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gaming the DRAMA?

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kevperrine
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gaming the DRAMA?

Post by kevperrine »

so ... I like thinking of ways to incorporate "deadline" or complication type things into the PC-Heroes' role-play. Not overly so, I still prefer the role-play ideas over rules when it comes to backstory & drama in-game... however here's an idea I was toying with for "dramatic action" ruling, using existing rules in BASH!

Skip past my campaign setup if you're not interested in needing context. :)


======================================
SETUP...
I'm Narrating a new campaign (just finished Episode #303, Season 3) for a continuation of the YOUNG JUSTICE series into a "what if" campaign playing out what COULD have happened had the YJ series continued into Season 3!
It's been awesome so far. Players have taken their favorite YJ members OR brought a NEW DC-character that could join the Team. I am still playing the robust cast of the other Young Justice members and Justice Leaguers as NPCs that are around in the style of the YJ show... But for PC-Heroes we have:
- Aqualad
- Robin (Tim Drake)
- Raven (brand new member)
and 2 other brand new members, NPCs for now, possible character for me to play in the future...
- CM3 (Captain Marvel Jr.)
- Nega (Negative Man)

In our storyline, it picks up just after Season 2 ends - on the Watchtower with most all the Leaguers and Team leaving on their assignments. Aqualad and the PC group (above) plus Batgirl & Wonder Girl are on station as ~ting-BOOM!~~ting-BOOM!~~ting-BOOM!~~ting-BOOM!~~ting-BOOM!~~ting-BOOM!~~ting-BOOM!~ 7 BoomTubes (actually WhisperTubes) open ON station!! Pouring out are dozens of Parademons!
NOTE: remember none of the League/Earth really know of Darkseid's existence yet, save for some basics on people using Motherbox tech.
Long-story-short... The team repel the threat, with Raven letting loose her DARK RAVEN persona (becoming an NPC!) to dimension gate Darkseid, Stephenwolf, and Brainiac to some * dimension!!
The PC-Heroes learn a little about how/why/what this Darkseid alien is and what his "drone" ... the 9th level intelligence (they don't know the name Brainiac either!). But most importantly... They LOOSE a Team member to Darkseid's OMEGA BEAM!!!
Wonder Girl... Cassie... is gone!! Atoms dispersed by Darkseid!!

That was just the "B-plot" for Episodes #301-302!!
THIS is where my drama ruling idea begins.
======================================


In the story breakdown (from the show & our scenes in RPG)...
- Robin & Wonder Girl are newly boyfriend/girlfriend. Robin "orders" Cassie to distract Darkseid, not knowing his omega-beam & power level yet. Cassie is disintigrated!! ie. loosing a girlfriend/teammate from his own order = DRAMA!

- Raven lets loose and gives in to her "Dark Raven", loosing those few seconds, but also able to expand her power (I let the player PLAY her with NPCing suggestions from me) with a quick "boost" of +x5 variable levels to HeroDie/Stunt anything she wanted AS Dark Raven! ie. opening to her dark power (a susceptibility/weakness) in exchange for power of Trigon! = DRAMA!!


So...
To begin Episode #303 - I had the Robin & Raven make MIND checks. The target = a high 40 (that decreases with time/effort) with the option that the better they do the less penalty.
The "penalty" being a Major to Minor Hindrance for a variable -6DP down to -2DP (Dice Penalty).
a 40 Mind check gets no DP.
a 30 = -2DP
a 20 = -4DP
and so on...
The reasoning is:
- Robin's grief and lose of Cassie for the various conflicts
- Raven's angst-residue of Trigon, not knowing what happened

The addition...
This is a "semi-permanent" Hindrance that they must deal with. The way(s) to "fix" it... working through the EXTENDED CHECK rules!
So doing things that are "in-character" good ideas that will help alleviate their DRAMAS would allow NEW Mind Checks, which has each new result subtract from the Extended Check goal total. With Time Frames, Participation, Complications, progress and goals all factoring in.

WHAT do you think???
Any ideas?
How would you structure that? What would be the complications, etc...?


In planning my Young Justice campaign... I've taken alot of ideas from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer RPG (and show) for the drama. Using ideas on how it builds a "TV show season" into a RPG campaign. And now... I remembered the "Drama" point system and setbacks.
In the Buffy RPG, the Slayer (or that power level) canNOT help themselves to get their HeroPoints back and in some part get "healing" due to the Drama of their situation (as above) weighing so heavily.

