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Title: [Monsters We Are] Collaberative Storytelling - Overview
Post by: causticbuddhist on August 25, 2009, 12:19:36 AM
Monsters We Are

I've been creative lately and this idea just wouldn't stop flowing tonight.  I've gotten enough together where i feel comfortable putting it here for some feedback and have a question about the design in general.

Current question:  How do I keep a game like this on track, ie..moving from point A to point B in the plot.

Themes:
What if every event of untold evil could only be countered by another evil action?
Fate in some way lets you know that there is something evil (world changing) about to happen it is up to you to stop it, but in order to stop it another evil action must occur. 

Conflict Resolution:
Any player that decides the narrative is incorrect or comes to an obstacle to overcome may issue a challenge.   This challenge is dealt with as such:
Each player reveals his top card, and the player with the higher card puts both the cards on the bottom of his deck. If the cards are of equal value, each player plays three face-down cards and a fourth face-up card, and the higher-valued card wins all the cards on the table. This is known as a war. In the case of another tie, the process is repeated until there is no tie.   

The Decks:
2 decks of 52 card standard playing cards are used for this game.
1 Deck is the resolution deck.  This deck is parsed out to the players equally.  Any leftover cards are placed into the “Bucket”
1 deck is the story deck.

Hosts: - Director of the Chapter

Each player draws a card at the beginning of the chapter; the highest card win’s the Host position.
Alternatively: At the beginning of the game chapter a player may choose to be host if there is no reasonable rejection against it.

The hosts has access to three cards drawn from the story deck that they may use instead of from their hand to resolve scenes.  These cards are to be placed face down and not looked at by any party.  Any number of cards may be used to get different results in conflict resolution, but once the three cards are gone no new cards maybe drawn.

Trumps:
System Trumps:
At the beginning of a chapter (single session) a card is picked randomly the suite of that card is the beginning trump suite of the chapter.  Any time the Host Changes during a chapter, a new random trump suite is picked.

Characters:

Aspects:
The Self – The Normal Character.
The Shadow – The dark aspect of the Character.
   When a character looses a War conflict of resolution their shadow self takes over.

Motivations:
What motivates these characters the self , pick one thing that above all else motivates this character

Vice:
Like Motivation but for the shadow self, usually in direct conflict with the character’s Motivation.

Talents:
5 things your character is good at doing.
If your character is trying to do one of their talents they may play two cards during conflict resolution and keep the most favorable card.

Trump:
Pick a trump suite for your character.  When you play a card of your character’s trump suite against any other card played it always wins.

Fortune:
All characters start with 0 fortune.
Game mechanic : a number of cards that maybe drawn from the story deck to try to change the outcome of a conflict resolution.   These cards refresh themselves at the start of every chapter.
Each time the characters are successful in diverting a great evil they gain a Fortune card.
   Each time a character fails to successful divert a great evil they lose a Fortune card.


Title: Re: [Monsters We Are] Collaberative Storytelling - Overview
Post by: Jason Morningstar on August 25, 2009, 04:12:24 AM
Have you tried it? 

I mean, you've got a lot of framework there.  Is that in place, predicated on play experience, or are you just spitballing? 

If you are spitballing, go play it and the answer to your question is likely to emerge amid the rubble.  Then come back with more questions.


Title: Re: [Monsters We Are] Collaberative Storytelling - Overview
Post by: causticbuddhist on August 25, 2009, 08:52:44 AM
Currently this is just spitballing.

I'll probably polish it up a bit more before going out to playtest it, seeing how I have no established group here it'll take me some time to find players anyway.


Title: Re: [Monsters We Are] Collaberative Storytelling - Overview
Post by: Jason Morningstar on August 25, 2009, 09:54:47 AM
I guess I'm suggesting it doesn't need polishing.  Even if you play it "in your head" alone, you've got more than enough to try it out.  The question you asked is very broad and I don't think you'll get any useful feedback until you have a better idea of where the points of failure are.


Title: Re: [Monsters We Are] Collaberative Storytelling - Overview
Post by: Michael S. Miller on August 25, 2009, 12:30:02 PM
Jason is right that there's no substitute for trying something out right away. To test out a new rules set--even if you're playing all the roles--will give you great insight into its workings.

Right off the bat, it sounds like you have an idea centered on asking moral questions of the players: Can two wrongs make a right? If so, would you be willing to do the second wrong?

This is a very, very neat premise. However, rushing right into mechanics may be getting ahead of yourself. It seems strange to me that your mechanics have very little room for choice, when your premise seems to be bursting with it.

But, it's possible I'm misreading your premise. What would you say your game's about?


Title: Re: [Monsters We Are] Collaberative Storytelling - Overview
Post by: mike_the_pirate on August 25, 2009, 08:56:31 PM
A good exercise for yourself is to write down a "minute of gameplay". Write down a page or whatever and take yourself through a turn with a game situation. This exercise can help you figure out what mechanics don't work, work well, need improvement, and it'll help you to understand the dynamic that you are creating, and to ensure that your rules are creating the dynamic that you intend.


Title: Re: [Monsters We Are] Collaberative Storytelling - Overview
Post by: Ken on August 26, 2009, 12:45:20 AM
A good exercise for yourself is to write down a "minute of gameplay". Write down a page or whatever and take yourself through a turn with a game situation. This exercise can help you figure out what mechanics don't work, work well, need improvement, and it'll help you to understand the dynamic that you are creating, and to ensure that your rules are creating the dynamic that you intend.

This is good advice. One of the things I do is create an average task performed by an average person and see how tough it was. When I say say average, I mean average difficulty versus average ability and skill. Once I have that set, I go up and down the scale, to see if the core mechanics break.

Personally, I would say to make sure your rules push your game concept along.

Looks good so far, keep it up.


Title: Re: [Monsters We Are] Collaberative Storytelling - Overview
Post by: JoyWriter on August 28, 2009, 05:57:50 PM
As an abstract answer to the question, I'd say that you can get the game moving by starting with getting the players to imagine it in motion, and then using mechanics to mediate the differences between those ideas.

In other words, you need to make the players want to make changes, and then other players can agree or conflict. If that is true, then you need to find ways to keep producing "great evils" for people to stop, but then insuring that the very stopping of that action provides another evil to stop. But if the game is to be a set of journeys to stop the evil, while finding out on route what the way to stop it is, then you need to work out what kind of thing stops people immediately working out how to stop it, and equally what various ways they could try to stop it. If the latter is broadly expressed enough, then it provides room for competing agendas between players, who may each have a different idea of how to stop the end of the world.

So make players want to change stuff.

Show them generally how they could do it, or perhaps how they could find out how to do it, in a broad enough way for players to make it interesting for themselves and possibly compete.

Add your own obstacles to achieving their aims, perhaps even ones where they need each other's help.

Build a conflict mechanic that makes the ensuing tensions and conflicts enjoyable.


Title: Re: [Monsters We Are] Collaberative Storytelling - Overview
Post by: Vladius on September 04, 2009, 12:04:19 PM
Cool, "Two Wrongs Make a Right: The Game."

I think in order to move the plot forward, and to make things interesting, you could have it so that the players choose to do Evil things, but not know about the consequences on the other side until afterward.