Grit Points

Anything related to personal combat and archaic weapons
ChaosFarseer
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Grit Points

Post by ChaosFarseer » 01 Dec 2018, 19:08

Based on the number of comments about death spirals and so on, maybe the following could delay that a bit:

The first X Impact you suffer each conflict is ignored, where X is equal to your Grit.
OR
Whenever you suffer Impact, reduce it by your Grit tap value.

This does increase complexity slightly and increases the value of Brawn, but it could delay the death spiral by one or two plays. Which might be all that's needed, honestly.
Now, as a disclaimer, I have yet to actually dueling yet. Just wanted to drop the idea before I forget, in case anyone likes it. This doesn't consider the change in TN at all, which is probably the bigger issue.
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Benedict
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Re: Grit Points

Post by Benedict » 02 Dec 2018, 17:41

ChaosFarseer wrote:
01 Dec 2018, 19:08
Based on the number of comments about death spirals and so on, maybe the following could delay that a bit
Personally I feel that these comments are misplaced because they do not take into account Drama - which by the way is a core element of the game - unlike Skirmish and Full/Advanced Melee which are optional.

Dig Deep, Grin and Bear It,and Scoundrel's Luck are all game changers, especially in Melee. Making Impact reductions based on anything beyond what is already there I think will upset the balance of the game.

And when all fails one can always play Not Quite Dead Yet. :twisted:
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Agamemnon
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Re: Grit Points

Post by Agamemnon » 02 Dec 2018, 19:11

Benedict wrote:
02 Dec 2018, 17:41
ChaosFarseer wrote:
01 Dec 2018, 19:08
Based on the number of comments about death spirals and so on, maybe the following could delay that a bit
Personally I feel that these comments are misplaced because they do not take into account Drama - which by the way is a core element of the game - unlike Skirmish and Full/Advanced Melee which are optional.

Dig Deep, Grin and Bear It,and Scoundrel's Luck are all game changers, especially in Melee. Making Impact reductions based on anything beyond what is already there I think will upset the balance of the game.

And when all fails one can always play Not Quite Dead Yet. :twisted:
That's a big thing. In an actual campaign, you have a lot of resources that are available to you that won't be available in a standard dueling like the fecht-club stuff that goes on our discord server.
  • To start with, you don't want to be in a fight if you can avoid it anyway. If you're getting in a fight, it's either unavoidable or of significant importance to your character, or it's one you don't think you can lose.
  • If you are getting in a fight, you generally want to do so in a way that is the least likely to get you killed. An ambush, etc. Or setting up the fight in such a way that you have an advantage - better gear, and so on, or picking a fight with someone over whom you know you have a CP advantage.
  • Terrain can play a way, way bigger part of the thing, because most people do their dueling scenarios in what amounts to an open field. Meanwhile, in a campaign the terrain can completely change the dynamic of which weapons and approaches are best.
  • And finally, as Benedict said, just being a PC gives you a ton of extra resources in the form of drama.
That said, I have been tinkering with a couple things on the other end as well. Armor and Shields are both getting a buff at some point, and we've been talking about lowering impact across the board.
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Re: Grit Points

Post by ChaosFarseer » 04 Dec 2018, 01:17

I'm aware that drama gets around this concern, and that the game is designed with the use of drama in mind. And I get that fights are supposed to be dangerous by design. They make sense, and they set the tone of the game.

I suppose my point is, it seems odd from a mechanical perspective. You go into a big dramatic fight of the campaign with drama firing and a dice advantage, but your first decent hit ends the fight? I just feel like it could be slightly longer, like first to two hits instead! XD

Of course, this is without any actual play experience, so take that with a grain of salt. I need to join those duels!
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Re: Grit Points

Post by Benedict » 04 Dec 2018, 05:10

ChaosFarseer wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 01:17
I suppose my point is, it seems odd from a mechanical perspective. You go into a big dramatic fight of the campaign with drama firing and a dice advantage, but your first decent hit ends the fight? I just feel like it could be slightly longer, like first to two hits instead! XD
This is exactly the reason why I suggested that major villains should have a resource similar to Drama and being able to pull off nastiness against PCs through it.
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Re: Grit Points

