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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 29 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [From Beyond]  (Read 2850 times)
stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


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« Reply #15 on: March 09, 2011, 06:44:57 PM »

Hi Mike, so how does ToC work?  After I dropped coc, havent bothered with like game again.

My dysfunctional play looks like this:

1) something relevant to the characters occurs - (a bang in other words)
2) players arrive and investigate the scene looking for clues (invoke task resolution such as 'observe' to notice clues)  potential confrontation/conflict may occur.
3) players may or may not find clues - potential story stall.
4) players that do find clues then research clues (invoke task resolution such as research to understand clue significance)
5) players may or may not research well - potential story stall.
6) assumption: either (2) and/or (4) go well enough to lead to the next investigative scene.  rinse and repeat (2)->(6) until case closed.

Your problem points 3 and 5 are exactly what Trail of Cthulhu was created to address. And it addresses them successfully, although it's a bit lackluster apart from this IMO.

I mean, ToC isn't that old, granted, but it's been a couple years. I'm surprised not to see it as part of this discussion already.

Uh, as long as I'm contributing solely by pointing at other games and grunting: David, have you had a look at Cthulhu Dark yet?
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David Hallett
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #16 on: March 10, 2011, 12:42:26 AM »

Steve, Mike may well have responded to you by PM or email, but if he hasn't, that's where you need to have this conversation, as it will confuse this thread greatly if we start discussing the inner workings of ToC here. Thanks!
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David Hallett
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2011, 03:15:35 PM »

heroic deaths over something that really matters are great.
I feel this way too, but I'm very picky about the particulars.  Getting killed in the final confrontation of the adventure is fine by me.  Getting killed in the penultimate scene, and having to sit out the final scene, is not fine by me, unless I died doing the thing that got the other players to the final scene.  That's about where the line is for me between frustrating death and fun death.  Where is it for you?

That's pretty much exactly where I'd put it too. And I'm taking your criticism of Doom very seriously, because you are, I think, typical of my target audience. However, I have to ask: can you imagine that a system exists that reliably fulfils these rules regarding character death without introducing something a tad "metagamey"? Isn't that bound to happen, more or less?

My potential problem with Doom is not that the PCs can survive an encounter with a shoggoth in the first scene and run away, only to get seriously messed up when they re-encounter it later. That's fine with me. I do worry however that they might actually wipe out something powerful but a bit fragile in an early scene, confident in their plot immunity. Obviously that would be bad scenario design, but still it troubles me a bit.

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I should also note that I'm much less disappointed to die if I can still play somehow (zombie, wraith, evil NPC, etc.).

Funnily enough I was thinking about some optional rules for lingering as a ghost! I think that's definitely a possibility.

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I take it Composure damage and escalating monster encounters aren't doin' it for ya?
I'll think some more about the former. The latter is really just scenario design, which was what I was trying to help with, not rely on. Or have I misunderstood? I guess there could be some mechanism whereby the Doom level governs the maximum Mystery of anything you can encounter. That might work...?

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I'm not quite dedicated enough to map out the final rates of exchange between all your currencies.  If you do that, though, I'd definitely look it over!
Thanks for the offer, I'll give it a try. Most of them are pretty simple, but this Mystery/Insight/Shadow thing is critical.
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David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #18 on: March 11, 2011, 12:17:52 AM »

I'm taking your criticism of Doom very seriously, because you are, I think, typical of my target audience. However, I have to ask: can you imagine that a system exists that reliably fulfils these rules regarding character death without introducing something a tad "metagamey"?
I'm an eternal optimist on this!  The way I look at it, there are two ways to ensure specific fictional outcomes without forcing the players to watch the fiction get pushed around "from without".

1) Create your gameworld to produce your desired outcomes.  "In this setting, encounters with Mythos creatures curse you with escalating bad luck", etc.

2) Give the GM tools to manage the fiction invisibly.  These could be anything from secret point spends or other mechanics uses (like if the Doom track was hidden), to scenario design tips, to "if the players do A, you should do B" instructions.

This seems harder than "going meta", so I think it's fair to ask if it's worth it to you.  Maybe I'm pickier than most of your target audience!

My potential problem with Doom is not that the PCs can survive an encounter with a shoggoth in the first scene and run away, only to get seriously messed up when they re-encounter it later. That's fine with me. I do worry however that they might actually wipe out something powerful but a bit fragile in an early scene, confident in their plot immunity. Obviously that would be bad scenario design, but still it troubles me a bit.
Good catch!  I would hate that dynamic.  Hmm.  Maybe you should define what sorts of player reactions you'd like to which threat types (as in your Mystery rating table) at which Doom levels, and set the values that way?  So: We can kill a Deep One at Doom 1-5, it's 50/50 through Doom 9, and at Doom 10 it's suicide.  We can kill an Elder Thing at Doom 1-2, it's 50/50 through Doom 5, and suicide at 6+.  Etc.  Then those conclusions could guide you in developing the optimal formula to correlate Doom and Damage (and anything else that factors into that relationship, like Mystery).

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I take it Composure damage and escalating monster encounters aren't doin' it for ya?
I'll think some more about the former. The latter is really just scenario design, which was what I was trying to help with, not rely on.
I definitely think your system allows scenarios to be less perfectly-planned-in-every-detail than in CoC!  But there's still some planning involved, and I don't think your current text covers that.  When I read "Make a network of easy core clues", I think, "and read the Trail of Cthulhu book for how, and for factions and creatures to populate them with."  So, uh, maybe you could say that.  Or, if you've got a scenario design method that works for you, it'd be cool to see more detailed instructions on that.

