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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Black Wind  (Read 6038 times)
Ron Edwards
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« on: December 20, 2002, 11:10:32 AM »

Hi James,

Here are some of my thoughts about Black Wind, which I'd really, really like to play. Please take all of these as suggestions - toss out what doesn't work for you.

1. You have a rock-solid Premise, so I think there is absolutely no need to try to articulate it any further. Color is your forte; stick with that, and it'll be communicated.

2. Let the GM's pool-size take care of itself. I don't think there's any need for a formal system to drive its size. However much he wants is however much he wants.

3. Doom ... OK, first of all, a quibble - "Smaller is better." No, I don't think it is. The bigger the Doom, the more is at stake, personally speaking. I want a big fat Doom. I think that stating "Doom makes tasks harder" is fine, rather than "Smaller is better."

4. Doom 2. Here's an idea. Everyone starts with Doom 2. Next story, Doom increases. And next story, it increases. And next story ...

2-3-4-5 ... or 2-4-8-16 ... or ...

Whether there's any way to bring Doom down, I don't know. Maybe by adding Ties. Maybe no way at all. I don't care; seems like the important thing is to have a steady external source of increase.

5. I like the Victory Dance being limited to the immediate task at hand and maybe one more action. The wider "add to story, be the GM" effects that seem to have become common in The Pool don't seem right to me for Black Wind.

6. If a player-character has an Empty Blood Pool, then fuh-uuuuck that character. It seems reasonable to me to let him struggle along with no dice, getting hosed or whatever - or to let him "retire" for a bit, going out of play for a session or until the next session, returning with a "basic" Pool or something. But I don't really like the idea of giving out gimmes to "keep" Pools positive. Going to 0 should be a real risk, and constitute a real kick in the balls to that character.

7. Resolution confuses me a little. Are all dice out of the Blood Pool? If so, then Rock + Bits is how many dice he rolls, limited by the Pool? In other words, I have three dice left in my Pool; my Grit is 4 and I'm using one Bit for 2. So what if it adds up to 6 - I can only roll my three dice, right? Or am I totally confused?

8. I used the word "task" a couple of times above, but I hate to tell ya, based on the comic, you're still talking about conflict resolution. Maybe the confusion is based on the time-scale covered by a roll. Some people think that if it's short, it must be "task," and if it's long, it must be "conflict," but they're wrong.

Best,
Ron
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J. Backman
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Posts: 53


« Reply #1 on: December 20, 2002, 12:00:33 PM »

Umm, correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the game called Black Wing, not Black Wind? Like it really matters, it's a great game with any name! :)
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Pasi Juhani Backman
Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #2 on: December 20, 2002, 06:37:55 PM »

What is this "Black Win[dg]"? Where can it be found?

It's certainly not in the Resource Library.
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the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: December 21, 2002, 09:35:31 AM »

Hello,

Yeah, it's Black Wing, whoops.

James initially posted about it in the Black Wing thread in Indie Design. The Forge's search function would have got you there, Seth.

Best,
Ron
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James V. West
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« Reply #4 on: December 21, 2002, 11:26:47 AM »

Hey everyone!

Well, I was gearing up for a second Black Wing post, but you folks drew me out sooner than planned. Drat!

Just kiddin'.

Let me respond to Ron's points one-by-one before getting into any of the new stuff.

Quote
1. You have a rock-solid Premise, so I think there is absolutely no need to try to articulate it any further. Color is your forte; stick with that, and it'll be communicated.


I don't plan to ever state a direct Premise anywhere in the text as I feel like it is communicated by the setting, as you said here. Glad to see that I'm not totally crazy for going that route.

Quote
2. Let the GM's pool-size take care of itself. I don't think there's any need for a formal system to drive its size. However much he wants is however much he wants.


The jury's still out on this one. I hear what you're saying loud and clear, but I'm still liking the idea that players increase the GM's pool (and thus the overall risks involved) by "buying" special powers like Damage Control and Victory Dances. But I feel like in order for this effect to really hit home, I need a specific control on the size of a GM's pool, set by the GM at start of a session, and altered only by the actions of the players.

