Lands of Plenty QS

catty_big

Miao wow!!
Validated User
#1
Ok, I've finished the first draft of the revised version, which will form the basis for a Public Alpha Quickstart to be released later this year. I'm sure some of you will have questions, and I'll be happy to answer them, but first some questions of my own, together with some general points.
First, the latter. This is, as I say, intended to be a Public Alpha document, so anybody is free to run games with it, and we hope lots of people will, but please bear in mind that the rules may change slightly (or even drastically) over time, so a game you run now could well be very different from a game you might run in six months' time.

Things unlikely to change include the following:
The basics of the character sheet.
The 2d10 core mechanic and the use of Bounty for mitigating rolls.

Things that could well change include:
How much Bounty is given out for various things.
The maximum amount of Bounty a player can spend (currently max 2 for a Basic of 2, max 3 for a Basic of 3 and so on).
How many times per session a player can access one of their Bonuses (currently three).
Some abilities may disappear, and new ones may arrive on the scene. Some specialisms may be added and others removed.
The range and therefore the probabilities of the six success levels (currently a roll of 19+ for a Critical Success, i.e. 3%, 16-18 for a Good Success, or 12%, and so on).

So, some questions:
1. As regards presentation, is the Overview necessary? It feels like I'm just repeating what's already on the Contents page. If it's not doing any harm it's probably worth leaving in.
2. If you were to run this type of game, how much setting material, and what kinds of setting material, would you need?
3. I'm thinking of adding a few stock art images here and there, are there any parts of the doc where you would NOT want to see images? (They'd mostly be behind the text, so wouldn't be that obtrusive, but still).
4. I've greyed out two sub-sections in the Game management section, to whit Player-led investigation (p20) and character prologues (p23), because they represent a bit of a departure from standard games of this sort; should I leave them in anyway, or take them out?
5. I've also greyed out two abilities, namely Initiative and Willpower (rationale on p10). Do you agree, or do you think they're useful?
6. As regards healing, most games have a (Recover 1dX HP after y hours of gameworld time (+/- modifier z)) type mechanic. I've offered two options in this draft (see p8), the difference between them being how they handle failure. I'm firmly of the belief that the three failure levels add a lot of value to the game; however, they bring with them particular challenges, forex how you grade failure in those parts of a system where failure isn't normally graded. I'm completely open to suggestions on this point, so feel free to either tweak my proposed solutions or come up with your own.
7. How much cartography would GMs need for the QS? Just the local area, or some of the wider game world as well and, if so, how much of it?
8. Most important question of all: does it all make sense? Or to put it another way, could you run a game using this document?

Lands of Plenty QS, first draft
 
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John Out West

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#2
Oh, so its beautiful to read. Everything is in its own little section, and there's a table of contents!

That being said I've delved through none of the actual content yet, but i'll give it a quick once over.
 

John Out West

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#3
I think I understand that when you say "Bounty," you mean "In abundance." If you were to use it in a sentence the first time you mention it in the "Bounty" section, i think i would be less likely to think "Bounty" as in "on your head." This caused me some minor confusion as to why a bonus mechanic also put a price on my character.

Could the title be "Ability Modifier's and Basic," as I saw the word "Basic" about 20 times but my mind just glossed over it. If you put it in the title I would know its a word that I'm supposed to learn/remember. (I saw it later and was like "What the hell is a basic?" only to find that you did introduce it, I just wasn't paying close enough attention. If I didn't have /f I would have been lost)


"Therefore, the total is now 10, meaning it’s a Fail. Ah, but hang on though, the player has with them the old magnifying..."
That "Ah, but hang on though," was really awkward. I would suggest removing.

Do GM's have a say in giving out "Taking the Fail" bounty? I would assume that players may Take the Fail on less important things to gain bounty to use on the more important tasks. "Whoops, critically failed opening the door to my house! +3 Bounty Please!"

I hate it when "Damage" is discussed before health. I have no idea if 1d8 is a lot or not, so it feels kind of like I need to skip the section and come back.

I thought that Social Combat would have been more like regular combat, rather than a best of three minigame. Similar to combat, people can be disarmed with a single quip. I was expecting something more to the effect of an Argument or a "Rap Battle," where the conversation would go back and forth until one person won. It also doesn't mention this, but Social Combat proficient characters should really be able to mess with other characters. Being able to shame a person into fighting you 1v1 instead of him with his crew (Insult his manliness) would be great. On Social Combat, I might even merge it with regular combat, adding in a list of maneuvers you can do. Taunting an enemy to fight only you, shaming people who try to fight 3v1 into solo combat, intimidating an enemy to run away or leave you alone. I think it could be really great if a little more work was put in.

I got sidetracked at this point. Hope this helps! I'll see if I cant read more later.
 

catty_big

Miao wow!!
Validated User
#4
Oh, so its beautiful to read. Everything is in its own little section, and there's a table of contents!
Thanks! Actually, you have a member of my MeWe Lands of Plenty group to thank for the suggestion to add section breaks; I agree it does make the doc easier to read.

I think I understand that when you say "Bounty," you mean "In abundance." If you were to use it in a sentence the first time you mention it in the "Bounty" section, i think i would be less likely to think "Bounty" as in "on your head." This caused me some minor confusion as to why a bonus mechanic also put a price on my character.
Done. First sentence in that section now reads, Bounty is an in-game meta-currency that the players have available to them, and which (with some constraints) they may spend on mitigating a die roll.