So my translation to BASH! rules is making that DRAMA into Extended Checks system! [BASH! UE p.28-29]
All the current Extended Check examples are "actions" to solve ... Inventing something, Escaping, a chase, etc.... And less mental anguish... the closest being "win an arguement" and "major breakthrough in chronic problem".

I dig the idea of "inviting" role-play that can be natural for some players or stretch goals for the less role-playing players toward actual goals that ask them to think IN-character.

So... for example. My players...
- Robin: dove into obsessive investigation, ignoring even Batman's orders. Being responsible, setting up mission things, but then leaving to continue his investigation! So... that obsessive flows into Tim's character style = a new Mind Check (modified with a +2DB for any clue finding successes) that subtracts from the GOAL of his Extended Check Drama-chart.
BUT...
That can only be tried ONCE. His clue finding might still add to future Mind Checks, but he cannot "unlock" another Mind Check through his obsessive investigatings. His DRAMA -DP still continues until he finds other things to alleviate the Drama (lessening the -DP as the Goal #total is lowered)...
Other things he may do in the future?
- get "help", talk to Nightwing, Alfred or another Team member or maybe even Batman! (bonus is it's another PC-Hero!)
- ask forgiveness from Diana (WonderWoman) or other family (Artemis did this in Season 2 finale by going to Wally's family home).
- pound some bad guys! (but a complication might be pushing him toward going "too far" during the battle = more drama! and possible Setbacks to the total!!)


Etc....
I need to figure out the details and cool unfoldings for complications, progressions, time frames, etc... and then figure what the total GOALs would be.

Any thoughts?
Good / Bad idea?

-kev-
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MrJupiter
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Post by MrJupiter »

I’m not sure I understand it all correctly, but it seems like a neat idea.

Let me know if this is about right:

The player’s character experiences some kind of dramatic event (like seeing girlfriend vaporized) and now suffers a Dice Penalty on actions due to the trauma. Using the Extended Check system the player directs his character through a series of actions (arranged with narrator approval) to gain opportunities to make progress checks towards alleviating this dice penalty. In the death of a girlfriend example, these opportunities could come in the form of: beating the unnecessary crap out of a foe as a release of his anger; seeing a shrink to work out guilt issues; and confessing to her family to seek their forgiveness. Each agreed-upon stage provides a Drama check with the goal of eventually beating the Hindrance he is suffering.

This definitely builds player participation in the campaign environment, but I’m wondering if there is some benefit for the player to go through this. Could it be an arrangement between the player and narrator for the hero to gain an immediate Hero Die in exchange for difficulty 50 Drama extended check (or maybe 2 Hero Dice for a diff 100 Drama extended check)? I’m thinking that the heavier difficulty check (maybe with a -3 Dice Penalty) would have to be for a very serious Dramatic moment.

What were your thoughts as to the player enticements for using Drama?
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kevperrine
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Post by kevperrine »

YEAH Mr. J.! You have it about right perfect. That's my thought!

As for the carrot for dealing with the drama... good point. I'd not thought on that end a whole lot. My players are doing it all and dealing with it well. This (of course) may be due to the fact that they're playing mostly known characters of the DC universe. So (from the YJ show) we know that Cassie and Tim are now an item... and we know that Raven is in danger of falling to her dark side due to her relationship with Trigon.

That said... yeah... I can see your point about NOT wanting to role-play or DO the drama, if you're just gonna get bit by it alot.

That (also) said... I tend to give very healthy Hero Point rewards a lot in-game. ANY time I bring a complication of a major role-play type or anything that may "force" a heroic hand (like the Narrator "always" saying there's a busload of nuns and children in danger, etc.... hehe...) I will give hero points. From 1-5 easily.
I also always give 1-3 HPs for great role-play, cool quips in battle, battle taunts or motto calls, etc... and even for cool descriptions of things.

So...
I'd say noting things like that for the Narrators NOT used to liking to give such bonuses.

It'd be handy to have a better/bigger "guide" for what's worth HPs for reward. I've been wanting to write this up for some time now, to present for a Narrator GUide... I suppose I'll get to it one day!! :)

kev
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MrJupiter
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Post by MrJupiter »

Yeah, its a great idea and I'd love to see more on Drama. You know, Drama rules and narrator hints on awarding hero points would make great articles for BAM! - though I can understand the value of making a little profit by releasing it yourself.
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