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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: mistercrapdaddy on February 23, 2006, 11:12:47 AM



Title: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: mistercrapdaddy on February 23, 2006, 11:12:47 AM
Hey everyone, Sheldon here.  Before I begin, I'd like to thank you all for being so cool to me during my short time here at the Forge.  It's a rough world out there, especially for us creative types, and it's nice to have somewhere to come to get away from that.  Thanks!

Pantheon -
The PC has died.  Not being "good" enough during his life to warrant admission to Heaven, but also not being "bad" enough for an eternity of suffering in Hell, he's been shunted off to "Purgatory".  After roaming the gray desolation of that realm for an indeterminate amount of time, he is plucked up and redeposited on Earth.  By whom?  That's a mystery.  For what purpose?  That is also unclear.

Anyway, the general idea is that the characters are brought back to Earth and given control over one particular aspect of reality, essentially becoming the "God" of that aspect.  A soldier dies and comes back with a power over conflict that eventually blossoms into control over the "War" aspect.  A farmer dies and is brought back with the power to affect weather and the harvest. 

However, agents of the world's dominant religious paradigms see the threat inherent in such an arrangement.  They've built up their power over millenia and are not prepared to tolerate any intrusions on their rightful place.  Until they PC's have built up a steady core of worshippers, it is best to work in secret.  Worshippers = power and right now the PC's are the low men on the totem pole.  This means that, in addition to Godly duties, it behooves the characters to maintain "normal" lives.

My questions for you:

1) Is it too White Wolf?  Looking at it now, I see it might just be.

2) The characters are very Greek in that they eat, drink, love, hate and interact with mortals on a regular basis.  Is the idea of a God that has to go to work, pay bills and lead a "normal" life a frustrating one from a roleplaying perspective?  Personally, I like the juxtaposition. 

3) Has anything like this been done already?

Thanks for any input you may be able to give.

-Sheldon






Title: Re: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: StefanDirkLahr on February 23, 2006, 12:25:27 PM
I take it you've read Piers Anthony's pretty awesome Incarnations of Immortality (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Incarnations_of_Immortality) series?

Or Niel Gaiman's American Gods (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Gods)?

It does remind me in some ways of Nine Worlds (http://www.chimera.info/nineworlds/), but with the realm of action kinda reversed: As i understand 9 Worlds' setup, you are a powerful Mortal who ascends to start stuff on the Gods' home turf.

White Wolf never managed to make *its* games playable, so i see no fear stepping on their toes theme & setting-wise! >_>

As for the game itself: What do you see the characters as actually doing? What is challenging them?

Is it popular & dogmatic persecution/fear/anger/misconception against real Gods with actual powers, but who are also flawed, mortal, and above all human?
'Cause that could be really cool - it is that "superhuman" theme again.


Title: Re: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: StefanDirkLahr on February 23, 2006, 12:36:27 PM
It also occurs to me that Greg Stolze (apparently also one of those White Wolf guys to some degree) has a few games along these lines: Unknown Armies (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Unknown_Armies) is especially close, as far as i can tell, not having either played or read the game...





Title: Re: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: StefanDirkLahr on February 23, 2006, 12:41:44 PM
Since i absolutely suck at dealing with any matter concerning "premise", fomr some reason, you might really want to check out Vincent's article on theme (http://www.lumpley.com/creatingtheme.html), if you haven't already...


Title: Re: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: Adam Cerling on February 23, 2006, 01:48:30 PM
1) Is it too White Wolf?  Looking at it now, I see it might just be.

2) The characters are very Greek in that they eat, drink, love, hate and interact with mortals on a regular basis.  Is the idea of a God that has to go to work, pay bills and lead a "normal" life a frustrating one from a roleplaying perspective?  Personally, I like the juxtaposition. 

3) Has anything like this been done already?

