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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: lumpley on May 31, 2002, 05:55:14 AM



Title: OtherKind
Post by: lumpley on May 31, 2002, 05:55:14 AM
Hey.

So I'm working on this fantasy game, and it's in a good shareable state:
OtherKind (http://www.septemberquestion.org/lumpley/other.html)

My goal was to make a fantasy game where the fantasy peoples mean something, and I think I've sort of succeeded.  I wanted the dwarfs elves orcs and trolls to all mean something different, and instead they all mean basically the same thing, but at least they mean something.

The mechanic is toothily Fortune in the Middle: you roll your dice and then spend them on success, complications, and who gets to narrate.  The reward system is based on Tim Denee's Hell-shift.

Anyway, tell me what you think?

(Interestingly, and I hope I'm not spilling too many beans here Scott, Scott Knipe's been working on a game with some striking similarities and striking differences.  We're thinking of coordinating or integrating them, so there's that in the future.  His game features dragons, conspicuously absent from mine.)

-Vincent


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Valamir on May 31, 2002, 06:34:10 AM
WOW!

Vincent.  That's fantastic, absolutely fantastic.  It's likely way to much short notice, but I'd love someone to run this at Demon Con tomorrow.

We were talking in other threads about how to maintain a sense of wonder in a fantasy game.  Man, you achieved that in spades.  

I'd love to see some "unseelie" otherkind in the game.  I'm thinking the chief difference would be a different twist to the Connection to Life, something where doing harm to people increases the Connection instead of decreases, and which relates to Connection to Life in the same way as Moonlight relates to Iron...meaning the two could cooperate...to a point, and then they become incompatable.

Very impressive.


Title: OtherKind
Post by: lumpley on May 31, 2002, 08:38:12 AM
Unseelie, hmm...

Hmm...

-Vincent


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Jared A. Sorensen on May 31, 2002, 08:41:52 AM
Vincent! Dude!

I agree with Ralph, man...this is really, really, really GOOD. I'm jealous. I love the idea of rolling the dice, then assigning them to the various things (Narration, Safety, Life and Motion).

Wow. Damn, now I wanna steal it. Curses!

- J

(how cool would that be for Hollywood-style car chases? really cool.)


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Blake Hutchins on May 31, 2002, 08:45:15 AM
Vincent, this is VERY cool.  I'll digest it and offer any further feedback I may have, but right now, this looks marvelous.

Best,

Blake


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on May 31, 2002, 09:58:48 AM
Vincent,

This rocks out. I want to run this for my group in an el pronto fashion. I'd do it this weekend, if they weren't clamoring for more Riddle of Steel.


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Blake Hutchins on May 31, 2002, 10:03:02 AM
Here's a question:  Color dice.  Is there any particular effect attached to a particular color?  The rules imply there might be, frex, a different effect for a red die than for a green one.

Great stuff, BTW.  Moonlight and Iron.  Awesome.

Best,

Blake


Title: OtherKind
Post by: hardcoremoose on May 31, 2002, 10:10:53 AM
Vincent,

I knew this game would go over big.

And since he spilt the beans, here's a peek at Draconic.

It's not nearly as complete Otherkind  (hopefully I'll get a chance to work on it soon, but I have at least two other projects pending before GenCon - a newly revised NightWatch and another that I hope to announce shortly), but you'll see some definite similarities.

The funny thing about these two games is that neither was written with knowledge of the other, but they were inspired by the same thing, and in our ways, Vincent and I arrived at similar conclusions.  It wasn't that long ago that threads here at The Forge were spouting about "finding the wonder" and "capturing the essence" of this or that.  Well, Draconic was my attempt to make good on those claims, and I think Otherkind was Vincent's.

One note: Although I haven't read all of Trollbabe, I have had a chance to look at it, and some of Draconic was inspired by that game.  Namely, the wandering hero image and a little bit of how I dealt with damage and Wellbeing.  I gladly cite Ron's work as inspiration, and if it hews too closely to that project (which it may, since I haven't read it in it's entirety). I'll gladly take down the URL and that'll be the end of it.

That said, look for some artwork from none other than Mr. Baker sometime in the near future.

- Scott


Title: OtherKind
Post by: lumpley on May 31, 2002, 10:17:25 AM
Jared: you're right about the car chases.  Nice.  (I hope you do steal it, I'd play that game.)

Blake: not the colors as such, but what the colored dice represent.  Say I roll three white dice, plus a red die for my Sword - Graceful and a green die because I'm in a place that's Numinous at 6.  If I wind up assigning the red die, then whoever narrates has to talk about my grace with my sword.  If I wind up assigning the green die, the narration has to include the place's Numen.  If both, then both, if neither, you don't have to include either (but you can).

