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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 61 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Remos] Betrayal of Design Goals?  (Read 2303 times)
Catelf
Member

Posts: 146


« Reply #15 on: January 03, 2010, 05:56:58 AM »

How about another mix:

Origin, Birthplace, Status, Class and Skills. A, B, C, D and E.
If you are a "Regular Human", you don't have to place Origin Anywhere, so therefor just put it at lowest(That is also how Shadowrun Works!), that is: E.

Now the question is:
Do you still want characters to be able to have more than one Origin?

If Yes, then treat Priority A as 4 "Origin Levels", B as 3, C as 2, D as 1, and E as None.
Or make it from 5-1 instead, but that would mean that even a "Regular Human" has a Level 1 Origin.

If no, I just understood what you meant with the sentence below:
Quote
In order to take that race, you'd have to allocate AT LEAST the rank equal to the bold lettering (because it's a physical attribute)
And i think it would work well in that case.

Catelf
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Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


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« Reply #16 on: January 03, 2010, 11:59:46 AM »

Hey David,

Quote from: Joywriter
Also why are these guys rare? Do they not have many babies?

They're only rare in the part of the world the game takes place in.  I guess I think that for story purposes it's more interesting if only a few people in the group are foreigners.  It's kind of like old westerns where one guy is an Indian. If the whole group was Indians, it wouldn't be special anymore.

Y'know, upon reflection, here's what I think you're up against. And it's not the munchkin's direct pursuit of character advantage.

I think our unconscious, primal human brains are tuned from prehistory to the pursuit of status, wealth, mating opportunities, and yes, power. And I think our myths and epics code us for recognizing certain character types as high status, powerful, and likely to have more and better mating opportunities: lost princes (high status), exotic foreigners (with rarefied abilities likely to disrupt conventional society, and create status and power opportunities for the foreigner), and grim wanderers (mating opportunities). Conan, Legolas, Aragorn, Hercules, Gilgamesh, John Carter, vampire and werewolf characters in paranormal romances, etc.

I think your playtesters are preferencing the exotic in their character choices because they unconsciously believe that exoticism is a signal that the story will turn around their character. And if this is true, then they will pay any price you impose in chargen for exoticism. And if that high price so erodes the effectiveness of their character that they are the butt of failures and are in no way central and significant to the epic, they will say the game is broken. Because what they believed they were paying for was centrality and significance.

I don't know how to solve this. But I'm thinking about it. What do you think?

Paul
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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
Darcy Burgess
Member

Posts: 476


« Reply #17 on: January 03, 2010, 12:41:26 PM »

Hi,

Tangentially, Traveller and 1st ed (don't know about subsequent ed'ns) MegaTraveller handled the exotic very handily.

Want to play an Aslan?  Congrats.  You're a big honkin' cat-human.  Please roll your stats just like anyone else (no, I'm sorry, you won't find the section on "Aslan Modifiers")

There's ample colour that spews out of a well-described culture.  Taking an Aslan character or a Vargr character was a sufficient statement about what play would be like.  In reality, they were prototype's for Paul's "more than human" and "less than human" in My Life with Master.

Consider divorcing mechanical impact from species.  Let your colour description do the work.

Excelsior!
D
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David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #18 on: January 03, 2010, 11:02:57 PM »

Arrrgh, screen time, my mortal enemy, you strike again! 

One of the reasons I kind of liked the idea of ranked char gen was because each section of character generation has a really cool thing you can be.  Like I imagine each of the following things would require "A Rank" to be.
In Origins, you can be a Pershek (which many players are really drawn towards) or a flying Kefla.
In Status, you can be a Noble (which has its perks)
In Birthplace, you can be a Vendarian (which is a highly advanced magical society)
In Classes, you can be a Mage 
With Skills, you can do a lot more, which is going to mean more screen time (If I can tame an animal and repair that engine, I'm doing twice as much)

Right now, you can be a Pershek, Vendarian, Mage and everybody has the same number of skills. I have no system for Status in my game, even though its become an intricate part of the setting. 

