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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 56 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Steel Shadows] The Power 19  (Read 13119 times)
Troy_Costisick
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Posts: 802


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« Reply #15 on: February 28, 2006, 11:53:11 AM »

Heya

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How could I playtest this game without it turning into an endless slogfest of design -> test -> fix -> start over? All games are designed this way, but this particular design really needs finely-tuned balance. Is there a good way to do this?

-Well, one good thing youíve done is not make the game about winning each individual combat.  With stealth as a resource, thatís whatís at stake.  Itís not about killing your foe, itís about remaining stealthy.  So as far as combat power balance, it wouldnít seem to matter.  Whippiní the piss outta your enemy is a forgone conclusion it seems.

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This and my last game have really taken focus away from the characters and put it on the setting. Is this something - in this particular case of Steel Shadows - that is interesting? If not, how do I either focus the attention on the mission more (preferable) or engage the players with more character focus?

-The focus in this game seems, to me at least, to neither be on the characters or the setting but on the players.  As a person who loves this sort of game, this really appeals to me.

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Seriously, did I write something below that makes this more than just a really good idea for an Iron Heroes campaign?

-Itís something different.  Itís very focused and full of color.

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Scenario prep should be one hour, character creation 15 minutes, and game play 2 hours.

-This really belongs up in #1, but itís an awesome aspect of your game.  Especially for a game where the object is to win.

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While one can create a character that will continue play in Iron Shadows, generally one will create a new character every time they play, engineered for that mission. This emphasizes the facelessness and mission-oriented-ness of the ninja.

-What are the main components of Chargen in your game?

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While characters are faceless, and therefore we don't care if they die, it is planned that missions will tie together, making the players care about each one, as their ninja clan has a goal.

-So, to make sure I understand, players will have an immediate goal (finish the mission) and a larger Clan Goal that will span multiple missions.  Is this correct?

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If health reaches zero, you die. If stealth reaches zero, everyone's alerted, and your mission is in dire danger.

-This is the kewlest part of your game.  I love how stealth is a resource.

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So, if you play three times, against 50, 75, and 100 point scenarios, then the characters will be built at higher effectiveness levels each time. You could play the same characters at each effectiveness level, but it is not required in the least.

-So is there an advancement mechanic for the setting?

Quote
18. What are your publishing goals for your game?

   A smallish (60-100 pages) book with cool Japanese-looking art that I can publish on Lulu.com.

19. Who is your target audience?

   People who enjoy D&D and other games that are mechanically focused on competition, but want it to take less time, and also really like ninjas.

-Good answers.

Peace,

-Troy
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Posts: 2624


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« Reply #16 on: February 28, 2006, 12:04:56 PM »

Quote
While one can create a character that will continue play in Iron Shadows, generally one will create a new character every time they play, engineered for that mission. This emphasizes the facelessness and mission-oriented-ness of the ninja.

-What are the main components of Chargen in your game?

I can lay them all out for you:

You have two resource pools, Health and Stealth.

You have four stats, two of which live under each pool. Bat and Rat live under Stealth, and Wolf and Dragon live under Health.

You have skills, which live under stats.

You have special abilities, which may include equipment.

All of these live under "trainings," which are like 5-level D&D classes. You might have base ninja training 4 / poison training 2 / zen training 3. This will give you a certain number of pool and stat points, a list of skills you can buy and the points to buy them, and a list of special abilities you have.

I may even make it where you don't just get points, but just adds, so that you have no choices outside of picking training levels. If so, though, I'll want advanced rules where you can pick. Otherwise, you lose a lot of depth in strategizing.

Quote
Quote
While characters are faceless, and therefore we don't care if they die, it is planned that missions will tie together, making the players care about each one, as their ninja clan has a goal.

-So, to make sure I understand, players will have an immediate goal (finish the mission) and a larger Clan Goal that will span multiple missions.  Is this correct?

It is now! It's a really cool idea that I should work into the game. Most likely, you will have immediate goals, and then if you're playing the game in the "campaign mode," you'll have a Clan Goal.

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So, if you play three times, against 50, 75, and 100 point scenarios, then the characters will be built at higher effectiveness levels each time. You could play the same characters at each effectiveness level, but it is not required in the least.

-So is there an advancement mechanic for the setting?

No. Again, the GM can make whatever level mission he wants. However, if I go with an optional "campaign mode," then yes, definitely, and the point level of the next mission will come from how well the characters did at the current mission. So, if you're fighting on a 50 pt mission, and do really well, the next mission will be 75 points. If you just did ok, 60 points. If you failed, 35 points.

