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Author Topic: The fall of the Paladin  (Read 2981 times)
Clinton R. Nixon
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« on: June 19, 2002, 09:02:55 AM »

Paul Czege posted a very interesting thread about how humbling it is to playtest your own game, which is amazingly convergent, since I just had the exact same experience.

I playtested Paladin last night for two members of my regular game group. It was incredibly humbling - and incredibly broken. I thought my rules were now up to par, but I learned so much last night that I'm back into a serious re-write.

Problems we had:

 - My default setting, to be blunt, blows. There's no real conflict in it - the bad guys are all lurking around and kind of weak. Our adventure managed to simultaneously be short and too long - most of it was wondering what to do next, but when we figured it out, it took no time. However, my group and I hashed this out, and I think I have a fix.

 - The rules meant to balance Light and Dark Animus don't work as well as they should. There's no real impetus not to use Dark Animus - if you get it, it's just as useful as Light Animus for the same sorts of things. Both of the characters last night garnered Dark Animus for not killing a murderer. One of them decided to go ahead and spend it. This is probably the most thorny problem now, but again, we managed to figure out a pretty good solution by the end of the night.
 - Perception is screwed. Of course, perception is screwed in just about every game. I think it's the hardest part of designing a game in a lot of ways. I actually don't know what I'm going to do here.

Good stuff, though:

 - The basic mechanic works really well.
 - The group action mechanic is interesting, to say the least. I think it works, but it has its pros and cons.
 - We did manage to figure out what went wrong pretty quickly.
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
rafael
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« Reply #1 on: June 19, 2002, 09:35:41 AM »

Hmm.

I've read a draft of your default setting, and see no problem with it.  It will require some work on the GM's part, but most settings do.  As a time and place, it makes sense and fits pretty well with the game's initial conceit.  But that was a draft -- maybe it's changed since I read it.

As for what I'd do with it, I think it's pretty straightforward -- nefarious servants of Evil are using their powers for personal gain, and abusing the innocent townsfolk.  The Paladins must stop them.  But the Warlocks hit below the belt, and take no prisoners.  To defeat the Warlocks, each Paladin must decide how far over the line he is willing to go -- or if, in fact, he will cross that line.

What if a side-effect of Dark Animus use is GM narration?  Yes, you hit wicked Count Malvado in the face with your flaming sword, but as you do, he stumbles back into the bound and gagged Lady Vermicella, and steps on her pretty hand.  There is a loud crack of bone, and she screams.  Each use of Dark Animus causes an unfortunate side-effect.  It's something I was going to try during the next game, for the exact same reason -- Jagr had no problem using Dark Animus, and I thought there should be some unpleasant side-effect... Anyhow.

A cure for gamers who wonder "what to do next" that you might employ: random acts of senseless violence.  If they're in the woods, a tree bursts into flame, maybe a hundred yards away.  If they're inside, someone kicks in the door.  A random NPC threatens someone in the group.  An arrow flies out of nowhere and hits the wall a few inches from someone's head.

The point isn't to have a scenario ready -- just see what the players do with the situation and react to it.  In more cases than I can recall, I've had ideas, cast members, adventure seeds, and maps all fall to the side of the road as the players latched on to an idea and ran with it, preferring to pursue the mystery of whatever it was that happened just now.

If nothing comes of it, well, they don't feel like they're in a world that revolves around them and their decisions -- they feel like they're part of a situation, and they can react or ignore parts of it as they see fit.

But you know, I haven't played in over fifteen years -- I've been GMing the whole time, so I've never seen anyone else GM.  I really don't know if this would work for other GMs/players or not.

But I like Paladin thus far.  The setting will need fleshing out (when it's like fifty pages long, then worry if it's flat or not), and the Light/Dark thing poses a challenge, but overall, it worked for my Star Wars geek buddies.

-- Rafael
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Rafael Chandler, Neoplastic Press
The Books of Pandemonium
Paul Czege
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« Reply #2 on: June 19, 2002, 10:04:25 AM »

Hey Rafael,

A cure for gamers who wonder "what to do next" that you might employ: random acts of senseless violence. If they're in the woods, a tree bursts into flame, maybe a hundred yards away. If they're inside, someone kicks in the door. A random NPC threatens someone in the group. An arrow flies out of nowhere and hits the wall a few inches from someone's head.

