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Author Topic: comments on The Pool  (Read 5250 times)
Jack Spencer Jr
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« on: October 10, 2001, 10:47:00 PM »

I finally sat down and read it.  The current version, anyway.  These are my impressions.  Unfortunately, My head is deep in my own game The Wheel.  I can see some similarities between The Pool and The Wheel, besides the title style.  Maybe it's great minds think alike.  Maybe it's just the direction RPG design is heading.

Character creation is similar to The Wheel in that it's freeform, but is a bit more in-depth than The Wheel.  James requires 50 words, I require one.  I believe there are advantages and disadvantages to each approach.  The main difference is the asigning a numeric value to the Traits.  I ditched numbers in my game mostly to see if it could be done.

I am struck by the Character Currency.  It isn't the 1:1 that Ron suggested somewhere as the better way to go with such things.  However it's pretty straightforward and looks fairly abuse-proof.

However, because of this it seems to be slanted heavily against the players.  That is, very soon they'll have a pool of zero (possibly with zeroes for all their traits out of a despirate attempt to build their pool back up) and not much hope of regaining dice.

I have a couple of fix ideas.  They are filtered through The Wheel's* philosophy so be aware of that.

Requiring a roll of 1 seems a bit harsh.  Were it my game, I'd widen the success margin.

There's an old Egyptian game called Petals Around The Rose (PATR)**  The dot in the center of the dice is the rose and the dots around it are the petals.  Therefore, 1,3,5 are roses and 2,4,6 are not.  This raises the chance of success on each die to 50% from about 17% if I did the math right.  This may be too much success.

There needs to be a better way to replenish the pool.  Two dice for each success just doesn't work, especially since you could lose six dice on a failure.  This means three successive "successes" to break even.  Two failures in a row (unless you're conservative) stands a good chance of draining the pool completely.

Maybe gaining the same number of dice risked, just as you'd lose them if you failed.  For a MoV the entire win is forfeit, of course.

Jim probably decided against this to avoid overlarge pools.  I say, What of it?  

Consider:

Is the game about fragile dice pools that are a steep uphill battle to rebuild if you ever lose most of it?
Or
Is the game to facilitate storytelling with MoV coming into play to make the story change and (hopefully) more interesting.

The way it's step up now it seems more of the former.  Pool-sizes deep into double digits may be unweildy and ridiculous, but it may encourage MoV's more often since the player won't need the dice and can forfeit the bonus.

I skimmed a thread on Actual Play where someone mentione this very problem, I think.  I ought to go check...

Well, that's my take on The Pool.  Way I see it, MoV is the best part of the game and anything that allows it to happen as often as possible is good in my eyes.  But then, The Wheel is nothing but MoV so what do I know?

Extra thought:

Using the PATR idea, you could gain dice for the pool based on the number of petals around the rose.  1 has no petals.  It's a success but you gain no dice for it. 3 is 2 and 5 is 4.  This means rolling six dice can result in 24 dice added to the pool, or it can mean no bonus dice and it's a success anyway.

I've always wanted to make a game using PATR so I'm excited about this idea, but I'll understand if you're not so thrilled with it.

Jack




*Jeez!  And MJ Young bugged ME with his constant plugging of Multiverser.  We mock what we are to be.

**It actually isn't a game.  It was a well-kept secret and one of the many proofs of the Pharoh's divinity.  Go figure that one.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: October 11, 2001, 08:12:00 AM »

Jack,

I am thinking, and this applies to many posts besides your own, that a lot of people are not quite understanding how The Pool works.

When your pool is empty, you are not out of dice. The basic resolution roll is 1-3 dice, utterly and completely independent of your pool. These dice may be modified by traits, to the tune of 1 die most of the time, or 2 if you have a spiffy trait.

So! What this means is that if you're out of dice in your pool, you STILL HAVE FOUR DICE to use for tasks! Just stick to easy tasks, to get the three dice, and do stuff that accords with your traits.

