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Author Topic: Court of 9 Chambers: system overview  (Read 6461 times)
talysman
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« on: March 16, 2003, 11:48:39 PM »

as I've mentioned recently, I'm working on the playtest document of the most recent version of The Court of 9 Chambers. I'm almost ready to post the PDF, but I need to flesh out descriptive text and pretty it up slightly. I decided to post a system overview to show everyone how the system is shaping up and to ask if anyone can spot any trouble areas I may need to address before printing out the rules for my players and actually attempting to run this puppy.

you can view the original rules for comparison here:

Co9C part 1
Co9C part 2

one minor change from the old rules: Introvert/Extrovert are now renamed to Ideal and Real, after a friend objected very strongly to my use of the older terms. setting details are pretty much the same, except that I'm drawing a little bit more on Robert W. Chambers (The King in Yellow) for inspiration. the backstory will decribe a book known as "The Court of 9 Chambers" in terms similar to those used for "The King in Yellow", but without the horror elements (which were pretty minor in the original book, but became accentuated after Lovecraft and some Call of Cthulhu game suppliments got through with the myth.)

the basic premise, remember, is "what would you do for your art?" this is a game about obsessed and possibly egotistical artists who search for deep meaning in numerological patterns behind artistic imagery; they may cooperate or compete, approach their quest aggressively or languidly; NPC enemies such as nazis or dadaists may complicate the issue.

artists no longer have to be painters only; motifs can be auditory as well as visual. motifs no longer have Intensity ratings, which is now reserved for anything that gets its own record sheet, like a painting, ally, or tool.

now the major change: I wanted to streamline the rules quite a bit, encourage lots of colorful descriptions, get players interacting in the same scenes more. game mechanics can be summed up as: “player rolls a dice pool, looks up each die result to match a secondary characteristic (motif) on the character sheet, and counts the unopposed matches as steps of success." if it's your turn in the game, you call the scene, giving your artist's basic intention ("Andre is painting a portrait", "Gaspard is chasing Etienne.") you then roll the dice and interpret each die result one die at a time, in any order.

however, there's a catch, called the rule of the duel: any player can oppose or assist any other player’s action at any time. this is why you are applying each die result one die at a time; after you interpret the first die, the player to your right may announce "I'm opposing you" -- if there's a matching motif on that player's character sheet -- and describe whatever he or she chooses... and the player on your left may then announce "I'm assisting you" (or even "I'm assisting your opponent.")

if your first die result is unopposed, or if all the opposition is balanced out by an equal number of assists, you get one step of success. you then move on to the next die. this procedure is modified by the rule of the pool: never roll more than 9 dice at a time; once all the dice in the roll have been applied, it’s someone else’s turn.

here's a quick example of play: Alice announces "I am looking for an ally" and rolls five dice and moves her first die forward: a 6. she has "steaming black coffee" listed next to 6 on her character sheet, so she describes "I spot a rather thuggish looking gentleman at my favorite cafe along the Rue Moliere and offer to buy him a steaming black coffee".

Bob notes he has "german hoodlum" listed on his own character sheet and announces "I am opposing you", then describes "the gentleman replies, in an obvious german accent, `mademoiselle, perhaps it is better for both of us if you were not seen with me, no?'"

Carol announces "I am assisting Alice" and plays her "resistance fighter" motif: "a tough gallic fellow in a blue beret overhears the other man's speach and approaches the table, saying `perhaps it would be better for you, Hans, if you were not seen at all!''

if no one else opposes or assists on the 6, Alice gets 1 step of success (because Bob's opposition and Carol's assistance cancel each other out) and moves on to the next die result. when all the dice from that roll have been used, it's someone else's turn to roll; Alice can either opt to end the scene (if she feels she has enough successes) or continue later, when it's her turn to roll again.

the steps of success are tracked on the table itself; nine sheets of paper labeled from 1 to 9 are laid out and cardboard markers are placed on the current number of steps acquired. Alice would have a marker labeled "Alice's action", which she would move as she gained or lost steps on that action, until she's ready to finish the scene.

