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 Post subject: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Fri Jun 01, 2018 11:48 am 
Worthy Tortoise

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Hello,
So this post is about one half asking about generals gamemastering advice, one half about trying to explain some house rules I may be using.
I am planning since several months a Magical Girl campaign.
I more or less looked up at the themes of a typical magical girl show (thanks TvTropes), I more or less got :
I think that I can enforce mechanically the Power of Love/Friendship and the Coming-of-Age Story tropes.
But well, the characters they plan to play form a rather weird Magical Girl group:
  • a teacher(non-magical girl) that treats everyone like shit
  • a "paragon of justice" Whistle-blower
  • a delinquent who tries to establish a relation of dominance with practically everything
All of them behaving like self-centred brats.
I can talk to them about what we can do to enforce those themes, but I think that I still need the following setting specific house rules to enforce the themes. Even if for the players, it will just mean more bonus to hit an enemy.
For the PoL/PoF, I don't think that I will use the relationship rule from the supplement as is.

Exposition wrote:
The monsters that the MG will fight will be monsters born from the deepest Desires of a characters (PC and NPC alike), and those monsters will provoke some weird phenomenons when they appears. The majority of each sessions will be the Players trying to pin down the person who gave birth to the monster.


So the PCs track down the person, extract something from the person (blood/soul/spirit/mana/whatever) and craft one or more items from the thing.
The resulting weapon (because my players LOVE to hit hard) will be something like a gear with total sum abilities and weakness like twice or thrice the relation ship with the character.
The Goal of this is to make befriending characters an important part of the fights, and making the fight night impossible without it.
The second rule is more complex to implement and integrate.

Exposition wrote:
The MG are in fact the product of a centuries spanning plan destined to resuscitate a dying race of alien. The girls will go through a "second puberty" as they grow up on power body changing, becoming conspicuous of the changes, and moving on from humanity.


The problem is how the growth will be represented.
My players, knowing them, will be playing statics characters defined by the numbers on the sheet....
Okay now I am stuck....
I can't think of a mechanic that encourage getting out of childhood and becoming an adult except something where the PC abandon their dream and become more like disillusioned adult and lose their power (the contrary of what I want).
I though about a "De-synchronization" Weakness and and an innocence meter that once depleted give some XP used exclusively for leveling up the characters supernatural powers, but leveling up those will increase the De-synchronisation Weakness for sometime, to represent the changes on the Magical Girl's body.
Plus two all-purpose abilities that level up when De-synchonysation is cleared. (But they may be only used in exchange of a ton of Endurance, or something)
On a sidenote, what themes did yo want to have in your games, and what did you do to enforce them?
Well, thanks and take care.


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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 3:58 am 
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That is quite the quandary, considering that your players are basically murder hobos from what I can tell.

From what I gleamed from the in-rules you've made, it would appear that your convenient plot hook involves befriending the "source" (or whatever cutsy name you'd give them) of the Monster of the Week in order to create THROUGH THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP AND EMPATHY some kind of weapon or tool to defeat the MotW. Mechanics-wise, this sounds suspiciously like the Inventor/Dimensional Pocket Ability with potentially the same mechanics. It doesn't have to be part of your player's PC builds, but it is something to consider. In fact, you could add in a separate "Power of Friendship" mechanic where in each interaction between the PCs and the afflicted individual in question is given a point value based upon the discrete dice rolls behind your GM screen that would ultimately be used to gauge how many dice the PCs must add to their dice check (and potentially go into negative dice, considering the brief PC summary you've given) to see if what tool they've "forged" from that friendship is useful and by how much. You can even mandate that this dice check must utilize the Teaming Up rules on p99 in order for it to be successful or at least conjure up something that would ultimately lead to the MotW's defeat.

And if you want to be particularly sadist- I mean adamant that they must use said item as a team, in the item/attack's Flaws, put in Assisted.

Of course, this means that you as the worldbuilder would have to write up different designs to anticipate how well (or how poorly) your player's dice checks outcomes are and how ultimately effective that conjure is in solving the adventure hook.

Story-wise, your PCs don't have to abandon their dreams. But rather take a different approach, look at it from a different perspective, and see how it would impact others and especially their friends and loved ones.

For example, that Teacher PC would no doubt be a hindrance to any plan to subdue and defeat the MotW due to her attitude and apathy towards others. Why not make that a central character arc for that PC where, after several sessions of protracted engagements with the MotW that could have ended earlier if not for that PC's mindset, give "subtle" hints for the character to approach the situation differently and give large enough bonuses to dice checks for each role-play where that PC acts empathetic and kind to the "source" to encourage that routine. Then once it becomes routine enough that the player doesn't have to think long and hard on how to make the PC act towards others, slowly decrease the bonus discretely as a way to show that player that they don't need that handicap to succeed; they can do it well enough on their own.

