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Targeted Feedback: Momentum economy

posted Apr 09, 2017 16:47:25 by Nathan.Dowdell
One of the awkward parts of playtesting is trying to figure out whether something is an isolated incident, or a trend. The sample size for any RPG playtest is so small, and the subject matter so nuanced and variable, as to make statistical analysis of the feedback extremely difficult - a single player having a lucky or unlucky night can throw everything off. Is something happening because that's how the dice are falling for that particular group, or does it actually mean something? What impact does the specific interpretation of an individual GM have to the results, and how can that be measured or accounted for?

This is part of the reason so much of my effort overall is making sure the rules are comprehensible - the more we can establish a common ground for playtesting, the easier my job becomes subsequently.

So, recent discussion of problems with the cycling of Momentum - both here and in other sources - has resulted in me spending a considerable amount of my time wracking my brain, analysing different possibilities, running personal tests, and so forth, to try and figure out what the heart of the matter is, detached from matters of GM interpretation. In earlier testing, and in other 2D20 system games so far, these issues haven't seemed to be particularly pronounced, at least not to the degree discussed here... but that may also be because of those same problems of statistical inconsistency, and the smaller scale of those playtests. In my experience, a degree of "spend Momentum for extra dice, roll, generate Momentum, bank some of it" is healthy, at least so long as there are sufficient other things to spend Momentum on, and peaks of difficulty, as to leech surplus Momentum from the pool periodically... but in at least a few cases, for reasons that I don't have sufficient data to do more than speculate about, this cycling of Momentum is making things too easy, and additional uses of Momentum are either insufficient to leech points out, or those other spends are being ignored in favour of saving Momentum primarily for bonus d20s. Either way, it's something in need of action, and an area where I need more specific feedback, and some consideration of alternatives.

Below are several considerations. I'd like feedback on each of them - individually, and in combination, if possible - as a variety of additional perspectives will be helpful in coming to a conclusion.

+++
Consideration: Re-rolls are too easily available for d20s.

The rules so far provide the ability to re-roll any number of d20s on a Task in a few circumstance, normally tied to fulfilling a particular criteria (providing assistance, or buying additional dice in a specific way on a specific type of Task). Those are too potent; a change is under consideration so that any ability that currently allows a character to re-roll all their dice pool now only allow the character to re-roll a single d20.

The only exception to this will be spending a point of Determination, which will gain the exclusive ability (still limited by Values as normal for Determination spends) to re-roll a whole dice pool (as one of its uses).

This change, I'm fairly content with making, but it's worth including here for completeness.

+++
Consideration: There may be insufficient incentive to use Momentum on a Task rather than saving it for bonus d20s.

As a potential resolution here, I am considering a change whereby a character cannot save more than half (rounding up) the Momentum they have generated on a Task. Bonus Momentum (increases to the amount of Momentum generated, such as from Talents, or from using a starship's Power) still cannot be saved, and do not count towards calculating how much Momentum can be saved.

I'm not sure on this one. I like that there are some Tasks which exist solely to generate Momentum for everyone else - amongst other things, it's a good way to reflect a leader or commander type character coming up with a plan or making an inspirational speech. It also limits the amount of 'fuel' for other Immediate spends, like increasing the difficulty of opponent's tasks (which I rarely hear about in feedback), keeping the initiative, or taking extra Minor actions, though this might just mean that players are more frequently pressed to pay by adding to Threat.

+++
Consideration: Additional d20s may be too useful for their price, or too cheap considering their benefits.

A simple change, but one with potential for massive impact: it would cost 2 Momentum, instead of 1 (still with the ability to pay for it by adding to Threat), to buy a single bonus d20. Alternatively, it would cost 1 Momentum for the first bonus d20, 2 for the second, and 3 for the third (either way, it increases the cost of 3 bonus d20s to 6 Momentum).

I worry here that the utility of bonus d20s may be sufficiently high that this just leaves less Momentum for other things, and we've previously (in earlier iterations) run into issues with players not having a worthwhile use for a single point of Momentum.

