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Author Topic: [Anti-Pool] Haunted London, and a rules question  (Read 1821 times)
hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« on: September 08, 2006, 12:27:10 AM »

I'm currently playing a game set in the universe of "The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray", a novel about an alternate London that suffered massive bombings by the Prussians, leading to an infestation by all manner of awful creatures (wych-kin) from legends and nightmares.  As a group, we were getting a bit tired of games that needed heavy player input to create the story, and after a lot of discussion, we decided to go with this setting, which we were all familiar with.

We jammed out a few character ideas and story seeds, both in person and at our forum. After listening to what people wanted from a system, I recommended using the Mark Withers variant of the Anti-Pool. It's the fourth one down on this page. It's simple, with a little bit of player control of the narrative, and a tendency towards failure, which I think fits with the setting pretty well.

We were going to leave the game for an extra fortnight (and play a game set in the Carebears universe using The Princes' Kingdom as a system!). If you read down the thread at our forum you'll see that that didn't happen. Instead, we played a prequel to the main game - one in which all our wych-hunters and detectives met during one night & got to know each other.  In play, it felt very much like the pre-credits of a film, and it introduced a fantastic NPC in the form of Vallerian, my character's mentor, and - as revealed during the episode - a woman that Gino informed us had had a romantic connection to his wych-hunter.

He did it real subtle too, a few hints in the dialogue, and some suggestive looks and intonation. And here's the thing: I had already narrated in my PC's description that she had died, so we (me and Gino, at least) started developing a real empathy for her ... even to the point of discussing with Jenni (the GM) whether we should keep her alive. However, I think we applied the Joss Whedon/Veronica Mars principles:

i) What would create the most interesting situation?
ii) If they're both equally interesting, then which option would create the most pain?

So, Vallerian was murdered.

The other thing of note was how 'into' his character Gino was. He was polite, grounded and serious - which is extremely consistent with the Alaizabel Cray setting. A couple of other players, me included, took things quite light-heartedly. In fact, I was narrating my character in an almost bouncy, anime kind of fashion ... but gradually I started taking my cues from Gino about the tone we were creating ... and by the time Jenni narrated the discovery of my mentor's body, I was totally into the vibe.

(There was also a great slash-fic kind of a moment, but I'll leave it to the other players if they want to talk about that.)

***

Now for the rules question, for anyone with Anti-Pool experience:

Characters in Mark's version of the Anti-Pool have Traits that are each worth a d6, and a pool of up to 6d6 of starting dice. What I want to know is ...

a) if there's a conflict, can a player roll only their single trait die and not gamble any dice from their Pool?
b) And if that's the case, and the character fails, do they then gain an extra die to add to their Pool?

My first instinct is to say that any conflict roll requires a player to gamble dice from their Pool, but I thought I'd get some confirmation here.
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Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2006, 10:38:38 AM »

Now for the rules question, for anyone with Anti-Pool experience:

Characters in Mark's version of the Anti-Pool have Traits that are each worth a d6, and a pool of up to 6d6 of starting dice. What I want to know is ...

a) if there's a conflict, can a player roll only their single trait die and not gamble any dice from their Pool?
b) And if that's the case, and the character fails, do they then gain an extra die to add to their Pool?

My first instinct is to say that any conflict roll requires a player to gamble dice from their Pool, but I thought I'd get some confirmation here.

It's a common tactic in the Pool and its variants tactic to call for conflicts when your pool dice is low, and to use no pool dice, while hoping to get an extra die into your pool. So I'd say your answers are:
a) You don't need to commit any dice. (You're expecting to fail, though.)
b) If you don't gamble any pool dice and fail, you do get a dice into your Pool.

Think about it. If you're instincts were correct, what would happen when people reached zero Pool? They would stay there. There'd be no way for them to get out of that trap. (Well, until the start of the next session.)
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hix
Member

Posts: 531

Steve Hickey


« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2006, 04:03:19 PM »

Thanks for that, Darren.  The situation didn't come up in play this week, but it's good to know.

I do wonder what happens if you only risk the Trait dice, and you succeed. In Anti-Pool, that means you lose all the dice you risk - and I can't quite interpret what that means ... do you lose use of your Trait for that session?

Anyway, I'm liking the Anti-Pool - and the way choosing new Traits allows you to say what types of conflicts you want to be good at / are interested in having.
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Cheers,
Steve

Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2006, 06:15:27 PM »

I do wonder what happens if you only risk the Trait dice, and you succeed. In Anti-Pool, that means you lose all the dice you risk - and I can't quite interpret what that means ... do you lose use of your Trait for that session?

It just means you suffer no loss.
You're rolling, but you're risking no dice - thus, you can lose nothing.
It's only your Pool you ever risk.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2006, 01:05:42 PM »

I'm not sure about Mark's version, but Darren's right that this is the way it works in my original version of Anti-Pool, at least.

Mike
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