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#1 March 19, 2016 17:21:57

beholdsa
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

My questions this week have to do with some of the subsystems used so far in the game.

The current version of the playtest uses abstract wealth rules, not too unlike Shadows Over Sol. How do you think these are working out with the genre? Would you rather just cash on hand in a non-abstract way?

So far we've seen the Quick Combat system used twice. How do you think it's working out? Would it be improved by adding more differentiation to the enemies being overcome (currently it's a flat TN 10, but I've contemplated making the TN = first Defense number + relevant combat skill)?

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#2 March 21, 2016 12:24:22

Micah
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

The current version of the playtest uses abstract wealth rules, not too unlike Shadows Over Sol. How do you think these are working out with the genre? Would you rather just cash on hand in a non-abstract way?

Abstract systems fit some settings well, and others poorly. While I would dislike such a system in say a Dystopian world like Shadowrun where scrounging each nuyen should be difficult, I really think it fits a pulp setting where the focus is on adventure rather than resource management.

That said, there are some down sides. I'm not always sure what each level means in setting money. This can make roleplay difficult. A handy table would be useful. If the expedition fund system will be something in the base book, you may want to also have that on the same table. Going back and forth between thousands of dollars, wealth rankings, and percents of expedition in the same conversation can be a bit difficult to follow.

“Give me a moment while I back-calculate how much I want to bet.” It means you either bet the farm or basically the gambling rolls are pointless. I've made out the two times it has come up, but I'm not sure my bets were entirely in-character. However, I don't believe in wasting time on mechanics if there isn't actually a consequence to loss.

I also think there should be a trait or other means to buy up wealth during creation, no matter the final system.


So far we've seen the Quick Combat system used twice. How do you think it's working out? Would it be improved by adding more differentiation to the enemies being overcome (currently it's a flat TN 10, but I've contemplated making the TN = first Defense number + relevant combat skill)?

I think the quick combat is working well for what it is. It reminds me of random one-sided combats in pulp stories or comics: lone mook jumps into the room and unloads his gun, only to be surprised that all the heroes are still standing. Changing the TN seems reasonable, though honestly anything or anyone really interesting should be a real combat. You might want to make it the higher of TN 10 or Defense+Skill since TNs less than 10 are less interesting. It can also be used for quick social combats or battles of will.

Edited Micah (March 21, 2016 12:27:12)

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#3 March 23, 2016 02:23:11

DarkOni
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

For pulp, I think the abstract wealth system works well. Artifacts in pulp are generally considered to be worth a fortune, something people would kill for. Of course, even as I say this, we have spent more time on expedition finances that don't involve wealth levels and that has been interesting from a roleplaying perspective. Although in some ways, the percents are kind of like wealth levels for the expedition that keep stacking on a whole different level.

I like the Quick Combat system. I think it does actually what it is supposed to do, resolve a combat you expect PCs to win and mostly just throws in some luck to determine if anyone got hurt or there were complications. I'd be curious to try it with the different TN as well and compare.

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#4 March 23, 2016 09:45:05

Mkamm
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

The current version of the playtest uses abstract wealth rules, not too unlike Shadows Over Sol. How do you think these are working out with the genre? Would you rather just cash on hand in a non-abstract way?

I think the abstract wealth rules are a good fit for pulp. As much as I like shopping and deal-hunting and tracking food supplies and such, pulp doesn't focus on these elements, so I don't want to focus on them when I'm laying a pulp game. I agree with Micah that converting between expedition funding, Wealth levels, and actual dollars is hard and takes longer than it should, and that a handy table to convert between these things would make it all better. I don't know that the gambling system is busted because of how much you need to wager for it to matter; most people can absorb a night of small-bets gambling with no real change to their finances, and there's still roleplay value in gambling for less than a Wealth level. Heck, this is often a pulp staple, especially when one character pulls off something ridiculous and then the camera pans over to two other characters and one says “pay up” and the other hands them a fiver and scowls.

So far we've seen the Quick Combat system used twice. How do you think it's working out? Would it be improved by adding more differentiation to the enemies being overcome (currently it's a flat TN 10, but I've contemplated making the TN = first Defense number + relevant combat skill)?


I think it's working perfectly, honestly. It serves its purpose well. I agree that any time you're wondering whether you need to adjust the TN to make the encounter more interesting, you should probably just have the fight out normally. Quick Combat worked really well for us breaking into the guy's room for the Rod of Asclepius. We settled it quickly and something interesting happened as Gernot had flashbacks and bled all over the hotel carpeting. Quick resolution with interesting plot and RP results is, like, the gold standard for RPG design, at least in my book. I wish this feature existed in other games.

