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Author Topic: [Avalanche] - Playtesting with BW for the first time  (Read 3795 times)
pells
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« on: November 28, 2009, 01:43:09 PM »

The context
I've not been playing for a while (more than a year) and I had an opportunity to "start up" a new group. But the circumstances are very specific. We're actually in the process of incorporating ourselves for my current project Avalanche. We though that all collaborators should know exactly what we are dealing with and so we should play together. So, are the players :
Julie and Denys, a couple, very good friends of mine. Julie is going to help us with any communication/promotion aspect of the project (that's what she does for a living). Both had never played rpg before, and well, I guess to elaborate a communication strategy you need to know a little bit about the product as to understand the market.
Simon, an old friend of mine, only played rpg once with me in the past, like a decade ago. It was a Cthulhu game and he didn't really liked it : too much "in character play" for his taste. We told him he didn't need to play those if he doesn't want and that we even have a good system that will help with this.
Gregory, our web developer, and new accomplice, had been playing rpg for over a decade.
Francis, our "chief executive play-tester" and "welcomer" to the new players, is an old friend of mine and he has been playing rpg for 20 years. But, for one reason or another, we had never played together (he's been living in China, I've been living in France).

We were going to play using the Burning Wheel. The books had been sitting (or sleeping) on my shelves for quite a time now and I was ready to give it a try. To make things clear : Avalanche doesn't provide any crunch, it's all about fluff. I do pretend that you can use any system with it (given the limitation : not quite sure my life with master would work !!!). I've tried it with d20, TSOY ; could it work with BW ?

Now, the situation was :
- Two (almost three) new players at the table.
- A new group with people who had never played together. No dynamic already existed.
- The two players who had already played were not familiar with any kind of indie or NAR games.
- We're using a new system.
- Avalanche is quite odd for players, especially for players who already know about rpg. Calendar based ? Multi plots ? What's that ?

I would call this situation, for the least, challenging.

Characters creation
We came across a big dilemma : what were we going to do with the new players !!!! We didn't want to "annoy" them with all the details that comes with characters creation and after asking them, they asked us to go with "pre generated" characters.
So, the four of us who had already played decided to create the characters together (for the three players). We decided that we would propose Julie and Denys characters that would be "strongly" related to one of those to "simplify" their introduction to rpg.
Now, let's make this clear : creating characters for BW is a hell of a fun !!!! For your information we used four lifepaths. What did we came with :
- Francis : a character with many circles. Started out as a small criminal and is now an "independent" (quite rare in this setting) with an inn where he manages his operation.
- Gregory : a rogue wizard. He lives in the basement of the inn.
- Simon : born noble, turned out to become a thug, was disgusted by the "thieves guild" before finding his way into the military. He hates thieves, so he's happy to have friend which own an independent inn.

I'd like to mention I love lifepaths, traits, beliefs, instincts, circles. The system is so elegant !!! When the characters are finished, you can see them. They are alive !!! And you can see what the game will be about !!!!
Now, what were we going to do with the new players ? They need to see this, create their characters !!! So, we decided they would do lifepaths, beliefs and instincts ; we would do the rest. Guess what ? They liked it so much, they wouldn't let us do the rest !!!! What were their characters :
- Denys : born peasant, then captured and sold as a slave to a noble (fits fine in the setting), turns out as a poet to the court before ending up a composer (his poems are for the people, not only the court). One of his belief : truth doesn't matter, only my poems (they are the truth).
- Julie : city born, sent as scholar (parents are too poor to feed her), becomes a "doctor" (meanwhile, her sister has been sold as a whore and was killed) and then a "whoremonger" as to investigate the death of her sister from "within". She manages the inn of Francis and she is the official owner.

Not bad for first time players !!! And then again, certainly more interesting than creating a bard and a priest at d20 !!! I'd say more engaging !!!
But ... they were not related that much to the group anymore ...

Game preparation
Well, it's Avalanche, so about three minutes. That said, I had to print a list of the titles of the events (coming in a spreadsheet), then identify those that would be useful (time and location). A real mess. Where's my damned tool to do that for me in three mouse clicks Huh Ho yeah, the site. It's coming. And yes, it will be useful (damned spreadsheet and high-liner !!!).

The game
Keep in mind that Avalanche is crescendo : the climax builds up very slowly. I had already played it with more "adventurer" type character. The characters at the table were not going to move !!! That was a challenge !!!
We turned out to play only 5 days (meta-time here, very important to Avalanche, you need to play it day by day). Five days is not a lot. There was a lot of exploration from their part and a lot of characters interaction. They discover themselves, their relationship and the world. I'd like to mention that all those illustrations I have are very, but very useful to set up the mood and present the world.
I did throw at them a couple of events, but most were "beginning" of a storyline that would lead them outside the city. They declined any offer to do so.
We did throw the dice a couple of time (ten, I think). Negotiations before rolling the dice made sense to everyone. The system went very smoothly. They did use a lot their circles ; the story offered a lot of opportunity. Nice mechanic by the way.
The "let it ride" kinda surprised them : what, the result of the dices is for a couple of months (the player was trying to get information from a regular mistress) ??

Overall, it was fun (and we all liked it), but there was something missing. The group didn't have a real common objective. And the two new players didn't feel that much related to the group (in part because of the character creation).

Conclusions
What was missing ? A common goal, something that would have "cemented" the group. Francis did propose that maybe we should have had a little "james bond introduction". But, there is nothing like this in Avalanche. Does it need it (which, I believe is too character specific) ? I don't think so ... Gregory proposed that we could have started "right in the action" ; instead of starting in the beginning of march, maybe in mid April. I didn't like that. I need the crescendo ; it's what Avalanche is about. Is it a dead end ?
Of course not !!!! The answer was right in front of us : the characters belief !!! Julie's character wanted to find out the assassin of her sister. Here's the little "james bond introduction" Francis wanted, here's the "right in the action" !!!! And here's something Avalanche is not supposed to provided but that a system can provide. Guess what we are going to play about next session ?

So, does BW and Avalanche fits well ? Certainly. An advice : during those first weeks of the crescendo hits as much as possible those beliefs !!! And I have found a way to relate the assassin (the who and why, in general, the details will be seen at the table) to the main "story" and to the beliefs of two other characters.

