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Author Topic: Unstated bits of TROS  (Read 15416 times)
Bankuei
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« Reply #45 on: July 14, 2003, 10:01:30 PM »

Hi Ivan,

Have you ever done anything like rock climbing?  Bungee jumping?  Maybe something really tame, like a rollercoaster?  All of these activities are comparatively "low-risk" activities, that is to say, most likely you'll survive to live the tale.  But, there is also the very, very slight chance that you will have a terrible accident.  It exists in the back of your head...

Still gives you a thrill, right?

There's so many if's involved in ROS.  IF you get your SAs going, IF you guesstimate how many dice to use, IF you plan your tactics right.  Even if you know your enemy, have them outnumbered 10-1, and catch them by surprise, there's still a chance that something could go wrong.  And if it does...if it does...if....

There's no fictiticous illusion of character death.  It is a real possibility.  But, the odds are up to you.  You can play dumb, and basically give yourself the "stoned hobo on the train tracks" odds, or play smart and give yourself the "indoor rock climbing with a Sumo wrestler as your belay partner" odds...  That's up to you.  There's a chance in both you could end up seriously hurt or dead, and that is part of the thrill.

The scenes are intense because you are playing odds, there is nothing that is "for sure".  In D&D, you know about the maximum amount of damage an orc is going to hand out every turn.  And you can know how many turns you can "possibly" take hits and keep going.  You also know the point where it becomes actually possible to drop your character.  Between that time, you can make all kinds of decisions to keep fighting or run, or whatever.  It's effectively a "safety zone" of time for you to decide your tactics.  

ROS, you don't have that.  Even if you have 35 more dice than the other guy, you don't screw around.  Until he's dead, you're in danger, even if it's .00001%, it's still very much a possibility of being an all-or-nothing affair.  And this character you've built up for a couple of months?  No way are you letting your guy get smashed by some knucklehead because you got overconfident...

The tension is even higher and uglier if you pull in your SAs to just MATCH a very skilled opponent...One example from actual play, a knight was about 6 dice less than his opponent, but made up the difference with SAs, putting him at a (bare) 2 dice advantage.  The opponent rushes in, throwing all his dice on offense, and the knight goes for a counter...  Everyone in the room is dead silent, on the edge of their chair, waiting to see what happens... Because we all KNOW, one or the other person is dying, right here, right now.

So, please understand, ROS is deadly, and it also FAVORS the PC who plays smart tactically, and dramatically.  These are NOT contradictory.

Chris
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Morfedel
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Posts: 345


« Reply #46 on: July 15, 2003, 05:21:50 AM »

The point being, the combat system is VERY potentially fatal. By that, it means you can die with one, single sword stroke. It doesn't matter if your character is a beginner, or a combat monger who has been around for 2 years of game time and is a god amongst men on the battlefield, a single sword stroke can still end your life.

There are many, many games where this isn't true.

And another thing: when your Spiritual Attributes trigger, you become far more deadly. WHEN they trigger. The game was intentionally designed to ask the questions, "What is important enough for you to kill for," and "What is important enough for you to die for."

In this, the system supports itself; the vast majority of people in real life, both then and now, didn't engage in casual, potentially fatal combats as a matter of course - these things could mean the end of your life, and you took such actions with as much care as we would now. But when it is important, when it truly matters, you will hurl yourself unto the brink.

For two examples: when I was in high school, I was cornered in a bathroom by this one guy who was the school bully - and he was also enormous. HUGE. And he humiliated me, forcing me to back down and leave, while others watched. My pride, my humilation, at the time, wasnt enough for me to stand up to him, I just turned around and left.

However, during that time, I was also a pizza delivery guy. I was waiting in at my car, the evening was pretty much done, it was late late at night, and through the parking lot, I suddenly heard a scream. Some guy had one arm wrapped around a woman's head and neck, walking towards a truck, with his other arm sorting through a wallet. This guy was in his 30s, was tough looking, etc. and I didnt hesitate to charge across the parking lot screaming for him to let the girl go, all ready to throw myself at him.

The guy calmly let her go, and continued counting money in the wallet. I wasnt sure if it was a man's or a woman's wallet, but he just said, "Hey, its mine, and this B-tch stole it from me."  The woman ran into the grocery store next store where there was lots of people while I, a stupid 16 year old kid, looked at the guy trying to figure out if he was telling the truth or not.