Though I'm sure better GMs than I can give a better execution but those are my current two cents.

As for themes, I don't particularly have an overarching theme with my own campaign. Largely in how unpredictable my players have been with the scenarios I throw at them, expecting them to act on way and do the complete opposite as if giving me the metaphorical tall finger salute.

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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 8:31 am 
Worthy Tortoise

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Sabersonic wrote:
your players are basically murder hobos

Well, not all a them are murder hobo, the teacher is inspired my Mozart, so we tried to stay as close as possible to the character. The Whistle-blower is just playing as herself. The delinquent is the one who drags everyone into the path of murder hoboism, but is the more predictable person on the table. I try to curb his tendency by blocking some aspects of their character (not the strongest person in the school, that person being a fairly girly trap, the complete opposite of his character).
But I half expect them to say "Screw It!" and proceed to start a world conquest plan.

Sabersonic wrote:
befriending the "source" (or whatever cutsy name you'd give them) of the Monster of the Week in order to create THROUGH THE POWER OF FRIENDSHIP AND EMPATHY

Actually, the relationship between all PCs and NPCs will be established during the first session. So, all the "Sources" will be part of a (maybe) complex relationship chart. It's more about strengthening the friendship then. Your statement still apply.

Sabersonic wrote:
In fact, you could add in a separate "Power of Friendship" mechanic where in each interaction between the PCs and the afflicted individual in question is given a point value based upon the discrete dice rolls behind your GM screen that would ultimately be used to gauge how many dice the PCs must add to their dice check (and potentially go into negative dice, considering the brief PC summary you've given) to see if what tool they've "forged" from that friendship is useful and by how much. You can even mandate that this dice check must utilize the Teaming Up rules on p99 in order for it to be successful or at least conjure up something that would ultimately lead to the MotW's defeat.

And if you want to be particularly sadist- I mean adamant that they must use said item as a team, in the item/attack's Flaws, put in Assisted.

This is elegant, I like it a lot. But I wonder if it will contradict a rule I use on all dice pool system I use (and the reason I don't use drama dice) : a pool of dice in the middle of the table, any player can add them to their roll or spends them to add some effect, in general reroll a failed roll. With this rule (actually spending them to activate class abilities from this thread may work well). Or befriending can just add some dice (a truckload) of dice in this pool.

Well thanks for the thought. I will share it with my players.


Last edited by Tabulation on Sun Jun 03, 2018 4:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:21 pm 
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Tabulation wrote:
This is elegant, I like it a lot. But I wonder if it will contradict a rule I use on all dice pool system I use (and the reason I don't use drama dice) : a pool of dice in the middle of the table, any player can add them to their roll or spends them to add some effect, in general reroll a failed roll. With this rule (actually spending them to activate class abilities from this thread may work well). Or befriending can just add some dice (a truckload) of dice in this pool.

I see, so that's how you would approach the dice check in this campaign of yours. It does certainly help with the whole "Power of Friendship" issue you have, but there should be some caveats or rather restrictions to which a player could use and/or amount can be used to increase the chance of success in any eligible dice check if only to enforce the theme of "friendship" and "empathy". The Teaming Up as mentioned earlier is an excellent example of how to regulate the number of dice used: i.e. it can't be done when one is on their own, rather there must be a contributing PC closeby in-game in order to utilize it.

As for my, well, let's call them "Brownie Points" for lack of a better term, considering how potentially invaluable they are in forging the item/attack/spell/whatever to defeat the MotW, there should be a cravat in rerolling a failed Brownie Point check. Or rather, it shouldn't be allowed for the first attempt or first few attempts. This can represent the real life difficulty in trying to bring a person out of depression and how much it can backfire if one is not careful. If the PC is friendly enough with that NPC in question, lowering the DC involved in the forging would be justified. Other then that, such a plot relevant check should not have the realistic chance of a reroll. A separate attempt, sure, but not a reroll. At least, not without some consequence on part of the PC mechanics-wise.

Not sure how or what, but I can only assume that it should affect the dice pool in some way if only to encourage the other PCs to join in on the whole forging check with, again the whole Teaming Up check. Nothing quite says "Use the power of friendship or else" quite like having half of the dice pool taken away each time that one PC who isn't much of a people person on their own attempts such a check and failed such a plot-heavy dice throw. If anything, it makes the other players paranoid enough to not leave the side of any of the other PCs for fear that their own dice checks down the line would be severely limited if they allowed everyone else free reign on what is essentially a finite resource. Collective self-preservation and all.