Next session in two weeks. Can't wait to play.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: December 07, 2009, 12:13:18 PM »

Hi there,

What more general lesson might be derived from your insight at the end of the post? Clearly, the characters' starting situation is crucial. To use the vocabulary from my essays, just having characters and setting isn't enough - there's a way that the two things come together which produces exactly the situtaion which one or more characters are facing as play begins. Burning Wheel is a good enough game to provide such a thing, if you know what you're looking for (and it's worth nothing that this is one of the key ways that BW Revised changed the original publication, to make Beliefs more central).

Do you think it's sufficient to leave this issue simply to whatever system is being employed, or do you think Avalanche (as a text) can provide instructions and standards to help people over the hump that you just experienced?

Best, Ron
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pells
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Posts: 192


« Reply #2 on: December 07, 2009, 03:39:47 PM »

Hi Ron !!!

I'm going to make a little disclaimer that I'm going to digress a little here, but bear with me please. To answer your question, I think I need to present the "big picture".

An open product
I'm currently working with an attorney to see how we can make Avalanche open. How open and to what extend is still in discussion (but we now have a pretty good idea). But, for sure we want to have this as open as possible. What does that mean ? You might remember that Avalanche is only fluff, and only a backbone, or a framework to build upon if you prefer. So, someone wants to create dungeons to add to Avalanche (there is plenty of room for it), you can. Someone wants to propose his system to play Avalanche ? Go for it. The idea is to be in "win-win" situation.

The systems
I don't think, from an economic point of view, that I can launch Avalanche system-less. So, at first, we're going to propose three systems (or so I hope).
D20, maybe or maybe not under the OGL, since it is a mess. Note that we don't recommend playing Avalanche with d20. It is to make money (market share is too important).
TSOY, or even an home-brewed version of it, since the license allows me to do this. And note that to insure quality we are working (or supposed to) with Eero on this.
Lastly, we would like to propose BW. No big secret, I'm in contact with Luke on this, who proposed me to play-test it before talking any further. You see, I don't have rights to propose BW as a system ; I need Luke's permission, which includes how we deal with IP and branding (let's not get excited here). So, that's what I'm doing.

Please, note in those situations, I am the requester of the use of the system ; as opposed of what I talked about earlier where someone is requesting me to offer their system for Avalanche.

How to address the systems
Avalanche is a multi-plots, calendar based campaign. A new type of beast, where, each time you play, you only use about 15% of the product and where you can play anyone. And there are a lot of different games possible. Now how do deal with systems ?
I'm currently working on a step-by-step use of Avalanche. How does this looks like ?
1. Flip thru the content of the product, get used to it. Show this to your players and, as a group, decide what will the game be about, what type of groups do you want to play; hence what type of games do you want to play.
2. Choose a system. Systems does different things and respond to different needs. Let's take some examples (putting d20 aside) :
- You wanna play the black orcs, emerging from the deep, hitting on many groups, in need of allies, with a very specific goal ? I recommend TSOY.
- The gray orcs, really anchored in the setting, with a political situation between clan, be it that you can be a warrior, a chief's clan, a shaman ? I recommend BW.
- In the south, lurking in the political alleys, moving in the shadows of different groups, betraying some, calling some as allies ? I recommend BW
- The rangers in the north, fighting off the white orcs in spring and then exploring the world during the summer, taking part, in fact, in whichever story you want ? I recommend TSOY.
There are about 15 recommendations I can come up with. Of course, there are others.
3. Create your characters.
4. Choose your starting location and time. You're now ready to play.

Avalanche as text
Avalanche needs to provide support as to use it in a step by step mode. For systems, two fundamental things are important :
1. What system do we recommend ?
2. In that context, how do we recommend to use that system. How to get the best out of the system.

And that is one of the reason we are play-testing BW (I can't really explain it today). But, hey, we have a lot to learn. And Luke is giving me a hand (not here, but still).

Open product - part 2
In the above case, I am the requester. I consider it to be my job to explain it. Those are the default systems I propose.
But still we are open. So, let's say (and it is a bad example) that you decide to offer elf for Avalanche, I would strongly recommend you not only to help your customers on how to get the best out of elf in Avalanche, but also when the best to use it. But, let's be clear, in that case I'm the one helping you, not the other way around.

Lastly, I believe it would be a mistake not to guide our customers with this. And let's be clear : one of our publishing goals is to move players from d20 to other (not to use another term) systems, best fitted for their games. We're aiming at a mature audience. Come on, you're 35, playing once or twice a month, you play a political intrigue in the south ? Help yourself, stop playing d20. But I need to explain why.
Also, I do consider Avalanche to have a high replay revalue as a product. And I do consider it to be even more valuable if you replay it with different systems. Playing in the south with BW and the black orcs with TSOY is a totally different experience.

I do feel I'm getting this the right way, don't you ?
And thanks, I guess this puts the post into perspective.
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pells
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Posts: 192


« Reply #3 on: December 12, 2009, 06:26:37 PM »

Second game. This time, I'll need advice.

The rules, before play

I started the game by presenting three important things about BW :
1. We have to be more careful about persona and fate. We didn't give any last game. This is at the heart of the progression system of BW (or so I understand it).
2. I also presented the "cycle of BW" : Belief>Play>Artha>Belief>Play>Trait. Strongly related to 1.
3. Last game, we used a lot the PC's circles. So, I read the extended version of the rules and presented them to my players. Nice rules and we needed them (see the game below). Maybe, an interesting thing : those rules might seem "heavy", but they are very intuitive and very easy to present. Players do understand that circles are only used to establish contact. Modifiers were really apprehend as "common sense" and rules like transforming a contact into a relationship or naming him/her for an extra dice in the future, or you can lose affiliation (or not, by doing something drastically asocial) were all received with "cool, we can do that !!!". I hope all the other rules are as easy to integrate at the table.

Game preparation
As usual. But, please note how I prepare the "story" about the dead sister of Julie (one of her belief, the players stated beforehand they wanted to hit hard on it) just by placing her into the rmap. So, no details, but an easy way to integrate the character. Nice advice to give, or so I think. And this is done very quickly.

The game
Players started out by "trying" to solve their previous problem : find a common goal to the group. They decided to help Julie solves the murder of her sister (which even made more sense after the explanation of the earth of the system. This belief is not meant to stay there always). So, what's the first thing they did ?
They all initiated contact (thru circles), but not related to Julie's belief, except for one player !!!! As you guess, the mess is coming ...

