Banking stunt points

Discuss our dark fantasy adventure tabletop roleplaying game based on BioWare's computer game, Dragon Age Origins.

Banking stunt points

Postby Brokensoul » Sun Apr 22, 2012 7:58 am

I have been away from this game for awhile but am coming back. I keep coming back it is light easy and fun, but my one problem has been not being able to do stunts when you want, from years of 3.5/Pathfinder if me or my players wan't to try and disarm someone then we don't want to wait to generate stunt points.

Now for the question, I was looking at new character sheets and one of the ones had a place for stored stunt points the limit seemed to be level+2. I went looking into my books for this rule and the beta test but could not find it.

So is it a house rule and if so who's and what are the details, like how long do they stay stored. I can see saving them for later in that encounter but not much longer.

Also I am always tweeking games any good house rules out there for Dragon Age?
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Zapp » Sun Apr 22, 2012 9:59 am

Yes, banking stunt points is house rules only.

A forum search on "stunt bank" yielded (at least) these three topics. Perhaps your variant was conceived/discussed in one of them...?

A Dragon Age "Action Point" Mechanic?
viewtopic.php?f=33&t=8019

Stunts and DA style energy
viewtopic.php?f=33&t=10174

Combat maneuvers
viewtopic.php?f=33&t=10561
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Saisei » Sun Apr 22, 2012 11:56 am

We have banked stunt points in our game. Players get stunt points equal to their level. They accrue more points by rolling triples on a successful test (any test, and their banked stunt points can't surpass their level).

The only time stunt points "recharge" is when they level.

It's fun so far and seems to work for us. They're very much "in case of emergency"
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Disemvowel » Sun Apr 22, 2012 6:17 pm

The idea of waiting for doubles to allow one to trip does not sit well at first, there is another way to think about it. If instead, the player comes at in such a way that they are not going to initiate a specific action, but rather immediately seek to deal damage (not kill, the choice is there at 0hp) and take advantage of a well placed blow or slip in enemy defenses. It is a chance to re-engage the old roleplaying lobes and shed some of the video game cells.
На войне, победе. В мире, бдительность. В смерти, предлагая
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Saisei » Mon Apr 23, 2012 12:41 am

I also just allow my players to use stunt point type effects in place of their regular attacks. For example if they specifically want to knock someone down in combat I just have them roll opposed Strength (Might) tests. If they want to disarm someone I just use the attack roll vs. attack roll that the Disarm stunt suggests but they obviously don't do damage.

It works well. My players are quite free with how they approach combat.
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Loswaith » Mon Apr 23, 2012 3:11 pm

I do the same as Saisei, rather than worry about stunt point banking.
It also opens up the ability to take focuses in the various maneuvers too should a character have concepts in line with them.
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby si1vergecko » Mon Apr 23, 2012 4:05 pm

I have to admit I do like the idea of just doing the non damage options that you can do with stunts with the choice of just not doing damage. Banking I can see the argument for since you could say it is like the stamina system that is in the original game but I still like the randomness of stunts points as well.
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby shonuff » Tue Apr 24, 2012 9:36 am

My house-rule borrows heavily from the plot point concept from the Serenity RPG. PCs get a handful of stunt points to be used at their discretion, and can refill that bank either during the next adventure or by getting awards during play at GM discretion (good ideas, good role-playing, etc.).

Although, I like Saisei's idea and might use that instead.
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Zapp » Wed Apr 25, 2012 1:38 am

Though it should be noted making opposed Strength Test is the traditional mechanism that AGE is trying to get away from by means of the Stunt mechanic.

Nothing wrong with that; it's just that the strength of AGE is that you don't have to remember/come up with specific rules for every type of special action you can take - they're all Stunts, so you only need to assign a point cost and you're ready to go. :)
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby shonuff » Thu Apr 26, 2012 10:22 am

Zapp wrote:Though it should be noted making opposed Strength Test is the traditional mechanism that AGE is trying to get away from by means of the Stunt mechanic.

Nothing wrong with that; it's just that the strength of AGE is that you don't have to remember/come up with specific rules for every type of special action you can take - they're all Stunts, so you only need to assign a point cost and you're ready to go. :)


But that would be the difference between planning it, and just having it happen. Just because AGE allows for random events to happen shouldn't mean that the system cannot allow for events to be planned to happen.
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Zapp » Sat Apr 28, 2012 1:29 am

Dragon Age's design philosophy is that "random events" (stunts) happen so often that you might actually plan them; you just can't specify exactly which combat round they'll be executed.

The most straight-forward way to add player control over this is indeed by banked stunt points.

There's nothing wrong by adding rules that allow you to perform moves similar to stunts by the way of making ability tests. Indeed, that is how many other games have done it through decades of roleplaying.

However, you do lose (some) of the inventiveness and uniqueness of the AGE system if you do add "back" this into the system, and I personally recommend that you do not do it just as a reflex, just because you're accustomed to how things work elsewhere. Indeed, I would recommend that you hold off adding back rules for ability tests to perform special combat maneuvers until you have tasted the unique way of how AGE does things... :)



One compromise approach would be to allow a special action to generate stunt points in general, and then use the stunt charts normally.