I guess there could be some mechanism whereby the Doom level governs the maximum Mystery of anything you can encounter. That might work...?
Yes!  I like it!  When I GM, I have a much easier time remembering (and following) concrete rules like that, as opposed to vague principles like "escalate your threats somehow".
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here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
David Hallett
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #19 on: March 11, 2011, 04:15:08 PM »

Thanks Dave, this is all very useful and has given me some ideas, but I need to sit down with them and take some time.

My big "aha" of today was that when I look at what I say I want Shadow to do (reflect the build up of evidence) this is what Doom does already! Wow, maybe I could lose a gauge.

I'll take your optimism on board as a useful working assumption. The most obvious way to enforce when PCs can die in a way that players will find acceptable is to get the players to choose mortality. The question is what to offer them that will seem attractive enough to outweigh the possibility of character death. Hmmm...

One more question: you don't care for Doom as Luck. What if each character had a reserve of Luck points (say 10 at start) that could be spent to reduce damage? More meta-gamey? Less?
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David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #20 on: March 12, 2011, 02:57:58 AM »

Taking some time to mull sounds like a smart move to me!  If you update the text and want more eyes on it, just say so!

you don't care for Doom as Luck. What if each character had a reserve of Luck points (say 10 at start) that could be spent to reduce damage? More meta-gamey? Less?
I think they're exactly equally metagamey.  If they reflect a truth from within the fiction (being cursed, etc.), either could work fine.  Impacting the fiction from without, neither one is doable. 

If you actually want to cater to players like me, I'm afraid there's zero wiggle room on this stuff.  Make the gameworld do what you want or provide an invisible metagame.  I've yet to see a third option that doesn't make me go, "Well, now I might as well switch on my 'story game' brain instead."

I mean, telling me and my ilk to suck up some metagaminess could work if the metagame elements are clearly* making play awesome.  It would just be a different kind of awesome than what I looked for in CoC.

*as in, you explicitly promise what they'll deliver, and they do that
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here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
David Hallett
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #21 on: March 23, 2011, 03:48:46 PM »

OK, so here's a new version.

Brief Changelog:
Got rid of Doom, couldn't make it do anything useful that Shadow couldn't do already.
Things that used to increment Doom now increment Shadow.
Energy, Composure, Health tracks all shortened, but "hits" do less damage. It's pretty hard to die over about something you don't care about, but not that hard to die if you insist on fighting for any length of time.
Conversion rates between Energy, Composure, Health adjusted accordingly, and noted on the character sheet.
My "advice" to GMs about the kinds of PCs needed has been enshrined into law to make a formal contract of sorts between the GM and players as to what kinds of characters will be played, and what kinds of adventures will be provided. There are even two different character sheets!
Comments added about playing in character,
Injuries abolished as insufficiently interesting and hard to invent plausibly.
Rules on fainting/being knocked out streamlined.
Some ability to recover "permanent" losses between adventures.
Insight, not Shadow, now reduces Energy refresh (reasons of balance).
Mechanism of increasing Insight substantially revised. High levels of Insight are now very difficult to attain.
Clear ruling on helpers giving only one bonus die, total.
More clarity on the difference between Fear attacks from humans, monsters and gods.
Explanation of why combat manoeuvres may be useful.
Examples given of stats for monsters and gods.
Books and Magic given own section.
Advice added on adapting published Adventures and creating them from scratch, with guidelines on how to control the pace and overall chances of success; these are very seat of the pants, and need to be tested.
Advice on how to design appropriate adventures for the two different PC types.
Comments on use of character social skills vs player social skills.

I'm pretty excited about these changes, which I think have tightened up the game a good deal. All feedback welcome!

http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/Prototype%208.pdf
http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/Print%20II%20Character%20sheet%2023Mar11.pdf
http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/Print%20RH%20Character%20sheet%2020Mar11.pdf

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David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #22 on: March 24, 2011, 03:31:52 AM »

Simply presenting the distinction between these two types of characters and their motives strikes me as a great way to get the group on the same page.  I'm imagining looking at the sheets and then having a good group discussion about pros and cons and expectations.  Nice!

Your change list is exciting too!  I hope to give the full package a good looking-over soon.  Two immediate thoughts: (1) Insight docking Energy refresh sounds right.  (2) Having only 3 Health boxes is kind of unnerving.  Excellent.
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here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
David Hallett
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #23 on: May 04, 2011, 05:22:32 AM »

A small revision, consisting mainly of simplifications and shortenings.
http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/Prototype%209.pdf
http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/II%20Character%20sheet%20calluna%20sans%2018Apr11.pdf
http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/RH%20Character%20sheet%20calluna%20sans%2018Apr11.pdf




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David Hallett
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #24 on: May 07, 2011, 02:14:37 PM »

And following the first playtest, a rejigged skill system and a redesigned character sheet!

http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/Prototype%2010.pdf
http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/II%20Character%20sheet%2007May11.pdf
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David Hallett
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2011, 01:55:46 PM »

With further refinements...
http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/Prototype%2011.pdf
http://frombeyondrpg.com.s3.amazonaws.com/II%20Character%20sheet%2018May11.pdf


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