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Author Topic: New rules for BDTP and Harm  (Read 25303 times)
Corvus69
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« on: January 29, 2009, 04:17:55 AM »

Hello

I am trying to make up new rules for BDTP and Harm inspired by Mouse Guard. It changes some of the basic principles, so beware. I am interested in your thoughts before playtest.

What do I want to accomplish:
- to make BDTP potentially less harmful, in other words, to be able to win BDTP without taking or inflicticting long term damage (the character in SS is often seriously beaten down after one lost BDTP)
- to make 'giving up' a less prominent function in system (This feature is hard to to accept for a lot of players, most of them hate giving up and fight to bitter end. it breaks the game)
- to make difference between status of character (harm) and the counter of reaching the goal in BDTP (in SS harm represents both status and goal tracker)
- to make Harm and BDTP more elegant and less confusing (Harm shaking down and tracking of penalty dice is messy, different types of goals in BDTP can be confusing)
- to indroduce compromise in the game (there is no such thing in SS)


Goals:
in SS, opponents can have different types of goals. A wants to seduce B. B wants to steal from A. This can be resolved with one check.
If one of them (mostly it would be the loser) wants to BTDP, the goals must change. in my version of BDTP (Solar system revised, SSr) participants must comply with: "Fighty Goals for Fighting Conflicts" (yes, from MG)
So B won and stole something from A. A doesnt like it so he starts BDTP. Its no more about him wanting to seduce B. Its about stealing or not stealing. A should make up goal that reflects that. For example: I want to catch the thief. Then they can start BDTP.

In regular SS its common to change types of goal in the middle of the BDTP. In SSr, this is not possible. Player can change his goal only if the type of conflict is relevant (in fighting conflict: to kill, to subdue, to force, to disarm...)
In SSr, if player wants to change the type of his goal, he must give up current conflict and accept defeat or compromise based on remaining disposition of winner. (again MG style, more on that later). So different conflicts are built from one to another. They dont mix.

Goals can never change the feelings, beliefs, opinions in the long term. They can persuade, intimidate, deceive, but only for a short time. A cannot make B to fall in love with him, but he can seduce her for a short while. Goals should never be deprotagonizing (only if the players agree to such kind of goal)


Bringing down the pain:
BDTP starts when someone refuses outcome of simple opposed ability check. Goals are stated. Starting disposition (this number represents
strength in the conflict). is determined by adding rank of innate ability relevant to conflict type + success level of unopposed ability check made with skill player intends to use + 1-5 points based on major advantages that arise from fiction. *this formula is subject to change*. The winner at the roll that initiated BDTP gets bonus dice to her first action equal to the difference between her and her opponent's success levels (or it could be added to disposition, I am not sure).

If there is more than one major participant on one side of conflict, thay can help each other with ability check to disposition and all add their innate ability rank to disposition.
The participants take turns (like in MG) and if its reasonable in fiction, they can receive helping bonus dice from other team members.

A lowers the B's disposition by succes level (parallel actions) or difference of succes levels (perpendicular actions). When someone runs out of disposition, he loses conflict.

Disposition vs. Harm
In SS, Harm indicates status of character and also a counter to archieving the goal. In SSr, Harm only indicates status and disposition serves as goal tracker.

The Harm is now 4 checkers for every Pool.

Pool harm (everything is cumulative):
1. bruised: 1 penalty die to all abilities associated with the pool until the end of BDTP when it was checked. after the BDTP, the checker stays checked.
2. bloodied: 1 PD to all abilities associated with the pool until healed
3: broken: player must spend a point from the ability's associated pool to perform any relevant ability check
4: taken out: character cannont use abilities associated with the pool

By default, the ability checks in BDTP lower the disposition. To inflict 1 point harm instead of lowering the disposition, A must be able to lower B's disposition by more (it doesn meter how much more) than B's relevant innate ability (based on ability players uses to attack) and he must pay 1 point from relevant pool. The B can prevent the harm by paying 1 point from relevant pool. If A wants to inflict harm really badly, he can pay another point and if B doesnt pays another point also, A inflicts harm.  A can of course say that he changed his mind and doesnt wish to inflict harm and lowers the disposition instead. The points paid dont go back their owners no matter what.
The participant that takes harm doesnt lower his disposition. The harm should be always be somehow reflected in game fiction.
In teamfight, A can inflict harm only to character he rolls against or to other character that helps his opponent with bonus dice. So giving bonus dice is dangerous.

