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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 169 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [WGP...] editing comments  (Read 5073 times)
Christopher Weeks
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« on: October 06, 2005, 10:31:40 AM »

Hi Michael and all,

I'm reading through WGP... pretty carefully and I thought I'd start a place for me to note any comments, suggestions, etc as I hit them (so I can take all the little neon post-its out of the book).  But I want to preface this with some praise, since it's going to look like I'm really being critical.  Michael (and Thor and Kat and whomever else deserves credit) this book is perhaps the best-written RPG of all time.  I don't mean the most fun to play -- I'm not that far along yet, but the writing is crisp, concise and on-topic.  It seems like virtually everything I've read is directly informative to the learning to play experience.  The running examples are better at converting the points just discussed into "real" play examples than in any game I've read.  I love that the four players have real, almost archetypal personalities (go Nate!) that we all know.  And I'm 60 pages into the book and haven't noticed any ignorant spelling or grammar errors.  Sweet!  But there are things that I think could be better.

p14 - The second sentence refers to "three main scripting questions" at a time when Scripting Questions two and three are visible.  The mapping of Assets, Motivations and Relationships to the points of these questions is broken (obviously, since they're not supposed to map) and it was confusing while I was reading.  So it's weird that SQs 3-5 are the "main" ones.  Further complicating my deciphering of the intent, the facing page contains three subquestions that seem to almost map to those three listed Aspect types.  If it were mine to do, I'd juggle some stuff around -- question order or the way that paragraph is written to avoid this stumbling black.

p17 - In the middle of the "To what degree..." paragraph a sentence reads "Also note that since an In most of the..."  I expect you've found that one already, but if not, fix it.

p24? - Grr.  I believe my daughter altered the location of my sticky and I can't figure out what was wrong here.  Sorry.  :-)

p30 - Middle.  "Once one your..." insert "of," right?

p52 - "during assessment" is used a few times.  Assessment is a new concept here and I find the term not at all intuitive.  Because of that, some explanation might be in order.  I know this is a perennial problem -- the order of concept introduction, and sometimes you just have to introduce stuff that way, but I prefer that concepts introduced without explanation have somewhat self-explanatory names.

p54 - Deanna's second segment.  "She shuffles her other cards and discards three of them."  Other than what?  I don't know if I've missed an important rule here or if you've made a mistake.

p60 - Two things.  "want to be involved...at any point."  Does this just mean that players have to decide at the initiation of the conflict whether they want to be able to swing in at some future point?  What's the cost of declaring that you're there to every conflict and just chery-picking the ones you end up liking the feel of?  Or, what's the point of making everyone declare "in or out?"  And maybe this will answer my previous question...in the example, it seems that Grace is picking fights with two players at a time.  I'm not groking the rhythm of conflict establishment.  Is everyone involved when a conflict scene is taking place, even if in seperate conflicts?  Or do they happen taking turns like Enrichment?

I'll respond to this thread as I run across more issues like the above.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2005, 05:46:43 PM »

Hi, Chris.

Sorry for the delay. It's been a busy weekend on the end of a busy week. This couldn't have come at a better time, though. I'm likely going to need to order a second printing before the end of the month.

Thanks for the kind words about the writing. I gave the writing a lot more time and work than the designing of WGP..., so I'm glad it's paid off. Plus I had Thor, etc. watching my back.

The examples of play were actually the most fun to write out of the old thing. Some of the bad jokes still make me laugh. Glad they're useful, too.

As for p. 14, I see your point. I don't think that all the scripting questions were consecutively numbered when I wrote that. Here's my rewritten paragraph, open for commentary:

Quote
The next three questions will define the aspects of your hero. Scripting question three covers your hero’s Assets. Scripting question four probes your hero’s Motivations. Scripting question five delves into your hero’s Relationships. Listed beneath each of these questions are a few subquestions to help you script specific types of aspects. List these potential aspects on your Scratch Pad. Even the most vaguely defined hero must answer questions three, four, and five, so a hero must have at least three aspects.

The fixed sentence on p. 17 is:
Quote
Also note that in most of the Silver Age comics that inspired With Great Power… origins consisted of two parts: empowerment and loss.

