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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Emergent Characters  (Read 2771 times)
Shimera9
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #30 on: April 07, 2010, 07:13:15 PM »

Heh, sorry for the data flood, but I figured I'd wrap the break down up.  Let me know if you want me stepping through an example.  I think with some minor mods I can build the escalation into the challenge system itself.  I may want to build in a turn around point through where beating it makes resolving remaining challenges easier ("falling action").

Concluding Challenges

A challenge ends when either a Push for Victory attempt succeeds or all opponents have been taken out of the challenge. The side who did the push or still has members in the challenge wins.

Winners gain a points based on the number of push for victory attempts it took to win the challenge. Additionally individual character may convert their remaining frustration points into these award points. These points can be spent to purchase:
  • Boon: This award give a character a temporary edge. The more uses a boon has, the more it costs.
  • Bank: Banked points are set aside and can not be spent until the a later challenge is won.
  • Lead: The player can add a piece of information to the game that sets up a future challenge. Points invested in the lead can be used to increase the scale and stakes of the future challenge.
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Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« Reply #31 on: April 11, 2010, 02:21:01 PM »

Just one question for now, as I digest the rest:

How does one block? You mention that characters can block a Push for Victory, but nothing is mentioned about the mechanism for this.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
MacLeod
Member

Posts: 216


« Reply #32 on: April 12, 2010, 02:45:05 PM »

I'm really liking this emergent characters approach. Thank you for enlightening me. =)

Formatting for the final text...
I would keep the particulars in a sidebar or indented. The mainstays that actually reveal the mechanics should be listed via obvious bullet points. I found the text to be a little difficult to digest initially and I had to reread it to shape the information into something recognizable to my mind's eye. =) I know I'm likely jumping the gun here but it is something to think about.

The only particular thing that sticks out as very strange is the Frustration related details. I think it is because that aspect has to be abstracted so very much to cover all of the different meanings it could have based on the Challenge being taken on. Perhaps a better word? Such as Setback. Maybe I'm inflating the importance of syllables, I dunno. =P
  • Boon: This award give a character a temporary edge. The more uses a boon has, the more it costs.
  • Bank: Banked points are set aside and can not be spent until the a later challenge is won.
  • Lead: The player can add a piece of information to the game that sets up a future challenge. Points invested in the lead can be used to increase the scale and stakes of the future challenge.
This part of the system won't be used for permanent edges?

Quote from: Lance
How does one block? You mention that characters can block a Push for Victory, but nothing is mentioned about the mechanism for this.
I am also interested in this information. =)
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~*/\Matthew Miller/\*~
Shimera9
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #33 on: April 12, 2010, 08:57:27 PM »

How does one block? You mention that characters can block a Push for Victory, but nothing is mentioned about the mechanism for this.

I'm still working out the details of this, especially as pushing for victory is a new feature.  The original idea is I wasn't sure I wanted every enemy being beaten by a single push.  In that case, the character would need to come of with one action that would keep their opponents goals out reach.  The block would basically be an interrupting action, but I was leaning on make it a guaranteed success when first used.

Past that "you're not doing that" interrupts may be possible, but they wouldn't get that guarantee.  However, I may build in a sacrifice mechanic similar to the push or give thing mentioned earlier.

Reading back over this I think I might actually like to make it more player based than character based.  Basically each player could step in an once per challenge and say "I'm not ready for this to end yet" through declaring a block.  They'd then get to narrate why the challenge isn't won yet.  Most likely this would be a desperate action by an opposed character, but acts of fate are also possible.

I'm also debating on if I should try to further consolidate victory conditions.  The thing is, should all challenges require defeating every enemy?  I'm inclined to say no.  After all, let's say the party is trying to escape a locked room with a localized hazard such as enemies restricted to that area.  The party can win as soon as the locked door is defeated and everyone exits, regardless of what they did to the remaining hazards in that room.  So right now I'm debating between making "defeat all opposition" (not necessarily kill or injury, just get them to yield) and "push a winning action" the primary focus.  I can make them both strong options for winning, but leaving it split like that might be unnecessary complexity.