+++
Consideration: The cap on 5 for Task Difficulty is arbitrary and constricting.

A simple one to resolve - remove the cap, allowing Difficulties of 6, 7, or higher. It would require a little extra text warning that those higher difficulties are not for the faint of heart, but that's not a massive hardship.

+++

So, thoughts, analyses, discussions?
[Last edited Oct 10, 2017 23:51:43]
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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66 replies
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ScottB said Apr 09, 2017 17:44:41
@Nathan - okay, first off very interesting look into the finer details of game design on this scale. I love that you allow us some insight into not only the problems but the possible fixes. So thoughts right off the bat are that while I understand these issues have come up, I'd be curious exactly how big a problem this is - only you would know that. I suppose it is the same conversation a few us are/were having in the other thread - how complicated/stringent do you make the rules? Because if you make them so even the "powergamers" have a hard time, "casuals" will likely not have a chance. Everyone else will fall somewhere in between, but sliding toward the scale of "this game is not fun, I don't want to have to number crunch and worry about percentages and min-max, I just want to say I'm going to do something and then have the system tell me how to do it".

Food for thought for those who only look at thing's from their personal or group's perspective.

Consideration: Re-rolls are too easily available for d20s.


Okay I agree here, but not for the reasons that may seem obvious. I know I'm not a game designer Nathan, in the sense that I've never had anything published. However, the reason IMO re-rolls are too easily available is because Talents are in no way balanced. I don't think I need to get too deeply into it, but let's just take a hypothetical party of 3 - each one takes the "Cautious" Talent (buy d20's w/ Momentum, re-roll ENTIRE dice pool) twice so that the party has every Discipline covered. Then they go out of their way to ensure the best character choice for making a roll makes those rolls. Every "important" task basically is getting the dice pool re-rolled. And more specifically, only the dice a player CHOOSES. It's designed for minmaxing, it really is.

The problem isn't the re-rolls, it's how freely they can be used. Just answer me this - why would a player ever take another Talent that allows them the use full pool re-rolls on more specific occasions (like say, only when Melee Attacking, or only when in Social Conflict but not using Intimidation or Deception options) when they can just take a different Talent that allows re-rolls for every Task using that Discipline? (so now instead of re-rolls only when Melee Attacking, just every time you ever use the Security Discipline). The Talents just aren't balanced IMO.

Your solution might be the right one, but I think maybe you're going to far in the other direction.

@Nathan - if you want more of my thoughts on this matter without filling up the forum, let me know; I've been spending personal time on this trying to wrap my head around the thought process here in Talent design - because I know that if the Talents are left as is, I'd rather customize them to give my Players more options than the same few they will always take (like most Feat/Edge&Flaw systems). You can put as many niche Talents as you want in the game, but if they are never "comparable or situationally better" than Bold and Cautious (for example), there really isn't any point - it just gives the illusion of content and flexibility.

TLDR - re-rolls are a problem, but only because you've allowed for them to be so easily obtained and used; look to Talents as the problem, and redesign them if you're going to redesign anything - as you've mentioned in your solution.

There may be insufficient incentive to use Momentum on a Task rather than saving it for bonus d20s.


Possibly. I think that there is a problem with visibility and understanding on just EXACTLY what you can do with Momentum for many Players. Extra dice is the easy, no-brainer choice. And from an efficiency standpoint, probably the best choice (with the exception of certain situations of course). It's like (and sorry to keep referencing it) DnD and Spells - you COULD take a bunch of interesting and situational Spells at 3rd level that allow for really interesting roleplay. Or if you're new to the game, you just take Fireball and blow everything up. Because it is simple and doesn't require understanding all the other options available.

Changing the game mechanics so that Players feel compelled to use other Momentum spend options or else just lose half their generated Momentum I feel is bad game design. It's like saying "Hey we put all this other stuff in the game, now use it goddamn it!" Rather, why aren't people using it? Again, is it because they really don't know what is available? Is it because these other options are hardly talked about and you just assumed people would gravitate to them? I don't know, I am actually asking on this one - because me and my group looked at all the different ways we could spend Momentum to have cool and fun (and sometimes necessary for mission completion) moments. Not everyone might feel the same. Conversely buying extra d20's is talked about repeatedly like one of the core tenants of the game (which it is), but it might give people the idea that it is actually some kind of holy writ - tho shalt buy moar dice!

