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Author Topic: Gaming designs without initiative order?  (Read 14853 times)
Daniel B
Member

Posts: 171

Co-inventor of the Normal Engine


« Reply #30 on: December 14, 2008, 06:28:46 AM »

Hi Patrice,

I ran into a similar quandry as you did. I'll tell you of an idea I came up with. It's a fun idea and I'm pretty certain it is unique, but I'm not sure it is feasible, as I have yet to build a fully-defined system for it.

My line of logic is this: in all of the gamist combat resolution systems I've ever seen, you could say that the combatants "follow" the clock. In other words, the clock "ticks" one unit of time, and each character involved in the combat must perform actions in order to catch up to that unit of time. This arbitrarily quantifies time, making it feel quite artificial, which has always bothered me. It occurred to me, why not let the players actually lay out their actions first and let the clock do the catching up, synchronizing the characters' actions as it goes.

The idea I came up with would be to sort the order of the characters in terms of who declares their action first, not who acts first. At the very beginning of a combat, whether someone is even allowed to declare an action depends on whether they are:
         (a) aware of the potential opponents, and
         (b) interested in acting first, as opposed to simply reacting to the actions of the opponents.

Since (a) and (b) are mutually exclusive, we have three groups:
         (1) unaware of combat,
         (2) aware, but wanting to wait and react to the opponents/situation, and
         (3) aware and wanting to act right away.

You'd only have to sub-sort these three groups. First, for group 1, you might roll or use the characters' awareness to figure out how long it takes them to clue in. This awareness time might be short-circuited as combat progressed. These characters would then filter into one of the other two groups. For group 2, the characters would simply wait. They could choose to jump into combat at any time (ie actively move themselves to group 1). The characters in Group 3 would act effectively simultaneously, but the players would declare actions in order of each character's speed (or agility, or some die-roll+dex, whatever) and have the character start performing those actions if not interfered with, such as by running into an invisible wall. Resolution would happen on the scale of the actions themselves, not on "rounds" or "turns".

Group 3 characters could not interfere with the "brief" actions of each other (except accidentally). They could interfere with longer actions, but only after they "notice" the action they want to interfere with. Until that point, they are committed to their originally stated intentions. For example, a holy knight could declare that he wants to go kill a goblin grunt. Next, the GM could declare that a nearby goblin-mage is preparing to cast a line-of-sight disintegrate spell. The holy knight's player would obviously be well advised to change his action to something defensive, such as ducking behind a tree. However, the knight is committed to attacking the goblin grunt for however long it takes the character to notice the goblin-mage, such as with a "Sense Motive" or "Awareness" check.

Group 2 characters suffer the natural time penalty - the opponent gets a head-start since the action is already in progress when the Group 2 character decides to react. Additionally, the Group 2 player must still roll a similar "Sense Motive" check as discussed above, if the intention of the action is not obvious. (Although if they fail the roll here, they are not committed to continue waiting, depending on the context; a wizard might wait to watch an enemy mage to see if he'll cast a spell, but decide to cast a "Detect Illusory Mage" spell when the mage doesn't seem to do anything significant after some time.)

In the rare case that everyone falls into group 2 right from the start, ie everyone waits to see what everyone else is doing before acting, you could do a roll to see who loses nerve first, and how long it takes.

Patrice, please let me know if these ideas interest you. If so, I'd like to talk some more.


Dan Blain
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Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."
Ante
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #31 on: December 14, 2008, 05:37:31 PM »

I think I kind of lost you somewhere on page two, but I can add on an example of a game without initiative which I play every week.

Tunnels & Trolls is a game where combat is totally without initiative. Everyone of the players roll their attacks and add them, and then the "monsters" do the same. Bigger total wins and the difference is damage to the looser. You can embellish it a lot, but that's the rules. Ron have posted some fun Actual Play threads that might give more details.

The system is well worth checking out, and to compare to Vincent Bakers Storming the Wizards Tower.
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Andreas Davour
Marshall Burns
Member

Posts: 485


« Reply #32 on: December 15, 2008, 02:23:11 PM »

Could both of you explain how you do define the target area and vector? Do you use a grid and state fixed numbered positions or does it function with a more flowing logic in  your systems? Does it work with the targetc area just stated as "Close, Left", for instance?

