How 'Hope' and 'Fear' Work In Critical Role's Daggerheart

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
And worse; if the game sets the expectation bad things can ONLY happen when the GM pays the cost.

The obvious truth is and must remain: the GM can have bad things happen at any time without restrictions and without rules.

These "bad bennies" need to be specifically tied to a small subset of mechanical mishaps that's taken into account by rules balance.
I think this is a good point. From what I've seen, if the GM wants there to be an encounter, there's an encounter. They can spend Fear to have it become an ambush and go first. The only game that I am aware of that requires a GM to spend resources to even have the encounter is Burning Empires, which is an adversarial game. If anyone else has an example, I'd love to hear about it.
 

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CapnZapp

Legend
I think this is a good point. From what I've seen, if the GM wants there to be an encounter, there's an encounter. They can spend Fear to have it become an ambush and go first. The only game that I am aware of that requires a GM to spend resources to even have the encounter is Burning Empires, which is an adversarial game. If anyone else has an example, I'd love to hear about it.
I don't know anything but this game, but don't forget to take this one step further.

If the GM deems the story is better if the encounter is an ambush, then it just is, no points needed. Then the points can instead be spent to extra monsters or whatever.

And of course, if the GM already from the start decided to add in all the monsters, and have them pull off an ambush, so be it. (Maybe the heroes are max-level or something).

Point is, the point should never ever be considered to limit the GM's free reign. They should always only be understood as adding "extras", stuff not already in the adventure.

If the game tries to restrict what the GM can do, it has already failed.
 

SteveC

Doing the best imitation of myself
Point is, the point should never ever be considered to limit the GM's free reign. They should always only be understood as adding "extras", stuff not already in the adventure.

If the game tries to restrict what the GM can do, it has already failed.
It seems like this is just not the game for you, then. The way Daggerheart works is that when you transition to combat, instead of Initiative the GM just asks the group what they are going to do next. The Fear expense is to break that rule and seize control of the situation. That's a rules issue I see for the start of combat. And I get that there will be GMs who don't like it. I look at it as a rules/gaming element of a narrative game and it works for me. But I also think this sort of thing will cause some GMs to bounce off of the game, especially since I suspect there will be more examples of this in the final rules.
 

MacDhomnuill

Explorer
This is why for my personal playstyle I actually prefer having that kind of "currency" only in the hands of the players. As a GM I'm used to being able to set difficulties and throw complications at the group based on what the narrative needs and if I need to remember to spend points along with those kinds of decisions I will inevitably forget.
I feel the same, meta currencies work best when limited to players. The GM being able to trigger bad things in game because the players are using a resource to power the cool abilities their characters have results in, IMHO, players not using those cool powers. I also feel like the GM needs to be able to control the flow of combat ( where else is Fear really used in the beta) and not have to be “playing” a mini game to do so.
 

Reynard

Legend
Supporter
Point is, the point should never ever be considered to limit the GM's free reign. They should always only be understood as adding "extras", stuff not already in the adventure.

If the game tries to restrict what the GM can do, it has already fafailed.
I disagree. If the game decides to systematize the GMs role, they should do pretty completely. Halfway is weird. I mean, as GM I can add dudes and/or give them advantage at my whim, right?
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I feel the same, meta currencies work best when limited to players. The GM being able to trigger bad things in game because the players are using a resource to power the cool abilities their characters have results in, IMHO, players not using those cool powers. I also feel like the GM needs to be able to control the flow of combat ( where else is Fear really used in the beta) and not have to be “playing” a mini game to do so.
On point.
 

CapnZapp

Legend
It seems like this is just not the game for you, then. The way Daggerheart works is that when you transition to combat, instead of Initiative the GM just asks the group what they are going to do next. The Fear expense is to break that rule and seize control of the situation. That's a rules issue I see for the start of combat. And I get that there will be GMs who don't like it. I look at it as a rules/gaming element of a narrative game and it works for me. But I also think this sort of thing will cause some GMs to bounce off of the game, especially since I suspect there will be more examples of this in the final rules.
You will end up breaking those rules sooner or later, trust me.

There's always a scenario that works much cooler, or works at all, when you make an exception from rigid meta rules.

And I avoid rules that require inconsistency. I would hate describing such rules as wonderful or exciting given the unstated assumption they would only apply when it is convenient.

I just don't think this will work as stated, meaning without exception. Sure it can work as written on occasion. But in the long run? No, not if you sincerely expect the GM to actually follow them the way you the player has to, even when it is patently foolish to do so.

It would be FAR preferable if the rules were upfront about this, instead of pretending these rules will be followed 100%.

Every rpg rule needs to understand they are subservient to the DMs needs. This is the same reason I loathe (ban/rewrite) silly rules like the Alert feat that promises the player they can never be surprised again. Believe you me, if the adventure works better with a surprise encounter, no feat in the world can come between me and a good story.

Such rules just reveal the rules writer having list track of what's important: helping and enabling the GM. Never controlling or restricting him or her.
 
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CapnZapp

Legend
I disagree. If the game decides to systematize the GMs role, they should do pretty completely. Halfway is weird. I mean, as GM I can add dudes and/or give them advantage at my whim, right?
Right? Right?

I mean, can you?

Either you can or you can't.

Man, I don't get the notion to reduce the GM to some predictable outcome generator. I can't shake the suspicion this is the solution to having had a bad experience with a bad GM.

The solution, obviously, is not to try to rein the GM, but find a better one.

This as my response to "systemizing the GMs role". I mean, sure, use ChatGPT or play Baldurs Gate if you can't trust a human as your GM. That pretty comprehensively "systemizes" your GM alright ...
 

CapnZapp

Legend
I mean, the way I see thing thing working is by being open and honest about why the system is used.

As part of the unstated social contract or "Gentlemen's agreement" that lies beneath EVERY ttrpg session.

I can absolutely see this working if the DM (and the rules themselves) are upfront with: "I reserve the right to add dudes at my whim at any time for any reason. These points are reserved for when balance is best served by adding a counterweight to when you guys use your best powers a wee bit too much."

This I can get aboard. Instead of the rules trying to achieve balance by "you can use this power three times a day" or whatever, the rules instead add a mechanical way for there to be more dudes the more you spam that power.

At least you avoid the videogamey feel of arbitrary restrictions - "why can I only make an awesome roundhouse kick three times a day?!"

But it's important the rules shut down people reading the rules in the other way. The rules need to explicitly state the reason they are there, and to spell out that the GM is free to add dudes over and beyond these meta points for any or no reason whatsoever. 🙂👍
 


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