Swashbuckling and continued success



  • Has anyone had a RP success with the swashbuckling or pulp action feel of Indiana Jones, Three Musketeers, The Mummy franchise(maybe), Star Wars, and of course the classic swashbuckling films?

    Some of it is allowing or demanding things like swinging across rooms or from ship to ship.
    Some of it may be basically assuming the most basic of plans and a sense of daring will work.

    I've seen game rules where you gain a bonus to succeed, but the magnitude of failures either accrues or just is larger. This pulls off flashier results with a sense of risk, but I am not sure that gambling aspect works for /players/.

    Anyone?

    I hate the typical answer that most RPers expect that everything will proceed towards an agreeable end, even if there are setbacks.

    I have read almost every swashbuckling RPG from En Garde to Flashing Blades, to 7Th Sea, as well as Exalted and Weapons of the Gods.


  • Pitcrew

    While not geared toward a gambling aspect, Feng Shui which I have had great success with both as a Player and GMing in tabletop is definitely cinematic high action and the base rules could be used for something pulpy.
    As far as expected success one of the things I like about Feng Shui is that because it themetic base is Hong Kong action in particular it notes that sometimes in the end everyone dies in a hail of bullets, so while the PCs are set up to the the stars there is less of a expectation of the stars winning than in most games where it is generally assumed to be a given.


  • Pitcrew

    @Misadventure said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    Has anyone had a RP success with the swashbuckling or pulp action feel of Indiana Jones, Three Musketeers, The Mummy franchise(maybe), and of course the classic swashbuckling films?

    Some of it is allowing or demanding things like swinging across rooms or from ship to ship.
    Some of it may be basically assuming the most basic of plans and a sense of daring will work.

    I've seen game rules where you gain a bonus to succeed, but the magnitude of failures either accrues or just is larger. This pulls off flashier results with a sense of risk, but I am not sure that gambling aspect works for /players/.

    Anyone?

    I hate the typical answer that most RPers expect that everything will proceed towards an agreeable end, even if there are setbacks.

    I have read almost every swashbuckling RPG from En Garde to Flashing Blades, to 7Th Sea, as well as Exalted and Weapons of the Gods.

    I have done swashbuckling in a Fading Suns game. But I was a rogue psychic who stole into someone's ship to rescue someone else.



  • WEG d6 was meant for cinematic action, they made an Indiana Jones supplement back in the day.


  • Pitcrew

    The Indy supplement used their Masterbook system (the one from Torg with minor modifications) not their D6 that said it was not a bad system for pulp though could be a bit bloody, it always left more noir or war movie to me in play than pulp.



  • I find for an epic feel, you need a system where you roll a basic unit number for every roll (I prefer 1d5), and you roll an extra die for each max roll (5), no matter how many 5s you get. This way, you never fail, but you can have increasingly epic successes. The matter is applying it.


  • TV & Movies

    I think part of the swashbuckling style has less to do with creating rules for absurd maneuvers and such, and more just a GMing skill regarding constructing your setpieces. An actual chandelier-swing may be a bit on the high end, but just being good about throwing meaningful set dressing into the environment that players can activate (for even mild bonuses) can do a lot. Just your average table to flip over, barrel to roll into someone, rope to cut to (some useful effect), etc. Obviously this is mostly a PvE thing.

    Mechanically, they can be pure benefits (you thought of/noticed the cool thing, so you get a bonus!) or they can be some kind of risk-reward tradeoff but that requires a firm understanding of the math underlying what you're doing. In many systems, a 'small' to-hit penalty to do something cool can translate to a purely bad idea if the payoff isn't very large. While you may be tempted to talk about gambling on the big chance... that's going to work against people over time and ultimately weed out the 'guts or glory' players in favor of the cautious mathematicians.

    @Misadventure said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    I hate the typical answer that most RPers expect that everything will proceed towards an agreeable end, even if there are setbacks.

    This seems a rather separate thing from swashbuckling but just GMing philosophy itself. I don't want to assume too much into this statement, so what do you prefer?



