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Author Topic: [Caterpillar] A Space Game of Space Pirates in Space  (Read 2922 times)
Josh Porter
Member

Posts: 58

I want to be old.


« Reply #15 on: November 28, 2011, 12:14:07 PM »

Hi David,

At the moment, I think the magic-button level of this game is about 7.  That's making Space Cowboys of Independence a 1, and making Apocalypse World a 10.  Here is my reasoning.  Rolling dice is a bit of a resource investment in the game because of how the Skull Boxes work.  Once you use a die, you might not get it back for a while, depending on the play speed of the other players.  Because of that, I feel that it's important to make every roll matter in the fiction.  To me, that means that pirates doing things that will make a potential impact on the story at large will roll dice.  But whatever they roll, the outcome is usually fictionally consistent.

The only time it won't be is when a pirate has an accident and chooses either a new and ominous NPC, or gives the RA the choice, at which point the RA chooses the arrival of enemies that threaten the crew.  Those choices introduce something completely unexpected.  They still make sense within the fiction, they just aren't caused by the fiction.  They're caused by the mechanics that were rolled because of the fiction.  At least that's what I've noticed so far in playtesting.  It's really quite fun.

I have to say, the way your friends roll in AW, that's me.  Or rather, that's me in D&D, Shadowrun, Mutants & Masterminds, etc.  That's actually the whole reason I got into indie games: they made me break my min-max habits, or rather, they just don't let me min-max at all.  If I can finally get someone to run Apocalypse World for me, I guess I'll find out if I've broken that habit, but I think I have.

Now as far as rolling to produce color goes: hell yes.  You're rolling to write in a new detail and you're going to make that detail important later on (if not, why did you roll in the first place?).  It's great!
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Josh Porter
Member

Posts: 58

I want to be old.


« Reply #16 on: December 05, 2011, 12:31:36 PM »

I've been thinking on some of the advice here on this thread for a while, specifically about making the rolls in the game count.  So I decided to use some of Ron's advice to give the game a little more oomph in the consequence department.  Specifically, I changed the way a pirate chooses his Kitchen Sink when the game begins, with the hope that it will a) create actions that have more inherent consequence, and b) leave a pirate interesting options when he has just one die left to roll.  I didn't want to limit the Skulls a pirate can roll by making a comprehensive list, as making up names for one's own Skulls is a fun part of the experience.  I did, however, want to limit the starting sink options to drive play forward from the outset.Here's the new list of basic Skulls that a pirate can choose from to pick a Sink at character creation.

Quote
1. Asshattery: being an asshat
2. Avoidery: getting out of bad situations
3. Ballsery: jumping head-first into dangerous situations
4. Bombery: blowing stuff up with explosives and the like
5. Chancery: having more luck than the average human (my personal favorite)
6. Clevery: outsmarting other humans
7. Impactery: creating a lasting impression with other humans
8. Mockery: making fun of other humans
9. Patchery: applying a quick-and-dirty fix to a bad situation
10. Persistery: never giving up, no matter what
11. Punchery: hitting things (not limited to punching)
12. Riggery: jury-rigging broken or malfunctioning gizmos
13. Shootery: shooting things (not limited to guns)
14. Sneakery: sneaking around and hiding without being seen
15. Thievery: stealing things
16. Trickery: fooling other humans
17. Traitery: backstabbing the humans who trust you
18. Vackery: doing things out in a vacuum (usually in a space suit.)
19. Wackery: being utterly unpredictable

When a pirate has received sufficient promotions, he can rename his Sink, or even choose a second one, but I think this will drive play in interesting directions if the pirates start with one of these.  Are there any of these that stand out as weak in the consequence department?  Or are there some that are confusing?  Or are there any I just haven't though of?  I'd love to hear some feedback.  Thanks!
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David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #17 on: December 05, 2011, 01:39:44 PM »

It could just be the phrasing, but some of these sound like outcomes witch certain impact, while others sound like attempts that could succeed or fail.  Like, unless the game is forcing other characters to give up, Persistery sounds merely like a descriptive character trait.  Whereas Avoidery sounds like, well, every character gets in bad situations, and mine is particularly good at getting out, and I'll expect that to manifest mechanically at some point.

I hope I'm not nit-picking and missing the point here.  If I am, please ignore me.
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Josh Porter
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I want to be old.


