Jump to content
D6 Online 3.0
AdAstraGames

Success, Failure, Player Incentives And How To Tell Them Apart

Recommended Posts

This is a meta-discussion about game design concepts. I aim to avoid the competitive navel gazing of the Forge, and will be referencing one of my own designs.

 

Where my prior thread Number Crunching Equivalences - Why My Dice Suck Compared To D6 Legend covered the numerical concepts of the different systems (and why I come down about halfway between D6 Classic and D6 Legend), this one is going to get into squishy areas.

 

The core concept here is this one:

 

A roleplaying game is not a simulation. It's a reward mechanism and incentive system for specific kinds of play. Not all games had their 'play style' reward chosen consciously - see D&D for an example. D&D is ostensibly about Robert E Howard-style Conan stories. What it rewards is like Munchkin without the sense of humor.

 

(This isn't a slam on either D&D or Munchkin. I enjoy D&D and still play Munchkin when nothing else is available...)

 

Mechanical Rewards For Roleplaying

 

People who like 'old school' RPGs tend to say "We don't need no rewards for roleplayin', it just happens." I've heard this argument before, and I'm going to quash it here. You will get the roleplaying that exists in the Venn diagram overlap between what your system mechanically rewards and what your game master and fellow players reward. This does mean that for some groups, roleplaying just happens. These people could also probably run a campaign about Pride & Prejudice & Zombies using a rulebook that alternates every even numbered page from Amber Diceless and every odd numbered page from RIFTS. :)

 

Not everyone is lucky enough to be in that skilled a play group.

 

The reasons most old school gamers give for not incentivizing roleplaying is because it means the blabbermouth player gets more XPs than everyone else - it's a reward for scene hogging, and for slowing the game down when we could be killing more things to take their stuff. It also leads into charges of GM favoritism. We'll address all of those concerns in this post.

 

The Basic Types of Incentive

 

Boost Average Roll: The first type of incentive is to do something that increases the average result of a die roll - "Yeah, get +2 on the die roll for that cool description" is one example. One of the reasons for doing roll-and-count is that you can make incentives that improve the average die roll without increasing the maximum possible die rolls. (This can still be done with roll and add systems by turning them into roll X, keep Y systems, but it's a bit more cumbersome.

 

Boost Maximum Outcome: This type of incentive almost always increases the average die roll, but also changes the maximum possible outcome. The "Yeah, get +2 on the die roll for that cool description" does this in a d20-style game. In D6 Classic, this is using a Character Point or a Fate Point.

 

Having a system that can do both types of incentive - and knowing that they're different - means you can incentivize different kinds of behavior with specific bonuses.

 

Rewarding Player Behavior

 

One thing people sometimes ask me is "You have Upshifts. Where are the Downshifts?" There aren't any - Upshifts are entirely meant as a way to encourage players to be more descriptive about the cool things their characters are doing. Upshifts reduce the chance that you'll outright fail, but they won't increase the maximum possible number of successes you can get.

 

The other thing that Upshifts let me do is avoid special rules. The classic example is the player who has lots of knowledge about guns trying to use it to argue for special case rules in combat. Here, we can let him use that knowledge to describe how he's setting up the shot, and let him show off the knowledge he has...in return for making an Upshift that's entertaining for everyone else at the table.

 

Rewarding Character Action

 

In D6 Dramatics, every character has to have three goals defined, and the party will likely have a Mission defined. Goals are rated in dice, and cap out at 4D.

 

Whenever a character works towards a goal, it goes up by 1D. Whenever a character works against a goal, it goes down by 1D. A player may convert Goal Dice into skill points at 1:1 at any time using the normal D6 rules. Once this is done, the skill points must be spent immediately, and you can't convert them back. There are a few other things that players can choose to do that reduce Goal Dice. So far, they sound a little bit like Character Points, and they are - you just get them for doing things important to your character rather than just showing up and getting 2 for being a warm body eating chips. :)

 

However, unlike Character Points in D6, when you're rolling dice on a task that pertains to your Goal, you roll those Goal Dice in addition to your Skill dice - make them a different color set of dice. Goals are never Upshifted (it proved to be too powerful in playtesting). The +1 or +2 on Skill dice only applies to the Skill dice - never to a Goal die.