I'm really liking this emergent characters approach. Thank you for enlightening me. =)

I am fond of that approach.  Without it I'm prone to spending way too much time fiddling with character details, so shortcuts that just let me play are tempting.  The site for EPICS does have a very nice write up on what I like about this approach.

Formatting for the final text...
I would keep the particulars in a sidebar or indented. The mainstays that actually reveal the mechanics should be listed via obvious bullet points. I found the text to be a little difficult to digest initially and I had to reread it to shape the information into something recognizable to my mind's eye.

I've actually been thinking of using them in a Q&A type format.  For example, I could follow the main body of text with something like:

What if I think another player is trying to overuse a trait?
Use of the trait can be challenge.  If this happens, use player polling to determine what value the target roll can use.

The only particular thing that sticks out as very strange is the Frustration related details. I think it is because that aspect has to be abstracted so very much to cover all of the different meanings it could have based on the Challenge being taken on. Perhaps a better word? Such as Setback. Maybe I'm inflating the importance of syllables, I dunno. =P

I do plan on renaming this.  It was originally labelled Tension and I'm toying with Ire.  I admit I don't plan on using frustration in the final release as it could be too easy to associate with player frustration.  The points are in fact about setbacks, but the term "setback" seems more like discrete events rather than a fluid resource generate by those events.

This part of the system won't be used for permanent edges?

What I'm thinking here is any advantage you get in a challenge isn't meant to last beyond the end of the adventure by default.  However, you can spend downtime resources to make these advantages last.  The idea is rather than accumulating things like xp to spontaneous develop new traits, character development focuses on either making adventure awards persistent or altering a trait that's revealed in.  However as that's a between adventure mechanic I hadn't gotten into it yet.
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Lance D. Allen
Member

Posts: 1962


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« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2010, 07:59:33 AM »

Another quick question, to keep the ball rolling: What does player polling look like in a play instance of your game?

Also...
Quote
I do plan on renaming this. ...Tension...Ire...frustration...setbacks...

Determination?
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Shimera9
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #35 on: April 14, 2010, 03:57:30 AM »

Another quick question, to keep the ball rolling: What does player polling look like in a play instance of your game?

Right now I've got two approaches, though I may just drop one of these or fold it into the other one.

If the poll topic forces on a quantity or scaled value such as "how far can I throw this" you can ask each player to suggest a value and take the median.  That comes down removing the top and bottom values until you have one or two left.  Chance will probably be used as a tie breaker.

For topics that don't fit along a scale, I'm leaning toward giving each option it's own roll and letting players boost those rolls.  I'm thinking of giving players without character in the scene a free boost and letting all players spend influence to boost the odds.  The winning roll is what happens.  Ties can call for a mixed outcome or reroll.  This element may end up somewhat similar to universalis, though resources will probably be a more optional part of the system.

Quote
I do plan on renaming this. ...Tension...Ire...frustration...setbacks...

Determination?

Possibly.  I basically need shorthand for "the build up from facing setbacks and obstacles that helps you push past or go around those obstacles".

Actually now that I think about it, that resource could be useful in linking challenges.  I'd originally just intended it as a way of countering overly difficult challenges.  However, if I let it carry over it might help the underdog side pull of a reversal in a later conflict.  That might actually create an interesting dynamic where you want you side to win, but if you start pushing down a given side too far it can backlash on you.  Definitely something to think about..
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Shimera9
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #36 on: April 23, 2010, 01:48:05 AM »

I just wanted to give folks a quick update.  I've finished reading Universalis and it's certainly given me some things to mull over.

One of those point is how to set up a system of shared narrative control without having that system overpower the other game elements.  In particular it seems that players can just narrate themselves to victory if there are no limiting mechanics in place.

In Universalis, this limit seems to come in the form of resistance from other players, which is promoted by player linked resource awards for winning conflicts (and no resource penalty for losing).  The players are encouraged to put their game elements in opposition so they have the resources to create more of these elements.

I'm looking more toward not charging for adding details.  Instead the system would only charge when you try to get a mechanical effect out of those details.  That can make adding details faster, but it does make resource pools less of a limiting factor on narration.

My original way of handling this was by limiting what added details could change.  The idea being that only through challenges does the players generate the narrative power needed to advance a character's goals.  Actually wording that and figuring when it applies seems a bit tricky though.
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