Default NPCs in the Beta

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nemedeus
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by nemedeus » 27 Jan 2016, 20:47

higgins wrote:Agamemnon has expressed a similar interest ;)
Currently reading The Burning Wheel, which I finally decided to buy.

I'm not far in yet, but i'm already extremely exited for the "character burner", hahaha
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by Agamemnon » 29 Jan 2016, 15:38

The Burning Wheel is a game I have such a deep love for. I have a hardback of the Gold edition. You can learn a lot about game design from the system. It's incredibly tight, even as complex as it is. Of course, the reverse of that is that it doesn't respond well to tinkering.

Honestly, it would be my perfect game in a lot of ways if I didn't hate the sub-systems. They aren't objectively bad or broken, but the scripting thing always puts me off. Having to stop the narrative and get out a worksheet to jot out my next three actions ahead of time.. then wait for the other guy to do the same.. and then compare them one by one? It takes me out of the momentum the story had built up. I've heard of people taking index cards or the like and making "Action cards" for Fight! Duel of Wits, etc to make the thing go smoother. I haven't tried that method to see if it helps.

Lifepaths are a thing I talked about for 'Bastards at one point, but that's something we'd have to take on as a project on its own. So that's not only post-beta.. it's probably post-publication.
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by nemedeus » 29 Jan 2016, 19:46

Alright, Burning Wheel, havent had the time for the subsystems yet, but lifepath...

Instincts are just pure genius. I have never seen anything like it before. There is no way for me not to steal them for my own game.

Lifepaths were a bit... i dont wanna say dissapointing, but... they were surprisingly simple, I guess?
I had expected something more sophisticated.

What i mean is, i think if i ever write a lifepath system for my own game, i know i want it to have some sort of chance in it (like having to roll for key events)
Although i see Orc lifepath rules are the ones where this is implemented to an extent.
Agamemnon wrote:You can learn a lot about game design from the system. It's incredibly tight, even as complex as it is. Of course, the reverse of that is that it doesn't respond well to tinkering.
I just today started a new rewrite of my own game, hahaha...
Lifepaths are a thing I talked about for 'Bastards at one point, but that's something we'd have to take on as a project on its own. So that's not only post-beta.. it's probably post-publication.
That brings me to another question - have you ever detailed what route of publication you are going to take?
Like, PDF on Drivethrough, or print on demand softcovers...
(I know i would buy a Bastards Hardcover, hahahaha!)
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by Marras » 01 Feb 2016, 03:20

If you want an example of lifepaths with some dice rolling take a look at Traveller.

Personally I am happy that the current character generation system in BoB is a point buy system but a good lifepath system can give a lot of flavor to the game. Perhaps this could be tied into possibly later published setting?
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by nemedeus » 01 Feb 2016, 04:22

Agamemnon wrote:Lifepaths are a thing I talked about for 'Bastards at one point, but that's something we'd have to take on as a project on its own. So that's not only post-beta.. it's probably post-publication.
Well, let me say this: When the beta is released, it is my best guess that a lot of us are going to want to do some tinkering anyway. So if you can give a general outline of how a Lifepath is supposed to look like, i know what i will be doing if i can't find enough people to do playtesting ;p
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by Agamemnon » 04 Feb 2016, 01:06

nemedeus wrote:
Agamemnon wrote:Lifepaths are a thing I talked about for 'Bastards at one point, but that's something we'd have to take on as a project on its own. So that's not only post-beta.. it's probably post-publication.
Well, let me say this: When the beta is released, it is my best guess that a lot of us are going to want to do some tinkering anyway. So if you can give a general outline of how a Lifepath is supposed to look like, i know what i will be doing if i can't find enough people to do playtesting ;p
I've always assumed that opening the beta is throwing the game design to the wolves. Heh. The game mostly works the way we intended it now, insofar as I'm concerned, but I'd definitely be open to someone coming up with some way of doing something in our game that was way better than what we actually came up with. Player feedback is sort of the point of Beta.
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by nemedeus » 04 Feb 2016, 05:47

Agamemnon wrote:I've always assumed that opening the beta is throwing the game design to the wolves. Heh. The game mostly works the way we intended it now, insofar as I'm concerned, but I'd definitely be open to someone coming up with some way of doing something in our game that was way better than what we actually came up with. Player feedback is sort of the point of Beta.
Honestly, after i found out your rivals from Blade of the Iron Throne had already released three years ago, i was surprised that you managed to hold back so long.

