Friday, November 20, 2009

Reading T&T 7.5 - Saving Rolls p.99-126

So, now we have come to that mechanic which makes us T&T fans rave so much about the game. Usually I don't talk that directly about rules here. I think you should buy the rules to find out. Today I think I will, though.

What's the fuss all about then? Nothing much, but it has implications. Starting the section on Saving Rolls, we read that sometimes only luck can save a delver. That's when you roll a SR. Rolling a SR is done with two dice, and then you add a relevant stat, like LK och STR. If you meet a target number, depending on difficulty, you succeed. Easy ones, level 1, is TN 20 and then it increase by five per level.

Nothing special, eh? Well. One nice feature is that when you roll doubles, you add and roll again! I love exploding dice, and ever since I encountered it in MERP during the 1980-ies I have loved that mechanic. The feeling when you really need to succeed and you get those two 5 staring back at you, roll again and get two 4 and roll again and get more, is priceless! That's why I couldn't play diceless. Random chance is just to much fun.

Now imagine doing this for anything, at any time, to resolve any crazy idea you get. Why would you? Because of AP.

Just after the section on Saving Rolls, with two very good examples of different SRs, we start to read on Adventure Points. These are used to raise your stats, and you gain them from, among other activities, rolling SRs. Note, you get it for rolling, not for suceeding! There's no reason not to try to do something cool, because you will get a reward in the form of AP, just for trying. This is a game where being active counts. The rules in this section is very well written with many examples sprinkled throughout, this is also true for the section on Adventure Points.

I remember when I first heard of Feng Shui, by Robin Laws. Chinese action movies are something I enjoy a lot, and that game seemed very fun. But, when I read it I didn't feel the love like I expected. I didn't feel the game mechanic inspired me to do over the top action stunts. Removing obstacles is one thing, but providing wires for the wire-fu and bullets for my gun was something else. Then I encountered Wushu - the ancient art of action role-playing. This was a game that gave me what I wanted! For every weird stunt you try, the easier it is to succeed. That, is a stroke of design genius. That is how I feel about the interplay of Saving Rolls and Adventure Points.

Adventure points you can get for slaying monsters, outwitting them, casting spells and any thing the GM feel is worth rewarding. How they are used, and how fast a progression the game will have is discussed in the rules, and more than one way presented for quicker and slower games. In my games my played by the book, and I let my players raise their stats as soon as they could. In the middle of a fight someone would take a look at their stats, ask for a SR and I would gladly allow it and then see them raise the stat and continue the fight. Entertainment was guaranteed when they scrambled for that SR and a few more points.

I will close with one thing our game designer feel is worthy of Adventure Points is Daring. Daring is described as the difficulty and danger of the tunnels and encounters for a session. Exposing your character to danger is worthy of reward if you survive. Think about this quote: "A general guideline is to reward 100 AP for each level of dungeon or difficulty that is overcome".

How do you handle that? If the delvers go down to level 3, do you give them 300 as they set foot on level 2? Going down a chute and at once going up again using an elevator from level 9, is that worth 900? You get no strict advice from the rules. I found this to be a very charming and very old school so I rewarded 100 times the deepest level visited and encountered something, when my players was back in town alive. Combine this with the stable rule, and there are interesting strategic options of resource management available to the game.

Next week it's time for Magic
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