Username:    Password:      Remember me       
Great White Games/Pinnacle Entertainment Group Forum Index Great White Games/Pinnacle Entertainment Group
Discussion Forum for PEG/GWG
 
 FAQFAQ   SearchSearch   MemberlistMemberlist   UsergroupsUsergroups   RegisterRegister 
 ProfileProfile   Log in to check your private messagesLog in to check your private messages   Log inLog in 

Game Design: Shaken

 
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Great White Games/Pinnacle Entertainment Group Forum Index -> SW General Chat & Game Stories
View previous topic :: View next topic  
Author Message
Banesfinger
Novice


Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:08 am    Post subject: Game Design: Shaken Reply with quote

First, let me say I don't have many SW:EX games under my belt - so forgive my noobie status.

From a game design point-of-view, what was the purpose of the Shaken status. It seems to contradict the "Fast/Furious/Fun" design goal.

For example, Shaken status:
- on a failed roll, stops a character from taking actions {this is definately not "Fun" for a PC, nor does it speed up the game}.
- on a successful roll (not a raise), it consumes all his actions {again, allowing him to do nothing}.
- on non-wildcards it only adds another level of damage that must be overcome before they go down {again, drawing combats out longer}.

Thanks in advance for some insight into the game design.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Sadric
Heroic


Joined: 10 Jul 2003
Posts: 1133

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:26 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The goal was to get rid of hitpoints counting like D&D. If you had 15 orcs, each with 20 Hitpoints, it slows down the game.

Only Ok and dead(or wounded) wasnt enough. There shuld be one step before killed-not something lasting but someting that hurts. And Shaken hurts!

Dont forget that you could easily drop your shaken status by spending a bennie. Some say "hey, then the bennie are my Hitpoints!" but in our game it works fine.

If you play a very pulpy game, or a superhero game you could drop the shaken status for all extras, but this will make the heroes way more powerfull.

Dont know hoch much battles you had played, but when you know the outlines, try a simple battle, say, four heroes against 10 goblins. And then think about playing it with D&D. It is fast. Smile
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
DerFinsterling
Legendary


Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 5677
Location: Vienna, Austria

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I wasn't involved in the game design, but I do have a couple of games under my belt. Wink

Since SW doesn't feature hit points, but wounds (and only few of them, too), the Shaken status represents anything that puts the character at a temporary disadvantage.
Transfered to a hit point system, they'd be just above those 1 or 2 hp hits which nibble away at an opponent, but below the really hefty blows which take a good chunk of hp.

Also, note that you can get rid of the Shaken status by spending a Bennie.

Thirdly, it doesn't add another level of damage that has to be overcome, you can wound a wild card without scoring a single Shaken result. The Shaken status does make it easier though to wound that character, though.
_________________
Markus
The Sundered Skies Serial - full of spoilers!
Savagepedia at wikispaces
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail Visit poster's website
Clint
Site Admin


Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 17987

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 9:58 am    Post subject: Re: Game Design: Shaken Reply with quote

One key here (and it's something a lot of people new to the system do, so don't sweat it) is to look at the system as a whole and not just look at a one point that doesn't seem clear. It's like looking at one pixel in a picture.

What does Shaken allow in the system?

It's a way for characters to be disadvantaged in combat without being automatically "damaged."

That means we can (and do) have other ways to disadvantage characters in combat (by causing a Shaken) that don't depend on pure combat ability to achieve (Tricks, Tests of Will, certain Edges, Powers, and Special Abilities). So Shaken allows for "non-combat" characters to potentially be very combat effective regardless or even because of their design.

Also note, that Shaken is the only thing that Bennies automatically affect. A Benny instantly (and at any time) can remove a Shaken condition. In fact, a player can roll to recover, and then spend a Benny afterwards if they did not get a raise to still get their full action that round. Every other use of a Benny has no such absolute guarantee.

So while being Shaken is a disadvantage, it's one a player who has even a single Benny can instantly negate.

