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Author Topic: About time for another Woe...  (Read 12954 times)
Psycho42
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #30 on: January 29, 2003, 02:20:58 AM »

Hi,

here's my 2 cents...

Quote from: Eric J.

Gamist: If the character could do that, he could take out Star Destroyers with a dice roll.


If the character was good enough to do it, he could take out a Star Destroyer with a dice roll and should be allowed to do it.

Quote

Sim.: It doesn't reflect how computer systems work or how they do in Star Wars.

Sorry, you are wrong. See "New Hope" R2 hacks the computer and helps Luke, Han... get out of the trash compactor. Computer systems in Star Wars can be hacked.

Quote

Nar.: Star Wars is about blasting your way or talking your way out of situations.  Look at TRotJ.  Han tries to hotwire his way into the installation.  Does he succeed? No.  That wouldn't be interesting.  He eventually tricks them into coming out of the instalation.

Wrong again. see my above example with R2. Han didn't talk the trash compactor into opening or blasted his way out...

I think the most important lines in this discussion are:
Quote from: Mike Holmes

Player: OK, I'm going to pilot the Millenium Falcon into the heart of the still incomplete Death Star and attempt to blow up the main reactor.
Eric: No way that would work, you have to fire torpedoes down the ventilator shaft.


Perhaps I should repeat them a few times, but really that's what I think is your problem. You have a story made up in your mind and your players are allowed to act it out for you, but you don't allow them to choose their own way.

sorry if this sounds harsh...

Frank
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Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #31 on: January 29, 2003, 03:50:24 AM »

Quote from: Eric J.

My biggest problem with this is that it doesn't work in any mode of GNS really with respect to Star Wars.

Gamist: If the character could do that, he could take out Star Destroyers with a dice roll.

Sim.: It doesn't reflect how computer systems work or how they do in Star Wars.

Nar.: Star Wars is about blasting your way or talking your way out of situations.  Look at TRotJ.  Han tries to hotwire his way into the installation.  Does he succeed? No.  That wouldn't be interesting.  He eventually tricks them into coming out of the instalation.

As for our game: Most of my sessions are good, and this wasn't an exception.  Even Avery says he liked it.  However, I am a pessimist and like adressing specific problems with certain styles, and feel that progress is made each time.  Pyron's Woes is a term coined by some one who made refference to one of these threads a while back, and the term stayed with me.


GNS is really not helping you here Eric, it seems to be simply getting in the way.  I strongly suggest you stop using it for the time being.

Leaving that aside, you're points simply don't make sense.

Gamist:  Nonsense.  If I can hack into your home computer does that mean I can hack into the Pentagon?  Levels of difficulty, hacking into the fighters would logically be easier than hacking into the Death Star.  In game terms the DC would be quite different.  Maybe 15 for the fighters and 45 for the Death Star.

Sim:  How computers work in Star Wars?  They work however the GM says they do surely?  Where in Star Wars does it contain detailed schematics of how computers work?  

Nar:  And here we get to the crux of the matter, the same crux as before I note.  Control.  You have a vision of Star Wars which does not involve hacking.  For some reason you allowed a player to create a hacker character, something Mike Holmes rightly queries, you then don't allow that person to use their skills because it conflicts with your vision.

Why bother letting Avery turn up at all?  Why let him play?  If in your vision of Star Wars techies aren't heroes why on Earth did you let someone play a techie?

This is the core issue Eric, I see it in each of your threads.  You're not sharing the game, you're not letting the players create with you.  You're telling a story, not creating one with your players.

This is not a GNS issue.  Leaving aside that I don't think you're using the terms correctly anyway, the problem here is not a mismatch between the preferences of you as GM and the preferences of your players.  The problem is the much simpler one that you are not letting your players play.  Misusing GNS is letting you duck that, you think instead that you are a narrativist while they are all gamists, you don't recognise (although I am far from the only one here to raise the point) that you are to be blunt railroading your players mercilessly in order to get the game you want.

Was there any idea in all honesty Avery could have come up with which would have enabled him to hack the fighters?  Or is it more accurate to say that you would never have allowed it no matter what he said because it didn't fit your vision of the scene?

A last quote, from an earlier post:

Quote from: Eric J.
This supports the theory that I restricted you too much. Anthony supports the theory that I didn't give you enough hints as to what you were supposed to do. I should have given you more direct instructions as to how to set up the link, but I stand by my decision that you could not have dissabled their ships by means of the com. system.


