Started by Ron Edwards, October 16, 2008, 07:41:31 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards on October 16, 2008, 07:41:31 PMI want to stress that the key aspect of Traits and Gear in Space Rat isn't that sometimes they're barred to you because "they don't apply." That might happen, but it's anything like what I used to observe in certain kinds of Champions play, if someone likes the idea of a "hole" in their character's effectiveness, then the fun thing to do over time is to build up everything else, both in breadth and depth, so that the "hole" became ever more obvious.
Quote from: Eero Tuovinen on October 16, 2008, 07:52:57 PMThat clicked for me. Thanks for the interesting write-up. Reminds me of how I should get in touch with the spaceratcreatorguy and try to get some of that game for Finns, too.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on October 16, 2008, 07:41:31 PMWhy are they fun? Because they're thematic rather than tactical, meaning that the benefit of using them is real but not overwhelmingly important, and also not different from one to the other. It matters more which one you choose, in terms of what you want your character to be "about." This is also built into the reward system - you want to build up lots of Traits and Gear, not necessarily to be able to use them more often, but so you can have a broader thematic range of options.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on October 16, 2008, 07:41:31 PMIt was tons of fun to watch people's eyes light up right when I described the Luck and interference rules.
Quote from: Ron Edwards on October 16, 2008, 07:41:31 PMTim, being a mutant one, looks like Tim Koppang who was readily on hand at the booth to point at during the demo. (He had no idea why I kept doing this.)
Quote from: Peril Planet on October 19, 2008, 07:15:35 AMPlayers had become hung-up on how many damage descriptors their ray gun had, or whether their rocket boots had movement x2 or x3. I realised "Who cares?"
Quote from: Peril Planet on October 19, 2008, 07:15:35 AMA lot of players would avoid doing things if they didn't have an ability or piece of equipment that would aid them. So all that stuff went! All traits (and gear) do the same thing, it's just up to the players to decide when and how they want to work them into the story.
QuoteAm I correct in inferring that the key point in the sentences above is (mechanically speaking) that the traits are "not overwhelmingly important, and also not different from one to the other"? And that *this* allows both (1) the traits to be "thematic rather than tactical", and (2) making the choice between them a, well, thematic choice?
QuoteSuppose that using traits *was* "overwhelmingly important" when compared to using the bare resolution rules. Again, how would the game change?
QuoteAnd finally, the question I promised (hmm... threatened?) to ask again and again from now on... In this game, how were traits invoked? I'm asking about the actual words spoken at the table (well, close paraphrases would do). And when you say that traits might happen not to be applicable: who would choose between applicability and, well, lack of such? To which specific, real, "at the table" action would he/she respond to? How would he/she communicate to others this non-applicability?
QuoteI'm kind of exploiting the Actual Play forum as a kind of "plz school me on RPG theory" forum lately. I only hope that these discussions are useful and/or entertaining to other people here as they are for me!
QuoteThere is only one thing that I'm reasonably sure of so far, that is, if you have trait scores in a system, then players should also have a rationale for choosing between traits, which must *not* be connected to those scores.
QuoteAnd now comes the difficult part. Although most systems call "traits" the mechanical elements used for achieving (I) and (II) above, I find that in practice, they're different as day and night. In "Type(II)" games, traits are mostly a *descriptive* tool. Using them during play involves the *celebration*, for lack of a better term, of the fictional elements represented by that trait, *as already established* either during chargen, or by the system itself.In Type(I) games instead, when you choose between traits during play, your choiche is mostly influenced by that non-mechanical, perhaps even non-stated value ladder, which in turn implies the score you'll use mechanically as an almost secondary consequence.So I feel that in those Type(II) games, traits are mostly "premise reinforcement" tools, whereas in Type(I) games, traits are "premise creation" tools. In Type(I) games, I see traits as useful and functional, and I know what to do with them.
QuoteMy problem with Type(III) games is that I really don't know what to do with traits, neither at chargen nor during play. The Pool could be an example of a Type(III) game, but I think there are a lot more around, some of which are extremely succesful games. No, I won't name any, simply because I'm not *that* sure I'm right; this is just intended as a platform for costructive discussion, not a "defend this game from unjust accusation" competition.
QuoteMy impression is however that the specific techniques you described are *not* implicitly linked to the word "trait". I say this because in some games, slighlty different procedures than those you described (or a sub-set of them) are explicitly prescribed.
QuoteSo this becomes a broad question to all games designers passing by: when you decided to use 'traits' in your game, did you intend to cause "at-the-table" effects such as those described by Ron? Or, did you intended to achieve something different? My point is that in either case, you should describe it all in more detail. One can't just write in a game "oh, and you have traits, which give you bonuses if they're *applicable*" and expect it to produce any foreseeable effects in play. And if that's true, why do we need traits at all?