note that Bob and Carol's artists do not need to be present to influence the scene; however, unless Bob explicitely states "I am following Alice" in a previous scene (on his turn), his artist is not personally in the scene. on Bob's turn, he announces "I am following Alice", rolls the dice, and attempts to gain enough steps of success to reach Alice's artist. he has a marker labeled "Bob's travel/escape"; if Alice doesn't have an "Alice's travel/escape" on the board, Bob will reach her with one step; if she has a travel marker at 6 (from previous movement,) he needs 6 unopposed steps to reach her.

damage is handled the same way: each player has a "wounds" marker ("Alice's wounds" and so on.) if it's not on the board, the artist isn't wounded; if one artist attacks another and earns 3 steps of success, the victim puts a "wounds" marker in the "3" sheet on the table. when an artist reaches the 9th step for wounds, that artist is dead -- but not out of the game, because of the rule of the duel; the player can still throw a monkey wrench into other players' scenes, or send allies out for vengeance. also, the artist can still roam the dreamscape as a ghost.

my assessment -- my hope -- is that these basic rules can be adapted to any action a player can dream up, that the rules are easy to understand, and that the play will be exciting and full of marvellous description. does anyone agree, or see a potential problem?

I'll save GNS questions for later, when the first PDF is done.
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John Laviolette
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2003, 09:45:43 AM »

Well!

Here I was, expecting a Wu-Tang Clan "Adventure Into the Nine Deadly Chambers of Venom"-type game, and it turns out to be "Dueling Surrealist Artists Fight for Transcendence."

And yet, I still have a strange feeling, as if the two different worlds could be...combined...

Nazi General: "Your Cubist-Fu is weak! Kneel before our superior Lemi Reifenstahl Technique! *Woh-Pah!*

Dadaist: "My trans-dimensional nipples undulate with subdermal abandon at the epiphany of your untimely demise! *Woh-Pah!*

I'll stop being silly. But it appears as if you've certainly got an unique setting. I'll be interested to see how this turns out. For those of us not familiar with the source material, I hope you include enough background to make it comprehensible.

I'd really like to see the results.
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talysman
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« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2003, 11:12:27 AM »

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
I'll stop being silly. But it appears as if you've certainly got an unique setting. I'll be interested to see how this turns out. For those of us not familiar with the source material, I hope you include enough background to make it comprehensible.


thanx for the thoughts on the setting ... but what about the rules? my main question is: do the rules seem easy to understand? does the use of counters on nine sheets of paper (practically a board game!) make the flow of play easier?

this all may be a bit easier to understand once I get the PDF up. I'm trying to get a PDF of the first mini-game up this evening. I'm planning to arrange the final rulebook so that the chapters look something like this:

[list=1]
[*]introduction and background
[*]mini-game 1 (introduces main rules for real-world actions)
[*]mini-game 2 (introduces rules for ideal-world actions)
[*]full game setting discussion
[/list:o]

mini-game 1 can be played in half an hour to an hour and walks you through creating characters (which takes about 5 minutes) and has the artists trying to create paintings, sell them, and purchase the mysterious book of occult lore. the mini-game also discusses sabotage, chases, fights, and tools in a logical order that should make it easy to understand.

mini-game 2 expands on this and is closer to the original game, although I need to limit it so that it, too, can be played in half-an-hour to an hour. play in mini-game 2 focuses on the Ideal World.

the full game adds all the information for the setting, as well as how to handle role-playing (as opposed to pure competition) in a GM-less manner. it includes rules on handling NPC enemies.

like I said, I'll try to have a rough version of the version 1.5 rules up tonight, although most of the setting stuff won't be included, just a basic description of the setting (no details on various art movements or occult societies.)
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John Laviolette
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« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2003, 12:39:35 PM »

Personally, I'd prefer seeing all the rules in one place before I judge. There's something about having the rules all organized in .pdf or on paper that organizes and clarifies it for me.  

Something in me twitches a little over counters on sheets of paper. But I'd have to see it in action.
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2003, 12:59:27 PM »

Yeah, I'm going to agree with Spooks here. The mechanic seems fine so far. Out of context, though, I'm not so sure.

