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Author Topic: [IaWA] Chapter 3 Question  (Read 1674 times)
Valamir
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Posts: 5582


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« on: June 18, 2008, 01:59:09 PM »

So, we're about to embark on Chapter 3 and my character tops the We Owe List.  I have a question about the new Chapter 3 rule on Significance.

Here's the text in question, from page 26:

Quote
New characters (not recurring characters) can begin play with particular strengths having significance 2.

Does this mean:  a) that a new character makes up a brand spankin new particular strength and immediately gets Significance 2 for it?  or b) that a new character is eligible to select an existing particular strength that's already at Sig 2.

a) seems to be the most obvious interpretation...but that seems to play funny with the rules for reoccuring characters.

If you have a reoccuring character and you spend your "level up" (for lack of a better word) on rearranging your stats, then you don't get to also increase your PS's Significance.  That means all of the OTHER characters are tougher / better / higher level / whatever than you.  While this can help get you on the We Owe list again, its seems kind of odd to me that the player who fought and won to earn the right to have their character come back gets the "weakest" character at the table as a result...kind of works against having your character come back be a reward.

What am I missing?
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agony
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Posts: 96


« Reply #1 on: June 18, 2008, 03:13:32 PM »

I believe, and I don't have the book in front of me, that it is referring to the fact that you may increase a particular strength to two when a character re-occurs.

So for instance,  your character is up to re-appear and you have the options to keep his same stats or roll new.  If you do not roll up a new character (to effectively "heal" your character) I believe you may increase his particular strength to significance 2. 

The rule, then, would seem to state that you may not choose to increase a particular strength until the 3rd chapter.
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You can call me Charles
Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #2 on: June 18, 2008, 08:40:39 PM »

Charles:

No, the text talk about "new characters", no recurring ones. It say that you can create a new character and give her/him a significant strength with significance 2

Ralph:

I am not able to find the link now, but I remember Vincent saying somewhere that the particular strength can't "break the game", because they self-balance with the owe list: if you get to build a monster-PS double potent, wide, far-reaching and consequential, that give you another d12 in every conflict you play, then you will never go to the owe list and that character (and that particular strength) disappear.  Or, if you get to play it again using the name of your other characters, you will fight against the advantage die that the other people get from the Owe list listing that they got when you fought them with that particular strength...

So I think that that is only a "nice gift" to people who create new character instead of toughing up the old ones. It would be coherent with the game habit of going against the "usual D&D strategies": not only you are "punished" if you play always in the most strategic way, but you are even "punished" if you play always the same character every "adventure".
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
Valamir
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« Reply #3 on: June 19, 2008, 05:27:14 AM »

Yeah, I'm not concerned about the "Balance"...most of my time is spent trying to find ways to justify being weaker than I could be.

It just doesn't feel right to me.  If getting on the owe list is the reward...its not much of a reward if everybody else who didn't get on the owe list gets the same reward.  I don't know, I'm probably over thinking it...but it struck me as being really odd and I like understanding the hows and whys of things.
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #4 on: June 19, 2008, 06:18:08 AM »

It just doesn't feel right to me.  If getting on the owe list is the reward...its not much of a reward if everybody else who didn't get on the owe list gets the same reward.  I don't know, I'm probably over thinking it...but it struck me as being really odd and I like understanding the hows and whys of things.

Well, Vincent is the only one who can really answer about the "whys" (and I am curious about hearing more from him about his choices for this design, too), but about the "hows"...  it seem to me that being on the owe list is both a reward and a responsibility. The game not only say "to be able to return, this character must do this", but says "THIS character that did so, MUST return", too.

(and we had an example of this just now with our weekly game: one of the players, still not fully at ease with the rules, did not trade the name of a character he doesn't want to play again from the owe list, even after I alerted him that if he did not do so last time he would not be able to do it next week, because it will be his turn to be the GM. So, being now the second on the list, and being the GM next week, that character WILL return two weeks from now, even if the player would have chosen another character instead.  This was an error from his part, it's easy to avoid playing a character again if you don't want,  but it shows that the game push with a certain force to the return of certain character and not others. It's not only a reward)

It's like the system is applying his underlying criteria about the character that "he" want to showcase during the game. First with the oracles, then with the owe list culling/spotlight. And after the first two stories, the system says "no more weak player character! Now we are playing for keeps!"

(this mean, thinking about it, that now is more difficult to get to the Owe list fighting NPCs: you have to try a little more to use lower dice, and not use your significant strength, or you have to target other PCs)
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
David Artman
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Posts: 606

Designer & Producer


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« Reply #5 on: June 19, 2008, 06:37:32 AM »

I think Moreno's got it, but I too would like to hear Vincent's take on the "whys."