Compromise:

Compromise happens in two cases:
1. A wins the BDTP but loses more than half of his disposition
2. B gives up the BDTP (maybe to change his goal) and A lost more than half of his disposition

If the winner has more than half of his dispostion in the end of BDTP, there is no compromise, his goal is fulfilled, loser's goal not.

The loser B can offer one of these compromises:
1. A's goal is fulfilled, B's goal is not fulfilled but A takes additional 1 point of Harm
2. A's goal is fulfilled, B's goal is partly fulfilled
3. A's goal is fulfilled, B's goal is not fulfilled, but B can indroduce some minor complication or twist that has
arisen due to the winner’s victory
4. A's goal is partly fulfilled, B's goal is not fulfilled

If players cannot reach agreement on compromise, the default compromise is 1.




I hope I wrote it clearly enough, but please ask if you dont understand something.
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oliof
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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2009, 04:43:19 AM »

Hi Corvus(?),

Glancing over the MouseGuard rules, I felt reminded of the conflict/extended conflict rules in some parts, too, and some things seemed more simple and elegant than Solar System. I haven't spent the time yet to work them out and see how to integrate them.

Please take my commentary on your idea as provocation to defend and improve, not as an outright dismissal.

Quote
If one of them (mostly it would be the loser) wants to BTDP, the goals must change. in my version of BDTP (Solar system revised, SSr) participants must comply with: "Fighty Goals for Fighting Conflicts" (yes, from MG)

Not true. Goals must be clarified, not changed. if you escalate to an extended conflict, the theft has not been successfully finished, so there's no need to catch a thief. That would be a follow-up scene/conflict whatever, shaping the game events on the go.

Quote
In regular SS its common to change types of goal in the middle of the BDTP. In SSr, this is not possible. Player can change his goal only if the type of conflict is relevant (in fighting conflict: to kill, to subdue, to force, to disarm...)

IME, it's not common and and it's always part of the negotiations. I've seen conflicting parties coming to an outcome that didn't match up with the original intents but as it came out of the negotiation and matched with what had happened so far, it was fine.

Quote
Goals can never change the feelings, beliefs, opinions in the long term. They can persuade, intimidate, deceive, but only for a short time. A cannot make B to fall in love with him, but he can seduce her for a short while. Goals should never be deprotagonizing (only if the players agree to such kind of goal)

Is that a new rule, something you want to achieve? IMHO, long term changes in characters can only be achieved if you completely break them (take them past level six harm) – if someone stays in a conflict that long, they probably accepted and deserved grave consequences. Again, in terms of continuity and aesthetics, I think it's quite possible that some groups stick to this more rigid than others. There is an old example of a TSOY conflict where an ammenite nobleman duelist lost a conflict to the effect that he would never touch a sword again. A campaign can very well go on with the nobleman trying to overcome that (seemingly) permanent limitation and either regain the ability to bear swords or learn how to cope without being so.

I don't understand what you try to gain by going from one harm track and three pools to three pools, three harm tracks and a disposition computed by a complex formula (even if it is subject to change). My interpretation is that the extended conflict starting advantage and pool sizes already covers disposition, and that the many different areas to fight to get what you want will draw out extended conflicts to a level where you have to whittle down things. In other words, you already have about 5 things to consider going into extended conflict, why make it 8? (I'm not even counting effects, abilities and secrets here).

In my experience, extended conflicts run for 3 to 5 rounds, because then it is clear who will win in the long run – exceptions are when someone has a great idea how to reverse the situation by changing tactics. Longer conflicts tend to cost too much in terms of pool or harm, and put you in a bad position for follow-up conflicts (simple or extended).
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Corvus69
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« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2009, 05:38:47 AM »

thank you for valuable insight.

