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Author Topic: Destiny and other SAs in play  (Read 5122 times)
Lance D. Allen
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Posts: 1962


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« on: June 06, 2003, 03:17:19 PM »

New topic derived from the discussion of SAs here

Quote from: Spartan
It also depends on what you mean by "king". It could turn out he's destined to become king of a group of petty tribes/clans, or the "king" of a association of people (thieves, merchants, vagabonds...), not necessarily a nation-state or kingdom. Perhaps the "king" of an idea (e.g. King of "Justice": a folk hero who does things Robin Hood style)... Just some thoughts.


I would definitely talk to the player about this before implementing it. The player probably had fairly specific ideas about what they wanted when they created this SA, and to twist it from their original intent could easily ruin the game for them, if they're not willing to go there.

Quote from: that Arxhon fellow
Of course, once a character actually fulfills his Destiny, his troubles are just beginning....


This can be true, but it's also important to keep in mind what kind of story your players want to tell, as well as what you're willing to tell. A lot of Seneschals aren't good with politically based stories.. such as me. A lot of players may be bored by such stories, and prefer glorious deeds of heroism (or murder in the dark...) So it may be a good idea at this time to retire a character, use the insight points garnered along the way to create a new character, and set the original to NPC status.

Which also brings me to the point that characters don't always need to die.. Retirement from play is just as valid an option. In this case, insight points are still usable, IMO. I dislike my characters to die, so I'd be much more likely to retire them when a) I tire of playing them, b) they reach some goal which alters their direction significantly from that which I wish to play.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Darren Hill
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Posts: 861


« Reply #1 on: June 07, 2003, 02:34:53 AM »

Quote from: Wolfen
I would definitely talk to the player about this before implementing it. The player probably had fairly specific ideas about what they wanted when they created this SA, and to twist it from their original intent could easily ruin the game for them, if they're not willing to go there.


You have a very good point. Spartan's idea, though, struck me as a great way of reinterpreting a destiny if a character dies before he gets a chance to fulfil it. So later in the game, the player learns his character has become a king, in a way.

OTOH if a player chose a destiny, I'd discuss it with him during character design, and figure out exactly how he though of it, then think on how to incorporate it into the campaign. I see nothing wrong in not being absolutely literal with it, as long as it doesn't conflict with his plans - thus the reason for the intensive chat during PC design.

I can't help but think of destiny the way it is in Greek Myth - you might get what you want, but it may not be what you want. (Likewise a doom-style destiny might actually have fringe benefits - not that there's much evidence of that in the Classics!).

In the rulebook, it mentions that characters probably know their destiny. Does anyone know howpeople come to know what their destiny is? And if they fulfil it (and don't retire), can they get a new destiny?
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Spartan
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« Reply #2 on: June 07, 2003, 12:49:14 PM »

Quote from: demiurgeastaroth
In the rulebook, it mentions that characters probably know their destiny. Does anyone know howpeople come to know what their destiny is? And if they fulfil it (and don't retire), can they get a new destiny?


There's a bunch of ways you could do this with regards to a character finding his/her destiny.  The "traditional" way might be to have the character get in contact with a seer or other prophetical figure who would reveal the nature of the destiny (for a price?).  Another way to do it is to have the Seneschal assign the destiny secretly, and whenever the character happens to act in accordance with that destiny, he gets the benefits (more dice to add to pools, and an increase in the SA proper).  Eventually, a clever player might be able to figure out his character's destiny over time, by analyzing the situations he been involved in and looking for coorelations.

Sure, you can have another destiny once you've completed the current one.

-Mark
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Morfedel
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Posts: 345


« Reply #3 on: June 08, 2003, 06:19:07 AM »

No way.

Let me rephrase that. I have no problem of a character becoming a king of they EARN it - but I'm not going to just hand it to them because they chose to assign a few points to "Destiny: Become King."

The SAs allow you to add dice in pursuit of, or while involved in, some action... and you can also turn around and sell those dice for character advancement. It isn't some kind of mechanic for forcing the DM to make sure you become king.

"I'm jumping off the cliff - but it doesn't matter, I'm destined to become king, so somehow I HAVE to survive."

There are also numerous examples in literature of prophecies being what MIGHT happen, not what WILL happen - and that's the approach I've ALWAYS taken. If you are "destined" to become something, that is a destiny that might happen, where events might well move you in that direction; but much of the work you must still do yourself, and if you should fail, you do not achieve any destiny, except perhaps that of all men - that of the grave....

I'm happy to let characters put in their bids for what they want the adventure to be about, but I'm not going to also allow them to use a game mechanic to straight-jacket me into some end-of-adenture metaplot and expect me to HAND it over to them.

Sorry. I write my adventures with the idea of NPCS that have their own plots and goals; their SAs, including their destinies, will steer the plot towards certain potential endings, but not force a specific resolution - that is in the hands of the players.

