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General Forge Forums => Endeavor => Topic started by: Vulpinoid on September 18, 2007, 04:49:36 PM

Title: [soacs] After the Fall
Post by: Vulpinoid on September 18, 2007, 04:49:36 PM
Hi All,

I'll post this is a new thread. (

I think that when I uploaded this version of the file there were a couple of anomalies (such as two or three characters gaining the "Golem" special advantage), and as a result this has already been through a couple of revisions and upgrades.

I also know that there is probably a bit too much explanation on the character sheets compared to the intention of the brief.

There's a few changes to make, but I'm interested to see what changes other people would make before I offer a final submission.


Title: Re: [soacs] After the Fall
Post by: Vulpinoid on September 19, 2007, 02:18:50 PM
Thanks for the insight in that PM, Ken.

I've had some serious thought about a few key aspects and how I could resolve them into the existing format.

As a result I now present Version 2.0 (

I think most of the proof-reading errors have been corrected in this version.

Now it just needs playtesting.

I have considered the option of conflicted gauges and similar such mechanics, but for the moment, I'm just going for something fairly simple and easy to grasp for beginners. It's the kind of thing I probably would have done if I'd had my chance at [System in a Can] all over again.

Title: Re: [soacs] After the Fall
Post by: John Kirk on September 26, 2007, 09:42:39 PM
In this thread (, migo asked for some discussion to take place concerning After the Fall.  I already sent Vulpinoid feedback on his earlier entry ( via PM before this thread was created.  To help prompt further discussion concerning V's game, I am re-posting my comments here:

By way of critique, I thought I would answer the same questions I asked of my own system:

1) What genre, if any, does the game promote?

The genre is fantasy, with characters who are spiritual beings magically bound in some way.

2) What is the conflict resolution mechanic?

Players draw a number of cards based on their pertinent attribute and compare values in suit.

3) How do you know if you succeeded in winning a contest and what are the repercussions?

Player vs. GM:
The GM sets a difficulty via fiat and draws a number of cards equal to this value.  The highest rating on these cards is the threshold that players must overcome.  Each challenge has a suit.

The players draw a number of cards equal to the pertinent attribute (Corporal, Emotional, Intellectual, or Spiritual).  By the use of a pertinent skill, the suit of one or two cards may be changed.  I'm assuming that a challenge having a suit of spades would require a spade skill to change a card to a spade.  Any cards that don't match the challenge suit are discarded.  The highest remaining card determines the player's value.  If two or more cards beat the GM's threshold, the player gains an "extra degree of success", although I'm not sure what this really means in a Player/GM contest.

Player vs. Player:

The players choose a suit for their contest.  I'm not sure if this means the players must both choose the same suit, each chooses the suit of their opponent, or if each chooses his own suit.  I suspect this means that they must both agree to the same suit, but it seems like this could be a point of contension, because both will want to choose a suit beneficial to themselves and detrimental to their opponent.

Once a suit is chosen, each player then draws cards (from the same deck?).  I'm assuming each player gets to draw a number of cards equal to the pertinent attribute (suit).  The opponent's highest card (in suit?) sets the threshold.  If you have at least one card higher than your opponent's highest card, you get what you stated you wanted.  This could be:

a. You were attacking an opponent's attribute.  In this case, you lower your opponent's attribute by one point.

b. You wanted to break of the conflict.  In this case, the conflict ends.  (Question: can the opponent immediately start a new conflict?)

If you had two or more successes, then you also drain your opponent of one "energy" point.

During contests, the suits of cards can be changed in various ways based on the kind of character being played.

4) What is/are the reward system(s)?

Players inflict damage on opponents attributes and energy.  Also, they can gain energy points in various ways.

5) Can characters advance?  If so, how?

I don't see any way for a character to advance.  That's not a problem, BTW, just noting the fact.

6) How do players take turns?

Turn order is unimportant unless there are more than two opponents in a conflict.  In that case, results are determined by going from highest result to lowest.

7) When do scenes end?

A scene continues until there is no one left to fight.  Players drop out of a conflict either by running away (i.e. declaring in a contest that they want the conflict to end) or by having an attribute drop to zero.  However, a player can spend an energy point to "heal" an attribute point.  I assume this can be done at any time.  I also assume this means that a player can immediately "heal" an attribute up to 5 points, if he wants.

8) How do you know when the game is over?

Individually, the game is over when their character dies (by dropping to zero energy).  Not sure how it ends otherwise.  I guess the game ends when there is only one "man" left standing.

9) What role, if any, does the GM play?

The GM apparently creates the setting (it's implicit, in that nobody else is given the task).  Also, he creates challenges for the characters.


