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Author Topic: [Aller Tage Abend] License to Tweak  (Read 4799 times)
Frank Tarcikowski
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« on: April 10, 2007, 03:05:03 PM »

i]Aller Tage Abend (Power 19) I am going to take a new approach:

The resolution system relies on dice, cast openly by both conflicting parties. However, any player is allowed to re-roll any dice roll if she really wants to. Just like that. The only exception are decisive scenes. Any player involved in a crucial dramatic scene can declare it a decisive scene, meaning no re-rolls by any party are allowed.

What leads me to this is the firm belief that players can judge better than the rules which outcome of a scene is the most interesting, dramatic and fitting. Also, I do think that players who like the theme of Aller Tage AbendPower 19) I am going to take a new approach:

The resolution system relies on dice, cast openly by both conflicting parties. However, any player is allowed to re-roll any dice roll if she really wants to. Just like that. The only exception are decisive scenes. Any player involved in a crucial dramatic scene can declare it a decisive scene, meaning no re-rolls by any party are allowed.

What leads me to this is the firm belief that players can judge better than the rules which outcome of a scene is the most interesting, dramatic and fitting. Also, I do think that players who like the theme of Aller Tage Abend
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Moreno R.
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« Reply #1 on: April 10, 2007, 04:11:55 PM »

Who calls for rolls in your game?

Because if the players call for rolls, then they can decide by themselves if just declare what their character do (like in "say yes or roll the dices), or roll dices to get input from the system. I can imagine a lot of situation where I wouldn't like to decide what could happen, and I would like to roll dices.

But if the rolls are called by the GM (there is a GM?), and the players can re-roll, it could be seen as a waste of time until they get the roll the GM ask. So I would give this option only to the player.  And let the GM call the roll of dices only in decisive scenes.
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Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #2 on: April 11, 2007, 03:19:33 AM »

Speaking for myself, I strongly suspect that my play would nigh instantly devolve into one of two modes: either I'd stop rolling altogether because it's pointless, or I'd refuse to use the reroll option on grounds of sportsmanship. Wouldn't feel manly to roll the dice and then run crying from the results. That's just the way I play.

Interestingly, I've never, ever encountered the issue of cheating in real life, only in internet discussion. Might as well discuss flying pigs as far as I'm concerned, which also have web pages devoted to them.

Therefore - while the systematic idea itself is interesting, I don't know if I have anything pertinent to say about it. Not my wibe. I know that I've used optional structuring mechanics myself on occasion, but I haven't usually been very happy with the outcome. (I wrote a tabletop larp in 2003 that used optional card draws the players could use if they felt like it, for instance. That worked only because of almost complete sensory deprivation in all other facets of the game.)
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Anders Larsen
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« Reply #3 on: April 11, 2007, 07:20:07 AM »

Quote
"But", you say, "Then why care to cast the dice outside of decisive scenes at all?"

Well, foremost because it's fun. And also because it may well produce interesting outcomes that players would not have made up in free-formish play, and yet decide to stick with.

A alternative way is to have the general outcome of the scene be decided freeform, and then have a die roll that puts some random and unexpected elements on top of that. Then you could maybe reroll that die if the additional randomness is not very interesting.

 - Anders
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #4 on: April 11, 2007, 09:23:29 AM »

What I don't understand is how that "creating interest via randomness" thing works in the first place. Think: if the point of rolling the dice is to see if the result sparks any ideas, then what do you need the die-roll for anyway, when you could just consider the results directly? Why not just have two cards, where one reads "SUCCEED" and the other reads "FAIL"? You could even have a "TIE" card there. You could then shuffle through the deck and see if any result feels inspiring. The question: if the card method doesn't seem inspiring, why should the dice? It's the same thing, except you pick which outcome to consider randomly.

(Of course this isn't true for true oracular systems that create more complex connections than simple pass-fail pronouncements. Tarot is a great example of that. But I don't think that's what's being discussed here.)
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Frank Tarcikowski
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« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2007, 01:24:32 PM »

Well, the dice and stats, in this case, still mirror the game world and the way it functions. Thus they provide structure and a foundation upon which to build the shared fiction. They establish "what the character can do", and through additional randomness mirror the unpredicatbility of life. So far, standard setting/genre consistency. As you may have noticed, I am talking about Simulationist game design here.

