[+]Training and Reward, not Assumed Advancement

Thomas Shey

Legend
Pictionary causes problems for players who hate drawing; except that, as a general rule, those people don't play Pictionary!

It's not a secret that Torchbearer works in phases. This is set out clearly in the books. Presumably someone who has issues with that will not play the game.

Likewise for @doctorbadwolf's game, I'd imagine.

I think you're an optimist here. Like I said, its not exactly a mystery that parts of advancement in RQ are dependent on downtime, but the problem still cropped up. If its avoided in Torchbearer, its likely because people are are avoiding the sort of setting plots that tend to trigger it, not because the system assumes downtime will be relevant.
 

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pemerton

Legend
I think you're an optimist here. Like I said, its not exactly a mystery that parts of advancement in RQ are dependent on downtime, but the problem still cropped up. If its avoided in Torchbearer, its likely because people are are avoiding the sort of setting plots that tend to trigger it, not because the system assumes downtime will be relevant.
Torchbearer doesn't really use "setting plots". It uses a combination of B/X D&D-style site-based adventures, and Burning Wheel-style Relationships and Beliefs., to drive the action.
 

Lanefan

Victoria Rules
Look, the games I'm referring to pretty strongly encourage those and they still had those problems. I'm not hearing why the sort of game you're talking about is going to somehow not have the same kind of problems with the same kind of people.
IME there's three types of player who have problems with downtime:

1. The impatient and-or short-attention-span player; if it ain't all go-go-go action all the time, boredom sets in.
2. The player whose only interest lies in the actual adventuring, whether action-based, mystery-based, or whatever.
3. The player who takes the in-game time pressure to heart and - in or out of character - stresses over it.

The solutions are different for each type:

1. Tell the player to cool some jets. If that fails, unless you're running a go-go-go type of game there's a bigger problem; and punting the player is a highly likely outcome.
2. This one's tougher. Downtime's important in most campaigns broader than a single adventure path, and so there might have to be some trade-offs. If the player's real interest lies in the development of the story arc (regardless if player-driven or GM-driven), note that story happens during downtime as well. If the player just doesn't like the bookkeeping - levelling up, treasury division, etc - that downtime often brings, there's not much you can do as those things are part of the game.
3. Reduce or eliminate in-game time pressure except for (sometimes) single discrete adventures or missions with hard deadlines where the time pressure comes off once the deadline passes regardless whether the PCs succeed or fail in said mission. Another way to reduce or eliminate time pressure is to make sure the players know they always have the option to decline a mission and go do something else (and you-as-GM have to be ready for if-when they do just this!).
But the world is full of people who think, as you apparently do, that people will change their reactions just because the game really want them to, and I don't have any sign that's necessarily true. As I said, I've seen it and heard even more reports of it in games that pretty strongly incentivized downtime.
Players tend to do what the game rewards them for doing - at least, that's what I keep hearing repeatedly in every experience-points thread that comes up - so maybe it's a question of finding the right incentives/rewards?
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
Look, the games I'm referring to pretty strongly encourage those and they still had those problems. I'm not hearing why the sort of game you're talking about is going to somehow not have the same kind of problems with the same kind of people.
This is exhausting.

I and others tell you that we don’t see that issue with games that are designed to have downtime as part of the structure of play, part of the fundemental play loop, and you then reply “explain why these games can be e expected to magically not have this problem”.

Like… do you at least get why that is frustrating?
Having a game structured with that more strongly isn't going to suddenly make those people disappear or change their behavior. At most, it’s going to preselect away from such people when GMs choosing systems do so not to use those.

But the world is full of people who think, as you apparently do, that people will change their reactions just because the game really want them to, and I don't have any sign that's necessarily true. As I said, I've seen it and heard even more reports of it in games that pretty strongly incentivized downtime.
And I have seen no evidence that it is remotely common outside of games like D&D that have no structured play loop beyond specific action resolution, nor that it’s common enough to worry much about even in D&D.
Pictionary causes problems for players who hate drawing; except that, as a general rule, those people don't play Pictionary!

It's not a secret that Torchbearer works in phases. This is set out clearly in the books. Presumably someone who has issues with that will not play the game.

Likewise for @doctorbadwolf's game, I'd imagine.
Yeah basically. Like, you have to do investigation and social challenges in order to succeed at dealing with the bigger problem, and you cannot gain new abilities, replenish stock meaningfully, or otherwise make ready for the fight, without some mid-adventure downtime.

11 years of running and rewriting the game, and I’ve never had the smallest whiff of a “we don’t have time to rest” issue.

I’ve had people refuse to do anything personally fulfilling during downtime and instead spend all of it preparing for the first/hunt/chase/whatever ahead, because it fits the character in that scene, but never had any player pressure others to not rest.

“Hey don’t level up, recover from almost dying twice and nearly having your mind eaten by an abomination from before time, or regain your ability to do big magic and complex techniques! I’m in a hurry!”


I think you're an optimist here. Like I said, it’s not exactly a mystery that parts of advancement in RQ are dependent on downtime, but the problem still cropped up. If it’s avoided in Torchbearer, it’s likely because people are are avoiding the sort of setting plots that tend to trigger it, not because the system assumes downtime will be relevant.
I was very active on the forums for TOR for years, and never once heard a ply report featuring the problem you’re talking about. Not once. I’ve never heard of someone seeing that problem while playing it in any RL or online space I am active in.

As far as I can see, TOR simply does not have that problem.

