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Archive => RPG Theory => Topic started by: Emily Care on November 04, 2002, 10:39:50 AM



Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 04, 2002, 10:39:50 AM
Enlightenment is a game that has been collaboratively designed on this Forum at the initiative of Mike Holmes. This thread begins the next phase of its development. The general outline of the game and some specific mechanics have already been agreed on.  The specific purpose of this thread is to finalize mechanics for generation of character and setting.

To familiarize yourself with the premise of the game and decisions that have been made about its scope and form, see this thread:
"Let's Make a Game!" (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3768).
To see how the conflict resolution mechanics were developed and discussion of other aspects of the game, see this thread:
 "Enlightenment (GGD Group Game Design) (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3936)

Setting generation notes:

Quote from: talysman
for the first session, every player takes turns describing one fact about the monastery or the immediate surroundings (nothing further than three days walk from the monastery.) this could be a description of common labors, improvements made to the original abbey, adding a village nearby, describing events in the village or along the roads... when one person describes an event that sounds like the basis of a good mission, the other players chime in, selecting that mission (and selecting the player who thought of it as the mentor for that mission.)


Char gen notes:
Quote from: talysman
ok, this leads to questions about chargen. here's how I envision it:

each player suggests one trait-pair important to the religion; players then design neophytes, selecting two trait-pairs from those suggested; one of these trait-pairs would be 5/1, the other would be 4/2 (Passion is higher, Virtue is lower; Worldly/Spiritual is also set at 5/1; players write four facts about their character: one for each trait-pair, one Worldly fact, and one Spiritual kicker;
                     
next, each player designs a mentor by taking three trait pairs, setting two at 0/6 and one at 4/2; set the mentor's Worldly/Spiritual trait scores at 3/3;  write five facts for the mentor; name the characters and introduce them in the first session.


Other stuff:
What exact stats do we want the monastery to have? How will they function?

How many statements/facts do we want to have floating around? How will they be assigned? Some at first, and then more to come has seemed like the consensus.

Lesson points may help determine a lot of how play happens. What do we want those to look like?

Okay, that'll start us off.  I'll post my own preferences in a bit.  I took the time to make this a short post, this time. ;)

--Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 05, 2002, 02:42:11 PM
Quote from: talysman
players gather and describe the general setting they want to play in (historical france under charlamagne, fantasy medieval europe with a european version of taoism, whatever.)


This sounds about right.  Elements to be agreed on could include: time, tech level, historical/real world setting, general religious flavor.

Quote from: talysman
players suggest trait-pairs. perhaps each player suggest a Passion or a Virtue, then other players suggest what the opposite or compliment should be.


Would be the trait pairs associated with the religion or with the monastery specifically?  The statements or koans suggested at the end of the last thread could enter here, actually.  They could be meta-kickers (is there such a thing? Oh, yeah, that's a premise isn't it? :) Having them relate to a challenge the monastery is facing would seem to be more protagonizing for all.  

The process we're describing (with so much group development) seems like it will need collaboration to create dramatic situations and challenges in the premise and setting.

Example:
White Cloud Temple monastery and shrine

A Zen-buddhist type retreat, nestled high up on the slopes of a mountain.  The temple is remote, but is on a major pilgrimage route.  The shrine to the founder of the monastery is greatly revered and brings many visitors, including wealthy patrons.

The monastery's remote status prompts someone to suggest the Virtue "Serenity" for it.  The isolation created by the same remoteness prompts someone else to give "Indifference" as the matching Passion.


This might bring up an interesting situation where the wordliness is lower, but the monastery still has a trait pair of its own to resolve. Though from my description it could easily have Wealth/Poverty to contend with, making it rather worldly indeed.

--Emily Care

here's the rest of the outline from last thread:
Quote from: talysman

chargen, roughly as described before.

round-robin setting description, starting with abstract facts about the religion, moving to facts about the monastery, then on tothe surrounding countryside, and finally on to interesting events.

setting description stops when one player suggests an event that gives the others an urge to intervene.

the mentor (temporary GM) describes the selected event in more detail and assigns each player a general duty.
                     
continue in round-robin fashion, but each player describes a scene for how they will fulfill their duty. the scene is then played out.

when all the duties have been completed, the players have a scene with their mentor for possible character advancement.
                     
round-robin setting description begins again, until a new event suggests a new mission.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: talysman on November 05, 2002, 04:45:21 PM
thanks for posting all the info, Emily! I've been taking a break from Enlightenment because of some other projects that I'm worrying over right now. I don't have much to add just yet.

Quote from: Emily Care


Quote from: talysman
players suggest trait-pairs. perhaps each player suggest a Passion or a Virtue, then other players suggest what the opposite or compliment should be.


Would be the trait pairs associated with the religion or with the monastery specifically?  The statements or koans suggested at the end of the last thread could enter here, actually.  They could be meta-kickers (is there such a thing? Oh, yeah, that's a premise isn't it? :) Having them relate to a challenge the monastery is facing would seem to be more protagonizing for all.  

The process we're describing (with so much group development) seems like it will need collaboration to create dramatic situations and challenges in the premise and setting.


yes, I'm seeing the game as having a collaboratively-built setting, with "GM play" simply being a special case of the normal shared mentoring pattern. a sort of non-competitive Rune.

a note about the trait-pairs: I am using the phrase in the same way every time. the way I'm interpretting the game is: the religion as a whole has a certain number of trait-pairs, not all of which are worked out immediately. trait-pairs for individual monasteries, for mentors, and for neophytes are all specific instances of religious trait-pairs. if the religion values Serenity and abhors Indifference as its opposite, then individual monks must work towards Serenity. it is thus possible for a neophyte to have a problem achieving Serenity, so that would be a trait-pair that needs work.

we need to decide how many trait-pairs a character should start with, but I see new trait-pairs being added to the character during play at the same level as their current Worldly/Spiritual pair. Worldy/Spiritual is thus the default, while other trait-pairs can vary from that.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 05, 2002, 06:27:27 PM
Quote from: talysman
thanks for posting all the info, Emily! I've been taking a break from Enlightenment because of some other projects that I'm worrying over right now. I don't have much to add just yet.


