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Author Topic: Item Collecting  (Read 9844 times)
zaal
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Posts: 33


« on: December 23, 2002, 06:49:16 PM »

Hi all,

A thread in a Mutants & Masterminds review on RPG.net got me to thinking.  Essentially, the thread talks about forcing players to "pay" for items/weapons/powers that their characters acquired during play.

Item collecting (that is, what's done when searching dead orcs for gold, picking up a fallen enemy's gun and using it, etc.) has a long history in gaming.  I think it's common in Simulationist mode gaming that strives to be "realistic," because the assumption is that if you somehow manage to gain possession of an antagonists stuff, you should be able to use it.  (Note - I'm trying to get a handle on GNS in an effort to communicate more effectively here, so hopefully I'm using terms correctly!)  

However, there are certain styles of play - games based on super hero comic books, certain action movies, etc. - where this behavior is not suited to the "genre," for lack of a better word. (I'm not sure which GNS term to use)  For example, Captain America has incapacitated the gun wielding lackey of his archnemesis, the Red Skull.  However, Cap doesn't pick up and use the lackey's gun on the Skull, even though to the reader it seems that would be sensible thing to do.

Of course, Cap is a principled person and that might explain why he doesn't want to kill people (with a gun or otherwise).  However, it somehow seems like the very physics of cinematic reality prevent Cap from using anything but his tactical mind, his well above normal attributes, and his trusty shield.  It seems like Cap doesn't use a gun because he can't - or, at least, only when it's at an important plot point.  I'm not saying Cap can't use a gun because he doesn't know how (his background clearly establishes that he does); rather, it goes against his very nature.  It's like telling water to stop being wet - it just won't happen.

In superhero comics or action movies, it's like a character's items are more an extension of himself as opposed to being merely items he has picked up.  However, the gamers I am familiar with don't seem to "get" this idea.  Importantly, I'm not saying these gamers are in the wrong.  Rather, they seem firmly set in a way of thinking which is more "logical" in the real world, I guess.  I find this frustrating when trying to emulate the source material for what I want to play or GM.

A number of games address or try to address this issue.  Most of them suggest (or mandate) that players must pay for powers or items acquired in play, while others note the "problem," say it's out of genre, and then move on without further advice.  Examples, of the former include GURPS Supers and Hero, and an example of the latter is Feng Shui, which says it's "crass" to loot the bodies of fallen foes yet doesn't really do anything about it.

I guess, ultimately, communication among the players is key (it always is  :)  ).  Every player must know the set of "rules" by which their characters will act by, and if the players don't like it, they can leave.  But I would be interested in hearing other thoughts on the matter, and how various systems address this "problem."

Jon
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: December 23, 2002, 08:40:36 PM »

Hi Jon,

Welcome to the Forge, and thanks especially for opening this great line of inquiry. I think it's an important topic.

A term that I anticipate being tossed around is "niche protection," but I tend to think of that as a description or label, rather than an explanation.

What is the phenomenon that Jon has described? I suggest that it's non-controversial that it exists; what matter is what it is. And for once, the plain old GNS categories do a good job of summarizing the issue, without having to delve into the diversity within each one.

Gamism - the player has committed to accomplishing win/loss conditions ("performing") using a specified range of options. Character creation is all about establishing the parameters of the options for a given character, regardless of how they are generated (randomly, point-allocation, etc).

Simulationism - the player has committed to a given set of plausible relationships among the modelled variables within the imagined game-world, expressed as "this character can do this much, this well," as a function of the character's previous history. I think of character creation in this mode of play as actually playing before the group begins, which is not the case in the other two modes, because the points/rolls/etc of Simulationist character creation are considered to be the game world in action.

Narrativism - the player has committed to expressing a specific set of passions regarding a specific set of issues (note: this can develop through play and to a certain extent almost always does, rather than being set in stone from the outset), entirely at the metagame/social level of play. The character, his or her abilities, his or her behaviors, anything about the character, express the range of the issue; that's what the character is for.

[Note that in Narrativist play, describing a character as "wrathful" is only saying that his or her decisions must cope with wrath, whereas in Simulationist play, such a statement on the sheet represents a social contract to play the character wrathfully. This is a big distinction. If one were to play Captain America in a Simulationist game, his unwillingness to kill (presumably, in non-wartime) is fixed. If one were to do so in a Narrativist game, his ongoing failure to kill represents an ongoing set of in-character decisions, and an ongoing thematic statement by the player.]