No, you should not have given him more direct instructions.  You never should.  It's his character, not yours.  You should have either let him make the roll or not allowed that character in the first place.
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AKA max
Roy
Member

Posts: 153


« Reply #32 on: January 29, 2003, 04:24:44 PM »

Eric,

You've got a lot of great feedback in this thread.  The real question is what are you going to do with it?  Have the courage to challenge yourself.    

Roy
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Eric J.
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« Reply #33 on: January 29, 2003, 06:52:47 PM »

Sorry for the lack of responses.  I've had a few problems, homework, a Magic tournament, installing Linux... etc.  My response seemed a bit too hostile when I last attempted to make it, and I really don't see a way to correct it.  Anyway-

Let me try this a different way.  For good gamist play, I feel that it would be inapropriate for the situation.  It would simplify far too many situations.  It would greatly dissbalance the character.  It would conflict with the skill description:

Use this skill to access computer systems and write or midify computer programs, to reprogram droids, and to override or bypass computer-controlled devices.

Furthermore they go into its ability to -

Operate Remote: Many devices-security cameras, communications arrays, door locks, sentry guns, alarms, and so forth- are computer-operated via remote links.  A slicer can access these various systems and either shut them off, or change their operating parameters (to make Corporate Sector cameras identify CSA agents as enemies, for example, or to set an automated Imperial sentry gun to attack stormtroopers).  If the check fails by 10 or more, the security system immediately alerts its administrator that there has been an unauthrorized entry.

Now this can be interpreted several ways.  However, the system designers take all skills into account when creating the system, and modifying a skill spontaniously to that degree could easily balance play.

Quote
Really? You're an expert on both, I take it? Moreso than your friends? Moreso than say, me? Given that data transmission can occur in any medium (already you can buy computers networked by radio, a technology that's existed since before computers), it seems just as viable a way to hack into something than anything else. And don't ask me how I know.

As far as how computers work in Star Wars, I think there is so little data on this subject that even bringing it up is ridiculous. Basically, everything in Star Wars works just the way Lucas needs it to in order that it be interesting. As such, of course you can hack a computer remotely. As long as one of the protagonists is a techie. Oh, lookee.


I would argue that you need more than data transmission when hacking into another system.  It has to be recognised by the computer.  It has to send back signals, and this has to continue.  If he had sent a virus and masked it as data, I would have been fine with it.

There is also the factor of whether it would be an allowed action whithin the Star Wars trilogy.  My reaction is "no," unless it was tied to a creative action.  They do a good job asserting that technology is not often the sollution to problems.  It isn't interesting, or creative unless there is a challenge in the operation.  I created a challenge that makes sense (having to have a network to hack) to make play more interesting.

Quote
Mike's point that if you feel this way, you shouldn't have allowed a hacker character, is a good one. If Han had been a hacker instead of a charismatic fast-talking pilot, it's the "trick" that would have failed and the hotwire that would have succeded.


You raise a very good point.  However, I would have to say that it is very different in a major respect.  The enemy fighters were the only conflict in the scenerio.  The conflict was to destroy the shield generator in that scenerio.  This required not only gaining access to the base, but to also defeat a massive number of troops.  What would have happened if, in episode I, they had jammed the frequency for controling the droids instead of assaulting the battlestation?  It would have been stupid.  It would have required no creative thinking.  Sure they could say that the person who jammed them did it creativelly ("They found a back door into the system!  He created an inverse subspace signal that canceled the other one out!  Wow!") but it wouldn't be visual, and in the case for the RPG, it would be solving a situation that should require player thinking with character thinking.

Quote
Which brings us to the characters that you have in this game - did you give any guidelines about what kind you had in mind? You seem to have had your heart set on rogues in space [and there's nothing wrong with that - Han Solo is a fantastic character], but if you didn't tell your players that then you've got a problem. Look at it this way - the scenario you envisaged, of a guy using his communication skills under pressure to fool some Imperials works if the communication is verbal, electronic, or, hell, the way he flies his ship.


Yeah.  I really should have given them more guidelines.  I told them before the game to envision the perfect character for your class and then do your best to create that character.  I really enjoy getting diverse characters together to form a group.  However, in this case many of my players really didn't make their characters detailed at all (new to setting and game in general for most), and left me kina' hanging.

This is an actual conversation that I had with Avery before the game:

"Me: So, how would you describe your character?"  

