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Author Topic: Emergent Techniques: Challenge and King Solomon's Auction  (Read 8633 times)
Le Joueur
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« on: July 22, 2002, 02:50:15 PM »

I'm gonna throw two Techniques together (mostly because it's past time I spelled out one of them).  The first is mentioned in passing in the Mechanix, the second it Scattershot's method for handling player conflicts.

Before I began revising the Mechanix thread, the first Techinque I'd like to deal with here was referred to as Complications.  This wasn't terribly accurate in accords with our terminology design criteria.  The correct term will be Challenge.

Challenges
Challenge is basically anything that modifies a regular die roll.  You wanna 'aim for the neck?'  Wanna 'rush things?'  Wanna 'go for broke?'  Wanna 'wing it?'  Then you want to make your attempt more Challenging.  You do this by offering to 'do things differently.'  When you declare your Action, you specify how it will be done 'differently.'

It's not so important to measure how differently, but actually only to describe the significant aspects.  Our rule of thumb is 'mention anything you wouldn't want them to forget.'  This means skip the small stuff.  When you start to get more than three or four of these, it means you probably don't need to roll to succeed (but may still want to in order to generate detail).

Challenge is most often self-applied (before or after a die roll) to improve chances ("I'll make a flailing attack in hit general area." or "I aim first."), increase potential result (the familiar 'swing for the neck' or 'going for broke'), or complicate Detail (often as a pacing tool).

Other player can also offer Challenge to your rolls.  This can happen anytime during your action, but is somewhat unusual.  These things include things that make an Action more difficult ("Actually, his helmet has a neck-guard."), lessen the result ("They roll with your blow."), or to complicate the Detail ("It turns out that they use a peculiar kind of ink that shines different colors at different angles.")  Now this can either be 'friendly advice,' which you can take or leave, or it becomes a contest.  To handle this do the following:
    The
'Challenger' must 'ante up' one Experience Dice, otherwise the Actor may use or ignore the Challenge at their discretion.

If the Actor simply accepts the Challenge, treat it like it was self-applied.

If the Actor rebukes the Challenge, and there's no Moderator, then it must be handled per a Solomon's Auction (see below).

    If the
Challenger takes part in an Auction, they may also claim Speakership as part of the spoils, 'stealing' the Actor's turn.

If the Challenger has second thoughts about joining an Auction, a proxy may take his place just as responsible for the losses and spoils as the original.[/list:u]
A successful Challenge where the Speakership does not change is called a Complication.  Thus too is a self-applied Challenge.[/list:u]You can also 'Challenge' a self-applied Complication, usually on the grounds that it 'goes against' the Genre Expectations (for example; having too many Complications)

The purpose is to 'collect' all the various mechanical benefits of die roll modifiers from the various applications of dice resolution into one simple mechanic.  It also allows 'bidding wars' over the complications faced by characters in the narrative.  (The chief benefit is that the whole group is now engaged in keeping the pacing appropriate to the Genre Expectations.)

The Auction
In order to mediate conflicts between players as opposed to between characters and personae, it was necessary it create a Technique that can be used between two or more players including the gamemaster.  Using this Technique, it is possible to 'force' a change in Leadership (see the "Who's in Charge" article).  This Technique expands simply in case it becomes a conflict between factions (parties of more than one player) by allowing them to 'buy in' to the Auction.

Originally we called this "King Solomon's Auction" based on the vague idea that the loser takes the prize.  Since both 'sides' gain something, this is not a very accurate name; still it persists amongst the playtesters, use it at you own risk.