In GRiM, it's on a grid.  You have little grid diagrams on your maneuver cards(one for movement, one for range), with an X indicating your current position, and shaded squares indicating the movement or attack range pattern relative to your position (and you play the card turned to reflect your facing).  As far as attack range goes, it can skip squares; like, say one of your maneuvers is tossing a bomb, and it doesn't hit the first two squares in front of you, but hits a 3x3 chunk after that
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Adam Dray
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Posts: 676


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« Reply #33 on: December 16, 2008, 08:35:33 AM »

Games with movement use initiative systems to solve the "where are you at what time" problem, right? And a lot of your issues seem to be in answering, "Is this guy close enough to this other guy to hit him?"

Abstract movement a little. Not a lot. Treat melee attacks like short range attacks. Give your brain a moment to absorb that. Say, "A melee attack allows you to hit any target who passes within 4 squares of you during your turn." This makes combat a little crazier and chaotic, and there might be some unpleasant square counting behavior, but it might solve your problem -- at least the movement order one.

Then all actions happen simultaneously. Use this turn progression:

1. Free and Clear. Everyone declares actions and revises until everyone is satisfied.
2. Plot movement. Figure out where everyone moves and ends up.
3. Resolve attacks. Figure out who hits whom.
4. Resolve effects. After everyone has attacked, figure out who gets damaged, who dies, etc.

This means that you can't say, "I tackle her and intercept his attack, preventing her from killing my brother!" If she wants to kill your brother, the best you can do is make her attack on your brother more difficult this turn. Your tackle effect will occur simultaneously with her sword attack on your brother.

This means that a character can be considered to be in more than one square at a time during a turn. A character occupies every square he moves through that turn. It's a quantum physics thing. Wink So if you move four squares, all five (yes, including the one I started in) of those squares contain you for positioning. I move three squares, so four squares contain me. If any of my three squares are within melee range (let's say two squares) of any of your four squares, it's possible for me to attack you in melee, cuz I can reach you, cuz combat is chaotic.

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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Adam Dray
Member

Posts: 676


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« Reply #34 on: December 16, 2008, 08:43:49 AM »

Okay, I remembered another way to handle this. Interrupts.

I wrote a game called Hellball, where you play pro football players who are being blackmailed by The Devil and forced to visit Hell and play a demonic football game (with no fouling rules) against demons to save your Coach.

Anyway, in Hellball, there's a simple initiative system -- and I know you were trying to avoid one -- but this is different, because it might solve some of the passivity problems you have with such systems. Players roll initiative then act in order from worst to best. During any player's turn, if you haven't gone yet, you can interrupt and go. When you're done, you're done, and can't interrupt anymore, and the interrupted player continues his or her turn.

So imagine you, me, and Bob are playing Hellball. I roll worst, Bob rolls next best, and you roll the best initiative. I go first. I start my six movement: one, two, three -- I get close to you and you interrupt me! You move -- one, two, three, four, five -- tackle!! We roll the tackle and I go down. My movement is ended now, and I might use the rest of my turn to try to get up or whatever, but I have been effected by your interrupt. You and I are both done now and can't interrupt Bob's turn, though.
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Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #35 on: December 16, 2008, 03:39:04 PM »

Oh, something that comes to mind if your using a grid is that characters have a sort of 'reach' zone around them of X amount of squares. At the start when everyones declaring their moves, if someones inside your reach, you can effect them. It doesn't matter if their move is to run ten miles away or teleport, if at the start they are within reach, you can affect them (with whatever move). The character manages to get over there and do what the move is, before the other leaves. There, order doesn't matter, only starting position.
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #36 on: December 16, 2008, 06:07:28 PM »

I'm the cheetah, I declare a charge and a few chews upon my prey. Alas, the opposed movement check states that my prey escapes. Where has the attack I declared gone? In the wind. Here comes Zeno again, under a different guise. That might be tactically adequate, considering pytha ceteris paribus but that would also involve a very frustrating gameplay. The other failure is that, the Order of Speech has now become so important that it is an initiative in disguise in itself. So the solution isn't really one

Yep, that's only the first step. I've chopped my answer down into sections so that it will be more easy to digest, rather than my old technique of chucking a huge splurge of text at someone. My general objective for this stuff is abolishing the "I go, you go" turn structure for something that handles the simultaneity and also the just-off-simultaneity of real life. So after sorting out how to make the timing-independent actions work you can implement a timing/interrupt system for the other bits, as well as exploring action declarations.