You're not out of dice. The pool can empty, but no one goes to 0 dice in The Pool.

Jack, or anyone, I apologize if you already understood this, but a LOT of the stuff being posted about this game leads me to think that people are overlooking this aspect of the system.

Best,
Ron
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #2 on: October 11, 2001, 01:04:00 PM »

Ron,

I don't think I was overlooking it so much as not really seeing it as important.

OK, you can get 1-3 dice from the GM.  But if I'm reading this correctly these are up to the GM's whim.  So don't assume 3 dice.  Assume 1 die.

You can build traits up by spending your pool at creation.  But you don't have to.  So don't assume +1.  Assume +0

Maybe I'm assuming the worst case scenerio, but it's possible and to my mind bloody likely.  Especially since most of the rules are slanted towards keeping the pool small, possibly even zero.

I just think the game would be better served by relaxing this at least a little bit to make low or empty pools more unlikely.  A pool of zero seems out of place since the name of the game is The Pool, after all.

Consider, through bad risk management and even worse dice rolls a player loses his entire pool.  He manages a success which earns him two dice.  On his next roll he risks it all to up the likelyhood of success.  Assume the 3 dice from the GM and the +1.  So that's six dice.  Seems like a guarentee for success but we all know it isn't Dice are fickle and it's possle to lose it all.

In fact, even if you wish to hedge your bets you *must* risk one die on a Trait roll as per the rules.  This could lead to the even more frustrating losing one die now and one die on your next roll before you start again at zero.

(Maybe James meant to use a Trait you must risk a die.  That might not ba a bad idea.  Risk no dice but you don't get your Trait bonus.)

Well, this is just my impression of it, anyway.  Whether this is helpful or not is James's call.
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Epoch
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« Reply #3 on: October 11, 2001, 01:09:00 PM »

You can get no traits during chargen, but you're dumb as rocks not to -- it's like, I dunno, you can take 100 points of Bad Stuff during Amber chargen, but you're dumb as rocks to.

James seems to feel that if the GM calls for the roll, he should give out at least one die, probably more.

I think that the happy medium is to assume two dice plus any gambled dice.  Either the GM's giving you two dice, or the GM's giving you one die and you've got a normal trait, or the GM ain't giving you nuthin', but you've got a great trait.

(By the way, +3 traits are also possible, if grossly overcosted).
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James V. West
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« Reply #4 on: October 11, 2001, 01:13:00 PM »

Pblock:

"However, because of this it seems to be slanted heavily against the players.  That is, very soon they'll have a pool of zero (possibly with zeroes for all their traits out of a despirate attempt to build their pool back up) and not much hope of regaining dice."

This is all dependant upon how you like to run the game. In my own experiences with it, no one had trouble with dice. The rolls were infrequent (the way I like it for this game) and the MoVs few but good. This may be because my style of gming is strongly narrativist. I tend to go long, long stretches in which no dice are cast and everyone is tooling along on a kind of implied drama system (which to me is just the basic meat-and-potatoes way of roleplaying).


"Requiring a roll of 1 seems a bit harsh.  Were it my game, I'd widen the success margin."

I intentionally designed so there would be no counting of successes or adding of points (aside from the buying of Trait bonuses). Everything system-wise is black-and-white. If you see a "one" you win. If you don't you lose.

"There's an old Egyptian game called Petals Around The Rose (PATR)**  The dot in the center of the dice is the rose and the dots around it are the petals.  Therefore, 1,3,5 are roses and 2,4,6 are not.  This raises the chance of success on each die to 50% from about 17% if I did the math right.  This may be too much success."

Definitely way too much success. However, I am actually using this kind of die method in a new game I'm working on. Have you checked out Paul Czege's "the world the flesh and the devil"?

"There needs to be a better way to replenish the pool.  Two dice for each success just doesn't work, especially since you could lose six dice on a failure.  This means three successive "successes" to break even.  Two failures in a row (unless you're conservative) stands a good chance of draining the pool completely."

