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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: What Does Master Czege Require?  (Read 8225 times)
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« on: August 20, 2002, 01:56:58 PM »

So, Paul, what exactly are you looking for here? Further playtest reports? General discussion on the system? What do you think needs doing most?

Mike
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #1 on: August 20, 2002, 02:17:43 PM »

Hey Mike,

Well...one of the things that didn't happen at GenCon was a playtest of Master creation. The first test of that actually happened last night, with Scott Knipe, Matt Gwinn, Tom, and my girlfriend Danielle, as a precursor to character creation for a planned multi-session playtest. And I have to say, it was really great, Master creation, character creation, the whole thing. I'm working on a write-up of the Master creation process, and the Master who emerged from it. I think you'll agree when you see it that the Master is really fantastic. And I'm thinking that writeup will provoke some discussion of the Master creation process. But I didn't want to wait to invite folks to the forum. A couple of people, like Josh and Gordon, haven't seen the rules, so I thought there might be some spontaneous discussion.

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
hardcoremoose
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« Reply #2 on: August 20, 2002, 02:49:47 PM »

The Master Creation stuff is the big "to do" in my mind, at least right of that bat.  It worked wonderfully for us, but then, we had the game designer right there with us to help differentiate between Brain and Beast and Teacher and Collector.  How all that stuff gets conveyed in the game's text will be very important.

Also up on the MLwM forefront is More than Human/Less than Human statements.  It's clear from the early playtests, and from our session last night, that these are currently open to some very broad interpretation, which in actual play will not always be very functional.  Some specific guidelines will need to be hammered out.

Beyond that, I can't wait for everyone to see the devious Master we created...particularly Mike.  ;)

- Scott
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: August 23, 2002, 07:52:57 AM »

OK. So, besides master creation, what else needs to be looked at? What other sorts of posts are you interested in seeing?

Mike
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #4 on: August 23, 2002, 01:39:42 PM »

Hey Mike Holmes,

Scott suggests above, and I totally agree (based on the three chargen sessions I've hosted and on a conversation with my girlfriend), the More/Less than Human mechanics quite stand out as being in need of attention. I've started a thread, laying out my concerns, to get the ball rolling.

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
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2002, 01:48:26 PM »

I think that you're missing the point of this thread, Paul.

What I was looking for was for you to delineate the sorts of threads that you are interested in seeing. Do you want further playtests posted? Do you want discussion on literary themes? Do you want debate about the effectiveness of the mechanics? Do you want to go over the probabilities again? Do you want to look at possibilities for publication of the game? Do you want to discuss what we liked about the previous tests?

What do you think would be valuable to discuss? Even if just to throw it wide open, and say "anything", would be helpful. I have a few topics that I'd like to discuss, but I'm not sure that you want them here.

Mike
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2002, 01:59:54 PM »

What I was looking for was for you to delineate the sorts of threads that you are interested in seeing.

Doh! Upon review, you're exactly right...I was reading this thread as a series of requests for me to start discussions.

Anything you want to discuss related to the game is fine.

Thanks for being persistent. Yikes!

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
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2341


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« Reply #7 on: August 27, 2002, 04:52:40 PM »

What do you think would be valuable to discuss?

Okay...I've given it additional thought. I think my persistent misreading of your posts to this thread arises from an abiding awareness that folks generally don't want to be given assignments. But if you're just asking what I'm curious about, and what I wouldn't mind seeing, this is it, in no particular order:

. I'd absolutely love to see reports of playtests. Feel free to share the rules document with others in an effort to get a game going, or to facilitate actual play.

. I'm curious what people think about the handling time of the mechanics. In actual practice, picking the 1's and 2's out of a pile of 12 or 15 d4's and summing them has been a little more cumbersome than I envisioned it would be. I was hoping for something as quick to interpret as the Sorcerer mechanics, and it seems a little slower than that. Perhaps it's just that reading d4's is kind of hard.

. I'd love to see matrices of probabilities for opposed rolls of pool sizes between 1 die and 16 dice, one matrix with no bonus die, one where the d4 for Intimacy is had by one side, one where the d6 for Desperation is had by one side, and one where the d8 for Sincerity is had by one side. I couldn't figure the math myself, and took a stab at it using Rand functions in Excel, but it was exceedingly cumbersome.