And finally, in all cases of any role-playing, I think it's important to recognize that stuff about the character (a fictional entity) exists as an expression of the social role of the player/person in that particular group. Most of what I have to say about that was presented in the The class issue.

So what does all this have to do with collecting the flotsam and jetsam of dropped or available items during play? Quite a bit. Insofar as the behavior is consistent with "what a character's for" according to the mode of play, then it's fine. If it's not, it's not.

A strongly Simulationist approach usually favors item-collecting, given that doing so is physically possible in the game-world and items can be handy. A strongly Gamist approach also does so, with the emphasis on the "handy" part. Limiting these activities in some way is also common: in Simulationist play, usually with weight allowances or attention to just how many little bags and satchels one can hang off one's belt before getting stuck in doorways; in Gamist play, usually with fixed limits imposed as a metagame consideration.

[Attempts to limit Gamist play using the Simulationist method (e.g. AD&D2) tend to fall short, as the Sim rules simply get ignored by players who don't care about them.]

The Narrativist approach is a tad trickier; I suggest that the "items" issue varies depending on secondary factors like the degree of plausibility relative to the developing story, as well as the limitations (from narrow to wide) upon character concepts, remembering that character concepts in this mode of play are by definition thematic time-bombs.

Best,
Ron
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #2 on: December 23, 2002, 11:32:14 PM »

Quote from: zaal
For example, Captain America has incapacitated the gun wielding lackey of his archnemesis, the Red Skull.  However, Cap doesn't pick up and use the lackey's gun on the Skull, even though to the reader it seems that would be sensible thing to do.

Of course, Cap is a principled person and that might explain why he doesn't want to kill people (with a gun or otherwise).  However, it somehow seems like the very physics of cinematic reality prevent Cap from using anything but his tactical mind, his well above normal attributes, and his trusty shield.  It seems like Cap doesn't use a gun because he can't - or, at least, only when it's at an important plot point.  I'm not saying Cap can't use a gun because he doesn't know how (his background clearly establishes that he does); rather, it goes against his very nature.  It's like telling water to stop being wet - it just won't happen.

OK, I'm going to tread some thin ice and focus on this example here.

The thing one needs to understand about comic book super heroes is that they are very gimmic-focused. That's why they wear those silly outfits and put prefixes on their hokey devices (as in bat- like bat-arang, bat-mobile, bat-martial aide, etc.) Using his shield in a fight is Captain America's gimmic. It is oddly like a video game. Mario can only jump and stuff. That's the only button on the control. Comic book super heros are...iconic. Spider man has his nifty red & blue suit and his set of powers at his disposal, and that's pretty much it. Part of the fun of these sorts of limitations is watching them use or work within or succeed because of, or in spite of these limitations.

This makes that one line you wrote:
Quote
It seems like Cap doesn't use a gun because he can't - or, at least, only when it's at an important plot point.

oddly important. I am reminded of something in Who Framed Roger Rabbit? Remember the scene where Roger was handcuff to Eddie and Eddie was about to use the hacksaw to cut them out of their cuffs. Eddie told Roger to hold the crate steady. Roger slipped out of the cuffs and held the crate "You mean like this?" Eddie gets irritated and says "You mean you could've slipped out of those cuffs at any time?" Roger replies "No. Not unless it was funny." This is a lot like that.

Characters can only follow their idiom, to use the line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Cap can't use a gun unless he's going to lose and violate his idiom. Cap can only lose in a manner befitting his idiom.

Does this make sense?
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Andrew Martin
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« Reply #3 on: December 24, 2002, 12:31:49 AM »

Quote from: zaal
A number of games address or try to address this issue.  Most of them suggest (or mandate) that players must pay for powers or items acquired in play, while others note the "problem," say it's out of genre, and then move on without further advice.  Examples, of the former include GURPS Supers and Hero, and an example of the latter is Feng Shui, which says it's "crass" to loot the bodies of fallen foes yet doesn't really do anything about it.