Check out my http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=2287#2287">post on the difference between hooking the player and hooking the character. Narrativism isn't produced by flinging a chaos of uncoordinated adversity at the characters. Check out Ron's http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2454">post in the Hero Wars forum about how he'd handle a player who'd given up a pint of his blood to a powerful Troll sorcerer. Narrativism is produced when the game mechanics and the GMing provoke the player to step up to the plate and demonstrate the protagonism of the character.

You know this. Your comments about putting the characters in the position of deciding how far across the line they're willing to go are right on target.

Paul
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rafael
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2002, 10:18:46 AM »

Quote from: Paul Czege
Narrativism isn't produced by flinging a chaos of uncoordinated adversity at the characters. Check out Ron's http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2454">post in the Hero Wars forum about how he'd handle a player who'd given up a pint of his blood to a powerful Troll sorcerer. Narrativism is produced when the game mechanics and the GMing provoke the player to step up to the plate and demonstrate the protagonism of the character.


Yeah... And I totally see where you're coming from.  However, I must note that producing Narrativism isn't really a goal of mine when GMing.  Generally, my goal is producing fun, and producing action.  Or at least, producing the opportunity for these.  Now, for the most part, my players are all over this like a cheap suit, but when they sometimes get to that point where they get a little hung up on trying to figure out what next, an arrow flies out of the woods and hits a tree next to someone.  And if that someone mutters, "Son of a bitch, I bet it's Raulas Kaipan -- he's still on our trail," then guess what?  It's Raulas, and he's got a crossbow and an axe to grind.  And it's not so much uncoordinated as it is spontaneous, you know?

And having read both posts, I can agree that yeah, it's good to let the mechanics prod the players into protagonizing their characters, but like I said, sometimes they just waffle.  And things drag a bit.

So, my personal recommendation, drop a grenade in there, see if someone jumps on it, runs, laughs, or says, "Hey, that's actually a lighter -- my ex-girlfriend used to -- oh, wow, Jessica?"

-- Rafael
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Rafael Chandler, Neoplastic Press
The Books of Pandemonium
DaR
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« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2002, 11:57:49 AM »

I'll chime in here, as one of the playtesters who was in last night's game.

Quote from: Clinton R Nixon
My default setting, to be blunt, blows. There's no real conflict in it - the bad guys are all lurking around and kind of weak. Our adventure managed to simultaneously be short and too long - most of it was wondering what to do next, but when we figured it out, it took no time. However, my group and I hashed this out, and I think I have a fix.


First, I'll defend you from your own criticism here. I don't think it blew, it's just not quite as strong as it appears at first glance.  It has conflict, in the form of the Sword versus the Witches. It's just, without additional work on the part of the GM, it doesn't have a big huge compelling "go here, do this!" conflict, the way some settings do.  There's no organized evil menace to threaten Castilla, no inherent political struggle with nearby countries, or anything else that gives a very clear and direct threat that you can go fight without having to think.  Any of those could easily be added for a campaign, if the GM/group make the effort, and they aren't really necessary for many types of games.

What happened last night is that there was no goal to immediately begin working towards and none of the three people involved (including the GM) had a clear story to tell, in any sense of the word story.  We probably could have alleviated this to a large degree if we'd started with some Kicker type events for the characters, worked up some backstory elements that were relevant, had a stronger, more directed plotline to work through, or even been more aggressive about scenario and scene framing.  Additionally, our playtest characters, despite having 9 trait descriptors, were pretty bland sorts, which isn't exactly going to drive a good compelling narrativist-type story.

I think if we'd had any of these (kickers/backstory, a clear goal, or deeper and goal-oriented characters), we probably would have spent a lot less time looking at each other and going "what now?".  So chalk it up to ill-preparation rather than the fact the setting "blows" in and of itself.


