Thinking out loud through somewhat crunchier Blades in the Dark Style combat. Stepping away from narrative for the moment and thinking about fights and effects.
At the heart of the system we have a 4 tiered resolution system. The 4 tiers map to harm (Minor, Medium, Serious and fatal) in approximately the same way they map to filling clocks. The dual track of health complicated it, but the structure is pretty workable.
So when w treat harm as mechanical, it begins at some level and is modified up and down by circumstance - abilities, stance, stuff like that.
So, here's a counterintuitive pitch - The excess of games is a reason for you to *raise* the price of your game, not lower it. Especially online.
Why this is counterintuitive: Simple scarcity, right? More games should be pushing prices down!
RPGs have decades of fear based pricing behind them. We're underpriced by every metric imaginable because of this (and we also underpay as a result). Compare an RPG book to any comparable product in another field and the price delta is HUGE.
But the FEAR has always been that introducing a barrier to adoption would (like fair pricing) might scare people off, and our sense/fear has always been that people are EASILY scared off.
Read whatever psychology you want into that. It's a rich vein, but I'm not gonna touch it.
Thinking a little bit about mechanics for taking out characters and the logic of hit point lead to a thought experiment: What if every D&D character had the "the first time you got to zero HP, you go to 1HP" ability?
Seems kind of random, I know, but it would actually be a pretty substantial change because what it would mean is that so long as you have HP, you can take ONE MORE HIT.
And, critically, it makes that state of "out of HP" more discrete.
That state intrigues me. A few games get into the idea of negative health to reflect this "danger zone", and I'm very fond of Quests "Zero HP does not cause consequences, but makes you VULNERABLE" to consequences.
As expected, Quest was a quick read. I mean no sleight when I say I think the game falls short of the product. The game is not bad, but the product is truly next-level.
I can definitely see it as a first game for many a player. Less certain about a first game for a GM.
The character classes are nicely vivid. In a touch I greatly appreciate, each class (sorry, Role) has a number of ability lists. These are short, non-branching and progressive (so you need Stomcaller #1 to get #2 and so on). They are *Available*
That is, you start with 6 of these things, and the deepest lists only go 4 or 5 deep. There is no arbitrary capping to the bottom - if you want to start out with one of these maxed out? GO FOR IT.
Here is a weird, old man thing that haunts my thinking.
Prior to D&D, to my mind, there was a high, hard wall between D&D and all other RPGs. Or, I suppose more technically, between TSR and all other RPGs.
It is weird to think about in retrospect. I mean, there were absolutely plenty of not-D&D games, some of which got pretty big. And there were some real oddballs that popped up from time to time on the D&D side of the TSR wall.
But it was totally look but don't touch. Go nuts in your home game maybe - no one resents your three inch binder of house rules, because that's pretty normal - but you're not going to enter this space.
Great talk with the Little Dude about where Tarrasques come from, and once I explained that half the fun is that you get to decide for your game, he had TONS of ideas.
Was a great illustration of how what you leave out *is* a genuinely powerful and important design element.
In giving me a lot of useful information, but leaving the origin as intentionally vague, the design created a fruitful opportunity.
If, in contrast, the design had omitted some of it's stats, or had not given it abilities to make it's play effectiveness match its story, that would have been a clear miss. It would have been crappy design.
I totally busted threading, so I'll reset a bit and note that I am reading Swords of the Serpentine by @multiplexer and @KevinKulp - it is not actually out yet, but if you pre-order through Pelgrane, there's a pre-layout version.
If by chance you are unfamiliar with this game (which has also been called "gumthews", despite that name not surviving the actual market) it's Sword and Sandal (think Conan) using the Gumshoe system.
Kevin was the brain behind the delightful Timewatch RPG (also Gumshoe) and if you don't know @multiplexer....well, ok, so you know how I sometimes do long threads on things like Food in Duskvol and what it means?
That is what Emily sounds like ALL THE TIME, and it's AWESOME.
So, last session, a smaller gang crossed the Hive (or, rather, definitely APPEARED to cross the Hive) and were themselves crossed out. This created an opportunity, as their headquarters was some quality real estate, and was abruptly unclaimed, so the race was on.
The crew descended on it in force, and got a 6 on the engagement roll, so they were the first ones there in any kind of force so they managed to set themselves up to hold the place, made a fake deed and so on.