Now firstly I would call the specific action you refer to a conditional action gamble. The fact you lost an action is just part of the system, and even logic as you suggest! Now explicitly this means that you must accept the chance of loosing that action just as you accept the possibility of loosing an attack when you roll the dice, or that the plan "I'll play Russian roulette to get the money to buy a car" may not lead to you getting the car (overkill!). Does it have to be a part of the system? Well I think it is similar enough to any fortune in the middle mechanic to be an acceptable level of frustration. Remember also that although they do not catch them, they may get closer to catching them, so it's not a dead loss! I was reminded of the PIE system, where it is suggested that partial success on "I kill them!" are turned into wounds that make the next round easier, literally partial successes, you just need to fill up the rest!

But to get to your real point(as I see it), there are two bits left untouched; the interruption/thresholds I referred to before, and then there is the declaration order, the "gotchas" as Marshall puts them. As it happens, "gotchas" are one of my favourite things! My horribly unfinished system tries to deal with that problem by generalising on the form of gotchas with standard actions within the rules like "blend" "overbalance" etc, so those who might be susceptible to them have advance warning. It also does some other clever stuff in a really integrated way, so it's tricky to split it up!

Basically, I allow three layers of action changing which appear or disappear as appropriate.

The first is declaration of actions, which operates on a free and clear mode unless someone asks for initiative, which means they want to gotcha someone! If so you declare actions in order of perception/wisdom stat, which just means that the high wisdom character gets to work out what the lower wisdom character is doing but not vice versa.
From that point on you can choose to rush, which is the system for deciding the order of actions. It means that one character can choose "counter" and you can choose to race his counter, acting before it. This is the pacing system, so unlike Adams version, she says, "I'm going to swing for that guys brother" and you say, "I'm going to tackle her to the ground", you look at her player, and you get into a resource bidding war about the other kind of initiative, timing. Actions can have special interrupting effects if they pre-empt something, although the risk of failure means that pinning all you hopes on downing someone can be risky.
But what is the risk for wise guys? Well apart from a more general system there is a way for daydreamers to get a handle on stuff. They literally do the action "get a handle on stuff"! This is based on the "pause for breath" action in Inquisitor, where someone can spend an action on changing all their actions after that point. Now obviously that is a powerful action, but it is weakened by the fact that you can literally hit someone before they know what's going on, and because it is a kind of knowledge check to study the environment around you, so it has it's own risk of failure, especially in the dark!

So what is the purpose of all this business? Well the first system allows people to play insightful old monks who can anticipate your every move, but lets players know that if you do a power swing at him he is probably going to overbalance your character.
The rush effect allows you to adjust the timing of your actions once their all locked in, so you can choose to try to punch someone twelve times before he blinks, but it will either be unlikely or take up a lot of energy (depending on the resource system you use). It also allows all the cool interrupts with a nice slower tension-moment between players even during the fast flowing scene.
The "what's going on?" action allows people to play characters who have low perceptiveness and still come out with the rabbit from the hat, perhaps because they know who they are fighting.

As far as I can see they need to come as a set, it took me a while to pull all the other mechanics of my system off to make this set, and I'm not sure I would go any simpler, apart from possibly rush + free and clear. But think of all those juicy gotchas!
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Patrice
Member

Posts: 133


« Reply #37 on: December 17, 2008, 03:34:16 AM »

Sorry guys I've been lying down with a flu and didn't read your answers so far...

And there's quite a lot, as I cheerfully suspected it. Well, ShallowThoughts, I think you're aiming at something different from my goal because the underneath question, from what I read of your post, seems to me more connected to combat awareness and fog of war than to initiative. I mainly state it because you have a brand new initiative system with the way you design your order of speech (look: Speed? Agility? die-roll+dex? Doesn't it ring a bell?). Of course, the question of who's aware of the action and who's willing to get into it is fundamental to initiative design but eventually, once you'll have it sorted, you'll come to the sa
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wheloc
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #38 on: December 17, 2008, 03:41:56 AM »

How 'bout...
A system where the character who goes first is the one who initiated the action sequence, and their player then 'tags' another character (presumably the one they're most closely interacting with).  Add a caveat that no character can be tagged again until everyone has been tagged, and maybe encourage/demand that players can't tag another PC without mentioning them somehow in the description of their action.  Ideally it should be pretty obvious who you're tagging.