Avery:"Umm.  He's a human tech specialist."  

Me: "Yeah, but what does he do?  What are his motivations?"  

Avery "He's a...um...Slicer, right?"

"Yes, but what does he do?"

"I don't know."

"Doesn't he work for an orginization?"

And so on.  I basically had to give him a list of choices for his background.

I'm not trying to criticise him.  He's new to the setting/game.  However, it also shows that we have conflicting goals.

Quote

If the character was good enough to do it, he could take out a Star Destroyer with a dice roll and should be allowed to do it.


Why?

Quote
Sorry, you are wrong. See "New Hope" R2 hacks the computer and helps Luke, Han... get out of the trash compactor. Computer systems in Star Wars can be hacked.


Quote
"Back then we linked the ships together because the Falcon's navicomputer wouldn't work."  He raised his eyebrows and spoke very slowly.  "Listen ... we've still got the Sun Crusher's control codes in here."

Suddenly Han understood.  "Can you do anything with that?  You're not even familiar with the Sun Crusher's systems."

"Don't have much of a choice, do we, buddy?"

"All right," Han said in a needlessly low voice, because the voice pickup was switched off.  "I'll keep him talking-you work to deactivate the Sun Crusher."  

Lando, with a skeptical but determined frown, continued his programming.

-Champions Of The Force

Kevin J. Anderson Copywrite 1994.

Now this strongly implies that control codes are eccential to taking control of other ships.  It also implies that knoledge of a ship's systems is required.  A high roll on a knoledge check might have allowed information like that.  However, he didn't have the "Knoledge: Starships" skill or any that applied.

Quote
Leaving that aside, you're points simply don't make sense.

Gamist: Nonsense. If I can hack into your home computer does that mean I can hack into the Pentagon? Levels of difficulty, hacking into the fighters would logically be easier than hacking into the Death Star. In game terms the DC would be quite different. Maybe 15 for the fighters and 45 for the Death Star.


So I should let him take control of Fighters 90% of the time without the use of force points?

Quote
Sim: How computers work in Star Wars? They work however the GM says they do surely? Where in Star Wars does it contain detailed schematics of how computers work?


Not detailed, but see above example.

Quote
Was there any idea in all honesty Avery could have come up with which would have enabled him to hack the fighters? Or is it more accurate to say that you would never have allowed it no matter what he said because it didn't fit your vision of the scene?


See above in this post and examples from earlier posts.  I'm sure that Anthony could think of a few and post them here.

Quote
No, you should not have given him more direct instructions. You never should. It's his character, not yours. You should have either let him make the roll or not allowed that character in the first place.


Rather than forcing him to solve the problem using more creative tactics?
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #34 on: January 29, 2003, 07:16:35 PM »

Hi Eric,

I'm going to address the last quote in your post and your response to it.

The answer is, "Yes."

Without forcing him to do anything.

You wanna play Narrativist? Take it from the guy who invented the term and reminded a whole generation of frustrated role-players that what they wanted was still possible:

He plays lead guitar. You play bass. The solo is his.

Best,
Ron
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Eric J.
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Posts: 396


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« Reply #35 on: January 29, 2003, 07:34:45 PM »

Well I was asking it Rhetorically =].  However, if a short answer works...

Anyway-  I hope that I didn't lead anyone into a misconception that I'm striving for Narrativist play.  If I did that, I'd be taking a completelley different approach... Using D6 for one...
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clehrich
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« Reply #36 on: January 29, 2003, 08:50:19 PM »

The devil's advocacy department in me seems to be filing a lot of briefs lately, and this thread has finally gotten into court.  Er, stop that metaphor before it gets to the children....

First of all, I want to say at the outset that I do agree with most of what's been said here about GM-ing, Narrativism, and generally not dominating what the players do.  But....

I think Eric actually raises a number of interesting points that ought not to be lost in the shuffle, particularly in his last long post.

Quote
For good gamist play, I feel ...

I just want to note that at the outset, Eric wants to set his priorities here --- not in straight narrativism.  But let's mostly set aside GNS, right?

Here's the really important one:
Quote
What would have happened if, in episode I, they had jammed the frequency for controling the droids instead of assaulting the battlestation? It would have been stupid. It would have required no creative thinking. Sure they could say that the person who jammed them did it creativelly ("They found a back door into the system! He created an inverse subspace signal that canceled the other one out! Wow!") but it wouldn't be visual, and in the case for the RPG, it would be solving a situation that should require player thinking with character thinking.