Quote

 - The rules meant to balance Light and Dark Animus don't work as well as they should. There's no real impetus not to use Dark Animus - if you get it, it's just as useful as Light Animus for the same sorts of things. Both of the characters last night garnered Dark Animus for not killing a murderer. One of them decided to go ahead and spend it. This is probably the most thorny problem now, but again, we managed to figure out a pretty good solution by the end of the night.


I'll definitely agree with this one.  I also like Rafael's idea of having an unanticipated negative consequence for spending Dark Animus.  I'd probably do this by having making the consequence be more significant the more Animus was spent rather than trying to come up with a different event for each point.

Quote

 - Perception is screwed. Of course, perception is screwed in just about every game. I think it's the hardest part of designing a game in a lot of ways. I actually don't know what I'm going to do here.


Actually, I'll go so far as to say that it's not just perception, but any task that doesn't involve one of the three question-attribute in some meaningful way.  

It's clear what you'd use to jump a chasm or punch a badguy, but things like noticing strangeness in the woods or picking a lock don't always fall neatly into one of the questions.  And what you do when it doesn't fall under one of your Flesh attributes is unclear.

Quote

Good stuff, though:

 - The basic mechanic works really well.
 - The group action mechanic is interesting, to say the least. I think it works, but it has its pros and cons.
 - We did manage to figure out what went wrong pretty quickly.


The basic mechanic works extremely well, including the whole spending of Animus to reroll.  I like the basic concept and feel it could fairly easily be applied to other systems with great benefit.

The group combat produces some very interesting results.  To expand on the pros and cons: it can simultaneously be both a help and a hinderance to use it.  It increases the chance you have of getting initial successes, increases the number of dice you'll be able to reroll on your first Animus invocation, and gives you a larger number of Light/Dark traits to choose from in order to do further animus spending for rerolls.  At the same time it decreases the overall number of success you could have potentially gotten by working seperately as the overlap dice between the people in the group basically get dropped.  So a group becomes more consistent and better on the average, at the expense of being able to "get lucky" and have multiple people roll well at once for a large total sum of successes.


Other thoughts:

Picking your attributes is very important.  Coming up with good Light and Dark traits can be difficult and attributes that seem like a good idea at first may be difficult to actually work with in play.  Looking back on the choices I made, several of them (Detachment, Cunning) I didn't have much opportunity to use at all, and some of them (Determination) I felt the need to use constantly.

If you're building your own setting, choosing the tennents of your Code is probably the single most important.  Spend a good long time thinking about them, because having laws that are too loose or too rigid will very quickly commit people to either the Light or Dark Paths, without much chance for the opposing path.  And since the point of Paladin is the struggle to balance the two, it would make for a pretty poor game if there were never any chance of being forced to the Dark Path, or similarly, if you were inevitably doomed to it.

Animus pools are not just fluid, they're practically gaseous.  Both my Light and Dark Animus pools jumped as high as 13 and down to nothing, often in the course of just a few minutes in a single encounter.  Further, you need Animus to generate enough successes for many tasks and you'll burn through it very quickly.  As a GM, don't be at all stingy with providing opportunities to generate both types.


-DaR

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Dan Root
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Dan Root
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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2002, 12:26:58 PM »

Quote from: DaR
The group combat produces some very interesting results.  To expand on the pros and cons: it can simultaneously be both a help and a hinderance to use it.  It increases the chance you have of getting initial successes, increases the number of dice you'll be able to reroll on your first Animus invocation, and gives you a larger number of Light/Dark traits to choose from in order to do further animus spending for rerolls.  At the same time it decreases the overall number of success you could have potentially gotten by working seperately as the overlap dice between the people in the group basically get dropped.  So a group becomes more consistent and better on the average, at the expense of being able to "get lucky" and have multiple people roll well at once for a large total sum of successes.--
Dan Root


This isn't actually all that unreasonable of a tradeoff.  "group" combat to be truely effective should involve coordinated attacks and defenses and alot of "by the book" kind of fighting (shield walls, skirmish formations, waiting for orders) that sort of thing.  It really *should* be more reliably successful while sacrificing the opportunity for individual heroics to provide magnificent results.  

