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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: Nathan P. on April 17, 2004, 07:18:53 PM



Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Nathan P. on April 17, 2004, 07:18:53 PM
Hey all

I finally finished the first decent draft of Timestream, a game of time travel and manipulation. I already have a list of modifications I want to make, but I thought it would be nice to get some feedback.

You can download the PDF here. It clocks in at about 22 pages, closer to 18 or 19 if you skip the fluff.

Specific things I would like some comments on:

1. General comprehension. What doesn't make any sense? Are things explained well? Do the examples clear up potential misunderstandings?

2. What piques your interest? Ya ya, I know, this is by no means a representative sample of the gaming community - I just want some spot checks on what seems interesting and what doesn't. What parts of the game would you use to convince someone else to play?

3. Organization things. Are concepts and mechanics organized in a way that makes sense?

4. Anything else?

Any and all comments are, as always, appreciated.


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Survivor on April 17, 2004, 07:41:22 PM
Sounds intriguing...I like it!

One minor thing:  You may want to go over your spelling and grammar once, just to be safe.  Off the top of my head, I can remember an instance where you said, "the conceit of the game", and I believe you meant "the concept of the game".  Other than that, it looks great!


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Sydney Freedberg on April 18, 2004, 11:58:12 AM
No, Nathan's use of "conceit" is just fine here -- one possible meaning is "the cool idea of":

"A fanciful poetic image, especially an elaborate or exaggerated comparison. A poem or passage consisting of such an image. ... The result of intellectual activity; a thought or an opinion. A fanciful thought or idea...An extravagant, fanciful, and elaborate construction or structure [see http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=conceit]

Apologies if I demonstrate excessive pedantry here -- I'm a policy journalist in Washington DC so I'm deeply infected thereby....


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Nathan P. on April 18, 2004, 02:03:34 PM
Yup, that was what I was going for with "conceit". Point taken, however - general editing does need to be done. Seems I even managed to misspell the title of the game for this thread....

Any meatier feedback from you, Sydney?


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Daniel Solis on April 18, 2004, 02:14:27 PM
Don't knock typos right out of hand. The misspelling made me think of a steampunk time travel game. Gasp! :)


Title: Re: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Survivor on April 18, 2004, 04:37:02 PM
Quote from: Sydney Freedberg
No, Nathan's use of "conceit" is just fine here -- one possible meaning is "the cool idea of":

"A fanciful poetic image, especially an elaborate or exaggerated comparison. A poem or passage consisting of such an image. ... The result of intellectual activity; a thought or an opinion. A fanciful thought or idea...An extravagant, fanciful, and elaborate construction or structure [see http://dictionary.reference.com/search?q=conceit]

Apologies if I demonstrate excessive pedantry here -- I'm a policy journalist in Washington DC so I'm deeply infected thereby....


I have been linguistically smitten...

Still, not many people (me, for example) are going to know that definition right away.  You still might want to consider a more common word, so you don't confuse potential players.


Title: Re: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Sydney Freedberg on April 18, 2004, 06:09:45 PM
Okay -- substantive comments, since you asked so nicely (and since my wife is currently taking her turn to rock our six-week-old, who has decided tonight is a good night to cry. Hardest thing either of us has ever done. Cutest, too. But So Damn Hard.).

Cool concept (or "conceit".... errr, no, "conceit" really doesn't work in this particular context. Okay. Enough pedantry). But there's a basic question I'm not sure you have resolved in the rules as written:
Is this a game about the "time period of the week," where every session or three the players hop to a different era and deal with a different self-contained adventure (like <Dr. Who> or <Quantum Leap>?) The detailed combat rules and most of the examples of What People Do tend to suggest this, as does the casual attitude towards paradoxes ("universe doesn't let 'em happen, mostly").
BUT there is a lot of fun to be had in a single huge storyline sprawling multiple eras, with repurcussions ricocheting back and forth and time. This I've seen best done in novels, and it's very hard to do in a game -- perhaps impossible -- but would be surpassingly cool.

The "looping" and skipping concepts are very, very cool. Rest of the Time Manipulation stuff is pretty standard "remote control for the world" stuff, but looping has some real fun potential to screw with universe, especially the bit in looping about the start and end points being fixed but the stuff in between getting to change, and the bit about skipping forward blindly and not knowing how you got where you skipped to.