So the colors are to tell the dice apart, so you know what you have to include in your narration.

Ralph, Clinton, Scott: thanks!

-Vincent


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Valamir on May 31, 2002, 10:31:42 AM
Is there a mechanical use for Graceful, Artistic, and Powerful, or are those primarily guides for how to narrate the use of that skill?


Title: OtherKind
Post by: lumpley on May 31, 2002, 10:42:11 AM
Just guides.  Mostly guides for the GM when she gets to narrate, I think.

Thus you could use completely other adjectives if you wanted, I suppose.

-Vincent


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Blake Hutchins on May 31, 2002, 10:56:11 AM
Thanks for the color clarification, Vincent.  Hmm.  Graceful and Artistic sound a lot alike to me.  Graceful, Brutal, and Flashy might be more intuitive descriptions, though there's nothing wrong with Powerful.  OTOH, once Artistic is lined up with Flashy, Showy, Flowery, or Dashing, my confusion with Graceful fades.

Best,

Blake


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Jake Norwood on May 31, 2002, 11:08:34 AM
Is there a PDF available? Character sheets? I couldn't find links to them on your site.

Very impressed.

Jake


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Valamir on May 31, 2002, 11:08:49 AM
You may want to adjust that section of the text abit.  As I was reading it through the first time my assumption was that the 4 colored dice corresponded 1:1 with Graceful, Artistic, Powerful, and Life.  It wasn't until the example that I realized the colors connected to the skills not the adjectives.


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on May 31, 2002, 11:10:58 AM
Quote from: Jake Norwood
Is there a PDF available? Character sheets? I couldn't find links to them on your site.


The menu's not showing up in Internet Explorer - I found it via Netscape.

Printable HTML (http://www.septemberquestion.org/lumpley/otherprint.html)
Printable PDF (http://www.septemberquestion.org/lumpley/pdfs/otherkind.pdf)
Character Sheet (http://www.septemberquestion.org/lumpley/otherchar.html)


Title: OtherKind
Post by: xiombarg on May 31, 2002, 11:11:35 AM
Man, that mechanic rocks my socks off. The temptation to steal it in some fashion for Faster, Better, Cheaper (http://www.io.com/~xiombarg/fbc.html) is strong.

One nitpick, tho: You say "If you don't discard your Color Die, then the narration must include you using the weapon (for instance) in the appropriate way." I assume this means you have to, for example, show how you're using your shortsword Artfully. This is kinda clarified in the extended example, but only kinda. I'd like it to be more explicit.

For that matter, I'm not sure I understand the distinction between Artful and Graceful...


Title: OtherKind
Post by: lumpley on May 31, 2002, 12:11:52 PM
Blake, Ralph, xiombarg: thanks, I'll clarify those bits.

Artful means skilled, to me.  Take, oh, making pancakes.  Powerful is boldness, it's going the hell ahead and making them with Sam Adams cream stout instead of milk.  Artful is technique, it's knowing to separate the eggs and whip the whites.  Graceful is flair, it's the dash of ... hm.  Really the cream stout overpowers any dash of anything.  But say you're not using cream stout, Graceful is the dash of ground coriander.

Brutal, Flashy, Showy all are good too.  Maybe I should just open it up to the player?  The point of the adjectives is, when the GM narrates, she shouldn't get my character wrong.

Clinton: thanks for posting those links.  Curse you, browser incompatibility.  What IE are you using?  It works fine on both my 4 at home and my 5 at work.  (In fact, it's Netscape that gives me grief.)

But I don't wanna give up my divs and css...

-Vincent


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Clinton R. Nixon on May 31, 2002, 12:16:49 PM
Quote from: lumpley

Clinton: thanks for posting those links.  Curse you, browser incompatibility.  What IE are you using?  It works fine on both my 4 at home and my 5 at work.  (In fact, it's Netscape that gives me grief.)

But I don't wanna give up my divs and css...


I know - browser incompatibility sucks my balls, to be blunt. I'm using IE 6, which it should show up fine on, but doesn't. It looks great in Mozilla and Netscape 6, though, both of which are fully CSS compliant.

<end geek talk>


Title: OtherKind
Post by: hardcoremoose on May 31, 2002, 12:16:51 PM
Vincent says:
Quote
Brutal, Flashy, Showy all are good too. Maybe I should just open it up to the player? The point of the adjectives is, when the GM narrates, she shouldn't get my character wrong.