I think it would be interesting to allow an individual to opt out of the group roll and go individual and then see whether his personal heroics that save the day outweigh his abandoning his position in the formation etc...especially if part of the code is discipline and obeying orders.

The same logic would hold if applied to non combat also.  Projects handled by committee are usually a more reliable way of ensuring the project progresses, but are hardly known to produce spectacular results.
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DaR
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2002, 02:02:38 PM »

[quote="Valamir]
This isn't actually all that unreasonable of a tradeoff.  "group" combat to be truely effective should involve coordinated attacks and defenses and alot of "by the book" kind of fighting (shield walls, skirmish formations, waiting for orders) that sort of thing.  It really *should* be more reliably successful while sacrificing the opportunity for individual heroics to provide magnificent results.  

I think it would be interesting to allow an individual to opt out of the group roll and go individual and then see whether his personal heroics that save the day outweigh his abandoning his position in the formation etc...especially if part of the code is discipline and obeying orders.

The same logic would hold if applied to non combat also.  Projects handled by committee are usually a more reliable way of ensuring the project progresses, but are hardly known to produce spectacular results.[/quote]

Full agreement on all counts.  I hadn't intended to imply it was a bad thing, just one that isn't immediately obvious at first blush.  And one that leads to exactly the sorts of neat scenarios you describe.

It also makes group combats a hell of a lot faster and easier to play out than a typical combat resolution system.  It didn't take significantly more time for two paladins to take down a group of 4 zombies than for a one-on-one fight.

-DaR

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Dan Root
Zak Arntson
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2002, 08:17:41 PM »

Re: No chance to use poorly picked Attributes.

I'd suggest nailing down the Attributes before character creation begins. Perhaps each setting receives its own Attributes? That way you can tailor your Paladins to the setting, and the Attributes give a firm example of what your PC does.

Or you offer "hard" Attributes, and the Player can change one per category. Like everyone has the same three Light Attributes, but they can each change one of 'em to his liking.

Lastly, the Player-chosen Attributes cover EVERYTHING under the sun for that Strength/Light or whatever combination. It's just that the combination works better for that PC in a certain circumstance (i.e., the Attribute chosen by the Player). Chthonian Redux works similar to this, and I've had good results so far.

---

Re: Default Setting

Dude, I love your default setting. So much that I've already done 4 sketches and I'm 2/3rds done with one of 'em as an illo. Having the good guys as the an uncorrupted organization is refreshing. The badguys are awesome, too. The whole animus thing is unique the way you have it. A neat solution against even justified murder.

What do you want from an adventure? Depends on how you want the game to play. But my strongest suggestion is this: Start with an explosive and dangerous hook, and loom danger over the PCs' heads. To get them busy you want Hook + Pressure. Make them remember that their jobs are hard, both morally and physically. You know the advice, when things wind down, pump a few bullets into the door.

---

Re: Perception

What do you mean by this? Is it Perception of surroundings? Tie perception into Flesh, Light and Dark. Flesh is simple things, like hearing a waterfall. The more evil you are, the quicker you are to perceive evil intentions, wicked goings-on, etc. The more good you are, the more you see generosity, etc. That means your Paladins will have to be on the edge between Light and Dark to fully see both. Retired, very holy Paladins will have trouble seeing the wicked with the jaded Paladins in the trench fighting a battle against the evil and the blissful eye of the Sword.
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DaR
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« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2002, 10:45:05 PM »

Quote from: Zak Arntson
Re: No chance to use poorly picked Attributes.

I'd suggest nailing down the Attributes before character creation begins. Perhaps each setting receives its own Attributes? That way you can tailor your Paladins to the setting, and the Attributes give a firm example of what your PC does.

Or you offer "hard" Attributes, and the Player can change one per category. Like everyone has the same three Light Attributes, but they can each change one of 'em to his liking.