 

This applies to every single roll in that scene so long as you're working towards your Goal. It's not a case of "OK, I burn a character point for an extra die, once." It's "My name is Inigo Montoya. You killed my father. Prepare to die." However, you only get this massive bonus when doing something matching one of your character's Goals.

 

This also replaces Fate Points.

 

This means that someone with 6D+2 and a full up Goal is rolling 6D+2 and 4D and counting successes. Which means that 'if it's important to your character, it's likelier to succeed'. And in the event that someone manages to get all three Goals bearing on a scene (it's likely the climactic thriller with the Fate of the WOOOOORLD at stake...) they're throwing an extra 12D at the scene...

 

But wait, there's more!

 

If you complete your Goal; it automatically converts to skill points at 1:2. One Goal Die becomes two skill points. Not only do you get more powerful for pursuing your goals as single mindedly as fictional heroes tend to, but completing them gives you more skill points.

 

I mentioned Mission Dice. Your group can come up with a Mission. It can go to 6D. It works like a Goal Dice pool set - except it's going to be at the same value for everyone. If at least two people in a scene doing something that furthers the group mission, they both get the Mission Goal dice to roll.

 

If anyone works against the Mission Goal, it goes down by one die for everyone as well...which tends to curtail the "Well, I'm the party thief. Why did you expect to still have underwear after going asleep near me?" types of ass-hattery.

 

When a Mission is completed, it converts at 1:1 into Attribute Points that can be spent to raise Attributes, or converted at 2:1 into Skill Points (which nobody does because the conversion rate is awful). You can't use Skill Points to raise Attributes.

 

This means that over the course of a campaign, Skills increase, but Attributes tend to not do so as quickly.

 

Goal and Mission dice also make the game master's life easier. They give the game master a road map of the things that ostensibly interest the players in the game. (If you pick a Goal you're not interested in, convert any dice into Skill Points and re-set it to something you ARE interested in.) Words cannot describe how much easier this makes organizing a plot or an adventure, particularly when combined with another tool I use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Disadvantages & Points Mongering

 

Lots of games have players giving their characters Disadvantages to get more points for things they want. This leads to powerful behaviors, like taking "Gets violently space sick in zero G" in campaigns set in 7th century Arabia....

 

In a lot of those games, the number of points you get for the Disadvantage represents several sessions worth of experience point rewards - and they become something the GM has to track and remember. When you have 6 players each with 7 disadvantages, that's 42 bits of data you have to integrate into your plot. And if you don't remember, they got the points 'for free'.

 

My solution was to make Disadvantages not pay anything at character creation, but pay out one Goal Die every time they came up during play. And to limit the number of Disadvantages to 3 per player. Suddenly, players started picking Disadvantages that they WANTED to see come up, so they could get the reward for it.

 

Schadenfreud as Game Mechanic

 

Once I integrated Disadvantages and the Goal Die mechanic, I thought of something else: Normally, when players roll dice, the game master describes all outcomes. "You hit..." "You missed" "The lock opens..." "The Duke appears to be listening to your proposal..."

 

What happens if we move some of that descriptive burden on to the players? The GM is already describing the scenery, the NPCs, the results of successes...let's lighten the load a bit. Let's have players describe how they failed.

 

Even better, if a player described how they failed in an interesting fashion, let's give them a Goal Die to put wherever they want.

 

Hmm. If the GM decides it's interesting, that can lead to favoritism charges. How about letting the other players decide if that failure was sufficiently entertaining, and allow the GM to second a nomination?

 

It also allows players who fail on a roll and who are quick on their feet, mentally, come up with a backup plan that integrates into the failure description - and get a second shot at it.

 

What this does is lighten the GM's load a little bit - he's not doing all the talking. It also means that failure becomes as dramatically interesting in the course of a tabletop roleplaying session as it is in novels - rather than what usually happens, where it's a showstopper, or something glossed over.

