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Aug. 25th, 2007

[PTA] Yet another PTA resolution hack...

System: Primetime Adventures (www.dog-eared-designs.com)
Hack Type: Alternate Mechanics 

Posted to an rpg.net thread about a minimally impacting way of making conflicts seem a little more proactive and ability-oriented in Primetime Adventures, stealing mojo from Cold City and Sorcerer. http://forum.rpg.net/showpost.php?p=7723881&postcount=10 is the link - if I get generally positive feedback about it, I'll probably expand it and put a cleaner version of it with play examples here.

May. 18th, 2007

[PTA/PDQ] Primetime Descriptive Qualities

System: Primetime Adventures (www.dog-eared-designs.com) and Prose Descriptive Qualities (www.atomicsockmonkey.com)
Hack Type: Blasphemous

This hack is called PTDQ, Primetime Descriptive Qualities. It is a not-in-a-gay-sense love letter to Fred Hicks and Rob Donoghue.

Assume everything about PTA and PDQ as written, except for the following:

Issues and Screen Presence -- Screen Presence translates to a number of points, like PDQ's Hero Points, that you get in a particular episode to help you resolve conflicts. Pick an Issue and chart out the season out as usual - minor episodes give you 1 HP, supporting episodes give you 3 HP, and your spotlight episode gets you 5 HP.

Traits -- You have 8 MOD points and one Weakness to distribute between traits, creating and rating Edges and Connections exactly like you would create Qualities in PDQ. You have to have at least one Edge and one Connection, and you can put your weakness in either category. If your Weakness is a Connection, that person is probably your nemesis, according to PTA rules. 

Depending on how many different types of action your show regularly features, you may want to adjust the starting MOD to 10, or cut it back down to 6. Also, if your Weakness is an "Edge", picking something that ties directly into your Issue is doubly cool, and gets you props from me.

Fan Mail Economy and Budget -- At the beginning of each episode, the Producer gets Budget equal to double the sum of each character's screen presence. Budget is used to create opposition for the Protagonists to face in conflicts; each point of Budget either assigns the opposition a permanent Upshift from Average for the purposes of rolling dice or additional Failure/Damage Ranks (free default is 1) that the opposition can ignore. Unlike normal PDQ, Failure/Damage Ranks never take away from the opposition's score - they're removed more like hit points.

So, for example, at the beginning of an episode, the Producer has 18 Budget. In the first scene, one of the Protagonists gets into a conflict, and the Producer spends 3 Budget - one to put the opposition at Good [+2], and two more to allow it to ignore 3 Damage or Failure; the fourth would spell defeat. The Budget is reduced to 15, and 3 points go into the Audience Pool.

The rest of the economy works essentially as in PTA. Fan Mail translates to additional Screen Presence in the hands of the players. You may need to adjust the Budget formula if the Protagonists start with 10 or more MOD for Traits.

Conflict Procedure -- Determine involvement and stakes, just like in PTA. Figure out what trait is going to be used in the conflict, and roll off with the Producer. Whoever wins inflicts Damage/Failure equal to the margin of success on the loser. If the loser is a Protagonist, the ranks are taken from Traits.

Narrate what happened according to your preferences, but the winner of the round has final say. If neither the opposition nor the protagonists have zeroed out, run another round until all but one person has or has given up. That person wins the stakes, and also final say over how the conflict turns out.

Protagonists regain 1d6 Damage or Failure ranks after a conflict. Unlike normal PDQ, there is no distinction between momentary or continuing danger. You can get another 1d6 back by framing a scene in your personal set. All Damage and Failure heals between episodes.

Using Screen Presence and Fan Mail -- You can spend a point of Screen Presence or Fan Mail to get an Upshift in a conflict roll and/or ignore a rank of Damage or Failure. There is no limit to the amount of points you can spend on a single roll.

Regaining Screen Presence -- You can regain Screen Presence in a number of ways. Any time your Weakness comes into play, you get a point back. Any time your Issue forces you to do something stupid or risky, you get a point back. Any time the Producer has to hose you to set up a scene or conflict, you get a point back.

***

There are a lot of different ways you can hack this to be even more like standard PDQ or PTA - I consider this to be "right in the middle" along that continuum. Enjoy.

December 2010

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