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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 87 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Fastlane] Another setting, this time with psychics  (Read 1542 times)
Spooky Fanboy
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Posts: 585


« on: April 04, 2009, 09:31:29 AM »

Ever wanted to be a veteran from the psychic wars? Here's how to do it the Fastlane way!
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Spooky Fanboy
Member

Posts: 585


« Reply #1 on: April 05, 2009, 03:32:58 PM »

Now with actual play!

First, I played with Oliver and Brad, two guys I know at the local FLGS. Oliver played his rootless psycho vigilante. (But found the favors system immensely helpful.) Brad played Mr. Wheeler-dealer, a connections-guy for the local crime syndicate. He was Oliver's character's "handler" for assignments.

I had it set up so that Duc Thram from the Eastasia Bloc was putting together a syndicate. Duc is a psychic veteran, like Oliver's and Brad's characters. He tried to sabotage the local family's government "contracts" and frame Oliver's character at the same time by having a Lieutenant Governor clipped execution style.

Deft maneuvering and skin-of-the-teeth bets allowed the characters to survive and close in on Duc Thram, eventually killing him on a warehouse raid.

Oliver complained that the game was very much rigged, and was not a fan of the system. He complained that not only was the system rigged against the players, but that paying the winnings on top of that kept putting them further and further in debt. I forgot to have them tick off their facets, which was something Oliver was glad for.

One thing I did was have them collect their Favors in between bouts and drop them directly into the bank. Was that acceptable?

Also, I set the difficulties at around five or so, but the wheel was not kind to them (American wheel). I put the rest at 2-3 to keep things moving. The last big push was a difficulty 7, and then a difficulty ten for the big bad. What difficulty settings do you recommend?

Somehow, I wasn't sure I was doing things right. I expected the system to be tough, but not as tough as it was.
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Lxndr
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« Reply #2 on: April 05, 2009, 05:34:43 PM »

I'm glad to see some play has happened!

Spending chips on a conflict is one of the most challenging things for new Croupiers, and is something best learned in play. Similarly, good bidding strategy in Fastlane is vital and best learned in play (it's kind of like good bidding strategy in real roulette, but in Fastlane you mostly just want to get back what you put on the table, not necessarily win hugely.)

I honestly recommend starting small (1 or 2) and working your way up - it's sort of a "gut" thing. This also helps your players get their "sea legs" with the wheel. If you feel you need something larger, just remember that with good bidding strategy, a player can usually expect almost exactly as much from the table as they put down (but he'll probably want a little more, to cover the erosion of the facets - although style use covers this as well). Also remember that you'll get, on average, half of what they put down.

With that in mind I generally consider a "fair" challenge to be about half of what a single player is able to bid, plus or minus a chip. Often you can put down exactly what one player is going to bid, and expect that player to win (again, if we assume they play it safe, and know good bidding strategies). When multiple players are working together, it's a bit more difficult to read, but keep the math I've laid out in mind.

 Remember, facets and banks and all that are variable in Fastlane and that's one of its features. The numbers are supposed to be meaningless, except in relation to one another. Start with 36 apiece, you'll get facets ranging from 1 to 7, clustering in the middle, and so difficulties are also probably going to be between 1 and 7 (still clustering in the middle). Start with 100 apiece, you'll get facets ranging from 1 to 18... you get the drift.

Oliver is right - the game is stacked against the PCs. But that's one of the selling points of the system. Roulette has a nasty house percentage, one of the biggest you'll find in most casinos. On the other hand, the inexorable draw towards debt, the erosion of the facets, can be covered with a little luck, and the strategic use of styles (and styles are friendlier and more flexible in the rewrite).

I thought I'd mentioned something about "how to spend as a Croupier" somewhere in the Fastlane text, but I can't find anything now. Bad author, bad! Something to remember adding in the future!

