The Party (and Beta 2 News)

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sage

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The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« on: March 02, 2012, 12:13:21 PM »
Beta 2 is off to Adam for sanity check before we send it out, hopefully this weekend. Adam's travelling so it may be a little later, we'll see.

That's it for the Beta 2 news, on to the thing that he mentioned to me: in Beta 2 we added a system for the party but I'm not really sure it's the right system for the party. So let me start off by sharing a bit of my thinking so far, a few general ideas, and then I'd like to hear what a party of adventurers means to you.

Our goal here is to make The Party an element of play, not just people Bonded together. The Party comes into play as these adventurers really become a group, not just 1-to-1 connections between people.

There are a few different ways I can see The Party's role. At least a couple of these are in what I sent to Adam, if you're wondering:

Party as Record: The Party can have a sheet for tracking hirelings, party loot, etc. Nothing too fancy, but it brings those things into a shared playspace.

Party as New Character Tool: The party can be a way of bringing in new characters after your first (or second, or third) dies. The Party can have a level, new characters come in at that level. (Bonds take care of a lot of this too, but I like this solution for replacement character levels.)

Party as Collective Advancement: The party, since it is an entity itself, could end up with advancements much like individual players. Stuff like "you're now employed by a magical college." The exact way of presenting it could vary: it could be as simple as saying just that, it could require an extra explanation (like "they have work when you want it and can usually find a job worth any specific payment you ask for"), or it could be a full blown move ("When you make yourself available for work with the magical collegeā€¦"). This could cover classic high level stuff like castles as well. And, as usual, prescriptive and descriptive: the GM can just use the list as inspiration for rewards.

Party as Relationships: The party could be a reflection of how and why the group works together. It could have a feedback effect on being competitive, cohesive, loyal, all that. These could even be stats that modify certain rolls or play into their own set of moves.

With all these in mind what we have currently brings the party in to play as characters reach level 2, so it adds no time to character creation (this is important to us). The thing is, we're not really sure it does the things that people think of when they think of a party of adventurers.

So, the question to you all: When you think of a party of adventurers, what role does the party play? Is it just a convenient way to refer to all the characters at once? Or does some noble hear of this party and decide to offer it her patronage?

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #1 on: March 02, 2012, 12:21:54 PM »
Party would be a good place to have bonds, for example when the group is hired to do something - they get a bond.  They resolve it, they gain XP or the party sheet gains XP.  If the party levels up by spending XP like a character, perhaps they get renowned moves, as the party levels up, that let them throw their weight around or negotiate payment.  You could also add some things that act like alignments but describe the group dynamic, for example, Cooperative: When you work together to solve a problem, mark XP.  Exclusive: When you deny others entry to the group, mark XP. 

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2012, 01:35:44 PM »
A real adventuring party should have a name that everybody uses to refer to it collectively, like Dalamyr's Doomriders, Columbo's Corsairs, the Serpenthelm Adventuring Company, and the Purple Worm Cult. They should probably also have banners made up and possibly uniforms, like purple cloaks.

Don't let Adam talk you into letting people who won't go that far have access to sweet Party Moves! "Yeah, we just hang out together and go on adventures, we're not, like, in a band or anything" is weak sauce, don't reward that.

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sage

  • 549
Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2012, 02:31:06 PM »
These are exactly the kind of insights that help us get out of the design rut we settled into with the party. Please keep them coming!

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 02:53:42 PM »
I love the idea of party moves and jobs as bonds. The reputation of the party can also be a thing. A party taking a bad reputation as the result of a hard move makes a lot of sense to me. I particularly like the party sheet because I tend to have very fluid groups which mean that I like to keep important treasure as a group resourse.

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noofy

  • 777
Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 03:56:38 PM »
Hey Sage! That's so cool. Have you been inspired by the very same idea in WHFRP 3e? Its one of my favourite mechanics in that game, and as everyone has suggested so far, is a good and wonderful thing.

It allows for group based bonds (or goals), a shared pool of XP so that folks all level up at roughly the same time, an identity and purpose with consequences for ignorance or laxity....

I particularly like the idea of 'prestige' moves or advancements at higher level being made through the party sheet. So awesome.

What about presentation? I like the idea of the party sheet being another playbook, with move choices, ideology choices, 'look' choices. This also begs the question....

What of a nemesis organisation 'sheet' for the GM? A sort of semi-formalised front with listed danger questions and instincts. Suggested lists and choices for goals, 'Dungeon' Moves, bonds with the 'Party' sheet (or individual characters / NPCs) and so forth. This way, during lonely GM fun (ie: prep) The GM can choose from lists and fill out their very own 'playbook' too. Having an easy to reference relationship map and situation antagonists.

Oh the possibilities! A resounding YES PLEASE from me :)
« Last Edit: March 02, 2012, 04:36:28 PM by noofy »

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2012, 06:40:24 PM »
I like being able to get a second character in AW but it doesn't feel right in DW.  If you have a party playbook and you gain a character, all of the sudden you have the option for troupe play.  Maybe someone wants to switch out and play the new member for a session to get that character established, maybe someone gets hurt or needs to go on a special mission for the group (take a message to king Faraway), now you can play someone else for a session or switch up characters.

