Author Topic: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?  (Read 7880 times)

Paul T.

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Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« on: October 16, 2011, 01:09:58 AM »
Hi, Vincent!

I'm surprised no one's asked this before:

Why the stat substitution moves?

What is your vision for them, how do you see them impacting the game?

They always jump out at me as something I'm... not too sure how to handle.

For example:

* Sometimes you have a stat substitution move that's about something a bit more specific than the basic move, like unnatural lust transfixion. That makes sense: the character's actually doing something very, very different, or in a different way. I can see how that changes the character--and the fiction--in interesting ways, as well as giving the character more utility in a certain way.

* Sometimes you have a stat substitution move that suggests it means something fictionally, but without teeth. For example, merciless... well, the name suggests that if you take this move, you're making a specific statement about your character's, uh, character. If I take that move, am I saying that my character IS merciless? Would I be playing "wrong" if I took the move and then acted all merciful to people?

* On the other hand, some of those... they seem really just purely mechanical, with little or no fictional referent. For example, I'm a gunlugger and I take battle-hardened. Well, I'm a gunlugger: of course I've been in a battle before. And I don't get anything fictionally out of "roll +hard to act under fire". Acting under fire is also very, very broad, so I can't say that it applies in any specific way.

So what do these moves do to the game that you like? What was your designer's goal for putting them in there?

Looking forward to hearing more about these!

Ariel

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2011, 05:27:35 AM »
To balance out some of the characters mechanically, they need to be able to have the high stat count for more than one or two basic moves. I think that's the case for playbooks like the battlebabe or the gunlugger. Playbooks balance as a whole, so some of them have good crap, or good stats or good moves.

For your second example, the teeth have to come from the MC if the player isn't doing it. You example of merciless isn't stat sub move, it's +1harm and yeah, I'd prohibit the character from being merciful, or at least, I'd be like, for reals? I'd play-up the violence with that character.

When looking over the playbook, it seems that most of the statsub moves are for act under fire or open your brain. It's for characters who have high weird, sharp or hard to still be effective in the fiction, because act under fire is the default move for doing stuff. For the statsubs for open your brain, it's because Vincent wants the characters doing that as much as possible. It's design goal.

Paul T.

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2011, 03:22:33 PM »
That's an interesting point, Nathan, about the focus on acting under fire and opening your brain.

And I was probably thinking about ice cold when I wrote merciless!

I hope Vincent will chime in with his thoughts, too.

What are the effects on the game overall from a) having stat substitution moves, b) not having stat substitution moves?

niles kane

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #3 on: October 18, 2011, 05:25:09 PM »
ive noticed you tend to rack up XP like mad when you use one or two stats for everything. I'm sure it wasn't intentional, but it can be fun.
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lumpley

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #4 on: October 24, 2011, 06:47:44 PM »
So you've got the basic moves and you've got the character moves, and you've got the stats.

Without stat substitution moves, the stats provide a direct and absolute relationship between basic moves and character moves. The roll to act under fire, for instance, is always the same as the reputation roll. Being good at acting under fire means, if you have the move, being secure in your own reputation. If you're bad at acting under fire, you'll be bad at controlling your reputation, and probably won't bother taking the move in the first place.

Stat substitution moves break that absolute relationship. Now you can be good at acting under fire, but still bad at controlling your reputation (so you probably won't bother taking the move), because you roll+hard to act under fire but still roll+cool for reputation.

The stat substitution moves make it so that acting under fire can be everyone's domain, while being on top of your reputation is still the domain only of the cool.

Paul T.

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #5 on: October 25, 2011, 11:59:44 PM »
Thanks, Vincent!

Stab substitution moves have a lot of interesting consequences, most of them covered in this thread (dissociating certain moves from certain stats, balance issues, potential impact on experience gain and stat highlighting).

If you feel that covers it, then great!

But if you have more to say, I'm still curious. For instance, why substitute two stats instead of just saying: "you can roll at +2 instead of whatever your stat is when you act under fire"?

Ariel

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2011, 02:10:15 AM »
Cause I can't take +1 to that move.

Allison

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #7 on: October 28, 2011, 03:30:44 PM »
I'd note that character-wise, a lot of stat-substitution moves can be easily envisioned. (Not all of them, granted.)

An example would actually be the gunlugger's battle-hardened. Ordinarily, Hard just means you're good at fighting and good at threatening people. But when you're battle-hardened, you've been at risk of death so damn many times that you are just plain desensitized to fear and personal risk, and so when you have to act under fire, shit, whatever fire you're enduring can't be any worse than the shit you've already gone through, right? Alternately, it may mean that you're good at acting under fire because you just have no fucking cool to lose to begin with. You may be emotionally unstable and unreliable over the long term, and thus suck at things like a steady job (moonlighting) or managing your reputation (reputation, naturally), but when there's an acutely stressful threat right now, like you give two shits and a fuck about the danger, right? Custom moves that actually require you to keep a truly cool head and even hand and thus use Cool will be the pain in the ass for you, but taking risks with life and limb and telling manipulative assholes to fuck off? No sweat. (That said, I can understand your misgivings about it being so non-specific and applying to any kind of acting under fire--personally, I would be fine with my MC limiting the purview of Daryl the Muscle's battle-hardened to resisting fear of violence or pain or the like, and thus letting her risk life and limb in combat or dangerous environments, or manipulation through intimidation, but giving her no such power to resist seduction or accusations of cowardice or more subtle forms of fire to which self-destructive, foolish bravery and aggression does not apply.)