Before a Solomon's Auction takes place, two or more parties playing together must disagree.  Since we assume good gamesmanship, we expect they will be 'friendly' about it.  Both parties must enter into the Auction willingly or not at all.  The stakes should be clear to all present before the Auction begins:[list=1][*]Both points of view must be articulated clearly (to avoid Auction over incorrectly specified agreements or trivial differences).
[*]The other members of the group must suggest at least 2 rounds of compromises (a single notable compromise is clarified each 'round').
[*]When no compromise is acceptable, the contenders begin a 'bidding war' using Experience Dice.
[*]Taking turns, the bidders suggest how many Experience Dice it is worth to them.  This amount must increase each turn.
[*]A contender may bid more Experience Dice than they have if they take out a 'karmic loan' from stock (see elsewhere for details) or receive aid from another player (the terms of which are totally up to them, but must be of some significance).  This allows factions to bid.
[*]Whoever bids the most is the winner, "going, going, gone."
[*]The winner has the choice over the solution; the loser gets those Experience Dice from the winner.[/list:o]If Leadership is at stake, the winner becomes the Leader (if they desire) as well as dictating the results.  The same goes for any other stakes, except 'continual stakes' such as who the gamemaster is, how the mechanix are applied, or any other circumstance that affects more than the bidders; all of these must be ratified by a quorum (not that such couldn't be called for using a Solomon's Auction, this would be a 'coup de tat').  'Single instant' decisions can violate the 'continual stakes' status quo as the winner decides; they're impact on the narrative is fixed, but does not force 'new interpretations' to be furthermore enforced.

I'm looking forward to how this Technique 'reads' to see if I am missing something from how we use it.  I also look forward to any kind of feedback on any part of Scattershot, its Mechanix, and its Techniques, from anyone.  I am sorry this forum has been so quiet lately, but we're building up to a big announcement in the next month or so.

Fang Langford
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #1 on: July 22, 2002, 03:42:56 PM »

Hey Fang,

I think Solomon's Auction is pretty damn interesting mechanics. It's going to thunderstorm here in a couple of minutes, so I should get offline. But I just want to suggest that I think Scattershot has so much atypical stuff in it that you might want to consider creating a sort-of light, playtest, lab environment rules system that you could spin out into various other lean, specific, premise-focused "games." I'm thinking of games that feature a few of the unconventional elements from Scattershot, but in more of a "comfort food" game format that maybe isn't concerned with provoking extended or customizable play. It would be somewhat an exercise in subterfuge, a way of securing focused feedback on some of the mechanics (like Solomon's Auction) that you've developed for Scattershot, but in a context that doesn't obscure the information you're really after by being all of Scattershot's innovations at once. Essentially, you'd be provoking playtest by dangling a tempting setting and premise combination at potential players, with primarily non-threatening rules and a hidden "payload" of the innovative stuff you're specifically interested in. Done right, they'd feel like distinct, coherent, self-contained designs. Roll these things out like Zak does with his game designs, one every arbitrary interim of time.

Paul
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #2 on: July 23, 2002, 06:16:49 AM »

Hey Paul,
We're way ahead of you.

Quote from: Paul Czege
I think Solomon's Auction is pretty damn interesting mechanics.

Thanks.  I hope it reads the way we use it; it has been one of the hardest Techniques to spell out (the way it can affect everything).

Quote from: Paul Czege
I just want to suggest that I think Scattershot has so much atypical stuff in it that you might want to consider creating a sort-of light, playtest, lab environment rules system that you could spin out into various other lean, specific, premise-focused "games."

Actually, that's the basis of our product design specifications.  A looonng time ago we realized that we simply couldn't put all of Scattershot in any one book.  It simply wouldn't work as a product.  A lot of the "atypical stuff" we haven't even released yet winds up being more tailored to a single Genre Expectation (or two) or Approach (or two) that we plan as few as twelve (out of a list of over forty and growing) products that will even approach comprehensive compositions.

Quote from: Paul Czege
I'm thinking of games that feature a few of the unconventional elements from Scattershot, but in more of a "comfort food" game format that maybe isn't concerned with provoking extended or customizable play.

Yep, this is what the bulk of the product line is planned for.  Surrounding and 'linked to' those twelve 'central' products are a whole laundry list of 'satellites.'  Each uses only a fraction of the 'whole system.'  Rarefied to a very specific Genre Expectation (and not even introducing that concept), composed of only the Basic Mechanix (and a Basic genre specific mechanical plug-in), they will each focus on a singular Approach with it's attendant (and genre appropriate) Techniques.