A quick note about circles : since it is very difficult to make the contact immediately, my players all chose "sometime" (i.e. up to the DM). Now, from a DM point of view, this is such a great tool !!! Three out of the four succeeded. That meant I had three events (to use Avalanche's term), I could come up with when I wanted ; either when the action was slow or when the PC would like to do something else to add a dramatic effect. Am I playing this the right way ? Because, if so, those circles are really, but really cool stuff.

Well, whatever I would throw at them would be more important than Julie's belief. And, then again, they played like five separate games.

I'd like to present two "scenes", for various reasons :
- One of the new player, Denys, plays out a poet ; he's at the court and also write/sing for the people. One of his belief is "the truth doesn't matter, only my writing". At one point, there is a murder in the upper city, where the nobles live. The PCs learned that nobody important died, but the red guard (mercenaries who assure the protection of the nobles) messed up (this is provided by Avalanche). But no word is said about this to the people. So, Denys goes "I'm writing a song about the attempt of the murder of the king, this is why the city is closed. And I want it to be known that it is written by me." No joke ? No joke. Throw the dices : success. The word spreads out. The city is still closed, and after a couple of days, Denys comes back : "I'm writing a song about how the red guard saved the king. Of course, it is my song and I want it to played everywhere." Word spreads out. Now, the red guard opens the city, and the nobles throw a party at the court to celebrate the work of the red guard at protecting the king. Guess who now has good friends among the nobles and the red guard ?
Now, I do find it amazing that a newbie, with such a difficult belief to play could come out with this.
- One of the player, Francis, who has a lot of affiliations, contact a broker of assassins. He's asking about the assassination of two gnomes the PCs retrieved and disposed of the corpses. A butchered job. He's asking the broker to investigate who could have paid for it. He can, but this is going to cost him much. He succeeded at convincing the guy, but miss the resources die roll. Great !! Now, there are in trouble. Couple of days went by and this NPC came back to the players, providing the information, but now he expects the money. The poet (him again) offered to pay in him in scroll of poetry ; after all he is a well known poet and his scrolls are worth a fortune. I let him throw the dice : success. Now, is that the way to play resources, without the advance rules ? Given the first player had already thrown the dice, was it under the "let it run" rule ? Could the first player had waited to throw the dice to get support ?

Now, a little explanation : we began the game and played for two hours, then ate, then play again for an hour and a half. We're not doing this again ; we're eating before. But, during dinner, we debriefed about the game.

Lastly, as the final scene, after diner, we played together in a single scene. Finally.

Note : the players really got that time was a constraint and that you can play with it (they still don't get it's a resource, but it will come). They stopped trying to play it hour by hour. Instead it was : march 12, morning. PCs are doing any stuff ? DM has some bangs ? No. Next. march 12 afternoon.
I like to divide the day in three : morning, afternoon and evening (it may come to night, if necessary). It's a good exchange of kickers and bangs. Nice way to play it, so I think. And slow days go very fast.

The problem
Hey, if you want my opinion, this is not a problem. But let me explain it.
The players are still hitting at all the "threads" I would propose (stuff provided by Avalanche ; the big picture). They still don't have a single common goal. But, none of those threads is coming near a conclusion. To really understand Avalanche I have to explain this : Avalanche is about existence, it's about taking sides, making choices, it's about what you do with your time. So, at first, Avalanche is slow, very slow. Making choices, out the blue, is, in my conception of life, irrelevant. You have to see the start of the game as a teenager : he explores, can take mistakes, learn stuff to make choices. It's somehow, their position : PCs have time to explore the various threads. At some points, they won't be able to do everything and will have to make choices. But just not now. Also, they see the story of Julie's sister as something they can postpone, something not related to time. It can always wait.
Now, the game we are playing was supposed to be a two sessions game ; but it is not played out (mostly because of me) as two sessions game, but really as a campaign. Because this is what Avalanche is about. Now, we wanted to play-test BW, as one of our objective ; which is one of the problem. You want to play-test Avalanche has a single game ? Play the black orcs using TSOY ; not BW in the south !!!
So, here's my questions :
- How much do you consider the collusion of the group the responsibility of the DM ? Hey, look, they decided to hit on Julie's belief and did something else. Should I have stopped all other explorations information ? Or stop throwing out bangs (events in Avalanche) to make sure they stick to their objective ? Remember, there is three newbies at the table.
- When play-testing, how much are you ready to sacrifice for the sake of the fun at the table, even if it means you are not really play-testing then ? Avalanche is slow. I'm play-testing a slow game. If I fast-forward it, then I'm not really play-testing it. Avalanche is about exploring multiples threads, if I'm closing them down, am I really play-testing ?
- How, using BW, do you encourage the consolidation of the group ? Or, how can you encourage various believes to be linked together ? For example, in TSOY, we will propose a key called "Key of the quest" that all players can take and make sure it unites them. Is this a recurring problem with BW ?

Now, from a strategic point of view (play-test BW, introduce our communication manager and web-developer to the game), we succeed. But, from a tactical point of view, we kinda failed.
That is, maybe trying out Avalanche and BW on a two sessions game, with new players was not a good idea.

Also, there is so much ways to play Avalanche. It's really according the DM and his/her players. We were four discussing how everyone would have played it. Each time a different answer. And this is fine with fine. To the question "what I am supposed to do with this ?", I tend to respond "I don't know", and quite frankly, it is true. Avalanche is just a backbone, what can I tell you ? That is, I do consider we need to give advice and some helps.

My "hope" is that after six sessions, we will "reset" beliefs/instincts into a more "coherent" way. BW is build that way, Avalanche too, so let's hope we learn from our mistakes and get the opportunity right.

That is, before conclusion, in my opinion, as far as everyone at the table is having fun and wish to continue the game, there is no problem. Simon was not happy at the dinner (mostly because he was the only one hitting on what was planned), but things went well after dinner. Anyway, we're going to continue in January (French people need to go back to France for the holidays).

The conclusion
Strange thing is, we have almost as much fun analyzing the play-test than playing. Don't you feel that way too while play-testing?

Lastly, I expect some fights in the next session. What part would you recommend me to introduce from BW to manage combat in an entertaining and easy way ? That is, I'll going to read the rules for "fight", damage, armor and weapons during the vacations but I do feel those are a bit too much to introduce all at once.
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Luke
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« Reply #4 on: December 13, 2009, 08:41:46 AM »

Sebastien,

Problem 1) Group direction is the group's responsibility. The GM serves only as a reminder or a goad. But the group knows that it's not going to be fun if they're pursuing individual agendas without support. This is an age old RPG bugbear.