Quote
Not true. Goals must be clarified, not changed. if you escalate to an extended conflict, the theft has not been successfully finished, so there's no need to catch a thief. That would be a follow-up scene/conflict whatever, shaping the game events on the go.
blame my bad writing :( What I really meant is this:

in my version of BDTP (Solar system revised, SSr) if one of them (mostly it would be the loser) wants to BTDP, the goals must change, participants must comply with: "Fighty Goals for Fighting Conflicts" (yes, from MG)
So B won and stole something from A. A doesnt like it so he starts BDTP and rewinds. Its no more about him wanting to seduce B. Its about stealing or not stealing. A should make up goal that reflects that. For example: I want stop B from stealing . Then they can start BDTP.

Quote
IME, it's not common and and it's always part of the negotiations. I've seen conflicting parties coming to an outcome that didn't match up with the original intents but as it came out of the negotiation and matched with what had happened so far, it was fine.

my experience is limited. But in tsoy book is changing goals in the middle of BDTP encouraged as valid action and it's not negotiated (you take defending action and in next round you announce new maybe totally different goal) I dont see it necessarily as bad thing but I'm not particularly fond of it either.

Quote
Is that a new rule, something you want to achieve?

I encountered a lot players, that find it deprotagonizing so I want to limit the scope of conflicts.

Quote
I don't understand what you try to gain by going from one harm track and three pools to three pools, three harm tracks and a disposition computed by a complex formula (even if it is subject to change).
the disposition formula is not so complex imho. it's almost directly taken from MG.
This whole thing serves one purpose: to make losing in BDTP have less impact on future conflict. you can mechanically lose BDTP withou taking any harm, you can lose with a lot of harm in one pool but that doesnt inhibit your ability to make different kind of conflict associated with other pool.
...and I am aware that it's quite different philosophy compared to classic SS.

Quote
In my experience, extended conflicts run for 3 to 5 rounds, because then it is clear who will win in the long run – exceptions are when someone has a great idea how to reverse the situation by changing tactics. Longer conflicts tend to cost too much in terms of pool or harm, and put you in a bad position for follow-up conflicts (simple or extended).
that's true, players have to think about giving up every round. thats what I want to eliminate.
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dindenver
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2009, 09:03:24 AM »

Corvus,
  OK, I want to hit on a couple of points:

  First, I don't know Mouse Guard, sorry. I didn't even know what MG stood for until Harald's reply, lol I have heard of it, but I don't own it, haven't read it or played it.

Quote
In regular SS its common to change types of goal in the middle of the BDTP. In SSr, this is not possible. Player can change his goal only if the type of conflict is relevant (in fighting conflict: to kill, to subdue, to force, to disarm...)
In SSr, if player wants to change the type of his goal, he must give up current conflict and accept defeat or compromise based on remaining disposition of winner. (again MG style, more on that later). So different conflicts are built from one to another. They dont mix.

  The trick is, if you play more or less "by the book" this is the only way to get uneven stakes. The normal ability check is one roll and you either get your stakes or the other side gets there (unless you tie). Where as with the "default" mechanic, if you change your goal, the other sides goal doesn't change and you can have uneven stakes (meaning one side wants something bigger than the other). To give you a great example of this that happened in AP, I will tell you what happened two weeks ago in my game:

