2005-09-14 : Ars Magica Ripoff Suggestions

I've asked you all for suggestions, in a fishbowl post! How dumb was that.

Here's the problem: the problem.

Here are your fishbowl replies:

This makes...

cm go ""around, maybe...""
could you restrict/modify the underwriting procedure to avoid this?

VB go "not really."
The problem's not underwriting multiple characters, it's owning 'em.

XP go "Augment?"
PC group rules more like follower rules in HQ? With one PC as the leader, the others augment with their highest applicable trait?

Sben go "Ownership"
I haven't seen ownership explained very thoroughly; you imply it's something like "sole right to portray". Could a player loan one of the characters she owns? (I don't have a "mechanical" suggestion yet.)

TA go "Decouple the PCs from the resource pool"
So each player gets their complicated resource pool, but each character imposes restrictions on how the Player is able to utilize that pool of resources. If you end up with two PCs you control on opposite sides of the conflict then you reference each of their limitations to give a final accounting of how the player can use their one pool. Is this making sense?

VB go "yeah..."
That's what to do, all right. But, man, hard.

TA go "It's never easy..."
But I think that big pool becomes all meta stuff. It's like a 10000ft view of the game, and it's all stuff the player wants, maybe in different categories. I think I have an example forming, but it's long. Should it go here?

pb go "Covenant Stats"
I think we need to go back to old ArM covent generation: What have we got? Vis sources. Library Scores. Number of Grogs. Quality of Armaments. Size of Building. Other mundane resources. And have, not limitations, but i) Traits in excess of communal resources. ii) Abilities which control how much you can take from the communal pool. How cool would it be if there were dice rolled for, say Magic Resources, Library, Grogs, and Covenfolk, and the players took turns (and used some resource) to take dice from the communal pool and use them against each other.

And that's where we are now.

1. On 2005-09-14, Eric Provost said:

The answer seems kinda obvious to me, and it's something I learned from um... you.  So obviously I must really be missing something.

Lemmie put out my solution and you can tell me where I'm missing something.

There's no conflict between the characters because they don't exist.  There can only be conflict between players.  That conflict can be (but does not have to be) represented by characters.  Therefore if there is a conflict then there must be a different player at each end.  Therefore if you own characters on two opposing ends of a conflict then you have choices.  The first choice being to relinquish control of the character that represents the opposing side of your conflict (with the other player).  The second being that you still use the resources of the character that's on the opposing end of the conflict to demonstrate how they fuck up their own end of things.  Meaning that your character serves your goals when they oppose their own fictional goals.

I happen to like the second option there.

To state it another way;  Let's say that you've got control over Abby and Beth, and I've got Charles.  Abbey is on one side of a conflict and Beth and Charles are on the other.  That means that you own characters on each side of the conflict and I have one.  Assuming that I want Charles to win the conflict and you want Abby to win the conflict then it would appear that Beth is the problem.  She really isn't.  In the fiction she supports Charles but in reality she supports Vincent.  And I imagine you narrating Beth's actions/statements as being not just innefective in her goals but maybe stepping all over poor Charles' more eloquent words.

That seems like a solution to me.

Of course, there's the possibility that you're talking about a situation with just Abby and Beth being in conflict.  But you can't be talking about that.  Because that would make you a silly monkey.


2. On 2005-09-14, Eric Provost said:

Oh!  Or you could make things even simpler and not have character sheets at all.  But then, you knew that because you taught it to me.  Because character sheets are really just player resource sheets.  You could do something like having each character be represented on a single sheet by one or two traits that they could bring into play.  Then maybe do something where you replace the attributes of a single character with the attributes of the group of characters.

But anyway, you knew all that.


3. On 2005-09-14, Vincent said:

"I imagine you narrating Beth's actions/statements as being not just innefective in her goals but maybe stepping all over poor Charles' more eloquent words."

Oh now - that's interesting. Hey, I shoulda thought of that.

It still leaves unsolved the problem of her big pile of dice, but group PC rules can take care of that...



4. On 2005-09-14, Piers Brown said:

Yeah, I like that too.

But I still want to move away from the big pile of dice belonging to each character, and more to some collective groups of dice.

Like, everyone can use:

Valiant Captain Jean 2d10
Martyn the coward 3d4
The Gate Guards 2d6

Where everyone has access to these dice, but only one person can pull them in in any given conflict.  Like in the Shaab-al-Hiri roach.  But there has to be some reason to avoid doing that.

What about—when you do so, the fallout level changes, from something that affects one person, to something that affects more of the Covenant?


5. On 2005-09-14, Paul Czege said:

I think my solution would be two levels of resource. I'd have die pools, which represent bits of setting with significance to the situation. In your case, Mirrors, right? (And maybe Touchstones too.) And I'd have traits that give the characters access to those pools. (Loving a specific Mirror would be access to that pool.)

So, the die pools are collectively owned by the players, and the individual access points to them are owned by the characters. Access points might be qualified as:


If you're Removed from a pool, you can only ever pull one die from it; and if a conflict includes multiple characters with access to the pool, you get none. If you're Balanced to a pool, you pull all but one die from it; and if a conflict includes multiple characters with access to a pool, you pull an equal share of what's left after anyone Close to the pool takes their dice. If you're Close to a pool, you can pull everything from it. In a conflict that includes multiple characters who are Close to the pool, work it out with the other players of Close characters how much you pull. You'll divide the dice equally amongst all the Close characters. Balanced characters will split what's left.

Conflict outcomes could either result in fluctuation of the pool, or have impact on a character's quality of access to it.


6. On 2005-09-15, Tim Alexander said:

Paul got to my followup first. That's basically what my comment was getting at in the marginalia but I had a somewhat more specific Dogs hack. So, the big resource pool is made up of all these large player goals, maybe even with catageories, something like:

Vincent's POOL
Politics: The Magus are blamed for war 3d4
Politics: The covenant betrays it's people 2d8
Love: A marriage is built from the ashes of betrayal 3d6
Religion: No one suspects the inquisition 4d10

They let the player put right out what they want to see happen in the grand scope of the game and they're right there on the sheet. They aren't truths in the SIS yet, but sort of potentials with mechanical weight.

Then your characters are just little cards with stuff like:

Down one stage for LOVE
+2d6 for politics

+2d4 for Religion
lose one die for politics

In a conflict with a character on either side you just apply all the required mods and you know what your big resource pool now looks like for that conflict.

Make any sense?



7. On 2005-09-25, Ben Lehman said:

Hey, how about this—

each character has one attribute only.

Each time you get into a conflict, you can add a new attribute to the characters involved, if you like.

That way, all of your basic characters could be on one sheet...



8. On 2005-09-26, Meguey said:

*funny* I had to think a sec to parse what Ben meant by 'sheet'. The AM homebrew has so many characters that are sheetless, or are two lines on the commentary pages.


direct link

This makes...
BL go "... of paper."*

*click in for more

9. On 2005-10-14, Vincent said:

Up in the fishbowl, MB (but not, I believe, my MB) said this:

Just a question: what type of 'playing quanta' you think this game will have? I'm thinking about something like DitV 'towns': one town=one session, more or less. What about solving the multiple charatcer problem by limiting in some way the choice of characters at the start of the session/quantum?

And I'm thinking that might turn out to be the most satisfying answer.

Anything requiring a break with "my resources as a player are linked to my character" will mean too much redesigning, I think.


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