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Author Topic: [Spectre of the Beast] rules questions  (Read 617 times)
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2341


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« on: December 09, 2009, 07:08:20 PM »

Hey Joel,

Alrighty, we're scheduled to playtest this weekend. Mostly I think I'm clear on the game from the text of the ashcan, but I have a just few questions:

    In the section on creating cultures you write that you pick a point in human history as your starting point, and then you just make up "what's gone before in your 'history'". You mean you make the 'history' up in play right?

    Later in the section on setting up the variables you write that an Escalation of "6 means you'll probably play through an entire Epoch in a single evening." You mean an Escalation of 3, right? Because later in the paragraph you say the "default is 6, which should yield an Epoch of 2-3 sessions."

    You write that when you're playing your Champion, "one other player will be your Nemesis. This can be anyone you ask or who volunteers, but by default your Nemesis is whoever is sitting on your left." Does each Champion only have one Nemesis? Is it a problem if I ask Danielle to play my Nemesis, and then she's also George's Nemesis because he wants her to be, and she's sitting to his left?

    In Resolution, when the Nemesis "narrates Spectre points," is it one grim consequence per point? Or just one general grim consequence, with the player of the Nemesis take the number of points as a sort of guide to its severity?

    In Resolution, when determining what the Champion learned, you count 6s. Do you count them in just Normal dice? Or in both Normal dice and Sword dice?

    In Resolution, when determining how the Champion's culture transformed, I have the same question as above regarding the narration of Spectre points. Do we narrate one correlated cultural transformation per point? Or a general correlated cultural effect informed in magnitude by the number of points?

    In the section on Developing Cultures after a Champion's Ambitions have been resolved, in the bulleted list you write "All Odds rolled on Victory Dice in excess of add to the Hope pool..." In excesss of what? In excess of the Odds rolled by the Nemesis on the Defeat dice? If so, then is this sentence a duplicate of the fifth bulleted item from the same list?

    In the final bulleted item in that list about rolling the Spectre pool you write "All 1s recycle back into the Culture's Spectre Pool for the next Epoch." Do you mean "set the culture's Spectre pool to the number of 1s rolled"?

And that's it for questions. I'm really looking forward to the game. You and I think very similarly about the human endeavor, so I do have additional notes and thoughts. But they can wait.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Joel P. Shempert
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Posts: 451


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« Reply #1 on: December 10, 2009, 11:58:04 PM »

In the section on creating cultures you write that you pick a point in human history as your starting point, and then you just make up "what's gone before in your 'history'". You mean you make the 'history' up in play right?

Yeah. Earlier in that section I talk about pre-discussing in broad terms but keeping the details light, to be filled in through playing scenes.

Later in the section on setting up the variables you write that an Escalation of "6 means you'll probably play through an entire Epoch in a single evening." You mean an Escalation of 3, right? Because later in the paragraph you say the "default is 6, which should yield an Epoch of 2-3 sessions."

Yech, typo! Just when you think you have 'em all weeded out. . .yes, the first usage should be 3 instead of 6.

You write that when you're playing your Champion, "one other player will be your Nemesis. This can be anyone you ask or who volunteers, but by default your Nemesis is whoever is sitting on your left." Does each Champion only have one Nemesis? Is it a problem if I ask Danielle to play my Nemesis, and then she's also George's Nemesis because he wants her to be, and she's sitting to his left?

Huh, I'd never thought about that possibility. I was assuming that a 1-1 Nemesis-Champion relationship for the sake of everyone contributing equally: everyone would Nemesis for someone. I suppose there's no harm in breaking that relationship if you really wanna. I only included the clause about not going around in a circle because that arrangement is sorta arbitrary and I wanted to allow for individual enthusiasm to have a voice--"Oooh, you've got a Culture of theocratic Aztecs with Lizard-man slaves, I wanna play the antagonism for THAT!" and so forth. Around-in-acircle is the default but I don't want people to be slaves to that.

