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Thugs and Thieves: Playtest version

Started by ethan_greer, August 06, 2003, 10:59:42 PM

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Well, I've been making noises about it, and now it's time to put my money where my mouth is.

First off, I've turned my personal web site into the web site for my brand spanking new publishing company, SimplePhrase Press.  Check it out!  There, you can find the playtest version of Thugs and Thieves.  (If you don't feel like checking out the site and just want the goods, they're here.)

I'm looking for feedback on the manuscript as far as how it reads, flows, whether it's interesting, etc.

I'm looking for feedback on the game rules, particularly conflict resolution (the newest bit), the section on magic and magic items (the most revised bit).

And most importantly, I'm looking for playtesters.  If you playtest it and either email me or post about it here on the forums, I'll put your name(s) in the credits.

Thanks, all!

Andrew Martin

Quote from: ethan_greerI'm looking for feedback on the game rules, particularly conflict resolution (the newest bit), the section on magic and magic items (the most revised bit).

Hi, Ethan.
I couldn't spot any spelling or grammar errors. Congratulations! I did spot a "page xx" reference on page 3, though. Also, there's a number of places where there's two space after the full stop, which, with the proportional font you're using, makes the PDF look like it has "rivers" of white space running through it. I suggest just using a single space?

I was struck with the example of the character at the bottom of Page 4, that has implied game mechanics in the description of the items carried. Similarly, in the "Magic Items" section where there's more implied game mechanics. I think you should expand upon this, and let characters be composed of items as well as their Vice and seven ability numbers.

On page 8, the second bullet list item IS stupid. Probably better to rewrite it, I feel.

The system seems very generic to me. I could just as easily replace it with Fudge, and do just as well or perhaps even better (For example, Fudge's word scale is easier for novice players to pick up). Perhaps I'm missing something important that isn't described in the PDF?

I hope that helps!
Andrew Martin


Hi Andrew, thanks for the feedback!

QuoteI couldn't spot any spelling or grammar errors. Congratulations!

Yeah, the "page xx" is a known issue that'll be fixed in the final layout.  Believe me, there's no way I'd let that one slip through! :) And the bulletted list you mention is on the list for a rewrite; I was mostly just being silly. (Nobody expects the Spanish bulletted list!).  As for the white-space issue, I was taught at an early age when typing always to put two spaces between sentences.  Based on your suggestions, I'll experiment.  Thanks for mentioning it; it never would have crossed my mind otherwise.

On implied item mechanics:  The only implied mechanics I see in the example on page four are the mention of how Charisma and Physique affect Thedara's appearance (which I will probably formalize a bit more).  The description of items in that example are pure flavor, nothing more.  In the magic item section, I assume the implied mechanics you refer to are the references to using Cunning to identify magic items.  I agree that this needs a little further emphasis; I'll probably end up putting it in the Procedures section, since that's where I tried to put most or all of the actual mechanics.

On letting the characters be defined by items in addition to Vice and Abilities: You may be forgetting the Descriptors, which go a long way towards fleshing out the characters IME.  But it's certainly not a bad idea; I'm just not certain I agree it should happen at the start of character creation.  What I'm thinking at the moment is that I'll provide more formal guidelines for giving the characters magic items, and add some optional rules to (a) allow characters to start off with a single magic item at GM discretion, and (b) have the players provide a list of three or more magic items that they'd really like their characters to find; the GM could then use this list as a guideline.

On Fudge: Yeah, a conversion document wouldn't be too tough to create; I'll probably do one and provide it as a free download.

Now, the reason I went with a 2d6 roll-under mechanic is partly because of my admiration of Deep7's XPG system.  Todd Downing refers to the roll-under system as a "self-test" mechanic, i.e. the character determines the difficulty rather than an external target number.  Thugs and Thieves goes very much hand-in-hand with the concept of testing the self.

But there's another more fluffy/artsy reason, upon which I will expound: I think that reading a pair of pipped 6-siders is ingrained in the minds of anyone who's ever played Monopoly, or Parcheesi, or any of the hundreds of board games that use 2d6.  When you roll pipped 2d6 you don't even see the dots - you see a number.  Reading pipped 2d6 is as effortless as reading the word "the."  I think that's cool.  Finally, I like the probability curve.

So, while I agree that there's absolutely nothing new or innovative about the dice system, I think it fulfills its purpose very well for this particular game.

Mike Holmes

QuoteAs for the white-space issue, I was taught at an early age when typing always to put two spaces between sentences. Based on your suggestions, I'll experiment.

Just to comment on this quickly, with a non-proportional font like you get from a typewriter, it is important to use two spaces after a period. But that changes with proportional fonts like you have on a computer. This was Andrew's point. You don't need to put in that extra space with a computer, and, in fact, it looks bad (unless you're using a monospace font). Many people trained with typewriters don't realize this, and make the mistake of putting in the extra space.

Fortunately it's easy to fix this with a Find/Replace.

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Hi gang,
Just to let you all know, I've updated the pdf download with a new version.  The new version fixes that bulleted list that Andrew mentioned, fixes the white-space between sentences, and adds one small section: When To Roll, which provides guidelines for (you guessed it) when to roll the dice and when not to.

If you've already downloaded, you probably don't particularly need to get this updated version. Again, this is just an FYI...

Mike Holmes

Looks nice. Next step, apporpriate page breaks. :-)

Reading it over, I noted that the section under Character Death seems a little contradictory. That is, it says that the character can only die when the player says he can, but the player jumping out of the window is a signal that he wants the character to die.

Well, who determines this? And, if it's the GM's ability to decide, then doesn't the real authority lie in the GM's hands after all?

In InSpectres, if a player had his character jump out of a window, he'd have to make a Stress die roll likely (and a big one probably), and there would be ramifications from that roll. In no case could they be interpereted as the character dying, however, the result would merely have to explain the outcome of the roll. Character lost all his dice? Well, then he landed on the top of a car, which broke his fall, but put him out of commission entirely. Or somesuch.

In your game, leaping out of a tower would require, AFAICT, a very hard wounding (physique) roll. The result of which is likely a -8 (totally screwed) result. That's not enough to prevent characters from jumping out of high windows? So your player jumps into the 10,000 foot chasm (and does not ask for his character to die)? Well, he ends up with the -8 result, and you narrate how he managed to hit a large flying demon on the way down, which partially broke his fall. Now he's crippled, and in the first ring of Hell. Neat!

The point is that your rules say that the game should be about high-flying action. Well, what's more high-flying than jumping into a 10,000 foot chasm. You might even roll a 2, and be caught by a Roc intent on taking you back to his lair for lunch.

If it's the player's option, I'd keep it that way, plain and simple.  

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Hey, that's a good call.  To clarify:  It's always the player's choice, and that particular sentence did not intend to put that in doubt.  I will revise accordingly.  Thanks for the input!

As for page breaks, I'll want to finish writing the thing before I get to the cosmetics...   :)