One thing that I'm interested in is the linkage between characters numeralogically. As I recall, you start with three motifs. So some players will have characters with all three motifs with matching numbers to those of another character. And some few will have none in common. The rest will have one or two overlaps. To the extent that you overlap is the extent that you can help or hinder the other artists. Will there tend to be too much overlap? Or too little (more likely, I think). How will this affect play? Is it intended?

Mike
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talysman
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« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2003, 09:42:32 PM »

ok, I have some "quickstart" rules up:
Court of 9 Chambers mini-game 1

this is basically chapter 2 of the version 1.5 rules. this mini-game only covers actions in the "real" world, as you'll see; chapter 3 will be a second half-hour mini-game about artists exploring the nine chambers in the "ideal" world and will introduce a few more rules. I'll try to get that chapter finished by friday. chapter 1, the introduction, is almost done, but I need to write more on the backstory and do some formatting before its ready.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
One thing that I'm interested in is the linkage between characters numeralogically. As I recall, you start with three motifs. So some players will have characters with all three motifs with matching numbers to those of another character. And some few will have none in common. The rest will have one or two overlaps. To the extent that you overlap is the extent that you can help or hinder the other artists. Will there tend to be too much overlap? Or too little (more likely, I think). How will this affect play? Is it intended?


you'll probably see the answer in the quickstart rules, but I'll explain it here as well: yes, overlap is intended; although most of the changes I made to the original "Iron Chef" version were just simplifications of play, there is one major change designed to get players to interact more: the Rule of the Duel, mentioned in the "quickstart" and in my first post to the thread. you may remember when I discussed adding "color rolls" to encourage players to embellish each others' scenes; this is because I saw the nasty potential for boredom in the "Iron Chef" version whenever the artists are separated -- which is probably most of the game.

the color rolls seemed a bit annoying, however; they acted like an interruption. since I had already decided to treat the "action rolls" as table lookups (on a table each player builds during play,) I realized the artist in control of the current scene is already adding color, so why not make all actions (potentially) opposed and fold "color rolls" into the "action rolls"? I now have one kind of roll. the only rules differences between different kinds of actions are based on which abillity (Real or Ideal) you can use, which tools are permissible, and how the steps of success are interpretted. it streamlines play a great deal ... and makes play more exciting, I think.

as artists gain more motifs, they will eventually have at least one match for every number (except zero, which is never matched.) they can even have more than one motif, to use in different situations. you will notice in the "quickstart" example of play that players can only use a particular motif once on a particular roll, so if you get triple sixes, you need three motifs with an Essence of 6 to be able to match all three.

you might even want more. you could have nine or even ten motifs for a given number. what if you play one motif with an Essence of 6 and someone opposes you? remember the Rule of the Duel: anyone can oppose or assist at any time. that includes you; you can assist yourself/oppose your opponent if you have a spare motif with Essence 6.

here's how I envision play in a full game: as each player adds more tools and motifs, they will find more ways to assist and to oppose. descriptions of each scene will tend to become more detailed. players will go after other players more often to try to steal or destroy tools and allies. players will also make alliances between themselves to gang up on other players, since those "assists" boost your ability to defeat opponents.

if the players play competitively, it will be very competitive; if they are playing cooperatively, the color features will be boosted and the unfolding story will become highly elaborate.

I'm pretty excited about the whole thing.
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John Laviolette
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #6 on: March 20, 2003, 12:17:43 PM »

Cool. So overlap is intended to develop during play.

Let's run the stats given an even distribution of Motif numbers. Below is the likely number of total overlaps between two players of the given number of motifs:
Code:
Motifs   Expected Average
Held     Value    Value
-------------------------
2 v 2    0        0.4
3 v 3    1        0.7  
6 v 3    1        1.2
6 v 6    2        2.1
9 v 6    3        2.8    
9 v 9    4        3.9
9 v 12   5        4.7
12 v 12  6        5.8


Note that this does not mean that you have that many numbers that overlap. Two players could overlap twice on a 1 for example. What this means is that for most of the game only about 1 in 10 dice rolled will have an overlap, and that remains pretty consistent until you get to very high numbers of motifs.

You could choose to see this as good news, or bad news. The bad news is that it sounds like interaction will be somewhat limited. OTOH, it means that you could allow a lot of motifs into the game, and have that expand quickly.

