*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 31, 2014, 11:39:38 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 67 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Player Empowerment  (Read 5810 times)
ctone
Member

Posts: 5


« on: January 17, 2008, 11:58:54 AM »

I have another semi-newbish question. 

I did pick up FN, and have been reading through it.  I was looking for a section dealing with player empowerment but couldn't really find anything (which is generally the case).  Just as a point of clarification, by player empowerment I mean specific game rules designed to give the player some control over the game world. 

There is a example I have, unfortunately I can't remember what game it was.  In this game, characters that succeeded at making knowledge skill rolls were allowed to make up the information on the spot.  This lead to a lot of crazy and fun situations, and, unfortunately, a few really inane and nearly game breaking ones.  I was wondering if Fae Noir has any similar means of handling player empowerment (or if anybody playing FN has used some method they find effective). 

As a lazy GM, I am all for means of giving players more control over the story.
Logged
JustinB
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 106


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 18, 2008, 02:26:50 PM »

I've never seen a game that allowed characters to determine what was broadly true or untrue about the game world every time they made a knowledge check. That sort of thing seems like it would either cause a lot of record-keeping for the group or cause mass chaos, once other players started re-writing the "information" by making their own successful knowledge checks.

Speaking more broadly about things like fate chips or drama points I would suggest, first, that most mainstream games don't use these (certainly White Wolf, D&D, Shadowrun, Rifts, etc. don't) and for the most part, these systems don't truly serve the function of empowering a player as far as altering the story. They're just a fiddly way of getting a special bonus on a die roll or avoiding taking damage. This isn't always the case, but it seems to be the way FUDGE points work as do bennies in Savage Worlds. Mortal Coil is one game I can think of that does the closest to what you're talking about, where the players spend a limited supply of, um, magic chips? To define the rules of magic as the game is played, which is pretty cool, but also makes the game heavily about competing to define the rules of magic.
I prefer that Fae Noir be about the stories rather than about competing to see who gets to tell which portion of a scene.

That said, I've been thinking about the noir genre a lot lately and how to push Fae Noir to further to duplicate its tropes. I plan to put optional Action Point rules in the Companion, which will be the next FN book that comes out after Amazing Arcana. These would be somewhat similar to drama points, but more specific in focus, designed to reinforce the noir aspects of the game and to further certain already extant game mechanical elements. Hell, I may even post the rules on the site as a teaser, as I did with the "Making Fae Noir Less Deadly" download, which is also slated for the Companion.
Logged

Check out Fae Noir, a game of 1920's fantasy. http://greenfairygames.com
Dunefan
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #2 on: January 25, 2008, 08:36:06 AM »

CTone, I think the game that you are talking about is Burning Wheel.  Specifically, the rules of Artha.  It allows for a fair deal of metagaming, but uses a mechanic that I find quite effective.  Its basically earned by good role playing, which I particularly enjoy because most games dont have a core reward system for this.
Logged
Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 25, 2008, 10:39:58 AM »

ctone: I think you're probably thinking of either Clinton Nixon's Donjon, or Memento-Mori's InSpectres, both of which have rules similar to what you describe.

In InSpectres, depending on how well you roll, you get to narrate the results of any roll. For instance, you could narrate how you punched someone and knocked them through the floor, revealing a hidden room beneath the floorboards. InSpectres can be played seriously, but it does tend to be a little wacky, probably due to the Ghostbusters/Scooby Doo associations.

In Donjon, rolls to determine if you spot something, hear something, or find something aren't the same as in D&D. If you succeed, you find something, and you get to decide what it is, regardless of whether or not the GM had originally planned that there be anything. For instance, if you roll to see if you hear anything on the other side of a door, and you succeed, you might decide that you hear two orcs arguing on the other side of the door.

I was rather enamoured of these types of rules myself, and used something similar in one of my own games. It's possible, but unlikely, that you're thinking of my game, though. The main thing to realize with these rules is that there has to be a level of trust for all players at the table. You have to trust that everyone will contribute things that will enrich the game, and make it more enjoyable for everyone. Without that, it all breaks down.