CAPTAIN LEADFOOT:  I can't take anymore of this monologue, I'm going to attack Dr. Longwinded.
DR. LONGWINDED (played by GM): "Hah, you've played right into my hands, why I've waited for this moment since..." he's going to continue his monologue while signaling the henchperson on his left to press the button...
HENCHPERSON A (also played by GM):.. who does so, which activates the crane which starts to drop Polly Pure into the vat of mutagen.
POLLY PURE: Er... I struggle?
(other players wait expectantly)
POLLY PURE: I mean... I struggle in such a way to as to inspire Sir Molasses to rescue me before I grow another leg.
SIR MOLASSES: Do I have to rescue her?
GM: No, but her 'inspire' action will give you a bonus if you do.
SIR MOLASSAS: Ok, I'll try to get her out while shouting, "I'll rescue Polly while you take out the Doctor" to Leadfoot.  To be clear, I want to tag Leadfoot, not Dr. Longwinded.
GM: Actually, there's another henchperson in the room still...
SIR MOLASSAS: Ok, I'll add, "...and watch out for the dude sneaking up behind you."
HENCHPERSON B: Er... who I guess fails his attempt to sneak up on Captain Leadfoot.

I could see a game like this working, as long as the players approached it with the right attitude.  It would encourage characters to interact with each other in interesting fashions, provided the system made such interactions useful.  At the very least it should keep everyone involved and should make it less likely for parties to fall into the rut of, "I hit hit, he hits me, repeat"
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Patrice
Member

Posts: 133


« Reply #39 on: December 17, 2008, 04:11:19 AM »

...to the same, was I typing (with tissue-glued fingers and winter gloves) question, left untouched: what happens to group 3 people? You seem to discard the question which is the main one for me in this thread. So it seems to me that you're facing an entirely different question, not a less interesting one, though, but a different one. You might find a piece of answer in JoyWriter's late answer as well since he designed his "initiative" system with wisdom or perception or awareness as the stat defining orders. Wouldn't that also be a solution for your trouble as well? Well, it's a clue anyway.

Holy Sh**! I forgot T&T! I've been shedding tears upon Castle of the Bear (almost)! And yet, I've forgotten  T&T! Thxs a great deal for reminding me this game, Ante, it is maybe a possible clue as well, and a very potent one: To abstract the fight to the point where the question of initiative would become irrelevant. Would that allow me to design something gamist enough? I don't know and must give the question quite a moment of thinking and maybe a few tablets of C vitamin and paracetamol as well cause the flu's lingering. I'll be back upon this idea in a few days.

Yes, Adam Dray, that is what we have in one of the three options so far. That's the Free & Clear option and its whereabouts as defined upon a grid by the Marshall Burns in above-message and further clarified by Callan. I think Free & Clear is the assumption you've been basing yourself Callan or I am mistaken? Definitely, a threatened reach is one affordable (and "cool") option but I'm unsure whether a reach would be possible without the "moving into a threatened square" phrase segment. If you retain only "starts in a threatened square", this allows quite a lot of rule-bending. This is another thing I have to think upon, I'm just telling you my first glance's insight.

Thanks for thinking further upon it JoyWriter. I don't quite agree with the fact of losing one's planned and spent action because of an opponent or another player's one being "Fortune in the Middle". It's in the middle, right, but it's not Fortune because it's not involving a random event but the planning of another player (whether impersonating a character or the opponents). Would we call that Fortune? It's more tactical wits or common sense I would say.

I came to a conclusion close to yours with the gotchas! JoyWriter. We've got interrupts and thresholds. We can set, define an initiative order, and we can offer tools to everyone to thwart, gamble and reverse it. Instead of trying to go initiative-less, I'm slowly going towards a less-meaningful initiative. This is the other option. Free & Clear, Secrecy or that (or maybe abstracting it like T&T now that I've been reminded it). The Hell system, going worst to best and interrupting sounds really really fun too. It is this kind of ideas I'm thinking about more and more. And I think, JoyWriter, that you're slowly getting somewhat close. Because what you have is (coolness, right) a new way of defining an initiative system in which interrupts, counters, shuffling and the like change the actions and generate gotchas! I love gotchas too and that's why I'm telling you *cough* the same thing I'm telling myself: Why would you NOW still want to avoid an initiative system since what you have is exactly the same thing except that what you've designed is cool enough to make it sound and lively?

