*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 11, 2019, 12:27:02 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 122 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Out of the box, into the fire  (Read 5415 times)
Matt Snyder
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 1380


WWW
« on: August 14, 2002, 05:40:21 AM »

Holy Frijoles, compadres!

Ken Hite has called out Dust Devils in his Out of the Box GenCon wrap-up, including a final note that he'll review the game soon.

Which means, folks, that I've got to get back in the saddle and get Dust Devils in every General Store in the West. Er, I mean hobby store, right?

So, here's the deal. If you played Dust Devils at the con (and there were many of you!) let's hear what you think. I'm eager for some feedback as I ramp up the current edition so that I can get it out to the masses.

That's right, folks, as soon as I hold up a bank and a train or two, Dust Devils is going legit. I'm planning on printing up a run of 1,000, though we'll see what the prices are for printing.

Any last words ... ?

Yee haw!
Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2002, 07:15:03 AM »

Well the main feedback I have we already spoke about, but I'll bring up here to get some broader input.

That being primarily: a way to have a card resolution dealt that doesn't involve hitting people with difficulty.

For those who aren't up on their Dust Devils (and shame on you for that) currently every conflict of importance is handled by a hand of poker and all hands of poker result in somebody losing stats (due to injury, embarassment, etc.)

Where this became an issue was when the conflicts were intended for humorous or preliminary effect.  By preliminary effect I mean conflicts that are meant to establish points of rivalry and contention rather than resolve them.

Under the current system, difficulty is handed out on the basis of number of cards in the hand.  By far the majority of winning hands have 4-5 cards in the combination.  4-5 points of difficulty is a pretty significant hit to a character for being knocked off of a bar stool or losing a hand of cards.  

Its great (and perhaps even a little low) for conflicts that are resolutions (the final gunfight, "this ones for all the marbles", type of thing) but for conflicts that are supposed to be the lead in "set the stage" kind of situation, rendering one of the parties significantly less effective from the first encounter is rough...even for one shots, but especially for extended play.

There were a number of ideas that I had for this but here is my current musings on the subject.

1) There isn't a whole lot of variety in the difficulty that is done because most hands will do 4 or 5 with a few 3s.  I'd consider basing the damage on the difference in hands rather than the number in cards...this would give a greater range of variety in outcomes.  Same hand but higher cards would be only 1 difficulty, each step of higher hand could be another.  

2) Standard Conflicts:  All difficulty from all hands is temporary by default.  It lasts only until the end of the scene as determined by the dealer.  It could even be refreshed in a number of different manners within the scene depending on the nature of the damage (a good stiff drink to restore some courage, etc.)

3) Raising the Stakes:  Only if the characters intend to really put someone down (literally or metaphorically) should the hands do lasting difficulty.  Any contestant can, before or after the cards are dealt (but not after the draw to replace), decide to raise the stakes.  All difficulty dealt by these hands will now be lasting to either party. (requireing more time or effort to recover from).  

4) Dealer Raising the Stakes:  In any Standard Conflict the dealer can decide to Raise the stakes even if the players haven't chosen to.  He does so by adding chips to the pot (just as now) however, each chip in the pot means that many points of difficulty taken must be lasting instead of temporary.  In other words, if the dealer throws two chips into the pot, and the hand does 4 difficulty, then 2 of the difficulty are lasting and the other two remain temporary.

I also figure the Dealer could add the chip to the conflict even after the conflict is resolved.  Meaning after hearing the way the high card narrator described the outcome, the dealer may decide that description sounds like it should have a point or two of lasting stakes and award chip(s) to the player SUFFERING the difficulty after the hands are revealed.

5) Folding:  Currently players spend a chip to fold thereby ending the conflict with no difficulty.  Depending on the circumstances, however, backing down like this should cost a point of Guts or of Heart as appropriate. This may be instead of or in addition to the chip.   I'm thinking a player can always fold for the cost of 1 Guts or Heart.  However, if he spends a chip he can attempt to narrate (tied into the concept of spending a chip to take narration) how his character backed down without losing face or confidence...defusing the situation without difficulty.  If the dealer buys it, no points are lost.


Anyway, those are currently my thoughts...Ken Hite's enthusiasm is not misplaced.  Dust Devils is a tremendously good time.
Logged

Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2002, 08:22:15 AM »

I like what Raph has there, but I'd take it a step further. In a conflict, players can describe escallation by wagering chips. If no chips are wagered, then the effects are not long term at all, probably lasting till the end of the scene, or perhaps only for the next draw. For every two chips in the pot at the end, the losing player takes one point of difficulty limited by the total cards in the hand as normal, and by the suits.

