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clarence

A Game Within a Game

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Yesterday my character Krys Noim ended up in a shabby 1930s dockside bar in downtown Glimminge, playing a game of poker with the gangsters running the place. This is how I did it. 

 

Using an extended conflict (with conflict pools calculated from characteristics), similar to the rules in Revolution d100, worked very well. 

1. Choose the type of game - card games, dice, chess, etcetera. (This does not affect the following rules). 

2. In a high-level gaming environment, a successful Gaming skill roll may be needed to be allowed to participate. 

3. Calculate the conflict pools of all PCs involved: (INT+POW) divided by 2. This will be the equivalent of hit points, with Gaming as the "attack" skill. (A typical conflict takes 3-4 rounds to resolve - use INT+POW straight for the game to last longer). 

4. Determine the "gaming stats" of NPCs as follows (if you don't already know them): 

Low-level/casual/beginner: Gaming 30%, Conflict pool 6.

Mid-level/regular/knowledgable: Gaming 50%, conflict pool 11. 

High-level/proffessional: Gaming 70%, conflict pool 16. 

5. Place your bets. The GM and players come to an agreement about the size of the bets. 

6. Start playing! Use opposed rolls, with the highest success in Gaming skill winning the round. The winner deals 1d6 damage to every other participant (only roll damage once per round - everyone takes the same amount of damage). 

When a PC/NPC is reduced to a conflict pool of zero, s/he is out of the game. 

The last PC/NPC to have a conflict pool left wins the game. Now, either the winner takes it all, or the money is divided according to how many rounds each player won. (Example: Four players bet €100 each; €400 in total. The game lasted four rounds, with player 1 winning three (and winning the entire game) and player 2 winning one round. Player one gets €300 and player 2 €100. Or player 1 wins all €400). 

 

Cheating: To be able to cheat the skill Sleight of Hand is required. For every successful Sleight of hand roll, the cheater gets a +10% bonus on his/her Gaming skill the same round. Failure gives no bonus and the other card players will detect the cheating with a successful Spot roll. For more elaborate setups prepared beforehand, a larger bonus can be used. 

All in all, it turned out to be a quick and exciting way to resolve a situation like this. The actual dice rolling moment raised the intensity of the session in a way not far from a real poker game. At the same time it was fast paced enough to not bog down the scenario. 

(Krys Noim won big : ) His high Gaming skill (80%) saved him, despite his rather ordinary pool (11). The others may hold a grudge with him though... Not the best place to make enemies). 

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I'm happy you like it. I've been experimenting with all kinds of conflicts using similar rules and it works really well. And as you say, it stays very close to the original BRP rules. Turning other situations than combat into extended conflicts has been an eye opener - it brings a lot of variation and creativity into the sessions. 

Next up is a gangster dinner party as an extended conflict : )

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This is similar to the RQ Spirit Combat system which worked on POW vs. POW and the winner inflicted D3 damage. However, your system covers more than just spirit combat. STR+SIZ as the conflict pool, then opposed Grapple/Wrestle (even Martial Arts) rolls might work to simulate an arm wrestling contest. The loser takes no physical damage (just a bruised pride).

A nice system all round.

Colin

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Yes, arm wrestling is perfect for this system. 

I also had a character participate in a car race today (1930s race cars are fantastic btw!) and it went very smoothly. Skill: Drive (Automobile), conflict pool DEX. 

For sports, contests and games including multiple participants, it makes sense to run the conflict until only one person is left (ie. has a pool above zero). In social situations on the other hand, it seems more logical to allow several "winners" (unless it's a straightforward bargain or persuasion). That's how I used the system for the gangster banquette: If a pool remained above zero at the end of the dinner, the person made a good impression (very good if above half the pool). If a pool dropped to zero, the person made a bad impression. 