I guess, ultimately, communication among the players is key (it always is  :)  ).  Every player must know the set of "rules" by which their characters will act by, and if the players don't like it, they can leave.  But I would be interested in hearing other thoughts on the matter, and how various systems address this "problem."


I think the easiest way around this problem is to simply fix the game rules so that the superhero's weapons, shield, gimmicks and so on are clearly superior to a henchman's gun, armour or other equipment. This way, the munchkins will behave in the desired way automatically, just like a roleplayer would. Therefore, there's no need to force the munchkins to leave, after all, they were merely following the rules of the game.

In conjunction with the above, it's also a really great idea to make sure that characters are really highly skilled (when appropriate) and to use FitM to avoid loss of protagonism -- where the character (and player) look foolish and stupid.
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Andrew Martin
zaal
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Posts: 33


« Reply #4 on: December 24, 2002, 10:28:43 AM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
Characters can only follow their idiom, to use the line from Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Cap can't use a gun unless he's going to lose and violate his idiom. Cap can only lose in a manner befitting his idiom.

Does this make sense?

Yup.  I like your extension of the idea, as well - a character must do those things which prevent the loss of his "idiom."  Now I just need to figure out how to do that in a game.  :)

Jon
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #5 on: December 24, 2002, 11:51:45 AM »

Hi Jon,

Are you familiar with the game Hero Wars? It's a superior role-playing game (in my opinion) because it operates precisely toward the "idiom-preservation" that you're describing.

A character is described only as a list of abilities. Anything described in other games as skills, attributes, relatioships, personality features, powers, or any-bloody-thing-at-all is an "ability" in Hero Wars, rated on the same numerical scale, utilized by the system in exactly the same ways. Even better, any ability may enhance the value of ("augment") any other ability during play.

What this means is that Cap's shield or whatnot is an ability, as are his principles. Using them in tandem produces mighty-mighty effects. These vectors or usable-relationships among his abilities "are" Captain America, in game terms. Therefore the system acts as integral (not added-on) positive reinforcement to preserve that identity, or, if you will, to preserve and express the character as a thematic statement.

Negative reinforcement to prevent actions that are not in line with that thematic statement are less pronounced in Hero Wars. The precise elements of the principles, for instance, wouldn't be as effective in tandem with a gun (unless he were shooting out a button to disarm a bomb, for instance, as opposed to drilling the Red Skull between the eyes). Still, from the standpoint of that game design, which happens to be extremely Narrativist, it's more important that Cap decide not to do such a thing, rather than to "prevent" him through punishment mechanics.

Best,
Ron
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #6 on: December 24, 2002, 04:49:22 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Still, from the standpoint of that game design, which happens to be extremely Narrativist, it's more important that Cap decide not to do such a thing, rather than to "prevent" him through punishment mechanics.


Just highlighting an imporant point that I found worth repeating. Emphasis mine.
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bluegargantua
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« Reply #7 on: December 24, 2002, 10:54:11 PM »

A few quick comments:

I'm going to stick to the superhero examples because that's what's been presented most often so far and it's a genre that really highlights this issue.

1.)  Super Heroes vs. Mooks/Henchmen/Lackeys -- in this instance, the Super Hero vastly outclasses the foe(s).  Whatever weapons or eqiupment are possessed by the opponents should generally be less useful than whatever the super hero has on hand.  The only exception might be evidence, clues or access keys.  Let's face it, if the henchman's gun was really worth looting, the hencheman would've shot the super hero dead.  Since the Hero survived an attack by a gun-wielding opponent, the main Villain probably will too.

2.)  Super Heros vs. Major Opponents -- in this instance, the Super Hero is severely challenged by the foe.  The weapons and equipment possessed by the opponent may be very, very useful, but it should also be very difficult for the Super Hero to take advantage of beyond a one-time use (i.e. I overload your Destructo-Raygun to blow up the Mega-Missile you were about to launch).  Superhero universes are full of weird gadgets and magical doo-dads which are completely unique and only seem to work for one person.  Iron Man, for example, has lots of really useful cybernetic equipment and he could probably revolutionize prosthetics, but it never happens.  Partially because he's afraid of what will happen if his technology gets loose (see below) but also because the technology is too expensive, too experimental, too something for mass production.  And so it is with Villains and their stuff.

