Resetting vs. refreshing Possibilities at the start of an act.

User avatar
Kuildeous
Posts: 1331
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby Kuildeous » Mon Jul 10, 2017 12:31 pm

Hobbes wrote:But multiple players constantly ending Scenes with more possibilities than they start with is a sign they are ready for more difficult challenges.


This is what I was getting at with my ravagon joke. The ravagon was a joke. The notion of upping the difficulty was not. If my players end the act with a surplus of Possibilities, then I have failed as a GM to challenge them. Now you could view it as punishing the players, but considering that they gained this surplus through my failure to challenge them, then I don't feel bad capping them off. Sometimes a GM's story is not as challenging as he thought, so the PCs breeze through it. Yep, those extra Possibilities are lost, but the players should have had fun getting them, which is my main goal.

And if the players know about the cap, then they can't feel ripped off about it. They'll realize quickly when they played too conservatively. Saving a cosm card for after the dramatic scene is going to be really risky. You may get a difficult encounter with very little payout. And besides, most acts do end with a dramatic scene, so it seems anticlimactic to throw in a random drone attack after you had already defeated Archbishop Hernandez.

I don't think it'll be a problem as long as everyone knows the cap is there.

I hadn't considered Gargoyle's point that one Storm Knight could have 20 Possibilities while everyone else is at 3. I'm in favor of avoiding this hypothetical.
The Boneyard – Friends and foes within Tharkold's Blasted Land

Infiniverse Exchange Word template – Infiniverse Exchange template for MS Word users

User avatar
dev/null
Posts: 188
Joined: Tue Dec 06, 2016 10:34 pm

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby dev/null » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:09 pm

One of my earlier posts contained my primary suggestion, which is to impose a soft cap for end of Act resets that is higher than the starting amount, and if I didn't include the number in my head is 6. So you'll refresh to 3, or reset to 6. But if you're rewarding players for things, or they feel the challenge of the Dramatic encounter isn't enough, and decide to make things more difficult via cosm card, etc. The reward for making a dramatic encounter even more difficult should not be to receive a reward and immediately have it taken away. Similarly, it's rare to have possibility rated foes outside of dramatic encounters, so that would be the primary place you'd find yourself likely to use a nemesis card. If you do that, and glory, you're already up 4 possibilities from whatever you had going in, never mind any cosm card challenges added by a jerk deciding you're going to lose some gear in the fight.

There's a limit to how many possibilities one can spend in a turn as well. That the stated reason of the reset is to prevent hoarding, but will equally punish those who are not hoarding at all, bothers me. The fact that the rules changed, not thematically, or to be consistent with other rules/mechanics, but simply to prevent something that is not just one of multiple reasons a situation can arise (more than three possibilities ending an act), but will actively punish players, even when they're spending plenty, and still earning more. Glories' increased hand size carries over into the next act, why can't some of our earned possibilities. We earned them. And without a sufficiently good reason beyond preventing hoarding for the rule's having been changed, I won't accept it. It's not a matter of house ruling it back to the way it was, or house ruling it to my suggested alternative. I think the rule change is fundamentally a punishment on players playing the game as intended, burning and earning possibilities.

There's little difference between dumping your cosm cards in the last fight, or scattered throughout the act, except how long you have the excess possibilities. Unless you're spending multiple scenes at zero, there is no difference in that you can come out the other end with more than 3. Though, maybe having seen I'm not talking about large numbers back in that first paragraph has made most of this post meaningless as 6 instead of 3 may not be what people think I've been talking about. I'm not looking for infinite possibility pools for as long as I feel like. But I think we should be able to go into the next act a little more full of energy if we did well. Be it because rolls mitigated the need for spending, good rolls on our end or bad on the DM's. Or if we spent plenty, and simply earned more through cards/glories. Could even just be that you're using cards as possibilities enough to keep your personals intact, balancing your spending between the two. Lots of reasons lead to this. And I think playtesting would support the conclusions drawn here. Just as I feel like even telling players that there is a reset at the end of an act won't change how they feel about things they earned at the end of the act being immediately lost. There's only so many you can spend, after all.

User avatar
TorgHacker
Posts: 4212
Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2016 6:40 pm

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby TorgHacker » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:29 pm

dev/null wrote:And I think playtesting would support the conclusions drawn here. Just as I feel like even telling players that there is a reset at the end of an act won't change how they feel about things they earned at the end of the act being immediately lost. There's only so many you can spend, after all.