 

Indeed, we can even combine this with the Disadvantages rule - you get one Goal Die every time the GM sicks the Disadvantage on you. If you make your life more interesting in a Chinese sense, other players might nominate you for more of them....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting ideas with the Goals and Mission dice. Not quite sure I understand the disadvantage bit and goal dice. And I have to admit I'm not really sold on the idea of the "schadenfreud".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Interesting ideas with the Goals and Mission dice.

 

Many thanks - they originally came from an idea I'd seen in an RPG called The Riddle of Steel.

 

Not quite sure I understand the disadvantage bit and goal dice.

 

OK, let's see if I can work this through ab novo.

 

In GURPS, Alcoholism is a -15 point Disadvantage. Most GURPS games award 1-2 points per session. So, in theory, over the course of the game, your character should have their life be made 'interesting' about 8-12 times due to Alcoholism to justify the points you got for the Disadvantage at character creation.

 

Now, assume that instead of getting those 15 character points at character creation, you listed Alcoholism on your sheet, but got 0 character points at character creation. Instead, imagine every time the GM started off one of your scenes with "You're not entirely certain how you got into this situation, but then again, that's not unusual..." and you discover that your character, due to stress, decided to take a shot of whiskey before showing up at Grand Moff Tarkin's social function - just to calm the nerves. Then had another one. And another...and now you're starting, in medias res, being presented to Tarkin reeking of a distillery, and surrounded by lots of new 'friends' who are just waiting to tell stories about this...

 

Well, imagine that when this happens - and the GM sets you up this way from your disadvantage - you get an extra character point, guaranteed.

 

Now, imagine that you can get MORE character points by embracing the chaos that can result from being VERY drunk at a diplomatic function....but only if you can do so in a way that causes the other players to go "Oh, God...I'm so glad that's NOT happening to me..."

 

That's the basic gist of what I'm doing on Disadvantages. That rather than getting points up front for them, we just use them to balance out buying Special Abilities, and that they get their 'experience point' awards based on how often they show up in actual play.

 

The only difference is that instead of a Character Point, it's a Goal Die that you can assign to whatever Goal you like.

 

And I have to admit I'm not really sold on the idea of the "schadenfreud".

 

OK - the basic precept of most 'disadvantage' systems is that you get extra points for the GM being able to say "Yeah, something bad happened", or for having your character's options limited. Including being known for being so honest you squeak, or living according to the full Chivalric Code of Stupidity.

 

So, the question becomes "How bad does it have to be to be worth the points?" My answer is "It has to be bad enough that other players are going "OK, you're playing your character concept even when it's damned inconvenient to do so."

 

Then extend that to "OK, you failed on a die roll - tell me what happened..." and you get the 'reward for failure' mechanic.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Taming The Wild Die:

 

One of the places where D6 gets a bad rap is on the Wild Die. I'm not coming here to praise the Wild Die. I'm coming here to bury it.

 

First things first - what does the Wild Die do for the game mechanically?

 

First, it gives Over The Top successes and the chance for those epic "Yeah, I took out a Star Destroyer with a slingshot..." no crap, there I was stories we tell about campaigns we were once in.

 

Second, it results in misfortune. Or, in the hands of a bad GM, it results in the GM saying "Bend over, here it comes again..." Now, it's supposed to give a minor, story building penalty, but it never gets used this way - in large part because it uses a term (Critical Failure) that Means Something to the RPG community at large, and doesn't mean the same thing it means in D6.

 

The first is fine, the second, we've already got covered by incentivizing the descriptions of failures.

 

So, here's how the Wild Die (potentially) works in D6 Dramatics:

 

After you roll, you may always spend a Mission Die to make one of your other Goal or Mission dice Wild. You tally whatever successes that die had, and re-roll it. If the re-roll comes up a 6, add a success and re-roll it again (let it explode).

 

You may not make one of your Skill Dice wild. If the action you're taking isn't important enough that it triggers your Goal or Mission dice, it's not important enough to get the Law of Cinematic Luck involved.

 

As an optional rule - if the Wild Die comes up a 1, the player may narrate some funny mishap that occurs in the outcome of the skill test; this mishap can get them nominated for a Goal Die by their fellow players. (Note that it does NOT require that the skill fail, and rolling a 1 on the Wild Die does NOT make something an automatic failure.)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, I will say this: I'm a big proponent of the Wild Die (something that I think would be better termed "Luck Die") so I would have to say I disagree with the premise that the Wild Die would need to be buried. If anything, the Wild Die is just vastly misunderstood and misused.

