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Ian Cooper

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About Ian Cooper

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    Senior Member

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  • RPG Biography
    30 year veteran of BRP games including Call of Cthulhu & Runequest. More than 10 year veteran of HeroQuest (Hero Wars etc.). Published Gloranthan author. Active gamer with the Monday Nighters.
  • Current games
    HeroQuest: Glorantha, Call of Cthulhu, Fiasco, Puppetland, Numenera, The Clay that Woke, Microscope, Risus, Questlandia, 13th Age, The One Ring
  • Location
    London, England, UK
  • Blurb
    Software Developer in London, conference speaker, tabletop gamer, geek. Tattooed, pierced, and bearded.

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  1. Ian Cooper

    Feedback on new improvement proposals sought

    A comment from the group today -- we are still playt-esting the previous proposal was that all earned experience points go into a pool, which then gets divided among all the players at the end. This keeps less 'active' players in the game and helps with group contest results (just put into the pool points for *their* victory). I'd also not let you earn XP from a contest you spend hero points on A variation that occurred to me is to give players no hero points at the start of session, but let them take an XP out of the pool to use as one, during the game. As this is a shared pool, this would discourage frivolous hero point spend.
  2. Ian Cooper

    Feedback on new improvement proposals sought

    Well, we are playing with the alternative right now, which is cementing a benefit using experience points. See the thread above. It has the benefit of mapping the improvement to something that happens in play, but there appear to be costs. Bear with me. Imagine your character sheet has two halves. On the right we have abilities, on the left consequences and benefits. The things on the left-hand side relate to narrative events -- I tend to relate them to the prize for the contest. A typical example might be +3 to influencing Broddi Strong-Kin, or +6 to intimidating the Emerald Sword. Now, in our above approach what you can do is move something from the left to the right, cement it as ability. Now by being less effective, we let you be less specific in the transfer. So when your +6 to intimidating the Emerald Sword comes across, we might let you take +3 in Mercenary instead. In play though this seems to have had the effect of complicating the handling of benefits and consequences. Players seem to be confused between a benefit, a breakout ability etc. If I say you can have a +3 to influence Broddi is that a breakout under my Red Cow keyword or a temporary modifier that will expire. Now this could just be that I have explained it badly, that we need a better character sheet etc. Not sure. Second, good rolls provide the opportunity for advancement, so players can feel advancement becomes a question of luck. And of course, rate of advancement can always be tweaked to suit your group, if we explain how that works.
  3. Ian Cooper

    Feedback on new improvement proposals sought

    I'm having a peer at how Prince Valiant does this, because it is part of HeroQuest's DNA. So Prince Valiant uses Fame for experience points. In essence, you gain fame by doing deeds that bring you renown, and it has the in-world effect of making you well known. You average about 200 fame an episode, and get an advance about every 5 sessions. There is a system for figuring out Fame, its about 100 points for showing up, then a 100 points for each significant obstacle you over come, per round of mass combat you survive (i.e. a battle etc). It is capped at 500 for a session. Now knocking off the grandiose zeros you get something like 10XP to earn an advance, 1-5XP per session, averaging 2. That gives us an advance about every 5 sessions, on average. Of course, resistance does not increase in this system. Now some kind of mirror might be that we give you 1XP for showing up. 1XP for any Major+ victory or any Major- defeat (failure can be a teacher, if you survive). Capped out at 5XP a session. Then when you get to advance you can two from the following. You can take any one item only once, and you cannot apply the improvement to the same ability or keyword (or keyword that an improved ability was a break-out ability for. +9 to an ability or +6 to a keyword + 6 to another ability or +3 to another keyword A new ability at 13 A new ability at 13 I'm hoping to hear suggestions for refinement of the list, but I do want to give out significant bonuses. Remember, at this rate, it will only happen once every 5 sessions, so getting a mastery on a keyword would take you 20 sessions of spending your main increase on that ability. I am tempted also to improve XP handouts for any kind of result beyond marginal: 1 for minor, 2 for major, 3 for complete, but remove the 'showing up' bonus and lower the cap to three. That way, every contest that has a significant result gets you something, but we still cap out to control how fast you can advance. A complete victory or defeat is overwhelming in learning terms at that point. Of course, overall, we have additional bookkeeping beyond the benefits and consequences, which is what that system helps avoid. Does that seem any better?
  4. Ian Cooper

    HQ at Archon 42

    Great job Jon
  5. Ian Cooper

    Bring Out Your Dead

    Thanks, I had forgotten all about that sheet, and it is a really useful summary of the rules. I will try to include something like that
  6. Ian Cooper

    PDF & Paper Copy Request

    That is the plan. There will be a new core book with plenty of play advice and some example genre packs. No dates as yet.
  7. Ian Cooper

