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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: Reality Aberrant on July 31, 2002, 08:14:55 PM

Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Reality Aberrant on July 31, 2002, 08:14:55 PM
I was wondering, can anybody help me sort out my ideas? i am looking for a few persons to help em out think more clearly the concept i have for a game.

Here is what i have tumbling in my head (in no particular order):

The game is going to be a Fantasy setting, not sure if it's goping to be Gamist or Narrativist. The reason for this is that right now i cant seem to make up my mind. I am not sure what would be best. An enchanted world, with Powerfull, accesible, wondrows and misterius magic where players feel in a fairy tale or a Gritty World with Powerfull yet very Rare Magic, where ppl are out for themselves and you could get killed by a table knife.

Beyond that, This setting is going to be Furry Focused. What do i mean? well, i havent seen many Furry Systems but here is what i would like to do. Before creating your character you are given a pull of points, thes points you use to define your species. For instance, you could choose your body type (Humanoid, Feline, Canine, Mice, Etc) your features (fur on body, eye types, Wings, tail, claws) and such and such.

The idea behind that is to allow a person to define it's furry. For instance if i wanted to play a Humanoid Feline, wioth fur and Tail, Cat Ears and Eyes but Human Face and Human Hands you could basically build it.

After that, the system would be based on skills, so no Class here, Everything should be handled with skills from Magic to Dodging a melee attack.

I am thinking of something like the setting of Redwall novels or The Disney cartoon where a group of animals go adventuring.

If anybody has any ideas, Pages i should visit, Games i should look at.

I would apreciate any feed back

Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Zak Arntson on July 31, 2002, 10:16:17 PM
This is the stock question around here, but it's a good one:

What do you do in the game?

Instead of going into your game thinking "Gamist" or "Narrativist," first think about what the driving purpose behind play would be. What kind of stories do you want to tell?

Before jumping right into rules decisions, think about what experience you want to provide your Players.

Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: S.Lonergan on August 01, 2002, 02:54:50 AM
This sounds like a really cool game,
Like zak said, What are you going to do in the game..
And, what seperates your game from the millions of others, what makes people wanna play your game??

Setting info is something that cant be neglected either...

Sorry if you;ve heard all this before, just thought i would throw it all at you again, and, if i come of challenging, or confrontational, then sorry, they are just questions that need asking.....

Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Reality Aberrant on August 01, 2002, 03:02:52 AM
Well, those are very good questions, i want to provide a setting that gives my players the sense of wonder back. Think of it as a mix of Storybook Fairy Tales and Gritty Adult Stories. I am not sure if i am expressing myself correctly. I will try from another angle.

Do you remenber the wonder you felt when you first got your hands in a Fantasy Book? Where do all those creatures came from? Magic? wow! wasn't that neat? Well what i want to acomplish is a setting where the players themselves bring the wonder back by defining what they want to play and how.

I want to include thinking of rules earlier on because i happen to believe that rules make or break a setting. It's been my experience that mist players out there are either Gamist or Simulationist ( at least in my country ). I am the only one i know that is Narrativist. And so, my experience has been that rules need to be clear as to what players can and cant do. Also i believe that the system should allow for player customization, i want to take it as far as race customization. The things the player can customize are (i think) Race, Class, Magic.

So basically, i want a fully customizable, Wonder filled, Modern Fairy Tale with Furry protagonist.

Once again thanks all for the time to read this.

Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Matt Machell on August 01, 2002, 03:12:52 AM
I'll jump in here before somebody else does, players can't be Gamist, Simulationist or Narativist, only their decisions in play....

You might want to look at Nathan's Rodendum on Mystic Ages (, which covers a vaguely similar style of game.

Whynot try the technique of writing down what your ideal session of the game would be like, this works well for many people.


Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 01, 2002, 06:42:29 AM
Hi there,

I recommend taking a look at The Questing Beast, which is one of the games offered by Random Order Creations. Some text in there, as well as in the forum discussion about the game (here on the Forge) is really amazing regarding why and how the "furry" motif works.


Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Zak Arntson on August 01, 2002, 09:40:39 AM
Sounds like you've nailed the theme/color of your game: Modern Grimm's Fairy Tales. These old things are filled with the storybook tropes but are also really violent and scary.

I would argue that you should have rules in the back of your mind, but not right away. Since it sounds like you have a good idea of what you want, try the "typical play" exercise. Write out a script that describes what a typical play session is like (and if you don't have definite mechanics, just put notes in where you think they'd go).

So, for example, your script could look like:
GM: "The two of you creeping through the alley. Make a Dex check to avoid tripping over all the garbage, difficulty 2"
(some kind of Dexterity mechanic)
Player B: (succeeds roll)
Player A: (fails roll but uses quick thinking) "I'll try these magic cigarettes out." (revises roll to a success, has to incorporate it) "Wow! Every puff I take makes me lighter! I'm floating through the alley!"

With that the basics of the rules jump out at you. And any concerns. Using the example again, maybe I don't LIKE the Dex mechanic idea, but I like the revising a failure thing.

Who was it that first proposed script-writing here on the Forge? I want to give credit where it's due (I think it's one of those undercover/subconscious design tools that was brought right out into the spotlight).

Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 01, 2002, 10:16:46 AM
Hi there,

Roy suggested the technique in Structured game design (


Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Roy on August 01, 2002, 11:03:23 AM
It's nice to see I haven't been forgotten.  :-)


Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Reality Aberrant on August 02, 2002, 11:52:52 AM
ok, i will try and narrate what a "Tipical" game session might be like. Please be patient with me as this idea is kind of new to me and it's very hard to put thoughts into words.

Ok, here goes nothing.

Dramatis Personae:

P1 is Roland, a male Fox hunter.
P2 is Milena, a female Panther wizardress.
P3 is Gideon, a male Wolf Battle Master
P4 is Pash, a Male otter mistic Healer

at a dinner table in a road inn. The music is loud and the room is full of travelers from many lands, the smell of spices permeates the air and the color of many cloths and ornaments convined with the smoke produced by several diferent smoking herbs make distinguishing things tricky.

The players have stated that they are alert to any inconvenience so it's no wonder that roland sees the thief that tries to aproach the players table. Roland, always quick of Action and unsurprised by the Stealthy movement of the thief gets out of his chair and with a swift motion grabs the chair and slams it agains the outstreched weapon arm of the thief. Now the other players are becoming aware of the problem and see several more individuals closing in on them. Meanwhile the thief engaged with roland manages to avoid releasing the sword on his hand and Lunges at Roland who expertly avoids the stroke. Milena, is too distracted by her enviroment to cast any usefull spell but thinks that she might be able to pull the smoke of the room to one of the attackers and standing from her chair begins concentrating. Pash, knows that he will serve better the group by protecting Milena so he positions himself so as to try and intercept any attack that is going to her. Meanwhile the Strong Battle Master Gideon takes out his sword with an amazing speed and Attacks the Thief engaged with roland. The thief is concentrated on roland and fails to notice the incoming blow wich is delivered to the base of the head with the flat of the sword, Gideon is determined to get one alive this time so he can ask questions later. The hit is good and the thief goes down with a heavy thud, allowing Roland time to draw his weapon. Milena manages to concentrate quickly enough, wich it in itself is a proof of how powerfull wizardress she is, among this rabble and pulls all the smoke in the room making a swirling mist around one of the attackers who gets a bit disoriented because he cant see 1 feet in front of him. This puts the group at a slight advantagebut it's not a big one. Milena who knows the group is in serious jeopardy Begins inmediatly concentrating to channel a new the magical energies to open up a path so they can run out of the tabern. One attacker lunges for Milena because she is vulnerable right now he can see her stance of deep thought, meaning she cant defend from an attacker.  Pash, tries to parry the blow directed at milena but not only fails, his own weapon gets redirected in milena's direction. Thank goodness he is using a staff it will shield Milena from the edge of the sword  but the concussion she recieves is a hard one. SHe is now dizzy and has lost concentration.  Pash knows he is next on the attacker list and gets worried because he can see the second one coming... this could be indeed a very good time to flee. Roland knows that is better soemtimes to run and be able to fight another day and so he throws a jar of pepper gas over the head of the crowd, making all in the vecinity to start  vomiting and coughing. Clearing the path they all needed. Gideon runs for the Defenceles Milena and push Pash out of the way towards the clearing, pash knows that he is to flee outside and dashes for the door. Gideon Prepares himself to Recieve the attacks and give a chance to Roland to taske milena outside. Roland quickly carries milena of to the street outside. The attackers all turn to Gideon and a drop of sweat runs through him. a quick prayer by him to gaia, the eternal mother so she can accept his soul if this turns to be his last battle. All 3 attackers rush in at once and Gideon manages to avoid one and parry two. HE takes advantage of their opening and with a swift movement of his blade one of the attackers lies dead on the floor. That in turn opens him a bit to the remainder of the attackers and One of them connects a blow that seriously impairs his fighting avility. Thank gaia, From the door at his back a gale wind blows in creating chaos and knocking down several of the patrons and one of the attackers. He dares a quick look and sees Milena being suported by Pash next to Roland, they are signaling him to run for the exit. Without Wasiting more time he Gives a quick thrust to the remainder of the attackers wich pust him out of commision for a few days or until he can find a good healer. HE runs for the door before the crowd of the tabern decide they are guilty of this mess and want to hang them.

Our heros couldnt take the prisioner with them but they managed to escape with their lives, perhaps they are getting closer to the force behind the growing turmoils in the realm.

this is how i envision a session. i know. it's cheap. Your tipical Bar Brawl, but i could not come up with anything better given the circunstances.

*dones flame proof vest.

Flame away!

Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Jeffrey Straszheim on August 02, 2002, 12:24:34 PM

Your writeup is missing the main point, I think, in that it focuses on the actions of the characters in the fictional world rather than the actions of the players in the real world.  The game itself is not the imaginary world created, but the actions of real people playing the game.  When do they roll?  For what reasons?  Which parts are crunchy and detailed?  Which are not?  Which decisions are made by players?  Which by the GM?  Who describes things?  Answer these questions first.

Title: Sorting out Ideas!
Post by: Reality Aberrant on August 02, 2002, 12:28:59 PM
yikes.. i will try to write up the sme encounter again from the pint of view of the players. May take some time tho as i am doing something else right now that i cant shift attention from.