In other words, I view Destiny as setting you on the path, not guaranteeing your eventual arrival

Quote


Wolfen wrote:
A comment to both Morfedel and Demi, regarding Destiny, as well as the other SAs:
The idea of any game is to have fun, as we all know, One of the brilliant things about SAs is that they are a direct message, in writing, from player to Seneschal.
Destiny: To Become King.
This is the player giving you a message, in writing that they would get the most fun, the most "Ooh, I remember this one awesome game I was in where..." moments would be from their character becoming king.
SAs, in addition to adding bonus dice to important situations, and allowing characters to advance by doing things that are important to them, are communication. The Seneschal only has to look at his player's character sheets to determine what the game should be about.
One of my players has that exact destiny for his character. I don't intend to make it an easy path, but I intend to, unless he manages to get himself killed off, give him the opportunity to become king. As the other character cares about becoming wealthy, they have ample reason to work together.
This is why there is an emphasis on group character creation in this forum. Sit down with your players, all together, and let them hash out the story by creating their characters so that they relate, somehow. This is also why there will almost never be any such thing as a pre-gen "adventure" for TRoS.. So much hinges on the characters.
So, in short.. If every single one of your players wants a badass destiny, let 'em have it. If every single one of them wants to have the destiny to become king, let them have it. I'll bet that you've never heard of a campaign where every PC ended up as a king, now have you? It'd certainly be interesting...
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #4 on: June 08, 2003, 07:37:37 AM »

You're taking what I said, and getting entirely the wrong meaning from it.

Of course I don't expect you to twist and turn to GIVE anything to the character, destiny or not. That would demean the achievement immensely. But you make it a major focus of play, because THAT is what the player wants to play. The stories they'll tell won't be about how kingship fell into their laps; the stories will be all about the trials and tribulations they had on the way to kingship, or how they almost made it, but at the end turned aside from their destiny to heroically save the life of their comrade.

Destiny isn't a given, of course. Though I'm never against those posthumous twists.. The character dies trying to battle the evil king (whom destiny would have him replace, but alas...) and when the rest of the PCs, spurred on by their own SAs (loyalty to recently-deceased friend, say), kill the evil king, their fallen friend is buried with full royal ceremony, as if he was king, after all. An example, if you will.

Here, however, is where I think you'll have some problems.

Quote
Sorry. I write my adventures with the idea of NPCS that have their own plots and goals;


If you "write" the adventures based around the NPCs, you're going counter to the intent of TRoS. The idea is stories that are driven by the PCs. While it's perfectly acceptable to have a over-arching storyline that they're in the middle of and important, world-shaking NPCs who they will encounter, the adventures should be based on what they want to play, Destiny or otherwise.

As an example, the player who had the "to be King" SA in my game is currently about as far from it as can be. He's a fugitive in a hostile nation, without weapons, armor, horse, or any sort of equipment (he was captured by an enemy patrol, and his partner snuck in and rescued him, but had to leave all of his belongings behind). I have no intentions of giving him any legs up. I do, however, intend to give him opportunities to earn his own way back up.
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~Lance Allen
Wolves Den Publishing
Eternally Incipient Publisher of Mage Blade, ReCoil and Rats in the Walls
Darren Hill
Member

Posts: 861


« Reply #5 on: June 08, 2003, 11:52:02 AM »

Quote from: Morfedel
No way.

Let me rephrase that. I have no problem of a character becoming a king of they EARN it - but I'm not going to just hand it to them because they chose to assign a few points to "Destiny: Become King."


This is where the role of negotiation during character design comes in. If you let a player have Destiny: become King, but know from the outset that the player can never achieve it, then it would be fair to let the player know that. He might still take it, knowing that he gets the dice bonuses and enjoys striving for it, etc., or he might take another destiny instead.
IMO, a destiny that is unachievable is not a destiny: it would be better to take Drive: Strive to Become King.
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Morfedel
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Posts: 345


« Reply #6 on: June 08, 2003, 05:30:53 PM »

Quote from: Wolfen

Here, however, is where I think you'll have some problems.

Quote
Sorry. I write my adventures with the idea of NPCS that have their own plots and goals;


If you "write" the adventures based around the NPCs, you're going counter to the intent of TRoS. The idea is stories that are driven by the PCs. While it's perfectly acceptable to have a over-arching storyline that they're in the middle of and important, world-shaking NPCs who they will encounter, the adventures should be based on what they want to play, Destiny or otherwise. ;


Oh for the love of... you know, I grow really tired of people taking umbrage to such terms as writing an adventure and turning it into a hammer. I'm more than aware of the purpose of TRoS being about the players, and being player driven.

