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Author Topic: How does Advances really work in TSoY?  (Read 7707 times)
Ante
Member

Posts: 20


« on: February 04, 2007, 05:27:12 AM »

I've found a on-line text of a intrguing game, read it through and felt it had to be played. It's TSoY, of course.

Now, there's one thing I don't get. Advances.

A character get 5 advances, right? Now, if I get enought XP to buy my advances, what happens when I have bought 5? Do I get 5 more? Why do I then have a lmit at all?

Can someone please expand upon the rules about Advances a bit, how they work and why?

Thanks for a very interesting game!

/Andreas
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Andreas Davour
Twobirds
Member

Posts: 55


« Reply #1 on: February 04, 2007, 07:12:50 AM »

The 5 is probably referring to advancement you get only when you're making a character.  You could start with 5, or with 10 if your group wanted a 'higher-powered' game right from the start.  You spend those right away (or at least, you CAN spend them) on Abilities and Secrets and Keys.  You get those advances before earning any XP.

Experience is like a ticker that counts up during play, and when you get a certain amount of XP, you earn another advance on top of the initial bunch.  5 XP earns you one advance in the typical game.  If you're in a slow game, you might earn an advance after getting 10 XP.  It's a little like earning levels in D&D, except the amount before 'leveling up' might change depending your group's tastes (and your method of earning XP is up to you, rather than just the GM).

Using the default values, playing the game might go:

Make your character (5 advances, 0 XP)
Earn an XP (still at 5 advances, but with 1 XP)
Earn 2 XP (still at 5 advances, now with 3 XP)
Earn 2 XP (now at 6 advances, now with 5 XP)

Some people might return the XP ticker to zero, but when I GM I just keep counting cause I can see if players are way ahead of others.

Does that help?

George
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Ante
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2007, 02:37:38 PM »

Some is now clearer. Thanks George!

I must say though, that the rules as written (found at: http://zork.net/~nick/loyhargil/tsoy2/book1--rulebook.html & http://files.crngames.com/cc/tsoy2/solar_system.html) aren't that clear about how advances work.

I find it highly curious, as you state, that you start with 5 advances which you can spend right away. Why then not say that you start with "X more abilities at Y" or "add up to X in your pools"? You start with 11 (or 12, in the different documents linked to above) points to spend on pools, and 3+10 (1+4) abilities. Why not just raise those numbers if the first 5 advances can be spent at once at character creation?

Your table showing how the ticking XP add up to a new advance was enlightening. I had read that rule, but it was still fuzzy. Much clearer now!

Back to how to spend the advances. Say the above dilemma isn't there, or I'm just misunderstanding. What about the advances earned while the XP is "ticking"? Can I spend them when the XP "clock is ticking over"? If I hit a key in the middle of a Bringing-down-the-pain-session, can I at once spend an advance to increase my depleted pools? In the Solar System link the table says that you must be taught a Secret from someone who knows it, but otherwise the circumstances regarding spending Advances is lacking in the rules. Do I have to have downtime or can I spend "at once"?

Maybe these questions are all answered in the rules and I'm not seeing them, but I think these rules could use a rewrite for clarity and for being more explicit on how some details are intended.
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Andreas Davour
oliof
Member

Posts: 449

Harald Wagener - Zurich, Switzerland


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 04, 2007, 03:29:47 PM »

Hello Andreas,
advances are more flexible than just adding to the numbers you spend on pools, abilities, secrets and keys. You could for example buy three secrets and improve one pool by two. Or you could improve your expert ability to master, buy another key and keep the fifth advance (you need not spend them at once.

It is a common tactic to keep one or two unspent advances so you can use them when your character is in a tight spot and needs another secret/higher ability/pool *right now*. This should answer your question regarding when you can spend an advance.

Short hand: You get XP whenever your character hits or buys off one of her keys or when the GM hands them out for being in a key scene. For every 5 XP, you get an advance, which you can choose to spend whenever you feel like it. (The number of XP that gain you an advance can be tweaked, but I am describing the default).

Regards,
    Harald

PS: I see in your profile that you are from Sweden, so you might be able to read finnish. The finnish translation could be helpful then: http://www.arkkikivi.net/menneisyydenvarjot/xhtml/
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Ante
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #4 on: February 04, 2007, 03:44:33 PM »

It seems like more and more of the haziness is dispelled.

Advances can be bought anytime. Check!

I still find it a bit odd that you get to spend 5 advances even before starting play, but I guess it could be seem as personalizing and customizing at the end of character creation. Not that I think it would work that great, considering I guess the rule that you can't take the same kind of advance twice in a row. Maybe it works better in practice. It wouldn't hurt to have it more clearly stated in the rules.