Each 'satellite' will focus on delivering a Genre Expectation (without actually talking about what that is) with color, style, and panache (and a couple of Mechanix too).  Things like 'heavy FitM play' or 'fairly Referential or Gamemasterful play' will only appear in a few, suitable products.

Quote from: Paul Czege
It would be somewhat an exercise in subterfuge, a way of securing focused feedback on some of the mechanics (like Solomon's Auction) that you've developed for Scattershot, but in a context that doesn't obscure the information you're really after by being all of Scattershot's innovations at once.

While I am tempted to include Solomon's Auction as an appendix to every product, I only see it being "comfortable" in our live-action role-playing game supplements (largely because it's best suited to play in the absence of a gamemaster or sometimes a moderator).  I can see what you mean; it's a very important point.  One problem is a few of the innovations won't function entirely well independently; a few need to be in conjunction with some others.  But we are sensitive to the need to 'hold back' too much innovation at any given point.

We take it a step farther too.  I noticed a long time ago that GURPS had so many 'optional' rules that it became an exercise simply to explain which your group was using (that often changed from campaign to campaign).  We decided that even that kind of complexity amongst 'comfortable' rules was 'not a good thing.'  Like what you suggest here, we decided to do the same with the complexity of the Mechanix.  Not only that but we also wanted to simplify the choice of complexity.  For that reason we separated the Mechanix into Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced stages.  While we haven't given such titles to the Techniques (largely because they tie-in better to genres than to complexities), we segregate them as well.

Quote from: Paul Czege
Essentially, you'd be provoking playtest by dangling a tempting setting and premise combination at potential players, with primarily non-threatening rules and a hidden "payload" of the innovative stuff you're specifically interested in.  Done right, they'd feel like distinct, coherent, self-contained designs.

Done really right, they will not only feel like that, but also seem like (when combined through the filter of the twelve 'core products') they fit together like a jigsaw puzzle.  These are grand plans, man, grand plans.  I don't see any reason to keep the 'non-threatening nature' strictly to the playtest; we want the whole line to work like that.

Right now we're really excited about our latest 'satellite,' a game of modern færies.  Unlike much of the stories and games available right now, we've come up with a way to make it more free and open-ended, removing every vestige of 'meta-plot' (as in 'the magic is going away') from it.  I'd like to talk more about it, but so far I have had a really hard time expressing it outside of numerous outside references and exceptions.

Quote from: Paul Czege
Roll these things out like Zak does with his game designs, one every arbitrary interim of time.

When we were still planning this in a 'for print' fashion, the ideal was two-products-bimonthly (usually a play-aid and a satellite, but sometimes two satellites).  This was to keep a 'shelf presence' and required that the 'satellite' creation be fast and clear.  So far the repetitive material is still shaping up so that we can do that, but now we're looking at a much slower schedule and .pdf releases (we just got a computer that has Adobe Pagemaker on it, Yippee!).  Right now, our biggest impediment is art.  While both of us are illustrators, we are almost outnumbered by our kids (we definitely are if you count a borderline 'special needs' kid as needing more than one parent).  That is why I refer to our release schedule as 'watching the grass grow' fast.

What I'm curious about is which unconventional elements 'stick out' in your mind.  (I mean I know I'd love an 'outsider's view,' exhaustive list of them, but that's a little too ambitious to ask for.)  Since I'm 'under the hood' so much, it's hard for me to recognize the 'racing parts' from the regular 'engine components.'  Care to give it a go around to help me get started?

I am also on the border¹ of having our first web-based product ready for release.  I hope people will like it, but I can't announce it until I get it all into one place.  Wish me luck!

Fang Langford

¹ That means within two months of release; pretty much tomorrow the way our calendar works.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #3 on: July 23, 2002, 08:02:04 AM »

Quote from: Le Joueur
I'm looking forward to how this Technique 'reads' to see if I am missing something from how we use it.


