*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 29, 2014, 10:19:10 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 74 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Black Fire - developing for play test  (Read 2404 times)
Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« on: June 10, 2003, 08:35:21 AM »

Hi all,

(Black Fire is Ron's game design example for his Gamism essay.  Black Fire is found at http://www.indie-rpgs.com/articles/22/ )

I really like what I see in Black Fire, and I'd like to try playtesting it.  However, some things just don't seem developed enough, so I thought I'd work on them.  I'll start by just laying them out for Ron and others to comment on:

How do we know when to change phases?

After we've been Playing In a while, what triggers a Playing Up phase?  Here's my ideas: when a PC fails at a goal, when a player declares a Goal that doesn't already have a storymap.  

The Monster rules say a new monster is brought into play EVERY Playing Up phase.  Is this intended as a challenge?  Maybe players can call for Playing Up any time they like, but every time brings a new monster into play.


Story Maps

I didn't read Alyria, and the quick start rules are no longer available from the Forum link.  Is a story map just a series of boxes, one for each person, with relationship lines between?  Who decides how many units there are?

And how do Monsters destroy units of the storymap?  Do they just eat one box every round of dice rolling?  Perhaps this is at GM discretion.


Goal Benefits

What good are the things you win by succeeding at a goal?  Are they just elements of color that contribute to your Playing In experience?  Can they contribute to success at something else?  Maybe they're pools of black dice!

Of course, if we give Goal Benefits some in game mechanic then being a Bad Ass and Save the World need some additional attractions, don't they?


Gods

Gods might have pools of Curse/Complication Dice that get used up through play, then become part of the Monster in the End Game.


Equipment as Complications

Lack of a weapon or proper equipment might be a complication dice on all relevant actions.  


Character Generation  "The missing extra thing"

- An affinity for a monster type, Goal verb, or Goal object?
- A black dice pool for specific types of actions?
- An affinity to a particular gods?  This causes bonuses and penalties to conflicts depending on how the elements relate to the patron god.
- Free die for a specific kind of use.  Free die isn't eliminated by matching numbers.

(Edited to add Black Fire URL).
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #1 on: June 12, 2003, 06:06:10 AM »

Hi Alan!

This is awesome - just what I was hoping would happen.

Quote
How do we know when to change phases?

After we've been Playing In a while, what triggers a Playing Up phase? Here's my ideas: when a PC fails at a goal, when a player declares a Goal that doesn't already have a storymap.


I'll answer for both phases. I figured that you do one "set" around the table for the Playing Up phase, and then, during the Playing In phase, cross-cut among multiple scenes (if necessary) so that everyone gets screen time at least to the tune of one good conflict.

Vague, I know, but not much different from how I regularly play anyway.

Quote
The Monster rules say a new monster is brought into play EVERY Playing Up phase. Is this intended as a challenge? Maybe players can call for Playing Up any time they like, but every time brings a new monster into play.


I'm not sure what you mean by "is this intended as a challenge." It certainly makes the game-world more dangerous and threatens the various Goals, if any (remember that Monsters "eat" Goal storymaps and ultiimately the Goals themselves).

I'm not too keen on the players getting "Play Up Phase Now" power in this game. I'd rather have it be formalized in some way.

Quote
Story Maps
I didn't read Alyria, and the quick start rules are no longer available from the Forum link. Is a story map just a series of boxes, one for each person, with relationship lines between? Who decides how many units there are?

And how do Monsters destroy units of the storymap? Do they just eat one box every round of dice rolling? Perhaps this is at GM discretion.


No Alyria available?? Are you sure? Check the links in the forum threads themselves ... if not, everyone, bug Seth.

Quote
Goal Benefits

What good are the things you win by succeeding at a goal? Are they just elements of color that contribute to your Playing In experience? Can they contribute to success at something else? Maybe they're pools of black dice!

Of course, if we give Goal Benefits some in game mechanic then being a Bad Ass and Save the World need some additional attractions, don't they?


I expressly do not want succeeding at Goals to confer mechanics benefits, most especially not Black Dice or Black Points. That is a very bad thing; it throws off the whole point of play. Nor, however, is success at a Goal "just Color." It is literally establishing a place in the game-world for the character, including respect, money, loyalty, shelter, resources, and more. I would be fine with some kind of chart or list that actually "gives" the character these things to add to his or her sheet, very much like "what's in my pockets" sections in most RPGs.

Quote
Gods

Gods might have pools of Curse/Complication Dice that get used up through play, then become part of the Monster in the End Game.


H'm, not sure. I need to playtest first. Try something and see how it goes.

Quote
Equipment as Complications

Lack of a weapon or proper equipment might be a complication dice on all relevant actions.


Not a bad idea, although I like the idea of a character being able to kick butt without weapons if necessary. Maybe the Hero Wars concept of Edges could apply, at least in terms of what cancels what.

Quote
Character Generation "The missing extra thing"

- An affinity for a monster type, Goal verb, or Goal object?
- A black dice pool for specific types of actions?
- An affinity to a particular gods? This causes bonuses and penalties to conflicts depending on how the elements relate to the patron god.
- Free die for a specific kind of use. Free die isn't eliminated by matching numbers.