 

Now on to the post as it relates to your version for D6 Dramatics. Sounds like it might work, but at the same time I could see if falling victim to the same misinterpretation that the Wild Die does. Have you tested this idea, or are you just throwing it out there as a potential that you may include?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, I will say this: I'm a big proponent of the Wild Die (something that I think would be better termed "Luck Die") so I would have to say I disagree with the premise that the Wild Die would need to be buried. If anything, the Wild Die is just vastly misunderstood and misused.

 

Now on to the post as it relates to your version for D6 Dramatics. Sounds like it might work, but at the same time I could see if falling victim to the same misinterpretation that the Wild Die does. Have you tested this idea, or are you just throwing it out there as a potential that you may include?

 

I like the IDEA of the Wild Die. I just found that the number of games where it came up in a way that was appropriate to be limited, and the number of games where it was used as an excuse to turn a good roll into a BOHICA moment tended to weigh more heavily in my memory. I have had people up and quit games because they had a really good roll - and rolled a 1 on the Wild Die - and had the GM invalidate the roll because of it.

 

This is why my chief proposal is to do the following:

 

1) It's not on every roll. It's only on rolls that are important enough to trigger Goal or Mission dice.

2) You are burning a resource (and an important one!) to make the roll Wild.

3) The roll is open ended.

4) Mishaps are optional. You're already paying a 'price' to make the Wild Die wild...but if you want to narrate a Mishap to try and get a Goal Die, go right ahead.

 

This is 'open to discussion' - I've had mixed feelings about the Wild Die for going on 15 years of D6 gaming. I know some people love it, I know some people advocate it, I know several who say it's incredibly misinterpreted...and I know a lot of people who have sworn they will never play a D6 product again because of that rule.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Avoiding The Hoarding Mentality

 

In looking over the D6 Haters Thread on RPG.net, after the Wild Die arguments, the next thing that caused the most discussion was Character Points/Fate Points and the feeling that players got gypped for spending CPs on an extra die.

 

I think I've got that licked with Goal and Mission dice (in that their most common benefit - using them for extra dice in the pool - doesn't expend them), and that there's a real cap on how many you can have stored at once.

 

Opinions or comments?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Go Go Thread Necromacy! (Which may be more appropriate than you might think)

 

I've been looking at a mechanic from Unknown Armies (which is a very cool game to read, and nothing I'd ever run or play - the setting creeps me out.)

 

Unknown Armies is Postmodern Horror. It's Tim Powers runs Call of Cthulhu. It's by Greg Stolze and is made of pure concentrated awesome.

 

It's got a magic system that I'm going to discuss in another thread, because I need to unpack the concepts carefully.

 

It's also got a 'madness' mechanic that I like. (Keep in mind - it's still Tim Powers runs Call of Cthulhu - you're screwed no matter what you do.)

 

Rather than the old CoC "Roll a Will save and if you fail, you lose Sanity points", Greg did this: Roll a Will save. If you fail, gibber and act appropriately. If you succeed, continue acting, but get a Hardened point on one of five madness meters. Having Hardened points means that your next Will save against that particular flavor of horror will be easier - you just don't care as much.

 

Until, well, you get so Hardened to violence that you think nothing of blowing the head off of that guy who was talking on his fucking cell phone on the goddamned bus. He needed killing.

 

Or you get so Hardened to Empathy that you feel no joy in human interactions.

 

You get the picture. These Hardened points also prevent you from using your power ups in game.

 

My thinking is this: You make a Will roll to deal with some psychological trauma. If you fail, you describe how you went bonkers (and mug for a Goal Die). If you succeed, one of your Goal dice caps goes from 4D to 3D...however, you automatically add 1 to your psychological resistance against that kind of trauma.

 

Oh - and since I basically prefer heroic actions rather than 'grinding dread' - you are never psychologically traumatized by actions where one of your Goal Dice pools is rolled.

 

Opinions?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One system you might want to check out is the FATE system. Where everything is based on descriptions... character creation, in-play mechanics, etc.