No problem. Thanks for posting here anyway, John!  You and a lot of folks have put a ton of energy into this project.  If people need a break, we can always come back to it. :)

Quote from: talysman
players suggest trait-pairs. perhaps each player suggest a Passion or a Virtue, then other players suggest what the opposite or compliment should be.


The ramifications of this for game world and character development just sank in--the Virtues could be suggested as tenets or principles of the religion: Compassion, Poverty, Generosity, Perserverance.  Then as you said, an opposite aspect could be suggested which would represent some way that the monastery has been challenged in this principle.  The trait pairs could then express some plot or conflict that the monastery is facing or has faced in the past. For each of these trait pairs, a fact or statement could be formed about the past or present.  

Compassion/Violence:  The monastery has been attacked by bandits and the monks are trying to decide how to defend themselves without resorting to violence.

Poverty/Wealth:   The religion prescribes simplicity and poverty, but the monastery has amassed great wealth.

etc.  

Then these trait pairs given to the neophytes would reflect how the trial facing the monastery manifests in the individual monk's life.
       
Quote from: talysman
yes, I'm seeing the game as having a collaboratively-built setting, with "GM play" simply being a special case of the normal shared mentoring pattern. a sort of non-competitive Rune.


I'll have to check out Rune. Glad this model is out there.

Quote from: talysman
a note about the trait-pairs: I am using the phrase in the same way every time. the way I'm interpretting the game is: the religion as a whole has a certain number of trait-pairs, not all of which are worked out immediately....


I think my comments above relate to this.

Quote from: talysman
we need to decide how many trait-pairs a character should start with, but I see new trait-pairs being added to the character during play at the same level as their current Worldly/Spiritual pair. Worldy/Spiritual is thus the default, while other trait-pairs can vary from that.


I'd say start with 2 pairs plus W/S.  I've been thinking that new pairs would be added when one gets resolved. I've also been thinking, though, that Spirituality could rise when a pair gets resolved. Tying the two together along with using W/S as the default may be too rigid.  But then, there can be back-sliding.

Possible Numbers of trait pairs:

Religion           ????
Monastary        W/S + 5
Neophytes        W/S(5/1) + 2 (none resolved)
Mentors            W/S + 4 (2-3 resolved)
Priests              W/S (resolved) + 5 (3-5 resolved)
HP                    6 (including W/S, all resolved)

And another question, how many fact/statements?

--Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: contracycle on November 06, 2002, 02:19:23 AM
Just a thought.  A lot of people will have an easier time, I think, conceptualising the physical space of the monastery than a set of ethical values.  Hence it might be easier to do round-robin monastery design first and then ask what the inhabitants believe.  A lot of this may be implicitly influenced by the colour introduced.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 06, 2002, 09:20:55 AM
Quote from: contracycle
Just a thought.  A lot of people will have an easier time, I think, conceptualising the physical space of the monastery than a set of ethical values.  Hence it might be easier to do round-robin monastery design first and then ask what the inhabitants believe.  A lot of this may be implicitly influenced by the colour introduced.


Good point.  If the base-line religion of the order is Roman catholic, is will bring up quite different virtues and spiritual values than a cult to Inanna.  Some groups may work better the other way, however--moving from the metaphysical to the physical.  It makes sense to me to allow the guidelines to leave the order up to the group in question.  


Should we take a different tact to proceed?  Would it be better to have one of us write up the game as we've got it so far, post it and look for feed-back?  I'd be happy to work on that if there is interest in going that route.  

Just a note: thanks to Mike for starting the ball rolling, and to all who are developing Enlightenment. Excellent ideas have gone into this game, and I think it's quite an achievement to have crafted something as cohesive as it is in this fashion: ad hoc and online.  Hurrah to us!

--Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Wormwood on November 06, 2002, 12:00:38 PM
There already seems to be a strong sense of connecting trait pairs with 'facts'. Is there any reason not to do this with the monastary design? That would combine the physical creation of the monastary with the spiritual trait development.

Perhaps it would be possible to have each member of a pair separately arrived at, the first of a pair has a tenet associated, the second a more physical feature.

For example,

Player 1 picks Subtlety as a virtue, the associated fact is that the founders believed that the larger the action, the greator the possibility of harm.

Player 2 then picks Pride as the paired passion, the associated fact being that the previous High Priest had been consumed by it, and caused the neighboring villages to be in awe of the monastary.

or

Player 1 picks Lust as a passion, the fact associated is that the desires of the flesh are the root of all suffering.

Player 2 picks Patience as the paired virtue, the fact being that the monastary was built in a virtual wasteland, only made remotely fertile by the monk's ceaseless toil.

To further complicate, several pairs may be started before they are completed. I think this provides an interesting arena for religion / monastary creation.

I hope that is food for thought,

    -Mendel


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 06, 2002, 05:25:16 PM
One question in the intial round robin phase...
If the next person in line adds a Passion or Virtue that others don't want, what happens?
In Universalis there would be a Challenge.

This could be assumed to be handled by the social contract, but I think some thought should go into whether the players should just have to 'deal with it, its added...' ,or  ' I'm calling for a recall vote...'

I like the idea of adding a Fact related to the monestary, or religion as part of the round robin Virtue Passion creation.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Wormwood on November 06, 2002, 07:09:12 PM
Bob,

I see several methods to resolve conflicts with virtues:

1) Each player gets one veto, which removes a virtue or passion and it's fact when it is introduced.

2) The GM arbitrates.

3) Any player can call a vote, majority passes the trait and fact.

4) Dueling (I'll bring my two-hander)

Toss in the ability to revise a contested trait and fact, as well as the ability to make one revision if it fails, to see if it is then contested, should work.

I'm not sure how Universalis works, haven't yet acquired it. (I know we're both hosted at actionroll, bad Mendel.) I figure it uses a more resource based version of this. Perhaps that adds undue complexity, the veto seems to work fairly well, but no mechanics will solve a minority versus majority dispute in and of itself.

