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Author Topic: Seed of an idea  (Read 10579 times)
Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« on: December 02, 2002, 11:35:03 AM »

For a long time I've been looking for a simple RPG system which focuses on role-play rather than rules play.

I'm a big fan of the Window and the style of play it encourages but have never been entirely happy with the whole Window ladder thing and bunches of different dice.

I've read the Pool, and liked what I read. I've never had the opportunity to play it though but I really like the whole concept of player initiated Monologues.

I've been fiddling with a simple resolution mechanic which takes a bit of each. It's just a seed of an idea, maybe not even that, and it may be one thats been touted already on this forum. If so, simply point me to the relavent thread and I'll be happy.

In brief...

Players have a small number of freeform non-specific traits that can be assigned to their characters, a bit like Amber's Warfare, Psyche, etc.

Each trait has a numeric value, corresponding to a level of ability,

1...Pitiful
2...Poor
3...Mediocre
4...Fair
5...Good
6...Excellent
7...Superb
8...Remarkable
9...Incredible
10+ Whatever

The Scale is a bit nebulous but any similarity to the Window Ladder is entirely intended.

Contests are fairly straightforward.

The GM determines the difficulty of contests/tasks when they arise based on his assessment of circumstance or, in the simplest instance, the traits of competing characters.

The GM deducts the PCs trait from the value of the opposing trait to arrive at a difficulty. Assume that the GM has a note of each characters notable traits so that this bit of math can be done without involving the players.

In any case, the trait vs trait or trait vs difficulty result denotes the difficulty of the contest from the players perspective.

+4....Incredibly Easy (5d6, take highest)
+3....Extremely Easy (4d6, take highest)
+2....Very Easy (3d6, take highest)
+1....Easy (2d6, take highest)
+0....50/50 (1d6)
-1.....Difficult (2d6, take lowest)
-2.....Very Difficult (3d6, take lowest)
-3.....Extremely Difficult (4d6, take lowest)
-4.....Incredibly Difficult (5d6, take lowest)

The GM describes the difficulty and the player rolls the appropriate dice and checks the result.

Contests which are described as "easy" mean that the player takes the highest result of any dice rolled. Contests that are described as "difficult" "hard" or "challenging" mean that the player takes the lowest result of any dice rolled.

"The lock is one you are very familiar with, roll 4 dice."
"He obviously has the edge on you, roll 3 dice."
"He's a wily Diplomat, convincing him will be a real challenge, roll 2 dice."

Degree of success is measured by the result that is rolled...

6....Total Success
5....Significant Success
4....Marginal Success
3....Marginal Failure
2....Significant Failure
1....Total Failure

Results are narrated as appropriate in the context of the scene with the degree of success acting as a cue.

Inspired by the Pool I'm thinking of using a special Trait called "Fate" to influence who gets to narrate the outcome of contested events.

A player can spend Fate before a roll is made to try and influence their chance of success and also grant them a monologue. Each point spent increases the trait that is being tested by one point. Regardless of the result of the contest any Fate that is spent in this way is considered lost but the player gets to narrate the outcome of the contest.

A player can regain Fate before a roll is made by decreasing the trait that is being tested. This lessens their chance of a successful outcome but replenishes their Fate trait. Again, if the player opts to do this then they get to narrate the outcome of the contest.

I'd probably impose a limit on the number of points of Fate that can be spent/regained in a contest.

Like I say, it's just a seed of an idea which isn't currently tied to any system although I'd certainly intend to use it in play sometime if I thought that it was workable.

Any comments appreciated.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2002, 02:16:31 PM »

Looks a lot like bonus and penalty dice from Over the Edge. Seems pretty solid to me in general terms. The one protential problem with such a system is that, other than for a 50/50 roll, the most extreme results are the most likely to occur (on an "Easy" roll, the chance to get a Total succcess are 30%, which is almost the same as the chance to get either a 3 or a 4 put together). That may not concern you, however.

As for the "fate" thing, what more than one player spends? For example, their characters are competing. Highest bid? Can players bid back and forth? I assume that Fate is, from your description all spent before rolling?

Also, in such a case, which player rolls the dice? Or do they each roll (that might be cool).

Mike
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2002, 05:52:17 PM »

Hi Cassidy

Maybe you can explain this to me. I'm playing devil's advocate here, so just stay with me. At first you said:
Quote
For a long time I've been looking for a simple RPG system which focuses on role-play rather than rules play.


