Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Contract Work 1.

Contract Work.

1) What is it about?
Killing people. For money

2) How is it about that?
Our players are hitmen and women, trying to make a living in a corrupt urban blight where the rich get richer, the poor get hungrier and no one ascends to the well-fed by honest means. That leads to lots of anger and a need for "someone else" to do the killing. If you're playing this game, you are "someone else."

3) How does the game enforce that?
Economics and a strong structural outline to the Job.

Character stats are bought with in-game money, and each one costs an upkeep at the end of the episode. To keep the players focused on the money, the game mechanic is structured so that points equal a dollar value. Players will have to spend money to gain points worth of information, equipment and so on in their pursuit of the job. In a conflict, you compare the stats of what you've bought in a little bidding war to see who wins.

The Jobs are laid out along an outline starting with The Hire; a scene to determine the basics of who needs killing, for how much and by what day. The Job proceeds to The Investigation, when the players try to feel out their target, getting into small confrontations in hopes of buying or gaining an advantage over their target. After enough advantages are accumulated or time runs short, there is a Preparation or planning phase. Naturally enough, Execution follows. Every job has this rough outline to restrain the Game Boss (GM) and to enforce on the players that a quick drive-by is not a Job done right. At least, if you hope to survive for the next one.


Blogger Brennan Taylor said...

Looks really interesting so far, Russ, like I mentioned at Ubercon. I look forward to seeing some more details.

I especially like how the in-game reward/chargen currency is actual currency.

12:11 PM  
Anonymous cawshis said...

Interesting concept, gains. I'd be interested in seeing it in action. Do the players know how much of a pool the GM has? How to keep the game balanced when players are working from so many pools to gain advantages?

I like the statement of intent required to gain an advantage and the distinction between tech advantage and social advantage. I'll be keeping up as you post!

12:19 PM  
Blogger gains said...

Thanks for the comments!

To answer your question, cawshis the GMs pool is actually the price the players will be paid for the job, so they're really earning every penny.

Just how to balance the price of the job is where I'm now stuck. I want them to make a polite profit, but not be unchallenged. Some more math and playtesting may sort that out.

12:33 PM  
Anonymous cawshis said...

Wait. So the pool that the GM uses to purchase advantages in exchanges comes out of the reward money for the hit?

Oh. I think I got it! So like if the hit is worth 50000 dollars, the GM has 50000 dollars for his own pool.

So the pool would have to be adequately big to ensure that the GM can make life moderately challenging for the players...for example. 4 new players start with 10000. The first hit might be a 16k payout. Problem is that then the GM only has 16k to beat the players 40k! It seems unbalanced. Have you tested scenarios at all? I might comprehend it better if I saw the mechnic in action.

For the record, I like auction mechanics...and the simpler the better!

3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the game would be better if stats were bought using out of game money. At least I would GM it then.

5:53 PM  
Blogger Brennan Taylor said...

Cawshis, the amount the players have to spend comes out of their payout, plus they use this money to pay for their between-hits lifestyle, at least that's my understanding. So, they could totally outspend the GM in the first hit, but once they get paid, they have to make do with what's left for their next hit.

Am I right, Russ?

3:04 PM  
Blogger gains said...

Yep, that's about it. The players can expect to get half the value of the job up front, they then have to do the job, challenged by it's full value to collect the rest. They pay an upkeep between games to stay in shape, so if they overspend on the job, they may do the job, but come out so hurt that it ends up costing them.

I'm still juggling numbers, but I'll have some examples and testing soon.

2:12 PM  

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