 

The most interesting thing I like about the system is this: instead of choosing disadvantages at character creation and getting extra points then for other things. On your character sheet, you have the description of the disadvantage, and if you invoke it during play, you get a bonus to the skill roll for invoking it.

 

It shifts the reward from being "how can I munchkin this character at creation" to "how can I invoke my character's personality during play for bonuses"

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
One system you might want to check out is the FATE system.

 

It shifts the reward from being "how can I munchkin this character at creation" to "how can I invoke my character's personality during play for bonuses"

 

Yep. I like FATE a lot; it's just not terribly compatible with D6.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Yep. I like FATE a lot; it's just not terribly compatible with D6.

 

Maybe not a direct mechanical translation, but the concept could be used. Players have to describe the aspects of their character, and if invoked, they can an extra 1D to their skill roll. If another PC or NPC invokes the aspect, the PC or NPC gets the extra 1D.

 

For example, the player describes the PC as "hot-tempered" Normally, this would mean the character gets an extra point during character creation. However, using the FATE concept, no points are granted at character creation. But depending on circumstances, (say, the PC sees one of his buddies drop during a firefight.) He gets a bonus to his next attack roll in retribution. At the same time, an NPC can invoke the aspect "hot tempered" (and gain the 1D bonus) on an intimidation or other interaction... where the NPC is trying to goad the PC into a fight.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In some ways, I've kind of got what FATE does with Aspects covered with Goal Dice and the "You describe your failures; do a good enough job and your fellow players will nominate you for more Goal Dice."

 

My specific question is this: Is the trade off between caps on Goal Dice and succeeding in facing horrors/taking damage to your soul something that you find interesting? Any ideas on how to remove Hardening points that don't become "OK, you spent six weeks in a sanitarium, the nice people with the electroshock machine think you're better. Lose two Hardening points and get twitchy around power outlets."

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Avoiding The Hoarding Mentality

 

In looking over the D6 Haters Thread on RPG.net, after the Wild Die arguments, the next thing that caused the most discussion was Character Points/Fate Points and the feeling that players got gypped for spending CPs on an extra die.

 

I think I've got that licked with Goal and Mission dice (in that their most common benefit - using them for extra dice in the pool - doesn't expend them), and that there's a real cap on how many you can have stored at once.

 

Opinions or comments?

 

I don't see how anyone could say the characters get gyped on spending CP to increase Dice rolls. This past weekend I had the group run face to face into a group of highly experienced NPC's. The NPC's were PC character sheets from different campaigns I decided to use as stand inns for this fight.

 

Even with one of the NPC's blowing 3 force points in 3 consecutive rounds and one of the other NPC's blowing one FP the NPC's just barely got away. If one of the players hadn't tossed a stun grenade into the mix and wiped out most of our own party the NPC's would have been totally wiped out.

 

In the end one PC was killed 2 were Incapacitated and practically everyone else was stunned.

 

Now if the PC's didn't have multiple CP on hand to off set damage and boost roll's the fight would have been a lot worse.

 

My point is as a GM it is really hard to do any kind of damage to PC's if they have a bit of brains and CP to spare. So yeah the CP rules are A O K with me as is.

 

That combat encounter involved 5 PC plus one NPC on the player’s side and 5 NPC against with 3 of those being highly experienced fighters the other 2 were the Cops out of the Mois Icly galaxy guide.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is a FATE variant, Wheel of Fate, that is very much like D6 and shows how well the two mechanics can merge - http://evilhat.wikidot.com/wheel-of-fate.

 

The overall discussion of character points seems to dovetail back into a topic we'd discussed on the boards earlier, that being the power creep of the game from its Star Wars/Metabarons incarnation up until the present editions. In those days, a human character could start with up to 4D in an attribute and add up to 2D in a skill. For a starting Star Wars universe hero (highly cinematic setting), that's 6D, the same cap as set by Wheel of Fate, although WoF does not add together attribute and skill.