Fixed attributes, fine, very traditional, works fine. Fixed skills under each attribute, that gets pretty rigid -- especially for a game that tries to simulate ANY era. Any preset list is going to leave things out. Why not just give examples under each attribute but let players plus up (or go below zero) in specific areas as appropriate to their character (subject to GM veto of course)?
Besides, you've defined baseline/average as "+/- 0", so anyone can be assumed to have infinite skills at baseline for free (infinity times zero is zero). This method is what I'm working on for my own system, which may someday be presentable enough for this site but don't anyone hold their breath.

And do you really need to spend so much detail on the combat system? Lots of RPGs do this, and lots of them, like yours, end up (to be frank) fairly dry -- lots of technicalities about getting hit in the leg vs. the arm vs. the right butt cheek but nothing about the fear, terror, and confusion that decide real combat (something I've studied a fair bit, and am, again, struggling to work into My Eventual Game). Look at the John Boyd "OODA loop" theory on www.d-n-i.net for a totally different perspective on what winning a fight entails -- it's all about perception.


Title: Speaking of time travel
Post by: Sydney Freedberg on April 18, 2004, 06:46:22 PM
If I understand Nathan's draft and Ron's articles, Nathan's "Timestream" game seems a pretty High Concept Simulationist take on time travel. But surely time travel calls out for a hard core narrativist approach, with players directly manipulating the story/fabric of space and time?

I invite all the learned Forge gurus to comment.... O, Ron Edwards, I invoke thee! Blood and souls for my lord Ron Edwards!


Title: Re: Speaking of time travel
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on April 19, 2004, 06:33:20 AM
Quote from: Sydney Freedberg
But surely time travel calls out for a hard core narrativist approach, with players directly manipulating the story/fabric of space and time?


Or at least a Sim/Nar hybrid?

What I would be interested in is expansion on Law #6, that repeated attempts to change time in a specific circumstance  makes that change more difficult.

Also, what about a Time Manipulator altering the past at the present, so that something that he wants to be true has always been true? In other words, what about the possibility of re-engineering time? This should, of course, be a high-Strain activity, with the Strain produced adding to future difficulties to "un-kink" that particular section of the time stream.

Example: Dr. Emil Vesser, PhD in quantum physics, is having difficulty gaining government financing for his vital research into temporal physics. He traces the major source of his woes to a congressman whose politics he doesn't like and whose big push is both "anti-science" and cutting unnecessary government spending. Rather than going back in time to make sure this congressman's parents never met, or some such foolishness that's certain to replace one idiot with another, he decides to "re-engineer" the past so that this congressman has developed during his life a nasty vice of some sort, like heroin or child porn, but thus far has been successful in covering it up.

Let's say Vesser is successful. He's re-engineered a person's past, with only a nominal chance of messing up the present. When, not if, the congressman's vice is exposed, he will not be able to protest (convincingly) that he was framed, and the resulting scandal will by association tarnish his causes. This should make it easier for honest, hard-working scientists like Vesser to gain necessary funding from now on. Smiling, Dr. Vesser goes to make an anonymous phone call to certain authorities...

Or, let's say that Dr. Vesser has had enough of government oversight and decides that outside sources of income are the way to go. He notes that the winnings in a certain upcoming lottery would be more than enough "seed money" to allow him to take his research into the private sector. Rather that look ahead to what the winning numbers would be, he manipulates the future so that he and he alone picks the right numbers. Satisfied, he pulls his research from the lab and starts setting up shop in his basement.

Side note: If I gained insight into manipulating time, the first thing I'd want to find out is how to get more of it for myself, ie. longevity. Are there rules for increasing one's longevity in this game? How can character death be worked around in this game?    

I, for one, don't see the necessity for distinguishing between Time Travellers and Time Manipulators. They all manipulate Time in one fashion or another. Just my opinion. On the whole, though, an excellent start and a game I'd like to see published.


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Sydney Freedberg on April 19, 2004, 06:42:14 AM
One thing that occurred to me in between burpfests is that you could do a lot more with the Stress mechanic than just yank people back to their home time -- which essentially takes a character out of the current adventure and forces his player to sit out a chunk of the session (not fun).

Stress could embody, not just the "rubber band" trying to pull you back to your home timeframe/beginning of your time manipulation, but the "immune system" of the universe trying to keep you from messing with the timestream. So before Stress built to the point where it "sent you home," lower levels of Stress could act as negative modifiers on ANY action you attempted outside your normal timeframe, even a perfectly mundane one (e.g. you have 3 stress counters, so your attempt to talk the guard into letting you into the test site is at -3, since the universe doesn't want you getting in there and changing the past, dammit).