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10 minutes ago, clarence said:

For sports, contests and games including multiple participants, it makes sense to run the conflict until only one person is left (ie. has a pool above zero). In social situations on the other hand, it seems more logical to allow several "winners" (unless it's a straightforward bargain or persuasion). That's how I used the system for the gangster banquette: If a pool remained above zero at the end of the dinner, the person made a good impression (very good if above half the pool). If a pool dropped to zero, the person made a bad impression. 

Now this is an excellent idea. It adds more detail to the Opposed Skill Rolls (BGB p.173) rules and allows a participant to be "almost the best", which, from a Social roleplaying point of view, gives the "loser" a chance to redeem themselves or say "I'll get you next time".

 

Do you have written notes on this? I'm sure they would be welcome in the downloads section.

Regards,

Colin

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I am happy that the basic concepts of Revolution D100 are starting to become a commonly accepted solution :)

For card games, I like your solution very much, it is perfectly in line with the standard suggestion in RD100 of "average two characteristics if there is not one that works straightforward".

For racing conflicts, DEX is the quickest option and is already a satisfactory solution, but the next iteration of RD100 will offer the opportunity of using an attribute of the vehicle instead of the driver. This will pave the way for the introduction of more complex vehicle construction rules - like your own Starships.

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Yes, the Revolution is spreading : ) 

This concept is very powerful, Paolo. Thanks for introducing these thoughts to me. It really breathes new life into BRP for me. Looking forward to the next iteration of RD100. 

One thing I've been thinking about is when the opposition is not a person. If I want to pick a lock as an extended contest, I have to assign the lock/door a percentage and a pool. But what do these values represent? The pool feels pretty straightforward, but the percentage - the lock is after all not an active opponent. What are your thoughts on this Paolo?

@ColinBrett I'm happy you like it! I can write the procedure down step by step (for the dinner party) and post it here at least. 

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Ok, here are the steps I used to play the dinner party as an extended conflict. The setting is the 1930s alternate Earth of Odd Soot, the world book I'm doing for BRP Space at the moment. 

1. Use CHA (APP) as conflict pool and almost any communication skill for skill rolls. 

2. Pick 1-6 NPCs as the main participators. If there are more people attending the dinner, treat them as subordinates to the main NPCs (and ignore them to simplify the setup). 

3. Define the NPCs conflict values as follows (if you don't already have them):

Low-level: Any communication skill 30%, CHA (APP) 6

Mid-level: Any communication skill 50%, CHA (APP) 11

High-level: Any communication skill 75%, CHA (APP) 16

4. Decide how long the party will last. 

5. Play the dinner! Make a skill roll every half hour the dinner party lasts. Only those failing their rolls takes damage. The person with the highest success rolls the damage (1d6) and everyone takes the same amount of damage  

6. When the time is up, participants have made it through the banquette according to the points they have left in their pools:

- Zero. The character made a lousy impression. S/he won’t be invited again, will have a bad reputation in these circles and won’t easily get a job or information from these people. Will be at -10% in communication skills in these circles. 

- Below half their pool. The outcome is neutral. Nothing special happens. Social diposition +/-0.

- More than half the pool left. S/he made a good impression. S/he will be invited again and will be favorably met in the future (+10% Social Disposition). 

In addition, for every successful roll the character makes, there is a chance that something interesting and useful is revealed. It can be related to the scenario or not, and can be secrets overheard, rumors, new business relations presented, love affairs implicitly indicated, etcetera. The GM may want to prepare beforehand what tidbits are revealed and how many successful rolls it takes to get each of them. (Example: Kris Noim is invited to a fancy dinner held by a criminal network in Glimminge. Earlier that day he had ran into an old enemy, Egil Hermstad. The GM decides that if Kris makes three successful rolls (out of five), he will overhear a conversation about what his old enemy is up to these days. Kris' player is lucky with the dice, and makes the three rolls despite having Bargain at 60%. This information will eventually lead to a new scenario, with Kris getting help from a Wittenberg Priest to stop a magical portal from opening). 