That is, instead of taking a specific action (with a lot of rules for how different actions trigger different Ability Tests, just like in other fantasy rpgs) instead of dealing damage, you take the general "generate stunt points" action, which, if the Test is successful, generates as many Stunt Points as the Dragon Die indicates, possibly with a small bonus. Then you use these Stunt Points to see if you can afford to pull off the desired special action, or if you will have to settle for some lesser Stunt.



The advantage is that you avoid having two systems that share the same "design space", that are made (more or less) for the same purpose. The Stunt mechanic is clearly designed to replace the list of special actions of other games; why not acknowledge and embrace that when playing AGE?

At least, if you do choose to go ahead with a special maneuvers subsystem, make it an informed and deliberate decision rather than a knee-jerk reaction to missing what you've grown accustomed to*! :)

Cheers and good luck with your game!

*) Not saying this applies to you reading this - only that I identify a possibility that a gamer might adding back what they perceive as "missing" without seeing the value in its deliberate omission :)
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Loswaith » Sat Apr 28, 2012 10:50 pm

One of the downsides to just using normal stunts is it makes combat simply, attack, attack, attack, with no real variation other than when the dice happen to indicate a stunt. This gets boring, fast.

It also doesnt realy give players a sence of direct control of their character either (the bigger part of the reason for me having included the ability to do other actions that are similar to some stunts).

The strength and uniqueness of the stunt system is more about decorating an attack with ancillary effects (in my opinion) that they wouldnt have otherwise. Representing things that could happen in battle in that through the flow of battle oppertunities show up to use or execute certain maneuvers.
It tends to assist the imagry in that a combat round inst just a single blow for blow, but more a fluid series of maneuvers.

Having character's deliberatly trying to perform certain maneuvers can happily fit with the stunt system (maneuvers of oppertunity), without intruding on it, or even diminishing it.

I personally don't think banking stunt points is the way to do it because some stunts dont realy fit deliberate actions, because they are typically part of premis of an attack (damage and/or bypassing armour for example). While some can be deliberate, such as knockdowns, disarms and skirmishes. Simply banking stunt points opens up all possible stunts both deliberate and oppertunistic style ones.
Though I like the stunt system to be the decorative/ancilliary side to combat maneuvers (or other situations) rather than the maneuvers themselves, so your mileage may vary.
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Pytorb » Sun Apr 29, 2012 7:48 am

We tried banking stunt points and it didn't really work. In part I think that was because the players used them a lot quicker than I was expecting them to. This resulted in the return of the frustration that they couldn't control their characters by attempting a disarm (or other stunt) when it was appropriate for the story because the dice didn't let them. If we return to the AGE rules it will be with a reduced incidence of stunt points but letting the players attempt any stunt at any time for a suitable difficulty penalty.
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Zapp » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:15 am

Loswaith wrote:One of the downsides to just using normal stunts is it makes combat simply, attack, attack, attack, with no real variation other than when the dice happen to indicate a stunt. This gets boring, fast.

Remember, this is an introductory game, designed for simplicity rather than completeness.

You might handle extra layers of complexity just fine, but newbies might rather be scared off.

But your comment does beg the question if perhaps what your group need is a different, more tactically rich game, to begin with?
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Zapp » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:19 am

Loswaith wrote:I personally don't think banking stunt points is the way to do it because some stunts dont realy fit deliberate actions, because they are typically part of premis of an attack (damage and/or bypassing armour for example). While some can be deliberate, such as knockdowns, disarms and skirmishes. Simply banking stunt points opens up all possible stunts both deliberate and oppertunistic style ones.
Though I like the stunt system to be the decorative/ancilliary side to combat maneuvers (or other situations) rather than the maneuvers themselves, so your mileage may vary.

You seem perfectly capable of having both systems side by side, so you should consider my comments not directed at you. ;)

I was more raising a flag for newbies. And again, there's nothing wrong with the "special actions with special rules" approach (after all, it was the standard for perhaps 20 years). I just want to point to the fact that for the target group of this game, perhaps sticking to the stunt point mechanic is "good enough" while considerably less complex.

Cheers!
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Re: Banking stunt points

Postby Zapp » Mon Apr 30, 2012 1:27 am

Pytorb wrote:We tried banking stunt points and it didn't really work. In part I think that was because the players used them a lot quicker than I was expecting them to. This resulted in the return of the frustration that they couldn't control their characters by attempting a disarm (or other stunt) when it was appropriate for the story because the dice didn't let them.

Thank you for sharing.

Yes, if a child eats all its candy straight away, then for sure there will be tears and gnashed teeth later on... :yar:

The expectation with any moderate stunt bank should (IMO) be to "nudge" a stunt result a point here or there. Not to pluck expensive stunts out of thin air. That is, an economical use of a banked stunt point could be to buy "Enrage" when you rolled a 4 on the Dragon Die (it normally costs 5). Not to buy it when you didn't get a stunt in the first place.

If you feel confident in handling the extra complexity of special maneuvers, go for it. (And I'm sure there's no need to reinvent the wheel - it should be easy to crib the existing mechanisms from another game. But that's another topic of discussion... :) )
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