. I wouldn't mind seeing a thread where people create Masters just for fun. I'm curious about the range of Masters that people might create and consider genre appropriate.

. I wouldn't mind seeing some additional discussion of the Inhumanity points idea. Turning More/Less than Humans into a player regulated Currency mechanic (activate a "Less than" to get a point you can use to activate your "More than") pretty much eliminates the GM subjectivity problem, and the need for sophisticated and instructive guidelines in the rules about what makes a good "More/Less than." Seems like a good deal. What am I trading away by so doing?

. I'm very much intending to publish the game. The question is whether to go .pdf or print. Universalis went direct to print. Trollbabe just went .pdf, with a few print copies sold at GenCon for marketing and exposure purposes. Kayfabe was a free .pdf for a while that got rewritten and expanded for print. How the hell do I decide between the options? I'm very much leaning away from giving away a free .pdf for a while, before releasing an expanded version for sale. Should I reconsider that? Right now I'm thinking I'll go .pdf, rather than print. What's the case for direct to print?

. And I'd love to see discussion of previous playtesting. The game completely and totally surprised me in actual play. I thought it would be painful, tragic, and melodramatic. And in dramatic contrast to that, it was hilarious. Vincent predicted it would be funny in play when I sent him the rules before GenCon, but since I was so clueless myself, I think there are folks in the forum here who might appreciate a thread about the playtesting.

. And, like I wrote above, anything else you want to discuss related to the game.

Thanks again,

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
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2002, 06:18:32 AM »

Alright, now that's an answer.

Off to start another thread.

Mike
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2002, 01:34:52 PM »

Where is it at Paul?

Mike
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2002, 02:25:43 PM »

Hey Mike,

Where is it at Paul?

Well...our second session of playtest last week Monday was an absolute blast. So I'm having fun, looking forward to seeing the Endgame/Epilogue mechanics, and considering if I need to playtest the game with a high Reason score.

I'm also working on a rules revision that includes Master creation and basically all the other clarifications and guidelines we've hashed out on the threads in this forum. But I was clearly clueless about how much time it would take. What a shload of work! I've spent hours on it.

Perhaps the problem is that I can't decide how I want to organize the game, whether I want a GM section for the guidelines or I want to work them into a continuous flow of game text. What I've seen of Matt's layout for Scott's Charnel Gods achieves a good effect with guidelines, some of them quite extensive, set off in sidebars to the main flow of text. But I've been promising myself a historically reminiscent layout, and sidebars just aren't historically reminiscent. I guess I just need to accept that the guidelines have to be set off from the main flow of text, and maybe compromise my vision for the layout, because what I've got for game text right now isn't at all suitable. It's an unwieldy monster of digressions and asides that fails to be a useful game reference.

Any thoughts on this?

And let me turn the question back on you, what's up with Antonio Sonnoladro?

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
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2002, 02:48:28 PM »

Hi Paul,

I couldn't resist.

... what I've got for game text right now isn't at all suitable. It's an unwieldy monster of digressions and asides that fails to be a useful game reference.

Any thoughts on this?


Only that it doesn't surprise me. (Ducks)

While writing: quit commenting, and explain how to play the game to someone who is not very bright. Leave out all the stuff you'd point out, as asides, to the bright people; they're not in the room.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #12 on: September 25, 2002, 09:07:34 AM »

Quote from: Paul Czege
And let me turn the question back on you, what's up with Antonio Sonnoladro?


Well, Sr. Sonnoladro will not see the light of day likely for two weeks. Next week I believe that we have Octane to finish up, and the week after that we may get to Josh running MLWM. We'll see.

That will, of course give you your test on the relatively high Reason environment. I deliberately pushed that level. I wanted something a bit less gothic in its horror, and more ground level, if you will. I figured that the reason/fear that we took would seem to simulate a situation where the townsfolk were leery of the Master, but not in abject fear. Just someone to stay away from mostly, as well as his employees. But nothing to lose sleep over. So the situation is not som overblown. The master's commands will probably not be so melodramatic, and more subtly coercive. And the characters will likely rebel a lot more. Asuming they have a reason to. I can see a lot more working with the Master in this case. Less us v him vibe. I designed my character with that in mind.