And if they don't, well, their recovery is based on their Spirit, which means the Shaken effect is a huge component of balancing all the Attributes and their uses in the system. Fighters can't just neglect their Spirit (fighting spirit perhaps) for purely physical capability.

As far as Extras go, yes it does give them an additional status in combat besides "Fine" and "Out of the fight," but that's entirely purposeful. They aren't supposed to be purely pushovers (except in settings where that is offered as a Setting Rule), and it really doesn't make sense not to have some mid-range "wounded" effect in combat for any character.

On top of that, it goes back to the other sources of causing a Shaken. No one is going to Taunt or Trick someone to death, so all characters (including Extras) have to have that potential status, so those abilities are all equally useful.

And it's really not hard to keep track of. Extras only have three states, fine, Shaken, or out. It's a heck of a lot faster than tracking individual hit points for all of them, and if using minis, it is extremely simply to track in multiple ways (gaming stone, poker chip under the base, or just lay the mini on it's side). The GM can see game status of each character on the map itself instead of on papers behind the screen. Heck, the players can handle the minis for him when they take their attacks.

One final thing I'll mention is that all the "issues" above deal with combat speed, but "Fast!" is just one part of "Fast! Furious! Fun!" The game does run a lot faster, but speed does not always equate to more action or fun in the game. And ultimately, everything comes down to keeping the game fun overall, and the Shaken status can provide that in multiple different ways.
_________________
Clint Black
Savage Worlds Core Rules Brand Manager

www.peginc.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Banesfinger
Novice


Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks for the quick replies. All of what you have said makes sense, with the following observations:

Sadric wrote:
The goal was to get rid of hitpoints counting like D&D.


If I understood correctly, a failed damage/toughness roll was supposed to represent a small hit, but not enough to cause any significant problems. Similar to whittling down hitpoints.

DerFinsterling wrote:
Thirdly, it doesn't add another level of damage that has to be overcome, you can wound a wild card without scoring a single Shaken result.


Perhaps I missed something in the SW:EX rules? How is it possible to wound a wild card without scoring the Shaken result?

Clint wrote:
It's a way for characters to be disadvantaged in combat without being automatically "damaged."

That means we can (and do) have other ways to disadvantage characters in combat (by causing a Shaken) that don't depend on pure combat ability to achieve (Tricks, Tests of Will, certain Edges, Powers, and Special Abilities). So Shaken allows for "non-combat" characters to potentially be very combat effective regardless or even because of their design.


All good. I guess the fundamental question we ask would be: was there a way to be disadvantaged (i.e. shaken) without missing a turn?

Several players suggested having a -1 penalty instead (this may be too similar to wounds...?) This way you are disadvantaged, but you don't lose your turn (much funner than sitting out the round).

My players do understand that Bennies can remove the Shaken status. They just wondered: was it intended that WC will always do this? If so, why not speed things up/uncomplicate the game by allowing WCs to be immune to Shaken?

Again, thanks for the quick responses and sating our curious minds.
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JackAce
Legendary


Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 3416
Location: 5304'N 853'E

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banesfinger wrote:
DerFinsterling wrote:
Thirdly, it doesn't add another level of damage that has to be overcome, you can wound a wild card without scoring a single Shaken result.


Perhaps I missed something in the SW:EX rules? How is it possible to wound a wild card without scoring the Shaken result?

I think what he meant was, it's not necessary to have a target Shaken first before you can cause Wounds to it.

Of course, if you do Wound a Wild Card, he will also be Shaken, if he wasn't already.

Banesfinger wrote:
My players do understand that Bennies can remove the Shaken status. They just wondered: was it intended that WC will always do this? If so, why not speed things up/uncomplicate the game by allowing WCs to be immune to Shaken?

