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Inactive File => Arkenstone Publishing => Topic started by: Simon JB on September 03, 2008, 12:56:47 PM



Title: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Simon JB on September 03, 2008, 12:56:47 PM
A place to collect quick and dirty questions and answers on the rules in the Solar System booklet.

 - Page 63, equipment ratings add to a check if the check is successful, but is this before or after it is compared with an opposed check in conflict? Successful as in higher than zero or higher than the opposition before adding ratings?


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: oliof on September 03, 2008, 10:11:33 PM
I'd say successful as in higher than zero. This stays in line with the use of bonus dice to improve your results fluidly just after the dice hit the table and before the results are compared.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Simon JB on September 04, 2008, 12:48:28 AM
Sounds very reasonable. I had interpreted the rules i Tsoy the other way, probably because of the way its says +1 harm and so on. But the way you suggest it means that someone with weapons have a grater chance to win the conflict, and that has to sound good. Thanks for your answer!


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on September 09, 2008, 08:27:20 AM
This topic shaked my faith in my rules-expertise when I realized at some point last winter that I'd been playing and reading the rules text of TSoY wrong, and so apparently had everybody else.

As far as I'm concerned, what the new text says is that you just need a successful check to make use of a weapon. However, what we should each be doing is figuring out what this all means for using and balancing arms and armor in TSoY. For all I know I'll be reworking this particular facet of the rules at some point to fit better in some way that I'm not foreseeing right now.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: oliof on September 14, 2008, 12:13:16 AM
Higher than zero gives Weapons a distinct advantage over armor, which cannot reduce success to failure (i.e., cannot reduce the result to 0).  A level 1 weapon outranks a level 2 armor in edge cases (no pun intended).

A possible but clunky ruling here could be that higher-level armor can indeed reduce success to failure if and only if (ability check result + weapon level - armor level) is 1.

The cleanest way would be to do away with weapons and armor as is and only allow them to be brought in as Effects; you will see some gearing-up scenes that way before hard fights. Some secrets need to be redone or dropped; I'm not all too sure if that is good or bad.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on September 14, 2008, 06:07:29 AM
That equipment asymmetry is one reason for why I dropped the distinction between weapons and armor, myself. With armor being a potential weapon (eg. coupled with a Passive Ability check) there is no inherent weakness to an armor-type equipment, other than the system bias for being active - which is fine with me, defending should not be rewarded over-much.

That said, I think that Effects work fine to emulate equipment, if you even need to emulate it. I think there's a certain kind of charm to a fantasy game where each character has Abilities such as "Warrior equipment care" (or a squire with such), which they roll before battle to garner some mojo for their equipment. It also rewards bashing your shields and whatnot to bits (= reduce the Effect to zero), which is cool. And if you weapons with a more permanent feel, I think I gave some examples of how to make equipment Secrets out of Effects.

Then again, I'm pretty sure that equipment ratings will make a brave reappearance in my TSoY rewrite - coupled with some discussion about where and when, exactly, one might expect to encounter rated equipment. Clinton's take is very formalistic in that equipment ratings just reflect local importance of stuff and players can just assing them nilly-willy. I'll be looking into perhaps including some definite in-setting meaning to the ratings. We'll see.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Paul T on September 19, 2008, 09:18:40 AM
Eero,

I'm not 100% clear on using Effects for equipment. For instance, you mention in the rules, as an example, someone with the Effect: "Plate mail, 5/V". How might someone get such an effect, and what Ability roll would determine its level?

Finally, what would have the plate mail in combat look like? Would you be adding bonus dice to defensive actions, or would the Effect "soak up" levels of harm, instead of them going directly to the character?

Thanks!


Paul


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on September 19, 2008, 01:34:04 PM
To get that plate mail, ask a friend with "Blacksmithing (V)" to make the check for you. Or use your own "Haggling (I)" at a large market to compare and buy the best one. Or have your father bequeth it to you with "Heritage (I)". Or just have the Story Guide agree that somebody else has made available the Effect at a given level.

In combat, you could use the plate mail in two ways:
- Spend it as bonus dice, one point for one die, and describe how it takes hits for you. After the battle, get the value back up with a good roll of "Equipment Maintenance (I)" or something like that.
- Let it take a blow for you, while you yourself do something unrelated, such as attack relentlessly. Note that this is not possible if the opposition does not act in a manner that goes against the plate mail; if the opposition is tying to lasso you and tie you up, for instance, then you could maybe spend the armor as bonus dice with clever narration, but not as a conflict participant. This is discussed separately in the extended conflict chapter.

