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Author Topic: WGP Ganging up again  (Read 10639 times)
klausok
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Posts: 28


« on: May 16, 2006, 09:28:13 AM »

I am going to run a game of With Great Power as GM. We start the day after tomorrow. Actually I expect character creation to take all of the first evening.

There are several points I still don't understand. One is heroes ganging up on a villain. It has been discussed several times here. One example is this thread:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=18981.0

Michael Miller said that you should check stakes for compatibility. To me it seems to be a very great constraint on the heroes. In some cases you might as well stay out of the fight.

An example: Fearless Knight and Shining Hero are guarding the Object of Unopposable Puissance. Along comes Misdemeanant, and picks a fight with Fearless Knight. His stakes: he excapes with the OUP.

Now Shining Hero wants to pick a fight with Misdemeanant, but if he must pick a stake compatible with Misdemeanant escaping with the OUP, he might as well not bother. If all Misdemeanant cares about is getting away with the OUP (some villains are like that), he can simply yield to Shining Hero on his first turn, thus avoiding wasting cards on him.

In principle Shining Hero might pick some stakes that Misdemeanant really doesn't want to come to pass. But does he know him well enough to do that? Is there anything he can do in this situation? (Yes, "I'll castrate him" would probably work, but it doesn't really fit the genre). And even if he does find something, it is still not satasfactory that he can not oppose the theft directly. That is what he came to do.

Another problem is one of timing. In the thread referenced above, Michael Miller says:
Quote
So, if Mudslide wins against Noir, but loses to Debris, what happens to Pearl? Good question. That becomes your Scripting Question for Step 4C: Winning the Stakes. Off the top of my head, I'd suggest that Mudslide hurls Pearl out of the scene into somewhere undesirable, or hides her down in the sewer before being captured. Or perhaps he engulfs her inside his gooey mass, so that she's trapped inside him even as he's hauled off to the pokey. I'm sure your group can come up with others.

But what if Debris defeats Mudslide quickly, and Mudslide then goes on to defeat Noir after a lengthy battle?
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Kai_lord
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Posts: 43

Looking for a gaming group - Capes or WGP


« Reply #1 on: May 16, 2006, 12:10:13 PM »

Michael Miller said that you should check stakes for compatibility. To me it seems to be a very great constraint on the heroes. In some cases you might as well stay out of the fight.

An example: Fearless Knight and Shining Hero are guarding the Object of Unopposable Puissance. Along comes Misdemeanant, and picks a fight with Fearless Knight. His stakes: he excapes with the OUP.

Now Shining Hero wants to pick a fight with Misdemeanant, but if he must pick a stake compatible with Misdemeanant escaping with the OUP, he might as well not bother. If all Misdemeanant cares about is getting away with the OUP (some villains are like that), he can simply yield to Shining Hero on his first turn, thus avoiding wasting cards on him.

In principle Shining Hero might pick some stakes that Misdemeanant really doesn't want to come to pass. But does he know him well enough to do that? Is there anything he can do in this situation? (Yes, "I'll castrate him" would probably work, but it doesn't really fit the genre). And even if he does find something, it is still not satasfactory that he can not oppose the theft directly. That is what he came to do.

If Misdemeanant looses the page of conflict, he does not get to escape with the OUP. If you lose a page of conflict, you do not get what you were staking. In this case, the opposing stakes for Shining Knight would be something like "Not only does Misdemeanant not get away with the OUP, I also thrash him soundly and haul him off to jail." The stakes for Fearless Knight might be "I look good while helping battle Misdemeanant.", with opposing stakes "Not only does Fearless Knight look bad, he accidentally helps me."

Another problem is one of timing. In the thread referenced above, Michael Miller says:
Quote
So, if Mudslide wins against Noir, but loses to Debris, what happens to Pearl? Good question. That becomes your Scripting Question for Step 4C: Winning the Stakes. Off the top of my head, I'd suggest that Mudslide hurls Pearl out of the scene into somewhere undesirable, or hides her down in the sewer before being captured. Or perhaps he engulfs her inside his gooey mass, so that she's trapped inside him even as he's hauled off to the pokey. I'm sure your group can come up with others.

But what if Debris defeats Mudslide quickly, and Mudslide then goes on to defeat Noir after a lengthy battle?

