RE: [HeroQuest-rules] 17 vs 13 Starting Abilities

From: Bruce Ferrie <bruceferrie_at__saDGjxmmZT00F9tOdJUKj-z2oG8TM10le5DmeG_Oe1kGaurwcpF6UKrMpJiYVFgHQU>
Date: Sun, 11 Apr 2004 09:24:06 +0100

On Sunday, April 11, 2004 6:00 AM, Mike Holmes wrote:


> You can't have it both ways. Either shifting the numbers has some effect on
> play, or it doesn't. You're saying that, somehow, shifting to the other way
> to create characters means that the individuality of the characters is
> emphasized, but you don't de-emphasize the group identity portion. That's
> having your cake and eating it, too.

What I'm trying to say is that it doesn't "remove" or negate a character's group identity, as you seem to be suggesting. The players are perfectly free to emphasise whichever portion of their character that they want to. And the things that make that character indvidual and unique - that is, those things in the narrative - could equally be completely out of left field or strongly related to the things that are in the cultural keywords. That's all completely up to the player.

What the change I've made does is emphasise those individual things. But those individual things do not necessarily have to detract from the group identity.

> If the players turn around and emphasize the same things again that the
> original system did, then it's the same as if you hadn't changed it to
> start.

We've found that all those abilities that are rated at 13 are less likely to come up in play at all, especially when the characters' best few abilities acquire a Mastery. And it's particularly the quirky, little-used abilities that help with the look and feel of an interesting character that get neglected in thise case. Starting them at 17 makes them more likely to come up in play once in a while.

> I really don't like the narrative method. I think it does tend to
> emphasize things that aren't really important to the character; the player
> is instructed to take keyords almost in passing.

I think this just shows a fundamentally different approach to character design between the two of us. I think the narrative method is great because it lets you individualise the character. As I said, those individualised things may well emphasise and complement the concepts and themes in the keywords (and I think it's more interesting when they do, rather than just being a random collection of 'stuff'). That's all entirely up to the individual players. I don't see the keywords as being something 'in passing', though. They're the basic building blocks of the character. Everything else just builds on those foundations. I've always seen them as the core of the whole process.

> Do you assume
> with your method that the scale changes? Or are people bad at things like
> remembering their own culture's festivals and such if they have the
> knowledge at the default level?

Eh? Their skill level in the cultural keyword or whatever hasn't changed. They're just as good at remembering their festivals, etc. Becoming more adept in a different area doesn't mean that you get worse at other things that you already know. In real life, when I got better at playing the guitar, it didn't mean that I forgot when Easter was.

> In any case, I'm not knocking your method, I'm just telling people that
> there's nothing wrong with the original method, and what it promotes. The
> methods are just different, and people should use the one that most closely
> matches their needs.

It's not like I'm sending thuggish enforcers round to inspect people's game to make sure they do it the same way I do. Though I do wish I had some thuggish enforcers. Because I'm worth it. :)


Bruce             Received on Sun 11 Apr 2004 - 01:23:17 EEST

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