Problem 2) Sacrifice all for the playtest. If you're having fun, you're doing it wrong. Stick to your playtest draft. Follow it slavishly until it doesn't make any sense anymore. Then, when you come up against problems, MAKE CHANGES either to the game or the setting.

Problem 3) It is trivially easy to keep a group of players focused on one goal in Burning Wheel. Each player writes a Belief about the goal. There's no encouragement needed. Each player does it. It's how you play the game. Period.

-Luke
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pells
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« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2009, 05:26:09 PM »

Quote
Problem 1) Group direction is the group's responsibility. The GM serves only as a reminder or a goad. But the group knows that it's not going to be fun if they're pursuing individual agendas without support. This is an age old RPG bugbear.

That's also my position.

Quote
Problem 3) It is trivially easy to keep a group of players focused on one goal in Burning Wheel. Each player writes a Belief about the goal. There's no encouragement needed. Each player does it. It's how you play the game. Period.

Fair enough. Simple and elegant. We'll try it, thanks for the advice.

Quote
Problem 2) Sacrifice all for the playtest. If you're having fun, you're doing it wrong. Stick to your playtest draft. Follow it slavishly until it doesn't make any sense anymore. Then, when you come up against problems, MAKE CHANGES either to the game or the setting.

Yes, going all the way for play-testing is also my position. But ... please note that this a somehow different kind of play-testing. Avalanche, a system-less setting/plot, has already been play-tested ; I know it works fine. Strange beast, but it does well what it does. BW, a setting-less system, has already been thoughtfully play-tested.
Now, if I may express myself that way : I'm play-testing the interface between the two products. Can they work together ? What might come out of the play-test (deliverable, so to speak) ? A guide, some advices on when best it is to use BW with Avalanche and how to get the most out of it.

This is important : I don't want two baselines (text of setting/plot and illustrations ; I exclude all informative text) of Avalanche ; there is a single main product. There might be some add-on, but not two baselines. Do I want to see changes in BW after play-test ? Nope. Maybe some advices on how to use it in the context of Avalanche (for example : I do have a single problem with the prerequisite of the noble setting as all major LP, duke for instance, needs chivalry. It is not the case in Avalanche, all you need is money. This can easily be addressed thru informative pages).

I believe this is a very specific kind of play-test.
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Luke
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« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2009, 09:00:41 PM »

Sebastien,

I hate to be a pain in the ass about this, but have you seen our setting-based supplements -- Jihad and Blossoms? Look at those books. We change rules to suit the setting. You must change rules to suit the setting.

But even moreso, you must recognize that Burning Wheel is not settingless. It strictly enforces a setting -- just in a different way than most games. Therefore, you must be prepared to make changes to your setting so that they match with the inputs and outputs of Burning Wheel. Your setting better damned well be about fighting for what you believe by arguing, magic and a knife in the face. If it's not about making ultimate sacrifices, it's not going to work. If your setting can't burn down and collapse because the players set it aflame, then it is not a good match for the system.

Do you understand what i'm saying?
-L
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pells
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« Reply #7 on: December 16, 2009, 10:35:55 AM »

Quote
I hate to be a pain in the ass about this, but have you seen our setting-based supplements -- Jihad and Blossoms? Look at those books. We change rules to suit the setting. You must change rules to suit the setting.
You're not that a pain, just a little. I know of those supplements, but I didn't check them. Okay, you changed the rules. What are we talking about ? New setting (for LP), new LP, new traits, new skills, new weapons, spells ? Or are we talking changes like circles, beliefs, combat, duels of wits ? For me, there is a big difference between the two.

I could see changes like bringing new spells for Avalanche (maybe I would need that), or new LP ; but not stuff like combat or advancement.

Quote
But even moreso, you must recognize that Burning Wheel is not settingless. It strictly enforces a setting -- just in a different way than most games.
Not quite sure I understand you here. As far as I have play-tested it, I can see one thing : BW is reinforcing my setting. Let's drop publishing and theory aside and take a look at play.
I really like TSOY, I think it is great, but the character creation doesn't really reinforce my setting : you can move a character from a setting to another. Not always, but in most cases, I think yes.
Now, the character creation in BW, and all its related mechanic, really, but really reinforce my setting. Why ?
Well, BW creates characters that are anchored in the setting. In the creation process, while playing with Avalanche, I think you need to use map of the region and the r-map. When the players create their character and determine their LP, it needs to be coherent with my setting. I need to explain it : they are thrown into it. When the players decide their affiliation, their relationship, it reinforces my setting : showing up illustrations and saying to the players "you want to be affiliated with those guys ?", reinforces my setting.
Setting up relationship reinforces a lot my setting. You want a relation with a merchant ? Nice. But it won't any "typical" merchant : you name it. And the merchants are affiliated with other groups, embedded in a web of dark secrets. I know my players will be thrown into that. Same thing for the beliefs.
I'm telling you : BW reinforces my setting and the way the PCs interact with it.
Is this one of the objective of BW or do I get it wrong ? Is this how you see it ?

Quote
Therefore, you must be prepared to make changes to your setting so that they match with the inputs and outputs of Burning Wheel.
I'm prepared to build adds-on, but the main baseline must stay the same. But ... wait !! Let me address your other issues.

Quote
Your setting better damned well be about fighting for what you believe by arguing, magic and a knife in the face. If it's not about making ultimate sacrifices, it's not going to work.
This is exactly what about Avalanche is about. Avalanche is about existence (in its purest, philosophical sense, the dasein of Heidegger) : it is about taking a stance, choosing a side, finding a sense to your life and choose what you do with your time. Of course, you can choose otherwise (just watch TV), but then you better not play Avalanche.
What is Avalanche about ? It's about existence : it's about what you do with your life ; what you are ready to fight or die for. I insist on dying : life has meaning because it ends.
And finally, a little note : Avalanche is also about hope. How can you go on in such a dark world, where everything is gray ; how can you find hope ?

Does this speaks to you ? Does it seem like a good setting for BW ?

Quote
If your setting can't burn down and collapse because the players set it aflame, then it is not a good match for the system.
That is the whole point of the project. How to create a setting/plot that can deal with the impact of the players ? Part of the plots may collapse on itself, but the DM has a powerful tool to determine the exact impact of the players and everything that didn't collapse is still there, ready to play. That's the whole point of multi plots !!

Do we understand each other here ? Are we speaking the same langage ?
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pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #8 on: January 18, 2010, 08:38:02 AM »

Third session. That session was strange. Let's present that.