« Reply #18 on: December 05, 2011, 03:09:13 PM »

Not nit-picky at all!  I see what you're saying with Persistery.  It does seem a little more trait-like upon a second look.  Are there any others that jump out at you?  Since I wrote them, I see them in my head a little differently than the way they probably appear to the reader.  But the other ones that seem similar are Chancery, Wackery, and perhaps Impactery and Ballsery to a lesser extent.  Are you seeing a similar disconnect?  Thanks for the feedback!
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Josh Porter
Member

Posts: 58

I want to be old.


« Reply #19 on: December 16, 2011, 01:35:32 PM »

I think I'm getting close to a complete draft of this game.  In the spirit of stealing from the best, I snagged the "end of the game" concept from Poison'd.  I really like how Vincent laid out a distinct ending for his game based on certain conditions, so I adapted the same concept to fit this one.

The end conditions I've come up with are a bit different from Poison'd, and come in two different parts of the book: the more complicated rules for pirates, and the end of the RA's section, concerning pirate death.  Here they are in that order.

Quote
7. The Pirate King Rule: If you are the first pirate to achieve the rank of Pirate King, your pirate gets to engineer the end of the game.  First, you will be given your own pirate ship (not a submarine, like the Caterpillar) by the pirate council.  Second, you are tasked with striking the final blow against the Royal Empire, to take care of them once and for all.  You will be given your choice of crew, and all the resources at the pirate council's disposal.  Whatever plan your pirate comes up with, that plan is the last mission of the game.  Whether it succeeds or fails, the game will end once the mission is completed, and it will be amazing.  No pressure.

Quote
The Death of a Pirate
   It is a sad and tragic day when a player's pirate goes the way of the dodo.  It is not a thing to be taken lightly.  It is kind of hard for a pirate to die in this game, but it very well might happen.  When the pirate's player has run out of Pieces of Eight and the pirate is caught in a cannon broadside, sometimes he dies.  What follows is the grieving process that a pirate's death requires, outlined for your solemn perusal.  Any number of the following stages of grief may be called for upon the death of one of The Terrible Butterflies.
1. The dead pirate can be resuscitated postmortem.  If there is a living pirate that can use Medicinery (the Earthling or the ship's surgeon, if there is one), that pirate can try some postmortem resuscitation.  It must be done quickly in order to succeed.  If the roll succeeds, the dead pirate comes back to life with his BoneTrack still full.  He cannot be resuscitated again if he dies a second time unless he has completely emptied his BoneTrack first. 
2. The dead pirate's player can demand a funeral.  If a funeral is called for, it must take place.  The pirate's body is loaded into an empty torpedo and placed into a torpedo tube.  The other pirates must then, one at a time, share their most cherished memories of the dead pirate. The dead pirate's player may request any one of the memories be written on his death torpedo.  Captain Swallowtail, through the RA, gets the last word in the memory sharing.  The captain vows that the dead pirate's torpedo will be the first to be fired at the next enemy ship they find.  And so the Caterpillar casts off again to hunt for their next plunder.
3. The dead pirate's player can swap places with the RA.  If everyone is in agreement, the dead pirate's player can step up and be the RA starting with the next game session, and the current RA can choose to create a pirate of her own.  This new pirate will start as a swabbie, and, as her player wishes, she may be a pre-existing member of the crew or a new recruit.
4. The dead pirate's player can call for the end of the game.  If the dead pirate's player is too sad to continue without his beloved pirate, he can declare the game to be over at the conclusion of the current session.  This puts some pressure on the crew to finish the game in style.  In order to properly end the game, all the pirates are required to take the biggest risks they can possibly take.  If all the pirates are dead by the end of the session, then the game was a good one.  If they succeed against all odds, then the game was a good one.  There can be no half measures taken at the end of the game.  The game must end boldly and proudly so the players can hold their heads high.

I have yet to see these play out in the game, as no pirates have died so far in playtesting, but I'd love some feedback on them.  Do they put too much pressure on the players?  Will they throw the game's balance out of whack?  I really wanted to make the death of a pirate something of an event, as it is pretty hard to do, and also allow it to change the game up when it happens.  Do these rules convey that well, or do they need some more tweaking?
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David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #20 on: December 16, 2011, 05:42:50 PM »

I see what you're saying with Persistery.  It does seem a little more trait-like upon a second look.  Are there any others that jump out at you?

