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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 77 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Qualitative Fortune  (Read 6084 times)
Jack Aidley
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« on: June 09, 2003, 03:47:18 AM »

This (How good are you at mental arithmetic?) discussion has led me on to thinking about a new system for running my games with. I want to keep a fortune way of working for some elements, but I've come to the conclusion that I don't ever actually use the Success/Failure dichotomy of most fortune systems, certainly the one I actually designed. I therefore want a system that is actually supposed to be interpretive (qualitative?), rather than abusing one which is definite (quantative?). I've also decided to try and avoid dice due to my new cat's fascination with them...

Here's my initial idea:

We'll be using a deck of cards, with two jokers added. When we want a fortune element the player will take three cards from the deck. Red cards good, black cards bad. The face value of the card represents how strong the effect is (note: no adding up, or subtracting or anything - just an impression). So a red 8 and a red 2 along with a black queen is probably a success, but with some kind of drawback, while three low value red cards is a clear success, but not a spectacular one. I say success here, I shouldn't be. What it really means is better or worse than expected. So even three red court cards might still not be enough to beat the best swordsman in the land, but could mean you look good trying.

Remember those two jokers? Well, if one of them should come out then it means that rather than me narrating what happens, the player does (although I'll keep a veto handy).

Chances are I'll be trying it out on Wednesday, 'till then anyone got any comments? Or tried anything similar?
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Cadriel
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« Reply #1 on: June 09, 2003, 05:23:29 AM »

I really enjoy seeing nifty resolution systems for RPGs.  I've thought of a lot of "Red Good, Black Bad" type stuff myself, mostly with dice, but nonetheless.  This is nifty.  I like the potential for really interesting in-play results from it.

One question:  How do you think you'd incorporate attributes / skills / talents / things the PCs are good at?  

-Wayne
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2003, 07:12:49 AM »

Hi Jack,

Are you familiar with Everway? If not, run-don't-walk to find a copy, because it presents a wonderful template for working out just how to customize Drama, Fortune, and Karma resolution for the individual play group.

Best,
Ron
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M. J. Young
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« Reply #3 on: June 09, 2003, 03:50:07 PM »

Quote from: Mr Jack
Chances are I'll be trying it out on Wednesday, 'till then anyone got any comments? Or tried anything similar?

Multiverser has a dice mechanic that strikes me as in some way similar, although a bit less subjective (still subjective). 3d10 are rolled, and the 16/17 midpoint is treated as dead neutral. Lower rolls are progressively better outcomes from the player character perspective, down to a one in a thousand best, and higher rolls are progressively worse. The game includes a chart of simple one-line descriptives such as "barely good enough" and "beyond worst fears or nightmares" for the referee to interpret in the context. It works quite well.

Quote from: Then he
Remember those two jokers? Well, if one of them should come out then it means that rather than me narrating what happens, the player does (although I'll keep a veto handy).

We've got a game in development (stalled, as most projects are, due to focus elsewhere) that uses card-based resolution. Ours is more objective, using relative success/relative failure but sticking to a clear success/fail line. The jokers, though, are handled differently, and done differently for each side. If a player character draws a joker, he gets an incredibly lucky failure--an example might be that he shot at the enemy alien pilot and missed, but the bullet hit something on the pilot's ship and the thing is starting to smoke. If an enemy draws a joker against the player character, it's handled the opposite way, as a minor success with a horrible botch side for the enemy. This tips things in the players' favor ever so slightly.

Thought I'd mention it, as long as you're working with cards.

--M. J. Young
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Jack Aidley
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« Reply #4 on: June 10, 2003, 12:53:36 AM »

That's a cool use of Jokers, Mike. I'd considered using Jokers something like that. I was going to have red joker - spectacular success, black joker - spectacular failure but decided in the end that it would be too likely to come up, and couldn't decide on a solution for both coming out at once. I also use a 'player-only' resolution system, so there is no drawing of the cards for the enemies.
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Jack Aidley
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« Reply #5 on: June 10, 2003, 04:37:22 AM »

Quote
One question: How do you think you'd incorporate attributes / skills / talents / things the PCs are good at?


I'll use two methods: firstly a lot of the time I'll just decide whether the PCs skill-level is high enough to just succeed. I hope the majority of situations can be resolved like this. Secondly, since the cards give better-worse than expected I'll read them differently depending on the challenge difficulty compared to the PCs skill, so a better result is needed to acheive something further out of your range, while a really bad result would be needed to fail at something below your range.

One thing I'm still not sure about is dealing damage.
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Cadriel
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« Reply #6 on: June 10, 2003, 04:49:42 AM »

Quote
One thing I'm still not sure about is dealing damage.


