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power500500

Cooldowns are a bit awkward.

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So each player has an activation token that can only be used once before it is cooled down. It only cools down when everyone has used theirs. You use them by making decisions. This is sort of an issue in my opinion. Say you have 4 adventurers playing in your party, the beefy character lifts some rocks out of the path of the party and now he is essentially done until the other players have done SOMETHING, anything. Which means that the thief has nothing to do so he Lights a torch and puts him out of commission for that stealthy part just after that, forcing the apothecary to sneak up on the goblins. And if they happen to run across an ogre within 3 decisions (which can take a good bit of time) after moving those rocks then the beef stick, whose only real job is to be a beef stick is useless. I can just see how the roles of each character and timing can cripple the effectiveness of the party as a whole. Obviously they do this so it’s not just one person makes ALL of the choices but I think it could have been done better. I kind of wish that maybe you had a backup activation token that took a lot longer to recharge but that you could keep at the ready in case it’s “that time to shine” for your character. I’m just spit balling here though, I think there can be SOME sort of alternative to this.

Edited by power500500

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Personally, I like the idea of the tokens when there's a disagreement on what should be done, but it seems like something that doesn't always have to be invoked.  My proposed solution:  First, if the party has a unanimous choice, no tokens are spent (even if not everyone is allowed to pick the option due to requiring a skill).  Then, if there isn't a unanimous option, everyone that's willing to spend their token holds it out and one of them is chosen (potentially via die roll) to be the one to make the decision.  In the rare case where no one wants to spend their token, one player with an active token is chosen randomly to make the decision, and their token is spent.

This way, if everyone wants to go along with the same option, there's no need for tokens, and if there's disagreement then tokens are used to make sure no one dominates the entire game.

Though I don't know how well this would "balance" a larger group having access to more skills than a solo player, if that would be a concern...

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3 hours ago, power500500 said:

[...] Which means that the thief has nothing to do so he Lights a torch and puts him out of commission for that stealthy part just after that, forcing the apothecary to sneak up on the goblins [...]

As I read the rules yesterday, the rule with the activation tokens on p. 4 was the first problem I saw. The decision point example on p. 4 with the closed tea house where the party has to decide to knock on the door, to break down the door or to pick the lock and sneak inside (requiring the thievery skill) comes immediately to my mind.

If the thief has made the decision to go to the tea house before and has exhausted its activation token, he cannot be the active player in the tea house decision point. If the thief is the only one with the thievery skill, the whole party cannot decide to pick the lock and sneak inside, because all other characters have to decide something before the party can decide to pick the lock and sneak inside  when the thief can be the active player again.

You would never play an encounter in a role play game like this. I don't see the necessity of the rule with the activation tokens in decision points like this one. It may be reasonable during a decision point of a combat where every character has to do something (like an attack) until a character can do something again. Because otherwise a fighter will do all the fighting alone. If combats are ruled like this, I can see the necessity of the rule with the activation tokens. But it makes no sense in a decision point like the one with the tea house.

And the thing is: If You play solo and playing a thief You are allowed to decide to go to the tea house AND then You are allowed to pick the lock and sneak inside. But if three companions are going with the thief (played by three other players), then it is not allowed to do so. Sorry, but this makes no sense to me.

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I have to say, it's definitely inelegant and unimmersive, but to play devil's advocate for a moment here, you can cover all skills in the game from the start with three characters and easily so with four, and frankly I am at a loss how better to balance for different party sizes in a game like this that is neither combat-focused nor with a game master. Well, you could adjust the rate of XP gain, but for that it's not granular enough and it wouldn't really matter in this system once the party has access to all skills, anyway.

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The activation tokens not allowing you to do something pretty much completely breaks the "game" as your strong character stands there stupidly not being able to lift something.  It also means that combats make no sense as you'll have characters getting all muddled up doing each other's actions.

Even if you weren't spending 99% of your time listening to someone read a book and 1% "making a decision" this would have no immersion what so ever.  There is no consistency and no support from the game to promote role-playing.  In fact role-playing would be getting in the way of the game.

As a single player "game" it's fine, it's similar to the CYOA books that were popular in the 80s and 90s, but bigger and without dice.  As a multi-player "game" it's pretty terrible unless your idea of a game is to listen to someone read a book and then answer a question about what was just read every half hour or so.

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1 hour ago, Union said:

The activation tokens not allowing you to do something pretty much completely breaks the "game" as your strong character stands there stupidly not being able to lift something.  It also means that combats make no sense as you'll have characters getting all muddled up doing each other's actions.

Even if you weren't spending 99% of your time listening to someone read a book and 1% "making a decision" this would have no immersion what so ever.  There is no consistency and no support from the game to promote role-playing.  In fact role-playing would be getting in the way of the game.