    Greg Stafford Condolence Thread

    It's funny to write something, about my relationship with Greg. As a teenager his worlds inspired my imagination. Glorantha loomed larger in my imagination than Middle Earth for how I saw the heights of secondary world creation. As a young man I was inspired by his explorations into his mythologies in the '90s and '00s in his unfinished works. It was rich and complex, and his habit of creating via in-world documents remains for me the way to to create, whilst still leaving room for others. I was thrilled when he asked me to write for Hero Wars. A simple scenario, Blood Feud, but he spent time to help me understand how to write for this industry. He could be hard, but you learned if you listened. It began a journey in TTRPG writing that continues to this day. Even when we were writing The Eleven Lights, Greg was there scratching out the diagram of the Three New Stars heroquest. Another in-world document, to inspire. Greg dreamed of a group of writers who could take Glorantha forward. Teenage me would have been flabbergasted to know that I would be counted among that group by Greg. I have no words that can express my gratitude to someone who let me partake of their own creativity, to drink deep from the well, to inspire my own. He once told me that he was able to share because he found the creativity that others found so hard, so easy. I got to know Greg at Tentacles, Eternal Con, and Kraken. We talked. I played in games he ran (he was notoriously an 'evil GM'). Funnily, outside of panels, or projects, we rarely talked about Glorantha or gaming. We talked about our lives, about our shared politics, stories of our past (of which he had so many). He was there for me through the break up of my first marriage, always a source of wisdom and advice. My family and I called him and Suzanne friends. I knew this day would come, but not so soon. I hoped to see Greg again, at least one more time. Sit with him over a cup of coffee at a GenCon, and tell him about my daughter. I'll miss him. Those that don't know him might not understand his impish sense of fun, or irreverence in person. He was always the trickster. Even the tales of his own past were often at his own expense. I remember him saying that his Glorantha was a place of "belly laughs" and wondering if people 'had fun at their table'. That lesson stuck with me recently. When you play an RPG, you should be having fun. Greg knew that, always. As someone who is often far too serious, I value that he tried to make me laugh so many times. In some ways, the ducks say everything about who Greg was. For some reason, when I think about his passing, I think about this quote from Lord of the Rings: “Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.” ― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King
  8. Ian Cooper

    Feedback on new improvement proposals sought

    One alternative would be to give XP for something else. HQ is not BRP though, so I am unsure that simply using a skill, or failing to use a skill is right. ideas like The Shadow of Yesterday/Solar System (itself inspired Hero Wars) of player setting two or three goals, and then gaining XP when they work towards those might also work.
  9. Ian Cooper

    Feedback on new improvement proposals sought

    We still use catch up when something breaks the mastery barrier
  10. Ian Cooper

    Feedback on new improvement proposals sought

    Yeah, I would like to include some of the Nameless Streets options. TBH though, if you have to track checks, that is more than tracking benefits of victory, which you already have to to check. It also doesn't really speak to keywords vs. breakouts.
  11. Ian Cooper

    Feedback on new improvement proposals sought

    Thanks, I like that.
  12. Ian Cooper

    Feedback on new improvement proposals sought

    Some great feedback guys thanks. I am currently playtesting story progression and using the experience points points based buy, but with hero points. However, it hits a little problem in that all the improvements tended to be essentially breakouts like +3 to your relationship with Broddi under Red Cow community. There needed to be a way to improve the keyword, not just a breakout from it IMO. So we had two options (1) Increase the keyword by +1, +2 or +3 instead, trading it for the +3, +6, +9 (2) have double point cost for keywords (the approach we use elsewhere). I decided I prefer (2). But we have a problem, we don't want HP to accumulate. We saw a lot negative results in play with people saving them up to blitz a result. So, we decided to make HP a 'use 'em or lose em' deal. But this means, you would never accumulate enough HP to do more than permanently increase a keyword by +3. We don't allow part by, so that makes opportunities slim. But if we change to XP and allow those to accumulate.... One alternative here would be to translate unspent hero points into XP at the end of a session. They could then be accumulated, but not only used for improvements. That would keep the existing 3HP rule across the board, but remove the accumulation issue, without penalty. Would that address any concerns?
  13. Ian Cooper

