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Author Topic: [Lost to the Mists] Need input on quirks  (Read 1944 times)
DarkAsmodeous
Member

Posts: 31


« on: March 04, 2006, 10:37:01 PM »

Hello, my rpg Lost to the Mists is nearing the playtesting phase for the system, but we are a little hung up on quirks. LttM uses a dice pool/target number system, the specifics of which are covered in my other topic. Anyway my game uses a system of quirks that help to create a unique character, beliefs and fears are already worked into the game, so just how much should quirks cover to provide unique characters without overlapping or being to rule intensive? I currently am having quirks add dice and lower target numbers in certain situations but am not happy with it and seek input.
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Anders Larsen
Member

Posts: 270


« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2006, 12:34:43 AM »

Could you give some examples of quirks? And what is the rules for choosing quirks doing character generation?

btw. You may want to explain your system a littler more here, if you want other people than me to respond. And even I am not quite sure exactly how your system is put together - I only know some of the parts.

And you should properly link to the other thread ... oh, I can do that for you.

Here it is: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=18854.0

 - Anders
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DarkAsmodeous
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2006, 11:57:54 AM »

I am thinking that quirks is too broad a title, is to difficult to explain, and would just slow down play so we are now splitting it into Flaws and Advantages, a players starts with  3 points to spend on advantages, but if he takes a flaw he gets more points to spend, the groups would be 1 point Adv. 2 point adv. 3 point adv. 1 point flaw 2 point flaw and 3 point flaw.
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Anders Larsen
Member

Posts: 270


« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2006, 03:03:52 PM »

You should be very careful with systems where the character get more advantages by choosing more flaws. You can risk ending up with a group of characters that all have largely the same set of flaws.

It my be fun the first time all the characters is limping, is missing a finger, is allergic and have a permanent illness. And it may be fun the second time. But the third time it will begin to become really annoying.

The other problem is that these kind of systems can be very hard to balance.

An alternative system could be:

The player choose 2-3 flaws from a list tied to the character types. And then he write down 1-2 flaw he create himself.

The flaws do not give 'advantages', but every time the GM use a flaw to get the character in trouble, the player will gain some reward.

 - Anders
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DarkAsmodeous
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2006, 04:04:07 PM »

hmm... sort of like a physical/mental variation on the belief system we have, sounds cool! thanks, that ties into the rest of our rules as well.
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TroyLovesRPG
Member

Posts: 150


« Reply #5 on: March 05, 2006, 09:05:38 PM »

Hello Dark,

I've always liked advantages and flaws when it made sense with the character role and background. If its just a way to gain a few points then what's the point? Ha ha, I made a funny!

Maybe you can stop the: please read carefully as our perk/flaw menu has changed. Go for a character trait that has both advantages and disadvantages. Example: receive +1 to fixing things and can't ignore a tantalizing broken item. Excellent hearing but affected more by sound-based attacks. Bonus when protecting the weak and children tend to follow. Excellent persuasive skill yet becomes vocally dramatic in combat.

I find that its hard for most players to role-play more than 2 flaws. Having the burden of remembering unrelated character flaws placed on the GM doesn't seem worth it. Having the flaw tied to the perk gives a simple reminder when the player brings up the perk.

The flaws do not give 'advantages', but every time the GM use a flaw to get the character in trouble, the player will gain some reward.

 - Anders

I like Ander's comment about some type of reward. XP's maybe? Of a one-time bonus to use in a perk/flaw related situation.

Troy
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TheineLD50
Registree

Posts: 2


« Reply #6 on: March 07, 2006, 04:03:18 PM »

I agree with Anders.  Overburdening characters with flaws could be an issue.  There could be a limit placed upon the amount of flaws: only 2 flaws allowed.  Or there could be a limit placed on the total amount of points that could potentially be gained through flaws:  only 3 flaw points allowed.  There could also be a mix of both, but one or the other should suffice.  Personally, I'm leaning towards the limited point value, preventing players from overpowering themselves while simultaneously keeping the amount of flaws down.
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catmorbid
Member

Posts: 9

A little madness is never a bad thing, right?


« Reply #7 on: March 08, 2006, 07:45:53 AM »

Hi people,

I've always liked the advantages/flaws in any system. They can give the needed extra "colour" to a character, when needed. However, I've also noticed that this kind of way of giving the extra colour is indeed a dangerous one, if it becomes out of control. Me and my gaming group have a homebrewn game which we still play pretty often, and it has the same kind of merit/flaw -system, and even though it fits the setting to have lots of different special abilities and stupid flaws tied to the character, it sometimes just becomes to insane to remember them all, especially if the character has LOTS of different flaws. Weakness is great, but if the mood of the game is somewhat serious, you should seriously limit the amount of these traits, like said by others as well.

So, I have a few suggestions that would possibly make your game a better one. Maybe not, but that's not the point :)

-Make these advantages optional, i.e. a player doesn't need to have any advantages or flaws, and if he takes any advantage, he must take flaws as well.
-You could also make the "costs" -system something more special like having bigger flaws provide less points for smaller advantages. E.g. to gain one 3 point advantage, you need to have either one 3 point flaw or two 2 point flaws. 1 point flaws wouldn't be good enough at all.
-Taking look at suggestion n:o 2, you might try restricting the actual amount of flaws, not the amount of their equivalent costs. That way, everyone could have the same mount of flaws (e.g. three should be easy enough to roleplay), but not necessarily equal amount of advantages - and certainly not equal worth advantages/flaws, provided that you make the 3 point flaws something really nasty.
-Allow very little advantages/flaws in the beginning, but instead give the possibility to earn new advantages through play.
-Let the characters do whatever they want, and ready to be horrified ;)

BTW. I remember rolemaster Character Law (a separate source book) to have multiple ways of handling this issue, so perhaps you might want to take a look at that, if possible?

