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Author Topic: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted  (Read 4168 times)

spon

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #135 on: April 30, 2021, 08:50:40 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.

As someone else said, it's more a GM-style thing. However, you could have some measure of how the PCs are seen in the campaign (fame? notoriety? Let's call it fame for now). It's not a currency they can expend, but their actions affect it and they get some bonus from it of it's high (of course we will put you for the night, saviour of the great city!).
If a PC does something important (foil a bad guy's plan, save a town, cure a plague), their fame goes up. If they are defeated by the bad guy or "die", their fame goes down.
A starting "hero" will have fame = 0 (or whatever you want if you want a more heroic feel).
If a hero dies while their fame is 0, they are permanently dead.
So starting "heroes" will die for good if they die but heroes with more fame can survive a drubbing or two.

When a PC with Fame > 0 "dies", they somehow escape and are merely injured - to recover some days/weeks later. Again, the bad guy's plan is advanced by however many weeks the PC is out of action. Once recovered, their "fame" score will fall.
 
In terms of explanations - bad guys never to a coup de grace, they leave the hero tied up and badly beaten, possibly with a note pinned to his chest saying something like "Next time, send a real hero". Thus you have an in-game reason for the PC's fame to fall.

I'm not sure if you'd want to do something like this as it may be too meta-currency-like for your tastes. But maybe something similar might work?

VisionStorm

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #136 on: April 30, 2021, 08:52:15 AM »
Do you agree or disagree? Why? Do you have some other examples of Fiction Tropes that shouldn't make it ever to the rules/table?

I guess everyone disagrees with the proposal that Pulp genre PCs should ever die as frequently as first level characters in OD&D. Most of us are ok with *some* risk of PC death, though.

Yeah, I didn't wanna get into that argument, but my take would be that PC death should be a thing, but OD&D level 1 death-rates are too high for the pulp genre, or even real life, to be honest, cuz it takes a lucky shot to the head or vital area* to do someone in with just one hit IRL. And even then there are cases of people surviving gun shots to the head IRL. Classic D&D level 1 hit points are ridiculously low.

*EDIT: which would be considered a critical hit using critical tables in old school games, not just a "you rolled max damage".
« Last Edit: April 30, 2021, 08:54:09 AM by VisionStorm »

Chris24601

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #137 on: April 30, 2021, 09:27:31 AM »
All right. I see you're just here to argue. Good luck with your non-pulp pulp game.

Actually the thread was for sharing tropes others thought should be subverted, it was you who turned it into a discussion of my choices in my game.
Oh, in that case... None of them. Subversion is the tool of saboteurs seeking to destroy.

Tropes become tropes for a reason. They speak to something deep in us. They resonate with a type of truth and that is why they are used again and again.

The Subversive seeks to tear them down... often because they don’t understand why the trope was built in the first place or because they hate something it represents. Often they’ll call it “realistic”, but usually it’s their own nihilism bleeding through.

They ultimately want a world where the idea that someone could be heroic for selfless reason, where people are basically good, where there is truth and beauty and love are real, where that triumphs in the end to die so they don’t have to feel like the miserable fucking failures they are for being the selfish sociopaths they are.

And subversion is the tool they use to tear down the civilization whose identity is built upon those tropes.

So, yeah, I’m pretty much done with subversion as a technique. Examine a trope for what it’s really about and then build on it? All day long. But in my experience, those who use subversion have little interest in rebuilding what they’ve destroyed.

We need superversion these days, not subversion.

So, the fundamental question in regards to pulp heroes and mortality is “why is it a trope in the first place?” Plenty of old stories/myths ended with dramatic failures and death of the protagonist (Arthur and Camelot and Hercules for just a couple examples), so what is it about the Indiana Jones, the Doc Savage, the Tarzan or the Shadow type who always survives despite often horrific turns of fortune that spoke to audiences enough to become a trope?

Answer that and you’ll also have a sense of how to model that element in your game, including where the line for death (vs. defeat) falls.

jeff37923

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #138 on: April 30, 2021, 10:47:09 AM »
I've skimmed this thread, but I didn't think that one option was brought up. Injuring the player character.

