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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 83 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: [Sorcerer] Revisiting the Conflict Resolution Mechanic  (Read 2337 times)
Doyce
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Posts: 442


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« on: October 06, 2006, 08:39:13 AM »

Okay.

First of all, this is a scary thing to post.  Ron knows I've put a lot of hours into understanding and more importantly documenting others' understanding of the Sorcerer rules.  I've run a couple fairly substantial campaigns.  This isn't some attack on the system or someone who's just skimmed the rules once and started bitching. I grok the game and system. I've got a player or two (at least one) who groks the system and game.

Apparently, despite having a lot of other players who played in those sorcerer games, that was about ALL I had, in the way of "players who got the system."

How'd this fact come out?  I was talking with a couple of my players about some new games to slot into our Sundays, and one that I mentioned was something using Sorcerer (had a couple ideas that seemed best suited to the Sorcerer/Demon dynamic, actually), and the resounding response from my player base was "man, that's fine, as long as you handle all the dice-rolling and rules like you did last time."

I responded in my normal, erudite way: "Beh?"

Apparently, the recollection of all but one of my Sorcerer players is that, like Skeeve playing Dragon Poker, when a conflict came up, they just rolled all their dice (emphasis, strong emphasis, on "all") and sat back, waiting for me tell them who won.

Which... yeah, I can understand that -- the way that order-of-action is determined... then possibly shifts, how you can suddenly end up with 3 more dice to roll because someone else got three successes against the same target as you, which might then change when you're effective, and thus HOW effective... yeah.  Not simple.  Maybe this was all because Sorcerer was the first non-d20 game we'd run in awhile, and maybe today it would be different for them... Those other games were a couple years ago. I dunno.  I think I'll run a game, to find out, but in the mean time, it got me thinking.

So... I come here, wondering aloud if there mightn't a way to keep all the Stats and demons the same, but change the die-resolution in some way that keeps the odds largely the same, but the sorting/handling process less obtuse.  Maybe d10 + relevant Stat -- rolled over successes acting as straight point-for-point bonuses.

Again, I don't know.  If Ron (or really, anyone) pops in and tells me "You know what? Tell em to fucking suck it up," I'll accept that, but I thought I'd toss out the discussion topic at any rate.  Granted, a little odd to start the conversation here (like walking into a chapel and asking the priests "how could we do this without all the Jesus?"), but anywhere else seemed a bit dishonest, so there it is.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #1 on: October 06, 2006, 10:23:12 AM »

Are you sure the problem is the die mechanic in particular? Seems to me your suggestion of fiddling with that is much too low level to really affect player engagement. Who's really going to engage or not engage with a system based on how you calculate successes? If you think that the system is the problem, perhaps you should be looking for the culprit in the way GM authority is divided in your game. Let players adjudicate on currency issues more proactively, for instance, or something like that.

For the dice system: I suggest that if you want to switch to another system, make sure that it features sub-linear effectivity like the Sorcerer dice. It seems to me that the game mechanics rely on that one quite a bit. A linear curve like ability+die gives will give the dominant party too much advantage when larger numbers are involved, unless you introduce exponential costs for buying stats or something to compensate.

That said, my experience is that as long as I persist in insisting on equal interactions with my players, sooner or later everybody will be on board with whatever rules system we're using, simply out of common courtesy. It's a social expectation in my games that the players are interested in each other's input, which includes mine - it'd be pretty stupid for me to push all these rules-based interactions constantly and have the players ignore it. Wouldn't be very polite of them, you know? So in practice it works out that if we're going to see face-to-face about the gaming activity we're currently doing, it has to include a honest effort to engage with whatever system we're currently using.
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Blogging at Game Design is about Structure.
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Doyce
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Posts: 442


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« Reply #2 on: October 06, 2006, 10:33:23 AM »

As I said, the problem's not with the mechanics, but the player buy-in participation in the system -- they aren't rude folks, or dumb, but if they check out and 'let me handle it' simply due to confusion?

Dunno.  As I said, I'm inclinded to run another game now, after they've been exposed to a pile of funky die mechanics, and see if it's really a problem anymore.

Bottom line, I'm much more of a story-guy, not a systems guy, so I'm not going to immediately intuit a similar system with less handling time, and I thought someone else might've.  It's probably a pointless post -- I was logging back in not to reply, but just delete the damn thing as irrelevant, but that's no longer an option (if it ever was).

Thanks for your input.  Cheers.
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Doyce Testerman ~ http://random.average-bear.com
Someone gets into trouble, then get get out of it again; people love that story -- they never get tired of it.
The_Tim
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Posts: 31

Armchair Game Theorist


« Reply #3 on: October 06, 2006, 02:37:31 PM »

Well.  Sorcerer's dice system, at its base, works a lot like Risk's.  The comparison at least.  I found that explaining that got people to be able to quickly determine the winner of a roll, and by how many victories.  Combined with different colored dice for different people basic conflicts went by fast and easily.  From there, building up in terms of ordering worked out pretty well.  One PC + their demon vs NPCs gives people the hang of things without it going overboard right away.

Also, a big thing to get with Sorcerer, is that it is okay for the dice to fall and everyone needing to look things over to figure out what's happening.  This is true of any system in which all the dice hit the table at the same time.  It is also why tricks like different colored dice are useful in Sorcerer.

As for the buy in, well, I'm not there and so I can't give good advice on that.  But if you reduce the difficulty of getting basic things in the system a bit you'll probably get them to buy a bit more of it.  And once they take that first hit...
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James_Nostack
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Posts: 642


« Reply #4 on: October 07, 2006, 07:56:55 AM »

Doyce, have you tried pointing them at your own website, namely, Helpful Flowchart For Sorcerer Conflicts, written by some handsome genius whose name escapes me at the moment?  It's lucid, clear, and entertaining--a boon to all mankind, really.  If your friends are still confused, I'd recommend finding new friends.  (Or, alternatively, let a certain someone know so he can clarify the page.)
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