Also, in general, once something has been established, it becomes true, and cannot be "rewritten" simply with another knowledge roll. There are cases in either of the two games where that could be true, but it really comes down to the above requirement of trust; It may be that I establish some fact (mummies are damaged by sunlight) and you choose to rewrite it to say that it's a common myth, but isn't true. This breaks down unless I agree with your rewritten fact, not because it breaks continuity necessarily, but because it negates my contribution. And obviously if after my fact a mummy was damaged by sunlight, your rewriting will have to take that into account.

Anyhow, I think I may be pretty far off-topic for the forum. I hope I've stepped on no toes, but this is a mechanical idea that I'm interested in.
Logged

~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
ctone
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #4 on: February 13, 2008, 08:00:16 AM »

JustinB,

I would be very interested in hearing more about these Action Points, specifically, how they would be handed out, and if the GM gets any (to be used, for example, to save a particular NPC).

In my current campaign I am using something that I guess is similar to the benny system from Savage Worlds, except that it allows the player to make narrative changes.  There are 3 benny types that do specific things:

If the player isn't in a scene, they can spend a point to show up.
If the player takes lethal damage, they can spend a point to avoid death if they can describe some narrative means of doing so
To gain information that they couldn't otherwise obtain using their characters (i.e., the villain explaining his entire plan)

The main problem I'm having is defining what the scope of these changes should be, and how to award bennies.  Right now, I'm giving out 1 per session, but people keep saving them, so that some now have around 5. 

One great thing about the system in Fae Noir is that the lethality of the system really lends itself to bennies, especially when it comes to using them to soak up damage.  I think having a more detailed method than what I came up with would be really useful.



Logged
Dunefan
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #5 on: February 15, 2008, 07:27:17 AM »

CTone, I think that given the lack of Charisma based rules, a good use of Action Points would be to guarantee sucess of a charisma based task that one of the players might be interested in doing, but isn't necessarily the kind of person that could get away with it.

For example, Honey Dew is a Burlesque performer that has the key to her boss's safe.  The PC wants the key, and plans to hook up with her in order to get it.  The player might not have any real life skills in dealing with this situation, or does a poor job.  They could use an Action Point to score with Honey and grab the key from her (maybe by finding some sort of Spanish Fly dealer or something). 

I like the idea of spending the Action Point to show up in a scene, as that has a sort of Noir-ish quality to it.  Another use of Action Points might be to cause some sort of minor, yet beneficial, coincidence (the player is looking for a way into a bootlegger's house, and can spend an Action Point to have the bootlegger forget to lock a door - although the Action Point doesn't get rid of the Troll with the elephant gun on the other side of the door). 
Logged
JustinB
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 106


WWW
« Reply #6 on: February 15, 2008, 09:40:31 AM »

CTone, I think that given the lack of Charisma based rules, a good use of Action Points would be to guarantee sucess of a charisma based task that one of the players might be interested in doing, but isn't necessarily the kind of person that could get away with it.

For example, Honey Dew is a Burlesque performer that has the key to her boss's safe.  The PC wants the key, and plans to hook up with her in order to get it.  The player might not have any real life skills in dealing with this situation, or does a poor job.  They could use an Action Point to score with Honey and grab the key from her (maybe by finding some sort of Spanish Fly dealer or something). 

I like the idea of spending the Action Point to show up in a scene, as that has a sort of Noir-ish quality to it.  Another use of Action Points might be to cause some sort of minor, yet beneficial, coincidence (the player is looking for a way into a bootlegger's house, and can spend an Action Point to have the bootlegger forget to lock a door - although the Action Point doesn't get rid of the Troll with the elephant gun on the other side of the door). 