As a corrolary, characters should presumably earn stress by violating / bending the paradox provisions of the six laws you set out.


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Nathan P. on April 19, 2004, 06:47:07 AM
Great comments, guys! Thanks a bunch.

I'll get some replys posted tonite, hopefully...sorry...one of those busy busy days...


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Nathan P. on April 19, 2004, 11:16:47 PM
Quote from: gobi
Don't knock typos right out of hand. The misspelling made me think of a steampunk time travel game. Gasp! :)


Definitely crossed my mind *g* I think I'm going to do some setting notes about different "flavors" of game - Magic, Steampunk, Mad Science, Far Future, etc.

I'm gonna skip over various compliments with "Awww, shucks, thanks, I'm glad you think so." On to hashing out some questions...

Quote from: Sydney
Is this a game about the "time period of the week," where every session or three the players hop to a different era and deal with a different self-contained adventure <snip, or> a single huge storyline sprawling multiple eras, with repurcussions ricocheting back and forth and time.


Ideally, either. Again, some notes in setting section about doing either style of play would probably be useful. I agree, most of the examples are "flavor-of-the-week" variety. I shall muse upon them. I really don't want to support one variety of play over the other - I think either should be doable.

Quote from: Sydney
Fixed skills under each attribute, that gets pretty rigid -- especially for a game that tries to simulate ANY era. Any preset list is going to leave things out.


See, that's why I refer to them as Arenas, not Skills. Their not skills as such, rather areas of capability - using any kind of weapon falls under [Physical] Weaponry, having solid knowledge of any given scientific field falls under [Mental] Science, etc. I feel that the majority of actions one could take fall under at least one, if not more, of the Arenas I have there. Any counter-examples? Maybe I'm blinded by my own misguided genius *g*.

Though, I have been toying with idea of adding Specializations, mainly for flavor, but perhaps with some mechanical significance. *adds to revision idea list*

Quote from: Sydney
And do you really need to spend so much detail on the combat system?


Short answer: no. Right after I read through the draft, I decided the combat thing has to be drastically changed. I'm now thinking more in terms of conflict, rather than action, resolution (or whatever the terminology is...I haven't absorbed it all yet). Probably with failure leading to minus's being applied to appropriate arenas. Expect it to be substantially retooled in the next draft.

Quote from: Spooky
What I would be interested in is expansion on Law #6, that repeated attempts to change time in a specific circumstance  makes that change more difficult


Mmmmmkay. I'll see what I can do....perhaps examples of each Law in action?  

Quote from: Spooky
Also, what about a Time Manipulator altering the past at the present, so that something that he wants to be true has always been true? In other words, what about the possibility of re-engineering time? This should, of course, be a high-Strain activity, with the Strain produced adding to future difficulties to "un-kink" that particular section of the time stream.


I see...not actually moving through Time, but reaching backwards (or forwards) to make things different in the present? I'm not quite sure how I feel about this. Undoubtably a cool concept, but so far the character has to physically present at the point in time at which he wishes to make changes, so it would be inconsistent.

Also, one the goals of the game is to address the question of free will/predestination, at some level. This kind of passive time-engineering kind of settles that question, doesn't it? If you can can past- or future-engineer whatever you want, it takes the element of choice away from those who you affect. I don't want to, in best-case scenario, relegate freedom of choice only to PC's.

If that makes any sense.

Quote from: Ghosty
Are there rules for increasing one's longevity in this game? How can character death be worked around in this game?


Good questions. I'll get right on it *g*.

Quote from: Ghosty
I, for one, don't see the necessity for distinguishing between Time Travellers and Time Manipulators. They all manipulate Time in one fashion or another. Just my opinion.


I feel that each lends a different kind of feel to a character, and the duality/conflict between global (if thats the right word) and local scales of time is, I think, an interesting one. Also, it enables an all-Traveller or all-TMer game in a cleaner way than if they were both aspects of the same ability. Though not an essential split, it fits my taste better, basically. It's a color decision, really.

Re: Sydney's comments about Stress

Right-o. Another thing already on my list - expanded/redefined use of Stress. Some of what you noted has been in my brain, I just forgot to put it on paper - shows what the whole school thing will do to ya!

Cool. Again, thanks, I really appreciate the feedback. Anyone else, feel free to chime in!


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on April 20, 2004, 07:43:08 AM
Quote from: Nathan P.
Quote from: Sydney
And do you really need to spend so much detail on the combat system?