And then you outlined your idea for rules, simple rules, but rules nevertheless. But the rules are just a simple task resolution system. Would you not be better served by a game with rules for roleplaying. I mean, just how different is the rules you have outlined here from most other RPGs in what they do and how they work? In other words, I still see rules play instead of role-play, as you had put it. Just trying to take a look from a different angle.
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Andrew Martin
Member

Posts: 785


« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2002, 06:28:15 PM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
Hi Cassidy

Maybe you can explain this to me. I'm playing devil's advocate here, so just stay with me. At first you said:
Quote
For a long time I've been looking for a simple RPG system which focuses on role-play rather than rules play.


And then you outlined your idea for rules, simple rules, but rules nevertheless. But the rules are just a simple task resolution system. Would you not be better served by a game with rules for roleplaying. I mean, just how different is the rules you have outlined here from most other RPGs in what they do and how they work? In other words, I still see rules play instead of role-play, as you had put it. Just trying to take a look from a different angle.


I agree with Jack. The rules you've got so far look like any rules-light system, which seems to be at odds with your desired goal. I'd suggest having a look at Zac's Shadows game at: http://www.harlekin-maus.com/games/shadows/shadows.html, Xiombarg's Success at: http://www.io.com/~xiombarg/success.html, Sergio's column on RPG.net at: http://www.rpg.net/news+reviews/columns/ruleslaw27sep01.html, and my Accord system at: http://valley.150m.com/Accord/Conflict%20Resolution.html, for some different ideas on the subject of roleplaying versus rule-playing.
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Andrew Martin
Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #4 on: December 02, 2002, 08:34:11 PM »

Upon reflection, I may have come across a little harsh in my first post. Sorry about that.

But what I was getting at is, and I believe Andrew is too, that you want to focus on the roleplaying but what you have here is a system that supposedly "gets out of the way" of the roleplaying, but does not necessarily aide the roleplaying at all. I would instead encourage you to find rules that aide roleplaying instead of finding rules that get out of the way.
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2002, 06:17:42 AM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
Upon reflection, I may have come across a little harsh in my first post. Sorry about that.

But what I was getting at is, and I believe Andrew is too, that you want to focus on the roleplaying but what you have here is a system that supposedly "gets out of the way" of the roleplaying, but does not necessarily aide the roleplaying at all. I would instead encourage you to find rules that aide roleplaying instead of finding rules that get out of the way.


Thank you for the comments.

To more accurately state my goal....

I am looking for a "rules system" that employs a Fortune based mechanic and whose inner workings are essentially transparent to the players.

My goal is to limit the instances in actual play where "the system" or "the rules" interrupt the flow of the game. I also want to encourage players to concentrate on other facets of the game such as the setting, the characters, plots, etc which I want to be the role-playing foci of the game.

To elaborate a little further...

I would employ a Fortune in the Middle technique for resolution. Before I was aware of the Forge and hadn't even heard of FitM I was using FitM anyways.

Traits employed in a conflict should not need to be explicitly mentioned by the players and should often be implied given in-play circumstances and/or the players stated intent. I envisage a small number of generic non-specific traits (a bit like Amber) which can be employed in a variety of situations.

Numbers need only be mentioned by the GM as a means to tell players how many dice to roll, i.e. "Roll 2 dice". I'd perhaps want to toy with the idea of using verbal cues to allow the players to infer the number of dice to be rolled in any given conflict.

Players don't need to do any math. They don't add bonuses and their traits are never referred to in play by number. I do not want players to think of any aspect of the characters in 'numeric' terms at all.

I don't want a player thinking, "Ok, I've got 5 dice in Dex and 3 dice in Swordsmanship - thats 8 dice to roll, I'm pretty good with a sword."

I want the player to be thinking, "I'm a gifted swordsman." or whatever is in line with their original character concept.

I want the results of conflicts to be immediately visible. Again, no math. The die result gives idea of the relative degree of success or failure, i.e. Total/Significant/Marginal. This will provide a useful cue to GMs and Players in interpreting a variety of outcomes in a hopefully consistent fashion.

As I say, essentially a simple resolution mechanic that is largely transparent to the players themselves.
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2002, 07:07:16 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Looks a lot like bonus and penalty dice from Over the Edge. Seems pretty solid to me in general terms. The one protential problem with such a system is that, other than for a 50/50 roll, the most extreme results are the most likely to occur (on an "Easy" roll, the chance to get a Total succcess are 30%, which is almost the same as the chance to get either a 3 or a 4 put together). That may not concern you, however.