Long before the game
Most of my players went back to Europe during the new year vacation, so we didn't play for a month or so. Time for me to prepare the next session, especially concerning the rules of BW and which ones to incorporate. Like I've said before, this next session should see some action. So, I've read the rules for battle, weapons, armor and injuries. Well, this is just too much !!! So, I've decided to introduce the simple rules for battle and the ones for injuries.
Maybe a good point to present : in the text of Avalanche, at some points, some of the main characters get injuried. Each time it occurs, they would be "down" for a couple of weeks. And this is very important to me. BW, on that point is right on it !!!

The night before the game
I was talking with Francis (remember Francis ? He's the most experienced player at my table) about the rules and the various problems we encountered (a common goal for the group) ; nice conversation, but how may I put it ? Well, Francis seemed to know how to manage the game with those players, so I proposed him to DM it.
Which he accepted.

Just before the game
One of the player got a personal emergency, so I took care of his character in his absence.

The game
Francis and I see rpg according to different approach. Francis proposed this to the players : rpg are "theatrical karaoke". I won't go into details, but mostly, Francis wants us to play with our guts, not our brain. Which is one of the reason Francis has problems with the "stated intentions". Francis is a smart guy, he's going to talk about this himself (on this thread or not, I don't know).
So, the game. First time for me as a player, which was nice and different. We played for one night (metatime) where the group joined together to "assassinate" a common ennemy. This was one of the main characters. Story was very dark since we disguised the murder as so no one would know it was us ; but we "eradicated" all his family for that purpose. Not a game for young children. Note also, that with that night three of the PCs kind of "acheive" their beliefs. And from now, the group has something in common : they can always remember that night.

Francis didn't present the rules I prepared, neither use them. I think Francis is even more "rules light" than I am, at one exception : he likes, as a DM, to bluff. So, one out of two dices throw are for nothing (well, let's bluff). Also, Francis made a lot of "in character" scenes (he really likes to "play") and even drew a little map of a house to play some tactical stuff. Two things you won't see at my table ...

It was fun and the players really, but really felt a different experience about the game.

Aftermath
I got thrown out of my own game as I playtest !!!! Is that some kind of a joke ? The players find it more fun to play with Francis as a DM than me ?!? So, it has became Francis' game from now on.
Am I supposed to get upset ? Not really, and for many reasons :
- If Francis DMs it instead of me, this is more a real "play testing"
- I do think it is good news if someone else can DM Avalanche and have even more fun than if it was me.
- It convinces me (and Francis) that Avalanche can be played in so many ways ... The players at the table were even surprised that we used the same product.
- It also reinforces my idea that Avalanche has a great replay value.

One of the player asked what changes had to be made to Avalanche as to allow it to be played in Francis' way instead of mine (too nice for me, hey). Well, the answer, according to Francis is : nothing. The product is designed for that (allow different types of play).
Also note that time preparation for Francis was very short.

Lastly, the players were very, but very glad to have killed such an important character. They were very surprised that they could play this game (have so much influence on the setting and plot). They really liked it. That said, Francis and I discussed it : the impact of the death of this main character is easily manageable, due to the design of Avalanche.

Well, I guess Francis will have to talk about his new game from now on.
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #9 on: January 20, 2010, 07:05:20 AM »

I got thrown out of my own game as I playtest !!!! Is that some kind of a joke ?

That's pretty amusing. If Francis likes to bluff, do you anticipate problems occurring with getting info from his perspective? I can just imagining habits coming in and the wall of illusion coming up! You may have to talk to him about that before it happens, or he will be discouraged from sharing stuff with you because of the experiences he wants to create. I know that feeling! But also, Luke's observation still stands, if you have a fun game by chucking out some of the rules or framing devices, then your not playtesting your idea any-more, but some partially similar relative! If Francis is playing "rules light" what is he taking less notice of? Personally I'd not force him to use the full rules for the sake of playtesting, (although as I say I can see the argument) but rather ask him to say exactly what he isn't using, and how what he is using effects his decisions. That way you know how widely to apply insights found in this testing.

I also have some questions prompted by stuff you said earlier:

How did you square standard lifepaths with the setting you previously created? Is it just that your setting and BW's standard setting have really similar opperating assumptions?

Also, you suggested that it's difficult to use BW and Avalanche to run a 2 session game, how much of that is due to the "settling in" requirements of how your setting works? What kind of moving parts do you have in Avalanche that relate to speed of crescendo? And how do those signal to the players the pace of events, or how do they constrain them to keep to it?

How much did prepping for short play impare events once it shifted more towards campaign play? Were you able to use that relationship mapping etc to expand on what you had planned, or was it just that additional player agency powered by burning wheel just chucked in loads of intermediary steps on a "track" you prepared? If that's so, is there any provision within that to shifting sidequest/intermezzo/Zwischenzug situations (I'm pretty proud of that conceptual combination) so that they are made into things with their own forward momentum?

In longer games, would you be happy with this level of dissimilar parallel stories? In other words, is the lack of intersection a problem because of the specific timescale you are trying to run it at, or is it a more general problem with how you construct threads?

On the subject of advice, what is the main thing avalanche has helped you do during this campaign, despite failures? It might be it is helping you do things slightly dissimilar from your main objective; solving other problems but the main one. In that case focusing on it's success might require giving it to someone who particularly cannot deal with those things (ie not you, as you have at least enough understanding of those problems to write the system), so perhaps in future you could get someone to GM who is particularly bad at that stuff and see if the system works to support him in that.
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pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2010, 08:41:39 AM »

Hi Josh !!! Francis is going to participate in this discussion later (or so he says) and he might be more interesting in answering some of your questions.

Bluff
I'm talking here about bluff concerning the system, not the story. In fact, as Avalanche is only a backbone, even the author can be bluffed about the story. See it as Avalanche providing "strategic" information (what and why) ; but at the table, the "tactic" part (who and how) is addressed. Lots of place to put some bluff there ...
But back to the bluff about the system. When I DM, I tend to "call upon" the system (i.e. throwing dices) when it is important. Well, Francis doesn't agree with that. This would mean that you know that the scene is important. So, Francis would ask to throw dices at some point where, from my point of view, it is irrelevant to throw dices. And I would ask at the table "why is that player throwing the dices ?". Francis would just glance at me "shut up !!! The player needs to roll the dices because it has to. It doesn't matter to the game ; but it does to the player". This sure gives a different "tempo".