I'm not entirely sure I follow you here.  As it stands now, the player picks his own 9 descriptors for the various combinations of Flesh, Light, Dark, and 'what gives you strength', 'what protects you', and 'how do you relate to others', before allocating any rating to them.   None of them are defined by the setting.  Are you suggesting all the paladins in a group should have the same (or mostly the same except for one or two tailored ones) attributes?  I don't think that's a very good idea, if so.  Every person's struggle with Light and Dark should be different.  A paladin who was physically abused as a child should have different Dark traits than one who grew up in a happy environment until a Witch slaughters his village at the age of 15.  Ditto for Flesh.  A slow but powerful warrior should have different Flesh traits from a nimble acrobat.

Or am I misunderstanding and you mean the three questions should be the thing that changes?

Quote from: Zak Arntson

Lastly, the Player-chosen Attributes cover EVERYTHING under the sun for that Strength/Light or whatever combination. It's just that the combination works better for that PC in a certain circumstance (i.e., the Attribute chosen by the Player). Chthonian Redux works similar to this, and I've had good results so far.


There's currently no mechanical benefit to the descriptors.  They're just keys that you're supposed to focus on when narrating the results of using that particular attribute.   If I choose Grace as the descriptor for my 'what protects you' Flesh attribute, then when I use that attribute on defense in a fight, I should try to work in how my graceful motions allow me to get out of the way, and if I use a Dark Animus point to invoke Fury, my Dark trait that gives me strength, I then work in how my furious attacks allow me to beat back the oppponent so I can escape.

Where the problem comes in, is that to "properly" use an attribute, you should narrate/roleplay how its descriptor works into the matter at hand.  So if you choose a poor descriptor, there's no incentive to use that particular trait over another ones, which might have more relevance.  A couple of times we both looked at our sheet and said something to the effect of "well, I don't really have any trait descriptors that are appropriate to activate in this situation, do you?".

Quote from: Zak Arntson

Re: Perception

What do you mean by this? Is it Perception of surroundings? Tie perception into Flesh, Light and Dark. Flesh is simple things, like hearing a waterfall. The more evil you are, the quicker you are to perceive evil intentions, wicked goings-on, etc. The more good you are, the more you see generosity, etc. That means your Paladins will have to be on the edge between Light and Dark to fully see both. Retired, very holy Paladins will have trouble seeing the wicked with the jaded Paladins in the trench fighting a battle against the evil and the blissful eye of the Sword.


The first case where this came up in the playtest was when the two paladins rescue a woman from her husband who has been possessed.  The circumstances are unusual, and so they attempt to determine if they notice anything out of place in the forest or the husband/wife pair.   This isn't really an offensive or defensive action, nor is it one of relating to other people.  Which attribute do you choose?  Defense is probably closest, but it's a bit of a poor fit.  Do you roll once for each type of trait, to determine if you notice any things that might be perceived by Flesh/Light/Dark?

By the same token, what attribute do I choose if I'm going to pick a lock?  The interaction of Flesh/strength?  Flesh/protection?  Flesh/relating?   None of those really capture the essence of picking a lock in most situations.  Now in certain scenarios, they could all make sense, such as if you're chasing a villian who closes a locked door behind him, running through a locked door away from a threat, or doing sneaking in somewhere for purposes that would assist in a personal negotiation.  But in a typical "just skulking around, looking for info", none of those three interactions screams to me as being the obvious choice.

-DaR

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Dan Root
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Dan Root
Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #9 on: June 20, 2002, 01:44:01 AM »

Hm. I've not fully read the rules, but I think that Zak has something with his ideas about how to do Perception..

I would say that any Perception tests be divided, on a case-by-case basis, into Light, Dark or Flesh. Then use a number (perhaps the average of the 3 attributes under each) to determine the results of the test.

This could even be taken further, and simply have generic Light, Dark and Flesh ratings, based off the average of the three sub-ratings. These could be used for any check which does not directly fall under "What protects?", "What gives Strength?" or "How do you relate?".

