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[Thugs and Thieves] Game text comments

Started by Ron Edwards, August 23, 2003, 12:04:50 AM

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Quote from: Matt Snyder1) Under Milieu, page 1: The first sentence of the second paragraph is a run on sentence. Just a grammar thing.
I'll run it by my grammar taskmaster; I thought the conjunctions made it valid...


Quote2) Under Descriptors, page 3: Perhaps make it explicit that only one Descriptor allowed per ability. When I first read it, I wondered how many a player could take, and it wasn't clear to me initially.
Fixed, and thanks for the suggestion.


On the equipment/economy: You pretty much nailed the concept that the equipment rules emphasize style.  What's not clear from the text is that the remark you quoted about bartering away needed gear is also a stylistic statement and not intended to imply any mechanics.  Bottom line is, that section needs a reworking; it's one of the oldest sections of the text.  Your comments highlight that.

Case in point:
QuotePlayer: "I have a donkey and wagon to carry my loot."
GM: "Fine, but you're getting hungry."
Player: "Ok, I trade the donkey for some meat and bread."
GM: "Great, you're full, but you can't pull your loot."
Player: "No sweat. I get a camel on my way out of town. Oh, and some shovels, and linens and . . . . "
What's not coming through in the text, and needs to, is that I would consider a donkey and cart something you'd purchase by rolling against Mastery.  To me, "equipment" refers only to gear that the character carries on his or her person, and only refers to comodities that are absolutely necessary to doing jobs.  Things like clothing, weapons, backpack, rope, torches, travel rations, simple tools.

Again, this'll all need to be hashed out and clarified.  In any event, you've gotten me thinking about it, so thanks.


QuoteAm I wrong in viewing Mastery one of, if not the most important attribute?
Enh.  When it comes to personal wealth, Mastery is important.  Otherwise, it's not a factor.  Mechanically Mastery and Vice are specific only to how the character handles all the excess treasure they get their hands on.

QuoteFurther, I'd like to see Mastery applied to different situations.
My gut reaction is, no. I like Mastery and Vice being very specific to treasure and handling money.  Reason being, it's really just a part of the reward mechanics, and not supposed to be a focus of play.  Granted, a Vice can really define a character, and most players will role-play according to their Vice.  But the game is as much or more about kicking ass and taking names.

The scenario you describe with the evil merchant who hires the players would IMO set up an unhealthy player/GM relationship, in which the player has to roll dice (effectively on their lowest Ability) in order to get a decent adventure out of the GM.  I realize this was just an example off the top of your head, but for me it highlights the problems of trying to work Mastery into things other than obtaining special items.  Specifically, I am against anything that will force characters to do something the players don't want, especially if the only way to avoid the undesired thing is to succeed on the character's lowest Ability.

On the other hand, preventing something the players want is a different animal; I'm okay with doing that, as evinced by the purchasing mechanic.


On the conflict resolution system vs. teamwork: The one playtest session I've done was a one-on-one in which the system worked great.  But then, there was no team involved there; it was just one guy against whatever NPCs I had. When I get a larger group together I will examine this carefully.

The example you supply (I open the door, then you attack) is doable in the current system, provided that these actions are not already taking place during conflict resolution.  Would you expect the characters to be able to plan things like that if they were also fighting guards at the same time?  How I would probably handle the example is, the first guy opens the door and springs the trap, and then we start a conflict resolution to deal with who does what first, the tiger or the other guy.

QuoteSee: Conan the Barbarian, when Conan and Subotai actually sneak into the snake temple and the snake mountain. It think the randomness of the dice mechanics and whether characters succeed or fail is sufficient risk for things to "go aglee". I don't see the need to enforce craziness again with the "can't change action" rules.
I can't remember the specific details of how the snake temple went in the movie, but if I recall the only thing that happened that I would handle with conflict resolution would be the encounter with the giant snake.  As for the infiltration of the snake mountain, the characters didn't really work together in a central conflict.  Whatshername is busy stealing the girl and setting fire to the tapestries, little thief guy (Subotai?) is dispatching guards, and Conan is upsetting the vat of human soup and fighting his two nemeses.

Oh yeah, and one other thing worth noting: the conflict resolution in the current (not online) version of the rules has changed as a result of this discussion, so things are a bit more flexible now.  Again, it's just something I'll have to look at in further playtesting.


Character death is another section that's been updated to make it more clear what I'm going for.  However, I agree that it needs an example to really drive it home to the reader.  Good call there.


QuoteThat is, if it's overtly suggesting that I go use material for other fantasy games I already own, why am I not simply playing those games and using those materials.
Yeah, I think that's another old portion of text that I don't necessarilly agree with anymore.  I'll probably lose that statement.  In my own defense, what I meant was that other materials can be mined for ideas, not used directly.  But I can see why you had that reaction.


QuoteI want to see some things that seem contradictory to be addressed or tightened, but I think there are lots of very groovy things going on here!
Thanks for the compliment!  I'll do my best to address the concerns you've raised.  Thanks for raising them!

Ron Edwards

Hi Ethan,

That's some good text for the geography/scenario/set-piece issue.

When playing certain games, one thing I do a lot is put out a big map that struck my fancy during prep. I just set it out there, secret doors and all, and we all use it from the bird's-eye view without caring much that characters have or haven't seen a particular portion (or making use of that knowledge for entertaining effect, but otherwise not caring).

Not for Tunnels & Trolls, in which my GM map is literally a weapon wielded against the players' caution and cunning. But definitely for Sorcerer and Hero Wars/Quest play.


David Chunn

Hi, Ethan.

I like the new scenario text.  Have you added it to the pdf yet?  I'd have to read it in place to really respond to how it works.  Now that the practical side is covered, I would personally like to see a section on making those locations really feel like Thugs & Thieves.  How can I make them gritty and vice-ridden?


How to make things gritty and vice-ridden?  That's a good question, and I agree with you that something like that is needed.  I'll have to think about how to go about conveying those ideas.  In the meantime, got any suggestions?

Per your request, I'll go ahead and update the PDF sometime this week and start a new thread when I've done so.