In the former version, it was only one die per success. That's how I played it and it worked well for me. However, I always harbored the suspicion that it would not be enough in every case, and certainly not for every style of gming. So, the only solution I could come up with that didn't involve adding some stupid tack-on rule or heavily favoring the use of certain traits over others was to increase payback. The payback has to come from the one standard die roll.

The problem with getting back as many as you gambled is that you can gamble nine dice. Coupled with a few from gm and a few from a Trait, that leads to a high chance of success. Do that a few times and you've got a pool from hell (9 plus 9 plus 9 minus 9 plus 9...).


"Is the game about fragile dice pools that are a steep uphill battle to rebuild if you ever lose most of it?
Or
Is the game to facilitate storytelling with MoV coming into play to make the story change and (hopefully) more interesting."

Good question. My answer would be that its about risk. How much is a die worth if you have 34 in reserve? How much is a MoV worth if you know you can get one anytime you want? Its the risk that makes it fun to play. But at the same time, I didn't design it so you would struggle to do anything at all. The way I've seen it work, having 4-9 dice in your pool is about average. You'll lose them, you'll get them back. The game works on the tensions and risks involved with each die roll.

Ron is probably more in-tune with what I want out of the game than anyone I've spoken with. Its a simple system and it's strength lies in its simplicity. However, its not a system designed for heavy-duty die rolling and number crunching. You have to approach it from several stances. Sometimes you're director, sometimes you're actor. You win and you lose.

THE QUESTING BEAST should serve to explain the whole thing much better when I get it all worked out. I'm finding that this system works best for either lite-style play where disasters are fun, or tragic play where they are essential.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I love hearing this stuff. This kind of critical debate is what makes any sort of creative process so much more fascinating, don't you think?

I'm going on vacation tomorrow, so if I fail to reply for a week or more...don't hate me.

Later

James V. West
http://www.geocities.com/randomordercreations/thepool.html


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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #5 on: October 11, 2001, 04:26:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-10-11 17:13, James V. West wrote:
The problem with getting back as many as you gambled is that you can gamble nine dice. Coupled with a few from gm and a few from a Trait, that leads to a high chance of success. Do that a few times and you've got a pool from hell (9 plus 9 plus 9 minus 9 plus 9...).

...

Good question. My answer would be that its about risk. How much is a die worth if you have 34 in reserve? How much is a MoV worth if you know you can get one anytime you want? Its the risk that makes it fun to play. But at the same time, I didn't design it so you would struggle to do anything at all. The way I've seen it work, having 4-9 dice in your pool is about average. You'll lose them, you'll get them back. The game works on the tensions and risks involved with each die roll.


I think I see you point here.  Risking more dice increases the chances of success and shouldn't be rewarded with a higher payoff.

i.e. risking nine dice increases the chance of success by nine (if I'm doing the math right) but would yield nine dice in reward for taking the easier route and increasing your own chance of success.

I agree that there shouldn't be a higher payoff for reduced risk, even though more dice are risked, less risk in incurred.

Maybe a reversed reward chart along the lines of
risk 1 die...gain 3 dice on success.
2 dice...gain 2 dice
3 dice...gain 1 die
4 or more dice...no dice gained.

Maybe that's more rules-heavy that you'd want, but it makes a kind of sense that with higher risk comes a greater reward.  Otherwise it makes sense to roll ALL of your dice on every roll, and risk losing them all, to assure you have a better than average chance of success.  I could see that happening.  Why take a higher risk for the same reward?

It seems to me that another dynamic could be added to make  it obvious that the state and size of your pool IS inconsiquential.  This way, players would be less likely to worry about their pool, as it will take care of itself (not that trying to gain wouldn't remain a temptation.)

Maybe giving the GM a pool of one-use dice to hand out as they see fit when the players do something worthwhile.