Edited Mkamm (March 23, 2016 09:45:19)

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#5 March 23, 2016 12:10:15

Kat_Davis
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

Re: Wealth levels
I think that the Wealth level system works fine as abstract. I admit to being somewhat biased about this given my lack of desire to deal with the fiddliness of dollars and cents system, but I think that, as Matt said, allowing for somewhat hand-waving payments and the like is very in genre in theme. That said! I 100% support and would ask for a way to raise Wealth Level through traits. As someone who likes to occasionally play the Money Bags character, the fact that literally everyone starts with the same money amount, regardless of Lifestyle, is kind of a thing that was irksome. Like, Lifestyle is always going to equalize on Wealth, regardless of starting. I'd like to see a way to raise Wealth Level at chargen.

Re: Quick Combat
Mostly what everybody else said. Upping the TN will lead to people failing more often. Currently, I think it's hard to fail on anything less than a joker. I know that I'm beating a TN 10 with my gun on a 3 up. I think everybody else is similar with their favored pool. So I guess teh question is, do you want it to be actually hard? Or do you want it to be pretty much a sure thing?

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#6 March 23, 2016 13:42:25

Mkamm
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

If you succeed on a 3 up, that's still an 18% chance of failure or so, right? If you've got six people all making a Quick Combat draw with an 18% chance of failing each time, odds are actually pretty good that someone's gonna get hurt, but probably not everybody or even most people. That feels about right to me. That said, bumping it a little for more experienced heroes would probably be reasonable.

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#7 March 23, 2016 16:26:34

Micah
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

Good point and an interesting way of looking at it:

18%-18.5% (a little higher if you factor in Double Jacks and more chances of Jokering with Trumps and adders) of each person taking damage. So 82% chance of not taking damage for each person. With a group of 6 people, the odds of everyone in the group not taking damage is (82%)^6 or ~30%. This means a 70% chance of at least one person taking damage in each quick combat.

That feels sort of pulp to me.

“We won, but that random guy did manage to get you pretty well.”
“It was a lucky shot.”
“That you tripped into.”
“I don't want to talk about it.”

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#8 March 25, 2016 12:13:54

beholdsa
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

Last set of questions for this chapter. Please post an answer by next Wednesday if you want the point.

Another of the subsystems we've seen in use a few times by now is the social conflict system. It's pretty straight forward. My question is: How is it working out? Currently the only mechanical bit that matters is the total Mag from all three flips. Would the system be improved if winning individual flips had some sort of intermediate effect?

The chase system has come up twice now. How is it working out? Currently when you win an individual flip in a chase, you “get a leg up” and get a change to effect the chase in some regard. This is interesting, but my concern is that this exacerbates the “death spiral” of a chase. That is, if you win the first flip, not only do you have a head start that the other party has to overcome in subsequent flips, but the other party is quite possibly also penalized because you were able to take some “leg up” action against them to hinder them in some way. Thoughts?

Edited beholdsa (March 25, 2016 15:04:37)

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#9 March 25, 2016 14:49:56

Kat_Davis
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

Re: Social Combat -

It's cute. I don't necessarily think you need the added complication and the win of the individual flips contributes to flavor. I don't think it needs to contribute mechanically.


Re: The Chase -

I agree with that. It's also almost pointless to try to attack as opposed to get in a penalty because of their whole “full ap to dodge” thing. If you wanted to keep the losing flips matters thing, you could possibly let the lead on the chase get in a free attack that cannot be dodged? (Assuming they've spent all of their AP running and the Winner had a bit better time of it, allowing them to save an AP to fire off an attack). It also create an interesting dilemna of “Well, do you send your faster runner but perhaps not best combat guy out front or do you send your thug who might not be as fast?” IDK

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#10 March 26, 2016 00:21:33

DarkOni
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[Playtest] Dime Adventures

Social Contest - From what I've witnessed, I think it sounds cool the way it is.

The Chase - I'm not crazy about the “leg up” thing for the reason you describe. It feels like giving an advantage to someone already in the lead and making the rest of the chase less interesting, the death spiral thing.

What about the idea of waging distance? basically, you take a gamble on a short cut or pulling off an acrobatic move that allows you to close the gap or increase your lead. A person could perhaps wager up to their Speed in distance, maybe with a TN of 10 +1 or 2 for each distance. It's an all or nothing gamble, so either you hit the TN and gain ground, or you miss and fall behind.

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