Well, hope that helps,

    -Mendel


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 07, 2002, 01:47:32 PM
Good question, Bob.  The game needs to allow concensus to arise by addressing the fact that it will break down.

Quote from: Wormwood

1) Each player gets one veto, which removes a virtue or passion and it's fact when it is introduced.

2) The GM arbitrates.

3) Any player can call a vote, majority passes the trait and fact.

4) Dueling (I'll bring my two-hander)


I'd go for #3.  Even though we've talked about there being a gm if the group so desires, it seems to go with the general tone of the game to have decisions be made by majority rule.  There could be a proviso for the person who made the suggestion that is being over-ruled to have first crack at replacement tenet or game element.  

Quote
Toss in the ability to revise a contested trait and fact, as well as the ability to make one revision if it fails, to see if it is then contested, should work.


How about this:  if a trait is contested then the person who suggested it gets to make a counter-proposal.  If it is still objected to, then a vote happens.  

Quote from: Mendel
Perhaps it would be possible to have each member of a pair separately arrived at, the first of a pair has a tenet associated, the second a more physical feature.


Choosing a Virtue that the religion prizes and marrying a fact to it's complimentary opposite Passion ties in the religion to monastery development in a very satisfying way.

Quote
Well, hope that helps,

    -Mendel


Yes, very good suggestions. Thank you!

So, we may be getting a clearer picture of setting development:
  • Discussion (and group concensus formed) on general background/setting for monastery and religion. General period, cultural or geographical setting outlined.
  • Suggestions of Virtues (either all suggested at same time, Round-robin style, or each agreed to individually and following steps happen before next introduced) Total number =????
  • Statement of value/ideal of religion associated with the Virtue
  • Suggestion of matched Passion for each Virtue
  • Statement of situation/event posing a conflict facing the monastery that reflects this trait pair
  • Possibly assign monastery its Worldly/Spiritual trait pair, maybe wait until character's have had their trait levels assigned to use those levels to determine it...
  • [/list:u]
    Then perhaps going on:
  • Sequence of introduction of monastery elements beginning with monastery and its inhabitants, circling out to building grounds, surrounding land, nearby settlements, out to country perhaps
  • Choice trait pairs from pool generated for religion/monastery to be attributed to Neophyte characters
  • Possibility of trait pairs unique to N. character being generated
  • Stats assigned
  • Mentor characters generated--also using relig/monastery trait pair pool, assign levels according to appropriate scheme
  • Interview sequence where Neophytes are introduced and become part of Monastery, gain Worldly/Spiritual pair (set to 5/1) at this point
  • Statements associated with character's trait pairs assigned (now or before interview), leaving space for more to develop in time
  • First mission
  • [/list:u]
    So, how many trait pairs should the religion/monastery have associated with it?

    --Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 07, 2002, 05:22:38 PM
I like the 'first stab at counterproposal' then to a vote if still "objected to".

How many trait pairs?
Hmmm...
I'm inclined to link it to the number of players.
Like 3 trait pairs, plus one trait pair per player.

This would lead you to a fairly complicated religion if you have a lot of players. But around the 'Seven Virtues/sins" at 4 players (which I see as my most common and liked amount of players around my games).

The total amount of trait pairs will impact how long it could take to acheive full enlightenment.

off topic: I had a thought concerning Character death, or other forms of removing a character from play... I'd like it if a character could only be removed by maxing out a trait, or shifting the Worldly/Spiritual dial. I see this as a monk either dying as a martyr, or as a bad example...likewise for just plain leaving the fold, either to become an exemplary hermit, or falling to the temptations of the world.  In play this could be stated as , A Character can only be removed from play by creating a Fact (using Lessons?) relevant to the Monestary. This character is held up as an example to other Monks, either a good one or a bad one. (the idea is that Character Monks are more special than NPC's)


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: contracycle on November 08, 2002, 01:38:06 AM
I like the 3+players number.

Another opportunity might be to have "becoming eponymous" as a removal condition; the character either pulls a Wilson, and is remembered for their stupidity as an object lesson to other students, or is more or less sainted and heroised as a similar lesson.  Either way, their name becomes a term of reference and they move into history.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 08, 2002, 01:08:37 PM
Quote from: contracycle
I like the 3+players number.

That sounds like a good number.  These pairs were suggested to be a pool of trait pairs from which the monks traits could be chosen. That number seems like it will give a good range of choices.  And I really like the recent idea of them representing challenges facing the monastery.  However, it might be too much to have to resolve them in the same way that character trait pairs get resolved.  

If we have each pair represent one point of Wordliness or Spirituality for the Monastery, then each conflict could be assessed in terms of how the monastery is dealing with it--whether they are falling into attachment with worldly things, or are functioning in alignment with spiritual values.  So for each trait pair, the monastery would be said to be acting according to the passion or virtue of the pair, and the total of these numbers would give the W/S stats.  Character actions could shift the monastery from virtue to passion for a pair, or vice versa, and thus affect the W/S.

The monastery W/S could affect or be used to determine the level at which scene ratings are set.

Quote from: Bob McNamee
off topic: I had a thought concerning Character death, or other forms of removing a character from play...I'd like it if a character could only be removed by maxing out a trait, or shifting the Worldly/Spiritual dial.


Yes, I think there should be provisions for this too. It's an interesting way to account for character death.  The game gives a lot of control to players over narrative. Players could be encouraged to think in terms of doing this themselves.  Actually, character death in the context of monks is an interesting topic. Self-sacrifice for others would be very in character.  I'd love to see a character who had maxed out all her passions make a spirituality roll and redeem herself by saving someone else from dying by taking the blow herself.  

Removal from play seems like a more common occurence. If the monk's Spirituality goes to 0, they've reverted to their old connections with the mundane world. It would be natural for them to leave the monastery. I really like the idea of their name joining the history of the monastery. :)  "Don't be a Wilson. " And if the character doesn't die, they could become a soul to be rescued and returned to the monastery (a seed for a mission) or even become a returning antagonist for the monks or the monastery.  

