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#1 March 02, 2016 17:08:00

DarkOni
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

I really like the Unbreakable one that Matt mentioned. That sounds like the kind of excitement I want from a 9 point trait. The Life of the Party thing also sounds cool. And Kat's point about 27 weeks of investment is a good one. If I spend half a year building up to something, I want it to be something that is really cool and fun and not just a bonus to something else.

To the former question about career types, a Combat Medic. I went with Doctor, but some kind of combat medic or backstreet doctor would have been a better fit. There are several types of soldiers and two types of scientists. More than one type of doctor could fit in there.

Back to traits, Weapon Master sounds good from a stat standpoint, but it is less cool and exciting.

I also wonder if Dex should have some kind of trait that allows you to maintain balance in any situation. People in Pulp fight on all kinds of surfaces and have to do stuff on the sides of cliffs, on tops of trains, zeppelins. Maybe call it Parkour or Always Stable. In my mind, I'm also picturing someone balanced between two walls by their legs and still firing a gun.

Oh, I believe someone mentioned the idea of taking a hit for someone else, like a Bodyguard Dodge or something.

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#2 March 03, 2016 18:09:54

beholdsa
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

At this point I'm going to move on from character creation for a bit, and instead take a look at some of the system basics. Here are the questions for the week:

How do you feel about the baseline number of Moxie that player characters get? Does it feel about right for the genre to you? Should it be adjusted?

You probably have noticed that Creed and Idiosyncrasy have made a return in this playtest. Are these two traits worth having? Do they add something to the game or are they just clutter?

The “Take Stat” and “Skill Default” rules have been around for a while, but they rarely if ever get used. Are they worth keeping around? Are they just not useful or implemented in a way that's not useful?

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#3 March 04, 2016 10:01:37

Kat_Davis
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

5 is a good round number and we (and by this I mean Micah and I, I don't pay as much attention to other people's hand size) seem to run through them at a reasonable speed, refilling close to when Joker's come up!

I really like Creed and Idiosyncracy. I think they didn't work as well for the Survival Horror genre that was Shadows Over Sol, but I enjoy the way they interact with the larger-than-life pulp genre. I also like things that define a character like that, a thing I can fall back on when playing my character. Nature/Demeanor and Virtue/Vice of WoD come to mind, and I've always loved those.

I'm… not even sure what those rules *do*, soooo~ … >.>

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#4 March 06, 2016 22:10:50

Micah
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

I agree that 5 is a good round number. For a more gritty or dystopic game or realistic game, I'd probably lower it to 3-4, but for pulp, I think it fits. It is a resource, and given that I burn through it pretty efficiently, 4 to 5 fits. If you want more dramatic failures, go lower to 4, but any lower would be a problem in my opinion. I also think going higher would create issues in the other direction. Jokers make for amusing situations.

Creed and Idiosyncrasy are worth having. They give me an idea of “who is this person I am playing.” My character focuses on planning and protecting his people. My character sometimes tries to slip off to do things, though mostly at least half the gang joins in. Imagine a one-shot or a game without long backstories. Creed and idiosyncrasy would become even more important. Even without that, they add flavor beyond their mechanical benefit, like perks and quirks in GURPS. Pulp is all about flavor and flair.

I had to look up the actual text of the “Take Stat” and “Skill Default” rules since while I glanced at them when figuring out stuff for last week, I didn't remember what they did exactly.

I like the Take Stat rule. It reminds me of the “only play a card if interesting” rule in Dragonlance/Marvel Saga. I think having a way to speed up narratively dull rolls has a place, even if we forget it exists.

Defaulting skills I am less sure on. It seems like it uses a similar no-trump draw to dodging. It may have its place, though honestly, I'd rather see defaulting be something like half-skill or something that doesn't change the card mechanic again. If this were cut, I wouldn't lose sleep. If this remains, I'll probably rarely use it.

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#5 March 09, 2016 15:26:35

Mkamm
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

How do you feel about the baseline number of Moxie that player characters get? Does it feel about right for the genre to you? Should it be adjusted?

I agree that our current Moxie feels like an appropriate amount to me. If anything, it feels like a little much, but I know am more conservative about spending Moxie than others are.

