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Author Topic: Bonus Dice Questions  (Read 1690 times)
Christopher Kubasik
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Posts: 1159


« on: October 01, 2008, 08:11:40 AM »

Hi Ron,

One question I've been thinking about forever, and another that just sprang into my head while reading a thread at Anyways...

First:
Bonus Dice in Sorcerer are a reward by the GM to Players.  Bonus dice inspired PtA's Fan Mail, which is a reward mechanic from fellow players.
Having seen Fan Mail in action, is there anything you would change about Sorcerer Bonus Dice and how they are rewarded?  Is there a special function that you want the GM to have in this regard? 


Second, I just read this on Anyways:
"In hopes that it's related - I think it is - I realized a while ago that my game design relies on reducing consensus. Sorcerer has a lot less of it than most games that influenced it; Elfs removes the need for consensus to establish the actions of selfish characters; Trollbabe has practically none. I've spent my design effort shooting for the maximum yield in collaborative imagination with the minimum "vetting" or negotiation possible in the process."

Is the GM judging the Player's words one of those hold out spots for consensus?  Because at some level there might be mutiny at the table if the Players get tired of a stingy or obnoxious GM in this one regard.

Yes, he's setting the baseline or the direction for what is "good" in terms of color -- but this also puts him in the role of approving or disapproving teacher.  Yes?

Normally I don't think about it -- handing out Bonus Dice is fun and it works like a charm.  But sometimes a player work something up and you can tell his heart is in it and he used LOTS of words... and I'm not feeling it.  And I go, "One die."  And you can tell he wanted more.  And I feel like a creative writing teacher saying to his student, "No, you didn't nail it."  (In my Brotherhood game there were lots of bonus dice when PCs tapped memories or related one incident that had already played to something they were about to do now.)

In such cases I tend to ask for more.  I'll say, "Could you nail down for me exactly what it is you're trying to say?"  Usually, the player finds some cool, concise action or detail that brings everything into relief and makes everyone at the table go "AH!"  But it does seem the one moment in the game where we, as a group, struggle (maybe in a good way!) to sort out how to judge what is really an idea from the Player.

Thanks!

CK


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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2008, 09:08:55 AM »

Hi Christopher,

Regarding bonus dice, check out this thread: Role-playing bonus dice. With that as the foundation, the answer is "no." I am extremely happy with how these rules work in playing Sorcerer.

In connection with the discussion at Anyway (Creative Tension), you wrote,

Quote
Is the GM judging the Player's words one of those hold out spots for consensus?  Because at some level there might be mutiny at the table if the Players get tired of a stingy or obnoxious GM in this one regard.

That supposition of mutiny is pretty far into the what-if sphere of potential trouble-spots. But let's see what I can do with it ... I come up with one mean thing to say and one nice thing to say.

1. In terms of game design, my thinking was that indeed, GMing Sorcerer requires being in touch with the other people at the table, and if you can't do it, then fuck you and drown. (A lot of the game is designed to let poor play or poor rules-application open a trapdoor under the participants. That's why I keep saying, through the years, that it's not a teaching/training text. It's a bottle of tequila.)

2. In terms of the nigh-universal absence of the mutiny, I think that the mechanic has served well, empirically, in recognizing when "we all mesh" or "you reached and I grab hold" rather than creating it. Since such moments occur in all successful role-playing, the issue is simply to spot them and appreciate them as part of the moment.

Quote
He's setting the baseline or the direction for what is "good" in terms of color -- but this also puts him in the role of approving or disapproving teacher.  Yes?

Normally I don't think about it -- handing out Bonus Dice is fun and it works like a charm.  But sometimes a player work something up and you can tell his heart is in it and he used LOTS of words... and I'm not feeling it.  And I go, "One die."  And you can tell he wanted more.  And I feel like a creative writing teacher saying to his student, "No, you didn't nail it."  (In my Brotherhood game there were lots of bonus dice when PCs tapped memories or related one incident that had already played to something they were about to do now.)

In such cases I tend to ask for more.  I'll say, "Could you nail down for me exactly what it is you're trying to say?"  Usually, the player finds some cool, concise action or detail that brings everything into relief and makes everyone at the table go "AH!"  But it does seem the one moment in the game where we, as a group, struggle (maybe in a good way!) to sort out how to judge what is really an idea from the Player.

I agree with you here that this is a good thing. The problem when you say "one die" (which incidentally I think is plenty; for me as GM, your account would say "no bonus" here), is that the player is indeed "feeling it" ... alone. By himself. For himself. And I might add, apparently, with an expected reward. To say, "Give me more, we're all taking a moment to try to join you," is the exactly correct thing to do.

However, that's not consensus, it's connection. Bonus dice are about experiencing a sudden increase in the Shared quality of Shared Imagined Space. They're not about being entertained in a purely "did you meet my standards well enough" sense. So my answer to your first question in the quote box is "no." You're not the creative writing teacher, you're a co-author with non-negotiable co-voice. You're not sitting back and enjoying his solo, you're engaging in the Sharing and asking for a readjustment of how your (the two of you's) cogs mesh.

To illustrate that, I'm using your phraseology that asks for an adjustment rather than demands a do-over. Demanding a do-over would be like the teacher.

I just had another, more general thought about the related threads in question (three or four now, at present count): we might all be confounding agreement about what's happening with agreement about what do I get

Best, Ron
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Christopher Kubasik
Member

Posts: 1159


« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2008, 05:25:40 PM »

Hmmmm....

I posted a reply earlier... and it's gone!

Okay, so first, the phrase, "However, that's not consensus, it's connection," is exactly what I was looking for.

Between this thread and the one you linked to, I'm all set.

Thanks!

CK


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"Can't we for once just do what we're supposed to do -- and then stop?
Lemonhead, The Shield
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