TLDR - visibility in the rulebook might be the problem here; we have pages and pages talking about buying extra d20's, how to get extra d20's, Talents that give extra d20's; we have fewer pages talking about other things to spend Momentum on and underscoring the importance those options can have

Additional d20s may be too useful for their price, or too cheap considering their benefits


I'll say to this a) see my point above if haven't already and b) er, jeez, I'm glad I don't have to figure out the answer to this (a.k.a This is why you're getting paid the big bucks Nathan ;) ). Of the two options, I personally prefer the escalating cost option. There are still ways around it, such as being very very specific on the order of how you go about getting your extra dice (buy one first, then add the one from your Talent, etc). It might be the most elegant solution in that it is straightforward for those who don't want to dive deep into the rules, but makes "powergamers" get crafty which they really enjoy!

The cap on 5 for Task Difficulty is arbitrary and constricting.


As discussed in the other thread: perhaps. There is no harm in throwing in a caveat that GM's can make Difficulties above that as an "optional rule". I just think that if GM's realize there are other ways to make situations more difficult without simply resorting to increasing the base difficulty of a test, combined with alterations to how easy/favorable it is to a) get extra d20's thereby increasing percentile chance to succeed and b) how easy/favorable it is to have abilities that allow you to maximize your chance at succeeding (e.g. the ability to choose to re-roll any dice you just rolled that were not already successes) would mean that higher Difficulties would sort themselves out, wouldn't they?

SUMMATION

Look at the Talents and balance the ease with which re-rolls can be gotten. If you're going to allow us the option to re-roll dice of our choosing (cherry picking dice that weren't already successes) make that the option in Talents that can only be used in specific situations and have the Talents that allow for more broad use only allow for 1d20 re-roll or some such. I'd leave that re-roll option in the game is what I'm saying, just don't make it so easy to to take advantage of. Give as much space, attention, and importance (or at least more than there is) to the other available options that Momentum allows for as you do obtaining bonus d20's. The more people understand and can see how these options can help, the more appealing they naturally become - perhaps more examples or flavor text will help? Not sure on that.

Lastly please please please don't go making all these changes at once. Too often I see game design where the solution to a problem is to swing too far in the other direction, just creating more problems and imbalance. Again, I'm not a Game Designer but IF I were I would ask for groups to test the proposed changes ONLY in point 1 first and see how that went, then ONLY in point 2 (without point 1 changes) etc etc.

Hope this feedback was helpful Nathan.

[Last edited Apr 09, 2017 17:54:10]
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Nathan.Dowdell said Apr 09, 2017 18:20:30
So thoughts right off the bat are that while I understand these issues have come up, I'd be curious exactly how big a problem this is - only you would know that.

This is part of the reason for this thread, and a lot of other playtest discussion. I can't know how big a problem it is, with any degree of certainty. I can make my best guess, guided by the feedback and my own instincts. That's part of the reason for this thread.

I suppose it is the same conversation a few us are/were having in the other thread - how complicated/stringent do you make the rules? Because if you make them so even the "powergamers" have a hard time, "casuals" will likely not have a chance. Everyone else will fall somewhere in between, but sliding toward the scale of "this game is not fun, I don't want to have to number crunch and worry about percentages and min-max, I just want to say I'm going to do something and then have the system tell me how to do it".

This is, of course, a big sticking point for me here, and why I haven't just made a decision and moved forwards, like I have with a number of other changes.

The problem isn't the re-rolls, it's how freely they can be used. Just answer me this - why would a player ever take another Talent that allows them the use full pool re-rolls on more specific occasions (like say, only when Melee Attacking, or only when in Social Conflict but not using Intimidation or Deception options) when they can just take a different Talent that allows re-rolls for every Task using that Discipline? (so now instead of re-rolls only when Melee Attacking, just every time you ever use the Security Discipline). The Talents just aren't balanced IMO.