The Spiritual stat and the Virtues may represent a conscious commitment on the part of the character to embody each ideal. Lay persons don't have the same conflict in them, though they may well have similar passions or virtues.   This brings up another, on-topic point--how to deal with non-monks? Character gen, after all. :)

The resolution mechanics we have talked about use the Worldly/Spiritual trait pair, which only monks have.   Non-monks could have single traits, but I think it actually makes more sense for them to simply have stats in relation to primary play characters, the Neophytes or Neophytes that have graduated into being Mentors in play.  This will help drive the narrativism at the heart of the game.  All additional character exist to protagonize the monks.
 
Lay people, and perhaps other monks who have significant interaction with the primary cast could have Attachment associated with the individual monk.  Whether it's a positive or negative connection with this other character, it would call up the monk's worldly side to deal with them.

Two suggestions for how this would work:

On the player-character's sheet it could be written, "Attachment 5 to XXX"  Then whenever that monk has to deal with that character, that many dice gets added to the monks' Worldly dice pool.

Or:
On the player-character monk's sheet, next to a given Passion, a statment could be written about a certain character and the monk's interaction with him/her.  Then, whenever the monk has to deal with that character, they need to add that passion to the Worldly pool.  This way, as the monks tame their passions, their contacts with the outside world have less power over them.  


--Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 08, 2002, 06:03:51 PM
Sounds good!


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: talysman on November 09, 2002, 12:16:17 AM
just a few quick comments and ideas:

I think 3+number of players makes a good number for how many trait-pairs to develop. I thinK I originally suggested two pairs per player, but with a two-player game, option 1 produces five pairs, option 2 produces 4. you will eventually need more pairs...

actually, since max Spirituality is 6 (which is when a character becomes an "ascended master" or whatever happens when enlightenment is reached,) we could go with option 3: a flat six pairs minimum. this can actually be combined with option 1: you can have more than six trait-pairs, but you need six to reach Enlightenment.

hmmm... since unlisted trait-pairs default to Worldy/Spiritual, if we allow adding trait-pairs "on the fly" as I suggested earlier, you might wind up with a character with seven unresolved trait-pairs. when six of those trait-pairs have been resolved, the character is enlightened -- but has one unresolved trait-pair. we could simply include a rule that Worldly/Spiritual can't be fully resolved until all trait pairs are resolved, I suppose...

for NPCs, I'm in favor of not giving them stats at all except for a relevant trait-pair that binds the NPC to the PC. these NPCs would be added as facts, the same as any other fact. so, when you develop your neophyte, you start with two trait-pairs and an appropriate number of facts for each pair; if one of the facts for Violence/Compassion is "a local mercenary took offense to the neophyte and administered a beating that lingers in the neophyte's memory", then the mercenary would have one stat-pair, Violence/Compassion, equal to the character's stat-pair at the moment that fact was added.

some other NPCs would be created as facts related to the monastery, to the mentor, and so on.

I'd handle injury and death based on the fact system as well. this is not a combat Sim, so I suggest we need only three wound levels: Hurt, Badly Hurt, Incapacitated. player characters only die in two circumstances:

(1) the player says it's time for the character to die;
(2) the player's Worldliness maxes out to 6 (Spiritual 0) AND THEN becomes incapacitated.

you could also say that enlightened characters (Spirituality 6) will die if incapacitated, too, unless they are retired. the rationale is that characters who become truly Worldly or truly Spiritual have fulfilled their purpose in existence and are now ready to "pass on".

the beauty of using a fact system to cover wounds and death is that there is no specific ability score for "hit points" -- so you can apply the same system to exhaustion, sanity, or any other "damage system equivalent" you conceive of. want to add saints battling demons? add psychic warfare and use the facts "Tempted", "Badly Tempted", and "Impure" (or the equivalent.) you could add similar facts for negative emotional states, if you wanted to show monks being slowly angered until losing self control.


Title: re: Status of the Rules
Post by: Kester Pelagius on November 10, 2002, 08:03:14 AM
Greetings All,

There are so many interesting and workable ideas being discussed, it really is an amazing thing to see.  So, to borrow from...

Quote from: talysman
just a few quick comments and ideas:


In the last thread there was discussion of hammering out, formatting, and codefiying a CharGen system.  How goes it?  What sort of progress has been made toward providing a basic organized reference rules sheet, which all these wonderful ideas can be used to build upon?

Apologies if I missed the post with the basic outline in which the basic rules were thumbnailed.

I know, there was *so much* information spread out in *so many* posts in that last thread that it probably is taking time to edit all that source material together into a essential reference outline.  Just thought I'd pop in and ask how things were going.  Let you all know that, yes, those of us not actively participating at the moment are still following your efforts and wishing you the best.

Hope it all works out!


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius


Title: Re: re: Status of the Rules
Post by: talysman on November 10, 2002, 10:41:36 AM
Quote from: Kester Pelagius
Greetings All,

There are so many interesting and workable ideas being discussed, it really is an amazing thing to see.  So, to borrow from...

Quote from: talysman
just a few quick comments and ideas:


In the last thread there was discussion of hammering out, formatting, and codefiying a CharGen system.  How goes it?  What sort of progress has been made toward providing a basic organized reference rules sheet, which all these wonderful ideas can be used to build upon?

Apologies if I missed the post with the basic outline in which the basic rules were thumbnailed.

I know, there was *so much* information spread out in *so many* posts in that last thread that it probably is taking time to edit all that source material together into a essential reference outline.  Just thought I'd pop in and ask how things were going.  Let you all know that, yes, those of us not actively participating at the moment are still following your efforts and wishing you the best.

Hope it all works out!


