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Author Topic: [DiTV] A question from one of the rapidly converting  (Read 5136 times)
Spooky Fanboy
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« on: October 24, 2004, 12:02:47 AM »

Hi. I recently borrowed this game from a friend of mine. I really like what I see, especially how the game (from conflict to town creation) gradually escalates from personal to social to action. Very smooth design, and it's nice how this game adds weight to social interaction; that adds incentive for characters to reason with and sympathize (somewhat) with "the enemy" first, instead of the "kill, KILL, KIILLL!!" that some game mechanics reinforce.

Because this is such an elegant game design, I was thinking about setting up a Doglike setting of my own. I have a question, and wanted to consult the game designer and fans of the game: was there a reason dice types stop at d10? Would it wreck the game on some level if d12s or even d20s were incorporated? Does anyone here have any advice to offer if I do actually decide to incorporate them? I have a good reason to ask this, and will explain if anyone is interested.
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lumpley
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« Reply #1 on: October 24, 2004, 07:51:40 AM »

It stops at d10s because it used to go to d12s but in playtesting we saw no need and stopped at d10s anyway.

Getting blowed up used to inflict d12s Fallout. Isn't that funny?

Tell your reasons!

-Vincent
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #2 on: October 24, 2004, 08:52:01 PM »

Originally I got an idea in my head: I love magic, I love wizards, I like Ars Magica, but the mechanics and spell lists are way too crunchy for me.

I heard about your game, and about how supernatural details are streamlined into the system such that it's a matter of narrating what happens and letting the dice fall as they will. Whee!

But as I read it further, I thought, "Hmmm. While I think it might be fun to run Ars Magica using this system, this is flawed. Something's missing, even though Ars Magica has House Quaesitor. AHA! I know what's missing: where's the sin? Withoput the sin, where's the moral conflict, and the corresponding role for the Doglike characters? Why don't the wizard types go back to staying in their little labs and let the rest of the world rot?"

Let's face it; in ArM, wizards do not have a culture, they have a counterculture loosely held together by a code of conduct and mutual self-interest. Plenty of reasons to not separate, but almost nothing to actually bring them together. If I had my players playing Quaesitores, it wouldn't make sense for any other wizard to treat them as anything other than a nuisance. And who'd really put up with that, when they can just sit in their labs and do their own thing?

So I had an idea: somewhere after the fall of Rome, the Hermetic philosophy transubstantiated into a Religion of the Book, complete with it's own  thou shalt nots, thou shalts, and a pretty generous portion of thou shouldst be to go with it.  

Anyway, the reason I was asking was because, let's face it, nothing says drama like big explosions and special effects. ;-) Whether it's a jar of nitro, some dynamite, a Gatling gun or a cannon, or Ye Olde Balle ov Abysmal Flame, somehow d10s just don't seem high enough. But at the same time, I'm wondering if the Fallout rules will adequately convey just how badly the shit has hit the fan if it Escalates that far. (It should, but I was curious if you'd tried it and found out it didn't work.)

Also, does it seem potentially problematic to have Ceremonial actions count in Sees and Raises for non-Ceremonial actions? (The glory and the problem with magic in this setting.)

If anyone is interested in further details, let me know. I'd like to bounce around some of the details I've got in the back of my head, but I don't want to bore anyone to tears.
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lumpley
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« Reply #3 on: October 25, 2004, 05:21:53 AM »

I've been playing Ars Magica since 1990, so no tears of boredom here. By "Ars Magica" I mean games with wizards based on Ars Magica's - we ditched Ars Magica's actual rules long, long ago.

The Order has some sins already: don't meddle with mortals, don't meddle with faeries, don't meddle with the infernal. I think you could build some covenant-in-social-breakdown rules out of those. If I were to set up to play the Quaesitor game using Dogs, that's where I'd start.

I think it would be very fun to have slightly different character creation rules for investigator-type Quaesitors and for their enforcer-type Hoplites and Flambeau muscle. I also think there'd be room for Redcap PCs in the game, gifted and non-. Those could even be the background choices: Quaesitor, Hoplite, Flambeau lackey, gifted Redcap, nongifted Redcap, instead of complicated, strong etc.

But yeah, having overwhelming damage and destruction inflict d12s Fallout will probably do exactly what you want it to do. Give it a try and let us know.

Quote
Also, does it seem potentially problematic to have Ceremonial actions count in Sees and Raises for non-Ceremonial actions? (The glory and the problem with magic in this setting.)

I don't get what you're asking, but I sense that it's interesting. Please try again?

-Vincent
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #4 on: October 25, 2004, 05:41:50 AM »

Actually Vince, what I was going to do was transport Ars Magica into a western setting (same as DiTV standard), and have them change into a Religion of the Book. Why? Because, darnit, I think it would be interesting to try. While I could try to use the setting as is, I can't help but think the setting would be lacking if it didn't have a religious aspect to bind the communities closer, and something for them to strive towards.

