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Modiphius > Mutant Chronicles Playtest Discussion (CLOSED)
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Two thoughts re: Beta .95

posted Jul 21, 2014 18:09:45 by JamesFischl
1. The relationship between the GM and players seems extremely adversarial, especially with the mechanic of DSP's (which, by the way, make me think of Dark Side Points each time). The party needs to think about its actions in terms of how much they help or hinder the GM and his stable of bad guys, not in terms of how the players' actions affect the overall mission. The GM can burn DSP's to hinder the players' actions or for GM-controlled characters to go before them in combat.

My opinion is that I dislike this arrangement for the game. I would say the GM should be a facilitator or moderator in creating a story/sandbox for the players to interact within; it's a cooperative relationship. Unfortunately the mechanics I mentioned above turn the GM into the opponent the players are working against and it subverts the overall adventure. The goal shifts from the overall story goal of the adventure towards focusing on the GM. While I recognize that symbolically the GM can represent the Dark Symmetry that you're working against I would say even that association disrupts the necessarily cooperative relationship you need to have with a GM for a smooth-running game.

2. Combat MUST have some kind of objective system for distance, especially in terms of relative distances between characters, objects of cover, zone boundaries, etc. The "zones" mechanic ends up requiring far more thought and energy to function and ends up being very imprecise, especially in terms of making sure an accurate concept of the overall situation is maintained by all parties in a combat. When compared to a simple grid of squares or hexes the zones system is less efficient and takes more resources to execute, thus making it more of a hindrance than an aid to smooth gameplay. The current system's lack of specificity makes it extremely difficult to describe a situation in reality-based language or to achieve a coherent mental concept of a combat scenario. As a result the GM must spend extra effort to impart their vision of the situation to players, players find it very difficult to decide on actions in combat, and confusion abounds.

For instance, let's say you have a combat in a small office building of three floors. Each floor has two zones side-by-side, for a total of six zones. To keep them straight let's say the zones on each floor are divided into East and West zones; well name them based on floor as well, so we have zone 1E and 1W, zone 2E and 2W, zone 3E and 3W. The book indicates zones are defined by notable features within. We'll say zone 1E has a reception desk, zone 1W has elevators, zone 2E is cubicle-land, zone 2W is offices, 3E is executive offices and 3W is conference rooms. The elevators go all the way up through the West zones while the East side has a fire escape on the outside of the building, at the very edge of those zones.

I've just defined a number of zones based on their position relative to each other and with major features. However as a player interacting within this space in a fight there are some critical details I need to make decisions and to properly determine the relationship of objects relative to each other as well as to determine implications of my choices. By requiring the GM to "fill in the blanks" on demand it puts a huge burden on him to not only carry the mental "image" of this battlefield and to impart that concept to players on demand but also to keep it all consistent throughout the fight. Why not map it all out in the beginning using an objective measurement scale like meters or feet and delineated by squares or hexes? That relieves the burden on the GM and, based on the map, allows players to evaluate the situation and make decisions for themselves without having to bug the GM for information repeatedly to figure out their own actions. Based on the above description I have no idea if this is a big building (say, 400ft per side) or a small one (maybe 50ft). How dense is cubicle-land and what are the sight lines like? Can I move from cover-to-cover without being detected? Are the offices on 2 big enough to hide in and is their furniture arranged to support that? How much of the west side do the elevators take up? Can I hide to one side of them near the edge of the corner, and what are the other sight lines to that corner? How accurate will my pistol shot be if I fire across this zone? Is it it too far for an accurate shot?

I think such an abstract combat system makes it very difficult for players to conceive of a situation in rational terms and in terms of reality-based language. According to rules a move action can be to any position within your current zone or to go into the next zone, assuming no difficult terrain. That's without regard to how large a zone is. So my character can, effectively, move within our hypothetical office building above to any point on the same floor with a move action or can move between floors within the same vertical "stack" of zones. Regardless of where another character is on the floor they can do the same. They could be standing right at the edge of the adjacent zone or they could be at the far corner of it; it doesn't matter. Furthermore it doesn't really matter where I stand in relation to that target; I could be right on the borderline between zones and it's the same as if I was at the complete opposite corner of my zone, with relation to the other guy I just mentioned. That's also the same if I'm a Nepharite hopped-up on Dark Symmetry juice or if I'm a Lunan detective who's had too many doughnuts.

