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Author Topic: Wide range of agent team sizes in Spycraft 3  (Read 553 times)
Manic Man
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« on: July 05, 2015, 12:23:17 PM »

I would like to first acknowledge that Spycraft in all of its incarnations has always devoted a substantial portion of pages to Game Control support and I applaud this.  This leads me to expect similar support will be provided in the upcoming edition (though I realize that past performance is not a guarantee of future performance).  But the folks at Crafty certainly have acknowledged the critical role of the GC in the RPG, and it's yet another big plus for their products.

That said, I'd like to request that even more advice, guidelines, anecdotes, suggestions, etc. be provided in the presumed GC section of SC3 for how to scale/adjust encounters for agent teams of widely varying sizes.  It doesn't have to be hard and fast rules or exact prescriptions, but along the lines of other bullet-point suggestion lists that have appeared in prior SC products.  As a relatively new GC, for my situation it has been most daunting, but not surprising, to find that many prior products (like the old Living SC module PDFs) have been designed around the "ideal" team of 4 agents, which makes it challenging to modify those modules, or similar module concepts, to smaller agent teams (my playgroup is currently myself and two others).

I realize its a nebulous target, but even just a collection of curated suggestions that could be collected on a forum such as this would prove to be very valuable to noob GC's like myself.  I know I can't get to be a better GC, just by reading more rulebooks, but it sure can help GC confidence, which seems to be a large factor in being a better GC as I've discovered.

Thanks for reading and considering this request.
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Crafty_Pat
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« Reply #1 on: July 06, 2015, 08:33:47 AM »

Alex and I are GMs first and that often shows in our products. We've yet to release a core product without comprehensive advice for running the game, and Spycraft Third Edition will be no different. Smiley

This time around the big difference is that we aren't just sitting down at the end to write about how to run the game we built. No, this time we built the game with running it in mind.

I know, I know, who says something like that? Aren't all games built to be run? The answer might surprise you. Remember that both Classic Spycraft and Spycraft 2.0 were based on systems someone else developed, and while we didn't always agree with all teh choices in those games and often made adjustments certain compromises are still required to get a derived game engine like that off the ground.

Here, we've gone all the way back to the foundation of the game system and asked fundamental questions about how the game does and could best play for everyone, including the GM. This is ultimately why we abandoned the game's OGL and d20 roots and ventured off into new, uncharted territory. We wanted our answers to those questions to always be the best ones we could come up with - not whatever we could say while still honoring some pre-existing architecture someone else built with different goals for the core experience.

Spycraft is a unique beast. We all know this. Many of us have been playing this game for 15 years and know the myriad ways it varies from your garden variety roleplaying game. We also know that if that changes too much, it's not Spycraft anymore.

You'll get your GM advice, oh yes... and this time it should be backed up with a system that's as precisely fine-tuned as Alex and I can manage. As an example of what we can do in that arena, I humbly refer you to the Mistborn Adventure Game, which is the first time he and I - mostly he - managed to perfectly nail a world with rules and supporting material.

And in my experience, it plays extremely well with different sized Crews. So will Spycraft Third Edition. Out the gate.
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« Reply #2 on: July 07, 2015, 07:41:03 PM »

This is a semi-related question based on Pat's answer; how cross-compatible will Spycraft 3rd Edition be with the current Fantasy Craft line? Will they be similar enough that one could play a character in both subsystems without too much hassle? Could a GM include machine-guns and computers in their fantasy game (or orcs and magic swordsmen in their modern game) with little (or even no) conversion needed?

Thank you in advance!
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« Reply #3 on: July 08, 2015, 01:48:08 AM »

This is a semi-related question based on Pat's answer; how cross-compatible will Spycraft 3rd Edition be with the current Fantasy Craft line?

I think the company line is "portability over compatibility." SC3 is a ground-up rebuild of Spycraft, a true next generation game over FC and previous iterations of Spycraft. Some aspects like attributes and character builds are 100% different. Some FC logic definitely informs parts of the game, like the continual tuning of weapon damage and basic functions of combat and skills. Some items will be immediately familiar, like Tricks. You can certainly use the bits together...but not all of them have equally-friendly connectors.

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Will they be similar enough that one could play a character in both subsystems without too much hassle?

Not knowing what defines "hassle" for your group, I would say most likely not. Characters are pretty different in their expression in this iteration. Classes are completely different.

Quote
Could a GM include machine-guns and computers in their fantasy game (or orcs and magic swordsmen in their modern game) with little (or even no) conversion needed?

Far too early to say for sure, but my thoughts is they would be pretty easy to use, since a weapon is just a stat line. I am not aiming to make FC and SC3 weapons interchangible, however - a great many qualities have already been removed from the system to bring greater focus on the ones people *actually use* (just like we did between SC2.0 and FC).
« Last Edit: July 08, 2015, 03:11:45 AM by Crafty_Alex » Logged

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« Reply #4 on: July 10, 2015, 05:47:02 PM »

Many thanks Pat, this is all good to hear.  I must admit that I have not looked at Mistborn.  I'm not much into the fantasy genre these days so I'll take your word for it and look forward with confidence to SC 3.