Well, it seems very much like the challenge mechanic from Baron Munhausen (or so I've been told). Which we stole for Universalis. So, I can tell you from experience that it works, and works well, pretty much as you have it written. The one thing that you ommitted is the double jeopardy clause. That is, once the auction is over, the losing player can't simply challenge back (and, having garnered the dice from his opponent, presumably win every time). I assume that it should be in there, but that its omission is just an oversight.

Mike
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damion
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« Reply #4 on: July 23, 2002, 09:05:26 AM »

Minor question:
What can experiance die be used for other than this auction?
(Looked around, but couldn't find it. Of course there are ALOT of scattershot threads).

I guess my point is that this could end up serving as a mechanic
for transfering dice, rather than resolving conflict, via the mechanism of spurious conflict. Also, by challenging a person who is heavily bought in, one could effectivly steal dice.(Drive up the bid, then lose). Obviously this violates some sort of social contract, but I think it is a danger.

My suggestion would be to have the auction based on a quanity that can only be used to direct the action.  My point is that if experiance dice, can say be used to improve a charachter, or somehow affect the narrative in a differnt way, then people could use this as a way of bean-trading between the two ways. I get the impression this isn't what you intend. I guess I'm saying that if you make rules for something, people will use them in a way they arn't intended, but you knew that.

Sorry if I'm way off base here, or that is what you intended.
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James
Le Joueur
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« Reply #5 on: July 23, 2002, 11:16:17 AM »

Quote from: damion
Minor question:
What can Experience Dice be used for other than this auction?

Any time dice come out, anyone present can throw an Experience Die (or more) into the mix, for or against the Actor.  That's the primary use.  There's also forcing the game into Specific play by invoking a die roll for Detail during General play.  (For example, you're just describing a scene along and you decide that you want an unknown quantity of money out of your trip to the casino; you roll just an Experience Die to create this Detail - in General play all Actions are assumed successful - and read it as the MIB for an imaginary 'Gambling roll.')  You can also 'spend' them on character improvement (take as many Experience Dice as you like and roll the total against this list; 6, 10, 14, 18, 22...one point for each number you beat, then those dice are gone).  Finally, you can straight out spend them on 'direct adjustments to the plot,' such as creating a deus ex machina.

Quote from: damion
I guess my point is that this could end up serving as a mechanic for transferring dice, rather than resolving conflict, via the mechanism of spurious conflict. Also, by challenging a person who is heavily bought in, one could effectively steal dice. ([One] drives up the bid, and then loses.) Obviously this violates some sort of social contract, but I think it is a danger.

That is actually intentional.  Remember the 'two rounds of compromises?'  The social contract is preserved because a 'dice stealer' has to be really clever about their objection or the refusal of compromise illustrates their 'true motive.'  Given their motives manifest and their continued conflict, nothing says that the person they are conflicting with cannot 'opt out,' stealing their dice.

We've got to be careful here and remember I'm not writing Techniques to prevent dysfunctional play.  (I consider that impossible.)  Given good gamesmanship, I think Experience Dice 'stealing' using Solomon's Auction is a good thing, especially in player-versus-player Joueur Approach play.  (Especially considering Mike's excellent advice.)

Quote from: damion
My suggestion would be to have the auction based on a quantity that can only be used to direct the action.  My point is that if Experience Dice, can say be used to improve a character, or somehow affect the narrative in a different way, then people could use this as a way of bean-trading between the two ways. I get the impression this isn't what you intend. I guess I'm saying that if you make rules for something, people will use them in a way they aren't intended, but you knew that.

This was originally how the Technique got started, but as I worked on the Gamemasterful sharing stuff, it turned out to work quite well for settling differences.  I think the confusion you might be having is that Scattershot 'changes' depending on how you Approach it.

