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Story Points to Start

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Rules as written state

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At the beginning of the session, you and your group add one Story Point to the player pool for each player. Then, your GM adds one Story Point to the Game Master pool.

Does this mean if you have five players there would be five player story points and one GM story point?

Or should it be one GM story point per player as well?   

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Wow.  That takes a lot of agency away from the GM.... 

Well, Genesys is a generic system and it encourages your own development... we may go back to rolling force dice... 

 

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I'm personally of the belief its that lopsided to start on purpose. Firstly, GM's shouldn't really ever need to spend Story Points to introduce new details unless its a well and true ****-pull. Secondly, it encourages players to actually spend theirs, which is something that some groups have issues with. People tend to be less hoard-y with things if they have more than the other guy.

EDIT: Was not expecting an older term for someone's rear-end to be blocked...

Edited by RyuujinKatsuya

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I use the Star Wars destiny rolls myself. One roll per player.

 

It is technically a d12, but you could do a standard d6:

  1. nothing
  2. one white
  3. two white
  4. one black
  5. two black
  6. nothing

or a more thematic "higher is better for players roll"

  1. two black
  2. one black
  3. nothing
  4. nothing
  5. one white
  6. two white

 

Edited by Doomgrin75

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1 hour ago, ElderKoala said:

I've done 3 beginner games now.  The 5 to 1 is fine.  It lets the players get some momentum before the game punches them in the face.

Exactly, it lets them think they're winning when all they're really doing is digging their hole deeper!  :ph34r:

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1 hour ago, saethone said:

Exactly, it lets them think they're winning when all they're really doing is digging their hole deeper!  :ph34r:

True, but if you have conservative players, they tend to horde story points, and never use them.  Yes, I've had this occur in Star Wars with destiny points.  So, if I as the GM start with lots, I spend them like water on minor things, and the players realize that they will come back.  

More introspection required.

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3 hours ago, GamerTnT said:

Rules as written state

Does this mean if you have five players there would be five player story points and one GM story point?

Or should it be one GM story point per player as well?   

To be honest, I still don't 100% get what to do with Story Points as a GM. Like...if I need to make an encounter more difficult I can just make it more difficult, no?

 

I can add more enemies: "The orcish wild-man blows a thready hoot from a bone-wrought horn. And from the skies above another hoot answers, this one warm-blooded and booming, as a Direowl swoops down into the clearing."

 

I can improve existing, known-quantity dice pools: "You don't recognize the auto-injector until it's too late, already falling from the shaking trooper's hands as his skin flushes and his muscles seem to tense and bulge through his uniform."

 

I can add or increase the possibility of catastrophy by upgrading dice: "You feel the surface beneath your feet tremble as your mag-boots struggle to maintain their grip on the hull as capital-class laser fire tears apart the ships around you in silent explosions. You remember the captain's words--repair the antenna and get back inside, every extra minute is inviting disaster--all checks out here are upgraded by 1."

 

In practice I've just been using them to throw in setback die here and there just to get them back into the players hands so they can use them in interesting ways. I'm already pretty empowered to change whatever's needed to keep the tension and drama where it needs to be for the story. 

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7 minutes ago, JonofPDX said:

To be honest, I still don't 100% get what to do with Story Points as a GM. Like...if I need to make an encounter more difficult I can just make it more difficult, no?

 

I can add more enemies: "The orcish wild-man blows a thready hoot from a bone-wrought horn. And from the skies above another hoot answers, this one warm-blooded and booming, as a Direowl swoops down into the clearing."

 

I can improve existing, known-quantity dice pools: "You don't recognize the auto-injector until it's too late, already falling from the shaking trooper's hands as his skin flushes and his muscles seem to tense and bulge through his uniform."

 

I can add or increase the possibility of catastrophy by upgrading dice: "You feel the surface beneath your feet tremble as your mag-boots struggle to maintain their grip on the hull as capital-class laser fire tears apart the ships around you in silent explosions. You remember the captain's words--repair the antenna and get back inside, every extra minute is inviting disaster--all checks out here are upgraded by 1."