As for Favors - collecting them between bouts and just cashing them is mechanically fine, although a bit against the spirit. Collecting favors is supposed to be a way to get scenes between characters, and if that all happens off-screen... that's good, as long as you still feel it fits the story. A lot of times in stories it's awesome to get the big reveal "and then I talked to Johnny Two-Tone and arranged X" only in a later scene (hence why it's allowed to call Favors in mid-conflict). Although (and this may be a technicality based on how unlucky your players were) I wouldn't so much drop Favors "directly into the bank" as much as I'd say "you can use these in your next conflict(s)". I mean, if they were scraping the bottom of the barrel, they were probably bidding those every time.

Anyway. Hopefully my ramblings are making some sense.
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Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming
Spooky Fanboy
Member

Posts: 585


« Reply #3 on: April 05, 2009, 06:03:34 PM »

Okay, so start small and let them drop Favors into bets.

Next game, I'll enforce the rule about Facet burn, but I'll start them off with 50 chips. Get them used to betting strategy. Let them drop favors directly into the bet.

Got it.
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2009, 07:36:49 AM »

Yay, Fastlane AP!

This has inspired me to strongly consider giving Fastlane a shot next time I can round up the gamers. I think I may wait until the second-to-next though, so as to give me time to brush up on the rules. Also, as it's likely I'll be adding a new player, something everyone else is familiar with would probably be best.

Spooky,

A strategy I developed during Fastlane playtesting was to bid against myself. This is, I think, what Alex means when he says playing it safe. Split your bid between alternating bets. For instance, if you're bidding 5, bid three black, two red. If you get red, then you have a total of 4 chips to use in the conflict. If you get black, you have 6.

Also, strongly consider favoring your lucky number. If your lucky number is black, bid black. If it's in the middle strip, bid the middle strip. This means that if your lucky number does come up, you cash in multiple ways.

Finally, your players should understand up front that Fastlane isn't a game about winning and going home victorious. Unless you hit your lucky number, chances are pretty good that you're going to burn out and use it all up. That's important. If you can't accept that basic truth, you're going to have trouble with the game. If you can accept it, and you're willing to tell that kind of story, then you're good as gold.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Spooky Fanboy
Member

Posts: 585


« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2009, 02:22:16 PM »

Yay, Fastlane AP!

This has inspired me to strongly consider giving Fastlane a shot next time I can round up the gamers. I think I may wait until the second-to-next though, so as to give me time to brush up on the rules. Also, as it's likely I'll be adding a new player, something everyone else is familiar with would probably be best.

Spooky,

A strategy I developed during Fastlane playtesting was to bid against myself. This is, I think, what Alex means when he says playing it safe. Split your bid between alternating bets. For instance, if you're bidding 5, bid three black, two red. If you get red, then you have a total of 4 chips to use in the conflict. If you get black, you have 6.

Also, strongly consider favoring your lucky number. If your lucky number is black, bid black. If it's in the middle strip, bid the middle strip. This means that if your lucky number does come up, you cash in multiple ways.

Finally, your players should understand up front that Fastlane isn't a game about winning and going home victorious. Unless you hit your lucky number, chances are pretty good that you're going to burn out and use it all up. That's important. If you can't accept that basic truth, you're going to have trouble with the game. If you can accept it, and you're willing to tell that kind of story, then you're good as gold.

Wolfen:

I'm the GM. It's my players who got shocked by the system. But you're right: when they pooled their efforts, and bet smart, they succeeded.
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Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2009, 11:32:00 PM »

Right, I got that. My use of the word 'you' was general, referring to any and all possible players of the game, not necessarily restricted to you personally, or even your group. It was inspired by your report that some people in the group didn't like how the system seemed stacked against them, but it wasn't only about that.

On the other hand, if that player's lucky number came up, he'd probably be singing a slightly different tune. Even one lucky number hit shifts the balance of power at the table pretty dramatically. In the "Sin Planet Ezra" game Alex ran during playtesting, lucky numbers came up three times. I hit mine mid-way through the game, and another player hit his in the last session. If I'd not hit mine again almost immediately after (or was it before?) the end would have been very different. As it was, Alex was occasionally laying down 10 chip challenges, and I was throwing chips away to blow them out of the water.
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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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