This is brilliant, simple wording.  It's exactly what I was trying to convey with Desriptions in Draconic, and sort of how I see Descriptions in other games (like Sorcerer).    

I'm a little unnerved at the overlap of ideas here.

- Scott


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 31, 2002, 12:23:47 PM
Scott,

You're un-nerved, hell. I'm the one who clicked on the link and saw a trollbabe starin' at me.

Best,
Ron


Title: OtherKind
Post by: hardcoremoose on May 31, 2002, 12:31:46 PM
Ron,

Yeah, he nailed it, didn't he?

There's some might powerful energy flowin' around this place, and it's days like this that make me realize it.  A similar moment was had a couple weeks back when I first got a gander at Otherkind's "roll and spend" mechanic, which I had already playtested with my wife not a week earlier.

Anyway, I wish I had something constructive to say about the game, other than it rocks.  But fuck it, it does rock, and I'm reduced to a hapless adoring sycophant.  And while I sit here fawning over it, I'm getting absolutely nothing done on the jobs that are actually going to put money in my pocket.  So be it.

- Scott


Title: OtherKind
Post by: lumpley on May 31, 2002, 12:35:05 PM
This may be a good time for me to mention that I've been drawing horns on my trolls since I made my game the Cheap & Cheesy (http://www.septemberquestion.org/lumpley/cnc.html) back in '99 or whenever.  Truth is, maybe sometime in the past would've been a better time.

I did see the Trollbabe drawing James posted (http://http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2062), before I drew anything for OtherKind, but what I thought was: hey, I draw horns on my trolls too, nice!

You cool with it, Ron?

-Vincent

Oh and jeez, Scott.  Fawning sycophant?


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Ron Edwards on May 31, 2002, 12:57:36 PM
Of course it's cool, Vincent. No one has a prior claim to horned troll babes, f'God's sake.

Scott! [slap!] Get back to work on Charnel Gods, hup hup.

Best,
Ron


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Bankuei on May 31, 2002, 01:19:54 PM
I'm liking it, and I'm also reminded of two different movies that really fit in to this; Princess Mononoke and Pompoko(Raccoon War).  Both are anime movies directed by Hayato Miyazaki, and both deal with the essence of magic, wonder, and nature.

Mononoke addresses it perfectly with Iron Town vs. the animal Gods.  Pompoko is lesser known, but involves shapechanging raccoons trying to play as many tricks and sabotage a new construction development that threatens their forest.  

On note of the descriptors, perhaps including that clarification in the game would help out with the Graceful/artistic difference.

Chris


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Valamir on May 31, 2002, 01:46:17 PM
Quote from: Ron Edwards
Of course it's cool, Vincent. No one has a prior claim to horned troll babes, f'God's sake.



Actually Ron, I do believe TSR trademarked that idea back in '88.  Hasbro's now planning to promote it in their next "we have no creative ideas of our own" board game:  Risk- 2056 BC


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Valamir on May 31, 2002, 01:48:10 PM
Quote from: Bankuei
I'm liking it, and I'm also reminded of two different movies that really fit in to this; Princess Mononoke and Pompoko(Raccoon War).  Both are anime movies directed by Hayato Miyazaki, and both deal with the essence of magic, wonder, and nature.


Mononoke is totally there.  Iron town has an Iron rating of what, 100.

Too bad that Numenous forest god has about 10,000 Radiance...which he uses all at once.


Title: OtherKind
Post by: lumpley on May 31, 2002, 01:56:20 PM
Princess Mononoke!  I haven't seen that movie in years, but yeah.

As far as the mechanic goes, I think it's just one whose time came.  I thought of it and said to myself, damn, that's going to show up on the Forge any day now.  If I don't write it somebody else will.

If you squint, Zak scooped it in Metal Opera.

-Vincent


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Andrew Martin on June 01, 2002, 03:31:37 AM
It looks very nice, Vincent. Thanks for sharing it with us. I'll be printing it out and sharing it with my gaming group; might be able to play test it on Monday afternoon (Queen's Birthday holiday in NZ).


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Xeno on June 01, 2002, 10:40:38 AM
hello -- I followed a link through rpg.net (thanks, Andrew!), found Otherkind, and am liking it more and more by the second.

It's just got that . . . something, you know. That certain feel to it that says "Yeah, this is nice."

What's funky, though, is that I prefer sci-fi and all that "Iron" stuff, so I'm sitting here thinking about how to make a cyborg who's also high in Moonlight. Nothing munchkin about it, mind you -- I just think it's cool to see elements that shouldn't go together, but manage to anyway.

Oh, and I've finally come up with a good worth to described Otherkind: elegant.