When I read that stuff, I just thought, "yeah, makes sense." It struck me as similar to when you have to roll a new character in a level-based game after your first one dies--often, the GM lets you roll one whose level is equal to the lowest level in the party, right? Otherwise, you end up with lvl 1 glass-jaws rolling with lvl 20 heroes. THink of it like maintaining the CR.

Also, mechanically, if new characters were significantly weaker than those recurring, the recurring characters would have little opportunity to get back on the We Owe list (to re-reoccur), and that's tough if you're going for epic-length stories (e.g. Conan wouldn't stay in the story until the end of a single novel, if the "opposition" didn't ramp up with him).
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Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
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lumpley
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« Reply #6 on: June 19, 2008, 07:31:19 AM »

Ralph: That rule does two things.

First, it keeps NPCs roughly on par with recurring PCs, dicewise, a little longer into the game. Without it, recurring characters would quickly come to own any and every NPC. With it, they still will, but less quickly. That's the straightforward one.

Second, it makes the second generation of PCs into foils for the first. This is a pretty subtle effect and I'm happy with it. You know how your character's story is the story of her personal strengths and best interests coming to align? The more chapters that her actions put her up against stronger opposition, the longer her story - it's when her actions and her personal strengths come together against weaker opposition that she gets what's best for her, or doesn't, finally, and her story ends.

Without that rule, over the long game the characters' stories would rise and fall at roughly the same rate, each generation replacing the one before in stately (if bell-curvular) rhythm. With the rule, though, the first generation of PCs gets an owe-list boost: it puts them uniquely up against better opposition longer into their stories. The long game isn't, thus, a steady progression of PCs, but weighted frontward: it's subtly but uniquely the story of those first PCs.

Now, of all the rules, that's the one whose good working is going to depend most on what happens per group per game. If in the first few PC recurrences, the players always do the reassign dice thing and never the more significant particular strength thing, that'll throw the rule off a little. If in the first chapter only one PC goes onto the owe list only once, or if all the PCs do more than once, that'll throw it off a little too. It may be that introducing the rule at chapter 5 or 6 instead of 3 would have been better, maybe let the early PCs get a bit stronger first and let the variations between groups' play even out. It didn't seem to matter in playtesting, so I decided to introduce it and the GM-swapping rule at the same time.

If you'd like to hold off on implementing it until the NPCs and new PCs seem to be at a consistent disadvantage, do.

Moreno: I love to answer questions about my games' designs. Whatever you're interested in hearing more about, please ask.

David: Right on.

-Vincent
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Valamir
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« Reply #7 on: June 19, 2008, 08:35:57 AM »

Ok, cool.  I see the reasoning behind it...I'm still a bit hazy on whether it actually does all that* but this will be my first returning character, so we'll see.

I think my initial reaction to it was because having managed to get on the Owe list without taking any damage I could use my bonus to increase my PS...and I expected that to make me special (not in terms of power per se...but in terms of having something no one else did...a spotlight if you will).  Finding out that it did not make the character special in any way, because every other character gets it too, rubbed me wrong.

That more than any balance notions would be a reason I could see for pushing it back to Chapter 5.  But I'm not a fan of house ruling stuff without having played it first...plus this Chapter should benefit from confronting me with big baddies.


*Hazy because increasing the significance of the new character's PS's doesn't automatically lead to bigger dice / stronger opposition because there are a lot of other things that Sig could be spent on besides dice.  And because having bigger dice in your PS doesn't really make it that much harder to get on the Owe list because you can simply not use that PS a time or two.
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Moreno R.
Member

Posts: 547


« Reply #8 on: June 19, 2008, 11:00:19 AM »

Hi Vincent!

In your answer to Ralph, there is something that don't align with my perception of what the rule says:

First, it keeps NPCs roughly on par with recurring PCs, dicewise, a little longer into the game. Without it, recurring characters would quickly come to own any and every NPC. With it, they still will, but less quickly. That's the straightforward one.

I thought that ONLY the new PC could start with particular strengths with double significance.  I took this from the text that talk about "new characters" when in page 4 there are two different chapter, one called "creating a new character sheet" and the other "creating a new NPC sheet" (so I took "character" in the game as another name for "PC", and the others are called "NPC")

It doesn't make a lot of difference in play, but I think that the rule should be more clear about that

Quote
Moreno: I love to answer questions about my games' designs. Whatever you're interested in hearing more about, please ask.

Eh, I already wrote a thread with my questions. Now I am more interested in what you could say about the whys behind IAWA, that I didn't think to ask (I hope this sentence made sense...). As the TV hosts sometimes say.. "what is the question you always wanted to answer about IAWA, but nobody asked?"
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Ciao,
Moreno.

(Excuse my errors, English is not my native language. I'm Italian.)
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