The difference being, NPCs still have their own goals and motivations too. Characters are not dropped into a void and warp the world into their image. I create my NPCs, I create my world, I create the goals of the players in these acts, and the plots each one of them have, and how they will dance on the stage BEFORE the interference of the players; and once the players interfere, I have the NPCs react however it is appropriate.

I make it player driven in that I mold the setting and the events to fit the players and characters themselves; yes, I make it personal, and yes, I make it player driven, but for the sake of all that's holy, using terms like writing an adventure or campaign does not imply that I'm leading them by the nose down a #$$##$^&76 dungeon!!!!

It means I'm writing the npcs, plots, and so forth.

sigh.... Look. I used to game master Amber, the diceless RPG, where characters have nearly godlike powers and can turn a situation handily on its nose - but you still have to craft the opponents, their abilities, motivations, quirks, personalities, and however you put it, you are writing an adventure. Even if you are writing it in your head, or on a series of quick npc sheets with notes, or something.

Look, sorry if I'm over reacting here, but I'm just tired of every time I open my mouth, someone is leaping to assumptions that I'm doing a hack n slash, or scripted choose-your-own-adventure crap. I've been DMing since I was 13, which was 21 years ago, and while I've done my share of hack n slash, I've done a wide variety of other styles; I think by now I've earned the claim that I go a little beyond scripting and forcing PCs into actions; I think I've earned the claim that I know how to run freeform, PC-driven adventures.

I've been doing it for some time now.

Great, now I'm pissed. Look: I have no problem running PC driven adventures, and I never have. But that doesn't mean you don't put work into designing the environment the PCs will interact with. I, for one, call that "writing."

And I know you didn't do it with the intention of pissing me off; this has been a bad day. but please do me and others a favor and start interpreting their DMing style over a single choice of words, eh? It's rather judgemental and unfair.


Quote

As an example, the player who had the "to be King" SA in my game is currently about as far from it as can be. He's a fugitive in a hostile nation, without weapons, armor, horse, or any sort of equipment (he was captured by an enemy patrol, and his partner snuck in and rescued him, but had to leave all of his belongings behind). I have no intentions of giving him any legs up. I do, however, intend to give him opportunities to earn his own way back up.


Ah, and that was what I was saying from the beginning. I see we agree there. I thought you were saying that having a Destiny SA had to guarantee their achieving it. I was saying, no, just have the opportunity.
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Jake Norwood
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« Reply #7 on: June 08, 2003, 07:53:40 PM »

Allright, let's not jump to assumptions here, including ones that we're being attacked.

No one is going to really argue with the NPC writing you described. It's common practice here, but sometimes people don't communicate right, and one person reads another wrong and the the second does the same as the first and yada yada yada.

SA's are about what the players want. If one player wants his PC to become king, like conan did, then that's just fine, so long as the other players are behind it. SA's should always be created together as a group and are always subject to GM approval--it's in the book. Your words

Quote
There are also numerous examples in literature of prophecies being what MIGHT happen, not what WILL happen - and that's the approach I've ALWAYS taken. If you are "destined" to become something, that is a destiny that might happen, where events might well move you in that direction; but much of the work you must still do yourself, and if you should fail, you do not achieve any destiny, except perhaps that of all men - that of the grave....


are absolutely correct. The big mistake, I believe, would be allowing the player to take an SA that you planned on nullifying (note that I'm not saying that's what you'd do, but rather I'm presenting this as a general scenario). That's why Player-GM communication about wants and expectations--a process that should be part of chargen and SA selection--is so important.

What's funny is that I don't think any of us disagree on any of this.

Jake
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"Civilized men are more discourteous than savages because they know they can be impolite without having their skulls split, as a general thing." -R.E. Howard The Tower of the Elephant
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Morfedel
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Posts: 345


« Reply #8 on: June 09, 2003, 05:27:14 AM »

I already PMed Wolfen on this; my apologies. I had a bad day, and that, coupled with the fact that this has begun to become a sensitive issue because it seems lately I am being accused of being a substandard, hack n slash DM on various message boards.

I came from a medium-sized, but tight nit gaming community. Out of all the GMs there, I was considered one of the top three, along with Matt Smith - an absolutely amazing GM, perhaps one of the best I've ever played with - and Mike "the @$$hole GM" - very good, but aptly nicknamed.

I guess I have gotten a bit prideful in some regards - a bad habit I should break - but my comments on message boards have been met with these observations before. Perhaps I need to be more careful about how I word things. I don't want to turn this into repetitions about who is sorry next, so don't worry about replying to this.


So, it seems we are all in general agreement on Destiny SAs - thats good, heh!


Hm. I was just thinking about my diatribe above. I had one group who I had so "excited" over a climactic combat that I had them pacing the floors instead of sitting at the table, and they said it was the best game they were ever in.

Then again, I also had a group walk out on me after the first session, because there were no combat or treasure that first session (a D&D game that obviously didn't last long). Go figure :/   heh.
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