Let me know if you'd like elaboration on the above points - it's pretty simple and context-dependent, but perhaps I'm not explaining it well.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Paul T on September 20, 2008, 11:02:08 AM
Eero,

I think I get it.

So, for instance, if I have a "plate mail 4" effect, I can spend dice from to as a bonus to opposed Fighting checks.

If I'm taking some parallel action, then any opponents who are trying to hurt me (with methods the armour can block) would have to take a parallel action to wear down my armour before they could inflict Harm on me. Is that right?

In that case, what happens if I have "plate mail 4" and someone Competent:

--Takes a parallel action to stick a sword into me and rolls a +1 (total of 2)?
--Takes a parallel action to stick a sword into me and rolls a +3 (total of 5)?

Who or what takes Harm, and how much?

Thanks again!


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Paul T on September 20, 2008, 11:37:46 AM
A side thought:

It's kind of a neat side effect to handling equipment as Effects: equipment like weapons and armor can require you to spend a point of Vigor to carry around, which functions as a bit of an "encumbrance system".

However, does handling it as an Effect mean that:

In simple Ability check contests, you can potentially draw on a huge bonus ("I'm using my master quality sword, and I'm going to use all four bonus dice!")?

In extended conflicts, on the other hand, you could pretty quickly run out of bonus dice, so such equipment is only giving you an opening advantage?


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on September 21, 2008, 12:26:41 AM
If I'm taking some parallel action, then any opponents who are trying to hurt me (with methods the armour can block) would have to take a parallel action to wear down my armour before they could inflict Harm on me. Is that right?

In that case, what happens if I have "plate mail 4" and someone Competent:

--Takes a parallel action to stick a sword into me and rolls a +1 (total of 2)?
--Takes a parallel action to stick a sword into me and rolls a +3 (total of 5)?

Who or what takes Harm, and how much?

Yes. The way I think about it (and describe it in the book) is that an Effect can "act" in extended conflict to oppose actions that go against the basic nature of the Effect. The character who controls the Effect does not have the attention to use it inventively to block the opposition, but if the opponent regardless bashes himself head-on against the Effect, then he has to work against it. That distinction can be slightly vague at times, though luckily the SG is there to rule on it on a case-by-case basis. (And, more significantly, the group can make up its own standards on a per-campaign basis, and clarify them with Secrets; give somebody a "Secret of Equipment Use" that allows them to use Effects that describe personal equipment directly in this manner.)

When the Effect is applicable as an acting party in an extended conflict, it works just like a character, except that it does not roll an Ability check. So when the 4-point armor acts to protect you from an enemy swordsman, you declare it for Harm or bonus dice (bonus dice makes sense most of the time). So the armor is doing an opposed action for bonus dice against the swordsman, who rolls a total of two against it - meaning that no damage get through, but you get 2 bonus dice for whatever you're doing next. (Effects can't use bonus dice themselves, so your Effect passes on its bonus dice to you or whoever else makes sense on your side of the conflict.)

When the Effect's value is 4 and the opponent rolls a 5, however, the opponent gets through - he causes a Harm 1 with his sword against you, poking it through a hole in your plate mail. If the attack was described as being against your armor (with a brutal club, say, or a dagger with the intent of cutting your armor straps), then instead of you taking Harm 1, the armor's value would go down by one - Effects take Harm by lowering their value, which makes them relatively brittle. Effects can be very powerful in conflict because of their consistent results (no need to roll dice), but once you manage to overcome the Effect by maneuvering around it or overpowering it, its value goes straight down.

As I said above, though, all that is highly dependent on the character using the Effect allowing the Effect to act on its own - ironically enough, a high-quality sword would only rarely get to "act" with its Effect value, as it makes far more sense to have the character wielding the sword make an Ability check. (You could make a "magic sword" that did exactly this, of course!) The same goes for a helmet or shield; a full-body plate mail is the equivalent of a modern tank in this context, allowing the character such complete protection that he does not need to act to have it impede his enemies in many situations.

Personally, though, I'd lay down some basic principles for this sort of thing either at the beginning of a new campaign or as the campaign progresses. The Effect rules can be used to describe such diverse fictional phenomenons that it's best to develop a sense for good applications on the ground level. For example, that description of how to use a "plate mail 4/V" Effect would work well for the sort of medievalish fiction where a full plate panoply is a horrible implement of war that presents a tactical and narrative challenge for an opponent to overcome. I could imagine handling a full plate mail very differently in a different genre.