As for the "fate" thing, what more than one player spends? For example, their characters are competing. Highest bid? Can players bid back and forth? I assume that Fate is, from your description all spent before rolling?

Also, in such a case, which player rolls the dice? Or do they each roll (that might be cool).

Mike


Thanks for the comments.

I did the math for the probabilities and they seem ok. The plus scale is just an inverted mirror image of the negative scale which makes perfect sense.

I had thought about 'bidding wars' between 2 competing players. I don't know if it would be better to have an open bid or secret written bids. I think 'secret' bids would be an excellent opportunity for players to try and bluff one another.

Irrespective of bids, the GM would eventually have a trait value for each player (modified by Fate if necessary)

i.e. Simple Duel.

Fidan is a Superb Duellist (7)
Gant is a Formidable Swordsman (6)

Fidan is the better in a fight. In fact, in game system terms he could be loosely described as a better swordsman than Gant.

I could describe to Fidan's player that Fidan has the definite edge over Gant and ask him to roll 2 dice. Fidan's player would roll the dice taking the high result and the GM would narrate the outcome. Fidan has a 75% chance of success, 25% chance of failure.

Alternatively I could describe to Gant's player that Gant is seemingly outmatched in this contest and ask him to roll 2 dice. Gant's player rolls the dice, takes the low result, GM narrates the outcome. Gant has a 25% chance of success, 75% chance of failure.

It really doesn't matter who rolls the dice since success or failure is always read in respect of which player is doing the rolling. Success for one is failure for the other and vice-versa.

Lets say Fidan secretly spends 1 Fate before the roll, but Gant spends 2. Their respective trait values for the contest are now the same. I'd toss a die to Gant (since he spent more Fate), tell him to roll, since Gant spent more Fate he gets to narrate the outcome.

I would encourage players to weave some inventive aspect of fate into their narrative to denote the influence of either good (or bad) luck affecting the outcome.

I need to give some thought to Player vs Player conflicts and also to multi-character conflicts in general.
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Valamir
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Posts: 5574


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« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2002, 07:30:28 AM »

You will probably want to decide just how literal the words you choose to use are to be taken.  Are "duellist" and "swordsman" just different colorful ways of describing "fights with sword" or do they have particular meaning based on the words chosen.

For example, Findan may be a superb duellist, but what if they are not fighting a duel.  What if they are fighting a gang of thugs in a dark alley full of debris?  Would Gant's lesser skill in "swordsman" actually be more applicable here and thus gain an edge that might even things out.

Does "Duellist" imply a narrower specialty than "Swordsman".

If I'm on horseback armed with a broadsword can I use my "Duellist" skill at full ability, what about "Swordsman".

Conversely, if this is actually a formal duel with seconds and all the trimmings does the duellist get a special edge?

Or not.  But you probably will want to be clear in advance.
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2002, 07:54:37 AM »

Quote from: Valamir
You will probably want to decide just how literal the words you choose to use are to be taken.  Are "duellist" and "swordsman" just different colorful ways of describing "fights with sword" or do they have particular meaning based on the words chosen.

For example, Findan may be a superb duellist, but what if they are not fighting a duel.  What if they are fighting a gang of thugs in a dark alley full of debris?  Would Gant's lesser skill in "swordsman" actually be more applicable here and thus gain an edge that might even things out.

Does "Duellist" imply a narrower specialty than "Swordsman".

If I'm on horseback armed with a broadsword can I use my "Duellist" skill at full ability, what about "Swordsman".

Conversely, if this is actually a formal duel with seconds and all the trimmings does the duellist get a special edge?

Or not.  But you probably will want to be clear in advance.


Swordsman/Duelist are just descriptive terms to denote Fidan/Gant's prowess with hand held weapons.

They are simply generic non-specific traits (a bit like Amber) which can be employed in a variety of situations

"If I'm on horseback armed with a broadsword can I use my "Duellist" skill at full ability, what about "Swordsman"."

I would assume that as GM you would do whatever you deem best given the circumstances.

For simplicities sake I'd assume that if you can ride and can fight then you can fight from horseback. I'd probably give a ad-hoc bonus (+1) if fighting a grounded apponent.

If the player had made note of the fact that their character was an extremely adept horseman skilled in fighting from then I'd probably make that (+2).