Interesting.

Mike
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talysman
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« Reply #7 on: March 20, 2003, 06:00:53 PM »

hmmm. interesting. how many dice does that represent? I am assuming that someone with a Real of 6 has more potential for overlaps than someone rolling for a Real of 3.

also, how does a group of 4 players affect this?

I'm a little confused about the 9 motifs versus 9 motifs line. although it's possible for clustering around a few numbers to occur, I would guess that the strategy of most players will be to get one motif for every number... so if two players build their characters with that strategy, they will overlap every time (except when a 0 is rolled, of course.)

thanx for the chart, thought... if it really does indicate that there will be fewer matches than expected, I might raise the number of motifs to 4, plus the artist's monogram and 1 tool and 1 painting (for the full game.) that gives a potential for 7 matches for any given player, which should make play more interesting in the beginning (without getting opposed so often that it is frustrating.)
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John Laviolette
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #8 on: March 21, 2003, 08:00:49 AM »

Quote from: talysman
hmmm. interesting. how many dice does that represent? I am assuming that someone with a Real of 6 has more potential for overlaps than someone rolling for a Real of 3.
Doesn't represent dice at all. What it says is that if I have 9 Motifs, and you have 9 Motifs, that the likely number of overlapping motifs is 4. We will each likely have five that do not overlap with the other player's motifs.

Quote
also, how does a group of 4 players affect this?
Well, given four players with 9 motifs, I'll have 4 overlaps with one player, 4 with another, and 4 with another. They might all be the same ones, but that's unlikely. You'll probably only have one or so unmatched by anyone. My point is only that some players will have little interaction with some particular other players at low levels of motifs.

Quote
I'm a little confused about the 9 motifs versus 9 motifs line. although it's possible for clustering around a few numbers to occur, I would guess that the strategy of most players will be to get one motif for every number... so if two players build their characters with that strategy, they will overlap every time (except when a 0 is rolled, of course.)
Well, that's why I said "even distribution" above. Read random. I was thinking that players would choose their motifs, and then learn what the associated number was by consulting the chart. But they can, of course, choose to "cover the spread". If that's a common strategy, then overlaps will be much more common, of course. OTOH, there may be that weird player who decides to just nail one number hard to really dominate it.

Interesting.

Quote
thanx for the chart, thought... if it really does indicate that there will be fewer matches than expected, I might raise the number of motifs to 4, plus the artist's monogram and 1 tool and 1 painting (for the full game.) that gives a potential for 7 matches for any given player, which should make play more interesting in the beginning (without getting opposed so often that it is frustrating.)
Hmm. I Like the idea of more Motifs, personally, though not too many. Given the optimization strategy you point out, I think that perhaps a little more might be the best option; maybe a little less than what you have above. OTOH, do you think that there's incentive to do a strategy where you try to stack on a number? If not, could you balance that strategy out somehow with the covering strategy (like maybe the "extra successes" count for something when not opposed)? That would make for cool player strategic choice, IMO, while allowing a few more Motifs in.

Mike
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talysman
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« Reply #9 on: March 22, 2003, 12:42:09 AM »

an updated version of the quickstart rules is now available. formatting still sucks (the quickstart is intended to be readable, not necessarily pretty,) but I added chapter 1, which contains the introduction to the setting.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Quote
I'm a little confused about the 9 motifs versus 9 motifs line. although it's possible for clustering around a few numbers to occur, I would guess that the strategy of most players will be to get one motif for every number... so if two players build their characters with that strategy, they will overlap every time (except when a 0 is rolled, of course.)
Well, that's why I said "even distribution" above. Read random. I was thinking that players would choose their motifs, and then learn what the associated number was by consulting the chart. But they can, of course, choose to "cover the spread". If that's a common strategy, then overlaps will be much more common, of course. OTOH, there may be that weird player who decides to just nail one number hard to really dominate it.


ah, that explains it. I was definitely not assuming that player choices would be random; either the player would try to spread out as quickly as possible, or would try to dominate a cluster of numbers. the final version of the rules will include strategy discussions, so I may need to make this more clear, including the techniques I use to pick a motif that matches a particular number.