Quote
In simple Ability check contests, you can potentially draw on a huge bonus ("I'm using my master quality sword, and I'm going to use all four bonus dice!")?

That's right. You're basically using your sword in a skilled and brave, but abusive, manner. It might even shatter from this use, although if its somehow special to the story it probably won't - you've just exhausted all the help it's going to give you in this particular fight.

Quote
In extended conflicts, on the other hand, you could pretty quickly run out of bonus dice, so such equipment is only giving you an opening advantage?

Indeed. Effects in extended conflict are used either by having a load of them for use in waves, or by husbanding your resources carefully and only supplementing good rolls with extra bonus dice from them - just like Pools in that regard, really.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Paul T on September 26, 2008, 07:58:36 AM
Thanks you very much, Eero.

So, to make sure I've got this right:

The Effects as equipment rules probably would not work very well in a situation like this: a man is being chased through an old castle by an assassin. He sees a sword hanging on the wall and grabs it just as the assassin is closing in on him...

They're better suited for representing specific preparation made by characters, using their Abilities.

Or, if I'm wrong, how would you handle the situation above?



Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on September 26, 2008, 10:15:50 PM
At first glance I'd use Effects to represent pre-created preparations, but that's just because for my personal sense of balance, a slight component of the cost of Effects is the uncertainty of their usefulness - if you're going to just turn around and spend the Effect right off, then it's almost a no-brainer compared to buying bonus dice.

HOWEVER, looking at the situation on a deeper level, the rules of the game actually already do this sort of thing all the time, so making an Effect on the run can't be unbalanced. Consider these cases:

My character is being chased by an assassin through the halls of an old castle. I describe how my character grabs and old sword on the wall and turns after a corner to wait for his assailant.
a) I make a Swordfighting (V) Ability check; the sword justifies this as an appropriate Ability for the situation. The SG agrees to have the sword there because it's reasonable and fun.
b) I make a Heritage (I) Ability check to establish that this castle, which belonged to my war-like ancestors, has all sorts of military paraphelia on the walls. The check becomes a support check for the immediately following Swordfighting (V) check when I turn to face the assassin with the sword (or whatever it is I grab to justify those bonus dice).
c) I make a Heritage (I) Ability check like above, but make an Effect out of the result, describing it as "old sword 4/I". Play continues normally, and soon I get an opportunity to spend the Effect for bonus dice when I attack my pursuer.
d) The Story Guide agrees that there are all sorts of weapons and stuff hanging on the walls. As I run through the corridors, I make a React (I) check to grab something useful without slowing down, then name the result "old sword 4/I" as an Effect. Essentially the same as above, but with a generic Ability, which is useful when the SG thinks that anybody should be able to pull off this trick right here and now.
e) The Story Guide agrees that there are all sorts of weapons and stuff hanging on the walls. He determines that I can pretty much just pick something off the wall, and it'll become a 2-point Effect (perhaps it's a "2-point medieval castle"), created a long ago by somebody else. If I had time to sort through the stuff, I could find up to 4-point Effects of the medieval martial sort in the castle. The campaign could even, if it was using a lot of this sort of technique, have a rule wherein the SG could ask for a Pool point in trade for a particularly useful Effect or something like that.

The important lesson to take back from this is that making an Effect and spending it immediately is actually less efficient than just plain making support checks. Effects are support checks, essentially, with only the added caveat that Effect dice can be piled on top of support checks (which rule can be easily finangled if it ever becomes a problem; on the principle of describing my own play style I didn't disallow this in the booklet, but I can see how somebody might abuse Effects to avoid the in-built limitations of support checks). Barring that sort of abuse, however, you're just paying for privileges that you would otherwise already have: all characters can grab stuff off the walls for free and use them in all sorts of manners, as described above, even without making them Effects. And this is why Effects are best used for pre-planned preparations you made in prior scenes: the reason you pay for the Effect at all is that it allows you to postpone spending the bonus dice from a support check you already made earlier. If you're just going to turn right around and use the result as bonus dice, you might as well declare a support check and go right ahead with whatever you were going to do in the first place.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Paul T on September 28, 2008, 08:49:49 AM
Thanks again, Eero. That makes total sense, in the framework of Abilities and what they are for in the Solar System.