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Zak Arntson on June 05, 2002, 05:47:09 PM
Quote from: lumpley
As far as the mechanic goes, I think it's just one whose time came.  I thought of it and said to myself, damn, that's going to show up on the Forge any day now.  If I don't write it somebody else will.

If you squint, Zak scooped it in Metal Opera.


Finally I got around to reading this thing. Otherkind is awesome. I love how the system and setting bolster each other. And what a neat setting! You've managed to take some old fantasy races and give them new meaning. You've even made the humans interesting!

I dig the four-dice stuff, and I want to try it out. After a cold response to Author-stance in my group, though, I'm going to have to wait on it.

Has anyone played it yet? How does dividing the four dice work out, handle time and understanding-wise?

And I can't see how Metal Opera is related to Otherkind's mechanic. Other than shifting Player/GM control and degrees of success (lifted partly from InSpectres!). In fact, Metal Opera was my answer to the Players being disappointed in the "everyman" aspect of InSpectres (which, incidentally, is why I think Clinton and I like InSpectres so much).


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 07, 2002, 08:16:38 AM
Hi Vincent,

It's brilliant, all told. I dunno about how all the mechanics hang together yet, that's a matter of play and so forth, but so far, I think you're really onto something.

My only concern is that player-character passions or personality seem mainly to be covered by  the adjectives and bear no relation to the problems the characters may face during play.

This is the big problem with a lot of games with lots of Color, lots of Setting-derived conflict, but no Premise. "I've got Powers X and Personality A, you have Powers X and Personality B. We fight crime!" (or the Excrucians, or the Ravening Dark, or the Invading Evil, or the Jargon-laden Enemy by any name) In other words, all the characters "are" is a matter of who wears the pasties and who wears the big hat - what they do is set it in stone because The Enemy is out there and must be fought.

So I don't see much Premise if the only meaningful option is to fight the humans, ad infinitum. I'd like to see more in terms of ethical dilemmas or personal sagas that relate to human/Otherkind interactions.

Changelings ... pagan vs. Christian practices ... a ravening Otherkind who does more harm than good ... humans who live happy lives and have no idea that they're destroying something Numinous ... these are the situations that will bring Otherkind into passionate play rather than guerilla-raid after guerilla-raid, interspersed with "run away."

Best,
Ron


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Seth L. Blumberg on June 07, 2002, 08:24:59 AM
A big "Ditto" from me WRT Ron's comments. Brilliantly innovative mechanics, needs more kinds of scenario structure and more attention to Premise. Attend to those deficiencies and I'll do my damnedest to playtest it, because it looks to have plenty of cool potential.


Title: OtherKind
Post by: lumpley on June 07, 2002, 09:06:42 AM
Zak, nope, to my shame I've foisted an unplayed game off on you all.  I don't know whether or how well divvying the dice up works.

In Metal Opera, the best die goes to success and the next best to who narrates, right?  It's a small step from there to choosing which goes to which.  That's the squinty-scoop I see.

Ron, Seth, just now my hope for Premise is between the two reward(ish) systems -- this is what you get if you protect Numina, but this is what it costs if you kill people.  I (optimistically) expect the PCs' personalities and passions to emerge from their decisions about when to kill people and when to fail instead (every roll is about that very decision), and how they value the wish-fulfillment sort of 'when I finally go Elsewhere there will be a year-long feast and orgy!' versus the very concrete 'my hair is shot with gray and deep lines form around my eyes.'  The former doesn't ever really happen; the latter is an actual change to the actual character.

Anyway that's my thinking so far.  

The bit of the game that's most unsettled for me is people's Moonlight -- the common point between people and otherkind, sort of, and I think a very good place for shaking up the "must ... fight ... people!" situation.  But I don't know where to go with it.  Any suggestions?

-Vincent

Oh and thanks again, everyone, for your interest and support!  You all rock.


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Zak Arntson on June 07, 2002, 11:14:08 AM
Quote from: lumpley
Zak, nope, to my shame I've foisted an unplayed game off on you all.  I don't know whether or how well divvying the dice up works.

In Metal Opera, the best die goes to success and the next best to who narrates, right?  It's a small step from there to choosing which goes to which.  That's the squinty-scoop I see.


Don't worry. I foist unplayed games all the time (I only announce one game a month, but I'm always adding ones to the "in the works" section).

In Metal Opera, there's two measures of success. Highest-rolled die, and number of matches. These go towards two different things. Success and Narration. So yeah, you're close.

Oh, and I keep thinking about the "assign different dice to different things" mechanic. I was heading vaguely into that territory with my experiments with "power vs. finesse" in Chthonian Redux, but went in another direction. I'm sure it'll wind up somewhere in a game of mine eventually, though.