 

This worked really well in play. Rolls were made after the players declared roughly what to say, who they spoke to, how they answered etcetera. Roleplaying and dice rolling were supporting each other.

Two things stood out as especially interesting. First, the use of various skills brought some social definition to all the characters, both PCs and NPCs. A person using Persuade made a different impression than someone using Etiquette or Perform (Theatre). Not unlike the choice of weapons in a regular combat!

Second, playing the party this way tied directly into the scenario, providing clues and improving the character's relation with these people. Kris made it through elegantly, and this might even be the start of a longer and deeper connection. 

 

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Clarence,

Thanks for the information. I've grabbed a copy into my house rules folder. This looks perfect for the BRP 40K rules I'm working on. It would fit nicely with trade negotiations. Mind if I incorporate your suggestion into the 40K rules?

Colin

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Sure, go ahead! I'm just happy if you can find a use for it. Looking forward to your work on 40K!

At the moment I'm putting all my ideas and examples of conflict resolution into a new chapter to be included in both BRP Space and Odd Soot. It will replace and expand on the social conflict rules I had earlier - and be both more flexible and detailed. 

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This is very interesting and useful, Clarence. A couple of brief comments

On 12/4/2016 at 0:41 PM, clarence said:

Low-level: Any communication skill 30%, CHA (APP) 6

Mid-level: Any communication skill 50%, CHA (APP) 11

High-level: Any communication skill 75%, CHA (APP) 16

 

 

 

One of the benefits of the "skill + resolution point pool" model is that it keeps the model "bi-dimensional", decoupling the amount of damage you can take from the likelihood of losing an exchange. In this way you can easily portray the "nice young guy" who has no diplomatic experience but sometimes win a confrontation because his CHA is so high that he can gain the upper hand with one single lucky roll.

For this reason, I would suggest to not give high or low APP ratings to individuals to represent their "level" as opponents, but to go with the 10 or 3d6 standard values, and apply variations to skill level only. Pre-established NPCs being the exception to this rule, of course.

Quote

This worked really well in play. Rolls were made after the players declared roughly what to say, who they spoke to, how they answered etcetera. Roleplaying and dice rolling were supporting each other.

This point is paramount. The main (and only) difficulty in this kind of approach is integrating the extended procedure with roleplaying without it "getting in the way". With Task Resolution, the "punctuated" nature of the rolls the GM calls for helps integrate mechanics into the narration seamlessly. As this kind of resolution requires "rounds" for everything, it is important that every action a character makes be integrated into roleplayng as naturally as possible. This is particularly true for social interactions, where some players really prefer to "act out" what they are doing. The fact that you report a successful use of extended conflict rules with a positive impact on roleplaying is very encouraging for me.

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Thanks for the comments Paolo! Yes, it did work out well, though so far only tested on a small, tight group. I will keep you posted on how it develops. 

Re the power/difficulty levels I think you are spot on. I think I will keep my values for clarity, but stress your points in the accompanying text. 

I also ran a couple of combats using this system. I've done that before, but the difference this time was that I kept the conflict pool (CON+SIZ)/2 separate from hit points. This allowed me to have quick non-lethal combats, where characters lost consciousness at a pool of zero (instead of dying). Every time a pool reaches zero, the character looses an additional 1d4 hit points. It turned out to be an easy way to separate deadly violence from more benign fights. 

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For gambling:

1)Wouldn't it be better if the Conflict Pool was tied to the bankroll the character's had?

For instance, 1 point per L100 or some such?

2) Likewise, wouldn't it be better if the the damage die rolled was based on the bet size? 

For example, you could do a round of betting, and a character could choose to keep things the same or raise the stakes, which ups the damage die a step. 

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I'm sleep deprived, but sure, I'll give it a shot. 

 

Let's say you got a Poker game going on with one PC (Bret, Skill 90%, and a bankroll of $1500), two casual player's,(Dan, 30% skill a bankroll of $400, and Fred, Skill 30% but a bankroll of $2000), a, plus a Professional gambler (Dandy Jim, skill 70%, bankroll of $1000).

