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Author Topic: GM has a 'character sheet' same as the players  (Read 1788 times)
Le Joueur
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Posts: 1367


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« on: November 16, 2009, 09:24:38 PM »

Well, back from the dead...again...I guess.

After many trips and travails, I think I've found the last chunk to put Scattershot into working order.  And a flavor to start with (let's call it 'serials' like what Raiders of the Lost Ark was based on).

The basics of Scattershot are a completely ordinary looking basic system, nothing scary there.  The game runs on the reward mechanic (called Experience Dice...so far).  It has familiar stats, a run-of-the-mill skill system, pretty average powers/magic/abilities, even the props are ho-hum.

Harkening back to Lumpley's 'Fruitful Void', I'm aiming this hint of Scattershot towards the idea that heroes have truly epic crises of morals.  One such instance in Raiders of the Last Ark is where Belloq invites Jones to blow up the ark (rather than forfeit the girl).

What makes the system run are...I dunno what to call them yet, advantages? PC concepts? Tropes? Haven't figured that out yet.  But the way they work is the engine of the game. Whenever the players can get one of their listed...tropes into play, they gain currency.  What do they use the currency for?  To hedge all the other rolls in the game.  It's really quite fascinating...but I digress.

What I would like to talk about is the last part of the game that I would like to integrate: the milieu record sheet.  For the sake of my ideal for the game, I want to make it identical to the PC record sheet.

So you have stats: Strength, Agility, Hit Points, Reaction, Observation and Power.  Skills are listed names of abilities with target numbers attached.  Powers/magic/abilities are virtually the same as skills (but dependant on things like the power stat). And of course the tropes...or whatever.

Mirroring the tropes is easy; the same way a player may have a 'love interest' trope, the milieu can have a 'deathtraps' trope.  So far in brainstorming, I've settled (at least for the moment) on milieu 'skills' being reoccuring non-player characters.  I suppose that makes the powers/magic/abilities the same as the major players in the plot, like Belloq or Sallah.  The thinking here is that you use skills (NPCs) when they apply to the situation in play; you use powers to redirect play.

With me so far? (Just kidding.)

Now I'm really stuck on the metaphorical mirror of the stats.  Hit Points (in Scattershot) are the amount of 'fight left in ya' and can be taken away and healed back.  In some powers/magic/abilities, Power works the same way (but not in all).  Strength is a measure of maximum ability (Power can work that way too).  Agility and Reaction are target numbers in their own right and have modifiers based on situation.  Lastly, Observation rolls create another form of currency in the game, such as clues.

What facets of a milieu would mirror these?  I have some vague thoughts that I'm not that happy about.  Can anyone suggest anything that might jog a few ideas loose?

Thanks guys!  You've always been a terrific resource.

Fang Langford
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Rikiji
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Posts: 14


« Reply #1 on: November 16, 2009, 10:27:18 PM »

Well, it seems that milleu is sort of an amalgation - not so much an individual as an array of forces that work against the players.  So on that basis, you could use attributes that could describe an organization.  For example:

Strength - Forces (raw measure of how dangerous the opposition is)
Agility - Training (how skilled the milleu's agents are)
Hit Points - Resources (how much the milleu has left to throw at the characters)
Reaction - Efficiency (how well the milleu can adapt to new situations)
Observation - Intelligence (not as in intellect, but in the context of information gathering)
Power - Advances (technological and magical advantages - can supplement Forces or Resources depending on nature)
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Catelf
Member

Posts: 146


« Reply #2 on: November 17, 2009, 03:12:23 AM »

I'd suggest "Obfuscation"(how good the milieu is at hiding themselves and vital Info) instead of "Intelligence" though.
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #3 on: November 17, 2009, 09:55:28 AM »

You guys are awesome!

That's a clever use Rikiji.  If I'm understanding, you mean to use them as norms for the competition to built be on?  I like it!

Hey Catelf, good call.  I'm not sure how I would apply a 'military intel' model to a milieu.

Here's some of the ideas I originally had:
  • Strength - how fantastic or 'epic' the game will be; in other write-ups of Scattershot this was an 'epic threshold', any result rolled higher than it required additional consequences.?
  • Reversal (Agility) - with a high Reversal, expect a game filled with plot twists and surprises; this one is a stinker.
  • Tension Points (Hit Points) - how long and 'adventurous' a game is, a count-down to climax; lose a point when tension rises (and stays), run out of points and the game goes into climax ('dying' in a way); this always seemed counter-intuitive.
  • Power - how 'tough' the competition is; this one stinks too.  It's not very useful as a single number.

I really like your ideas about modeling the competition on the milieu's stats.  Do you see any way to do that AND track tension and note the 'epic threshold'?