  OK, so the players were trying to bake up their own crime syndicate and they had identified one NPC faction that would be a real obstacle to their plans. A gang of Ratkin calling  themselves The Plague. What the gang was doing was sending normal rats to visit various caravans while the caravans were camping and reporting back with the contents of each wagon. Then the Plague would hit the caravan outside the city, take the most valuable stuff and leave before anyone knew what was happening.
  So, the players concocted a plan to find out more about this rival gang. One of the PCs and two of her NPC bodyguards went down near where their HQ was supposed to be to see what they could see. So, they decided to make an ability check to see if they could capture a Ratkin gang member and maybe question him. So, I set counter-stakes that if they failed their ability check, one of the Bodyguards would be captured for at least a day.
  They failed. After some hand wringing, they decided to BDTP. It was going bad, I was doing more harm per turn. At one point they did a defensive action just to see if they could use the bonus dice to make up on the harm front front and to try and not get harm for a turn. They next turn I mentioned that they could change their stakes and that my stakes didn't change with it. Their eyes lit up. The group haggled over different options, run away, etc. And then they had a stroke of genius. They changed the stakes to "Driving the Plague out of the city." This was a risky gamble, they were losing BDTP at this point. But additional players made it to the scene and they switched their tactics and pulled out a victory (not without getting a lot of Harm I might add). This wouldn't be possible if their stakes were frozen to "capturing a Ratkin gang member."

  The point of this example is, they wouldn't have been able to do this if they were using your system. and quite honestly, I think this sort of mechanic forces TSOY to play more like a traditional RPG. I mean, the beauty of TSOY is that the player tells the SG what they want and how they are going to achieve that. And not the other way around. This feels like it is stripping away the player's ability to do just that. And I don't really see what you gain in return. I mean you can avoid unrealistic situations (I change my stakes from I kill him to I seduce him), but you can also kill realistic situations (I change my stakes from I kill him to I escape).
  And allowing for a follow up extended conflict after the initial conflict is done, seems cheap to me. Like when will it end? It seems like the whole point of ability checks, free and clear stages and everything is that you are boiling it down to the thing that the characters are actually fighting for. So, that when two characters sword fight, it is not over who will defeat the other in mortal combat, but who will win that thing they are fighting for. Will Galahad finally gain his honor or will Conan finally reap his glory. The dice decide this. If Galahad gets his glory, the fight is over, he doesn't care about the outcome any more does he? If Conan gets his glory, what the point in beating up this poor guy some more? It seems like this is just a crutch for players who don't know why they are fighting...

Quote
Goals can never change the feelings, beliefs, opinions in the long term. They can persuade, intimidate, deceive, but only for a short time. A cannot make B to fall in love with him, but he can seduce her for a short while. Goals should never be deprotagonizing (only if the players agree to such kind of goal)
  I feel like this is gutting the best part of TSOY. I mean the whole point of this system is that any character can change the world, they just have to take that risk that they might fail. It seems like if someone feels like they are being deprotagonized one of two things are happening:
1) The SG is setting the challenges too hard. If the BBEGs are unbeatable, the players will always feel like their characters are too small for the story being told. No rules will overcome this.
2) The players are agreeing to stakes they won't abide to. That is THE best technique for good playing in TSOY. Don't agree to stakes that you can't accept. That is why there is a free and clear stage in IIEE. So that the players can take a step back and say, no, this is not worth it. I mean, its a one-roll resolution system, you have to give the players leeway in case they don't want to gamble so much on that one roll. Does that make sense?

  As far as making BDTP less harmful, this is a sign of some sort of uneven play. Either you are setting the opposing stakes too high for the reward being offered or the players do not understand that giving in BDTP only means that the other character(s) get their stakes, nothing more. I think that is a pitfall to teaching people to play TSOY. In more Trad games, if you fail a roll or conflict, it puts you in a position to fail a lot more than you had originally risked. A classic example is sneaking past the guards.
In a more Trad game, it goes like this:
Pass: You sneak past the guards, but there will be other checks that you can still fail
Fail, You do more than alert the guy walking down the hall, now you have to fight two guards, and another guard joins the fight every round.
  As you can imagine, no player in their right mind would agree to that. But in a trad game, they don't get a choice

  InTSOY:
The player negotiates what they get if they succeed their ability check and then the SG negotiates the counter stakes. Because its a free and clear stage, the player can back off the stakes (or escalate if they are not risk averse) until they are willing to accept the agony of defeat if they fail.

  I do agree with Harald that the Disposition is too fiddly for TSOY, but that is a personal taste. The mechanic itself seems balanced and if your group is cool with it, I say go for it!