Regardless, the woman got away... apparently he was her boyfriend, and I never learned if she decided to call the police or not. But the point being, if I'd stood up to those thugs in the bathroom, I'd have gotten a beating. Yet who knows how dangerous that guy really was in the parking lot - who knows, maybe he was armed, and would have killed me.

But I wasnt about to just let a woman be potentially dragged away like that, and I took a stand when it really mattered. And Id have fought tooth and nail if necessary.

Thats what the SAs are all about. They represent whats truly important to your character; what will you really fight like a lion over, even if and when death is imminent; what will you risk it all, and throw yourself at full force, in order to win?

TRoS combat is potentially fatal. A big part of it is what your SAs are like, and if they are triggering; and what the DM is doing; and how smart you are playing. If you get into combats without reason and without the SAs triggering, you will likely die. IF you are fighting people as good as you are without SAs, or better than you are, you could be in serious danger. And if you are only brought up to their level after SAs trigger, you are in serious trouble.

Then again, SAs triggering when you were before equal with the guy will swing the combat in your favor... but who knows if you are fighting a mook, an equal, or a god of the battlefield. Build your character smart. Use your SAs when possible. And play/fight smart, like you would in real life. Thats what TRoS' combat is all about.
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Morfedel
Member

Posts: 345


« Reply #47 on: July 15, 2003, 05:29:03 AM »

Quote from: Bankuei

The tension is even higher and uglier if you pull in your SAs to just MATCH a very skilled opponent...One example from actual play, a knight was about 6 dice less than his opponent, but made up the difference with SAs, putting him at a (bare) 2 dice advantage.  The opponent rushes in, throwing all his dice on offense, and the knight goes for a counter...  Everyone in the room is dead silent, on the edge of their chair, waiting to see what happens... Because we all KNOW, one or the other person is dying, right here, right now.


And? AND?!?!  Dont leave us in suspense, man!!!! :)
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Lebo77
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Posts: 34


« Reply #48 on: July 15, 2003, 05:34:29 AM »

I am actualy a little confused on how SAs trigger. Specificly, when do these dice "refresh"?  From what I gather, diffrent types of SA refresh diffrently.  I know luck refresshes only at the start of a new "session", but what about the others?  Do they refresh once round, one a dice roll, once a "scene/combat", once a session?  Do diffrent types refresh diffrently?

What is the diffrence between:

Drive: defend my family,
Passion: my family?
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Morfedel
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Posts: 345


« Reply #49 on: July 15, 2003, 05:44:01 AM »

As I understand it, SAs trigger at any moment that it is appropriate, and remain triggered until the situation changes.

For example, if you have Passion: Hatred of Baron Morga, and you enter combat with his croonies, the GM may allow you the bonus. Then, during the entire conflict, any dice pool gets the SAs added as a bonus.

I believe that the SA dice pool is considered seperate for refresh, however. I mean, what if you are using missile combat, which refreshes X amount every round, versus melee, which COMPLETELY refreshes each round?

I believe that in most cases, excepting the SA of luck, etc, they effectively refresh each round as well, and add to whatever it is you are doing. In effect, you draw from that pool to add it to other pools.
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Valamir
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« Reply #50 on: July 15, 2003, 07:16:01 AM »

Quote from: Lebo77
I am actualy a little confused on how SAs trigger. Specificly, when do these dice "refresh"?  From what I gather, diffrent types of SA refresh diffrently.  I know luck refresshes only at the start of a new "session", but what about the others?  Do they refresh once round, one a dice roll, once a "scene/combat", once a session?  Do diffrent types refresh diffrently?

What is the diffrence between:

Drive: defend my family,
Passion: my family?



There is no "refresh".  Dice are not spent (except on character improvement).

If you have an SA to defend your family, than you get those dice each and every time you make a die roll where your family is at stake.  They aren't used in the first roll and then have to refresh later.  If you have the SA at 4...you get 4 dice...to EVERY roll.

The exception is Luck, which isn't really an SA at all but more like Savage World bennies.

The difference between the two examples above really depends.  As written there are some proceedural differences between drives and passions and destinies, but I believe Jake is on record as saying that if were to do it again, he'd make them all function the same.  Certainly in my experience there hasn't been any mechanical difference between a Passion and a Drive (though I seem to recall there are in the rules).

If I were GMing your game I'd interpret Drive as requiring a specific course of action with a definable outcome.  So if you came to me with "Drive: Defend my Family" I'd make you be more specific.

Who or what are you defending your family from and what course of action will qualify as successful.  To me a drive has to be able to have closure.