This is simply a suggestion, based mostly off of what I'm reading here. I'm interested in what happens with this game, but I'm not delving too deep into it, as such things have a tendency to divide my focus.. and I have enough trouble there already.
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~Lance Allen
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Valamir
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« Reply #10 on: June 20, 2002, 07:01:54 AM »

Quote from: DaR

By the same token, what attribute do I choose if I'm going to pick a lock?  The interaction of Flesh/strength?  Flesh/protection?  Flesh/relating?   None of those really capture the essence of picking a lock in most situations.  Now in certain scenarios, they could all make sense, such as if you're chasing a villian who closes a locked door behind him, running through a locked door away from a threat, or doing sneaking in somewhere for purposes that would assist in a personal negotiation.  But in a typical "just skulking around, looking for info", none of those three interactions screams to me as being the obvious choice.


As I recall Ghost Light typically required you to use traits in an unexpected manner in order to accomplish "skill" type tasks; which of a ghost's emotions is going to help her break down the door sort of stuff.

It might be worth looking at as a source of inspiration on how to handle this.
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rafael
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« Reply #11 on: June 20, 2002, 07:09:16 AM »

You know, it's funny -- newbies never hesitate with stuff like this, but I find myself staring at their character sheets, wondering how they came up with that.

Specifically: During a game of Paladin, this guy's character (Jagr) is in a fight.  I say, pick your appropriate Flesh attribute.  He says Flash.  I say, no, it's Flesh.  It's on the page, right under --

No, he says.  My appropriate attribute in this case is Flash.  I am a flashy dude.  Swing my saber, hypnotize their ass, weave in and cut 'em up.  They don't know what hit 'em.  He rolls, then talks about how his flashy Paladin zigs and zags through their midst, stunning them with his weapon-mastery and sheer bravado.

This probably seems elementary to other people, but I was like, damn.  How'd he come up with that?  What's really funny is, it wasn't his highest Flesh attribute, it was just the one that he found appropriate at the time.

I mean, when he said Flash, I thought, okay, this isn't really appropriate at all.  But he explained it pretty well, and it worked perfectly.  Go figure.
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Rafael Chandler, Neoplastic Press
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #12 on: June 20, 2002, 10:43:04 AM »

Quote from: DaR
I'm not entirely sure I follow you here.  As it stands now, the player picks his own 9 descriptors ... None of them are defined by the setting.  Are you suggesting all the paladins in a group should have the same ... A slow but powerful warrior should have different Flesh traits from a nimble acrobat.


No, you got me right there. And you've got a good counter to my suggestion, too. I'm picturing 9 descriptors. The Player can change one under Flesh, one under Light and one under Dark. It's a lighter form of personalizing your PC.

So for all Paladins, the Flesh attributes could be: Strength: Faith in Ai, Protection: Skill at Arms, Relate to Others: Compassion to the faithful. Then, during character creation, you can trump one of these. I could change Protection: Skill at Arms to Protection: Built like a Wall. You want an acrobatic PC? Put a ton of points into Protection, and label it "Moves like a monkey".

Quote from: DaR
A couple of times we both looked at our sheet and said something to the effect of "well, I don't really have any trait descriptors that are appropriate to activate in this situation, do you?".


I would chalk that up to game design needing to be refined. Clinton, let us know when the revisions are done!

Quote from: DaR
The first case where this came up in the playtest was when the two paladins rescue a woman from her husband who has been possessed. ...  Do you roll once for each type of trait, to determine if you notice any things that might be perceived by Flesh/Light/Dark?

By the same token, what attribute do I choose if I'm going to pick a lock?


I would chalk it up to the end results of the action. If picking the lock is somehow keeping your from harm, it's Protection. And so on. It is weird, though, in that if you just want to pick a lock for some other reason (like getting money to pay off a debt), what do you do?

I'm waiting on the next version of Paladin, to see what happens. It's at the top of the list (well, second to my own game) for playtesting.
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Yasha
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« Reply #13 on: June 20, 2002, 11:20:54 AM »

I was the other player in Clinton's playtest.  I think our perceptions of the playtest would have been more positive if we had all been less tired that evening.  

