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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 165 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Reward system idea - mainstrem cinematic action games, competion and experience  (Read 3277 times)
Filip Luszczyk
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« on: April 21, 2006, 11:33:55 AM »

If there is something similar to my idea in any game, simply let me know. Sorry, if something like that was discussed before.

So, I'm a fan of mainstream cinematic action RPGs emulating action movies and video games. Exalted, Feng Shui, Weapons of the Gods, Fireborn, Street Fighter: The Storytelling Game and the likes. Sometimes on my sessions I have players who are not very active - and since I tend to be a reactive GM and usually wait for some input on the players side before I respond with challenges on their way, that's a problem for me. Basically, I prefer for the players to set goals for themselves and act towards their realisation, not to sit quietly and wait for the danger to be provided. Also, we're big on the mechanics encouraging introducing colour - stunts and the likes. Recently I had an idea about a reward system that would encourage more activeness on the players side, at the same time encouraging cinematic stunts - through making the group compete for the rewards. You just sit and wait for something to happen, you don't get any points, and those who do get everything.

There is a pool of tokens on the table. 20-30 or so. Every token (or 2, or 3, or more, depending on the game) equals 1 xp.

Every time any player does something cool, a token is added to the pool (possibly more tokens, depending on the quality of the stunt - e.g. 1-3 scale from Exalted would do nicely). Cool actions generate potential experience, so everyone is prompted to stunt in order to increase the pool. But unless player throws his character into action, he doesn't gain anything - and he risks that others get the points that he added to the pool.

Every time a player disposes of an extra, he takes one token from the pool. Every time player's action is a direct reason of an explosion, he can take 3 tokens (hmm... Exemplar's reward system comes to mind).

At any given time (maybe limited to once per scene) GM or any player can take a handfull of tokens aside and establish some goal - e.g. eliminate a specific target, hijack a helicopter flying nearby, catch someone in a chase etc. It has to be something immediate, but not something that one is just about to achieve and no one other has no chance to do. The first one to achieve the goal gets the full stake for that goal. If no one does, tokens are wasted.

If there are any tokens in the pool at the end of the session, they are wasted.

So basically players compete for the points (in a similar way to many arcade fighting games, where players work as a team but everyone tries to bite his friend's prey in order to get more score), and must actively seek challenges in order to gain anything. Also, they are encouraged to do cool things - no coolness, and the pool runs dry.

I'm wondering whether it wouldn't be better to increase the pool for taking out extras and give out xp only for big things. Or even give xp for stunts and goals, and charge pool only by increasing the bodycount and blowing things up.

Thoughts?
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xzallion
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« Reply #1 on: April 21, 2006, 11:48:36 AM »

Since im mainly a D&D player, this may not be so helpful, but from reading that I can only think that your forcing characters to be a little "over the top".  While some love to be the big action hero pulling crazy stunts that are cool and awesome, some people have more fun being careful and playing a realistic character that would possible be more cautious and careful.  The reward system you described would force those careful cautious characters into actions that they don't see there characters doing.  But the general idea of a reward system is to reward them for participating actively, and you could have these characters develop plans of defense, or orchestrate cool things for the more action seeking types to do.  THat way they can play a more cautious type, but still get rewarded for helping the action types in what they do.  Not everyone in action movies risk their lives, and not everyone in rpg's enjoys risking their character.  Thats my take on it, hope that helps.
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #2 on: April 21, 2006, 12:35:39 PM »

Ah, but you missed the point. The whole point of these games is to emulate the "over-the-topness" of the top of the "over the top" genre. Players agree with it and they want exactly this kind of fun (otherwise, no point for them to sit for 4 hours and watch such a platant orgy of "over-the-topness" I delight to serve). I'm carefull with my choice of players for this games and make sure that everyone is comfortable with this basic assumption. The point of these games is not to be carefull - it's to be as "over the top" as possible. We've learned it just after our first sessions of Exalted, where we started with a basic Warhammer FRP mindset, and finished creating new characters better suited for this "over the top" kind of stuff.

