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 Post subject: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 2:06 pm 
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I thought we had this unanimously decided, but as the word "Drama" creeps into the discussions almost daily, this leads me to guess that the issue is still alive and kicking. Not having such fundamental aspect decided is IMO hampering the progress and adding to the confusion of our scattered discussions.

So, as far as I can tell, there's two options:
a) Using PAs only
b) Using PAs and Drama

One problem with spending PAs for "drama-like uses" is that player can have a LOT of points to spend. However, putting a cap on the number of how many can be used per scene would IMO fix that. As a result, I see no reason whatsoever to reintroduce Drama.

Let's compare reintroducing Drama and simply giving a cap of 3 per scene in spending PAs:

- both have following the PAs as a main source of their increase
- both limit the number of PA points the character has at his disposal

plus sides for not having Drama:
- no "bridge to cross" for introducing story elements
- no need to "give up" PA points before knowing what you want to use them for
- no conversion
- no extra mechanic
- never forgetting to convert
- never needed to explain the difference
- cap is easily adjustable for individual groups

minus sides for not having Drama:
- if player is awarded a point for good roleplay/ideas, he can spend it wherever he likes, instead of chucking into a the same category every time (is this really a minus? IMO it's a plus)
- makes the resource less precious (but that's IMO not an issue when converting from PAs is allowed)

What say you?

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 4:19 pm 
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higgins wrote:
What say you?

I don't care either way, says I. :)

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:11 pm 
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Ah, interesting. I thought you'd prefer removing the additional steps that must be made before proactive expenditure is possible.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 6:10 pm 
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higgins wrote:
I thought you'd prefer removing the additional steps that must be made before proactive expenditure is possible.

Nope. That's just how I happen to do it with TRoS, but having it done that way sure ain't an agenda of mine.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sat Feb 19, 2011 10:02 pm 
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higgins wrote:
I thought we had this unanimously decided, but as the word "Drama" creeps into the discussions almost daily, this leads me to guess that the issue is still alive and kicking. Not having such fundamental aspect decided is IMO hampering the progress and adding to the confusion of our scattered discussions.


There's no point having this conversation without first describing what a PA spend can achieve in EoS. Without that there's no way to establish the value of the resource.

Personally it makes no difference to me whether it is a non-limited direct spend from PAs where each point spent can achieve whatever a Luck spend could achieve in TRoS. THat would be the simplest progression from one game to the next. The insurance issue goes away because of the wide availability of the resource -- it just doesn't matter if a player keeps 3 PA points in reserve as life savers when they have another 10 available to spend for genuinely dramatic purposes.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 5:42 am 
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There are so many threads floating around concerning PAs,Drama,EoS, that one gets as little confused as to where to post. Since we seem to be back at the drawing board concerning PAs and Drama, here are my thoughts:

Whatever we all decide on it should be fairly simple and very intuitive. I really want to be able to hook people into this new game quickly. So to get to the point, what I would like to see in EoS falls along the lines of:

1) Points that will fire like SAs in combat and can also be used to improve your character.

As far as combat goes, this seems to me all the "edge" a character really needs. Early on in my group's varied types of TroS games, we abandoned using Luck during melee combat.

Without that reset button, combat got scary.

Players got wary again!

Heroes could fail...

"What is worth dying for?" became valid again.

From Core - page 72

"Combat in The Riddle of Steel is unlike any combat
system you've ever seen. There are no hit-points, no
initiative rolls, and as little abstract thought as possible.
Instead this system is based on years of hands-on martial
research and training. Though still a game, it is closer to
representing real fighting than any RPG combat system
ever written. A few words of advice are then in order: (a)
never get hit...ever! You probably won't recover. (b) Use
your head. Here, as in the real world, fights are won
very much through strategy, not just high "stats" or big
swords. (c) Even the smallest weapon is deadly. Would
you want to get stuck with a knife? Neither would your
character. (d) Teamwork, teamwork,
TEAMWORK!!!... need we say more? (e) There's a fine
line between brave and stupid. Don't be stupid. (f) Have
a back-up plan, or a good idea of what your next character
should be like. It's up to you."


I really don't get this vibe with Luck or the like added into the mix.