Granted, it's obvious from the teasers that the added years payed off in the end.
Even so, if i could get a lot of feedback for free... And not to forget, design and testing are incremental processes.

Btw, am i the only one with this impression:
that testing is something that in the Roleplaying Game hobby had a history of being neglected, and people only really accustomed to doing extensive playtesting in the last ten years?
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by higgins » 04 Feb 2016, 10:07

nemedeus wrote:your rivals from Blade of the Iron Throne
We're actually on good terms with the BOTIT guys. In fact, our game and theirs branched off from a unified project we were all working on. At one point, we realized that half of the team was pulling in one direction, and half the team in the other, so, we ended up parting ways.

In fact, I even received a complementary copy from one of the authors, which I have to admit, I haven't read yet. The last thing I want is being accused of ripping off some of their concepts, so, the tome is still gathering dust on my shelf.
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by Agamemnon » 04 Feb 2016, 10:14

nemedeus wrote:
Agamemnon wrote:I've always assumed that opening the beta is throwing the game design to the wolves. Heh. The game mostly works the way we intended it now, insofar as I'm concerned, but I'd definitely be open to someone coming up with some way of doing something in our game that was way better than what we actually came up with. Player feedback is sort of the point of Beta.
Honestly, after i found out your rivals from Blade of the Iron Throne had already released three years ago, i was surprised that you managed to hold back so long.

Granted, it's obvious from the teasers that the added years payed off in the end.
Even so, if i could get a lot of feedback for free... And not to forget, design and testing are incremental processes.
I would argue that part of the reason for that is our naivete as game designers when we first started. Granted, we'd both made literally innumerable hacks and home-brew games on our own before, but this was the first "big project" I think either of us worked on for any length of time. So our big beginner mistake was that since we basically knew what the core ideas of the system were, we jumped right to working on the more complicated stuff.

The problem with this is that you wind up with a whole bunch of stuff, but no ability to do anything with it. Good designers generally start with the nailing down all of the core elements and playtesting the hell out of them first.. and then beginning to add in the more complex bits over time. I've asked this question of a few designers through tweets and emails over time, and the advice is always: playtest early, and playtest often.

That's not to say that we haven't playtested the game quite a bit - it was rather that once we made the complicated bits we were actually interested in first, we then had to go backwards and redo the core stuff to "fit." Which is exactly the opposite of how you probably want to be doing it.

And then of course we got thrown for a loop by the events that lead to the re-design, which had us murdering our darlings and streamlining a lot of things. This was absolutely a change for the better though. Our original setup approached GURPS levels of crunchy. This isn't inherently bad, but it became increasingly obvious it wasn't really the direction we wanted to go.
nemedeus wrote: Btw, am i the only one with this impression:
that testing is something that in the Roleplaying Game hobby had a history of being neglected, and people only really accustomed to doing extensive playtesting in the last ten years?
I think this is really due to the internet. If you want to roll back the clock to game design in the 70s, their playtesters were the local groups they could talk to, and anyone they could demonstrate their product to. This is actually why Cons were such a big deal. The trade shows were their primary means of exposing new people to product. By the time it became a bigger business in the 80s (and then exploded in the 90s) they definitely had more people "professionally" playtesting in-house, and those people probably played the game with their home groups and things as well, but even just the cost and hassle of distributing copies of the game in an age before pdfs and the internet would have extremely limited the scope of what both the testing they could do and the usefulness of responses they could actually process.
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by EinBein » 04 Feb 2016, 12:10

And you have to add that BOTIT did few changes to those core mechanics of TRoS. Too few actually to really reach their goal of a true Sword and Sorcery depiction. I personally still see too much fencing and too little barbarian axe manoevers in it. It's still just TRoS with a higher power level and a slightly bit less complexity.

