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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 143 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: PIRATES!!! (actually, a question or two regarding how I should proceed!)  (Read 1740 times)
Otto Richter
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« on: August 26, 2007, 07:50:57 PM »

Hello forge, this is my first post.

Currently, I'm working on a game set in a fictional tropical world known as the Sea of Mists, that creates a world of piracy, high seas adventure, and swashbuckling mayhem all with elements of clockpunk.  The world, which basically is an 17th century tech.-level group of isles where one half is always at war with the other half, is ripe with intrigue, privateering, and trade.  All in all, it looks like it's going to be a fun game...buccaneers on the fringe of society roaming the seas looking for adventure.

But there's a problem or two...

1) I know that I want to use a dice pool mechanic for skills tests, not unlike White Wolf or Shadowrun.  I favor the use of d4s, d6s, d8s, and d12s (dice that are factors of 24) mainly because they relate well to nautical things.  But I'm not sure how to proceed with my basic mechanics.  I like the use of d6s because, if I make a success on a 5 or 6, I get a 33% chance of victory with each die, adding for good returns.  The system I'm toying with at the moment creates a dice pool by combining the Attribute and the Skill Level (not unlike many other games).  I want to create a botching system too, but I'm not sure how to proceed there.  Anywho, I just wanna know what people's takes are on the use of this mechanism and what people can offer towards botching ideas.

2) I want to use a conflicted gauge of some sort.  I was thinking that maybe dividing this between vice and virtue would be useful for a swashbuckling game, but I'm not sure where to go from there...

Any help would be much appreciated!

P.S. Feel free to ask questions unrelated to what I have asked...it will help me organize my thoughts if I have to respond to someone.

~Otto (my nom de plume)
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2007, 08:48:09 PM »

Welcome to the Forge, Otto.

Currently, I'm working on a game set in a fictional tropical world known as the Sea of Mists, that creates a world of piracy, high seas adventure, and swashbuckling mayhem all with elements of clockpunk.  The world, which basically is an 17th century tech.-level group of isles where one half is always at war with the other half, is ripe with intrigue, privateering, and trade.  All in all, it looks like it's going to be a fun game...buccaneers on the fringe of society roaming the seas looking for adventure.

That sounds fun. There is one question you might want to answer before any others: What is the goal the players have in this game? Are there adventure goals set by the GM, towards which characters strive by the wits and daring of the players? Team-work or player-vs-player? Or do the characters have dramatic backgrounds which give rise to unique storylines? Or are you just interested in depicting the life of heroic swashbucklers without much thought to higher aspirations? Or something totally different?

Quote
1) I know that I want to use a dice pool mechanic for skills tests, not unlike White Wolf or Shadowrun.  I favor the use of d4s, d6s, d8s, and d12s (dice that are factors of 24) mainly because they relate well to nautical things.  But I'm not sure how to proceed with my basic mechanics.  I like the use of d6s because, if I make a success on a 5 or 6, I get a 33% chance of victory with each die, adding for good returns.  The system I'm toying with at the moment creates a dice pool by combining the Attribute and the Skill Level (not unlike many other games).  I want to create a botching system too, but I'm not sure how to proceed there.  Anywho, I just wanna know what people's takes are on the use of this mechanism and what people can offer towards botching ideas.

It's impossible to tell if a die-pool mechanic will serve your goals well at this point. Perhaps we'll have a clearer  picture when you tell us more about what the players will be doing in the game. That being said, I'll give you one way one might arrange for botching with d6 pools. This would be suited for a dramatic adventure game where players have to gauge the goals of their characters, not only their actions:

A more competent character will have more dice, usually characters have somewhere around 3-8 dice to roll. Rolling a 5 or 6 is a success, just as you said. However, if a player ever rolls all ones, his roll is a botch and the end-results will be especially awful for the character. Rolling all ones is not very likely, but it can get worse: if ever the character is injured, out-manned by the enemy or otherwise disadvantaged, twos are also considered botches. Also, if the character decides to take a serious risk in order to further his aims, the botch range is similarly raised. If ever a character is both disadvantaged and taking a risk, a botch happens at three or below. Furthermore, the opponent may, at his discretion, burn his own successes 1-to-1 against the character to remove high dice from his result, potentially causing a botch. Causing a botch in this manner is the only way to permanently remove a character from the game.