Rules and play testing
I can assure you that we are not cutting any chunks. And we are still having fun. About the rules, please bear in mind that we are playing with new players ; people who are being introduced to rpg. I tried, like I said before, to introduce new elements of the BW system at each game. But, I believe, for Francis, it is a bad idea. His position : "keep it as simple as possible". In other words, use the 40 or so pages of the "introduction version of BW". We discussed the rules of Fight! and Francis disclosed them all. "Don't bring that to the table with those players." Maybe, in another context, his position would be different.

The game and BW
I've discussed more about the game with Francis since last week. It seems we did play test a complete "wheel". We decided to continue to play only if the players ask us. Now, to really "make a call" about BW and Avalanche, I guess we still have to play test it with experienced players and in the context of a "short game" (but, on the later, see below). Still, I think I could make a formal review (it will come soon).

Quote
How did you square standard lifepaths with the setting you previously created? Is it just that your setting and BW's standard setting have really similar opperating assumptions?
When I created Avalanche, I knew the "plot" aspect would seem strange, so I deliberately chose to go with a familiar, common "fantasy setting". In the game, we only used the human lifepath. Everything was fine, except the for the noble setting : BW supposed nobles comes from knighthood, in Avalanche, noble comes from money. In Avalanche, there are some orcs, some half elf and some dwarfs. We could take a look and see if the lifepath fits.

Quote
Also, you suggested that it's difficult to use BW and Avalanche to run a 2 session game, how much of that is due to the "settling in" requirements of how your setting works? What kind of moving parts do you have in Avalanche that relate to speed of crescendo? And how do those signal to the players the pace of events, or how do they constrain them to keep to it?
Here's my position : when I talk about a short session game, I really mean some kind of teaser, or a demo you could do at a convention. A quick and dirty hit to introduce Avalanche. So, for this, I would choose a part of Avalanche that fits well in that aspect. You have to know that Avalanche, for the first season, has about ten possible games (in fact, overlapping stories, so guess the number of games), each with its own crescendo.
Let's say I meet a bunch of players who wants to be introduced, I would play a part of Avalanche that fits well in a short session and I think I would use TSOY. But, if they like it, when they leave with the product, they have to know that if they want to play a campaign, other systems are possible.
Anyway, I'd like to mention this : we're planning to make this demo in a "product" and test it. We will try it with two versions : TSOY and BW. Maybe BW works well for that after all.

Quote
How much did prepping for short play impare events once it shifted more towards campaign play?
The demo we are planning to prepare uses parts where the PCs would be kind of "stuck" in a place. So, events prepping is quite easy. Let's say that the players would want to continue that demo game and turn it into a campaign, I guess they would not be stuck anymore. So, prep is the same, except possible "regions" (or locations) where players can go is extended. That's really the only difference.

Quote
Were you able to use that relationship mapping etc to expand on what you had planned, or was it just that additional player agency powered by burning wheel just chucked in loads of intermediary steps on a "track" you prepared? If that's so, is there any provision within that to shifting sidequest/intermezzo/Zwischenzug situations (I'm pretty proud of that conceptual combination) so that they are made into things with their own forward momentum?
The answer to this is quite easy, once you understand how Avalanche works. There is nothing really planned nor "tracked" ; there is only a sketch. BW is very easy to use with Avalanche, and the two completes well each other, because in the character creation there are a lot of room to "link" what the players are telling you with the setting ; it fuels a lot of things. Avalanche is about the exploration of a sketch ; always the exploration. About your sidequest/intermezzo/Zwischenzug ? Avalanche is build so that can use them. You have to use them.
In other words, Avalanche provides you with the momentum concerning the world, not those of your game, your group, your players, your PCs. You better come with them, otherwise I don't know what you will do with Avalanche.

Quote
On the subject of advice, what is the main thing avalanche has helped you do during this campaign, despite failures?
Avalanche really provides a high value background during the character creation and really helps "tying up" the intermezzo you were talking about within the "big picture" ; thus having BW and Avalanche fueling up each other. Also, Avalanche is a real "backup" : whatever happens at the table, there are easy solutions. Francis might surely tell you more about it.

And yes, it is time to have others DM it !!!
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #11 on: January 27, 2010, 09:52:16 AM »

Avalanche is about the exploration of a sketch ; always the exploration. About your sidequest/intermezzo/Zwischenzug ? Avalanche is build so that can use them. You have to use them.
In other words, Avalanche provides you with the momentum concerning the world, not those of your game, your group, your players, your PCs. You better come with them, otherwise I don't know what you will do with Avalanche.

Interesting, so presumably it's about making the world an active participant in the games, but in a more responsive way than the old metaplots? Creating sensitivity within the patterns of the story so that stuff rolls on, but also actions of the players naturally create their own story responses? Sounds good to me!

On the other hand, if I've misunderstood you, there is a big difference between helping people do that, (making the apparently influence-less behaviour flower into big shifts in the local setting, or otherwise expanding them from being a simple pause in narrative to the seeds of a new one and a colouring correction to the larger trends) and just requiring them to do so. If that's not clear, it's the difference between a game that fails if you do not seize the moment and the themes/conflicts of the setting, and one that slowly shifts you into the centre of them whether your character goes gladly or not. There's obviously a trade-off in terms of philosophical perspective, similar to the risk of death in other types of game; do we allow the risk of pointlessness so as to represent existential reality (as is often done with death) and the associated fear and drama, or do we soften it because we're more interested in what happens when people are fulfilled and dynamised? Is it more interesting whether we avoid loss and meaninglessness, or how we avoid it?

(That came out more negative than I meant it, something more like "avoiding lack vs plurality of presence" or something, I hope you can get what I mean!)

I can definitely understand Francis' advice about not including the extra subsystems yet; looking again at previous play, (specifically the bit about directly making contact vs directing their paths to cross) it could be interpreted as players learning a new skill and a new objective at the same time, and in true zelda style applying the new skill to the new objective! Instead what they should have been attempting is considering how to use their existing motivational flexibility to give the characters common ground or at least reason to meet, as a preliminary step before making actual contact (at least based on one view of how to approach ingame causality). But that requires an understanding of the split between player objectives and character objectives, novel style built-in-causes etc. Learning that and things like it might be a higher priority that learning the advanced mechanics!