FYI the reason for the change to resetting to three Possibilities was from playtesting. Once that change was made Possibilities flowed much more often and it was a significantly more enjoyable experience.
Deanna Gilbert
Torg Eternity designer
Ulisses North America

User avatar
Hobbes
Posts: 176
Joined: Sun Jul 02, 2017 10:35 am

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby Hobbes » Mon Jul 10, 2017 2:44 pm

Kuildeous wrote:
I hadn't considered Gargoyle's point that one Storm Knight could have 20 Possibilities while everyone else is at 3. I'm in favor of avoiding this hypothetical.


Separating XP and Possibilities should reduce this significantly in Torg Eternity. As a GM it's easy enough to correct, just shoot "that guy" some more :)

Honestly seems more like a table issue than a game issue though.

User avatar
Gargoyle
Posts: 1703
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 8:20 pm

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby Gargoyle » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:16 pm

Hobbes wrote:
Kuildeous wrote:
I hadn't considered Gargoyle's point that one Storm Knight could have 20 Possibilities while everyone else is at 3. I'm in favor of avoiding this hypothetical.


Separating XP and Possibilities should reduce this significantly in Torg Eternity. As a GM it's easy enough to correct, just shoot "that guy" some more :)

Honestly seems more like a table issue than a game issue though.


Some things about that:

- It wasn't hypothetical...it happened in my second campaign over a long period of time.
- The players actually didn't care as much they were still having a good time, it just rubbed me the wrong way and now and then annoyed them. But my enjoyment matters too, so it was an issue, just not a big one.
- Yes, I did 'shoot him some more'. And it was justified because the villains realized quickly he was the biggest threat. But I did not enjoy this solution, and I don't think he did.
- I could have fixed it with a short talk but I didn't. It was 25 years ago and my soft skills were not so good back then, I relied on good game rules and a socially friendly group, which is why I loved Torg so much, it's a pleasure to GM it. :)
- All that said, the purpose of the rules is to make the game more fun for everyone, GM included. I think having Possibilities spendable as XP was the root of the problem, not social problems or poor GM'ing.
- I honestly didn't think of it as rules problem at all until I saw what they were doing with Torg Eternity possibilities, and realized it was a fix for this.
- Maybe I should have dropped a ravagon on him!
"That old chestnut?"

Gargoyle

User avatar
Kuildeous
Posts: 1331
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby Kuildeous » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:42 pm

Gargoyle wrote:- It wasn't hypothetical...it happened in my second campaign over a long period of time.


Sorry, I meant hypothetical in TorgE. I've only run a half-dozen games, and I could see the potential when one game had everyone ending with 5-8 Possibilities. I was referring to the possibility of someone hoarding Possibilities without a cap (or a soft cap as per dev/null's suggestion).

Gargoyle wrote:- Maybe I should have dropped a ravagon on him!


Well, yeah.
The Boneyard – Friends and foes within Tharkold's Blasted Land

Infiniverse Exchange Word template – Infiniverse Exchange template for MS Word users

carldot34
Posts: 177
Joined: Fri Dec 16, 2016 12:16 pm

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby carldot34 » Mon Jul 10, 2017 3:56 pm

I think that should be code for any deserving player. "I could happily have dropped a ravagon on them!"

utsukushi
Posts: 854
Joined: Fri Feb 10, 2017 7:30 pm

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby utsukushi » Mon Jul 10, 2017 4:25 pm

I know that one of my biggest challenges as a player is using expendable resources. I always, always, always feel like I might need them more later. And usually I'm right, which doesn't help.

The intended "flow" for TorgE seems to be: You start with a few Possibilities. You use a couple. Needing more, you up the excitement with a card, replenishing your Possibilities at a cost. You spend a few more Possibilities. Someone ups the drama again. Then you reach the final scene -- which will generally start with the enemies having an advantage while the PCs build their card pool and trade cards to set up, before finally blowing out their cards and Possibilities and winning the day. Everybody goes home laughing and talking about The Awesome Thing I Did.

Once an Act ends and a new Act starts... the new Act usually builds up along that same flow, so they start slow, and you have time to rebuild.

I don't know. Speaking as someone who plays a lot more than GMs, I really do see both sides on this, which is tricksy. I can see how I'd be disappointed if I ended an Act with 7 Possibilities - having, very likely, put the whole group in danger a few times with my Cosm Cards to get those - and suddenly they don't matter.