 

In practice I've just been using them to throw in setback die here and there just to get them back into the players hands so they can use them in interesting ways. I'm already pretty empowered to change whatever's needed to keep the tension and drama where it needs to be for the story. 

The story points are not what you plan to do, but rather a direct showing to the players that them taking advantage of playing with the narrative in their favor has a balance. You use it easily on rolls to show the rivals and nemesis get a "power-up" for a roll.

Most of what you shown above is not so much upgrading dice but rather setbacks.

Also your orc example you should have used a story point unless you had planned from the very beginning to have re-enforcements as part of the encounter. If you make any impromptu decisions that make things more difficult enough to upgrade difficulty you should be using points (or planning better in the future if you think your encounters are too easy!)

Edited by Doomgrin75

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21 minutes ago, JonofPDX said:

To be honest, I still don't 100% get what to do with Story Points as a GM.

Their utility would be more obvious in a game system where there's a limit to GM fiat (e.g. Cortex+), but here it's felt like a mechanical loose end since EotE.  IME, players mostly ignore them unless a talent requires, and the problem is exacerbated in Genesys with the starting PC bias. I've run EotE/Genesys for 3 different tables now, and the cross-cultural consensus is that the greatest utility story points have is denying them to the GM. (Yes, I realize the GM has free reign to flip over points to keep that from happening, but honestly I find that too confrontational and distracting.) Assuming players more amenable to the as-intended back-and-forth action, my preference would be to use them to up the stakes as the tension rises in the later part of the adventure.

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1 hour ago, GamerTnT said:

True, but if you have conservative players, they tend to horde story points, and never use them.  Yes, I've had this occur in Star Wars with destiny points.  So, if I as the GM start with lots, I spend them like water on minor things, and the players realize that they will come back.  

More introspection required.

If players are hoarding Story Points, they might need to rethink the way they are playing. They are missing out on a great way to manipulate the story themselves.

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1 hour ago, GM Hooly said:

If players are hoarding Story Points, they might need to rethink the way they are playing. They are missing out on a great way to manipulate the story themselves.

Very true.  I think I've broken the habit for most of them, but occasionally it returns.  It's easier if I have lots and spend them freely, it gets them spending 

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8 hours ago, Doomgrin75 said:

The story points are not what you plan to do, but rather a direct showing to the players that them taking advantage of playing with the narrative in their favor has a balance. You use it easily on rolls to show the rivals and nemesis get a "power-up" for a roll.javascript:void('11')

Most of what you shown above is not so much upgrading dice but rather setbacks.

Also your orc example you should have used a story point unless you had planned from the very beginning to have re-enforcements as part of the encounter. If you make any impromptu decisions that make things more difficult enough to upgrade difficulty you should be using points (or planning better in the future if you think your encounters are too easy!)

 

I understand the argument that the GM should use points so they cycle and players don’t feel the need to lock down the story point economy and deprive themselves and the story those inputs—that’s what I said I do. I’m saying I don’t see compelling ways to use them.

 

And as for my examples, I wasn’t demonstrating the specific use of story points. I was saying I can do just as much or more without them. Adding previously non-existent reinforcements in the first example, adjusting known dice pool difficulties in the second and upgrading dice to represent the possibility of catastrophe from despair results in the third.  

 

But I’m not really understanding your reasoning regarding using story points for all unplanned circumstances—that seems like an incredible limitation to impose on a GM. This isn't a competitive experience, after all--the GM isn't against the players requiring some kind of balance.

 

Like, the point of an encounter is its dramatic effect on the narrative, right? What that effect is can vary wildly. A breezy tear through a large group of fairly disposable minions is there to make the PCs feel powerful. A rapid series of difficult encounters rolling one to another are there to ratchet up the tension, degrade the PC’s resources and make them sweat. A desperate struggle against impossible odds is there to create stakes (someone could die) but also to create room for moments of real, hard-won pride when the players overcome the impossible.

 

And the thing is—those aren’t always interchangeable.