You probably have noticed that Creed and Idiosyncrasy have made a return in this playtest. Are these two traits worth having? Do they add something to the game or are they just clutter?

Oh they're totally worth having. As others have mentioned, I like them as something to fall back on when I'm not sure how my character would react to a given situation. I have always found the Saga Machine convention of only one Idiosyncracy a little strange for PC's, but that might be my GURPS background talking. I think one Creed and one Idiosyncracy are perfect to make an NPC or bit player memorable, but real people (and the best PC's) have multiple Idiosyncracies. But anyway, I like them as a general concept, and getting back Moxie from playing them up is fun.

The “Take Stat” and “Skill Default” rules have been around for a while, but they rarely if ever get used. Are they worth keeping around? Are they just not useful or implemented in a way that's not useful?

I like the ability to Take Stat and need to stop forgetting that it's a thing. It serves a useful purpose in Joker-proofing simple actions, which is super valuable.

Skill Defaulting, though, feels like it's just not worth it in most situations. You get a number from it which may or may not be better than half-stat would be, plus you lose the ability to trump, which actually hurts quite a bit, I think. What is it intended to model? If it's intended to model the ability of pulp heroes to stretch their proficiencies a little more broadly than a real person could, then they should get a better default rate. Maybe allow a skill to substitute for another one in certain circumstances at a -2 or -3? Preserve the underlying half-stat, keep the trump, and let them get on with it. They're not gonna be near as good as someone who actually has any real proficiency in the skill, but it makes sense for a world-class occultist with Per 5 and Occult 5 to be as good at searching for signs of occult activity as, say, a journeyman detective (Per 7 and Investigate 2). The occultist shouldn't be as good as the detective at any other facet of investigation, but if it's believably within his specialty, it feels reasonable.

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#6 March 13, 2016 21:04:47

beholdsa
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

Sorry that the questions are a little bit later than usual this week. But this time I want to ask about the combat system.

How do you feel about the current lethality of the system? Is it too lethal for the genre? Not lethal enough? Would more or less HP on average solve any issues you might see?

As current written, there is no mechanical effect for being at lower HP. That is, there are no “wound penalties” or anything like that. This is fast and cinematic, but not particularly realistic. How do you think that is working out? One change I've considered is having some sort of “wounded” state, not too unlike “bloodied” in D&D 4e. Essentially this would be: if you're above 0 HP you're mostly fine; if you're below 0 HP, you're hindered and maybe gain one less AP each round or something. Thoughts?

How is the initiative system working out? One change I've considered is adding a “back and forth” requirement. This would be a rule that goes something like: Each side must pick someone on the other side to go after them, unless everyone on that side has already gone. Do you think a rule like this would improve combat in the system?

Bonus Question: I'm contemplating changing the name for “Bleeding Out” because I think it is easily confused with the Bleeding consequence, which is a conceptually very similar but mechanically distinct thing. Any suggestions on what to call it?

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#7 March 14, 2016 00:01:34

Kat_Davis
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

Lethality of the System: Seems on par to me, although I'd like to see a few more fights. We've seemed to kind of roll over our enemies thus far but I'm not sure that's a bad thing. But we do take some casualties and wounds seem like a real thing.

Wound Penalties: I think… I think I like it. But my issue here is.. It leads to cascading failure. Something gets a lucky shot on you? You're in penalties and all that much less likely to survive future shots. This isn't necessarily a bad thing but it is a true thing.

Initiative: I dig it. I actually really like the tactics of passing initiative back and forth and when do you hold priority and when do you pass priority. I think it's a fascinating tactical puzzle and, interestingly, one I don't think I've seen anywhere else.

“Bleeding Out”: Going a little basic here, but, uh, “Dying”?

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#8 March 14, 2016 01:16:51

DarkOni
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

As the person who has gotten wounded the most, my view is that the lethality seems about right. While we have rolled some of our enemies, I think that is mostly due to the initiative system allowing us all to go first if we want.