One more question, about extended conflicts:

Why are opposed checks for bonus dice not allowed? I think Clinton says the same thing in TSoY, but I'm not sure what the logic is. Does it unbalance play in some significant way? Let's take your own example from the text:

"Parallel Fighting for bonus dice as I seek the higher ground"

To me, intuitively, it seems like it should be an opposed action for bonus dice. Essentially, it's a defensive action, just based on Fighting rather than one of the passive Abilities. It seems to make sense to call it "opposed", because, well, Fighting is an opposed activity. How can you Fight without opposing your opponent's attempts to hurt you?

I could see how it might be parallel if your opponents were trying to do something other than hurt you, though.

The logic seems to me to be that defensive actions should NOT accomplish anything, on their own. So, perhaps in this case, it should be judged based on whether "the higher ground" is some sort of significant achievement (in the fiction) or whether it's just color/description for bonus dice. For instance, if the character was trying to reach his friends at the top of the hill, it would make sense for the action to be parallel. But if it's just a maneuver for bonus dice, why can't we run the action as opposed? It would seem to make sense that if you rolled better than your opponents in Fighting, you would be able to keep them from Harming you.

Thank you very much for taking the time to reply to all the pesky questions, by the way! You've been tremendously helpful.



Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on September 28, 2008, 10:42:09 AM
So, these are specifically opposed checks for bonus dice in extended conflict, and why they're always made as defensive actions.

There is conceptual backing for this notion, but the ugly truth of the matter is that limiting players like this makes the Passive Abilities a bit more interesting, while giving some small extra incentive for narrating weakness, hesitation and simple empty beats into a fight in certain situations. There is no balance reason not to allow opposed for bonus dice with any Ability if you find that particular rule super-annoying and difficult to remember. I don't, because it enhances my perception of the defensive Abilities as special, so I'm using the distinction.

The conceptual backing for this lies in how an action is always for Harm when it directly opposes your enemy - actions are only for bonus dice when they set up later actions against the enemy, not when the enemy is actively competing to prevent your success. Defensive actions get around opposed actions being for Harm by their nature of being defensive and only trying to prevent Harm, not cause it. From this viewpoint something like seeking higher ground in a swordfight is clearly a parallel action merely because you're not trying to stick your sword into your opponent, which is your ultimate goal - but if the opponent decides to outmaneuver you in trying to dominate the high ground, then it's not about swords and sticking at this moment, but about who's the better man-o-ver. This is a fine way of causing Harm, as Harm does not care about physical damage or whatever, it's all about getting defeated in Ability checks - getting Harm from pushing yourself too hard in a race for the hilltop is just fine.

As for how to make Fighting (V) Ability checks without them being opposed, that's just a conceptual necessity of how the Ability might be written. For example:

Fighting (V)
The character's skill and experience at fighting with people, useful for hitting and mangling them, or setting up ambushes, or leading armies - we're really not interested in violence in this game, so we just have this super-generic fighting Ability and call it a day.

So how do you use that in a non-opposed manner? Easiest thing in the world:
  • Long before the enemy gets there, set up an ambush.
  • Impress the emperor with your understanding of supply logistics at a banquet.
  • Act as the second to a samurai trying to take his own life.
  • Resist your own fears in the face of horrible slaughter. (Probably Resist (R) would have a role here, too.)
  • When the enemy is busy fighting with your friend, spot a good defensive position on higher ground and maneuver your way there. This could turn into a race to reach the spot first, but if the enemy doesn't try to prevent you from reaching the spot, then it's just a matter of choosing the right place and getting there in time despite the hazards of the battlefield.
The name of the Ability is just that, a name; the fact that it's called "Fighting" does not mean that it's always opposed, any more than "Swimming" would always be used in the water.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Paul T on October 03, 2008, 07:26:29 AM
Eero,

Thanks again for answering--you're laying it all out very clearly. And your points about the nature of the conflict and the Abilities are taken.

However, I was thinking about two situations in particular:

1. Two characters are BOTH seeking the high ground in a duel. For instance, there's a table in the room and they're both trying to climb onto it. It wouldn't really make sense for them both to get it, now would it?

2. A character encounters two characters fighting and wants to prevent one from hurting the other. So, yeah, he's opposing the action of one of those characters. But maybe both are his friends, and he's not sure yet who is in the right, and he doesn't want to Harm anyone, since he wants to keep the conflict from carrying on.

Those kind of sound like opposed actions that don't cause harm or defensive actions based on Abilities other than passive Abilities.

Is this a case of, "well, if it comes up in your game, and it makes sense, go for it", or would doing this be undermining the system somehow? In that case, what's a better way to handle it?


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on October 03, 2008, 12:00:08 PM
1. Two characters are BOTH seeking the high ground in a duel. For instance, there's a table in the room and they're both trying to climb onto it. It wouldn't really make sense for them both to get it, now would it?

