New Approach to Teaching the Game

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kevin
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New Approach to Teaching the Game

#1 Postby kevin » Sun Jun 05, 2011 7:07 pm

Based on this discussion over here >>

http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32054

I'm taking a new approach to getting people to try SW.



First of all, D&D players like fantasy. They understand the setting and the tropes, and they want to play it. So I'm going to give it to them. Starting on familiar ground is one LESS thing to overload them with as they learn the new system.

But golly, won't they just compare it to D&D all night? No. They can only compare mechanics if they have a mechanic to compare. So I'm not giving them ANY mechanics until they actually come up in play. Ahem …

"It's your turn, what do you want to do?"
"Well, what are my options?"
"Interesting question … [describe scene in detail] … what do you think your character would do, if this were really happening?"
"Well, he'd probably [describes actions]"
"Is that what you want to do?"
"Can I? How many actions do I get?"
"You've got about five or six seconds. How much do you think you can accomplish in five or six seconds?"
"Hmm … okay, I'll do [this and that]."
"So roll [this and that] at [minus whatever], and I'll explain how it works as you go."




Third, I'm making all the casters name their spells. I'm not describing trappings as cool ways to make their characters unique—I'm flat out telling them they NEED to make their own spells based on the power templates in the book. And I'm calling them "power templates," not "powers."

This way they get whatever unique game advantage (read: competitive advantage) they like, while still building concept and setting tone.



Fourth, I'm not giving out experience for fun and teamwork. I'm giving out experience for "resolving the encounter in a way that promotes the advancement of the overall story, while simultaneously adhering to each character's chosen Hindrances." I think this wording still gets the point across that it's not about racking up bodycounts, but still still gives them a more tangible goal than "fun and teamwork."

This does shift the one group goal (win the story) onto the individual players, which is inevitably going to cause inter-party conflict. But now it's even easier to take the game back to the story …

"You know, you guys are earning great XP for sticking to your Hindrances and letting this inter-character tension develop …
[that explains that they're actually doing it right and they ARE "winning" right now]

… but there's still more XP to be earned for the "promoting the overall story" part …
[lets them know there's still more "winning" to do]

… so is there a way for your characters to come to an agreement, or do you just want to duke it out and take the story on a different path?"
[gives them the choice so there's no railroading, yet confirms tHat whatever they do, there's STILL a story, so there's STILL more "winning" ahead]




I'm sure I'll add more to this list as I think about it. Opinions?

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#2 Postby chugosh » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:41 am

Kind of nifty, really.
Too late at night to think of much more of an answer.

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#3 Postby Harshax » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:15 am

I really like your ideas.

I went so far as to put together my own coil bound handout of player rules filled with old school D&D art along with new pieces taken from posts at dragonsfoot, including the cover which is a gif of the 1E Player's Handbook.

searched and replaced GM with DM
created a professional edge (or renamed some) for each of the iconic character classes
printed a proper equipment list with prices in gold and silver

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#4 Postby Timon » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:43 am

Not stalking you nooo.......

Sounds good, kind of a PbP approach. You may need more care and feeding for the casters, they go from (I presume) at-will and encounter powers to having to track powerpoints. You could try giving them a few examples of how trappings work - it is one of the unexpected SW things that something that most of us thing of as "fluff" actually changes the effect. You will be telling them the mechanic

Also, still think you should try a different setting. Retain any fantasy bits you want but...


Give them guns.


Image

Great big, honking guns, chainswords and a horde of attacking thingummies. Let them go full auto on the hordes of hell and they will barely notice the mechanics. Give the casters awesome psionic powers that just happen to be bolt etc. AND a honking great gun.
They like to win, so build win in. :lol:
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#5 Postby kevin » Mon Jun 06, 2011 12:53 pm

To the last two posts >>


Yeah, see, that's the whole thing … they don't LIKE guns or chainswords or psionics. They like medieval high-fantasy. Even Eberron is too high-tech for people here; they actually play Forgotten Realms instead.

Handing out a notebook of "player rules" would be exactly the opposite of "not telling them the rules until they need them." The idea is to sit down and play, not to take a session learning the rules—because THAT'S when they start comparing systems and decide they don't like it without even giving it a chance.

