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Author Topic: [TSoY] Gift Dice and their numbers  (Read 8316 times)
JMendes
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« on: November 01, 2006, 12:43:02 PM »

Hey, :)

Clinton, I'd like to ask you a question: what was the rationale for setting the amount of Gift Dice given to each player each session?

The rules state that each player receives a number of Gift Dice equal to the total number of players at the table. This means that the total number of Gift Dice available grows quadratically with the number of players.

I'm involved in two TSoY groups, and they are both pretty large: 1 SG + 5 regular players. Following the rules, that would mean 6 Gift Dice apiece, for a total of 36 Gift Dice. We found that to be just too much.

So, we experimented with a bunch of different formulas, like giving everyone one less die and the SG two less dice and stuff like that, but eventually settled on the following simple formula: every session, everyone gets 3 dice. Yep, fixed at 3, regardless of any other considerations.

This has worked pretty well for both groups, so I'm sharing it here in the hopes that others will give their thoughts and opinions on the subject. Of course, by others, I pretty much mean everyone, but especially Clinton! ;)

Cheers,
J.
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Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: November 01, 2006, 04:42:00 PM »

Joćo,

My answer won't surprise you: I just made it up!

Seriously, I did it so each person could give each other person a die each session, but that was just arbitrary.

- Clinton
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Clinton R. Nixon
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Eero Tuovinen
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2006, 05:13:08 PM »

The same question has popped up in my games. Our take has been to fiddle with a series of secrets that tie to gift dice in various manners. The main groups are
- secrets that give more gift dice, for example when you get advice from another character.
- secrets that allow using gift dice for something else.
- secrets that force others to use gift dice in some manner.
- secrets that instate other, similar die pools.
Works pretty well, and allows you to fiddle with the numbers and whatnot through the usual secret-creation system.
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crowyhead
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« Reply #3 on: November 01, 2006, 06:56:54 PM »

J,
I'm curious -- in what way did you find the number of gift dice to be too many?  Did you feel that it wasn't making things challenging enough, or were people just not using up their gift dice, or what?

Kirsten
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shadowcourt
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Posts: 153


« Reply #4 on: November 03, 2006, 12:15:30 PM »

Not to be the inveterate nerd of the boards, always looking for how others made things crunchy... but... I'm the inveterate nerd of the boards, looking at how others made things crunchy.

Eero,

Would you care to post examples of some of those? I think I see what you're getting at, but I'd like to see what you did with them. Are you turning gift dice into pool points, for example? And if so, who has the Secret that does such things, the giver of the gift dice, or the recipient of them? I've been wary of making Secrets which place more importance for what one recipient can do with a gift die over another, for fear of the "don't give person X a gift die, save it for ME, because I can do this cool thing with it...!" scenario. Granted, I might be living in fear of a scenario which doesn't happen, but it's not impossible. I've seen similar behavior in other (non-TSOY) games, so I confess my proclivity would be to provide such Secrets to givers of gift dice, rather than recipients. But I'd love to see your take on it, if you're willing to share.

JMendes,

I'm currently running a TSOY game with 7 players, though with our rotating schedules it's true that between 3-5 people show up for most sessions. I've certainly had moments where I was wondering if it was creating the same phenomena you allude to, but I've also mostly just let it ride. There are situations where an orgy of gift dice can come sailing through the air, turning a roll into an inevitable success, but I'm comfortable with that, for the most part. Let me ask you this, because it seems to hinge around a lot of conversations I have with friends and fellow gamers about the use of gift dice:

1.) Do you find that players sometimes award them as "pity dice" to pull up a friend's bad roll, independent of whether they actually think what the player in question is doing is "cool" or not?

2.) Do players in your group end up giving gift dice to Storyguide characters?

-shadowcourt (aka josh)
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #5 on: November 04, 2006, 04:25:20 AM »

Josh: I agree about the problems of changing gift dice into other forms of currency, if not for the same reasons. Better to keep it separate, to avoid lessening the effects of gift-giving. The way I see it, the gift dice are a fine meta-resource that can be used for different effects that do not correspond with any of the pools or such. On the other hand, making your character a more attractive target for gift dice with secrets is par for the course in my games. Here's some ideas:

Secret of Counsel
Whenever the character gives advice or aid that is appreciated, the player gets a new gift die to his pool.

Secret of Framing
You can spend a gift die to frame a scene for one of your fellow players' characters. Cost: 1 Reason

Secret of Friendship
Any gift dice that roll a '+' for this character go into the player's gift dice pool.

Secret of the Nation
This character's nation gets a gift dice pool at the same size the players do. The players of any characters belonging to this nation can give out these dice, but only one die per character per roll.

Secret of Malice
You can give out gift dice as penalty dice instead of bonus.

... and so on. There's probably a couple of others I'm not thinking of right now. Our games tend to go through lots of mechanics, usually more than we'll actually use for player characters.
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JMendes
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« Reply #6 on: November 04, 2006, 12:34:43 PM »

Hey, folks, :)

Clinton, yeah, you're right, your answer doesn't surprise me! :) Actually, your rationale was the one we figured it probably was, but the math is wrong for it: in order for each person to give each other person one die each session, each person should have one gift die per other person, or in other words, one less than the total number of players at the table.

Not that that matters, of course! As you said, it's arbitrary either way. :)

Eero, that's some cool stuff! I'll see what my group thinks about those secrets! Nice.

Kirsten, both. Everything that seemed like it might be even remotely challenging (read 50% or less) ended up earning at least one gift die, and even then, we weren't using up all the dice.

