Designer Diary - DSR's

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Gargoyle
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Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby Gargoyle » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:06 pm

https://www.ulisses-us.com/torg-designe ... gust-2018/

Just posting this here for discussion.

I don't have any real questions or comments, except that I like these posts as they add a lot of nuance to the rules. For instance, I don't believe it is mentioned in the core rules in TorgE or oTorg that you can use different skills for different steps, though it was presented that way in some published adventures and is something I've had a lot of success with. And I like the suggestion not to use too many DSR's. One per adventure is probably too many I'm finding out.
"That old chestnut?"

Gargoyle

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Spatula
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Re: Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby Spatula » Thu Aug 09, 2018 3:50 pm

One per adventure is too much?

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Atama
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Re: Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby Atama » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:13 pm

I assumed Gargoyle meant “once per act” which I would totally agree with. Maybe one or two per adventure is good. Otherwise they get so common they stop being as big a deal.
“You are a bad person, and should feel bad.”
-TorgHacker (being tongue-in-cheek :D)

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Greymarch2000
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Re: Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby Greymarch2000 » Thu Aug 09, 2018 4:18 pm

Spatula wrote:One per adventure is too much?


I think so actually, especially if you're playing a lot of one-act adventures. ;)

But really if there's always at least one every adventure the players will start reacting to them as being an expected part. "Oh here's the DSR" instead of being, well more dramatic. Of course the flip side is that there are cosm cards and abilities that affect DSRs so lessening the amount of of them lessens the usefulness of those.

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Gargoyle
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Re: Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby Gargoyle » Thu Aug 09, 2018 8:55 pm

Atama wrote:I assumed Gargoyle meant “once per act” which I would totally agree with. Maybe one or two per adventure is good. Otherwise they get so common they stop being as big a deal.


Yes, sorry, this is what I meant.
"That old chestnut?"

Gargoyle

mica
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Re: Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby mica » Fri Aug 10, 2018 11:33 am

Keeping to the Skill Resolution List
So far we have run through a a few DSR and it seems no matter how straightforward the list is, players immediately want to go off-piste. Every time they have an alternative approach to at least one step in the resolution if not attempting to by-pass the entire resolution. So the question is how draconian are other GM's in enforcing the resolution list?
If GM's allow alternative approaches do they leave the TN as is, modify it to what they think it should be or presume that the stated TN + Skill is considered the most efficient and always increase the TN if they allow skill substitution?

My approach so far has to allow reasonable swap-outs but of course players being players will always want to use swap outs to preferential skills.

fougerec
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Re: Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby fougerec » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:08 pm

I tend to present DSRs as steps to overcome a problem as opposed to specific skill usage.

Example - one of the DSRs in a published adventure (Heart of Ukhan) requires knocking over something heavy with a DC 18 Strength check. None of my PCs are strong, but I have a Telekenetic and a Mage with Mage Hands. They ask if they can use their powers.

The story result isn't a show of strength, it's moving a thing. How they move it is irrelevant to me. I figure that since they are doing, essentially, the same thing as the listed task the DN is the same.

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TorgHacker
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Re: Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby TorgHacker » Fri Aug 10, 2018 12:12 pm

Those powers are pretty specifically replacements for strength. But for “can I do X instead” I’d bump the DN at least by two.
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utsukushi
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Re: Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby utsukushi » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:32 pm

To some extent, while I accept that the model for DSRs is all built on assigning specific skills to use, I prefer just setting the tasks that need to be accomplished. Of course people are going to try to work it out using the skills they're best at - honestly, I do that IRL myself. If I have to do something, I'll generally try to do it using skills or tools that I have rather than the ones I don't... and if it really just requires ones I don't, I might do the best I can, or I might give up, or I might twist it to something I can do instead. (Usually Persuasion. "Um, would somebody super nice come do this for me?" To which, in RL, the answer is often, "Of course, that's my job. How does $70 an hour sound?")

With totally pre-planned and set skills for each step of the DSR, I run into two problems. First, of course, it's a bit railroad-y. I mean, it would be fair to point out that combat is generally covered by a certain set of skills (not in the Taken sense. ..Actually, exactly in the Taken sense, now that I think about it.) -- sorry. But the truth is, Torg: Eternity, and even oTorg to a lesser extent but remarkably well at that time, actually gets away from that. Not only does combat have a lot of skills to choose from, but Characters without direct combat skills can contribute very effectively in combat.

So why do DSRs suddenly bring you down to, "Only these four skills are allowed"? It's kind of jarring, and takes away a lot of player agency. Figuring out how to overcome a challenge is a lot more interesting than just being told, "You have to do this," and rolling for it.

Secondly, it takes away a lot of the GM's agency, too. If you're going to lock it down to specific skills, that means you really have to plan it around the characters. If you set a DSR with a skill they just don't have, that's, frankly, not fair, and rarely fun. If you set a DSR with a challenge that could most obviously be overcome with a skill they don't have, but a little creativity can get around that, that's both.

But after that it gets very situational, and I know that's not always comfortable, especially for less experienced GMs - so I do think the skill-based model is a good starting point, and I do think it makes sense to have something in mind as you build the challenges. But I'm not sure the consequences should always even be an increased difficulty.

For instance, say the group encounters a locked door, and nobody has Open Locks. Options run as follows:
1) Canonically, Open Locks is the only Skill that can fulfill this Step. Players can try Unskilled, of course, but chances are they just fail the DSR and everybody's mad because they never really had a chance.
2) Maybe somebody proposes Science as an alternative. "No, I don't know locks specifically, but I tinker with mechanics all the time, and it's a mechanical lock. I can figure it out." That warrants a slightly higher DN because indeed, they have to figure it out, and they probably don't have the right tools either, but maybe something that could work.
3) Maybe somebody proposes Energy Weapons as an alternative. "If I blow the lock off with my Electro-Ray, we can just walk through." That doesn't sound harder to me. If anything, that's probably easier. On the other hand, it's also noisy, obvious, and you can't close the door behind you, all of which seem worth keeping in mind as the scene moves ahead...

fougerec
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Re: Designer Diary - DSR's

Postby fougerec » Fri Aug 10, 2018 4:55 pm

utsukushi wrote:For instance, say the group encounters a locked door, and nobody has Open Locks. Options run as follows:
1) Canonically, Open Locks is the only Skill that can fulfill this Step. Players can try Unskilled, of course, but chances are they just fail the DSR and everybody's mad because they never really had a chance.
2) Maybe somebody proposes Science as an alternative. "No, I don't know locks specifically, but I tinker with mechanics all the time, and it's a mechanical lock. I can figure it out." That warrants a slightly higher DN because indeed, they have to figure it out, and they probably don't have the right tools either, but maybe something that could work.


I'm reminded of the safe cracking scene in Ant-Man :)

I fully think that a DSR should represent steps in solving a problem before time runs out as opposed to specific steps that need to be taken. Yes something they are blatantly obvious but players are generally a fairly creative bunch.


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