That's all
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They call me Mikko Smiley
DarkAsmodeous
Member

Posts: 31


« Reply #8 on: March 08, 2006, 03:03:12 PM »

These are all very interesting things to work with, I will consider what to go with and will take a look at that book. I think I am going to go with a simple method so as to facilitate play, as this is not a pure simulation game, more narrative.
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Anders Larsen
Member

Posts: 270


« Reply #9 on: March 09, 2006, 12:48:42 AM »

I Have used some time to think about flaws, to see if I could get some insightful ideas (it is also relevant to some of the games I am working on), but it is very hard for me to get to any conclusion. How flaws works depends on so many parameters that I guess it really come down to playtest to really determined what works.

I would have guessed that 2 are to few, but Troy seems to talk from experience, so I will not argue against that. I know there should be more than 1; here I talk from experience.

But then again, it all depend on exactly how flaws are used, and how broad they are.

Maybe it is possible to think about flaws (and advantages) in a different way. They should of course be tied into what the game is about, and in Lost to the Mists they could be tied to the character types (flaws that is inherited through generations).

I am working on a idea that I call reactions. This is not really character flaws, but more something to do with how the surroundings react on the character. It is not only how people react to the character, but also how fate spin its thread around the character. The player can choose a reaction like: "fate will never grand my character happiness", and it is then the GMs job to make sure that will happen. Of course some reward should be involved in this.

Flaw could be tied into the story: "When I find the truth of (this ancient relic), I will meet my worst enemy". When he find the truth, the GM will set him ip against his worst enemy. After that the player should choose a new flaw.

Well, I am just rambling here, but I hope it can give you some ideas. And if you have some cool ideas, please tell. I could use some input on this too.

btw, beliefs/flaw/advantage system should be dynamic, so player have some way of changing them doing play (or between sessions). A person will not keep the same beliefs/flaw/advantage his entire life.

 - Anders
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
Member

Posts: 246


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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2006, 10:42:00 AM »

2 from Champions/Hero experience:

In Hero, many games start with character that have, say 100 points to spend as a base and can get up to 50 more points with Disadvantages. Guess what: nearly every player elects to get all 50 points in Disads.

The net result was that each character--standing alone--had a sort of cohesive, neat, coherent push and pull of Disads that reflected their character concept (kind of like Troy's "balanced pairings" idea). True, we had attentive GMs and creative players, and that mitigated any likelihood of "off the wall" Disads that made no sense.

BUT, every group became a shambling hoard of dysfunctionality. This guy's Hatred would be triggered by another guy's Reputation. The group was beset by half a world of Hunteds. Most of the characters spent half a session getting their fixes (whatever that might be) or dodging common maladies--and if four or five characters had Susceptibilities, nearly any setting or environment would tweak-out ONE of them).

Basically, the GM had two options: (a) subvert any plot or story plans they might have had for the session and check EVERYONE's Hunteds and Reputations and so forth, letting the Disads essentially dominate the session, or (b) ignore/fudge the Disad checks and, in effect, let the players have all those points "for free." The former (a) can be fun (for a few sessions) but doesn't feel all that heroic: the group is banded together to have a chance of surviving their own flaws. The latter (b) makes one ask why not just let the players have the 150 points and no Disads.

This is not even mentioning the GM's need to keep track of "non-triggered" Disads: take five character, with 50 points of Disads, and say they each opted for "minor" Disads worth no more than 10 points each. That's a minimum of 25 Disads throughout the group--minor or not, that's WAY too much for a GM to keep in mind/play off of/exploit.

(BTW, in Hero, a "Quirk" is a very minor 1 point Disad like "Always wears red" or "Talks in outrageous French accent" that really is more a reward for taking on a role playing chore. Perhaps that's as far as you should take your Flaw system?)

So my point, other than an illuminating example?
Do not introduce Flaws/Disads that require (1) game world forces external to the character or (2) plot-dictating aspects or (3) routine maintenance (by player, GM, or the character itself).

What's left? Well, you have to ask yourself what you want Flaws to DO, for your game, in exchange for what they grant the player/character (more creation points, advantages, higher dice pools, whatever):
  • Enforce a mode or style of role playing? (Reward at the fore, in exchange for ongoing player expectations.)
  • Drain character resources? (Afford higher power, but make it harder to fuel.)
  • Constrain character options? (This is really a form of character specialization, as one presumes that an increased effectiveness with remaining options is gained, for taking the flaw.)
  • Vary the difficult of success? (Harder to succeed, but due to the "power up" from the "flaw points," a bigger whomp when success occurs.)

The main point is that all those above bullet points are player-managed. Yes, many are GM-mediated (systemic impacts), but the GM isn't going through some flaw checklist every session, nor is the GM's game world having to bend to accommodate a character element (ex: Hunted characters having to escape the hunters each session, before the GM can get to his storyline).

Hope this helps;
David
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