Camping without checks

I don’t think his primary concern was that the game was too harsh. I think his concern was that the mechanics were too dense and demanding. They require that you constantly think about and engage with them on their own terms. You can’t just roleplay and then see how things turn out, if you roleplay wrong the mechanics suddenly show up and stop you from doing something that from a story perspective seems perfectly reasonable. That’s the frustration that some players can’t get over. It’s not that they don’t want a game that’s harsh. It’s not that they don’t want a game about dungeon survival. It’s that they can’t quite wrap their heads around the mechanics. I, for one, have no problem suspending my disbelief on that point, but other people can’t do that as easily.

Yeah, I believe that was the issue. I have friends that feel the same way, so we play other games together. Unfortunately, I don’t think fixing camping would solve my friends’ issues. It would just remove something I enjoy.

I think, narratively, there can be room for a distinction between MAKING CAMP and making “camp”. In the rules, you need checks to make camp, but that’s not really what the game is saying, its saying that to remove the grind you need checks that you spend in camp. If the players want to make “camp” in a purely narrative sense, they can, they just can’t cure the grind. The player’s characters make camp, but one player is still angry the next morning, someone elses exhaustion wasn’t cured because he kept tossing and turning all night etc.

Yes, in some ways faults lie with terminology.

Emotions like angry and afraid, usually don’t last long in real life. In this game, you can walk around being afraid for weeks, especially since time is so abstract in this game.

What the conditions really reflect is mental trauma. Being angry really means being hateful and irrate. Being afraid really means suffering from PTSD.

But no matter how you cut it, there is a disconnect there, because time is so abstract.

But the point is, your PTSD won’t go away, just because you tent for a night.

Who said they go away at all? They’re just not hindering you right now. Kinda like being a functional alcoholic.

Sorry to jump in late.

To clarify, you played a single session and some of your players didn’t enjoy it.

If you played the first couple of turns of Twilight Imperium, and one of your group didn’t like it, would you start to carve it up? Or would you try again, with a better understanding of the rules?

The text says you need a check to make camp. But really what it should say is you need checks to rest and recover. You can absolutely make camp without checks—but you cannot rest and recover until you show the audience your foibles and quirks.

I was playing USCMC (a Torchbearer hack) with a mix of vets and new players the other night. One of the players, the SGO, had to hack into a comms port to blast some USCMC doctrine to the rebellious indigenous species. He initially wanted to use his Ultimate Bad-Ass trait in his favor. Because he was trying to claim that being a machine-gunner and hacking a comms system was bad-ass. I wasn’t buying it. Nobody was.

One of the other players gently suggested that maybe his Ultimate Bad-Assness was actually getting in the way.
I saw a light-bulb flash over his head. He described his character not giving a fuck about the comms system, ripping the guts out and just jamming his bypasses in there. He tossed aside the die for the trait penalty and rolled expecting to fail—but pulled off an unlikely success!
The table cheered.
The moment was even better for him having used his trait against himself.

Later, he used that check to have his maser-burned arm looked at by the medic after their corporal ordered a rest.

Pretty sweet. I bet he never forgets how valuable and awesome using traits/checks are.

What I’m saying is maybe it’s not the system. Maybe it just takes a bit of experimentation to see how it creates really great moments in play.

I wonder if it helps to have experienced players with the new players. That way the new players can watch the experienced players in action, and even if they forget to earn checks, or can’t figure out how to “use a trait against themselves” they can always borrow one from the other players until they get the hang of it.

I sometimes wonder if it would help if there was a shallow end for a group of entirely new players, a way to slowly ramp up the weight of the mechanics as you play from session to session, so that only as you get the hang of one system is a new one introduced. Like if you could play for a while with just Nature, helping Traits, and Conflicts. Then introduce Turns, Light, Equipment, and The Grind. Then, as they start to put the pieces together introduce hindering Traits, Checks, and Camp. I’m not sure what the bridge between those would look like, maybe instead of starting at the first adventure you start in your childhood or something? You play out the story of how you became adventurers? On the other hand maybe it’s better to just dive into the deep end because some people would never want to leave the shallow end…

Dive in the deep end.

The desperation drives play, getting on with the mechanics, and producing game.