Galactic, Session Two

Denver Session 2: short on scenes, long on RP, fun, and future promise.
Kate can attest: I came off this session engergized — wired to the point of being nearly intelligible. πŸ™‚ Little Chatty Kathy, that’s me.


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8 Replies to “Galactic, Session Two”

  1. Fun stuff.
    Question — given that you can unimpair archetypes at the drop of a hat, why would you, ever, until you actually need to pull them out for a conflict? I mean, if you have the Fortune, you might as well just let everything sit there impaired, right, until you go to call on it. Seems odd.

  2. I did some nattering about the game over on my blog, but a couple of bits for discussion here.
    1. I think the system has … a dizzying array of mechanics — a ton of checkboxes and circles and things to tally and so forth. Some of which aren’t even listed on the character sheet but still need to be tracked. If I look at all the stuff on the character sheet I need to check off, track, monitor, recover from, etc., and all the things I can bring in at various times in a conflict, it begins to get a bit tricksy. Plus, as Margie points out, any system that calls on you to roll dice low sometimes, high other times, is too clever for its own good.
    That’s probably, if not intrinsic, then a hazard of a decent conflict-based system, since you want it to pull in a whole bunch of pertinent factors into the conflict. All of the mechanics, btw, make sense. There’s just a lot of them checked through every conflict. And, yes, some of that is a matter of familiarity.
    And all *that* said, I had much more fun with the RP aspects of the afternoon/evening than with the conflict resolution (go fig). πŸ™‚
    2. Another hazard, which I’m only now formulating, is the whole Crew thing, in particular the sense that Crew fall somewhere between PCs and NPCs. To wit, taking over Tam to feed plot info to Randy’s Captain. I don’t think you would have done that with Amanda. And you didn’t do anything abusive with the character, by any means (probably sped things up from just feeding me the info), but it still felt like Tam was “less mine” than my Captain, which didn’t quite feel right.

  3. Excellent point on Tam — I meant to mention that in the log to sort of ask Matt about it, but my instinct is that i shouldn’t have done that — I treated them like Nobilis anchors, and they aren’t that.
    Yeah, it was totally just to save time between telling it to you and just letting you retell it to Randy, sitting right there. That was all of it.
    I’m a little surprised about the conflict resolution getting in the way — I thought, really, that things went pretty seamlessly on that front — lots of free-form roleplay leading up to the Conflict Resolution — roll to figure out how it shakes out on a plus/minus scale — roleplay out the result. To me, it felt very very much like the way Heroquest plays (Scene introduced, RP, Conflict Resolution, RP result, repeat), albeit with more fiddley bits. I was actually pretty happy with this part, given that it came out about that same as HQ — not noticeably more ‘story’, to me, as Capes or Roach are — again, that’s me — I’d love to hear more on your impressions from this.
    I’d have to guess that ‘all the fiddley bits’ is rules familiarity to a large part. Take a look at your DnD character sheet and think of all the situational bonuses, spell bonuses, synergy bonuses, blessings, bard’s songs, flanking bonuses, movement-blocking-to-Attacks-of-Opportunity that you have to figure for just one sword swing in d20, and…
    Well, i just don’t think it *can* be as fiddley — it’s 40 pages (about 15 of which is rules) versus 300+), but I agree it’s alot to remember.
    There isn’t a lot of RP going on in the midst of conflict resolution, but there isn’t a lot of RP going on once a combat in d20 starts either, and the Conflict Resolution takes a lot less time.

  4. Believe me when I say that I’m aware and a little … unthrilled that we’re using an untested, unbalanced, and very rough playtest game as our first rush back into gaming in general and narr-gaming-in-introduction.

  5. I treated them like Nobilis anchors, and they aren’t that.

    Ah! Yes, that’s it (or, rather, that’s not it) exactly.
    In some ways (and this may be overstating it the other direction, but the thought occurred to me), Crew are like PTA Protagonists with a Spotlight 1, while Captains are always a Spotlight 3. And I think it’s a great mechanic.

    albeit with more fiddley bits

    Yes, more fiddley bits (is that another one of those Game Theory terms? πŸ™‚ ). And, I guess, unlike HQ, they seem to come from a bunch of different directions — applicable some of the time, some of them recorded, some of them “strained,” or maybe impaired (or maybe not), or just used up, or … and each makes sense, but the whole feels … fiddley-bittish.
    Yes, D20 can be the same way — but it’s not so much what goes into each conflict as tracking stuff before and after (checking and recovering and stuff like that). And each of the stuff (Contacts, Red Shirts, Gear, the Ship, Personality Traits, Archetypes, Crew) seems to both input to the conflict differently *and* have different results afterwards.
    More fiddley. I think if some of the mechanics could be brought more in line with each other, it might seem less that way. That’s part of that playtest thing, I think.

    not noticeably more ‘story’, to me, as Capes or Roach are — again, that’s me — I’d love to hear more on your impressions from this

    Yes. Definitely more protagonistic than story-weavingish. Though it did still feel like we spent more time coming up with and framing the conflict and then rolling through it, than with RP stuff. More talking about what the characters were doing, or what the situation was, than otherwise.
    Well, that’s overstated, perhaps. I think I did more RP talking-in-voice than Margie and Randy, and that may just have been by choice.
    And, of course, you’re right about RP-in-D20 (or, rather, there’s as much opportunity to throw in a stirring speech in either).
    As to it being a playtest … well, heck, it’s not all that bad. I think we’re over that hump (rules seem pretty stable — at least, they haven’t changed significantly in the last month — and results seem to be working decently). Not ideal, perhaps, but it’s what we’re doing, and the fact we’re doing something makes up for a host of minor drawbacks. πŸ™‚

  6. Dave, those are excellent points, and they really tie into another observation I made to Matt about the (non)flow of Hazard-to-Fortune in the game.
    ((In PTA, Budget-becomes-Fanmail-becomes-(less) Budget, where as in Galactic, Fortune Spent becomes Hazard Spent becomes… nothing… possibly improved Crewmembers, that’s it. As it stands, I can spend a crapload of Hazard, impair the hell out of whoever I’m working on, give up on the conflict, and probably get alot of the Hazard I just spent BACK, PLUS I get Hazard when you spend Fortune to fix your impaired Stats. This leaves you struggling to find the Fortune points to keep going, and me with a big Pool of Hazard that I don’t want to use.))
    Anyway, yes: good good good feedback, and I sent it along to Matt.
    If some of the mechanics started ‘flowing’ the same direction with maybe fewer ‘almost the same, except…’ rules, it would fix a lot it. Right now, it all makes sense, but it’s not elegant, or even quite smooth, and it really feels like it could be.
    But that’s why playtesting is good, and that’s why this kind of feedback is so invaluable.

  7. If some of the mechanics started ‘flowing’ the same direction with maybe fewer ‘almost the same, except…’ rules, it would fix a lot it. Right now, it all makes sense, but it’s not elegant, or even quite smooth, and it really feels like it could be.

    Exactly.
    And … as somewhat irksome as encountering some of the rough edges may be, it’s also kind of a kick to be involved in smoothing them for a finished product that should be really neat …

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