I love the idea of a setting system that is an aid to GM improvisation, it occurs to me that such tools not only do justice to the idea of a setting you can explore, but also push forward the study-able state of the art in interactive narrative: If it can be done in person, can it be done on a computer as well? But that's mostly a side effect, the real satisfying thing is how we slowly get more of a handle on how to make responsive stories.

Here's my position : when I talk about a short session game, I really mean some kind of teaser, or a demo you could do at a convention. A quick and dirty hit to introduce Avalanche. So, for this, I would choose a part of Avalanche that fits well in that aspect. You have to know that Avalanche, for the first season, has about ten possible games (in fact, overlapping stories, so guess the number of games), each with its own crescendo.
Let's say I meet a bunch of players who wants to be introduced, I would play a part of Avalanche that fits well in a short session and I think I would use TSOY. But, if they like it, when they leave with the product, they have to know that if they want to play a campaign, other systems are possible.
Anyway, I'd like to mention this : we're planning to make this demo in a "product" and test it. We will try it with two versions : TSOY and BW. Maybe BW works well for that after all.

I'm not sure I understand this yet; are you saying that it is impossible to run a proper game in one or two sessions, because of how the game constructs it's plots? And that instead you have to run an abridged version? If so it seems to me that testing that will not really test what your game is about, it's like playtesting a big space trader game with a demo of it's space combat and a journey between two planets! Or a series like the wire on it's pilot episode.The scope it is designed to operate on is larger. If that is the case, surely it shouldn't matter what system you use, the time-scale of the plot and the context will be incompatible for testing (though not for creating a taster, as pilots for shows and demos prove, the experience just has to accommodate and point to it's incompleteness). Or is it that you feel TSOY actually goes through the sort of plot this game produces faster?

On the other hand, is it just possible to happily take one of those overlapping stories to resolution while either de-emphasising others or just leaving them hanging? If so, how would you pace that main story so as to bring it to resolution within one or two sessions? Is the method an external clock? A shift in the types of events that happen? Information for the players? Something else? I mean, even if it doesn't work yet, what's the approach to pacing?

And also, if that is the case what does module-ising the plot in this way do to player choice? I imagine it would require more up-front coordination of the thematic and dramatic content of the game, which might be contrary to the "settle in and find what gives you purpose" ideal I've picked up from you before.

On the subject of timing, you said you stopped because you had reached a single cycle of burning wheel, how did that relate to the crescendos of avalanche?
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pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #12 on: January 29, 2010, 02:56:24 PM »

Josh, I have to admit something : I am really, but really bad (I stink, in fact) at describing what Avalanche is and/or does. So, your comment helps me a lot.

Quote
Interesting, so presumably it's about making the world an active participant in the games, but in a more responsive way than the old metaplots? Creating sensitivity within the patterns of the story so that stuff rolls on, but also actions of the players naturally create their own story responses? Sounds good to me!

Yes, it is. And those are better words than mine.

Quote
There's obviously a trade-off in terms of philosophical perspective, similar to the risk of death in other types of game; do we allow the risk of pointlessness so as to represent existential reality (as is often done with death) and the associated fear and drama, or do we soften it because we're more interested in what happens when people are fulfilled and dynamised? Is it more interesting whether we avoid loss and meaninglessness, or how we avoid it?

Couple of stuff, first :
- this does not sound negative.
- I don't think there is a way to enforce the aspect ; although I believe certain systems can help.
- There are many ways to use the product. I can't say one is better over the others.

Now, the real stuff : your question, your dilemma (which is a philosophical one) is the head fake of Avalanche. If, after a couple of sessions, players question themselves with what how we doing with our time ?, what are we doing with our lives ?, does it even all make sense ?, if they come out with the urge to act, to find sense, then it's very good news.
If your question is : is it better to keep the group occupy and have things "rolling" all the time or to give it a different pace and have players ask themselves some existential questions ? I can't answer you. Can the product support both ways ? yes.
If you're asking me "is a life where you question your purpose better than one where you don't" (it's not about having a purpose, it's about questioning it) ? Well, I guess I can't answer. Can you ?
That is, to answer your questions, we might be better off questioning Sisyphean again. That said, in my opinion, rpg are a good medium to address those issues, raise those essential questions. But good luck with selling out a product on that !!!

Quote
I love the idea of a setting system that is an aid to GM improvisation, it occurs to me that such tools not only do justice to the idea of a setting you can explore, but also push forward the study-able state of the art in interactive narrative: If it can be done in person, can it be done on a computer as well? But that's mostly a side effect, the real satisfying thing is how we slowly get more of a handle on how to make responsive stories.

First, yes, it can be done on a computer (and I won't say more, but yes). Otherwise, one of the goal of Avalanche is to provide a new, innovative way of creating plots/setting for rpg, something that can bring support in a non intrusive way.

Quote
On the other hand, is it just possible to happily take one of those overlapping stories to resolution while either de-emphasising others or just leaving them hanging? If so, how would you pace that main story so as to bring it to resolution within one or two sessions? Is the method an external clock? A shift in the types of events that happen? Information for the players? Something else? I mean, even if it doesn't work yet, what's the approach to pacing?

Here is the example of one the story we wish to use as a "demo", it is called in the deep. It is not all there, but it can give you an idea (just be careful, there are two separated stories there). The idea is more to "introduce" the players to the concept : a lot of freedom, meta-time that matters, stuff coming at you from other stories.
I'll precise my view with an example : the wire you mentioned earlier (and I'm a big fan). I wouldn't do the pilot as a demo, as it would reveal too much, on a too short time period. No, I would propose secondaries characters, a story arc that would last something like three episodes, somewhere around episode 6 or 8, where the DM could propose different groups (drug dealer, lawyers, police, teachers, parents ...). Something that would be restricted in term of goals, but still, that would allow players to see that there is "a lot more out there". See the difference in approach ?
Now, concerning the system to play this, I guess I want to go with as simple as possible.
On this point, finally, we weren't play-testing something that could come out "of the box". BW is too much personal the way we played it.

Quote
And also, if that is the case what does module-ising the plot in this way do to player choice? I imagine it would require more up-front coordination of the thematic and dramatic content of the game, which might be contrary to the "settle in and find what gives you purpose" ideal I've picked up from you before.

That would be impossible in demos as I see them.

Quote
On the subject of timing, you said you stopped because you had reached a single cycle of burning wheel, how did that relate to the crescendos of avalanche?

