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Author Topic: FaeEarths (working title): draft die mechanics thoughts  (Read 5408 times)
Marco
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« Reply #15 on: October 28, 2002, 11:37:30 AM »

As a post-script to my explanation:

I, of course, agree with Raven--I was thinking about the Narrativist *mechanics* I've seen presented. Dunjon is designed to be Gamist and does, as well, seem to be.  

But yes, Narrativist play focuses on answering a Narrativist Premise--so the rules would, IMO, tend to center around that premise rather than on generic outcome resolution.

otherwise:
I do like the ideas presented, but I agree with Raven that I'd want to know what the "success" levels are for each task.

-Marco
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szilard
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« Reply #16 on: October 28, 2002, 12:27:09 PM »

Quote from: greyorm
As Ron says, and I agree, so to-wit:

So, you know what you're capable of before you roll, just not how well you actually do it (ie: a master *knows he can hit the bullseye, he just doesn't know how close to center he'll actually get...an expert knows he can hit the target, just not where).


Something like that. In general, characters should have a reliable idea of their own level of ability. There may well be exceptions to this (such as a character with an unknown aptitude for something, selective amnesia, or under the influence of luck or magic), but as a general rule, I think that the master archer should know that the bullseye isn't a difficult shot for her. The "how close to the center"-thing is fairly trivial in this instance. In some other circumstances (attempting to shoot something out of someone's hand, attempting to shoot through an eye-hole of a fully-armored opponent, or whatever)  that may make an enormous difference.



Quote
The only thing I'm seeing as providing difficulty to a gamemaster are the "call-it-as-you-see-it" of results. That the GM needs to make up, on-the-fly, the results for particular tasks seems problematic in that this is a great deal of responsibility and work for them in addition to the task of actually running the game.


Well... I do see the players as taking partial responsibility for this. For instance (this is a drawn out example to illustrate the point),

Player: "I'm a Master Archer, so I am going to try to shoot the stiletto out of the assassin's hand from across the ballroom before he kills the Princess."

GM: "You don't have a very clear shot, as a few people are dancing. On the other hand, the assassin doesn't appear to notice that you've seen him. It won't be any problem for you, as a Master, to hit the assassin and avoid hitting any of the dancers, but you'll have to time it perfectly in order to hit him just right."

Player: "So, an Average hit would probably just hit the assassin and not disarm him? I don't want to kill the guy. So I'd rather have an Average hit be an arrow between him and the Princess. That should alert her and her guards."

GM: "Okay. That's reasonable. An above-average shot will be particularly well-placed to alert the guards and scare the assassin. A good shot will hit him in the arm. It might disarm him."

Player: "Cool. An Excellent shot will strike the stilletto, then?"

GM: "Yeah."

Quote
So, does cohesiveness matter?
That is, if I say the Archery task is about hitting the bullseye one time, and then I say its about hitting the target at all another time, will this matter? Or will it be a problem for players?


The task is variable. Sure, you want to maintain cohesiveness between difficulty levels. If an archer is under similar conditions, victory conditions should be similar. If the archer you mentioned only cares about hitting the target, that should be easier than hitting the bullseye (all other things being equal).


Quote
This leads into the next problem: When are the task results discussed (ie: what its all about, as above)?  Is it before the players roll, and is it discussed with them? (frex: "The task is Archery, and you'll be aiming for the bullseye.")


I think I might have answered this. If not, let me know.


Quote
And will the GM have to list the options each time?
"Ok, novice, you'll be lucky to hit the target; expert, you can hit the target, probably the bullseye; master, you can hit the bullseye with no difficulty."


Well... the character will have a specific skill level. There'd be no need for the GM to list the possibilities for other (irrelevant in this case) skill levels.

Does that help?

~szilard
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greyorm
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« Reply #17 on: October 28, 2002, 07:38:28 PM »

Ahhh, I see.  Very interesting.  That deals with the concerns I raised nicely: that is, it appears that what you're attempting to do, and the Average result, are discussed in play, as a condition of what the player wants and is attempting to do (the "situational solution," as it were).
Very nice.

Let me clarify my final question, though.
When I asked if the GM would be required to explain the different Average results for each level of skill in a situation, I asked assuming that there would be players attempting the same given task who had differing levels of skills.

Frex, a group consisting of a knight (a Master swordsman), his squire (Competent in swordplay) and a travelling scholar (a relative Beginner in the same) are set upon by a dragon -- what the Average roll achieves for each is going to be different.

Going through the process described in your post above with each individual could, conceivably, take a good chunk of play.  However, given the way you envision the game running, that isn't so much a concern, as I can see interest generated for the non-involved players as what their companion can do and the overall group tactics based on this are described and explored.

This will, you realize, lead to a certain amount of metagame thinking, as players shift what their characters will do to better complement and support the efforts of their companions. Is that desirable? Desirable in some situations (when the group has had time to plan their tactics as characters)? Or completely undesirable?

I ask as I can see situations in which such a method would be both beneficial to "realism" and at odds with it -- for example, a band of warriors who has had much time in battle together can read one another and work off cues and knowledge a less experienced (as a group) band of warriors would be able to.

Thus in the latter case, players altering tactics to better complement their companions' actions would be problematic from a situational standpoint where realistic reactions are desired (allowing for the possibility of two or more actions by companions interfering with one another, or at the minimum being non-complementary).

Are there any rules which describe how to handle these situations (such as an initiative scheme and a 'Tactics' skill which must be rolled to alter your action, or something else), or is it not a concern?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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szilard
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« Reply #18 on: October 29, 2002, 02:42:34 PM »

Quote from: greyorm


When I asked if the GM would be required to explain the different Average results for each level of skill in a situation, I asked assuming that there would be players attempting the same given task who had differing levels of skills.

