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Author Topic: Yggdrasil: Playtest reference preview  (Read 6331 times)
Christoffer Lernö
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Posts: 822


« on: November 17, 2002, 02:36:31 AM »

I have written a playtest reference for Yggdrasil. Some things are still missing but those are comparatively minor things.

Possible points of interest:

Disadvantage/Advantage mechanic
Although the basic resolution is 1d12 to beat (same or above) 7+skill-opposing skill/difficulty, I don't use any modifiers. Instead I use the mechanic described here.

Both advantages and disadvantages add dice (advantage and disadvantage dice cancel out each other). For a disadvantage roll all dice and pick lowest, for avantage pick highest instead.

Margin of success
For every skill test you count a margin of success. For 3 points over you get a "good" margin, for 5 an "excellent" margin and so on.

There's an interesting experimental rule where you can accept 2 disadvantage dice to be allowed to bump up the margin by a step if you succeed with the test.

Assisting challenges
Basically you can have characters assisting each other - this can be in skill, combat or magic. The assisting character(s) roll to see how many advantage dice they manage to contribute. This can also work in reverse trying to give someone disadvantages.

Inspirations
A loosely described rule right now, but basically it's about being given extra advantage dice or bumps to margin when in desperate straits.

Combat
The only interesting to say about combat is that it uses fortune in the middle to give narration rights to a character. It also uses previously mentioned margin to describe the extents of the move that can be described.

Magic
All you need for a spell is a description of how it looks and a power level. I won't outline the mechanics (because chances are it will get too confusing despite the idea being simple), but the basic effect is that the higher the power level, the more you can affect and the more likely that it actually works like it's supposed to. A lot of stuff in these rather simple rules are too subtle to go through in this quick overview.

What happens is that you roll for effect and then you are given the extent of the spell's effects. The player can then narrate the visuals of the spell given the established effects.

Oh, and you can get a bonus to a spell's power if you narrate extreme magical demonic side-effects (if you narrate moderate side effects, then that "uses up" some of the power on the grounds that some of the spell has to keep the demonic forces at bay).

There are other details about the magics which hasn't found its way into the overview yet, like "basic magic".


Now for the questions:

1) I've tried to keep things simple, but I still needed a few pages to lay them out and things aren't complete yet. Does it feel like "too much" and too complex already?

2) I've been working towards being able to set up cool scenes. The Inspiration mechanics, the "narrate your combat result", the "narrate your spell", being able to assist people built into the rules are all rules I hope could promote something like that within a system which doesn't allow true directorial mechanics. Is this on the right path?

And here is the direct link to the PDF http://www.8ung.at/ygg/QuickstartYgg.pdf


/Christoffer

P.S. A side note. The standard flat distribution of d12 has problems at either end of the scale. I thought of a method which I incorporated in the PDF above. Basically when the roll required goes beyond a certain range you get disadvantage dice instead. For example: if you really should need 15 on a d12 to succeed you instead need to roll 11+ but get 2 disadvantage dice. Good or bad idea?
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Christoffer Lernö
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« Reply #1 on: November 17, 2002, 09:42:37 PM »

A few more clarifications:

* Some of the mechanics might look like they have a bit of handling time, for example the challenge test with 1d12 beat 7+Opposing Rating-Own Rating. But they are all written so that everything (including margin) should be written down in advance on the character sheet. So, while success and margin isn't instantly readable from the dice rolled (I know a few systems do have this), you only need to throw a look at your character sheet and you'll instantly know the margin and success.
I wrote mechanics with the above in mind which might explain some oddities.

* The mechanics ARE supposed to look familiarly sim. The underlying play should however be somewhat different (hopefully). Some things might not be instantly obvious.

* What's seriously lacking from this rule overview is the meta mechanics available to the GM. It's only slightly hinted at with the Myth and the Threat Ratings. More to follow on that.
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Christoffer Lernö
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Posts: 822


« Reply #2 on: November 18, 2002, 01:45:54 AM »

Another clarification:

I just had some playtesting with Chris Edwards and I found a few problems with what I have.

* I feel the combat effects (something only mumbled about in the rules, but more concrete in my head) needs simplification.

* The stat descriptors while neat should be ignored for the time being, they aren't useful in their current form.

