Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Schelling Point again

Learning a new system, WH40K, I see the same Talents = Feats (d20) = qualities (SoIF) = advantages (GURPS) while skills are similar to skills in D20 and GURPS.

Basically in some systems there are things tasks you roll and you can buy certain mechanical benefits so that you do not have to roll. 

What I find odd is that in many such systems they cannot just make a simple linear cost to being able to do something vs how difficult the task is. to better explain my point, lets look at how GURPS resolves Fast Draw which is a skill roll but in many systems its automatic  when you buy an ability. 

What I like about making Fast Draw automatic is reducing the amount of rolls in my game and reducing the amount of requirements for a course of action to succeed (reducing complexity). So in D20, WH40k, SoIF and other systems Fast Draw is automatic IF you pay the points. 

But now that you've observe that, start looking at how some advantage grant an automatic success but does not scale with the cost of making the skill or the roll automatically successful. 

An example is D20, where you can sacrifice Accuracy for Power in the Feat Power attack. Why can't a untrained person make that economic trade off, of course less efficiently, when it seems such an intuitive leap even to an amature. Note that in D20 you gain weapon proficiencies and given the weight and cost of a feat it should have intrinsically some more knowledge and familiarity with the weapon. 

I find that some advantages like Lightning Calculator in GURPS or Eidetic Memory should have a corresponding cost or penalty when people are attempting such a feat without the advantage. It just makes things more consistent. But such a complain is addmitedly pointless because so many systems have that cognitive dissonance.

What this observation does for me is reinforce my authority as a GM in any system, as to when or what calls for a roll. Again I find my conclusion going back to Schelling Points

You automatically succeed in Tasks where you have a 12 or 60%+ chance (don't ask permission just assume you succeed) unless you are an opposing an NPC. I'm trying to reduce rolling for more special occasions or Schelling points so that I can give more airtime.

In situations where you are stacking the odds in your favor, keep track of your bonuses for me. So when you narrate or tell me what you are doing, you can focus on your part of the story and not worry about the system. Details, logistics, and preparation matter in Problem Solving very much but I don't want to roll for every detail. To keep information asymmetric I won't say the roll Modifiers nor will i say if you finish all that you've done.

I will assume, Your character does what he sets out to do optimally if that is his specialization or forte, (A matter of good faith) so know that all the bonuses that you may have missed the GM has considered but this does not guarantee success BUT it does clear up that you should attempt a different strategy if you fail. Don't worry about the rules focus on you getting the details or narrative right (which ever story telling method you enjoy). The ability to change strategy on your feet is important, even for me as the GM who will have to do the same for every player. 

Some emerging scientifically studied techniques Variable Priority Training is why turn order is important when GMing. my players who read this, should help me follow the turn order because its easy to loose track because there are "interrupt" or "reaction" actions that skip the turn order. I will try to cycle as quickly as possible for every player.


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