1) I was befuddled when first looking through your sheet, because I was wondering why all of the attributes weren't just colored in starting from the left.  I was going back and forth trying to make some rhyme or reason for their positioning.  Then I re-read your post stating that you were going to create sheets that split down the middle.  At that point, it all became clear.  So, you desperately need to make this more clear on your sheets.  For example, put a dotted line down the middle of the sheet (leaving gaps in places, if necessary, for aesthetic reasons).  You also might want to consider putting some text along the line such as "cut here", or "fold here", or something.

2) I don't see any starting value for "energy".  Nor do I see a maximum.

3) I see each character has a question (i.e. "What was the unfinished business?").  However, I don't see how answering this question ties into any mechanic.  Since you have apparently added this to promote some kind of narrative agenda, you might want to add an idiom gauge or narrative reward for this purpose.  For example, the GM might award a player a number of cards for narrating something related to the question in a contest.

4) I am impressed with your attributes.  Each is a pool of cards, a hit point gauge, and a trauma gauge all rolled up into one.  Overlaying patterns on top of one another like this shows some considerable game design talent.  Many designers are stuck in a one-pattern-per-gauge rut.  I know I was for many years.  Good job.

5) I note that there aren't any conflicting gauges in the game.  This means that the game will likely have an optimal strategy toward which play will naturally evolve.  The game would probably become much more intellectually challenging if you introduce tension between gauges somehow.  Just as a possible suggestion, you _could_ have each attribute have one of the other attributes as a conflicting one, so that if damage is done to one, it actually increases the other.

For example, suppose you said that Corporal and Spiritual oppose one another and Emotional and Intellectual oppose one another.  Then you could set the constraint that Spiritual = 4 - Corporal and Emotional = 4 - Intellectual.  (Which also means that Corporal = 4 - Spiritual and Intellectual = 4 - Emotional.)  Then, if you attack your opponent's Spiritual attribute and do damage, then you are actually _increasing_ his Corporal attribute.  Of course, that has other repercussions dealing with the rest of the system that I haven't thought too deeply about, most notably energy.  In any case, it's just a thought that you can feel perfectly free to ignore without hurting my feelings :-)

6) I noticed that all of the "Death" sections mention golems.  Is this intentional?

Title: Re: [soacs] After the Fall
Post by: John Kirk on September 26, 2007, 10:51:24 PM

To update my critique to pertain to your more recent entry (, I am revising some of my previous answers based on the changes you made.


8) How do you know when the game is over?

You win the game by “Transcending”.  This requires a player to fully resolve his motive and have 10 energy points.  Apparently, the motive is resolved when a player succeeds in 13 actions related to his motive.  Assuming I am interpreting that rule correctly, I think that in play, this rule will seem a little forced, since the mechanic to resolve a motive has nothing to do with what actions were actually performed.  (I’m struggling with a similar issue in a game I am currently designing, BTW.)  Of course, the contest does not lend itself to any system that is much more involved, since the imposed constraints are so severe.  So, I’m afraid I don’t have any advice on how to improve this area without adding a great deal more text.

Modifications to my previous Questions/Criticisms/Comments:

1) It is now quite obvious that each sheet is to be cut in half, and the left half of one sheet mated with the right half of another. 

2) Your new additions in the “Character Generation” section answer my earlier questions concerning how many energy points a character has.  They start with 6 and may have up to 13 points.

6) The “Death” sections now obviously pertain to their respective types.

New Questions/Criticisms/Comments:

7) While the new “Character Generation” and “Transcendence” sections helped a great deal in answering my earlier questions, it obviously makes the character sheet even more verbose.  I believe this will hurt your chances of winning the contest.  I’m not sure how much text you could lose and retain clarity, though, considering how non-traditional your game is.

8) While the character motives add good Narrativist meat to your game, I think this one aspect alone could take many pages to explain fully.  However, I do think that a GM familiar with the basic concept from other games could adequately run with it. 

Although there are still some minor questions I have here and there, I think that overall the sheet now contains enough information for me to play the game.

Title: Re: [soacs] After the Fall
Post by: Vulpinoid on September 27, 2007, 03:53:56 PM
I'll be subjecting the game to a playtest this weekend.

Hopefully that will help me clarify a few things regarding the system and it's potential.

If we're going with the notion that the character sheet looks reasonably playable, but appears to be a part of a much larger whole, then your questions and comments actually make me think that perhaps I succeeded a little more than I first thought.

I'm used to developing settings and incorporating mechanics derived from those settings. This challenge has forced me to evaluate my development process from a different perspective.