Another example would be the battlebabe's ice cold. It means that you have the cool nerves and willingness to hurt someone and that look in your eyes to threaten someone with violence and have them know that you will follow through. Against a PC, it means that if you know what makes them tick, you can use it to cow them with a threat of violence. What it doesn't mean is that you're actually good at down-and-dirty fighting. Someone with high Cool and ice cold has balls (or ovaries) of steel and doesn't think twice about pulling the trigger when some mutherfucker pushes their luck, but doesn't have the sheer strength and endurance to throw themselves right into the heart of a battle and prevail when others are resisting and fighting back right the fuck now. You have the willingness to use violence, but not necessarily the ability to pit your violence against someone else's (or at least, you're not quite as good at it--a battlebabe with the last statline and one improvement can still be seizing at +1, at least). Of course, that's one of those "more specific" examples.

That said, there are some I don't understand, especially among the limited-edition playbooks. Like the maestro D's you call this hot (using Hot to act under fire? what?) or the touchstone's move that lets them read people with Hard (again, what?).

sully the raptor

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #8 on: September 02, 2012, 06:59:23 PM »
Quote
That said, there are some I don't understand, especially among the limited-edition playbooks. Like the maestro D's you call this hot (using Hot to act under fire? what?) or the touchstone's move that lets them read people with Hard (again, what?)

I think with the Maestro D' it plays out like this. You know people and you know how to get what you want out of them. You're trying to slip out the back door, you know who's going to be looking your way and how to misdirect them. Hell, maybe it's not always about staying cool under pressure. Running your mouth and filibustering might give you all the time and confusion you need to run between two spots of cover in a gun fight.

With the touchstone, you've seen so much battle and death that it's hardened you to the lies and fronts people put up to hide behind. You can look at somebody and tell off the bat that they're lying because you've had the wool pulled over your eyes enough times.

Marsh_Fauna

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #9 on: December 19, 2013, 07:46:30 PM »
I've always wanted to know why there are no moves that allow one to roll weird for cease by force. I tried cajoling my MC into letting me create a custom move for my brainer that would allow her to do that, but they tabled the issue. It was their view that if it was a balanced idea, Vincent would have put it in the game, and that we could add the move later if it came naturally from the fiction. I agreed, but still, ceasing by force with weird would be awesome.

Antisinecurist

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #10 on: December 19, 2013, 09:13:19 PM »
I've always wanted to know why there are no moves that allow one to roll weird for cease by force. I tried cajoling my MC into letting me create a custom move for my brainer that would allow her to do that, but they tabled the issue. It was their view that if it was a balanced idea, Vincent would have put it in the game, and that we could add the move later if it came naturally from the fiction. I agreed, but still, ceasing by force with weird would be awesome.

Oh, I don't think it's necessarily unbalanced, although perhaps boring!
Still, ideas.

Storm's Eye: When you let loose with vicious psychic energy, set your harm to 2 ap area messy, ignore all gang bonuses/penalties, and roll+weird to seize by force. On a 7-9 or miss, in addition to whatever else goes down, there'll be collateral damage.

Battle Foresight: When you seize by force, roll+weird.

More interesting, I think, is stuff that complements but doesn't modify SBF itself...

Bullet Time: When you go into a battle, roll+weird. On a hit, hold 1; on a 10+, hold 3 instead. Spend your hold 1-for-1 to...
... when you take harm, take 1-less harm.
... when you do harm, do +1-harm
... impress or awe someone (an NPC) who can see you
... move somewhere before your foes can react

Mad Disregard: When you take harm, roll-weird. You've begun to cast off human concepts of pain and fear.


I've wandered a bit afield of the original concept, but you inspired me!
- Alex

lumpley

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #11 on: December 20, 2013, 01:46:28 AM »
Marsh_Fauna: There doesn't happen to be such a move in the stuff I've published, no, but definitely don't conclude that I've ruled it out. If I were your MC I would have said yes.

-Vincent

Marsh_Fauna

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #12 on: January 05, 2014, 05:07:48 PM »
I really like your ideas for modifying SBF, Alex. I think I shall brain storm some as well and bring them back here.

Antisinecurist

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Re: Vincent: Why stat substitution moves?
« Reply #13 on: January 06, 2014, 06:17:37 PM »
@Marsh_Fauna: Might be best to break out y'r ideas into a separate thread, when you have'em. I love seeing new custom moves!

- Alex