It's even more problematic with weapon ranges. Am I D1, D2, D3, D4, etc. if I'm in the middle of the zone as compared to the far end of it? Can I get into the next range band with a Change Stance action? Where precisely on the floor do I have to move to in order to get to the next range band if I want to make it a hard shot for the bad guy? However I guess it doesn't matter where I move as I can go anywhere within the zone with my movement action and so can the bad guy...yet for some reason it may matter for weapon ranges? At this point we're definitely talking in terms of objective range measurements, yet the combat system still relies upon a relational non-defined system to describe distance. Confusion abounds!

The only exception would be if I use the "change stance" action to make a short movement (2m in the current rules...wow an objective measurement to give a sense of what effect the power has!!!). Why would I not be able to use that free action to move between zones if I were positioned right at the border of the two zones? That's a situation where a precise definition of location is extremely valuable to a player. Or, say I'm within a Change Stance movement of an enemy. Wouldn't I want to know that to make sure they couldn't use a free action to step up to me and bash my brains in? Wouldn't I then want to maybe use my own free action to step back and prevent that, thus placing us at a distance of two Change Stance actions, whatever that distance may be (be it 2m or some other undefined length)?

Overall I think some aspects of the combat system show promise. However it seems that significant effort has been put into making combat "cinematic" and smoother by removing absolutes like distances, movement rates and weapon ranges. I feel the unfortunate outcome is an extremely heavy burden on the GM, confusion on the part of players and far more effort as compared to using a system of squares, hexes, or even just plain-old distance measurements.

[Last edited Feb 10, 2016 00:19:03]
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JakeBernstein said Jul 21, 2014 18:39:35
Disclosure: I'm James's GM, so we have talked about this offline.

I guess what I don't get, largely, is how the system makes the game anything other than "Story Time With the GM." If the GM has to *choose* to screw over the PCs or not, then the game is very much about what the GM wants to have happen and not as much about what the players want to do. In my games, I prefer to think of myself as the "referee" who simply executes an otherwise fair "physics engine" that controls the actual game world. Yes, I'm responsible for storytelling, but in a non-railroad campaign, that function is also fairly referee-like, you simply have NPCs take logical actions towards their goals.

Anyway, can anyone share their experiences regarding these concerns?
-Apoc527
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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 21, 2014 21:06:38
@ James

I'll try and address your points with my own experiences

"1. The relationship between the GM and players seems extremely adversarial, especially with the mechanic of DSP's (which, by the way, make me think of Dark Side Points each time). The party needs to think about its actions in terms of how much they help or hinder the GM and his stable of bad guys, not in terms of how the players' actions affect the overall mission. The GM can burn DSP's to hinder the players' actions or for GM-controlled characters to go before them in combat."

I think this is definitely a different style of play than you're used to. This is very much about making the game more "game-like" in terms of having concrete effects for both players and GM. Is there any narrative connection between a player paying a DSP to gain an extra die to search a room and that DSP being spent by the GM later to make a monster go before him in initiative? No, there is not. That is inescapably a part of the game as opposed to the story. However, I'd offer that there are many other things that are more about the game than the story in any RPG (using dice, experience points, turn-based initiative, number bonuses, etc.). Did you know that D&D was based on wargames, which were in turn based on Naval wargames (where a naval broadside was never guaranteed to hit) and that is the reason why we have a die roll to hit in most RPGs? A lot of these mechanics that we've internalized are very gamist at nature.

