UW2 Design Thread

General Uncharted Worlds and tangential matters discussion
AaronGriffin
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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by AaronGriffin » Sat Apr 27, 2019 11:27 pm

While Confront/Arrange/Deny were pretty close to each other, you could restrict the stats used for each to make it interesting.

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SGomes
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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by SGomes » Sun Apr 28, 2019 2:38 pm

So here's the next iteration of the "Core Moves" that I've been toying with. There are just two, which I think are very nice mirrors of each other:
- Face Adversity, which handles all action.
- Seek Opportunity, which handles downtime.

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Face Adversity as a singular Move "works", but had a lot of communication and presentation issues. So here I've re-framed it, so that each stat modulates the Move. Veterans of the game may notice that this "new" Move is very similar to how Face Adversity already works in 1st ed UW. This version of it creates guidelines and sets expectations, giving each Stat a different flavor while ultimately being the same move. Eventually, the GM won't even need to refer to this; they'll have internalized the core resolution system, and the guidelines for consequences will become second nature.

This presentation is an offshoot of the "advanced Origins" from FBH, which allowed you to use a specific stat to do things the stat normally couldn't do, in exchange for specific consequences.

Also, the concept of "superior opponent" has been incorporated into the opening of the Move: "no matter the result", you'll suffer consequences if you take on a superior foe/threat.


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Seek Opportunity is turning out to be a very interesting design space that I'm excited to explore further. The basic idea:
- You can get a certain amount of things done during your downtime.
- You can only do one action once each.
- If you're at home with the locale (it's your Origin locale), then you know how to get things done more efficiently.
- Social stuff happens, either with the people you spent time with, or by yourself.
- If you're at home with the locale (it's your Origin locale), then you're going to have a better time of it.

The "match your Origin" bonus is meant to make one's Origin relevant in the characters life. It also means that Galactic characters are more suited for long space flights, because downtime on the characters' ship is a Galactic locale (with few opportunities outside of healing injuries and such).

The "Spend time with another character" option ties into my plans for Career Skills. Some skills in each career will add opportunities to your Seek Opportunity list. And if your allies spend time with you, they can share in your unique opportunities. As an example, the Scoundrel career has a "Gamble" skill, which gives you the Opportunity to risk resources in order to gain even more resources. Other characters can spend time with the Scoundrel, and also choose to go gambling with them. Some opportunities force the characters to spend time with each other in order to take effect, like the Academic's "Surgery" skill (for obvious reasons).

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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by Bloodwork » Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:02 am

I like the 10+, player describes how it plays out. 7-9, the GM does.

For advantages, you could make it Create/Remove Tag. The tag does what it says in the fiction (like the great gear tags from UW) and can also give you a +1 (like forward or ongoing or data point). If harm and damage is also handled by tags then you can also use this move to repair, heal, etc.

As for stats, maybe you could use Force, Finesse, Influence, Smarts, Expertise. You use Smarts to observe, deduce, recall, calculate. You use Expertise to repair, treat, hack. You could prevent Expertise from being overpowering by requiring a specialisation like the ones for Academic. E.g. You can remove minor and moderate damage tags from your starship with Expertise but you need Skill to remove Severe ones.

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SGomes
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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by SGomes » Mon Apr 29, 2019 11:21 am

Bloodwork wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:02 am
I like the 10+, player describes how it plays out. 7-9, the GM does.
While I do generally approve of this idea, I've found it to work best as a "soft" rule. Player agency vs GM control is definitely one of the levers I can use to modulate rewards/punishments, but where that division happens in the distribution of resolution results can vary.
Bloodwork wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:02 am
For advantages, you could make it Create/Remove Tag. The tag does what it says in the fiction (like the great gear tags from UW) and can also give you a +1 (like forward or ongoing or data point). If harm and damage is also handled by tags then you can also use this move to repair, heal, etc.
I'll be honest, the FATE-style situational/temporary tags don't really appeal to me in this context. While the Asset tags are a necessary descriptor of the Asset's permanent capabilities, temporary tags need a more robust framework to not feel tacked on. Without a gameplay loop that leverages those tags, they simply act as shorthand for the current narrative positioning. Not saying it isn't useful to jot down reminders like "flanked" or "radiation leak" on a pad of paper during play, but building it into a system of bonuses and penalties and harm and healing and such is far outside the purview of UW, and would be a different (likely FATE-adjacent) system.
Bloodwork wrote:
Mon Apr 29, 2019 3:02 am
As for stats, maybe you could use Force, Finesse, Influence, Smarts, Expertise. You use Smarts to observe, deduce, recall, calculate. You use Expertise to repair, treat, hack. You could prevent Expertise from being overpowering by requiring a specialisation like the ones for Academic. E.g. You can remove minor and moderate damage tags from your starship with Expertise but you need Skill to remove Severe ones.
For the moment, the division I'm sticking to is Manual vs Digital, Experience vs Inspiration, Machine vs Computer, etc.

[Edit] Hope you don't mind, wanted to unpack a bit of design discussion. Let's leave aside that the suggested Expertise covers all educated and skill-based professions, and would need a secondary artificial layer of rules to constrain it. Let's focus on the proposed "Smarts" for a sec:

The main issue with "Smarts" as described above is that it doesn't translate to actions in gameplay. Note you used active, externally affecting terms to talk about Expertise (repair, treat, hack). It's what you do with this stat, what you accomplish, how you can change a situation. Meanwhile, Smarts' verbs were inward-facing, passive, non-actions that are almost always hand-waved part of a larger "real" action. Remember facts about a person to charm/convince/intimidate them, calculate angles and trajectories before you pull the trigger on a long range weapon, figure out what part of a machine needs to be repaired, etc. There's also the issue of fail-states. I can easily think of fail-states for hacking or medical treatment, but what would be the fail-state of "Memory"? I'm afraid "Smarts" has the same problems that D&D's "Intelligence" and "Wisdom" runs into: a raw mental-capacity stat with no attached skill-set and little narrative-action applicability.