Quote from: lumpley

The bit of the game that's most unsettled for me is people's Moonlight -- the common point between people and otherkind, sort of, and I think a very good place for shaking up the "must ... fight ... people!" situation.  But I don't know where to go with it.  Any suggestions?


You're off to a good start. This is the most Premise-y thing as far as emotional attachment. Without Moonlight, it's us vs. them. Why not allow for a broad Premise involving Moonlight-ish things, and let each Player come up with a question/phrase that allows in-play exploration of the broad Premise given.

Things like, "Your PC is in love with a human, and he doesn't know you are an OtherKind."

Provide a Kicker like, "Your secret tryst is interrupted by the human's sister, who's got Moonlight and sees through your deception. She's alone and confronts the two of you in rage."

Or a session-Premise. "A disease that is relatively benign to children is sweeping through a town. This town has done considerable damage to the Numina, and you are mounting a final assault."

The session starts/leads in to, "You close in on the town and are met by children wielding their parents weapons: Clumsily held pitchforks, cooking knives, and the like. What do you do?"

Oops, that last one wasn't Moonlight. But it does raise an interesting Premise: "How far will you go to stop humans?" And Moonlight is merely a mechanical way to emphasize the strained relationships between OtherKind and human.


Title: OtherKind
Post by: lumpley on June 07, 2002, 11:32:16 AM
Very nice, Zak.  Thanks.

(Oops, and I guess I read Metal Opera pretty sloppily, didn't I?  Sorry about that.)

-Vincent


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Blake Hutchins on June 07, 2002, 12:07:16 PM
Vincent,

I think your premise will be found somewhere between Iron and Moonlight.  I like the "How far will you go to stop humans?"  Narrowing that to "How much of your personal magic will you surrender to preserve your world?" may work to personalize it even more.  I like the idea of working with innocence and sacrifice, but I'm still mulling over how to tie them together.

Feels like we've got the scent, though.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Best,

Blake


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Valamir on June 07, 2002, 12:16:13 PM
I don't know.  I guess I have to go back to a comment I made earlier, that sometimes it seems to me this embed the Premise in the game thing is taken a bit to far.  I just don't see it.

I see alot of "this game needs a more defined premise", I'm not seeing much explaining why.  Its just something that's taken for granted, and I'm not sold that it is.

I can think of a dozen adventure ideas for the game (if I had a group here in Peoria I'd be playing it now...if anyone is planning to play on line let me know and I'm there).  I don't see where the premise needs to be embedded (not that it couldn't be, just that I don't see it as a requirement).  I have no trouble at all personally with a game that says...here I am, come up with your own premise and play.


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Ron Edwards on June 07, 2002, 12:33:19 PM
Ralph,

I knew you were gonna say that.

And you're right, in many ways. However, at this point, Vincent's getting feedback about his game from a bunch of perspectives. My perspective is that theme/Premise/embedding thing. That's where my feedback will come from.

Also, when I think a game wouldn't necessarily gain from that suggestion, then I don't make it. However, since not doing something is rarely perceived, all you're seeing is when I do make that suggestion - hence, "Ron is obsessed with embedded Premise."

Cut me slack - I didn't make such a suggestion about Faster Better Cheaper, or Million Worlds, or lots of others. Take that as data that I'm not just ringin' the same note on every game.

Best,
Ron


Title: OtherKind
Post by: Valamir on June 07, 2002, 12:56:44 PM
No slack required, Ron, I wasn't trying to hang you.  And you aren't the only one ringing the Premise bell on this thread...consider this to be my perspective of "I don't think you need to define the premise any sharper than it already is".  

There may be room for some additional color drawing more attention to whats already there but it seems to me the game is already very clear about what its about.  Its about the destruction of of Numen by Iron and the replacement of one way of life by another.  Those who depend on Numen are being inevitably overrun by those who depend on Iron.  Its Rome against the Celts, its Christianity against the Pagans, its European colonialism, its American Manifest Destiny.  Its a story thats been repeated 1000 times as cultures clash and the old ways are forgotten, and to me its already strikingly clear in the rules as is.

Moonlight is great, its a wonderful wonderful source of complication, but I don't see it as the central theme of the game.  Its Pocohantas settling in Jamestown (in reverse), its Lawrence of Arabia "going native", its Japanese youth who choose western pop culture over tradition (also in reverse).  Its the story of anyone caught between two cultures and how they're seen and viewed by each.  Great stuff...but IMO already present in the game without need for anything more than polish.