ctone:
I think the main question with any kind of Action Point system is how powerful you want the expenditure of a single action point to be. If you're handing out one per session but they act as the equivalent of a nuclear bomb in the game mechanics, then I wouldn't be surprised if players are hoarding them for emergencies. I know that in the Savage Worlds games I've played people tend to ONLY spend bennies on soaking damage, in spite of the fact that bennies theoretically have other possible uses.
As far as what I had been planning for FN and Action Points I was looking mainly at things that would reinforce genre conventions. First, an action point could be spent to cancel wound penalties for one action (this would help duplicate the climactic scenes from any number of films/books). Second, they could be spent to activate the "positive" aspect of a Personality Flaw (giving a bonus on rolls that are important to a character). And third, they could be spent to declare that helpful items were present in the environment, if their presence made sense. For example, a letter-opener that doubles as a knife on a desk or a crowbar or towing cable in the trunk of a car, but not a pistol lying on the forest floor.
I haven't worked through the entire rules-set for these yet, but I had been looking at suggesting 1-2 be provided to players per session.
Because FN lacks an instant-death mechanic, I tend to shy away from using action points to prevent damage or "death."
However, I REALLY like the idea of using action points to appear in a scene. It's both genre appropriate and an elegant solution to meta-game issues of "Well, how far away IS my character?" I'm definitely going to include that in the Action Points mechanics in the Companion.

Dunefan:
That Charisma thing sounds interesting. Sort of a lighter version of actual plot manipulation. I can definitely see how that could work well.
Logged

Check out Fae Noir, a game of 1920's fantasy. http://greenfairygames.com
Dunefan
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2008, 11:24:05 AM »

JustinB, I think that really, the best use for Action Points are for plot manipulations.  I think that one of the examples you gave, the useful item appearing in a scene, is a really perfect. 

Personally, I don't like the use of Action Points as roll affecting mechanics.  Roll outcome is based on luck, and unlucky rolls stink.  I think if someone is using something that is so valuable that they only get one use of per session then they should have it be guaranteed to do something.  I think we have all had experience using a benny or something similar to reroll and having it fail. 

That said, having Action Points affect rolls does fall in line with RPG conventions; however, I'd really love to see the convention modified a bit.

For example, there are some neat ways to use Action Points to affect rolling mechanics while still affecting plot.  One thing to consider would be to have a player that uses an Action Point get to use a skill that they have when attemping a task that they are normally unskilled in.  In doing so they can avoid the untrained skill test penalty.  For instance, using their heroics instead of an unskilled throwing when trying to throw their gun to hit a button that stops poison gas from being released over the city.

That's not really the best example, though, and I think the approach needs some refinement.  Still, I think it shows how it is possible to have Action Points change the roll mechanic while still allowing for some plot manipulation (i.e., the player has to describe how they use their heroics to throw: just closing their eyes and hoping for a lucky toss).
Logged
JustinB
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 106


WWW
« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 02:22:18 PM »

I can see how that would work, but the particular mechanic you're discussing feels more pulp actiony than I want FN to be. One of the major reasons that skills are comparatively narrowly defined in FN is because it reinforces the isolation of the world in the 1920s as well as reinforcing the hardboiled core of the game.
I also think you're underestimating the value that a +2-+4 on a die roll has when you're rolling half-dozen d8s. Unlike Savage Worlds, you're not depending on a single die to succeed. On average, that kind of bonus is pretty enormous not to mention encouraging players to have morally gray, interesting, characters because a higher Personality Flaw makes for a larger bonus when you trigger the positive value of it with an Action Point.

Of course, it's not like I'm going to come to anyone's weekly game and stop them from implementing house rules.
Logged

Check out Fae Noir, a game of 1920's fantasy. http://greenfairygames.com
Dunefan
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #9 on: March 15, 2008, 08:26:14 AM »

JustinB, I can't really argue against how much a +2 will affect the outcome of rolls, as it is definitely a nice bonus.  I just think that a lot of role playing involves the luck of the roll, so I really appreciate having some aspect being completely independent of luck. 

It does seem like this kind of thing might be out of place in the Fae Noir game system, if not the setting. 

As a game designer, what is your feeling about house rules?  I think if it were my game I might get a bit ticked off, since I had worked on the game to get it to the point where I feel it is complete.
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!