  • A lot really does depend on:

    1. What the characters are trying to do, are they conducting swashbuckling type activities?

    Also

    1. Are staff on board with players doing cool dramatic stuff or will they decide it is dumb and punish them for it?

    Assuming both of those are in place then swashbuckling takes place. To use the example of @deadculture above I have certainly had characters swashbuckle on Fading Suns games even though the system is not really set up to support it. At least, rappelling off cliffs onto a sloop full of Space Moors then fighting them with a saber in one hand and a pistol in the other sounds pretty swashbuckling to me.


  • Politics

    @Chet said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    I find for an epic feel, you need a system where you roll a basic unit number for every roll (I prefer 1d5), and you roll an extra die for each max roll (5), no matter how many 5s you get. This way, you never fail, but you can have increasingly epic successes. The matter is applying it.

    This is the "Exploding Dice" mechanic, which I agree demonstrates epicness.

    Which is why Earthdawn is a hellafun game.



  • I think anything that's very episodic in feel has some issues translating to MUs, since it takes a lot of work to make an environment that can sustain itself between episodes that highlight the kind of high adventure vibe you want to capture. Tabletop and other RP environments don't have to deal with that since there -isn't- a persistent environment. Every game deals with that a little but if high adventure is the selling point, it's disproportionately represented compared to other games.


  • Pitcrew

    I've had a lot of changes in rules thoughts and processes over the last couple years thanks to Dungeon World and other PbtAE games like Monster of the Week and leading up to my newest iron in the fire, Blades on the Dark. There's a lot to be said about being a fan of the players and failing forward. Blades in the Dark is a gritty environment filled with despicable personalities in a dying world but the characters reach swashbuckling levels of action, as long as they have stress to burn, during the heists.
    Of course, I'm talking tabletop as I couldn't even remotely imagine BitD working in a MU* environment. Overall I really enjoyed the Blades style of rolls where you get what you want but...


  • Politics

    @Apos said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    I think anything that's very episodic in feel has some issues translating to MUs, since it takes a lot of work to make an environment that can sustain itself between episodes that highlight the kind of high adventure vibe you want to capture.

    BSG:U has a good way of doing this by moving the Dauntless (the ship from which the PC crew is based) from system to system. Faraday then posts a "setting post" to remind everyone of the crew's objectives at the system, and the general feel of being there.


  • Pitcrew

    I agree with @Packrat in particular that swashbuckling is as much in the feel of the game as the dice system. Granted, there are some dice systems that are very anti-swashbuckling, but as long as the game is permissive of swashbuckling poses, most systems will work. For instance, in a swashbuckling piracy game in FS3, the only tools you have to penalize or benefit actions are stances and attack/defense/wound mods. You could either let the PCs pose most whatever they want alongside the standard rolls (with stances factored in... swinging at someone from a chandelier certainly sounds Aggressive or even Reckless to me), or you could ask them what they're doing ahead of the rolls, and then provide bonuses for doing swashbucklery things. Personally, I think that the latter, while cool, sounds like a lot of slow-down for a system where one of the benefits is fast resolution, but it could certainly be done.

    Anyhow, I think it's a lot more game culture than it is system. If you have a game culture where you're allowed to pose a good die roll as leaping over a table, tucking into a roll, and popping up just in time to skewer them with your rapier... you have a swashbuckling game. If, instead, you have a game culture where you have to check with the GM before your actions, and possibly get penalties or have to make additional rolls to no benefit based on wanting to do awesome things... you don't have a swashbuckling game.


  • Coder

    @Ganymede said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    @Apos said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    I think anything that's very episodic in feel has some issues translating to MUs, since it takes a lot of work to make an environment that can sustain itself between episodes that highlight the kind of high adventure vibe you want to capture.

    BSG:U has a good way of doing this by moving the Dauntless (the ship from which the PC crew is based) from system to system. Faraday then posts a "setting post" to remind everyone of the crew's objectives at the system, and the general feel of being there.

    If I create a major game system again, it will be a scene system, where a scene set is the room description, and when the scene moves locations the new setting information is posted for everyone there. This is halfway done for people who run big scenes already. A scene system would do much more, but the times I’ve used this before it got very good reception.



  • @Thenomain said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    @Ganymede said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    @Apos said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    I think anything that's very episodic in feel has some issues translating to MUs, since it takes a lot of work to make an environment that can sustain itself between episodes that highlight the kind of high adventure vibe you want to capture.