All the ones whose descriptions sound more like attempts than outcomes: Ballsery, Persistery, Asshattery & Mockery (it's not in doubt whether you mock or are an asshat, but it could be in doubt whether your mockery/asshattery matters at all -- change it to Griefery, focusing on the outcome of someone else feeling grief, and that'd fix that).  Wackery also depends on situations where being unpredictable is somehow advantageous; used in any other case, I'd say the same issue applies. 

Vackery strikes me as an oddball, being 100% about situation whereas all the other ones say something about what the character is trying to achieve.  I don't see this as a problem, but just thought I'd mention it.

Quote
7. The Pirate King Rule: If you are the first pirate to achieve the rank of Pirate King, your pirate gets to engineer the end of the game.  First, you will be given your own pirate ship (not a submarine, like the Caterpillar) by the pirate council.  Second, you are tasked with striking the final blow against the Royal Empire, to take care of them once and for all.  You will be given your choice of crew, and all the resources at the pirate council's disposal.  Whatever plan your pirate comes up with, that plan is the last mission of the game.  Whether it succeeds or fails, the game will end once the mission is completed, and it will be amazing.  No pressure.

I don't know how that interacts with the rest of the game, but hell yeah, that totally makes me want to be Pirate King!  (The other players are also invested in taking out the Royal Empire, right?  If not, there could be issues...)

Quote
The Death of a Pirate. . .
The other pirates must then, one at a time, share their most cherished memories of the dead pirate. The dead pirate's player may request any one of the memories be written on his death torpedo.  . . .
If everyone is in agreement, the dead pirate's player can step up and be the RA starting with the next game session, and the current RA can choose to create a pirate of her own.  . . .

Fantastic options.

I assume that if my character gets a funeral and I want to keep playing with the same RA, then I make a new swabbie, right?

Quote
4. The dead pirate's player can call for the end of the game.

I love that this marks an occasion for the group to discuss whether or not to continue. 

Giving one player the option to dictate that is pretty ballsy.  Are you comfortable with the "most bored person trumps most enthused people" value here?  It might play better in some social contexts (e.g. the long-running group that moves from game to game) than others.

Personally, I don't see a problem with it, as long as everyone knows it's on the table and no one is blindsided.  Might lead to some interesting game-play incentives, like "Joe's about done with this game, but we want one more session, so we must save his nearly-dead character at all costs!"
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Kyle Van Pelt
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Posts: 22


« Reply #21 on: December 16, 2011, 09:43:35 PM »

7. The Pirate King Rule: If you are the first pirate to achieve the rank of Pirate King, your pirate gets to engineer the end of the game.  First, you will be given your own pirate ship (not a submarine, like the Caterpillar) by the pirate council.  Second, you are tasked with striking the final blow against the Royal Empire, to take care of them once and for all.  You will be given your choice of crew, and all the resources at the pirate council's disposal.  Whatever plan your pirate comes up with, that plan is the last mission of the game.  Whether it succeeds or fails, the game will end once the mission is completed, and it will be amazing.  No pressure.

Beautiful. I really like this.

The Death of a Pirate
...
Any number of the following stages of grief may be called for upon the death of one of The Terrible Butterflies.
1. The dead pirate can be resuscitated postmortem.  If there is a living pirate that can use Medicinery (the Earthling or the ship's surgeon, if there is one), that pirate can try some postmortem resuscitation.  It must be done quickly in order to succeed.  If the roll succeeds, the dead pirate comes back to life with his BoneTrack still full.  He cannot be resuscitated again if he dies a second time unless he has completely emptied his BoneTrack first. 
2. The dead pirate's player can demand a funeral.  If a funeral is called for, it must take place.  The pirate's body is loaded into an empty torpedo and placed into a torpedo tube.  The other pirates must then, one at a time, share their most cherished memories of the dead pirate. The dead pirate's player may request any one of the memories be written on his death torpedo.  Captain Swallowtail, through the RA, gets the last word in the memory sharing.  The captain vows that the dead pirate's torpedo will be the first to be fired at the next enemy ship they find.  And so the Caterpillar casts off again to hunt for their next plunder.
3. The dead pirate's player can swap places with the RA.  If everyone is in agreement, the dead pirate's player can step up and be the RA starting with the next game session, and the current RA can choose to create a pirate of her own.  This new pirate will start as a swabbie, and, as her player wishes, she may be a pre-existing member of the crew or a new recruit.
4. The dead pirate's player can call for the end of the game.  If the dead pirate's player is too sad to continue without his beloved pirate, he can declare the game to be over at the conclusion of the current session.  This puts some pressure on the crew to finish the game in style.  In order to properly end the game, all the pirates are required to take the biggest risks they can possibly take.  If all the pirates are dead by the end of the session, then the game was a good one.  If they succeed against all odds, then the game was a good one.  There can be no half measures taken at the end of the game.  The game must end boldly and proudly so the players can hold their heads high.