 

Once the power levels started to creep higher, then the value of 1D being added by a character point diminished. I think if the fixes applied by the Purgatory Publishing edition had been more to reign the game in to its original 1987 power levels, rather than to attempt to balance it at the higher levels rampant since, that the character point concept worked as written.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I don't see how anyone could say the characters get gyped on spending CP to increase Dice rolls. This past weekend I had the group run face to face into a group of highly experienced NPC's. The NPC's were PC character sheets from different campaigns I decided to use as stand inns for this fight.

 

Even with one of the NPC's blowing 3 force points in 3 consecutive rounds and one of the other NPC's blowing one FP the NPC's just barely got away. If one of the players hadn't tossed a stun grenade into the mix and wiped out most of our own party the NPC's would have been totally wiped out.

 

In the end one PC was killed 2 were Incapacitated and practically everyone else was stunned.

 

Now if the PC's didn't have multiple CP on hand to off set damage and boost roll's the fight would have been a lot worse.

 

My point is as a GM it is really hard to do any kind of damage to PC's if they have a bit of brains and CP to spare. So yeah the CP rules are A O K with me as is.

 

That combat encounter involved 5 PC plus one NPC on the player’s side and 5 NPC against with 3 of those being highly experienced fighters the other 2 were the Cops out of the Mois Icly galaxy guide.

 

I think the reason some people feel gyped by spending character points on rolls is that, although they survived a shitty encounter, their character has not actually improved any as a result.

 

Back when I played D6 Star Wars, I pretty much never saved CP's on principle alone. As a player, it's always been my opinion that characters are not meant to die, so having to spend points just to stay alive generally meant the GM didn't balance the encounter very well.

 

As a GM, I hold the exact same opinion. I tend to intigrate player characters tightly into the overall story, and it sucks when one actually dies. Not only does it become difficult to try and introduce the newly-created character into the story at an equal level of importance as the deceased, but the whole process ends up looking contrived (which it kind of is). Factor in the understandable disappointment in the player having a character they grew to love suddenly die without any real meaning beyond bad luck, and it's just bad business all around.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I think the reason some people feel gyped by spending character points on rolls is that, although they survived a shitty encounter, their character has not actually improved any as a result.

I'm of the same opinion. Every game that has experience points used for "luck" points I've changed (when I run) to separate luck from xp. Every game from d6, Torg, DC Heroes, Savage Worlds 1st edition, etc. No game I ever run will have your crappy real life luck cause your character to never improve. I'll still play games that do, but I'm not particularly happy about it. Not sure if any of the people I've played with liked XP=Luck rules.... some didn't care but nobody defended it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay - I thought we were talking about the Character Point only giving one die to the roll - I agree that the experience tie-in doesn't work. I've long abandoned it in favor of other methods of character advancement, but in the rules as written that is a flaw.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I guess I'll be the lone dissenter in this thread regarding CPs to be used both for bonuses to die rolls and for advancement. I think it works well. Sure, someone who burns through the CPs to increase rolls will be lower in skills than other characters that don't do the same, but to claim there's nothing to show for it is basically incorrect. You've got a character still. You've perhaps learned something by having that character survive the encounter. And, as a whole, the character has grown even if the skills of the character has not.

 

As far as the GM not balancing the encounter correctly...that may the be case for some GMs, but not always the case. I had players that ran the same characters for more than 2 years, playing once a week every week. One player used a fair chunk of his CPs to augment rolls and his character wasn't as skilled as the others. But they all went through the exact same encounter. So what made him use more CPs for rolls compared to the others? Bad die rolls. Simple as that. Doesn't mean the encounter wasn't balanced. If a player rolls badly and feels they rolled badly, they use CPs to buffer that roll. Or if the player really wants to hit something and uses CPs to increase the hit roll, it doesn't mean the encounter wasn't balanced, it just means that player felt it was really important to them to augment that hit roll.

Now if EVERY player is using more CPs to augment rolls to save their characters...then yes, the encounter isn't scaled correctly for the skill levels of the PCs. Stating that because a player has to use CPs to augment rolls the encounter isn't balanced, though, is a gross overstatement, in my opinion.

