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[TSOY] Bringing Down the Dungeon

Started by tonyd, August 24, 2006, 04:58:52 PM

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In our last week's TSOY game, I came up with an interesting tactic for bringing down the pain. The group had made their desire for some dangerous underground archaeology in an alien temple known. In order to make the adventure interesting and to keep in the spirit of TSOY, I decided to create the temple as an adversary with its own character sheet and motivation.

If the party was able to beat the temple in a conflict, they could get in and get what they wanted. If they failed in this conflict, they would be forced to resort to bringing down the pain. BDTW could then be played as a sort of abbreviated dungeon crawl with each action by the temple being a different obstacle that the adventurers would be forced to overcome. The tactic was a big success and gave us some fun gameplay.

In my game, the temple was an alien structure possessed by a very ancient and powerful zamani, but you could do the same thing in a whole bunch of different ways, including a demonic possession, defensive AI, master sorceror or what have you.

Here are the highlights of the temple's character sheet:

Possessed Neptunian Temple
Foil intruders: master
Neptunian technology: adept
Secret of synergy (for rolling neptunian technology into foil intruders during BDTP)
Secret of traps and obstacles: bonus die for foiling intruders
Secret of Allurium doors: penalty die for anyone attempting to open the outer doors (make it more likely that the PCs have to use BDTP)

I wasn't sure how the players would take this, since I was trying to almost force them into BDTP, but it worked out just fine. First one of the PCs tried to open the outer doors, but lost the roll. Then some of the players threw him bonus dice to beat the doors and he succeeded. Then the rest of the players threw ME bonus dice until I beat the PC because they wanted to try beating the temple in BDTP, which was indeed very cool.

The whole process took well over an hour, which is the longest BDTP I've ever played. If people are interested, I'll post a full write up in the Actual Play forum when I get a little time.
"Come on you lollygaggers, let's go visit the Thought Lords!"


That's really cool.  FATE has similar rules for doing this - the challenge has its own Harm tracker, and different options are given for setting time / turn limits, what the different Harm means, et cetera (the main example is a chess match - low Harm is losing a Pawn, high Harm is losing your Queen).  I had been wondering about adding that to TSOY, given the same idea is involved.  I'd be interested in the AP.

- George

PS - The zamani temple really should have been on Pluto. :)


Quote from: Twobirds on August 24, 2006, 06:02:25 PM
PS - The zamani temple really should have been on Pluto. :)

LOL. Funnily, it's an ongoing pseudo-gag in our campaign that whatever is on Pluto must be REALLY bad.

I'm not familiar with FATE, but I think any game with a system like TSOY's might have this potential. In the past, coming up with a fun dungeon crawl at least once in a given series has been my biggest GM-ing headache, but using BDTP I was able to run a fun one essentially off the top of my head. It turns out (would you beleive it) that what makes a dungeon crawl fun isn't the meticulously planned obstacles, but how that dungeon crawl meshes with the heroes goals and desires. Mind you, it helps when their desires include swashbuckling across a pit with their true love's unconcious body tossed over their shoulder. :)
"Come on you lollygaggers, let's go visit the Thought Lords!"

Clinton R. Nixon

This is super-cool. I love this idea.
Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games


OK, I just posted the AP for this in the AP forum. Cheers!
"Come on you lollygaggers, let's go visit the Thought Lords!"

John Harper

This was super cool and fun to play. I think Tony came up with a real winner here.

I've been thinking about it since, though, and I think there's a slightly different way to do the same thing, within the rules. It does bring up a concern, though. Here's what I'm thinking:

Tony could have made the temple as a character, like he did. Then, when we try to break down the doors, he can call a contest, with stakes including Harm for failure. After that, we could have faced a second contest to get past the first trapped hallway, also with Harm for failure. And so on, to the heart of the temple. With this approach, the Storyguide doesn't have to make the whole temple a single roll and "hope" for BDTP, and it gives the players the option for BDTP on any given challenge.

Now, this raises a concern. Isn't Harm as stakes + multiple contests = BDTP? It seems like the Storyguide can fake BDTP with this method. Which is not a bad thing, to me. But some people might not like the implications. The obvious advantage to Tony's "one BDTP" method is that pacing and length of challenge are built in. When we defeat the temple, we get to the heart. Tony can't keep piling challenges on us forever. Which is awesome, and makes me once again want to give the Storyguide the power to call BDTP, or to create "extended conflicts" or something like FATE, even though I know this goes against some of the spirit of TSOY.

Thoughts? Comments?
Agon: An ancient Greek RPG. Prove the glory of your name!