This would mean another dice color.  Maybe that won't be worth it.

Jack

[ This Message was edited by: pblock on 2001-10-11 20:29 ]
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James V. West
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« Reply #6 on: October 11, 2001, 05:56:00 PM »


"Maybe a reversed reward chart along the lines of
risk 1 die...gain 3 dice on success.
2 dice...gain 2 dice
3 dice...gain 1 die
4 or more dice...no dice gained."

Yeah, too rules-heavy for this game. It could work for a more rules-oriented game with this kind of mechanic. But for The Pool, the rules have to be very simple and cannot rely on any kind of scaling or chart.

Maybe I haven't really described how the gming process ought to work for this game. Perhaps by calling a failure a failure, that automatically leads people to think that a failed die roll indicates a failed attempt to do something. That's not really how I run the game, so it might be something I need to think about re-writing.

What I mean is this: when you fail a die roll, the real implication should be that you don't get a MoV. You also don't get any dice, and you lose the dice you gambled making it harder to get MoVs in the future. But the way the gm handles the failed roll does not have to indicate a failed action or a hosing as its been called. What it means to me is that the gm's sense of drama and how the story should go kicks in.

If you try to fool the Lich Lord into doing something and you fail your die roll, I might narrate an outcome that, in a strong sense, seems much more like a success than a failure. Sure, you didn't convince him. But in trying to you managed to get some valuable info about how you could achieve the goal you intended in a much easier way.

But if the timing of the failure lends itself to something more negative, I'd go with it. Basically, the way I play the game, a failed roll simply means gm narration. A successful roll without a MoV means gm narration always on the plus sie. MoV means full player narration.

"Maybe giving the GM a pool of one-use dice to hand out as they see fit when the players do something worthwhile."

The only thing I don't like about that is where it could lead. I could install safety nets like this all I wanted, but that would only defeat the point of the game: risk. A lot of it.

But this is a young game and I'm still playtesting it like crazy so don't think I'll never make more changes. I made the significant alteration of raising the payback to 2 dice instead of 1 which effectively doubled the amount of dice flowing back into the pool. I felt like the game worked with only 1 payback but that it would work *better* with 2. Right now, that's the only change I see that needed to be made and the only reason I made it was to eliminate a dorky rule about replenishing your die pool by rolling for dice at the start of each session.


Later friends!

James V. West
http://www.geocities.com/randomordercreations/thepool.html
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #7 on: October 11, 2001, 07:35:00 PM »

HMMM  So if a roll is more for control over the narrative than for pass/fail action, why do you have to give up the MoV to gain dice for your pool.

Quick idea, how about you gain 2 dice for a successful roll.  Or you can give up one die to deliever a Mov.

Overbalancing?  

I think that the MoV is what you get for a success and what is sacrificed for the dice if you choose.  Not the other way around, which is how it's currently written.  (If I'm following you here.)

Using my idea here, were it my game, I'd say you get one die and a MoV.  You can give up your MoV for an extra die.  Just to make it different from simply reversing the current version.

But that's me.

Jack
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #8 on: October 12, 2001, 07:11:00 AM »

See James, here's where you're trying to have your cake and eat it too.

It's a matter of player motivations. You try to imply that by narrating "failures" with the methods you use that there is no reason for a player to fear failure (and thus feel the need to gamble all their dice all the time). But even if you were to say that all die rolls were unmitigated successes, and that all rolling a one meant was who got to perform the MoV, I'd say that the player would still have a motivation to succeed, that being getting to do the MoV. I'd say its probably a strong incentive.

But let's say that it's not an incentive at all, and that players are just as likely to relish relinquishing their MoVs to the GM randomly. If that is the case, then where is the risk? Either the dice are worth something, therefore motivating players to conserve them, or they are not. Which is it? You state that there is risk in gambling the dice, so I assume that you are on the side that says that the dice have some value, that they are something to be risked.