Starting with 3 Advances and setting the "tick over" limit to 10 seems to be a way to make TSoY a little less weird to me. Smiley

Now I feel a bit more secure about how to handle TSoY. It shakes up a few ingrained habits, I think. I'm toying with the thought of using it to play in Planescape.
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Andreas Davour
Ante
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #5 on: February 04, 2007, 03:55:59 PM »


PS: I see in your profile that you are from Sweden, so you might be able to read finnish. The finnish translation could be helpful then: http://www.arkkikivi.net/menneisyydenvarjot/xhtml/


Considering how large the Finnish minority is in Sweden, the suggestion is interesting, if unusual.

Now, since I'm not part of that minority, but a mainline Swede, my grasp of Finnish is as good as my grasp of Chinese (a language not much closer related to Swedish), sadly.

After the help of the excellent and patient feedback I've gotten here I maybe should do a Swedish translation...
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Andreas Davour
Ricky Donato
Member

Posts: 156

Just chillin'


« Reply #6 on: February 04, 2007, 06:42:54 PM »

Advances can be bought anytime. Check!

I still find it a bit odd that you get to spend 5 advances even before starting play, but I guess it could be seem as personalizing and customizing at the end of character creation. Not that I think it would work that great, considering I guess the rule that you can't take the same kind of advance twice in a row. Maybe it works better in practice. It wouldn't hurt to have it more clearly stated in the rules.

Hello, Andreas,

A big reason to have those 5 starting advances is not just to spend them at the end of character creation, but also to save some to spend during play. As you noted, advances can be spent any time, including in the middle of play. So it is useful to have a couple of spare advances lying around, so that if a situation comes up where you think, "Gee, I could really use the Secret of Mighty Blows right now," you have that option. As an example, check out the character Tlaloc in Love and death on the Poison Coast.
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Ricky Donato

My first game in development, now writing first draft: Machiavelli
Ante
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #7 on: February 05, 2007, 03:34:19 PM »

Informative example, thanks!
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Andreas Davour
crowyhead
Member

Posts: 17


« Reply #8 on: February 05, 2007, 05:53:31 PM »

I still find it a bit odd that you get to spend 5 advances even before starting play, but I guess it could be seem as personalizing and customizing at the end of character creation.

It definitely helps with personalizing and customizing the character.  It's also worth keeping in mind that if you buy one or two Keys with your starting Advances, that means that you start earning XP for more advances from the start.  The Keys, Secrets, and Abilities you choose for your character also help the GM figure out what kind of challenges and situations would be most interesting for you and your character.

Kirsten
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Hans
Member

Posts: 576


« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2007, 10:02:10 AM »

Informative example, thanks!

Another important use of those one or two of those first five Advances in play is buying additional keys.  When you first start playing, its hard to know exactly what keys are going to be useful and which won't.  Remember that keys are no more, and no less, than those things you, as a player, want your character to gain XP for.  They are NOT character traits; you could be a bloodthirsty savage and not have the Key of Bloodlust, and you could be Mother Theresa and not have the key of conscience.  I have seen beginning players make the error of buy up a lot of keys to define their character, and then find them sitting there in actual play with nothing happening, and no real interesting way to buy them off.

I would encourage new players to hold off buying more than one additional key beyond their first free key until they start playing.  Instead, come up with a short list of 4 or five keys that make sense for your character and seem interesting.  Then, buy a key JUST BEFORE you do something that would gain you XP for that key. 

An example:
I'm going to be playing in a Piratey kind of game, and think the following keys look cool for my character:
Key of Bloodlust
Key of Glittering Gold
Key of Fraternity (with a pirate friend)
Key of the Outcast (from the Pirate's Guild)
Key of Renown

I take the Key of Bloodlust as my free key, but hold off on the others.  During the course of the first nights play, one of my fellow pirates is getting jumped by some soldiers.  I then buy Key of Fraternity for that pirate, and jump into the fray, and the key immediately pays for itself, as well as the Key of Bloodlust kicking in.  I then go into the nearest tavern, buy Key of Renown, and brag to the soldiers inside that I just slaughtered one of their friends and would be happy to to the same favour for any of them this evening as well.  The key again pays for itself immediately. 

The advantage to doing things this way is that, for all I knew, the evenings entertainment could have been a sneaky attack on Spanish Galleon at anchor, for which the key of Glittering Gold would have been a good bet.  Or it could have been about Pirate's guild assassins hunting me down, where the Key of the Outcast would have been handy.  By holding off, I get the keys that actually apply to what is happening right now.

Of course, the alternative to this is to buy a bunch of keys, and then MAKE things happen that gain you XP for those keys.  This is the best way to play TSOY, but it can be difficult for people who are new to these kind of highly player driven games and used to more passive, GM driven activities.  It can also put some players off; in their previous experience with other games they have been trained that, as one of my new players put it, "XP whoring" is bad, and it takes a while to realize that TSOY simply isn't like other games.
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* Want to know what your fair share of paying to feed the hungry is? http://www3.sympatico.ca/hans_messersmith/World_Hunger_Fair_Share_Number.htm
* Want to know what games I like? http://www.boardgamegeek.com/user/skalchemist
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