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Author Topic: SA Madness  (Read 1991 times)
Brian Leybourne
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Posts: 1793


« on: September 01, 2003, 10:16:47 PM »

I'm starting a new TROS campaign shortly. I've been having SA thoughts and am interested in everyone's thoughts.

By the way - none of this is in any way official, Driftwood related, or anything like that. This is just something I have been considering for a personal campaign.

1) Luck. I never really gelled to luck as an SA. All the others are things that drive a man, Luck is, well, luck. So, I'm considering dropping Luck as an SA, but giving it to everyone anyway (renamed "Drama") on top of the usual 5 SA's because as a group we like Drama dice in a game. So, essentially, it would still function just as it always did, but wouldn't be an SA and thus the points could not be spent for experience or insight.

Just as an aside - I play luck that a temporary pont can be spent to add 1 die to any roll, before or after the actual roll has been made, and can even be used to make secondary actions such as using a couple of luck points for a defense agianst a surprise attack. I let permanent luck points be spent to completely re-roll a bad roll (plus one), change a declared action (useful in combat) or be extremely lucky in something not usually governed by dice (the old "hay cart under the tower window" example).

So, changing it from an SA is a stupid idea? Good idea? You're indifferent? Not being able to use luck points for experience means it will tend to have higher values, giving more luck (Drama) dice to all players, but that's OK because we like that in our games.

2) New SA - Oath. I'm thinking of an SA geared around a binding oath given to a person or organisation. The SA kicks in when the character performs actions against his will, common sense, or what he would otherwise do because he is oathbound to do so. You can have more than one Oath SA if you like.

Opinions? Don't just say it's terrible because there's already an Oath gift/flaw. Tell me why it doesn't work as an SA.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: September 01, 2003, 10:51:43 PM »

Hi Brian,

Seems to me that if someone has five awesome SAs firing for the character without Luck, then he doesn't need Luck too. The "drama dice" thing could be done very informally as in Sorcerer; if a player says a cool thing, toss'im a die or two for the roll.

Your "oath" sounds very much like how I play the Drive SA. In other words, an Oath merely sounds like a Drive that a character happens to have articulated out loud.

Best,
Ron
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Brian Leybourne
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Posts: 1793


« Reply #2 on: September 01, 2003, 11:14:59 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
The "drama dice" thing could be done very informally as in Sorcerer; if a player says a cool thing, toss'im a die or two for the roll.


And, I must say, one of the things I found most cool about Sorcerer was that very thing. We have played our games like that for years anyway (with and without things such as Drama dice) and it was nice to see an RPG finally put it in black and white.

Having said that, sometimes I like to have a more concrete drama mechanic. You're right that TROS perhaps doesn't need one as much though, thanks to the SA system. I'll have to think on that one.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Your "oath" sounds very much like how I play the Drive SA. In other words, an Oath merely sounds like a Drive that a character happens to have articulated out loud.


Valid point. Maybe my beef was that it should really be possible for a character to be driven by more than one thing (Inigo Montoya was driven to find the six fingered man, but also to become a master fencer with each hand; Conan was driven to find the answer to the Riddle of Steel, but also to find his fathers sword and also to avenge Valeria, for example), thus I was trying to introduce a second Drive SA :-) It's possibly easier to just say that a character can have two drives, but I would also like to explore the concept of an Oath SA and where it might differ from a Drive.

Thanks,
Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: September 02, 2003, 08:28:42 AM »

Personally, I find luck to be an extremely important SA, both for that saving grace to get out of a bad roll, and for the interesting tactical options it opens in the combat system.  It actually allows a player to be a little more daring with a character whose relying on his luck to get him through.  Also because of the universal applicability of Luck (i.e. it can be used regardless of SA appropriateness) it is extremely useful to have in those scrapes where you don't have other SAs to use.

As such, I would never design any TROS character without taking Luck as an SA with at least 1 if not 2 points in it to start...unless I was specifically attempting to design an "unlucky" guy.

Therefor, I would fully endorse the idea of making Luck a universal feature seperate from SAs (because I also agree its the odd man out on the list).  

However, I tend to like the way it works mechanically now as opposed to your suggested changes.


Quote
Maybe my beef was that it should really be possible for a character to be driven by more than one thing (Inigo Montoya was driven to find the six fingered man, but also to become a master fencer with each hand; Conan was driven to find the answer to the Riddle of Steel, but also to find his fathers sword and also to avenge Valeria, for example)


Except, not at the same time.  Inigo spent years becoming a master swordsman, but it wasn't until he was ready that he set out in search of the 6 fingered man.  Revenge may have been the motivation behind the drive to become the master swordsman, but it wasn't his Drive at the time.  It became his drive when he spent down his last Drive to become a Master point and replaced that one with the Drive to find the 6 finger man.