Given the granularity of the resolution machanic I'd probably limit any ad-hoc bonus to no more than +2 or any ad-hoc penalty to no less than -2.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2002, 07:56:05 AM »

Quote from: Cassidy
I did the math for the probabilities and they seem ok. The plus scale is just an inverted mirror image of the negative scale which makes perfect sense.
It's "balanced", yes. My only point is that the "Marginal" results are never more likely to be produced in play than any other result. That is very different from most systems, and might seem counterintuitive to some. There's no reason that it woudn't work, and it might even be a lot of fun getting mostly extreme results. I'm just trying to make sure that this is one of yor design goals. If so, then great.

Quote
I had thought about 'bidding wars' between 2 competing players. I don't know if it would be better to have an open bid or secret written bids. I think 'secret' bids would be an excellent opportunity for players to try and bluff one another.
Sounds fun to me. Co-opts one of the most commonly used methods from "diceless" systems, and applies it to a fortune based system. Cool.

Quote
It really doesn't matter who rolls the dice since success or failure is always read in respect of which player is doing the rolling. Success for one is failure for the other and vice-versa.
Sure. But who rolls? The first guy to grab the dice? Players are weird that way. Some will want to roll. Others would prefer someone else to roll. You need a simple way to determine who rolls. Otherwise people will be rolling off occasionally to see who rolls. You can avoid this extra step by saying that the originator of the conflict rolls, or the target, or the GM.

This is a "can't hurt to have it" sort of rule. If players want to roll off, or something, they will. But for those who like regimentation, the rule is there to make play go smoothly.

Quote
I need to give some thought to Player vs Player conflicts and also to multi-character conflicts in general.
Have you given any thought to allowing them both to roll? Let's say they both get successes. In a duel, that could mean that they both wound each other or something.

Also, your say that you want a "Mathless" system. But what you have, of course, is a system where you have to do math anyhow. You subtract one total from the other. And there is a translation going on. The player says, OK, Fair is 4, and Superb is 7, so 4-7 = -3 = extremely difficult.

Is this a level of math that you are comfortable with? Or would you still like to go for "mathless"?

Mike
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2002, 08:41:56 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
It's "balanced", yes. My only point is that the "Marginal" results are never more likely to be produced in play than any other result. That is very different from most systems, and might seem counterintuitive to some. There's no reason that it woudn't work, and it might even be a lot of fun getting mostly extreme results. I'm just trying to make sure that this is one of yor design goals. If so, then great.


You are exactly right. The way I look at it is that extreme results are most likely the more fun to narrate.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Sure. But who rolls? The first guy to grab the dice? Players are weird that way. Some will want to roll. Others would prefer someone else to roll. You need a simple way to determine who rolls. Otherwise people will be rolling off occasionally to see who rolls. You can avoid this extra step by saying that the originator of the conflict rolls, or the target, or the GM.


I'd be inclined to allow the player who instigates the conflict to roll. It seems more natural.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Also, your say that you want a "Mathless" system. But what you have, of course, is a system where you have to do math anyhow. You subtract one total from the other. And there is a translation going on. The player says, OK, Fair is 4, and Superb is 7, so 4-7 = -3 = extremely difficult.

Is this a level of math that you are comfortable with? Or would you still like to go for "mathless"?


The math involved in determining the 'difficulty' of a contest and how many dice to roll is down to the GM and is fairly basic.

From the players perspective there is no math involved other than keeping track of when they either spend or regain Fate.

Players wouldn't say "Fair is 4, Superb is 7 so 4-7 = -3 = extrememly difficult."

The GM would describe that the contest at hand as an extremely difficult one and tell the player to roll 4 dice. Since the contest has been framed as a 'difficult' one they know that they will be taking the lowest die rolled as the result.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2002, 08:54:24 AM »

So you're saying that the GM does the math? That's specious. Players will figure out what their opponents' levels of ability are through observation, and they will do the math.

Not that I think this is a bad thing, but it'll happen. I personally see the whole "math trasparency" issue as a non-factor. I prefer numbers myself. How strong is "Fair"? How much can I lift with it? In GURPS, I multiply my ST by 20 to determine my max lift (and by other factors for other lifts). So, looking at an 11, I have a good idea what that means.

Andrew would take it further, and just say, "You're character can max lift 200 lbs." There's nothing there to get in the way of understanding what it means (though I'd argue you lose something mechanically).