Darcy, I think divorcing mechanical impact from species is a great idea.  However, I'm literally sewing the last seams closed on my first game I've ever made.  (The core book is coming in at 200 pages and I have 400 other pages of support material made).  In some ways, my game is perfect in every way for me. The problem is, my game expectations have changed over 4 years. My idea of a perfect game isn't what it was 4 years ago.  (4 years ago, I looked at races as mechanical advantages. Today, I look at them as story advantages)  So, I'm seeing if I can make the current design suit me better, because truthfully, the races fit the type of game it is.   

Perhaps I should do nothing and leave things as they are. 30 minute character generation is nice. I really can't decide what to do and I feel these final few "flaws" are preventing me from just finishing the whole thing. 
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #19 on: January 04, 2010, 06:25:29 PM »

Perhaps I should do nothing and leave things as they are. 30 minute character generation is nice. I really can't decide what to do and I feel these final few "flaws" are preventing me from just finishing the whole thing. 

Ever done a rubix cube? They annoy me personally but I saw a friend completing one, and he got everything done but a last few squares, and the permutations required to get everything back in order while solving that flaw were one of the biggest sets of operations he did.

Flaws in a game system are sometimes like flaws in paintwork, sometimes like rubix cubes. If the problem is in some tangle of interconnections, most of the time a patch is going to be really noticeable, like my "weirdness quota" suggestion. To get an elegant solution may involve filling your living room with little fragments of the game engine, (to layer analogies!) until you get it right. It might be that you'd rather leave that job till the next time that you change things. Don't forget that although it might feel finished now, the next time you playtest you might well find events ruffling up your pattern all over again!

Now I'm sure that's common knowledge, just thought it might be helpful to bring it up again.


I have to say that ranking system is a wonderfully simple approach to balance! One feature for each power level. In fact it reminds me of the FATE skill pyramid. But instead of just being skills, every trait of the character is stuck onto the scale or pyramid somewhere!

I also like the idea of being able to produce a lesser version of a class or species trait, so that you can't be a full Vendrian mage, but you might be able to downgrade your mage to apprentice, or your birthplace to a more backward part of the Vendrian society. Very interesting!

In my mind, just the idea that backgrounds and species can be assigned magnitudes in this way, (as a sort of fuzzy membership function) is really interesting for it's effects on skills. (What if you work backwards? And start treating skills similarly as professions with different effects on different minigames?) If you allow all elements of the pyramid to progress further it reminds me a bit of the "paragon classes" from D&D 3 too.

But looking at it a bit more clear eyed for a sec, pulling back a pyramid system from explicit skill totals to a more abstract magnitude is a recipe for arbitrary power assignments, because like a points system it sticks everything on the same scale. There may be problems with cross-referencing multiple paths causing confusion, and additionally, a certain amount of derivation required to move from player choice (in char gen + possibly advancement) to the effect on play; lots of unpacking to do.

Not to say you can't do it, but I think the progression of ability provision up the ranks needs to build elegantly, with a certain sort of logic, although I don't think all abilities need to go at all ranks: Just the baseline you'd expect, maybe two "budget options", and then perhaps advancement from there? So wings could be a flat A, with space for advancement (which probably suggests alphabet might not be the best for that) whereas skills could range more widely.

On the actual balance criteria you should use, I'd probably try to merge the tactical and story potentials as close as possible by focusing on tactical divergence rather than directly focusing on bonuses. In other words niche rather than one-on-one supremacy, with extra levels adding more flexibility (in the sense of new stuff to do for people to muck around with synergise/break). This would have the compound result of regulating weirdness and power simultaneously. But to be honest, I'd have to know more about game play and what people normally get up to to make that kind of suggestion!
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2010, 10:05:05 AM »

I just read that back and it seems pretty unclear what I was going for, here's a rephrasing:

Say you have a pyramid of qualities, you might say that certain qualities may only sit at a certain hight on the pyramid or higher, say on a pyramid with four levels, flight may only appear on the top two, as either the ability to glide or full flying ability. I really love that idea.
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David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2010, 10:44:53 PM »

I'm probably going to do this.  I don't think it is going to take much more to make the changes. 

