Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

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Agamemnon
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Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

Post by Agamemnon » 03 Nov 2018, 03:12

As a game concept, ammunition sucks. There's an argument for tracking ammunition. It's realistic. It costs money. It takes up space. In the context of OD&D it makes sense to track ammunition because resource management is an explicit part of the game. The more gear you take, the more room it takes up in your pack, the slower you go. The slower you go, the more monsters and things you run into. The less room you have in your pack, the less loot you can take back. It's an intrinsic part of the risk/reward.

On the other hand, that is not something Scoundrel really cares about. Encumbrance in our game doesn't care about weight, money is mostly abstract, and even the buying of ammunition is sort of an odd proposition because it's mostly an r1 expense.

So is there any real need to track ammunition?

The only circumstance I can think of in which th game would actively care about ammunition is in the circumstance where running out of ammunition would be narratively interesting and even that doesn't necessarily require marking off each arrow loosed.

In the OSR world, some people have adopted an interesting piece of gaming praxis called a "usage die." You might have d8 worth of arrows. After every fight, roll the d8. If it comes up as a 1, it shrinks to a d6. Repeat until you either buy more arrows (increasing your die size) or you get down to a d4 and roll a 1 -- indicating that you are now out.

The main benefit of this setup is that you aren't erasing and rewriting a total every time you make a ranged attack. You're still doing some accounting, but it's something you do post-combat, rather than during.

It makes me wonder first if such an idea could be adapted to Sword & Scoundrel (there are ways, I'm sure) and then second if that would actually be desirable in a game where we have taken a substantially more simulationist approach with so many other aspects of weapons and combat.

Floating ideas. Feel free to toss in feedback.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
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Re: Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

Post by thorgarth » 03 Nov 2018, 07:51

I´m a simulationist at heart, but I must say the the whole abstract economics bother me more than this proposed mechanics for resource management. Its true that S&S as a much, MUCH beefier approach to the core areas of the system but I actually feel that this randomness actually helps embodysome of the chaos of battle. One rarely has time to actually count how many arrows are left until the last moment (where the many have become the few). Tracking arrows/bolts by a diminishing 🎲 number seems a good idea though I think the roll to diminish the resources shouldn't be so rigid and only be required at the end of the fight. Actually have it happen DURING a long fight or battle will make things more interesting and dramatic.
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Re: Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

Post by Agamemnon » 04 Nov 2018, 17:38

So this topic got kicked around quite a bit on the discord -- something discord is quite good at, it seems -- and a few ideas have gelled together.

The design goals of such a setup would have to be to:
* Enable scarcity without having to track ever single arrow spent
* Allow ammunition to come up when it's most interesting -- i.e. When you run out in the middle of a fight.

Now that we have clocks as a tracking system, my first impulse was to use them for ammo. Different types of ammo have different sized clocks, and you can assume one clock is 1 bulk for encumbrance purposes. So one bag of powder and shot, one quiver full of arrows or bolts, etc. Instead of tracking them individually, you'd mark a segment off after each combat scene you used them.

This approach takes care of the first one. I don't mind making a single mark each combat. It's a fair compromise between "infinite ammunition" and "tracking every single arrow." It doesn't help the second, however.

The nice thing about usage dice is that it takes this into account just by the way they automatically reduce, but I didn't want to introduce an additional arbitrary die roll. Likewise, I didn't want the "out" condition to show up due to something in the ranged attack roll because (depending on the die conditions) it would either disproportionately punish people for taking hard shots (if based on MoF) or punish people for having larger dice pools (if based on 1s rolled or something.)

ThirtyThr33 had the bright idea to trigger it off of the ranged action in skirmish. If you are on the last segment of your ammo clock and you roll a 6 on your shooting action in sequence, then you're "out." I'm appending that to "If you roll a 6, then you have one shot left" because I find that dramatically more interesting. The only drawback to this approach is that if you're making a shot outside of skirmish and on your last segment, you'll have to roll an extra d6.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
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Re: Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

Post by thorgarth » 04 Nov 2018, 20:01

It works as a mechanic and fulfills the goal it sets out to do... but I find it less exciting and dramatic than the resource dice. But "it will cut"...
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Re: Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

Post by dysjunct » 05 Nov 2018, 22:53

I’m not sure that an arbitrary clock to track after a combat scene is any better than an arbitrary resource die roll after a combat scene.

And how do you track it? Will there be a space on the character sheet for ammo clocks? A separate index card that you paperclip to your sheet? A full sheet of clocks that the GM holds onto, along with his other stuff, and he tells you how many segments you have left if you take an action to ask?