I'd then drop the "chip to draw a card rule." There are already too many cards in play (players can have hands of at least fourteen cards, and maybe higher). This makes the game more about gambling with the chips, and makes more uses for them unnecessary.

What this allows is bluffing. As it stands right now, there is no indication from the player as to how good his hand is. Which is key to Poker. I will look at the opponent's hand and just fold if it's way bigger than mine. With the wagering mechanic, I can try to get a feel for what the opponent has, and I can bluff if I want. This would be amazingly cool.

Betting would be as in normal draw poker. One round after the initial cards are drawn, and another after cards are drawn for knacks. At the end, everyone gets their chips back, unless someone folds, in which case that player loses a chip to each other player in the conflict, or a point of Guts or Heart if they prefer (like Ralph said). They can still be used to take Narration (and get a point back).

What happens (hopefully) is that people try to get the other players to fold a lot, so they can take their chips. Only when the chips are down do the players lose points. So you have an escallation from less to more tension.

The GM can still raise the stakes, which results in a more bloody conflict, if nobody folds, and gives chips to the victorious player. Who then has more power to escallate conflicts himself. I don't like the idea of the GM giving out more coins for a worse narration, however, after the fact. It encourages players to be more brutal than may be good for the story. The player should try to match the level of damage. The GM, may introduce mitigating factors after the Narration, to keep the facts in line wit the Narration.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Jake Norwood
Member

Posts: 2261


WWW
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2002, 08:25:06 AM »

You could also resolve stuff that isn't high-stakes (like the stook kicking in our game) to a simple draw of high-card, modified as normal by skills and the devil. That way the worst possible "damage" is one card.

Alternately, such a thing could have no damage, but either party could wager a chip to add "damage." When the smoke clears the winner does damage and the loser loses his chips.

Note: when I say damage I mean the loss of Trait points, not actual wounds or anything of the sort.

Jake
Logged

"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
___________________
www.theriddleofsteel.NET
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2002, 08:38:05 AM »

I'd hesitate at pushing the poker analogy too far Mike.  You're not really playing a hand of poker (or even an exaggerated version of poker).  I don't think the mechanics would really work if you tried to overemphasize the gambling aspect.  Its a resolution mechanic that happens to use poker hands to measure success as a bit of genre color, not a game that uses a hand of poker as the resolution mechanic...if you catch my meaning.

I tried to keep my suggestions to what would require a minimal actual impact on the rules.  Essentially (except for item 1 which may or may not be a good idea depending on whether having a greater range of outcomes is desireable) my suggestions are exactly as the game plays now with just an option to turn difficulty on or off instead of having it default to on.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I don't like the idea of the GM giving out more coins for a worse narration, however, after the fact. It encourages players to be more brutal than may be good for the story. The player should try to match the level of damage. The GM, may introduce mitigating factors after the Narration, to keep the facts in line wit the Narration.
Mike


Perhaps I wasn't very clear in this one.  Lets say you one the high card and narrated something in a low stakes hand (no lasting difficulty) that the dealer thought might have some lasting consequences.

If you won the hand and I lost than the dealer might hit me with a point of lasting but *I'd* get the chip out of it (a far trade in most cases).  Thus there'd be no motivation to be especially brutal because you wouldn't be getting any extra chips out of it, and the dealer could simply choose not to award any lasting damage if he thought you were just trying to circumvent the normal stakes.

If you lost the hand than you'd get the chips and the lasting damage, so you wouldn't necessarily want to smack yourself especially hard...but if you did...hey that could be just fine.

One side effect of this would be that it might make option #1 unnecessary as a way getting a larger range of difficulty.  The 1 point or 2 point difficulties that are now almost never seen could simply be handled by a low stakes hand where the dealer throws a chip in.
Logged

Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2002, 10:18:41 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
I'd hesitate at pushing the poker analogy too far Mike.  You're not really playing a hand of poker (or even an exaggerated version of poker).  I don't think the mechanics would really work if you tried to overemphasize the gambling aspect.  Its a resolution mechanic that happens to use poker hands to measure success as a bit of genre color, not a game that uses a hand of poker as the resolution mechanic...if you catch my meaning.
Um, no, I don't get your meaning. Yes, as it stands the poker is more color than poker. I think the game would be improved if the resolution included more parts that were more like actual poker. What mechanical aspects would not work? People are trying to win now, and would still be trying to win then. What changes other than the increase in suspense, and the addition of a few new kinds of resolutions?

Quote
I tried to keep my suggestions to what would require a minimal actual impact on the rules.
And I did not. So that makes your suggestion better than mine? I'm just chucking out ideas. It's Matt's game, and he'll take what he likes, and throw out what he doesn't. I don't see how that makes it a bad idea to sugest more radical changes.