What is the other motivation, then? Why risk the dice? What does risking them gain you? Well, they increase your chances of "sucess", whatever the GM interperets that to be. Your text is not clear that you intend this to mean success in the conflict resolution sense and not task resolution, BTW. So, in some games where the GM has not intuited your intent, players might have traditional RPG success as additional motivation. But, again, lets assume that the GM is using your methodology and that players don't fear this "failure" effect. The other thing to gain is the MoV itself, which is certainly be rewarding. So, what do we have? We have players motivated to get MoVs, and to conserve their dice so that they can have more MoVs in the future.

This alone is a fine model. But consider, again, what the best strategy is for conserving dice. It is to roll them all.

--Note: This because the chance of losing dice decreases as you add more dice; and, yes, this holds true over the long run as well as for the single roll. This becomes more true the fewer rolls you make, so James' assertion that few rolls be made only slants the analysis further in this direction. But my calculations hold true for any number of rolls. If somebody would like to dipute the math I can send you the very large spreadsheet that will show how I came to this conclusion, and we can debate it elsewhere. More importantly than all of this is that other people (PBlock for example) come up with this analysis intuitively, and are likely to go with this strategy because of that fact (rather than going through all the rigamarole that I have to be certain).--

This is strictly counter to normal gambling design. In normal design, the reward changes in proportion to the risk. Higher risk, higher reward. In this case the reward is always the same, "success", and a MoV or more dice. So why increase your risk by rolling less than the maximum number of dice available?

As an analogy, say the dice are money, and the MoV is a kiss from a pretty girl. In this system, the more money I bet, the better chance I have of getting more money or a kiss (my choice). Why would I bet less than everything, assuming that I wanted to bet at all? Especially since the money in this case can't be used for anything but gambling.

So either we have one of two things. A mechanic with no risk that creates an interesting flow of play by player tinkering, or a mechanic with risk that can only logically be employed in one fashion by the player. I would think that Ron would agree that it is the former, and that the metagame gambling is not important of itself, but only in the manner that it promotes the interestig ebb and flow (or do you think my Math is off, Ron?). And in this he's right, and this is why I claim that the system is not broken. Or, if the flow created by betting everything all the time seems good, then it is still not broken. It's just not both.

Does this make any more sense now? Or have I missed something entirely? Is there a problem with my logic in there somewhere? I'll recant if somebody can show me the error of my ways. :smile:

Mike Holmes
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« Reply #9 on: October 12, 2001, 07:33:00 AM »

Perhaps this has already been suggested by someone, but - have you considered making the dice reward equal to the number of ones rolled? Someone other than me will have to work out the probabilities, but it seems like you'd generally get 1-2 dice back on a win, maybe 3, and anything higher that is going to be very rare, even with a large gamble. But it would be possible. A bigger gamble means the possibility of a bigger return.

If you take the MoV, you forfeit the return, of course.

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Michael Gentry
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #10 on: October 12, 2001, 07:52:00 AM »

Mike,

I have no problem with your math, but I do think that its context and relation to play is flawed.

First of all, what are the dice being rolled FOR? This is a Fortune mechanic, and I think very strongly that such things need to belong for a reason and not "just to see if it works" or some such thing. I know you agree with me on this one.

As you've recognized, the gambling dice and the majority of the rolls are metagame, not in-game resolution. This is a very big deal. They are more like Action Points in Hero Wars, not like base ability scores. They play a role in the game for pacing, for identifying the sources of conflict for the future, and for those climactic instances which may be potentially failed.

This is really hard for people. They cannot get around the idea that action-by-action resolution is what forms larger events, rather than larger events and emotional resolutions framing single actions. A lot of what's being bandied about concerning the Pool is flawed at this conceptual level.

Second, and more importantly, I think EVERYONE who hasn't played the game (and some that have) is failing to recognize that the base resolution system never changes. You have one to four dice! Play "to your concept" and you'll almost always have two, usually three. A "1" won't come up all the time, but it'll show up a lot. Jack's wary comments about this aren't convincing to me - they seem embedded in the out-of-context outlook described above.