Well, for a first try we were happy, but there is space for improvement. Avalanche's crescendo is based on six weeks ; and so is BW. In our game, we came out with a "BW crescendo" of three weeks. A little bit short, but we could have managed it better.
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Fulai
Registree

Posts: 1


« Reply #13 on: March 07, 2010, 04:01:38 PM »

1-About the game we had
My point of view of the 2 first games

So we keep our normal life all on our on side, searching for clues in our respective circles about the strange events and persons we witnessed. Trying desperately to find something to put our character in action (I don't mean necessarily fighting) and forcing them to work as a group (making the game more interesting, instead of waiting each turn for small story parts). So we learned a lot about the city and the people in it we were suppose to know (all the characters were people having a lot of circles in the city ; so on this part I think it was a lack of briefing) and of course about the new events and some secrets of the city our players were not able to know before we start.

I think the problem was in the preparation. Most of the people around the table are administrators (except for me) or something like that, so they all speak the same language. I mean, they all agree on a planning of the evening (wtf does it have to do with rpg in the first place) and the time frame for each part. Result : players were rushed to create characters and received very little about the background of Avalanche and specifically about the city of Carcandasse. In other words, we should have use more of the product in the first session. It's natural right ? We should have taken the first evening to create characters, give info about the world, talk more about what game we want to play, what medieval time looks like (many people have very different vision of it, so we need to decide what it's gonna be for use in the game), same things about fantasy and magic (same problem here) but we didn't need more details about what is a rpg ; the players understood very quickly what it was about : telling story with friends is a thing we all did when we were kids, so no problem here.

To follow Sebastien's comments about the game
So to follow what we had been said before, I only saw action in the third game. At the end of the second session, we asked questions to the wrong persona. We wanted to know who raped-tortured-killed the sister of one of the character (a doctor who ran the official honor of our tavern) and we asked the captain of the city guards. He is the cousin of another character (an officer in the guard) and in the first session the character insulted him by showing no respect and telling him he have no honor (oups!); and to make things worse he is the one who kill the poor girls.

So I decided he would try to kill his cousin the same night and get ride of 2 problems that way. So bang! We got right into the action and the night became a night of survival. But the players surprised me and dealt with the thug (the captain didn't want to be linked to the job, so he hired thugs) and, as the boss of the thugs hated the captain, they teamed together to go kill the captain. So we went from "survival night" to assassination night.

My point of views as a GM (Type of player, type of game master, the game,the story, the tempo)

1- Answering questions

A/If Francis is playing "rules light" what is he taking less notice of? Personally I'd not force him to use the full rules for the sake of playtesting, (although as I say I can see the argument) but rather ask him to say exactly what he isn't using, and how what he is using effects his decisions. That way you know how widely to apply insights found in this testing.<B/Why would I ask to throw dices at some point where, from Sebastien's point of view, it was totally irrelevant to do so ?<is it worth throwing a dice ?
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pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #14 on: April 05, 2010, 12:59:41 PM »

Maybe just to conclude this thread and summarize our (Francis and I) common position following this play test. Please note that some of the issues I'm going to address are on the verge of publishing.

Burning Wheel
This is, in my opinion, one of the best system out there. It really helps out playing and provides rules that helps me, as a DM at the table ; I mean it helps me and my players focus on what we want to address.
Maybe the most enjoyable and eye opening mechanic for me was the character burner. And I'd like to talk a little bit about this.
The character burner, in my opinion, is quite different than the classical character creation. In what way ?
I do see the character creation as having a character sheet and completing it. Character burner seems to me like a different beast : you have a specific sheet, with a lot of little characters on it, that you use to create your character. In this process, there is a lot of emphasis about the character personal story. After this process, you moved some parts of the initial sheet to the final character sheet, the one you will use in play ; thus throwing away the character burner sheet.

Now, would I prefer a simpler character sheet for BW ? I guess, yes. I mean, yes, BW is great, but a little bit too complicated to my taste (read here "rules heavy"). BW is great, but better to use it with hardcore players. And do I have access to this kind of players ? Not really, see below.

Also, which is great for Avalanche, BW seems perfect to play campaign, which is the purpose of Avalanche.

Finally, I do feel that BW and Avalanche is almost a perfect match. By that, I mean I don't see any real reasons to have a separate version of BW for Avalanche or a single version of Avalanche for BW. According to this AP, do I seem right ?

What's next ?
So, here's my situation : Francis is going to leave for China in two months, and for some reasons (including friends of mine living oversea) I don't have access to hardcore players. Also, setting out a campaign might turn out to be very difficult. And, please, bear in mind that I intend to publish Avalanche somewhere this summer ; that means a lot of work, leaving even less time for playtesting.

That said, we intend to continue a little bit of playtesting until Francis is leaving ; at least two games, but with very specific purposes. We want to try out some "demo" stuff. That means single session introducing Avalanche. Thus, no real space here for character burning and we do see TSOY to be a better take for this kind of play. Do you feel that way ?
And note that this is not really a problem as Avalanche is presented as a multi-systems campaign.

Now, back to BW. I do see my options as follow (there are not mutually exclusive) :
- Continue, against all odds, to playtest BW, eventually to the sake of other type of playtesting, or even work on the final product. Is there much more to learn for me in that context ?
- Write down a review, to be or not, included to Avalanche. I do have other ways to propose it, in my blog for instance.
- Write down suggestions, or guidelines, on how to best use BW and Avalanche together (taken mostly from this AP).
- Try to find playtesters within the community of BW. That would mean for alpha testers (free version of Avalanche for those testers). And note that I see a difference between encouraging this kind of playtest and providing guidelines, getting customers who play BW and let them build a community. But I do want limited alpha testers. Is BW really where I want to put the efforts ?
- Putting out characters sheets for BW in Avalanche is not an option I can do alone : I need Luke permission. Should I "push" on that ?

Or, maybe, I should just not worry about it and do nothing ... Or maybe, I'm missing out something.

Our goal, our system
After much thoughts, we decided to come up with our own system. But, wait here : that is no big deal !!! We're going to do a variation of the solar system, which works well with Avalanche, we know that already. And the system works too, so it shouldn't be too much work (*cough*cough* ... see "risky" here). That said, we would like to introduce a kind of character burner in the solar system.

Anyway, the main thing is : time is limited. I would prefer to spend time working out on this variation and playtesting it than BW. You see my problem ?

But maybe, there could be a couple of very little things I could do to close down the BW issue that would really pay off. Any suggestions ?
And please, keep in mind that I want Avalanche to be open about systems. That is one of our main publishing goal.
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