Quote from: Mike Holmes

Quote
thanx for the chart, thought... if it really does indicate that there will be fewer matches than expected, I might raise the number of motifs to 4, plus the artist's monogram and 1 tool and 1 painting (for the full game.) that gives a potential for 7 matches for any given player, which should make play more interesting in the beginning (without getting opposed so often that it is frustrating.)
Hmm. I Like the idea of more Motifs, personally, though not too many. Given the optimization strategy you point out, I think that perhaps a little more might be the best option; maybe a little less than what you have above. OTOH, do you think that there's incentive to do a strategy where you try to stack on a number? If not, could you balance that strategy out somehow with the covering strategy (like maybe the "extra successes" count for something when not opposed)? That would make for cool player strategic choice, IMO, while allowing a few more Motifs in.


I think either 3 or 4 motifs, plus the tool, painting and monogram, are about right. if 7 potential matches for the beginning character seems high, I may drop the tool and painting and insist on creation during play, but I don't know.

as for adding an incentive to stack on specific numbers... at first, I was going to reject this outright; I don't want too much strategic thinking in this game. sure, it's Gamist, but... well, I'll leave the GNS discussion for another thread, once I have a full playtest document up for reference. for now, I'll just point out that the goals of play are two-fold:
[list=1]
[*]advance the character to get more "stuff", eventually reaching total transcendence;
[*]create elaborate descriptions of scenes that mimic the mood and feel of works like The King in Yellow, surrealist and expressionist films, and the like.
[/list:o]
both goals are important. without goal #1, the play may become boring, since there would be no clear character goals, although it might be useful as an experiment in random fiction; without goal #2, it's just a boardgame with a tiny bit of color. what needs to happen is that players start out with goal #1, but it leads to play for goal #2.

anyways, as I said, I was about to reject the idea of allowing "stackers" an extra benefit for stacking more motifs on a given number... but then I thought about two things: one, there's already a hint of "rolling over successes" into further actions; and two, I already have the Rule of the Duel, which creates an opportunity for using stacking: anyone can oppose or assist at any time. that includes the player rolling the dice, and includes assisting oneself multiple times.

this may create a problem, however; what does rolling doubles mean? in the rules as they stand now, there's no special meaning: the incentive to have more than one motif with an essence of 5 is to be able to use two 5s if you roll doubles.

if, however, a player can self-assist even when a motif was not opposed, rolling a double 5 means that you have less potential for variety in the motifs you use. hmmm. I'm not sure what to think of that.
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John Laviolette
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #10 on: March 23, 2003, 04:29:21 PM »

Quote from: talysman
this may create a problem, however; what does rolling doubles mean? in the rules as they stand now, there's no special meaning: the incentive to have more than one motif with an essence of 5 is to be able to use two 5s if you roll doubles.

if, however, a player can self-assist even when a motif was not opposed, rolling a double 5 means that you have less potential for variety in the motifs you use. hmmm. I'm not sure what to think of that.


Ah, that's clarifying. I was unclear.

I'd simply allow both. That is, a player with more than one stacked up can both aid himself and use more than one motif. Thus, as they push the first five motif, they have Motif 5 (A) being aided by Motif 5 (B). Then on the second, they Have Motif 5 (B) being aided by Motif 5 (A). Note that triples with two Motifs, would result in the same effect as doubles, but doubles with three stacked motifs would be more effective than doubles with only two.

This would provide that incentive to stack, in equal measure to the incentive to cover more numbers, I'd say. Anything less, and spreading is more effective.

Mike

P.S. BTW, have you considered some secondary means to encourage goal two?
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« Reply #11 on: March 23, 2003, 10:17:21 PM »

I'll have to think about allowing multiple uses of the same motif on a single die roll. on the one hand, I probably will write it up that way, since you make a good argument for it. on the other hand, something doesn't quite feel right about it, but I can't quite place what's wrong.

there's also another issue I haven't even gotten into yet: tools and paintings can have their own motifs. I may wind up saying "no stacking, but your tools can assist you."