As a single player "game" it's fine, it's similar to the CYOA books that were popular in the 80s and 90s, but bigger and without dice.  As a multi-player "game" it's pretty terrible unless your idea of a game is to listen to someone read a book and then answer a question about what was just read every half hour or so.

Wow...how can they release it like that.

Oh my lovely group of adventurers, which of you lot want to try lift the heavy portcullis?  The huge muscled giant I presume?  No he cant, it was his turn to light a torch 2 minutes ago, the mage with no muscles will try it.

 

 

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In the village, spending the activation token determines the "active player" for the encounter, but all players can make decisions and all abilities can still be used.

Here's the relevant rules text under "Multiple Players".

If you are playing alone (one player), you will make all decisions.
However, if you are playing with two or more players, you will each
take turns making decisions. The following rules apply only if playing
with two or more players.


^ Each player has an activation token.
^ When you reach a decision point, one of the players will make
that decision. Determine who will make each decision as a group.
^ When you make a decision, exhaust your activation token
(turning it facedown). You cannot make another decision until
your activation token is refreshed.
^ When all players have exhausted their activation tokens, all players
refresh their activation tokens (turning them faceup).
^ When you make a decision, you become the active player. You
remain the active player until another player makes a decision.
??The word “you” in an effect refers to you, the active player. The
words “you each” refer to each hero individually.

The rules above apply while reading from any of the quest books.
These rules also apply while reading the “Dragonholt Village” book,
except as stated below:


^ You each take turns choosing a location to visit. Determine who
will choose a location as a group.
^ When you choose a location, exhaust your activation token
(turning it facedown). You cannot choose another location until
your activation token is refreshed.
^ When you choose a location, you become the active player, and
you remain the active player until the corresponding encounter
is complete.
^ All decisions made during an encounter should be made as a
group. You do not exhaust your activation token when you
make a decision, and requirements on options can be fulfilled
by any of you.
?? As the active player, you have the final say on those decisions.

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This rules differentiation between Player and Character is interesting. The wording clearly says one activation token per player, not per character. This tells me its main purpose is 'out of game', to dissuade more vocal players at the table from dominating the narrative (probably important for beginners to RPGs and where there is no GM at the table).

That implies, if soloing this, one can play multiple characters and ignore the strictures of activation entirely. As there's only one player, so the token resets after every decision you make, in the rules as written. Therefore, according to RAW, a solo player can use whatever character to do whatever action whenever you like - whether or not they have just used a skill on the previous decision point/book entry.

Well, if the game system can withstand that flexibility for multiple characters controlled by one player, it clearly can for multiple players with one character each.

Therefore, the mechanics don't need the activation rule for any kind of balance, so feel free to ignore it - just make sure everyone has input into the decision-making elements, and try to share the activities among characters.

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1 hour ago, jonamok said:

This rules differentiation between Player and Character is interesting. The wording clearly says one activation token per player, not per character. This tells me its main purpose is 'out of game', to dissuade more vocal players at the table from dominating the narrative (probably important for beginners to RPGs and where there is no GM at the table).

That implies, if soloing this, one can play multiple characters and ignore the strictures of activation entirely. As there's only one player, so the token resets after every decision you make, in the rules as written. Therefore, according to RAW, a solo player can use whatever character to do whatever action whenever you like - whether or not they have just used a skill on the previous decision point/book entry.

Well, if the game system can withstand that flexibility for multiple characters controlled by one player, it clearly can for multiple players with one character each.

Therefore, the mechanics don't need the activation rule for any kind of balance, so feel free to ignore it - just make sure everyone has input into the decision-making elements, and try to share the activities among characters.

Interesting.

I wonder, I don have the rules yet but would this work-

2 players.  Each PLAYER has an activation token but the characters dont.  So lets say for ease of use, 1 player has a strong man, 1 has a weedy clever wizard.

When it comes to activation/decisions, the PLAYERS take it in turns to decide, but lets say Strong character has just been used to light a torch or something, if the next challenge is 'who can lift this heavy box' the other activation player can choose the strong char(even if its not their character as such, so long as the players with the strong skill approves', avoiding idiotic situations where the game things the weedy wizard should have to try lift the heavy box while the strong man twiddles his thumbs.

 

do you follow my meaning(sorry its not well written).   It would imo seem much more sensible than what appears to be the actual rules?

 

Each player gets an activation but can choose freely from the various characters in the group?  Would it break it?

Edited by VAYASAN

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Sounds like your suggestion makes it more explicit that the tokens are there to ensure all the players get a fair go, rather than all the characters. If that's the designer's intention, then yours is the better approach.

It does raise the spectre of player argument though, when someone disagrees with what you want their character to do (especially if they go along with it and something bad happens to that character as a result).