But the problem is - everyone may agree that they want action, but there are active and reactive players. Active players go for fun, reactive wait till the fun comes to them. And the point of this reward system is to make them come out and seek some fun actively.
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TonyLB
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« Reply #3 on: April 21, 2006, 12:41:30 PM »

It seems a little bit backward to me.

Contributing something to a pool doesn't specifically motivate you.  People will sit there and think "Somebody should really be contributing to this pool," as opposed to "I should really be contributing to this pool."  By comparison, the actions that let you take something from the common pool and make it yours are strongly encouraged ... only you can help yourself.

So I think this is going to slightly motivate over-the-top stunts, and strongly motivate killing goons and blowing things up.

Personally, I'd flip them:  killing goons and blowing things up create potential experience.  Doing cool, risky stuff lets you pull from the pool.
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Shreyas Sampat
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« Reply #4 on: April 21, 2006, 01:07:12 PM »

I was going to say something but Tony said it.

I feel like, if you want players to "set goals for themselves and act toward their realisation," then you should set up a resource economy that makes this perpetual. Since "set and complete goals" is a one-way process, you need to link completion to goal-setting in the opposite direction, so you fill the reservoir by completing goals, and then you can take from it when you set goals. That gives you a loop - you complete a goal, which primes the economy, and then you have to do something to keep the economy running, which of course you want.
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Dav
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« Reply #5 on: April 21, 2006, 01:37:35 PM »

This is important.  You got it. 

Adjust the stake-pool bit to have some sort of matching system similar to 401(k) set-ups (but simpler, like a 2-for-1 or something) wherein the GM matches your contribution.  Hell, design a whole effing game around the fact that contributing resources toward a stated goal gives you static bonuses, and people who contributed to the pool can "draw on the pool" or even bet against the pool (similar to "Between the Sheets" -- any poker players out there?). 

Quick sidenote: Between the Sheets.  Simple, everyone places a few dollars in a pool.  The dealer deals you 2 cards face up, you decide if the next card will fall between your two cards (The first Ace turned up in your turn you choose high or low, the second one is always high).  You bet against the pool.  If the next card falls between, you win your bet from the pool.  If it falls outside of your cards, you owe that muchto the pool.  If it is exactly one of your two cards, you owe double what you bet into the pool.  Devilishly simple game.  I've seen rounds start at a $5 pool and kick-up to about $800.  End Sidenote.

Anyway, I love the system.  I don't know about tacking it as an add-on to established games, but maybe.  I'd rather see you design a new game, with a spanky new system revolving around this as your entire reward system.  Brilliant.  I'd play the shit out of it.  Start out as standard FitM dice mechanic, and bet into the pot for author stance or what-have-you.  The whole mechanic could be based on buying more cool points, and doing so raises the ante of failure.  Screw group cohesion through competitve play for attaining the set goals before everyone else.  Shite, you've got a whole thing right there!

As it stands, your system ain't bad as a start.  I'd like to see you develop it as a central thing.  After all, games are driven by the reward system, everything else is cosmetic.  Make a good reward system, and you make a good game... it follows, it really does (anyone who says otherwise is lying or plain wrong -- yeah, I said it).

I like it.  Make it go.

Dav
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2006, 04:09:17 AM »

TonyLB:

Quote
Personally, I'd flip them:  killing goons and blowing things up create potential experience.  Doing cool, risky stuff lets you pull from the pool.

That's what I've been wondering about. Looks like you're right. "Charging up" the public pool by taking out extras, blowing things up and maybe some additional conditions, and taking the points for yourself for style and short-time goals achieved.

Heh. It could even sometimes motivate people to use some stealth instead of going all out violent. Cause why should you risk to fill the pool, if you can wait till someone else does it and then spring out some tricky ninja-style hijacking of points.

Dav:

Quote
Anyway, I love the system.  I don't know about tacking it as an add-on to established games, but maybe.

Currently I was thinking simply about improving my experience with published systems. Specifically, I had Feng Shui in mind, since in Exalted we use TSoY keys anyway. But I'll see how it works there and then...

Quote
I like it.  Make it go.

...I'll think about the game that specifically uses it. Some Wushu-style, not overly complicated action emulating gam/sim hybrid. Sometime in the future.

Thanks for all the suggestions and encouragement!
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