For instance:
Passion:  Love of Family
Drive:  Prevent the Marshon family from driving us off of our land

would be more acceptable to me as GM.  IIRC Passion requires a specific individual, but in this case I think the blood ties of family and the ability to specifically identify those family members would overrule that limitation.

Passion: Love the people of Gelure I might have more of a problem with.
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Morfedel
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Posts: 345


« Reply #51 on: July 15, 2003, 08:04:32 AM »

Ralph: are you saying that an SA grants dice in both parts of an exchange, for instance? Because the way I was reading it, it grants the dice to the dice pool, which is then divided up between the two exchanges?
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Valamir
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« Reply #52 on: July 15, 2003, 08:09:17 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel
Ralph: are you saying that an SA grants dice in both parts of an exchange, for instance? Because the way I was reading it, it grants the dice to the dice pool, which is then divided up between the two exchanges?


yeah, to the pool.  I generally refer to rolls because you can also use SAs for skill checks not just combat.  Those 4 extra dice can help you climb walls, track the villain, or heal a wound too.

I seem to recall some discussion on this though.  IIRC some folks add it to the rolls rather than the pool.
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Morfedel
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Posts: 345


« Reply #53 on: July 15, 2003, 08:16:51 AM »

Man, if you add it to each ROLL, whew, talk about combat monsters! :)

I guess its better to say that SAs add to each POOL as its being checked (again, barring luck). So, it adds to your combat pools each round, for instance.

You know... enough SAs firing can have you firing credible arrow shots without bothering to refresh the missile combat pool....
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Valamir
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« Reply #54 on: July 15, 2003, 08:26:00 AM »

Its all really in the bounds of GM control, since the GM is the one passing out the SA points.  I believe the text in the book suggests a nice sedate 3-4 points per session.  If you limit when players can spend those points on improvement to select downtime in the adventure than you have a situation where typical SA levels are 2-3 and often just one.  With a limit on when the points can be spent than SAs of 4 and 5 won't last long because players will be motivated to spend them down or risk losing future awards because they've capped out.

On the other hand if you play Blood Opera style and hand out SAs like candy and allow them to be spent down anytime...even in the midst of a combat, than your typical SA levels are going to hovering regularly around 4-5 and rarely go below 3.

Thats a pretty significant difference in the number of extra dice the player will have to sling around when 2 or 3 SAs start firing at the same time.  Very different style of game.  The first is much more gritty with a heroic flare at the climax feel.  The later is more of an over the top Conan / The Scorpion King sword and sorcery killing fest.

Play blood opera style and watch Conan cut down a small army of thugs and soldiers and goons until he confronts the villain who has SAs of his own.

Play as written (with added restrictions from the text like IIRC limits to the number of times you can draw upon a Passion each day) and you have a much grittier more Harn World feel to things.

Its an easy dial to adjust with a little practice.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #55 on: July 15, 2003, 09:30:34 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel
Man, if you add it to each ROLL, whew, talk about combat monsters! :)

I guess its better to say that SAs add to each POOL as its being checked (again, barring luck). So, it adds to your combat pools each round, for instance.

You know... enough SAs firing can have you firing credible arrow shots without bothering to refresh the missile combat pool....


I've seen it done both ways to great effect. It depends on what you want. I generally go with "pool," but when I play with Ron I go by "roll."

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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LordIvan
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« Reply #56 on: July 15, 2003, 05:38:52 PM »

Quote from: Bankuei

So, please understand, ROS is deadly, and it also FAVORS the PC who plays smart tactically, and dramatically.  These are NOT contradictory.


Sorry if I gave that impression - It was never my intent - I'm quite happy to agree to this - if it works for you and your group, good stuff - A difference in play styles does not make it wrong :) I was trying to present a 'What if', however, to see your thoughts on the subject.

Quote from: Bankuei

Everyone in the room is dead silent, on the edge of their chair, waiting to see what happens... Because we all KNOW, one or the other person is dying, right here, right now.


Ok, it seems that we're in agreement for a lot of things that we like to see in a game - It's just that this is the point where we diverge. Sure, there is tension in the moments before those die rolls... but. If it were me? it would be - 'f**k. My characters dead. I liked him, I put a lot of time in to him. now what?" - I just don't like loosing characters. It seems that people in your group think that it's a trade off well worth making for the tension.