The GM decides to use $100 per point for the conflict pool, So the conflict pools will look like this:

Bret (90%) 15 points

Dan (30%), 4 points

Fred (30%), 20 points

Dandy Jim (70%), 10 points

 

Now when the gambling begins, each player antes up and the damage die is 1D6. This represents the outcome of several hands. But before rolling for the outcome, each character gets a chance to raise the stakes ,upping the damage die a step (1D8, 1D10, 2D6, 2D8, 2D10). If someone ups the stakes the other characters can either opt to stay in and risk the increased damage or drop out of the round and take 1D4 damage.

Otherwise it plays out as you had it before.

 

 

An other thing you might do is reduce the damage taken by 1 per  Success Level rolled. That way someone who is is playing good will lose less money over time that someone who plays poorly. 

Still another thing you can do, now that the conflict points are tired to the bankroll is move the points around to the winner of each round. That way a character who is winning big will end up with more conflict points, repenting how much harder is is to take someone out of the game who has a lot of cash. 

Oh, and since you tie the conflict points to the cash, you can have one or more people drop out of the game early and cut their looses before they loose everything. Or someone who is winning might decide to quit while he is ahead. 

 

 

Now putting all those options into practice...

When the game begins everyone gets cards and antes up. Since no one is all that familiar with each other, none decides to bet big, and each makes a skill roll. 

First Round, Bret 24 (Special), Dan 93 (fail), Fred 26 (success), and Dandy Jim 41 (success)

Results; Bret wins and and rolls a 1D6 damage to see his winnings, he rolls a 4, so Dan looses 4 points (and gets cleaned out) while the other two only loose 3 points due to their successful rolls. Bret wins 10 points total ($1000!) and raises his conflict points to 25. Fred is down to 17 points, and Dandy Jim is down to 7. 

 

Second Round, Bret, having won so far, decides to up the stakes. Fred and Dandy Jim both stay in the game, but neither wants to raise the stakes. The die results are, Bret 54 (success), Fred 38 (a failure), and Dandy Jim 64 (Success). 

Results: Dandy Jim wins, and rolls 1D8 damage. He gets lucky and rolls a 7. Fred looses 7 conflict points, dropping his bankroll down to 10 points (or $1000). Bret only looses 6 CPs since he rolled a success, leaving him with 19 CPS ($1900). Jim wins 13 CPs and now has 20 (or $2000).

 

Ferd, realizing that he is up against a pair of card sharks, decides to drop out of the game and walk away while he still has some money left. Since he has 10 Cps, he leaves with $1000.  Dandy Jim, being a professional, noted that Bret rolled a success with an 8$, and therefore is a better gambler than he is (with a 70%), so he decides to quit the game while he is ahead, and pockets his $100 worth of winnings. Bret shrugs and walks away still $400 ahead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Atgxtg
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Oh, and if you wanted to simulate things like a draw, you could allow character to make a second roll to try and improve their hand. If the second roll is better they improve their hand. If not it stays the same, But, if the second roll is of a lower success level they have to downgrade their hand to the new roll. Naturally you could add in another round of betting before the draw (since you are playing "open handed"). 

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Yes, that's elegant! I wouldn't go so far as to roll a second time to improve their hands though.

In the second round, why didn't Bret win with 84? Shouldn't highest success win? Or am I missing something...

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42 minutes ago, clarence said:

In the second round, why didn't Bret win with 84? Shouldn't highest success win? Or am I missing something...

:PYup, you're missing something. Specifically:

5 hours ago, Atgxtg said:

I'm sleep deprived...

You're lucky I didn't have Dan trump in with a Joker! ;)

I'll go back and change the example.

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OH, on a marginally related note, if we were using my EFFECT SYSTEM variant, we could just take the 10s digits as the results and shift CPs and winnings that way. 

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