Of course, I'm sure there are other GMs who have much more efficient solutions. But that's just my two-cents on it.
Tabulation wrote:
Well thanks for the thought. I will share it with my players.

Well I hope that it helps.

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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Sat Jun 02, 2018 2:27 pm 
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You might want to look at the Ability Passion. It's a bit of a funky Ability, but you get to add it's level of dice to all actions when the character's Passion is in play, like hot-blooded justice or power of friendship. Maybe build it as part of a Magical Girl template. You could also use the Weakness Trigger (power of friendship) to activate some powers.

Your characters sound a bit like a sort of deconstruction of the genre. Maybe check out Puella Magi Madoka Magica series, or the trilogy movies, as possible ideas on how run your story.

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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 5:23 pm 
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Malancthon wrote:
Your characters sound a bit like a sort of deconstruction of the genre. Maybe check out Puella Magi Madoka Magica series, or the trilogy movies, as possible ideas on how run your story.


Does it sound like a deconstruction ?

Malancthon wrote:
You might want to look at the Ability Passion. It's a bit of a funky Ability, but you get to add it's level of dice to all actions when the character's Passion is in play, like hot-blooded justice or power of friendship. Maybe build it as part of a Magical Girl template. You could also use the Weakness Trigger (power of friendship) to activate some powers.


This may be interesting, we established earlier that the magical girls are powered by happiness they suck out from their friends. But, given that the PCs are dick, it didn't work well during the testing phases. I will try it out.

Sabersonic wrote:
As for my, well, let's call them "Brownie Points" for lack of a better term, considering how potentially invaluable they are in forging the item/attack/spell/whatever to defeat the MotW, there should be a cravat in rerolling a failed Brownie Point check. Or rather, it shouldn't be allowed for the first attempt or first few attempts. This can represent the real life difficulty in trying to bring a person out of depression and how much it can backfire if one is not careful. If the PC is friendly enough with that NPC in question, lowering the DC involved in the forging would be justified. Other then that, such a plot relevant check should not have the realistic chance of a reroll. A separate attempt, sure, but not a reroll. At least, not without some consequence on part of the PC mechanics-wise.


I have to admit that my english is far from perfect, I can usually read just fine, but I am pretty confused by this paragraph.
Using the expression "brownie points" make me thing that this is not a check, I can't read it any other way, even if I know that this it not it. Sorry.

Now, the thing is, how to I enforce the use of the assisted flaw?


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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Sun Jun 03, 2018 6:58 pm 
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Brownie points is like earning karma, doing good things to add up your luck or good fortune. While probably not what Saber was meaning, maybe take a look at the Drama Dice mechanic, especially the free drama dice. If the situation warrants it, for example, your negative magical girls manage to act like magical girls and do something in the name of friendship, they gain a bonus dice to use at any time to help with a roll.

And I would think having characters that don't fit the typical mold for magical girl and exploring whether they can succeed or fail as magical girls would certainly be a deconstruction of the genre. Maybe not what you are going for, though.

Assisted is a Flaw that lowers the Endurance cost of an Ability or attack. Basically, in order for it to function, it requires the help of someone else. I think it would be harder to enforce as a GM, as it's mostly an option for characters to vary what they can do and also make it easier. Trigger (power of friendship) would probably be easier, as that is a Weakness that will be built directly into the character to make them have to do something for friends in order to activate their power.

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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 4:27 am 
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Malancthon wrote:
While probably not what Saber was meaning, maybe take a look at the Drama Dice mechanic, especially the free drama dice.

Actually s/he mentioned earlier that they instead use a central pool of dice that the group shares rather than each player has their own collection of dice, which is why I try to avoid the Drama Dice Ruleset in my suggestion. Would probably be hard to enforce the drama dice if anyone can take as many dice as they need.

Beyond that, yeah you got it spot on.
Malancthon wrote:
Assisted is a Flaw that lowers the Endurance cost of an Ability or attack. Basically, in order for it to function, it requires the help of someone else. I think it would be harder to enforce as a GM, as it's mostly an option for characters to vary what they can do and also make it easier.

From what I've reread of Assisted, it doesn't say that it's optional. Only that those that are assisting said PC may spend up to half the Endurance to ease the burden. So it's pretty much enforceable as a GM.

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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 6:17 am 
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Sabersonic wrote:
Actually s/he mentioned earlier that they instead use a central pool of dice that the group shares rather than each player has their own collection of dice, which is why I try to avoid the Drama Dice Ruleset in my suggestion. Would probably be hard to enforce the drama dice if anyone can take as many dice as they need.

Beyond that, yeah you got it spot on.

Still, the same general rules for the Drama Dice could apply. Instead of being giving to the player, the dice is put into a community pool any of the players can utilize.