Generally speaking, when two characters act to overcome each other in an extended conflict, such a check is made for Harm - so as strange as it might seem, two characters wrestling for the table actually cause Harm to each other in the process; either they literally wrestle for it, or the Harm is just representational, the same way you'd get Harm in a running competition from being outran. In a running competition nobody is actually ever going to throw a punch at the other guy, and still Harm will accumulate all the same, representing whatever makes sense in the context. Exhaustion, probably.

Quote
2. A character encounters two characters fighting and wants to prevent one from hurting the other. So, yeah, he's opposing the action of one of those characters. But maybe both are his friends, and he's not sure yet who is in the right, and he doesn't want to Harm anyone, since he wants to keep the conflict from carrying on.

Interestingly enough, you can't actually prevent people from Harming one another without Harming them yourself. This is typical of this sort of rules-set (Vincent Baker even discusses this explicitly in Poison'd, I note), so nothing special there. If your opponent is hell-bent on his course, the only way to get him to stop is to force him out of the conflict with level 7 Harm.

In the actual situation, if you were trying to stop two people from fighting by throwing yourself between them or whatever, you'd be making an opposed check against them both, for Harm. The Harm would represent their humiliation or internal struggle or whatever the group find sensible. From then on the conflict would run its own way - you make checks to try to prevent the fighters from fighting, they perhaps turn against you or continue trying to fight against each other. Each round you try to stop them and they try to fight you'd all have to oppose each of the other two with your own checks, potentially suffering or causing Harm to both of the other parties. Ultimately the conflict could end with a great amount of Harm but no actual punches thrown, assuming that you win it - mechanically it's the same whether you're trying to prevent damage or cause it, it's all about causing Harm to force the other party to accede to your solution.

Quote
Those kind of sound like opposed actions that don't cause harm or defensive actions based on Abilities other than passive Abilities.

Is this a case of, "well, if it comes up in your game, and it makes sense, go for it", or would doing this be undermining the system somehow? In that case, what's a better way to handle it?

This is certainly a case where I would play it the way that makes sense to me. There is no major balance-based reason to not allow opposed actions for bonus dice. As I intimated earlier, the reason for why I like the rule about Defensive Actions is that it works for me, aesthetically, and thus it doesn't feel like a burden or annoyment to me. I imagine that if a given group doesn't share this aesthetic, they'll not only question the validity of the rule, but also tend to forget to utilize it at all - that's what happens to me with some of Clinton's rules!

Note, though, that even if you decide to allow opposed-for-bonus dice, I recommend not allowing the sort of action you imply with the example about a character going between fighting friends. The notion that you can't really force anybody to do or not do anything without going through the Harm mechanics is kinda important for preserving the protagonistic freedom of the player characters. Saying that my character "just stops the fight and makes sure nobody gets hurt" without actually matching my resources against the other player's, his Harm tracker included, is just bypassing the mechanics. Consider the Harm tracker not necessarily as violence in the fiction, but as a resource and a right possessed by the player of the character - as long as the other player has not actually exhausted my Harm tracker, I have the right to insist on this course of action my character is trying to undertake.

(Another way to say the same thing is that actions in extended conflict can't actually resolve the intents of the participating characters - you can't take a number of actions for bonus dice that necessarily lead into your own goal happening; as long as the other guy has his Harm track and wants to continue, he can push for the conflict to continue. In this sense any action that is made for bonus dice can't resolve anything about the intents of the characters.)


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Paul T on October 03, 2008, 08:08:01 PM
Great! Thanks again!


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Simon JB on October 12, 2008, 12:01:41 PM
Okay, a new question!

Effect pools, do they need to be assigned to one specific character pool and locked to it? When I want to put some more weight between my Negotiation (R) attempt, should I not be able to put my gun to my counterpart's head and use my Officer's Gear pool? If so, why would that be better?

Yours,
S


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: oliof on October 12, 2008, 01:37:35 PM
Simon,

I don't understand your question correctly. Do you want to know if the pool of an effect has to line up with the pool of the ability you want it to use it to get bonus dice for?

I would say no; as was established earlier, Effect-for-Bonus-Dice is just a delayed supportive action, where this isn't needed either. An Effect's Pool is important for a) the initial Pool it's paid from; b) maintenance cost during refreshes; c) Secrets that may be limited by the Pool they affect.

Your example seems to be a standard supportive action case, maybe that is what confused me. 