But at least they are communicating!

Edited by jonamok

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5 minutes ago, jonamok said:

Sounds like your suggestion makes it more explicit that the tokens are there to ensure all the players get a fair go, rather than all the characters. If that's the designer's intention, then yours is the better approach.

It does raise the spectre of player argument though, when someone disagrees with what you want their character to do (especially if they go along with it and something bad happens to that character as a result).

But at least they are communicating!

Ok thanks.

 

Dont really care what the designers intentions are, would just want a more rounded, more sensible game where a character with ideal skills is forced to stand there watching while a Wizard or something tries to pick a lock.

 

Just seems like situations waiting to crop up where all the players just think...eh?

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I think the activation tokens work fine. The game isn’t about strategy. It’s about getting people to act like their character and seeing what happens.

If there were any sense of strategy, then yes the activation tokens would not work. But since there are no requirements to meet and (quite literally according to the rule book) you “win” as long as you finish and enjoy yourselves, then it doesn’t matter.

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8 minutes ago, Artaterxes said:

I think the activation tokens work fine. The game isn’t about strategy. It’s about getting people to act like their character and seeing what happens.

If there were any sense of strategy, then yes the activation tokens would not work. But since there are no requirements to meet and (quite literally according to the rule book) you “win” as long as you finish and enjoy yourselves, then it doesn’t matter.

I get what you mean but I just dont see how a player can act like their character if you create a great hulking strong guy and then you come to something that needs lifting to save the party, you cant, you have to stand there and watch while a Wizard guy attempts it because your go didnt fall on that 'turn'.

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44 minutes ago, VAYASAN said:

I get what you mean but I just dont see how a player can act like their character if you create a great hulking strong guy and then you come to something that needs lifting to save the party, you cant, you have to stand there and watch while a Wizard guy attempts it because your go didnt fall on that 'turn'.

Excactly my point!

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1 hour ago, Artaterxes said:

(quite literally according to the rule book) you “win” as long as you finish and enjoy yourselves, then it doesn’t matter.

This is likely the key point that we're all getting a bit 'experienced strategist/roleplayer' and missing. Basically, if there's very rarely a fail state, and the point is to just enjoy the story and the experience together or solo, then there are two very easy options. Pick which works for you:

  1. Forget that sometimes characters will do seemingly illogical things (based on awkward activation mechanics) and just enjoy it anyway. If that breaks the immersion for you, or just irritates, then:
  2. Forget the activation rule entirely, it clearly isn't that important, but just ensure all players get their chance to make some decisions.

 

Edited by jonamok

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I don't think the activation tokens prevents a character from using his skills. It's more to prevent the alpha player from taking all the decisions for the group.

For example, let's take the teahouse example from the rule book - established that the quiet player has a character trained in thievery and the alpha player's character isn't trained in such a skill, he'd rather smash thing up:

1. Quiet player takes the decision (for the group) to head towards the tea house. *flips token*

2. Alpha player decides that the character with the thievery skill (the quiet player) will use his skill to break into the house *flips token*

Note that the alpha player could have chosen otherwise, play less teamworky and smash the door to bits leaving the quiet player in the dust with his precious skill, pouting.

I think that's how it works. It's just so everyone has a final say in every decision, turn by turn. An activated token would not mean that a character is "activated" (hence useless) but more that the player won't have the final say in the current decision. The player who actually decides might make another player's character use the useful skill he spent so many points on even if his token is activated.

In short, the token does not lock a character from acting but instead, locks the ability of a player from having a final say in a given decision.

Correct me if i'm wrong since i don't own the game yet. 

Edited by Shirys

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Yeah. It’s really not the most brain-burning system out there. A more gamery option would have more stats and more character differentiation. Decision could be given to the players best suited to that task based on a skill level system. “Player equality” could be based on designing quests that allow all heroes of all kinds chances to participate, rather than just making every decision acceptable.

But they have the blueprints for what to do in the future. They can watch for fan feedback and alter the direction of the game system as they go. It’s what they did for Descent. People wanted conquest tokens and exploration back, so they did.

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16 minutes ago, Shirys said:

I don't think the activation tokens prevents a character from using his skills. It's more to prevent the alpha player from taking all the decisions for the group.

For example, let's take the teahouse example from the rule book - established that the quiet player has a character trained in thievery and the alpha player's character isn't trained in such a skill, he'd rather smash thing up:

1. Quiet player takes the decision (for the group) to head towards the tea house. *flips token*

2. Alpha player decides that the character with the thievery skill (the quiet player) will use his skill to break into the house *flips token*

Note that the alpha player could have chosen otherwise, play less teamworky and smash the door to bits leaving the quiet player in the dust with his precious skill, pouting.