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius


hi, Kester. Emily very thoughtfully posted the notes on the basic chargen system in the first two posts of this thread when she started it up. what we're basically working on right now is how to specifically impliment the chargen.

here is what we know:

  • background material is developed in a round-robin fashion, with each player making a suggestion or counter-suggestion;
  • the principles of the religion (the trait-pairs) and probably the description of the monastery itself) are developed first;
  • once the principles are created, each player creates a neophyte and a mentor to embody those principles;
  • round-robin creation continues to flesh out te facts of the world surrounding the monastery until the play-group notices an interesting conflict embedded in a fact;
  • this conflict is then played out.
  • [/list:u]

    play is thus somewhat like Aria: there is a sequence during which the monastery and its surroundings are described collaboratively, folowed by a sequence of narration of scenes affecting individual characters. in a sense, the individual monk scenes flesh out the description of the game world.

    one of the interesting concepts we've added since last you joined us was this idea of facts. characters, monasteries, villages, and the like are very "stat sparse", without all the numbers one sees in more Sim-oriented games. the concentration is on the Worldly/Spiritual stat and a couple of Passions, as well as the inverse Virtues paired with every Passion. what fleshes out the character, the monastery, the village, and so on is nonnumeric descriptors, the facts; each fact is linked to a Passion/Virtue trait pair and describes a specific event in which the conflict between the Passion and the Virtue was made manifest.

    one thing we are trying to decide at this point is how many facts to develop for every character. we so far have two suggestions:

[list=1]
  • one fact for every point in a Passion;
  • two facts for every Passion/Virtue pair, one highlighting the Passion, the other highlighting the Virtue.
  • [/list:o]

    there is also a hybrid suggestion: one fact for every point in the Worldly stat, plus one pair of facts for each Passion/Virtue pair. this option might be the best, since the pure form of option #1 requires perhaps too much work (about 13-16 facts for every neophyte) while the pure form of option #2 is perhaps too sparse (about six facts for a neophyte.)


Title: Re: re: Status of the Rules
Post by: talysman on November 10, 2002, 11:18:57 AM
some ideas occured to me after I posted that response to Kester. another point being discussed right now in the thread is how players reolve conflicts during the round-robin environment generation stage. one possible suggestion occurred to me when I wrote:

Quote
play is thus somewhat like Aria: there is a sequence during which the monastery and its surroundings are described collaboratively, folowed by a sequence of narration of scenes affecting individual characters. in a sense, the individual monk scenes flesh out the description of the game world.


we know that later, after chargen, the players add facts to the setting until one player suggests an interesting event that the others want to play out. so why not apply this method uniformly? if a player suggests something another player disputes, instead of voting, the event is played out -- in broad terms in the early stages. this gives us the following model of play:

[list=1]
  • players take turns suggesting Passions or Virtues for the religion. when a disagreement arises about whether a particular Passion/Virtue should be added (or which Passion should be matched with which Virtue,) the players play out a "lives of one of the saints" event that represents the dispute.
  • mentors (the founding monks of a particular monastery) are created. they have a 3/3 in Worldly/Spiritual, as does the monastery as a whole. the monastery and the mentors have each of the Passion/Virtue pairs that form the basis of the religion; each player picks two Passions that the player's mentor has resolved.
  • when the principles of the religion are established and the mentors generated, the descriptive facts about the monastery are then added, again in round-robin fashion. each descriptive fact is phrased as an event that changes something about the monastery, and each fact must be linked to either the monastery's Worldly trait or to one of the Passions/Virtues. if one of the players disagrees with a suggested event, the event is played out.
  • when the monastery has the required number of facts, the neophytes are created. each neophyte starts with two listed Passions and a Worldy trait of 5, as well as a certain number of descriptive facts.
  • general events around the monastery are then described, again in round-robin fashion. when one described event sounds like an interesting conflict, the players drop into scene-by-scene play to describe how the neophytes deal with the challenge of the conflict.
  • [/list:o]

    I suggest calling these stages:
[list=1]
  • hagiography (lives of the saints,) or dogma generation;
  • foundation of the order;
  • building the community;
  • initiation into the order;
  • facing challenges to spiritual growth.
    [/list:o]

    this will work for now to help us keep straight what is happening in each stage, even if we don't go with the idea of resolving disagreements during hagiography with actual play.

    hmmm.... it's starting to sound more and more like play is focusing on the monastery, with less player attachment to their individual characters and more player investment in the monastery as a whole. this might be a good thing, since it makes the issue of character death easier to accept.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 10, 2002, 04:49:07 PM
I'm interested in the "play out the conflicted item" idea, but I'm not sure I see how this gets done...

Let say Bob says on his round robin Virtue/Passion assignment

Bob; "I'm assigning Violence as a Virtue, for I see the Monks as Norselike..."

Pat says... "no way... I don't want a pro-Violent Religion..." "Courageous maybe, but not Violent as a virtue..."

Bob (with a chance to propose a change): "No I really want to explore a pro-Violent religion"

The other Players are willing to let them play out a past scene of Saintlike figures from the Religion to decide it...

So a scene that highlights say "Slakke the Berserk" (bob), and "Barrek the Brave"(pat) would be proposed (with each of them taking a role) from the early battles that gave the church its right to exist at all...

Then it would be role-played a bit...

Then based on how it went the players should have an idea of why each wants the Virtue, and the significance of it...
If it is clearly an interesting scene do you just take them both?
or at this point do the players vote vote?
or is it up to the disputing players to choose one?

I can see this as an interesting way to find out the implications of someones choice.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 10, 2002, 04:51:43 PM
I can also see this as a reallly cool way to assign a fact to the religion/monestary (a Lesson etc)


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: contracycle on November 11, 2002, 04:00:53 AM
Aha!  One of the most commonly ocurrnig forms of philiospphical argument is the dialogue; a set of questions are asked to the sage, and the sages answeres constitute the wisdom of the text.