There are a few other hints here and there, but this is the essential one from my point of view.  While I think Eric's proposed alternative is kind of a straw man, the point is that he's hit something essential for his conception of Star Wars, and one I happen to agree with: it must be visual.

Now what does that mean, in an RPG?  Here's where I think things run into a lot of trouble.  For Eric, it's a quite specific vision; I have the impression that he can see the game quite clearly before him, kind of like a hazy film, and that the way he's assessing character actions is by whether this film is good, bad, or not a film at all.  It's not necessarily that he's railroading, because he hasn't seen the next scene yet, as it were; rather, he's playing continuity editor, trying to keep the film visually exciting and consistent.

My problem is that Eric may push too hard for the good side, as it were, and be impatient with the mediocre.  But as for assessing actions in terms of a mental film?  I think that's exactly what one has to do with this sort of game, which simulates (I know, bad word, but I mean exactly that) a film after all.

So what should be done here?  Allow the characters to do whatever they like?  Yes.... but.  Lots of people have pointed out that you can let the characters do whatever they want, then more or less let the universe punish them for acting stupidly.  But if the situation is as Eric describes, will this really help?  What's happening here is a major failure of communication: the other players are not seeing the film reeling back and forth in Eric's head.  Simply shifting from punish first to punish later isn't necessarily going to improve matters.  And I think for Eric (and I have some sympathy here), to say, "scrap the film in your head" is essentially to say, "stop playing Star Wars because you're doing it wrong," which is exactly what none of us should ever be saying to anyone.

I think you need better communication, Eric.  Show the film, to be blunt.  Remember all those dreadful little descriptions in D&D modules and whatnot ("The water drips slowly on the slime of the dank dungeon walls.  The corridor is 10' by 10', and there is a carpet of gray lichen underfoot....")?  Do it.  But better, obviously.  Desribe the film.  Make the other players see the film in your head as it reels along.  If they see the same picture, they may certainly make alterations, but they will not be as likely to choose to do something that can't be filmed, or would be boring to watch.

I don't know, just my view (as it were) of this argument.
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Chris Lehrich
Jason Lee
Member

Posts: 729


« Reply #37 on: January 29, 2003, 10:18:41 PM »

Quote from: clehrich
So what should be done here?  Allow the characters to do whatever they like?  Yes.... but.  Lots of people have pointed out that you can let the characters do whatever they want, then more or less let the universe punish them for acting stupidly.  But if the situation is as Eric describes, will this really help?  What's happening here is a major failure of communication: the other players are not seeing the film reeling back and forth in Eric's head.  Simply shifting from punish first to punish later isn't necessarily going to improve matters.  And I think for Eric (and I have some sympathy here), to say, "scrap the film in your head" is essentially to say, "stop playing Star Wars because you're doing it wrong," which is exactly what none of us should ever be saying to anyone.


This is an excellent point.

I'd just like to add that if the player is actually interested in playing he'll be choosing actions that protagonize the character.  Using hacking as an example (I know this is not actually what happened in the game), the player's intent is to succeed in hacking the ship and gain some sort of victory.  The player did not intend to still be hacking the ship while the enemy burst on board and shot him in the back, even if this is a perfectly reasonable outcome.  If the player picks an action that you know will backfire on him, pause, and suggest a modification to the action or let him know what the consequences are likely to be.  Chances are the character would have a firmer grip on the consequences than the player would anyway.
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- Cruciel
Balbinus
Member

Posts: 290


« Reply #38 on: January 30, 2003, 04:21:18 AM »

Quote from: Eric J.
Rather than forcing him to solve the problem using more creative tactics?


Absolutely, the fact you would even consider forcing a player to do anything is a serious problem with the way you're approaching GMing.

Incidentally, and trying to put this as politely as I can, I note that while you quoted huge chunks of my and other people's posts you utterly sidestepped the issues I and they were driving at.  You're not engaging here Eric, you're picking out specific items you can respond to and ignoring the more fundamental points that are being made.

Don't just focus on little bits of posts you can pick at, try and respond to the real points.  About protagonisation, the relationship between GM and player, about GM vision overriding player's wishes, about story being a joint effort not GM imposed.