* Two really important basic rules, those governing Myth and Taint are both missing and might present fundamental changes in the way the game is perceived. They are not finished yet so the word is still out on how that will effect things. (Myth is an implementation of Mythpower as discussed in many variations elsewhere.)
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Tony Irwin
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2002, 08:20:20 AM »

Quote
1) I've tried to keep things simple, but I still needed a few pages to lay them out and things aren't complete yet. Does it feel like "too much" and too complex already?


No, it's great to see all your work in one place and so clearly laid out like that Christoffer, I confess its the first time I've felt confident enough to dive in and read all about Ygg. Have you considered a game-world description sheet? For a six page document, a one page description of what goes on in Ygg wouldn't be too much. It would help to show how the rules support the game-world. For example a skill can yield one #A dice in the right situation, so I want to know what a skill actually means in the world of Ygg - do I train for a year, is it natural ability or whatever. That will help me later on when Im playing the game and trying to count #D/#A.

Quote
Disadvantage/Advantage mechanic
Although the basic resolution is 1d12 to beat (same or above) 7+skill-opposing skill/difficulty, I don't use any modifiers. Instead I use the mechanic described here.

Both advantages and disadvantages add dice (advantage and disadvantage dice cancel out each other). For a disadvantage roll all dice and pick lowest, for avantage pick highest instead.


I like your dice system, I'd need to buy d12s to play it though! Going from one dice to two dice seems like a big leap in odds compared to movements further up the scale but I guess with #D and #A cancelling each other, everything rebases to the basic 1-dice-to-roll, so its the close-cut situations that will prove the most random (and dangerous) right?

The way you've described it, just thinking about situations in terms of advantages and disadvantages to what Im trying to do, sounds great. But later on you introduce lots of modifiers to this, the difference between my trait and his trait modifies the target number and the difference in combat range modifies the target number. Although I realise that different approaches to these may be part of your sim design goals, do you feel that it dilutes the simplicity and attraction of your D/A dice mechanic? Im probably not your target audience (I figure you're aiming for intricate sim modifiers and tables and lists, style of game yeah?) but it kind of says to me "Here's an exciting mechanic for resolving conflict and viewing the world of Ygg, except in these situations where the only way to get it to work is to change it."

You may also need to clarify who determines D/A and what the cost is for a player to actually earn D/A for their character. eg

Me: Ok I'll circle round him warily so as to make sure I'm on the higher ground, then I'll scream hideously as I attack. Can I get two advantage dice for that?

GM: Umm, ok.

Me: {thinks: sucker!}

Tables aren't really my thing, but tables I would very much need to see at the back are those that give samples of advantages and disadvantages in different situations and the dice they yield. Especially as a skill yields one advantage dice, so as a player/gm I really need examples of how other situations compare with this. Does the #D of attacking in the dark effectively cancel the #A of swordsman skill? Is the #A of charging downhill effectively the equivalent of the #A of swordsman skill?

Quote
Combat
The only interesting to say about combat is that it uses fortune in the middle to give narration rights to a character. It also uses previously mentioned margin to describe the extents of the move that can be described.


I liked this a lot. So much so that I'd love to see if you can apply this to all conflict resolution in Ygg?

Quote
Now for the questions:

2) I've been working towards being able to set up cool scenes. The Inspiration mechanics, the "narrate your combat result", the "narrate your spell", being able to assist people built into the rules are all rules I hope could promote something like that within a system which doesn't allow true directorial mechanics. Is this on the right path?


I'm excited at the thought of a sim game that gives me narrative rights (my friends and I have been playing Donjon, but very seriously and without an ounce of the humour that everyone else seems to play it with) but when I read your Narration rules (bottom page 3, top of page 4), they seem to concentrate on just making explicit the options that are already implicit in many other games.

All the people I play with resent gms who do not ever give them opportunities to narrate in the way you insist upon (even the gms I know who do this still resent it when they're taking a shot as a player). The key to your narration rules kind of feels like it might be:

The player can narrate in situations where it doesn't matter who narrates because the dice have made it clear to everyone what has already happened in terms of in-game effects.

