thread: 2006-10-05 : Reward systems

On 2006-10-09, Frank T wrote:

Quote from Eero:

The bonus dice in Sorcerer aren't a reward mechanic. They are behavioral modificators, you could say, because they make it tactically sensible to act in a certain manner (the manner that gives you dice, that is). But calling them reward mechanics is like calling the high ground bonus in D&D a reward mechanic. Doesn't fly.

Thanks for voicing this so clearly, since this is exactly where I disagree. As John put it, reward mechanic gets confounded with advancement. Ever played WuShu? The game is totally driven by behavioral modificators. That's all there is to it, and it works pretty well to create coherent, functional play. What is, by the way, the reward cycle in WuShu? There is certainly no mechanic attached to it.

You (= Vincent and most of the rest) say: For a group playing functionally and with shared creative agenda, there is a reward cycle. That???s the largest repeating cycle in the game. For this cycle, there is a reward system (as by the lumpley principle) in place. This can be mechanically enforced, or "just" social. Thus far, I agree. And then you say: The mechanical reward system is the part where you usually get some currency and the mechanics say "repeat".

I get that definition. I don't get how it's unique and important. Man, it seems absurd to me to call levelling up the largest repeating cycle in D&D. To me, it seems plain obvious that the largest repeating cycle in D&D is of course the mission. Levelling up is only there so the missions stay interesting in a longer campaign.

Or what about TSoY? What's the "key cycle", anyway? Buying a key, using it and then buying it off again? Why, you might do that within half an hour of play, or you might keep one key infinitely. I see how keys are a great mechanic and enforce coherent and functional play, but I don't see the essential feature they have in common with levelling up in D&D that makes both of them the reward system, whereas secrets and feats, abilities and skills, bringing down the pain and combat rules are something else. And what about gift dice, by the way?

I would also strongly suggest not to discard fictional content when talking about reward cycles, as indicated regarding D&D missions/adventures.


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