If the player does something stupid with the PC, instead of the other options - just have the character receive a permanent debilitating injury. Make them blind in one eye or both, deafness, hand or fingers cut off, lung damage from breathing in toxic gas (thus reducing their constitution or endurance) can all have a more profound effect than just death or capture. Even if their character is not killed, but severely wounded (maybe in a coma) - the recovery time from those wounds may be extra long and cause their character to miss a few sessions.

RandyB

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #139 on: April 30, 2021, 10:53:47 AM »
Well, it worked really well in the Star Wars movies, so I'm sure rejecting major pulp tropes will be exactly what your players want from their pulp game.  Perhaps you can bring in Rian Johnson as a consultant?

Yes, trope subversion for the sake of it is a quick trip to Rian Johnson's Circle of the Damned. If in doubt, play it safe and stick to the tropes.

Tropes define the genre. Subverting tropes is subverting the genre. Be intentional about that choice. Your genre depends on it.

This Guy

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #140 on: April 30, 2021, 11:38:14 AM »
All right. I see you're just here to argue. Good luck with your non-pulp pulp game.

Actually the thread was for sharing tropes others thought should be subverted, it was you who turned it into a discussion of my choices in my game.
Oh, in that case... None of them. Subversion is the tool of saboteurs seeking to destroy.

Tropes become tropes for a reason. They speak to something deep in us. They resonate with a type of truth and that is why they are used again and again.

The Subversive seeks to tear them down... often because they don’t understand why the trope was built in the first place or because they hate something it represents. Often they’ll call it “realistic”, but usually it’s their own nihilism bleeding through.

They ultimately want a world where the idea that someone could be heroic for selfless reason, where people are basically good, where there is truth and beauty and love are real, where that triumphs in the end to die so they don’t have to feel like the miserable fucking failures they are for being the selfish sociopaths they are.

Yeah that's all real great but I also want stories that are also real about misery and people being selfish pieces of shit and crimes not getting punished, and fuck the rightscolds that want their stories to teach them Right Morals after they're out of elementary school.

Quote
So, the fundamental question in regards to pulp heroes and mortality is “why is it a trope in the first place?” Plenty of old stories/myths ended with dramatic failures and death of the protagonist (Arthur and Camelot and Hercules for just a couple examples), so what is it about the Indiana Jones, the Doc Savage, the Tarzan or the Shadow type who always survives despite often horrific turns of fortune that spoke to audiences enough to become a trope?

Answer that and you’ll also have a sense of how to model that element in your game, including where the line for death (vs. defeat) falls.

There wasnt a fucking publishing house churning out as much consumable material as possible to make sure people bought Arthurian romances and Greek myths bro. You wanna compare pre-modern and modern stories without considerin the material circumstances of modernity and entertainment markets

Anyway if you're gonna subvert some pulp tropes how about you subvert the ones nobody wants to admit to liking anymore like Yellow Peril or the blackface comic relief guys like Spirit's sidekick
I don't want to play with you.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #141 on: April 30, 2021, 11:50:00 AM »
Fate/Luck/etc points... I still fecking hate metacurrency. But given the genre it might be an unavoidable evil.

Random thought, but I wonder if Fate/Luck/etc. can be changed to a type of attribute or special stat (maybe called Determination or Daring) that needs to be rolled in order to get a "luck" related benefit. Maybe limit it to once per encounter (or until circumstances change) to avoid abuse, with cumulative penalties per time used per session. That way you can get something similar to a metacurrency without actually using a metacurrency.

Or is your deep-seated hatred of metacurrency rooted on something else?

Lets see how you like this:

CharGen Feats, meaning they can only be taken AT chargen:

Pick two?

Lucky, You can re roll once per session but must keep the result of that roll.

Gifted: Raise ONE attribute by 2, no attribute can be higher than 18.

Looker: You're very atractive, get +1 in any rolls to influence, seduce, etc.

Though as Nails: Get +1 in any SW

Second Wind: When you're at 0 HP you're not unconscious, keep fighting until the end of the round.

Inspiration: Get +1 in rolls of deduction, invention, investigation...

