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Star Trek Alpha Discussion

posted Nov 24, 2016 18:24:53 by ChrisBirch
Please discuss the first Alpha release here
[Last edited Oct 10, 2017 23:52:16]
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Patrick Sayet said Apr 05, 2017 14:09:29
totally screwed the alpha test, I GMd Rescue at Xerxes instead of the assigned adventure ...
So for the characters, I had only 2 players, one chose the Captain, the other the Science officer, they liked that they had traits and skills that really brought up what the characters were good at and interested in. Personally, I prefer having more skills that define the varied interests the character has, like Call of Cthulhu or the old MERP/Rolemaster, but having the 6 generic skills and the focus allow to have personalization.
For the main game system, it seemed easy to get the pool to six dice and use them often, so they didn't even use determination, and see how following the values to get it back. I have mixed feelings about having to roleplay some emotions or interests to get a reward, I sometimes use these as guidelines to give a personality to characters and see how the player will develop it, but having a reward associated to makes it forced (I hate Fate with the "aspects" having the players use "fake" character elements to gain lots of Fate points as they just read what's written on their character sheet and forcing it in the story, even if it's appropriate to what's going on).
The system itself of adding the Attribute/Skill/Focus was assimilated quickly by the players and using the "momentum" worked well. But when asked why "momentum" (a word I had quite some difficulty explaining as in French the translated "élan" word is not fitting with the situation and game use) a player wondered how the other player using Diplomacy very well would help him get a better result for his Science check. They both felt naming it "team spirit" or "team cooperation" would fit more the Star Trek spirit.
Having only 41 pages of rules and being a new rule system made me totally misuse the "Challenge Dice" and how damage works, I used D20 for challenge dice and substract Stress ... Reading here helped me a lot, especially seeing it's D6, that each dice will either do nothing (3-4) or add effective damage.
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aramis_erak said Apr 05, 2017 17:14:25
There's no way to prevent 5d20 by the RAW. Not one legit way. And disallowing the ship die on published tasks that explicitly allow it violates Wheaton's Law... As does denying legitimate, properly narrated use of the assist action.

Moreover, denying well described use of the assist action is deeply counter to the genre.

Now, the side effects of buying and rolling those 5d20, that's another matter entirely.
Just because my shirt is red
does not mean I'll soon be dead.

http://aramis.hostman.us/trek/sta/
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ScottB said Apr 05, 2017 22:04:20
No-one's telling you to break the rules as written aramis. Try this analogy: Dice are a currency in this game. If your players are always "rich", you need to either find more things for them to spend currency on that they would like to do or create problems for them to have to spend currency on.

Liberal introduction of complications for one would be one way that I can think of. So you start adding up complications, and if you get "past" raising the Difficulty above 5 then the Task is now impossible. They must remove one or more complications (or introduce counter Advantages) to even make the test in the first place. Each of those things costs 2 Momentum per use. OR they could make D2 Tasks to remove the complication, but now they're cutting into another currency in this game - Time.

You have options with the RAW. Yes, without any added issues or complications getting max dice every test is probably fairly simple. But you have to use the other tools in your GM toolbox man! It's like people I knew who played 3rd Ed or 3.5 DnD without bothering to use any TN modifiers. Makes the game faster sure, but much much easier. Traits/Advantages/Complications are your friend. And maybe you're already doing ALL of that and your players are still steamrolling the system, in which case sounds like your in for a long haul because your group is doing what no (few?) other group has mentioned yet as a major problem.

So again, I am not saying "deny" or "disallow" or anything like that. I am saying CHALLENGE them using the existing rules.
[Last edited Apr 05, 2017 22:06:53]
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aramis_erak said Apr 06, 2017 08:59:47
Since they can ALWAYS add threat to gain the 3rd, 4th, and 5th dice, so depleting their momentum does not work, Scott. Depriving them of momentum does not preclude 5d20+shipdie. Quite literally, there is no valid way to prevent them from having 5D20 if they want the 5d20.

One player figured out (intuitively; I've asked him) that spending 3 threat to get a 5d20 w/reroll on a difficulty 1 task usually gets 4 momentum, which is enough to buy off the complication that I can buy with 2 of that threat.

Just because my shirt is red
does not mean I'll soon be dead.

http://aramis.hostman.us/trek/sta/
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Nathan.Dowdell said Apr 06, 2017 12:42:53
One player figured out (intuitively; I've asked him) that spending 3 threat to get a 5d20 w/reroll on a difficulty 1 task usually gets 4 momentum, which is enough to buy off the complication that I can buy with 2 of that threat.

So, this is a little worrisome, quite aside from the ongoing matter of the unstoppable juggernauts you call players. It's also making me want to shoot your players into the sun.

