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Author Topic: [Stranger Things] Social Rolls  (Read 3129 times)
John Harper
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« on: July 25, 2005, 10:44:09 AM »

So, I'm busy working on Stranger Things (the used-to-be Trollbabe mini-supplement now turned full stand-alone game "inspired by Trollbabe" -- thanks to Ron's kind indulgence) and I've come to the issue of Social rolls.

Ron has made compelling arguments for making the change to the smaller of the two ranges and Clinton has made compelling arguments for keeping it the way it is. I really couldn't choose between them. And then it hit me: let the player decide. The player gets to choose if their Social rolls will be the smaller or larger range, plus the number. Both approaches have their pros and cons and they each tweak the player's input during Social conflicts in a different way.

I thought this method might appeal to some Trollbabe players, so I'm sharing it. Any comments appreciated.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2005, 10:47:24 AM »

Ron has made compelling arguments for making the change to the smaller of the two ranges and Clinton has made compelling arguments for keeping it the way it is. I really couldn't choose between them. And then it hit me: let the player decide. The player gets to choose if their Social rolls will be the smaller or larger range, plus the number. Both approaches have their pros and cons and they each tweak the player's input during Social conflicts in a different way.

You can look at this two ways:

Way One: Is my game about characters who get their way through force, or compromise? Force = smaller Social rolls. Compromise = larger Social rolls.

Way Two: Does my character get his way through force, or through compromise? If you go for allowing this choice, seems like you're on the right track.

By the way, I've come around to Ron's way of thinking on Trollbabe, but only because I get that it's his baby.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2005, 11:52:03 AM »

Hello,

I hold with the lower Social roll not because of thematic issues, but because of plain old strategizing. Taking an extreme Number (close to 2, close to 9) renders a Social roll very effective, using the original rule. Now, I think people can understand that in Trollbabe, failure is a fruitful thing.

Basically, the new rule keeps the extremes from being 80%, 90%, 10%. The game does not benefit from two scores being tremendously high in success rate. 80% for one score is about as high as I think I'm happy with. So the new rules put it right there: if you want 80% in one score, you'll have to settle for 10% and 20% in the others.

Best,
Ron
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John Harper
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« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2005, 12:12:06 PM »

Hmmm. Well, I was going to say that Clinton's Way #2 was what I wanted. But Ron, you make a good point. I've seen the problem of too much success in a Trollbabe game, and using only the smaller range certainly helps curtail that.

The other tweak I'm making is to let players spend a re-roll item to re-roll successes as well as failures, so that will help mitigate the too-successful problem a teeny bit. But still... 80% 90% 10% seems wrong.

More pondering...
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2005, 12:17:50 PM »

To be absolutely clear: my position is that for Trollbabe, the change in rules is not merely a stylistic detail or thematic nudge. As I see it, the old rule was bad and the new rule is good.

What matters, however, is that you should play the Stranger Things material a few times and try it both ways, if you'd like. Then you make your decision based on your experiences.

Best,
Ron
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Bankuei
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« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2005, 01:13:28 PM »

Hi,

At first I was very much on the line of the old rule- simply because I liked Social being the most powerful method of interaction.  Later, I realized the numbers behind it that Ron is putting forth, and understood the push for the change.  It wouldn't be too hard to simply make the types interchangable, thereby allowing Social to become the high number.

Chris
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Darren Hill
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« Reply #6 on: July 27, 2005, 08:45:00 PM »

And in case it isn't obvious, the converse of Ron's point - that if you choose an extreme number you get two extremely good scores - is that the new rule rewards you for choosing intermediate scores.
So characters fall in the following spectrum:
Specialist Fighter --- Equally Good at Fighting, Magic, Social --- Specialist Mage.

I think the fact that there's a limit to how good you can be at Social, but not with the others, can be defended. There's only so much you can achieve by talking - if you want to get your way no matter what, you need to Fight or use Magic.
For some games/settings this wouldn't necessarily be the case, of course - court intrigue, for example.
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John Harper
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« Reply #7 on: July 27, 2005, 09:34:59 PM »

Yep, once again, I have been convinced that the new rule is best. Here's a bit of sidebar text from my game touching on Darren's point (btw, I have renamed the conflict types to Blood, Flame, and Shadow instead of Fighting, Magic, and Social, respectively):

Quote from: Stranger Things
Running the Numbers
You may have noticed that it’s possible for a Stranger to have a very high (80%) chance of success with Blood or Flame (numbers 9 and 2, respectively) but it’s not possible to have such a high chance of success with Shadow (the largest range is 1-5 or 6-10, i.e. 50%).

This is by design. It is not fully in the nature of a Stranger to be as subtle and manipulative as a human or demon can be. Strangers are not fully part of either the mundane or supernatural worlds and they find it difficult (if not impossible) to “blend in” and act behind the scenes. Their lives are generally more overt and confrontational as a result.

So, it's the new Social rules for me. Huzzah.
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