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Author Topic: Contemplated rules adjustments  (Read 6906 times)
GreatWolf
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« on: August 21, 2002, 09:42:34 AM »

As I have begun the process of considering Legends of Alyria and evaluating playtest feedback, I have been contemplating a few rules changes.  So I thought that I would toss them up here and see what folks thought.  So here we go.


Character creation

Upon reflection, it seemed that character creation was too restrictive where it needed to be looser and too open where some boundaries would be helpful.  Therefore, here's what I'm currently contemplating:

--Attributes have a total of 5 points divided between them.  1 point is equivalent to 1/4 of a moon.  So, a new moon costs zero, a crescent cost 1, a half costs 2, a gibbous costs 3, and a full costs 4.  Each attribute is also given a descriptor, as in earlier editions.

--Virtue is set free-form, as in the older rules.

--The character is assigned between two and four Traits of any value.

--The character may be given one point of Inspiration or Corruption, if desired.


The Blessing

Upon reflection, it seemed that including *some* rules for the Blessing would be wise.  So, here's what I'm thinking:

--If a Blessed character is involved in a contest, he can buy a reroll by dropping the Attribute that he is using by one phase.  If the reroll isn't successful, the character can buy another reroll is desired.  If a New Moon Attribute is burned, then the character will die.  The result of this contest *must* be narrated as a use of the Blessing and the loss of attribute levels should be narrated as an appropriate Mark (i.e. developed mutation)


Narration

This is a tweak on the current rule that was inspired by Dust Devils (thanks, Matt!)

--Whoever rolls the highest moon phase gets to narrate the result of the contest, regardless of who wins the contest.


I am also planning on giving more concrete guidance on the resolution of unopposed actions, the definition of Misbegotten abilities, and the use of the Gifts of the dragon cultists and the Chosen.

So, any thoughts, concerns, criticisms?

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2002, 10:13:49 AM »

Hi Seth,

Regarding the (very significant) change in narration rules, is it the person who rolls the highest Moon phase who narrates, regardless of who wins the contest? In other words, my opponent rolls higher than me, but I convert his rolled phase into one of his Bad Phases (using his weakness or flaw against him), and I end up winning the conflict. But the other guy (the GM, say) did roll highest, so he gets to narrate?

That's what seems like the most interesting version to me. Otherwise, "successful guy narrates" is the plain rule.

This is a very, very significant rules change. I'm not sure that Alyria really needs it; the earlier and rather straightforward rules for narration seemed adequate to me. Are you sure you're not changing it "just because" Dust Devils is pretty cool?

I suggest playing a fair number of sessions with the two different versions to see what differences show up in play, if possible.

Best,
Ron
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2002, 11:21:30 AM »

Ron,

Yes, you are correct that it would be the person with the higest rolled phase.

Am I doing it just because Dust Devils is cool?  Not necessarily.  In actual play of Alyria, I normally determine on the spot who I want to narrate, based on my own gut feeling about the scene, the players involved, etc.  This decision was not based on success or failure but on who I thought would do the best job of narrating the scene.  Obviously, there's no way that I can codify my subjective standards (which I probably can't enunciate anyways), and so the original "successful player narrates" was an attempt to provide a measure of structure.  However, I was thinking that allowing for the failing player to have a chance at narrating would not be bad.

In particular, I don't think that this will be quite as dramatic a change as it may appear, due to the low probabilities of having a successful player not roll higher than his opponent, which is definitely not the case in Dust Devils.  Primarily, I see this coming into play in the case of a "tie" (i.e. both players make their roll).  Rather than basing narration on who finagled the higher moon phase target, it seemed better to base it purely on the dice roll.  This is particularly true because, by design, the probabilities of the game are heavily skewed towards the player with the higher adjusted moon phase.  As I recall, the chance of total success by a character with a Crescent phase over a character with a Half phase is around 16% or so.  That's fine for contest adjudication but I don't want the characters with higher Attributes to give their players increased narrative control over the story.  This rule adjustment seems to fix the issue elegantly.

Or so it seems.  I certainly intend to have this playtested (by myself and others), and I'm perfectly willing to kill my darlings.  But my instinct is that this will plug a potential hole in the game and provide a little extra structure which Alyria is currently lacking.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2002, 01:16:34 PM »

Hey,

That makes sense, Seth. I was going by the Quick-Start guidelines, which as I recall (might be wrong) were "victor narrates."

I forgot to mention in my above post that I agree strongly with your proposed changes for character creation, as we discussed at GenCon.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2002, 10:05:16 AM »

So, if I have this right, the only time the Blessing is mechanically useful, it gives you a Mark? I suppose I can see this, but is seems counterintuitive. Aren't the Blessed able to use it at times without getting a Mark? I suppose that you could narrate a successful first use of the Blessing as one which did not Mark the character, but it was one that gave no advantage to the player. Which just seems odd.

Or am I misreading something?

Mike
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #5 on: August 30, 2002, 11:31:37 AM »

Mike,

Currently I see the Blessing as being reflected in three ways.

The first is "merely" narrative.  The descriptions of what your character can do are open to more flexibility.  Obviously this necessitates some bounding in the rules of what someone with the Blessing can do.

The second is a special effect to explain a given stat.  So perhaps a character has a Full Moon Force because he is Blessed.  This stands somewhere between narrative and mechanical, I realize.  However, combining a high stat and expanded narrative capability does have a certain amount of impact already.  These two effects have been playtested a reasonable amount, although I would still like further data.

The last effect is the dice reroll, which is mostly mechanical.  I see this as a Blessed "pushing" himself to gain success, thus drawing a Mark on himself.  This is not the sum total of the Blessing but it is a side effect which I have always contemplated narratively but had not yet implemented mechanically.

So, a Blessed usually has a high stat going for him already, plus the right to narrate more dramatic results (slagging an entire squad of men, teleporting far away, etc.), which are both quasi-mechanical.  The dice reroll is an additional bonus, which comes at the cost of a significant trade-off.

Does that make sense?  Any thoughts?  This hasn't been tested yet, so I'm curious to see input.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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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
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #6 on: September 04, 2002, 01:58:46 PM »

That makes sense. But it needs to be explained like that for it to feel right. If that gets into the text then I'd be satisfied.

Mike
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