3) Look up R. Sean Borgstrom's RPG Nobilis. This site (http://www.chancel.org/) provides a good overview. Your idea shares the idea of PCs being human once before they got their power, and of being gods over an aspect of reality. In Nobilis, however, PCs guard and expand their aspects of reality while holding off the attacks of "Excrucians" who want to unmake all Creation: that seems to be a different focus from your idea about gaining worshippers.

I've read that Demon: the Fallen had something about gaining worshippers, not to mention being PCs who had kind of come back from the dead. But I never got into that game.

2) I like the juxtaposition too, but I've never seen it work in play. Inevitably the fantastic clash of gods and magics is more exciting and rewarding than a day in the life of a meat-packing plant employee.

White Wolf's Changeling was an object lesson to me in this regard. Its books detailed different Kiths of fae, the workings of Noble houses, far-off realms in the Dreaming, strange new Faerie creatures -- and abandoned completely the hint of premise in the core rules of the struggle to balance one's Fae and mortal sides. The game never made that part of the setting important.

1) Is it too White Wolf? That depends on what you mean by "too." I do see several resemblances. But given the idea you describe, you'd be competing with Nobilis for my dollar, not with Demon: the Fallen.


Title: Re: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: Graham W on February 23, 2006, 02:05:53 PM
Hi Sheldon,

1) Is it too White Wolf?  Looking at it now, I see it might just be.

It all depends on how it's done, I think. So far, you've just given us a rather nice setting. It's impossible to tell, from that, whether it's like White Wolf games or not. That setting could go a lot of different ways, depending on what the mechanics are.

Quote
2) The characters are very Greek in that they eat, drink, love, hate and interact with mortals on a regular basis.  Is the idea of a God that has to go to work, pay bills and lead a "normal" life a frustrating one from a roleplaying perspective?  Personally, I like the juxtaposition.

I like the juxtaposition too. It depends which bits you want to roleplay - if you're roleplaying paying bills, then of course it might get boring - but no, for me, it's fun.

Quote
3) Has anything like this been done already?

Probably something like slightly the same setting has been done before. But then everything's been done before, somewhere, and slightly differently...

Look forward to hearing more about it.

Graham


Title: Re: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: Selene Tan on February 23, 2006, 08:48:41 PM
2) The characters are very Greek in that they eat, drink, love, hate and interact with mortals on a regular basis.  Is the idea of a God that has to go to work, pay bills and lead a "normal" life a frustrating one from a roleplaying perspective?  Personally, I like the juxtaposition. 

I think this very much depends on how you implement it. You can make the mortal interactions interesting by making them matter. If living as a mortal gives the characters more chances or resources to spread their influence, the players will want those interactions. And the characters draw their power from people--give those people names and faces, and throw them into the characters' mortal lives.


Title: Re: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: Halzebier on February 23, 2006, 11:17:51 PM
Hi Sheldon!

As I can see, you've now adopted a (working) title for your game about the power of the gods. Unfortunately, there already is an RPG-like game by a very similar name: "Pantheon and Other Roleplaying Games" by Robin D. Laws (London: Hogshead Publishing). It's a thin booklet which contains a couple of storytelling games, wherein narration is shared and participants score points for nailing the given genre's cliches. The one called "Pantheon" is about narrating a creation myth.

Regards

Hal


Title: Re: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: mistercrapdaddy on February 23, 2006, 11:39:40 PM

As I can see, you've now adopted a (working) title for your game about the power of the gods. Unfortunately, there already is an RPG-like game by a very similar name: "Pantheon and Other Roleplaying Games".... The one called "Pantheon" is about narrating a creation myth.


Damn!  Ah well.  Thanks for the heads-up, although I may continue to use it as a working title whilst here on the site.

-Shel


Title: Re: [Pantheon] General Game Premise
Post by: tygertyger on February 26, 2006, 08:24:33 AM
3) Has anything like this been done already?

Nobilis has already been mentioned.  There's also Immortal (the original Invisible War and Millenium, as well as the still-developing 3rd Edition).  This is still an interesting premise, though, resemblances to White Wolf material notwithstanding.