But the tricky point is that Bennies are a precious comodity. It's obviously not possible to Bennie out of each and every Shaken result you suffer, because your supply of Bennies is limited (unless you face very few dangerous situations, or gain a lot of extra Bennies). And there are so many other important things you can use Bennies for instead...
And another big point of the Bennie vs. Shaken aspect:
Good roleplaying will get you more Bennies, so if you play your character well, you'll be able to dodge the bullet more frequently.
_________________
Please Click:
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
SlasherEpoch
Legendary


Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 5625
Location: Off stage left

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

You Wound any character by scoring a Raise on a damage roll. It's universal. In DnD, a 2-5 HP hit (at anything but 1st level) is probably equivalent to a roll that doesn't cause damage in SW - over time, they may add up (in SW, this means an eventual hit that lands a Shaken result) but for now it's inconsequential. Shaken means you've taken a hit that you need to give some consideration to (with a Cure Light Wounds, Lay on Hands, or after-battle potion of healing), but won't necessarily sway the fight. A Wound is a big chunk of damage and indicates a lucky hit or a skilled opponent.

As a side effect, wounds also Shake a character.

Furthermore, being Shaken is not "missing a turn." One, you still have a chance to recover by rolling well on Spirit; two, you can spend a Benny to alleviate the condition; three, powers such as Succor can remove the condition as well. When Shaken, you can still defend yourself (parry is unchanged) and move half your Pace; that's not as good as a normal turn but it's still something.

Remember this applies to bad guys as well. Tricks, Tests of Will, and powers like Stun and even low damage grenades can Shake large groups of opponents, making it easier for team mates to pick them off or at least ignore them long enough to tackle a larger threat.

As for disadvantaging someone without "missing a turn," that's exactly the purpose of tricks and tests of will.

Remember: You're not sitting out the round. In a fire fight, it's the same as scrambling for cover. In melee, it's possible that your opponent is smashing their sword into your shield again and again and there's simply not an opening yet. It's time to move to a better position, find some inner strength (spend a benny), or hope your friends rescue you before the enemy can exploit your momentary weakness.
_________________
Proud Savagepedia contributor.

Evil Wig Enterprises Minion #15 - "The
Machete"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address MSN Messenger
SlasherEpoch
Legendary


Joined: 07 Jul 2003
Posts: 5625
Location: Off stage left

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 11:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Oh, I just remembered something from the original design journal by Shane:

"I want the bad guys up, stunned, or off the table."

SW came from a miniature wargame and it's designed for epic, cinematic combats. Mooks fall over after being stabbed once or shot. Wild Cards take a hit in the shoulder, grit their teeth, and keep fighting under this system.
_________________
Proud Savagepedia contributor.

Evil Wig Enterprises Minion #15 - "The
Machete"
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail AIM Address MSN Messenger
Clint
Site Admin


Joined: 13 May 2003
Posts: 17987

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 12:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banesfinger wrote:
All good. I guess the fundamental question we ask would be: was there a way to be disadvantaged (i.e. shaken) without missing a turn?

Several players suggested having a -1 penalty instead (this may be too similar to wounds...?) This way you are disadvantaged, but you don't lose your turn (much funner than sitting out the round).


Okay, another key to remember, the GM has to play the game too. One of the main design goals for Savage Worlds was to make the GM's job easier. Heck, doing that automatically speeds up the game because the GM is always running more characters than the players.

So, consider, from the players' point of view, they'd rather have a -1, which is easy for them to remember for their one character (I presume they haven't played and run their own allies yet). But now, consider the GM. He can't just drop X number of dice for the attacks for all his Extras. He has to roll X number of dice and Y number of dice for those who have the -1 penalty.

Comparatively, if they are Shaken (or even recovering this round), they just don't get to roll at all.

Banesfinger wrote:
My players do understand that Bennies can remove the Shaken status. They just wondered: was it intended that WC will always do this? If so, why not speed things up/uncomplicate the game by allowing WCs to be immune to Shaken?


Then we have the flip side of what I said about removing Shaken from Extras; players who have abilities that can cause a Shaken result now can't affect Wild Cards. Suddenly, all Wild Card villains are immune to raises on Trick, Taunts, Intimidation, not to mention the Stun power entirely. Heck, it's worse for the GM as all those things are automatically negated against the PCs since they are always Wild Cards.