Those sound good in concept, but I wonder how good they are mechanically. Glancing over at the bonuses, knowing that everyone gets two picks, it seems to me that EVERYONE would pick the +2 to one attribute, then the next pick would be a toss up cuz their benefits all seem kinda low mechanically. Granted, this depends on how rolls actually work and what the standards are in the system, but a +1 bonus to a skill check in most d20 style games is almost negligible, specially when it applies only to a narrow range of skills. Meanwhile a +2 to one attribute gives you +1 to ALL skills based on it, at least assuming a +1 per 2 points above 10, as is the case in 3e+ d20 System mechanics. Not sure if you're going 0e bonus ranges (9-12 +0, 13-15 +1, 16-17 +2, 18 +3), but even then a +2 attribute bonus is preferable to anything else you posted here.

I'm also not sure if having a single re-roll in an entire session for Lucky is that much of a benefit. A slight increase might make it more attractive, maybe 1 +Cha modifier (though, no one will take it unless high Cha, then), or 3/session, 1/encounter max, perhaps even higher. Second Wind also seems kinda limited and situational, since you'd have to 1) lose initiative, and then 2) get attacked and reduced to 0 HP before your turn comes up for the benefit to even come into effect. Then you have exactly one action before you fall unconscious anyway.

I'm also not sure about the name, since Second Wind implies you get an extra burst of energy and in most games I've seen include something called "Second Wind" it usually works like HP or stamina recovery.

CharGen Feats
Pick two? At CharGen and only at Chargen. Unless specified otherwise feats can be taken only once.

1. Twist of Fate – 3 times a day you can add/subtract 1d4 from any roll, be it yours or your opponent.
2. Gifted – Raise ONE attribute by 2, no attribute can be higher than 18.
3. Looker – You're very attractive, get +2 in any rolls to influence, seduce, etc.
4. Though as Nails – Get +2 in any ST.
5. Second Wind – You are not unconscious until you reach -5 HP, keep fighting.
6. Inspiration – Get +2 in rolls of deduction, invention, investigation...
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.

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GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #142 on: April 30, 2021, 11:56:19 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.

As someone else said, it's more a GM-style thing. However, you could have some measure of how the PCs are seen in the campaign (fame? notoriety? Let's call it fame for now). It's not a currency they can expend, but their actions affect it and they get some bonus from it of it's high (of course we will put you for the night, saviour of the great city!).
If a PC does something important (foil a bad guy's plan, save a town, cure a plague), their fame goes up. If they are defeated by the bad guy or "die", their fame goes down.
A starting "hero" will have fame = 0 (or whatever you want if you want a more heroic feel).
If a hero dies while their fame is 0, they are permanently dead.
So starting "heroes" will die for good if they die but heroes with more fame can survive a drubbing or two.

When a PC with Fame > 0 "dies", they somehow escape and are merely injured - to recover some days/weeks later. Again, the bad guy's plan is advanced by however many weeks the PC is out of action. Once recovered, their "fame" score will fall.
 
In terms of explanations - bad guys never to a coup de grace, they leave the hero tied up and badly beaten, possibly with a note pinned to his chest saying something like "Next time, send a real hero". Thus you have an in-game reason for the PC's fame to fall.

I'm not sure if you'd want to do something like this as it may be too meta-currency-like for your tastes. But maybe something similar might work?

I'm thinking of including a Honor mechanic, Fame/Reputation might work too. Still working on the mechanical impact it should have, since it needs to give some incentive to the PCs to go do Heroic things.

Things I have thought:
Every X points of IT the PC gets Y more XP
At X points the city Major does a parade in their honor
At X*x points a misterious Mecenas gives the PC Z funds to continue his exploits
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

VisionStorm

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #143 on: April 30, 2021, 01:11:33 PM »
Fate/Luck/etc points... I still fecking hate metacurrency. But given the genre it might be an unavoidable evil.

Random thought, but I wonder if Fate/Luck/etc. can be changed to a type of attribute or special stat (maybe called Determination or Daring) that needs to be rolled in order to get a "luck" related benefit. Maybe limit it to once per encounter (or until circumstances change) to avoid abuse, with cumulative penalties per time used per session. That way you can get something similar to a metacurrency without actually using a metacurrency.