H'm! I like the Gods one best, but all of them are good suggestions. I shy away a little from sequestering Black Dice off for player-character privilege, as the all-group pool (and social interactions concerning it) is central to the concept.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #2 on: June 12, 2003, 07:55:12 AM »

Hi Ron,

Thanks for the feedback.

Character Generation - God Affinities

The player chooses a patron god for his character.  Each god has a list of things and activities he or she favors - rather like Fulminata lists skills by patron god.  Anytime the character's actions fall within his patron's area of interest, he may choose to add a God Die to his rolls.

A God Die has two Stars and one Lightning bolt.  The Stars are wildcards that function either as Sword or Skull.  The Lightning bolt conveys a Curse or Goal (Quest).  

Each god has a limited number of associated Goals and Curses; any goals and curses not used up by the Endgame become Complications defending the God's avatar monster.


Storymaps and Monsters

A story map is a collection of units linked by relationship lines.  The GM determines the number of units and the situation.  The players each have a chance to define a relationship line.

Each Playing Up session, the GM secretly crosses off one unit, eaten by the associated monster.


Goal Benefits

My concern is that, without any game mechanic value, goal Benefits will have no value to the players.  OF course, if we go with the my suggestion of gods having Quest pools, then the mechnical incentive is reducing those.

I think providing a Black Pool of 1, 2, or 3 dice for Benefits, based on the level of the Goal, would add to competition about the central pool of dice.  As soon as a player knows they have their private supply, they can drain the central pool on purpose.   OF course, their private supply can still suffer losses as a result of 1s, so they run out through play as well.
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2003, 08:15:02 AM »

Hi Alan,

The God stuff is interesting, but remember that the gods have gone bonkers. Before the apocalyptic shit hit the fan, they were nifty patrons and so forth; now, they're crazed and weird.

Quote
My concern is that, without any game mechanic value, goal Benefits will have no value to the players.


Well, you see, this is on purpose. There are two levels: Step On Up and Challenge. Goal benefits should provide advantages at the Challenge level only, but I want those to be really, really useful things in play. If you get money, you can buy things. If you want to travel across the ocean, you have a ship and a crew. If you want to sleep in a bedroom instead of out there in the cold, then you can.

Before achieving a Goal, a Black Fire character is a penniless, homeless, friend-less bum. NPCs will react accordingly, Monsters will be able to sneak up on his or her pathetic little lean-to in the forest, and various tasks posed by the GM will concern basic stuff like getting a meal or making it over the river. Achieving Goals should be the only way to improve this situation.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2003, 08:28:29 AM »

Yeah, I think the concept of edges would handle that nicely.

I need to sail to Blah...my goal...to get a ship.  The benefit: the ability to sail to Blah.

But the sea is full of storms and monsters.  I need to get a really GOOD ship.  my new goal...to get a really GOOD ship.  The benefit:  an edge die...a free black die when using the GOOD ship.  If this die rolls a 1...its lost.  The GOOD ship isn't so good any more.

My new goal...Repair my Good Ship.  The benefit:  I get the edge die back.

I think the driving force of this game if its going to work is there has to be a scavenger hunt atmosphere to it.

My goal is to Repair my Good Ship.
To do that I need a goal of Hire a Good Ship Wright.
To do that I need the twin goals of Find a Good Ship Wright and Get Money to Pay Ship Wright.
To Find a Good Ship Wright I need a goal of Sail to the Port of Lune.
To Sail to the Port of Lune I need a goal of Get Navigational Chart for Lune
To Get Navigational Chart for Lune I need a goal of Steal Chart from Chart House.

Aha, here at last is something I can do.  My stated action is to go to the Chart House, steal a bunch of charts, and sell the ones I don't need for the money to Hire the Ship Wright...go.

That's how I envision it any way.
Logged

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2003, 08:30:27 AM »

Hi Ralph,

The refinement I'd make to your comments is that Goals are pretty big: "To rule the pirates of the Red Sea." Fixing my ship strikes me as merely an in-game action, a short-term goal with a small "g."

Best,
Ron
Logged
Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #6 on: June 12, 2003, 09:35:58 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Quote
My concern is that, without any game mechanic value, goal Benefits will have no value to the players.


Well, you see, this is on purpose. There are two levels: Step On Up and Challenge. Goal benefits should provide advantages at the Challenge level only, but I want those to be really, really useful things in play. If you get money, you can buy things. If you want to travel across the ocean, you have a ship and a crew. If you want to sleep in a bedroom instead of out there in the cold, then you can.


Aha!  But travel is a game mechanical effect!  It assumes that a player can't just announce his new location in the next Play Up, unless he has a means to get there.

On the other hand, if I'm Captain of the Hundred Red Devils, I can take my 100 warriors with me into a fight, but I end up rolling the same dice as if I were naked and alone.  If the only benefit of being the Captain is my personal satisfaction in the fantasy, isn't this more likely to appeal to simulationist preferences?