The fourth option really shines. I think it's a great way to immortalize the character through his death rallying his teammates into action. I can see this being the way to end a campaign with style. I also like the second option, as it provides a clear way to handle player death without losing the flow of the game. #1 and #3 are useful, although they lack the badass factor of the others.

Overall, though, this is a step in the right direction, and I like the way you've set this up. I'm looking to get this playtested during the first week of January, hopefully. Scheduling a game during this time of year is difficult to say the least.
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Josh Porter
Member

Posts: 58

I want to be old.


« Reply #22 on: December 16, 2011, 10:00:38 PM »

Awesome.  Thanks David.  I sincerely appreciate your feedback.

I understand more clearly now your points about the starting list of Skulls.  Attempts vs. outcomes is a good way of explaining it.  I have to say that I really love Ballsery, but it may need some tweaking or might even need to be let go.  Now what if, instead of Griefery, Mockery was described as "making other humans feel bad about themselves"?  Would that be enough to assign more of an outcome-based view of it.

Now Vackery is kind of a special case.  It seems inherently dangerous (to non-astronaut me) to be doing anything out in space in a space suit, so I can see the inherent consequence of it.  But it might indeed be too circumstantial.  When we've been playtesting the game, the pirates are in space suits all the time, boarding ships and the like.  But since there's so much setting left vague (on purpose), other groups might not ever end up using space suits at all.  I suppose I want it in there to actually reveal little bits of "what you do in the game world" stuff without spelling out the setting.  I just want the rules to imply it so that the players can fill in the blanks.  Also, the Rocket (one of the four kinds of pirates) has a whole special thing about Vackery and doing things while floating in space, so I wanted to make sure the game has the territory to go there.

Now about this part.
Quote
I assume that if my character gets a funeral and I want to keep playing with the same RA, then I make a new swabbie, right?

This is something I'm very conflicted about.  My gut reaction is "no", and I'll tell you why.  In too many (D&D type) games, when you re-roll a new character (of the same class, specifically) to replace a dead one, that character turns into Dead Character 2.  He's just like the first guy, and he gets played the same.  It's like the scene in Beerfest where Kevin Heffernan's character dies, and his identical twin brother comes in and instantly replaces him. 

Since this game pretty much has classes, I wanted to avoid that altogether.  If there are four players, each is playing a pirate from each of the four homeworlds.  If one of them dies and rolls a new pirate, he must (according to the rules) create a new pirate who is from a different homeworld than all the other pirates.  And Dead Pirate 2 is created to exactly replace Dead Pirate 1, probably about half the time if not more.   I put that first option in there as kind of a safety net to prevent this a little.  But once that pirate comes back to life, he's gonna have to not die again for a while.  It makes death a big deal still, but allows for a second chance just in case.

Now, if the game had three pirates from the outset, and the dead pirate's player could choose the one he didn't play before, that would sit perfectly with me.  He would almost certainly create a distinct and different character from the one that just died.  I should probably write this all into the rules somewhere, but it seems very clunky.  So I kind of deliberately left it out.  It's a hard nut to crack.

Quote
Giving one player the option to dictate that is pretty ballsy.  Are you comfortable with the "most bored person trumps most enthused people" value here?

I didn't think about it in this way when I wrote it, but thinking about it now... yes.  I think I am comfortable with that.  If this one dude is kind of done with this game, it's probably run its course.  Now if everyone else wants to continue and he just needed an exit from the game all because of work or kids or whatever, that's totally cool.  But I figure that this game was never designed to run in the "level one to level twenty campaign" style.  At its longest, it's probably built for around 6-9 months of weekly play or so.  By then, someone will have gotten to Pirate King and the game will wrap anyway.  I believe that all the most memorable games I've played in, whether as a PC or a GM, have had concrete endings.  I like that.  It keeps the game from becoming a TV show that should have ended at the end of season three.

