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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 26 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Keen Edge of History] First Time Play  (Read 3340 times)
Cliff H
Member

Posts: 49


« Reply #15 on: January 28, 2011, 11:00:07 AM »

I suppose the aspect that interested me most is the relationship between the "hand" and the Sword, and the question of who is really in control. I'd love to see that kind of adversarial relationship or conflict explored more.

I'll admit, this isn't something that was on my mind when I was writing this, and part of me wonders if that would make too many conflicts in one place (players vs. GM, players vs. players, now player vs. self as well). Still it's an interesting thought experiment, and I'm toying with tying that into at least one of the character options (dynastic swords, since they have the most overt control over the hands in the campaign setting). It might serve as a further way to distinguish methods of passing.

One of these days I'll get some friends to agree to playtest this damn thing (as well as a few of the other Ronnies entries, I hope), and we'll see how it works at the table. Thanks for the feedback though; it helps keep new thoughts coming in sans player feedback at the moment.
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Cliff H
Member

Posts: 49


« Reply #16 on: January 29, 2011, 06:01:54 AM »

First thing that occurs to me: It's called "Keen Edge of History" (A very cool name) and all the rules refer to the player characters as swords.  However I see nothing in the rules that requires them to to be a blade or indeed a weapon at all.  This appears to be a game about legendary items and the way they shape history.  As such any durable item should serve, be it helmet, shield, wand or talisman.  The possibilities are endless.

You are absolutley correct, and such a thought did occur to me when I began writing this. I went with swords for two reasons. First, of all the iconic weapons of legend, the ones that stick out most in modern American mindset seem to be swords. Sure, you can find references to other weapons in myths all over the place. There's Thor's Mjolnir and Cu Chhulainn's Gae Bolg just to name two. But neither has the prominence of Excaliber.

The other reason is the bigger one, and one that is no longer as constraining. This was an entry in the Ronnies, based off the word "sword." Ergo, swords needed to be a key part of the game in order to be a valid entry. Since that contest is over, there's absolutely nothing wrong with broadening the scope. I haven't done so yet, but you're correct, there's nothing in the rules that preclude the items of legend being anything you can imagine.
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Altaem
Member

Posts: 64


« Reply #17 on: January 31, 2011, 08:15:12 PM »

This game could do with a glossary, but lets see how I'm doing:

Quest: The story encompassing all significant events that occur for the duration of a Sword and a single Hand.  A Quest contains n - 1 Saga Arcs where n is the number of Swords sharing the Quest.
Saga Arc (sometime just called an Arc): A sub story within a quest, complete with introduction, middle and conclusion.  Should be a single play session of 1-4 hours.
Scene: A single significant event within a Saga Arc.  Each Arc contains as many Scenes as required to tell it's story.
Confrontation:  An obstacle baring the Swords from successful completion of a Scene.  There are 2 types of Confrontation; Threats and Opposition Pools.


I'm not really understanding Threats.

Their name seems wrong to me.  Threats represent a minor obstacle in the swords path.  Unless I'm mistaken it is impossible for the Swords to fail to overcome a Threat.
As such I'm left wondering why they're in the game at all.
Clearly they add colour and a safe opportunity for the Swords to have fun with their powers.

On a mechanical level they appear to offer a chance for the swords to compete for flash and glory.
Logically this will result in Swords pouring there narration points into flash and glory rather than completing the Threat.

The exception to this is where the swords are unbalanced in their performance.
In this case it becomes a race between the stronger Sword to gain as much Flash and Glory as possible before the weaker Sword completes the Threat.

I hope I've got this wrong, as it feels really foolish for the stronger Sword to act as inefficiently as possible.
Maybe there needs to be a time element, where each round wasted taking on a Threat may add to the strength of future Opposition Pools?


That will do me for now.  Looking forward to your thoughts or corrections. 
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"Damn! I should have turned invisible." - Stephen Moore aka Altaem
"…there are more watermelon-sized potholes nowadays than ever." - another Stephen Moore
"Passion Fruit: Alchemy of the Egg" - yet another Stephen Moore
Cliff H
Member

Posts: 49


« Reply #18 on: February 01, 2011, 05:54:15 AM »

This game could do with a glossary, but lets see how I'm doing:

Interesting. I'd never thought of that before. Thanks for the suggestion.

You've got all the terminology right, though I'd make one further distinction. Arcs and saga arcs aren't interchangeable terms. A saga arc is an arc that specifically deals with the subject matter attached to one of the sword's sagas. So if a blade is a storied dragonslayer, an arc dealing with a marauding dragon would be a saga arc, while one dealing with a civil war would not. There's no real difference between them in terms of story structure, but a sword has additional options available to it during a saga arc.

Quote
I'm not really understanding Threats.

Their name seems wrong to me.  Threats represent a minor obstacle in the swords path.  Unless I'm mistaken it is impossible for the Swords to fail to overcome a Threat.
As such I'm left wondering why they're in the game at all.