Sometimes I think that people ought to play some Pool stuff without using the pool at all, just to get used to the "basic" system, and of course, since it's pretty prosaic, nothing much happens. Then add the pools, and you get dramatic music, great camerawork, emotional swings that lead to key decisions, sudden significances of NPCs, and so on.

Third, and I have to sort of monitor myself regarding how to phrase this, a LOT of Pool comments are being provided with people who haven't played it. It's not like all the RuneQuest people who shrieked like banshees when they saw the Hero Wars rules, because you guys are being constructive and interested in helping to develop the ideas. But it's ... KIND of like that, in that this system really is a Whole New Way.

If you're interested in discussing it, not only should you play it, but you should realize that you (and me, and everyone) will probably play it BADLY for a while. One instance of Pool play was amazing for me; another wasn't so great, and I know it wasn't the system, it was us. Habits of play are hard to put aside briefly, and upon reading a game, those habits are sitting on our shoulders the whole time. Much of this "fix the Pool" talk arose in reference to Paul's game, and I think that their play description reveals very significant discontinuities between how the game works and how the people in question approached certain things.

Think of Amber - people said, "No dice?? It'll never work, people can't play an RPG like that." Or Puppetland - it was written as a lark, in the mistaken belief that role-players would never "look at things" such that play would be successful. Or to consider dice, the way they work in Extreme Vengeance or Orkworld generates scoffing cries from people at first encounter. (In fact, I will go so far as to say that John Wick actually pioneered some of the most important principles of The Pool in Orkworld!!)

Best,
Ron

P.S. Hmmm, I'm looking over this post and amending one thing: "if you want to discuss the Pool you should play it." That was over-stated; I don't want to create a two-tiered community of have-played-it elites who are permitted to discuss a game, as opposed to everyone else.


[ This Message was edited by: Ron Edwards on 2001-10-12 12:12 ]
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James V. West
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« Reply #11 on: October 12, 2001, 03:18:00 PM »

One last post before I head off to Cape Cod:

This is very funny for a number of reasons. First, I'll openly admit that I'm a guts-based thinker. Ron grasped and explained my game better the first time he saw it than I do to this day. Mike grasps the nuances of the numbers whereas I don't really want to get into that. I just wrote the thing one night and when I did I grinned because it was the kind of game I wanted to play. It sort of poked its head out of my stomach and said "This is what you've been missing.". It felt like it would work for what I wanted it to do.

Then I played it. And it worked. Others played and for some it worked well, for others it didn't. I have no idea why this is other than differences in gaming style.

There have been a lot of suggestions about how to change the system to make it better. I want to keep hearing these suggestions because I'm not going to sit here and declare that this system is perfect for all uses. It ain't. But, I can safely say that its nearly perfect for the way *I* want to play. If that method works for others, then I'm glad to have given them another system to use.

On the subject of returns: like I said, I changed it to two dice instead of one. I did this after weeks of internal debate and really looking at my own experiences with the game. I felt like this change could only make it a stronger experience.

Michael Gentry mentioned counting ones to get dice. This has actually been discussed before, but thanks for the input. I decided against this idea because it further promotes rolling more dice.

People tend to want to get tons of dice in their pools, but you really only need a good handfull. Having fewer dice increases their value. You'll think twice before throwing them all on the table.

Mike, on the subject of always rolling as many dice as you can, I see your point from a mathematical sense, but not from a practical sense. In my own experience, players tended to be very cautious with their dice. They didn't want to risk everything unless the moment was very, very critical. And since those moments tend to be climaxes of sorts, the fact that risking more dice increases their chances of succes and potentially getting a MoV, I say I like it.  