I realise that will still be very new for a lot of "The gm is your character's eyes and ears" kind of groups and its good you've made it explicit, but what Im concerned about is that maybe Ygg doesn't really have narration as an attractive and central reason for playing it in the way you're hoping for, it just codifies what many people already take for granted when they play?

Tony
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Gwen
Member

Posts: 95


« Reply #4 on: November 20, 2002, 01:27:20 AM »

Pale Fire,

Does your Yggdrasil world have anything to do with the forrests of Norse lore also called Yggdrasil?  Cuz if so, that would be pretty sweet!
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C. Edwards
Member

Posts: 558

savage / sublime


« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2002, 03:38:31 AM »

Isn't Yggdrasil the tree of knowledge that Odin hung himself from to gain... something?

-Chris
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RobMuadib
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Posts: 230


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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2002, 04:04:12 AM »

Christoffer

Hey, read through your quickstart, and I gotta say I share several of the
concerns mentioned by Tony188 about it.

First, you are working with two different axes of Difficulty with your mechanic, and somewhat haphazardly IMO.

With the Target# mod's, you get simple linear affects, of 1/12th per plus,
but when adding the ad/disad dice, you not only greatly affect the probability, but you skew the likely results to the upper or lower end of
the range as well. Stated differently, your Ad/Disad dice represent a much greater difference in probability and likelihood of success, than modifiers. Thus my two axes of difficulty.

However, You can use this behavior to make some interesting Sim type "Modeling"

For instance, you could set it up so a character's Attributes give a certain number of Ad/Disad dice. The result of which, given a particular target #, a character with above average ability will likely achieve a greater result, and will be more likely to succeed, while a character with below average ability will be the opposite. Then you could use Skill/Difficulty Ratings comparisons to set the Target #.

Now, since these extra Dice represent such a huge change in the change of success and results, they are nice to use as "Hero Points" or as the results of curses etc. Since they have two effects, first they heavily increase/decrease the chance of success, and secondly the majorly skew the results to the ends of the scale.

So by limiting them to like yoru assistance rules and maybe your narrative complication/advantage rule, you make a significant impact in how things are likely to occur.

A couple of other points, your Auto-Success/Auto-Failure rates are pretty high, especially the failure.  If you pile on a few disad dice, the chance of you auto-failing gets really high.

One thing you could do would be to change your Over/Under rule to not use Ad/Disad Dice. Instead If it goes over 12, have them roll again, and need 1+ difference or something to succeed. If under 1, have them roll  12-Difference.

Then you would drop the Critical on number rules, and instead go with Margin of Success/Margin Of Failure. With the really high ones being Crit
effects.

This would be a bit math heavy, but if limiting Ad/Disad dice to Attributes/Assists/Special Effects, it would probably be easier overall. And it would be more consistent and elegant, at least IMO.:)

Another interesting element of this approach is that you could implement unified Effect rolls. say rate Weapon Dmg vs Armor+Toughness to get Ad/Disad Dice, then you roll those, with the result versus a static wound level chart or some such, a low roll is only a scratch, while a high roll would be a mortal wound or some such.  You could develop similar approach for Magic effects.

Anyway, looks pretty good what you have so far, just the mechanics seem a bit inelegant at the moment, with the special case rules for rolling above or below to change to ad/disad dice. Just thought I would offer some options you could consider as to how to smooth out your mechanics and make things more unified and consistent. (Some of my favorite resolution mechanics catch-phrases.)

HTH
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Rob Muadib --  Kwisatz Haderach Of Wild Muse Games
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"But How Can This Be? For He Is the Kwisatz Haderach!" --Alyia - Dune (The Movie - 1980)
Christoffer Lernö
Member

Posts: 822


« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2002, 05:42:19 AM »

Difficulty concerns
Yes, as of now I agree, the bonus from modifiers are a whole lot greater than with mods. This is both a good and bad thing. Good because you shouldn't apply a modifier unless you really want to give someone a disadvantage (this makes it impossible to add those annoying +-1 mods so common in sim games). An advantage IS an advantage. There is no doubt about it. However, the problem is that the step might be too big. I'm not really sure yet whether this is a problem.

It was suggested I use 2d6 (don't remember who) to reduce the impact of extra dice, but there's a big problem: I can't divide up the range into two equal parts.