Plus, no it isn't intended that the Wild Cards (or PCs) always do this, but it is also not intended that they never do it. I mean, even a d6 Spirit Wild Card is going to recover from an unmodified Shaken and get an action the same round 25% of the time, and 75% of the time, they will at least recover. If they pick up Combat Reflexes, they will only fail to recover on a critical failure, and if they then raise their Spirit just up to a d8, they'd recover with a raise nearly 50% of the time.

So yeah, being Shaken might not be fun, but the option is there to design a character who has a pretty good chance of, ahem... shaking it off. Wink

And really, when the PCs start getting built with these abilities, I think they will really appreciate their Shaken foes not getting an action to take against them.

That's really important to consider; if the effect of being Shaken is changed to allow an action even if Shaken, are the players willing to give that ability to all the NPCs who will typically outnumber them? If facing off against 20 Extras and 10 are Shaken, would they rather face 10 attacks or 10 attacks plus 10 possibly penalized attacks. Odds are, even with the penalty, some of those 10 dice will ace if need be and still be another damage roll for them to face.

Also, another thing that Slasher mentioned, I'd emphasize. The character may not be taking their action, but they also aren't losing their defense. It's been asked a couple of times if being Shaken reduces your Parry, and it doesn't at all.

I sometimes describe this as a Shaken character suffers a -2 to Parry and must use the Defend maneuver. Since this adds +2 to Parry, their Parry remains the same, but they can take no other regular actions (as per Defend).

So it might help to explain that yes, they are getting an action but that action is solely to "Defend."
_________________
Clint Black
Savage Worlds Core Rules Brand Manager

www.peginc.com
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message Send e-mail
Banesfinger
Novice


Joined: 18 Jul 2008
Posts: 40

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

SlasherEpoch wrote:
"I want the bad guys up, stunned, or off the table."

SW came from a miniature wargame...


This really helped understand the origins of 'Shaken'. The quote above is true of many gunpowder era wargames. However, we've observed most sword-era wargames, it would look more like: up, routing, or off the table.

Since we run a Swords & Sorcery era game - I guess that is where the disconnect happened.

Clint wrote:
I sometimes describe this as a Shaken character suffers a -2 to Parry and must use the Defend maneuver. Since this adds +2 to Parry, their Parry remains the same, but they can take no other regular actions (as per Defend).

So it might help to explain that yes, they are getting an action but that action is solely to "Defend."


Wow - that really helps. That "forced to defend @ -2" is a fantastic way to explain the Shaken result.

Thanks so much. Very Happy
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
JackAce
Legendary


Joined: 21 Feb 2006
Posts: 3416
Location: 5304'N 853'E

PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:34 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Banesfinger wrote:
However, we've observed most sword-era wargames, it would look more like: up, routing, or off the table.

But Routing is an effect for entire units. And it's usually there to enforce some kind of "natural" unit behaviour in a situation where players are unlikely to make their units flee from combat voluntarily. In an RPG, such rules are mostly unnecessary - the GM's mooks retreat whenever the GM feels they should. And the players should learn pretty quickly that it might be a good idea to keep their own Extras alive, rather than using them as cannon fodder. (And if thay don't, the GM can still enforce suitable reactions on them...)

SW has come from a miniatures wargame, but now it is an RPG, and as such it treats each character (even Extras) as an individual. Now, an individual character doesn't get routed. But he can get stunned, shocked, unnerved, enraged or pinned down. Instead of introducing special rules for all of these effects, SW has just one rule: Shaken.
_________________
Please Click:
Back to top
View user's profile Send private message
Display posts from previous:   
Post new topic   Reply to topic    Great White Games/Pinnacle Entertainment Group Forum Index -> SW General Chat & Game Stories All times are GMT - 5 Hours
Page 1 of 1

 
Jump to:  
You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot vote in polls in this forum