The point is that just translating between words and numbers does not remove the math. It just hides it. If that's something you want, fine. It's just always seemed odd to me. I always note how stilted the use of the descriptors seem. "I'll try to solve the puzzle cube with my Fair intelligence". Doesn't come off any more naturalistic than saying, "Ill try to solve the puzzle cube with my eleven intelligence".

Just my take, tho. Some people seem to think it helps.

Mike
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Cassidy
Member

Posts: 165


« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2002, 10:13:49 AM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
So you're saying that the GM does the math? That's specious. Players will figure out what their opponents' levels of ability are through observation, and they will do the math.

Not that I think this is a bad thing, but it'll happen. I personally see the whole "math trasparency" issue as a non-factor. I prefer numbers myself. How strong is "Fair"? How much can I lift with it? In GURPS, I multiply my ST by 20 to determine my max lift (and by other factors for other lifts). So, looking at an 11, I have a good idea what that means.

Andrew would take it further, and just say, "You're character can max lift 200 lbs." There's nothing there to get in the way of understanding what it means (though I'd argue you lose something mechanically).

The point is that just translating between words and numbers does not remove the math. It just hides it. If that's something you want, fine. It's just always seemed odd to me. I always note how stilted the use of the descriptors seem. "I'll try to solve the puzzle cube with my Fair intelligence". Doesn't come off any more naturalistic than saying, "Ill try to solve the puzzle cube with my eleven intelligence".

Just my take, tho. Some people seem to think it helps.

Mike


I certainly buy what you are saying and personally I'd work to discourage the use of descriptors in actual play.

For the players they are there to add colour to their characters and aid them in envisioning their chosen role.

Taking your puzzle cube example, you know your character is fairly intelligent so why not just say, "I'll try and solve the puzzle." ? I, as GM already know that his is fairly intelligent, no need to state his level of intelligence is necessary. In game terms you'd know that your character is smarter than the average guy so maybe he can crack the puzzle.

In play, I'd summise that perhaps someone who is [/b]Reasonably intelligent (5) would have a 50/50 chance of solving the puzzle, I'd toss you a couple of dice, telling you that the puzzle looks pretty tricky and let you roll.

If say some other character happened to be a Renowned Professor of Mathematics (8) tried the puzzle then I'd toss him 4 dice and tell him that the puzzle seems fairly simplistic. In addition, the Renowned Professor could use that trait in a variety of ways to accomplish a number of inventive things.

Imagine your character (the fairly intelligent one) is trying to decipher a book containing some strange code which you're totally unfamiliar with. I may summise that even someone who is Very (7) Intelligent would struggle with deciphering the code. To you I'd say, "Looks totally unintelligible but you can try and give it a go.", toss you 4 dice and let you roll.

The Professor if confronted by the same code might assume that the code is beyond him but in character decides to pass it run it by one of his colleagues at the University where he lectures who he knows is adept at Crytography.

Regarding numbers. I'd envision that any translation between words and numbers would not be done by the players but by the GM. The players could conceivably write a brief character concept (sans numbers) from which the GM could extrapolate the abilities of pertinent traits.

Maybe thats a little idealistic, but I used a similar approach when I ran a couple of Window games and it seemed to work ok. In the Window though the players knew what die had been associated with what trait so thats a significant difference.
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Walt Freitag
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Posts: 1039


« Reply #13 on: December 03, 2002, 12:15:11 PM »

This is an elegant mechanism. Since you were interested in similar ideas discussed previously, I'll point out that it has a lot in common with the high-granularity variant of the "Symmetry" mechanism I use for most of my role playing. Some of the similarities are:

- A variable number of dice rolled, with a result that's interpreted differently based on whether the chance of success is above or below 50%.

- The symmetrical quality itself, such that chance of failure if you roll equals chance of success if the opponent rolls, and vice versa.

- Centered on a 50% chance, and the residual chance of success or failure decays exponentially as one adds dice to move the odds away from 50%.

I gotta say, though, I like your mechanism better in many ways. Probably better overall, too, though I can't tell for sure until I've tried it out.

And I agree that the way you propose having the GM determine the number of dice during play, without mentioning the numbers or the descriptors out loud, can work. I've done this myself with high-granularity Symmetry. (The original low-granularity version, in which four points of difference have the same impact as one point in the high-granularity version, seems to fit better when the players are doing their own adding and subtracting and small modifiers can come into play.) It works because each die represents a doubling or halving of the task's relative difficulty to the character, so the on-the-fly assessments the GM is called only need ballpark accuracy. They're more convenient and even seem, to me at least, more natural. (Research has shown that in many cases, human senses and gut feelings are more oriented toward logarithmic scales than linear ones. That's why, for example, the decibel scale for perceived loudness of sound is logarithmic with respect to the actual energy of the sound.)