Quote from: Mike Holmes

P.S. BTW, have you considered some secondary means to encourage goal two?


yes, I'm still thinking about additional methods for embellishing the scene descriptions. one issue could be what to do about rolling a zero. at the moment, a zero doesn't mean anything, but I may create a special class of Enemies and Catastrophes. Enemies would be like Allies, with their own motifs; on a zero, you can call in an Enemy (getting a step of success) but then the Enemy is active until you use another rolled zero to deactivate it. while it is active, anyone can use the Enemy's motifs to oppose an action.

Catastrophes (and whatever other "bad things" I can think up) would work in the same way. also, Enemies and Catastrophes would be publicly owned rather than belonging to a specific character.

(edited because I forgot to ask a question)

did you have something else in mind, Mike?
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« Reply #12 on: March 24, 2003, 07:53:11 AM »

I like the "tools can assist" rule. Mechanically separates these things from other motifs. Cool. I think that might work well. I understand the concern you have; I can see how multiple motifs helping each other back and forth could be wierd.

Actually, how about this. When a player rolls doubles, he has the choice of either pushing one Motif, and then self-supporting, or to hold the other die for an additional success. That is, he must decide just asfter the roll how the stacking Motif will be used. Either it's going to reinforce the first die pushed (leaving the second die unused), or it's not, and can be used to push the second die. He has to choose right away, so he has to guess at the support or opposition that he will be up against. Adds a cool bit of strategy.

Perhaps then a tool can only support, but can support as many dice as come up. Or somesuch.

Quote from: talysman
did you have something else in mind, Mike?

Well, I've been pondering whether or not narration will need to be prompted to come out OK or not. I mean, I can see some lamo player just saying, "I support Bob with my Car motif", and not narrating what's happening in the game world. I think it would be a crime, but there's no mechanics specifically that emphasize narrating out how a motif impacts something. There's every possibility that this is a non-issue as the game might not be aimed at players who would do this.

OTOH, why not hedge your bets. Specifically I'm thinking of something on the order of the Colot mechanics that have been flying around lately. Something like where the GM rewards colorful use of the mechanics, or maybe each player has currency to reward color use by other players. The currency would then, upon reciept, change to a currency for, say, rolling extra dice or something standard as a reward. Players who "eat" their currency at the end of a session, not having given it out as a reward, are penalized more harshly than the advantage that they give to another player by giving the reward. Perhaps automatic loss of Motifs, or something. So, while having to reward another player is tactically distastefull, the repercussion for not doing so is worse.

The in-game metaphor is atrists grudging respect for each other.

I dunno, just something to remind people that they're trying to create art, and that doing so will help them win.

Mike
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« Reply #13 on: March 25, 2003, 09:17:12 PM »

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I like the "tools can assist" rule. Mechanically separates these things from other motifs. Cool. I think that might work well. I understand the concern you have; I can see how multiple motifs helping each other back and forth could be wierd.


I dunno if motifs helping each other is necessarily "weird", but I want the system to be simple but infinitely flexible. my original idea was that an artist can only use a given motif once per roll; after considering it, I've decided that a variation of this is, in fact, the best way to get what I want. so here's the rules about using motifs:
    [*]artists can use each motif on their character sheet once per die roll (no matter who rolls the dice);
    [*]artists can assist themselves on their own die roll, if desired; BUT if an artist rolls multiples of one number and uses all motifs matching that number on the first die... well, then they have no motifs left for the second die;
    [*]artists can say at the beginning of a scene which tool they are using, as well as which locale and which allies; they can only use one tool-like mechanic to boost dice rolled, but any tool, locale, or ally in the scene can match motifs for the artist;
    [*]if an artist and the artist's tool/locale/ally share a motif, that motif can be used twice in the scene.
    [/list:u]
    so under these rules, players have two strategies: adding motifs to their artists and adding tools/paintings/allies with extra motifs.

    there may be some other rules, like what I was talking about concerning zeros. I have a rule I just added to mini-game 2 about using a rolled zero as a wildcard to add absolutely any motif into an Ideal World scene; this doesn't add steps of success, it just adds more color to the scene. in the full game, I will allow players to make a choice between using zeros as wildcards for color only or using zeros to invoke enemies/catastrophes for an extra step of success, but this allows other players to use that enemy/catastrophe's motifs against you until you use another zero to dismiss it.

    the Nine Chambers themselves will actually be used this way, I think. before play begins, the players as a group will add motifs to each of the Nine Chambers; there will be sample Chambers in the final product.

