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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4284 Members Latest Member: - Nicholas Mizer Most online today: 160 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Seed of an idea  (Read 6548 times)

Posts: 1049

« Reply #45 on: December 06, 2002, 06:58:51 AM »

Quote from: Cassidy

I won't. He's just more familiar with the whole GNS thing that I am.

In a perverse sort of way I think it may have been better if I hadn't even tried to use any GNS terms in my posts.

That's an unfortunate side-effect of the very specialist terms Ron chose to emply when writing the thing. They work, but they don't mean what they look like they should mean at first glance. :)

Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters

Posts: 10459

« Reply #46 on: December 06, 2002, 08:10:45 AM »

I think we're starting to communicate.

Quote from: Cassidy
"Vivid" was the wrong term for me to use. If the players do end up giving vivid descriptions then great. I guess what really matters is that the players are consciously trying to add some colour and atmosphere to the game through the use of narrative. When they are able to that that unconsciously (i.e. without even thinking about it), then you've got to be onto a good thing.
Ok, that's a well defined, and interesting goal. What we're now looking at is what your system will do to make that happen.

I wonder of thats why the Pool seems to have the appeal it does at the Forge.

The reason for the 1-3 die GM award to players in the Pool is never explained but it seems obvious that it's the 'candy' you refer to.
The 1-3 dice are not to encourage good description. In fact, this is a problem in using such a mechanic. Which is to say that if you use FitM at all, there is usually very little to be done in the iniation step, and therefore, little ground to make reward decisions on. In some systems you might even want to discourage pre-fortune narration; The Pool is one of those.

No, the GM dice in The Pool are there to encourage the player to keep the game oriented in a correct thematic manner. That is, the conflicts that the plyer calls for need to make sense in the context of he story. But if "I kill him" is thematically appropriate (the character has a killin' motif), then that statement alone should get three dice. It's not for good narration of the situation (though I suppose that could help).

Interestingly, what makes both The Pool and Universalis Narrativist, if anything, is that there is nothing else to do. Having stripped off all the possibly gamist or sim elements, all you are left with is the urge to tell a story. But strictly speaking, neither of these games has the sort of mechanic you are looking for. That is, nothing in either game rewards good narration per se.

Closer, but still not on target, are 7th Sea's Drama dice. These are again more for thematic elements, however. That is, if the player has the character act in a dramatic manner, he is rewarded. Again, at the right moment, "I kill him" could garner you as large a reward as any more flowery description.

In fact, only a few games have the sort of mechanics that you need. I've mentioned Sorcerer, and, actually, I can't think of any more.

Which is to say, mostly you're in uncharted territory. Cool, eh? That is, you have a neat opportunity to create a new mechanic that does something in a manner never before seen. A few others are working on the same problem now, but nobody has reported success.

This also means that I have no good suggestions for you. You could copy Sorcerer's idea. But that's no fun. Looking at the Fate thing, I see a lot of conflicts of interest. Interestingly, what I see is a Narrativist mechanic, but not one that can be used to reward good narration effectively. Hmmm..

One easy change is that you could simply increase the number of Fate points required. That is, instead of ten, say fifty. What this does is allows you as the GM to hand them out in variable amounts based on every player Narration. That is, a basic try gets you one, a good effort get's two, and an outstanding effort gets you three. Poor, irrelevant, or unimportant narration gets nothing. The point is to give the player 0-3 Fate every time they describe how their character is approaching a problem. Very much like Sorcerer in this respect.

Anyhow, what this means is that, if you are somewhat stingy, and give out the twos only occasionally, and the threes only once a session or so, it will probably take three to four (4 hour) sessions to get to your end, assuming that the player never uses any Fate for rolls. Which I doubt. Let's estimate that it would double length, making the ccampaign go about eight sessions? Just a WAG really.

The nifty thing about going this way is that a player always will have more Fate than he needs, and as such will be very tempted to use it. What's a couple here or there when you've got thirty? This empowers players to protagonize their characters whenever they see the need.

Another cool thing is that you can choose a magnitude for the Fates selected in different games. For example, if you're going after Sauron, that might be a 100 Fate Target. A simple quest to get, say, the book of Marzabul might be only 30. In that way the GM can control the length and magnitude of the game to suit.

BTW, if you really wanted to leverage this, just ensure that all conflicts have relatively high values. That will make player expenditure of Fate a much more important consideration for success. Every roll becomes a question of how much Fate to spend. This is very dramatic, and sounds cool to me. No "shoe tieing" dierolls, all conflicts should be presented as diff 8 river crossings, and worse.

Still, I see other kinks to be worked out. For example, how do you orchestrate the events such that the character happens to be in the right place at the right time when he gets that last Fate point he needs? Also, I really don't ever see the player running low on dice, unless you pound them with danger. What possible incentive could the player have to spend that last die? If it's a choice between that and death, then it simply beccomes a player choice: Death or Dark Fate. Hmm. Actually that might work. But definitely something to ponder.

With work, this could be very cool.


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« Reply #47 on: December 07, 2002, 03:49:42 PM »

Thanks for the reply, you've given me a great deal to think about.

The feedback I've received from all quarters has been insightful and if has helped solidify my design goals.

The hard part now is translating those goals into a coherent game design.

Wish me luck :)
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