*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
May 21, 2022, 02:52:04 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: [DitV] Long Term Games: Experience  (Read 7376 times)
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« on: May 04, 2005, 12:37:05 AM »

After playing one session of DitV, and seeing each player get Experience at least three times, plus Reflection, plus all the actual Fallout, I was a little shocked. They say D&D advancement is too fast! (Well, I do anyway.)

My players immediately worried about people putting lots of advancement into, say, their gun skill. One of the players started out with 3d8, and could easily see after 3-4 sessions having 6d10. If other players scattered their advances around a bit more, this is a massive advantage.
There is, of course, the argument that this advantage only applies if it escalates to gunplay, and someone who does that same with a social trait has just as big an advantage in situations where the dogs don't actually want to use guns.

But I had a different concern (two actually):
First, the NPC creation system is nifty. But the balance between NPCs and PCs will be completely different after just a few sessions. Games I like I inevitably end up running for campaigns which last 12+ sessions, and more often 50+ sessions. I dread to think what Dogs will look like after 50 sessions.

Second, imagine how tedious a conflict would become if on each of their first half-dozen raised and sees, each player and their opponents were throwing an extra 4-8 dice into their pool...

I don't mind the fallout 'experience' - since that naturally gives flavourful ratings around the d4 or d6 level. It's the ability of experience to give mega-d10 ratings, and to turn a d4 trait into a 3d10 trait in just a few sessions.

Does anyone else share this concern? Does everyone else play long-term games of DitV - and if so, could you post a couple of sample PCs from your game?
Logged

lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #1 on: May 04, 2005, 05:18:21 AM »

The short answers continue:

Embrace those big gunfighting dice. Every die in gunfighting is a die you love. That's a character who winds up making life or death decisions every single time, and that's what the game's for.

Learn and love the group NPC, sorcerer and possession rules.

You'll make it to 12+ sessions easy. 50? Probably.

-Vincent
Logged
lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #2 on: May 04, 2005, 05:38:32 AM »

Oh hey, do you see that your concern about experience and your concern about lethality are the same concern? The game balances risk and gain against one another. It's your job as GM to make sure your conflicts' stakes aren't out of scale with risk and gain. In practical terms, that means: you want small conflicts with lots of follow-up potential, not one big conflict to resolve the whole mess.

-Vincent
Logged
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #3 on: May 04, 2005, 06:24:34 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
Oh hey, do you see that your concern about experience and your concern about lethality are the same concern?


I don't think they are. My concern about experience is based on being unable to know exactly what exactly risk is in a campaign - I can't know whether a situation actually is a risk if the goal posts are changing every session.
The lethality concern was simply a query wondering if it was meant to be this lethal (potentially) or it was meant to be so survivable that even these rolls gave a good chance of survival (as a few threads had suggested).
I'm reassured about the lethality, but not about experience.

Quote
In practical terms, that means: you want small conflicts with lots of follow-up potential, not one big conflict to resolve the whole mess.


I understand the last point (I think), but it doesn't help. In fact, lots of small conflicts (which is what I was going for - well, medium ones, rather than big resolve-everything ones) means more opportunities for experience, which means 10 sessions later, they'll have even more and higher dice.
Also, let's say the characters have, say, double or triple the dice they started with, most of them d10's (and I think I can show that won't take long), then lots of small conflicts means a lot of dice rolling over a session, and imagination fatigue - where your brain cells slowly die as you struggle to come up with yet another raise or see.

I should point out that my bias for games is for characters to start highly competent, and then not change very much. The fallout system I like, because it leads to development and relatively minor advancement; the experience system terrifies me :)

Getting back to your original comment:
Quote
The game balances risk and gain against one another. It's your job as GM to make sure your conflicts' stakes aren't out of scale with risk and gain.

The thing is, I don't know how I can provide meaningful risk to a group of characters who have gone through 12-20 sessions or more, except by providing a several possessed sorcerers in a town that is oozing with hate and murder. I don't want every session (after a certain point) to be like that.
Unless I beef up the standard NPC stats, and I'd prefer not to have to do that.

That's why I want to see what some experienced player characters look like, to see if my expectations are wrong. I won't believe it until I see it :)
Logged

Simon Kamber
Member

Posts: 175


« Reply #4 on: May 04, 2005, 06:59:53 AM »

I could see the problem becoming quite serious after a lot of sessions. That's probably the place where the characters are starting to get worn too, so if I ever get through that many sessions (wishful thinking), I'd probably start to think about a new set of characters.
Logged

Simon Kamber
Chris Goodwin
Member

Posts: 100

Beware ants reversing


WWW
« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2005, 09:40:56 AM »

If you have 6d10 in guns, as someone once said (I believe on this forum) that's six ten sided dice that are sitting around, whispering in your ear, begging you to roll them.  That character will leave footprints in blood wherever he walks.
Logged

Chris Goodwin
cgoodwin@gmail.com
sirogit
Member

Posts: 503


« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2005, 03:28:12 PM »

I really don't think that providing risk is difficult in DitV. Consider this:

A woman doesn't like what the Dogs are doing to her son. She pulls out a rifle and shoots. She has a 3d10 relationship with her son, and she gets a really good roll, and raises with 18.