In player-versus-player Joueur play, 'stealing' dice and "bean-trading" fit the bill perfectly; everyone knows about it and counts on being able to do it.  Whereas in Gamemasterful sharing, Swashbuckler play, few people will look at Experience Dice as the character advancement mechanic, expecting those from in-game rewards; for them it becomes a Technique to call foul on inappropriate play.  For Self-Conscious narrative, Auteur play, it becomes a mechanism for controlling the overall direction of the narrative or how that addresses the theme in a theme-ambitious scheme.

Non-dysfunctional dice 'stealing' only really becomes a problem when the 'victim' couldn't expect it; that's a case of contrasting Approaches.  I'm not sure how 'improving a character' isn't a significant 'effect on the narrative' either.  Are you contrasting Experience Dice as character improvement mechanix (usually a Joueur Approach) with "affecting the narrative" in Self-Conscious narrative fashion (often an Auteur Approach)?  That clearly illustrates a contrast of Approaches.  While it is important for me to have Scattershot 'house' each Approach and support them, I cannot make it so that it will work for all of them at the same time.

The jury is still out on whether Solomon's Auction can become one of the Mechanix (meaning it is suited to all forms of play when using the proper Techniques) or if it must remain a Technique (which are different depending on what form of gaming is followed).

I'd appreciate it, providing I am reading your last example wrong, if you could explain more clearly.  It sounds like you may have a valid concern that I might like to address.

Fang Langford
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #6 on: July 23, 2002, 11:19:50 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote from: Le Joueur
I'm looking forward to how this Technique 'reads' to see if I am missing something from how we use it.

Well, it seems very much like the challenge mechanic from Baron Munchausen (or so I've been told). Which we stole for Universalis. So, I can tell you from experience that it works, and works well, pretty much as you have it written. The one thing that you omitted is the double jeopardy clause. That is, once the auction is over, the losing player can't simply challenge back (and, having garnered the dice from his opponent, presumably win every time). I assume that it should be in there, but that its omission is just an oversight.

Quite right.  And thank you for pointing that out.  Consider the Double Jeopardy clause part of the official Technique.

Fang Langford
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damion
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« Reply #7 on: July 24, 2002, 03:48:51 PM »

First off: Yeah, my bad. Most of the ways this can go wrong are either poor gamesmanship or disfunctional. And your right that you can't do anything about it. Sorry, I've had my share of poor experinaces.
   
   What I was think of was that by having Eperiance Dice as the value being traded you end up with a conflict between short and long term gain. Frex a charachter who spends Dice on improvement may end of dominating the narrative compared to one who uses their dice for short term changes, because the first chachter will be more 'improved'. I think it is difficult to balance these two types of narrative control.

Quote

Are you contrasting Experience Dice as character improvement mechanix (usually a Joueur Approach) with "affecting the narrative" in Self-Conscious narrative fashion (often an Auteur Approach)? That clearly illustrates a contrast of Approaches. While it is important for me to have Scattershot 'house' each Approach and support them, I cannot make it so that it will work for all of them at the same time.

 I think this addresses my concern. However I think the concept would be a bit difficult to address in play.  Are you expecting everyone to have the same approach?  

You could solve this problem easily by haveing a Story Dice quantity. Story Dice are gained whenever Experiance Dice are, but are only used to affect the narrative and in auctions.  Now I'm sure you thought of this, so I'm wondering why DID you choose to use the experiance dice?

Unrelated Comment: You might want to put in a 'any player may at any time give any other player as many experiance dice as they want' rule.  Maybe this could be part of a compromise. The point being that Scattershot seems quite focused on rules, and you can do this anyway with the rules, so you might as well allow it explicitly and avoid alot of pointsless auctions.  :)

2nd Unrelated Comment:Possibly Challenges should add something to the narrative, rather than JUST makeing an action more difficult. A self imposed Challenge does, I can Challenge myself and say I'm hurrying, but if I over come it, I hurried. This does not seem to be case with other challenges, they are just penalties. I'm not familair enough with Scattershot to suggest one,but perhaps if one overcomes a challenge without any other type of benefit, one should get something. I suppose you could bow out of the first round of biding, getting the die the challanger antied, but that seems a bit disfunctional.
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James
Le Joueur
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« Reply #8 on: July 24, 2002, 09:24:25 PM »

Quote from: damion
First off: Yeah, my bad. Most of the ways this can go wrong are either poor gamesmanship or dysfunctional. And you're right that you can't do anything about it. Sorry, I've had my share of poor experiences.
   
