Monday, May 11, 2009

Trigger Discipline: Brainstorming Update

This latest bit of work I've been doing on Trigger Discipline has been putting me in mind of my thoughts on GNS theory. My argument in the past has been that striving to have a game whose simulationist, gamist and narrativist aspects are all not only high quality but work in harmony with one another will ultimately lead to a noticeably better product.

I still believe that. It's just that. . .well, I never said that actually pulling it off would be easy. The more values you attempt to keep in mind, the bigger the chance that one of them will clash with whatever you're attempting. It's very important that Trigger Discipline's rules encourage funny, over-the-top roleplaying and player narration rather than interfering with it, but I'd really like there to be a decent metagame strategy to the whole thing as well.

Right now, I'm toying with a couple different ideas. . .

First off is a gameplay change that I've been hoping do do for a while now: players have a set number of dice each turn and can designate each one as being a Trait, GAR or Power die. You can have all your dice be rolled for GAR, since as long as you roll more GAR successes than your opponent you'll win the round; but it'll be the smallest possible victory, and the odds of actually rolling a GAR success on each die are low enough that bad luck will always be a danger. When dueling against another PC-level opponent, this mechanic would make for a great deal of he-knows-I-know-he-knows mind games (against either the GM or another player); to avoid an rpg where the GM is constantly playing this overclocked version of rock-paper-scissors against his players, I think it'd be wiser to have most encounters dollow some manner of "preprogrammed" die-allocation method that the players are aware of. That way they're only strategizing against the dice, with duels against major characters being the exciting wild-card encounters.

Another concept I'd like to implement is that of conflict escalation. The idea here is that as a given encounter progresses, greater degrees of success and failure become possible for both sides, thanks in part to stronger techniques becoming available.

To implement these two ideas, I'd like to alter the implications of each degree of end-of-round success. (Note to self: come up with a different term for individual die successes, to avoid confusion.) A single success (i.e. you rolled 1 or more successes with one die type) increases the roller's die pool by one for the rest of the encounter. A double success nets (or costs) your team a victory point (the new term for the thing you have to amass a given amount of to beat the encounter). A triple success nets you a point of fanbase or, when your enemy rolls it, costs you a point of plot armor (which I still might be folding into fanbase's functionality).

The issue with all this is that it might make the current traits system rather awkward and superfluous. It'll require some testing to know for sure. Right now the idea of escalation granting access to more powerful "techniques"- which I can represent by banning a trait until the die pool's size equals that of that trait's score- has minimal bearing on the margin of success. I don't want to shift things around too much, but I *would* like to fix that.

1 comment:

vazor said...

Hmm sounds pretty difficult indeed. I think the idea of preset allocations works well, and anything you can do to add tactical/gameplay fun to the side goals (doing things in a certain role - leader, helper, victim, loner, etc) would be awesome as well.