It's not like I suggested converting to d20. ;-)

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Jake Norwood
Member

Posts: 2261


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2002, 01:30:15 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
It's not like I suggested converting to d20. ;-)

Mike


Regardless, Matt, you reall should.

We could be on the same shelf, think--Riddle of Steel and Dust Devils d20!

I can't wait.

Jake,
who is turning in his own grave
Logged

"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
___________________
www.theriddleofsteel.NET
Gordon C. Landis
Member

Posts: 1024

I am Custom-Built Games


WWW
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2002, 03:19:52 PM »

Since Dust Devils already does incredible violence to poker as a game . . .

A variable cap on the "hand" you lay down.  You could still use the current number of cards/draw mechanic, but just limiit the displayed hand at 1-4 cards depending on the current "damage cap" of the scene.  That way, everything from a simple high card to "do I go for high two pair or a three of a kind?" tactics kick in.

That damage cap could even be a mechanic of it's own of some kind, if you want to play with it.

Gordon
Logged

www.snap-game.com (under construction)
Clay
Member

Posts: 550


WWW
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2002, 05:57:31 PM »

Ralph,

I've been down some of the roads you are suggesting, with varying results. We decided right off that you only run into difficulty if there is something really happening. We didn't assess difficulty over dinner repartee (although we did have a player who was truely deadly in this area, and completely in character too, since her devil was "Cold hearted bitch").

We also played with the variant you suggested for using the difference between hands as the amount of difficulty encountered.  It looks good on the surface, but it really caused a simple fist fight to get dragged out to extremes.  The parlor was in a shambles after what really should have been a quick drubbing.  We did have a blast figuring out ways to describe the scene so that people could continue on though.
Logged

Clay Dowling
RPG-Campaign.com - Online Campaign Planning and Management
Matt Snyder
Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 1380


WWW
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2002, 06:16:20 PM »

Clay, thanks for offering a playtested counter-point. Valamir's got some great ideas, as does Mike. I'm soaking all this in, fellas, as I have so much going on today otherwise. I'll offer up some comments hopefully tomorrow. Valamir's nailed one of the crucial issues of the game, certainly. Difficulty will be, well, difficult to hone.

Keep the feedback & ideas coming. Especially Jake, his idea RULES! Heh.
Logged

Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
--Yogi Berra
GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2002, 06:59:49 PM »

For what it's worth, I like Valamir's ideas.  An alternate but related concept would be to have two sorts of conflicts:  low stakes and high stakes.  A low stake conflict only ever does one point of difficulty, regardless of the hand.  A high stake conflict counts the cards in the hand for difficulty, which will be AT LEAST two points.  The low stake/high stake determination can be declared by the Dealer at the beginning of the conflict.  Perhaps then players can bid with chips to change it.  This can be worked into the narration.

Example:

The outlaw who is thought to be hangin' from the gallows outside walks into the saloon and finds the bounty hunter who "captured" him sitting inside, drinkin' his breakfast.  The outlaw decides to harrass the bounty hunter by gettin' him likkered up a bit and then kickin' the stool out from under him.  (Just to pick a hypothetical situation. ;-) )  The Dealer declares this to be a low-stakes situation.  After all, the worst that can happen is a bit of pain and some embarassment.

Now, let's say that the bounty hunter's player bids a chip to make the conflict a high-stakes conflict.  Maybe this means that (assuming he wins) he plans to whip out a knife and stab the outlaw, instead of sending him down the bar.  Or maybe the sherrif gets involved sooner, causing extra embarrassment.

Of course, the next question would have to be this:  does the bidding occur before cards are drawn or after?  Makes a big difference....


Seth Ben-Ezra
Logged

Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2002, 07:43:53 PM »

Hmmm... Seth's version is simple, and gets in the bluffing. Is he going high stakes because he's got the cards, or is it all just bluster? Only one way to find out. Or fold and go home. The one point loss could be considered the "ante"...

I like that a lot.

Mike
Logged

Member of Indie Netgaming
-Get your indie game fix online.
Jason L Blair
Member

Posts: 636

Nothing is sacred.


WWW
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2002, 07:58:49 PM »

Quote from: GreatWolf
Of course, the next question would have to be this:  does the bidding occur before cards are drawn or after?  Makes a big difference....


First off, Seth's take butters the bread.* Second off, I say bidding should occur after the cards are drawn.

An add-on to Seth's idea is to allow low-stakes to be 0 injury, as well. Let whoever wins narration decide (of course, they have to work it into the narrative).


*That means it's a good idea.
Logged

Jason L Blair
Writer, Game Designer
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!