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Started by M. J. Young, November 09, 2002, 02:59:47 AM
Quote from: II find it difficult to imagine that you've included a point system which[*]doesn't limit either maximum or minimum character power[*]doesn't adequately measure character power and[*]doesn't impact game play[/list:u]
Quote from: Fang Langford, a.k.a. Le JoueurSo [in Multiverser] you relegate the mixture of the game's characters on the gamemaster's plate? That works pretty good (but can require gamemasters of some skill at times). Do you offer any advice or techniques on how to 'clear characters?' What suggestions do you offer when two people want characters who are clearly of far different caliber? I'm always curious how other games do that.
Quote from: Mike HolmesBTW, Fang, the reason people believe that Scattershot is a complete game that you are only thimbling out, is because that's how you present it. It's never, "Scattershot will have x, y, z when it's done". It's, "In Scattershot, this is how this works." It's hard to swallow that you know that any of it works when you don't apparently have an entire system. And if you've actually played it, and know it works, then where's the rest of the system? Do you see the problem? It also makes commenting difficult. There is this feeling that it'll all make sense someday, once we see it all. But until then all we can do is wait. Are you interested in feedback and suggestions, Fang, or are you just here to design a game in front of everybody?
Quote from: Mike HolmesYou are arguing in circles. It all comes down to the fact that you need them for the Gamist play. Presumably because they are "power balancing" to make it all "fair", right? Or is there some other reason you can explain? But the problem is that you've already pointed out how point systems fail to make power balanced characters.
Quote from: Mike HolmesSo, why would we want it for The Gamist version if it doesn't work. And why would we want it for the other versions if it does nothing at all for them? It sounds like you are saying that people ignore them in those modes of play anyhow. Which, frankly, is what I'd do with them if I were to play. Just like I do with GURPS, Hero, etc. MJ is right, you haven't demonstrated their usefulness beyond balancing, and they are of dubious use for balancing.
Quote from: Mike HolmesNote that I believe you can make a balanced point based system (some sort of balance anyhow). Just that this isn't it, and neither are many systems that exist. Also, there is a potentially different and interesting use for points which is in-game. Which you seem to have, possibly, but won't let us in on. But as an example, In Hero System, the number of points in a power determine how hard it is to drain for example, or what size pool can contain that power. Very important in play. Not particularly well designed, as far as efficiency goes, but it works.
Quote from: M. J. YoungAlthough the points don't directly limit character power and don't adequately measure it, there is an implication that the points measure character power well enough that they give the group a handle on being able to determine whether limits ought to be imposed. That is, we could sit around for hours arguing about whether Superman is too powerful or Jimmy Olsen too weak to be in the same scenario, but if we can actually point to the number of points spent we have something tangible on which to base such an objection. In the words of Wallace & Davis, "It's not good, but it's a reason."More significantly, there is this undercurrent that the point system plays some role after play has begun.......There is something reasonable to a system that uses points to develop the characters initially because the points are going to continue to have meaning in play. There are scattered hints about this, including that the expenditure of points in an area creates the presumption that the game will include aspects which involve that area, that more points spent on something does something more than merely raise the value, that they are somehow connected to the damage system--all of which is interesting, and suggests that the function of point-based character generation is only fully understood when connected to the gameplay aspects.If that's incorrect, I still don't get it. I think that the hesitancy of players to go overboard on character creation is mostly a psychological benefit derived from their experience with point-based systems and, as (I think) Andrew has said, I've got players who would run with this.
Quote from: M. J. YoungFor my part, I have a tendency toward the strong generalist.
Quote from: M. J. YoungQuote from: Fang Langford, a.k.a. Le JoueurSo [in Multiverser] you relegate the mixture of the game's characters on the gamemaster's plate? That works pretty good (but can require gamemasters of some skill at times). Do you offer any advice or techniques on how to 'clear characters?' What suggestions do you offer when two people want characters who are clearly of far different caliber? I'm always curious how other games do that....But with the not I characters, the referee does have the final say. But no, we don't provide a lot of guidelines on this. As it turns out, neither absolute nor relative character power is terribly important in play. It will change the kind of experiences you have, but it won't minimize the experience....One reason is that there's nothing to earn. That applies to a lot of games, one way or another, but it is notable here. You never fight something because you're going to get experience for it. You fight it because you want to or you have to; there's no reward for winning besides winning....It doesn't matter who you are when you start, because if what you want is to become more powerful, you can become as powerful as you want.
Quote from: M. J. Young...The other [thing I should say about this] is that all this talk of how powerful a character is sounds very Gamist. That's because it is generally Gamist players who strive for more powerful characters.
Quote from: M. J. YoungNot all players do. Some become extremely explorative, wandering around in the worlds they visit just to see what's happening, helping out where it seems appropriate, and staying out of trouble until something unavoidable sends them to another world.
Quote from: M. J. YoungSome become much more involved in people and events, but never try to better themselves.
Quote from: M. J. YoungWhen we speak of whether there needs to be limits on what a character can do or be, it is very much the Gamist aspects of play that require these (not that they are never required by the others, but that for Narrativist and Simulationist concerns it is more a matter of defining the way the thing should be than preventing it from becoming what it should not).
Quote from: M. J. YoungI've said a lot more about Multiverser than I have about Scattershot in this post; but I'll hope you excuse it on the basis that Scattershot seems to be after many of the same objectives as Multiverser, so understanding how we create characters may translate in some ways.
Quote from: M. J. YoungI sometimes tell people that we don't have a character generation system; we have techniques for translating people, real or imaginary, into game characters. That strikes me as very like what you're after: I have this idea for a character, how can I translate him into game terms so I can play him? Because I do it directly, I don't understand the need for points; but as I say if those points actually have some function once play begins, there may be a reason for them which is not apparent from their place in character creation.
Quote from: Fang Langford, a.k.a. Le Joueur,The question is, do you prefer a more Joueur Approach (placing primary value on what you, through your Persona, can do) or Swashbuckler Approach (placing primary value on what you can do things to)? In the former, a point-based system will probably require some sort of limitation because that kind of play tends to use the Mechanix as an 'I dominate the spotlight time' engine. In the latter, I suspect the nebulous thoughts I've been having regarding a 'generalist' of 'jack of all trades' skill might be exactly what you are looking for. (At the moment, my thinking is that these have been treated too vaguely in the past, but Scattershot's way of handling the 'scope' of a skill may give a way to moderate this; I haven't had any time to consider it, or its ramifications.) What do you think?
Quote from: Fang Langford, a.k.a. Le JoueurI've always felt this [aspect of allowing characters to become as powerful as they want] creates a problem (or at least a lot of work) with a 'displaced Gamist.' A 'displaced Gamist' is someone who recurrently prioritizes Gamism in a group that mostly doesn't, the more polar opposed, the more problem. Being able to "become as powerful as you want" chafes the other players in many ways.