Found something on page 24. In Grace's first speech, she currently says:
Quote
put those aspects that line up with ideals in one column and ideals that line up with practicality in the other.
It should, and will, read:
Quote
put those aspects that line up with ideals in one column and aspects that line up with practicality in the other.

Page 30: fixed

Pages 33, 56, 83, 116: I changed "Permission granted to photocopy fo personal use." to "for"

Page 52: I understand that the term isn't intuitive. That box on page 52 got moved in every editing pass, I think. I've added a "(see page 75)" after the first mention of assessment and a "(see page 79)" after the first mention of winning a conflict.

Page 54: Yup, delete "other."

Page 60: The purpose of declaring who's in and who's out is because the number of players involved in a conflict affects the GM's maximum hand size. We found in playtest that if the players enter a conflict scene one at a time, the GM's hand is crippled during the first conflict setup, because the starting hand size is so low. She ends up having to throw away most of her advantage. The conflicts weren't as challenging.

As for "cherry-picking" conflicts, all I can say is that if you say you're in, then you're in. If everyone is wrapping up their pages of conflict and you haven't started yours yet, you'd better get going because you must have a conflict for this scene. You said you wanted one, so pick a fight, name some Stakes and play some cards!

It's kind of like another problem some people have asked me about: "What if a player chooses a Strife Aspect and then never Primes it?" My answer is: "Then they were lying when they chose it." Scripting Question Ten is "Which aspect of your hero is most important to you?" If you say that X is most important to you, and then never talk about X, you obviously weren't telling the truth about X being important to you.

I guess I kind of assumed a "stand by your word" ethos on the part of the players when writing the game. But even that kinda fits the genre, right?

Thanks a lot, Chris. Keep 'em comin'.
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Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2005, 04:30:27 PM »

Hi Mike,
As for p. 14, I see your point...Here's my rewritten paragraph, open for commentary:

Super!

Quote
Page 60: The purpose of declaring who's in and who's out is because the number of players involved in a conflict affects the GM's maximum hand size.
...
I guess I kind of assumed a "stand by your word" ethos on the part of the players when writing the game. But even that kinda fits the genre, right?

Sure, perfect sense.  But I also asked about how many conflicts are happening at one time?  And who decides that?  Grace seems to be running two concurrently on P.60.  Is that just how she (you) wanted it or is it always that way or...?  I've only moved on to page 70 since last post, so maybe I'll get this from the text in the future...but if so, my confusion about it still points to potential stumbling block for other readers.

Now, moving on to new issues:

p64 - Two things: When Grace primes "Burly Henchemen."  "[Grace moves her markers.]"  Markers?  The thing that indicates whether it's Primed or Risked or etc?  Is more than one thing moving in this play example? Also, right below that the next appearance of "Grace:" isn't in bold.

p66 - On the Categories of Conflict chart, why to the targets all say "attack...?"  That seems like something you must have had a concious reason for, but I'm not guessing what it is, so I'm curious.I don't think it's problematic, but I also don't see it as necessary.

p68(-71) - I don't like the way the headings "Option 1
Escalating" is formatted.  Obviously, you might, but it seems like a very weird heading style.  I guess without seeing a design philosophy reason for the way you have it, I'm inclined to think it should appear on one line with a linebreak after and it could be slightly smaller and bold (or not).  Thoughts?

p68 - Bottom paragraph.  You refer to the "characteristics of conflict" chart on p66, but on p66 the chart is titled "Categories of Conflict."

p69 - in the "split-universe" intro to the example you wrote "...DIFFERENT OPTION OF FOR RESPONDING..."