Post by ChaosFarseer » 05 Dec 2018, 02:41

Benedict wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 05:10
ChaosFarseer wrote:
04 Dec 2018, 01:17
I suppose my point is, it seems odd from a mechanical perspective. You go into a big dramatic fight of the campaign with drama firing and a dice advantage, but your first decent hit ends the fight? I just feel like it could be slightly longer, like first to two hits instead! XD
This is exactly the reason why I suggested that major villains should have a resource similar to Drama and being able to pull off nastiness against PCs through it.
Oh, that'd be neat. It could be a finite pool for the villain, or something they can replenish by working towards their dastardly plans, with the players needing to stop their drama gain. Lots of ways for that to be interesting.

Is that an idea, or something that's going into the GM section?
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Re: Grit Points

Post by Agamemnon » 05 Dec 2018, 03:53

I've thought about this sort of thing before, but two points always come to mind:

The first is that there's something to be said for keeping drama a uniquely player resource, rather than something that the GM can also access. It helps distinguish the PCs as the protagonists of the story.

The second major thought is that the dynamic with GM metacurrency is borked due to the asymmetrical nature of resources in the game to begin with.

The GM already has infinite resources in terms of the fiction itself. The GM controls the king and the army and the pope and the very gods themselves. The GM doesn't really need metacurrency to make his NPC win. The GM can have a thousand assassins spring out of nowhere, if they really want to. The player has only their own character, the stuff they got during character creation, and what they can acquire through play. Already, the players have a far greater need for a metacurrency than the GM does because the only thing on their side is that they are the protagonists.

Then add to that the question of distribution. I've never really found a way to give the GM drama that seemed fair. For players, drama is a finite resource. They must earn it through enacting behaviors that are desirable for play and how they spend it is an important decision both in terms of narrative content and strategic play. For this to be even remotely fair, the GM has to have some kind of limiting principle that stops them from just awarding themselves piles of drama when they need it.

The first option is that the GM has to have some kind of behavioral goals, but that's a bit goofy. It works for players because the players are meant to be the primary movers of the story. They are supposed to actively pursing their goals. The GM is supposed to be the facilitator, so you can't give the GM a set of incentives that demand that the GM performs some kind of forward action because that's not their job.

Then you get into an even goofier question of "Who decides when the behavior has been fulfilled?" For players, that's the GM. The GM can be a fairly impartial arbiter on when players earn drama because the conditions are clearly laid out and the GM has no incentive to want to deny the players currency. After all, it's in the GM's best interest that the players have every chance to succeed and survive, because that means that the GM can push that much harder and do more stuff. If the PCs all died, you lose all your momentum and have to start with new characters. That said, you don't want the GM awarding themselves drama for the same reason you wouldn't want the players awarding themselves drama, but on the other hand players aren't impartial arbiters the way the GM is. Players have asymmetrical goals to the GM and that means they have a massive disincentive when it comes to awarding the GM drama because every point of drama they let the GM have will be used against them.

The only other option to come to mind is if you gave the GM some kind of fixed amount per session or per important NPC. Per session is kind of lame because it means that GM drama will be commonplace and can quickly steal the thunder from the PCs. Making it "per important NPC" is also kind of borked because I as the GM am the arbiter of when my NPCs are important and it again becomes trivial to stack the deck in my favor. We can always argue that the GM shouldn't do these things, but then it seems like the best way to avoid the GM engaging in bad behavior is not to tempt them with the possibility of that bad behavior.

As a final point, I wonder if a GM currency doesn't send the wrong message. Players get currency because they are supposed to be the protagonists. The plot is supposed to work in their favor. Things should be hard and suck and challenge them, but they are ultimately the ones who are meant to come out on top. The GM isn't supposed to have a stake in the outcome. They are supposed to challenge the players, but they aren't rooting against them. Giving the GM drama runs counter to that setup. Drama used by the GM on NPCs is going to be drama spent against the players. This presents the weird notion that the GM is being given resources they can use to side with their own NPCs against the players, which runs counter to the idea the general notion of GM impartiality.