Even with +10d10 dice, the Dog isn't insured that he's going to be able to get good enough dice to Dodge or Block. Meaning if he's going to continue this, he's going to have to Take the Blow. Taking a blow from a gun puts you at risk of losing their character insntantly after the fight, no take-backs.

Worse yet, what about if the Dog doesn't want to escalate to gun-fighting where all his precious traits are? What if he wants the woman to live? That's loking at a really mean deal.
Logged
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2591


WWW
« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2005, 04:15:19 PM »

I see Darren's worry. The thing is, the experience system is relentlessly linear - you get that one die allways, with no diminishing returns. It's also non-retractable - you can't lose experience, ever. The end result is rather like D&D, actually. The game progresses steadily towards... something.

Now, the key question here is if the system can handle it. There'd be two ways a system could do it:
1) the progress is illusionary, numbers are just growing (Sorcerer comes close, Hero System too, HeroQuest is the perfect example)
2) the progress has some end-point, substantially changing the game (WW games spring to mind, to a degree, but MLwM is a better example)
Then there's the dysfunctional way, the one in D&D: the system continues qualitatively the same, packing more and more stuff in the execution without finding any kind of ending or lesson out of it all. Soon you're all at level 20 with Epic levels to look towards, and fights, when they're played, take the whole evening with literally hundreds of rolls...

As I see it, DiV might well have the D&D problem. Progress isn't ending anywhere, as the game in it's current state includes not an ending condition or any hint at when a dog should retire numbers-wise. Likewise, the progress is not certainly illusionary - it's much more tiring and slow to roll twenty dice per conflict than it is to roll half a dozen (not to speak of rises and dodges). It's a logistical nightmare.

This is certainly a minor problem, I wouldn't worry about it too much. If it came to that, I imagine that players would recognize the problem and just strip their characters down to size, or start new ones. Trivial to execute. Still, it is an aesthetic flaw... I guess that I'd put in some kind of automatical ending condition, I like those. Like ascension from SoY...
Logged

Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
Publishing Zombie Cinema and Solar System at Arkenstone Publishing.
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2005, 07:52:18 PM »

Quote from: Chris Goodwin
If you have 6d10 in guns, as someone once said (I believe on this forum) that's six ten sided dice that are sitting around, whispering in your ear, begging you to roll them.  That character will leave footprints in blood wherever he walks.


Change the skill to 6d10 in Talking. Now do you see my problem?
Logged

Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2005, 08:01:04 PM »

Quote from: Eero Tuovinen
Then there's the dysfunctional way, the one in D&D: the system continues qualitatively the same, packing more and more stuff in the execution without finding any kind of ending or lesson out of it all. Soon you're all at level 20 with Epic levels to look towards, and fights, when they're played, take the whole evening with literally hundreds of rolls...

As I see it, DiV might well have the D&D problem.


Yep, this is my problem. Most of the advice to deal with it has been, essentially, "beef up the opposition" which i find profoucndly unsatisfying and, as Eero says, a logistical nightmare.
Quote
Likewise, the progress is not certainly illusionary - it's much more tiring and slow to roll twenty dice per conflict than it is to roll half a dozen (not to speak of rises and dodges).


Quote
This is certainly a minor problem, I wouldn't worry about it too much. If it came to that, I imagine that players would recognize the problem and just strip their characters down to size, or start new ones.


Mine wouldn't :) And I'd share their feelings.
Also, DitV has that cool - "I retire a character and get a new one, with added depth" rule - seems a bit pointless if every game has to be short-term.

Quote
Trivial to execute. Still, it is an aesthetic flaw... I guess that I'd put in some kind of automatical ending condition, I like those. Like ascension from SoY...


I do occasionally play games which are specifically designed to have an ending, but it's not my default, and it's something that if I pitched to the players, would most likely get a response, "we'll give it a miss and play one of our long-term recurring campaigns instead."
(Note: this isn't about my playewrs wanting to have ever-increasing powerful characters. In my main, long-term recurring campaign, all characters start at a certain power/skill level - and that never changes. They can shift skills around, but they never actually increase.)
Also, the freedom players have in DitV suggests any ending couldn't be planned from the outset - it would have to be arbitrary.
Logged

Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2005, 08:21:21 PM »

Quote from: sirogit
I really don't think that providing risk is difficult in DitV. Consider this:

A woman doesn't like what the Dogs are doing to her son. She pulls out a rifle and shoots. She has a 3d10 relationship with her son, and she gets a really good roll, and raises with 18.