Kyle, I am seriously excited to see how this plays for you and your group.  Seriously.  I am really pumped to hear how it goes.
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David Berg
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Posts: 997


« Reply #23 on: December 17, 2011, 12:30:50 PM »

I really love Ballsery, but it may need some tweaking or might even need to be let go.

Hey, I was just pointing out that some of those descriptions were different.  Different doesn't mean bad!  If looking at a high Ballsery stat gets your players to try ridiculous, risky things and make the game more exciting, keep it! 

I'd say, just be clear on what the differences are, and communicate that somehow.  For example, maybe Ballsery isn't a basic Skull, it's some other category of character attribute.

Now what if, instead of Griefery, Mockery was described as "making other humans feel bad about themselves"?

Heh.  Nice. 

I assume the GM won't feel any resistance to this for NPCs.  Telling another player "your character now feels bad about themself" can be tricky if your friends are allergic to mind-controly encroachments on character sovereignty the way mine are.  But even then, I think a warning up front that this is on the table would probably cover it.

Now Vackery is kind of a special case.  It seems inherently dangerous . . . I suppose I want it in there to actually reveal little bits of "what you do in the game world" stuff without spelling out the setting.

Makes sense to me!  The only oddity I see is that it's the only such Skull.  Are there any other dangerous or difficult situations that could appropriately imply Caterpillar's setting and activities?

Quote
I assume that if my character gets a funeral and I want to keep playing with the same RA, then I make a new swabbie, right?

This is something I'm very conflicted about.  My gut reaction is "no", and I'll tell you why.  In too many (D&D type) games, when you re-roll a new character (of the same class, specifically) to replace a dead one, that character turns into Dead Character 2.  He's just like the first guy, and he gets played the same.

What's your objection to that?  I can't really weigh in until I know where you're coming from on this.

I'm also unclear on the alternative.  My character dies, the RA and I don't want to switch roles, I don't want to end the game... what are my options?  Just sit and watch?

Now, if the game had three pirates from the outset, and the dead pirate's player could choose the one he didn't play before, that would sit perfectly with me.  He would almost certainly create a distinct and different character from the one that just died.  I should probably write this all into the rules somewhere, but it seems very clunky.

"If the game had three pirates from the outset, the dead pirate's player must choose the one no one's played before."  Doesn't seem clunky to me...

Alternative ideas:

1) More starting planets/character types

2) Keep your current 4 starting planets/character types, but character death "unlocks" additional planets/types

3) If the player of a dead pirate wants to play a new character, they must invent a new planet/type, and there are rules and guidelines for that
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Josh Porter
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« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2011, 11:38:11 AM »

Quote
What's your objection to that?  I can't really weigh in until I know where you're coming from on this.

This is a great question.  I feel that dead character clones inherently take away most (if not all) of the impact that character death has on a game.  When your character dies and is replaced by virtually the same guy, no one in the group feels a sense of importance at that character's death.  It takes away impact from both the players and the characters, and neither group really responds to the fact that a cherished character just died.  There may be mechanical setbacks for the new character's player (lower starting level, no gear, etc.), but from a narrative perspective the character is exactly the same.

I don't know what purpose character death serves in a game under these kinds of circumstances.  The only reason I can see to have characters die is so that the game's fiction can react and change because of it.  Now, since Caterpillar is a class-based game (as far as character creation) it is especially prone to this kind of death minimization.  I was trying to leave this exact point a little vague (probably so I won't see myself as responsible when this exact thing happens), but now that we're talking about it, I think it needs to be addressed after all. 

I really like your idea here. 
Quote
3) If the player of a dead pirate wants to play a new character, they must invent a new planet/type, and there are rules and guidelines for that

I can totally create a character sheet full of blanks that can be filled in upon its necessity.  That's perfect.  This option wouldn't be available at the initial character creation, but only when a pirate dies and wants to make a new pirate.  He can choose between the pirates no one has yet played or make up his own.  BRILLIIANT!  I'm stealing this right away.