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on October 12, 2008, 08:36:08 PM
What Harald said. Taking your question at face value, you're asking whether Effects need to be assigned to the Pool of the Ability they're created with. Insofar as I'm concerned this is a good simplification, but if it absolutely makes more sense to assign some other Pool to an Effect (the Pool of the Effect mostly matters in determining what needs to be spent in upkeep of the Effect, remember), go right ahead. It's the same as Harm and other such judgment calls: there's a default option, but if the situation makes something else seem more sensible, go for it.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Simon JB on October 13, 2008, 12:50:55 AM
Thank you both! Sorry I was a bit unclear, but you managed to answer my question nonetheless. I got confused in play the other day and was looking for the point of assigning a specific pool to an effect, and now I see it. Thanks again!

However, another thing about pools and effects and the such...

Normally you can only buy one bonus die for a roll with the pool belonging to the ability rolled. If you have the Secret of Retraining for example, should you be able to use one point from each pool or one from either for bonus dice?

And the same thing when using an effect for bonus dice on a roll. Is it given that you can always spend an effect all at once, for a huge lot of bonus dice (granted, that's not at odds with getting dice from an immediate support roll), or is there a point in saying that unless circumstances are special you're only able to buy one bonus die at a time for effect points?


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: oliof on October 13, 2008, 03:39:49 AM
I'd suggest that you can use one point of either Pool (which is quite useful to begin with, and can lead to a lot of interesting crunch combinations).

I wouldn't limit the amount of Effect spent as bonus dice unless I'd also limit the amount of bonus dice you can get through supportive actions.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on October 13, 2008, 11:48:32 AM
I'd most probably permit the one bonus die from each Pool; it's a pretty and interesting mechanic, which also gives the otherwise low-powered Secret a bit of a power boost. However, I'd make this choice in relation to the campaign context, not in general - those example Secrets are not really intended to be plugged in without taking them through the normal contextual secret-creation process, as the crunch landscape actively changes the values of different resources, such as the ability to buy several bonus dice. Think of them as examples of different game mechanics, not as a balanced set of Secrets.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Simon JB on October 13, 2008, 11:54:59 AM
Sounds reasonable. Thanks.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Simon JB on October 18, 2008, 10:57:35 AM
New question!
In refreshment scenes, when events trigger your keys, do you get xp? We've been doing it like that, but everytime it happens I feel a bit unsure if it's right.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on October 18, 2008, 07:03:22 PM
Sure, no reason not to give xp for those events that I can see.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: oliof on October 18, 2008, 11:44:01 PM
Key triggers always fire, regardless of the type of scenes. The only thing that is explicitly not possible in refreshment scenes is conflicts, since your guard is down.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on October 18, 2008, 11:56:57 PM
Or perhaps one might say that if there was a conflict, the scene was not a refreshment scene in retrospect. I wouldn't forbid conflict before seeing how the scene goes down.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Simon JB on October 19, 2008, 01:43:58 AM
Right. Good to hear you guys have been thinking the way we have.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: oliof on October 19, 2008, 08:14:45 AM
Eero: Agreed. It would go like this: If a player doesn't like the way a refreshment scene goes, they can opt for a conflict, forgoing the refreshment. Right? I would advise GMs to use a gambit like this only sparingly, though.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on October 19, 2008, 10:34:33 AM
Yeah, that's pretty much the thing - if the SG pushes too hard, the player will signal that by demanding conflict. If your players never get to refresh because your refreshment scenes are so nasty that they always end up in conflict, then you need to relax your grip as the SG a bit.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Simon JB on November 24, 2008, 02:45:49 AM
New question:

Can you enter extended conflict and immediately give up, before the first round is played?

My player wanted to do that, arguing that if you cannot do that then the suggested strategy of entering extended conflict to shake down harm is pointless. I countered that if you don't have to make it through the first round then it's way to cheap to do that if you bring down the pain you must be prepared to take at least some consequences. My player was a little bit bothered by this detail, so I thought I'd bring it up here.

So, how do you guys do this?


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on November 24, 2008, 04:59:21 AM
Well, I don't recommend entering extended conflict to shake down Harm, for one. I know that Clinton does discuss it, but I see it more as a secondary result of normal events of play, not something that should be pointed out as a clever trick. It's more of an exploit, and the whole shakedown rule has proven a bit fragile (as in, sometimes we forget to apply it) in actual play: as you might remember, I'm very pragmatic about rules, and this one only just manages to stay in my field of vision when I play. I could easily imagine forgetting it and being just as happy with life, especially when you consider how most crunch environments tend to make the rule so relatively insignificant.