I understand this perspective, and it's something I tried to do earlier in design... but it gets to a point where defining those "specific occasions" becomes extremely fuzzy, and I either need to create a talent or two that can suit whatever specific occasion the player or GM defines... or I need to create dozens of talents that do the same thing in slightly different circumstances. Neither option is preferable here... so I picked the least-bad compromise - something that's simple and flexible.

Your solution is probably the right one, but I think maybe you're going to far in the other direction. @Nathan - if you want more of my thoughts on this matter without filling up the forum, let me know; I've been spending personal time on this trying to wrap my head around the thought process here in Talent design. Because you can put as many niche Talents as you want in the game, but if they are never "comparable or situationally better" than Bold and Cautious (for example), there really isn't any point.

You're welcome to email me to discuss this matter further, if you're so inclined.

Changing the game mechanics so that Players feel compelled to use other Momentum spend options or else just lose half their generated Momentum I feel is bad game design. It's like saying "Hey we put all this other stuff in the game, now use it goddamn it!" Rather, why aren't people using it? Again, is it because they really don't know what is available? Is it because these other options are hardly talked about and you just assumed people would gravitate to them? I don't know, I am actually asking on this one - because me and my group looked at all the different ways we could spend Momentum to have cool and fun (and sometimes necessary for mission completion) moments. Not everyone might feel the same. Conversely buying extra d20's is talked about repeatedly like one of the core tenants of the game (which it is), but it might give people the idea that it is actually some kind of holy writ - tho shalt buy moar dice!

I can see that. Certainly, people having plentiful options to spend their Momentum on is part of the way I run the game, with my last few games having plenty of interesting choices about how and when to spend Momentum (my recent demos of Adrift had players constantly torn between saving Momentum for later and spending it to reduce the time taken on repairs, and my regular group normally spend one or two Momentum on most out-of-combat Tasks to get more info).

TLDR - visibility in the rulebook might be the problem here; we have pages and pages talking about buying extra d20's, how to get extra d20's, Talents that give extra d20's; we have fewer pages talking about other things to spend Momentum on and underscoring the importance those options can have

I can see that. The corebook draft of the main rules have been rearranged to try and help with emphasis and which parts of the process are made visible first - the concept of Traits (including Advantages and Complications) is up front, before Tasks are explained, because Traits serve to determine what a character can do without trying, what they can attempt to do (a Task), and what they can't do: they are the concept of narrative permission, governing whether any activity the characters wish to perform is possible within the fiction before they go any further.

(a.k.a This is why you're getting paid the big bucks Nathan ;) )

Yeah... big...

Of the two options, I personally prefer the escalating cost option. There are still ways around it, such as being very very specific on the order of how you go about getting your extra dice (buy one first, then add the one from your Talent, etc). It might be the most elegant solution in that it is straightforward for those who don't want to dive deep into the rules, but makes "powergamers" get crafty which they really enjoy!

That would come with some additional caveats (dice that you didn't pay for, and dice bought with Determination, always come first, so if you've got a bonus d20 from a Talent, then the next die you bought with Momentum or Threat would be your second die).

Ironically, we had a similar discussion during Conan playtesting about the Difficulty increase spend - it was 1 per +1 before, then scaling cost (1 for +1, 3 for +2, 6 for +3), before finally settling on 2 per +1, because it was deemed statistically superior to buying an extra die (ie, if you buy 1d20 by adding to Threat, and the GM buys +1 Difficulty with that Threat, the odds have shifted more in the GM's favour than the player's).

As discussed in the other thread: perhaps. There is no harm in throwing in a caveat that GM's can make Difficulties above that as an "optional rule". I just think that if GM's realize there are other ways to make situations more difficult without simply resorting to increasing the base difficulty of a test, combined with alterations to how easy/favorable it is to a) get extra d20's thereby increasing percentile chance to succeed and b) how easy/favorable it is to have abilities that allow you to maximize your chance at succeeding (e.g. the ability to choose to re-roll any dice you just rolled that were not already successes) would mean that higher Difficulties would sort themselves out.