  If the players are going to BDTP too often, it means that either the SG is setting the counter stakes too high or the players are agreeing to risk that they are not willing to accept, right? And if they are staying in BDTP long after they should "give," then either the SG is setting the stakes too high, the players do not realize that they can't lose more than the stakes they agree too. Or the SG is not abiding by that rule.

  If you wanted rules that allowed players to continue to play this way and still supported good play, maybe do something like this:
Mini-refresh - Players (including the SG) set a a number of facts that are the result of BDTP. For each one of those facts that change after BDTP is over, they refresh one point of pool automatically.
Aftermath - If BDTP is resolved, but the player is still not satisfied with the outcome, let them reduce an Ability by a full level to re-write the outcome based on the Ability reduced (so if they use Stealth to change the outcome, then they can describe how they used stealth to change the outcome of BDTP). And maybe set a limit that the players have to choose an Ability with a level that is equal to or higher than the number of facts established by BDTP.

  If you wanted to use your version of BDTP, the only hole I see in the mechanic is this:
Harm - So, if I am fighting you, and you are trying to steal from me. I am harming your vigor and you are harming my instinct. If you take away my ability to use Vigor, it doesn't stop me from trying to steal from you, or even affect me at all. But according to the harm track, I am "Taken Out." Maybe there is another rule attached to this that you forgot to post. But if not, than you need to resolve what it means when you have two undamaged Harm Tracks and have one "Taken Out" Harm Track.

  Either way, good luck with your gaming man!
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Dave M
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2009, 09:21:28 AM »

I can certainly appreciate both wanting to fiddle with the BDTP system and wanting to make a rpg conform to your own mechanical aesthetics. I haven't seen Mouse Guard yet myself, but from what I've read, I wouldn't be surprised if it had things that might well be appropriated into Solar System.

That said, many of the details you fix are things that I specifically like about Solar System BDTP, so I'm probably the wrong person to comment here. For example, changing intentions - that just happens to be a crucial negotiation tool and a lever of dramatic situations, so it's just about the last thing I'd want to remove. Nothing better than revealing something important in the middle of conflict and having characters change intentions in an effort to better defend their interests.

In general, I get a feeling that you're handling the extended conflict in a somewhat more formal and constrained manner than it is intended. The secret of extended conflict is that it is actually just a slightly abstract combat system, within which characters can act pretty freely. They can do different things, move about, change targets and in general the conflict continues as long as there is, in fact, conflict present in the fiction. Your version resolves conflicts quite formally in comparison.

From the above viewpoint it's illustrative that you describe the Harm tracker as a conflict counter and consider features such as giving up and changing intentions problematic. The Harm tracker is only a conflict pacing device if you approach the conflict without a willingness to negotiate the result - as you yourself say, the system breaks down if the player is committed to winning without regard for the consequences.

The way the system is supposed to be used, though, is that Harm is not a conflict tracker - it's a gauge of the character's ability to resist others. A conflict will only be resolved by filling the Harm track if the situation is such that one or both characters are willing to put their entire well-being on the line for victory. The conflict may end at any point without Harm if the players manage to negotiate a different outcome. This is a difficult choice for the player, so I'm not so sure if I like taking it away.
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Paul T
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« Reply #5 on: January 29, 2009, 03:30:01 PM »

I'm reading this thread with some curiosity and interest, especially because hearing the opinions and views of those experienced with this game is always enlightening. Solar System BDTP/extended conflicts have many nuances to them that are not immediately apparent.

To the original post:

I wonder if you and your players might be engaging in extended conflicts too often? The system does make them very significant events, both in terms of handling time and in terms of consequences. Maybe realizing that, and handling most conflicts as simple opposed ability checks, might solve this issue?

I'm not sure I'm sold on your revamped version as presented here, but some of the issues you bring up do resonate with me. In particular, I like the idea of compromises (a larger range of possible outcomes), and intuitively I wonder about the necessity for the players to give up in conflicts. Many players do like to "play things out", looking forward to see what will happen, and I fear they would, as you describe, forget the option to give up and end up suffering heavily from most conflicts. I have to play some more, myself, to figure out how I feel about this, but it is an issue I wonder about.