As I mentioned in another thread:

"Every adventure must have situations that directly and truly threaten the lives of the characters participating. If there is no true threat, it is not an adventure, it’s a tour."

For my group, that's combat.

I also liked Michael's point about how SA's (or their replacement) are rewarded with little GM fiat:

Grettir wrote:
One of the things I liked about the "experience"-mechanic in TRoS was exactly that it largely removed referee fiat. SAs leave only little discretionary leeway whether or not a point is awarded; with the referee judging whether a player played "well" or "cleverly" or whatever, rewards are for my tastes once again too much in the referee's hands.


That's a no-brainer and should be continued in EoS.

2) Points that can be used to change narrative plot elements. These should be separate from the first points described. Ian, you seem to favor a separation in the two type of points as well:

Ian.Plumb wrote:
In EoS terms, I see PA points as being spent to develop the character, Drama points being spent to change the scene -- in terms of scene elements or potential outcomes.


I also liked Michael's idea very much:

Grettir wrote:
You see, my agenda with Drama is to get players to use it to influence the story, to be proactive in its expenditure, to make the story really their own by introducing story elements. I am afraid that if only 1 Drama per scene allowed, players would hang on to their Drama in case they need the 1 point they are allowed to spend to get their character out of a tight, maybe life-threatening spot. I am worried that such a strict limitation of Drama expenditure would result in less players using Drama less often to actually influence the story.


This is powerful and spot on! This is exactly the use for Drama; A tool for character's to drive the story! And if the "Get-out-of-death-free card" is eliminated from the mix, it becomes a powerful, focused tool thats easy to understand and use. And the word "Drama" is a perfectly intuitive word for a story changing mechanic.

P.S. if PAs are going to be used strictly for character development then they should be called something a little more intuitive than "Plot Arcs" which while a good name for one all-around mechanic, is a weak title for points that are focused on character development only.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 8:36 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
There's no point having this conversation without first describing what a PA spend can achieve in EoS. Without that there's no way to establish the value of the resource.
If PA -> Drama conversion is allowed, surely the two sets of points should have similar value no matter what that particular value should be? In that regard, deciding the actual value of the point is IMO irrelevant at this moment.

pbj44 wrote:
2) Points that can be used to change narrative plot elements. These should be separate from the first points described.
I agree mostly with everything in your post PJ, but you don't bring a single reason why you think having two separate scores are necessary (especially if conversion is allowed).

To me, having only PAs is as simple as it can be:
1) follow your PAs to get dice bonuses and gain new PA points
2) spend down PA points to get something that's a "sure thing" (success, new story elements, character advancement)

I'd very much like to stress the character advancement being decidedly SECONDARY use for spending PAs to hammer down how this game is meant to be played. If we tie the main source of gaining PA points SOLELY to character advancement, that surely sends out a different message.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:15 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
There's no point having this conversation without first describing what a PA spend can achieve in EoS. Without that there's no way to establish the value of the resource.


higgins wrote:
If PA -> Drama conversion is allowed, surely the two sets of points should have similar value no matter what that particular value should be? In that regard, deciding the actual value of the point is IMO irrelevant at this moment.


I guess I've been unclear. I feel like we're going round in circles over and over, hence I've backed out of most of these threads. It has been proposed that in EoS you will be able to spend PA points directly in order produce the same results that spending a Drama point had in TRoS. While I personally wouldn't advocate this approach I think it is the way forward for EoS.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:52 am 
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:lol: Well, I didn't think I was being vague!

Okay, Originally SAs were "individually chosen and defined for each character, resulting in a unique combination of beliefs, values, and motivations in everyone." This was created as a specific tool that a player could use to define story elements that he was interested in playing out.

When he engaged in activities that furthered those interests, his character's skills, proficiencies, ect, could be improved. Gm fiat was limited on the subject of point awards. This was a mechanic that was focused on the individual player and awarded in a specific fashion.

Now on to drama points which are inherently much less focused. Ultimately, as a meta-resource, drama points usage is heavily affected by the social contract of the group in question, thus the method in which they are applied or awarded is highly situational.

higgins wrote:
I'd very much like to stress the character advancement being decidedly SECONDARY use for spending PAs to hammer down how this game is meant to be played. If we tie the main source of gaining PA points SOLELY to character advancement, that surely sends out a different message.