 

By using CPs for both, though, it adds in the facet of the player having to determine whether they really want to succeed at something or whether they want to fail and hope for the best so they can raise skills later on. It gives the players more than just a spoon fed progression at advancing skills.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I guess I'll be the lone dissenter in this thread regarding CPs to be used both for bonuses to die rolls and for advancement. I think it works well. Sure, someone who burns through the CPs to increase rolls will be lower in skills than other characters that don't do the same, but to claim there's nothing to show for it is basically incorrect. You've got a character still. You've perhaps learned something by having that character survive the encounter. And, as a whole, the character has grown even if the skills of the character has not.

 

As far as the GM not balancing the encounter correctly...that may the be case for some GMs, but not always the case. I had players that ran the same characters for more than 2 years, playing once a week every week. One player used a fair chunk of his CPs to augment rolls and his character wasn't as skilled as the others. But they all went through the exact same encounter. So what made him use more CPs for rolls compared to the others? Bad die rolls. Simple as that. Doesn't mean the encounter wasn't balanced. If a player rolls badly and feels they rolled badly, they use CPs to buffer that roll. Or if the player really wants to hit something and uses CPs to increase the hit roll, it doesn't mean the encounter wasn't balanced, it just means that player felt it was really important to them to augment that hit roll.

Now if EVERY player is using more CPs to augment rolls to save their characters...then yes, the encounter isn't scaled correctly for the skill levels of the PCs. Stating that because a player has to use CPs to augment rolls the encounter isn't balanced, though, is a gross overstatement, in my opinion.

 

By using CPs for both, though, it adds in the facet of the player having to determine whether they really want to succeed at something or whether they want to fail and hope for the best so they can raise skills later on. It gives the players more than just a spoon fed progression at advancing skills.

 

Some of the alternatives I've seen, such as taking an advancement point when you either critically succeed or critically fail, but not tying the two very different paths ("actually being heroic and awesome" with "the progression to becoming even more heroic and awesome") together seems to work better than having to give up one for the other. I never got a sense that Luke Skywalker or Aragorn were holding back on the awesomeness in order to improve down the road. At it's heart, design-wise, it seems to defy the environment the rest of the rules seem to foster. That's the reason I defined it as a flaw. You're correct that it's not a broken rule; it does work. I just don't think it fits the majority of D6 settings as published well. Now, were I doing a very gritty futuristic setting were conflicts were much deadlier and you needed to decide whether to stick your neck out to do something or play it safe and live to fight more effectively another day, I might reconsider that.

 

;)

Edited by Lee Torres

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
players got gypped
the characters get gyped

 

I've long been facinated by linguistics and word entymology, and I've learned along the way that the slang verb of "gyped/gypped" is viewed as ethnically derogatory to some people of gypsy heritage. The slang verb term likely came to use as a way to describe transactions that fraud, cheat or swindle "like a gypsie." Although I give you the benefit of the doubt in not knowing this, I would feel amiss for not pointing it out as inappropriate just the same as I would be expected to for any other ethinically derogatory term used on this forum. FYI.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As far as this discussion, like on many things D6 I see the wisdom of Grimace's views. So Grim I'm not gonna let you stand totally alone. I try to plan my encounters so no CPs need to be used, and I agree that the GM hasn't failed if PCs end up wanting to augment some really bad luck on the dice. I like the idea of PCs having the two options, despite the fact that I strongly urge PCs to not spend CPs during play, from a mathematical standpoint.

 

Statistically, your character is more likely to benefit more often from the permanent benefit of raising skills (the "experience points" use of CPs). The in-play temporary bonus use of CPs may improve a poor roll but once you use that benefit, that CP is then gone forever. That why in my groups we tend to refer to this as "burning CPs." When you raise skills, the CPs are a permanent part of your character build. I recommend to my players that after an adventure, they spend every possible CP they can to improve their characters, and only even have small left-overs that can't be spent to improve anything. I do understand if they are saving up CPs to increase a higher signature skill as opposed to just using two CPs to improve every 2D skill they have, but you get my point. During character creation, after skill dice allocation is complete, I even allow for players to spend some or all of the 5 starting CPs their PCs get to improve their characters if they choose before play begins. But sometimes I do recommend new players and/or PCs have a couple in reserve for the first couple adventures. The other mathematical thing to consider for building or burning is the wild die aspect of CPs in some versions of D6, meaning that you could roll more 1s and CPs can actually hurt you more than help.