PS Sound a funny narration system Wheloc! Tagging is fun.
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Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #40 on: December 17, 2008, 03:48:14 PM »

Definitely, a threatened reach is one affordable (and "cool") option but I'm unsure whether a reach would be possible without the "moving into a threatened square" phrase segment. If you retain only "starts in a threatened square", this allows quite a lot of rule-bending.
I don't understand? Is combat run over a number of turns or just one single turn? If it's on multiple turns, wherever you move to, where you stop at the end of one turn is where you start from on the next. If that's within someones reach, they can affect you.
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Patrice
Member

Posts: 133


« Reply #41 on: December 17, 2008, 04:09:24 PM »

Oh.

Right.

Didn't quite get what you meant in first place. Yes, this is an option then. Still feels a bit strange to me, only because it sort of disallows hit & run tactics, or should I say maximizes them at the very contrary but it turns the practical effect of the movement, its resolution phase in the prior order of actions. I dunno if I'm very clear... It's just that it is a good practical solution but its feel is a bit odd to me. That would mean that, if I want to slash you on the run and I'm able to, my hit would actually take place on the next round because you would start close enough to me at its start. Did I get your meaning?
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Daniel B
Member

Posts: 171

Co-inventor of the Normal Engine


« Reply #42 on: December 19, 2008, 06:12:12 AM »

I figured I'd see how others responded to this thread after my initial reply, so maybe this is coming a bit late, but I think I'll offer a follow-up anyway.

The thing with the "Gotchas" and interrupts in RPGs is that, in my opinion, they somewhat border on metagame play. Someone brought up the game Magic The Gathering, where instants are allowed. This is NOT the same mechanic, because that game truly is turn-based (as opposed to being turn-based-but-simulating-simultaneous), and the instants are therefore wholly NOT metagame.

So, if we're shooting for a system that simulates instantaneous actions but which doesn't involve metagamey interrupts, we have to decide which character (not player) goes first, at any given point during the combat. The system I'd suggested earlier does, I admit, sound like a fog-of-war type mechanic (especially now that I read back over it), but I think that's because we're all more familiar with the "1 round-1 round-1 round-1 round" format of combat instead of the "do your stuff until you decide to change action" style I'm trying to express. This system applies to beginning initiative, but I believe it works mid-combat, and so I'll attempt to set up a scenario that demonstrates it. (I'm keeping the numbers small and the combat-values rough just for the sake of clarity.)




Let's take a group of three blood-thirsty faceless goblins (named A, B, C) who are in combat with three PCs, Fighter, Thief, and Wiz. At the moment (meaning, at the point at which we, as outside observers, jump into the situation already taking place among the players and their respective characters), Fighter is attacking all three goblins and defending Wiz, who is drinking a healing potion. Thief is behind the couch trying to sneak behind to backstab B.

The three PCs are happy with this situation, for now. The DM is happy with this situation for now. They continue their actions, simultaneously, uninterrupted. Suddenly, however, something changes.

Quote
DM (upon rolling the first successful spot check): "Uh oh, C makes eye-contact with you, Thief! Fighter, roll to see if you notice the awareness in his eyes. Wiz, you can't see him past Fighter, so you are disallowed the roll."

Fighter: "Got it. I spotted him."

DM: "Okay. Who's doing what?"

Fighter: "Well, we absolutely must reduce their numbers. I'm going to focus my efforts on C, to distract him and hopefully allow Thief in for a kill."

Thief: "Word! Even if C hits me, I'm goin' in."

Wiz: "Well, I'm done drinking the potion. I guess I'll cast another buff on Fighter."

(Now, everyone starts performing these actions in order of character's speed or possibly a combination of speed and who-noticed-first. Fighter aims his next attack at C, Thief creeps up behind B's back, and Wiz starts the actions for casting a spell.)

DM: "You've damaged C, Fighter, but he's still got some fight left in him. He is withdrawing, and it looks like he's preparing to attack Thief. Thief, you're in danger from C but B still hasn't noticed you. Wiz, it looks like A has spotted your attempt to cast a spell. He's slinking past Fighter. Roll a spot."

Fighter: "Do I see this?"

DM (making a judgement call): "Afraid not .. your attention is on C. Nice roll, Wiz. You see him coming."

Wiz: "Uuuuh .. I can NOT afford to get hit, even after the potion. I'm going to let the buff spell fizzle and cast magic shield instead."

