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Author Topic: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted  (Read 3756 times)

GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #45 on: April 28, 2021, 10:11:33 AM »
and it will affect decisions they make in ways that will disrupt a desired genre atmosphere unless those mechanics are deliberately structured to channel those decisions into genre-supporting actions.

I really feel that ought to be the default game design - I buy a game listed as genre X, I can reasonably expect the game design supports emergent play which resembles genre X. So a Star Wars game encourages PCs to act like protagonists in a Star Wars film. Plenty of games do achieve this just fine; when they don't it's usually a clear rules-genre mismatch, like using Call of Cthulu for pulp adventure. Not that Call of Cthulu for Achtung! Cthulu is *bad* - the game was fine, it just wasn't very 'pulpy'. We won the scenarios and didn't die, which made us happy; we just did it differently than genre norm expectations.

Okay, what's the best match of rules to Pulp genre in your experience?
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GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #46 on: April 28, 2021, 10:19:27 AM »
If you want to have a system that simulates the Plot Immunity of Pulp Heroes but which gives players an incentive not to use it... Well, it's already been pointed out that what you need to do is replace the threat of death with something that players hate as much as or more than losing a character.

What do players hate more than character death?

Losing XP.

There have been systems that turned unspent metacurrency into XP at the end of a session, but that just made player hoard the stuff and not do cool things. I suggest that one option is to tell a player that they get a penalty to XP awarded at the session end for every time Plot Immunity was invoked to avoid a character dying.

Characters are now as unkillable as their inspirations from the 30s. Players will still go out of their way to avoid lethal situations and act like they won't automatically survive.

It's not a perfect solution and it won't work for every group, but that's because a perfect solution that works for every group doesn't exist in RPGs. I'm pretty sure it will work for some groups though.

I fecking hate meta currency.

I want a way to make it Pulpy without removing 100% the threat of death, I think the PCs should always believe the NPC baddies are trying to kill them or are able to kill them, after you survive enough events of the type "I fell into an active volcano and didn't die" you're liable to start thinking of yourself as the choosen one.

Enough because this will vary from person to person (PC to PC).

Without constantly fudging the dice you simmulate the bad aim/luck of the NPCs by giving them pennalties to hitting the PCs, but sooner or latter they will hit them, you need a way to reduce their chances of dying not of ever doing so, because if not it turns into Scooby-Doo, into Toon.
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Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

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GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #47 on: April 28, 2021, 10:21:06 AM »
To add to what others have said, what's to stop PCs doing stupid things that should lead to their deaths? They FAIL. The scenario ends with the bad guys winning. Sure, the PCs survive (the volcano god recognises the amulet they picked up and mistakes them for some of his worshippers perhaps) but the Nazis escape with the gold (or whatever). The point of a pulp game is to defeat the bad guys whilst doing cool stuff. But it's not guaranteed, that's why we play.
In D&D, the PCs do stupid things, they can die. In pulp, if the PCs do stupid things, they fail. Simples.

Right, but how the fuck do I codify THAT into the rules? It's a honest question, I'm drawing a blank. Without meta currency.
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Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

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GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #48 on: April 28, 2021, 10:24:58 AM »
Also, you're quoting me from the future expressing doubt, to prove me from the past claimed something...

Do you even logic and linear time?

The fact that you proved your position was just what I'd inferred it to be, by proceeding to plainly state what you said you weren't saying, is not a point in your favour.

If it makes you feel any better, I'll concede that, perhaps, you find it extremely difficult to believe anyone can possibly have fun with plot immunity, but you might not feel it's categorically impossible (although I doubt you actually believe it's possible). :)

Once more Claim=/=Doubt.

To make it extra clear:

Atheist: Someone that doesn't believe in God. This is a position of belief.

Gnostic: Someone that claims to know God does (or doesn't) exist. This is an assertion of fact.

You don't even logic or English. Is me claiming this is true of you.

Do you even logic or English? Is me expressing doubt that you do.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

Sable Wyvern

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #49 on: April 28, 2021, 10:25:20 AM »
To add to what others have said, what's to stop PCs doing stupid things that should lead to their deaths? They FAIL. The scenario ends with the bad guys winning. Sure, the PCs survive (the volcano god recognises the amulet they picked up and mistakes them for some of his worshippers perhaps) but the Nazis escape with the gold (or whatever). The point of a pulp game is to defeat the bad guys whilst doing cool stuff. But it's not guaranteed, that's why we play.
In D&D, the PCs do stupid things, they can die. In pulp, if the PCs do stupid things, they fail. Simples.

Right, but how the fuck do I codify THAT into the rules? It's a honest question, I'm drawing a blank. Without meta currency.

This is constructive me, not pointless argument me talking now ...

This doesn't sound like something that rules should come anywhere near. It's about playstyle: GM advice, scenario design, session pacing, making sure everyone is on the same page etc ...

