Started by Ron Edwards, February 16, 2011, 04:09:19 PM
QuoteA GM should never give a point of Will to a PC for Vindication unless the entire gaming group - including the GM, but he is not the final authority on this - seems to feel that the character genuinely Vindicated their nature. This should not be something that players are fudging just to get more points: it is an important part of the game.
Quote1. Do you want me to go into why I think the term "angel" is appropriate? This has nothing to do with anything in the game text or how it might be written; it's a pure geekoid terms-issue for me. So if you don't want to get into that, that's no big deal and we can stay with talking about the game. But if you're interested, I can tell you why.
Quote2. There is one thing I have to deal with up-front. I may be mis-reading you, but I'm getting the impression that comments about previous systems and your system are bugging you, or at least you feel the need to defend yourself against them. Therefore, speaking only for my own posts, I want to clarify what I mean - and don't mean - by mentioning other games in reference to your or anyone's game mechanics. When I say, "Your mechanic X is like the thing in that game from 15 years ago," I do not mean that you knew that game, took that mechanic, and popped it into your game. Nor do I mean that you even encountered that game and incorporated it as knowledge and more recently applied that knowledge. As it happens I don't think either of these is a bad thing anyway, but still, it's not what I mean. What I mean is that RPGs exhibit remarkably distinct families of techniques and techniques combinations, and design ranges from staying right smack in the comfort zone of an established family, all the way to founding a whole new zone. I find it valuable to talk in these terms, saying things like "Your mechanic X comes from the thing in that game from 15 years ago," and although the "comes from" part may look like "you did this, you did that" in the sense of where you got the idea, that's strictly an artifact of our existing vocabulary for these things. I'm saying that the thing entered the design space, culturally speaking, at that time. Whether you invented it yourself out of your own experiences, or whether you learned it from that very game, or whether you acquired it indirectly through games that are in that same techniques-family, isn't what I'm after. Nor is any such comment supposed to diminish or subordinate your design, or you as a designer, relative to others, to the contrary actually.
Quote from: 'Ron'Combat 3, Perception 2, Manipulation 2, Resistance 3Died by suicide, therefore primary Dominion is Despair; one of the KindlyDespair 3, War 2, Misfortune 2, Apathy 1Time since death: 9 minutes agoMemory fragments: a happy occurrence, a job, an important lover, a child or pet, a sibling or close friendAnathema 0, Will 10
Quote from: 'Anathema'In this same moment, the player can distribute 6 additional Ability Points between their Shroud's Combat, Perception, Manipulation, and Resistance, as the Shroud's Abilities are more formidable than those of its Husk. These points can increase any of these Abilities above 5, however each point of Ability score above the fifth costs two Ability Points.
Quote from: 'Anathema'In terms of their formidable supernatural powers, Shrouds that have newly returned are as weak as kittens. A ―new‖ Shroud begins with Anathema 0, Will 10, and the Abilities and Dominions discussed above. Shrouds who have Despair as their primary Dominion only start with Will 7.
Quote from: 'Ron'Quick question: I rolled 6 twice for my memory fragments - does this mean I just move on to the next roll (as I did, hence five fragments total), or does it mean I re-roll that time until I get a new value (hence I would have six different fragments total)?
Quote from: 'Ron'Thinking about what the character is like and how things may go, I drew this diagram. The bottom part, Rebellion, is the trickiest. With Vindication, you do it or you don't, so that's easy, but with Rebellion, if you do it, then Dissolution threatens, and if you abstain, then you start losing Will. The non-rebellious, obedient Shroud kills and kills preferred victims as much as possible along with avoided ones (non-avoided in this case), perhaps failing to outstrip Will Death, or perhaps one day achieving Satori; the rebellious Shroud keeps Will high but will sooner or later find the Furies breathing down its neck. The text calls it a Bang or a Whimper (with the Whimper being Satori, i think); it reminds me of the catch-phrase from Jared Sorensen's Schism: will you die on your feet or on your knees? Huh! - ultimately, the question faced by the Shroud is the same one faced by every single one of its victims.