I'm not saying that I am absolutely against the idea of GM drama, but it does create a lot of stuff that has to be worked through and questions that have to be answered.
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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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thirtythr33
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Re: Grit Points

Post by thirtythr33 » 05 Dec 2018, 04:31

The version of "GM drama" I've seen that I'm most happy with is D&D 5e Legendary Resistance.

It's basically autopass on any 3 saving throws on boss creatures. It's designed to stop boss monsters being trivialized by a single spell effect, without just making them magic immune or having split functionality on all the most powerful of spells. Since it's defensive only and has limited available on boss monsters, it limits GM abuse and is mostly a tool for preventing an anticlimax.

The S&S equivalent would be something like:
* NPCs named by player drives or traits get 1 drama per session which can only be spend in a defensive way. (ie, resisting a KO, KD etc)

The sticky bits are that:
* S&S doesn't have clearly defined "defensive" skills since CP is used for both offense and defense.
* Unlike DND, S&S generally doesn't have a problem with a big boss dying to a single well placed dagger in between the shoulder blades
* Sometimes, the Big Boss isn't named in a player drive or trait
** There's a bad incentive to change your drives to NOT name the big bad guy and give him drama
** If you aren't using the drives or traits to determine who's an important NPC, then the GM has to make it up and is open to abuse

You would have to modify it to something more like:
Each story arc, the GM distributes 3 drama among 1 to 3 NPCs and is known to the players. Between sessions, the GM may reassign unspent drama to new NPCs if the focus of the game is shifting.
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Benedict
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Re: Grit Points

Post by Benedict » 05 Dec 2018, 05:55

ChaosFarseer wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 02:41
Is that an idea, or something that's going into the GM section?
It's just a personal hack I am dicking around with.
Agamemnon wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 03:53
The first is that there's something to be said for keeping drama a uniquely player resource, rather than something that the GM can also access. It helps distinguish the PCs as the protagonists of the story.
Totally understandable, and to be honest, that's one thing that bothers me. I am thinking it of being a way to illuminate the antagonist, cos any protagonist needs a certain level of antagonism to shine.
Agamemnon wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 03:53
The second major thought is that the dynamic with GM metacurrency is borked due to the asymmetrical nature of resources in the game to begin with.

The GM already has infinite resources in terms of the fiction itself. The GM controls the king and the army and the pope and the very gods themselves. The GM doesn't really need metacurrency to make his NPC win. The GM can have a thousand assassins spring out of nowhere, if they really want to. The player has only their own character, the stuff they got during character creation, and what they can acquire through play. Already, the players have a far greater need for a metacurrency than the GM does because the only thing on their side is that they are the protagonists.
The rub is that this resource will accomondate for the above shite. Meaning. You are after the King? Managed to corner him alone in a secluded area? He could play a "Nick of Time" variant, having reinforcements appearing just when you least expect em.
Agamemnon wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 03:53
Then add to that the question of distribution. I've never really found a way to give the GM drama that seemed fair. For players, drama is a finite resource. They must earn it through enacting behaviors that are desirable for play and how they spend it is an important decision both in terms of narrative content and strategic play. For this to be even remotely fair, the GM has to have some kind of limiting principle that stops them from just awarding themselves piles of drama when they need it.
That's one thing I've been musing over, and the proper answer in my mind is to make it analogous to PC Drama generation. Meaning. The NPC doesn't get any points at all by himself. When the player invokes or earns Drama by opposing said NPC then and only then the NPC gets Drama of his own to use against the character. You "Dig Deep" to ridicule the King in Court? He gets a point of Drama. You enter a Conflict against the King and earn Drama because of your Drive? He gets a point of Drama. And so on. I'm thinking it more like an action/reaction thing.