Incidentally, I've also done a little retooling of the starting list of basic Skulls.  Here's the revised version.
Quote
1. Asshattery: offending other humans by being an asshat
2. Avoidery: getting out of bad situations
3. Ballsery: succeeding in situations which no sane human would dare attempt
4. Bombery: blowing stuff up with explosives and the like
5. Chancery: having more luck than the average human
6. Clevery: outsmarting other humans
7. Deepery: successfully navigating/staying sane in The Deeps
8. Impactery: creating a lasting impression with other humans
9. Mockery: making other humans feel bad about themselves (NPCs and pirates both)
10. Patchery: applying a quick-and-dirty fix to a bad situation
11. Punchery: hitting things (not limited to punching)
12. Riggery: jury-rigging broken or malfunctioning gizmos
13. Shootery: shooting things (not limited to guns)
14. Sneakery: sneaking around and hiding without being seen
15. Thievery: stealing things
16. Trickery: fooling other humans
17. Traitery: backstabbing the humans who trust you
18. Vackery: maneuvering gracefully out in the vaccuum (usually in a space suit)

Given your feedback, I tried to make sure each of these implied an outcome, not just an attempt.  And I added Deepery to the mix, just for a little more setting flavor.
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DPrim
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« Reply #25 on: January 01, 2012, 07:46:18 AM »

First off, I would like to express how awesome this game sounds. It was a pleasure to read, being the right mix of hilarious and informative about the ruleset. However, I have a few observations, and I hope you dont feel like I'm going out of the scope of your original questions.

1) The whole Bones section is very confusing to me. I feel like I understand the concept of what you're trying to accomplish (if you roll a Bone and the die lands on the number that you have pips filled in, you take damage), but it seems completely abstract until you look at a character sheet. Maybe it's just me,but it's a bit irritating that I have to look away from the ruleset and look at a character sheet to make sense of it. So either the rules need to be reworded, or I'm just a dummy, or perhaps the rules should be reworded so that dummies like me can understand it.

2) I'm curious about why you made a decision to only have the class descriptions of the character sheets. I'm also curious about why you would want characters to choose their homeworld before before being able to receive a sheet. To me, either of those would be workable, but there seems to be an inherent problem to include them both.

Let me explain my thoughts. It seems like your decision to have the class descriptions only on the character sheet effectively makes it so you have a rulebook without a complete ruleset, particularly because you explain in the Skulls section about different classes having different potential Skulls, and then you don't elaborate until the character sheets. Even so, not that big of a deal, it just requires going back and forth between the rules and the character sheets.

Now about the mechanic of not being able to receive a sheet until you declare your homeworld... I think I understand your motivation for this. I think that you included this so that people will just play what they think sounds cool rather than min-maxing. It also makes it so that you can get a character to create a little bit of background before he starts his mechanical decisions. Neither are bad reasons.

However, consider this. If you declare that players cannot receive character sheets until they determine their homeworlds, there are a couple of different scenarios that can happen. Either a player hasn't played the game before and they dont know the specifics of a given class, which means all they have to go on is "Earthlings were born on Earth. They are old and wise. Primers were born on Earth Prime. They are strong and tough. Fairies were born on Fairweather. They are tricky and techno-savvy. Rockets were born on floating space rocks. They are self-reliant and machine-minded." These descriptions are minimal to the point where a player could choose a homeworld, and end up not liking his character because he doesn't have abilities he might want. Essentially, he cant get a character sheet until he chooses his character, and he has to choose his character without learning what it can do. The alternative is a player who has already played the game and knows what each class can do, in which case, it doesn't matter whether he's gotten a character sheet yet, because he can already inform his choice. It seems like the only thing this rule does is hinder the ability for a new player to make a meaningful choice about what kind of character he wants to play.

3) Why the artificial limit on the characters? Why does each player have to play a different class? In my estimation,having two Primers wouldn't upset the game. The only meaningful change I can think of is that there is more likely to be a greater emphasis on combat. I get that you want every character to be able to shine, and having two characters of the same class means that during certain situations, they might have to share the spotlight, but shouldn't that be a secondary concern to players being able to play the characters they want? Especially considering the fact that the spotlight doesn't stay on any one character for long on account of the Skull Box (which is an ingenious rule and I wish I had thought of it), I'm not sure what the One-Pirate-Per-Homeworld limit is trying to accomplish.