In which case, having two speakers allows one to be the "master" and one the "student", as judged by history and dogma.  But both cases CAN be submitted, both sets of arguments can appear in the Big Book O' Truth, the interpretation of the conflicting positions will be umm, commentary, explanation, and "secret doctrine". [thus, you cannot just 'read the book' for enlightenment]

The only caveat here is that both need to emerge from the same physical/historical context.  [As a slight variation, the Other could be from another school of thought - but thats a broader scope than we have tackled to date].  My only concern about this is the potential play-before-you-play thing again.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: talysman on November 11, 2002, 03:59:35 PM
Bob: I see the playing out of a choice between two potential Passions or Virtues being similar to what you describe, although I would have only one character during each such resolution. that character one be a saint of the order, and the conflicts played out would pit one against the other. I'm not certainly exactly how to do this yet, but here's a suggestion, based on the example you give:

a saint of the order would be described with two tentative pairs, each with a common element: Cowardice/Violence and Cowardice/Courage, for example. the saint's stats are set one point away from resolving the pair (if the dispute is over a Virtue.) each of the players would have a chance to play this saint, with the other players setting up complications that test the two conflicting trait-pairs; whichever trait-pair is resolved first wins.

it's still rough, but I guess you can see what I'm suggesting.

contracycle: I'm not sure what you mean by playing before play. do you consider this a good thing or a bad thing? I am assuming there will be no hagiography phase if no one is interested in playing it out; in fact, I would think the final version of this game would have three ready-made orders for those who don't want to bother with that phase at all: stereotypical western monk (focus on sin,) stereotypical eastern monk (focus on attachment,) and stereotypical fighting monk (focus on control.)

added note: we do need to fix the hagiography section first before creating these stereotypical orders, because the ready-made orders must resemble something you could actually "play out"... plus, we can use whatever rules we develop to create actual playable versions of the ready-made orders.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 11, 2002, 04:29:36 PM
I like the two idea that the conflicting conflicting parties would play out a Mentor - Student scene together discussing the conflicting traits in the guise of Saintly examples and studious questioning... not sure how to decide 'winner'.

I'm not a big fan of a first to complete trait pair in an example from the past, but maybe I'm not understanding it right.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 11, 2002, 04:35:35 PM
I don't really think we need to create sterotypical orders... I think one of the appeals will be the  tailoring of a religion/order to the group desires.


but if we did, it would be better if we all met in chat or something and actually created these 'eastern/western/martial' orders by using the game rules as finally decided.

Posting these as examples of orders created using different Social Contract expectations would be cool with me.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: talysman on November 11, 2002, 04:42:44 PM
Quote from: Bob McNamee
I like the two idea that the conflicting conflicting parties would play out a Mentor - Student scene together discussing the conflicting traits in the guise of Saintly examples and studious questioning... not sure how to decide 'winner'.

I'm not a big fan of a first to complete trait pair in an example from the past, but maybe I'm not understanding it right.


I'll think a little more about it and see if I can express it better. what I'm getting at is that I don't think roleplaying a conversation between a mentor and a neophyte is going to make exciting role-playing (plus, there aren't any mentors or neophytes yet at the hagiography stage.) I'm envisioning it more as morality plays:you see the saint divided, forced to choose which is the nobler path.

a simpler version of what I described might be to give one stat-pair made of the controversial traits... so the saint would have Courage/Violence set at 3/3, and each player would take a turn suggesting either a complication or the saint's response. this stat pair would be unusual, since it's not a Passion/Virtue pair: it's either Passion/Passion, Virtue/Virtue. the group plays it out until its obvious which trait makes for better narrative.

you could even have a case where someone suggests Violence as a Virtue and someone else counters with Violence as a Passion ... in which case, the trait-pair is Violence/Violence. kind of weird, but I suppose it could be done. whichever side "wins out" determines whether Violence is a Passion or a Virtue.

all it boils down to is: the players vote with actual role-playing decisions.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 11, 2002, 05:16:40 PM
True about the role-playing better than questioning (plus no mentors yet, doh!)

I like the...give 'e, the controversial traits as Virtues Passions and roleplay out.

Of course, all this may be for naught if folks don't disagree during trait creation...


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 11, 2002, 05:34:58 PM
Lot's of good ideas floating around. Excellent.

Quote from: talysman
I'm envisioning it more as morality plays:you see the saint divided, forced to choose which is the nobler path.


It seems like it could still come down to who played the saint to determine which virtue was more virtuous.  I like the idea, but we might not want to use it for this particular aspect of the game.  If we had a simpler, more concrete way to decide disputes, and used the saints' lives as a way to flesh out pairs that had been agreed on, then we would (hopefully) avoid the trap of turning a simple dispute into a play-stopping sequence.  Especially this early on in play, that could really scotch a campaign.  

Quote
all it boils down to is: the players vote with actual role-playing decisions.


I love this idea, and it fits with the narrative mission of the game, but it could end up distracting from the rest.  I hesitate about the idea of assigning a character that will only appear in flashback any stats--that implies that we'll be running this sequence just like one for any monk.  That could potentially be an awesome way to set up the history of a religion, but it could also invest people in one level of play that is intended to be of short duration.  Hmmm..another issue is that this would be the only place we are putting players in direct competition with one-another.  Will it fit with the rest of the game?

This would, however, be an ideal way to generate koans/homilies etc. The statements that reflect the religion's values.

It again raises the question of what is the focus of the game.

--Emily Care


Title: Re: re: Status of the Rules
Post by: Emily Care on November 11, 2002, 06:26:11 PM
Quote from: talysman
one thing we are trying to decide at this point is how many facts to develop for every character. we so far have two suggestions:

[list=1]
  • one fact for every point in a Passion;
  • two facts for every Passion/Virtue pair, one highlighting the Passion, the other highlighting the Virtue.
  • [/list:o]

    there is also a hybrid suggestion: one fact for every point in the Worldly stat, plus one pair of facts for each Passion/Virtue pair. this option might be the best, since the pure form of option #1 requires perhaps too much work (about 13-16 facts for every neophyte) while the pure form of option #2 is perhaps too sparse (about six facts for a neophyte.)