I think a resource die is way easier. One extra column on the weapon section. I’d go with an ammo pool of d6s. Roll the pool after each combat, any 1s mean you remove one die. Yes, if you have more ammo you will lose it faster, but this represents that you are less careful with your shots when you feel flush on bullets.
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Re: Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

Post by Agamemnon » 06 Nov 2018, 02:47

dysjunct wrote:
05 Nov 2018, 22:53
I’m not sure that an arbitrary clock to track after a combat scene is any better than an arbitrary resource die roll after a combat scene.

And how do you track it? Will there be a space on the character sheet for ammo clocks? A separate index card that you paperclip to your sheet? A full sheet of clocks that the GM holds onto, along with his other stuff, and he tells you how many segments you have left if you take an action to ask?

I think a resource die is way easier. One extra column on the weapon section. I’d go with an ammo pool of d6s. Roll the pool after each combat, any 1s mean you remove one die. Yes, if you have more ammo you will lose it faster, but this represents that you are less careful with your shots when you feel flush on bullets.
> way easier
I'm not sure I understand how that could be true by any objective measure.

Physical actions taken for a clock:
> Make a note of the clock on your sheet.
> After combat, fill in a mark.

Physical actions taken for a resource die per your proposal:
> Make a note of the value of the resource die on your sheet.
> After combat, pick up a number of dice equal to the resource die value on your sheet
> Roll them and note the 1s
> Erase the previous value of resource dice on your sheet and put the new value for resource dice on your sheet.

You can argue that it might be more exciting somehow, but you can't argue that it would be easier when it's at least twice as many actual actions to perform the procedure. Any conversation about the "tracking it" would be equally moot, as either way you have to write this down somewhere.
Sword and Scoundrel: On Role-Playing and Fantasy Obscura

Arrakis teaches the attitude of the knife — chopping off what’s incomplete and saying: "Now it’s complete because it’s ended here."
Collected Sayings of Muad’Dib, the Princess Irulan
thorgarth
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Re: Praise the Lord and Pass the Ammunition.

Post by thorgarth » 06 Nov 2018, 07:19

Agamemnon wrote:
06 Nov 2018, 02:47
dysjunct wrote:
05 Nov 2018, 22:53
I’m not sure that an arbitrary clock to track after a combat scene is any better than an arbitrary resource die roll after a combat scene.

And how do you track it? Will there be a space on the character sheet for ammo clocks? A separate index card that you paperclip to your sheet? A full sheet of clocks that the GM holds onto, along with his other stuff, and he tells you how many segments you have left if you take an action to ask?

I think a resource die is way easier. One extra column on the weapon section. I’d go with an ammo pool of d6s. Roll the pool after each combat, any 1s mean you remove one die. Yes, if you have more ammo you will lose it faster, but this represents that you are less careful with your shots when you feel flush on bullets.
> way easier
I'm not sure I understand how that could be true by any objective measure.

Physical actions taken for a clock:
> Make a note of the clock on your sheet.
> After combat, fill in a mark.

Physical actions taken for a resource die per your proposal:
> Make a note of the value of the resource die on your sheet.
> After combat, pick up a number of dice equal to the resource die value on your sheet
> Roll them and note the 1s
> Erase the previous value of resource dice on your sheet and put the new value for resource dice on your sheet.

You can argue that it might be more exciting somehow, but you can't argue that it would be easier when it's at least twice as many actual actions to perform the procedure. Any conversation about the "tracking it" would be equally moot, as either way you have to write this down somewhere.
To tell you the truth Agamemnon that is only true IF you opt for a randomness mechanics, going only with the simple clock resource management. If you add, like it seemed to me you would, "ThirtyThr33 had the bright idea to trigger it off of the ranged action in skirmish" with the small (but interesting) gimmick you personally added, and especially for those cases where you are making a shot outside skirmish, THEN you will have the same steps.

May I advise to make this two distinct options as exactly that OPTIONAL rules to a simple one on one tracking system. With such a a detailed system there will be a relevant percentage of players that will opt for counting each and every arrow or bolt (I may be one such masochist). Its "simple" in the fact that there is no mechanic behind it. Its what it is.

Then you add two distinct options, the clock and the dice. Personally I prefer the randomness and dramatics of the dice mechanic (which I also find it simpler to tell you the truth, even if we consider having one more step to the process). Personally there only mechanic that I would choose over the "simple" tracking system would be the dice, though I would make it flexible in its timing, having it rolled during prolonged fights or in the case of the dice already being in lowest possible...
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