In the teasers of BoB, I get the feeling that MUCH more has been done to really improve on the TRoS basis. Everything reads really deliberate.

Good on higgins and Agamemnon!
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by Agamemnon » 04 Feb 2016, 12:48

EinBein wrote:And you have to add that BOTIT did few changes to those core mechanics of TRoS. Too few actually to really reach their goal of a true Sword and Sorcery depiction. I personally still see too much fencing and too little barbarian axe manoevers in it.
That was my take on what I read of it. It was a very cool setup, and they added some neat features and great essays on the themes of S&S fiction, but I think the genre they were going for is fundamentally at odds with TROS as a system. In REH fiction, you just don't get blow-by-blow parry-riposte kind of descriptions. Instead, action is a furious blur of deadly excitement and hard-boiled, larger-than-life description. While nearly unmatched at what it does well, TROS-style combat isn't necessarily the best fit for modeling Conan or Solomon Kane. That's not at all to say that the game itself is in any way bad.

I've got my own thoughts on an S&S setup to play with one day, but that's in my big notebook of projects for another time.
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by thirtythr33 » 10 Feb 2016, 07:58

The real question now is whether Song of Swords will sneak in with their kickstarter before the Band of Bastards beta.
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by nemedeus » 10 Feb 2016, 08:16

thirtythr33 wrote:The real question now is whether Song of Swords will sneak in with their kickstarter before the Band of Bastards beta.
I had the sneaking suspiction that Song of Swords had been abandoned since, but... yeah that IS the real question.

I have to say, having read their released rules, i really really liked the Grit mechanic, although i don't remember whether TRoS already hat that or if that was their own addition.
For my own system, i have included a similar mechanic as one of the primary methods of advancement - the other being Rolls for Skill increases, as i had detailed previously.
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by thirtythr33 » 10 Feb 2016, 08:52

SoS is definitely not abandoned. Jimmy (creator) pops into the regular 4chan.org/tg threads and keeps people updated.

I started reading it... and when I saw some of the playable races were Sea Elves and Star Vampires I deleted the document and never opened it again.

From my cursory glaces it looked horribly unbalanced too, but I don't know if that has been since fixed. Spending character points on Attributes and Traits were strictly better than ever putting points into Skills. You got many more attribute points per tier than you did skill points, and attributes apply to multiple skills at a time on a 1 to 1 basis... and they had Skill boosting Traits that cost less character points than actually buying the skills.
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Re: Default NPCs in the Beta

Post by nemedeus » 10 Feb 2016, 09:28

thirtythr33 wrote:I started reading it... and when I saw some of the playable races were Sea Elves and Star Vampires I deleted the document and never opened it again.
That's a tautology. ;p
thirtythr33 wrote:From my cursory glaces it looked horribly unbalanced too, but I don't know if that has been since fixed. Spending character points on Attributes and Traits were strictly better than ever putting points into Skills. You got many more attribute points per tier than you did skill points, and attributes apply to multiple skills at a time on a 1 to 1 basis... and they had Skill boosting Traits that cost less character points than actually buying the skills.
I only skimmed over most of the document so i didn't realize it back than, but, ah, if that's the case, that is not my jam.
I much prefer general emphasis on a character's Skills rather than Attributes, my reasoning being that Attributes are "nature" whereas Skills are "nurture" - Attributes inform the potential one shows in learning certain Skills, while not changing much after character creation.
Last edited by nemedeus on 10 Feb 2016, 12:00, edited 1 time in total.
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