And power points are the easiest thing in the world to manage. They already know Hit Points—so again, some familiar ground to help them along. I use gaming stones to track them anyway, and something about having a physical prop always draws people more into the game.

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#6 Postby Jose » Mon Jun 06, 2011 1:00 pm

I vote for the guns!!!!

haha...but, seriously, playing fantasy it's the better option...unless you run Sunder Skies, all your friends will say " :eek: WTF!!!"

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Re: New Approach to Teaching the Game

#7 Postby Old One Eye » Mon Jun 06, 2011 2:50 pm

The Sweedish Chef wrote: "It's your turn, what do you want to do?"
"Well, what are my options?"
"Interesting question … [describe scene in detail] … what do you think your character would do, if this were really happening?"
"Well, he'd probably [describes actions]"
"Is that what you want to do?"
"Can I? How many actions do I get?"
"You've got about five or six seconds. How much do you think you can accomplish in five or six seconds?"
"Hmm … okay, I'll do [this and that]."
"So roll [this and that] at [minus whatever], and I'll explain how it works as you go."

Funnily enough, this sounds almost exactly how I learned to play D&D. Granted, there were not as many rules in those days.

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Re: New Approach to Teaching the Game

#8 Postby robert4818 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:00 pm

The Sweedish Chef wrote:Based on this discussion over here >>

http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=32054

I'm taking a new approach to getting people to try SW.



First of all, D&D players like fantasy. They understand the setting and the tropes, and they want to play it. So I'm going to give it to them. Starting on familiar ground is one LESS thing to overload them with as they learn the new system.

But golly, won't they just compare it to D&D all night? No. They can only compare mechanics if they have a mechanic to compare. So I'm not giving them ANY mechanics until they actually come up in play. Ahem …

"It's your turn, what do you want to do?"
"Well, what are my options?"
"Interesting question … [describe scene in detail] … what do you think your character would do, if this were really happening?"
"Well, he'd probably [describes actions]"
"Is that what you want to do?"
"Can I? How many actions do I get?"
"You've got about five or six seconds. How much do you think you can accomplish in five or six seconds?"
"Hmm … okay, I'll do [this and that]."
"So roll [this and that] at [minus whatever], and I'll explain how it works as you go."




Third, I'm making all the casters name their spells. I'm not describing trappings as cool ways to make their characters unique—I'm flat out telling them they NEED to make their own spells based on the power templates in the book. And I'm calling them "power templates," not "powers."

This way they get whatever unique game advantage (read: competitive advantage) they like, while still building concept and setting tone.



Fourth, I'm not giving out experience for fun and teamwork. I'm giving out experience for "resolving the encounter in a way that promotes the advancement of the overall story, while simultaneously adhering to each character's chosen Hindrances." I think this wording still gets the point across that it's not about racking up bodycounts, but still still gives them a more tangible goal than "fun and teamwork."

This does shift the one group goal (win the story) onto the individual players, which is inevitably going to cause inter-party conflict. But now it's even easier to take the game back to the story …

"You know, you guys are earning great XP for sticking to your Hindrances and letting this inter-character tension develop …
[that explains that they're actually doing it right and they ARE "winning" right now]

… but there's still more XP to be earned for the "promoting the overall story" part …
[lets them know there's still more "winning" to do]

… so is there a way for your characters to come to an agreement, or do you just want to duke it out and take the story on a different path?"
[gives them the choice so there's no railroading, yet confirms tHat whatever they do, there's STILL a story, so there's STILL more "winning" ahead]




I'm sure I'll add more to this list as I think about it. Opinions?


If you are going to go this route, I would suggest having them write up character concepts/descriptions/backstories/etc. But don't have them create characters.

Instead, create the characters yourself, using their ideas for the creation. Otherwise you'll still end up having players getting confused while trying to figure out how/what they want...

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Re: New Approach to Teaching the Game

#9 Postby kreider204 » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:14 pm

robert4818 wrote:If you are going to go this route, I would suggest having them write up character concepts/descriptions/backstories/etc. But don't have them create characters. Instead, create the characters yourself, using their ideas for the creation. Otherwise you'll still end up having players getting confused while trying to figure out how/what they want...