To Eero:

I am very curious about something you wrote in your post. You spoke several times about the negotiation of outcomes between players in extended conflicts. Particularly here:

The way the system is supposed to be used, though, is that Harm is not a conflict tracker - it's a gauge of the character's ability to resist others. A conflict will only be resolved by filling the Harm track if the situation is such that one or both characters are willing to put their entire well-being on the line for victory. The conflict may end at any point without Harm if the players manage to negotiate a different outcome. This is a difficult choice for the player, so I'm not so sure if I like taking it away.

I'm not sure I understand what you're talking about. I don't remember any discussion of negotiation in either text. I'm guessing that there is a process that is kind of lateral to the actual resolution that takes place between the players, and that is what you are describing.

Do you think you could give an Actual Play (or even an imaginary) example of a conflict "ending at any point without Harm by negotiating a different outcome"? I'd really like to see what that looks like at your table.

Thanks!


Paul
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oliof
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« Reply #6 on: January 29, 2009, 03:49:04 PM »

Little Rules Nitpick: Since changing intents happens in the negotiation phase but only is active when you choose abilities and put the dice to the table, you can opt out of accepting the new intent by conceding to the old one or offering something to your opponent that they can agree to end the conflict for.

Cross posted with Paul: I drafted up an example about the exact thing you wanted, but deleted it.

So I have to rewrite.

In my PBeM TSOY game, we had a conflict between two PCs and a group of SGCs, where the NPCs intended to beat the crap out of the PCs to teach them a lesson or somesuch. We had two rounds of fighting, where very little harm was dished out, but then the whole thing evolved into one of the PCs killing of a couple of nameless secondaries, while the other one ended up in a romantic tussle with one of the PCs –  this was where we had a change of intents due to a tie in results, so both sides changed their intent accordingly: The PC wanted to force the SGC  to tell all about their employer, while the SGC wanted the PC to be enthralled by the barbaric wildness of the SGC (to end them up in bed). Both parties could agree to that, so there was nothing to run a conflict about anymore.

Without the chance to renege intents, we would have been stuck in the original situation, which would only have been half as interesting.
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« Reply #7 on: January 29, 2009, 07:02:14 PM »

The negotiation in BDTP is implicit and happens by changing your intent. You can often win a BDTP simply by downgrading your own goals to a level where the opponent is willing to accept them.

In our play this sort of thing happens all the time as a contrast between kill vs. capture vs. simple self-defense. If your goal allows the opponent to go, he's much more likely to give up when the conflict swings against him. The opposite holds true as well: if you want to make sure somebody is ruined, hike up your intent to trap him in the conflict.
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Corvus69
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2009, 12:20:47 AM »

thank you all. I have to think about everything you wrote. And I have to play SS more to really get all the system nuances. it's very possible that I simply don't understand the way it's supposed to work.

but now just few remarks:

Quote
You can often win a BDTP simply by downgrading your own goals to a level where the opponent is willing to accept them.
I think this is something most people are not used to. I dont know any other game that works like this. Players have to switch something in their brains to start thinking this way.

Quote
So, if I am fighting you, and you are trying to steal from me. I am harming your vigor and you are harming my instinct. If you take away my ability to use Vigor, it doesn't stop me from trying to steal from you, or even affect me at all.
stealing and fighting are different types of goals, so not allowed in one BDTP. But let's say that the second and third sentence stand, the best tactics wouldnot be making harm, but lowering opponent's disposition.

Quote
The point of this example is, they wouldn't have been able to do this if they were using your system.

not exactly. They would lose the first conflict. And then start a new one (not necessarily BDTP) about driving The Plague out of the city. BDTP is a fun part of game and maybe we want to engage in it more often.

A bit of AP:

PC's were in a military base under attack. Captain of attackers (NPC) had goal to capture the base. The PC's wanted to prevent it. They lost initial check. So they BDTP. The Captain had battle 3. PC's were using their weapons to fight back rank 2. we were using gestalt method.
In a middle of fight they changed their goal to killing the captain, because it made sense in fiction: killed captain means that troops are without a leader and give up.