Historically, Simulationist groups that play in the "Dramatist" version of the mode have often felt the need for such "consistency" rules, while at the same time feeling that sometimes, the requirements of a dramatic plotline cause the need to override that same consistency. What you are wrestling with in your replies is the contradiction inherent to that mode of play. One classic solution has been GM fiat, "rule zero", illusionism and so forth. As all these have proved problematic, some have judged the mode itself inherently flawed.

I do not think that is so. The contradiction can be resolved, but the group needs to work out how. The above desribed rule is my attempt to spread responibility for that more equally than in traditional illusionist/participationist groups, while leaving the thing itself unchallenged. It also mirrors my philosophy that sometimes the group knows better than the designer, and a good design can make use of that in more thoughtful ways than "rule zero".

- Frank
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Moreno R.
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« Reply #6 on: April 11, 2007, 05:40:24 PM »

Hi Frank!

Some thoughts:

1) In my first reply, I had the mental image of a situation in the game where you like both possible outcomes as the default for "normal rolls", for "decisive" rolls reserved for situations where you (the player) really want only one outcome. Reading the rest of this thread made me realize that I got it wrong: if you like both results, you will accept the results. It's when you want one results (o don't want the one that you got) that you want a re roll. So please discard my first reply.

2) thinking about it made me realize that there is already a game that has a "re roll" mechanism to win a conflict that was lost. It's "Trollbabe".  In that game the re-rolls are not a sort of "legalized cheating" but are caused by the introduction in the fiction by precise elements. Re-rolling has a cost, in game resources and in fictional relationships.

It seems to me that you are trying to do something different. Talking about the "rule zero / illusionist" Paradigm you say "some have judged the mode itself inherently flawed.  I do not think that is so. The contradiction can be resolved, but the group needs to work out how. The above described rule is my attempt to spread responsibility for that more equally than in traditional illusionist/participation's groups, while leaving the thing itself unchallenged.".  So it would seems that you are trying to "redeem" Illusionism making it more... "democratic" in play, giving the same chances to fudge dices to everybody

I see a problem with this: illusionism (both in the theatre and in RPGs) works only because there's people who want the illusion. Giving them the power to fudge dices would be like trying to "improve" an illusionism show by revealing every trick to the publick beforehand. Ruining, in the end, the illusion.

Trollbabes give you (among other things) power over your choices and your "story" by peeling away the illusion and teaching you the tricks. It's the opposite of your stated intention.  I think that a group with a simulationist shared CA would choose to have "decisive" rolls every time in your game, to avoid that kind of illusion-breaking control.

What about this instead: for every rolls in the game, any player can ask THE GROUP to vote for a reroll, on the ground of the disruptive nature of the results (they could be "unrealistic", "off-genre", "ridiculous", or any other thing that could be seen as a danger to the kind of game they desire), and if EVERYBODY agree, the dices are rerolled.

This, in my opinion, would make this style of gaming more "democratic", minimizing the damage to the illusion (but for some player, that little damage could be already too much)
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #7 on: April 12, 2007, 12:12:49 AM »

Isn't the traditional method for combining drama and consistency to build rules that model dramatic action well? It seems to me that you'd only ever want to reroll/ignore dice if the rules system required you to roll in an inappropriate situation in the first place. I have difficulty perceiving how these can both be true at the same time:
- We want to be consistent in how we deal with the fictional characters: whenever one hits another with a sword, we find it important that the rules determine whether there is death, to preserve verisimiltude.
- We want to be consistent towards the genre: even if a mook strikes the hero with a sword, we do not roll, because the hero is not in any real danger from mooks in this genre.
It seems to me that you're claiming that both of these actually are true at the same time: there is a play group that really appreciates the verisimiltude of consistent rolling based on action, while at the same time fervently hoping that those same rolls do not mess up with the genre style of the game. Well, there might well be such groups. The pertinent question is: are these hyphotetical groups, then, sane? Such players, it seems to me, are working to cross-purposes with themselves, rolling dice when they are perfectly aware that any given die roll could result in the failure of the entire game.