    Quote

    Quote from: talysman
    did you have something else in mind, Mike?

    Well, I've been pondering whether or not narration will need to be prompted to come out OK or not. I mean, I can see some lamo player just saying, "I support Bob with my Car motif", and not narrating what's happening in the game world. I think it would be a crime, but there's no mechanics specifically that emphasize narrating out how a motif impacts something. There's every possibility that this is a non-issue as the game might not be aimed at players who would do this.

    OTOH, why not hedge your bets. Specifically I'm thinking of something on the order of the Colot mechanics that have been flying around lately. Something like where the GM rewards colorful use of the mechanics, or maybe each player has currency to reward color use by other players. The currency would then, upon reciept, change to a currency for, say, rolling extra dice or something standard as a reward. Players who "eat" their currency at the end of a session, not having given it out as a reward, are penalized more harshly than the advantage that they give to another player by giving the reward. Perhaps automatic loss of Motifs, or something. So, while having to reward another player is tactically distastefull, the repercussion for not doing so is worse.


    this is definitely not what I want to do. first, because I don't think colorful use of motifs will be a problem. the book will have tons of examples of using motifs as a basis for significant details, as well as suggestions about making motifs fit into the description of the current scene. but these restrictions will actually be at the social contract level; I plan on writing at some length about discussing with the other players what you want and don't want to happen during play. if players decide as a group they want to use the motifs in the sketchiest manner possible, that's fine, I suppose; I don't think they will be getting the most they can out of the game, but that's not up to me to decide. I can only describe how I want to play the game and let the readers take it from there.

    the second objection I have is that this is designed as a GMless game. rewards for good play just won't work in that kind of game. I suppose you could have a rule that if one player describes something in an entertaining manner, the others could vote to reward the player in some way.

    hmmm... I think about the closest I would like to come to an actual reward rule is this: if you add an extra element into your scene that does not give you any extra success (a description based on a motif you do not have, in other words,) and if you get more total steps of success than you actually need for the actual goal of the scene, you can "burn" one of those steps of success to add the new motif to your character sheet.

    as for a GM option: I'm mainly seeing a GM in Co9C as just a regular player with two special powers: control over enemies and similar items, and arbitration on what is reasonable for a scene. Co9C GMs thus have more "power" than ordinary players, but only a little more... and they have less power than typical GMs. but I want to stress again: I do not want GMs to be a requirement for play; they are completely optional.
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    John Laviolette
    (aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
    rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
    Mike Holmes
    Acts of Evil Playtesters
    Member

    Posts: 10459


    « Reply #14 on: March 26, 2003, 08:03:57 AM »

    All sounds very good now.

    Quote from: talysman
    this is definitely not what I want to do. first, because I don't think colorful use of motifs will be a problem.

    ...

    the second objection I have is that this is designed as a GMless game. rewards for good play just won't work in that kind of game. I suppose you could have a rule that if one player describes something in an entertaining manner, the others could vote to reward the player in some way.

    That's very similar to what I suggested. Basically the players giving players rewards would be a mechanical method to establish that social contract that you mention.

    Yes, you can't make players play the way you want to. But you can slant play in certain directions. That's what "System Does Matter" means.

    OTOH, as I said above, if the game doesn't need it, it doesn't need it. I'd playtest without such a rule first, and then see if it needed to be added. The other caveat that I'd have is that, given the competitive nature of the game, that any player to player reward mechanics might get totally skewed because of the competition. For example, player A might do a scene that's so good that player B would normally reward player A for it. But given player A very near to winning, maybe Player B foregoes the reward just to thwart player As chances of winning. OTOH, this could be seen as a statement about art depending on your POV.

    Again I think these are playtesting issues.

    Also, there may be entirely different ways to go about it. For example, one could decouple the rewards and any link to being able to win. For example, maybe the game has two winners. The one who wins the Nine Chambers game, and the one who wins the Artist award for having the most player rewards for best narrations.

    There might be some solution out there that really accomplishes this without conflicting with the other priorities.

    Mike
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