It's not something you codify into the rules. It's a playstyle/genre convention.

To put it another way, it's good when your rules support the intended playstyle. But not every element of the style needs to be directly supported by a rule. As long as key elements are supported and the right style is incentivised, for the rest it's simply enough that the rules don't don't get in the way or lead you in the wrong direction,
« Last Edit: April 28, 2021, 10:29:33 AM by Sable Wyvern »

GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #50 on: April 28, 2021, 10:29:38 AM »
To add to what others have said, what's to stop PCs doing stupid things that should lead to their deaths? They FAIL. The scenario ends with the bad guys winning. Sure, the PCs survive (the volcano god recognises the amulet they picked up and mistakes them for some of his worshippers perhaps) but the Nazis escape with the gold (or whatever). The point of a pulp game is to defeat the bad guys whilst doing cool stuff. But it's not guaranteed, that's why we play.
In D&D, the PCs do stupid things, they can die. In pulp, if the PCs do stupid things, they fail. Simples.

Right, but how the fuck do I codify THAT into the rules? It's a honest question, I'm drawing a blank. Without meta currency.

This is constructive me, not pointless argument me talking now ...

This doesn't sound like something that rules should come anywhere near. It's about playstyle: GM advice, scenario design, session pacing, making sure everyone is on the same page etc ...

It's not something you codify into the rules. It's a playstyle/genre convention.

Arguments are almost never not not pointless  ::)

So into the GM part of the book it goes, gotcha.
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Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

Sable Wyvern

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #51 on: April 28, 2021, 10:45:01 AM »
Personally, if I was going to run a high adventure, high action game with highly competent characters taking on crazy risks, experiencing dramatic setbacks but likely to find some way to come out on top, I'd be inclined to use something based on Blades in the Dark It's perfect for it.

But if you're after something more traditional (and, based on your mention of hit points, I'm assuming you're working on something at least vaguely d20ish, my first instinct would be to include an "escape clause" rule.

At a certain point, if things are going badly, the PCs get a chance to withdraw/escape. If they choose to do so at that point, they may suffer injuries and setbacks, but they will survive to fight another day. On the other hand, if they're unwilling to accept defeat, shit just got real, and PC death is now on the table. No punches pulled, dice in the open, you could be dead at any moment.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #52 on: April 28, 2021, 11:05:43 AM »
Personally, if I was going to run a high adventure, high action game with highly competent characters taking on crazy risks, experiencing dramatic setbacks but likely to find some way to come out on top, I'd be inclined to use something based on Blades in the Dark It's perfect for it.

But if you're after something more traditional (and, based on your mention of hit points, I'm assuming you're working on something at least vaguely d20ish, my first instinct would be to include an "escape clause" rule.

At a certain point, if things are going badly, the PCs get a chance to withdraw/escape. If they choose to do so at that point, they may suffer injuries and setbacks, but they will survive to fight another day. On the other hand, if they're unwilling to accept defeat, shit just got real, and PC death is now on the table. No punches pulled, dice in the open, you could be dead at any moment.

Im not going for something "vaguely d20ish", I'm going for OSR (or as OSR as I can make it).

I'm happy to deviate enough to make death on X negative HP. I'm working on simmulating "luck" without meta currency (I fecking hate meta currency).

I'm not willing to take PC death off of the table. Because I don't want Toon.

You're not starting off as "highly competent characters", you MIGHT become THE Indiana Jones, Doc Savage, Tarzan, Sheena, etc. But you're not there yet.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

jhkim

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #53 on: April 28, 2021, 11:43:09 AM »
But if you're after something more traditional (and, based on your mention of hit points, I'm assuming you're working on something at least vaguely d20ish, my first instinct would be to include an "escape clause" rule.

At a certain point, if things are going badly, the PCs get a chance to withdraw/escape. If they choose to do so at that point, they may suffer injuries and setbacks, but they will survive to fight another day. On the other hand, if they're unwilling to accept defeat, shit just got real, and PC death is now on the table. No punches pulled, dice in the open, you could be dead at any moment.

It sounds like the intent of this rule is that players learn to accept defeat and not put their lives on the line -- and *that* is totally opposed to pulp genres -- moreso than having some character deaths, in my opinion. In pulp, characters are *supposed* to run into deadly danger in order to save the day, never accepting defeat.

It's OK if there is some character death, I would think. It's true that in The Shadow, the Shadow himself won't die -- but just about everyone else could, and there's even some precedent that someone else could take up the mantle of The Shadow.

I think a mechanic that encourages playing it safe and accepting defeat is opposed to pulp ideas.