So, repeatedly insisting that it will somehow inevitably have that problem just comes across as weirdly stuck on a phantom problem.

It’s also important to keep in mind that systems can incentivize or disincentivize different types of plots. Some are literally structure from top to bottom to be episodic.
 



aramis erak

Legend
Pictionary causes problems for players who hate drawing; except that, as a general rule, those people don't play Pictionary!

It's not a secret that Torchbearer works in phases. This is set out clearly in the books. Presumably someone who has issues with that will not play the game.
I wouldn't rely upon such assumptions.

Many times, the players only know what the GM tells them or puts on a player aid card. Most players I've run for expect to learn the game in play.
I've found that, for the players I run for, I can get them to use up to 2 sheets of Letter/A4 system procedures and/or metacurrency spends...
If I have to explain further than that, I get blank stares.

It took about 4 weeks for my group at the time (1st year of release - not my current groups) of long sessions to actually grasp the flow of Mouse Guard and its phases... both the GM and Player phases, and the Seasons and Year-End phase.
«yoda: The Stafford runs strong in you, Luke...»

One of the nice things about a robust training and downtime system is that it provides a scaffolding for players to make use of said downtime for more than just healing 1 HP per day in bed (D&D Rules Cyclopedia; paraphrase). To get creative. To earn some coin, commission custom gear, run a business...

... but downtime rules are often best handled by, "Here's a list of the standard downtime actions. If you want something not on the list, we'll see what to warp to cover it." Then hand them a list.
 

doctorbadwolf

Heretic of The Seventh Circle
I wouldn't rely upon such assumptions.

Many times, the players only know what the GM tells them or puts on a player aid card. Most players I've run for expect to learn the game in play.
I've found that, for the players I run for, I can get them to use up to 2 sheets of Letter/A4 system procedures and/or metacurrency spends...
If I have to explain further than that, I get blank stares.

It took about 4 weeks for my group at the time (1st year of release - not my current groups) of long sessions to actually grasp the flow of Mouse Guard and its phases... both the GM and Player phases, and the Seasons and Year-End phase.
«yoda: The Stafford runs strong in you, Luke...»

One of the nice things about a robust training and downtime system is that it provides a scaffolding for players to make use of said downtime for more than just healing 1 HP per day in bed (D&D Rules Cyclopedia; paraphrase). To get creative. To earn some coin, commission custom gear, run a business...

... but downtime rules are often best handled by, "Here's a list of the standard downtime actions. If you want something not on the list, we'll see what to warp to cover it." Then hand them a list.
The way I do it in Crossroads’ current iteration (which I’m still writing or I’d just post an image of the document here) is:

There are two types of downtime, Home and Away, basically.

At home, PCs have access to their friends and family, they know where to go buy supplies, they eventually have a relationship with the local Ranger leadership and leaders amongst the Hidden Folk and amongst the Wise in that area, and they have access to thier literal home.

In many cases, a PCs home is a special place with a library, workshop, ritual space, laboratory, study, gym, etc, which can give mechanical benefits to certain Endeavors. As well, just being Home gives benefits to Recovery, and checks to maintain and repair relationships.

Resting while Away/In The Field involves finding or creating a place of safety in the region where the big challenge is found, and making use of it. You don’t have the home base stuff, but you can use portable tool kits and the like, use tech or ritual magic to contact allies, and every Safe Haven has at least one Endeavor that it gives a benefit to while you rest there.
If there is a master of a certain skill, you can train with them, or a master crafter might repair and improve an item, or the healing waters of this hot spring ease your Recovery and allow you to spend much less time recovering, etc, but it won’t be the same as resting at home.

How much time an Endeavor takes is a little malleable, and some aren’t practical while Away (barring a Master and special facilities), but mostly it’s a single list.

Recover - Obviously healing up, but also this endeavor happens during and between other endeavors, and comes with certain questions. If the PC took a wound, what scar did it leave? Has the experience changed the PC’s thoughts about thier work at all, such as wanting to focus on a new skill set or get tougher or something like that.
Also when recovering from a wound, you can move one of your Attribute Points from one Attribute to another. (There are 4 Attributes and each can be used to Push certain types of checks)

Train - Some amount of training is required to gain new abilities. Right now it’s required to spend character points, but the thought is to eliminate the middle man and instead require X time and/or Y successful checks for each advancement item. (Minor and Major traits, skill ranks and specialty ranks)
That change would require changing how levels are awarded.*

Craft - Make some stuff, enchant or improve stuff, etc, anything from alchemical elixirs to a hidden basement laboratory

Research - Learn some stuff, whether in a library, or investigation, etc

Maintain (Relationships) - maintain, establish, or improve, a relationship with a contact, ally, patron, clear a favor you owe, call in a favor to gain the benefit of an endeavor or other downtime benefit, or do a favor and gain a favor owed

Maintain (Lifestyle) - The boring mundane stuff, usually, but can also include spending rewards gained in the field to improve your quality of life in some way

Each of the above has some degree of benefit from engaging as a group or at least 2 or more PCs together. Combined with a group bonus die mechanic and a short but potent list of traits and techniques you can only gain as a group, you get a solid dynamic that feels lifelike and “in the world” without being burdened by realism.

* Currently you gain a level when you have spent 100 character points, and you gain an Atribute Point with each level, and every 5 levels is a special level up. levels are mostly there to make it easy to build challenges and generally know how much the PCs are capable of.
 

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