Wait!  Oh, I see now.  The benefit is purely a badge of pride worn by the player - a medal for completing the goal.  Interesting.  Okay, scratch my doubts.
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #7 on: June 12, 2003, 09:54:12 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
The God stuff is interesting, but remember that the gods have gone bonkers. Before the apocalyptic shit hit the fan, they were nifty patrons and so forth; now, they're crazed and weird.


But in a previous post you said god affinities looked like a good idea.  Man, this is hard!
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #8 on: June 12, 2003, 10:22:09 AM »

Hi Alan,

1. By "game mechanics benefits," I'm talking about resolution issues, like extra dice or stuff like that. By "in-game benefits," I'm talking about having 100 warriors at your back.

H'm, some resolution issues based on situational things like "100 warriors at your back" wouldn't be a bad idea. I want to stay away from Scale issues a la Trollbabe though.

2. Those two things about the gods and affinities don't look contradictory to me. Just remember the bonkers part; an affinity isn't always a good thing.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #9 on: June 12, 2003, 10:40:30 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Hi Ralph,

The refinement I'd make to your comments is that Goals are pretty big: "To rule the pirates of the Red Sea." Fixing my ship strikes me as merely an in-game action, a short-term goal with a small "g."

Best,
Ron


Understood...I'm speculating, however, that playtesting will show the need for smaller goals.  Given the quasi turned based nature of the game I'm thinking that the goals need to be broken up into chunks where the time scale of the chunk meshes better with the time scale of the player's turn.

Now for purposes of the various benefits and such related to goals...one perhaps would need to structure them more like Goals (as you have them now) and Steps (essentially sub goals like in my example).  Where the steps fulfill the need I perceive and the Goals fulfill your original purpose.

As I say, pure speculation in the absence of testing, but I'm detecting the need for more structure in game.
Logged

GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #10 on: June 12, 2003, 12:12:36 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards


No Alyria available?? Are you sure? Check the links in the forum threads themselves ... if not, everyone, bug Seth.


Just a housekeeping note.  The links were down during a server move, but they are now functional.  Apologies for the disruption.

Seth Ben-Ezra
Great Wolf
Logged

Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Piers
Member

Posts: 72


« Reply #11 on: June 12, 2003, 03:12:24 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

1. By "game mechanics benefits," I'm talking about resolution issues, like extra dice or stuff like that. By "in-game benefits," I'm talking about having 100 warriors at your back.

H'm, some resolution issues based on situational things like "100 warriors at your back" wouldn't be a bad idea. I want to stay away from Scale issues a la Trollbabe though.


I understand that you want differentiate Goal success from advancement by pool increase, but some sort of mechanical representation of of those benefits would be useful.  Maybe the way to think about it is like experience and gold pieces in Tunnels and Trolls--they both improve your character, but they improve them in different ways and the two aren't interchangeable.  

One way to do this would be to enlarge slightly on the Complications mechanism, and to have them matched by another factor--like the Hero wars/Quest edges above, which cancels them out.  Not only that, but you could have Monsters which temporarily inflict complications on the hero which may or may not be cancelled out by the Edges (or whatever you call them).

One of these attributes for monsters would be Horde which would inflict a complication die unless matched by Followers (the 100 warriors at your back, etc).

With six different monster powers (say Poisonous (=Wounds), Curses (=Curses), Horde, Terrifying (=Scars), Fast Movement, and Armour) and matching Edges which cancel them there is a useful interaction and a degree of strategizing, which is separate from the other sorts of advancement and ways of winning.
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #12 on: June 13, 2003, 08:05:50 AM »

Hi there,

What Piers said. Since Monsters each carry their own storymaps, they can carry Complications, no problem. In fact, if I remember correctly, Twisting the Knife adds a Complication to all storymaps, right? So situational issues ranging from Monster poison-abilities to "What, storm the castle by yourself?" to "I've got a kick-ass longbow, but he has the benefit of the thick underbrush," can all be handled as Complications and cancelling thereof.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Alan
Member

Posts: 1012


WWW
« Reply #13 on: June 13, 2003, 08:28:15 AM »

Hey Ron,

I was looking more closely at the resolution rules and have a question.  Playing In says "the point is to have all the characters'main resolution rolls occuring simultaneously."

Are rolls resolved simultaneously?  If so, players will have to decide how to split up the Black Dice pool.

Or did you intend that rolls be made sequentially, so the full Black Dice pool is available to each player, less any lost or burned by their predecessor?
Logged

- Alan

A Writer's Blog: http://www.alanbarclay.com
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #14 on: June 13, 2003, 09:11:03 AM »

Hi there,

Damn good question. By "simultaneously," I am only referring to players' conflicts being brought to a head as close to one another in real time as possible. It's to avoid the "ho hum, waiting for my turn" problem.

You're right, though, that having everyone draw from the Black Pool at the same time, before rolling, is problematic. It's certainly not what I had in mind; that should only happen during direct PC-PC conflict.

Given that, the order of the rolls strikes me as very important.

Best,
Ron
Logged
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!