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Destiny Points: When both sides use, over and over and over


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#1 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 08:51 AM

Just tried the Beginer's Set last weekend, and we encountered something odd. After a while we started responding to the GM using Destiny Points by using one ourselves to offset the bonus (the GM did the same vice versa). It seems like you can end up having both sides using them on any and every roll.

Are there any rules we may have missed on using Destiny Points? 


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#2 LoTech

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:15 AM

I think the only rule that would limit this is that Destiny Points are only flipped after an action has resolved. So if all tokens were light side at the start of the check the GM wouldn't be able to spend the DP that the characters want to use to upgrade his check that turn.

The beta book does raise the possibility that both the Players and the GM could use 1 DP on a skill check to offset each other, but doesn't put a strict limitation on that as long as they both have the point to spend during the action.

It does seem a bit gamey and against the intention of DP being a "powerful resource".

I think if I was a GM and saw this pattern develop I may just hang back on the DP arms race and wait to see how the rolls come out then try and use my Dark Side Destiny Point to influence any threat that comes out of their roll to put them in a worse position. Hopefully that would encourage the players to see the narrative use of the pool as well as the chance for upgrading checks.

I really wouldn't be surprised to see this back and forth nature addressed in the Core rule book though.



#3 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 09:33 AM

It was easy to fall into the pattern. The GM boosts an incoming attack, the player says "oh no" and counters. The GM does the same.

If it's not addressed in the final text, an easy fix would be that the Destiny Points spent refreshed at the end of an encounter rather than after the action. So you knew going in that you had 3 lightside points and the GM had 4 darkside total for that fight. They still get flipped, but they are available later.


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#4 New Zombie

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:09 AM

isn't there a rule that states only 1 point can be spent on an action? i don't have my book with me to confirm



#5 KommissarK

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 10:22 AM

New Zombie said:

isn't there a rule that states only 1 point can be spent on an action? i don't have my book with me to confirm

I seem to recall a very particular step to assembling dice pools that permits the opposing side the ability to allocate their own DP after someone chooses to initially add a DP to the roll.

That said, I guess maybe its just intended to be a a part of the game. I know by the dice mechanics, yellow dice are superior for the roller than red dice are harmful to the roller. So if you're rolling and opt to improve to a yellow die, you're still going to be marginally better off even if the other side promotes a die up to the red die.

I think the trick comes down to realizing that if you spend a DP, and the other side opts not to challenge it by promoting on their own, then you gain some sort of (maybe meaningful, the dice threads speak more on that topic) advantage, at the cost of losing a DP to the other side



#6 New Zombie

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:08 AM

be interesting to see what the final product says but i'd be comfortable house ruling that only 1 point in total can be spent on an action.

i personally don't like the idea of downgrading a dice. upgrading the opposing dice is great cos that lets BOTH triumph and despair have more influence. but downgrading just seems miserly, reductive and certainly not cinematic.

it's like irvin kershner saying dak fires his tow cable at the walker then luke flies his snow speeder through the legs to trip it over, only for george to say nope dak missed.

vs

irvin kershner saying dak fires his tow cable at the walker then luke flies his snow speeder through the legs to trip it over, and george replies awesome, but then a stray bolt fries daks console incapacitating him and causing luke to ditch into the snow right in the path of an oncoming walker.

 



#7 LethalDose

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:38 AM

So page 23 "How Destiny Points Are Used" near the end of the section states: "A player can only spend one light side Destiny Point during a single action , […]. The GM likewise is limited to spending one dark side Destiny Point per action."

And the upgrading and downgrading of the pool happens at the same time, though technically you upgrade before you downgrade.  This doesn't matter because the GM upgrades the difficulty of player pools by spending destiny points and the players upgrade their characteristics and skills, and vice versa, so no-one is 'downgrading'.  Basically both sides just have to make their decision before the dice get rolled. [Addressed p18, second column)

So, yes, it's possible for one side to match the other, LDP for DDP, on rolls.  And, in my opinion, I think this is bad gamesmanship and not in the spirit of the game.  

But there is a [weak] counter to this behavior.  If one side refuses to match for several rolls, and takes a few hits, the balance very much swings in their favor, because that side is now able to dictate WHEN these ***-for-tats happen, and the other side can't activate any abilities that rely on Destiny Points.  If discussing this issue with your GM/Players (which ever one is causing the back and forth) doesn't solve the problem, you may want to try this as an alternate strategy for dealing with the issue.

But still, discussion with the 'offending party' is the important first step.

-WJL

@New Zombie: I tried that houserule, and we (myself as GM and my players) didn't like it because I felt it blocked the players out of playing the destiny points when they felt they should, and led to issues about who declares first or who's destiny point takes priortiy.


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#8 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:47 AM

LethalDose said:

 And, in my opinion, I think this is bad gamesmanship and not in the spirit of the game.  

That's kind of my problem here. It's bad for the game, but good strategy, which for me causes a disconnect.

The more I think about it, the more I think that the destiny pool refreshing every scene is the best solution. It puts a limit on this behavior, and still encourages saving points for a later scene.


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#9 LethalDose

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 11:53 AM

Slight aside:  As I've been accused of having 'potty fingers' by the admins on some of these forums, I find I'm uncomfortable using the most obvious abbrevition for Destiny Points.  

Anyone have a good solution?  DesP?

-WJL

PS this is like 75% joke, 25% seriously I don't want to type DP all over a game forum.


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#10 gribble

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:03 PM

I'm not sure it's really that big an issue.

