A question of scale

  • 2 Replies
A question of scale
« on: January 09, 2011, 08:40:48 AM »
Whilst I am deeply enjoying running AW as written, my usual taste in games runs a bit more into the epic (demons, mecha, multiple apocalypses etc).
I love the moves structure and threats/fronts and all the rest, but I want more scale.

It seems there are three ways to extend the scale of things well beyond the human, and that each has it's pros and cons. I'd be interested in anyones experiences or theorising about what each would achieve and the different feel & fictional consequences each would have.

1. Use the gang rules. Treat a demon as a large gang or something. I think this works ok for physical threats, and is well established and tested, but it seems narrow..

2. Custom moves everywhere. When seducing/manipulating the demon, do this instead. The ultimate in flexibility, but a lot of work and hard to keep consistent.

3. Some sort of tiered scaling. Like hero quest (or possibly storming the wizards tower).  Where threats have a scale, and so do pc moves/attributes. When they match roll as normal, when they don't, big bonuses/penalties.

I guess the difference between gangs & scale is that one changes the consequences of success/failure whereas the other tweaks the chances. (and gangs are purely physical).

So, which is going to produce a more epic movie/buffy/angelverse kind of feel?

What are they going to do/not do to group cooperation?
Do they result in sudden death situations?
How could in-fiction prep (eg research) interact?

Yes, I am planning a hack, just not that far along yet.

Re: A question of scale
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2011, 10:39:59 AM »
This is a concept I've had in mind as well! Some approaches to it that I've seen so far include:

* Discussion of "tiers" in Vincent and John Harper's Knife and Candle hack (will probably have to wait for it to be published to see what comes of that, and using it in your own hacks might be less permissive since it will be a licensed game). In this approach, at least in what's been discussed publicly upping a stat to +4 resets it to +1, but you're in a new tier. When acting against people on the same tier, no problem, it's the same. Acting against people or things on a lower tier, you either just succeed flat out, or else anything on a 10+ counts as a 12+ or some other "wow, great success!" way of doing it. When acting against a higher tier, you need a 10+ for a usual 7-9 result and a 12+ for a normal full success

* John Harper's Eye of Chaos has a peripheral move where you get +1 when contending with something beneath you, -1 for out of your league, and -2 for beyond the pale. This might be where the 'tiered' thing ended up going since he's admitted that Eye of Chaos has some 'test' stuff for Knife and Candle

* In "Beneath a More Auspicious Star" (basically a Romance of the Three Kingdoms hack) Stuart Chaplin talks about personal scale and strategic scale moves. I think his going idea is that some moves work on both scales, but have different effects depending on the scope of your conflict. This is meant to capture the whole 'one guy leveling armies' thing from RoT3K

* My own hack, "A Song of Ice and Fire" (yay plugs!) takes the approach you suggest of going totally loco with the gang scaling and adding some special caveats, like a group of men on horseback fighting a group of men on foot counting as one size bigger. Basically you have multiple tiers of "small, medium, large". On the personal scale it goes from a few guys, to 10-12 guys to 15-20 guys, say, then on the unit scale it goes from 20-30 guys to 40-50 guys to 60-70 guys, and then on the army scale, et cetera et cetera. When a group from a larger bracket acts against a smaller tier group (like an army-scale group against a unit scale or personal scale group, for example) they just win. I haven't tweaked or playtested this yet, and it's meant to be more gritty than epic, so it probably won't suit your needs

So, that's all that I can think of off the top of my head for scale stuff, but if you poke around a little (especially in the hack forums and blood and guts) you'll probably find some other interesting stuff.

Re: A question of scale
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2011, 02:53:18 PM »
I tinkered more with gang sizes in last nights session, and it didn't really work. Doesn't do social or read-the-sitch stuff at all.  Fine for combat (more fine grained than whole tiers) though.  How to manipulate a group of people was a problem I had and couldn't resolve well.

I really like the tiering idea - I'd come to similar numbers while contemplating it. The 3 jump from +4 to +1 nicely matches the 3 width of a partial success. Though I would be tempted to move the exceptional success to 13+ to avoid some odd probability steps.

The +/-1 seems a bit small scale, prone to very arbitrary judgements. Big scale steps are usually more clear from the fiction.

I like the custom strategic moves, but I fear having to produce them for every threat, and keeping them consistent across threats.

I'm in the process of prepping a hack for a fantasy/clock punk version of 18th century Edinburgh (Scotland) to convert a current campaign that is completely unsuited to it's current system.

Given it has everything from normal people to highlander style immortals and faerie kings it needs bit of scale...

I hadn't spotted all those different approaches,
many thanks for highlighting them.