On the other hand... I can't think of a better answer, frankly. Roll them over to the next Act? Now I'm worried that if I don't do that, I'm going to regret it next session. Convert them to XP? Now you're back to using Possibilities to advance, and that's something US fixed for a very good reason. Convert them into almost any other kind of reward? ...Same thing, really. Possibilities need to be their own reward.

I considered working it from the other side (and I bet they did, too) -- say, you can never have more than 6 Possibilities at a time, so once you have 6, anything that would earn you more is wasted. But people needing to earn more Possibilities is critical. Nobody's going to play a card that triggers a Dinosaur Attack if they don't need more Possibilities. Keeping yourself maxed-out would proof you against things like the Law of Decay; you could cheerfully lose a shoelace, since you're not going to gain anything anyway.

*Maybe* you could offer something different for the Possibility-granting cards in the final Scene of an Act. Say, they could take Possibilities if they want them, or they can boost the XP reward for the Act a little bit by making the final Scene more difficult. I'm not sure, though - that greys the line on not using Possibilities for XP and I don't know how it would work.

... Really, the way Acts are designed, that should be the right time to reset everything, but if it's not, that's easy to do - enough that that's really my best thought on this, despite my usual insistence that yes, House Rules work, but only if you're the GM.

Curiously, the way things are set up, I don't see people playing cards to make an encounter more difficult "because it's too easy". I see them doing it because they're almost out of Possibilities, which probably means things already aren't going their way. Which is an interesting dynamic. I don't know.

I think that should be code for any deserving player. "I could happily have dropped a ravagon on them!"

Oops! Clumsy me, always dropping my ravagons. Good thing they're not fragile!

User avatar
Kuildeous
Posts: 1331
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 1:41 pm

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby Kuildeous » Mon Jul 10, 2017 6:10 pm

utsukushi wrote:Curiously, the way things are set up, I don't see people playing cards to make an encounter more difficult "because it's too easy". I see them doing it because they're almost out of Possibilities, which probably means things already aren't going their way. Which is an interesting dynamic. I don't know.


The lure of extra Possibilities is of course a pretty good incentive, but some players do it to shake things up. The cards help the GM write more of the story and extend it by an additional scene or two.

I could see where the PCs meet up with a tribe of humans, and there's a Romance card that gets things steamy in the jungle. There's also a Personal Stake as a PC recognizes a transformed human as Bill from Accounting. There's a lull in the action as there is some good character-building going on. Then suddenly a dinosaur attacks because it's the Living Land of course.

While running the demos, I had a lot of "What's this do" moments. I expect to see those every time I introduce my players to a new realm. For some, I know the novelty will never wear off.
The Boneyard – Friends and foes within Tharkold's Blasted Land

Infiniverse Exchange Word template – Infiniverse Exchange template for MS Word users

User avatar
Rabbitball
Posts: 667
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2016 7:41 pm

Re: Preview #9 - The Drama, Destiny, and Cosm Decks

Postby Rabbitball » Mon Jul 10, 2017 8:32 pm

TorgHacker wrote:
dev/null wrote:And I think playtesting would support the conclusions drawn here. Just as I feel like even telling players that there is a reset at the end of an act won't change how they feel about things they earned at the end of the act being immediately lost. There's only so many you can spend, after all.


FYI the reason for the change to resetting to three Possibilities was from playtesting. Once that change was made Possibilities flowed much more often and it was a significantly more enjoyable experience.


I think we're talking past each other here.

TorgHacker is apparently dealing with people who will hoard Possibilities for the sake of hoarding them. Once they realized that it doesn't matter whether you end the act at 5 Possibilities or zero, you were starting the next act at 3, they were more liberal in spending and things went better.

dev/null's group (which I can speak about confidently as I am the GM) has a different problem. They aren't afraid to spend what is needed; they are more concerned with "losing" what they have "earned". One player has gone so far as to say, "If we lose Possibilities at the end of the act, then that tells me never to end an act." (direct quote)

So which should be the main rule? On that, I would probably defer to the people who have been designing and playtesting the game, as they have far more data points than I have. But as for my game, I am more than happy to cater to the human nature that exists at my table. It's not like I can't find things for them to spend their "earned" Possibilities on... :mrgreen: :twisted:
Dominick Riesland, aka Rabbitball
Creator of the Cosmversal Grimoire
"Those who will not follow are doomed to lead"—Anarchist, Magic: the Gathering
Invertebrate punster—spinelessly unable to resist making a pun. "So slug me!"


Return to “Rules Questions (TORG)”

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 6 guests