Fair. Not much more to add here.

Lastly please please please don't go making all these changes at once. Too often I see game design where the solution to a problem is to swing too far in the other direction, just creating more problems and imbalance.

Oh, I wasn't considering that. The rerolls change and removing the difficulty cap are the most likely to happen, and don't massively interfere with one another, but with the other two, I'm more likely to introduce one, the other, or some other fix as yet undiscovered.

Hope this feedback was helpful Nathan.

It was. At the very least, the discussion helps process things and find perspectives that I can't reach on my own.
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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Eric Stearns said Apr 09, 2017 18:28:53
@Nathan I think the biggest consideration here is powergaming. We all know whose group this is referring to, and I believe his inclusion in this playtest has been absolutely awesome, because of how broke his players are. (Sri, man, just my opinion.)

So on that note
1)re: Re-rolls are too easily available for d20s.
I believe this is a possibility. For powergamers, there is no incentive to take talents that do anything else, you can't force them to take something else unless you totally remove this mechanic. This leaves those groups that play strictly for the interaction at a grave disadvantage. For example, I remember participating in the RPGA tourney at GenCon for several years. Team Aqua Teen Hunger Force, won every year. I watched them play one year, I would have left their gaming group in a heart beat, they were efficient, succinct and about as fun as a tax audit. They didn't play to have fun, they played to obliterate the opposing DM. This is a problem with games, someone always wants to 'win', even when there isn't an actual win available. You can't fix this, this is just something that exists. Verdit: leave it as is and let the individual tables sort this part out.

2)re: There may be insufficient incentive to use Momentum on a Task rather than saving it for bonus d20s.
This is a play style issue. If you want one of your core tenants to be buy more dice, it is going to become a primary use of momentum. It's a pitfall of your system, or as computer geeks are fond of saying, 'it's a feature.' I think part of the reason we are seeing this is so far there isn't enough REASON to use momentum on other things. Whether this is due to adventure design or game design, I am unsure. Verdict: Undecided, more testing needed.

3)re: Additional d20s may be too useful for their price, or too cheap considering their benefits.
Yes, this is true. If you can easily use momentum on dice purchases, why use it on anything else. Verdict: The sliding gradual scale seems to be a logical solution.

4)re: The cap on 5 for Task Difficulty is arbitrary and constricting.
Making 5 the standard cap should be fine for most groups, making an option for higher level caps for other groups will not break the system, as long as there is a lengthy explanation about game design and it's usage in the GM section. (call it advanced game concepts or whatever, just make sure that novice GMs don't use it as a crutch or as a club.) Verdict: As an optional rule I think this is fine.

5) Other thoughts
a) 2 threat for 1 momentum is fine, but a better use of threat to counter momentum may be a needed asset for GMs to forego players buying threat as much. If at the end of the game the GM has a pile of useless threat, it's just a way for players to get by (buy) without really 'punishing' the act of using threat buy. How is this achieved, I don't know. For me, this hasn't been a problem, for others it may (seems to) be.

b) Without seeing the "fluff" text you have referred to in the past regarding usage of the rules that exist in the final product versus the test product that we have received many of these issues may have already been resolved. But I can't say for sure. I'm all for using head-canon or 'rules as intended" trumping 'rules as written'.

I hate rules lawyers with a passion and have used the "you have offended the gods; you are struck with 1 million 1 millionth hit-point lightning bolts. you take 1 hit point of damage but you must make 1 million saving throws for all of your equipment or shall we just assume the law of averages makes you naked?" probability defense against rules lawyers in the past. Yes, if you want to play math/probability games, I am more than up to the task of making you suffer for it, I am vindictive and petty that way.
Frankly, one of the reasons I've been enjoying this playtest is I haven't had to do anything like this yet. Gods help my players if I ever did.

On an unrelated note, keep up the good work Nathan, it will pay off in the end, of that I am quite sure.
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Nathan.Dowdell said Apr 09, 2017 18:43:50
but a better use of threat to counter momentum may be a needed asset for GMs to forego players buying threat as much. If at the end of the game the GM has a pile of useless threat, it's just a way for players to get by (buy) without really 'punishing' the act of using threat buy. How is this achieved, I don't know. For me, this hasn't been a problem, for others it may (seems to) be.

