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GM Plot Points: Gain per scene rather than from players?

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Unahim

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« on: (05:45:29/08-13-18) »
I feel like the Anarchy system of giving the GM the Plot Points players use, may work against it. Players might feel that using a Plot Point for their own benefit is ultimately a zero-sum game, as that Plot Point can and will come back around to negatively affect them.

The "Fate" system works differently, giving GMs a certain amount of "Fate Points" to work with for each scene, leaving players free to spend when they like without having to worry about the dual disadvantage of not having Plot Points in the bank, and increasing the GM's bank at the same time.

I'm thinking of just giving GMs 1 PP per player at the start of every scene. They'd be allowed to carry over a maximum of "X" Plot Points between scenes, in that way you can have a bit of an ebb and flow... maybe one scene is a bit easier, but then the next the plot points can come flying out and it's all hands on deck.

What do you think? See any disadvantages to this way of doing it compaired to the default way that I might not have considered yet?

Gingivitis

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« Reply #1 on: (18:33:21/08-14-18) »
So the GM would not generate Plot Points except by ending Scenes, and moving on to the next Scene and adding 1 PP per player again?

The effect is to give the players at least a 3-1 PP lead, or more because some players gain PP at the start of a Scene and Players are constantly gaining Plot Points from the GM (or should be, if the meta-game is flowing properly).

If we say that the PP that players spend will negatively affect them in the end, then we could also say that the PP that the GM awards players come back to bite the GM in the end. This philosophy has two drawbacks that I can see:

1) This places an adversarial relationship between the players and the GM that needn't be in place, least of all in a shared-storytelling game like Anarchy.

2) The GM may not award PP (or not as generously) to the players if they know that she/he will not gain any more PP until they end the Scene.

The players need to know that the PP that they spend, and that end up in the GM's pool, do not negatively affect them; they make their lives and stories more exciting.  The GM needs to know that every PP that they award for good role-play or good narrations will be used "against" him/her but that is OK because it makes the story better.

There are PP spending limits in place for the GM. It might be 1 PP per Turn, or per Narration, or 1 per player, etc I would toy with the spending limits before you change the PP give/take dynamic.

That being said, play test it and see. Tell us what happened.
« Last Edit: (18:35:38/08-14-18) by Gingivitis »
Shadowrun: Anarchy Resources (GM Screens, Character Sheets, New NPCs, House Rules) at: www.surprisethreat.com

Unahim

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« Reply #2 on: (17:14:15/08-15-18) »
I don't think it's necessarily antagonistic. Rather it's just a common sense approach. The GM is expected to spend PP on "bad stuff" happening. The players know this. Therefore, when spending a PP that will be given to the GM, the ultimate "positive benefit" of that PP should be taken as being "good stuff it adds - bad stuff it causes". This is true no matter what the relationship between the players and their GM is. Players who understand this can start feeling like spending PP is meaningless and be less excited about doing so. Ultimately, the GM doesn't need PP to create interesting problems, he just throws them at you. Like he does in every other P&P game. What the GM needs PP for is to "break the rules", make NPCs take a double movement, make them use the "Revenge" plot power when they're hit, and so on.

For point #2: The GM doesn't care if some NPC gets pummeled because he gave the PC a plot point. He certainly doesn't care that (or rather, he likes it when) a player spends a Plot Point to add an interesting narrative detail to the story that is of benefit to the PCs. Therefore GM generosity shouldn't be affected, unless he is indeed an adversarial GM.

Worth noting that the game "Fate" has used a system like this with its Fate Points for years now, and it works fine. The exact numbers could be tweaked a bit, and a mechanic could be in place to give a GM more plot points (in Fate, making NPCs concede a combat early gives the GM more Fate points in the next scene, for instance). I hadn't thought about all the Plot Point generation powers yet, perhaps PP equal to twice # of players would be better. I never considered that Plot Points generated by amps would be given to the GM though, that's why I thought they were called "bonus" plot points. Seems a bit weird to spend karma on points that will end up in the hands of some NPC after you use them.
« Last Edit: (17:15:46/08-15-18) by Unahim »

Gingivitis

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« Reply #3 on: (19:36:11/08-15-18) »
The only thing you can do is play it out and see what the opinions are.

You asked about unforeseen disadvantages. I think losing the give and take relationship and the trust that goes with it is a disadvantage. I think that regarding a PP that a GM spends as "bad stuff" might be an unfortunate angle to look at this relationship.

There is also a flow of plot and excitement that builds up when a GM starts at 1 PP and builds from there as the players get more involved and more engaged (by spending PP). When a GM starts with 5 PP (or 10 PP), you lose that build up; you lose the rising action. An adversarial GM could throw all 5 PP (or 10 PP) at the PCs right away and front-load the "bad stuff," potentially overwhelming them. Or worse a GM could horde all 15 PP (or 30 PP) until Scene 3 and make a milk run turn into a nightmare TPK.

I have been running Anarchy for almost 2 years have have not had any complaints about how PP are spent and what they do when they "return." But like I said, all you can do is try and see. You know your table better than anyone else.
Shadowrun: Anarchy Resources (GM Screens, Character Sheets, New NPCs, House Rules) at: www.surprisethreat.com