Thirtythr33 kinda gets it, I am thinking villain Drama more like a tool to make the story more interesting. A way for the Villain to pause Skirmish and have his triumphant gloating speech. Or a way to miraculously survive being thrown down the castle battlements. Surely not a way to fuck PCs over with.
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Re: Grit Points

Post by Agamemnon » 05 Dec 2018, 11:39

Benedict wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 05:55
That's one thing I've been musing over, and the proper answer in my mind is to make it analogous to PC Drama generation. Meaning. The NPC doesn't get any points at all by himself. When the player invokes or earns Drama by opposing said NPC then and only then the NPC gets Drama of his own to use against the character. You "Dig Deep" to ridicule the King in Court? He gets a point of Drama. You enter a Conflict against the King and earn Drama because of your Drive? He gets a point of Drama. And so on. I'm thinking it more like an action/reaction thing.
I had sort of considered this from the reverse: when the GM uses a point of drama, the players effected get a point of drama. The problem with this approach and with the one you suggested is that they sort of cancel each other out.

The whole point of drama is that it's a resource that allows the players to get ahead. It represents the PCs being the protagonists and getting the kind of breaks that protagonists get. It's what allows them to punch above their weight class and stand a chance in fights that they couldn't otherwise in. If the PCs spending drama gives the GM drama, or the GM spending drama gives the players drama, the whole thing is moot. If your character getting +3 dice for digging deep means my NPC has a point that I can then spend to Dig Deep, all you've done is waste your drama. You've actually created a counter-incentive to using your drama because it just means that the NPCs may get harder.

Even if you confine the effect to important NPCs or NPCs involved in the PC's drive, then you've just created a paradox wherein the moment where players should most want to spend drama because they have defined this conflict as important... They are least likely to spend drama because it will just cancel out.

Benedict wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 05:55
Thirtythr33 kinda gets it, I am thinking villain Drama more like a tool to make the story more interesting. A way for the Villain to pause Skirmish and have his triumphant gloating speech. Or a way to miraculously survive being thrown down the castle battlements. Surely not a way to fuck PCs over with.
If the Villain gets to spend drama to Dig Deep or Grin and Bear It, it's already in direct opposition to and potentially fucking over the PCs. The game has promised them that their drama will help give them the edge on the conflict and you've immediately canceled out that edge. Any drama spent on an NPC is by definition adversarial to the PC. It makes the fight they will get in more dangerous, it makes their victories more difficult, etc.

The GM is the Matrix. They are are the generated world based on rules and all of the people in it. The NPCs are agents. They are guarding all the doors, they are holding all the keys. Within the parameters of the rules, they can be ridiculously powerful and have tremendous resources, yet their strength and their speed, their resources are still based in a world that is built on rules. The players are hackers. They get to bend the rules, go outside of the rules. I'm not sure that breaking that asymmetrical balance serves either side involved.

Weirder still, giving the GM drama to spend creates an undesirable parallel in the game. Players get drama to spend on their characters, the GM gets drama to spend on... his? But that's not an idea you want to introduce. The game is PC-centric. The GM shouldn't be trying to protect their NPCs because the NPCS are not theirs. You really don't want the GM thinking of the NPCs as their own personal characters to play with. You don't want the GM attached to those characters. Where NPCs show up in a game, they should generally be some extension of the player characters. They embody the PCs drives or play foil to them. They are allies or antagonists. They are introduced by the PC through their connections, by their traits, by the drives they've written, or the choices they've made. And they should all be seen as disposable.
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: Grit Points

Post by Benedict » 05 Dec 2018, 11:50

Agamemnon wrote:
05 Dec 2018, 11:39
Weirder still, giving the GM drama to spend creates an undesirable parallel in the game. Players get drama to spend on their characters, the GM gets drama to spend on... his? But that's not an idea you want to introduce. The game is PC-centric. The GM shouldn't be trying to protect their NPCs because the NPCS are not theirs. You really don't want the GM thinking of the NPCs as their own personal characters to play with. You don't want the GM attached to those characters. Where NPCs show up in a game, they should generally be some extension of the player characters. They embody the PCs drives or play foil to them. They are allies or antagonists. They are introduced by the PC through their connections, by their traits, by the drives they've written, or the choices they've made. And they should all be seen as disposable.
That's my point about this when I am talking about a story driver. I wasn't explicit in the first place. Drama spent by villains against PCs should count as Karma for the characters affected. It's not a safeguard to promote big bad survivability ; rather a way to make villains actual villains.