The hybrid seems like the best option to me.  Another thing we've discussed it leaving some of the statements to be filled in during play. The statements associated with the worldly points seem quite likely to reflect skills which could crop up in play, and would be less (though not entirely) related to dynamic plot hooks, so I'd suggest that most of those be left open.  

start with:
W/s 5/1 -- two statements
V/P   --one or two
V/P   --one or two

for a neophyte.

Mentors could have all of their statements for resolved v/p pairs determined on creation.  Maybe have openings on unresolved pairs.

Quote from: talysman
I'd handle injury and death based on the fact system as well. this is not a combat Sim, so I suggest we need only three wound levels: Hurt, Badly Hurt, Incapacitated.


Whenever a character gets hurt, they may have the opportunity to end the scene they are in (as in skeedaddling out of there, or possuming) but there could be consequences in the debriefing with their mentor, depending on the circumstances.  Certainly, when a character is incapacitated, a scene involving them would end, unless the criteria for dying are invoked.   And, conversely, characters that perservere through being Badly Hurt would get major brownie points.  

Healing from wounds could take the form of missing a round or two, or simply having the next assignment take place after significant healing has happened.  The mission format seems like it would be forgiving of such time dilation.  (I'm thinking of Frodo waking up healed in Rivendell).

This:
Quote from: talysman

1.hagiography (lives of the saints,) or dogma generation;
2.foundation of the order;
3.building the community;
4.initiation into the order;
5.facing challenges to spiritual growth.

...rocks, by the way.

--Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 11, 2002, 07:12:44 PM
Maybe on a dispute...
If the originator doesn't want to change the trait,
the Challenger automatically gets to decide the opposing pair of the trait?

For instance
Bob wants Violence as a Virtue
Pat doesn't ...
Bob won't change...
Pat decides the Passion related to Violence is Courage...
 (or Discipline or Compassion or Honor etc)


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 11, 2002, 07:28:16 PM
if this opposing pair gets challenged by someone else then it should default back going round robin to around table... (and maybe they are playing the wrong ghame with the wrong people)


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 12, 2002, 02:28:19 PM
Worldliness/Spirituality
Returning to the Ordinary World

       A monk asked Kegon, "How does an enlightened
       one return to the ordinary world?" Kegon
       replied, "A broken mirror never reflects again;
       fallen flowers never go back to the old
       branches."
Our Enlightened monks are fundamentally changed.

Okay, I've been thinking about the issue of what to invest into the lives of the saints section, and I've come up with this:  
The religion's various trait pairs pose moral dilemmas that the game play will resolve. They are questions that play will answer.

The phase where the participants come up with pairs that are of interest to them is tantamount to an explicit "premise of campaign" segment.  I think this is a strong element to the design of this overtly narrativist game.  

In effect, playing out the lives of the individual monks becomes living out the lives of the saints. The challenges that arise in the community development, are the moral quandries that confront these "living saints".  

Pre-play that resolves these quandries may take away from in-game realizations.  

However,  

Seperation/Oneness
Manjusri Enters the Gate

       One day as Manjusri stood outside the gate, the
       Buddha called to him, "Manjusri, Manjusri, why
       do you not enter?" Manjusri replied, "I do not see
       myself as outside. Why enter?"
The enlightened monk no longer sees separation.

...that doesn't mean we can't begin play with associated statements of what the monks hope to attain.  The trait pair in question becomes the medium by which the Mentors may express to the young monks how they may someday overcome their passions, and attain enlightenment.

Ambition/Equanamity
Everything is Best

       One day Banzan was walking through a market.
       He overheard a customer say to the butcher,
       "Give me the best piece of meat you have."
       "Everything in my shop is the best," replied the
       butcher. "You can not find any piece of meat that
       is not the best." At these words, Banzan was
       enlightened.
Grasping and discernment vanish with attainment.

And these tales should, of course be way beyond the ken of our little wet-behind-the-ears W/S 5/1 monks.

Submission/Steadfastness
Maria Goretti

Maria Goretti was born a poor peasant child in Italy in 1890, the third of six children...Her family being too poor to pay for Masses in her father's memory, every night Maria would recite the five Mysteries of the Rosary for the repose of her father's soul.

In June of 1902, 20-year-old Alessandro Serenelli began ordering 11-year-old Maria to perform various difficult chores, none of which could be completed to his satisfaction, and she was often reduced to
tears. Alessandro also began making advances on Maria. She rebuffed them all...On July 5, 1902, he demanded that she submit to him, but she told him that it would be a sin. Enraged, Alessandro stabbed her 14 times in her
heart, lungs, and intestines.

Alessandro was convicted, and sentenced to 30 years in prison. In his eighth year of
imprisonment, he had a vision of Maria. He saw a garden. where a young girl, dressed in white, was
gathering lilies. She smiled, and came near him, and encouraged him to accept an armful of the lilies. As
he accepted them, each lily transformed into a still white flame. Maria then disappeared. Alessandro's conversion was complete. When was released from prison after serving 27 years, his first act was to travel to Maria's mother to beg her forgiveness.

Along with 30 other witnesses, Alessandro testified as to Maria's sanctity during her Cause of
Beatification. In 1950, she was canonized in a ceremony attended by a quarter million people, including
her mother, the first mother ever to see her child canonized.
As the Oxford Dictionary of Saints observes, the canonization of Maria Goretti also honors the
innumerable other courageous men, women, and children who "preferred death to dishonour."
In the presence of a steadfast heart, destruction and death may lead to furthering God's glory.

Whatever happens at the start of play should pose questions to the monks and the players.

--Emily Care

koans from the site: transcending duality (http://www.chinapage.com/zen/koan1.html).

Maria Goretti's story from here (http://www.pitt.edu/~eflst4/goretti.html).


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 12, 2002, 02:43:26 PM
Cool stuff...
interesting sites too!

Perhaps the early setup play should just stick to the general terms...with facts as Koan-type stuff... I really like the way this is written up.

As you said, the point isn't to play-before-play... but to explore these questions and contrasts in play.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 13, 2002, 10:28:08 AM
Quote from: Bob McNamee
Cool stuff...
interesting sites too!

Thanks, Bob!  That was fun to do:).