As for Ceremonies for non-religious conflicts, what I mean to say is that Ceremonial actions make an obvious template for using magic in this game. Do you think it could cause problems having Ceremonmial actions that can pop into any conflict with just a bit of imagination? (Instead of Escalating to guns, Escalating to magic, etc.)

Also, if it wouldn't be a misuse of forum-space, I'd like to bounce around some ideas for the setting and get feedback. If it would be forum-abuse, let me know and I'll save it for an actual play report.
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lumpley
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2004, 07:32:15 AM »

Oh no, that wouldn't be forum abuse at all. Please feel free.

I've been thinking really hard about how Hermetic magic would fit into the place of ceremony. Here's a question: what would you list on your character sheet? The Arts? Individual spells? Nothing Hermetic, just like you list nothing ceremonial in Dogs (unless you want to)?

There's no room in Dogs' rules for spell difficulties, as they exist now. Is it okay if Ball of Abysmal Flame is as "easy" to cast as Palm of Flame?

I think I'd want magic to be something you escalate to, like gunfighting. But there's another question: would you escalate from not-fighting magic to fighting magic? If I've already cast Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie on you, and I then cast Pilum of Fire on you, have I escalated?

And my last question: when do I get dice for my Parma Magica - every time you cast a spell at me, or just once per conflict?

I think it's possible to adapt Dogs' rules to every combination of answers to these questions. Of course some combinations will require more adaptation than others.

-Vincent
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #6 on: October 27, 2004, 10:44:08 PM »

Sorry for the delay! Night shift blows...

Quote from: lumpley
I've been thinking really hard about how Hermetic magic would fit into the place of ceremony. Here's a question: what would you list on your character sheet? The Arts? Individual spells? Nothing Hermetic, just like you list nothing ceremonial in Dogs (unless you want to)? ... There's no room in Dogs' rules for spell difficulties, as they exist now. Is it okay if Ball of Abysmal Flame is as "easy" to cast as Palm of Flame?


Nothing Ceremonial, unless you want to. Coats in this game would be Ceremonially charged (see below), and your personal Instruments (spell components) also get a Belongings rating. I do not want to get bogged down in spell lists and Arts; let the players narrate the spell's effect and have the dice determine how effective it is. I should have made this clearer: I'm only using Ars Magica as a springboard. I don't see a whole lot changing from the core game, except adding d12s and expanding the Ceremony rules. This includes the PC templates.

Quote from: Vincent
I think I'd want magic to be something you escalate to, like gunfighting.


I agree; magic in this setting will be like guns: if you have to use them, then something's already gone wrong or you've gotten hot-headed. Both of which the Terats (demons) love.

Quote from: Vincent
But there's another question: would you escalate from not-fighting magic to fighting magic? If I've already cast Frosty Breath of the Spoken Lie on you, and I then cast Pilum of Fire on you, have I escalated?


Nope. Magic use is magic use, and the first person to draw out the big guns is the Escalator. This is important to how I see this playing out, and I'll tell you why shortly.

Quote from: Vincent
And my last question: when do I get dice for my Parma Magica - every time you cast a spell at me, or just once per conflict?


I'm honestly thinking that that is the purpose of the Coat in this game. Your Parma Magica is woven into it. I don't think I'll allow use of the Coat for any other Ceremonial purpose.

Also, I have another idea which I want to run by you for sanity-checking. In-game, guns get an additional d4 thrown into the pool, correct? Well in this game, I'm thinking about allowing that d4 to actually straight-out add to the total rolled on the two highest dice. This is for guns, explosives, and spells whose primary purpose is damage. (A spell just to spook and intimidate someone, for example, does not get this bonus; neither do divination or healing spells.) Moral: guns and hexes are harbingers of ill omen. Use only in case of emergency.

As an added twist, if the PCs, or any NPC operating with the PC's sanction and approval, use a weapon (gun, hex, explosive) that merits that additional d4 first, then the the Terats get to add that d4 to their Teratic Influence rolls from that point on, until victorious or defeated. (One-time bonus.) Also, if the PCs Escalate their Rituals (Ceremony), or use weaponry against the Terats and their allies, that Escalates the conflict to d12 territory first, then the Teratic Influence jumps from d10 to (you guessed it!) d12. Terats both loathe and love it when the Lions (Dogs) come to town; the Lions are trained how to spot the enemies' tricks and know to keep a low profile in regard to Escalating until the Terats (or their allies) Escalate first, but if the Terats play it smart, the Lions will Escalate first and they will reap the benefits of the whirlwind.

Important note: all NPCs in the infested town are not to be considered as "sanctioned and approved" for this purpose unless the PCs know what the NPC is doing and approve it. They are considered as operating under Teratic influence.  Wise PCs will consider every member of the town to be a loose cannon until proven otherwise.