DM: "That's fine, but A has already taken a few steps in your direction. There's a good chance he'll get a swing at you before you're done casting."

Wiz: "I've got no option, since running will just get the attention of the other goblins. That's a chance I'll have to take."

As you can see in the above example, the changes in actions occur naturally. Most of the time, people will do the same thing until there is a change in the situation. The fighter can just, say, roll a bunch of attacks in a row while the thief sneaks and the wiz casts, assuming the goblins don't change their actions or die, or there is another change of context. The clock follows the actions instead of meting it out by rounds.

Now, whether this system is feasible, and whether it is as fast as other systems ..... I can't say. I like the concept though. The one potential flaw I can see is that players will still act somewhat metagamey. In the quoted example, Wiz could have easily changed his action to something that would distract C (thereby helping the whole group), instead of casting a spell that the character would have cast given that he is ignorant of C's actions. However, I'm inclined to allow this type of thing since it just serves to make the game a little more fun from the players' perspectives.

Dan Blain.
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Arthur: "I don't know. I didn't listen."
Patrice
Member

Posts: 133


« Reply #43 on: December 19, 2008, 08:54:55 AM »

Yeah. You see, here's initiative again with actions determined by order of speed and the like. I think you might simply be aiming at a Free and Clear system as presented by the Marshall Burns, that's a bit of what your example renders except that you added an "awareness" condition to the action-changing in order to avoid pure metagaming. Of course if you really play Gamist Free and Clear, you might find yourself in curious situations like:

A: I run and duck under the rock

B: OK then, the sorcerer shoots his fireball at the rock's base.

A: sh**. No, OK, I run around.

B: In this case, he will shoot death darts at you.

A: That won't do... Let me try...

Etc.

Your "awareness" input allows gotchas! in the Free and Clear system. That's its main interest I think.
On the other hand, let's talk MTG again (I was the one taking MTG in the discussion). You have interrupts and instants played last to first. Isn't that metagaming? You take a risk everytime you play this because you don't know what the opponent player has in store for you. Okay you take turns, very basic ones. But the ability to play instants during another player's turn and to interrupt or counter his actions goes well beyond a standard "Defense" or "Reaction" value, it's the opportunity for you to take the action at whatever of its course and to change it regardless of your initiative order (your turn). You maybe have 3 instants, or maybe can play these only once during the encounter. This is on the edge of metagaming without indulging into pure metagaming as you fear Free and Clear would become without some objectivity or awareness regulator. I like this MTG (or Usagi Yojimbo) idea: warp the turns logics but have turns. It seems to me much easier than trying without turns, except with some of the above-stated solutions (Secrecy, Abstraction, etc) which are compelling but won't fit that easily in what I'm designing. Actually, the different aspects of the design will come together in a single picture after a few posts and topics I think, but I can't really afford to expose everything in just one message. Or maybe not yet. It's sometimes easier to say "I love water" and dilute it with 12 different softs every time you drink it than to refuse to drink a single drop of water ever.
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Paul T
Member

Posts: 369


« Reply #44 on: December 19, 2008, 09:34:18 AM »

Patrice,

Have you considered changing the way you look at initiative? Perhaps you would find it more "realistic" to look at initiative in terms of its usual, English meaning, instead of the meaning it has taken on from D&D.

In other words:

* D&D - initiative tells us who acts first and when

However, in the real world, the word initiative means that you're the one who is active, the one who is driving the action, and therefore the one who others must react to. You're the one who is "leading" the action.

Fighting pretty much all happens at the same time, in the real world--people don't take turns. But, looking at a fight, you can often see who has "initiative" and who is on the defensive, capable of reacting but not acting.

Maybe that might be a more fruitful model?

Under this way of looking at things, initiative means that you have full choice of what to do, whereas those who do not have a limited choice, in reaction to whatever you are doing.

For instance:

* The one with initiative is the only one who can "attack". Those without initiative must seize initiative first, before they can do so.

But, perhaps there is some other advantage to giving up initiative, like a bonus die or the chance to change your action. Maybe declaring your action first gives you initiative... but your opponent now has the advantage of knowing what you are doing.

Any combat system (like T&T) where everyone rolls simultaneously, and then one party damages the other, can be considered to do this. Perhaps the winner of one roll is the one who gets to choose whether the fight continues or whether they wish to break off... etc.


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