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Author Topic: [Thornes] OrcCon 2010 Playtest  (Read 615 times)
jburneko
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Posts: 1351


« on: February 16, 2010, 06:17:21 PM »

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Noclue
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #1 on: February 18, 2010, 10:40:26 AM »

Hi Jesse, I've given you some feedback already from watching the playtest, but I thought I'd chime in here. Morgan's on his way to Dreamation, but I told him about this thread, so he may chime in some time. Overall, I thought the game had lots of neat stuff and there's definitely a game in there full of passion and pain. The comments below are meant as constructive criticisms that may help with the issues you raise:

It went SLOW.  Like most people didn't exit their opening scenes slow.  That seemed odd to me because the mechanics are rooted in Sorcerer (Hell, Thornes is basically a big Sorcerer hack).  I don't have that problem in Sorcerer why did that happen here.
Couple of thoughts here: Everyone was tired and none of the players had Sorcerer experience, so there was some of that. However, essentially the game started off with everyone's "boss fight" and those tend to take a long time to resolve. Contrast that with the Sorcerer and Sword game you ran a few years ago where my child character spent the first scene cowering in a church while some weird dialogue played out and then RP'd with the townsfolk and then traveled to his nobleman father's castle before getting into a fight with getting poned by a snake demon.

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What I observed a couple people doing is grabbing something in the scene to justify creating a motif mid action.  I didn't really like that.  I think I will instigate a rule that Motifs can only be created at the END of scenes and can only by introduced at the BEGINNING of scenes.
I've been thinking about motifs as well. In literature motifs function as recurring images that communicate through metaphor. So, I think they really need to be tied into the character in a strong way. They should become a persistent and thematic element that tells us something about the character and lets us know the scene is "about" them is some way. At the moment, the players are incentivized to create them in order to make fan mail available, but no gravitas is attributed to them as things in their own right.

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Colors however, didn't do what I wanted them to do at all.  The way I imagined Color working is pretty much tagging central NPCs and McGuffins and giving players a little more control over their fates.  I didn't realize how much I wanted this to be a cross-waving mechanic until it pretty much wasn't a cross-weaving mechanic

What I saw people doing was tagging pretty much anything in the scene at hand with Color to grab dice from it.  What I will probably do is alter this rule such that you can only influence the outcome of conflicts involving whatever it is you have tagged with Color if your character is NOT involved in the conflict.

I don't think the problem with color is the fact that they generate self rewards, I think the problem is that their sole function is to generate self rewards. They don't do anything in the fiction. They're structured as a fire and forget bennie, when you want persistent effects from the mechanic. To my mind, tagging something with your color should communicate that this thing/person is important to the character's tale. The player is essentially marking them as special. But there's no mechanical effect other than the character gets to kill them better.

I'd like to see color persist such that it gives a benefit to the GM if it appears in a conflict where the character is not present. Maybe something like, if another character is in conflict with the lass that I spent points on, she's getting the benefit of extra dice. Against me, I get that benefit. A little self reward isn't necessarily a bad thing.

Anoth different idea that would promote cross weaving might be to make them function as a refresh mechanic. So, if you're low on points you can have a scene where you bleed another players color off of the thing/person and add the dice to your pool.

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A possible solution is for creating several Locations before play begins.  Basically "seed" Locations. 
Yes! I would have each character start with a thematic location that they place on an index card in the center of the table. Locations start with a +1D available for anyone in the location. If anyone goes to an existing location the benefit goes up by +1D to some maximum. Creating a new location costs 1 point. This would promote reusing locations.

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One kind of RADICAL idea I had was to basically have parts of the Image work like Demon Powers from Sorcerer.  So that ring you have can Daze an opponent and those boots give you Travel.  I don't know if I want to go down that road but I thought I'd mention it to see what kind of feedback it generated.
Neat. Powerz! The image items look like WOW item slots. So, this works. I don't like the current damage sink mechanic as it functions to prolong conflicts when they are already too slow.

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One of the things I noticed players doing was angling to kill their opposition rather than crush their Egos with Vindication.  My intent was to create a setup in which killing was relatively easy but ultimately unsatisfying but totally decimating your opponent was harder but more satisfying. 
The game encourages killing by making it easier and more colorful and more fun. It discourages other things by making them seem a difficult route to the same end. I couldn't explain the value proposition for eschewing killing in favor of ego crushing, for example.

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James R.
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #2 on: February 18, 2010, 04:45:50 PM »

James,

Thanks for the feedback!  Lots to think about.

One of the interesting things about Thornes in its current state is that almost all of its pieces individually are Okay or better.  But the thing doesn't quite hang together right.  The pieces don't inter-relate properly.

Jesse
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