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New Deathwatch Designer Diary: Strength and Honour


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#1 FFG Ross Watson

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 05:52 AM

Greetings, Deathwatch fans!

This week, my designer diary focuses on one of the new mechanics for Deathwatch: Demeanours! Enjoy!



#2 Dodskrigaren

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 06:51 AM

After reading that, I'm wondering how straightjacket FFG is going to make Marines sound.

 

Its a neat mechanic, but from some of the way it was described, it seems almost like its a 'this is what passes for roleplaying in this hack and slash' sorta thing.  I could be reading a bit to much into it, or maybe theres something I didn't see, but...we'll see.



#3 Atheosis

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 07:34 AM

Dodskrigaren said:

After reading that, I'm wondering how straightjacket FFG is going to make Marines sound.

 

Its a neat mechanic, but from some of the way it was described, it seems almost like its a 'this is what passes for roleplaying in this hack and slash' sorta thing.  I could be reading a bit to much into it, or maybe theres something I didn't see, but...we'll see.

It does seem perilously close to crossing the line into roll-playing, but I'm willing to give it a chance.  Now that all the disappointments regarding the Chapters choices (or lack thereof) are out if the way, I'm really hoping the mechanics of the game redeem it.



#4 The Wyzard

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 07:56 AM

 I don't see how you get a straight-jacket out of a once-per-game benny.

It looks kind of hack-able to me, and that's a good thing.  It'd probably be more interesting if it fed into some kind of point economy than it is as a one-off bonus, but nothing in this world is perfect.  I think I'd likely pull it out and replace it with FATE-style aspects.  Fortunately, that's very easy to do.

 



#5 Arag

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 07:58 AM

I'm a bit concerned after reading the preview, it says:

When you use your Demeanour during the game, it is known as “triggering” the Demeanour. In order to trigger a Demeanour, the Space Marine player need only announce that he is doing so and apply the benefits. You can only trigger your Demeanour a total of once per game (although every Space Marine has two Demeanours, he gets the benefits only once per game, and he must which Demeanour to trigger in this manner).

 

This compared with the example demeanour  "studious" makes me wonder. Is the SM in question learned/knowledgable only once per game? Is he a true Dark Angel/Ultramarine/Space Wolf only once per game? The wording of this preview doesn't really evoke any interest on my part, specially because it sounds too much like D&D 4ed with it's per day/round/session mechanics (and I don't like D&D 4ed). Plus having to choose between a personal ability and a chapter ability is not my idea of a fun choice. 

It may be a cool mechanic, but right now it goes on the list of stuff to be house ruled/changed when I get the book. Because telling a space marine that he can be awesome only once per day is missing the point of this game.

 

PS: There are groups that play 4-5 hours once every week, there are groups that get together once a month for 10+ hours marathon-rounds. In comes 1/game limitation. Now that's a well chosen limit, very fair and balanced. 

 

 



#6 Quicksilver

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 08:18 AM

Where is 'Game Session' defined as 'the entirety of contigous role-playing'?  To me that's like saying the 4 hour Star Trek marathon on SyFy is only one episode.  I often GM 10-12 hour games, and usualy brake them down in to 2-3 'sessions' each.  GMs define when a session starts or ends.

I think the really point here is the "Crowning Moment of Awsome." A studious marine will, and should always be played as being intelligent, thoughtfull etc.  But every once in a while he pulls out something thats particularly amazing.  Like driving in Die Hard, he's always a good driver, but at that crowing moment he takes out a Helecopter with a flying car.


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#7 Atheosis

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 08:23 AM

Arag said:

I'm a bit concerned after reading the preview, it says:

When you use your Demeanour during the game, it is known as “triggering” the Demeanour. In order to trigger a Demeanour, the Space Marine player need only announce that he is doing so and apply the benefits. You can only trigger your Demeanour a total of once per game (although every Space Marine has two Demeanours, he gets the benefits only once per game, and he must which Demeanour to trigger in this manner).

 

This compared with the example demeanour  "studious" makes me wonder. Is the SM in question learned/knowledgable only once per game? Is he a true Dark Angel/Ultramarine/Space Wolf only once per game? The wording of this preview doesn't really evoke any interest on my part, specially because it sounds too much like D&D 4ed with it's per day/round/session mechanics (and I don't like D&D 4ed). Plus having to choose between a personal ability and a chapter ability is not my idea of a fun choice. 

It may be a cool mechanic, but right now it goes on the list of stuff to be house ruled/changed when I get the book. Because telling a space marine that he can be awesome only once per day is missing the point of this game.

