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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 82 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Reward System Idea: Asking Questions  (Read 1694 times)
sirogit
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Posts: 503


« on: November 23, 2006, 02:49:00 PM »

The basic idea is, on each character's sheet, there is a space called "Questions", at any time, any of the players may add a question that they're intereasted in to the sheet, such as "Would this character kill to protefct their deciet" or "What is more important to him, his family or his career?" up to a certain limit. When the player answers one of those Questions in play, they get rewarded somehow.

RPG precedents, comparisons to existing reward systems, initial reactions?
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nystul
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Posts: 17


« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2006, 09:09:06 PM »

Interesting in that it introduces an open issue but seems like it could require a lot of time and effort to adjudicate. Feels like a variation on a "Goals" system. The trick would be making it clear what the appropriate scope of the questions would be.
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Alex Gray
Simon C
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Posts: 495


« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2006, 09:43:07 PM »

What kind of behaviours are you trying to encourage?  If you're trying to encourage players to put their character is situations that require difficult choices, then a variation on this system (with guidelines on scope as suggested) might encourage this if coupled with a mechanic that allowed players to have some control over scene framing or story.  Otherwise, it seems like in a traditional game, a player will be forced to wait for the GM to get round to manufacturing that right situation, or your character will have to behave very strangely in-game, in order to get into such a situation.  In other words, player goals should be resolved by player actions, character goals by character actions.
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sirogit
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Posts: 503


« Reply #3 on: November 24, 2006, 05:21:15 AM »

I don't quite understand the scope issue. I will present my likely flawed understanding and hopefully someone will help me past this mental hurdle.

Without guidelines, players could ask questions like "What is your character eating today?" which are kind've lame, and take too much time to formally request for very little payoff in game, and no one really wants to see answered. Which I do not see as an issue, as most groups social contract will curtail bringing extremely unintereasting thinsg to focus on the game.

I'd like to encourage the players of characters to answer specific questions that I am personally curious about utilizing the game fiction. I'd also like to encourage other players to take an active intreast in what the other characters are about.

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dindenver
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« Reply #4 on: November 24, 2006, 07:56:25 AM »

Hi!
  Well, having played some games with similar mechanics, I don;t think you have to worry about lame or pointless questions or questions that are too narrow or broad. I think you do have to worry about which question gets answered by the group in which order and how to decide how many questions each player can have at each time.
  Check out Shadows of Yesterday if you haven't already, it's Keys are pretty similar to what you are trying to do I think...
  Keep up the good work man!
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Dave M
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nystul
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Posts: 17


« Reply #5 on: November 24, 2006, 09:56:13 AM »

I'm used to trying to incorporate as few assumptions about the players and the social contract as possible into a design. By scope I was in fact talking about insulating against questions that would be a waste of group time and energy. To an extent, something that is important to one player has inherent value no matter how trivial it seems to everyone else but a balance needs to be struck. Even in a group where no one is likely to weigh in with questions about food it always helps to get everyone on the same page right up front instead of having to negotiate your way through it on the fly. System structure is a great place to sort this out. As designers one of the things we are offering is our willingness to do the brainwork on potentially thorny issues. All I think you need are few guidelines and a couple of effective examples and you probably have an interesting and a effective motivator on your hands : )
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Alex Gray
Callan S.
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« Reply #6 on: November 25, 2006, 10:44:55 PM »

I'd like to encourage the players of characters to answer specific questions that I am personally curious about utilizing the game fiction. I'd also like to encourage other players to take an active intreast in what the other characters are about.
Ok, I liked your original question, but this clarification - they'll get rewards for guessing the questions that interest you? Ugh!

I'm biased against that, so my suggestion is that they get rewards for putting down questions that contain significant game fiction you've added. So like say your red hot about having a sacrificial alter where virgin maidens sacrifice men. You flag it as a red hot thing and now if players choose to include that as part of their question, they get a reward. So they might ask "Will I risk my life to destroy this alter?"
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Philosopher Gamer
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2006, 08:03:18 AM »

Sirogit,

This is actually fairly similar to an idea I am using for my still-in-design game Mage Blade, except that mine is explicitly goals, rather than questions. Questions is a good twist, because it leaves various ways to be answered (unless the question is very specific, such as Callan's example above, which could just about as easily be rephrased as "Goal: Destroy the altar, even if it means my life")

I think relying on group moderation is acceptable. Different groups are going to have different standards, but making it clear that the group can and should call down any questions that they collectively feel are lame, so that the player who might come up with the question can't attempt to use "The rules" as a bludgeon to force them to accept subpar contributions, is always a good idea. Likewise, a good sampling of questions you'd find acceptable in your game would also be wise.