It feels to me like you want us to agree with you and you want to vent, not like you genuinely wish to understand what is happening with your group.  Whenever anything gets difficult you ignore it, responding instead on minor details of computer specification and further comments on what your players did wrong.
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AKA max
Psycho42
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #39 on: January 30, 2003, 06:18:42 AM »

Quote from: Eric J.
Quote
Sorry, you are wrong. See "New Hope" R2 hacks the computer and helps Luke, Han... get out of the trash compactor. Computer systems in Star Wars can be hacked.


Quote
"Back then we linked the ships together because the Falcon's navicomputer wouldn't work."  He raised his eyebrows and spoke very slowly.  "Listen ... we've still got the Sun Crusher's control codes in here."

Suddenly Han understood.  "Can you do anything with that?  You're not even familiar with the Sun Crusher's systems."

"Don't have much of a choice, do we, buddy?"

"All right," Han said in a needlessly low voice, because the voice pickup was switched off.  "I'll keep him talking-you work to deactivate the Sun Crusher."  

Lando, with a skeptical but determined frown, continued his programming.

-Champions Of The Force

Kevin J. Anderson Copywrite 1994.

Now this strongly implies that control codes are eccential to taking control of other ships.  It also implies that knoledge of a ship's systems is required.  A high roll on a knoledge check might have allowed information like that.  However, he didn't have the "Knoledge: Starships" skill or any that applied.


ok, short summary of the discussion.

Your first excuse: "You can't hack into the computer, because you don't have a link".
you were proven wrong...
2nd ex. "You can't hack into computers in the SW universe..."
you were proven wrong...
3rd ex. "you need controll codes and it's sooo difficult"

to make this one short (because, honestly I don't think that you'll accept the argumentation anyway), what's the difference between access codes and passwords? And you know that password can be broken either be a lucky guess or a brute force attack. Why did you allow a slicer character, if you don't let him hack?

Quote

Incidentally, and trying to put this as politely as I can, I note that while you quoted huge chunks of my and other people's posts you utterly sidestepped the issues I and they were driving at. You're not engaging here Eric, you're picking out specific items you can respond to and ignoring the more fundamental points that are being made.


1000% true.

cheers
Frank
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you may win, but you're still retarded."
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #40 on: January 30, 2003, 07:31:57 AM »

Hello,

I should like everyone to abandon any discussion of hacking, computers, passwords, code, bytes with or without prefixes, internet transmissions, compatibility, software, hardware, or similar.

We're not talking about in-game plausibility; we're talking about social interactions and the imagination. Eric, Chris (clehrich) has provided a very good point that a lot of us were probably missing. Max (balbinus) has also reinforced the point that a lot of us were getting at.

Best,
Ron
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #41 on: January 30, 2003, 08:57:56 AM »

Quote from: clehrich
For Eric, it's a quite specific vision; I have the impression that he can see the game quite clearly before him, kind of like a hazy film, and that the way he's assessing character actions is by whether this film is good, bad, or not a film at all.  It's not necessarily that he's railroading, because he hasn't seen the next scene yet, as it were; rather, he's playing continuity editor, trying to keep the film visually exciting and consistent.


I can appreciate this style of play.  Often times, in my head, there is a film running as well, complete with slo-mo, dramatic editing, and even theme music.

In fact, one of my most famous scenes in my old gaming group played out in just this way.  It was a game of Mage, and the scene was an MiB NPC (Jack) being executed by a traitorous subordinate in front of his wife.*  I definitely had a film going in my head for that one, and I even pulled out the theme music for this one.  So, I stood up and described the subordinate's gloating as he pulled out the special bullet that he had been saving for just this moment.  The PCs that were in the scene were wounded or incapacitated.  (One of them was even dead, as I recall.)  So I mimed the traitor putting the bullet into the gun.  In the background, I was playing the "Theme from Harry's Game" by Clannad.

Then Jack turned to his wife, who was being held by one of the traitor's henchmen.

"Look away, dear."

Bang.

The captured PCs were dragged away.  Their surviving companions staggered downstairs to see the taillights of the car driving away from the building into the night.

The point of this exercise is NOT to share a cool gaming moment.  Rather, I want to point out something critical.  I had a film running in my head, but, through my actions, I conveyed that film to my players.  I didn't say, "Then he shot Jack in the head."  I actually said, "Bang."  In my mind, it brought out a close-up image of the gun going off (like the scene at the end of the Matrix where Agent Smith shoots Neo).  It provokes a silent cry of denial in the audience, and I think that it worked.  But it only worked because my players were watching the same movie.  (How do I know this?  I've compared notes with my players, and they've told me that they were seeing a similar scene to my own.)