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Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2005, 09:45:16 AM »

But I also asked about how many conflicts are happening at one time?  And who decides that?  Grace seems to be running two concurrently on P.60.  Is that just how she (you) wanted it or is it always that way or...?
I'm a bit farther now and it has continued to be implied that during a conflict scene there are multiple conflicts to engage all players, but I'm still not seeing that explicated.  I think you should address it at least in the The Rhythm of Conflict box on p75, but earlier as I've mentioned might help the reader.  Also, I'd still like to hear something definitive on it.

p75 - In the above-mentioned box. "...overcome her though superior force..." You're missing an "r."

p76 - Bottom, "How to ink it."  "...show the reader how you hero is Suffering." add a "'re" to "you."

p78 - Bottom, "How to ink it."  "...he is scripting of the end of conflict."  Fix it (remove the 'of?').

general - I think it would be very useful to include a diagram of what the game table might look like during play.  It would be a game aid acting as a key to the various components and if you placed it early in the book it could forward reference page numbers both where the elements are printed and where they're discussed.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2005, 03:30:57 AM »

Sorry, I missed your first response.

There are usually multiple pages of conflict on the table at any given moment. Remember that “a page of conflict” is a conflict between exactly one PC and the GM’s villains. So, in the example text, Grace starts a page of conflict with Deanna and with Stephen. I call this “picking a fight.” Nate has the option of just watching those pages unfold, or picking a fight of his own, which he does. So, there are three pages of conflict being played concurrently. The player plays a panel, then Grace plays a panel. Then she switches to the next pages, whose player plays a panel. Grace responds and switches to the next page, etc.

As for actually picking fights, the GM has first crack to pick whichever fights she wants, then any players who have not had fights picked with them, have a chance to pick fights with her.

Does that clarify?

Page 64: “marker” should be singular. All fixed.

Page 66: Flip back to p. 131. Because both Tactics and Targets are in a single column, we had people at the table confusing the two (“I can hit him with a person? Cool.”) so we added the “attack” to further differentiate the two.

Page 68: I had designed the C-heads before I had written up the “How to Pencil It” portions. Since the designs are so similar, I see your point. I’ll think about changing it, but since I want to keep layout as close as possible, they’ll remain two lines.

Page 68: Changed to “characteristics” throughout.

Pages 69, 75, 76, 78: fixed.

I had originally wanted to have a table diagram, but ran out of time. I’ll see if I can whip one up in the next week or so before the reprint.
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Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #5 on: October 28, 2005, 04:10:33 PM »

OK, I made it through page 100 and thought it was a good time to check in, even if I only have three more.  (And maybe you haven't sent off for the next printing -- by the way, how many did you print first and how many in this next batch?)

p83 - Steb 3b.  You present the three numbered options with a different numbering/order than you did on and around p68 when you explained panel response.  Those ought to be synchronized.

p90 - Third paragraph in "What the GM is..."  You fail to terminate a sentence: "...GM's job to create it(period?) It is the duty..."

p91 - End of second paragraph.  "Consider all it to be penciling..." should be either "Consider it all to be penciling..." or "Consider all of it to be penciling..."
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #6 on: October 31, 2005, 04:22:53 AM »

Hi, Chris.

Great! Keep 'em comin'! I fixed all three.

First print run was 150. Next batch will likely be the same size--that'll probably keep me in stock until spring.
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Serial Homicide Unit Hunt down a killer!
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Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #7 on: November 01, 2005, 06:11:56 PM »

My entries are getting shorter.  I actually decided to write in now because the last issue in this note is something that I've been doing genuine research to figure out -- but am still inconclusive (and have more or less given up on, see below) and wanted to dump while it was still fresh.

p104 - In the bottom text block.  There's something about "Grace's plans near completion" that I think is hard.  I read it first as an error and figured out that it's fine but stumbly.  This stumbly might be my personal aesthetic, but I think there's also a "real" reason to make a change.  I think that "Grace's planning nears completion" is clearer, YMMV.  But, since it's a section discussing The Plan, I'd avoid using "plan" casually.

p104 - Same block, just a bit farther in.  "...Stalwar's lie..." needs a 't.'

p104 - Ditto.  "[Pearl] saw The Stalwart get."  Get what?  Killed, I assume.

general - the border art goes right up to the outside edges of the pages, but there's a line of white at the bottom.  I assume this is a layout or printing error.  Right?  Can you fix it?