I actually devised a new use to Threat for this purpose: to serve as a release valve for large amounts of Threat at once. The GM spends 2 Threat per PC present in the current scene, escalates the scene in some massive way, and then ends that scene immediately. It's an abrupt reversal of fortune, where something really bad is about to happen... and then we fade out, go to commercial, and that new situation will shape the next scene with those characters. I plan to give it a try during my next campaign session.
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 09, 2017 18:51:41
@EricStearns - awesome post, well constructed responses (unlike me who just fills space with run-on sentences), and also made me literally LOL several times (Law of Averages Lightning Bolt, will remember that!)

@Nathan

I understand this perspective, and it's something I tried to do earlier in design... but it gets to a point where defining those "specific occasions" becomes extremely fuzzy... -SNIP-


You're welcome to email me to discuss this matter further, if you're so inclined.


Yeah it's just one of those things - EVERY game I've ever seen that includes "Powers" just never quite seems to find balance, inevitably there are always a few that are just plain better. In playing around with creating my own RPG systems or RPG game mods, I run into this problem myself. You want to give Players cool things to do as an exception to what they can normally do, things that make individual characters unique in the kind of action they gravitate towards, but how to balance?

I definitely will email you my thoughts once I've got a handle on what I'm trying to say, because otherwise it just feels like complaining to me (for complaints sake).

I can see that. Certainly, people having plentiful options to spend their Momentum on is part of the way I run the game... -SNIP-


As said, personally I agree and think that part of my job as a GM is to find ways to give PC's a chance to make good use of those other spends if they choose to; and my Players really enjoy finding ways to use not commonly used abilities (we're notorious for taking lesser used abilities and having a riot introducing known but not commonly dealt with powers). The material IS there, and it IS useful - just some people posting on these forums seem to just not make us of it.

Yeah... big...


Well you should be! :) Take donations? Lol.

It was. At the very least, the discussion helps process things and find perspectives that I can't reach on my own.


Again, just can't iterate enough how awesome it is for you to let us get involved in the process. Most other Tests like this I've participated in treat the Testers as an advanced poll for "How well will this game be received as is?" and at most make minor changes or fixes. The fact that your considering changing rules that seem part of the very foundation of the system speaks volumes! More and more respect for you and Modiphius every time I see stuff like this.

EDIT:
I actually devised a new use to Threat for this purpose: to serve as a release valve for large amounts of Threat at once. The GM spends 2 Threat per PC present in the current scene, escalates the scene in some massive way, and then ends that scene immediately. It's an abrupt reversal of fortune, where something really bad is about to happen... and then we fade out, go to commercial, and that new situation will shape the next scene with those characters. I plan to give it a try during my next campaign session.


Uh, awesome! Excited to see the specifics on this.

[Last edited Apr 09, 2017 18:52:55]
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themaskofromek said Apr 10, 2017 03:29:10
When I first read the playtest rules frankly I struggled to get my head around the whole momentum/threat concept. Years of Runequest/D&D/Call of Cthulhu etc had conditioned me to a certain game structure.

After a couple of reads it started to click, after the first session with players it really fell into place for me. The guys took to the momentum/threat dynamic like ducks to water. They treated momentum with respect and saw its value early on.

What became apparent to me was my lack of use for threat. I would regularly forget all about it till I'd acquired a ton of the damn stuff. My players commented after the first session on how threat as a game mechanic seemed, well, empty.

It struck me that I was too used to waving the mighty hand of the GM and just making stuff happen without any consideration for meta currency. I'm the GM after all. You want to steal a car and make a getaway from the bad guys I've spent weeks on? okay then the cars out of fuel. You want to climb a wall and run off over rooftops? okay then it's topped with broken bottles set in concrete. You get the idea I could happily steer the narrative without worrying about keeping score.