I know I said I liked the idea game, so I apologize for what must just look like a litany of complaints. I'm just not a good enough wordsmith to be able to say all the above things succinctly.
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Josh Porter
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Posts: 58

I want to be old.


« Reply #26 on: January 02, 2012, 10:42:42 AM »

Thanks, DPrim for your awesome feedback.  I really appreciate the time you took to respond so thoroughly.  It's great to hear.  So let's break this down, shall we?

1) I am so glad you said this.  The Bones section is confusing, I know.  Or at least I suspected it.  The issue I'm having with explaining this concept is mostly based on the fact that it's a purely visual thing that I'm trying to communicate with words.  There's nothing to write down, no numbers, just coloring in a picture.  Since you brought this up, I think I'm going to go back and apply some education theory to that section.  Put in some step by step pictorial instructions perhaps.  Or is it more the abstract nature of what Bones are that is confusing?  Does the section need more of an explanation of what the roll means?  It's basically a means of determining how much damage you soak.  If you roll Bones, you were hit in some way, it just tells you how much that hit hurt you, if at all.

2) With regard to class descriptions and character sheets, you brought up one thing I'd thought of and one I hadn't even considered.  First off, I am just kind of lazy and haven't yet ported the character stats and powers and stuff over to the book proper.  I am planning to do it soon, but I have to get off my ass and get it done.  It will probably be its own section after the rules for regular pirates and before the RA section.

Now the whole "pick your character before you look at the sheet" thing is something I didn't even realize my text was implying.  That totally missed me.  I kind of figured that everyone would hear the descriptions, look over the sheets as a group and people would snatch the ones they liked.  That's pretty much how it went in my playtest group.  But knowing the way it might sound, I should probably rephrase that little paragraph a bit.

3) Now this question is my favorite.  And that's because I have a real answer to it.  I'll start off with a question of my own, though.  Have you ever played Apocalypse/Dungeon World?  There is a similar idea in those games that's stated a little differently.  It basically says, "There may be other people who [do what your character does] but there is only one [name of character class]: you."  That's what I'm going for.  There will be many other Primers and Fairies and such, but you are the only one that matters.

Thinking of other class-based systems, the go-to is always D&D.  And in D&D, while it does occasionally happen, most of the time no one doubles up on character classes.  It's easier in newer editions to spread out among the classes, as there are like 20, but even in old school, Rules Cyclopedia D&D (where there are perhaps 6 or 7) nobody tends to double up.  BUT, you can do it and it works when you do it.  I think the reason why is important.  In D&D there are SO MANY OPTIONS at every stage of char-gen that two fighters can operate mechanically in totally different ways.  In this game, though, the options are far more limited.  Every last character option fits on a single, double-sided sheet of paper.  This is important.

Two guys may choose to play Primers (in glorious defiance of the rules), and while creating their pirates they make sure to go for differing options from each other.  They choose different Skull options, different Sinks, different Stuff.  When the game begins, they are both fighty-men, but they have different mechanical choices to make.  As the game progresses and they get promoted they will get to improve their pirates, up to, perhaps, 14 promotions.  This is where the low-options element becomes more important.  In order to keep their pirates mechanically separate, they have to avoid choosing new pieces of Stuff that the other guy has.  When they get the options to rename their Sinks or add new ones, they need to be careful not to spread into the other guy's territory.  When they do, their pirates, while possibly remaining different in terms of role-play style, become more and more mechanically similar.

Now for me this is a bad thing.  That does not mean it will be a bad thing for every group of players.  But it would be for mine.  And, I'm sure, it would be for many others.  The restriction is there to avoid mechanically similar characters, sure.  But it's also in place to leave a pirate's promotion options open for the future.  It's not as much fun to promote your pirate when you don't want to choose certain options because your friend's character already has them.  Each pirate has his own schtick, and it's a fairly narrow one.  That's my two cents, anyway. 

***

Seriously man, thanks a lot for all your feedback.  That's really the kind of stuff I was looking for from the first post, especially the Bones stuff.  I'm adding a couple of things to the game right now (mostly a mission-prep system for the RA), and I'll throw in some revisions to address the things you suggested as well.  I'll post a new link up on this thread once it's all written down, and I'd appreciate your feedback again once things have been reworded a bit.  Thanks!
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I am playtesting Flawed and Caterpillar.
I am playing Dresden Files.
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