What I was think of was that by having Experience Dice as the value being traded you end up with a conflict between short and long term gain. Frex a character who spends Dice on improvement may end of dominating the narrative compared to one who uses their dice for short term changes, because the first character will be more 'improved'. I think it is difficult to balance these two types of narrative control.

Again you are combining contrasting Approaches.  A game that will allow point-wise character efficacy (that which is driven by the improvement Mechanix) dominate the narrative is mostly not the kind that 'gives' well to instantaneous expenditures.

Or put another way, a game where there's barely enough Experience Dice to raise your efficacy won't come anywhere near enough for 'making adjustments to the plot' and vice versa.  This was an intentional design feature, not a flaw.  The improvement mechanix 'break down' (meaning they're not much fun) at high Experience Dice reward levels and the 'making adjustments to the plot' mechanix barely work (can't get 'enough air') at low levels.

Quote from: damion
Quote from: Le Joueur
Are you contrasting Experience Dice as character improvement Mechanix (usually a Joueur Approach) with "affecting the narrative" in Self-Conscious narrative fashion (often an Auteur Approach)? That clearly illustrates a contrast of Approaches. While it is important for me to have Scattershot 'house' each Approach and support them, I cannot make it so that it will work for all of them at the same time.

I think this addresses my concern. However I think the concept would be a bit difficult to address in play.  Are you expecting everyone to have the same approach?

Not exactly.  Frequently a single Genre Expectation will pretty much be geared to a single Approach (although a few are based on special mixtures, but they're rare) and in those cases, yes that's the expectation.  However, there are many functional combinations (combining 'power-up' Joueur players and 'plot devising' Auteur players isn't one of them).

Quote from: damion
You could solve this problem easily by having a Story Dice quantity. Story Dice are gained whenever Experience Dice are, but are only used to affect the narrative and in auctions.  Now I'm sure you thought of this, so I'm wondering why DID you choose to use the experience dice?

Actually the original form was 'story points' and experience dice; the dice were only used to improve the character.  Then one day I had a flash of K.I.S.S. (Keep It Simple, Stoopid), why not just use one thing?  I had already decided to let the improvement mechanism be 'spent' to help single situations; this was just the next logical step.  After a few different playgroups tried it, we discovered the wedge it creates between the two types of play described above; a feature not a bug.

Besides, I like simple games.  None of the playtests have come back with a complaint on this issue.  Looks more like an 'I am not explaining this well' problem; these often stem from the fact that the particular incarnations of the Techniques vary a great deal from Genre Expectation to Genre Expectation.

Quote from: damion
Unrelated Comment: You might want to put in a 'any player may at any time give any other player as many experience dice as they want' rule.  Maybe this could be part of a compromise. The point being that Scattershot seems quite focused on rules, and you can do this anyway with the rules, so you might as well allow it explicitly and avoid a lot of pointless auctions.  :)

Good point.  Another thing we just sort of assumed.  This will definitely have to be spelled out.  Thanks for the advice!

Quote from: damion
2nd Unrelated Comment: Possibly Challenges should add something to the narrative, rather than JUST making an action more difficult. A self imposed Challenge does, I can Challenge myself and say I'm hurrying, but if I over come it, I hurried. This does not seem to be case with other challenges, they are just penalties. I'm not familiar enough with Scattershot to suggest one, but perhaps if one overcomes a challenge without any other type of benefit, one should get something. I suppose you could bow out of the first round of biding, getting the die the challenger anted, but that seems a bit dysfunctional.

