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Old 12-26-2014, 12:04 PM   #11
vicky_molokh
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Default Re: Lite version of buying success for a Borderline Realism campaign

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Do you really want to start that topic up again? Luck is supernatural no matter how you try to twist it. It doesn't exist in reality.

What is called "realistic" luck in reality is simply looking back at fortunate coincidences. Game luck is the ability to alter future probabilities to enforce such events. Completely different things.
'Implausible' != 'Supernatural'.
Let's go over the logical chain:
  1. People like Timothy Dexter are real, thus realistic.
  2. A player may tell a GM: 'I want to play a character who will be remarkable in a way similar to Timothy Dexter - having unexpected coincidences work in his favour throughout the campaign'.
  3. Since it is not impossible nor particularly unbalancing, it's reasonable for a GM to agree.
  4. Since such a series of coincidences is beneficial to the character/player, it is reasonable to ask for some price/trait for it.

Asking for future events is not unrealistic, it's just somewhat metagame. Just like buying an Ally, one insures oneself against betrayal, so buying Luck/Serendipity is an insurance of having some beneficial coincidences, or just better rolls.
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Old 12-26-2014, 12:08 PM   #12
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Default Re: Lite version of buying success for a Borderline Realism campaign

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Originally Posted by BraselC5048 View Post
Still, the general idea was that you'd keep several points "in reserve," unspent
That's a necessity for almost any system here you spend character point for re-rolls. Allowing characters to lose skills or abilities they already have to avert bad things happening is way beyond "Borderline realistic".
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and also that the characters are built to character level, not point total (mostly),
Without a lot more explanation, this doesn't really tell me anything.
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I just don't want players to decide to take insane (in odds) risks planning to buy success. I think I'll halve the point costs.
I've done quite a bit of play with variant Impulse Buys rules in the last couple of years. With the normal costs, characters try to accumulate a stock of points in the early parts of a scenario to spend when things are getting hard. However, different character niches can easily have very different spending patterns: a detective does it under quite different circumstances to a commando who's mostly there for the fights at the end.

High costs to deter them from taking big risks depends on them being able to see ways to tackle problems that don't involve those risks: Impulse Buys rules seem to be mot useful where there is no time to think of a clever way of doing something.

Even halved, these costs are high enough that I think I would tend to play as if I didn't have the Impulse Buys option. If you want them strictly as insurance against players and GM errors, that may be fine. If you want them to promote daring and dashing play, you may be disappointed, and the players annoyed.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:17 PM   #13
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Default Re: Lite version of buying success for a Borderline Realism campaign

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
...
Without a lot more explanation, this doesn't really tell me anything.
Basically, it means characters created by picking the stats, advantages/disadvantages and skill levels that fit the character concept, and letting points fall where they may, instead of giving the player a point total to use. As long as it's within reason, the exact point total doesn't matter much, and the characters likely aren't the same total.

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Originally Posted by johndallman View Post
I've done quite a bit of play with variant Impulse Buys rules in the last couple of years. With the normal costs, characters try to accumulate a stock of points in the early parts of a scenario to spend when things are getting hard. However, different character niches can easily have very different spending patterns: a detective does it under quite different circumstances to a commando who's mostly there for the fights at the end.

High costs to deter them from taking big risks depends on them being able to see ways to tackle problems that don't involve those risks: Impulse Buys rules seem to be mot useful where there is no time to think of a clever way of doing something.

Even halved, these costs are high enough that I think I would tend to play as if I didn't have the Impulse Buys option. If you want them strictly as insurance against players and GM errors, that may be fine. If you want them to promote daring and dashing play, you may be disappointed, and the players annoyed.
Promoting daring and dashing play is the reason for it. Basically it's mostly going to be the occasional 1 pt for failing a likely roll (maybe 14 or 15 or less, or even 16, I'll allow it to buy down a critical failure too), the idea being you're more likely to take those risks, since in many cases a messy death or career ending injury are the result of failing. If it was just embarrassment and major inconvenience, and perhaps 1d of injury while everybody else keeping fighting, then there would be no need for buying successes in the first place. It's worth pointing out you get to choose whether to spend the character points after the roll, so you won't spend it unless you're unlucky in the first place, and you've used up your Luck.

You're either fighting as an 10 HP or less move and dodge based fighter outnumbered against opponents with much better weapons, often as only 2 people together or even by yourself, or free climbing tall and heavily penalized cliffs or buildings, where a failure could mean a 75-200 foot plus fall, depending on the circumstances, or where failure means something like 6d of injury in a spot where getting hurt would require the fire department to come get you down, after which you get arrested from the crime you just committed, and can't break out of jail due to your injury, or alternately surrounded by enemy guards.

Depending on the circumstances, taking a bullet might be a lot worse when there's nobody else with you to bail you out, or when they scored 3 hits with a tommy gun and you have to doge all of them, or even worse somebody really well equipped with a BAR (although both of those will be pretty rare, except those times where the plan unravels and you blew your chance at stealth, and now have a massive fight), or a character who can get limbs crippled by a single buckshot pellet going up against shotguns, (more common), and things like that. Generally cases where there's a bunch of 90% plus rolls, especially when grouped together, but you really can't afford to fail any of them.
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Old 12-26-2014, 01:19 PM   #14
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Default Re: Lite version of buying success for a Borderline Realism campaign

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Originally Posted by vicky_molokh View Post
'Implausible' != 'Supernatural'.
....
I say that having impossible control over future events is supernatural. It may be meta-gaming to allow impossible fun, but that doesn't make it possible.
Having a probability altering power to increase your chance of surviving 20 foot falls is magic, even if I happened to have landed head first from such a fall without a single scratch.
I seriously have no clue why something that seems so painfully obvious to me gets argued against on these forums.
I never once said it was bad-wrong-fun to have mildly supernatural powers in mostly realistic games.
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Old 12-26-2014, 02:09 PM   #15
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Default Re: Lite version of buying success for a Borderline Realism campaign

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
I say that having impossible control over future events is supernatural. It may be meta-gaming to allow impossible fun, but that doesn't make it possible.
Having a probability altering power to increase your chance of surviving 20 foot falls is magic, even if I happened to have landed head first from such a fall without a single scratch.
I seriously have no clue why something that seems so painfully obvious to me gets argued against on these forums.
I never once said it was bad-wrong-fun to have mildly supernatural powers in mostly realistic games.
Because whether someone is e.g. a good or bad strategist is also normally decided after all the time has passed. But purchasing a higher number to roll against is not considered supernatural by you. Purchasing the right to occasionally reroll those dice - you do, for some reason.