I thought the setting was fine.  The PCs are members of an order appointed to wander about the countryside, rather independently, to root out takers of life, witches and the undead.  Instead of just a series of minor confrontations, there could be a wide spectrum of corruption to discover and defeat: villages, provinces, religious and secular institutions could all be threatened, infiltrated or conquered, secretly or blatantly, by witches, fallen paladins and other evildoers.   The small incidents are a great way to start introducing the players to the setting and the paladins to the presence of larger threats.   I can appreciate the order having one central HQ, but it might be nice to have locations related to the order throughout the country (outdoor shrines, safehouses, caches, etc.) to help the players feel more connected to the setting.

Dan has mentioned the need for players to be extremely careful about choosing attributes because some choices can make play difficult.  (How do I use innocence to defend myself against a band of pitchfork wielding ghouls?)  I think it would be a mistake for the game to require players to choose all of the attributes on the basis of practicality.  I think it's more interesting for the PCs to discover how they can make use of their innate strengths and flaws, whatever they are.

My suggestion: Let the flesh attributes be interpreted very loosely as styles for strength, protection and relations.  If my PC's protection draws from "evasion," he can still prevent the opponent's advance by darting back and forth as he parries with his glorious fiery sword.  It's his style of defense, but it doesn't mean he always gets completely out of the way.  Interpretations of the light and dark spiritual attributes could allow for lots of cool, metaphorical ways of interpretation, even supernatural effects beyond those listed for the setting.  If the light attribute for protection is innocence, maybe the PC can use light animus to erect a shield of innocence that can prevent an unthinkably evil attack to occur.  Maybe an attribute can even be allowed to be contagious due to the paladin's mighty presence.  In this case, a PC with the dark relation attribute of detachment could spend dark animus to cause a merchant to lose interest in making a profit during a bartering session.  

Perception, or any action (or inaction) can be related to the triad of Strength, Protection and Relations if those categories of action are very abstractly interpreted (or misinterpreted).  Strength could represent the paladin's active force, performing an action that is applied to something/someone else, from picking a lock to driving a hovercraft to stabbing a villain with a holy icepick. Protection would be the passive force, ways that the paladin relates to input.  This would include literacy (reacting to the letters on a page), listening, resisting poison and parrying an unholy chainsaw.  Relation would be the mutual force, where the action only exists because the paladin and the other are both acting on and receiving from each other.  This could include riding a horse, bartering, seduction, serving in a jury and controlling a runaway jetski.
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« Reply #14 on: June 20, 2002, 12:05:38 PM »

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Perception, or any action (or inaction) can be related to the triad of Strength, Protection and Relations if those categories of action are very abstractly interpreted (or misinterpreted). Strength could represent the paladin's active force, performing an action that is applied to something/someone else, from picking a lock to driving a hovercraft to stabbing a villain with a holy icepick. Protection would be the passive force, ways that the paladin relates to input. This would include literacy (reacting to the letters on a page), listening, resisting poison and parrying an unholy chainsaw. Relation would be the mutual force, where the action only exists because the paladin and the other are both acting on and receiving from each other. This could include riding a horse, bartering, seduction, serving in a jury and controlling a runaway jetski.


I did something similar to this in Mage Blade, by dividing each of the groups of attributes into Active, Reactive and Passive/Innate (that last for lack of a better term..) It manages to cover the spectrum of actions fairly well, I think. If your character wants to Go Out and DO something, they'll most likely use an Active attribute. If someone is attempting to Do To Them, they'll most likely be using a Reactive attribute. Passive/Innate usually have set functions which apply to them, and are the most likely to be simply doubled for certain tests, rather than adding to a skill. They can also be used along with the SAME SKILL for different purposes. For example: To attack with a sword, you roll -vs- Dex(Active)+Proficiency: Sword. To parry an attack, you would roll -vs- Agi(Reactive)+Proficiency: Sword. To quick draw your sword, you might just end up rolling Wits(Innate)+Proficiency: Sword.

Now, I'm not trying to toot my own horn; I just happen to think that the triad approach works. The Questions are a really neat way of doing it, both unique and apparently effective, for the most part. But perhaps they could be re-phrased to boil down to their basic concepts.. Which are Active (or Proactive), Reactive, and Interactive.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
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