Fundamentally, the way you remove a Complication is by making it so that it's no longer true. Purely mechanistically, a Complication and an Advantage cancel one another out (which is why they cost the same), but there's a narrative element that which is being overlooked.

You can't just spend 2 Momentum out of nowhere to buy off a complication - it's either a Task (a separate one - no pre-emptively nullifying Complications from the Task you've just rolled), or a Create Advantage spend from a Task (Create Advantage is not Immediate, you can't do it whenever), or spending Determination, to create an Advantage for any purpose (including removing Complications)... but that requires that the narrative support the action being attempted.

Now, for higher difficulty Tasks, I've expressly given my permission - my blessing, even - to go beyond Difficulty 5, as focussed testing to see how that plays out. In fact, at this point, I'm asking you to do that, because I'm genuinely stumped on ways to try and curb your players' excesses without being needlessly harsh on everyone else, or interfering with things that work as intended in the majority of other cases... and it's dangerous for me to get distracted by, or overly focussed upon, the experiences of any single group.
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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ScottB said Apr 06, 2017 15:45:57
You can't just spend 2 Momentum out of nowhere to buy off a complication - it's either a Task (a separate one - no pre-emptively nullifying Complications from the Task you've just rolled), or a Create Advantage spend from a Task (Create Advantage is not Immediate, you can't do it whenever), or spending Determination, to create an Advantage for any purpose (including removing Complications)... but that requires that the narrative support the action being attempted.


And this I think is the key element. MECHANICALLY I completely understand where your concerns are mostly coming from aramis, I swear I do. MECHANICALLY there is really is no way to prevent your players from accumulating multiple dice through any combination of Momentum, Threat, and/or Assists. NARRATIVELY there are multiple ways to make it unfavorable for them to want to do those things. For example, so far in my games I've done just enough nasty stuff (or implied even nastier stuff that I COULD do) that my Players choose to be discreet in their Threat expenditure, or use it in a narrative sense (i.e. "My character is willing to take the risk, so I think Threat is a more appropriate spend here then banked Momentum") which is awesome for being "in character", that they don't just use the mechanical rules to maximize Dice simply because they can.

It really is up to YOU to make things more complicated for your players by whatever means are at your disposal. Honestly, I'm just trying to show that there are ways. And Nathan has even asked for you to bend the RAW as an experiment for him. Try either/both, see what happens! Let us know, I'm curious as well. This is meant to helpful after all aramis, not controversial or me sounding like I'm telling you that your concerns are invalid or wrong - they certainly are not!

Good luck!
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aramis_erak said Apr 06, 2017 17:48:03
Nathan - All a complication mechanically costs is an action and 2 momentum with a suitable narrative declaration to match.

As I said, my players play the rules in front of them.

The story arrises from the interaction of the group and the rules, within the context of the GM's initial framing and selection of setting and NPCs.

The rules say an action, plus 2 momentum, and a justification can remove a 2-threat complication.

If you don't actually want people to play that way, don't put it in the rules that way.

Hell, see Chris' & Waterbob's discussion of conan on EnWorld to see similar views from several others. I've experienced most the situations Waterbob saw as potential problems - not commonly, but yes, at least once each now. Monster threatpiles that had no story-reasonable justification to spend. Bad luck leading to runaway complications and holding the threat range at 16+. Players digging a deep hole in order to succeed. Players with momentum pegged at max because of careful play of the taks mechanics. Not just, I see these as potential problems, but genuine, These have been an issue in at least one session.

Quoting one of my players (sitting 10' from meat the moment, "We at one point had 10 momentum on the table. Joe used threat to stock the pool. Ed used momentum to fill the pool further. ANd I followed and kept it filled." Mind you - they spent that excess - down to 6 - with a question each of extra information. "How can we be expected to not manage that resource?"

Trek is a hugely popular property. The system largely works mechanically, but there are several huge issues for rules-first play. One of which is the difficulty 5 limit; another is the lack of hard limits on PC threat/momentum spends on climbing cost immediate spends.

You seem to have a blind spot, Nathan, in an apparent presumption that the average player is actually reasonable and story-first oriented. For many, rules trump story; I can't say most, but that's definitely a very large subset of players. A smaller subset are genuinely unreasonable - and I've run enough games in public open-entry venues to realize about 1 in 20 is not inherently reasonable about limiting their character's actions on story grounds. (CM, agrees.)

Trek moves you guys into the big leagues - and means you're going to draw a much wider range of players than your other games. Conan's big, but not Trek big. You've got to account for the outliers better. Set the limits tighter than "use common sense"...

... which is part of what makes D&D so successful. It has the "reasonable limits" built in. And rules lawyers can't rape them as bad.
Just because my shirt is red
does not mean I'll soon be dead.

http://aramis.hostman.us/trek/sta/
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