    Feedback on new improvement proposals sought

    it is worth noting that these approaches are not intended to produce the same result i.e. the hero points and experience points approaches are not intended to produce the same average improvement over x many sessions
  14. Hi all, It is time to get your feedback on new mechanisms for handling improvement. There are two aspects to the changes: (1) when the base resistance increases (2) how you improve abilities. Just as note, we have made benefits and consequences more symmetrical, but that is not the object of debate in this thread. I am interested in your feedback on the Experience Points and Story Progression options. This is a current draft of my thoughts, but I would love to hear what you think. Resistance Progression Your GM may decide that resistance to your actions gets harder, as the campaign progresses. This reflects the trope of the type of challenges you face getting tougher as you improve. Session Progression In this case, after four sessions of play, your GM will increase base resistance by 1. After every subsequent two-session interval, it increases by another point. Story Progression Your GM may also prefer a strategy that mimics a TV show more where the resistance does not increase during a season of the show, allowing our protagonists to get more competent as the show progresses towards its climax. In the next season though the resistance usually goes up, and the writers reflect this with more challenging opposition in the new season of the show. In that case your GM should bump the resistance by +3, +6 or +9 for the next campaign you play with the same characters. The size of the change should reflect the increase in your previous abilities in the last campaign. For example, if in the last season you increased your occupation keyword by +6, your GM may decide to increase the resistance by +3 or +6 to reflect the more challenging opposition in the new campaign. No Progression Your GM may also decide that the resistances do not get harder as the campaign progresses, reflecting the PCs ability to disregard minor challenges, and simply choose harder resistances to challenge the players --------------------------------------------------- Improving Your Character We present two approaches to improvement, your GM will choose one. Improvements happen at the end of a session. Hero Points You may improve any ability by 1 point per session, at a cost of 1 HP. It costs 1 HP to raise a single breakout ability under the keyword, or 2 HPs to raise the entire keyword or runic affinity by a point. You can add a new ability by spending 1 HP; it begins with a rating of 13. You can add a new breakout ability by spending 1 HP; it begins with a rating of +1 to the keyword it modifies Experience Points Experience Points (XP) require more bookkeeping but improvements are driven by events in the story. Instead of receiving 3 HPs at the beginning of a session you receive 1 HP and 2 XPs. Unused HPs still expire at the end of the session, but XPs can accumulate across sessions. You can use XPs to either cement a Benefit of Victory or add a new ability with a rating of 13. You must spend XPs at the end of a session. HPs cannot be used for improvement. The cost to cement a Benefit of Victory is 1 XP for +3, 2 XPs for +6, and 3 XPs for +9. If you want to cement the benefit against a keyword, rather than a stand alone ability, then it costs 2 XPs for +3, 4 XPs for +6, and 6 XPs for +9. You cannot cement a +W. Once the bonus is cemented the ability is permanently raised by the given amount. You can only spend points to cement the whole Benefit not a part of it. For example, if your PC has is +3 on their Avenge my Father ability of 3M, you can spend 2 XPs to cement the benefit and make your ability 9M, but you cannot spend 1 XP to increase your ability as though it were +3 to 6M. Once your GM rules that a Benefit has expired, you may no longer cement it. You must provide a story-reason why the experience has led to you learning something that improves your ability. The main reason for this is to prevent you seeking out weak resistances just to improve your PC. Your GM must genuinely feel that this was a moment where we see your hero grow as a result of their experience. Your GM may decide that the Consequences of Defeat are sufficiently dire that time itself will not erase the penalty. For example, in a sword-fight you might have suffered a permanent injury such as loss of a limb, a relationship may be permanently damaged, your actions might be forgiven but will never be forgotten. To cement a Consequence your GM must give you 1 XP for a Hurt, 2 XP for Impaired, 3 XP for Injured. The penalty should be applied to an ability. Your GM will double the XP reward for penalizing a keyword, 2 XP for a Hurt, 4 XP for Impaired, 6 XP for Injured. For obvious reasons, your GM cannot cement a Dying consequence. In addition, you cannot simply spend the XP to restore the ability that was just damage; there must be a story reason as to why you can now spend XP to improve that ability. For example, you may seek out magical or super-science healing to restore a damaged limb. Alternatively, you may choose to immediately use the XP to cement existing benefits on other abilities that can be justified by the story, trusting to be able to improve the damaged abilities later, or never.
  15. Ian Cooper

    About slavery

    Here is what I wrote for that game: The Noose The Noose is a spell of compulsion known to the Darleester cult. It is a sorcerous spell, not rune magic. The spell is used to enchant a slave collar which can be forced to tighten on the instruction of the caster, strangling the wearer. The caster may choke the victim simply as a lesson that leaves them gasping for breath, or to kill them. Slave collars vary in material, but the cost of enchanting a collar, as opposed to simply ordering an overseer to beat a slave to death, means they tend to be made for slaves that the caster has trusted with autonomy and some authority. As such they are often ornate bronze collars, some, for particularly valued slaves even of gold. The collar is a reminder to the slave that their owner does not accept disobedience or failure.
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