The fun thing about 1d12 and advantage dice is that it's symmetric. Say 2 persons are arm-wrestling. It doesn't matter if A rolls or B rolls, the chance is the same, despite rolling against a target number. The same if we add advantages and disadvantages. Because it's the same for A to roll 1d12 +1A as it is if B rolls 1d12 +1D.

Now the other things:
Quote from: tony
But later on you introduce lots of modifiers to this, the difference between my trait and his trait modifies the target number and the difference in combat range modifies the target number.

Actually this is probably a lot simpler than it looks. You'd have to see a character sheet to really realize it though.

Basically on your sheet it might look like this:
Code:
Close up  Close  Medium  Far  Extreme
  5+        6+     7+     8+    9+

You never actually calculate the difference. So you got an advantage and fire at Close range? Well 2d12 take highest and hit on 6 or more.

The rule I'm following is: target numbers are precalculated you look them up on your sheet, modifiers are only done through adding dice.

Once you have your target number you never change it.

Forget for a moment the part with skills giving #A, it's confusing the issue. For the now you should ignore that rule. I don't think it's working as it is. (In other words it's a valid concern and I'm going to look into it)

Quote from: tony
Im concerned about is that maybe Ygg doesn't really have narration as an attractive and central reason for playing it in the way you're hoping for

As I see it, narration is a way to cover those itches standard sim simply can't scratch, say convincingly handle unorthodox maneuvers. That said, there are some problems with the rules as they stand, and I should mention that the narration rules predate a few revisions I made, so they might be a little incomplete. However, the intent is to make the game playable in a standard fashion (you know only doing "I attack" things) without having to use the narration rules at all. I'm kinda limited by that, but I also am looking forward to losening up a little of the combat narration rules.
Still, I don't know if my decisions will totally satisfy you. Time will tell I guess.

Quote from: Gwen
Does your Yggdrasil world have anything to do with the forrests of Norse lore also called Yggdrasil? Cuz if so, that would be pretty sweet!

In a sense "Yggdrasil" is just a code name, but I didn't take it wholly at random. I am influenced by norse mythology, but as seen through an anime lense (Jonathan Walton knows what I mean, ask him! :) ).
Yggdrasil is the World Tree carrying the nine worlds. This is the tree Odin hang himself from to learn magic. The name Yggdrasil means "Ygg's Horse", Ygg being one of Odin's names.

Quote from: RobMuadib
A couple of other points, your Auto-Success/Auto-Failure rates are pretty high, especially the failure. If you pile on a few disad dice, the chance of you auto-failing gets really high.

Auto-fail? There is no auto-fail is there? Where do you see auto fail? :) Are you referring to cases where failure is really probable because I think what I did in the last revision was to remove any traces of auto failure in the mechanics (even though I like it).

Quote from: RobMuadib
...with the special case rules for rolling above or below to change to ad/disad dice.

I'm definately confused here. What page/rule are you talking about?


To wrap this up, let me give an example of combat to maybe clear up(?) some questions:

Valyr, CS 8 attacks a Ratling CS 5.

Now Valyr should already have this written on his character sheet:

Code:
  1    2    3  4  5  6  7  8  9  10  11 12
3+2A 3+1A 3+1A 3+ 4+ 5+ 6+ 7+  8+ 9+ 10+ 11+

So quickly indexing CS 5 Rob would know he needs 4+ to hit the Ratling.
Now if there was some advantage, perhaps the Ratling was distracted by someone throwing socks at him, Rob might have +1A or +2A meaning rolling 2 or 3 d12 and taking the best.

Valyr rolls 5. That's only 1 point of margin (don't worry this is supposed to be on the sheet as well). Not enough to do anything but ordinary damage.
If Valyr would have rolled say 11 then that would have been an Awesome margin allowing some really cool special moves.
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RobMuadib
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« Reply #8 on: November 20, 2002, 06:40:12 AM »

Quote from: Pale Fire

Quote from: RobMuadib
A couple of other points, your Auto-Success/Auto-Failure rates are pretty high, especially the failure. If you pile on a few disad dice, the chance of you auto-failing gets really high.


