Revising Revision

Revising Revision

And as the process of creation gets underway, things change.

In writing the initial scenario, I found a significant problem with the proposed revision mechanics. They were as follows.

Roll the assessment dice and double the result. Subtract the current progress from this result to get an assessment total. Subtract the assessment total from the current progress to get the difficulty for the revision roll. Make the revision roll, and add the amount by which it exceeds the difficulty to the current progress.

Mathematically, this is equivalent to the following.

Roll the assessment dice and double the result. Add the result of rolling the revision dice. Subtract the current progress. This is the new progress.

This is problematic, because it means that it becomes impossible to get a high total if you are unlucky enough to roll fairly high but not really high on the first rolls; the current progress is a penalty to the highest possible result. This is not the way that things should work. A current progress that is close to the implementation difficulty of the creation should mean that completing the creation is easy, but, in fact, it makes it harder.

So, I’ve changed these mechanics, to the following.

Roll the assessment dice, and subtract the conception difficulty for the creation. This gives you an assessment total. Use the assessment total to buy a revision element. Each revision element provides a number of dice to keep, and costs a certain level of assessment total. A higher cost generally means more dice, so in most cases a player will choose one of the most expensive elements she can afford. However, each revision element specifies a change to be made to the creation, so if she does not like the changes that the expensive elements specify, she might choose a cheaper one, that offers fewer dice.

The revising character then rolls an ability, and keeps the number of dice granted by the element. The total is added to the current progress.

This version of the mechanics has many advantages. First, when the current progress is near the implementation difficulty, you have nearly finished. Keeping one die will probably be enough to finish. Second, it gets rid of the doubling of the total, and relies on buying elements, which is something that I am already using in the creation of theories. That is, it makes the mechanics more unified, which is always a good thing. Finally, by introducing more elements, it adds more ways for the players to develop the world around them.

I suspect that the revision elements will normally be based on the elements used to describe a creation. Indeed, the simplest ones will simply require the addition or removal of those elements. However, there may well be cases in which special revision elements make sense. This also provides a way for personae to add to a concept that is already under development, because a really good assessment roll might allow you to buy a revision element that improves the initial concept.

Another thing that I’m noticing as I write the scenario: Kannagara material is going to be hard to write. I think it is going to be easy to play, but a lot of the work that gets offloaded onto the GM in conventional games has to be done in the writing. From a commercial standpoint, that’s not actually a bad thing: it means that published material should have substantial value to players. It does mean that writing the initial scenario is taking quite a long time.

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