My point is ( and yes there is one) that now I get it. Threat is the damage players are doing to themselves. It's basic karma. Try and murder someone, okay but it's gonna cost you later down the line just you see if it doesn't. Don't get me wrong I'm still learning how to use it properly or at least gracefully. I don't want to be clubbing players over the head with it as a purely mechanical device but I want them to flinch when I reach for those little red skull counters I use. I want them to feel the consequences.

Ideally I want them to be eyeing the growing threat pile nervously wondering what fresh hell their own actions will unleash.

I must admit I do like the idea of saving threat up for a catastrophic event. Hey guys I'm saving up for a warp core breach!
[Last edited Apr 10, 2017 03:32:48]
"There can be no peace while Kirk lives!"
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aramis_erak said Apr 10, 2017 03:56:54
Ran for a group of 2 new (to STA) plus one with 1 prior session yesterday. Using the pregens for the newbs. Using the Xerxes Rescue adventure. (At a con.) All are D&D players, all are college age.

Ran smack into new players realizing right quick that it was best to go ahead and give threat for the +3d20 on the first allowed task, and build the momentum. And to team up and suck the complication chances for increased aid. Each did so at various points.

I was able to get them down to 0 stored during a big fight - 4 panthers. They usually had a full momentum pool AFTER spending 1/3. But they ended session topped to 6 again.

Best roll: 7 successes.

Highest difficulty: 6 rolled; was set at 6, +1 for the mental damage from a complication resisting the change... and –1 for a talent; within a focus. No rerolls, but still got 7s on the dice. And a complication.
Just because my shirt is red
does not mean I'll soon be dead.

http://aramis.hostman.us/trek/sta/
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DavidRosson said Apr 10, 2017 05:28:56
Just as a spare idea, how about an approach that you can't bank *any* Momentum from a Task in which you gave the GM Threat for extra dice. Maxing out the roll that way will then be a tradeoff because you won't have a chance at gaining resources for later.
"It's not safe out here. It's wondrous, with treasures to satiate desires both subtle and gross. But it's not for the timid." - Q
Star Trek RPG Files (Character Build Reference and Constellation Class Starship)
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Elijah said Apr 10, 2017 08:05:25
In regards to Talents and Re Rolling 1d20 or Dice Pool, why not split down the middle?
The Cautious and Bold Talents allow re-roll of 1d20 while more specific Talents(Ushaan, Former Initiate) allow Pool reroll.

This way if the player wants to reroll the Pool they need to be in a specific situation, and not just use their Discipline.
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Nathan.Dowdell said Apr 10, 2017 11:01:08
@aramis, do you have any feedback on the specific considerations I listed in my original post? Because otherwise I don't see how your post relates to this thread in any but the loosest sense.

Posting from phone, so I'll analyse other comments in detail later.
Game Development - 2D20 System
System Design - Star Trek Adventures

Rules questions and playtest feedback to nathan@modiphius.com
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jimdcushman said Apr 10, 2017 12:31:54
Consideration: Re-rolls are too easily available for d20s.

TLDR - re-rolls are a problem, but only because you've allowed for them to be so easily obtained and used; look to Talents as the problem, and redesign them if you're going to redesign anything - as you've mentioned in your solution.

-What about adding a Momentum cost to some Talents? A strong Talent could require 1 Momentum to use, 2 if it's an exceptionally powerful one. RP explanation, Yes she has a talent at finding the most efficient way to perform the repair but only after she's had her coffee, black. Or even succeeding at a task at time cost or contest. RP explanation; he could only clear his head after some Mok'bara in the holodeck OR he could only truly get beyond the complex nature after a hearty round of anbo-jyutsu. I'm no game designer so I don't know what ultimately these ideas would culminate in but I figure I'll throw them out there for a chance at something sparking a better development or idea to solve the obstacle. (Daring + Eng {12} Dif 1>2d20=5&20)

There may be insufficient incentive to use Momentum on a Task rather than saving it for bonus d20s.

-I agree, it's a little difficult to relay what all the uses for Momentum are. I've learned a little just from this thread but it's still not completely clear what other benefits it has before a Task concludes.