You're clearly seeing what I 'put together' under the concept of Challenges.  In a game where the substance of the narrative is prime (like Self-Conscious narrative play), Challenges can and should "add something to the narrative."

Self-Applied Challenges almost always come with a 'payoff.'  Nearly every use of 'external' Challenge we've seen to date has been of either of two schools.  In one, the players are offering them to make the narrative more interesting.  (Example, "Don't you think there should be a guard here you need to sneak past?")  In the other, the players are explicitly and deliberately playing 'against' each other.  (Example, "Oh yeah?  Well, try sneaking past two guards.")

Taken together, these collect things like aiming and other common modifiers together with more overt ways of sharing the narrative with competitive play over 'story rights.'  All in all, this is one of the best 'combined' Mechanix we've come up with; some simple mechanix that function differently for different Approaches, yet serves many of them.

Thanks very much for helping me illustrate some of the finer points that I couldn't express clearly in the article.  You've really helped me be able to write this.

Fang Langford
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damion
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2002, 07:24:52 AM »

Last Question, Promise: :)

During Auter-style play experiance die scale? I.e. you get more as time goes on, and hence more control. In Joeuer style, players 'improve' and get more control that way, whereas it Auter play this does not seem to be true. (Or maybe I'm missing the Auter concept.)
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James
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« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2002, 10:00:07 AM »

Quote from: damion
Last Question, Promise: :)

Please no!  I need all the questions I can get; they're feedback on my writing (which can always be improved).

Quote from: damion
During Auteur-style play experience die scale? (i.e. you get more as time goes on, and hence more control.) In Joueur style, players 'improve' and get more control that way, whereas it Auteur play this does not seem to be true. (Or maybe I'm missing the Auteur concept.)

Well, the Approach concepts are explained in the Scattershot Gaming Model, so I won't belabor it here.  But let me speak a moment about the correlation between rewards and 'styles.'

First of all, Auteur is not a style, it's an Approach; I chose those terms carefully.  Second, 'level-up' is just one of many Joueur Approaches (for example, a court intrigue game may use very little Mechanix, but then the "improvements" are in influence and stuff).  Some Joueur play is described by 'seeing how far you can get' without 'leveling-up.'  Another form of Joueur play we've seen, is where all the players use the Experience Dice to put each other's personae in jeopardy by manipulating the Situation; for that one frequent instant Experience Dice rewards were expected and given.  (This creates an interesting dynamic, because you don't get Experience Dice for succeeding, you get them for creating entertainment; thus to be able to endanger other personae, first you must entertain their players.  It created an interesting cycle.)

Simultaneously, there are many variations on Auteur play.  For example, we've been trying out the new 'use a narrowly defined Genre Expectation as a persona's destiny' Technique.  This has pointed out how you might play Auteur or even Avatar with only minimal Experience Dice rewards.  Huge rewards speed up 'meeting their fate' too much.

What I was speaking about was not how 'fluidity' of Experience Dice rewards matches up to Approaches, but that certain species of Approach benefited or suffered from different degrees of reward.  And most importantly, we haven't really seen incompatible Approaches benefiting from similar quantities of rewards; meaning that the rewards system itself slightly inhibits incompatible play.

One other thing I think your missing is that you're talking about two very different forms of "control."  Controlling a game by persona power is very different than controlling it with plot devices; again there not really that compatible.  (What good are your godlike spy skills when I can move the plans to another base?  It's oranges and IBMs.)  Either most of the players "control" the game with their personae's abilities or with plot devices, the two don't really work well together.  (Hence separating the Approaches.)

Any other questions?

Fang Langford
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Fang Langford is the creator of Scattershot presents: Universe 6 - The World of the Modern Fantastic.  Please stop by and help!
damion
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Posts: 198


« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2002, 12:00:06 PM »

Nope. Looks Cool. So you basicly DO have Experiance Dice and Story Dice. They just function as only one of the two at a time, so you called them the same thing. Clever.
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James
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