As far as the antagonistic relationship goes, I'd both agree and disagree. One of the principles in Dungeon World is to make the characters' lives interesting, while another one is to be a fan of the characters. The first principle is where the GM makes problems for the players, sets traps, adds complications, and all kinds of problems for the players to solve. The second means that in the end the GM wants to see the characters do cool things and tell a cool story. In some games, the problems could all be decided and prepared beforehand, and if players avoid or easily solve those problems, then good for them. In other games, the GM may adapt problems on the fly or add new ones in order to keep the game interesting/difficult. I think both approaches have their merits and flaws. In the pre-prep game, GMs don't have the chance to arbitrarily add something to screw over the character in the moment, but he could still do that in preparing the encounters and he has to know the characters and encounter design very well to make something challenging. In the more on-the-fly game, the GM can arbitrarily or purposefully screw over a player if he wants, but he can also dial back more in order to keep challenges at a good level and doesn't have to have such a strong knowledge of the game to do so. In both scenarios, the GM takes an antagonistic role, however. The difference is whether that role is taken during preparation or during gameplay itself. I'd offer that the same level of trust you need to have for a GM just running a game world he's selected/prepared is what you need to trust a GM to not just add things to screw you in the moment. As a bonus, the DSP that the GM has to spend also give you more transparency so that if he does screw you, at least it's within the rules and something you know to prepare for. Also, the easier you make the game by spending DSPs now, the harder it can get for you later.

2. Combat MUST have some kind of objective system for distance, especially in terms of relative distances between characters, objects of cover, zone boundaries, etc. The "zones" mechanic ends up requiring far more thought and energy to function and ends up being very imprecise, especially in terms of making sure an accurate concept of the overall situation is maintained by all parties in a combat. When compared to a simple grid of squares or hexes the zones system is less efficient and takes more resources to execute, thus making it more of a hindrance than an aid to smooth gameplay. The current system's lack of specificity makes it extremely difficult to describe a situation in reality-based language or to achieve a coherent mental concept of a combat scenario. As a result the GM must spend extra effort to impart their vision of the situation to players, players find it very difficult to decide on actions in combat, and confusion abounds.

So for this, and for your example of the five story building, I think you're ignoring the actual process for how these maps are made. First, when is the GM designing this complex five story building? Is it before the game, or during? If before, what's to stop the GM using zones from considering things like building height or cubical size while he's making the map? All of the extra time saved from not detailing out a grid map can be used by the GM to think about those things. Alternatively, the GM can just use the "Yes" principle. Is there enough room to run between cubicles? Yes, but you'll be exposed to enemy fire. Is the office big enough to hide in? Yes, and you find a worker cowering under the desk. If the players ask a question about the environment, just say yes and add something else to it. If they try to contradict what was previously said, just say no. Having played in plenty of systems without using grids, and having GMed them, I can say that it's really not much of a strain to players or GM to visualize what's going on, and can in fact be more fun in terms of allowing all the action to happen each turn rather than spending several turns just moving and nothing else.

As a disclaimer, I WILL say that losing grids does mean that some of the tactical fun AND tactile fun of moving minis along grids is lost. This I would say is like the difference between a turn-based tactics video game and a real time action game. Both games have their merits and fans, and you should choose what you like.

Also, for your issues with how the Adjust stance maneuver interacts with abstract zones, I already mentioned in feedback that I think it would be best to just get rid of all concrete distances in order to not have those issues arise. Think of zones in this way. Imagine a gridded combat map where you had several interesting features with a bunch of dead space in between them. Now imagine that you essentially got rid of all the dead space between each feature. That's essentially what the zone system is. It's a version of a regular grid map that's been distorted to facilitate a different kind of play. You can still have tactical decisions (Do I move through the difficult terrain of this zone to get to the guy faster and stay in cover, or do I go around this other way with no cover?) and you can even still have dead space by just adding zones that say "no cover/long hallway/what have you".