Remember, if Mudslide is a villain, he uses cards from one (much larger) hand to battle both Debris and Noir. So this is a less likely scenario than you might think. However, in the unlikely even that this happens, I'd just keep Debris in the fight narration, and remember that at the end of the scene, she has won her stakes, and pencil/ink accordingly.
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klausok
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Posts: 28


« Reply #2 on: May 17, 2006, 07:46:35 AM »

Let me see if I get this right. If you are involved in several pages of conflict simultaneously, you do not get to choose separate stakes for each. You have one set of stakes, and you must win all pages to win them. Is that the way it is?
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #3 on: May 17, 2006, 08:54:47 AM »

Let me see if I get this right. If you are involved in several pages of conflict simultaneously, you do not get to choose separate stakes for each. You have one set of stakes, and you must win all pages to win them. Is that the way it is?

NO. Stakes attach to pages of conflict. Each page has two Stakes: the hero's Stake and the villain's Stake.

Back to your original question. What I've done when this comes up is either hold off on the final description of the first conflict until the second conflict is through, and then weave them all together. OR, we describe the resolution of the first conflict in such a way that it fits in with the on-going second conflict. Varies from case to case.

BTW, the "bad guy gets away with dingus" is actually TWO Stakes: 1) bad guy escapes and 2) dingus leaves scene how I want it to. Therefore, it's not legit. The bad guy's gotta be fighting to get away (a stupid Stake, generally speaking) or to control how the dingus leaves the scene.

Theare are no 2-for-1 specials when setting Stakes.

Does that help?
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klausok
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #4 on: May 17, 2006, 09:24:44 AM »

Let me see if I get this right. If you are involved in several pages of conflict simultaneously, you do not get to choose separate stakes for each. You have one set of stakes, and you must win all pages to win them. Is that the way it is?

NO. Stakes attach to pages of conflict. Each page has two Stakes: the hero's Stake and the villain's Stake.

But above you say
Quote
If Misdemeanant looses the page of conflict, he does not get to escape with the OUP.
even though escaping with the OUP was his stake in another conflict.

BTW, the "bad guy gets away with dingus" is actually TWO Stakes: 1) bad guy escapes and 2) dingus leaves scene how I want it to. Therefore, it's not legit. The bad guy's gotta be fighting to get away (a stupid Stake, generally speaking) or to control how the dingus leaves the scene.

Theare are no 2-for-1 specials when setting Stakes.

"If I win Pearl leaves the scene with me" is also Mudslide getting away AND Pearl being with him.

Does that help?

Not really. I still don't see how a second hero can effect the outcome. Let me rephrase the stakes:

It is for some reason essential that this object does not leave the building.

Villain: if win, the object leaves the building.
Hero 1: If I win it doesn't, and you get captured.

What can a second hero do stop the villain?
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yogshog
Member

Posts: 14


« Reply #5 on: May 20, 2006, 09:49:59 AM »

Let me help a little.

klausok, the first reply to your post wasn't from Michael Miller, it was from Kai_lord. From reading his/her response, it seems that he/she confused the stakes from FK with the stakes from SH. This explains the comment about not getting your stakes if you lose the page - I think Kai thought the wrong page was being lost.

As to the mudslide "she leaves with me" stakes, notice that mudslide's stakes do not include him getting away clean, just that Pearl leaves with him. If he goes to jail, she's there, too. Perhaps a more easily scriptable stake would have been "I control how she leaves the scene" of "she goes where I want her to," but it's not a question of 2-for-1 there.

 
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klausok
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #6 on: May 20, 2006, 10:12:22 AM »

Let me help a little.

klausok, the first reply to your post wasn't from Michael Miller, it was from Kai_lord.
 

Oops! Sorry about that. The first thing to go blind is the eyes, as the saying goes in these parts.
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Tindalos
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Posts: 23


« Reply #7 on: June 05, 2006, 06:14:27 PM »


Not really. I still don't see how a second hero can effect the outcome. Let me rephrase the stakes:

It is for some reason essential that this object does not leave the building.

Villain: if win, the object leaves the building.
Hero 1: If I win it doesn't, and you get captured.

What can a second hero do stop the villain?

Forgive me for butting in but I think I noticed something.

Hero 1 has asked for two outcomes to his stakes.  The object doesn't leave the building *and* the villain is captured.  Perhaps it would work this way.

Villain: If I win, the object leaves the building (or I control the location of the object)
Hero 1: If I win it doesn't.
Hero 2: If I win the villain is captured.

