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Author Topic: I/C gains by Moon Dice  (Read 5935 times)
GreatWolf
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« on: March 27, 2003, 08:06:40 AM »

I was working on the Alyria manuscript last night, and an inspiration hit me.

I/C gains are supposed to provide a mechanical push to characters, who are required to react to the mounting I/C accumulations.  Problem is, I don't think that enough I/C has been given out in my playtest sessions to accomplish this goal.  Part of this could easily be a matter of my not understanding my own game yet.  (Don't laugh; this isn't nearly as surprising as you might think.)  However, another factor is that the system doesn't give any I/C at all.  Therefore, I decided to change this.

It's quite simple, actually.  If a character gets a Full Moon result in a conflict, he gains a point of Inspiration.  If he gets a Weeping Moon, he gains a point of Corruption.

This I/C gain represents the ongoing background effects of Good and Evil on the character.  From a mechanical perspective, it also provides an impetus to seek out I/C gains to intensify or counteract the I/C gains that result from the dice.

I do not think that this disturbs the fundamental purpose of I/C or override player-awarded (Drama-based) I/C gains.  In fact, I think that it encourages it by providing additional motivation to make choices to trigger I/C gains.

And yes, I'm aware that this biases the system towards good characters.  But, if you look carefully, you will see that the system already does so.

What, you didn't notice?  :-D

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2003, 08:15:09 AM »

Hi Seth,

Quote
Part of this could easily be a matter of my not understanding my own game yet. (Don't laugh; this isn't nearly as surprising as you might think.)


I ain't laughing at all. This is the author of Sorcerer speaking; I'd swear the game text laughs at my ignorance of it when I'm not looking.

Anyway, I dislike your rules mod immediately. I think that I/C works very, very well as a Social Contract issue alone. Imagine, for instance, playing Sorcerer, in which a roll that includes 10's (which otherwise have no numeric role beyond being higher than 9 etc) gains you Humanity, and a roll that includes 1's loses you a point. Frankly? It stinks.

It's play that matters. Real play, real players - and I/C is something that works over the long haul, across sessions, with characters who grow. Have you seen a character change his role in society yet over ten sessions of play? Have you seen a character travel over more terrain in Alyria than anyone ever has before, gaining new perspectives as he realizes how big the world is? Until this happens, keep your hands off the long-term "judgment" elements of the system. You're trying to put it on fast-forward.

What I am seeing is the long-standing, overwhelming urge of game designers, as they write, to insert criticals and fumbles. This is an evil urge. You are imagining play too much and inventing players in your head who agree with you, hence creating a false argument. Fight the urge.

Best,
Ron
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2003, 08:27:52 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi Seth,

Quote
Part of this could easily be a matter of my not understanding my own game yet. (Don't laugh; this isn't nearly as surprising as you might think.)


I ain't laughing at all. This is the author of Sorcerer speaking; I'd swear the game text laughs at my ignorance of it when I'm not looking.


Actually, of all the people here, I figured that you'd be most likely to understand exactly what I mean, Ron.

(Aside to the group:  This is why outside playtest of a game is such a good idea.  Others will see strengths and weaknesses of your game that you didn't even realize existed.  So, my plea:  right now, I need playtesters!  I want to make this game as good as possible, and I need your insights.  Drop me a line if you're interested.)

Anways, I appreciate your comments and will ponder them.  This is definitely not a playtested addition, and I will want to see if it does what I want it to do.  Also, as a programmer, I am painfully aware of "feature creep", which I definitely want to avoid.

My goal, though, is not really to include critical success and failure.  (After all, they are already there.)  Rather, I/C is the currency of the game, and I was wanting a method of adding currency into the game economy.  However, this might not facilitate long-term play.  An excuse to playtest!  Hooray!

Hey, Ralph!  Feel up to adding Alyria to the Saturday night gaming mix?  (Or will we be overloading ourselves?)