I think that's how it works. It's just so everyone has a final say in every decision, turn by turn. An activated token would not mean that a character is "activated" (hence useless) but more that the player won't have the final say in the current decision. The player who actually decides might make another player's character use the useful skill he spent so many points on even if his token is activated.

In short, the token does not lock a character from acting but instead, locks the ability of a player from having a final say in a given decision.

Correct me if i'm wrong since i don't own the game yet. 

The part in bold, are you saying if player 1 with a thief character has just used his 'turn'...when they get to the door, the second player CAN use his 'turn' to decide the 'thief' can use his lockpicking skills to pick the lock?

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16 minutes ago, VAYASAN said:

The part in bold, are you saying if player 1 with a thief character has just used his 'turn'...when they get to the door, the second player CAN use his 'turn' to decide the 'thief' can use his lockpicking skills to pick the lock?

I thought so at first but i just read something in the rule book mentioning: In the above example, the “Pick the lock and sneak inside.” option cannot be chosen unless you have the thievery skill.

By "You" in the rulebook, they mean the active character or the one who's currently deciding. I thought they meant the group as a whole.

This would mean that you can't use other character skills into making your decision, just the skills you own which would explain the usefulness of training more skills by gaining experience. This would increase your individual skill pool and efficiency in having more options available for every decision your character is confronted with.

Not sure if i'm right there...

Edited by Shirys

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Regardless of the official wording, I'm planning on playing this as a group CYOA, where everyone's skills are available for each decision. The tokens just ensure everyone gets a chance to participate, and a single person can't over-ride the game. At that point it might as well be one person reading a story and everyone else is just sitting there listening to it with no real input.

Of course skills may become disabled due to low stamina, and those particular skills would not be available for decisions beyond that point (until healed of course), but I refuse to play it where someone's skill can't be used just because it isn't their "turn", especially if everyone agrees that person's skill is the ideal choice for the situation... cause that would just be dumb.

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Just now, Inmate4251 said:

Regardless of the official wording, I'm planning on playing this as a group CYOA, where everyone's skills are available for each decision. The tokens just ensure everyone gets a chance to participate, and a single person can't over-ride the game. At that point it might as well be one person reading a story and everyone else is just sitting there listening to it with no real input.

Of course skills may become disabled due to low stamina, and those particular skills would not be available for decisions beyond that point (until healed of course), but I refuse to play it where someone's skill can't be used just because it isn't their "turn", especially if everyone agrees that person's skill is the ideal choice for the situation... cause that would just be dumb.

Agree with the last part so much...I just hope playing like that wont break the game a bit.

 

If its workable, ill have the activations for the PLAYER and if a players 'turn' means they need a strong man man to lift a big box, he can pick another char (if that other  player with a 'strong' character agrees) to do something.

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1 hour ago, Inmate4251 said:

Regardless of the official wording, I'm planning on playing this as a group CYOA, where everyone's skills are available for each decision. The tokens just ensure everyone gets a chance to participate, and a single person can't over-ride the game. At that point it might as well be one person reading a story and everyone else is just sitting there listening to it with no real input.

Of course skills may become disabled due to low stamina, and those particular skills would not be available for decisions beyond that point (until healed of course), but I refuse to play it where someone's skill can't be used just because it isn't their "turn", especially if everyone agrees that person's skill is the ideal choice for the situation... cause that would just be dumb.

Agree with you on that. I think that's the way i would play it, more fun. Makes more sense.

For balance's sake though, since doing this would increase the available skill pool from a single character to the whole group's (which is a lot more than intended by the official rules), maybe reduce the number of skills when you create a character by one or two, or even reduce total stamina =/

Again, i don't have the game so i can't really test it but it is an idea i strongly support for sure.

Though i might understand the reason why the designers brought the mechanic this way in the rules when playing several characters, i don't find fun the fact that when someone's time to shine finally arrives (which might have been awaited for the last 30 mins or so listening to someone reading a book), he can't shine at all since he previously decided to go take a leak in the nearby bushes. This could be frustrating for the player and strip him from his desire to play the game again since every time his precious skills are required, he's "activated" and can't use it so he's basically useless. I mean, not totally useless since the active player still can choose on of the available options, but not the one where your new exiting skill could have made a big difference, which ends up feeling like disapointment. Who know, maybe in the next 30 mins i'll have the occasion to use one of my skills. Oh wait, i still can't use my precious skills because in the previous decision, i just threw a few coins in the palm of some beggar... i wanted to bring some good in this bleak world and i'm penalized for it. Seems broken to me.

Never saw any RPGs played like this, unless your toon is paralyzed, unconscious or whatevs.

My opinion solely.

Edited by Shirys

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