Fang Langford

? Such as too high of a hit in combat would cause not only the damage rolled, but the target has to make changes in their character (like adding the Sheriff's pronounced scar like in Kevin Costner's Robin Hood).
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Catelf
Member

Posts: 146


« Reply #4 on: November 17, 2009, 12:01:33 PM »

Since i'm fairly "new" to the Forge, and don't understand some of the .... wordings used here, i'm not entirely certain of what you mean by Tension and "Epic Threshold" .... but i think there is enough clues in what you just wrote:

Epic Threshold: you obviously would like it to be in a number corresponding to, for instance, Strength, so i think ........
Really, the more i think of it, you could at least try and see if Forces("Strength") can work as Threshold as well, and the same goes for Hit Points and Tension(!).
I also think "Hit Points" for the milieu could be called "Mass", or "Milieu Mass" instead,....... But that is just aesthetics.
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Le Joueur
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Posts: 1367


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« Reply #5 on: November 18, 2009, 08:09:42 PM »

Whoops, my bad!

Epic Threshold is a new name for Scattershot's old Critical Juncture.

The Tension system is a way that Scattershot can favor advice of Lajos Egri where tension should never 'go down' for that would be an anticlimax.  I wrote it for people who don't much care to pay attention to that part of gaming but still wanted 'story-like' games.  When something 'big' happens, like discovering that Alderaan has been destroyed and "That's no moon!", Tension points go away; what's left of them is an indicator of how much tension should the game follow, like 'what if they find us?' kind of tension.  If escaping the Deathstar does strike you as a tension raising moment, you just let them escape.

I should mention that I also separate stats as Magnitude, Efficacy or Resource.  Magnitude is a measurement; if you look up Strength on the UE Chart, you can find the most you can lift.  Efficacy is a target number, like any skill, except with a broader range; roll under your Agility on 2d10 and the difference is the measure of your success.  Resource is stat that gains and loses points during play; damage points are subtracted from your Hit Points to determine the amount of 'fight left in ya'.

Strength and Observation are Magnitudes; Agility and Reaction are Efficacies and Hit Points is a Resource. What Power is depends on which powers/magic/abilities the character has, either a Magnitude or a Resource.  The system also allows for any stat to be used as any of the three, depending on the flavor of the supplement.

I hope that helps!  You're giving excellent feedback; thanks.

Fang Langford
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Catelf
Member

Posts: 146


« Reply #6 on: November 19, 2009, 12:29:15 PM »

Thank you, i'm always doing my best, but it is often up to others to judge if "my Best" was good enough, or not!

Hm. I tend to be quite simple, really, if i would refer to some of your old Shattershot Forum Threads, i'd call myself "A Consumer, forced to become a Drifter/Creator, in order to make the Game(s) I'd really prefer, and like, to play".

This means, that i may not be ready to look at any new Links just yet....  Once i've done that, i may be able to give better answers.
But still, i'm a bit curious..... Why cannot "tension" simply be a "negative" to milieu Hit Points/Mass(, When one decreases, the other increases)?
I think... this is .... really, due to a few reasons:
 * In that case, Tension should also incease when the Character's Hit Points goes down....
 * If you use Tension as a Time Limit, it may be "unable" to go down!
.... and sholdn't the discovery of the destroyed Alderaan Increase Tension?
Or is that just a try to cope with the confusion caused by my suggestion to incorporate your earlier Rules with your current?

I think this thing must be clearified to avoid further misunderstandings:
Do you define Tension as "Increasing", or as "Decreasing" when something BAD happens, or threaten to happen, to the Player Characters?
Most would say "Increasing", but i'm confused by some of your comments.......

(This, of course, might also give me time to look up those Links, and in this minor comment, i can also wonder if you ever found out why "Consumers" buy "Broken" and "Incomplete" Games.....?)

Katie
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #7 on: November 21, 2009, 12:48:44 PM »

For the sake of my ideal for the game, I want to make it identical to the PC record sheet.

Remember the curse of artificial symmetries! That is that in short that the different elements of the game form a pattern that looks great when static on paper but ignores the actual interactions when in play, sometimes to their cost. (Magic systems in particular often suffer from this.) I prefer complimentary rather than symmetrical, although the two can go together.

My question to make a character sheet from is as follows;
what
inspiration (motivations/cues to characteristics or quirks or even pacing)
restrictions (what they can't do, without breaking the mood or spoiling the thematic/tactical dilemmas)
and outside relationships (so they don't forget they have a brother or that their links to broader world elements)
need recording,
and how will they change?

And my gut reaction would be to create similar elements only so far as the GM's role matches up with the players, or maps to it in some lovely way (which is what I think you're going for, but I'd put the goal a far second to making it a helpful tool).

So what is the complement of those player stats? What do they act on? Are those complements multi-valued (ie different npcs with different intelligences, or would you pick the smartest opponent)?
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