This leaves either page of stakes capable of being lost without affecting the other.  For example, Hero 1 wins but Hero 2 doesn't.  The villain get's away but the Heros retain control of the object.  However, if Hero 1 loses and Hero 2 wins, then the Villain is captured but perhaps an agent secrets the object out from under the Heros noses.  Feels good for a comic book to me.

Just my thoughts.

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klausok
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #8 on: June 06, 2006, 01:31:52 PM »


Not really. I still don't see how a second hero can effect the outcome. Let me rephrase the stakes:

It is for some reason essential that this object does not leave the building.

Villain: if win, the object leaves the building.
Hero 1: If I win it doesn't, and you get captured.

What can a second hero do stop the villain?

Forgive me for butting in but I think I noticed something.

Hero 1 has asked for two outcomes to his stakes.  The object doesn't leave the building *and* the villain is captured.  Perhaps it would work this way.

Villain: If I win, the object leaves the building (or I control the location of the object)
Hero 1: If I win it doesn't.
Hero 2: If I win the villain is captured.

This leaves either page of stakes capable of being lost without affecting the other.  For example, Hero 1 wins but Hero 2 doesn't.  The villain get's away but the Heros retain control of the object.  However, if Hero 1 loses and Hero 2 wins, then the Villain is captured but perhaps an agent secrets the object out from under the Heros noses.  Feels good for a comic book to me.

Just my thoughts.



No. The villain not getting his stake if he loses is automatic. The hero's stake is what he gets out of it in addition to that.

But more important, what I am after here is a way to do some actual teamwork. To have several heroes work towards the same result. Hero 2 wants the object to stay in the building. Capturing the villain would be nice, but not nearly as important. What can he do? There is nothing to prevent the villain from simply yielding to hero 2. This will cost him 1 random card. That is the extend of hero 2's influence on the outcome: stealing 1 random card from the villain. That is not how it works in the comics. Teamwork is the reason hero teams exist. A system that forbids it seems seriously weird to me.

We will have to come up with some sort of houserule when (not if) this comes up in play.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #9 on: June 07, 2006, 08:07:44 AM »

Hey, Klausok, one very quick note.

Teamwork is the reason hero teams exist. A system that forbids it seems seriously weird to me.

There's nothing in the world that stops Colussus's player from changing style to "Attack with Weapon" and inking the panel as "I pick up Wolverine and throw him at the Sentinel." Looks like teamwork to me.
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klausok
Member

Posts: 28


« Reply #10 on: June 07, 2006, 11:06:13 AM »

Hey, Klausok, one very quick note.

Teamwork is the reason hero teams exist. A system that forbids it seems seriously weird to me.

There's nothing in the world that stops Colussus's player from changing style to "Attack with Weapon" and inking the panel as "I pick up Wolverine and throw him at the Sentinel." Looks like teamwork to me.

Not to me. The way the rules work, Wolverine's presence is no help to Colossus. He might as well have thrown a bystander. Or a dime. Yes, I know: that is a simulationist viewpoint. But I find it a great advantage if the choices that make sense ruleswise are the same that makes sense storywise.

And I must say that I can not think of any conflict in the comics that worked like that. Two heroes simultaneously but quite independently fighting the same villain. If Wolverine defeats Sentinel, Sentinel is captured, otherwise he escapes. If Colossus defeats Sentinel the theft they came to prevent is prevented, otherwise it occurs. With no effect of one one the other. It just makes no sense at all to me.

When I say teamwork I mean two or more heroes working together to the same end, and actually making a difference.
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Valamir
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« Reply #11 on: June 07, 2006, 12:25:34 PM »

You must read different comics than I do.

Only rarely have I seen any where the heroes seem to be working together other than in the vaguest "we're all here at the same time" sense.

In fact, most of the time they look much like kung fu movies where the enemy gang throws themselves into the fray one at a time so they can all get beat up one by one.

Panel:  here's hero # 1 shooting a power blast at the villain...there's the villain using some object to reflect the power blast back at hero #1, hero #1 goes flying into a wall.
Panel:  here's hero #2 charging in with his super strength...there's the villain hurling hero #2 into the air and out of frame
Pane:  here's hero #3 calling on the powers of mystic darkness...there's the villain using his anti magic ray to render hero #3 powerless.

1) What specific examples of team work are you thinking you see in comic books.