Consider a typical dramatic sim game, like Adventure, the WW game of pulp adventure. Such a game tries to combine the necessities of drama and internal consistency by modeling a setting that just happens to support the tropes of the genre: old standbys of pulp plotting are made into special character powers, while mooks are depowered compared to protagonists and players are given bennies to control the important conflict situations. This seems to me a much more fruitful direction if you want to do dramatic sim than intentionally creating a system where the dice give wrong results.

Hmm... thinking about the original idea in practice, what I find annoying is that there is no meaning attached to that rerolling scheme. Trollbabe is indeed an obvious example of the opposite, there are concrete consequences for taking that reroll. But even if you don't want to have such hard-coded consequences, I could swallow the reroll thing if it meant something for the fiction. If the game was like Exalted, say, and characters did an anima flare whenever the player opted to reroll; that's already enough contribution for me to accept the necessity of rolling the dice, because it tells us when the characters use their super powers.

Alternatively, if the dice really gave more information than just pass/fail, then using them as an oracle of inspiration might be worthwhile. You could roll the results from a table, like Rolemaster critical hits, and gain some genuine detail.

I don't know, might be that I just don't get the kind of play where this would be useful. Carry on.
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Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #8 on: April 12, 2007, 07:12:11 PM »

Hmm, who decides when the dice are rolled in the game? Is it the GM-figure, or can the player call for a roll? The idea of having these re-rolls seems to have more sense to me if it's not the player who asked for the roll who asks for the re-roll (otherwise, what's the point of re-rolling the roll you asked for oneself in the first place?).

I assume we're talking about standard binary success/failure rolls, however. I'd say that the idea of having re-rolls would fit well in a system that, say, assigns a completely different event to every die result. This would mean that the player does not re-roll to get the other possible result - it would mean that the player re-rolls to change a potentially inappropriate result to one of many other possible results, still not being sure what the dice will bring.

Oddly, I like the option of declaring that a scene is decisive.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #9 on: April 12, 2007, 11:05:49 PM »

It seems reasonable in terms of having some amount of unpredictability - I'd say there's room there for a sort of dare or emotive weight to be added there by participants to push for other players to keep a roll - certain calling for a decisive scene is explicity asking for such. Note: By dare I don't mean anything gamist.

But
Quote
What leads me to this is the firm belief that players can judge better than the rules which outcome of a scene is the most interesting, dramatic and fitting.
True, but if they could choose what skill is rolled for, the could choose one that's dramatic and interesting - and it could still turn foul on them. Or would such a choice be too much in a 'vacuum', relative to what anyone else (ie, the GM) would have chosen, if the player can choose whatever?
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #10 on: April 13, 2007, 05:25:31 AM »

Does the game include the option of simply setting the die to the desired result?

If not, why not?

yrs--
--Ben
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Callan S.
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« Reply #11 on: April 13, 2007, 02:34:32 PM »

Hi Ben,

That's a pretty terrible question to ask. Frank doesn't need to justify his choice of goals but that's the only way anyone could answer your question. We can talk about whether his goals clash with each other or his implementation of goals clash. Could you rephrase it in terms of ask what goals he's going for and whether it works for them?
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Philosopher Gamer
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Frank Tarcikowski
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« Reply #12 on: April 15, 2007, 10:43:51 AM »

Ho ho, steady there. Ben's work is a major influence to ATA, so anything he has to say is of great interest to me. Also, Ben was part of the infamous GenCon 2005 BARBAREN! playtest and shortly after visited me in Hamburg, so you may assume that it's not necessary to defend me from him.

Ben, I think it's understood that a player may just tell his fellow players, "Alright, guys, I'm gonna roll the dice now until I get the result I want." And the others may either say, "Move on already", or they may protest because they don't think it's fitting. Either way, the group will resolve how to handle that kind of situation, which is part of the process how they develope their own interpretation and use of the rule. Does that answer your question?

- Frank
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Ben Lehman
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« Reply #13 on: April 15, 2007, 11:10:33 AM »

Hmm...

Yes, but it seems like there might be a lot less aggravation if that, if you knew exactly what number you wanted, you could just set the dice there and then move on / move into decisive action.  I'm not saying that this is how every interaction should work, it just seems to me to save a lot of aggravation if that's on the table as well.

(But now I've engineered this entire game in my head where the players set their dice to a number which indicates how well they do, and then other players can pick up and roll those dice if they want, which is a totally different game than the one you're talking about.  Oops.)

yrs--
--Ben
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