Short answer: no. Right after I read through the draft, I decided the combat thing has to be drastically changed. I'm now thinking more in terms of conflict, rather than action, resolution (or whatever the terminology is...I haven't absorbed it all yet). Probably with failure leading to minus's being applied to appropriate arenas. Expect it to be substantially retooled in the next draft.


See, I always wanted to see someone use the word "crisis" as the generic noun for these situations. A crisis could be anything that needs to be resolved, whether it's trying to sweet-talk someone, fight someone, or figure something out, because the results of not doing so lead to trouble. Just my $.02.

Quote from: Nathan P.
Quote from: Spooky
What I would be interested in is expansion on Law #6, that repeated attempts to change time in a specific circumstance  makes that change more difficult


Mmmmmkay. I'll see what I can do....perhaps examples of each Law in action?  


Actually, Sydney addressed my main concern (a broader definition of Stress) better than I did. Examples are always a good thing, though.

Quote from: Nathan P.
Quote from: Spooky
Also, what about a Time Manipulator altering the past at the present, so that something that he wants to be true has always been true? In other words, what about the possibility of re-engineering time? This should, of course, be a high-Strain activity, with the Strain produced adding to future difficulties to "un-kink" that particular section of the time stream.


I see...Undoubtably a cool concept, but so far the character has to physically present at the point in time at which he wishes to make changes, so it would be inconsistent.

Also, one the goals of the game is to address the question of free will/predestination, at some level. This kind of passive time-engineering kind of settles that question, doesn't it? If you can can past- or future-engineer whatever you want, it takes the element of choice away from those who you affect. I don't want to, in best-case scenario, relegate freedom of choice only to PC's.


I offer it only as something that 1) would be in conjunction with expanded definition of Stress, and 2) would be something only the supremely competent and/or foolish would try, either as part of a group of Time Manipulators or solo with more risk. It would by it's nature create more Stress than simply being there and working on it on an individual level, and it would be simple to translate Stress into a guideline of how "wrong" the results went, from the view of the manipulator, and how much more difficult things are going to be to fix.

As for free will, yes it does remove that on the surface, but free will resurfaces again through how divergent the results of time-engineering can be from what the initial intent was. It works, but at a terrible potential cost.

Good example: the protagonist from Ursula K. Le Guin's The Lathe of Heaven. He dreams, and his dreams actually alter reality, but with unintended consequences in tow.  

Or maybe it would complicate the game too much. I don't know.

By the way, I may have missed this, but what rules (if any) do you have for getting rid of Stress? Or does it accumulate until Something Bad Happens, and it's something you can't get rid of?


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Nathan P. on April 20, 2004, 10:11:25 AM
Re: getting rid of Strain

Quote from: Timestream
Bleeding Strain: A character can feel how much Strain he is putting himself under, and usually has a general inclination of how close he is to Breaking Strain. The only way to relieve Strain other than by Breaking is to bleed it off by remaining in your original time and not using your powers to influence its flow. For every 24 hours in which you both remain in your native timeframe and do not gain any Strain, you lose one Strain from your pool. If you have 0 Strain and still have Strain Dice, you must spend 10 days in your native timeframe without gaining any Strain to lose each one.


Actually, tho, I'm thinking about changing this. I mean, there's no reason a character couldn't Travel back to their native timeframe, take a couple easy weeks bleeding off Strain, and then Travel back to whatever moment they left from and continue on with their original activity - basically making it a non-mechanic.

*ponder, ponder. Look back over thread. Sees comment about "crisis". Has a flash*

Here's an idea. Change to crisis resolution (which is a great way to refer to it, btw...I'm gonna steal that) as opposed to task resolution. Failure at crisis's inflicts minus's to the most relevant arenas, which last for a specific number of further crisis's (perhaps dependent on whether its a Physical, Mental or Social Arena being affected).

Bleeding Strain involves taking voluntary minus's, which are removed as per normal, at the onset of a new crisis - taking away the "go home, rest for a week, come back" aspect. As well as expand the other bad stuff that could happen from Strain.

Ideally, because time is so malleable, I would like to get away from measuring things in periods of time all together - base things on relative events, rather than length of time elapsed.


