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Author Topic: Rules for accuracy in a near free form setting  (Read 1873 times)
sirogit
Member

Posts: 503


« on: September 03, 2003, 11:33:35 PM »

I had an idea for a rule to enforce accuracy within a near-free-form setting.

That is, characters have some sort of readout of ability/status, Attribuites, skills, Traits, what have you, that are rated in numbers, I'm assuming 1 to 8. Players narrate the results of the characters actions freely.

However, if they narrate something that crosses the threshold on what is believable per the setting of the game under a GM's jurisdiction, than they recieve corresponding "Breaking" points. To minimize hassle, these should probably only be given when the GM finds narration significantly inaccurate to game reality.

Breaking points represent the character overexerting themself. In the case of the character narrating something illogical happenening that does not have to do with character's abilities, than the Breaking Points could be considered to be some sort of reality bouncing back.

The breaking points given would range, dependning on how much they stretch the logic of the situation. One method would be to base them on how much their narrated performance exceeds their abilities, whereas for every extra point they exceed the amount of breaking points they are given doubles.

A list of modifiers for how stretchable reality is(a modifier to how many breaking points a  character should be given when they exceedstheir ability.) could be something like:
Setting Reality:
For realistic games: +1(represnting a natural variance a character's ability can have.)
For dramatic/Action-movie games: +2
For paticularly unreleastic/cartoonish games: +3
For psychadelic/whacked out games: +4

If the action involved is something paticularly dramatic, than I'd imagine that half of the Setting Reality modifier could be added.

I'd figure that for 10 Breaking points incurred, characters would gain a "limit" point which decreases all of a characters abilities by one for the session. Also, one of the character's abilities that they did not receive breaking points on the use of, which may be selected by random or from a GM's descision, is decreased by one, and the ability that they recieved breaking points the most for would raise by one. If it is some sort of selective power/trait that the character did not currently have, than they would gain it at one.

so.... Re-inventing the wheel here?
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 10459


« Reply #1 on: September 04, 2003, 02:24:45 PM »

So if I get a Break point and my stats go down then it's just easier to have my stats go down again? What if I don't care, narrate what I want, and let them drop to zero? What happens then?

The real trouble is giving the GM an idea of how many points something is worth. I mean, if it's arbitary on the part of the GM, then why not just have the GM tell the player that he thinks that they're stretching things, and negotiate better play verbally? How is the system a better indicator?

Mike
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sirogit
Member

Posts: 503


« Reply #2 on: September 04, 2003, 11:20:12 PM »

The idea is that the player CAN stretch things, it would just have a cost. And I also failed to include some sort of reason to not let your breaking points go so low, perhaps if narration that would exceed a characters ability more than the 3 - The innate flexibility of the setting than that narration would be disregarded.

The pro of this would mean that characters wouldn't have to match their set abilities to a tee in all of their narrations, they should just have a tendency towards it.

The goal is to add variance in ability performance in a drama system. I think at times, a character performing at  at a certain task would be usefull to keep the story flexible.

Do you think this would be:
too hard to figure for a GM/unintuitive?
too time-consuming(Assume a very low tolerence for time consumption)
too allowing of characters to do reality disurpting stuff?

I planned the system to allow a character to, for example, just decide to have some magic power all of a sudden.  But such actions would mean the character would be out of action for awhile which I think would be appropiate.
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 10459


« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2003, 08:43:50 AM »

Quote from: sirogit

too hard to figure for a GM/unintuitive?
Well it's very arbitrary. I mean, I as GM have to try to come up with a consistent guage of what's plausible and what's not. If I accidentally apply it differently to one player over another, that might not be satisfactory. It just requires constant judgements by the GM. The advantage of mechanics in most games is that they allow the GM to rely on a simple process to determine things. In this system, I don't have that to fall back upon. Worse, unlike just your typical freeform, I can't fail to comment on each thing a character does. In freeform if I don't say anything as GM, then it's tacitly OK. In this system I have to rate the thing no matter what.

To be clear, I'm sure that certain things won't get commented on at all: the typical "crossing the street" scenario. But that's the same in almost all systems. The point is that in freeform even resolutions of most "contentious" activity can go by without GM commentary. In this system that's not true.

Quote
too time-consuming(Assume a very low tolerence for time consumption)
Not really, with the exception that the frequency of interruption might seem onerous as I mention above. It's not that it takes long, it's that it has to happen constantly.

Quote
too allowing of characters to do reality disurpting stuff?
In some ways, perhaps. That is, a player told that he has some leeway and points to burn on such activities would rightly see this as saying that this was expected. It's like fouls in basketball. Sure, they're "penalities" for doing something "wrong". But players foul intentionally all the time when it's tactically sound to do so. Basically, by making rules about it, it becomes part of the game. Note that in basketball if you hit somebody you're taken out of the game. This is totally different, a statment that such behavoir is out of the realm of the activity; enough so that doing it will get you removed from the activity.

IOW, if you really want players to do only realistic things, you tell them that not doing so will get them kicked out. Or, more diplomatically, you state that making realistic descriptions is what the activity is supposed to entail. Social players will accept such a limit and will comply - this is how freeform games usually work.

So, again, saying that there's some leeway is a statment to the player to push things when they think it's important to do so. Basically you've given them a complex currency with which to purchase exceptions to the "standards".

OTOH, if that's an effect you want, it sounds like a good rule to me. You can always limit the use by tightening the structure or increasing costs.

Quote
I planned the system to allow a character to, for example, just decide to have some magic power all of a sudden.  But such actions would mean the character would be out of action for awhile which I think would be appropiate.
So they can lose a whole lot all at once? This also implies that there's some refresh rate. How is that calculated?

Mike
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Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2003, 09:21:22 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
So if I get a Break point and my stats go down then it's just easier to have my stats go down again? What if I don't care, narrate what I want, and let them drop to zero? What happens then?

The real trouble is giving the GM an idea of how many points something is worth. I mean, if it's arbitary on the part of the GM, then why not just have the GM tell the player that he thinks that they're stretching things, and negotiate better play verbally? How is the system a better indicator?

Mike


Well, negotiating before play doesn't cover everything, and negotiating during play screws up the session.

Some sort of point to give out avoids that long in game discussion (the point is given, that's it. Otherwise things drag on like internet discussions of RPGs), and its better than just saying no. A break point, if I'm reading it right, says more 'okay, I think what your doing is shonkey, but sinces tastes are very subjective I'd rather give a fine than a death sentence to that action. This way if your idea makes a better session, we wont have missed out on it because of my tastes as a GM. If it doesn't make a better session, I've given you some negative feedback for that action.'
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