 

And the argument against being able to burn CPs in-play came up on a Star Wars D6 forum that I also frequent in a thread that discussed a GM's dilema with a player that never ever spent CPs on experience and only burned them during play. Eventually as the campaign went on, his PC party all became much more skilled them him and left him behind ability-wise. Then the player complained that he was behind and it wasn't fair. I have no sympathy because even if he missed that rule the first couple adventures he should have caught on what was happening when other players discussed with the GM what they spent the CPs on, what skills they raised. The way I look at it, the PC got the temporay benefit of the CPs when they were spent in-play more than the other PCs did, so that was the player's choice. But you know, that really isn't that far-fetched in the real world. I've known people that try to live each moment they are in to the fullest, but they never seem to learn from their experiences or grow as a person. PCs with players that burn all their CPs are like that!

 

And Lee, one quick response about Luke Skywalker and Aragorn is that I feel they have their awesomeness built-in to their characters in the way of their high atributes and skill dice values. Even Luke in ANH would be way beyond a starting PC by the rules, and he only grows by leaps and bounds from there. They don't need to hold some awesomeness back because they are almost always awesome by default anyway. That's would be my game-mechanical interpretation of them anyway. A couple Force Points spent at key dramatic points in the adventures, but no real need to burn CPs too damn often.

 

But I think it is likely that when I GM again, I will use a hybrid system. I will probably ressurect SW 1E Skill Points and those will be the experience points that can only be spent on character building. But I think I will also have Character Points be the bonus points that can be earned for good roleplaying etc., and those can still be used for either building (recommended) or burning in-play, thus still allowing players the option to have a small pool of points they can use either way. However I think I will award some or all of CPs during play as instant positive reinforcement for players, as has been suggested by other gamers.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
And Lee, one quick response about Luke Skywalker and Aragorn is that I feel they have their awesomeness built-in to their characters in the way of their high atributes and skill dice values. Even Luke in ANH would be way beyond a starting PC by the rules, and he only grows by leaps and bounds from there. They don't need to hold some awesomeness back because they are almost always awesome by default anyway. That's would be my game-mechanical interpretation of them anyway. A couple Force Points spent at key dramatic points in the adventures, but no real need to burn CPs too damn often.

 

Aragorn I'll agree with - Luke in ANH not so much. He didn't really start to develop by leaps and bounds until Empire under Yoda's tutelage. I think he, at least, was about PC level in the RPG. After Dagobah, no, but in Episode IV I think so. We can agree to disagree.

 

The point I was trying to make in response to Grimace's post was that it doesn't seem very in keeping with a highly cinematic game. That's just based on play, whereas in Star Wars my players didn't advance a huge amount, and then in my later campaigns in my own setting using the D6 rules they did, and it had more of an epic feel of the characters growing and improving to face new challenges. More like the Star Wars movies, in spite of the setting having nothing to do with Star Wars (except they were both science fiction).

 

Of course play experience will differ from person to person or group to group. Just sharing my opinion based on my experiences.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The key differences between what I'm doing and the standard CP system:

 

CP system: You choose to spend the point, you get an extra die.

D6D: If the circumstances of your goal come up, you get all the extra dice in your goal for every roll. Using them in this way does not reduce the number of goal dice in a goal.

CP: CPs are handed out more or less as GM rewards.

D6D: If you take an action that furthers your goal, you get to add a die to the goal. If you describe a failure in a way that gets you a seconded nomination, you get a goal die in the goal of your choice. If one of your drawbacks comes up, you get a goal die in the goal of your choice, and by roleplaying into the goal, you can get a nomination just like for a failure description.

CP: You can only spend your goal dice on skills between adventures

D6D: You can spend your goal dice on skills at the end of any scene, but can increase skill by only one step per expenditure. Using Talents or Magic can cost you Goal Dice spent to power them.

 

I think I have a better fix to the 'Do I or don't I spend CPs?' problem.

 

What caused me to do thread necromancy was the idea of treating psychological trauma and 'damage to your soul' reduces the MAXIMUMs for Goal Dice you can accumulate. Any opinions on that?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...