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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 86 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Felexibility of Key Buyoffs?  (Read 3026 times)
Joel P. Shempert
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« on: November 08, 2007, 07:17:29 AM »

I'm preparing to run Shadow of Yesterday and I've been thinking about Key Buyoffs. I love the wholeidea,but it nags at me that the stated Buyoffs for some of the Keys aren't the only way I could picture a character forsaking that Key. Like, Han Solo has the Key of Glittering Gold, and at the end of Episode IV he buys it off,but nopt by giving away allhis stuff; he just stops acting from the motivation of money (even though he's got a really good reason to do so;now he's got Key of the Outcast as Jabba and the Empire start giving him grief). So I'm just wondering, Clinton, what's your feeling on letting there be a little give to the exactcircumstances of a Buyoff? Game-breaking,game-straining,just fine,or what?And what are others'experiences playing around with this, or not?

I'm also wondering what this tweak would look like formally, like would the player specify a different buyoff when they take the key, or would they just vet the new buyoff on the spot,like "I'd really like to Buyoff Glittering Gold,how about instead of giving everything away Han flies back to Luke's rescue for free, and joins the Alliance?"

Peace,
-Joel
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #1 on: November 08, 2007, 08:08:50 AM »

Just a quick note regarding the example.

Maybe in Han Solo's case it wasn't Key of Glittering Gold as much as Key of Being Quite a Mercenary?

The specific buyoff of the Key kind of pushes play in the direction of a specific character development. As a player, you know about this when you take the Key. You can pick the Key that best fits your preferred direction or make your own custom Key that covers the specific issue you want to explore, and the whole group can work to push the game towards it.

Making it possible to determine the buyoff later in play, you shift the focus. I'd expect the effects to be quite different. You'd probably have Keys that would somewhat narrow the explored issues without guiding the group in a specific direction, towards specific situations and choices. Instead of being asked when to resolve the issue (and whether to choose to do it at all), the player would be asked what choice eventually resolves this particular issue for this particular character.

So, it seems to me you'd effectively have a different mechanic working towards different effects. Whether it would fit the way you want to play better or not is up to you to assess.
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #2 on: November 08, 2007, 09:08:15 PM »

Got it--thanks for the insight. I understand the purpose of that rule a lot better now, I think.

While I'm here, anyone got an estimate on optimal Advancement rate for a one-shot? How many XP per advance hits the sweet sopt of plenty of character growth in a single session without going overboard? I'm gonna be running for anywhere between 2 and 5 players (my guess is 3), and while we may want to continue after the session, I can't count on that being possible.

Peace,
-Joel
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #3 on: November 09, 2007, 12:05:26 AM »

The rules give 5 xp per Advance as the minimum, and I find that works pretty well for a one-shot provided that the players go for it. Around half or more of the people I play TSoY with do not understand how the game is supposed to be played during their first session, though, so it is very likely that only one or two players in the group manage to scrape together that five experience points at the very beginning, unless you do something special to make the players understand on the gut level that they're supposed to drive at their Keys in a quite cynical manner.

My suggestion for a one-shot is to play with an abundant number of Key Scenes, 5 xp per Advance and a technique wherein you as the GM drive at the Key Scenes, hard. Reveal your Key Scenes to the players at suitable moments, cajole them to reach them and throw in the xp in the form of poker chips or something equally cool. Lots of Key Scenes combined with the couple of xp points players actually manage to earn themselves will give enough xp.

For the longer run, I don't find 5 xp per Advance at all bad. We tend to play pretty crunch-heavy games, so there are plenty of things to do with the Advances. So my personal recommendation is 5 xp all the way, and if that seems too slow, compensate by helping the players pick good Keys (there are differences in how easy the different Keys are to ping, you know) and by throwing Key Scenes at them.

Also, don't forget the equally important facet of having the players spend the Advances! To give the whole TSoY experience in one session, you need to artificially build into your scenario some sweet crunch and some overriding reasons for buying that crunch for the characters. That makes players appreciate the power of xp, otherwise it's just an empty score. Two of my favourite one-shot scenarios work exactly like this:
  • An ancient zaru uptenbo master, one of the progenitors of the style, is dying. He wants to teach his Heaven Fist technique to a worthy student. The characters are martial students whose loves, hates and rivalries ultimately determine who is to be worthy of the ultimate technique. Will the secret pass on to an Ammeni plant, a guy who wants nothing to do with the world, or a Moonman? Or will nobody gain the secret, simply because nobody manages to score the five xp required for learning it before the old master perishes? Or when the players have to choose between buying the Key of Love or the Secret of Heaven Fist, will they choose love instead? Lots of angles for playing the experience system here.
  • Deep in the jungles of Qek lie the McGuffin. However, the evil baddies are after it as well, and they have a tsafari (a Qek knotbearer, master of the jungle paths; something I whipped up for the Finnish version of the game) assisting them. The jungles offer multitudinous hazards for the inexperienced southerners, so the PCs will have to figure out the crunch they need to survive the long journey and then somehow gain access to that crunch: qek teachers, guides and/or tools have to be procured by money, love or loyalty, or the McGuffin is doomed.
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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #4 on: November 09, 2007, 02:45:38 PM »

I see. I knew 5 was the norm but hadn't caught that ity was the minimum. Good to know, I'd hate to break the math of such an elegant system.

I'll have to pay Key Scenes some more mind--I'd sorta pushed them to the back of mind as "something to think about later, for now let's just play the game and get used to the rules." But now that I think about it, a lot of the potential situations I've been envisioning for the two PCs already prepped already ARE Key scewnes for those characters. So cool. I just hafta keep going on the mental track I have been, all along.

Thanks!

Peace,
-Joel
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