Anyhow, only playtesting will tell for sure. A lot depends. of course, on how Josh intends to play the Master.

BTW, I mentioned to Josh that I thought that we should work up the other minions. I've mentioned this before. I felt during our test that it was odd having no idea how many other minions were about the house. There was one other homunculus that I ran into, and others were implied. But were there dozens? Or just one other? And any other minions? Just how crowded was the Master's demense? These are questions that I would have felt better knowing the answers to. My personal opinion is to keep them few (none in some cases), so as to emphasize the Player Minions (PMs?).

Is this something that you think should be addressed in Master/Setting creation, or are my Sim sensibilities just showing? Now that I think about it, how much thought should be given to other parts of the setting? Is this something that should be created by the players with the GM? I just sort of assumed that it was when we did it, but looking back did I overstep my bounds? It seemed almost necessary because without a discussion of the surrounding stuff, the Masster we chose wouldn't have made as much sense, IMO.

What do you think? (Should this be split off into a new thread?)

Mike
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2002, 09:02:52 AM »

So, what's needed Paul? Or do you have everything well in hand? Writing a new version by any chance? Gonna let us in on it?  :-)

Mike
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #14 on: October 17, 2002, 11:43:43 AM »

Hey Mike,

So, what's needed Paul? Or do you have everything well in hand?

Well, I'm up in the air on two issues I need to resolve before I can write a new version. And even though I've given myself time to think, I don't seem to be deciding one way or the other. I wouldn't mind seeing opinions:

1. One thing I've had on my mind recently is a concern with the dice mechanics. As our playtest has progressed from session to session, and Self-Loathing has increased dramatically for some of the characters, I've noticed a certain desperation from the players in their efforts to secure high value bonus dice. I'd really like the bonus dice to be...well...more of a bonus. The definitions of Intimacy, Desperation, and Sincerity seem very straightforward to me, yet I've had players argue interpretations that surprised me.

One player roleplayed grabbing the Master by the throat, and delivering a harsh "Never!" in response to a command. In my mind, that's neither Intimacy, Desperation, nor Sincerity. It fails the litmus test of being an effort to provoke a positive emotional response from the opposition. But another player argued that it was Sincerity, because the character delivering the rejection of the command was being honest.

The whole resulting conversation among the player group felt very much to me like a classic Alignment argument. And that's not what I want at all for My Life with Master.

So, I've been experimenting with changing the core mechanic of summing the ones and twos on the d4's, to summing the ones, twos, and threes. I think it would simultaneously introduce increased volatility in outcomes, allowing the underdog an increased chance of winning when the dice pool discrepancy is greater, and reduce the perceived necessity of bonus dice by devaluing their impact. The average output of the d4 goes from .75 to 1.5, which reduces the significance of the bonus dice in absolute terms. It seems to me there's probably a sweet spot to be found, where the bonus dice are significant, but not a make-it-or-break-it factor, and that's where I'd like the game to be. Currently in play they feel very make-it-or-break-it.

I actually implemented the changed mechanics for last Monday's session of our ongoing playtest, and it definitely seemed to have the desired effect. But interestingly, a couple of the players didn't like the alteration.

2. Another thing I just haven't been able to nail down is the whole http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3703">issue of fiction vs. exposition, and a scheme for organizing the rules. Yesterday, I had a wild notion that I should just start the game text with the Master creation rules. They're the precursor to character creation. But geez, it would sure be an awfully non-traditional organizational scheme. What do you think? Would it be a mistake? Do I need to hook potential customers with chargen right out of the gate?

Also, I'm a bit mystified why, despite efforts to throw player characters into scenes together, I have yet to have players use the mechanics for characters aiding each other. For the life of me, I can't figure out why. I can't decide if they're broken, or just somehow irrelevant to character protagonism. I might have to convince someone to run the game with me as a player in order to gain some insight. What do you think might be driving this?

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
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