Does this help address some of your concerns?
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JakeBernstein said Jul 21, 2014 21:19:25
Not sure what James will think, but I think you've put me at ease on the adversarial GM thing. You are right, mostly, in saying that the same level of trust is required. I think, for me, what's different, is that in the pre-prep game using a more simulationist system, you set up something, either a fight or skill challenge and then the game system will handle the resolution--the GM doesn't really step in at that point and say "wait, in fact, this is now harder!" But with the narrativist/abstract system, the GM may not really prep a huge scenario, but now has to decide when and where to complicate the PCs lives. Don't get me wrong, James and I are both intrigued enough to try this out and see how it works for us, but we've been gaming as a group, more or less continuously, for over 20 years...we are probably a little stuck in our ways!

I think perhaps part of the problem with the combat system is that it's not quite finished yet in Beta .95--there are references to meters, yet the game is clearly trying to dispense with those. I'll be curious to see the final rules in September.

Have you had much opportunity to playtest the game yourself? How does the rest of the new combat system work out in actual play?
-Apoc527
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JamesFischl said Jul 21, 2014 22:32:15
Thank you Nicholas, I very much appreciate the detailed and well-reasoned response. As Jake implied above this MC rules system represents a drastic departure from the systems we've previously used. Part of the allure of playing it has to do with our long history with previous Mutant Chronicles editions.

Regarding the GM relationship, I think you've highlighted my point. I would say that from the get-go the GM themselves should never be viewed as the antagonistic, adversarial party. If the GM as a party or an individual should ever, in my opinion, bring themselves to the fore to the extent as they become a more recognizable entity than whomever they are representing in the game world then I think they have at that point failed. In other words let's say a group of PCs is interacting with an arms dealer to buy weapons. The dealer decides not to sell the PCs weapons because they haven't yet convinced him that they are not undercover law enforcement. Now let's say the PC players are (in meta-game) terms thinking of their interaction as with the GM as opposed to with an arms dealer that is being played by the GM. At that point the story is broken and they are no longer role-playing. They have decided the GM is refusing the sale of weapons, for whatever reason, as opposed to thinking with in-game terms: the arms dealer is skittish, or perhaps the characters did a poor job convincing him they are not cops. If the GM is the one the PCs are interacting with and not the in-game characters then you I don't know what kind of game this is; I would argue it's certainly not a role-playing game. As Jake pointed out to me on the side, if you've ever played Descent: Journeys in the Dark then I'd say it's much more like that.

Now take that example with the arbitrary use of DSPs by the GM or the players having to be careful not to give the GM too many to use. It breaks the story - the GM steps out too far from behind the curtain and is recognized. I think your point regarding the GM creating obstacles during prep time is a valid one but I would argue that considering it happens during prep time it's not an active, responsive attempt to hinder the players but the creation of a challenge to overcome. That active, responsive attempt identifies the GM as the active adversary, not the in-game characters, and you are no longer playing a RPG or exploring a fantasy world - you are playing a game with the GM and a few other players like you.


Regarding combat, I think ultimately my issue is with overly narrative combat styles in general and it's probably just a personal preference. I think you've done well to represent the advantages of a system like the one being developed for MC^3 with relation to my concerns and it's entirely possible that it's just not for me. I find that I prefer a certain level of tactical precision. I end up feeling like a drawn map with an objective scale would alleviate so many of those questions to the GM you mentioned can be readily and quickly answered by that person, thus getting everyone on the same page without the need to burden the GM with all those clarifications. But by the same token I also see where you're coming from with regard to the simplified, smoothed-out system of MC^3 encapsulating much of that precision in an effort to make things flow well.
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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 21, 2014 23:19:11
@Jake
I haven't gotten to do a lot of playtesting. What I have seen has been promising, though. I'm a big fan of "bits" in games, so I think it would be best for players to have a little index card or something with momentum spends written out on it for combat, that way they can see exactly what can be purchased. Combat seems to run fairly smoothly, and I've had no real problems with just doing away with the 2m adjust stance and allowing it to move anywhere within a zone, provided it's not difficult terrain. Weapon ranges seem to work well, although I have had some trouble. Is a zone that only touches one point of another zone (e.g. if both are squares in a grid diagonal from each other) does it count as one zone away? I've been running it that way. Also, any zone that is farther than adjacent I've just counted as long range, whether its two zones away or 3 zones away. I think it takes a little getting used to to go from "I move 6 squares up and to the right to be behind this column" to "I rush behind the cover in this zone" but it does help speed things along. You do lose some of the tactical nature of the grid system, but it also removes a lot of the little weird edge cases that can come up with grids because you can just quickly rule based on how it should work rather than some weird rules interaction.