There's also the possibility that Villains might sabotage their equipment so that other people who try to use it will suffer.  So perhaps if you take Galacticus's gun and try to shoot him, it will recognize the invalid taget and disintegrate the wielder.  And, of course, some Villains would be completely immune to their own gadgets.  Mr. Freeze isn't going to care if you hit him with a shot from his Cold Gun.

Then too, these special gadgets are often the obsessive life focus of their creators.  Taking them or copying them may trigger a massive retaliation (especially from Villains who have no scruples).  There was a rather popular run of Iron Man issues where Iron Man discovers that his technology has been stolen and is being used by various super criminals and a few (bush league) super heroes.  So he goes off on a tear to hunt them all down and put them out of business.  Just a thought for when your players think it'd be great to build their own DoomBots.

Finally, while there isn't a specific game mechanic to enforce the kind of behavior you mention, there's a bit of "premise pressue".  The premise of this kind of game is that the heroes will always try and do right and not kill people and they don't use the tools of the enemy unless there's absolutely no choice and they help little old ladies and so on.  If your players don't want to conform to that premise, then perhaps the game can change focus.  If they start looting bodies and shooting bad guys, they're going to get a rep, and it won't be a good one.  They'll get kicked out of the League of Heroes, people won't trust them or look up to them.  Things will get grim and gritty and more like Punisher or other vigillante series.  The premise will change.  This could be good or bad or both, but if players have explicitly been told what the premise of the game is and they decide to ignore the premise and do something else, then the game either has to change or it has to fold.

later
Tom
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erithromycin
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« Reply #8 on: December 25, 2002, 11:34:06 AM »

I think the assertion that superheroes are, in effect, collections of powers in a thematic bundle is one that's not only a product of the majority of the games that feature them, but, as has been said, a product of the way in which they are treated within the parental genre, comic books.

The 'paying for new powers' model that you see in Champions et al bears a close resemblance to the evolution of characters within the comics. Your 'high-level' [and I use the term only for comparison] heroes will go years between acquiring new powers. Batman's trophies, for example, fill the Batcave, but do nothing. It takes the hmmph-mumble years [or branching into a new character sheet, to extend a clumsy thing] between continuity and 'The Dark Knight Returns' before he adds a gun to his arsenal, and even then it isn't used to kill.

These new powers could be argued to represent the vast quantities of XP that most systems require to move chunky characters forward. Assuming, of course, that one was using a system that did that. They could also be argued as gradual, narrative evolutionary products. An older Batman, to return to a previous example, will become more dependent on gadgetry, and then to a greater degree of gadgetry - I'd argue that, certainly with relevance to his moral code, a gun would be more expensive than a Batarang.

Your 'lower-level' heroes, of course, grow and develop and change as time passes. One might argue that the collection of powers from ones foes represents a mechanism for the justification of the XP system. Or not.

Though there's another thing - even if they did pick up the gun, and use it, would they keep it? There seems little merit in fussing about things that are collected only to be discarded. In fact, if memory serves, Champions only makes you pay for the things you keep. The gun on the floor is a one-use thing, and the tactical advantage/moral compromise/seamlessness [1] that picking it up represents is only critical at that moment. Unless, of course, you think differently.

Now, what does one do when things that are on the character sheet and that have to be 'paid for' can be picked up and kept? Should one make the player pay for them with XP? Try to zero sum them, with disadvantages or complications? Let it happen?

The initial condition seems to fall easily into the GNS model, but how would the chance to keep them fit?

edit:

[1] By which I mean a state where the rules mean that there's not a point where Captain America's player goes "I pick up the gun" and the GM says "You can't do that". Is there a term for that? I was refering to the 'model' of the universe that a simulationist game seems to occupy - the cracks show up in the rules.
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my name is drew

"I wouldn't be satisfied with a roleplaying  session if I wasn't turned into a turkey or something" - A
zaal
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« Reply #9 on: December 25, 2002, 02:40:45 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Are you familiar with the game Hero Wars? It's a superior role-playing game (in my opinion) because it operates precisely toward the "idiom-preservation" that you're describing.

I've heard it's name bandied about here on the Forge and elsewhere, usually in conjunction with Exalted.  From how you describe the system, sounds pretty exciting.  I believe the basic rules are online, so I'll check them out.