That being said, if it ever came up, I guess I'd allow a player to give up in the negotiation stage of the first round. It's not inconseivable that a player'd get into an extended conflict only to realize when the procedure starts that the conditions are not favorable. Or more simply, it might just be that the opponent, seeing his willingness to go into extended conflict, negotiates a conflict goal that makes it acceptable for him to back down right off. That's an intricate play: go into extended conflict and make it clear that if your opponent gives you this thing you actually care about, you'll back off without a blow and let him have the rest.

If you think that this is too easy, you may always in your role as the Story Guide take that opposing NPC and give him some interesting goals in the conflict. Upping the ante should make a player consider twice before giving up. This won't do anything if two players decide to have an extended conflict between their characters to shake down Harm... but if your group is that far gone, I don't know that there's much we can do to reimpose an interest in solid play from a distance.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Corvus69 on February 06, 2009, 01:50:23 AM
Quote from: Solar system
An important detail is that bonus and penalty dice may be added to the roll either before or after the initial dice are rolled.
Extra dice after the roll are simply rolled immediately (unless cancelled) and the player picks the three best or worst results normally.

Quote from: TSoY
After you roll, remove a number of your dice equal to your penalty dice, starting with pluses. If you run out of pluses, remove blanks, and then minuses. Bonus dice work the opposite way: you remove minuses first, then blanks, then pluses. More simply, penalty dice take away your highest rolls. Bonus dice take away your lowest rolls.

hmm there is a difference between SS and TsoY bonus/penalty die methods. Both have the same results if there are only BD or only PD in the check. BUT what if I rolled a check with one PD and after the roll I chose to add one BD?

The TSoY method is clear to me, but SS method IMHO assumes that BD and PD are different colored than regular three dice, so I could know which one was PD to cancel it with BD. And I think that this method gives different results. Am I right?


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on February 06, 2009, 02:43:16 AM
The methods should work the same as far as I know. In the one case you are removing low dice until you only have the three highest left; in the other you directly take the three highest dice. When you do this in segments, it works like this:

TSoY style:
I roll one bonus die, let's say ++-0. I drop the lowest, leaving me with ++0.
Then I add a bonus die, it's a +. I drop the lowest and get +++.
Then I add a penalty die, it's a 0. I drop the highest and get ++0 again.

Solar System style:
Rolling the same dice, so ++-0. I choose the highest, so leaves me with ++0.
Then I add a bonus die, it's a +. I choose the highest of the four and get +++.
Then I add a penalty die, it's a 0. I choose the lowest and get ++0 again.

How do you get different results with the two methods? I strongly suspect that I'm missing something here. Wouldn't be the first time: there are some surprising lacunae in the TSoY rules which make people read them in a quite different manner from what Clinton intended.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: oliof on February 06, 2009, 04:56:16 AM
There are some subtle statistical interactions with the question of when you can use penalty or bonus dice. Both are a bit more efficient if you put them out after rolling, since you don't spend the resource when you already know the result, and you have a 2 in 3 chance of getting a better result than an existing minus as opposed to have a fift-fifty chance of one die being better than the other when rolling them in once.

The coloration of the dice is not important, it's just a device to help you find out faster which dice to take out if you have multiple bonus and penalty dice on one check.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Paul T on February 06, 2009, 08:56:51 AM
Corvus69,

Are you reading the SS rules as saying:

"Do NOT cancel out bonus and penalty dice"?

Are you thinking like this?

You roll three dice, with one bonus die and one penalty die: 0 (-) (-) (+) 0.

Then you remove one (-) because of the bonus die, and one (+) because of the penalty die, leaving you with 0 0 (-).

Is that it?

I think you always cancel out bonus and penalty dice. The alternative is just too clunky to make sense.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Corvus69 on February 06, 2009, 10:06:43 AM
Eero: now I get it. no need for colored dice. you choose three best/worst dice *before* rolling any additional dice and then *after* again.

in tsoy style I have always kept all dice on the table and remove best and worst dice only in the end. in your example I rolled with BD ++-0 then BD + then PD 0. I had +++00-. I removed -0 and +. and the result was ++0. so the same result....

actually your style is better..



Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: fealoro on April 08, 2009, 10:37:11 PM
Hi all

I need some clarification on killing... uhmm killing characters of course ;)

The killing of a characthers (both PC than NPC) could be the stake of a conflict? or a character can be killed only causing Harm?
or it depends on the importasce of the caracther in the story (so that if the SG don't bother about a guard he can be killed in a simple conflict, otherwise the SG should extend the conflict)?