 

PS: There are groups that play 4-5 hours once every week, there are groups that get together once a month for 10+ hours marathon-rounds. In comes 1/game limitation. Now that's a well chosen limit, very fair and balanced. 

 

 

I can definitely see your point.  I'm not sure how this is going to play out. 

I will say though that any time I've ran a game with once a session abilities, I've always treated it as two to three hours of play time.  Though I tend to agree it's a little bit off design-wise.



#8 Adam France

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 09:10 AM

I have to say I'm not impressed, this seems like a game mechanic for players who don't know how to roleplay. It smacks of 4e D&D's powers, especially with the arbitrary 'once per game' rule. 

I am seriously doubting I will bother buying this game, it just doesn't look like it's going to have much of interest to me, and almost every DD makes me more and more convinced I won't like it. 

Hey ho. 



#9 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 09:48 AM

Adam France said:

I have to say I'm not impressed, this seems like a game mechanic for players who don't know how to roleplay. It smacks of 4e D&D's powers, especially with the arbitrary 'once per game' rule. 

I don't see it; the easiest way to think about them is as an extra Fate Point you get once per game (an an appropriately dramatic moment) for roleplaying your character. Personally, the first thing I'm doing with Deathwatch when it comes out (and I can show it to my players) is integrating Demeanours and Fate Points more closely, so that each time you use a Fate Point, you need to trigger a Demeanour first.

If you approach it primarily from the perspective of a game, then yes, it might resemble a D&D mechanic...  but taken from a story perspective, then those "crowning moments of awesome" that the mechanic represents (those occasional situations where who and what a character is all falls into place perfectly and creates an epic and memorable moment) aren't things that occur regularly - they kick in during those moments of dire need, the moments where true heroism is most necessary.

The difference is in how you view and use the mechanics; the mechanics themselves don't favour one approach or another.


Writing Credits for Fantasy Flight Games: Into the Storm, Edge of the Abyss, Battlefleet Koronus, Hostile Acquisitions, Black Crusade Core Rulebook, First Founding, The Jericho Reach, The Soul Reaver, Only War, The Navis Primer and Ark of Lost Souls


#10 nastybutler

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 09:51 AM

I find the idea of the Demeanour to be interesting.  It gives the players some more options.  Having players vote on it to increase it is cute too.  Sometimes players feel that a ST is too much in control and they have no say other than to live or die.  Like that they are taking some hints from Exalted system and giving players a say.



#11 SonofDorn

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 12:45 PM

What I'm going to do before I buy DW (and most likely I will), is to read through the rules and make a thorough evaluation based on what I've fully seen before my eyes and not the tidbits of information that is presented to us here from week to week.


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#12 Tullio

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Posted 07 May 2010 - 11:41 PM

Seconded, and I've been saying this to  my group since day one. I'm prepared to give it a chance



#13 Arag

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 01:37 AM

Quicksilver said:

Where is 'Game Session' defined as 'the entirety of contigous role-playing'?  To me that's like saying the 4 hour Star Trek marathon on SyFy is only one episode.  I often GM 10-12 hour games, and usualy brake them down in to 2-3 'sessions' each.  GMs define when a session starts or ends.

I think the really point here is the "Crowning Moment of Awsome." A studious marine will, and should always be played as being intelligent, thoughtfull etc.  But every once in a while he pulls out something thats particularly amazing.  Like driving in Die Hard, he's always a good driver, but at that crowing moment he takes out a Helecopter with a flying car.

 

Consensus of the local gaming community? Which BTW how newbies often understand it. Not a single group here breaks it's games down into smaller sessions.

It's nice for you to break your games down into 3-4 hours sessions, but not everyone is playing like you and there's no force on earth that can force me to followe your example. Because let's face it, I'm paying top dollar for a game and as a customer I can expect that the game will be balanced and without flaws. And in my perception a 1/game limitation is a flaw because it doesn't take into account the fact that not everyone plays 3-4 hours sessions (wheter alone or in blocks of 2-3). I as GM should not be required to change my gaming habits or game rules after buying a new game just because the developers failed at properly wording the rules. I'm not trying to bash the developers or the game, I'm simply saying "hey guys, you have a problematic rule here because of X".

 

 

SonofDorn and Tullio said:

What I'm going to do before I buy DW (and most likely I will), is to read through the rules and make a thorough evaluation based on what I've fully seen before my eyes and not the tidbits of information that is presented to us here from week to week.

Seconded, and I've been saying this to my group since day one. I'm prepared to give it a chance

 

Well, I agree with you, but only partially. I'll buy the game and look into it's mechanics to see what good and what's to be changed. But right now we are getting previews and what I'm seeing (a stand-alone idea as it is) doesn't make me happy. I'm not judging the game here, I'm judging the info given on demeanours.  