(aside:  one could argue that the Drive was always revenge and becoming a Master Swordsman was just the manifestation of the Drive at the time...i.e. the points were all spent to improve Proficiency, but that's immaterial to the question at hand).


I would argue that your character can already have several Drive SAs, just only one of them can occupy his attention at the time.  Given how easy it is to swap SA, you simply juggle which one is active at any given time by spending down and switching.  If you do this too frequently than you'll never get many points in the SA, but this seems perfectly reasonable to me, because if you're splitting your attention that regularly between 2 drives, you really aren't as "driven" as someone who is focused completely on 1.


My chief issue with adding Oath as an SA would be that it seems an easy one to cheese.  If you don't see that being a problem in your game, then go ahead and use it.  I pretty much see the difference between "Passion" and "Drive" as being largely flavor anyway.  The rule differences are rather arbitrary and easy to simply ignore.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #4 on: September 02, 2003, 12:12:21 PM »

That last statement leads to my conclusion, Ralph. That is, I don't really see the need for the categories for SAs at all. I'd just let the players define them however they saw fit. Done conscientiously (no pun intended), I think that the limits on SAs become unneccessary and limiting.

Why not allow the player to define it himself? Put as much emphasis on these things as the player likes, and in the way the player likes? Make them all work pretty much like Drives work, mechanically.

I do agree then, that Luck is different and ought to be handled separately.

Mike
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Brian Leybourne
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« Reply #5 on: September 02, 2003, 10:28:08 PM »

I play all SA's except Luck the same also - this was discussed ages ago in the forum, IIRC. Like you Mike, I treat them all like Drive.

But I do like the idea of Luck being seperate. It just doesn't work as an SA, IMO.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Ben Lehman
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« Reply #6 on: September 03, 2003, 01:00:39 PM »

Quote from: Brian Leybourne

1) Luck. I never really gelled to luck as an SA. All the others are things that drive a man, Luck is, well, luck. So, I'm considering dropping Luck as an SA, but giving it to everyone anyway (renamed "Drama") on top of the usual 5 SA's because as a group we like Drama dice in a game. So, essentially, it would still function just as it always did, but wouldn't be an SA and thus the points could not be spent for experience or insight.


BL>  I agree.
  I think that calling it "drama" is a little strange, unless you only get points back for being dramatic.  But you already get points for being dramatic, from the SAs...

Quote

2) New SA - Oath. I'm thinking of an SA geared around a binding oath given to a person or organisation. The SA kicks in when the character performs actions against his will, common sense, or what he would otherwise do because he is oathbound to do so. You can have more than one Oath SA if you like.


BL>  I feel that this could honestly just be Passion or Drive.  In general, an oath is external, whereas the existing SAs are entirely internal.
  But, then again, I feel that the existing SAs are essentially all the same thing.  I would (and will) allow players to pick whatever SAs they want, and not limit them to whatever classifications.  To my mind the SA titles (drive, faith, passion...) are just starting off points, not straight-jackets (example: you can only have one of each, so you can't be destined to both be a king and conquer the world is just lame.)

yrs--
--Ben
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #7 on: September 03, 2003, 01:21:08 PM »

Brian calling them Drama dice might be a reference to the very similar mechanism found in 7th Sea.

Mike
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Brian Leybourne
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Posts: 1793


« Reply #8 on: September 03, 2003, 10:17:54 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Brian calling them Drama dice might be a reference to the very similar mechanism found in 7th Sea.


Actually, it is kind of a homage to 7th sea (a very good game), well spotted. Having said that, we have used drama dice in many different games, even including a D20 campaign I ran for a while.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
Draigh
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« Reply #9 on: September 03, 2003, 11:09:59 PM »

Brian, have you ever seen/ played Deadlands?  It's been a while since I've played, but if I remember the mechanics correctly Fate chips in that game worked alot like you're wanting to do luck... It'd probably be worth looking into.
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Brian Leybourne
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Posts: 1793


« Reply #10 on: September 04, 2003, 01:06:45 AM »

Heh, not only have I played Deadlands, but that's where I was first published (not much, just an article in Epitaph #2 and recently another one in #4) - I probably didn't really deserve it but they were nice to me, much as Jake is/was :-)

Yup, the fate chip concept in Deadlands (Now converted to Bennies in Savage World, their new system to replace the DL one) is a very good one, and sits up there with TROS's Luck and 7th Sea's Drama dice etc as good drama-encouraging mechanics.

Brian.
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Brian Leybourne
bleybourne@gmail.com

RPG Books: Of Beasts and Men, The Flower of Battle, The TROS Companion
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