There's one issue you may want to consider in the numbers vs. descriptors issue. One thing Symmetry, and your system too I believe, is very good at accommodating is extreme old-school character advancement. Mechanically there's no difference between a character with a decoding skill of 5 attempting a decryption of difficulty 4, and a character with a decoding skill of 9 attempting a decryption of difficulty 8. In fact, there's no mechanical reason you couldn't go on to have a skill of 20 confronting difficulties also in the neighborhood of 20.

Tying the numbers to descriptors reduces this flexibility somewhat, because descriptors above "superb" tend to lose any clear sense of their relative meaning. That is, a "23 vs 20" situation remains easy to understand as numbers, while whatever descriptors you'd have to assign at that magnitude just get silly.

Using numbers alone without descriptors also helps at the low end of the advancement spectrum. If I have a skill of 3 and I routinely beat challenges of 1 and 2 (and sometimes even prevail over challenges of 3, 4, and 5) that arise, my character comes across as competent and I don't have to think of his skill as really just "mediocre" relative to some universal scale.

Of course, this is a non-issue if you don't want (as most designers here don't usually want) open-ended character advancement.

Best,
Walt
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #14 on: December 03, 2002, 02:43:37 PM »

I still don't get it, sorry. What follows could constitute a rant. So be forewarned.

Sometimes in GURPS or whatever system, I do all the math myself in my head. What do my players do? They ask me how I got to that point. Why? Because they realize there is a math step, and they want to be able to do the calculations themselves. They are not satisfied with just not knowing. If the math is simple, like your game, they just automatically back-calculate (hmm, my skill is a four, and the diff is easy...the opponent must be a three).

Anyhow, the point is either I can do the math for any system in my head, and if I have players that don't care, they will not ask about it (in which case any system is just as "non-number" as any other), or the players will want to know the numbers, in which case, such a system is an impediment, and I'd be silly to do it, anyhow.

So, what's this system got that all other systems don't already have? Other than, perhaps text that encourages the GM to do all the math himself?

Again, if this is just a "feel" preference, then fine. I can't argue with that. But I'd argue that numbers give as good or better a feel. Personally.

When will players mention their stat ratings you ask? When you ask them for them.
Q."What are you using to open the box?"
A. "My Fair intelligence."

Again, the GM can do all this himself in any game. It just takes more effort. There's nothing specific to your game that makes this more true in the enumeration system. I play GURPS using chargen similar to what you describe. I ask a series of carefully selected questions, and just pick values that fit the description. Ignoring points. This makes GURPs chargen easier, and better, yes. But it's a function of that tactic, and has nothing to do with how the system rates anything. If you realy wanted to keep the numbers from the players, wouldn't you take away the cahracter sheet as a whole? So that they'd have to work from their impression of the character rather than have levels listed that could be converted.

Heck, GURPS resolution is just as simple. You always roll three dice and add them (please don't tell me that adding three numbers from one to six in onerous; moreso than searching four dice for the max value? Or sometimes the min?). Never any change. The player simply tells the GM the total, and he can do the neccesary comparison (assuming that the GM does it all himself).

I'm not saying that GURPS is a great system. It has it's flaws. I'm just not seeing how what you're doing is significantly different in terms of math or enumeration. Again, if you just like it, say so. But if I were to play, I'd chuck the descriptors, hand the character sheets to the players, and have them do the one step of math whenever they need to. It baffles me as to how this is an impediment to role-playing. It's never slowed down any game I've ever seen, or made any player somehow...I dunno, I can't even see what it might do: make them uncomfortable?

In fact allowing the players to do some of the work has its advantages. I certainly don't want to be hampered as a GM in my creativity in having to handle all the calcualtions myself, all the time. Bettter to distribute it about. In Rolemaster, I always assigned a player as "Chartboy" so that I could continue with play while they looked up results. GMs are players too!

This may come off as overblown. But I've never understood this POV. It doesn't make any sense mathematically. Perhaps that's just my math mind talking. I dunno. But I've yet to see a convincing argument to the opposite. And we've been over this about four times now (do a search on "Transparency" and "FUDGE" for examples).

Mike
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