#14 N0-1_H3r3

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 01:47 AM

Arag said:

It's nice for you to break your games down into 3-4 hours sessions, but not everyone is playing like you and there's no force on earth that can force me to followe your example. Because let's face it, I'm paying top dollar for a game and as a customer I can expect that the game will be balanced and without flaws.

Do you also expect it to be custom-tailored to your particular style of play and your personal preferences? No one game can account for the personal desires of every gamer and every group. To demand that a game suit your personal needs ignores the fact that you are not the only one going to be playing it.


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#15 Tarkand

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 06:20 AM

So they are fate points that are triggered by roleplaying instead of whenever the players want to?

Not sure how this can be bad.

 



#16 Sister Cat

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 07:51 AM

Tarkand said:

So they are fate points that are triggered by roleplaying instead of whenever the players want to?

Not sure how this can be bad.

 

Without knowing more (i.e., seeing the full rules for Demeanors), I have to say that I agree with Tarkand here.  It only sounds like a good thing to me. 

However, I do see a potential pitfall in the whole "once-per-game-session" thing.



#17 Arag

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 07:55 AM

N0-1_H3r3 said:

Arag said:

It's nice for you to break your games down into 3-4 hours sessions, but not everyone is playing like you and there's no force on earth that can force me to followe your example. Because let's face it, I'm paying top dollar for a game and as a customer I can expect that the game will be balanced and without flaws.

 

Do you also expect it to be custom-tailored to your particular style of play and your personal preferences? No one game can account for the personal desires of every gamer and every group. To demand that a game suit your personal needs ignores the fact that you are not the only one going to be playing it.

N0-1_H3r3 said:

Arag said:

It's nice for you to break your games down into 3-4 hours sessions, but not everyone is playing like you and there's no force on earth that can force me to followe your example. Because let's face it, I'm paying top dollar for a game and as a customer I can expect that the game will be balanced and without flaws.

 

Do you also expect it to be custom-tailored to your particular style of play and your personal preferences? No one game can account for the personal desires of every gamer and every group. To demand that a game suit your personal needs ignores the fact that you are not the only one going to be playing it.

No I don't. In this case I would never introduce a rule that says that something can be activated 1/game. I agree totally that no game can account for personal play styles, this is why I wouldn't even go into designing something that may be problematic with certain play styles.

 

In our case I would simply design a rule that says 1 per deployment/mission and make it beyond awesome, while knowing that for some people this would mean an ability activated 1 per 3 game sessions and for some 1 per session. The way it's worded now looks this way:

 

One group plays long games but infrequently, the other plays short ones but often. They play a pre-made scenario that clocks in around 11 hours of gaming.The first group can use demeanours once during the scenario because they will play through it in a day, the second group will probably be able to use the demeanours mechanic 3 times because of the fact that they play shorter games. The group that plays short games gets more bang for their buck than the group that plays long games, while still playing the same game and scenario.



#18 Atheosis

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 01:05 PM

Arag said:

 

In our case I would simply design a rule that says 1 per deployment/mission and make it beyond awesome, while knowing that for some people this would mean an ability activated 1 per 3 game sessions and for some 1 per session. The way it's worded now looks this way:

 

 

And there's your solution.  So simple.



#19 Arag

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 01:49 PM

Atheosis said:

Arag said:

 

In our case I would simply design a rule that says 1 per deployment/mission and make it beyond awesome, while knowing that for some people this would mean an ability activated 1 per 3 game sessions and for some 1 per session. The way it's worded now looks this way:

 

 

And there's your solution.  So simple.

Not as simple as you think, because we haven't really seen what the demeanours really give to the characters. And I mean the hard and fast rules here.

What we know is that the demeanours will give an effect similar to a fate point plus a roleplay based benefit. That's not enough to start the parade.



#20 Atheosis

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Posted 08 May 2010 - 03:00 PM

Arag said:

Atheosis said:

 

Arag said:

 

In our case I would simply design a rule that says 1 per deployment/mission and make it beyond awesome, while knowing that for some people this would mean an ability activated 1 per 3 game sessions and for some 1 per session. The way it's worded now looks this way:

 

 

And there's your solution.  So simple.

 

 

Not as simple as you think, because we haven't really seen what the demeanours really give to the characters. And I mean the hard and fast rules here.

What we know is that the demeanours will give an effect similar to a fate point plus a roleplay based benefit. That's not enough to start the parade.

Yes, yes, but the "once per session" deal seems rather easy to fix doesn't it?

As to how demeanours actually work?  Yeah I have a funny feeling I'm not going to be all that into it.  The design decisions revealed so far leave me less than optimistic.






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