p106 - Second sentence.  The third word is "need."  It looks wrong to me but I'm far, far from a grammar guru.  I sent it to my wife who's trained as a secondary English teacher, but also far from a grammar guru.  She wrote back
Quote from: Cathy Weeks
I think it should be needs in both cases.  If you take out only, and add "to" then need sounds funny.  However, Need only doesn't sound wrong by any means.
which I didn't think was strong enough to call you on :-).  So I consulted Fowlers on the use of need
Quote from: Fowlers
[need] operates in two ways: (a) as an invariable auxiliary verb or modal auxiliary followed by a bare infinitive; (b) as a finite verb.  Used as a modal auxiliary, it can only be used in negative or interrogative constuctions, or in phrases with a negative implication.
  If I'm groking that (which I might not be!), then your use of need is wrong because it isn't a negative construction.  (If you or anyone else can confirm or deny my thinking on this, I'd appreciate it.)

Anyway, it seemed funny and I couldn't say why, but wanted to bring your attention to it.  It might just be that in that one sentence you have need and needs and it reads funny.

Chris
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Christopher Weeks
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Posts: 683


« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2005, 05:34:30 PM »

OK, I finally finished the book.  Sorry I dragged it out so long.  Now I just have to find time to play it.

general - I've noticed that your capitalization of the phrase "the plan" varries.  Sometimes to capitalize 'the' and sometimes not.  I haven't gone back and analyzed if you have a reason for it at each point, but you might want to run it through a search and check it out.

p106 - Last paragraph.  The first word is lacking an 'n.'

p111 - Middle of the first full paragraph on the page.  You've run "thepage" together.  (Interestingly, several of these remaining notes are of this nature.)

p113 - First paragraph under "Pacing..."  You've run "createthe" together.

p115 - The very top line.  You've run "theside" together.  (See? :-)

p121 - Top, partial paragraph, second to last sentence.  "If you can prefer things that way..."  I assume you just want to yank 'can.'

Michael, did you change your mind about including essays on what makes a comic, or do you feel like you covered what you wanted to?  As I recall from conversation with you, there was going to be more of that and I'm wondering if I misunderstood, you changed your mind, or you just 'poured' it into the written system.

I very much liked the way you handled alternate rules.  Explaining why they aren't default rules is very, very nice.  I started this whole thread with effusive praise for your writing.  I still think that.  I think this is the best-written RPG that I've ever seen.  Other authors should hire you to write their games for them if you could do it as well.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2005, 09:58:32 AM »

Hi, Chris.

Thanks a bunch for your help on this. Those words flowing together was likely due to my hurried review of Thor's changes in the final editing pass.

Michael, did you change your mind about including essays on what makes a comic, or do you feel like you covered what you wanted to?  As I recall from conversation with you, there was going to be more of that and I'm wondering if I misunderstood, you changed your mind, or you just 'poured' it into the written system.

You're right that way back at the beginning, I was inspired to give superheroes the same treatment Ron had given sword & sorcery in Sorcerer & Sword. As I went along, I found that writing the essays was a chore, as was reading them. I'm simply not a very good essayist. However, I found that the thinking that went into outlining the essays proved very fruitful in writing other parts of the game.

The essay I was going to call "Supervillains--Engulfed by Rage" turned into the Rogue's Gallery Process. "The Heart of the Game" on p. 77, "Superheroic Origins" on p. 17, and "What is a Melodramatic Superhero Story" on p. 2 are all taken from those essay writings. Plus, I feel that I said what I had to say in the mechanics themselves. I could prattle on about trama and loss leading to final victory, OR I could explain how the Story Arc works and urge people to play it.

Quote
I very much liked the way you handled alternate rules.  Explaining why they aren't default rules is very, very nice.  I started this whole thread with effusive praise for your writing.  I still think that.  I think this is the best-written RPG that I've ever seen.  Other authors should hire you to write their games for them if you could do it as well.

Again, I blush. I've being doing between 5 and 7 game conventions a year for over seven years now. And I've always liked to run lesser-known games where I've had to teach the rules right there at the table. It's given me the ability to focus specifically on how rules work in operation, and prioritizing what people really need to know to play the game. Focusing on play  as concretely as possible is a great way to go, I find.

Here's hopin' you manage to get a game together soon!
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