    BSG:U has a good way of doing this by moving the Dauntless (the ship from which the PC crew is based) from system to system. Faraday then posts a "setting post" to remind everyone of the crew's objectives at the system, and the general feel of being there.

    If I create a major game system again, it will be a scene system, where a scene set is the room description, and when the scene moves locations the new setting information is posted for everyone there. This is halfway done for people who run big scenes already. A scene system would do much more, but the times I’ve used this before it got very good reception.

    The room-lite grid coupled with the scene system is one big thing I love with AresMUSH. They ship moves, and if someone wants XYZ beachhead, they open it as a scene, it acts like a TP room, others can join and it goes away when done with it.

    And back to OP real quick, I recall DragonFist, the 2nd edition game released for free by WotC prior to the launch of 3e. One of the things was once folks started getting into Wuxia and explaining their awesome moves, it increased their chance of success. The first session we played we did the fight in the paperhouse sequence, the enemy was knocked off their feet and more easily returned fighting by back crawling between the legs of their counterpart. The bar scene included a chopstick fighting player who managed to get in the chopsticks nose grab and head to table, and the end scene included standing on bamboo shoots. It handled it pretty quickly using 2e rules and not all the features and mechanisms of 3e.


  • Politics

    @Thenomain said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    If I create a major game system again, it will be a scene system, where a scene set is the room description, and when the scene moves locations the new setting information is posted for everyone there. This is halfway done for people who run big scenes already. A scene system would do much more, but the times I’ve used this before it got very good reception.

    Might want to talk to @faraday about this. She's already built something like this, and it also uploads the scene to her game's wiki with a command. And, yes, the upload omits OOC stuff, pages, and whatever, keeping the rolls and the poses and emits.


  • Pitcrew

    @Apos I would like to see a murder mystery whodunit MU but filling the time between murder mysteries is the issue. I think the solution is to run a mystery, and, once it is solved, delete the rooms and characters and start fresh with a new grid and characters.


  • TV & Movies

    @Seraphim73 I've never really liked the 'just pose cool for bonuses' way of doing things. It was a mechanical fad for a while ('stunt dice', etc) but it can often become meaningless when everyone poses something 'ridiculously cool' every round to get their bonus dice, turning the cool moments into the default and penalizing people in the odd case where they just want to stab a motherfucker.

    I think in something like FS3, it's probably best to mostly leave thing to flavor and stances (and indeed, various stances probably cover both the flavor and mechanics of... 90% of swashbuckling moves) and not try to GM excessively on top of self-contained system. The one thing I'd probably do in FS3 GMing to reward particularly impressive (as opposed to 'cool for the sake of cool') play is occasionally mess with the NPCs. It's easy enough to make an NPC skip an action, remove one from combat early, or even create penalty stances or something to that effect. Thay way you preserve the limited complexity of player-side input but can give them some flavor feedback if you prefer.



  • Thanks for the discussion and thoughts!

    In case anyone is wondering, I am looking at converting Blades in the Dark to Star Wars. There will be some reskinning (renaming of skills etc), and the addition of some sort of personal pool of luck that can be added post roll to both player skill checks AND the fortune rolls the game uses. Converting Turf to The Resistance that the players help build, adding Causes and Haunted by to the Vices (motives and recovery mechanic), and doing SOMETHING with races and droids. The flashback preparation scenes wil make missions (hesists) go fast, I hope. Should work out.

    Scum & Villainy is an extension that helps shapes Blades towards Star Wars and Firefly, and I may steal some ideas from there.

    So what to call it?

    Hope in the Dark?

    Not Lightsabers in the Dark.


  • Coder

    @Ganymede said in Swashbuckling and continued success:

    Might want to talk to @faraday about this. She's already built something like this, and it also uploads the scene to her game's wiki with a command. And, yes, the upload omits OOC stuff, pages, and whatever, keeping the rolls and the poses and emits.

    Sure.

    ...

    Hey @faraday! Hit me up on Skype!

    ...

    Well at least I know she'll see it before starting a chat with her, given the number of times she's quit Soapbox.

    (hee)


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