Or is your deep-seated hatred of metacurrency rooted on something else?

Lets see how you like this:

CharGen Feats, meaning they can only be taken AT chargen:

Pick two?

Lucky, You can re roll once per session but must keep the result of that roll.

Gifted: Raise ONE attribute by 2, no attribute can be higher than 18.

Looker: You're very atractive, get +1 in any rolls to influence, seduce, etc.

Though as Nails: Get +1 in any SW

Second Wind: When you're at 0 HP you're not unconscious, keep fighting until the end of the round.

Inspiration: Get +1 in rolls of deduction, invention, investigation...

Those sound good in concept, but I wonder how good they are mechanically. Glancing over at the bonuses, knowing that everyone gets two picks, it seems to me that EVERYONE would pick the +2 to one attribute, then the next pick would be a toss up cuz their benefits all seem kinda low mechanically. Granted, this depends on how rolls actually work and what the standards are in the system, but a +1 bonus to a skill check in most d20 style games is almost negligible, specially when it applies only to a narrow range of skills. Meanwhile a +2 to one attribute gives you +1 to ALL skills based on it, at least assuming a +1 per 2 points above 10, as is the case in 3e+ d20 System mechanics. Not sure if you're going 0e bonus ranges (9-12 +0, 13-15 +1, 16-17 +2, 18 +3), but even then a +2 attribute bonus is preferable to anything else you posted here.

I'm also not sure if having a single re-roll in an entire session for Lucky is that much of a benefit. A slight increase might make it more attractive, maybe 1 +Cha modifier (though, no one will take it unless high Cha, then), or 3/session, 1/encounter max, perhaps even higher. Second Wind also seems kinda limited and situational, since you'd have to 1) lose initiative, and then 2) get attacked and reduced to 0 HP before your turn comes up for the benefit to even come into effect. Then you have exactly one action before you fall unconscious anyway.

I'm also not sure about the name, since Second Wind implies you get an extra burst of energy and in most games I've seen include something called "Second Wind" it usually works like HP or stamina recovery.

CharGen Feats
Pick two? At CharGen and only at Chargen. Unless specified otherwise feats can be taken only once.

1. Twist of Fate – 3 times a day you can add/subtract 1d4 from any roll, be it yours or your opponent.
2. Gifted – Raise ONE attribute by 2, no attribute can be higher than 18.
3. Looker – You're very attractive, get +2 in any rolls to influence, seduce, etc.
4. Though as Nails – Get +2 in any ST.
5. Second Wind – You are not unconscious until you reach -5 HP, keep fighting.
6. Inspiration – Get +2 in rolls of deduction, invention, investigation...

Yeah, those sound like more solid choices. Everyone will still probably pick Gifted (which is probably inevitable and perhaps expected), but the rest seem more meaningful at least.

GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #144 on: April 30, 2021, 01:46:30 PM »
Fate/Luck/etc points... I still fecking hate metacurrency. But given the genre it might be an unavoidable evil.

Random thought, but I wonder if Fate/Luck/etc. can be changed to a type of attribute or special stat (maybe called Determination or Daring) that needs to be rolled in order to get a "luck" related benefit. Maybe limit it to once per encounter (or until circumstances change) to avoid abuse, with cumulative penalties per time used per session. That way you can get something similar to a metacurrency without actually using a metacurrency.

Or is your deep-seated hatred of metacurrency rooted on something else?

Lets see how you like this:

CharGen Feats, meaning they can only be taken AT chargen:

Pick two?

Lucky, You can re roll once per session but must keep the result of that roll.

Gifted: Raise ONE attribute by 2, no attribute can be higher than 18.

Looker: You're very atractive, get +1 in any rolls to influence, seduce, etc.

Though as Nails: Get +1 in any SW

Second Wind: When you're at 0 HP you're not unconscious, keep fighting until the end of the round.

Inspiration: Get +1 in rolls of deduction, invention, investigation...

