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Update on Action-Adventure Dogs - Introducing Weaknesses, other tweaks

Started by zornwil, December 02, 2007, 07:44:19 PM

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This is basically an update following

The updated rules document is at

The document was updated to have Story Arc as the default but still discusses how to run if not using that - in fact lots of discussion has been added.

Weaknesses were introduced for a few reasons.  A primary one is how in action-adventure one has weaknesses that they have to fight and unlike d4s have a direct effect in the opposition's (human or not) "attacks".  But also it works well in non-Story Arc campaigns as well as it requires Experience or Reflections to burn off, inhibiting growth as a trade-off, if desired.  Last but not least, it substitutes strongly for a lack of lethality in action games, allowing an alternative to death that still "penalizes" a character, without being too strong a disincentive (and one still has Fallout and so on).  All that said, this is experimental, we'll have to see how it goes.  It seems not to be an issue in "lighter" (purely social/non-dangerous and also relateively short) Conflicts,in fact it might need to be beefed up at least for the low end, but not sure yet. as it's been only one session and we didn't get into the beefy Conflicts really yet.

Group Abilities are tweaked to be less of an incentive but also less of a bar to entry, merely have them as you wish, and if anyone who has them participates in declaring them, the advantage being that all PCs get to throw them and it can help for things like roling dice for Lending a Die or otherwise out of Turn, handy stuff.

Some cleanup on the construcing NPCs section.
- Wilson


Further Weakness tweak, just mentioned elsewhere, not updated in doc yet but shall be "soon" -

I found that the way Weaknesses were written in terms of having a "Weakness Check" and checking for triple maxed dice was too much of a strain on things to pay attention to and complexity.  Not to say it's not doable, I just didn't like the flow breakdown in actual play, too many questions, not simple enough, too distracting.

When rolling Fallout, we revised to take the 3rd and 4th highest die (the 2 highest die after the top 2 used to determine Fallout) and simply apply those as follows:

8        1 Weakness, minimum 1d4
12       2 Weaknesses, minimum 1d6
16       3 Weaknesses, minimum 1d8
20       5 Weaknesses, minimum 1d10
- Wilson


Should give a quick actual play update on a topic. 

The Temporary d20 concept seems to work really, really well in Story Arc play.  d20s are a wildcard, to be sure, but they create a great tactical mix and are especially valuable to heroes as we've found in play you indeed can build up a couple as you go through a series of conflicts to reach a "Big Bad" and deal with him/her/it.  They are, of course, a wildcard, so you tend to want 2 or 3 to compensate for the likelihood of a boner "1" roll, but that's also the point, and even having 1 is of course a nice gamble, given the average roll can beat a d10.

In playing, with someone else GMing, I had a PC who had gotten caught up in a grim fight against a really deadly Big Bad.  Throughout the Story Arc, the Big Bad had built up a Trait to be a multi-d12 Schtick, so while the Big Bad didn't grow as fast, it did have that edge.  We faced the Big Bad a bit sooner than I had hoped, so I only had 1d20, but it worked, I got something like a 13 (can't recall exactly now) as my PC and another faced the Big Bad, which was risky to begin with.  This was a critical difference in the conflict and a dramatic one.  It allowed my emo-powered girl to mete out serious damage on the Big Bad, sucking up a bunch of its dice.  Without it, we would have lost the Conflict, which means we would have had to Give, be captured/in a death trap or such, and fight our way back, so still viable but different narrative.  However, it also created a dynamic where we managed to really hurt the Big Bad and it was so close I felt like  had to stay in it, despite my PC racking up horrible damage.  So in the end, the single d20 roll, accumulated during the investigative phase it should be added, helped to shape the conflict by providing an ability to do something unexpectedly dramatic against the Big Bad (NB - we also Lended a Die to heap on the damage as much as possible) but also committing us to the Conflict so deeply that it created a hairy medical follow-up that my PC narrowly survived.

On another note, the Story Arc system with temporary PC sheets works really well as each story arc allows you to amp up whatever is important to the PC for that particular storyline, then return to your normal form with some minimal growth (only Reflection) to your permanent sheet, and so you can start that over again in the next Story Arc and take a different path, such as valueing a Relationship a lot more in the next story as it concerns that particular character.  This is very cool and very serial-like.  So in the last 2 Story Arcs, my PC was using her melodramatic powers and "something's out there" to drive the story, whereas in the second my PC was using her religious dabblings and building up another PC Relationship more.  It's super-supportive of narrative by storyline.
- Wilson


That's really cool. I'm glad to hear that the temporary character sheets work, it sounds fun.