What I really need to figure out is how to fix the other 2 perpetual flaws I have.
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #22 on: January 12, 2010, 07:27:51 AM »

Which are those sorry? I can only spot one outstanding problem in this thread, and that is "a team of indians", which I think can be solved in the same way as the old "party of all wizards" problem, especially now that class and race are equalised by the new char-gen system.

What are the other problems? Something to do with another element of preference shift?
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David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #23 on: January 13, 2010, 12:32:35 AM »

I didn't mention any other problems I'm having, but here they are.
1) I'm unhappy with my system for resolving social conflict
2) I'm unhappy with my system for players giving narrative input.

I have a new idea of what to do for #1.  I'm still at a loss of what I want to do with #2. I have another thread where I'm discussing #1 (it is also in playtesting).  Please go there to discuss it, but here's the post.

Quote
My new idea for resolving social conflict is for each player (and NPC) to have a social 'HP' pool. They declare their goals and decide if they both want to engage in the social duel. If not, they make a compromise or walk away. The player who seems to be making the argument goes first (the initiator). He rolls an attack argument against the defense argument. If the initiator loses, he can spend 1 'HP' to try again.

A second round is performed with the initiator on the defense. If the defender loses his attack argument, he can spend 1 'HP' to try again. 

This continues until one side gives up. If one side loses the argument, they can attempt a compromise.  They declare the compromise. (The more reasonable it is, the more likely it will be taken up.)  Another attack is made (the person asking for the compromise makes the attack argument).  If he succeeds, the compromise is put into place. HOWEVER, the overall winner can spend 1 'HP' to negate the compromise entirely. 

At any point, one side can lose instead of losing more 'HP'.  'HP' are regained as GM rewards and 1 point each scene. If a player has no HP to spend, that's it.

If a player describes their actions, they can get critical success and can prevent botches.


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Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


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« Reply #24 on: January 13, 2010, 03:11:50 PM »

Is there any leeway intended here?

For example, giving it a rating so we can more easily see what people want, the amount the GM wants these creatures to be rare is 90 (out of 100)
The amount players want it them to be rare about 5 out of 100.

Now, from this thread it looks like your trying to design it to force it to exactly 90 (or whatever number represents your want of these races being rare).

There's no leeway going to be designed in, so although you want them rare, if the players aren't that interesed in them being rare, they are a bit less rare?

If you get what I mean.
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David C
Member

Posts: 262

lost in the woods...


« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2010, 05:40:17 PM »

Callan, on the surface my issue was "People playing too much of X."  In reality, what I wanted was "Equal distribution of cool stuff."

It's kind of like a GURPS/Traveler game I participated in recently.  One character had psychic powers, ownership of the spaceship, captain-ship of the spaceship, unimaginable wealth, status and fame.  I was a really great astronomer and merchant (but the other character was in a better position to be a merchant).  There wasn't an equal balance of cool stuff in the game. 

In my game system, everybody had all the cool stuff, which made it not all that cool.  (Its kind of like flat panel TVs. Nearly everybody who wants one has one.  They aren't as cool as when they cost $10,000)

To answer this, players now rank the cool stuff they want.  If you want to choose Pershek, you have to rank it high on your list. If you want to be high nobility and a Pershek, you have to choose which is more important to you. There's flexibility built in there too.  Maybe you're a clumsy elf, which is worth a C rank instead of a B rank.

This also keeps the game fresh, imo. That way if you make another Mage for a different campaign, you might choose Human instead of Kefla.
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