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2003, 09:57:22 AM »

I gotta back Ron up on this, Seth.

The whole point of Good vs. Evil is choice, personal choice. Tacking that on to a die roll mechanizes what is a personal decision. This game isn't going for that, and thank the gods!

Whereas Fred Hicks mechanizes it somewhat in Delta, his game is a Simulationist exploration of the interaction of alignment as a thing in it's own right with the necessities of living in a complex world. Your world is more Narrative-driven with the Moon Dice acting as Fortune to spice things up. Delta looks at it from the bottom up (or more from in the middle, to be accurate), you look at it from the top down. And from a top-down perspective, tacking something as profound as Good and Evil onto a dice roll corrupts the theme of the game and turns it into a farce, just as alignment was in D&D.

That's right Seth: a farce. "Wheel of morality, turn, turn, turn! Show us the lesson we must learn!" Please, your game and it's treatment of Good vs. Evil is fine as it is; don't pollute it.
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szilard
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« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2003, 10:06:16 AM »

Hmmm... I still need to figure Alyria out. I confess I haven't done so yet. Given that, I had a suggestion which probably has ramifications in the system that I don't realize. If you want to add currency, why not simply add more I/C on those occasions when it is normally given out (perhaps adding a random amount)?

Stuart
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GreatWolf
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« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2003, 10:35:51 PM »

Let no one say that I do not listen.

Ya'll are right.  Spooky, you have particularly convinced me.  Thank you all for your input.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2003, 10:55:46 AM »

Hmmm. I'm not totally against what's being said here, but I do have a different take. I woudn't put in the mechanic you suggest. But what I like to see is points in the mechanics that bring up these sorts of choices.

For example, in Sorcerer, you make Humanity die rolls following sorcerous rituals. That's actually not a choice, but it's the game telling you that the interesting mechanic in question should be used whenever certain other things happen. This means that the cool mechanics will get used with at least some regularity.

So, for Alyria, perhaps you could say that on any really exceptional success or failure (or some such indicator) that the player has to tack on some detail that either gains him I or C. This leaves it as a player choice, but makes gains happen more frequently both by being broght up randomly, and by those occurances making players aware of the mechanic. So that they might then choose to make decisions that will cause the mechanic to come into effect more often.

I'm explaining this badly. But basically what I'm advocating is some specific event in the rules that make the participants go, aha, time to use the neato mechanic once again.

Here's another example that probably won't work. Allow the players to automatically take a point of I or C by taking either a Full Moon or Weeping moon respectively, but only in cases where it makes them fail. This makes the players more cognizant of these points, and may get them to mix it up more in that area.

Basically anything to bring it to their attention more often. Your basic stats in most games are brought to your attention by doing most anything in game that's challenging. But other mechanics don't have that benefit of in-game events that remind you about the mechanics. So they tend to go unused.

Certianly I/C will work as is, but it might be possible to make it more visible it without just making it a completely random event.

Mike
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Valamir
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2003, 12:43:25 PM »

I am a fan of mechanics that focuses the game on the issue...as Mike mentioned Sorcerer is very clear Do Ritual X roll for Humanity loss.

I would like to see mechanically enforced times where a player has to choose and that choice results in a Virtue / Corruption effect.  But not a Roll X and gain, Roll Y and lose.
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2003, 02:32:50 PM »

Now if there were certain "you have to choose, and you may become more Good or Evil depending on this choice" events, I'd be a happy pup. Just please, please, please don't tie it to a simple roll.

Hmmm...If it was a situation where one PC could invoke anothers Good or Evil trait to see if it colors a previously neutral situation, and if the roll hit a Full Moon (Good) or a Weeping Moon (Evil), the character could gain an I/C point, and would have to describe how his Trait influenced the situation (and the character) toward Good or Evil, depending on the result.

I could almost live with that, but I would prefer the Good/Evil dichotomy be left in the hands of hte choices the players made.
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