The amount of Harm is indipendent from the weapon used (if there is no Effect at work)?

Thanks a lot


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on April 09, 2009, 01:03:58 AM
Quite. The basic principle is that characters are only killed in two ways:
  • The group agrees to make death a part of the stakes in conflict. I discuss this under the heading of "propriety" in the conflict chapters of the booklet, as it's ultimately a matter of style and genre to determine when a character's death can be on the table. For example, in a superhero game a character is saving the city, and it might be quite appropriate to decide that hey, the saving is granted, but will he survive? In a children's show death wouldn't really be on the table, so it would be more along the lines of whether the character himself saves the city or whether he has to ask for his mentor to help him. Appropriate conflict stakes are all a matter of genre.
  • When characters are forced out of conflict with Harm level 7 (either somebody rolls it or, more likely, the Harm bumps up because level six is already full), the opponent may decide what happens to them in the immediate scene - they are not necessarily dead, but the opponent can decide that they are. This choice is still constrained by the genre, of course, so it wouldn't really be appropriate for a My Little Pony game to feature a character driving another character mad, forcing them to prance off a cliff.
Also note that the SG can't extend the conflict, that choice belongs to the players. In some cases a player might wish to extend because the SG refuses to escalate the stakes for pacing reasons unless the player makes a big deal out of a situation. The SG might decide that a given NPC is too cool to be killed just like that, say, so he insists that while the character can quite reasonably throw him into the reactor shaft, the SG reserves an option to have the NPC come back later on.

In practice you don't see much player character death in most campaigns. Mostly it happens as a finale for a suitably dramatic situation, or as a gritty flavour to a gritty campaign. In both cases it's largely the player's call whether the character lives or dies: it's rather difficult to get mortally wounded without going into extended conflict, and players can always back down from those, so the only way to really get yourself helpless on the mercy of your enemies is to stubbornly refuse to back down; something needs to be important enough to die for.

Also note that while the general SS rules allow character death as part of the stakes, it's almost always not a good idea. If the SG puts in death, he's also saying that you have to extend if you want to live; if he continues insisting on death when goals are declared for extended conflict, he's again saying that you can't give in. So offering death is almost always just an unnecessary limitation on a player's choices; it's much more interesting to threaten the character's honor instead, for example, and let the player choose whether he'd rather die. The SG's job is to invent a bargain where the player voluntarily gets his character killed off, I might say.

You're right that the amount of Harm is by default independent of weapon use, but that's easy to change with a Secret or two. Something like this might work for a prison game, for instance:

Secret of the Shiv
The character is lethally good with stabbing instruments. Whenever he is spending an Effect that amounts to a stabbing instrument in a conflict, he may declare that he's going for the throat: the opponent suffers a Harm of degree equal to the number of overflow dice (rolled dice left over after picking the three used in the conflict) showing a '0'. This Harm comes in addition to other consequences of the conflict. Cost: 1 Instinct, and has to blow a shiv Effect completely on the roll.

Or you can just use equipment ratings described in the Secrets chapter, their original purpose in Shadow of Yesterday was to emulate weapons and armor in a fantasy environment. Depends on what you're going for in the game.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: oliof on April 09, 2009, 01:15:28 AM
Hey Eero, you're en-passant importing a stupid dice trick from Greg Stolze's ORE; namely using overflow dice (what he calls waste dice in his game). I like that. Clarification question: Does a character with Secret of the Shiv get the Harm Bonus from using the Effect as well as getting an additional Harm Level equal to the number of overflow dice?


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: Eero Tuovinen on April 09, 2009, 10:51:19 AM
As in, does he get to use the bonus dice to improve his check and thus maybe get to cause Harm by succeeding in the Ability check? Yes, my intent was to allow the character to potentially cause two Harm at once with this. Might be a bit strong, but if the campaign is a sparse prison drama, then I don't mind. You should fear the shiv.

ORE has overflow dice? I never noticed, must be because I got bored and skipped the combat system. I figured this thing out while bashing my head against the wall with the equipment rating rules; perhaps I'll get something tidy for TSoY out of it. Also, I already used the overflow dice trick at Story Games (http://www.story-games.com/forums/?CommentID=198694) last month, in case you're interested.


Title: Re: [Solar System] Quick Questions Thread
Post by: oliof on April 10, 2009, 05:09:21 AM
ORE has quite some stupid dice tricks. Overflow dice are a nice variable add-on.