Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Anime North part 1 - Geasa and A Good Time

This past weekend was Anime North. Now, normally I do a lot of stuff at AN, but this year I decided that I needed to take a little bit in the way of a break. I also didn't feel like carting a whole bunch of CyberGen books up to the Toronto Congress Centre, which is up by the Airport in God's Country.

That means I got a chance to do a lot of panels and play in a couple of Geasa playtests. I'm going to talk about those first because that's what people are here to see, or something like that. It helps that the games ended up being rather awesome.

The first game we ran of Geasa, I purposefully took myself out of the game. The previous games of Geasa have included me in some shape or form, and I wanted to see how people dealt with it if I walked away at times.

The first game had 5 people and the setting ended up being rather interesting. We had a weird future setting where all the players found themselves on a corporate space station. We had a medical man who was almost magical, we had an alien, we had a bored IT person, a bodyguard that didn't look the part and an automaton. There were some really good moments in the story, where they spent a lot of time getting involved in each other stories as Non-Player-People, but their Fae didn't really get involved in the story much. That was a little problematic, but I guess it's something else that I need to stress.

There were some rule stuff that came out of that. Basically we found out that 4 is a really hard die to deal with. Players are going to try to angle things so that they're always using their best element in a situation, and that's fine. The problem is that if you try to start conflicts as a NPP you will never really get to use those 4s at all. So we decided to allow people to reroll two dice when it comes around. Basically after everyone has had a turn you can reroll dice, usually that means those fours but I didn't want to say just fours but now that I think about it you should have the option to just reroll all your dice. That way you can end up getting a lot more sixes and then have to do more with the Fae.

The other thing I think is that I need to find a way to punish Fae who sit down and hoard dice. One problem was that a player was stuck with having few dice and a Fae that wasn't very active. It's a problem that I don't quite know how to solve, or if there is even a rules way to solve it. I should probably just talk about how it sucks to be that player, and that with this much power you should be able to get people to do what you want.

Finally I'm going to make an addition to Supports at Iain's suggestion. Basically I'm going to be adding some text that says that the more powerful a Support is, the more specific it is. That way you can't sit down and keep using your level 3 support all the time. It's very specific and so should probably only happen once a game, twice if you're lucky.

The second game ended up being a Victorian London setting with a Member of the Yard, a German Paranormal Investigator, an Irish young woman traveling Europe and a London Street Urchin. I love how this game lends itself to a wide variety of settings. It's a lot like Mortal Coil

Anyway, the big thing with this game is that they ran into a problem of combat. The thing is that they tended to play standard RPGs that have a blow by blow system of resolution. When they were done playing, we had run out of time, they talked about how they had a problem with how to resolve a combat. I had walked away so they couldn't talk to me about it. This is a good thing because it added a combat section to Bidding. Basically it's not the blow, by blow that matters but the end result. Because there's no "physical" Element, the reason behind the combat is more important. Did you do it because you thought it was the right thing to do? That's Head. Did you get involved because you were overcome with emotion? That's Heart. Did you do it because you felt that it was the only way to get a better life? That's Life. Were you driven to do it to achieve a goal? That's Loins.

Once you've got the Element, you just bid dice as per normal and then continue. Easy-peasy lemon squeezy. However, that should probably be a section that covers that to help with clarity because in the end I want people to be able to read the game and be able to play it.

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