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22 September 2008 @ 04:41 pm
The Hoard Potato: Game Host Notes  
Many games with a Flaw or Disadvantage mechanic include at least one that gives the PC in question a recurring Enemy.

In a well-designed system, Flaws like this make great Adventure Hooks. They can add flavor to any adventure -- and if the Game Host doesn't have enough prep time before a session, he can always throw one together based on the Flaws the PCs have.

As a general rule, it's a good idea for the Game Host to let those adversaries show their hands.

In Ironclaw, however, it might be a foe paw.
John "The Gneech" Robey: Shushthe_gneech on September 23rd, 2008 12:03 am (UTC)
*bapples you with a trout*

leonard_arlotteleonard_arlotte on September 23rd, 2008 12:05 am (UTC)

Seriously, in my restarted Ironclaw game, I told the players that if they wanted to have a Foe, they had to give me a write up of that person. I had too many people in previous games take the points for a foe, but then leave it to me to fill in the details. When I could remember I certainly made them regret it, but it took some of the creative juice that I would have preferred to direct toward the plot.

Curiously, since I now require them to do work for a Foe (or a Rival, or a romance), they don't seem to want to take that flaw.
Sternbunny, sharp pointy-teethed rabbitsternbunny on September 23rd, 2008 12:22 am (UTC)

Shadow Dragonshdragon on September 23rd, 2008 01:21 am (UTC)
So.. I saw this comment and I thought "Hey, I used to know someone named Beth that also knew Athe though the old A.F.D. days... I wonder.." So I did some poking and found some interesting things..

See, the Beth I was acquainted with went to UIUC at the same time I did and helpfully photocopied some cute dragon cross-stitch patterns for me right before she graduated. Also went to a TMBG/Hootie concert which was awesome.

So, either, "Hi" to someone I haven't talked to in many years, or apologies for sounding like a crazy stalker person.
Sternbunny, sharp pointy-teethed rabbitsternbunny on September 27th, 2008 12:17 am (UTC)
Was this Beth associated with plushies, puns and food fights?

Nope, never heard of her.

;) Hi! How are you doing? Hope everything is going well with you!

Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on September 23rd, 2008 02:04 am (UTC)

Pun aside, I have come to the conclusion that no "enemy" disadvantage should ever be given to, uh, anyone. I mean, OF COURSE the PCs have enemies. They're PLAYER CHARACTERS. You don't get more in game resources because you're an adventurer!
SilverClawbfdragon on September 23rd, 2008 06:09 am (UTC)
Suddenly I have this image of a GM telling the player that his character has this huge conspiracy against him, dropping little hints, even making sure other charters drop little signs, having symbols and signs of that great conspiracy littered around the towns he goes to...

That is: the disadvantage the character actually has is schizophrenia, but even the player doesn't know.

I guess it wouldn't last, especially if you wanted to get the other players into it, but it would be amusing to see how long it could go for.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on September 23rd, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
So, you've been in my games?! ;)
Your Obedient Serpent: facepalmathelind on September 24th, 2008 01:07 am (UTC)
*spit take*
Your Obedient Serpent: gamingathelind on September 23rd, 2008 06:38 am (UTC)
A recent trend that's popped up in games like the new World of Darkness and the second edition of Mutants & Masterminds is the idea of the complication. Instead of giving you more starting points, Complication-style flaws give you either extra XP (the WoD approach) or extra "Hero Points" (a mechanic used in M&M to let PCs bend the rules or game events in their favor) -- but only when the Flaw in question actually affects the game. The M&M approach is particularly elegant, giving PCs a chance to Do Unto The Plot in exchange for the Plot Doing Unto Them.
Christopher Bradleycpxbrex on September 23rd, 2008 05:46 pm (UTC)
Which is better than a "traditional disadvantage" but still not good, IMO.

I mean, uh, the plot is already gonna screw you. There are going to be supervillains in M&M, frex, and it is superficially obvious that if those villains are hooked into the background of one or more of the player characters that's a good thing. So when I tell my GM that the Magnificent Mountain Lion has tussled with the gun toting, mass murdering vigilante Corporal Punishment in the past and that villain shows up in the game . . . why should I get character resources because the GM listened to me about my background? Isn't the pleasure of having recurring bad guys enough? I need to be BRIBED to participate in the game in a full fashion? ;)

And I utterly loathe the "more XP" thing. Hero points in M&M are transient, but XP last forever, allowing one player to consistently develop faster than other characters who - for whatever reason - don't have the same kind of development. These days, I'm a pretty firm believer in the Iron Experience Bowl. Everyone gets the same. I've been in too many games where imbalances in experience cause bad feelings, and there's really no way to do it without some kind of favoritism, I think, or at least the appearance of favoritism.
Anvil*: Bubblethoughtsdriftby on September 24th, 2008 12:32 am (UTC)
character flaws are interesting in a character even without any offsetting gain in mechanics. even minor ones like going a few miles out of their way for just the rumor of good seafood. Overly negative personality traits should be avoided though, as those types of character flaws seem prone to calamity (from the other annoyed players if not the NPCs).