Thoughts on a new system.

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Thoughts on a new system.

Post by Ralph »

Many of you may already know, the new By Night Studios (BNS) version of the MET system was finally published last week. As I have mentioned previously, I have been looking at this system as a possible replacement to the system we use here at BAM; but I wanted to talk a little more about it.

I have expressed before some of my issues with our current system. In brief, they include:
* A system where most of the time, your stats simply do not matter
* Lack of internal consistency
* A very steep learning curve that is difficult for new players
* Significant portions of the rules that either do not exist or only exist conditionally
* Access to game and genre breaking powers (See 90% of Thaum rituals)

A large part of these problems is that we keep iterating on our system, patching it here and there as we find holes, but not really solving the basic problems.

I have heard through the rumormill that there are several folks who have deep concerns about the ideas of changing system. Some of those folks have spoken to me directly, some have not. In either case, I’d like to address some of the concerns I have heard about.

1) ”I have no say in how, or even if, we are changing the system.”
Not the case! While we are looking at the BNS system and working out how we might implement it, we are not 100% set on converting to that system. We still have not given it a proper playtest to see exactly how it works for example.

We will be doing at least 1, if not several, playtests to see if the system will stand up to what we want. Assuming it is up to snuff, then I still need to get a majority buyoff from the players before we will implement it.

2) ”I hate MET. Why would I want to go to this system?”
Well, while the BNS system has the MET label on it, it is not much like the old MET system at all. In many ways it is closer to the current BAM system than the old MET ‘description’ system. You might try giving it a read and let me know what you think.

There is another advantage in going to the MET system - It makes it easier to recruit players. By using a rules system that is at least pretty close to what many other LARPS are using, it makes it much easier for new players to get integrated in our game.

3) ”This new system is going to take all of the BAM flavour out of the game. You can play (pet hated clan) in it!”

I have a few responses here.

First, the system does not make the flavor of the game. It is just the ruleset. We tell our own stories - It is in fact those stories that I most want to keep here at BAM. I am looking to fix the rules, not reset the universe.

Secondly, the ruleset DOES have rules for <your pet hated clan>, but that is because the rules system is trying to allow for anyone to be able to use it. It can run a Sabbat game, a Camarilla game, a darkages game, or whatever. That doesn’t mean that we here at BAM will be accepting 6th generation Baali concepts as PCs.

One of the strengths of the BNS system is that it was designed to be customized for a campaign. We really love the BAM flavor of our game (or we wouldn’t be playing it) and we want to continue it. So, no, even if there are Blood Brother rules, we won’t start allowing Blood Brother PCs. And we’ll plan to make adjustments to the system to fit our flavor.

4) ”I have identified a significant problem with the new system, but I feel like no one cares.”

I care. Deeply.
I really want to know if something is making you unhappy with the game. If there is something in the BNS system that you think is very objectionable, let me know. I may have some ideas for mitigating it.

5) ”I have a vague but overpowering sense of misgiving about the new system, but I feel like no one cares.”

This is the part where I need to ask something of you. It’s natural to have a knee-jerk negative response to change. Please give the system a try before you decide that your knee-jerk negative response is objective truth. Take a look at the rules, and/or try a playtest.

6) ”I am afraid my character concept won’t work in the new system.”

This is a major concern for me.

Read as written, there are several concepts that don’t work in the BNS system. However, I am committed to making whatever system we chose work for our group. If that means we have to make some adjustments to the system to keep your conversion concept working - I am willing to do that.

The system may not support all concepts in the future... but then, our current system doesn’t support every concept either!

7) "Learning new systems is really difficult for me."

I really get this. Don’t worry about it, though: you learned the BAM system, and it is pretty crazy complicated. If we change systems, everyone will go through a bit of a growing pain learning the new system together. No doubt we’ll all make some mistakes, but I imagine we’ll do something like the ‘New Player Merit’ to help cover for them on an OOC level.

Ok, enough of the rumormills, so what’s the plan?

At this point, I am going through the new system with a fine-toothed comb. I am trying to see what is fundamentally different (aside from the basic, core mechanic) and I am working on the BAM Setting Document. This document will include all of the customizations that we want for our setting in the system. (Things like “No, Baali are not acceptable PC concepts”, and “Generation is limited to 9th for starting PCs.”)

Once we have that together, Staff will be putting together a very small playtest. Something like 10 people in my backyard. We’ll probably approach a few players to invite them into this -- if you’re excited to try it, let us know and we’ll see if there’s space. This is mostly so that we can see the system in action and see how it works in practice. It will also help us prepare for the next big step, which is:

Big playtest!

We are planning to write a multi-week playtest with the new system. This will allow folks a chance to see how the new system will work for them AS WELL as seeing how things like XP and downtime systems work. This playtest will likely not include very many (if any) converted PC characters. More likely, it will be an interlude somewhere else that will have bearing on our storyline.

Then, after the playtest is the feedback. This is where we get to collect all of the good and the bad from the playtest and see about mitigating it. I expect there will be some iteration here.

Finally, after all of that, there will be a public poll. After everyone has had a chance to try the system and express their concerns there will be a simple vote. We need at least two-thirds of those who vote to agree to adopt the new system before we begin the conversion process.


Ok. If the poll passes, then we’ll get into the specifics of how we do the conversion. This will take a while, but we’re committed to take the time to implement this smoothly.

As always, I love hearing feedback, both positive and negative. If you have an opinion, I beg you to share it with me, either here in response or via PM. I really do value hearing from you guys, both when you agree with me and when you disagree. Please try to keep the conversation civil, though, especially on the public forum.

Let me tell you a story....

Eli Mitchell
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Re: Thoughts on a new system.

Post by Eli Mitchell »

I like this plan.
It is fair, respectful, and seems the most logical way to solve any underlying systemic problems.
I would also like to directly acknowledge the massive amount of work that the current system, the changeover, and the learning curve to a new system pile onto the staff of this game.
Thank you.

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Re: Thoughts on a new system.

Post by Flycatcher »

Looking forward to the playtests.

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Re: Thoughts on a new system.

Post by Yorloff »

I am wondering at the timing. Do you know when you want to do this? I'd be more than happy to join the playtest.

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Re: Thoughts on a new system.

Post by IssaiahFalatini »


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Re: Thoughts on a new system.

Post by Isabella »

Im go for a play test. Will we be making the characters for it or will they be premade?

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