I as captain could not give up because the stakes were set too high. And it was really hard to convince them to give up the conflict. I was able to make harm almost every round, but only to one PC at the same time. (I chose a tactics to wear them down one by one). The first PC was taken out, second was bruised, but they simply refused to give up, because there was still a chance to win. And they ultimately did win. The taken out character struggled the rest of the session and was irritated and didn’t like the game.

I am sure that this is the way BDTP should not be played but the concept of BDTP can by hard to get.


Even if I will not be using these new rules, I will have to think something about harm shake down a messy penalty dice. I really hate them.
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2009, 05:42:26 AM »

To elaborate a bit about the practical issues, it seems to me that your revised system turns individual actions in BDtP into abstracted conflict steps instead of concrete in-fiction tasks. Do I have that right? Your classification of conflicts into fighting and non-fighting seems to hint this way.

In contrast, the original BDTP rules don't classify different types of conflicts simply because the fiction is used in full force to constrain the possible means that are used to achieve the goals. Thus you can have both stealing and fighting tasks in one conflict, but only when it makes sense in the fiction. The first round of the conflict might feature a character sneaking in to steal the king's crown, say, and when he fails the second round turns into violence. As that doesn't go so well for the thief, he tries negotiation on the third round. In each case we're resolving tasks that, when taken together and being consequence-enforced by the rules, ultimately resolve the conflict.

Turning this task-resolution base into an abstract multistep conflict resolution is actually a quite radical change. In the original system characters just basically act freely in BDTP in different ways and we assign mechanical consequence to these actions to force the conflict to resolve in due time. It's just like the D&D combat system, just generalized into handling all sorts of conflicts. In your system the attention seems to be on Disposition, the abstract measure of conflict length.

After reading through the system a second time I have to say that the bit I dislike most is the very reason you made a new system - I actually like the way BDTP forces characters to resolve their differences essentially by breaking each other. I like this same feature in Dust Devils, it's a great source of gravitas. In your system it seems that causing Harm is not actually an attractive option at all - after all, you can easily win the conflict by focusing on the disposition, so why bother? The only reason would be if you didn't actually care about the conflict stakes and just wanted to hurt the other character, but then why not make hurting him your goal in the conflict?
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oliof
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« Reply #10 on: January 30, 2009, 05:46:28 AM »

Hi Corvus,

one last question:

Quote
stealing and fighting are different types of goals, so not allowed in one BDTP.

I never interpreted the rules that way. Where did you get that from?
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #11 on: January 30, 2009, 06:13:46 AM »

That passage refers to his new system, Harald. It requires a conflict to have a predetermined conflict arena that determines the sort of Abilities you need to use in the conflict.
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Corvus69
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« Reply #12 on: January 30, 2009, 06:17:22 AM »

this thread is most helpful to me. I will definitely play BDTP differently now.

the most enlightning thing:
Quote
because the fiction is used in full force to constrain the possible means that are used to achieve the goals. Thus you can have both stealing and fighting tasks in one conflict, but only when it makes sense in the fiction. The first round of the conflict might feature a character sneaking in to steal the king's crown, say, and when he fails the second round turns into violence. As that doesn't go so well for the thief, he tries negotiation on the third round. In each case we're resolving tasks that, when taken together and being consequence-enforced by the rules, ultimately resolve the conflict.
I considered BTDP *more abstract* than it really is. I need to focus on task resolution in each round.

I think the Solar system needs tons of examples in the rules, because there is so much behind them.


Quote
I never interpreted the rules that way. Where did you get that from?
its not in original rules. :) thats new possible rule: "Fighty Goals for Fighting Conflicts"


any ideas about Harm with simplified penalty dice rules and no shakedown?
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #13 on: January 30, 2009, 06:57:06 AM »

any ideas about Harm with simplified penalty dice rules and no shakedown?

