Author Topic: Spoony: Stealing the Spotlight, Game Logic, and Burnt Wookies  (Read 2668 times)

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Spoony: Stealing the Spotlight, Game Logic, and Burnt Wookies
« on: October 30, 2011, 01:54:21 AM »

His "All Jedi or no Jedi" reminded me of Wizards.  Sure, the party can do other things, but if your Wizard is meant to win the fight, why do (or be) anything else?
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Speaking of which:
Don't even need TO for this.  Any decent Hood build, especially one with Celerity, one-rounds [Azathoth, the most powerful greater deity from d20 Cthulu].
Does it bug anyone else that we've reached the point where characters who can obliterate a greater deity in one round are considered "decent?"


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Re: Spoony: Stealing the Spotlight, Game Logic, and Burnt Wookies
« Reply #1 on: October 30, 2011, 03:14:16 AM »
"Fair" and "cinematic" are silly things to expect when your players are drawing on the example of Han Solo, a man who shot Greedo in the face just because he thought about turning Han in for the bounty and whose reaction on turning the corner and seeing Darth Vader was drawing his blaster and trying to shoot Vader in the face. The lesson we can take from that isn't that "everyone's a Jedi or no one's a Jedi," because that's a silly restriction to put on your players, but that if you want things to turn out in the same style as Star Wars (or more broadly, if you want them to be enjoyable), you should be designing your encounters so they aren't flattering one player or group of players too much. Stormtroopers are much more common than Sith Lords, which means that a fight with a Sith Lord is going to be more special and memorable than a fight with TKs-421 through 430, which means that the other players are going to feel cheated if they don't get to participate in some meaningful way. And that doesn't mean shooting the Sith Lord's bodyguards.

Part of the problem is that people think Jedi should be something special, and in-universe they totally are. They have mystic powers that science can't really explain (we're not going to listen to Lucas on the midichlorians), there are very few of them, they fight with a special weapon that pretty much requires superhuman focus to use without cutting your own foot off, etcetera. From a mechanics standpoint, though, it's terrible design to say that Luke is any more powerful than Lando, because then Lando's player feels shafted.

In Star Wars, you don't see situations like the one Spoony describes, and that's because George Lucas makes a much better encounter designer than dialogue writer. Lando isn't accompanying Luke to fight Vader because he's too busy flying around and blowing up the second Death Star, and Leia and Han aren't with him because they're taking out the shield generator, and C-3PO isn't with any of those guys while all this is happening because he's using his diplomatic skills to get the Ewoks to attack the stormtroopers. Without Lando, the Death Star just keeps blowing up the Mon Cal capital ships. Without Leia and Han, Lando can't do a damned thing. Without Luke, Vader and the Emperor would have had their attentions focused on the situation and probably could have escaped to cause more trouble or mounted a counter-offensive. And without Threepio and the Ewoks, the Rebel strike team gets arrested by the Imperials again with Vader and the Emperor a few minutes of shuttle travel away.

It takes a lot more prepwork, but it can be done. Just not very easily.


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Re: Spoony: Stealing the Spotlight, Game Logic, and Burnt Wookies
« Reply #2 on: October 30, 2011, 05:42:50 AM »
Yeah, there is more than winning at stake(which does not excuse bad game design but eh), its more placing each character where they can make an impact on the scenario. This is problematic with party based games, where a default assumption is the whole party moves as one unit, and with combat based games, where the default conflict is martial in nature(and thus, the best way of killing things and not being killed, in that order, wins).

What you need to deal with power and focus discrepancy is breaking the one cardinal rule of GMing, Don't Split The Party. Divide them up by role and strengths, and place appropriate conflict therein. The problem again with that, is when you have multiple characters specialized in the same field, and a power gap is highly apparent.

White Wolf games do it slightly better in that regard. The starting premise of their supernatural lines are basically 'ok you're a Jedi, what sort?', so everyone is on the same starting supernatural footing. The 'expected' party(in quotes because few people actually run it straight like that), would have one character of each specialty archetype: Bruiser, Diplomat, Handyman(lore, tools, etc), Sneak and Special, and due to the basic game mechanic, competence gap grows slowly.
The problem of course, arises when you have games where one type of challenge becomes more common, most often in Bruising and Diplomacy, where you can have entire sessions based on them. Some fields are just harder to provide for than others.
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