Quote
Negative reinforcement to prevent actions that are not in line with that thematic statement are less pronounced in Hero Wars. The precise elements of the principles, for instance, wouldn't be as effective in tandem with a gun (unless he were shooting out a button to disarm a bomb, for instance, as opposed to drilling the Red Skull between the eyes). Still, from the standpoint of that game design, which happens to be extremely Narrativist, it's more important that Cap decide not to do such a thing, rather than to "prevent" him through punishment mechanics.

I hate negative reinforcement mechanics in general - if I'm going to "force" players to do things a certain way, I much prefer to do it through positive reinforcement.  That's why I generally dislike outright forbidding a character to collect items.  One of my goals with this thread is to find ways to provide some incentive for a character staying true to his concept.

Can a game use reward mechanics instead of punishment mechanics and be "extremely" Narrativist?  Both involve guiding the reactions of players, after all.

Jon
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #10 on: December 25, 2002, 06:46:27 PM »

Quote from: zaal
Can a game use reward mechanics instead of punishment mechanics and be "extremely" Narrativist?  Both involve guiding the reactions of players, after all.

What strikes me as the obvious way to do this, is to give high bonuses for staying in idiom. I have played games where extra XP was awarded for "staying in character," but I think a more immediate bonus, like +'s to the dice roll or whatever is more appropriate. This way, it is a stategic advantage to the player to remain in character *during play* instead of a bonus to XP afterwards. XP bonuses are a porr incentive for the most part IME.
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Andrew Martin
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« Reply #11 on: December 25, 2002, 07:46:08 PM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
Quote from: zaal
Can a game use reward mechanics instead of punishment mechanics and be "extremely" Narrativist?  Both involve guiding the reactions of players, after all.

What strikes me as the obvious way to do this, is to give high bonuses for staying in idiom. I have played games where extra XP was awarded for "staying in character," but I think a more immediate bonus, like +'s to the dice roll or whatever is more appropriate. This way, it is a stategic advantage to the player to remain in character *during play* instead of a bonus to XP afterwards. XP bonuses are a porr incentive for the most part IME.


WW's Exalted emphasizes giving players 1 - 3 extra dice in their pool for describing the  stunts of their characters. For rewards mentioned by Zaal, my Token system gives players rewards (tokens) for putting their characters in "interesting" situations -- it's derived from TV drama shows. Fang's Scattershot (see his forum for more) has a more comprehensive reward scheme, IIRC, "gimmies" which are more dice rolls.
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Andrew Martin
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #12 on: December 26, 2002, 07:08:18 AM »

Hi there,

There are a few scattered points here and there through this thread that I'll address piecemeal.

1) Reward systems - let's not confuse "advancement" or (better) character improvement with reward systems; improving a character is only one kind of reward system. In fact, it might be useful to break down the thread topic into parts.

a) Methods of being effective (having high effective values, in quantitative terms, getting more screen time, etc)

b) Reward mechanics - which apply to the player, not necessarily the character

c) A character becoming more effective, which is one version of (c).

d) Associating "items" with a character through play (getting stuff)

e) Playing one's character according to Premise. Note the vast GNS differences and options, as I described them earlier - in Simulationist play, playing a character "off" type is a breach of contract; in Narrativist play, it's an expansion (positive or negative) of the "question" that character represents.

Diffferent game systems link or relate these things to one another in different ways.

2) Narrativism - a couple of comments have demonstrated some fuzzy understanding. For instance, Jon, you refer to Narrativist play involving "guiding the reactions of players," which strikes me as exceptionally off-base. In Narrativist play, the reactions of players (which includes the GM) are sacrosanct and completely the responsibility of each person, without interference.

3) In Hero Wars, a character may acquire anything via play, but if the player wants the character to keep it, it must be "cemented" into the character sheet by the expenditure of a Hero Point (the "x.p." of that game). Otherwise, it essentially disappears from play, or at least from that character's play.

4) Exalted and Hero Wars aren't associated in any way. I think one point of confusion is that both games use the term "Lunar" to refer to organizations or categories in their settings.

5) Very minor point: the first game that I'm aware of to provide pre-roll dice bonuses based on "cool" description was Sorcerer. (Contrary to popular belief, Feng Shui does not feature this mechanic.)