More importantly, I think it's vital to make sure that you explicitly tell what the questions are intended to accomplish. That will help the group decide right away if they even want to do that thing, and it will help them to debug their questions over the course of play to make sure that they're on line with where they should be.

With the mentions of scope, that's where (possibly) some sort of numerical assignment for the questions might help. For example, in my Goal system, when the player chooses a goal, they also assign a point value from a pool of points they have which determines their eventual payout for accomplishing it, but it also determines the difficulties they'll encounter on the way. If a player decides to have "Goal: have steak and eggs for breakfast, 30", and no one else calls bullshit, that means that they're going to have to overcome 3 significant obstacles (or one huge obstacle, or any combination in between) to accomplish their goal and reap the reward. At that point, it's pretty clear to the group and the player about how much effect on the game this goal may have, and they'll either accept or reject it.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
sirogit
Member

Posts: 503


« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2006, 06:25:39 PM »

I'd like to encourage the players of characters to answer specific questions that I am personally curious about utilizing the game fiction. I'd also like to encourage other players to take an active intreast in what the other characters are about.
Ok, I liked your original question, but this clarification - they'll get rewards for guessing the questions that interest you? Ugh!

I'm biased against that, so my suggestion is that they get rewards for putting down questions that contain significant game fiction you've added. So like say your red hot about having a sacrificial alter where virgin maidens sacrifice men. You flag it as a red hot thing and now if players choose to include that as part of their question, they get a reward. So they might ask "Will I risk my life to destroy this alter?"


I'm not sure why you find this disagreeable.

I don't think there's any guesswork involved in Player A being rewarded for answering the question that Player B posed for Player A's character, because Player B wrote down the question that inetreasted them on Player A's sheet.

No one has to guess what Questions intereast me, as I can write down on people's sheets the questions that intereast me, as they do me.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #9 on: November 29, 2006, 05:22:46 AM »

Hiya,

My take is that stating questions outright in this fashion seems like abstract work, whereas if the players and group are inclined to do it, then they'll do it via the characters' interaction and actions anyway.

I suggest that a more functional version be restricted to in-character concerns, like stated Goals in HeroQuest and in a variety of other games ... except that in practice, I've found these to be unsatisfactory without a lot of attention and (again) work. Specifically, they often are either too far-off-far-away or too immediate.

The best version I've seen is the Muses mechanic found in Nine Worlds, and here's why: they're treated like questions. So h'm, maybe you are on the right track. Let me work you through it.

On my character sheet, in your game, I have written a question: "Can I recover my father's crown?" I can do whatever I like about it, but by having it there, the rest of the group knows about it, and various actions of mine (up to and including ignoring it) will answer it. Any eventual answer is possible, like yes, no, no but I tried really hard, yes but I hate it, and whatever. A shared understanding that these questions are central to play, and about how they may be answered (i.e. any imaginable way) is all you need.

I also recommend Hero's Banner, which takes questions of this kind and makes them into the central hub of play, including deciding which ones will be forced to fail.

Best, Ron
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sirogit
Member

Posts: 503


« Reply #10 on: November 29, 2006, 06:48:07 AM »

That example was pretty spot on in terms of how I envision the system to work, except for the fact that the system is about -other- players putting questions on your character sheet.

Addressing the problem of being 'too far away', I've got this idea for a development of the system, wherin certain questions can be squared away as "overriding" questions, rather than immediate ones. I'm thinking as a model Humanity in Sorcerer or Weariness in Polaris, wherin a big question - "Will you turn your back on the people?" is answered slowly and influenced by a number of events.

Though I haven't really had much negative expierience with goal-stating systems. Could you elaborate oa little more on the too far away/too immediate problem, possibly with examples?

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