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Ben O'Neal on April 22, 2004, 09:48:22 PM
Most of the other posts have addressed my questions from reading your system, and you are addressing these questions now, but here is something I'm not sure I get:

Quote
Here's an idea. Change to crisis resolution (which is a great way to refer to it, btw...I'm gonna steal that) as opposed to task resolution. Failure at crisis's inflicts minus's to the most relevant arenas, which last for a specific number of further crisis's (perhaps dependent on whether its a Physical, Mental or Social Arena being affected).

Bleeding Strain involves taking voluntary minus's, which are removed as per normal, at the onset of a new crisis - taking away the "go home, rest for a week, come back" aspect. As well as expand the other bad stuff that could happen from Strain.

Could you perhaps give an example of how this would work in-game?

Also I don't think I'd agree with spooky fanboy that the ability for any character to alter another's past without them being able to resist this would be fun in-game. If only the players could do this, I feel it would destroy the verisimilitude of the world, and if the other characters could do it, the players would get angry that their character suddenly becomes someone they don't want them to be, like a perverted pedophile or something.

I'm not sure if you'd already addressed this, so forgive me if you have, but in Law #6 you mention that you cannot kill yourself in the past of future. Ok, fair enough, but what about going back in time and giving yourself the results to every lottery and horse race? What about if one person went to the future and grabbed, say, a hand-held photon torpedo, and then brought it back to their own time? If they can't bring back physical objects with them, what about if they memorised the construction plans? What if they taught ancient romans modern battle techniques? It seems to me like these would just be handled with stress/strain, but do you have any guidelines for what the consequences would actually be if they succeeded? Or is it just left to the player to dictate how the future changes?

Also, I'd second the notion that you seemed too focused on combat. When I first read it, I thought the game was about travelling back in time to fight people there, and travelling into the future to fight people there. And maybe fighting other people who are trying to travel through time too. But you're addressing this already so that's good.

Speaking of which, what exactly is the purpose of play? Is it to make as big a change as possible? Or prevent changes? Or just to change the future to reflect your own desires? Are players part of organisations? Or just loners competing with each other for dominion over time?

Looks pretty cool all in all though. Looking forward to seeing it completed.

-Ben


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Nathan on April 23, 2004, 01:10:36 PM
Interesting start.

I've been kicking around a time travel game for a while, and you had some of the ideas I had. But still good stuff...

My thoughts after my quick read: some of the writing isn't so engaging. That's okay -- you are early in the process still.

You might think about providing some ideas/material to focus on what characters should be doing. That is the biggest problem with Time Travel games. Why are the characters together if they can all time travel? Wouldn't they all just approach the problem differently within their own talents/skills?

Finally, I feel like you could really make the system even simpler. 12 arenas for each stat? Yikes. Different wound locations for each arm and stuff? That seems to be out of place for a time travel game. One of the most significant realities of time travel... would be that... a character could travel back and learn a skill or even replace it with another if needed... right? I would guess that would be a strength of time travel, but it does make building a game system and character roles quite difficult.

Anyway, keep the work going.

Thanks,
Nathan


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Nathan P. on April 24, 2004, 10:06:32 AM
Quote from: Ravien

Quote
Here's an idea. Change to crisis resolution (which is a great way to refer to it, btw...I'm gonna steal that) as opposed to task resolution. Failure at crisis's inflicts minus's to the most relevant arenas, which last for a specific number of further crisis's (perhaps dependent on whether its a Physical, Mental or Social Arena being affected).

Bleeding Strain involves taking voluntary minus's, which are removed as per normal, at the onset of a new crisis - taking away the "go home, rest for a week, come back" aspect. As well as expand the other bad stuff that could happen from Strain.

Could you perhaps give an example of how this would work in-game?


Sure thing. Keep in mind that I haven't hammered this out yet, it's still just scrawls in a notebook. Also, its resting on some mechanics that I'm tweaking, so it's not so consistent with the first draft. It should give you an idea, though.

Normal crisis resolution would work like so:

Jill, a Traveller, is at the court of Louis XIV, at a royal ball. She is trying to attract the "attention" of a certain Marquis - but his wife has noticed. She drifts over to Jill and, in a loud voice, starts asking pointed questions in such a way as to embarass her. The GM declares that this is a crisis, calling for a [Social] Cool roll from Jill's player, against the noblewomans [Social] Intimidation. Jill loses with enough margin to inflict -2 to her Social attribute. Face burning, she leaves the ball. It'll take two more (successful) Social crises before her Social is back to normal.