2) Keep this in mind.  With Great Power... is NOT NOT NOT about simulating a world where super heroes exist.  It IS IS IS about simulating how comic books work.

Yes, the writer of a the comic could have Colosus throw a bystander, or a dime...or a city bus...or whatever.  Instead he chooses to throw Wolverine.  Why...because throwing Wolverine somehow makes the attack more effective?  Bah, the attack will be exactly as effective as the writer, inker, and colorist say it is.  If the writer says Wolverine made all the difference, then that's the way it gets inked and colored...there's certainly no mechanical advantage to the writer for saying it that way...he could just as easily blow up the sentinel with a dime.

So what are the reasons why a comic book writer would want us the audience to specifically see Colossus throw Wolverine.  What MESSAGE is he trying to send by inking that.  What meaning is being conveyed...in the recent movie there is a clear message and it has nothing to do with increasing the odds of success.  In  X-III the writer has Colossus throw Wolvie precisely to show that Wolvie CAN be a team player (he spent the rest of the scene doing not much) IF the team play is done on his terms.  It was a bit of petty rebelliousness against Storm's authority as we see later in the scene.

THAT'S why Colossus throws Wolvie. 

And that's how you have to think in order to play WGP.  There's a reason why the process is called penciling, inking, and coloring.  Because you as a player WHILE YOU PLAY, have to be in the mindset NOT of your character but of the writer of a comic (who gets into the mindset of the characters exactly as much as he needs to make the story he wants to tell convincing).

The choices DO make sense rules wise AND storywise...because storywise is the absolute only thing the rules are designed to do. 

If there's a reason to illustrate the characters working together as a team in order to enhance the message of the issue you're focusing on...then do so...do so because that's what a writer would do who is interested in writing a good story...not because theres a "tactical advantage" to doing so.  The game is about simulating being the writer...not simulating being the hero.

Conversely...and beneficially...there is no mechanical advantage to not doing so.  If you want to show Cyclops walking out in a huff being all petulent because that says something about the ISSUE you're focusing on.  Do it.  Do it because its right for the story.  As a bonus you don't need to worry about losing any tactical advantage...because there isn't one to worry about.

If there was a mechanical tactical advantage to having characters work together, then you'd have the super heroes team walking around acting in perfect sync like some kind of hive mind driven by players looking to maximize the odds of the resolution system (i.e. just like D&D party play).  Which is NEVER what we see of real super hero teams in the comics...not in the Fantastic Four, not in the X-Men, clearly not in the Avengers, heck not even in the Justice League.

Far from making the game a better simulation by providing mechanical advantage to teaming up, you make it a WORSE simulation because any such advantage encourages players to have their characters behave in a completely non comic book like fashion.

Does that make sense at all, or am I just babbling...
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #12 on: June 07, 2006, 04:20:41 PM »

I just went through the first 2 graphic novels for the Authority, the first 3 for Planetary, the first 2 hardbacks for Ultimate X-Men, Ultimate Spiderman, swaths of classic X-Men, all of Astro City, most of Promethia, the Watchmen, and big chunks of JLA stuff and so on and so on in the last few weeks, and I have to say what I saw mostly stacks up with what Ralph said.

You get lots of teamwork in the sense of "You fight the left, I'll fight the right" and "You take out the sentinels while I take out Magneto" type teamwork. But the fights where every member of the team fights with one goal against a single enemy are fairly rare. They do happen in some of the X-Men stuff (fighting Juggernaught, mostly) -- but even then it tends to go like "Wolverine, you get his helmet off, Cyclopse you get Jean to saftey, Storm you turn the ground to mud so he can't charge." And at that point each of the heroes usually gets a couple of pannels where they are the star baddass, followed by a couple of pannels of bad-ass for the next person in line. They go sequentially, all getting (or not getting) their little part of the goal. In the X-Men its particularly common for this to get messed up because one of the heroes (Wolverine or Gambit being popular ones) get a personal grudge on and go running off to do other things. Similar things happen in the JLA, where Superman often goes to slug it out with the ultimate bad thing, while Batman discovers its weakness, and Flash saves civilians from fires and explosions.

That kind of "group conflict" works pretty well in WGP. Everyone has specific stakes for what they want to do this page, and they just get it so their stakes work together to give the group as a whole what they want. It takes some doing, but if everyone wins their seperate stakes a group of super heroes can really FUBAR a villain in a big way.