I think some of the confusion comes from seeing threats as mutually exclusive from difficulties with opposition pools. A challenge's threat merely sets the threshold against which swords must accumulate enough narration points before declaring ultimate victory. Without a threat rating, a sword can immediately declare itself triumphant with a single narration point. With a threat rating, swords can describe all manner of progress, but not victory until the threat rating is exceeded.

In play I coupled this with opposition pools most of the time. This cut down on the margin of each roll because my narration points could counter theirs. At the time of my playtest I hadn't written anything about flash and glory, so that wasn't part of the consideration, but I'd imagine that mugging for the camera becomes a much harder decision when faced with an opposition pool as well, since if you dedicate too many narration points to flash and glory you might get overwhelmed by the opposition's remaining narration.

I used a threat rating sans opposition pool only once during my playtest, and it was for a scene that was transitional and I wanted to move through quickly without totally glossing over it. I could see a time element being a good way to add some meat to a threat-only challenge though. Two parties are after the same goal, and the one that reaches the threshold first is the victor. This would technically involve opposition pools, but narration wouldn't be used in direct opposition.

Quote
That will do me for now.  Looking forward to your thoughts or corrections. 

And the same here!
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Cliff H
Member

Posts: 49


« Reply #19 on: February 10, 2011, 09:57:16 AM »

So, that playtesting thing is still proving elusive. The game I'm currently running is falling apart from character actions, so I floated the idea of picking this up instead. "I still need 12 more sessions until I hit master in my swordsman school. Do not take this away from me!"

Looks like I'll be tinkering from a purely theoretical basis for the next three months, assuming no further cancellations. On that note, however, I've been looking over the Obscurity score and the "end game" as it were.

When I introduced this mechanic, I did it simply as a way to make the swords' power over the development of the world real in game terms, as opposed to leaving it in the hands of pure narration. Putting some rules to it made it feel more weighty. However, all of the various things that came out of that, flash and glory, Obscurity, the postlude, all made the game into something I hadn't originally intended, and so wasn't paying much attention to at the time.

Despite it's heavy use of narration mechanics, it's become a highly competitive game. That's fine. I'm actually more interested in seeing how it plays with that element installed. However, given that each sword now had a mechanically defined vision of the world, I'm wondering if it's now possible, or even preferable, to introduce the concept of winning this game.

That there is no winning an RPG is a notion as old as the hobby itself, but I'm now thinking it might not be universally true. All of the swords have something they want. Once they have it there's nothing mechanically preventing further play, but the impetus is gone. Sure, they could secure glory to preserve what they have, but maintaining what you already own seems far less exciting, or even fun, than striving for what you've yet to achieve. In the former case, you've got everything to lose and nothing to gain. Why not heighten the competition a little more and declare the game over once one of the swords hits Obscurity 0?

If that's the case, however, I'm thinking that there needs to be a defined metric for beginning obscurity ratings so that everyone's starting point is even. As long as that wasn't the point of the game, it didn't matter if there was a great disparity between the two, but with there being a game-ending objective I think there needs to be something in place that makes sure every player has to travel the same distance from the beginning of the game. I'm thinking the way to arrive at sword ideals is to start every new character with a flat Obscurity score (likely somewhere between 15 - 20). From there, use those points to create a series of ideals that sum up to that score.

All theory for now, of course.
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Altaem
Member

Posts: 64


« Reply #20 on: February 10, 2011, 03:50:57 PM »

Quote
If that's the case, however, I'm thinking that there needs to be a defined metric for beginning obscurity ratings so that everyone's starting point is even.
This confused me when I was reading the rules.  I couldn't find the rules for determining obscurity.  I just assumed I missed it in reading the rules too quickly.

I think that so long as obscurity gives a mechanical advantage in game, there needs to be a mechanic for generating it in the first place.

In my own games I've never had a mechanic around goals.  But then I've never given out bonuses based on them either.
Maybe I should, goal orientated rpgs often feel more fun.
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"Damn! I should have turned invisible." - Stephen Moore aka Altaem
"…there are more watermelon-sized potholes nowadays than ever." - another Stephen Moore
"Passion Fruit: Alchemy of the Egg" - yet another Stephen Moore
Cliff H
Member

Posts: 49


« Reply #21 on: February 10, 2011, 07:11:12 PM »

This confused me when I was reading the rules.  I couldn't find the rules for determining obscurity.  I just assumed I missed it in reading the rules too quickly.

There are rules for determining your Obscurity, but only sort of. Obscurity = the total difference between your sword's three metrics and the campaign's ratings. The thing is, there's no rules for setting your sword's own metrics; right now they can be anything you want.

As to goal oriented, winnable RPGs, I don't know that I've ever played one that overtly declared itself so, but it does sound like a fun change of pace.
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