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Oct. 8th, 2008 @ 01:46 pm MASK adjustment
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I'm changing the resolution mechanic for MASK.  Even though I haven't tested it yet.

Here's the breakdown:

First, whoever has initiative (by default, the hero) states his intent.

For an example, let's say that Boss Franconi is holding Nancy Boseman, the plucky investigative journalist, at gunpoint, threatening to shoot her if you, the hero MagSeven,  come any closer. Then you say, "Using my famous quick-draw, I pull my seven-shooter and plug Franconi!"

Then the Concerns start piling in. These should be yes/no questions about risks, complications, and fallout of your declared action.  In this case, we could also have Concerns like:
Does Nancy get hit by your shots?
Will Franconi die from your shots?
Will Franconi shoot Nancy?

Whether or not you plug Franconi is NOT a Concern.

The Concerns are negotiated kinda freeform between everyone; if someone thinks one shouldn't go in, then don't use it. During this stage, you can still change your Intent if you want, and Concerns can be re-negotiated. Once everyone's satisfied with the Concerns, jot each one down on an index card.

Now you figure out how many dice you get to use.  This is indicated by your stats (Hurt, Hope, Heart, Gift, Gadget, Gimmick, Game, Gun, and Guile, as applicable).  For instance, in this case, MagSeven used his quickdraw (Gift) and his seven-shooters (Gadget), and let's say that Nancy is on his Heart list, so MagSeven's player gets a number of dice equal to MagSeven's Gift + Gadget + Heart.  Franconi is using his Gun score, and let's say that Nancy uses her Hope score because she's motivated by the hope of cleaning up the city or something. If your stat is relevant at all, it counts. And I don't mean "if your stat would somehow help you to do better"; I mean that if it's at all relevant to what's going on, it counts. (We're modeling a kind of fiction here, not a fictional world. And always remember, Color Does Matter. In fact, that's the reason Franconi's at such a disadvantage in this example; it's an isolated moment, so there's devil-knows-how-much detail and circumstances missing that might trigger his stats).

Now everyone bids their dice on the various Concerns.  However many dice you want to bid on a specific concern, place those dice on the card (you need dice of different colors for different players, or some manner of telling them apart).  If nobody bids on a particular Concern, then the GM decides which way it goes.  Everyone can adjust their bids as necessary until everyone's happy with it.  Once the bids are settled, you (the player with the initiative) have one last chance to back down.  

If you decline to, then the dice are all rolled.  The player with the highest roll on a given Concern decides which way it goes.  The Intent (in this case, to plug Franconi) happens no matter what else happens with the Concerns.

If you back down, then none of the risks or unpleasant consequences attached to Concerns come to bear, but Franconi won't get plugged, and you lose the initiative to Franconi's player, and we're there again with Franconi's gun to Nancy's head as he tells you not to step closer, except now his actions are going to determine the course of the next resolution. 

The big change here is that you choose whether to back down or not before the rolls, instead of after.  I changed it because this game is all about what a person (especially the hero) is willing to put at risk in order to accomplish his goals.
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From:davidberg
Date:October 11th, 2008 11:37 pm (UTC)
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The technique of complicating actions after their intent is announced reminds me of our chat about American Wizards. Have you played either of these yet?
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From:americanwizard
Date:October 14th, 2008 10:05 pm (UTC)
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Nope, I haven't :)
I'm having a devil of a time getting a group together right now. The old one got dissolved when the two other members went through an ugly breakup. One of them is still cool to play, and I've found some other people, but we're having trouble coordinating a night where everyone can make it.
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From:davidberg
Date:October 15th, 2008 07:11 pm (UTC)
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Bummer. I know how that feels. I think the large gaps between sessions in my playtest log can speak to that.

It's funny, because New York City has tons of gamers. It's just that most of them are already into their own groups and aren't seeking new ones. And most of the new arrivals just want to play D&D.

I take it the internet hasn't been bountiful with local player connections for you? Where do you live, anyway? I seem to remember midwest-ish...
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From:americanwizard
Date:October 15th, 2008 08:35 pm (UTC)
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I live in Oklahoma. If I lived in any one of our college towns, player connections wouldn't be a problem. Unfortunately, I live in a small town with two stoplights that is about 40% retired old folks, and 40% meth addicts. Sometimes those two categories overlap.
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From:davidberg
Date:October 18th, 2008 06:56 am (UTC)
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Whoa. That sounds... uh... well, it sounds like you should move. :)

My dad's from Oklahoma, so I have some vague fondness for the state. I've only ever been to Tulsa, though.
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From:davidberg
Date:October 11th, 2008 11:53 pm (UTC)

SAN! book design

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Didn't know where to mention this, so as long as I'm reading your LJ:

Consider me interested in doing covers, interior art, layout, branding, etc. for SAN! if you ever decide to pursue publishing it without doing all that yourself.

I'd point you to my portfolio site, but I'm currently giving it a massive redesign.
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From:americanwizard
Date:October 14th, 2008 10:08 pm (UTC)

Re: SAN! book design

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Cool. I'll definitely make a note of that, 'cause I'm not the best at humor-based art. Everything that I draw comes out all raggedly expressive.
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From:davidberg
Date:October 15th, 2008 07:16 pm (UTC)

Re: SAN! book design

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I could see several stylistic routes to go, some of which (e.g. comic book) I have practice in, and some of which (e.g. beavis & butthead) I don't.

I think this game would lend itself well to an atypical format -- comic book, product manual, children's book, etc. The early, small Dave Barry collections come to mind for some reason.
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From:americanwizard
Date:October 15th, 2008 08:32 pm (UTC)

Re: SAN! book design

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I really like the idea of doing it like a comic book. The seed of the game was actually in a comic idea that I had, "Nonsense Comix." The example characters, like Chainsaw the Angry Bear, Joe Fixit: the world's toughest handyman, and Greg from Accounting, were all from a late-night brainstorming session that I did for Nonsense Comix. I never drew any, though.
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From:davidberg
Date:October 18th, 2008 07:02 am (UTC)

Re: SAN! book design

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Aw man, now I'm remembering my own ludicrous comic brainstorms. I had one which was a team of superteam stereotypes, with Leader Man, Gun Man, Large Man, Ninja Man and Girl Man...

Hell, maybe SAN! could BE a comic... you ever read Understanding Comics? It's proof that the form can be used to convey information directly...
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From:americanwizard
Date:October 20th, 2008 04:47 pm (UTC)

Re: SAN! book design

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Girl Man! That's hilarious. I need to find that sketch that I wrote about the Action Sandwich Team; you'd get a kick out of that.

SAN! as a comic is a very very interesting idea.
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From:americanwizard
Date:October 20th, 2008 09:12 pm (UTC)

Re: SAN! book design

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And, yes, I've read Understanding Comics. And the sequel, too. Great stuff. It always makes me want to do a comic, which I never get around to. Got lots of ideas though (both silly and serious).