Game Mechanics - Open Discussion (Round Two)

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CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
My GM introduced another

My GM introduced another mechanic to deal with that. Players not only get to request favors, but favors are requested from them.

In our Mars system campaign and with my character being a nanofab specialist it would be theoretically possible to buy 120 k cred worth of servers for 6x60 accelerated simulspace and wait a year. Boom, we have almost every implant and hardware in the book.
But illegality of private CMs on Mars and hardcore pace of the campaign kept us from becoming powerful by waiting.

Now with favors being requested in cycles every 2 weeks (roll under every reputation on every identity you have) and you get a system in which to wait you have to play.
And let me tell you it is awesome. Ok maybe that's a little too much. It works for a specific type of player and GM. But for high immersion complicated sword and dagger campaign it works great. You have to constantly balance your exposure to the public eye it creates strong intraparty dynamics when you have to help your buddies do things that they cannot do alone. Makes for a living breathing world.
It automatically removes the you wait to become God opportunity, because for every favor you do, you have to expend your resources and a net effect is much lesser than I get item, I wait, I get item....
I mayhaps propose even to my GM that he abolishes normal refresh of favors in lieu of refreshing them by doing favors of equal and greater value.

It of course removes abstraction and slows down the game. But it's great for my group.

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CordialUltimate2 CordialUltimate2's picture
Also you can consider that

Also you can consider that when player spends Pool on a task action he can not regenerate this point till task is finished. This would mainly and only slightly nerf Insight using designers.
Otherwise you can abstract pools even more and tie them down to scenes and arcs. Legwork would be an arc, action would be an arc. 1 full recharge 2 short rests per arc. Or entire adventure. Like you have to have 1 week of R&R to recharge and Pools are abstracted not explained as your morph getting tired. More of a narrative tool.

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cpt.crush cpt.crush's picture
Networking x Resource Level = Shopping Credits

Aaaaand another idea:

Many RPGs use "gold" as a measure of resourcefulness. In EP, that is split up between the Resource Trait and Networking.

In other RPGs the player's gold usually accompanies them, and can be used to go shopping for a mission. I like "shopping" for two reasons:

  • It's like a mini planning ritual ("do I have everything I need") and
  • "What cool things are there I would like to have but can't afford"?

What I like in Eclipse Phase is that players go around (farcast!) a lot. That basically means every mission I have a good in-game reason to go through the gear list and ask myself: "what do I need for this job?"

However, there is no nice "balance", against which I can expend something. Effectively I have to nag the GM, accept whatever he prepared, or spend favors / time upon arrival (which gets a bit complex if you want to get your 15 standard items).

I was wondering: Should there be such a mechanic?

A naive approach (just to outline what I mean) could be:

  • Every time the players farcast to a new mission the habitat is determined (e.g., "hypercorps", "anarchist", ...)
  • Each player then gets a base number of item points, maybe computed as (Networking x Resource Level). So if I farcast to a Hypercorp habitat and have c-rep 60 and Resource Level 3 I would get 180 points.
  • For these 180 points I can then "buy items", that will then be available to me at my destination in some appropriate manner (e.g., secret stash, ...). Different levels will have different points, maybe based on their own level and availability (e.g., major = 60pts, minor = 10pts, restricted x2, ...)
  • Players can spend extra (permanent) networking points to get more if they want.
  • Obviously the GM can adjust from there.

Practically it would need a few extra rules to prevent "no rep - no resource" situations.

However, the advantages would be:

  • A more standardized way of preparing for missions, players could even do so between sessions (without GM).
  • It would effectively give players more planning options.
  • It emphasizes the "currency value" of networking.

What do you think?

o11o1 o11o1's picture
It seems like Morph Points

It seems like Morph Points (if we're in second edition) are kinda trying to do that, but have the issue that everything you use to cover your gear is now competing with having a better morph, usually at a rate that grossly favors putting everything into your morph.