IMO, the best way to ensure that there are no confusing or conflicting messages is to keep the two mechanics seperate.

I personally believe that drama should be separate from the SA type reward system as the former strikes me as having quite a different function from the latter, one that gets blurred when both are both wrapped into one all encompassing mechanic.

Again:

Ian.Plumb wrote:
In EoS terms, I see PA points as being spent to develop the character, Drama points being spent to change the scene -- in terms of scene elements or potential outcomes.


As different as Catsup and Ice Cream...just my 2 cents...

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:12 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
I feel like we're going round in circles over and over, hence I've backed out of most of these threads.

While I agree for many instances, I wouldn’t say that this is universally true. We have worked out specific details about out some points I consider very important, as specific about how much exactly one can do during a single limelight (i.e. “prep times”) and also how to handle the initial determination of the order of limelights and changes to it. And, best of all, these are finally some really solid mechanics and not just design principles.

Ian.Plumb wrote:
There's no point having this conversation without first describing what a PA spend can achieve in EoS.

:?: :shock: :?: I was very much under the impression that we had long ago reached pretty much of a consent, quite accurately summarized in higgins’ document.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:41 am 
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pbj44 wrote:
I personally believe that drama should be separate from the SA type reward system as the former strikes me as having quite a different function from the latter, one that gets blurred when both are both wrapped into one all encompassing mechanic.

Again:

Ian.Plumb wrote:
In EoS terms, I see PA points as being spent to develop the character, Drama points being spent to change the scene -- in terms of scene elements or potential outcomes.


As different as Catsup and Ice Cream...just my 2 cents...


Obviously I agree but for the sake of finding any exit of this roundabout (do you have those in the States?) I'm happy to go with a direct spend from PAs, no conversion, and no scene limit or session limit.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:51 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
There's no point having this conversation without first describing what a PA spend can achieve in EoS.


Grettir wrote:
:?: :shock: :?: I was very much under the impression that we had long ago reached pretty much of a consent, quite accurately summarized in higgins’ document.


I personally don't agree with the spend descriptions in the document. I would say that in a session of TRoS, outside of combat, their might be ten or twelve rolls to be made. The idea that a player could auto-pilot through the entire session ("Sorry ref, I can't make it to this game -- can you just spend the necessary PA on my behalf to be minimally successful in everything and avoid combat as well?") with a dozen or so PA points I find quite odd.

I also think it's odd that we allow auto success but find the idea of flipping a die to a Success is out of the question. It's a metagame mechanic, it simulates nothing, but that use breaches some sort of line so its out.

Regardless, as I've said I'm happy for this to progress as is and without constraints such as conversion or scene limits or session limits.

Regards,

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:56 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
Obviously I agree but for the sake of finding any exit of this roundabout (do you have those in the States?) I'm happy to go with a direct spend from PAs, no conversion, and no scene limit or session limit.


Nah, just sit back and have a beer, enjoy the thread, and mind the broken glass. Higgins and I go together like rampaging bulls and china shops!

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 10:57 am 
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Ian.Plumb wrote:
I personally don't agree with the spend descriptions in the document.

But I don't see anything in it we haven't already discussed in the past. And I don't remember you speaking out against any of those points then. So I'm somewhat puzzled.

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 Post subject: Re: EoS: Drama or no Drama?
PostPosted: Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:05 am 
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Grettir wrote:
Ian.Plumb wrote:
I feel like we're going round in circles over and over, hence I've backed out of most of these threads.

While I agree for many instances, I wouldn’t say that this is universally true. We have worked out specific details about out some points I consider very important, as specific about how much exactly one can do during a single limelight (i.e. “prep times”) and also how to handle the initial determination of the order of limelights and changes to it. And, best of all, these are finally some really solid mechanics and not just design principles.


Yep, we have made some "real" progress. I do feel we are getting somewhere, but I do feel that some of these concepts do need some more discussion/vetting now that we are finally moving forward with some energy. The two biggest attractions to TroS were SAs and Combat. I think we finally have a handle on combat, and once we resolve PAs and Drama, both or one mechanic, we will have the basic structure of the new game in focus.

This is progress.

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