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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by CCCXLII » Tue Apr 30, 2019 4:06 pm

I like what I'm reading so far :) And I'm very interested to see how FBH's supernatural careers will slot into UW2 and the Seek Opportunity move. Resources are also an intriguing concept that I hope we'll see more on soon.

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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by Fuselage » Sun May 05, 2019 3:45 pm

I really like Seek Opportunity and how this is shaping up. Very excited.

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SGomes
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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by SGomes » Tue May 07, 2019 11:00 am

Results of a bit of design brainstorming with my regular gaming group (<3 you guys). We're trying to hammer out the way skills will work with the new Face Adversity design, since theoretically Face Adversity can allow you to do anything.

There are four "modes" to making actions:
  • Impossible: Physically impossible based on available tools / position / laws of reality. No roll.
  • Overwhelming: Character is at a big disadvantage. Roll Face Adversity, but there are extra consequences no matter the result.
  • Challenging: The outcome is uncertain. Roll Face Adversity.
  • Certain: Character has the skills and tools to do this easily. No roll.
The right kind of Asset will make otherwise Impossible or Overwhelming tasks far more possible.

Career Skills can interact with Face Adversity:
  • Automatically perform an action that would normally require a Face Adversity, without the need to roll. "Protector: If a nearby character would be put under pressure or suffer Harm, you can choose to be the primary target instead (applying your own skills and resistances, as appropriate)."
  • Add extra bonuses to the results (opposite of Overwhelming). "Subtle: As long as you aren't being explicitly overt (loud/public), your actions do not attract attention and go unobserved. You can choose to be noticed instead of suffering a consequence on a 7-9."
  • Reduce the consequences of a action / counter Overwhelming. "Resilient: You resist mental and emotional Harm (-1 Harm taken). Suffering from Harm doesn't contribute to making your actions Overwhelming."
  • Act as permanent "Asset" tags, making otherwise Impossible/Overwhelming actions possible. "Scavenger: You can automatically obtain shoddy tools, shelter, materials, or food from all but the most barren environments."
Of course, Career Skills also interact with Seek Opportunity:
  • Add a new choice of opportunity. "Gambler: Add [Spend a Resource to earn 1d6-2 Resources (min 0)] to your Opportunity List. Characters that spend time with you can also make use of this Opportunity."
  • Add/alter the number of choices. "Cosmopolitan: You are considered a native of every locale. (+2 Opportunity choices and +2 to the Seek Opportunity roll). You act as a guide and impart this bonus to any character that spends time with you."

Bloodwork
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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by Bloodwork » Sat May 11, 2019 6:07 am

I like the Challenging/Overwhelming distinction. It could also cover not having the right tools for the job pushes the difficulty to Overwhelming. E.g. no medical gear while trying to patch someone up or bringing a knife to a gunfight.

zmook
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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by zmook » Mon Jul 08, 2019 12:35 pm

I really like the concept of opponents having advantage, or "upper hand", or overwhelming challenge -- I haven't tried it in actual play yet, but it really seems like it should set up a nice two-step narrative dynamic in confrontations where first the PCs have to find a way to avoid or deny the opponent's advantage, then push for a decision in the conflict.

On the other hand, I'm not really keen on trying to reduce the whole system to one abstract Face Adversity roll. It is true that at the core, the PbtA system is one move:
  • When you do something, roll+STAT. On 10+, it works. On 7–9, you get partial success with danger, opportunity or cost. On 6– the GM makes a move against you.
Everything else is embroidery, but that embroidery matters, both for creating the sense of genre in the system and also for explanatory purposes. For instance, what happens to Assessment? What does it mean to "accept the consequences" on a partial success with Assess or Persuade? If you're trying to help out an ally who has just totally fumbled, how much benefit do you get from a full success on "helping"? If you succeed at Facing Adversity by stabbing an enemy, are they dead? Injured? How many hits can they take? This stuff has to be written somewhere, and you can do it in examples or discussion, but there is an elegance to laying it out in specialized moves. The key is picking the right specialized moves, and making sure they add something more than just a restatement of the base move.

I would argue that Opposition should be a kind of meta-move:
  • When you make a move that is actively opposed by an antagonist who holds advantage over you, the GM may assign harm to you even if your move succeeds.

* When facing an opponent who holds advantage, it may be advisable to make moves looking to nullify that advantage or gain advantage of your own before pushing a direct attack.
* An opponent may hold advantage against certain moves (like charging a fortified position) but not against others (like stealthily circling to the rear).

piccamo
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Re: UW2 Design Thread

Post by piccamo » Tue Jul 16, 2019 11:26 am

SGomes wrote:
Tue May 07, 2019 11:00 am
There are four "modes" to making actions:
  • Impossible: Physically impossible based on available tools / position / laws of reality. No roll.
  • Overwhelming: Character is at a big disadvantage. Roll Face Adversity, but there are extra consequences no matter the result.
  • Challenging: The outcome is uncertain. Roll Face Adversity.
  • Certain: Character has the skills and tools to do this easily. No roll.
I like that you're explicitly defining action positioning. I think it might be valuable to add "Easy" (or similar name) as a category as a counterpoint to Overwhelming. It might be something that always succeeds, no matter the result, but your roll decides if there is a complication.

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