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[Poison'd] Various Things

Started by coffeestain, August 27, 2007, 05:20:05 AM

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So, Saturday, there were two groups playing Poison'd.  The group that was not mine posed some concerns.  I'm pasting my responses here to see if they make sense to you, Vincent:

Profile seems under used:  It's only important if your pirate is unarmed, or his enemy.

When to roll out of combat is questionable:  The players should come up with reasons to roll out of combat. They roll when they try to be brutal, endure things, be sneaky or do dangerous things. If they're not doing those things, they don't roll.

3 Xs to kill any NPC, like ever? Really? Even in a fight?:  I thought this would be a problem too, but in play it didn't turn out to be. The NPCs aren't really important enough to matter in most cases, and 3 X's is more than a player would have to spend many times to get through a fight.

3 Xs to take out a PC with a deadly wound? Like in any fight? Really?:  I don't think it's unfair, really. Deadly wounds really just give the player a choice of making a bargain or leaving play.

What happens if 2 PCs are ganging up on 1 enemy?:  I'd treat it like fighting on a side, pg. 11. Alternately, fighting with an NPC on your side is like a consort, pg. 15.

A company rolls based on the Brinksmanship of it's commander... so if the commander dies, do I keep that score, or do I roll up a new brinksmanship score?:  Come up with a new commander, one not as good as the old one. Like voting for the new captain.

Leisure seems overrated:  Leisure is important because it allows you opportunities to pursue some of your ambitions.

I seemed at a loss at times on how to push play forward:  I pushed play forward through Cruel Fates. The first things my players did was deal with Tom. Then they decided on a new captain, which was hugely important. The next thing they realized they had to do was get rid of Wear & Breakage and Want (Staples & Fresh Water) before the Resolute got to them or the session ended, respectively. That's a lot of material right there. Cruel Fates and searching for prizes are the biggest driving factors in the game apart from the more obvious ambitions. Cruel Fates, in particular, are excellent for driving play and providing goals/penalties.

Now, some of my issues:

- I had a hard time getting the players to do things that weren't based on their most effective stats.  What's the best way to do this?  My gut tells me that the players should have these choices, but they were getting a ton of X's.  Is this even really a problem?

- There doesn't seem to be any mechanical significance for escalating to the higher levels of mob fighting.  Specifically, no difference between "a few of your own killed" and "many of your own killed".  Should these affect profile?  I'd suggest another Cruel Fate - Dead Men; When this Cruel Fate is brought into play, reduce the Profile of your crew by 1.  If Dead Men is brought into play a second time, reduce the Profile of your crew by 2 and your ship by 1.  If brought into play a third time, find a new crew.  Dead Men can be removed from play the same way as Want.



Thanks, Daniel! Your answers make sense to me. I'll try to hit your outstanding questions, if I miss any point them out to me.

I don't intend taking someone out of a fight to be a tactical move, but instead a personal move, a story content move. Accordingly, I'm not too worried about how you handle it dicewise: it shouldn't short-circuit the fight, except when it should, right? As GM, adjudging which, case by case, is part of your job. (This doesn't present a conflict of interests for you because, as I hope you've learned from Dogs in the Vineyard, you really don't care how any given fight turns out. Every outcome is good.)

Profile matters only a little, unless there's a big mismatch (as when one or the other side is unarmed, yes.) That's cool with me. If you like, you can think of it as something like "all weapons do 1d6 damage, except really honkin' big ones, which do 1d8 damage." Distinguishing between pirates according to their fashion choices doesn't move me.

The best way to get players to roll disadvantageously is to pay attention to what they have their characters do and hit them with the appropriate rolls. They'll be seeking out opportunities to, for instance, go into danger; you should be watching closely for when they DO use stealth or great care, or DO practice their craft under bad conditions.

Same with bargains, incidentally: I don't care how casual it seems to them when they make it, if it's a bargain, it goes on someone's character sheet. As GM you need to oversee that.

And finally: you're right, somehow that didn't go into the rules (except in one inadequate place - the cruel fortune Disease). You should adjust Profile as actively and responsively as you adjust any other stats. So unless there's something else going on somehow, losing a fight company to company should absolutely mean losing 1 or 2 Profile from the ship's crew.


John Harper

Profile matters when you say, "I disarm him," and then you do so, and then you say, "I kill him right in the ear." Getting stuck with a 1 all of sudden pretty much sucks.
Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!


Awesome, guys!  Thanks for the responses.  All of this stuff made sense to me (some of it, sadly, in hindsight), and I'm looking forward to playing again!

For what it's worth, I ran the game for my girlfriend, Sarah, and her brother, Zack.  Sarah's played games with me in the past and, incidentally, with Mr. Harper.  So she knows what she's doing.  This was Zack's first exposure to gaming of any sort, but not to pirates.  We were camping and I whipped it out, only having read the booklet once.  It worked great.  Character creation was a blast and got everyone right into the mood.  The initial Cruel Fates gave everyone strong direction.  Flashbacks were natural and made up about 1/3 of the rolls in between fights.  Hunting for Prizes seemed like the thing to do, at least until the initial Want and Wear & Breakage were off the table.  By that time, there'd have been more to deal with, of course.

Zack stayed away from a lot of the sins, particularly since the other pirate was his sister and he might have started off a little uncomfortable with the situation.  Sarah dove right in, on the other hand, and wound up with Kate the Butcher - ship's surgeon, but never medically trained.  She was born a butcher's daughter and was damn good at cutting meat, though!

So, yeah.  We went from character creation to play and ended with a lot of story meat on the horizon.  That cost us virtually no prep apart from my working at unpacking the dense rules earlier in the day.  Thanks for the fun!