It might be nice to at least have a small list of perhaps 3 to 5 "standard" amounts of prep time and favors "spendable" that GM can just announce "You have 'One Day Notice' to prep." or that a player can operate under a paradigm of 'One Week Notice' and they can just check the chart to know that's one Medium favor roll and three minor favor rolls only in the first case, and that the second case lets you roll 9 favors, no more than two of which can be a Major favor.

We can sort of tabulate those manually now, but it ends up taking a mental effort every time when this could be reduced to a lookup table.

A slight smell of ions....

cpt.crush cpt.crush's picture
Aligning Meta-Gaming and Gaming for Horror Mechanics

Dear Devs,

In the Psi thread a number of discussions revolved around how the Infection mechanics interfere with game play.

After some thinking, I believe part of the Psi problems come from two related design decisions:

  • The prescriptive portrayal of horror.
  • The (mostly) absence of "meta-gaming" terror.

I think that if these were addressed, not only would there be fewer debate about Psi, but also would the rest of EP resonate much more with the horror theme!

The current EP design for horror, in essence, seems to be:

  • Horror is the main theme.
  • Horror best emerges if players believably portray that horror.
  • Therefore EP provides rules when (e.g., Psi Infection) and how (e.g., Disorders) players should portray horror.

Let's call this the "gaming approach to horror".

Instead, I want to propose putting more emphasis on the "meta-gaming approach to terror":

  • Horror is the main theme.
  • Terror is the road that leads to horror.
  • The game itself should attempt to put an actual feeling of terror into players (instead of asking the players to portray it!).
  • Rules and mechanics should do that through meta-gaming.

To give a simple example from Psi: Currently, Psi provokes an infection test. As a result, players might be compelled to role play a certain situation (e.g., build a nest).

This works fine IF the player is willing and interested to cooperate.

However, it does not seem to resonate with everyone. Also, while I personally like the mechanic, it doesn't really make me *feel* the horror or terror.

In contrast, imagine this:

  • You use Psi (or Hacking, Resist a Nanoswarms, ...)
  • As a "cost", or on a critical miss, you roll a random number (e.g., 1-10) for a table position, while the GM does a hidden roll for the actual table.
  • The player might know his number might be "good" on all tables, or "bad" on all. But most numbers might be "bad" only on one table. Which one did he roll ...?
  • The game continues until the next rest / downtime / resleeving / farcasting.
  • The GM reveals the secret roll for the table and the effect comes into play.
  • Any other player that does a critical miss on any other roll until the effect is triggered, might have a small chance to be affected ("infected" ...) by the same negative outcome ...

With these mechanics, suddenly there is one player that actually will be thinking really hard what might affect him soon, and several other players that will hope whatever it is, it won't affect them ...

Also, I am not suggesting exactly this mechanic, but just something in the spirit of it.

In other words. Wherever feasible, the game should rely on mechanics that are known to cause terror:

  • The knowledge that something bad *might* have been initiated.
  • The lack of knowledge if and when and how it will strike.
  • A feeling of deterioration of odds.
  • Custom, unpleasant consequences w.r.t. to what's important to the character.
  • The ability of betrayal by other players (e.g., the ability to secretly "auction off" negative consequences to other players)

There are many more.

With more of these mechanics in place, EP could still be a game of horror -- maybe even more so -- while being able to cut back a bit on the prescriptive horror part.

I am not saying remove these bits completely, but they could be integrated more optionally (e.g., as flavor) for those who are fine with it.

Lurkingdaemon Lurkingdaemon's picture
Mechanics/Ego Trait suggestion

Crosspost from an idea that came up over here: What if every 30 total skill points a character has reduces negative modifiers to their skill rolls by, say 10, or so? This way highly skilled characters could lean on their higher skill for greater chances of success, as they intrinsically know how to get around certain complications.

If such an idea isn’t suitable as a core mechanic, perhaps it could be tied to a trait, where a character has to invest points into the trait AND have the necessary skill to get the benefit.

Thoughts?

o11o1 o11o1's picture
I think this would be better

I think this would be better as a pure trait. Otherwise it just acts like a weird cost reduction on how much it costs to raise a skill.

A slight smell of ions....

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