In Resolution, when the Nemesis "narrates Spectre points," is it one grim consequence per point? Or just one general grim consequence, with the player of the Nemesis take the number of points as a sort of guide to its severity?

I think it's either-or. I've always liked the idea of each 1 providing a specific detail, but in play it's tended toward being a "general guide to severity."

In Resolution, when determining what the Champion learned, you count 6s. Do you count them in just Normal dice? Or in both Normal dice and Sword dice?

In both Normal and Sword Dice.

In Resolution, when determining how the Champion's culture transformed, I have the same question as above regarding the narration of Spectre points. Do we narrate one correlated cultural transformation per point? Or a general correlated cultural effect informed in magnitude by the number of points?

Again, I idealistically prefer each point being a distinct transformation, but in play people usually find coming up with a bunch of individual things to be burdensome.

In the section on Developing Cultures after a Champion's Ambitions have been resolved, in the bulleted list you write "All Odds rolled on Victory Dice in excess of add to the Hope pool..." In excesss of what? In excess of the Odds rolled by the Nemesis on the Defeat dice? If so, then is this sentence a duplicate of the fifth bulleted item from the same list?

GOD! Typo again, what an embarrassing mess. For the first quoted example, just REMOVE "in excess of." Instead of the usual straight odd-comparison I'm comparing Champion Odds vs. Nemesis 1s. I'm giving the champion a break here, assuming that those hard-won Victory Points should count for something special. For comparing Development points, however, it's back to Odds vs. Odds, as per Bullet Five.

In the final bulleted item in that list about rolling the Spectre pool you write "All 1s recycle back into the Culture's Spectre Pool for the next Epoch." Do you mean "set the culture's Spectre pool to the number of 1s rolled"?

Yeah, that's probably a better way to put it. I've struggled throughout the text in conveying some of the mechanisms in clear and accessible language. in this case the two wordings, yours and mine, depend on whether you consider the Spectre Pool to be an eternally existent thing, forever abiding in some platonic realm from Epoch to Epoch, or rather consider it born anew for each Epoch, so that each Epoch has "its own" pool that is distinct from all other Epoch's Spectre Pools. But that's an abstract concern. I'll go with whatever gets players understanding what I wrote and playing the game correctly--putting the right points in the right pool.

Thanks for the questions, Paul. Hope the game goes well. I look forward to your further commentary.

peace,
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Darcy Burgess
Member

Posts: 476


« Reply #2 on: December 12, 2009, 07:41:02 AM »

You write that when you're playing your Champion, "one other player will be your Nemesis. This can be anyone you ask or who volunteers, but by default your Nemesis is whoever is sitting on your left." Does each Champion only have one Nemesis? Is it a problem if I ask Danielle to play my Nemesis, and then she's also George's Nemesis because he wants her to be, and she's sitting to his left?

Huh, I'd never thought about that possibility. I was assuming that a 1-1 Nemesis-Champion relationship for the sake of everyone contributing equally: everyone would Nemesis for someone. I suppose there's no harm in breaking that relationship if you really wanna. I only included the clause about not going around in a circle because that arrangement is sorta arbitrary and I wanted to allow for individual enthusiasm to have a voice--"Oooh, you've got a Culture of theocratic Aztecs with Lizard-man slaves, I wanna play the antagonism for THAT!" and so forth. Around-in-acircle is the default but I don't want people to be slaves to that.

Hey Joel,

Rephrase your last two sentences (drop out all the bits about "I only included..."), and you've got your rule.  As soon as you start sying "I want such-and-such to happen", you're probably stating your rule in its most distilled form.  I find myself obfuscating what I want when I write, too.

When I re-write Black Cadillacs as a non-ashcan, my plan is to sit down with some newbies, teach them the game and tape myself while I'm doing it.  Then, I'm going to transcribe the dialogue and use that as a first draft.  It's going to be hellish amounts of work, but it's a great way to narrow in on *the rules*, as opposed to talking about the rules, which is a pit I fall into, too.

Cheers,
D
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