---

I've played a fair bit of Spirit of the Century as well as the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG -- both of which were quite pulp-ish and had mechanics to encourage risk-taking. BtVS has the mechanic of Drama Points, and one of the key functions was negating character death. There was a cheap option to have your character not die, but it still meant that you would be out of play for a while. Spirit of the Century didn't have a mechanic for death per se. If characters were taken out of a fight, it was GM option whether they were unconscious or dead.

Even though there was a mechanic to ensure no permanent death, I still didn't find that players would leap into volcanos or other dumb, out-of-genre actions. What they did do was act like pulp heroes -- not accepting defeat, risking their lives to save the day.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #54 on: April 28, 2021, 11:52:05 AM »
But if you're after something more traditional (and, based on your mention of hit points, I'm assuming you're working on something at least vaguely d20ish, my first instinct would be to include an "escape clause" rule.

At a certain point, if things are going badly, the PCs get a chance to withdraw/escape. If they choose to do so at that point, they may suffer injuries and setbacks, but they will survive to fight another day. On the other hand, if they're unwilling to accept defeat, shit just got real, and PC death is now on the table. No punches pulled, dice in the open, you could be dead at any moment.

It sounds like the intent of this rule is that players learn to accept defeat and not put their lives on the line -- and *that* is totally opposed to pulp genres -- moreso than having some character deaths, in my opinion. In pulp, characters are *supposed* to run into deadly danger in order to save the day, never accepting defeat.

It's OK if there is some character death, I would think. It's true that in The Shadow, the Shadow himself won't die -- but just about everyone else could, and there's even some precedent that someone else could take up the mantle of The Shadow.

I think a mechanic that encourages playing it safe and accepting defeat is opposed to pulp ideas.

---

I've played a fair bit of Spirit of the Century as well as the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG -- both of which were quite pulp-ish and had mechanics to encourage risk-taking. BtVS has the mechanic of Drama Points, and one of the key functions was negating character death. There was a cheap option to have your character not die, but it still meant that you would be out of play for a while. Spirit of the Century didn't have a mechanic for death per se. If characters were taken out of a fight, it was GM option whether they were unconscious or dead.

Even though there was a mechanic to ensure no permanent death, I still didn't find that players would leap into volcanos or other dumb, out-of-genre actions. What they did do was act like pulp heroes -- not accepting defeat, risking their lives to save the day.

What about if you're not playing The Shadow (or someone like him) but someone who MIGHT become someone like him?

You MIGHT become a legend, but you're not one just yet.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

RandyB

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #55 on: April 28, 2021, 11:54:55 AM »

What about if you're not playing The Shadow (or someone like him) but someone who MIGHT become someone like him?

You MIGHT become a legend, but you're not one just yet.

Same as in swords and sorcery. You become a legend, or die trying.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #56 on: April 28, 2021, 11:56:39 AM »

What about if you're not playing The Shadow (or someone like him) but someone who MIGHT become someone like him?

You MIGHT become a legend, but you're not one just yet.

Same as in swords and sorcery. You become a legend, or die trying.

Funny you should mention S&W since I'm using the White Box chassis to build upon.
Quote from: Rhedyn

Here is why this forum tends to be so stupid. Many people here think Joe Biden is "The Left", when he is actually Far Right and every US republican is just an idiot.

“During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act.”

― George Orwell

RandyB

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #57 on: April 28, 2021, 12:11:15 PM »

What about if you're not playing The Shadow (or someone like him) but someone who MIGHT become someone like him?

You MIGHT become a legend, but you're not one just yet.

Same as in swords and sorcery. You become a legend, or die trying.

Funny you should mention S&W since I'm using the White Box chassis to build upon.

Conan doesn't die. PCs aren't Conan, but they MIGHT become someone like him.

Same idea.

This Guy

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #58 on: April 28, 2021, 12:16:00 PM »
so if you're playing a game and not telling a story (as is the common thread among many of the peoples of the Swami's domain), can you even subvert a trope and if so to what end?
I don't want to play with you.

S'mon

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #59 on: April 28, 2021, 12:51:12 PM »
Right, agreed, thing is, how do you codify this into rules?

Easiest method is probably Hero Points. I was running a lot of Mini Six (D6 System variant) in 2020 in the pulpy Primeval Thule setting. I gave out one HP per session plus occasional bonuses. HPs give +6 to any roll (attack, damage, etc), up to three per roll (+18). You can also spend one once per session to survive a killing blow, turning it into a KO. You can still die from repeated killing blows, continuous damage, etc, but it kept lethality down. We had one PC nearly die, and another did die after she chased a Night Thing* of Tizun Thane** into the forest alone, spent all her HPs trying to damage it, then had nothing left when it impaled her with its big pincer arm-claw thingies. But that was a pretty extreme case.

*unstoppable killing machine that exists only to kill - IMC they serve Nyarlathotep.
*https://princeofnothingblogs.wordpress.com/2020/12/26/review-white-dwarf-18-the-halls-of-tizun-thane-bone-deep-ss/