Josh:

1) No, that don't work. In our group, we decided that gift dice have to be awarded before the roll, and as such, no "pity dice".

2) Gift dice for SG chars, at this point, that's a solid yes. It's interesting to note that when we started playing, I lobbied heavily against that idea, because I was still scolded from PvP in other systems. However, as it turns out, PvP is a good thing in TSoY, and as soon as I figured that out, I switched sides on that particular debate. :) (I actually only figured that out after reading the Muy Macho Manifesto... go figure...)

Cheers,
J.
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shadowcourt
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Posts: 153


« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2006, 07:30:47 AM »

Eero,

Interesting. Definitely not where I expected those Secrets to go, but very cool. Can you explain what you mean by "frame a scene" in the Secret of Framing?

JMendes,

Ah, cool. I'd considered the "gift dice awarded before roll" phenomena, but I think I'm more comfortable with just treating them as normal bonus dice for right now, meaning they can be awarded before or after the roll, but tend to be awarded after (unless they're being used to buy off penalty dice). It's possible that we just make more rolls per session than some groups do, and so we end up burning through most of the gift dice, as a result. We play some marathon session: 10 hours on sundays, in some cases, so it's a lot of time to scorch down a pool of gift dice, even with 6 players and a Storyguide around the table.

-shadowcourt (aka josh)
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2006, 10:36:01 AM »

Interesting. Definitely not where I expected those Secrets to go, but very cool. Can you explain what you mean by "frame a scene" in the Secret of Framing?

The way we play is usually that each player gets a "turn" for his character to continue his story. When several characters are together, which is about half the time, they get one "turn" (I use quotations because this is just common sense, not a formal rule structure) all together. Usually this turn lasts for one satisfying bite of the action, roughly comparable to a short scene in a play or movie. Typically it includes 1-2 normal conflicts and maybe a BDTP. It's all really quite self-evident when you start playing.

Now, usually when your turn comes around, your character is in the middle of something, in which case you just continue that scene. But if you just concluded something on your last turn, or this one was so short that you're just going to go on, despite ending the scene, then somebody has to decide what's going to happen next, right? Usually I as the SG state some idea of mine if I have one, or ask the player what he'd like to see next if I don't. The players are also rather good at demanding scenes if they have a strong idea of what should be dealt with next. I usually give precedence to the players, only overriding them with SG-power when the next scene is totally obvious. Doesn't practically happen, because obvious scenes are obvious to everybody.

"Framing a scene" is the privilege of deciding where we go next. For example, in my last campaign a character left his home village with his mentor to go train in the countryside. Last scene was when the mentor told the character about the trip. I told the group that the next scene would take place in an inn on the side of the road, where the two were eating lunch. An old enemy/disciple of the mentor accosted them there and threatened them subtly, sneering down at the player character. My decision to set the scene in the inn, with the old enemy there, was "scene framing". Note that scene framing power never extends to actually skipping important stuff, it's all about setting the scene for the next interesting thing to happen. So any player in the scene can interrupt the frame and demand that you skip "back" to something earlier that he wants to specify before whatever you're framing happens.

The situation becomes interesting when somebody has the Secret of Scene Framing, because then he can use it to interrupt a scene frame with a scene of his own, if he doesn't like the ideas presented by the SG or player of the character in question. Further, he can interrupt to make things easier or more difficult for the character, or simply to present a great idea they have. So if you think that it'd be fun for the character to have a chance meeting with his hated stepmother on the road, this is the secret to use.

Anyway, pretty simple. Also, a couple more fun gift die secrets from my stash now that I think of it:

Secret of Best Friends (character)
Name one character. Instead of refreshing your pool with the character in question, add the refreshment to your Best Friends pool, which can be used as gift dice, but only for a character you have this secret towards. Several best friends share the pool.

Secret of Trust
Add a die to the Best Friends pool of a character that has you as a Best Friend. Only use once per scene per pool. Cost: 1 appropriate pool.

And yes, those are obviously inspired by the Mountain Witch. Combine with Secret of Malice (which you as SG should be offering all the time to anybody with the Secret of Best Friends, with very good reasons attached to learning it) and see the sparks fly.
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shadowcourt
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Posts: 153


« Reply #9 on: November 07, 2006, 07:51:52 AM »

Really interesting, Eero. Thanks. As I think the last session of my current game had some serious pacing problems, you've given me a lot to think about, even with just some of the structural elements you've mentioned (i.e. how "turns" are being taken around the table, and how you're handling framing). Those are all really cool.

The Secret of Malice makes me a little uncomfortable, just in that Gift Dice are so friendly, and doling them out as penalty dice has a real potential to end up feeling spiteful, I'd think. Not really quite the right energy I'd want around the game table, but I can see their usefulness in the right kind of game.

Thanks for all the discussion of gift dice crunchiness!

-shadowcourt (aka josh)
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Andy Kitkowski
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« Reply #10 on: November 07, 2006, 08:54:05 AM »

Hey JMendes- I found myself in the same boat that you were: 6 players, so 36 chips for all. Because of our session length (3.5 hours) and pacing ("easily distracted"), we were constantly dumping gift dice into just about every roll.

We later decided that 3-4 gift dice for everyone (we settled on 4) was the best way to alleviate this.  Also, we let the players put gift dice against the opponent, including the GM:

So, two players could give another player 2 gift dice, while the other two could give two dice to player to be Against the GM, giving the NPC penalty dice.

-Andy
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