And I wanted to clear up what I was talking about regarding failures. I think Ron put the hammer to the nail in his post:

"As you've recognized, the gambling dice and the majority of the rolls are metagame, not in-game resolution. This is a very big deal. They are more like Action Points in Hero Wars, not like base ability scores. They play a role in the game for pacing, for identifying the sources of conflict for the future, and for those climactic instances which may be potentially failed"

I know for a fact that my ham-handed attempts to write the text of the game have contributed to people's often confused responses to it. For that I apologize. Much of this debate really isn't about The Pool, but more about the game theory of resolution, risk, returns and all that. I will tell you all right now that I'm new to this kind of debate. I'm a gut-player, like I said. These are things that I've been struggling to express for years but only by finding this community of talents have I been able to put at least a little bit of it into words and works.

So, the point I was getting at with failed die rolls is that they do not necessarily involve specific actions, but more-or-less function to let the player know that "hey, you aren't in control of how this is going to turn out". After getting a tast of MoV, my players really want to have that control. Therefore even if I narrate a failed die roll in a positive manner, they still feel the loss.

For THE QUESTING BEAST, I'm considering some serious rules alterations to this system. I won't transfer those changes onto The Pool, but I think they will work well for TQB. More on that soon.

I'm off to Cape Cod for a week. Have a good one, everybody! Thanks again for all the input and debate. I love it.

James V. West
http://www.geocities.com/randomordercreations/thepool.html
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Jack Spencer Jr
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« Reply #12 on: October 22, 2001, 06:57:00 AM »

Well, I've been considering it for a while and came to some conclusions, such as they are.

I really can't blame you for being a "gut designer."  I'm a gut designer so I understand how that is.

In the end, There are a few "problems" with The Pool, namely that the game [mechanics] is about risk, yet the risk is slanted weird.  The more dice you risk, the less risk there actually is.  A further problem exists in that higher risk gives you the same reward, which reduces the incentive to risk.

This all apears to be beside the point since in playtesting, your players have behaved pretty much as you've expected, being conservative with their dice, etc.  I suppose we can chalk this up to a feature of human nature being part of the game.

However, a game should probably have rules to reinforce the behavior and strategies desired.  As written, The Pool has nothing to discourage a player from simply rolling all of their dice all of the time for the greatest chance of success although at the highest risk since if none of the dice roll 1, the pool is gone, baby.  But the chance of this is so astronomical it probably won't be much of a deterant.  Especially when players get fed up with rolling three dice and losing them when they could've rolled six dice and doubled their chances for success and keeping their dice.

[This happened in my friend's D&D game.  My friend is a big, big fan of spell rolls (and spell fumble charts) and tacked it into D&D3e.  Problem is, D&D magic was never designed to work with a spell roll.  So I gave up trying.  I played a Cleric character for several weeks and never cast a spell if I could get away with it.  Usually I did.  I mostly used the first aid skill rather than healing spells.  Same chance of success (better, even) less chance of turning your hair blue if you blow it.]

Or such is my thinking.  The risk and probabilities in The Pool are so weird it's impossible to think of a "better" way without it's own set of "problems."

In the end it's you game and your decision what you do with it.  So long as these things are taken into consideration.
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James V. West
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« Reply #13 on: October 22, 2001, 05:25:00 PM »

"In the end, There are a few "problems" with The Pool, namely that the game [mechanics] is about risk, yet the risk is slanted weird.  The more dice you risk, the less risk there actually is.  A further problem exists in that higher risk gives you the same reward, which reduces the incentive to risk."

I don't consider these problems. I actually like the way it works. I have thought of ways to make it more linear, but why? As it stands you get this (as you put it) "weird" effect. You're right in that the way it works is skewed, but I think it adds to the experience.

"In the end it's you game and your decision what you do with it.  So long as these things are taken into consideration."

For certain. I always take these criticisms and observations to heart. They make me squint my eyes up at the game and go "hmmm...". Not a bad thing at all. Thanks.

James V. West
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