Quote from: 'Ron'I think the current text displays way too much GM micro-management! This is a system which really throws ethical crisis into the players' laps, to be expressed in striking form with extremely visual, extremely powerful characters, regarding an issue of great weight. I think that the whole "story guy" role of the GM can simply slide away, letting this particular group's story emerge from stated actions, existing mechanics, and flat-out consequences without a guiding hand to smooth, pace, or manage it in any way.i) Setting difficulty levels with multiple dials, as discussed aboveii) GM permission for gaining Will for killing a preferred victimiii) forcing the choice between gaining Will and risking Dissolution (I mean, the choice is already there ...)iv) capping Will changes per unit play timeSo what do I think the Anathema GM should do? Well, it has a lot to do with the games Sorcerer, Dust Devils, and Dogs in the Vineyard - the GM makes up and plays highly active, stressed NPCs, in situations which are full of ethical tension and unstable relationships. Also, less centrally, opens and closes scenes, accelerates in-game time when nothing important is happening, and other logistic matters. We can talk more about this if you want.
QuoteAnother major content-point concerns the Furies, and what seems to me to be a kind of trap-door that opens under the otherwise flawless ending-structure of the game. Beating the Furies? Becoming kind of an anti-Balance super-squad or something like that? It reads to me like a gamer-out, a "Hey, you can keep playing forever if you can do this" option, instead the raw truth of every other orienting text in the game: you are going down, forever, and the question is how - and what that will mean. As I see it, the Furies may do better to be like Satori - when the truly appropriate time comes, they show up and kill the character, full stop.
QuoteI suppose it's not surprising to you that I think removing the final modifier is a good idea.
Quoteii) Of the three modifiers, Anathema units seem most significant here. I'm thinking in terms of playing the above character, or maybe any character: absent specific ethical concerns of the moment, I plan to kill frequently, if not indiscriminately I suppose, and keep Anathema high enough that I can pretty much always double my Ability dice. As long as Anathema is below 20 or so, and assuming that a good fun scene calls for multiple rolls, I can see how a certain economy might set in, as I might not be able to kill my way up high enough fast enough and will have to pick and choose when I "Anathemize" my rolls. How about above that? It doesn't seem unlikely that I might have my character kill dozens, if not hundreds, of victims at once when I can. Is it part of the vision of the game that I might have 100 or 200 Anathema going? I'm not saying that's bad, not at all - I'm only curious to see if I'm interpreting correctly.
Quoteii) I am not convinced by the text's claim that the game doesn't feature combat much. It seems to me it definitely would, even without the "dust'em up" bad guys you provide later in the rules. But rare or common, the key feature of complicated conflict ("combat" most often) for me is the ordering of announced actions and outcomes. I think the current traditional, fully random, stop-motion initiative system is inadequate for the passion-driven, intensely personal aspects of combat in this game. I am thinking about all sorts of alternatives: the Action Point system in my proto-game Mongrel, for instance, seems well suited; or some kind of all-at-once rolling and retroactive ordering along the lines of Zero and Sorcerer, or more complex, In a Wicked Age.
Quote4. This may sound very strange, but I think perception, as a character ability or action, does not rate a whole Ability of its own for this game. The single thing it specifically does concerns memory, and that function can be given some kind of roll unique to itself rather than being a character Ability. Otherwise it's the same-old, same-old "notice things" deal which is remarkably non-functional in most role-playing. Now, for all I know, you have some kind of nigh-unique skill or set of experiences with perception rolls that is incredibly fun, and if so, let me know what it is, and I'll drop the subject. But instead, if like me, you have struggled with getting things to happen even when perception rolls aren't made, or found scenes jammed up by who-notices-whom instead of getting to the point, and, if like me, you have often simply bypassed the whole thing and flatly said who notices whom, then maybe Perception can simply be jettisoned.