Maybe we're actually talking about the same thing here. I might have spouted off about some elaborate method for dealing with GM pool size in the other post. If so, ignore it.

Quote
3. Doom ... OK, first of all, a quibble - "Smaller is better." No, I don't think it is. The bigger the Doom, the more is at stake, personally speaking. I want a big fat Doom. I think that stating "Doom makes tasks harder" is fine, rather than "Smaller is better."

Certainly. My wording in the original post was not refined in the least. And, lo and behold, you've hit on one of the alterations I've made in the past couple of weeks and was going to be posting about. Doom.
In the current draft, Doom starts at 1. I haven't worked out all the ways in which it might increase or decrease, but I have one good idea:
When your Blood Pool reaches zero, or is pitifully low, you can have it reset to the default starting value of 10 (keep in mind: any number values I plug in here are likely to change). When you do this, your Doom bumps up one level.
Also, player's Blood Pools, if below 10, reset to 10 a the beginning of a new session (note: "session" might become "story", "episode" or something like that).

Quote
4. Doom 2. Here's an idea. Everyone starts with Doom 2. Next story, Doom increases. And next story, it increases. And next story ...

2-3-4-5 ... or 2-4-8-16 ... or ...

Whether there's any way to bring Doom down, I don't know. Maybe by adding Ties. Maybe no way at all. I don't care; seems like the important thing is to have a steady external source of increase.


I've been modelling the system using a simple gwbasic program whipped up by a good friend of mine. In the model, I've found that the system is incredibly stable as long as the relative values (#of dice tossed by player and gm related to Doom) remain within reasonable range of the "median". If the numbers get too far apart, things get "dicey". I mean, if Doom gets up to 5 or 6, but the character's effectiveness is the same, then the chances for a success get way down into the single digits. I don't mind this happening on occasion, but I don't want it to happen all the time. I have to be mindful of these relative values and make sure the stystem works to keep them in line.

That being said, I would prefer if Doom didn't get above 3 except in very rare cases. How to do this? Not sure. If Blood Pools get drained often then Doom scores might go up more often when players feel like they need a new Pool.

But in truth, I believe this might not be a big problem. According to the model (which will only show it's usefullness when actual play commences--next month), if the numbers stay within the right range then gambling won't be nearly as common as it is in The Pool. Certainly, I don't think players will feel the need to gamble excessively in this game. And that's what I want. I want the system to work smoothly under most "normal" circumstances, and to display its more toothy nature when things heat up.

Of course, things can heat up fast. If the GM wants to throw more dice than the usual amount, the heat is on.

 
Quote
5. I like the Victory Dance being limited to the immediate task at hand and maybe one more action. The wider "add to story, be the GM" effects that seem to have become common in The Pool don't seem right to me for Black Wind.

Exactly. My concept for Black Wing is that it should play like a "traditional" fantasy rpg in most respects--there are stats, there are bonuses to rolls, you can die, there is a GM. But I want all these little non-traditional rewards and concepts peeking out at every corner just enough that people who might have went into it like any other Saturday night dungeon crawl will, at some point, realize that they are playing a distinctly different kind of fantasy game.

Quote
6. If a player-character has an Empty Blood Pool, then fuh-uuuuck that character. It seems reasonable to me to let him struggle along with no dice, getting hosed or whatever - or to let him "retire" for a bit, going out of play for a session or until the next session, returning with a "basic" Pool or something. But I don't really like the idea of giving out gimmes to "keep" Pools positive. Going to 0 should be a real risk, and constitute a real kick in the balls to that character.


Indeed! As I hope to start expressing in the comics, this is a rather dangerous world. And that danger is real. An empty Pool won't get you a gimme (without upping your Doom--according to the current idea--in which case your character is still going to get stomped more often).

Quote
7. Resolution confuses me a little. Are all dice out of the Blood Pool? If so, then Rock + Bits is how many dice he rolls, limited by the Pool? In other words, I have three dice left in my Pool; my Grit is 4 and I'm using one Bit for 2. So what if it adds up to 6 - I can only roll my three dice, right? Or am I totally confused?