Auto-fail? There is no auto-fail is there? Where do you see auto fail? :) Are you referring to cases where failure is really probable because I think what I did in the last revision was to remove any traces of auto failure in the mechanics (even though I like it).


Actually there are two (contradictory no less) auto-fails ou mention in text, (at least PDF I downloaded.) Under die Methods, the 2nd rule, you stat that a roll of 1 is a fumble and failure (hence automatically fails). Under your challenge Test section (pg. 2), you mention a roll of 1-2 is always a failure. (a flat 16% or so chance), which becomes murder once you throw in some disad dice. (taking the lowest of N dice, where N >= 2  where you have a 1/6 chance of automatically failing is kind of rough,  goes 30%, 42%, 67%, no matter your target #.)

Quote from: Pale Fire

Quote from: RobMuadib
...with the special case rules for rolling above or below to change to ad/disad dice.

I'm definately confused here. What page/rule are you talking about?


Oh, just your rule of of instead of going below/above a certain Target # on challenge Tests, you add ad/disad dice instead, thus necessitating your table for quick reference.  Also, I notice you have the Challenge Test rules, but then you have a table with Skill resolution that uses 7+twice the differential values, instead of the 7+differential value like you do for Challenge Tests.

Such things are mitigated by pre-figuring the values and familiarity, but it never hurts to simplify where possible. (I know, my rules are heinously complex to most people(Despite being pretty easy in use, with practice/interalization), though I need all the detail options to do what I want with the system. )

HTH
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Rob Muadib --  Kwisatz Haderach Of Wild Muse Games
kwisatzhaderach@wildmusegames.com --   
"But How Can This Be? For He Is the Kwisatz Haderach!" --Alyia - Dune (The Movie - 1980)
Christoffer Lernö
Member

Posts: 822


« Reply #9 on: November 20, 2002, 09:29:20 PM »

Quote from: RobMuadib
Actually there are two (contradictory no less) auto-fails ou mention in text, (at least PDF I downloaded.) Under die Methods, the 2nd rule, you stat that a roll of 1 is a fumble and failure (hence automatically fails). Under your challenge Test section (pg. 2), you mention a roll of 1-2 is always a failure. (a flat 16% or so chance), which becomes murder once you throw in some disad dice. (taking the lowest of N dice, where N >= 2  where you have a 1/6 chance of automatically failing is kind of rough,  goes 30%, 42%, 67%, no matter your target #.)

Ok, I interpreted "auto-fail" as a difficulty at which you automatically fail. That clears things up.

As for the fixed failure range it's not really contradictory - just really unclear. The basic rule is that a roll of 1 is a failure. For Challenge Tests, 2 is also a failure. For Effect Tests on the other hand we fall back on the default, which is failure only on 1. I guess those things weren't quite clear.

As for the sure range of failure (17%, 31%, 42%, 52%, ...) this is only true if you don't outclass the opponent by more than 6 points, since after that you actually get advantage dice that cancels against the disadvantages after that.

For example, let's say you have +2D. That would make the "fixed failure" 42%. If you are CS 10 fighting against CS 2 on the other hand, your roll is 3+2A, meaning you have +2A against this opponent. That cancels out your disadvantage leaving you at a pure 3+ to hit roll. That's 17% chance of a miss even though you have a huge disadvantage. (The disadvantages took you from 99.5% chance of hitting (for 3+2A)  to 83%)

So the fixed failure on the dice means little really.

Quote from: RobMuadib
Oh, just your rule of of instead of going below/above a certain Target # on challenge Tests, you add ad/disad dice instead, thus necessitating your table for quick reference.

The rule is pretty simple though: Every 2 points give 1 extra die. In practice it's rare that these situations occur though.

Quote from: RobMuadib
Also, I notice you have the Challenge Test rules, but then you have a table with Skill resolution that uses 7+twice the differential values, instead of the 7+differential value like you do for Challenge Tests.

That's because I figure that every point of stat corresponds to two points of skills. It's either that or having stats twice the range (I've thought about that) but having to halve the value when using the stats as target numbers. So it's not totally ad hoc... I think.

Thanks again for looking through the rules. Let me know if my explanations solves your issues or if they are still too complex. I'll try to work as much of your suggestions as possible into the new draft.
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