Wound Penalties: Not sure. The cascading failure thing is an issue. If you have one less AP, that is either a dodge you don't have or something else which would allow you to hit. But you kind of need the dodge to not die once you are low, so it could lead to more conservative play, drawing out the battle longer. If you do a Wound Penalty, an Endurance Trait to deal with it would be good.

Initiative: I very much like the idea of pass back and forth. I think it would make combat more interesting and dynamic.

Dying or Dying Gasps. I agree that Bleeding Out is too similar to Bleeding.

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#9 March 16, 2016 06:59:58

Micah
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

Shadows Over Sol felt very lethal. This one feels less so, but that fits more with the pulp setting. That said, it is possible to take a lot of damage pretty quickly (my duel), so I don't think fewer hit points would help, especially for those who are at slightly fewer than average in system. Most of the weapons can do a considerable chunk of person in the right hands. I think more hit points would lead to longer combats, and that isn't always more interesting. I tend to prefer short and interesting combat.

Initiative is interesting. I like it as it is, though if there was a required back and forth, it would change tactics somewhat (front-loading “better” characters, having a huge advantage if your side has more characters, etc.). We could try a combat with it and see if any major issues came up, but it seems fine as it is.

Let's see: Critical condition, Trauma state, traumatic injuries, or dying gasps?

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#10 March 16, 2016 09:37:28

Mkamm
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

How do you feel about the current lethality of the system? Is it too lethal for the genre? Not lethal enough? Would more or less HP on average solve any issues you might see?

No PC has died yet, or even had to check off any of their three “bleeding out” boxes, so I don't think the system is too lethal. People regularly go into negatives, though, which always makes the threat feel real. I think the feeling of danger is about right for pulp.

As current written, there is no mechanical effect for being at lower HP. That is, there are no “wound penalties” or anything like that. This is fast and cinematic, but not particularly realistic. How do you think that is working out? One change I've considered is having some sort of “wounded” state, not too unlike “bloodied” in D&D 4e. Essentially this would be: if you're above 0 HP you're mostly fine; if you're below 0 HP, you're hindered and maybe gain one less AP each round or something. Thoughts?

Yeah, the whole Critical Existence Failure thing always gets my Simulationist hackles up, but I know that it gets used so often because it's fast and easy and both of those things contribute to fun. I support there being something like this to add a bit more realism to the system, but I think Kat's point about creating a feedback loop of failure is a good one. That's definitely not fun. Maybe have people gain a GM-chosen Consequence when they go below zero HP, based on whatever attack brought them there? They can end the Consequence as normal, but it does represent actually having to stop and go “ow” when something really nasty happens. If Maximillian gets bitten in the leg by a crocodile and goes below zero, maybe he gets the Disabled Consequence. If Oswald gets smashed over the head by a giant with a club and goes below zero, maybe he gets the Dazed Consequence. It will slow down play and be somewhat complicated, but maybe it could be cool? I dunno. I'd be okay with the proposed change (one less AP) or no change, also, but I agree with Eric that introducing a wound penalty also is a great opportunity to introduce a Det or End trait to ignore wound penalties.

How is the initiative system working out? One change I've considered is adding a “back and forth” requirement. This would be a rule that goes something like: Each side must pick someone on the other side to go after them, unless everyone on that side has already gone. Do you think a rule like this would improve combat in the system?

I would be interested to try this! I think the current system poses interesting tactical questions already, but it always does seem to boil down to “both teams maneuver to get as many consecutive turns as possible.” I like making individual trade-offs in timing more of a thing. I suspect Micah is right about it making having more people a big advantage, but I think the current system also does that to an at least equal degree.

Bonus Question: I'm contemplating changing the name for “Bleeding Out” because I think it is easily confused with the Bleeding consequence, which is a conceptually very similar but mechanically distinct thing. Any suggestions on what to call it?

I agree that “Bleeding Out” runs the risk of confusion with “Bleeding.” I think Kat's suggestion of “Dying” is simple and elegant, even if it is a bit on the nose. “Dying Gasps” might risk confusion for people who play both Shadows Over Sol and Dime Adventure, since IIRC Dying Gasps in Shadows Over Sol is something that only happens when your character is for sure gonna die, which is not what the Bleeding Out status in Dime Adventures is.

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