Key Our Cars What are you going to do next?!

18Jan/130

Players’ Onus 

(Note: that's an O, not an A)

One of the things about Karma Opposed is that all rolls are opposed (duh) and both the 'instigator' and the 'opposition' roll dice to see who wins.   No "You need a 17 to beat this" where that 17 is static throughout the scene.  Rather it would be as an example a d12+4 each time.  So it might be a 5 on some turns or a 16 on others.

With that said, I'm considering putting the onus of both rolls on the player when the player is the instigator of a contest, i.e. they're the ones who 'started the contest'.  They make their roll and make the opposition roll and make the rolls all at the same time, just with a specific color for the opposition.   I'm not sure if that adds a level of interest or not though.  It certainly would take away any chance of 'GM fudging' accusations or 'you let us win, you made us lose'.

As an example for a combat contest if Magus tries to fry a goblin with elemental fire he rolls his attack dice and the defense dice.  Then we add the modifiers and figure out who won the contest.    But if the goblin then tries to attack Magus with a spear the goblin (aka GM) rolls his own attack dice and Magus rolls his defense dice.

The idea of course is to keep the players involved in whats going on by their having to be physically involved in both attack and defense by dice rolls on their turn and the GM's turn.   Rather than a passive mental exercise of paying attention which with the vast array of crap, especially electronic crap, that players have to distract them  that can be an impediment in keeping them paying attention to what's going on because nothing matters to their character until it's their turn again.

But if the various bad guys scattered through the initiative order are constantly forcing the players to make their defense rolls, they're going to be more focused.  Or just get irritated that you're taking them away from words with friends on their phones and quit playing.  I didn't say there weren't any risks in such a mechanic.

One thing I will be doing is putting the task of remembering things they've caused on the players.  So if Magus's attack Impaired or Handicapped that goblin it's up to Magus to remind the GM when that goblin goes.

If Magus used a focus ability to add Lingering to his attack such that the goblin takes 3/4 of the damage on the first turn and another 1/2 of the damage on the next it's up to the player to remind the GM to add the damage.

Basically I'm trying to add mechanics to relieve some of the book keeping burden of being the GM so rather than focus on getting all the mechanics right, (and just fudging things when they forget) they can spend more time on the non-mechanical, i.e. narrative portions of the game.

Speaking of narrative, KO will continue my push to have mechanics that the player's narrate the effects of their successes, the GM will just narrate/elaborate on them as necessary or for failures.  Since good narration opens the player up to getting bonus dice (which is determined by the other players, not the GM) then there's a definite carrot to go with the stick of having to narrate.

So rather than the GM going "Your sword cuts his arm and blood sprays" for the 18,000 time the player gets to narrate just how awesome their maneuver was.  And increasing your narrative pool by a factor of 5 by bringing the players into can't not make for more interesting narrative.

I think the dividends you get from making every player a narrator in what's going on are pretty large.  It enforces the concept of co-op narration rather than a passive source of random values by rolling dice.

Player narration/inclusion is also the driving force behind the Spectacular mechanic in KO which is a narrative golden ticket for both sides of the table.

I find there's a huge difference between games with a diverse and complex tactical engine in them and light mechanic engines for tactical scenes in terms of how involved and 'in person' the players are.

Don't get me wrong, I enjoy 4th Edition DnD combat, for example, but as a mechanical engine of decisions and tactics and combinations rather than an organic one for driving the story.   Players spend a lot of time choosing what to do based on the mechanics of their class which leaves them little time or apparent energy to be 'spectacular' in their narration on any given turn.

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