[ReCoil] first impressions

edited January 2009 in Story Games
Hey Lance,
I've read through ReCoil once, thought I'd let you know about my early impressions on it.
(Anybody who's interested, you can find it here)

I really dig it, man. What a wicked concept: the righteous dead battling the sinister forces of Uncreation. And the design, at first blush, seems really neat. Hip, punchy, accessible vanilla-Sim, with emphasis on Situation and Color. I love the way that you're left free to introduce cool, actiony, Matrixy Color -- the list of powers gives you direction without limiting your imagination.

Now, the text ain't so great. There's some places where I was confused by word choice and organization (f'rinstance, I was frequently confused whether the phrase "rolling against X" meant that X was the target number or a pool of dice being rolled in opposition), so I had to read a few things several times to make sense of them. Also some other things like the way that Masking is mentioned in the details on the Illumination power, but what Masking is, both in fictional and mechanical terms, isn't explained until waaaay further on (and there's no "see blah blah in Chapter Blah" or anything). Another problem point is that Oblivion is a global score, indicating Oblivion's resources & degree of influence in the scenario, and it's also the term for the hit points of individual 'Wraiths. (Unless I misunderstood something entirely)

But all that sort of thing is minor, being easily correctible by gruntwork and a good editor.

Here's some other random things:

I'm a bit bothered by the fact that you choose 4 Talents, but there are only 6 to choose from. Sure, you can take one of them multiple times and get it in all sorts of unique flavors, but I find myself wanting a bit more differentiation between PCs (granted, this is coming from the guy who wrote a game with eight -- count 'em -- eight attributes, and that game's for Narrativist play, even). One thing that came to mind is Talents for specializing in one of the various Agent Abilities, perhaps at the expense of not being as good with one of the others. Like, I get a bonus when Clouding, but a penalty when Illuminating, maybe. (Just a thought, and a half-formed one at that)

Speaking of the Agent Abilities, I fuckin' love 'em. Accelerate is especially cool.

Y'know something that'd be really neat? A flow chart that shows how the different numbers -- Flux, Oblivion, Conviction, etc. -- influence and are influenced by various actions and events. Just another half-formed idea at the moment.

And a quick question: just how is an individual 'Wraith's Oblivion score derived? I see that to give them Power you give them some of the Oblivion "budget" as it were; are their "hit points" done the same way?

I gotta say, even after reading it just once, I'm confident that I could run it with some guys and have fun. Granted, my skills at running this sort of game are fairly strong, but I'm not seeing anything at first blush that's missing. I mean, I can visualize how all the pieces work together, and I'm not seeing anything that's going to jam up the mechanism, as it were. Unless I misunderstood somethig, at any rate.


  • Sweet. My heart actually gave a little flutter and I blinked a couple times when I saw my game name here.

    Text: Agreed. That's the bare bones just-the-rules version of the text. The examples of play I removed may have made it more clear, but I want to know how strong the explanations are on their own.

    Talents: TELL me about it. I want more. 10-12 is about what I'd like. I haven't thought of more yet, but then again, I haven't really sat down and tried to bang 'em out, either.

    Differentiation between PCs: Yes, but no. Beginning PCs aren't supposed to be very different. Each character is supposed to be a barely marred tabula rasa. Those who pick up Slivers have a bit more uniqueness, but for the rest, Your individuality doesn't happen until play starts. Still, I want more Talents, like I said.

    Flowchart: I'll have to unpack that mentally, but I see how that could be useful.

    Oblivion and Power: Power is set to the initial Oblivion score of the Wraith. Power points, equivalent to the agent's Mortis Points. The reason for the ambiguity is that originally, the 'wraith just burned it's Oblivion, but I scrapped that because the 'wraiths using abilities shouldn't weaken their whole side. Power points were tossed in there willy-nilly, and I forgot to clarify their usage better. I'm not even 100% sure I like the way I implemented it, but we'll go with it for now. A quick example of how this works should help clarify:

    I choose to make a 'wraith as strong as it can be, Oblivion 5. This means that.. ah, something you didn't mention, and I didn't put into the text. How their perception is figured. A 'wraith's perception is, like their Power, equal to their initial Oblivion. So in this case, Perception will be 5. Power will be 5, and they will have 5 power points. Masking will be Flux + 5, max 10. If I get into a fight with an agent and take 2 Oblivion damage, as well as using 3 power points, it will look like this: Perception 5, Power 5, 2 Power Points, Oblivion 3, Masking = Flux + 3.

    Make better sense?
  • Okay, so I've got the global Oblivion score, right? And I take points from that to create a 'Wraith, right? And the number of points I spend from it determines his initial Oblivion/"hit points", Power, and Perception?

    If that's correct then I think I've got it.
  • Roger that.

    Understand that just re-reading the text in the context of the discussion, that there's already one or two things I'd like to change.. But I'm resisting my fiddling instinct until the current rules get a bit of a workout.
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