Ok, different topic: Building Height in Blades in the Dark.
So, the first skyscrapers (or "tall buildings") went up in the mid-to-late 1800s, enabled by improvements in steel, elevators and concrete. They were ~10-12 stories tall at the outset. 100 stories wasn't till the 30s
As I understand it, the big difference was the switch from self-supporting masonry to an iron framework providing support for the building. This is particularly interesting to me in Duskvol for a couple reasons.
The first of these went up in Chicago, in part because the great fire had made space for it. This point is of particular note to me because Duskvol certainly has the TECH for skyscrapers, but *space* is at a premium.
I am reminded that there is nothing you can say is good on Twitter that someone does not take as an attack on everything else.
I don't say this with any anger, it's something I should remember, but let's take it and run with it a bit in terms of theft and RPG design.
I am of the opinion that if you want to do a thing, especially if you want to make a thing, it is good to be exposed to the thing. It's not necessary - lots of things are not strictly necessary - but it has a lot of upsides. So I encourage it.
And, to reveal my own emotional stance, if you are adamantly opposed to doing so, I am going to give you the side-eye, because I am very skeptical of anyone who has nothing to learn.
This may be unfair, and I'm sorry if so, but I don't have a working alternative.
The premise can be summed up as this: If you make something for everyone, then no one is going to be excited about it. Making a product which genuinely excites 20% of your potential market and pisses off another 20% is a better position to be in than to be ok to everyone.
This can be counterintuitive, because there is a strong impulse to try to sell to *everybody*, but the math actually supports this. Unless you are a monopoly, you are never going to capture the WHOLE market, so you want to find a slice where you're going to get traction.
I was thinking about the small movement that thinks there was a conspiracy to keep the Battle Angel Alita movie from being recognized as a True Masterpiece: I’d been thinking about it as just kind of funny, but it struck me - I wonder if that is actually someone training a model.
I am not a machine learning guy, but a Wikipedia level understanding includes the idea of throwing a crapload of data at a model in a way that lets it improve. This usually means better analysis, but it can have other ends.
But if one looks at the iterative nature of modern propaganda machines (such as viewing GG as the trial run for the MAGA push) then if you were someone who built these systems, you’d WANT learning models, but how would you get them? Dumb, micro movement s like this seem ideal.
Further into Mistborn, I am really boggled that I have not seen it’s style of magic in more games. It’s cadence is remarkably playable.
Specifically, the :actions: of the magic are very explicable. Describing these actions (mostly) requires only very specific, simple verbs to translate into easily described actions. That is :gold: at the table.
So, linguistically, to use magic in Mistborn, you “burn” the power source and something happens. Why does this matter? Because it is cause and effect without an intermediate step. There is no 1) draw on magic 2) do something magical
By the end of the #technoir session it looked like this - probably going to finale next session,
Some of the age is visible in #technoir’s rules but the good parts shine. @fredhicks noted that parts of it sync with my GMing style because the mechanics can be highly conversational (which is my instinctive approach).
@fredhicks It’s ultimately a dice pool system (Though, thankfully, a quickly resolved one), which means it supports many possible inputs. I kind of abused the red dice (which complicate things but don’t increase difficulty directly) but doing so made them sing.
Magged edge means using multiple overlapping subgroups to cover the whole.
So if I have characters A, B and C, my A plot should engage all of them, but if I have 3 B Plots that engage AB, BC and AC, then with 4 plots I have just brought a HUGE level of very organic engagement.
"Plots" being used very loosely here to cover a multitude of gaming elements.
Also, the ABC example is both tidy and comprehensive, but add one more character and it will be messy by necessity, and that's good.
I admit, I was really surprised to hear the CP2077 game is leaning so hard into the humanity concept. It’s always been a clunky idea and a crude balancing mechanic, and while there are ways to make it work, “the unaltered body is sacred” is not a great one.
Honestly, I had expected the publisher to just breeze past this one on the strength of their Witcher 3 writing chops.
I mean, that’s double edged. I love W3, but I will not pretend it’s flawless. But I’m kind of hoping for about the same level of flawed.
It’s an interesting illustration of the power of words.
So, if you’re unfamiliar, the idea from the RPG is that every piece of cyberware costs you a certain amount of “humanity” and if you take too much, you get “Cyber-psychosis” or things otherwise go very bad.