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Feedback on new improvement proposals sought


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On 10/5/2018 at 10:22 AM, Ian Cooper said:

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

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I like the idea of having different options for how to alter the Base Value.

Whether you call this "Resistance Progression" or "Difficulty Progression," please make clear the difference between the difficulty name ("Very Easy" to "Nearly Impossible") and the difficulty number (e.g., 6 to 14 W 2).

(I will add that I just drove myself crazy leafing through HQG and HQ2 to see if there was a distinction in terminology in the existing rules--only to find that HQ2 talks about "Resistance" and "Resistance Number" while HQG talks about "Difficulty" and "Difficulty Number.")

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On 10/16/2018 at 6:59 AM, Ian Cooper said:

I'm having a peer at how Prince Valiant does this, because it is part of HeroQuest's DNA....

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?

Given these options, I would prefer to only give out XP for Major+ Victories/Defeats. That reduces the bookkepping and, more importantly, makes those Major+ victories and defeats that much more special.

As others have already pointed out, any variant on the XP system presented here will mean *very* slow advancement for groups that don't play very often. What would this mean for adventures (like most of the existing printed HQ material) where the main rewards come in the form of opportunities to add or improve abilities?

On 10/16/2018 at 7:04 PM, Ian Cooper said:

I'd also not let you earn XP from a contest you spend hero points on

Like many here, I personally don't like the idea of setting up a player conflict between "I need to spend this hero point to succeed spectacularly" and "I need to save this hero point so that I can advance the ability later. I think of hero point spends as a moment when the hero is inspired or just plain awesome, so it seems like spending hero points and advancing could well go hand in hand. But, then, I realize you may have your own reasons--and a bit more playtest experience than I.

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On 11/26/2018 at 5:33 AM, Garwalf said:

Like many here, I personally don't like the idea of setting up a player conflict between "I need to spend this hero point to succeed spectacularly" and "I need to save this hero point so that I can advance the ability later. I think of hero point spends as a moment when the hero is inspired or just plain awesome, so it seems like spending hero points and advancing could well go hand in hand. But, then, I realize you may have your own reasons--and a bit more playtest experience than I.

Yeah, this does seem to be a point of strong opinions on either side. Some like the idea that you have to choose between the two, as it makes spending that hero point more of a 'jam today vs. jam tomorrow' choice and some dislike it for the same reason.

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2 hours ago, Ian Cooper said:

Some like the idea that you have to choose between the two, as it makes spending that hero point more of a 'jam today vs. jam tomorrow' choice and some dislike it for the same reason.

I definitely fall into the former camp.  If you know it's there, and you don't have to consider whether to save for a future gain, you'll hold your HP's for the climax to ensure victory now (since you still have guaranteed experience coming).

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One of my big issues with games that have Hero Point style mechanics is the work the GM has to do to get the economy flowing.  The games really only work if the players feel free to spend those points.  In FATE style games the GM has to be pushing points at the players almost continually to get them either to spend or to engage with the plot/aspects of the session.  In HQ style games (my first encounter with this was TORG) is that the GM has to encourage players to spend despite the fact that spending will hinder longer term growth.

I do think that the game is better when points are spent at appropriate times in the game, gives those moments a proper heroic feel to them.  I dislike NPCs being able to do it because that just feels like the GM (who has unlimited points) forcing players to spend just to stand still.  

I think I would like a system where you spend points for game effect, if those points result in major victories at dramatic points in the game (which suggests the GM has to find a way to highlight those dramatic points - in my game that will be during an extended contest) then those points transform into XP which can be used to improve the character.

To me, this gives the freedom for players to use the points whenever they want (without the chance of gaining XP) but driving them to engage fully in the dramatic moments of the game.  Obviously the choice of what should be an extended contest might be different during the game than in the GMs head during planning but that should be one of the joys of playing the game.  I fully expect that some extended contests will occur because it is a moment crucial to the players rather than to the GMs plot.


Stephen

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  • 2 months later...
On 10/10/2018 at 5:42 PM, Ian Cooper said:

We still use catch up when something breaks the mastery barrier

I seem to remember @Jeff writing somewhere or other that he didn't use the catch-up rule in his game. I myself have never been very confortable with it, so why not drop it? Its absence doesn't break anything, now or does it?

Edited by Christoph Kohring
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I think it depends on the frequency with which the characters grow. If they spend 1 or 2 Hero Points after each adventure, I don't think it breaks anything. Someone has to get up very early to break HQ2 in my opinion.

If the players spend HP as experience once in a while only, every fourth adventure or so for example, my current experience tells me that they tend to focus on few abilities and mostly ignore the secondary ones. Catch ups somehow compensate for that and give an overall feeling of growth that is cool for the players.

Edited by Corvantir
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