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2) I want to use a conflicted gauge of some sort.  I was thinking that maybe dividing this between vice and virtue would be useful for a swashbuckling game, but I'm not sure where to go from there...

I don't understand this question. What do you mean by a conflicted gauge? Some kind of a character morality track? If so, it all depends on what the players are supposed to be playing for. Different kinds of character morality gauges are required for different arrangements of player motivations.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #2 on: August 27, 2007, 12:36:15 AM »

Hi Otto, welcome to the forge!

Like Eero's question "What is the goal the players have in this game?", what big thing are the players trying to get or achieve in a single game session? I know you might be thinking in long campaign terms (or maybe not), but what about in a single session?

In regards to that big thing, how do the dice rolls connect in players getting or achieving that big thing? Does the GM decide when a roll will help them get closer to it and when it wont help with anything at all?
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Justin Nichol - BFG
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« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2007, 01:55:36 AM »

Yea, even aside from the big question. We need to know more about what you hope to accomplish before we can comment on dice mechanics I think or at least more of a description of what you want from the dice mechanics.

As for the conflicted gauge. If it's going to be a game of Pirates, and you want a conflicted gauge, you have to ask is there honestly a use to having virtue? In essence I'm saying don't have a conflicted gauge just because, choosing between the two extremes should have repercussions and benefits. If I were playing in a Pirates game, I could see plenty of the people I play with saying hmm I'll just go all vice, I'ma fraggin pirate, rum and wenches and pillaging thanks.

After all, to quote the pirate Bellamy:

"You are a devilish conscience rascal, I am a free prince, and I have as much authority to make war on the whole world as he who has a hundred sail of ships at sea and an army of 100,000 men in the field, and this my conscience tells me; but there is no arguing with such sniveling puppies, who allow superiors to kick them about the deck at their pleasure."
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Otto Richter
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2007, 03:12:52 AM »

Thanks for the replies so far.  It hadn't crossed my mind to consider such goals, but now that I have, I think I can make some of my ideas clearer.  Here's my take:

The overarching theme will vary from player to player, but rather than dealing with a band of evil-doers, I always found that pirate games I had run in the past (using other systems like d20) were most fun when the players took a "Robin Hood" edge to their life.  Rather than being all vicious scoundrels (although there's always room for a couple of those!), players tend to be good-hearted, being pirates more to achieve some dream or goal in the character's life -- hence my wanting to use a conflicted gauge.  Actually, I've always felt that goals and motivations are pretty critical to characters, so I really want to incorporate them somehow.

Typical game sessions would include general piratey stuff like running blockades with a shipment of illegal spices, fighting pirate hunters, fast-talking merchants, roaming the high seas during a storm, seducing the governor's daughter...all stuff straight out of an Errol Flynn movie.  And, because Errol Flynn never played a bad-guy, the impetus for character creation would probably be to establish a virtue for each character as well as a vice.  This allows them to do "bad" things but still be good people.

I hope this helps clarify some of my ideas.  It definitely helped work them out in my head.  My questions still stand, so any more help would be great.  Thank you!
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Callan S.
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« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2007, 02:47:15 PM »

I'm gunna be cruel, Otto - you've said what the characters are going for, but still haven't answered if your dice get them there or if the GM just decides that sometimes dice get them closer and sometimes they don't help at all.
Typical game sessions would include general piratey stuff like running blockades with a shipment of illegal spices, fighting pirate hunters, fast-talking merchants, roaming the high seas during a storm, seducing the governor's daughter...all stuff straight out of an Errol Flynn movie.  And, because Errol Flynn never played a bad-guy, the impetus for character creation would probably be to establish a virtue for each character as well as a vice.  This allows them to do "bad" things but still be good people.
But this is a means to an end, right? The end of getting their goal or dream, right? It's not the feature of play, it's just exciting stuff and also stuff which creates interesting situations in getting to the real goal, the hope or dream. The feature of play are those hopes and dreams, right? (not that people can't dig and enjoy the blockades and fast talking merchants, but the idea is that that's not the BIG thing they are there for?)
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