Additional d20s may be too useful for their price, or too cheap considering their benefits

-Would doubling the cost of momentum per d20 also increase the cost of threat per d20 or were you thinking of keeping it at the lower cost to increase the incentive to add to the threat pool? I could see either way working.

The cap on 5 for Task Difficulty is arbitrary and constricting.

-I think a GM option to increase beyond D5 but it could get silly really quick rolling 10xD20 for one task. Personally, I can't think of a scenario that would go past D5 that couldn't turn into an Extended Task.

All of that being said, my group hasn't conducted much combat so maybe that's why we aren't generating a whole bunch of Momentum but my group is leaving each episode with 1 or 2 Momentum in the pool. Thank you for letting us all get involved in the testing of this game. It's a huge IP to play with and asking its fans for input should prove invaluable in the long run.
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Nathan.Dowdell said Apr 10, 2017 13:16:11
Just as a spare idea, how about an approach that you can't bank *any* Momentum from a Task in which you gave the GM Threat for extra dice. Maxing out the roll that way will then be a tradeoff because you won't have a chance at gaining resources for later.

I'm not keen on it. In theory, adding to Threat to generate Momentum to kick-start the group's Momentum pool is an intentional strategic option.

Part of the issue here is that the whole thing is on a razor's edge. The tactics used by aramis' group - as an example - are entirely within the realms of rules-as-intended, and there's nothing inherent wrong with any of those approaches. The overwhelming efficiency of those tactics is the issue, which makes it especially tricky to solve - I need to tone down how effective those tactics are, without making them worthless or ruling them out entirely.

In regards to Talents and Re Rolling 1d20 or Dice Pool, why not split down the middle?
The Cautious and Bold Talents allow re-roll of 1d20 while more specific Talents(Ushaan, Former Initiate) allow Pool reroll.

This way if the player wants to reroll the Pool they need to be in a specific situation, and not just use their Discipline.

A possible approach, yes. It's something I'll look into.

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 10, 2017 17:46:50
In regards to Talents and Re Rolling 1d20 or Dice Pool, why not split down the middle?
The Cautious and Bold Talents allow re-roll of 1d20 while more specific Talents(Ushaan, Former Initiate) allow Pool reroll.

This way if the player wants to reroll the Pool they need to be in a specific situation, and not just use their Discipline.


A possible approach, yes. It's something I'll look into.


That's exactly along the lines I was thinking - the more specific the situation, the more "powerful" the ability. The more common the situation, the less "powerful" - however because it can be used more often, that in itself is the draw to take it.

I see how most Talents can be broken down into an equivalent Momentum spend, and that seems the easiest way to balance them - beyond that, a lot of it comes down to the eyeball test. My major concerns are availability/ease of usage (as discussed already), but then also incredibly minimal gains for something you could simply do with Momentum anyway - unless I'm missing something.

The other consideration is that several of the Talents I'm basing my arguments off of could very have changed in Nathan's master copy of the rules by now (the one we obvious don't have full access to) - I believe this could be the case, because several of the Talents in the documents we have access to share the same names but use altogether changed or slightly altered rules from earlier versions.

Anyway sorry, off topic.
[Last edited Apr 10, 2017 17:48:30]
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James said Apr 10, 2017 19:42:11
You, could take it a different route. For each momentum D20 spent after the first, threat is generated equal to the number bought.

Or, for each momentum saved in the pool threat is generated at half the current pool level round down.

Or the pool is per department branch of service.
[Last edited Apr 10, 2017 19:42:47]
~~ James
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aramis_erak said Apr 10, 2017 23:28:25
Nathan: difficulty 6 didn't get a rise out of them, and the extant momentum flow was pretty typical for hard core D&D players; Raising the upper bound, however, didn't cause any consternation. (Those are elements in your top post; alos elements you'd previously told me to test. Both of which I tested. Presenting the context in which those results happened. That the players were not my more experienced group also is relevant - it is a data point for whether or not the issue correlates to the issues.

Not having seen the top post here prior to the convention, I couldn't test the rest.

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

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