The next part of the series on game design is up at House of Paincakes. Loquacious starts looking at rules, and as with the last part there's a lot of thought-provoking material from interviews too.
The mention of elimination got me thinking, and SinSynn makes what looks to be a central point with the recognition that "everyone's mind works differently". I'd say there's huge potential in that.
I got quoted too, from a great discussion we had on what exactly random might be. We covered Freud's parapraxis, a quote from Marvin Minsky and the Mandelbrot set, as well as precision and the potential for a 'limitless' game.
More could come later, but reading the snippet, I thought I might develop the idea and turn it into a rule. I'm surprised we don't see one like it more often. Here's the key line.
The random element is a catch-all feature that covers all of the multiple factors that can't easily be accounted for otherwise - the side of bed the person got out of that morning, distracting glints off the other guy's buffed up equipment, subtle variations in wind speed, or the shadow of a bird, an order not quite heard clearly, a moment of doubt.
The rule fits in well with the propluristemic content series and some of the material on Hogintu, specifically the rules for the approaches of the habber-on, troobloo and doppler.
It assumes that small margins of error performing a trained action are more likely to be caused by factors over which the individual has no control, but that larger margins are at least partly down to interaction with self or the environment and can be adjusted for.
It also allows for the reverse, possible misplaced confidence if things go especially well.
If an action succeds or fails, and the margin of success or failure is half or more of the total range on the die being used, the actor gains a modifier of 1 to each successive attempt at the specific action, positive in the case of failure, negative in the case of success. The modifiers are cumulative, but is lost if the action attempted changes.
A natural minimum or maximum roll is an automatic success or failure, as appropriate.
This means that when using a D6 the necessary margin of failure is 3 or more. Let's say a character needs a 5+ on 1D6 to force a door, but rolls a 2. The character can now add 1 to subsequent attempts. If the next attempt is also to force that door, then all else being equal the character will then succeed on a 4+, and if a 1 is rolled, the modifier rises to +2. If the next action is anything other than forcing that door, the modifier is lost.
This has major implications for scenario design, and wargaming especially. It adds more value to the ability to deter and disturb a capable actor who left alone would quickly be able to adapt to the circumstances and dominate, but also allows less capable actors to solve problems if they put the time in. In general, it encourages engagement.
Any and all thoughts are welcome of course, but don't forget to read the HoP post._