Sabersonic wrote:
From what I've reread of Assisted, it doesn't say that it's optional. Only that those that are assisting said PC may spend up to half the Endurance to ease the burden. So it's pretty much enforceable as a GM.

Well, Flaws are mostly in relation to attacks, which can be generated on the fly. So a player could generate a new attack that enhances their normal attack with an Assist from an ally, or they could generate a new attack that is mostly the same except without the Assist and be less versatile or powerful.

Now applying Assisted to an Ability would be enforceable, since Abilities are not on the fly... But most Abilities don't use Endurance, unless you apply ANOTHER Weakness like Endurance Use, at which point things get overly complicated and can be distracting or possibly overpowered.

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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 7:23 am 
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Malancthon wrote:
Now applying Assisted to an Ability would be enforceable, since Abilities are not on the fly... But most Abilities don't use Endurance, unless you apply ANOTHER Weakness like Endurance Use, at which point things get overly complicated and can be distracting or possibly overpowered.

Well actually one CAN use Perks and Flaws on an Ability without having to add in the Endurance Use Weakness as Ai's character profile on p.40-41 shows on the Barrier Ability.

In fact, I had asked a rather similar inquiry on that and this is what he said on the matter:
Clay wrote:
The Endurance Use Weakness only adds more Endurance cost to what an Ability already possesses. You don’t assign it just because an Ability has one. (For instance, you’d only give it to Ai if you wanted to add 5/10/20 Endurance to her existing 5 for her Barrier.)

In other words, Endurance Use isn't always required on an Ability that has a Perk or in this case a flaw. Heck, I think Endurance Use takes precedent over all other Perks and Flaws the Ability in question has when it comes to calculating the END cost, even if the amount is 0 due to all the Flaws put into it if I figure correctly.

So no, a Flaw such as Assisted doesn't need to have an END Cost if there are no Perks to warrant it.

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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Mon Jun 04, 2018 10:14 am 
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So, for now, how I think it would work.
For the coming-of-age story theme :
  • I just have to hint that the PCs should be nicer to the NPCs, that will lessen the difficulty to craft the thing.
  • Being nice/making the NPCs happy will also add some dice to the pool.
For the power of friendship themes :
  • There should be some rolls to befriend a character further. This roll will only take account of the relationship score with the character plus the dice that the PC are willing to spend. Each step will have increasing an increased difficulty. No reroll allowed
  • The crafting will work the same way, except that the PC should team up. No reroll allowed.
  • A successful craft, will add a truck load of dice in the pool, maybe three times the highest/most pertinent relationship, plus Passion (something something of [NPC's name]) for one or more PC.
A session should be something like this
  1. PCs Wake up
  2. Lives normally
  3. Something weird happen
  4. Image
  5. Track down the Source
  6. Find the source and extract something
  7. Get the something to a NPC (the mascot?) who will craft something
  8. Befriend peoples meanwhile
  9. Get the crafted item.
  10. Go where the monster will appear
  11. Success

Does it sound okay?


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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Tue Jun 05, 2018 3:51 am 
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Seems sound enough at first glance myself.

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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Thu Jun 28, 2018 3:58 pm 
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While I may not resort quite to "murder hobos," you do have to consider that perhaps your players want to play a different kind of game than what you envision. A player's character, after all, is the incarnation of all their hopes and desires for the game. If there's a weakness on the sheet, odds are they want it to come up. And of course, if they have powers to steamroll over legions of enemies, well, that's probably a hint, too.

Encouraging them with mechanics may work, but I really think you should have an open conversation about the story and what you each individually expect from the game. You're telling this story together, after all, and just hoping the players will "fall in line" may not pan out in the end.

But ignoring all that, the idea for a pool in the center of the table (which is actually a suggestion for Drama Dice SOMEWHERE in OVA) reminded me of a mechanic in the Marvel Superheroes RPG. My memory is fuzzy, but from what I recall, both the players and the GM have a pool of dice, and when one spends out of it, it gets put INTO the other person's pool. In OVA terms, if the players spend 3 Drama Dice out of their pool, the GM gets to put those three dice into theirs. In this way, it's a back and forth balance of power that really seems interesting to me.

Your overview of an adventure sounds good to me. It's focused and easy to follow, but leaves room for you to derail here and there for different story ideas. Having a concrete goal per episode makes it easy to keep the Players "on track" and also helps you generate new adventures over and over.


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 Post subject: Re: So, trying out some setting specific houserules
PostPosted: Mon Aug 06, 2018 7:59 am 
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Thanks guys.
I have run two sessions(the first one was a simple session to acclimate them to the system) like that. I have to say that my players didn't appreciate the strict formula.


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