Might I also suggest that you consider integration with Realm Works, Hero Lab, and/or other similar non-LWD products?  While I am certain it's not on the top of your punch list for completing the initial roll-out of SC3, nor should it be, I would still suggest putting it out early in your supplemental material schedule.  I use Realm Works now for my SC 2 campaign, and I know I would love it if there was a Hero Lab mod for SC 2.  I think the use of these tools will only grow by the time SC 3 rolls out, and integration with the top campaign management and computerized character sheet applications will do much to help make SC 3 "stickier".

Thanks again, Manic
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Crafty_Pat
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« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2015, 04:40:08 PM »

Might I also suggest that you consider integration with Realm Works, Hero Lab, and/or other similar non-LWD products?

Here's the reality with support products like these...

1. Alex and I cannot build them ourselves. We have neither the time nor the skill.

2. The folks who do have the time and skill are expensive - in our experience nearly always outside any budget we could afford.

3. We no longer accept free work from anyone. We appreciate the gesture but in the end you always get what you pay for, and without compensation there's really no way to guarantee quality or even delivery.

4. Even if we could get an initial product for something like this off the ground, the reality is that keeping up with it becomes a second game line in terms of work and cost. Unless this second line can be at least as profitable as the line it's supporting, it's bad business to let it continue. Which leads us to...

5. We don't believe that things like this should be free. Full stop. It's laborious and costly to make software, and it has value. We might release stuff like auto-calculating character sheets and die rollers for free, but beyond that there would always have to be a price tag attached to the project. We're watching the market and Realm Works and similar products are doing a great job slowly conditioning the market to accept a price point, but we haven't yet found the magic spot that makes getting into that market worthwhile for us.

Don't get us wrong We love software support for RPGs. I personally think it must happen if this hobby is to thrive in the modern digital age. Much like alternate ebook formats, however, it's not yet cost-effective or even remotely sane for small and mid-tier companies to attempt - not unless they're lucky enough to have a coder on staff.

Oh, and yes, we've repeatedly tried to arrange a deal with Lone Wolf whereby they handle set gen in exchange for a (very healthy) percentage of the proceeds - if only to get said product on the market. So far, we have not been able to convince them this is a good idea. Given the (much, much larger) brands they're used to working with, this makes perfect sense to us. It sucks, but it makes perfect sense.
« Last Edit: July 14, 2015, 12:45:19 AM by Crafty_Pat » Logged

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« Reply #6 on: July 13, 2015, 08:37:46 AM »

Come for the RPGs.. stay for lessons in entrepreneurship, business economics and project management. 
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XRay
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« Reply #7 on: July 13, 2015, 07:54:27 PM »

I have come to just liking form fillable PDF character sheets without macros. I don't really need auto calculation fields as the stats that need to be calculated don't normally change much. Software character builders do not usually support house rules without lots of work, so simple PDF character sheets are great.
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Bill Whitmore
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« Reply #8 on: July 13, 2015, 09:26:31 PM »

I have come to just liking form fillable PDF character sheets without macros. I don't really need auto calculation fields as the stats that need to be calculated don't normally change much. Software character builders do not usually support house rules without lots of work, so simple PDF character sheets are great.

This has been mostly my experience, too.
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« Reply #9 on: July 14, 2015, 12:47:36 AM »

I have come to just liking form fillable PDF character sheets without macros. I don't really need auto calculation fields as the stats that need to be calculated don't normally change much. Software character builders do not usually support house rules without lots of work, so simple PDF character sheets are great.

This has been mostly my experience, too.

We'll continue to release form-fillables with and without auto-calc so long as we have the resources (helpers) to make them happen.
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Patrick Kapera
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Manic Man
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« Reply #10 on: July 14, 2015, 05:54:13 PM »

Fair enough Pat.  I very much appreciate your willingness to explain why these collaborations, supplemental products, etc., happen (or not), and the time you take to do so.  Here's hoping your brand becomes big enough to draw the attention of LWD and others.
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Manic Man
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« Reply #11 on: July 14, 2015, 05:58:47 PM »

I have come to just liking form fillable PDF character sheets without macros. I don't really need auto calculation fields as the stats that need to be calculated don't normally change much. Software character builders do not usually support house rules without lots of work, so simple PDF character sheets are great.

Call me lazy, but I love the automated, self-calculating sheets.  And I'm way too novice with SC to be making up my own rules at this stage.  My crew is also very much ready to be laptop + tabletop RPGers, and we were for a prior D&D 3.5 campaign.  So the PDF's leave me longing....
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