Why add this, you ask? One, it increases the drama in Escalation. Two, it accentuates an important piece of Illuminated dogma: in order to truly "walk in Radiance," a person must always weigh both the physical and spiritual consequences of his/her actions. Any action which results in the increase of misery short-term and/or long-term, whether that person realizes it or not (this is the Illuminated definition of "sin"), taints the Radiance that fuels the world and allows the Qlippoths (the breeding ground of Terats, commonly known as Hell) to feed and grow. Invoking Bonded Radiance (using magic) in the commission of a sin is especially bad; the Qlippoths suck that up like high-test energy drinks. On the other hand, if the Terats Escalate first, they don't get those bonuses because such actions suck up their store of tainted Radiance faster than they can recoup it; despite what the hellfire-and-brimstone types of the Universalist (Catholic) Church and their offshoots preach, corruption is, in fact, a finite source of energy, without which the Terats go dormant.

One of the things I wish to emphasize in this setting is that magic is not value-free. In Ars Magica, it didn't matter too much if you were a saint or a psychopath, because spells were spells. In this game, magic come from either pure Radiance (good magic) or tainted Radiance (bad magic which feeds human misery). And it's all too easy to corrupt the Radiance you've been entrusted with if your head ain't right with the reality of the situation.

Questions? Comments? Any feedback at all? Don't be afraid to chime in.
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2004, 10:51:18 PM »

Forgot to mention: in this offshoot, your Sacred Instruments replace the jar of consecrated earth given to the Standard-game Dogs.
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Valamir
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« Reply #8 on: October 28, 2004, 04:57:52 AM »

I'd probably do two layers of Magic from an escalation standpoint.  Minor Magic d8 and Major Magic d10.  One might also do Epic Magic d12.
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lumpley
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« Reply #9 on: October 28, 2004, 12:00:24 PM »

Spooky, did you used to have a name in your sig? I can't believe that I don't know your name.

Quote
In-game, guns get an additional d4 thrown into the pool, correct? Well in this game, I'm thinking about allowing that d4 to actually straight-out add to the total rolled on the two highest dice. This is for guns, explosives, and spells whose primary purpose is damage.

I don't get it. Do you mean that, when your Raise is hurting someone, you get to put forward three dice, and one of them's a d4?

Can I recommend playing the game straight at least once before you start in with the mechanical changes? Guns and ceremonies work.

-Vincent
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #10 on: October 28, 2004, 04:40:22 PM »

Quote from: lumpley
Spooky, did you used to have a name in your sig? I can't believe that I don't know your name.


Nope. My real name's Carl. I don't think we've ever been introduced. I did buy kpfs awhile back, but I don't remember if we've corresponded over it.


Quote from: lumpley
I don't get it. Do you mean that, when your Raise is hurting someone, you get to put forward three dice, and one of them's a d4?


Okay. Say you've got a situation where you're rolling 2d10+1d4 for a gun. In DiTV-standard, you roll two dice and take the highest. What I'm proposing, you'd take 2d10 (say they come up 6 and 7), add them together (13), and then add your 1d4 to that total (say 2, so your introduction of the gun comes up a value of 15.) This would, I hope, emphasize the gun, the hex, and explosives as tools of ill omen.

Quote from: lumpley
Can I recommend playing the game straight at least once before you start in with the mechanical changes? Guns and ceremonies work.

-Vincent


Yeah, I probably should. I just wanted a way to emphasize that the Terats loooove it when the guns come out, because misery is sure to follow.

Oh, and Valamir, shout out to you for the suggestion. I was thinking along those lines myself, but it's good to see someone else thinks their sensible as well.
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #11 on: October 28, 2004, 04:56:45 PM »

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

Okay. Say you've got a situation where you're rolling 2d10+1d4 for a gun. In DiTV-standard, you roll two dice and take the highest. What I'm proposing, you'd take 2d10 (say they come up 6 and 7), add them together (13), and then add your 1d4 to that total (say 2, so your introduction of the gun comes up a value of 15.) This would, I hope, emphasize the gun, the hex, and explosives as tools of ill omen.


BL>  This isn't true.  When you introduce a new thing (gun, horse, trait, relationship, whatever) you throw down the dice and keep them all in your big pool of dice to bid with.

You can only use two of them at a time, but all those dice are in the pool.

Does this make any sense?

Essentially, don't think of rolling new dice as an "action."  Think of it as introducing a new element into the situation.  The gun, once used, sticks around, and so do the dice.

yrs--
--Ben
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Hello Sailor
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« Reply #12 on: October 28, 2004, 09:21:06 PM »

I got the feeling Spooky was referring to adding the extra 1d4 to the fallout number, thus making things more lethal.

I've had the book for a week or two now and I've found the fallout system to be one of the more interesting things about the game mechanics. In order to have a chance to gain "experience fallout," you have to take regular fallout. Plus, while you stand a better chance of getting experience if all your fallout comes from just talking, it'd be rare to justify improving your "I'm a good shot" trait that way. If you take the fallout dice into a follow-up, then you get fewer complications if you resolved the previous conflict with guns instead of talking.
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #13 on: October 29, 2004, 03:10:04 AM »

Quote from: Hello Sailor
I got the feeling Spooky was referring to adding the extra 1d4 to the fallout number, thus making things more lethal.


Yes! Exactly! Oh, if I could have only typed that instead of what I apparently did...
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