If clehrich is right and this is what is going on, I'd like to offer you some suggestions:

1)  Communicate the feel of your game clearly.  (Yes I know that this has been said, but it bears repeating.)  Specifically, say that you are wanting to reproduce the visual feel of the movies.  You want swashbuckling, seat-of-the-pants, make-it-up-as-you-go action that would look good on film, if you were actually filming it.

2)  As your players are making decisions, ask them these questions:  "If this were a Star Wars movie, what would you want your character to do?"  and  "If this were a Star Wars movie, what would be the coolest thing to happen right now?"  This gets everyone on the same page.

3)  Reward your players for doing cool things.  This point is critical.  Especially for a cinematic game, bogging down in the details will destroy the game.  Let your players attempt to do absurd things, just like in the Star Wars movies.  Give them bonuses for actions that are cool or dramatic, demonstrating derring-do and gusto, or otherwise epitomize the feel that you are trying to encourage.  This point is so important that I'm going to repeat it.  Reward your players for doing cool things.

4)  Ditch the details.  For this game, they will only get in the way.  IMHO, part of the problem with the Extended Universe of Star Wars is that they are trying to create a consistent world out of a setting that was never intended to be consistent.  So don't worry if attempting a given action is "unrealistic" or "out of character with the setting".  The only actions that are "out of character" for the Star Wars setting are boring ones.

So, for this hacking attempt that everyone has been analyzing to death, you shouldn't have been encouraging your player to think through the steps to hack the starfighters.  Rather, you should have been encouraging him to think up a cool, dramatic, visual, Star Wars-ish way to hack the starfighters.  Security codes?  Datalinks?  A Jedi craves not these things.  A Star Wars hacking attempt (by a human) would involve a frantic slicer furiously typing away at a computer while his buddies desperately try to hold off the bad guys and keep their slicer pal safe.  Think of the hyperdrive repair attempts in The Empire Strikes Back.  No one cares about the mechanics of hyperdrives.  Rather, we care that Solo is trying to escape the Imperial Fleet with one hand and fix his disabled hyperdrive with the other, all the while desperately racking his brain for a better solution.  (It's also the running joke of the movie, but I digress.)

This could even be combined with the several steps that you listed.  Allow for several skill rolls to be made...while in combat.  So your slicer is desperately trying to hack through these systems while your pilot is trying to evade the starfighters...or the rest of the PCs are fighting a holding action against the boarding party.  Let the slicer fail some rolls.  Also, let him come up with cool technobabble ideas that give him bonuses.  "I just remembered that the X-10 fighter is vulnerable to a Trojan Horse assault using Dynatech virus technology."  Of course the slicer happens to have Dynatech virus technology and he gets a bonus to the roll.

Did Dynatech virus technology exist before this point?  No.  But that's okay.  The beauty of this method is that it is not just an excuse to get dice bonuses.  First, the feel of the game is preserved.  Secondly, it gives you (the GM) additional opportunities to provide conflict to your PCs.  So the slicer uses a Dynatech virus to hack the fighters and the PCs escape.  Isn't it a pity that Dynatech viruses are illegal on almost all worlds?  What if the word gets out that your slicer PC is using them?  Notice that this is not punishing your PCs for their good ideas.  Rather, it is taking advantage of the story hooks that your players hand to you.  Just make sure that your players understand this.

To sum up:

--Communication is key.  Make sure that your players understand the feel of the game that you're wanting to run.

--There are techniques that can be used to reinforce and enhance that feel.  Make sure that you're not shooting yourself in the foot by conflicting your goals and your techniques.

I hope that this is helpful advice and that your game can be assisted because of it.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf

*(I'll admit that this was definitely a case of "GM cool scene" syndrome, but most of my players were happy with it, and that's somewhat of a side track to the main issue here)
Edited to finish typing my footnote.  Duh.  Sorry folks.
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Eric J.
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Posts: 396


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« Reply #42 on: January 30, 2003, 02:23:30 PM »

I'm just going to take a section from everybody's posts that I found most useful and respond to them.

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So, for this hacking attempt that everyone has been analyzing to death, you shouldn't have been encouraging your player to think through the steps to hack the starfighters. Rather, you should have been encouraging him to think up a cool, dramatic, visual, Star Wars-ish way to hack the starfighters.