If the roll is important for both sides, then why shouldn't they both be able to modify, ***-for-tat or not? It just means that there remains a balance and no DP are flipped. Of course, if it happened on every roll, then it'd be a bit more of an issue, but I haven't noticed that happening at my table, because there is always the risk that the other party will choose not to "retaliate" and then the acting party will be down one DP. So I've found it tends to be saved for the important rolls.


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#11 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:08 PM

LethalDose said:

 

Slight aside:  As I've been accused of having 'potty fingers' by the admins on some of these forums, I find I'm uncomfortable using the most obvious abbrevition for Destiny Points.  

Anyone have a good solution?  DesP?

-WJL

PS this is like 75% joke, 25% seriously I don't want to type DP all over a game forum.

 

 

I suppose I shouldn't call this the Dual Value Destiny Allocation issue, then. desconfiado


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#12 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 12:10 PM

gribble said:

 

I'm not sure it's really that big an issue.

If the roll is important for both sides, then why shouldn't they both be able to modify, ***-for-tat or not? It just means that there remains a balance and no DP are flipped. Of course, if it happened on every roll, then it'd be a bit more of an issue, but I haven't noticed that happening at my table, because there is always the risk that the other party will choose not to "retaliate" and then the acting party will be down one DP. So I've found it tends to be saved for the important rolls.

 

 

The thing is, if you just make sure you always have one point left over, then you can do this forever without consequences. It doesn't matter if you have 1 light side point or 7, because if the other side spends one you can basically for free. 

If the roll is important, why shouldn't both sides spend? Not spending on important rolls is just as much metagaming.


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#13 Voice

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 03:48 PM

Two things to remember that might make this less of an issue:

  1. Trimph and Despair don't cancel each other out, even if the respective success/failure do.
  2. A Challenge die is less 'bad' than a Proficiency die is 'good', and an extra Ability die is 'better' than an upgrade to a Proficiency die.

A Challenge die is basically the GM's way to show that there might be some really bad consequences here, but statistically it will be more than countered by upgrade to a Proficiency die (or the addition of an extra Ability die).

That said, it does smell a bit of gaming the system, so if it's happening a lot, the GM & players might want to sit down and try to figure out *why*.  It could be something as simple as being exposed to or used to other systems where similar 'debuffs' are *really* dangerous, and reacting accordingly.

But, as Doc the Weasel said, if the roll is important why *shouldn't* one 'side' or the other (or both) use the appropriate resource?



#14 gribble

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Posted 29 January 2013 - 04:22 PM

Doc, the Weasel said:

The thing is, if you just make sure you always have one point left over, then you can do this forever without consequences. It doesn't matter if you have 1 light side point or 7, because if the other side spends one you can basically for free. 

Sure, but then you're always in a reactionary mode, and become unable to "proactively" spend a DP without potentially losing access to DPs altogether (at least until the other side takes the initiative and spends some). I don't see sandbagging DPs for important rolls as metagaming so much as being very "in-genre" - when those really critical situations come up, the PCs call on their destinies to make it more likely they will succeed - but not when they're just in a scrap with "mook of the week".

 


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#15 aramis

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:56 AM

It becomes counter-productive to use a light Destiny when you have talents that are triggered by a light destiny point and modify the roll (or allow rerolls).

 



#16 Doc, the Weasel

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:05 AM

I'm less concerned about this happening every roll than I am for both types of points being used on all important rolls. And why shouldn't the player/GM spend a point on an important roll? That's what they are there for. 

I'm not suggeting that the game should be played this way. What I'm trying to get at is that the way things are now encourage that behavior, and that there should be something to keep it from working that way.


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#17 KommissarK

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 09:22 AM

I think it boils down to that even if you attempt to downgrade a roll, the one initiating the roll is still at an advantage because the proficiency dice are slightly better than the red dice.

So no matter what if both sides are just stalemating spending a point on every roll and trading it back and forth you're just creating a situation where everyone is doing slightly better. And that might be on purpose. It just starts to get a bit tenser when characters start using abilities that trigger on destiny points and such.



#18 creature feature

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:16 PM

When a DP is used, it flips and sits in the center of the table until the action is resolved and at that point becomes available to the other side for use in a different action. Would that help the situation?



#19 djext1

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 06:30 PM

creature feature said:

When a DP is used, it flips and sits in the center of the table until the action is resolved and at that point becomes available to the other side for use in a different action. Would that help the situation?

 

That's how we do it.  Both sides can't use a DP for the same action.  Plus my group doesn't use them for every single thing being done.  They use them only for desperate situations, or really important moments in the story.  If both sides just use them back and forth like ping pong for the same action, you would just be doing it all day, and if your group is using them all the time merely to just get a dice upgrade, then you are using them too much.  DP's should be something important.  If your players are using them too much, just let them use them up and as the GM don't use any yourself. Let them burn em up….

 

I think the spirit of the DP is supposed to be that climactic moment where the players desperatly NEED the help of mother luck because the situation is so important.  Anyone just using them over and over, back and forth I think really takes away the importance and meaning of the destiny point.  I know as a GM, I only use them in the instances I want to stress the importance of what I'm doing, or what the NPC is doing, that moment is weighing on them…so I'm going to upgrade one of those purps and use a DP.

 

To each their own, but I think if you use them more sparingly, you'll find them more fun. 


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#20 LethalDose

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Posted 30 January 2013 - 07:57 PM

KommissarK said:

 

I think it boils down to that even if you attempt to downgrade a roll, the one initiating the roll is still at an advantage because the proficiency dice are slightly better than the red dice.

 

 

Little thing: Be careful with your terminology.  DP's [still sounds dirty] never downgrade, only upgrade.

And Doc, that was hilarious.

-WJL

EDIT: there MAY be a talent that lets you downgrade something, but I don't think so.


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