@James
That is a fair point. Yes, having the GM use DSPs is similar to having him also playing the game, only against the players. However, you don't necessarily have to see it as the GM playing to BEAT the players or win the game. Consider that every time you give the GM a DSP you are telling him "I want to make this easier know knowing it will be harder later." You basically have a game of allowing the players some choice in how easy they want things to be by making things harder later. The GM acts as a facilitator of these points by choosing when to make things harder in the same way that he chooses what actions a monster will take against you. Even with heavily prepared scenarios, there will always come a time when the GM has to make up things in the story (e.g. if you ask the GM if a room has a chandelier in it that he didn't think about earlier, it's his choice to give you that or not). The GM can choose to play monsters optimally or not. Even though the DSPs are a very gamist mechanic that don't directly relate to the narrative, they do relate to a THEME of impending doom. The brighter someone shines, the more likely that something terrible will take notice. The longer someone cheats death, the worse things will get. Those are the themes that using DSPs reflect, and it's the GM's job to use the game to reinforce those themes the same way he uses monsters or NPCs or the environment.

Remember the d20 Cthulhu games? Remember how they statted up all of the elder gods and thus made them not only killable, but also knowable? A system like D&D is a poor choice for cosmic horror and insanity because it's built around murdering monsters and looting treasure, neither of which have much to do with horror. A pure simulationist system is also not the best choice for a horror game like Mutant Chronicles, because the horror becomes bound to stat blocks and physics. Using horror in those systems is frequently left to the GM to make up and narrate rather than using the rules. The DSPs are actually a horror mechanic, as you are able to see a growing pile of doom in front of you (similar to the Jenga Tower in the game Dread) that the GM can spend at just the right dramatic moment. That's what makes something horror: you don't know what's coming, only that it IS coming. It takes a human component to add this dramatic element of horror, and so the GM actually HAS to be spending DSPs against players in order to make them scared.
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AmazingOnionMan said Jul 23, 2014 22:38:46
Sorry for butting in on this very civil debate, but I take issue with some of simpsonnicholas1's statements. Actually, I take issue with most, but that is more a matter of taste, and taste cannot really be argued.
But game mechanics can.

"Remember the d20 Cthulhu games? Remember how they statted up all of the elder gods and thus made them not only killable, but also knowable?"
Say what you want about Cthulhu d20, but Chaosium had those critters statted up 20 years before the d20-game. Does that make CoC a bad horrorgame? Cd20's bellysplash was not because it had stats for elder gods, That game failed completely on it's own.

"A pure simulationist system is also not the best choice for a horror game like Mutant Chronicles, because the horror becomes bound to stat blocks and physics."
Again, I'm going to play my CoC-card and declare load and clear that you're out on a very, very thin limb here. A pure simulationist system easily adds to horror and roleplaying, because the players don't have to fiddle with dodgy metamechanics and "game" the system. And physics is pretty horrible..

"Using horror in those systems is frequently left to the GM to make up and narrate rather than using the rules"
And this is bad..? It is called roleplaying. Improvisation and storytelling are both part of it. Rules that help are good for this. Rules that dictate are not! A physics-engine is good in this regard- it tells you, clearly, the expected result of an action in-game.
"No Joe, trying that jump was still silly and the pavement is still five floors away, rapidly approaching. No, Joe, making the nepharite eat your friend won't do you ANY good. Yes Joe, you can try an AG-roll to Batman-grab the fire escape."