As for effects, I don't say everything available to PCs should be available to Villains or vice-versa. Look, instead of just pulling examples out of my behind, I think its best I do a clear write up of ideas, then we can go though it. ;)
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Re: Grit Points

Post by thorgarth » 14 Dec 2018, 07:42

Like Benedict I always intended to give major NPC´s a certain amount of Drama Points. No much, mind you, but proportionate to their flair, relevance in the setting and general reputation, as well as background. Major Villains should be a major driving force in any campaign, and should have resources to back that up, and I don't think there is any need to create specific mechanics to estimate how many Drama points they have or how they gain more. I think we can safely say that if a GM doesn't have the ability to adjudicate that fairly he shouldn't be a GM in the first place, especially not in a game as S&S, which is not exactly entry level.

That being said IF such mechanics were to be officially develop that would be a great addition to the GM resource chapter. 😈
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Re: Grit Points

Post by Benedict » 14 Dec 2018, 11:20

thorgarth wrote:
14 Dec 2018, 07:42
Major Villains should be a major driving force in any campaign, and should have resources to back that up, and I don't think there is any need to create specific mechanics to estimate how many Drama points they have or how they gain more. I think we can safely say that if a GM doesn't have the ability to adjudicate that fairly he shouldn't be a GM in the first place, especially not in a game as S&S, which is not exactly entry level
That's where we don't see eye to eye. If such a mechanic became a thing Villains should not get Drama for being Villains. Villains should get Drama for being targeted by PCs. You describe a GM driven game, when 'Scoundrels is a PC driven game.
thorgarth wrote:
14 Dec 2018, 07:42
That being said IF such mechanics were to be officially develop that would be a great addition to the GM resource chapter
Agreed.
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Re: Grit Points

Post by thorgarth » 14 Dec 2018, 11:58

Benedict wrote:
14 Dec 2018, 11:20
thorgarth wrote:
14 Dec 2018, 07:42
Major Villains should be a major driving force in any campaign, and should have resources to back that up, and I don't think there is any need to create specific mechanics to estimate how many Drama points they have or how they gain more. I think we can safely say that if a GM doesn't have the ability to adjudicate that fairly he shouldn't be a GM in the first place, especially not in a game as S&S, which is not exactly entry level
That's where we don't see eye to eye. If such a mechanic became a thing Villains should not get Drama for being Villains. Villains should get Drama for being targeted by PCs. You describe a GM driven game, when 'Scoundrels is a PC driven game.
I don’t like to see this things in such a black and white way. S&S is definitely a character driven game, more so then most games I prefer, but that being said they do live in a complex, evolving setting, with various forces struggling for control (As I like do envision my settings). This Major Villains hold some kind of power in the society, be it in the criminal underworld or at the court.

While the pc’s are their own lords and masters there ARE other forces, and sometimes they clash.

Major Villains should have some resources that mechanically translate this importance, their relevance and power.

I did not say everything hovers around them, but they will be central figures in the setting, and some may even feature in the drives and goals of some of the PC’s.

But perhaps my phrasing was not the most correct in the other post... I concede.
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Re: Grit Points

Post by Benedict » 14 Dec 2018, 12:22

No, you were clear the first time.
thorgarth wrote:
14 Dec 2018, 11:58
I did not say everything hovers around them, but they will be central figures in the setting, and some may even feature in the drives and goals of some of the PC’s.
That's where we don't see eye to eye. In this underlined passage.

Personally as a GM I don't care if there's a Cardinal Richelieu or not until the moment a PC introduces him into play through any means available to players.

Your take on the other hand states that there is Cardinal Richelieu, who is also a central figure of the setting, and the players may or may not interact with him.

That's where we don't see eye to eye.

This however doesn't mean I am right and you are wrong, or the opposite. People disagree all the time, that's not a problem, nor should people agree on everything. Still I have to stress that the game as presented is closer to my preference than yours. Unless I misunderstood what you wrote. ;)
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