No, that's about right. All dice do come from the Blood Pool and you cannot roll any more dice than you have in that Pool. In the case of a Blood Gamble, you can actually re-roll dice and add the new Hits to the old Hits--but the penalty for a failed gamble is to lose all the gambled dice.

After studying the system model a bit, I realized I might need a limit to Blood Pools. It seems like it might be possible to keep adding dice and not losing that many. So, your Blood Pool cannot exceed the sum of all your Rocks (Brains, Grit, Edge, Cool--or perhaps "Wit" instead of "Brains").

Quote
8. I used the word "task" a couple of times above, but I hate to tell ya, based on the comic, you're still talking about conflict resolution. Maybe the confusion is based on the time-scale covered by a roll. Some people think that if it's short, it must be "task," and if it's long, it must be "conflict," but they're wrong.


Maybe you could elaborate on this statement. I'm thinking task res because I want dice rolls to be intimately tied to actions, not whole conflicts. You roll to hit. A Victory Dance lets you describe that hit, and perhaps one step further (amounting to another success, in essence). Obviously I haven't worked out all the details on this yet.

I'll be posting a revised version of the basic rules as well as some observations based on the system model either tonight or in the morning. The holdiays are upon me! People are showing up at my house...
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James V. West
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« Reply #5 on: December 23, 2002, 09:09:45 PM »

Did I say "tonight or in the morning" during Christmas?? Someone slap me. What I meant to say is "I'll be posting some more about this project following the holiday."

Have a happy one everybody!
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Spooky Fanboy
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Posts: 585


« Reply #6 on: January 01, 2003, 11:00:54 AM »

Quote from: James V. West
Did I say "tonight or in the morning" during Christmas?? Someone slap me. What I meant to say is "I'll be posting some more about this project following the holiday."


We eagerly await more information about Black Wing.

I mean, C'MON MAN!!! It's freakin' New Years Day already, and we haven't heard a peep out of you about this game since before Christmas! How much of this 'family time' crapola does a person need!?

Spooky Fanboy-
who isn't in the least obsessive about new games coming out, not at all...
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Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!
James V. West
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« Reply #7 on: January 01, 2003, 04:12:17 PM »

I'm not quite ready to make another big post about the game just yet. I'm in comics-making high gear at the moment, so Black Wing isn't getting my full attention. But that's a good thing...I really need to get some more Hof comics finished to really establish a solid basis for the game.

I will say this much, risking a repitition of stuff I already said. The modelling I've done for the system looks nice. I was origninally thinking that Doom would range up to 10, but now I see that a 10 would be virutally impossible to achieve with this system. Instead, a simple change of one level of Doom increases difficutly on an average of about 20%. So, Doom will most likely start at 1 and go up to 2 or 3 during play. This tweaks the average chance of success from around 80% down to 40% or less. Factor in the GM's dice and the chances can plummet to nil really fast. It's a delicate system. Only actual play is going to tell me how delicate and exaclty what numbers need to be plugged in here and there.

And that's just the core mechanic. Writing this thing is going to be a challenge.

More in coming weeks.
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Spooky Fanboy
Member

Posts: 585


« Reply #8 on: January 26, 2003, 01:15:12 PM »

Just wondering how this was coming along. Thought you might like to know that there are those of us out here eager to see this thing.

I'm a natural-born sucker for dark fantasy settings.
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Proudly having no idea what he's doing since 1970!
James V. West
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« Reply #9 on: January 26, 2003, 08:00:03 PM »

Hey Spooky

Yeah, I've been asked by a few other people about Black Wing. So people really are interested. I feel the love.

I have a hell of a lot of comics work to finish up in the next two months before I can devote any respectible time to the game. I may post something sooner, but if you hear nothing until April or May don't be surprised.

When I get a little closer to having a playtest version completed I'll start posting more often and I'll be asking for folks to help run the game through the old ringer. Of course, I'll be providing all you'll need to playtest it--including the red and black dice.
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