Which is awesome.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
dindenver
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Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


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« Reply #17 on: February 28, 2006, 12:07:36 PM »

Hi!
  Here's my 2 cents...
Quote
    * How could I playtest this game without it turning into an endless slogfest of design -> test -> fix -> start over? All games are designed this way, but this particular design really needs finely-tuned balance. Is there a good way to do this?
    * This and my last game have really taken focus away from the characters and put it on the setting. Is this something - in this particular case of Steel Shadows - that is interesting? If not, how do I either focus the attention on the mission more (preferable) or engage the players with more character focus?
    * Seriously, did I write something below that makes this more than just a really good idea for an Iron Heroes campaign?
1) I think math will reduce the number of refinement cycles. You need to model several variations:
Competence--Low--Medium-High
Low----------------??-------??-----??
Medium-----------??-------??-----??
High----------------??-------??-----??
  Sort of look for what happens with good rolls, bad rolls, mediocre rolls. That's what I did with my mechanics and it has gone well for me. The only stuff that has come up during play test is game play issues. Not mechanical flaws.

2) I think the lack of character focus is acceptable. I think the level of anticipation will overcome any lack of character focus.

3) While this could be a setting, I think a new game focused on this setting would capture the feel you were going for better.

  I think you have the beginnings of a cool game. Rock on man!
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #18 on: February 28, 2006, 12:45:05 PM »

All of these live under "trainings," which are like 5-level D&D classes. You might have base ninja training 4 / poison training 2 / zen training 3. This will give you a certain number of pool and stat points, a list of skills you can buy and the points to buy them, and a list of special abilities you have.

Skill names need to be at least as evocative and cool as bat, rat, dragon, etc.  "My guy's poisoner-3/jade mantis-4!" or whatever.

JADE MANTIS REPRESENT!

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So, if you play three times, against 50, 75, and 100 point scenarios, then the characters will be built at higher effectiveness levels each time. You could play the same characters at each effectiveness level, but it is not required in the least.

What does the point count matter?  If you are being matched up 1:1 against the GM in points, the drubbing you gave him last week impacts clan play how?  Your ninja gains some experience, but that's part of the points counted, right? 

It's cool how you can handicap in this game - if the GM is an unsteady n00b, throw him some extra points to work with. 
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Posts: 2624


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« Reply #19 on: February 28, 2006, 01:10:13 PM »

JADE MANTIS REPRESENT!

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So, if you play three times, against 50, 75, and 100 point scenarios, then the characters will be built at higher effectiveness levels each time. You could play the same characters at each effectiveness level, but it is not required in the least.

What does the point count matter?  If you are being matched up 1:1 against the GM in points, the drubbing you gave him last week impacts clan play how?  Your ninja gains some experience, but that's part of the points counted, right? 

It's cool how you can handicap in this game - if the GM is an unsteady n00b, throw him some extra points to work with. 

Seriously, Jade Mantis represent.

You are confused on the point thing. Your ninja never gains experience.

The points spent on the adventure equal the points you get to spend on your ninja, period. I show up and say, "Hey, guys, I have a 100 point Steel Shadows mission all set up." You say, "Heck, yes! I'll make my 100 point ninja right now." Make sense? (Alternately, you can say, "Alright! I'll set Goro Bladehand to 100 points, and play him.")

On the "campaign play" tip, the drubbing or un-drubbing you gave him will count because it shows whether you're ready for the next level or not. So, fail a mission - next one will be less points so that you can prove yourself again.

Also, I'm making this up!
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Eric Provost
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Posts: 581


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« Reply #20 on: February 28, 2006, 01:24:59 PM »

Quote from: nevermind
No identity for the characters at all?† Nameless, faceless pawns with no differentiating features?† So... how would I, as a ninja-player, be expected to narrate?† With "my ninja dude" all the time?† As in; "My ninja dude climbs across the ceiling to escape the tiger"?† Or; "My ninja dude is more quiet than a falling leaf"?† That would suck.† I don't think I'd enjoy an RPG where I don't get any identity of any kind to play with.† Maybe that's just me.
[Edit] Cross-posted with ya', Clinton.† I see you've got a name attached to a theoretical character, so my point's pretty well moot.

Quote from: Clinton
If a character dies during the mission, right now, that character's out. Rolling up a new character is not a terrible idea, although I'd have to balance how that works.
Wait... the character's out or the player's out? †My only concern with the player being out is if a player can be ousted from the game too early, possibly spending a little too much time with their thumbs up their butts, wondering when they'll get a chance to play again.

Quote from: Ben
Oh, and also what Eric says is very wise.
I blush!

-Eric
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #21 on: February 28, 2006, 02:49:35 PM »

Ah, Jade Mantis understands now. 

I see the fun of meeting the challenge, but if the game is finely tuned, that's pretty predictable.  Will it be possible to say "Guys!  I have a 100 point Steel Shadows mission ready to go!  How few points do you think you can succeed with?"

I'm wondering about player reward, basically. 
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Posts: 2624


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« Reply #22 on: February 28, 2006, 02:50:39 PM »

Ah, Jade Mantis understands now. 

I see the fun of meeting the challenge, but if the game is finely tuned, that's pretty predictable.  Will it be possible to say "Guys!  I have a 100 point Steel Shadows mission ready to go!  How few points do you think you can succeed with?"

I'm wondering about player reward, basically. 

Jason,

Seriously, I kiss you. Holy crap, good idea.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
xenopulse
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Posts: 527

Heretic Forgite


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« Reply #23 on: February 28, 2006, 02:54:38 PM »

I agree with Jason, great idea. You know that I'm really into Address of Challenge, limited GM budget, kickass Gamist play, so YAY!  I love it.