Jill has been spending a lot of Time in France, and her Strain pool is pretty high. She wants to avoid getting Strain Dice, so she decides to bleed off Strain in the following way - the strain of keeping her in this timeframe is affecting her body, making her sicker and weaker. She takes -3 to her Physical attribute, and removes 3 Strain from her Strain pool. She'll have to overcome some Physical crisis in order to get better.

That make anything more clear?

Quote from: Ravien
It seems to me like these would just be handled with stress/strain, but do you have any guidelines for what the consequences would actually be if they succeeded? Or is it just left to the player to dictate how the future changes?


There will be some kind of guidelines.

Quote from: Ravien
Speaking of which, what exactly is the purpose of play? Is it to make as big a change as possible? Or prevent changes? Or just to change the future to reflect your own desires? Are players part of organisations? Or just loners competing with each other for dominion over time?


Quote from: Nathan
You might think about providing some ideas/material to focus on what characters should be doing. That is the biggest problem with Time Travel games. Why are the characters together if they can all time travel? Wouldn't they all just approach the problem differently within their own talents/skills?


Good questions, and ones that have been bugging me. Reading back over it, its kinda like "This is all great, but why would I want to do anything, other than for the hell of it?" I feel like the game could benefit from some kind of mechanical reinforcement of having and/or pursuing goals. Again, I have some scribbles, we'll see how things develop.

Quote from: Nathan
One of the most significant realities of time travel... would be that... a character could travel back and learn a skill or even replace it with another if needed... right?


Right. That's why I'm trying to keep Arenas as broad areas of capability, as opposed to lists of skills. Specific skills are more color than anything else. I feel I need to reinforce or hilight this more...

Thanks a bunch guys!


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Ben O'Neal on April 24, 2004, 11:40:46 AM
Quote
Normal crisis resolution would work like so:

*Snip*

Jill has been spending a lot of Time in France, and her Strain pool is pretty high. She wants to avoid getting Strain Dice, so she decides to bleed off Strain in the following way - the strain of keeping her in this timeframe is affecting her body, making her sicker and weaker. She takes -3 to her Physical attribute, and removes 3 Strain from her Strain pool. She'll have to overcome some Physical crisis in order to get better.

That make anything more clear?

Yeah, heaps. thanks for the example. However, as I look at this, I'm seeing a slippery slope. Howso? Well, I use my social to try something, but I lose, so my social goes down. The only way I can bring it back up is to win, but my chances of winning are now significantly lower than before when I lost, so I would have to attempt a crisis that was much easier. If I again lost, then my chances of success would become lower still, making it even harder for me to recover. The same goes for winning, in that the more you win, the more likely it will be that you win. This slippery slope might not be a problem for you, but I can see growing frustration from losing. You and others may see it differently though.

I like the idea that losing lowers your arena, because it Just Makes Some Kind Of Crazy Sense. But I think to recover from such "arena damage", should be tied in somehow to timetravel/strain/whatever, perhaps requiring some kind of sacrifice, maybe from your ability to manipulate time? How's this sound? If your arenas change when you are in a time period other than your native time, then you can't manipulate time. So you have to "heal" yourself by sacrificing some of your time powers, and then you can use your time powers, but its now harder (because of the sacrifice). In other words, if you get too altered from how you "went in", you can't "get out", and you run the risk of becoming "trapped" in whatever time you were in. This solves the slippery slope with a more interesting and less frustrating slippery slope, and also makes mucking around too much a Bad Thing.

Just a thought though, hopefully to help spark some brilliant way of dealing with everything in a neat way!


Title: [Timesteam] Take a look!
Post by: Nathan P. on April 24, 2004, 12:19:38 PM
My idea to avoid the slippery slope is this: Attributes and Arenas are disconnected. That is, your Attribute score is a measure of your overall "health" in that area, while Arenas are still how capable you are when attempting certain actions.

(note that i decided to change Attributes to +/- scores, like Arenas, and always roll the same number of dice, probably 2 or 3, for crisis resolution. This solves a lot of problems that I was having with the mechanics as written)

Thus, if your [Social] Cool is [+2] +4, and you get -2 to your Social from failing a crisis, you would be at
  • +4. In both cases you get a +4 to your Cool rolls, but your overall "personality" as expressed by Social isn't as forceful. Character death/deprotaginasation would occur when an attribute hits -6.

Looking that over, I see there's still a lot of ironing to do, but the general "feel" of the mechanic fits my intention much better. Maybe being able to choose to reduce either the Arena or the Attribute...

Your "getting stuck" idea is brilliant, btw. It's definitely going into the messy stew of revision ideas.