 

A village girl has been kidnapped by orcs. Gasp! Luckily our plucky band of adventurers have tracked them west, where they’ve encountered a group of orc sentries on the moors.

 

Now, lets get real. These orc sentries are here to serve two functions in the narrative. One, to provide the PCs a greater understanding of the narrative (why was our girl kidnapped, who did the kidnapping, where are they, etc). And two, to break up the gameplay with a combat encounter.

 

Function one seems simple enough. The players could stealth the orc party and overhear their conversations. Or interrogate a survivor after the fight. Perhaps find a letter on one of the bodies. Or track their footprints to another likely source of the same info.

 

But…what about function 2? What if, once the combat begins, the dice go heavily against the players and it looks like someone might die (against nobody orcs on what you and the player both know is probably little more than a side-quest)? Or even if the PCs succeed, they’ve had to dip deeply into their resources to do so and you know things are going to get significantly harder from here? Especially if there’s a time element to your quest and they can’t just head back to town, replenish their resources and wait.

 

Or, just as bad, what if it’s the end of the night in a session that hasn’t had any combat and your players are getting a little antsy? They take to the fight with gusto but it’s pretty quickly apparent that the PCs are gonna wipe these orcs out pretty quick without anything particularly interesting happening and then you’re gonna be done for the night with everyone feeling like there was no juice or drama to the games final (potentially) hours.  

 

The simple answer is to adjust the encounter on the fly to meet the needs of the game (call in the direowl).

 

And while, obviously, you don’t want to do this too blatantly or often for fear of shattering the verisimilitude of the world—nobody’s arguing there aren’t limits to this, I will rarely actually fudge an encounter in a serious way, maybe once every few sessions—gamifying it so that you can only do it under certain circumstances (and telegraphing to players that your doing it by flipping a point) seems like it would not only handicap the GM’s ability to create compelling drama but also impact the players sense that the world is real and their actions have consequences. After all, when I fudge I have to follow the rules of the world and what I’ve previously stated. When I flip a point, the players know I’m making a change and all bets are off.

Edited by JonofPDX

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As a GM i use them regularly as a tension building tool. I'll regularly flip a point and not tell my players what exactly i did. During one session the players were trapped on a pirate ship with 1 party member left behind. The captain of the pirates took the lone player hostage and went back to his ship to find the players have now taken over the pirate ship. So i had him start sneaking around the players with a hostage, flipping destiny points left and right. They had a meta understanding that something was happening, but didn't exactly know what. It added a boat load of tension to the scene until it climaxed into a hostage ransom.

 

I could have easily just had the Captain roll his stealth and bypass the players. But the story points made a great psychological tool, and allowed me to make sure the players had plenty in their pool during the climax.

Edited by Noahjam325

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How to encourage the players to use of SP?

I think this could be hard for all the players who haven't much experience to help the GM creating new things or who doesn't know how be the protagonist in the story. And this isn't an easy task to reasolve as well. The players must feel the story and that they are all part of this, not just pieces of a finished story. They are there creating and sometimes the story could turn to their side. Or when they think they have the momentum. The story point is much more easy to spend if the players can think that they are protagonists and they can do great things in the story. Turning the point to help is that special moment where they are called to be that hero.

They can use to:

  • Upgrade their own check
  • To upgrade an adversary check
  • To active talents and abilities
  • To have some lucky finding something

How to spend them as GM

Basicaly the GM use the story points in every way plays can use them. And like the players, it's important to feel the moment and check if make any sense to use, thinking that should be something more dramatic. The world conspiring against the characters or just the momentum as well. The GM could do a lot of things just being the GM, but using the story point, in front of the players, is something that can create the feeling of a "living story" instead of something that was already planned by the GM, thus will provide and SP for the party to spend later.

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Personally as a GM, I use story/destiny points when I introduce something that makes things more tough but I want to lessen the blow for the players, so they get something out of it in the form of a story/destiny point. I really don't have to but I do it to lead by example. If they want to upgrade a check or introduce a fact into the narrative, that's showing them how they could do so.