I don't have that much more to say at this point, except that I'll also be glad to do some number crunching and balance checking when we see your actual mechanics.
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Andrew Morris
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« Reply #24 on: February 28, 2006, 03:19:06 PM »

If you want to make player competition part of it, you can also do that Battletech thing (it's in the novels, dunno if it's in the games) where the person who is willing to achieve the objective with the smallest force gets the most glory. "I can hold the mountains with three stars of mech." "Bah, I can do it with two stars of vehicles and one of infantry."

You could work this in in a  variety of ways, I'm sure, if it's something that appeals to you. I'm kinda envisioning a meeting of family heads (or something...I have no idea how ninjas really worked) where they posture and try to get their guy in charge of the mission. "A seasoned assassin? Hah, even a new recruit of our clan could lead them to victory." Or, you know...whatever.
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John Harper
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« Reply #25 on: February 28, 2006, 04:21:02 PM »

Experts agree: This sounds like twelve kinds of awesome. Clinton! With the rocking!

A couple things:

- Please tell me I can choose for my Kage (mmmm hmmmm) to shift damage to Health instead of Stealth, thereby sacrificing himself in order to keep the mission undetected. Because that would be SO rad.

- The option the GM has not thought of = easier to do. This is a very cool idea. But in play, you will never, ever use the options the GM has written down in advance. If I know that a creative approach is always easier, I will never say "I try to sneak by" or "I attack them." It just won't happen. My ninja will always be coating himself in grease or poisoning the guard's teapot or some other crazy shit. Which is what you want, of course. But you don't want the GM wasting his time writing "normal" stuff down that will never get used.

Maybe the creative approach is tied to a roll or resource? So you can't automatically do the wacky thing every time, or you have to judge when to be wacky and when to do the standard ninja move.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #26 on: February 28, 2006, 04:28:54 PM »

- Please tell me I can choose for my Kage (mmmm hmmmm) to shift damage to Health instead of Stealth, thereby sacrificing himself in order to keep the mission undetected. Because that would be SO rad.

That is, in fact, true.

Quote
- The option the GM has not thought of = easier to do. This is a very cool idea. But in play, you will never, ever use the options the GM has written down in advance. If I know that a creative approach is always easier, I will never say "I try to sneak by" or "I attack them." It just won't happen. My ninja will always be coating himself in grease or poisoning the guard's teapot or some other crazy shit. Which is what you want, of course. But you don't want the GM wasting his time writing "normal" stuff down that will never get used.

Maybe the creative approach is tied to a roll or resource? So you can't automatically do the wacky thing every time, or you have to judge when to be wacky and when to do the standard ninja move.

This is also how it works. Basically, you'll have the standard ninja skills: things like swords, climb, jump, and creep. Other skills will be harder to get and more specialized, so you'll be tempted to not choose them. However, if you do, you can use them to do the stuff the GM's not thought of.

So, more in order with the game, you might have a room where you roll against 2d10 if you fight, 2d8 if you creep, or 2d6 if you choose something else. The "something else" is governed by plausability. I'm envisioning play, especially in light of Jason's ideas, being about honor. Sure, you can say "I want to poison the guard's teapot" (which would be tied to a resource, but anyway), but if the concept's just totally implausable, that'd be dishonorable as a player and everyone will hate you.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
John Harper
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flip you for real


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« Reply #27 on: February 28, 2006, 04:36:44 PM »

Two copies, please.
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Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!
Ben Lehman
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Posts: 2094

Blissed


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« Reply #28 on: February 28, 2006, 07:31:30 PM »

Quote
This room contains two guards and an alarm bell. Each guard has 2 hit points. You cannot cross this room without dealing with the guards.

If you attack, the GM rolls 1d6 Damage and 1d10 Alert (the Alert is high because of the bell, which the guards will attempt to set off.)

If you want to sneak through, the GM rolls 1d3 Damage and 1d12 Alert. (Two guards make it hard to sneak.)

If you have a better option, the guards are at 1d4/1d4.

I'm slightly worried about this.† Mainly, what if my better option is something that also carries a high alert risk (like, it might be 1d3 / 1d8) or whatever.

What if, instead, you do a thing like this:

Me: "Okay, so I'm going jump up onto the roof and drip poison into the guard's tea down a wire -- like that scene in James Bond.† They totally can't catch me, so that should be 1d3 Damage.† But if they notice, they'll ring the bell, so that's 1d8 Alert."

Other players: "Huh, it's cool, but I think it should be 1d10 Alert, because that wire is pretty obvious."

Or whatever.

yrs--
--Ben
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #29 on: February 28, 2006, 07:33:43 PM »

This is apparently the thread of me forgetting something and posting a moment later.  Sorries.

Oh, yeah, and what if, if your idea gets smacked down, you have to go with the basics.  So no wasting time with "okay, so maybe I'll disguise myself as a maid..." after someone says "I think that poison wire thing is lame.  You did that to the last 20 guards."

yrs--
--Ben
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