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Torment PnP Mechanics Interview at Rock Paper Shotgun

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Torment PnP Mechanics Interview at Rock Paper Shotgun

Interview - posted by Infinitron on Wed 10 June 2015, 19:07:55

Tags: Colin McComb; inXile Entertainment; Thomas Beekers; Torment: Tides of Numenera

Over at Rock Paper Shotgun, there's an interview with Torment: Tides of Numenera Creative Lead Colin McComb and Associate Producer Thomas Beekers. Interestingly, it's an almost purely mechanics-focused piece, as the interviewer is a big fan of the Numenera PnP ruleset. (You'd think Adam Heine would be the man to interview about this, but I'm told the interview actually took place at the Rezzed convention earlier this year, so he wasn't around.) Anyway, the Codex loves mechanics, so here's a couple of excerpts. On the Effort system:

RPS: Given the Effort system, does that radically change how you balance the game over the course of it? Because the Effort system allows you to make certain tasks trivial for your character if you’re actually good at it.

McComb: But it’s depleting your pools.

Beekers: The question for balance is not the Effort itself, it’s the depletion of pools and how you recharge it. So when we’re looking at Effort we’re mostly looking at management of pools and estimating how many points someone has to spend, and how many rest opportunities we want to give them, because you cannot rest anywhere in the game. You cannot be constantly recharging your pools, because that would make everything free, but we have our methods of limiting that.

McComb: Yeah, we’ve got an urgency mechanic that we’re trying out that we want to make sure works and that it’s not just annoying.

RPS: So that’s changing the rest system from the thing of–

McComb: Oh, you still get the four rests – I still get the instantaneous, the ten minute, the one hour, and the overnight – and it’s the hour and overnight that we’re trying to rope in. But each of those things increments the urgency, and if you do that too many times it’s possible that it’ll trigger a GM intrusion essentially.

RPS: That’s interesting.

Beekers: That’s sort of the same mechanic in Numenera where a GM would say, ‘But you can’t really rest right now.’ It’s the same logic, we just have to figure out a good pacing and presentation for it that doesn’t feel annoying to the player.

McComb: Right, like Mask of the Betrayer had the spirit-eating and even George said that it annoyed him. Our lead area designer is George Ziets and he was the creative lead on Obsidian’s Mask of the Betrayer, and he said that he just found it really frustrating and annoying and he wishes he hadn’t included it, so we want to make sure that our urgency mechanic is not annoying.​

And on cyphers:

Beekers: I think the interesting challenge of cyphers for us is going to be because– I do the item design for the game, it’s good and fun to come up with unique cyphers, but the angle is so different because usually the player’s instinct is, ‘I’m going to hoard all this stuff and keep it for a big boss,’ but we have to make players understand that you get cyphers all the time and you have to use them all the time. At first opportunity.

McComb: Have you guys done cypher poisoning yet in your game?

RPS: No.

McComb: You’ve got a cypher limit, essentially. If you start carrying more than that, the chance of something really bad happening – explosions, mutations, you know.

Beekers: It’s not a hard limit [on how many you can carry], but the things that will happen are so bad that it might as well be. Really nasty things can happen.

But if you’ve played the Numenera pen-and-paper you’ve probably felt how different that feels and your instinct adapting and being more open to just using the item right away. I think that will actually be really cool in Torment, if we do it right.

McComb: Monte is always saying that the cyphers are essentially one-shot special powers. Think of it as potions, but even accumulated faster than potions, so it’s something that you’re always finding and always using.​

Read the full interview for further information on GM intrusions, crafting, and more. Very crunchy stuff!

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