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11 hours ago, JonofPDX said:

 

I understand the argument that the GM should use points so they cycle and players don’t feel the need to lock down the story point economy and deprive themselves and the story those inputs—that’s what I said I do. I’m saying I don’t see compelling ways to use them.

 

And as for my examples, I wasn’t demonstrating the specific use of story points. I was saying I can do just as much or more without them. Adding previously non-existent reinforcements in the first example, adjusting known dice pool difficulties in the second and upgrading dice to represent the possibility of catastrophe from despair results in the third.  

 

But I’m not really understanding your reasoning regarding using story points for all unplanned circumstances—that seems like an incredible limitation to impose on a GM. This isn't a competitive experience, after all--the GM isn't against the players requiring some kind of balance.

 

Like, the point of an encounter is its dramatic effect on the narrative, right? What that effect is can vary wildly. A breezy tear through a large group of fairly disposable minions is there to make the PCs feel powerful. A rapid series of difficult encounters rolling one to another are there to ratchet up the tension, degrade the PC’s resources and make them sweat. A desperate struggle against impossible odds is there to create stakes (someone could die) but also to create room for moments of real, hard-won pride when the players overcome the impossible.

 

And the thing is—those aren’t always interchangeable.

 

A village girl has been kidnapped by orcs. Gasp! Luckily our plucky band of adventurers have tracked them west, where they’ve encountered a group of orc sentries on the moors.

 

Now, lets get real. These orc sentries are here to serve two functions in the narrative. One, to provide the PCs a greater understanding of the narrative (why was our girl kidnapped, who did the kidnapping, where are they, etc). And two, to break up the gameplay with a combat encounter.

 

Function one seems simple enough. The players could stealth the orc party and overhear their conversations. Or interrogate a survivor after the fight. Perhaps find a letter on one of the bodies. Or track their footprints to another likely source of the same info.

 

But…what about function 2? What if, once the combat begins, the dice go heavily against the players and it looks like someone might die (against nobody orcs on what you and the player both know is probably little more than a side-quest)? Or even if the PCs succeed, they’ve had to dip deeply into their resources to do so and you know things are going to get significantly harder from here? Especially if there’s a time element to your quest and they can’t just head back to town, replenish their resources and wait.

 

Or, just as bad, what if it’s the end of the night in a session that hasn’t had any combat and your players are getting a little antsy? They take to the fight with gusto but it’s pretty quickly apparent that the PCs are gonna wipe these orcs out pretty quick without anything particularly interesting happening and then you’re gonna be done for the night with everyone feeling like there was no juice or drama to the games final (potentially) hours.  

 

The simple answer is to adjust the encounter on the fly to meet the needs of the game (call in the direowl).

 

And while, obviously, you don’t want to do this too blatantly or often for fear of shattering the verisimilitude of the world—nobody’s arguing there aren’t limits to this, I will rarely actually fudge an encounter in a serious way, maybe once every few sessions—gamifying it so that you can only do it under certain circumstances (and telegraphing to players that your doing it by flipping a point) seems like it would not only handicap the GM’s ability to create compelling drama but also impact the players sense that the world is real and their actions have consequences. After all, when I fudge I have to follow the rules of the world and what I’ve previously stated. When I flip a point, the players know I’m making a change and all bets are off.

3

I think the problem is you are treating them like an absolute. Use them as a tool to motivate the players, but do not feel you cannot improv based on the situation. A good GM goes with what works for their group and uses written rules as guidelines, not bylaws.  The story points allows the players to add to their chances or introduce elements that help move the story along (such as "remembering" to bring a rope when they found they need to climb into a big hole).  You can just as easily start the players with X number of SP per session and tell them that is it and you will be improving as needed.  That may work for your group that trusts you to not screw them over and your judgment of balance is already good enough.

 

Heck in my own group we tend to forget the things. I use them myself for more of the the orcs see they are getting slaughtered and this one has had it... SP to upgrade the orc's attack.

Edited by Doomgrin75

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