Me? I'm a 'character failure' vs 'character death' kind of guy. Character failure can be just as important as character death. Rather than death, you're left bleeding on the floor, as the grim knight walks over your body to those you were trying to protect. He smiles, a thin, cruel smile, as he strikes down your loved ones, and takes control of your lands. Your body is thrown outside to rot with the rest of the dead, but somehow, you manage to crawl away, and are found by friends, near dead, and nursed slowly back to health, pondering your vengeance.

 See what I mean? Failure can be just as grim, and to end it just on character death robs you of so many wonderful opporunities.

Still, I guess this is NOT at odds with the ROS combat system as such. You just adjudicate the 'death' result as 'mortally wounded'. Still all the tension in that fight, the lethality of the combat system - You just don't need to die to achieve that result.

Hi Everybody. My name is Ivan, and I'm a GM - Not a player killer:)

- Why don't you try it one day? The next time the character is fighting for something that is sooo important to him that he has all those SA's saved up, and is willing to risk all for it - Don't kill him. Make him fail. Let him lose what he was fighting for. I think you might be quite surprised at what results from this.

(Opinion guys, this is opinion, not an attack :) )

thanks,
   -- Ivan
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Bankuei
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« Reply #57 on: July 15, 2003, 07:36:13 PM »

Hi Ivan,

You might also be pleased to find out that ROS, with the rules as is, can also give you just that.  Many of the worst wounds possible aren't "instant death" bur rather, bleeding very, very badly.  It is conceivable that someone with enough SAs, and raw luck, could survive, and perhaps come back for more(perhaps missing a limb or something...).

I think one aspect about really making ROS work though, is recognizing a real threat to your character, and being willing to accept character death if it occurs.  Of course, there is an SA known as Luck, which, for spending one point will earn you a single success(which is good against bloodloss), or by permanently spending it down, can earn you some "lucky" event, such as "Hah! Your arrow is stopped by my pendant, which hangs over my heart!" to the "Getting tossed out with the trash to survive" scenario you describe.

People hear words like "realistic", "deadly" and such, and all kinds of connotations pop up that just aren't in play.  PC killing isn't what its about, but neither is fudging dice to save your favorite NPC, or PCs.  ROS's rules, unlike many out there, do exactly what they're supposed to, and you'll find yourself without the "need" to fudge.  

Chris
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #58 on: July 15, 2003, 08:05:51 PM »

Quote
Ok, it seems that we're in agreement for a lot of things that we like to see in a game - It's just that this is the point where we diverge. Sure, there is tension in the moments before those die rolls... but. If it were me? it would be - 'f**k. My characters dead. I liked him, I put a lot of time in to him. now what?" - I just don't like loosing characters. It seems that people in your group think that it's a trade off well worth making for the tension.


Somebody explain Insight, please. I would, but I'm trying to finish OBAM.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Spartan
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« Reply #59 on: July 17, 2003, 08:51:11 PM »

Quote from: Salamander
In my first session of TRoS set in the Renaissance, Rülf of Bern was called upon by his idiotic and romantic of a friend to be a second of his in a duel over a woman. Piece 'o' Cake, right? Wrong, the other fellow was a Fugger! Now Rülf did pause and wonder if his friend was good enough to kill the fellow, and it came up as a draw in his mind, if I recall... but good 'ole Rülf was thinking beyond that. "I have no intention of f*cking with the Fuggers" says he. So he formulated a plan to get his friend out of the city before the Fuggers found out. Well, after a bit of misadventure, the Fuggers found out... Guess what happened next? The Fugger said he would spare his friend the duel if he renounced any claim to the hand of the fair maiden in question. Only one blade was drawn and that was by the idiotic friend as he cut his own bonds to flee his friends who had abducted him in a bid to spirit him out of the city... Still conflict and this time no violence... All told it was good for a couple of SA awards.


And a good time was had by all.  I've never played an rpg session with so much in-character dialogue.  Bless Heinrich, incurable romantic that he is.  I wonder how many times good ol' Rülf is going to have to bail him out.  I'm eagerly awaiting the interplay between Rülf and Renata... a sort of "dynamic duo" thingy could well evolve.  They're both competent fighters, and will be dangerous in tandem.  That's a good thing, since Rülf is a bit of a sh!t disturber.  I'm halfways amazed he didn't try to take on the Fuggers, but then I remembered he's scrappy, not suicidal.  Sh!t disturber, yes... but he knows what logs to poke at. ;)

And you never know... perhaps the Fuggers will make better allies than adversaries for a young swordsman with more secrets than connections. 8)

-Mark
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And remember kids... Pillage first, THEN burn.
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