NOT given away when you roll them?

Does that really matter, considering that dice refresh once you run out and switch profiles?
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Nathan P.
Member

Posts: 536


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« Reply #6 on: February 21, 2006, 10:27:34 AM »

Closer to the first one. I'll review the text...

[quote = Carry Revision 2, Page 14]You may roll and add your Burden Die instead of a die from your dice pool when you push once
per conflict, even if you have already chosen not to push. If you do so, you must involve your
Burden in your narration. You do not give away your Burden Die.
Quote

So, you roll whatever you roll. Then, if you want to push, instead of rolling another die and giving it away, you can roll your Burden die and keep it. Theoretically, you could push three times, going through each Approach, and then roll your Burden die for a fourth push. Or, you could not push, and then the other guy pushes, and say he ends up with 2 more than you, you can decide to push with your Burden die (the only time you can push again if you decide not to the first time).

Is that more clear? Is there a better way to word that passage?

The keeping die/giving them away only matters in terms of how quickly you want to get to a Profile change. Entirely relative.
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Nathan P.
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Find Annalise
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My Games | ndp design
Also | carry. a game about war.
I think Design Matters
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #7 on: February 21, 2006, 06:59:38 PM »

Nathan, I think there is a problem there.

Quote
Yeh, totally awesome scene. I'm surprised that Raven didn't pull in his Burden (Wants to see his commander fail) or Professor (Hates authority).

They didn't use that d4 Burden, because they wanted to be successful - which required using one of their bigger dice.

And, we never got to a point were we had already pushed three times and wanted another push. We usually had 1-2 pushes, and only once had a third push.
What tended to happen was after 1 push, others jumped into the conflict fray, and it was put down...

Anyways, I think that the first time you use a Burden die in a single given scene, if it were increased a die size permanently...
That'd give way more incentive to use it.



We all WANTED to use it more, but it often meant we were rolling with a handicap, because we were rolling a d4 instead of a d6, d8, d10 or d12.
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Nathan P.
Member

Posts: 536


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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2006, 08:13:46 PM »

Mmm, we're still talking past one another, I think. I threw a bunch of special circumstances into that post, but I think it just confused matters. Here's some examples of how the rule works:

So Raven has his "Wants to see commander fail" Burden.

GM: So you argue with your commanding officer. Sounds like a conflict. Stakes are X and Y.
Ravens Player: Ok, I'm using "Violent" and pushing him, proving myself physically.
GM: And he's using "Honorable," giving you an order as your CO.
Ravens player rolls a d8, getting a 3 and giving the d8 to another player. GM rolls a d10, and gets a 5, giving the d10 to another player.
Ravens player: OK, I'm going to Push with my Burden - anyone think it doesn't apply?
Round of "nos"
GM: I'm not going to push. This should be interesting.
Ravens player rolls his d4 Burden Die, gets a 3 for a total of 6, winning the conflict, and narrating a bit about how much Raven hates the commander.

This is bog-standard, no special circumstances, can always happen by the rules. Does that make sense?

Now, say this happens:

GM: So you argue with your commanding officer. Sounds like a conflict. Stakes are X and Y.
Ravens Player: Ok, I'm using "Violent" and pushing him, proving myself physically.
GM: And he's using "Honorable," giving you an order as your CO.
Ravens player rolls a d8, getting a 7 and giving the d8 to another player. GM rolls a d10, and gets a 4, giving the d10 to another player.
GM: He's going to push. He uses Violent, pushing you back.
Raven: OK, I'm low on dice, lets see what happens.
GM rolls a 4 on a d6, giving him an 8, and gives the d6 to another player.
Raven: Oh, crap. I'm bringing in my Burden, unless anyone has a problem.... (no-one does)
Raven rolls a 2 on his d4 Burden Die, giving him a 9, and victory.

Thats what I was talking about when I say you can roll your Burden Die after you choose not to push.

Essentially Burden Dice always add to the conflict dice, they never replace them. Make more sense?
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Nathan P.
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Find Annalise
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My Games | ndp design
Also | carry. a game about war.
I think Design Matters
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #9 on: February 22, 2006, 09:10:34 PM »

Ah, Nathan, I misinterpretted this rule:

Push results STACK with previous results.
I was thinking that each "push" was an independant thing.

Okay, that makes more sense.


So, you brought up the using Burden dice to push after you decided not to.
Cool, that's how Raven used his talking with Ram in our game.

However, aside from that , the players always chose to roll a bigger die.

Running out of dice didn't really hurt them that badly. For one, they got them handed to them by peers. For another, running out of dice actually meant that there were MORE in the grand pool.

And so... rolling the d8 to succeed meant more than having one more die "for later".

See what I mean?

Even though you've now clarified that rolls stack, I still feel the same way about burden dice:
They should either start bigger, or get one size bigger each time used.

That'd make people really try to work in their burden.


Just my two cents.
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Nathan P.
Member

Posts: 536


WWW
« Reply #10 on: February 26, 2006, 01:50:00 PM »

Cool. I'm definitly keeping your comments in mind as I run my own playtests and get feedback from others. Thanks again for the play and the writeup!

If anyone else has questions or comments, feel free to jump in.
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Nathan P.
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Find Annalise
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My Games | ndp design
Also | carry. a game about war.
I think Design Matters
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