Could the title be "Ability Modifier's and Basic," as I saw the word "Basic" about 20 times but my mind just glossed over it. If you put it in the title I would know its a word that I'm supposed to learn/remember.
Done (sort of). You’re right, Basic is a term that GMs and players will need to know and remember. Title is now simply Basic.

"Therefore, the total is now 10, meaning it's a fail. Ah, but hang on though, the player has with them the old magnifying...". That "Ah, but hang on though," was really awkward. I would suggest removing.
Can‘t see this bit any more. It’s likely that it fell victim to a paragraph rearrangement that necessitated cutting material from one or more sub-sections in the vicinity.

Do GM's have a say in giving out "Taking the Fail" bounty? I would assume that players may Take the Fail on less important things to gain bounty to use on the more important tasks. "Whoops, critically failed opening the door to my house! +3 Bounty Please!"
I foresaw this problem, which is why I made it physical stats only. Also, my approach to skill checks is to only call for or accept them if they're meaningful, and where the potential adverse consequences of failure is a factor. So no-one would roll for opening a door unless it was the door of a building they were trying to break into, or the door of their home that had been set on fire with their husband and children inside. I've given advice to that effect in the skills sub-section of Game Management on p32. It may yet be a problem, but we'll see how we go.

I hate it when "Damage" is discussed before health. I have no idea if 1d8 is a lot or not, so it feels kind of like I need to skip the section and come back.
Hmmm. Well, I could swap them over I guess. It kinda makes more sense to me though to put Damage first bc, you know, one incurs damage and then one gets healed, but I'll keep an eye on that one, and continue to take soundings.

I thought that Social Combat would have been more like regular combat, rather than a best of three minigame. Similar to combat, people can be disarmed with a single quip. I was expecting something more to the effect of an Argument or a "Rap Battle," where the conversation would go back and forth until one person won. It also doesn't mention this, but Social Combat proficient characters should really be able to mess with other characters. Being able to shame a person into fighting you 1v1 instead of him with his crew (Insult his manliness) would be great. On Social Combat, I might even merge it with regular combat, adding in a list of maneuvers you can do. Taunting an enemy to fight only you, shaming people who try to fight 3v1 into solo combat, intimidating an enemy to run away or leave you alone. I think it could be really great if a little more work was put in. Hope this helps!
It definitely helps; this sort of feedback is vital to the game’s development and is the whole point of these posts.

Yeah, Social Combat is a weak spot in the game and is clearly going to require a lot of work. I put that section in bc I knew that this sort of game would have to have Social combat mechanics, and rather than just leaving that part blank, I decided to come up with some extemporised mechanics that folks could use as a jumping off point.

I agree with all your points: the ‘rap battle’ idea sounds great, and would be awesome at the table. Social combat as a part of regular combat would also work: the Weapons section could include Social in addition to melee, ranged and unarmed, with specialisms such as the one you suggest. It may even have to have its own section on the character sheet, but that’s a presentation issue.

I definitely want stake setting of some kind, but I’m not sure now whether awarding Bounty when a loser exacts their revenge is a good idea, as the person will naturally want to get revenge and probably won’t need a mechanical incentive to do so. OTOH, the other reason I put that bit in was to make a challenge potentially very hazardous for the challenger, so as to avoid frivolous challenges.

Anyway, that’s given me something to think about. Cheers!
 
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John Out West

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#5
Oh, i'll also note that I love the heirloom weapons/items idea. Sure i don't have a +1 magic sword, but a +1 Heirloom sword i got from the king is just as good! Plus you can potentially use it in social combat.

Also, just based off the impressions and inspirations i got from thinking about the Social Combat in your book I'm starting to write my own, although mine will be largely based off postures, emotions, and social maneuvers. Thanks for the assist, haha!
 

catty_big

Miao wow!!
Validated User
#6
Oh, i'll also note that I love the heirloom weapons/items idea. Sure i don't have a +1 magic sword, but a +1 Heirloom sword i got from the king is just as good! Plus you can potentially use it in social combat.
I think the significance of objects is underexplored in RPGs. I got the idea for this from Dogs in the Vineyard, where certain prized items can have a mechanical benefit, and IIRC a guy on here talking about giving XP to objects, which I think is a fantastic idea.
Also, just based off the impressions and inspirations i got from thinking about the Social Combat in your book I'm starting to write my own, although mine will be largely based off postures, emotions, and social maneuvers. Thanks for the assist, haha!
Awesome! Got a link to your game?
Do GM's have a say in giving out "Taking the Fail" bounty? I would assume that players may Take the Fail on less important things to gain bounty to use on the more important tasks. "Whoops, critically failed opening the door to my house! +3 Bounty Please!"
They do now:
However, a player’s decision to take the fail must be made after they roll their 2d10 and add their Basic, and they do so at the GM’s discretion, in order to avoid frivolous rolls.
 

catty_big

Miao wow!!
Validated User
#7
I've amended the Quickstart doc to include brief setting notes, a (very) basic map of the Lands and the Upper North-East region. I concluded it was better to just get something down than solicit suggestions from folks. I've tried to steer a middle course between giving potential GMs enough background for them to work with, but not so much detail as to be overwhelming. Eventually it will be all fully fleshed out, but I think there's enough here to be going on with.
 
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