Fate of the Norns

Vanagard BETA
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Author:  Chall [ Mon May 02, 2016 12:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanagard BETA

Quick update:

If anyone's in the Ottawa area I'm thinking of running a session in the Loft downtown on Saturday the 13th.

For those of you who are interested in Roll20 give PM me or reply here and I can set something up.

In the meantime I've been working on a more traditional RPG hack of the Vanagard rules, one with a set Norn, Denizens and so forth.

Author:  Chall [ Sat May 14, 2016 11:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanagard BETA

Did a playtest today at the Loft in Ottawa.

It left me with a few ideas for the Story Game version of Vanagard:
- There is also an RPG version which may be shared with the alpha soon.

  • I really need to stress that burned runes not equate failure. They are success at a cost. Burning runes allows one to use talents creatively and not be beholden to the talent on the card.
  • Should each map card hold two talents one can use without cost? I'm not sure. I'll have to think about it.
  • I'm going to make difficulty a shared thing. The Van-Folk band works together to whittle it down, as opposed to each character facing a difficulty on his or her lonesome. If the band fails to clear out the difficulty then they get forced into a setback scene.
  • I may remove the straight six scene requirement and allow the players choose how far they want to go. Every three scenes the difficulty will be greater but this will result in higher level favor being given at the end of the game.

And with that....I've got me some revisions to do.

Also, I'll be viable for a Saturday May 28th online game. Any of you folks up for it?

Author:  raleel [ Sun May 15, 2016 9:58 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanagard BETA

Some comments from my own experiences on games

  • It is very hard to get players to see loss of a resource as anything but failure.
  • If you have cards/lists of powers in front of the players, they tend to think that's all they can do. Andrew saw this with Generic/Cinematic actions, I saw it with D&D 4e. I've seen it in a number of game systems.
  • difficulty as a shared thing works. I do it with group skill checks in my house rules, and 7th sea does it in it's rules. In fact, combat is a group skill check in 7th sea.

It's been a couple weeks since I read over the Vanagard rules, so the other points I can't comment much on.

One thing that I've seen work particularly well for getting people to think out of the box on usage, and appropriate for a story game sort of thing, is 13th age backgrounds. Essentially, it's a skill, but the skill is defined by sentence or a catch phrase. Something like "King of all Norway" or "wilderness trapper" or "slave rower on the jarl's ship". Then when someone needs to make a skill check, they have to describe how that background helps them. In my game, it became a bit of a running joke when the player who played a thief with a background of something like "assassin for hire", he would say "as an assassin, I..." and go into a long description. he tried to make it apply to everything, and it had to pass the group BS test :) Then he got the actor background and it became even funnier. It encouraged flavorful descriptions for certain.

Author:  Chall [ Sun May 15, 2016 3:28 pm ]
Post subject: 

That's a neat idea Raleel.

The thing I've been struggling with is narrative control vs narrative tension. As it stands right now players draw their runes, that link to certain talents, then they decide which talents they want to use to tackle the problem at hand. The tricky part is, if players can come up with narrative reasons, why each talent will work, that can definitely add a layer of fun to the game. However, such fun may ware out quickly since, most creative players will be able to stretch each talent all the time thus avoiding any sort of loss what-so-ever. With my first playtest this made things a too easy, dramatic tension dwindled.

We've also been trying to set up the story game version to be viable without a Norn. If there's no Norn, then it becomes trickier to decide when a talent fits and when it does not.

As a side note, one player brought up that each specific talent could be represented by a symbol, which would be kind a cool.

What I'm thinking of doing, on meeting half way is:
  • The Van-Folk band faces a challenge that they have to work together to fix. The map card has the prime talent that can be used to face it
  • A player volunteers to wyrd first, those who didn't act in the last scene get first crack.
  • Wyrd, any runes that match the card talent automatically reduce the difficulty by 1 per match
  • The player then has the option to spend (changing this term from burn) the runes that don't match but he must justify how each spent talent fits
  • This all fits into the player's overall narration
  • Then the next player goes
  • If the difficulty is reduced to zero they can go to a Journey scene, if not they're forced to a sidetrack scene.

It something similar worked fairly well with my first playtest group.

What do you think?

Author:  raleel [ Sun May 15, 2016 5:48 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanagard BETA

I think that might be a good way to go. that reminds me quite a bit of 7th Sea's narrative take on things.

I might suggest exerting yourself for the spending/burning of the runes, as they cannot be used until recovered. that reminds me strongly of a "rest". This also reminds me strongly of Marvel Heroics "transition scenes", where things like this would happen. There would be a conflict scene, then transition scenes would be where healing happens. Exerting also has the notion of being temporary and recoverable.

I should mention Marvel Heroic is my other go to for narrative stuff. it's very worth the effort to spend some time looking through. It works with dice sizes - so a human has a d6 in many things, and say Hawkeye has a d8 in a lot of stuff, iron man has a d10 in most, and thor has a d12. but they have them in different things. So, if I was to translate some of it from Vanagard, you might have Play d8, Lead d12, and Speak Wise d6.

Author:  Chall [ Sun May 15, 2016 9:28 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanagard BETA

Oh, I know Marvel Heroic well. It's a pretty awesome game and, I suppose, one of my inspirations for this.

Recovering runes and cards happens in Sidetrack Scenes. Depending on the draw you can recover 1-3 runes and 1 card (though I may increase card recovery). Players can choose to go to a sidetrack or they may be forced into it if they fail to match the previous scenes difficulty.

You get one sidetrack scene for free. However, every sidetrack scene beyond the first has a chance of bringing forth a crisis, which involves no recovery and an exceptionally difficult challenge.

Author:  andrew [ Mon May 16, 2016 9:24 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanagard BETA

The language could be altered from "burn" to "invest" giving it a positive spin.

Author:  Hagalaz [ Wed Sep 14, 2016 2:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanagard BETA

Sorry I've been away, is this still in Beta? Can we still playtest this?

Author:  Chall [ Thu Sep 15, 2016 8:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanagard BETA


It might be best to wait for the latest version of the rules. I'm working on them, they should be ready soon. When it's ready I'll talk to Andrew about sending you the updated beta.

- Chall

Author:  Hagalaz [ Sat Sep 17, 2016 3:51 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Vanagard BETA

Oh, ok. That would be cool. I've been between jobs and had a death in the family and almost had a relocation, so been busy. But all is back to normal, and I have time to play online if need be to play test this with you when your available again. Thanks

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