This is a question I can get behind. I've been iddly thinking about a simplified version of the Solar System rules, and a simplified Harm system would certainly be part of that. I'd probably switch out the Fudge dice too, though, so anything I came up on that plank would be pretty different from the current rules.

My first take for simplified Harm would be to have Harm become a pool of penalty dice that increases with harmful actions. By default the Harm pool would empty as the penalty dice all go against the next action of the character in question, but the opponent could perhaps cause "modal shifts" to happen to the penalty pool in some manner. This would then translate the penalty dice currently in the pool into permanent penalty dice, stay-up checks, an outright Ability penalty and such. The character would be forced out of conflict if he failed a stay-up check.

Hmm... perhaps the Harm pool a character accrues would turn into different sorts of difficulties based on the conditions. Something like this:
  • Each time a character would be Harmed in the BDTP rules he instead collects the Harm as a penalty dice pool that is set aside. So the dice accrue from turn to turn.
  • Each time a character acts against another in BDTP and the opponent has a penalty dice pool, that opposing character's player gets to choose to use the Harm pool as penalty dice on the harmed character's check. Perhaps this has to be before the check, but maybe it's even more evil to allow it afterwards. This way it's up to each opponent to decide which checks they force the Harmed character to fail.
  • If a character has more Harm dice in his Harm pool than a current Pool value, he can only use the Passive Ability out of that Pool. If a character in this situation takes the defensive action (perhaps forced by the conditions, or because all of his Pools currently lose to his Harm), it doubles as a stay-up check: if the character fails his defensive action (which may have Harm dice inflicted if an opponent is harassing the character at the moment), he is forced out of the conflict.
  • Perhaps the opponents can also force some sort of conversions for the accruing Harm pool and other resources. I'm considering some sort of "crippling attacks" that can be attempted when the Harm pool is high enough; it'd empty the Harm pool and cause some permanent conditions. The specific condition I have in mind is causing a one level penalty to all Ability checks. Although Ability penalties are normally not used in the system, this seems sort of necessary here, for otherwise a character with a Grandmaster Passive Ability couldn't be forced out of conflict at all by the stay-up check. Also, another reason to have crippling attacks or some similar modal shifts is that conflicts might potentially drag out otherwise.
  • If the character still has Harm pool left after the conflict, the Pool remains with him. Likewise the SG may set Harm consequences on normal conflicts just like always. Harm pool may be healed with Pool points (1:1, I imagine) or Ability check healing (heals the check result in Harm dice) just like normal. The limitation on not being able to attempt Ability checks out of weak Pools when Harmed would stay in force outside extended conflict as well, I imagine.

Not bad, even if I say so myself. Might work with my simplified Fudge-less version of the rules, even. Have to try this out at some point when I'm playing something that would benefit from a simpler system with less special rules. Of course this system still has rules, but at least there's no need to remember the Harm tracker and associated penalties.
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dindenver
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« Reply #14 on: February 02, 2009, 09:21:42 AM »

Eero,
  That is a LOT of penalty dice. I don't know abuot your games, but in my games, I don't think my players could overcome the penalty dice generated by a 4 harm attack. But they could handle the penalty dice generated by a 4 harm attack in the old system. I think the creates a really powerful death spiral. If I am reading your correctly.
  And it doesn't really change the record keeping burden. I mean, it is easier to track a pool of dice, then to remember that one time when you need to make a Vigor roll and you have to do a one time penalty die. But you still have to track harm and penalty dice.

  There are two other possible approaches you could use to reduce actual record keeping
1) Keep the harm track, but replace the one time penalty dice with removing a point from the relevant pool. The advantage of this is, you still have "7" as a meaningful amount of harm. The disadvantage is the recordkeeping is only slightly reduced. It does directly resolve the issue of tracking when to apply one-time penalty dice.
2) Make your pool your harm track. So that when you run out of pool, you are broken. the advantage of this is, it drastically reduces recordkeeping. However, it does mean that causing 6 or 7 Harm could be meaningless and you do have a bit of a Hit Point situation going on now.

  What do you guys think?
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