Maybe there are things only party's can do.  For example, maybe there is a when you combine your resources... move that is the only way to make major purchases or investments (ships, estates, found companies, etc).  Maybe the only way to run a military group or crew a ship is with a tight group of officers (the PCs) and their overall command/morale is tied to the party's reputation or command ability. 

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #7 on: March 02, 2012, 06:49:53 PM »
Maybe there's a list of events that you check off for XP.  For example, when you berry one of your own.  When you celebrate the marriage of one of your own.  When you celebrate the birth of one of your own's child.  When you hold an intervention for one of your own.  When you shun one of your own.  When you celebrate the major rite of passage of one of your own (ordination, crowning, etc.).

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2012, 06:50:32 PM »
I get a huge Forgotten Realms vibe from this. I think FR games were the only D&D games I played in at high school where "the party" had an existence as more than just a convenient way to refer to the PCs in aggregate. I'm not sure if I'd use it. It's cute colour if that's the way the group rolls, but personally, I'd rather keep all of that stuff in the fiction and not in the mechanics as such.

If I was going to though, I totally agree with Johnstone: heraldry, name, matching bathrobes, all or nothing.

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noofy

  • 777
Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #9 on: March 02, 2012, 06:59:07 PM »
I like that idea Marshall!
When players browse the playbooks at chargen, I find they are so often drawn to a specific move that they want to narrate (often repeatedly) into play, and thus choose that playbook.  Party Playbooks would most likely follow the same pattern, except now it is a group descison on which party playbook to take, with all the resultant conversation in the choosing!

Just brainstorming here, but perhapa a list of basic moves for party groups in order? A set of Basic Stats (modifiers) too? Like fraternity, honesty, wealth, loyalty.
Then each party playbook could have some specific moves geared to them. Following on from Marshall's idea, one such party playbook could be the 'Military Company' with associated moves (such as When you conduct a military campaign....)

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2012, 08:05:57 PM »
I could see something like: When the party gains a level, each member holds 1.  Holds may be spent, 1 for 1, to take +1 forward when you roll+bond.

If you treat the party like a playbook, you could also have compendium classes that add on to the party.  For example,

When the party donate's a trophy and proceeds to carouse, it may take the following move when it next gains a level.

Stomping Grounds
You're local heroes 'round these parts.  Your trophies adorn the walls, your escapades are told round the fire, and everybody knows your name.  Take +1 ongoing when you carouse here.

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #11 on: March 02, 2012, 08:23:05 PM »
I could see something like: When the party gains a level, each member holds 1.  Holds may be spent, 1 for 1, to take +1 forward when you roll+bond.

Maybe not that exactly but holds that the group could spend as a group or individually.

If you treat the party like a playbook, you could also have compendium classes that add on to the party.  For example,

Local Heroes

When the party donates a trophy and proceeds to carouse, it may take the following move when it next gains a level.

Everybody Knows Your Name
You're local heroes 'round these parts.  Your trophies adorn the tavern's walls, your escapades are told round the fire, and people know to look for you here.  Each of you takes +1 ongoing when you carouse here.

Once you've made a name for yourselves as local heroes, the following moves count as class moves for you.  In addition to your normal list of moves, you may choose from this list when you gain a level.

Code of Silence
When the party has Outstanding Warrants in this place, take +1 ongoing, you all were never here and no around here even knows what you all look like.

One for the Road
When the partyleaves this place to undertake a perilous journey, it gains as many rations as you can carry.

Anything for You
When the party makes trades or purchases here, goods and services cost half.

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sage

  • 549
Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #12 on: March 02, 2012, 09:14:58 PM »
I'm trying not to bias anything in this thread for a bit, but I have to say: Code of Silence made me literally laugh out loud.

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #13 on: March 02, 2012, 11:01:46 PM »
When you set up a Party, you could have everybody contribute money into it. That pool of money allows you to buy options:

When you publicize your adventuring company... you can choose what kind of reputation you want to have and then you spend money on it and the leader rolls+charisma+points that you bought with money. On a 10+, you choose 3 options and on a 7-9, you choose 1. On a miss, everybody thinks you're a bunch of pussies, green as summer grass.

Options are like:
* Literally everybody knows your rep.
* Your rep means people do you favours, get you jobs, volunteer to hep out, etc.
* Your rep spreads far and wide.
* Your rep keeps a consistent message wherever it goes.
etc.

When you set up a new headquarters... somebody has to roll+wis/int+points that you bought with money. On a 10+, choose 3 options, on a 7-9, choose 1, on a miss, your place is dangerous... to you!

Options are like the stuff from the Maestro D playbook.

Or, you can only roll+points you buy with money, no stats involved, so that anybody can roll for it.

Or, you just buy options straight-up with moneys, no roll involved.

And maybe you would have to say what you spend the moneys on. Matching bathrobes, that gets you a points towards buying Party moves that everybody can use. Buy a banner, that's a point towards solidifying your rep. Buy gear, that's a point towards making your headquarters more useful. etc etc.

Re: The Party (and Beta 2 News)
« Reply #14 on: March 03, 2012, 11:15:21 PM »
I was thinking and talking with some friends about this today.  I think the party is an interesting D&D trope.  I agree it should be important enough that people know you by it so it has a reputation.  It should be able to do things together that you could not do apart so it should have moves.  And most importantly it should have a shared story.  So that even if characters leave or die there is a direction to its activities that is a pull for all its members.