I play SW PbP with an old D&D buddy of mine, and that's exactly what I do. We talk about the character, I stat it out, we look at it, discuss and adjust. It works well, and it a lot quicker than trying to explain all the nuances of character creation to a newbie.
"It only takes an extra second to be courteous."
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#10 Postby Jose » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:39 pm

You're right...RPG's are all about telling a story, a great and epic story with your friends (and I truly think SW accomplished that, no question about it), and all need to focus in the story, not if someone have 6 Parry or fighting D10 or casting a 4d6 Bolt with a Raise or stacking penalties against a blinded, wounded NPC, etc...

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#11 Postby kevin » Mon Jun 06, 2011 3:59 pm

That's kinda what I was gonna do, but all at the table. I ask for their concepts, however they want to describe them. Then I tell them a FEW different stat options for that build, and let them choose.

They're still creating the character AND choosing the stats, I'm just cutting out all the stuff that isn't terribly important at this stage.

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#12 Postby ImaTarget » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:07 pm

That is a great concept. I never thought about doing it this way. Could be worth it to try that with a one shot for my players. to get them out of the DnD mindset.
Teamwork is essential, it gives them someone else to shoot at.

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#13 Postby kevin » Mon Jun 06, 2011 5:23 pm

Oddly enough, hiding the mechanics from them is kind of how Chris Perkins (Boss Man of D&D) taught the creators of Robot Chicken how to play D&D. There are a bunch of videos on YouTube about it—it took them 45 minutes of play to roll the first die, and I believe it was a History check.

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#14 Postby 77IM » Mon Jun 06, 2011 11:25 pm

This sounds like a fantastic plan!

My one advice is that you warn someone when they are about to do something terribly ineffective. Like on a person's very first turn, if they want to do 4 things at a -6 penalty to each... well, that does not sound like a very fun first turn.

I'd be vague, like, "You can do more than one thing, but the penalties get really harsh really fast... I'd limit it to 2 things if you are feeling lucky or 3 things in an emergency." Phrasing it as numbers too early might get people min-maxing. But keeping silent might annoy the player instead ("You could have just told me that there was basically no chance of success; it seems like something my character would know").

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#15 Postby kevin » Tue Jun 07, 2011 2:34 am

Good call. Thanks.

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#16 Postby Mylon » Thu Aug 23, 2012 1:24 am

This is why I need to get off my rear end and make a spell-book supplement. The power templates are nice, but the game really needs more definitive spells to lure players in. It's not even deviating much from the trappings + power so much as just putting them together and adding quirks.

A mage pays the experience to learn bolt. As a result he learns Magic Missile, Acid Arrow, Fire Bolt, and Chain Lightning. All separate, definitive spells, but all described with the bolt power.

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#17 Postby amerigoV » Sat Dec 15, 2012 6:24 am

asymonds84 wrote:Me gusta mucho este camino, para enseñar a los estudiantes, por video o YouTube. Por esto, un niño puede aprender con mayor facilidad. Me gusta mucho esta manera, para aprender un idioma.


Ditto!

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#18 Postby Trotter » Sun Dec 16, 2012 6:50 pm

Mylon wrote:A mage pays the experience to learn bolt. As a result he learns Magic Missile, Acid Arrow, Fire Bolt, and Chain Lightning. All separate, definitive spells, but all described with the bolt power.


I haven't been clear on this. When a character with an arcane background gets a power does it come with any trapping they want? Or if the pc has "fire bolt" is "lightning bolt" a new power?

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#19 Postby Snate56 » Sun Dec 16, 2012 7:28 pm

Shoot, I can't remember precisely, have to wait for the more knowledgable to chime in :lol: , But yes, you can have any appearance you want but it does the normal bolt damage.
If you want the trappings to affect the bolt, like reccuring damage for an acid arrow or the chance of setting things on fire with a fire bolt then you have to choose one trapping initially and then you get to choose another trapping at each level-up for free without buying bolt again.
I know this has been discussed before, just don't know where.



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#20 Postby ValhallaGH » Sun Dec 16, 2012 8:06 pm

Trappings are chosen when the power is acquired.

If and how trappings can change is a setting question. In some settings, you have to learn the power all over again to get a different trapping. In some settings you get additional trappings for free. In some settings there are no additional trappings to learn.
http://www.peginc.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=38500

Good luck!
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