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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 84 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Grey Ranks] Realy can't get me head around this...  (Read 6375 times)
Superstar
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« on: November 24, 2007, 12:57:05 PM »

After giving Grey Ranks a double read through I can't wait to get playing. It seems awesome. However I'm having some troubles with the "put in a low dice - narrate a grand success, put in a high dice - narrate a grand failure" as describe on p65. Reading the comments posted here ( http://www.story-games.com/forums/comments.php?DiscussionID=4148&page=1#Item_24 ) doesn't make me any wiser. Can someone help me out? Why would the narration look like this? What am I missing?
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #1 on: November 24, 2007, 05:34:17 PM »

Hey there, Superstar!  Glad you are excited about Grey Ranks.

The short answer is that by providing temptation to use low dice during missions, you inject inter-player conflict into the mix. 

Unpacked a little - there will be times when, for reasons of your own, you really want your character to succeed - if the guy framing your mission scene is on the ball, he's going to make sure of that.  For example, if your character has got a girl he's hot for and eager to impress, and I'm framing a mission scene, I'm putting her in there - maybe in danger, maybe as your companion, but in some position to observe your actions and judge you.  Then you've got a tough choice - yes, the obvious mechanical answer is to fail, have some sort of awful disaster, and kick in a big die, but is that really what you want?  Really?

I think the biggest stumbling block to this making sense is the idea of causality, which you need to disregard.  It doesn't "make sense" in a cause and effect way that a bunch of disastrous failures might lead to a victory, but it happens sometimes, and that's good stuff.  The reversal works in play, anyway.  If it wasn't there, missions would end up being predictable and lackluster. 

Does that help?

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Superstar
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« Reply #2 on: November 25, 2007, 08:12:34 AM »

Thanks a lot Jason! Great game you have here. As a matter of fact it wasn't the idea of causality that made me stumble but rather why it would be more "fun" for me to describe my actions as particularly successful (and thus suffering from the games mechanics). But when bringing in a third person (the girl in your example) it makes sense as an injective to be "successful". Do you have examples of other situations, apart from a impressing a third person (i.e. NPC or PC), in where I could feel compelled to contribute a small mission dice but thus be able to shine? How is this "reversed" mechanic used by the players in your games? 
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #3 on: November 25, 2007, 01:55:13 PM »

Everybody is going to bring up things they care about and incorporate them into play.  Your job when framing mission scenes is to put pressure on these things.  "The girl I'm in love with" is the most obvious example, but I've seen "the man who killed my father" and "the jeweler's hidden cache", for instance. 

So ... contribute a big die (and help win the mission) but have the nazi's find the hidden cache, or contribute a little die (and earn the enmity of your crew) and keep it safe for another chapter?

In play there will be times when you absolutely do not want the mission to succeed, because of the implications of success for your character on the grid.  Beyond that, what constitutes fun play and acceptable mission outcomes is going to vary a lot from group to group, so it's hard to give you concrete reasons why one decision will be better than another, in terms of dice allocated.  I hope that helps - let us know how your game goes!
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Superstar
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« Reply #4 on: November 25, 2007, 03:32:38 PM »

Are we not talking about two different things here?

Quote
So ... contribute a big die (and help win the mission) but have the nazi's find the hidden cache, or contribute a little die (and earn the enmity of your crew) and keep it safe for another chapter?

In play there will be times when you absolutely do not want the mission to succeed, because of the implications of success for your character on the grid.  Beyond that, what constitutes fun play and acceptable mission outcomes is going to vary a lot from group to group, so it's hard to give you concrete reasons why one decision will be better than another, in terms of dice allocated.  I hope that helps - let us know how your game goes!

This I am perfectly fine with the: the play with with big vs small dices in Mission contra personal scenes (wanting a specific result for the grid or choosing a personal scenes success over the mission success)

The thing I'm just not quite clear with is why, if I chose to put a big dice into the mission, I am to describe my personal effort towards that mission goal as a  failure and vice verca. What's the mechanic here? I thought you had me when you said:

Quote
For example, if your character has got a girl he's hot for and eager to impress, and I'm framing a mission scene, I'm putting her in there - maybe in danger, maybe as your companion, but in some position to observe your actions and judge you.  Then you've got a tough choice - yes, the obvious mechanical answer is to fail, have some sort of awful disaster, and kick in a big die, but is that really what you want?  Really?

But I'm heaving trouble finding any other reason than to be able to impress an NPC. Am I getting all this wrong?



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Superstar
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« Reply #5 on: November 25, 2007, 03:57:23 PM »

Unless it is maybe there only to work as an incentive for the players to favor the big dice for their personal scenes i.e. "Put you big dice in you personal and get to shine in the mission" ?
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #6 on: November 26, 2007, 04:47:54 AM »

Well, there's that, too.  You've got a limited number of dice to work with, and the ones that come from your character sheet (reputation and thing held dear) are one-time resources to be spent carefully.  If you aren't spending them, one of your available dice is always going to be a d4. 

You're understanding correctly - there's no hard incentive not to narrate a crushing failure and pony up a big die for the mission.  You might want to fail because of the gird, or the mission scene might be framed in such a way that success isn't going to make your character happy at all.  You should aim for providing the latter for your fellow players, and then let them decide.

Again, from a design perspective, if contributing a big die = big success, there will never be any player-to-player tension about decisions made for mission dice.  By reversing this, every choice becomes a potential betrayal.  It's just stronger and more interesting in play. 
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Steve Segedy
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« Reply #7 on: November 26, 2007, 10:32:11 AM »

And just to to be clear, it's worth noting that the failure from contributing a large die to the mission doesn't necessarily have anything to do with the mission itself- it might be a personal loss for the character in the spotlight, or a problem for the entire crew, and it just happens to coincide with the mission part of the story.

For example, contributing a D10 toward the mission might mean that the crews secret hideout was discovered while they were gone, making future actions more complicated.  Or maybe that hideout was in the basement of a PCs family home, meaning that something terrible has befallen their loved ones.  Since a D10 is a disaster, this might be a pretty bad thing for the crew (shamed in front of the older kids, or the Home Army leaders) or a terrible thing for one PC (heartbreak, a crippling wound, etc.).

Likewise, contributing a low die should mean big personal successes, but not necessarily connected to the mission itself.  Lowballing the mission die with a D4 ensures that your fellow PCs will be fuming, but if it means that your character finally scores with the love of his life, well, that might be worth it.  This might even be part of a flashback- a great thing happened to you last week, which has you all distracted now when you're supposed to be hitting that detonator switch...

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Superstar
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« Reply #8 on: November 27, 2007, 12:49:45 PM »

Thanks guys, all clear now.
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2007, 04:14:53 AM »

Cool, let us know how it turns out when you play.  The mission dice become especially important in the middle and later chapters.
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