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Author Topic: A couple SoY questions  (Read 3495 times)
Twobirds
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Posts: 55


« on: March 22, 2006, 08:44:31 AM »

It seems like there are lot of people into The Shadow of Yesterday, but not many people discussing it.  So I figured I would throw out a couple thoughts I have about the SoY play-by-post game I'm running.

I'm having a helluva time challenging the PCs.  If I give them a situation to overcome, they blow right through it.  I think they're kinda cool situations, and yeah, SoY PCs do kick a lot of butt, I'm a little worried when it seems as if they don't need to worry about their strengths and weaknesses.  In quite a few situations, they boost up an Unskilled Ability and nuke whatever I had in mind.  It seems difficult to get someone to concentrate on their strengths sometimes, when they can just say "Well, I'll throw down a pool point and ask for some Gift Dice" for something they've never done.

I'm not complaining about letting the PCs do what they want, I just want to make sure I'm running the system well enough to provide a challenge.  Everyone seems to be enjoying it, and it's great fun to run.  Part of my problem probably lies in the fact that I wound up trying to create a tense situation with too many secrets and 'conclusions' in mind (even though I didn't intend to), rather than making antagonists with goals.

My other question is about Three Corner Magic's Destruction ability.  One of the PCs really loaded up with it, and might as well be carrying a magic shotgun (he's a Zaru who was traded away as a baby to a Maldor prince, and has returned to Zaru and is walking around a plantation smiting people with Three-corner magic).  Like I said, I'm not complaining, but it brings up the question of whether Destruction messes with the spirit of the game.  Rather than concluding a conflict, Destruction causes Harm, outside of BDTP.  I think it makes sense (especially given how easily this PC is messing up the bad guys) that it shouldn't outright slaughter people - is it just one of those cases where the exception makes more sense than the rule?  As it is I have the conflict resolved, add the Harm, and say his targets are writhing on the ground, at least for the moment.

-George
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: March 22, 2006, 08:56:03 AM »

It seems like there are lot of people into The Shadow of Yesterday, but not many people discussing it.  So I figured I would throw out a couple thoughts I have about the SoY play-by-post game I'm running.

I'm having a helluva time challenging the PCs.  If I give them a situation to overcome, they blow right through it.  I think they're kinda cool situations, and yeah, SoY PCs do kick a lot of butt, I'm a little worried when it seems as if they don't need to worry about their strengths and weaknesses.  In quite a few situations, they boost up an Unskilled Ability and nuke whatever I had in mind.  It seems difficult to get someone to concentrate on their strengths sometimes, when they can just say "Well, I'll throw down a pool point and ask for some Gift Dice" for something they've never done.

I'm not complaining about letting the PCs do what they want, I just want to make sure I'm running the system well enough to provide a challenge.  Everyone seems to be enjoying it, and it's great fun to run.  Part of my problem probably lies in the fact that I wound up trying to create a tense situation with too many secrets and 'conclusions' in mind (even though I didn't intend to), rather than making antagonists with goals.

Twobirds,

I'm glad you're playing and thanks for asking questions.

You pretty much answered your problem right above - you don't have a lot of antagonists with goals. You should, and without them, you won't have a big challenge. You need NPCs that will step right up and sock it to the PCs.

It sounds like you may have some time scheduling issues with play-by-post as well. (By the way, this is a medium I've never tried, so I might not know anything.) If they're throwing around that many Gift Dice, they're getting too many too often, I think.

I just finished a game Monday night, and challenges were rough, for exactly these reasons - the NPCs were tough, and we had to really stretch to beat them.

Quote
My other question is about Three Corner Magic's Destruction ability.  One of the PCs really loaded up with it, and might as well be carrying a magic shotgun (he's a Zaru who was traded away as a baby to a Maldor prince, and has returned to Zaru and is walking around a plantation smiting people with Three-corner magic).  Like I said, I'm not complaining, but it brings up the question of whether Destruction messes with the spirit of the game.  Rather than concluding a conflict, Destruction causes Harm, outside of BDTP.  I think it makes sense (especially given how easily this PC is messing up the bad guys) that it shouldn't outright slaughter people - is it just one of those cases where the exception makes more sense than the rule?  As it is I have the conflict resolved, add the Harm, and say his targets are writhing on the ground, at least for the moment.

Destruction acts mechanically no different from hitting someone with a sword, or even more like shooting them with a bow. I don't see the issue - if he had a bow and shot at a guy with intent to kill, and succeeded, that would happen. The target would get a React roll, though. With Destruction, the target should get a Resist roll.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Twobirds
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Posts: 55


« Reply #2 on: March 22, 2006, 09:24:58 AM »

Yeah, you're right.  I have way too many 'punks' (plantation guards in this case) that aren't much of a challenge.  I simply didn't go the route of making them interesting, and the challenge falls flat.  Next time I'm doing more planning, slapping myself when I think of them as generic bad guys, and hopefully making more than just straw-men.

I haven't given more than the initial set of Gift Dice, oddly.  I have six players, maybe the total should be less if there are a lot of players, since there is more 'down-time' per person.

Actually, Destruction is listed as doing Harm equal to the caster's Success Level, and the player uses his Secret of Massive Damage (which is specifically for dealing with Harm Levels) fairly often.  That's partially why I was confused.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #3 on: March 22, 2006, 10:00:39 AM »

Actually, Destruction is listed as doing Harm equal to the caster's Success Level, and the player uses his Secret of Massive Damage (which is specifically for dealing with Harm Levels) fairly often.  That's partially why I was confused.

Ok - with that secret, yes, it's super-deadly. They should be spending pool points pretty heavily to do that.

Any physical attack against someone else can do harm equal to your success level, which is why it's no different than a weapon. If it's used a lot, make sure the guys sent to stop him - and there should be, as he's messing up stuff for someone - have high Resist.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Twobirds
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Posts: 55


« Reply #4 on: March 22, 2006, 10:29:19 AM »

Good points.  And he is indeed spending a lot of Vigor, I'm really curious to see how he's going to get out of the situation he's in.  Thanks for the help!

-George
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #5 on: March 22, 2006, 11:03:16 AM »

It's easy to up the challenge in TSOY - just include NPCs with Adept and Master level abilities. How to include them? Well, if player characters are winning over lesser mortals all over the place, they have to be making waves. If they're making waves, somebody higher up the totem pole will be concerned and get in the way. Repeat until you actually have some credible threat on the board, at which point the characters are hopefully enmeshed in the situation head to toe. Remember to give these challenging NPCs credible motivations and all, so you get drama instead of just dice rolling all over the place.

The game is pretty much about changes that heroes make, so there has to be some structure they're making those changes to.
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Twobirds
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Posts: 55


« Reply #6 on: March 23, 2006, 07:48:52 AM »

Thanks, Eero!  I am kind of a new GM, so I'm kind of getting used to balancing the stats with the drama.

As for Shadow of Yesterday play-by-post, I really like it.  A lot of PbP games suffer when you have to do a lot of rounds of combat, and it's not much fun posting that your level 1 dude attacks the orc for the sixth time in a row.  SoY is very much bang bang bang, which is a lot of fun.  The game is shorter, but there's just as much action.
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