Those sound good in concept, but I wonder how good they are mechanically. Glancing over at the bonuses, knowing that everyone gets two picks, it seems to me that EVERYONE would pick the +2 to one attribute, then the next pick would be a toss up cuz their benefits all seem kinda low mechanically. Granted, this depends on how rolls actually work and what the standards are in the system, but a +1 bonus to a skill check in most d20 style games is almost negligible, specially when it applies only to a narrow range of skills. Meanwhile a +2 to one attribute gives you +1 to ALL skills based on it, at least assuming a +1 per 2 points above 10, as is the case in 3e+ d20 System mechanics. Not sure if you're going 0e bonus ranges (9-12 +0, 13-15 +1, 16-17 +2, 18 +3), but even then a +2 attribute bonus is preferable to anything else you posted here.

I'm also not sure if having a single re-roll in an entire session for Lucky is that much of a benefit. A slight increase might make it more attractive, maybe 1 +Cha modifier (though, no one will take it unless high Cha, then), or 3/session, 1/encounter max, perhaps even higher. Second Wind also seems kinda limited and situational, since you'd have to 1) lose initiative, and then 2) get attacked and reduced to 0 HP before your turn comes up for the benefit to even come into effect. Then you have exactly one action before you fall unconscious anyway.

I'm also not sure about the name, since Second Wind implies you get an extra burst of energy and in most games I've seen include something called "Second Wind" it usually works like HP or stamina recovery.

CharGen Feats
Pick two? At CharGen and only at Chargen. Unless specified otherwise feats can be taken only once.

1. Twist of Fate – 3 times a day you can add/subtract 1d4 from any roll, be it yours or your opponent.
2. Gifted – Raise ONE attribute by 2, no attribute can be higher than 18.
3. Looker – You're very attractive, get +2 in any rolls to influence, seduce, etc.
4. Though as Nails – Get +2 in any ST.
5. Second Wind – You are not unconscious until you reach -5 HP, keep fighting.
6. Inspiration – Get +2 in rolls of deduction, invention, investigation...

Yeah, those sound like more solid choices. Everyone will still probably pick Gifted (which is probably inevitable and perhaps expected), but the rest seem more meaningful at least.

Well, it's a Pulp game, so I thought the GM should have the option to have the Players build a bigger than life PC.
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 #145 on: April 30, 2021, 02:29:25 PM »
Tropes become tropes for a reason. They speak to something deep in us. They resonate with a type of truth and that is why they are used again and again.

The Subversive seeks to tear them down... often because they don’t understand why the trope was built in the first place or because they hate something it represents. Often they’ll call it “realistic”, but usually it’s their own nihilism bleeding through.

They ultimately want a world where the idea that someone could be heroic for selfless reason, where people are basically good, where there is truth and beauty and love are real, where that triumphs in the end to die so they don’t have to feel like the miserable fucking failures they are for being the selfish sociopaths they are.

And subversion is the tool they use to tear down the civilization whose identity is built upon those tropes.

So is the thrust of this that if GeekyBugle doesn't stick to pulp genre tropes like the heroes not dying, then he's tearing down civilization? I think this is randomly inserting politics which doesn't make sense. There are many different genres and many different genre tropes - they don't all represent the core of civilization. A lot of tropes are radical or revolutionary - like, say, the film Avatar that is filled with tropes. Genres are always changing and tropes being subverted.

For example, H.P. Lovecraft subverted a lot of prior pulp horror tropes in his stories. He didn't have swooning maidens in nightgowns going into dark basements, or stalwart defenders keeping vampires at bay with crosses. His horror was scientific, anti-religion, and to a degree nihilist. Still, it was damn good writing.

When pulp was re-invented in the 1980s with Indiana Jones, it used some tropes but it also subverted a lot of tropes - like when Indy abruptly shoots the flashy swordsman, or in the ending when he surrenders and does nothing but close his eyes as the Nazis succeed in their plan (with unintended results). In many ways, The Mummy (1999) was more traditional pulp with its more brawny square-jawed hero - but it still subverted a lot.

Both of these set up their own new offshoots of the genre and had their own imitators. Trope-breaking can be done poorly, and/or it can be done for particular political reasons. But it doesn't have to be.

Point being -- I don't think there's anything wrong or political about having a pulp OSR game where PCs die more than in other pulp games. Regardless of whether it's to my or your personal tastes, it's just a game and changing this point isn't anti-civilization. Here, I think it's melding the gaming genre of traditional D&D with the pulp literary genre, and the result has differences from each.