6) Drew, I think that all protagonists of film, literature, comics of any sort, and stories of all kinds fit your description of "collections of powers in a thematic bundle." Superheroes happen to be a glitzy version, but not otherwise special, in my view.

If anyone has any questions about these points, I'd be happy to discuss them. Also, Jon, let us know something - is this thread turning out to be useful? If we've gone off on some funny track that isn't helping, make sure we get back toward the point.

Best,
Ron
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zaal
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Posts: 33


« Reply #13 on: December 26, 2002, 06:40:24 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi there,
2) Narrativism - a couple of comments have demonstrated some fuzzy understanding. For instance, Jon, you refer to Narrativist play involving "guiding the reactions of players," which strikes me as exceptionally off-base...

Actually, that wasn't the thrust of my question.  You indicated that punishment mechanics and Narrativism couldn't really coexist.  I was uncertain if reward mechanics and Narrativism could coexist, because reward mechanics to me seem to be another, perhaps "gentler," way to guide the reactions of players.

So I was just trying to clarify a GNS point - I apologize for not being clear.  I'm guessing the answer to my original question is no, however  :)  .

Incidentally, I'm really interested in trying a more Narrativist game out.  I feel I "understand" the other modes, but Narrativism (or rather, how to play it) seems more elusive to me.

Quote
3) In Hero Wars, a character may acquire anything via play, but if the player wants the character to keep it, it must be "cemented" into the character sheet by the expenditure of a Hero Point (the "x.p." of that game). Otherwise, it essentially disappears from play, or at least from that character's play.

Personally, I like the "paying for what you find in play," in both Hero Wars and Champions.  While I don't know Hero Wars that well, in Champions I think that rule makes sense given the source material the game tries to emulate.

Also, I don't have any particular problem with a character picking up some item and using it once (or even a couple of times) - unless, of course, it's like Captain America murdering anybody in cold blood.

Quote
4) Exalted and Hero Wars aren't associated in any way. I think one point of confusion is that both games use the term "Lunar" to refer to organizations or categories in their settings.

Yeah - there was a thread on RPG.net about that a little while ago  :)  .  I get the impression that the setting of Hero Wars is epic, grand, and exotic, and that the characters are real movers and shakers, which is similar to Exalted (or any over the top game, I guess).

Quote
6) Drew, I think that all protagonists of film, literature, comics of any sort, and stories of all kinds fit your description of "collections of powers in a thematic bundle." Superheroes happen to be a glitzy version, but not otherwise special, in my view.

Indeed.  In particular, I would like to play or run a sword and sorcery game that plays up to this way of viewing characters.  I'm going to take another look at Risus, a free game written by S. John Ross, because it seems to address this pretty much head on.

Quote
If anyone has any questions about these points, I'd be happy to discuss them. Also, Jon, let us know something - is this thread turning out to be useful? If we've gone off on some funny track that isn't helping, make sure we get back toward the point.

I'm very satisfied with the dialogue in this thread and where the dialogue seems to be going.  The primary issue I had (item collection) is directly related to "idiom preservation" or "thematic collections of powers," and, had I known those terms before writing my message, I would have explicitly articulated it as such.  I'm also interested in reward mechanisms, both for staying true to a character idiom and encouraging player creativity.

I'm looking for ways to contribute more meaningfully to the thread, but for now I'm just seeing what people bring up  :)  .

Jon
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zaal
Member

Posts: 33


« Reply #14 on: December 26, 2002, 06:46:14 PM »

Quote from: Jack Spencer Jr
Quote from: zaal
Can a game use reward mechanics instead of punishment mechanics and be "extremely" Narrativist?  Both involve guiding the reactions of players, after all.

What strikes me as the obvious way to do this, is to give high bonuses for staying in idiom. I have played games where extra XP was awarded for "staying in character," but I think a more immediate bonus, like +'s to the dice roll or whatever is more appropriate. This way, it is a stategic advantage to the player to remain in character *during play* instead of a bonus to XP afterwards. XP bonuses are a porr incentive for the most part IME.

I find this quite a remarkable statement, actually.  I think immediate rewards for "staying in character" is an excellent idea.  I feel like I must have had this thought floating somewhere in my head, but now it has been brought to the fore.  I'll keep my mind on it when I GM from now on.

Jon
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