The one exception is that sometimes, at the very end of JLA, Justice League, and X-Men comics the heroes will be facing a thing like Galactus and have to all hit him at the same time to take him down. That particular type of teamwork you can do, but as was noted its just a flavor thing -- it doesn't really give any huge advantages, it's just something you can pencil and ink or not if'n you want to.
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- Brand Robins
klausok
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Posts: 28


« Reply #13 on: June 08, 2006, 09:52:55 AM »

You must read different comics than I do.

Only rarely have I seen any where the heroes seem to be working together other than in the vaguest "we're all here at the same time" sense.

In fact, most of the time they look much like kung fu movies where the enemy gang throws themselves into the fray one at a time so they can all get beat up one by one.

Panel:  here's hero # 1 shooting a power blast at the villain...there's the villain using some object to reflect the power blast back at hero #1, hero #1 goes flying into a wall.
Panel:  here's hero #2 charging in with his super strength...there's the villain hurling hero #2 into the air and out of frame
Pane:  here's hero #3 calling on the powers of mystic darkness...there's the villain using his anti magic ray to render hero #3 powerless.


Yes, but my point is they are all trying to achieve the same thing. If the villain is e.g. trying to blow up the city, they want to prevent that. There may be cases where they have different goals, but often, especially if they are an established team, they will be out to do the same thing. Usually to prevent the villain from committing some dastardly deed.

We must indeed read different comics if the ones you read contains combat like this:

Hero #1 fights to capture the villain. Hero #2 fights to impress his girlfriend. Hero #3 fights to protect the city.

Panel: hero #1 shoots another power blast at the villain. The villain, unable to respond, is defeated. Hero #1, having won, is now out of the conflict.
Several panels: heroes #2 and #3 continues the fight. Eventually #2 defeats the villain. Having won, hero #2 is now out of the conflict.
More panels: hero #3 continues to fight. Eventually the villain defeats him.

Result: the villain is captured, hero #2's girlfriend is impressed, and the city blows up.

I can't think of one such example.


But the fights where every member of the team fights with one goal against a single enemy are fairly rare. They do happen in some of the X-Men stuff (fighting Juggernaught, mostly) -- but even then it tends to go like "Wolverine, you get his helmet off, Cyclopse you get Jean to saftey, Storm you turn the ground to mud so he can't charge."

Those are tactical choices, not stakes. Wolverine is not fighting in order to get Juggernaut's helmet off, he is trying to get his helmet off as a means to win the fight.
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Brand_Robins
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« Reply #14 on: June 08, 2006, 04:03:36 PM »

Those are tactical choices, not stakes. Wolverine is not fighting in order to get Juggernaut's helmet off, he is trying to get his helmet off as a means to win the fight.

Yes. Sorry, I obviously wasn't clear about that. (Shouldn't post when I just get back from the gym, brain isn't working right.)

What I was going for in that section is that even when folks in comics have linked stakes at the same time they don't usually all do so at the same time or in the same way. They go back and forth between themselves in a series of exchanges, in which each gets a turn to look badass. All you need to do in WGP to get that to work is to ink it in such a way that each hero's win or loss reflects that part of something rather than the whole struggle.

So Wolverine just beat Juggernaut with the stakes "look badass" and then in the next page Storm loses with the stakes "prove my leadership" and in the next Cyclopse wins with the stakes "lets KO Jug-head" -- you end up inking it as Wolveine cutting off his helmet, Storm getting creamed by a fist, and Cyclopse jumping in at the last moment to KO him. Or, if you have Cyclopse win first and then Wolverine win and then Storm lose last, you just wait until everyone's had their go-round before you ink the final conclusion. You can still end up with Wolvering cutting off the helmet, Storm getting punched in the face, and Cyclopse blasting Jugs into a hole. It's even easier in the JLA example, where Superman can KO the bad any time, and Flash can still be left fighting fires and saving civilians for several pannels.

The time where it gets really tricky is where every person says their goal is "beat the crap out of Galactus as a team." Because then it does get a little difficult to ink everything smoothly. In those situations I find that I fudge a little and get people to make stakes like "I do my part of the grand plan to beat Galactus" as their stakes -- that way you may (for example) be succesful in blowing his Ultimate Nulifier out of his hand, but you still don't take him out until everyone has done their part. (And even then if you don't have the right place in the Arc, he isn't staying down.)

This may not work for you, not saying it will. I'm just telling you what works for me because you asked.
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