Nitpick: the standard NPC design system doesn't give 3d10 relationships (or Traits). That's what I mean about not being able to use the standard assumptions for NPCs as encoded in the NPC design rules.
They might get a 2d10 trait and a 2d10 relationship, so I'm not competely disputing your example, but it does mean that NPCs have to approach a conflict this way: "I have to put everything forward at this moment - if the PC gives, I get my way, and if not, I'm done for. Either way, the conflict is over."
Using it in the talking phase of a conflict would pretty much guarantee defeat - so this would seem to encourage escalating to gunfighting. Which could be frustrating for PCS if they know that every meaningful conflict is going to go the same way.
(Admittedly, there is a certain deterrent value sitting there looking at the NPC's high d10's.)
If it's a situation where multiple dogs are involved, the one Dog can Give as a tactical option, and allow the other dog(s) to wrap up that conflict now that he's sucked up the big dice.
Instead of a series of critical decisions, it all comes down to just one, and the rest of the conflict is fluff.

Quote
Worse yet, what about if the Dog doesn't want to escalate to gun-fighting where all his precious traits are? What if he wants the woman to live? That's loking at a really mean deal.


I think it's established you can escalate to gunfighting, and not shoot to kill.
And my beef with the experience is that it's likely that Dogs will be easily able to have a lot of high gun traits, and a lot of high talking traits, and everything in between. They'll be able to end many conflicts without needing to escalate to gunfighting just by overwhelming their foes with dice. If the NPCs escalate, it doesn't matter, because the PCs can still win if they don't.
(Note: I am talking 12-20+ sessions of experience here, but with my playgroups preferences and my own, that is essential to consider.)
Logged

lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #11 on: May 05, 2005, 05:33:19 AM »

There's a self-limiter in there you haven't noticed, which is that as your high dice increase you take less fallout. High dice don't snowball. The character you oughta be worrying about is the one with a hundred d4s.

There are other limiters, even subtler, based on the players' emotional engagement with the people and situations in the towns, the draw of relationships, the logic in the conflicts, and the real meaning of the game. There are good reasons both why lots of high dice - or a hundred d4s - don't happen all that much, and aren't a problem when they do.

I'm not saying that my game is all games. If it's not a game your group wants to play, I can live with that. But I am saying that your concerns are pretty speculative and the game's dynamic may be more subtle than you see.

I haven't played a game out to 12 sessions; I don't hold the long-term campaign as an ideal for the game. Maybe I'm wrong.

-Vincent
Logged
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #12 on: May 05, 2005, 06:22:16 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
There's a self-limiter in there you haven't noticed, which is that as your high dice increase you take less fallout. High dice don't snowball. The character you oughta be worrying about is the one with a hundred d4s.


Hmm, that's a good point. I do wonder, though.
You could keep a few d4 traits around, and when you get into conflicts, deliberately choose to take 3-4 talking fallout just once. :)
It wouldn't have to be too contrived. I could easily see situations cropping up where the story makes it appealing to Take The Blow, even if there was no Fallout system.
That gives you a pretty good chance of getting Experience.
But yes, it might not be as bad as I first feared. Then again, (he says, clinging to his theory :)) if they are in conflicts which continue to challenge them, they should still be taking fallout, shouldn't they?

Quote
There are other limiters, even subtler, based on the players' emotional engagement with the people and situations in the towns, the draw of relationships, the logic in the conflicts, and the real meaning of the game.

Yeah, I was aware of those - they affect what sort of conflicts players will get into, and whether they are willing to escalate or not, but I doubt they'll play too much of a part in actual spending patterns. (They will also affect exactly what traits get bought, but players will still be buying traits they intend to use, so those dice will be available.)

Quote
<snip>I haven't played a game out to 12 sessions; I don't hold the long-term campaign as an ideal for the game. Maybe I'm wrong.


I hope so, for my sake :)
PS I hope I'm not becoming too irritating!
Logged

lumpley
Administrator
Member
*
Posts: 3453


WWW
« Reply #13 on: May 05, 2005, 06:25:59 AM »

Well I mean come on. You're arguing with the designer that the design's broken. Of course it's going to get irritating. And of course my answer is going to be "I'll believe it when I see it, play the game straight before you screw around with it."

-Vincent
Logged
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #14 on: May 05, 2005, 06:31:41 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
Well I mean come on. You're arguing with the designer that the design's broken. Of course it's going to get irritating. And of course my answer is going to be "I'll believe it when I see it, play the game straight before you screw around with it."


I hadn't thought of it like that :)
But you've admitted that you don't play it for long games, which is precisely the situation I'm wondering about.
I'm sorry if my language is a bit blunt - I'm a gamer, and thus not very socially adept! I wouldn't be devoting such attention if I didn't think it was a great game.
Logged

Pages: [1] 2
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!