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Creation Date: June 14th, 2013 05:27 AM
SpaceBadger SpaceBadger is offline
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SpaceBadger's Blog: BBCodes stopped working in this Blog Description, so I moved my Links down to a Blog Entry and made it Sticky, so the latest new Blog Entries will actually be below (following) the Links entry.
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In Moot Member Blogs Cinematic Level for new PbP game Entry Tools Rate This Entry
  #2 New July 21st, 2013 12:26 AM
Cinematic Level for New PbP Game

One choice for the campaign that I forgot to include with the setting discussion, and am now thinking will be too large to edit into that blog post, is the level of Grittiness or Cinematic Realism. I see this as dividing into roughly four levels of realism, which I will detail below.

I will say up front that my personal preference as a player is Level Two: Light Cinematic, but I am willing to GM levels One, Two or Three as chosen by the majority of players (I'd rather not run Level Four).

Level One: Gritty Realism: I believe this is the default realism level for Traveller. I am not talking about stuff like jump drives and gravitics, but about how the PCs compare to other people in their universe, and about how tasks get resolved. In Traveller, the PCs are generally just average joes with average stats and no special abilities beyond other people around them. Combat is deadly for PCs as well as for those they fight against. PCs may die, and then it is time to roll up a new one. A player may fail a crucial roll, and the adventure goal fails regardless of how much effort has been put in (although I will say that a good GM, which I try to be, will try to work w the players to come up w some other options to try to salvage the mission).

Level Two: Light Cinematic: I think an example of this level of realism is what you see in the Firefly TV show. The characters (except for River) are fairly ordinary people, but they can sometimes pull off stunts that not everyone else could manage, to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and prevail over adversity. I think this level of realism is best represented by generating PCs as usual, but then allowing very very sparing use of Drama Points to let the player say to the GM, "This is important to me, I want a better than usual chance of pulling this off." Similarly, a Drama Point can be used after combat to say that a PC was not killed/injured as badly as it seemed; he may still have missed out on the action from the point of injury, but can then survive afterwards.

Level Three: Medium Cinematic: An example of this level of realism is the Burn Notice TV show. Michael Westen and his friends succeed in their missions in large part because they are not only better, tougher, smarter, and more skilled than most of their opponents, but also because they often get very lucky. I think this level of realism is best represented by giving PCs some advantages in stats and skill levels, plus more liberal use of Drama Points. The Bad Guys usually miss their first shots, to give the heroes some warning and chance to shoot back. Stuff like that.

Level Four: High Cinematic: This would be the Star Wars or Indiana Jones movies. The main characters are better in every way than almost everyone they meet, plus they have incredible luck. I really don't think there is a good way to play this in Traveller. I guess you could boost up stats and skills really high, but I think it would break the game. Let's not play this level, OK?

Ah, this might be a good place to mention another setting choice that I am pretty firm on: No Psionics. I'm sorry if you really like them, but I don't, and I am not familiar enough w them to GM them effectively. Psionics do exist in this TU, as it would be very difficult to have Zhodani without them, but I don't want PCs using them. (OK, maybe you can try to convince me that your character really really needs some low-powered psi thing; but it will most likely be so nerfed that you don't really want it.)

So think about what level of gritty or cinematic realism y'all want to play, taking into account the definition examples that I give above. I recommend Level Two (Firefly!), but will GM at Level One or Three if the group prefers.
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RSS Feed 6 Responses to "Cinematic Level for new PbP game"
#6 July 23rd, 2013 01:25 AM
sabredog Says:
Level Two works - my own games run between that and One. I have no idea how to use or obtain Drama Points in Traveller, though.
#5 July 23rd, 2013 12:44 AM
SpaceBadger Says:
I gave some Drama Point examples up above, in the description of Level Two realism as a matter of fact.
#4 July 23rd, 2013 12:42 AM
SpaceBadger Says:
Seems like most votes are for Level Two: Light Cinematic - I think LiNeNoIse said 2 or 3, Dave said 1 or 2, someone else said 2, the rest didn't care - so we'll go with that. Drama points work about like Fritz said. We have used them before in a Pathfinder game and found them over-powering, so we need to cut back on that. I think the uses that Fritz suggested are all OK, but I'll draft up a proposed rule and put it on here for comments before we start. As for the number of Drama points each PC has, I think at this level of realism each person can start off with 1 point, gaining 1 more point at the end of each "episode" or adventure, and not being able to accumulate more than 3 at most.
#3 July 23rd, 2013 12:29 AM
Fritz_Brown Says:
Drama Points are a way to "cheat" the odds. I would assume the PC would begin with a small number of them (maybe only 1), but could earn more through good roleplaying or possibly pulling off an extraordinary feat (only through the regular rolls). You can - in various systems - use DPs to re-roll a failed roll, to turn a death blow into a survivable wound, to bring in a henchmen or some such to save you, etc. I'm cool with 'em, though I don't think you need them as an actual rule.
#2 July 22nd, 2013 05:21 PM
LiNeNoiSe Says:
Light cinematic sounds good, but I have no idea what Drama Points are
#1 July 22nd, 2013 12:07 PM
samuelvss Says:
Level Two suits me fine, or even 1.5

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