Frex, a group consisting of a knight (a Master swordsman), his squire (Competent in swordplay) and a travelling scholar (a relative Beginner in the same) are set upon by a dragon -- what the Average roll achieves for each is going to be different.


Hmmm...

I have two answers for this. The first is that it is unlikely that all three will be doing the same thing. Under this system, "I hit it with my sword" is rarely an acceptable declaration of ones character's action. I'd expect that the scholar would either run and hide or would try to defend himself as best he could. The knight might attempt to draw the dragon away from his companions in order to engage it one-on-one. The squire could do any number of things. Let's say, though, that the knight draws it away and then engages with it, but the squire follows him. The knight might attempt to slay the dragon while the squire attempts to distract the beast, making the knights attempt easier. We might say that slaying a dragon is an impressive feat even for a Master. On Average, the knight is going to hold his own. As his results increase, the knight might cause increasing wounds to the dragon. As his results decrease, the dragon might cause increasing wounds to the knight. The squire's efforts might result in a modifier to the knight's roll. A lot of it will depend upon exactly what the individuals are trying to do (in a more specific sense than 'slay the dragon').

The second answer is that the above (largely-narrated if not narrativist) system is really designed more for task-resolution than for contests and such. My initial example of the chess match was an attempt to deal with such things, but I think the system was too clunky and didn't quite give the desired results. I'm still working on a manner of resolving direct conflict that could be used between two characters (or characters and major NPCs).



Quote
Going through the process described in your post above with each individual could, conceivably, take a good chunk of play.  However, given the way you envision the game running, that isn't so much a concern, as I can see interest generated for the non-involved players as what their companion can do and the overall group tactics based on this are described and explored.

This will, you realize, lead to a certain amount of metagame thinking, as players shift what their characters will do to better complement and support the efforts of their companions. Is that desirable? Desirable in some situations (when the group has had time to plan their tactics as characters)? Or completely undesirable?


I think it is generally desirable. Ideally, it will allow for more dramatic scenes. On the other hand, I don't necessarily want to encourage players to optimize the effectiveness of their characters' actions simply for the sake of optimization. I'm hoping that the reward system (in which characters receive points at least in part depending upon how they fulfill their role) will do something to prevent that.



Quote
I ask as I can see situations in which such a method would be both beneficial to "realism" and at odds with it -- for example, a band of warriors who has had much time in battle together can read one another and work off cues and knowledge a less experienced (as a group) band of warriors would be able to.

Thus in the latter case, players altering tactics to better complement their companions' actions would be problematic from a situational standpoint where realistic reactions are desired (allowing for the possibility of two or more actions by companions interfering with one another, or at the minimum being non-complementary).


Well, I'm less concerned with realism than with good story (not that the two are mutually exclusive). Assuming my reward ideas work, companions will, almost certainly, interfere with one another in some way. One idea I had was to allow Sidekicks to gain points when they "Get in the Way" or Rivals to gain points when they attempt the same action as their rival in a non-complementary way.

Quote
Are there any rules which describe how to handle these situations (such as an initiative scheme and a 'Tactics' skill which must be rolled to alter your action, or something else), or is it not a concern?


There will likely be a basic initiative scheme for use at the beginning of tense situations where it matters who reacts first. My experience has been that systems in which there is an initiative order, declaration of actions (usually in reverse initiative order), and then actions taken in initiative order (with some sort of penalty for changing actions) tend to break down in play. I realize that certainly isn't everyone's experience. I understand the issues and share some concern about the, but I don't have a good way of handling it realistically without a lot of rules that I'd rather do without... so I think I will largely try to emphasize drama rather than realism here.

~szilard
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greyorm
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« Reply #19 on: October 30, 2002, 06:36:46 PM »

I have to say: oooo....aaaaah.
Very impressive, szilard-san.

I see hints of how the rest of the system works in this as well.
Overall it looks good, and thanks for putting up with the twenty questions.  Keep us updated!

(Do you need anymore feedback on it?  Anything specific bothering you about the design or whatever that hopefully one of us can adress?)
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
szilard
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« Reply #20 on: October 30, 2002, 10:47:09 PM »

More feedback is always welcome.

~szilard
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Peregrine
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« Reply #21 on: October 31, 2002, 09:49:41 AM »

I can only say that this is a very elegant system. I look forward to seeing what kind of setting you are going to come up with to going along.

Chris
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thoth
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« Reply #22 on: October 31, 2002, 05:20:14 PM »

Is there some way to make this a more direct mechanic?
Like rolling +1D4 -1D4?

Not sure about the likelihood of certain results and whether it would properly reproduce the system you've created.

Including additional Negative Die  for environmental problems, and additional Positive Die for superior skill in challenges. Taking the highest of all the rolled die of course.
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Amos Barrows
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szilard
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« Reply #23 on: November 04, 2002, 02:14:18 PM »

Quote from: thoth
Is there some way to make this a more direct mechanic?
Like rolling +1D4 -1D4?

Not sure about the likelihood of certain results and whether it would properly reproduce the system you've created.

Including additional Negative Die  for environmental problems, and additional Positive Die for superior skill in challenges. Taking the highest of all the rolled die of course.


I wasn't planning on having random environmental problems. Environmental penalties will subtract dice.

The way negative dice work: add the number of negative dice to the 2d6 and take the bottom two. EX: Joe is a Competent +1 carpenter. He is trying to build a shed. Normally he'd roll 3d6 and take the top two. With one penalty die, he rolls 2d6. With two penalties, he rolls 3d6 and takes the bottom two. With three penalties he rolls 4d6 and takes the bottom...

Environmental impediments may be placed by the gm or by other players (though, depending, it may cost them story points to do so...).

~szilard
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