So, the fundamental question in regards to pulp heroes and mortality is “why is it a trope in the first place?” Plenty of old stories/myths ended with dramatic failures and death of the protagonist (Arthur and Camelot and Hercules for just a couple examples), so what is it about the Indiana Jones, the Doc Savage, the Tarzan or the Shadow type who always survives despite often horrific turns of fortune that spoke to audiences enough to become a trope?

Answer that and you’ll also have a sense of how to model that element in your game, including where the line for death (vs. defeat) falls.

As modern entertainment, pulps had a serial model that aimed to sell as much as possible to a broad audience, that included both children and adults. The episodic nature meant that audience were expected to come in at any point and get a satisfying story - and also possibly read them out of order. It does create a curious sort of dramatic tension - because when the hero goes over a cliff in a burning car, everyone knows that he really isn't going to die, but it's still cheered as an exciting ride.

I think pulps were a more reassuring, everything-is-fine genre that appealed to people as escapist entertainment -- which is different than mythological or literary epics of earlier times.

S'mon

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #146 on: May 01, 2021, 04:56:17 AM »
I definitely agree with John Kim that not all tropes are pro-Civilisation or Lawful, there are plenty of anti-Civilisation or Chaotic tropes, such as the Rousseau-derived Noble Savage of Dances With Wolves, Avatar, and a ton of other fiction - I think The Last Samurai falls in there too. I don't think Pulp PCs being im/mortal is either Lawful or Chaotic; but again I agree that functional immortality combined with notional 'death threats' feels more escapist.

I definitely think you can do Pulp and have protagonists who appear to die actually stay dead. Eg Captain America: The First Avenger had a very pulp tone. It would not have ceased to be Pulp-tone if Bucky & Steve stayed dead beyond the end of the film*. Conversely though, I think if it featured frequent random protagonist death throughout the film, the genre would have shifted more towards either War Story or towards Alan Moore style 'Subvert All the Tropes!'-ism, which at this point is a sub genre unto itself.

So, again: you don't need to remove all risk of PC death for it to feel Pulp. You don't want frequent random PC death, or it won't feel like Pulp.

*I think with meaningful perma-death would have still felt like Pulp, but with a more mythic/literary epic overtone.
« Last Edit: May 01, 2021, 05:00:18 AM by S'mon »

GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #147 on: May 01, 2021, 09:07:08 AM »
I definitely agree with John Kim that not all tropes are pro-Civilisation or Lawful, there are plenty of anti-Civilisation or Chaotic tropes, such as the Rousseau-derived Noble Savage of Dances With Wolves, Avatar, and a ton of other fiction - I think The Last Samurai falls in there too. I don't think Pulp PCs being im/mortal is either Lawful or Chaotic; but again I agree that functional immortality combined with notional 'death threats' feels more escapist.

I definitely think you can do Pulp and have protagonists who appear to die actually stay dead. Eg Captain America: The First Avenger had a very pulp tone. It would not have ceased to be Pulp-tone if Bucky & Steve stayed dead beyond the end of the film*. Conversely though, I think if it featured frequent random protagonist death throughout the film, the genre would have shifted more towards either War Story or towards Alan Moore style 'Subvert All the Tropes!'-ism, which at this point is a sub genre unto itself.

So, again: you don't need to remove all risk of PC death for it to feel Pulp. You don't want frequent random PC death, or it won't feel like Pulp.

*I think with meaningful perma-death would have still felt like Pulp, but with a more mythic/literary epic overtone.

You don't see Bucky die, you see him fall to his death, same with cap, you don't see him die, you see him fall to a frozing ocean. Fade to black change of scene.