I've been, let's say, sceptical to the direction the rules-design went here from the start. Reading through the .95-playtest doesn't make me jump in joy (more like slouching with indifference), but I'm gong to wait until I have the proper book in my hands before passing judgement.
There are plenty of awesome things in the new MC. The rules does not seem to be one of them.
I'm not trying to pick a fight here.
But those quotes are no good!
I'm not always right!
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AmazingOnionMan said Jul 24, 2014 10:00:56
@simpsonnicholas1
"I hope you'll give the ruleset a shot"
Oh, I very much look forward to the day when the mailman breaks his back lugging that package to my door.

"I'd argue that simulationist systems do a lot of dictating in terms of having tons of rules. I personally feel like they dictate my game more than help."
And I'm sure you'll continue to feel that way. Personal taste being personal taste and all. But I want to arrest you on "a ton of rules". A simulationist system needs enough rules to -cover the setting it sets out to simulate- period. You're mistaking the entire GURPS-line for an actual game.
This is my POW: A good system needs to be unobstrusive and logical. The very moment the players and GM needs to spend time and attention on wonk, gimmicks and narrative mechanics, immersion goes straight out the cheapest window and the game begins. And the actual roleplaying bit suffers.
So far, there is a bit too much gimmicks in here. There is a fair amount of wonk as well, but it is mostly hidden from the player. So I'm curious to see the polished version - it might be decent.
If it's not..well, I'd take "reasonably well" over "not well at all" any day.
I'm not always right!
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JakeBernstein said Jul 24, 2014 17:19:21
I'm with AmazingOnionMan (great handle too). I think the MORE bizarre gamey metamechanics you add to the game, the harder it is to keep track of things and the more immersion you lose. I love GURPS because it lets me basically ignore the question of How to Play The Game--players can just react to in-game events as if they were more or less real. The game system supports that level of resolution. Now, yes, RESOLVING the game mechanical effects can take a while if you are inexperienced with the game, but that's true of ALL games, and GURPS relies much less on "knowing the rules" than games like MC3 or Edge of the Empire where you have to know what you CAN do before you can ask the GM to do it. I don't like rules like that. I'd rather tell the GM "I want to try to cut off his hand with my sword" and have the game system support that.
-Apoc527
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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 24, 2014 18:50:47
@jake

Could you clarify what you mean by having to know what you can do before attempting it in Edge of the Empire or MC3. What happens if someone asks to do that I'm Edge of the Empire? You add some difficulty or disadvantage dice to their pool and possibly need them to X amount of damage. In MC3 you have them make an attack and attempt to use called shot with momentum. The GM just has to say "okay roll to attack and well see if you were able to hit the guys hand and damage it enough to chop it off." If they deal enough wounds to go past light wounds, you could say the hand is disabled or cut off. Or for troopers or elites if they deal all of the wounds you just say the hand is chopped off and the character is out of the fight. I'm the neither case do players have to know what they can do. They just do it and the rules are written to be adapted to the situation. Mutant chronicles has a bit more detail to it, but not by much. I don't know how GURPS handles chopping off someone's hand, but I assume it would have the bog standard "called shot" action in most RPGs (correct me if I'm wrong) and then possibly require that X damage be dealt to sever the hand. That's no different to me than using existing rules from MC3 or the GM setting a difficulty for a roll in EotE.