Would you treat things differently in WoD, where more dice = better, and you can purchase traits that allow you to get more dice occasionally, or to spend Willpower Points on extra dice/successes?
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Old 12-26-2014, 05:18 PM   #16
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Default Re: Lite version of buying success for a Borderline Realism campaign

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Originally Posted by Flyndaran View Post
Do you really want to start that topic up again? Luck is supernatural no matter how you try to twist it. It doesn't exist in reality.
You clearly have a strong opinion about Luck, but it's not really relevant because we're not discussing Luck, we're discussing who controls events in a game.

A game master gets to decide, for example, whether there are orcs in a particular room, or what the difficulty of a roll will be or what the outcome of a roll will be. There is nothing "supernatural" in this. The GM runs the simulation of the world. He is the interface. Impulse Buys are about delegating that authority to the players on a limited basis. When Joe says "But can there be a chandalier? I want there to be a chandalier!" The GM can allow Joe to spend a CP in exchange for the chandalier existing there.

This is not "supernatural" or "unrealistic." It is not implausible that there was a chandalier in the room. It's just that the player, not the GM, decided this, and paid a point for it.

The same applies to Impulse Buys for successes. Joe makes an Acrobatics roll to swing from the chandalier and fails. "I don't want my character to fail, can he succeed?" And in exchange for a point, he does. This isn't about luck, it's not like the character got lucky. He just succeeded. The player took control of the narrative (which is usually controlled by the GM, at least this part of the narrative) for a brief moment.

This is why I argue it has nothing to do with realism but tone. A game without impulse buys is better for giving the players a sense of loss of control. Horror is a great example of a genre where that's really good. Other genres are the rogue-like, where the randomness of events is the entire point of the genre. In other genres, you want to give players a sense of control, where narrative might need to make "more sense" and you want to cut down on the randomness of events. A lot of adventure fiction has that, or myths, where failure or success has a great deal of narrative weight or are directly the result of the character's actions, rather than simply resulting from random weirdness or a universe that doesn't care.
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Old 12-26-2014, 05:30 PM   #17
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Default Re: Lite version of buying success for a Borderline Realism campaign

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Originally Posted by BraselC5048 View Post
I just don't want players to decide to take insane (in odds) risks planning to buy success.
I ran a samurai campaign that featured Impulse Buys. I even had a special pool of points that were only for Impulse Buys (They could trade them in for CP, but two Impulse points gave you one CP, so it was a bad trade), so I was actively encouraging the use of Impulse Buys, and I found they rarely did what you describe.

Here's what generally happens: Say you'll succeed 90% of the time and you roll 100 times. If you want everything to succeed, success will cost you 10 points. If you succeed 10% of the time and you want to everything to succeed, success will cost you 90 points. Even if you expect CP to make up the shortfall, it always makes more sense to spend CP on your character and to try to make the rolls as reasonable as possible, because it will save you points in the long run.

I did sometimes see players take ridiculous risks and count on CP to save them. For example, a player had saved up like 20 points, over lots of time, to spend on Impulse Buys, and threw himself into a difficult battle with a powerful villain, and relied on Flesh Wounds and Impulse Buys to survive the fight. But this was out of desperation. It was because he could find no other option. And this is how the fight actually looked: He would take a devastating blow and know he was dead, but Flesh Wound it away. He would fail a roll, and buy a success. And with each spent point, he knew he was closer to defeat. Each time, he knew that he should have been defeated, and this hammered home how absolutely lethal this fight was. In the end, he retreated. I think he burned 5 of his points, and saw that he wouldn't make it and cut his losses. He didn't try to force events with his Impulse Buys.

In practice, they tend to make up short fall, and tend to emphasize dramatic necessity. They don't generally allow the ridiculous to happen. It's possible, but you can refuse points, and throwing yourself into absolutely stupid situations tends to result in lots of critical failures (and it costs 2 CP to turn a crit into a failure, and another to turn the failure into a success, so you're looking at 3 CP if you're being TRULy stupid. Remember, failure by 10 is a critical failure, so attempting something with a skill of 3 has a substantial chance at a critical failure...)

I wouldn't worry about it. Just allow impulse buys! Look through the book, see their advice, and build your "realism" in other ways, like lower point totals or the removal of cinematic options (like Gunslinger). That's my advice.
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Old 12-27-2014, 06:17 PM   #18
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Default Re: Lite version of buying success for a Borderline Realism campaign

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I seriously have no clue why something that seems so painfully obvious to me gets argued against on these forums.
As I've no doubt said before in the context of Luck, because it's no *more* unrealistic than skill rolls are in the first place. In reality whether or not you are going to succeed at something is pretty much predetermined, it is just you don't know what all the factors are. There's nothing like the randomness of a die roll involved. If you are willing to accept a die roll as a substitute for unknown but in reality already fixed factors, there's no particular reason you can't accept burning a character point to substitute for them all being favorable enough you can't really fail.
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