Damn it! That's what I've been missing!

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I think you need better communication, Eric. Show the film, to be blunt. Remember all those dreadful little descriptions in D&D modules and whatnot ("The water drips slowly on the slime of the dank dungeon walls. The corridor is 10' by 10', and there is a carpet of gray lichen underfoot....")? Do it. But better, obviously. Desribe the film. Make the other players see the film in your head as it reels along. If they see the same picture, they may certainly make alterations, but they will not be as likely to choose to do something that can't be filmed, or would be boring to watch


This is interesting.  Anthony wants me to go heavy on the descriptions as well.  

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If the player picks an action that you know will backfire on him, pause, and suggest a modification to the action or let him know what the consequences are likely to be.


This is one of the things that I've been saying.  However, there seems to be a great conflict.  One side is screaming: Let the damned player do what he damn well feels like!  This is Star Wars, not Star trek!  What kind of GM tries to control their players anyway?

The other side is screaming: Eric!  You need to set priorities and stick to them! STICK TO THEM!

It really is interesting.  I think that I wanted the latter.  I think I'll try a bit of the former next session.

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Absolutely, the fact you would even consider forcing a player to do anything is a serious problem with the way you're approaching GMing.


This confuses me.  A GM who has no control over the player's actions has no control over the game.  Even if you don't believe in illusionism, it is hard for me to understand the concept of "zero GM control".

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Incidentally, and trying to put this as politely as I can, I note that while you quoted huge chunks of my and other people's posts you utterly sidestepped the issues I and they were driving at. You're not engaging here Eric, you're picking out specific items you can respond to and ignoring the more fundamental points that are being made.

Don't just focus on little bits of posts you can pick at, try and respond to the real points. About protagonisation, the relationship between GM and player, about GM vision overriding player's wishes, about story being a joint effort not GM imposed.

It feels to me like you want us to agree with you and you want to vent, not like you genuinely wish to understand what is happening with your group. Whenever anything gets difficult you ignore it, responding instead on minor details of computer specification and further comments on what your players did wrong.


Allright.  I'll quote entire posts, and everyone will try to be more concise with their points okay?

I don't really wish to vent.  I can vent to my players.  Trust me.  If I were venting, this thread would have been closed right after I started it.  I've had people comment on how the discussion is working on this thread is good.  If you don't find it useful, I would suggest that you not add to it or view it.  This is especially true if you feel that any points you make are totally ignored.

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1000% true.


The mathematics used to find this is especially interesting to me.

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I should like everyone to abandon any discussion of hacking, computers, passwords, code, bytes with or without prefixes, internet transmissions, compatibility, software, hardware, or similar.

We're not talking about in-game plausibility; we're talking about social interactions and the imagination. Eric, Chris (clehrich) has provided a very good point that a lot of us were probably missing. Max (balbinus) has also reinforced the point that a lot of us were getting at.


All that I can say is that I agree.

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-Communication is key. Make sure that your players understand the feel of the game that you're wanting to run.

--There are techniques that can be used to reinforce and enhance that feel. Make sure that you're not shooting yourself in the foot by conflicting your goals and your techniques.


Heck, this deserves restating =).
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Shreyas Sampat
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Posts: 970


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« Reply #43 on: January 30, 2003, 02:44:37 PM »

I pose that there aren't two opposing sides that are giving you conflicting advice.

Rather, the one group is telling you, "you need to let the players feel important - make them able to make decisions", and the other is saying that "you need to make it clear to the players what the 'tone' of play is, and encourage them to act within that tone."

In other words, hacking is great, as long as it's over-the-top Star Wars cool.  No sitting at your keyboard typing, unless you're frantically watching people break into your ship on another screen, or trying to operate your weapons systems at the same time.
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GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


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« Reply #44 on: January 30, 2003, 03:11:05 PM »

Shreyas speaks wisdom.  That is exactly what we are all saying.

"GM control"="ensuring that tone is maintained".  (Yes, I'm leaving "tone" undefined for now.)  Ron's bass player analogy is good.  You lay down the beat that others riff off of.  In this case, that means that you're making sure that everyone is working in the Star Wars mode, including yourself.  However, so long as an action is within the Star Wars mode, you should leave it alone, even if it messes up your pre-conceived notion of the way that the story "should" go.  There's the balance that you should be maintaining.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
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