Hmm.  Since you've already stated that only PCs draw cards, it seems fairly intuitive to say that in a combat exchange (which could be 6 seconds or a whole one-on-one fight, whatever level of detail is appropriate), the value on a red card is damage dealt by a PC and the value on a black card is damage dealt to a PC (especially seeing as how there are 3 cards, so both participants could get messed up pretty bad).  How you handle damage thresholds, reduction, etc is up to you, but I'd say that using the numbers right in front of you is a fairly good start.

-Wayne
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Shreyas Sampat
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« Reply #7 on: June 10, 2003, 07:09:21 AM »

Answer to the second question:

Yes, I've tried something similar.  In The Calligrapher's Sword, although it is not articulated this way, and should be reworded so it is, the Fortune mechanic is specifically about a character's emotional reaction to a situation.  The actual causal circumstances of the emotional reaction are up to the player to decide.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #8 on: June 10, 2003, 07:34:49 AM »

Quote
One thing I'm still not sure about is dealing damage.


Is the game in question meant to be about combat?

It's only my ignorance of the game we're talking about that keeps me from throwing a kneejerk Mike's Standard Rant #3 at you. :-)

Mike
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Jack Aidley
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« Reply #9 on: June 10, 2003, 07:44:32 AM »

No, the game is not about combat. But it is likely to have combat, and other forms of injury in it. It is precisely because it is not about combat that I don't know how to do damage. I don't want to use hit points, or any kind of system that makes it possible for the PCs to die by the reading of the cards, but I do want there to be damage in the game. I want the characters to be able to get hurt, injured, debilitated, and so forth. I'm also switching this new system into an extant campaign, and some of the PCs have extra-toughness stats already. I don't want to remove these or make them meaningless.

So how can I acheive these goals without having a way of 'doing damage'? Hell, I've thrown out every other thing about how I've always designed systems before, show me the way to finish the job.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #10 on: June 10, 2003, 12:39:18 PM »

Oop, that did it. You're obviously still in the Matrix.

Mike's Standard Rant #3

Take the red pill, Neo.

Mike
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Garbanzo
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« Reply #11 on: June 10, 2003, 05:54:03 PM »

Jack:

Somebody (perhaps the Reverend) clued me into SAGA, which is just genius in its damage.  Let me teach you the whole system, for context.

Basic SAGA: You've got 7 cards of various made-up suits.  Each action you play a card, and draw a new one from the deck to keep 7 in-hand.  If the card you played was of an appropriate suit, top card off the deck is added on.
When Bad Things happen (i.e. damage), that means the character is becoming impaired.  Doesn't do as well.
SAGA: If I take 6 points of damage, I must forfeit cards totalling at least 6 pips.  And I can't redraw these cards, so now I have a smaller pool for each action.
I love it.


Back to the topic at hand:

Three levels of impairment.  (Impaired, Seriously Hurting, and 'Bout Toast would be the combat interpretation.)
The player draws and plays three cards, always.  The GM disregards one card per level of trouble.  Which cards are ignored is up to the GM.

-Matt
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Jack Aidley
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« Reply #12 on: June 11, 2003, 01:42:45 AM »

Good rant, Mike. Another sacred cow goes against the wall.

The problem is not the combat system, or even how the damage is dealt but how the damage is recorded. Or to use a better terminology - it is injury. I'd already decided to run combat with the main system. The problem is that the resolution system resolves things, it doesn't have any method for lasting effects. But thinking about it this morning I think I have an answer. I already have skills, talents, personality traits and so on recorded as numeric values, and Traits can be negative. So moving with this a bit we can add Injuries as numeric effects, so for example you can have Broken Rib: -2, or Loss of Blood: -1. With these negatives being applied to skill use at the GM's whim - "no, having a Broken Rib doesn't effect your telepathy, but that loss of blood is making you light headed". Note that the skill numbers are merely descriptive, 3 is better than 2 is better than 1. 4 is average for someone who is skilled in that (i.e a peasant farmer has farm 4). 0 is no-skill or no-knowledge. They aren't applied to any dice rolls or anything like that.
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Matt Machell
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« Reply #13 on: June 11, 2003, 03:25:15 AM »

Sounds to me that if you have negative traits, then you have a perfect way to incorporate wounding or other forms of disadvantage. The key there is disadvantage, a wound, or social stigma, or mental collapse, or any form of lasting effect from a conflict can all be handled via a flaw or negative trait that reduces the efficiency of a future action/conflict.

For something similar see Covenant

-Matt
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Jack Aidley
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« Reply #14 on: June 11, 2003, 03:32:11 AM »

Er, Matt, that link is broken.
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- Jack Aidley, Great Ork Gods, Iron Game Chef (Fantasy): Chanter
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