That's easy to do in fiction, not so much in an RPG, because when the disintegrator ray, that we have seen disintegrate a tank Hits your PC...
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Chris24601

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #148 on: May 01, 2021, 12:17:59 PM »
I definitely agree with John Kim that not all tropes are pro-Civilisation or Lawful, there are plenty of anti-Civilisation or Chaotic tropes, such as the Rousseau-derived Noble Savage of Dances With Wolves, Avatar, and a ton of other fiction - I think The Last Samurai falls in there too. I don't think Pulp PCs being im/mortal is either Lawful or Chaotic; but again I agree that functional immortality combined with notional 'death threats' feels more escapist.
To be fair, not all civilizations are worth preserving. Rebels fighting an authoritarian regime is technically “anti-civilization” in the sense of pulling down the established order, but that order was corrupt and needs to fall for the good of the people it exploits for the gains of its leaders.

Basically, there’s a difference between Law/Chaos and Good/Evil. Most of the subversion I see prevalent these days is more about establishing that the Good are actually evil and the Evil are actually good (ex. the Maleficent films, Superman expies who turn out to be jerks at best, more typically monsters, orcs are actually good and the humans are racists for attacking them, etc.).

And yes, if the point of the pulp hero’s “immortality” is that the pulp genre is fundamentally escapist, then it stands to reason that people interested in playing a game based on the genre are also looking for something escapist and your death mechanics should reflect that.

For example, one of the few really good mechanics that came out of Paradigm’s attempts at building their own system for Arcanis (which was intended to be a bit pulpy) was their Wounds and Stamina system which reinforced that. Stamina was basically your hit points, but all non-physical (bumps, bruises, minor cuts at most). At 0 stamina you’re knocked out. Wounds only occurred on critical hits,  or other specific instances (and only 1 from any occurrence, though PCs only ever had 2-4). At 0 wounds you will die without medical attention and without expert/magic care you will probably acquire a permanent disability even if you do survive.

This fits the general pulp convention that heroes are typically only knocked out/captured rather than killed unless special situations are in play, while still keeping the possibility of luck/the fates ending them due to actual wounds.

You don't see Bucky die, you see him fall to his death, same with cap, you don't see him die, you see him fall to a frozing ocean. Fade to black change of scene.

That's easy to do in fiction, not so much in an RPG, because when the disintegrator ray, that we have seen disintegrate a tank Hits your PC...
This is where non-physical hit points (Stamina in that Arcanis system, Edge in my own) help to model situations.

See, in a pulp scenario the distintegrator ray NEVER hits the hero (until it does... i.e. a lethal critical hit); instead they dive out of the path at the last second, but are knocked unconscious by debris from the ceiling collapsing when the distintegrator ray instead strikes a support column.

Pulp is a genre that benefits from a less detailed combat system; one area where the OSR model DOES fit the mold is it’s it’s one minute combat rounds where a single attack represents a number of attempts in the larger flow of battle (so in a pulpy gun battle the combatants aren’t taking a single shot per round, they’re probably emptying their entire magazine and reloading again during the round).

Couple that with non-physical hit points and it’s very easy to create a system with a pulpy feel where you don’t describe the overall action of the past minute until the entire round is over.

So, using the Stamina/Wounds of Arcanis as an example, if the distintegrator ray knocks the PC to zero stamina, but it wasn’t a critical hit then the GM describes the action in such a way that evading the death ray results in their being knocked unconscious by a secondary effect. If it was a critical then they were seriously wounded in evading the death ray. If the hit dropped their wounds to zero then they were actually struck and distintegrated to the horror of their companions.

There’s no metacurrency involved, players aren’t using Fate or Luck points to alter outcomes, just the lack of detail allows the GM more latitude in narrating the outcome of a combat round (though the declared actions are obviously the starting point).

Heck, it’s a level of detail less than I’d enjoy, but you could even go as abstract as the new V5 mechanics where each turn is an opposed check (with bonuses based on the circumstances... so having a death ray might give the villain a +5 to their check result) with the winner doing their margin of success in damage to the loser and the GM narrating how that happens based on each participant’s declared actions.

Similarly, treating “mooks” as a single entity in a more abstracted system makes sense (particularly with the “one attack equals emptying your magazine over the course of a minute” aspect).