I've made my point that when a system has a lot of specific rules for lots of actions (as simulationist systems tend to do), I feel like having to remember all of those rules dictates how well I can GM as opposed to a ruleset that has rules for a few specific things and others are by design meant to be made up on the spot based on what the story needs or are meant to be resolved with the basic task resolution system. Again, I am unsure how a game designed around having a loose general resolution mechanic and as few specific rules as possible is more restrictive than one in which player and GM have to simultaneously tell a story and remember how the physics of a world work.
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JakeBernstein said Jul 24, 2014 19:01:54
It's not more "restrictive" but it IS based more on GM fiat. If a PC wants to chop off a bad guy's hand, that's one thing...but what about if the situation is flipped? How are you going to add the drama of The Empire Strikes Back if Vader can't chop off LUKE'S hand? What I really object to in most games are rules that make the PCs different than everyone else in the world. Why should the PCs have special rules? Why can't a PC get HIS hand chopped off? In a game with "physics," that can happen, using the same mechanics as the PCs would use. In MC or EOTE, the GM must decide, arbitrarily, to cut off a player's hand based off...whether it's "cool or not?" Who decides if it's "cool?"

I just don't like mushy systems. It's a taste thing. Inevitably, something happens in a mushy system that a PC wants to try and there are no rules for it and the GM has to make it up, and maybe 3/4 of the time, it's all fun and games and totally fine. But maybe 1/4 of the time, gameplay grinds to a halt, arguments ensue, players aren't satisfied, the GM isn't satisfied or both. I'd rather avoid those times.

Now, MC3 DOES have more detail than many other games out there--the fact that it even has hit locations is encouraging (I would never play MC without hit locations...), but why does the game system convert from "fairly detailed" to "weirdly abstract" in the wounding system? The original game was quite clear -- you had 3 body points in the head, 7 in the chest, and 6 or 7 in the arms and legs. If you take twice that, it's a critical wound and you either lose the limb or die if it's the chest or head (or stomach, but I'm ok combining that with chest into Torso). That was crystal clear and allowed for the dice and physics to have great narrative effects on gameplay. There were LEGENDARY scenes in my original MC games that involved loss of legs or arms.

NOW, however, the limb can take "light" wounds, but then it goes to some kind of full body wound track. Why? How does that help or make things better? You don't need any extra critical hit tables or funky mechanics if you used the original game's body point system. It's all right there, with emergent results!

I'd rather have a relatively simple and straightforward set of specific rules than have a bunch of mushiness that ultimately doesn't explain much of what happens in game. NOBODY likes a GM who constantly *decides* to shoot off their limbs...but nobody BLAMES the GM for that if it happens in games like GURPS or original MC! See the difference?

I think all gameplay for all games takes practice. What I have found in actual play with GURPS, is that, even with ALL the bells and whistles, MOST of the detail only comes up occasionally. You use some nicely designed play aids to make sure people know their options (which MC3 will need anyway) and then, WHEN something specific comes up, you find it...you don't need to memorize every last rule.

-Apoc527
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Nicholas Simpson said Jul 24, 2014 23:12:43
@jake

I guess the first answer is that it shouldn't happen to PCs as easily as to NPCs because that doesn't always make a good story. Players are expected to put an hour or more into generating a character, then making a backstory, and then committing to having game night for a couple hours or more. If they get their hand chopped off in the first five minutes it's not a fun game. Luke got his hand lopped off by Darth Vader, not storm trooper #37. PCs are different from NPCs because they are played by people, are typically the protagonists of the story, and are meant to be played many times (given the experience system and lengthy character creation). I get the appeal of high lethality, but I'd prefer that for a one-shot game and with quickly generated characters or Pregens. It's also hard to tell a story about a small group with characters who die frequently and are replaced over and over. I think it would be fine to have an optional high lethality rule for this game, but I don't think it should be the default given how much time it takes to make a character. There are other ways to put someone at risk and given how slow healing is, lethality seems high, but more of a slow burn.

As far as lopping off limbs, I agree with you that it sounds more fun in game. I know that for troopers and elites I'm going to be declaring that when they are hit and lose the last of their single pool of wounds that the hit location gets cut off or what have you. I also think that having limb loss be a thing in the game could be fun, provided that cybernetic limbs are available. I don't think it should be easy for a PC to lose a limb, but having something in the critical wounds table would be fun. That way, Darth Vader who does an ass load of damage can hit Luke, knocking him into criticals, with Luke rolling that his limb has been lost.
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