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Swimming in The Pool is quite refreshing.

Started by jburneko, January 23, 2004, 08:30:15 PM

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Hello Again,

As mentioned in a previous post I've decided to use The Pool as the system behind the latest game my weekday group is playing.  I thought that donig so was going to be challege for myself as a GM.  It turns out, it's dirt simple.  So, dirt simple that I think last Tuesday was the lowest stress, fastest playing, most harmonous (group wise) game I've GMed in a while.

Highlight: One player used a Monologue of Victory to describe his character slowly walking towards armed police officers who proceeded to shoot him and he just shrugs off the pain.  It was rather chilling.

The session DID raise a couple of questions about the system.

1) The player's kept their trait/bonus assignments pretty small so must of the player's pools are rather large.  I think the smallest pool was something like seven dice.  As a result players are consistently gambling seven or more dice on any given roll.  Not a single roll resulted in failure in the session and only once or twice did someone take a MoV so the pools are growing.

I'm not experiencing the "bottoming" out phenomenon that is so commonly mentioned.  In fact I'm experiencing the opposite, pool explosion!  I'm not really "worried" about this as I have faith in the system and that at some point the luck will run out.  But I'm curious if anyone else has encountered this and what their experience with it was like.

2) How is PC-to-PC conflict handled?  This issue didn't come up in the last session but given how thing went I suspect that it will in the future.  I'd like to be prepared.



2) How is PC-to-PC conflict handled?  This issue didn't come up in the last session but given how thing went I suspect that it will in the future.  I'd like to be prepared.

This should be relatively simple: Just have each player make a roll as normal (1 to 3 GM dice, plus Trait dice, plus Pool dice), and whoever rolls the most Sixes wins. If they tie, either call a reroll or use something else to determine victory--highest dice pool, highest Pool, highest Trait or whatever.

Jeffrey S. Schecter: Pagoda / Other



You might find the Rule of Three useful to combat Pool explosion. Basically, whenever the GM hands out dice, he always chooses from 1 to 3. If it seems like your characters' pools are getting to big, start giving out fewer dice.

As for PC vs PC conflict... there is no such animal in the Pool. James very carefully left it out. IIRC there's a thread in the Random Order forum that explains his reasons.



By default, I'm only handing out 1 die as a base die for conflict.  I give out 1 to 2 more dice based on things like cool descriptions and the like, kind of like the bonus dice from Sorcerer.  So, I can't really limit the dice I'm giving out as I only give out 1 and it's tough to earn the other 1 or 2.

As for PC-to-PC conflict being left out, I'm not exactly sure that's going to sit well with my players as they really really enjoy inter-PC conflict.  Not in a Gamist Step On Up kind of way but in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer kind of way.  I may just have to borrow a page from Trollbabe as it has a one-sidded resolution mechanic as well but clearly defined PC-to-PC conflict rules.


Ron Edwards


Told you it was a good game.

Here's my take on a couple of your points.

1. The whole bottoming-out thing is an artifact of a now-absent (I hope) rule, itself a kind of nervousness-artifact on James' part when he was writing. With that rule absent, it's relatively simple to go from zero Pool dice to one, and from one to two, and so on.

Since that rule's not there (I hope), the bottom-out isn't going to be a problem.

2. Pool explosion does happen. The solution is to have rolls, rolls, rolls. Tons of rolls. Rolls all the time, for everyone.

And you know, when someone finally rolls no 1's on eight or nine dice, that failure is the GM's chance for the biggest Bang, twist, and turnaround story input ever. You will have been handed so much material by that time, that you will have about three sessions worth of prep to cherry-pick from.

I've played games in which only two failures happened in hours of play - and those were the two best hinge-points, in terms of the story that eventually resulted, among my experiences in the hobby. So call for rolls, respond positively to the players' call for rolls, enjoy them maxing out on dice, and just keep up the adversity - it'll all be like Beethoven's Ninth when that failure comes.

3. Inter-player conflict is wonderful stuff in The Pool. I once gave an extensive example of how all the results of rolls in such a situation should be handled; I'll go hunt for the thread.

Found it! The Pool question

Final point: when I play The Pool, I am an absolutist - a failed roll means failure in the stated conflict, and success means success in that conflict. I don't think of the MoV as a "narration-trader" alone; yes, it permits player-narration, but the roll's primary purpose is success/failure determinant regardless of who narrates the results.