GeekyBugle

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Re: Some Tropes SHOULD be subverted
« Reply #149 on: May 01, 2021, 01:21:26 PM »
I definitely agree with John Kim that not all tropes are pro-Civilisation or Lawful, there are plenty of anti-Civilisation or Chaotic tropes, such as the Rousseau-derived Noble Savage of Dances With Wolves, Avatar, and a ton of other fiction - I think The Last Samurai falls in there too. I don't think Pulp PCs being im/mortal is either Lawful or Chaotic; but again I agree that functional immortality combined with notional 'death threats' feels more escapist.
To be fair, not all civilizations are worth preserving. Rebels fighting an authoritarian regime is technically “anti-civilization” in the sense of pulling down the established order, but that order was corrupt and needs to fall for the good of the people it exploits for the gains of its leaders.

Basically, there’s a difference between Law/Chaos and Good/Evil. Most of the subversion I see prevalent these days is more about establishing that the Good are actually evil and the Evil are actually good (ex. the Maleficent films, Superman expies who turn out to be jerks at best, more typically monsters, orcs are actually good and the humans are racists for attacking them, etc.).

And yes, if the point of the pulp hero’s “immortality” is that the pulp genre is fundamentally escapist, then it stands to reason that people interested in playing a game based on the genre are also looking for something escapist and your death mechanics should reflect that.

For example, one of the few really good mechanics that came out of Paradigm’s attempts at building their own system for Arcanis (which was intended to be a bit pulpy) was their Wounds and Stamina system which reinforced that. Stamina was basically your hit points, but all non-physical (bumps, bruises, minor cuts at most). At 0 stamina you’re knocked out. Wounds only occurred on critical hits,  or other specific instances (and only 1 from any occurrence, though PCs only ever had 2-4). At 0 wounds you will die without medical attention and without expert/magic care you will probably acquire a permanent disability even if you do survive.

This fits the general pulp convention that heroes are typically only knocked out/captured rather than killed unless special situations are in play, while still keeping the possibility of luck/the fates ending them due to actual wounds.

You don't see Bucky die, you see him fall to his death, same with cap, you don't see him die, you see him fall to a frozing ocean. Fade to black change of scene.

That's easy to do in fiction, not so much in an RPG, because when the disintegrator ray, that we have seen disintegrate a tank Hits your PC...
This is where non-physical hit points (Stamina in that Arcanis system, Edge in my own) help to model situations.

See, in a pulp scenario the distintegrator ray NEVER hits the hero (until it does... i.e. a lethal critical hit); instead they dive out of the path at the last second, but are knocked unconscious by debris from the ceiling collapsing when the distintegrator ray instead strikes a support column.

Pulp is a genre that benefits from a less detailed combat system; one area where the OSR model DOES fit the mold is it’s it’s one minute combat rounds where a single attack represents a number of attempts in the larger flow of battle (so in a pulpy gun battle the combatants aren’t taking a single shot per round, they’re probably emptying their entire magazine and reloading again during the round).

Couple that with non-physical hit points and it’s very easy to create a system with a pulpy feel where you don’t describe the overall action of the past minute until the entire round is over.

So, using the Stamina/Wounds of Arcanis as an example, if the distintegrator ray knocks the PC to zero stamina, but it wasn’t a critical hit then the GM describes the action in such a way that evading the death ray results in their being knocked unconscious by a secondary effect. If it was a critical then they were seriously wounded in evading the death ray. If the hit dropped their wounds to zero then they were actually struck and distintegrated to the horror of their companions.

There’s no metacurrency involved, players aren’t using Fate or Luck points to alter outcomes, just the lack of detail allows the GM more latitude in narrating the outcome of a combat round (though the declared actions are obviously the starting point).

Heck, it’s a level of detail less than I’d enjoy, but you could even go as abstract as the new V5 mechanics where each turn is an opposed check (with bonuses based on the circumstances... so having a death ray might give the villain a +5 to their check result) with the winner doing their margin of success in damage to the loser and the GM narrating how that happens based on each participant’s declared actions.

Similarly, treating “mooks” as a single entity in a more abstracted system makes sense (particularly with the “one attack equals emptying your magazine over the course of a minute” aspect).

So, from all that I can safely say you haven't read anything but the title/opening post and jumped to accusations of trying to destroy culture.

Nice, twice in a thread two different people making aspersions about me without reading jack shit. But then I'm the asshole no?
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