Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mo' Tools of Ignorance!

As to not playing games out, my idea is basically to work off contested Team base ratings to get a modifier, then roll once for the unplayed game, win or lose. A highlights roll could also be made - each player roll 1d20, any 1 rolled means the player had a personal highlight. This TN should be modified upward depending on the star status (as determined by accumulated Notice) of the player - A standard player +0 to the TN, Rising Talent +1, Star +2, and Superstar +3. The quality of the highlight could be handled by a second roll with number of dice = 1, modified by star status, and counting only the highest roll. Thus the range of the result would be the same - anyone can hit a dramatic home run, or make an athletic catch - but the stars would have a better chance of getting the better success. I would let the player dictate the actual play, based on the roll and the predetermined result - no walk-off doubles when you lose the game! The highest result would decide first. The highlight would count toward Notice.

As for Tools of Ignorance CharGen, I'm thinking I'll go with layered templates. One for base Attributes and Background - life up to HS and/or College, and one for the Minors and Majors. Each template ages you a varying number of years, which affects your Attributes. So you can come into the game as a fresh-faced rookie or as an aging star on the decline, or as a veteran in his prime. Each template will have one or two switches, but mostly it is a package. This method will be a big aid in the Team Construction, because I can list the resource point cost of an Aging Superstar right up front, and the player-owners can see what slots are open for them. Also, real baseball loves these 'types' in real life, and it's a natural fit, like with pulp.

I went with the layered approach to speed up CharGen. The more choices players have to make, the slower CharGen is. I could go with a two-template version, combining Attributes and Background into one, and College, Minor and Major experience into another. My group has been with me for a long time, since they were 13, and my typical loose lifepath chargen with a lot of choices is duck soup for them - they blaze through it in minutes - but I recently lost a couple players to college and gained a new one, and watching the newbie slowly pick his way through was deadly slow, because each choice had to be analyzed and understood before he could select.

I originally went with a five-layered set up to reduce choices to five while retaining as large a variability between PCs as possible. Going with two layers reduces variability, but would speed up CharGen even more.

There will be two basic types of pitchers, Power pitchers who rely on STR, and Crafty pitchers who rely on COOR. END will differentiate between relievers and starters. There will be Infielder, Outfielder, Utility Fielder, and Catcher templates for position players. Generally DHs will nominally be position players who have poor fielding skills. David Ortiz, for example, is actually a competent first baseman with poor range, but why play him at first when you have a Kevin Youkillis?

Attributes will decline faster and earlier than with my other games - not because they actually decline compared to normal people, but because the gradations are smaller. An athlete is his 40s could be in terrific shape compared to a normal schlub, yet compared to young athletes would have lost his edge. The decline will start earlier and accelerate with age. The Attribute change would be built into the templates for chargen, and would apply to everyone, PC and NPC, in the yearly maintenance phase thereafter.

Social skills will be important as well. An intelligent, charismatic star could become a superstar solely because of media manipulation and fan favoritism. Leadership can also raise a character's status. There will also be a large component of the game devoted to the players' personal lives. I'm thinking of a random system - I'm thinking cards - which would turn up good and bad things happening such as scandal, romance, loss, betrayal, children, heartbreak, disease, etc. once per session. Players could volunteer to take it, earning a bennie, or it could be assigned by the GM with no bennie if no one volunteers. This may be an optional sub-system.

I'm thinking broadly along the lines of Hearts = Romance, Diamonds = Health, Spades = Media, and Clubs = Team, with the magnitude increasing along with the value, and odds being negative, evens being positive. So turning over a nine of Hearts might give a result of "You suspect your S.O. may be cheating on you", with the Player and GM hashing out the details, or substituting something which is equally important, but which makes more sense with the player's actual situation.

The higher ranking cards should possibly have on-field impacts as well, no matter the suit. A bad relationship can set a player into a tailspin as much as an injury can. Media attention can have on-field consequences as well. I'm thinking of giving a recommendation to suit the card result, which the group can enact, ignore, or modify as suits them.

With the StarPool system I have two aspects to play with, which can combine to create the overall ability - Skill (number of dice) and Attribute (TN). So Hit for Average would combine Hitting + COOR, and Hit for Power would combine Hitting + STR. Glove would be split into Range, combining Glove + AGY, and Ball Handling, combining Glove + COOR. Arm would be split into Arm Range, combining Arm + STR, and Arm Accuracy, combining Arm + END. Speed would be split into Stealing, combining Base Running + AGY, and Advancing, combining Base Running + END.

Thanks to Rich/Orklord on RPGHaven for crystalizing so much of this game with his suggestions!


  1. I like this a lot, but no one _I_ know would actually play it. Save you and me. I think it could be fun. As far as the CharGen goes, I like the template ideas. I'm just lazy that way, I suppose. The cards may be a bit confusing, but maybe not. I'd probably have to see them in play before I made a conclusion about that. I'm better at understanding things in action than reading about them. I'm kinda weird that way. The idea's pretty awesome.


  2. Thanks, Manda! :D

    This is something I have wanted to do ever since I started writing my own games. I can't wait to make it sing!

    I don't think the card thing will be any problem. You draw one card at the beginning of the session, before play begins. Either someone claims it for a bennie, or the GM assigns it to someone. That's it! That subject will come up in play that session.