Quote from: Bob McNamee
Perhaps the early setup play should just stick to the general terms...with facts as Koan-type stuff...

Each participant could be asked to make one up for a trait pair of their choice.  Serious objections would go to a vote, simple majority rules.

A concise version of John's suggestion of role-playing out a saint resolving that trait pair could be an advanced technique. Doing so for dispute resolution between players, could also be an advanced rule.  

Koan Generation Advanced Rule (by Role-Play/Group Authoring)
  • Person who proposed Virtue plays saint.  
  • Person who proposed Passion sets up conflict.
  • The main participants can solicit all other players to  assist by suggesting ideas, and help craft story to fit general view of religion.
  • When saint has given or received pithy insight, koan is considered to have been generated.[/list:u]
    --The conflict or situation should be a short or contained  one (ie crossing a river, having one's shirt stolen), not a life history.
    --All participants would be encouraged to be in Author Stance, not deep in character.  The main point is to create a succinct narrative that will give the characters something to aspire to or grapple with.
    --Do half of the trait pairs, not all. Leave some to be developed in play (I see many being told to new monks as stories to help them out of their own difficulties).
    --Examples will be included in game materials.

    Multiple koans could be allowed for single trait pairs.

    More questions:
    Now, how do we want to use these trait pairs?  
    Will the monastery have scores in them just like the monks do? Or only have stats for the Worldly/Spiritual pair?

    How do they rise and fall? How do they affect the characters & how do the characters affect them?

    --Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Kester Pelagius on November 13, 2002, 03:37:27 PM
Greetings Emily,

I must say, I really enjoyed reading this.  Very nice.

Quote from: Emily Care
Worldliness/Spirituality
Returning to the Ordinary World

       A monk asked Kegon, "How does an enlightened
       one return to the ordinary world?" Kegon
       replied, "A broken mirror never reflects again;
       fallen flowers never go back to the old
       branches."
Our Enlightened monks are fundamentally changed.


In fact I think I liked *all* of your thumbnail write ups in this post.

Keep up the good work!


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 13, 2002, 04:48:03 PM
That set up sounds good, and making it an optional 'advanced' option is a good idea...

Like you, I think in general all objections should just go to a vote, after one try at compromise.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 13, 2002, 07:51:06 PM
I was looking at a site of Zen koans.
I just had to post this entry from the site...

Quote
20.   A Mother's Advice

Jiun, a Shingon master, was a well-known Sanskrit scholar of the Tokugawa era. When he was young he used to deliver lectures to his brother students.

His mother heard about this and wrote him a letter:

"Son, I do not think you became a devotee of the Buddha because you desired to turn into a walking dictionary for others. There is no end to information and commentation, glory and honor. I wish you would stop this lecture business. Shut yourself up in a little temple in a remote part of the mountain. Devote your time to meditation and in this way attain true realization."


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 14, 2002, 01:30:17 PM
Kester:  Thanks!  Glad you liked them. :)

Bob quoted:
Quote
"Son, I do not think you became a devotee of the Buddha because you desired to turn into a walking dictionary for others. There is no end to information and commentation, glory and honor. I wish you would stop this lecture business. Shut yourself up in a little temple in a remote part of the mountain. Devote your time to meditation and in this way attain true realization."


This is a beautiful in-genre illustration of the in-game concept of monks leaving play on resolving their 6 trait pairs. Even those who are doing good and spreading the word are still showing their involvement with worldly matters.  This and maybe some of what I posted would be good examples for the final game.

Okay,  let's round up where we're at and see if we've come closer to our design goals.  I'm assuming no single gm in the following, and bits in red are unresolved questions.

Setting and Character Generation

Period, cultural and religious influences decided by open discussion and group concensus

Hagiography Phase includes:
-3 + (Number of Players) Virtue/Passion trait pairs chosen
-Virtues are suggested round-robin
-Respective Passions suggested by different person, round-robin or popcorn style (ie whoever has idea shouts it out)
-Koans or Stories of Saints that illustrate trait pair is generated either by being written having each player write one, or using advanced role-playing option.
-Disputes about any of the above (Virtues, Passions,Koans) go to a vote, with simple majority required to pass or reject element.  If tie, possibly drop vote of person who suggested it. Person whose idea is rejected gets first option to replace it. If they pass or their second suggestion gets rejected, next player round the circle gets to try. Etc.  Or use role-playing advanced rule.
-After each participant has created one koan, 3 additional trait pairs may be left without a koan to allow for them to arise in play.

Foundation of Order Phase
Mentor character generation:
-W/S set to 3/3
-Mentors have all or 5 of the trait pairs generated for religion
-choose two trait pairs to be resolved
-other pairs at ??? level
-statements associated with trait pairs. How many? Could be one for each resolved pair, and some mix for unresolved Worldliness and Passion levels
-Monastery levels could be set at this time or in next phase. W/S at 3/3 has been suggested, how will the other trait pairs be handled? Do they get values that need to be resolved? Big question.

Building the Community Phase
-Round robin statements about the monastery, inhabitants and events affecting them.
-each statement must be associated with Worldliness/Spirituality level or V/P trait pair of religion or monastery.
Do we assign a subset of the religion's trait pairs to the monastery?
-Disputes are settled by discussion, vote or roleplaying.

Initiation into the Order Phase
Neophyte Character generation:
-Choose two trait pairs from those generated for each neophyte.(I'd like to put in a plug for the neophytes to have one pair be unique. This would allow for new values to be incorporated into the order, and also make for more diverse characters and challenges.)
- Set levels to what?
-Statements for character associated with trait pairs  Before or after interview?
-Not all statements will be written at initial character development, more may be added as they arise in play.
-Possibly, one statement for each level of worldliness/spirituality and two for each virtue-trait pair.
-A session of role-play happens at this time involving each new monk being interviewed by a Mentor, explaining why they wish to join the monastery and giving some insight into the character's background.
-Neophyte receives W/S pair set to 5/1, after this interview. Perhaps taking some vow or being invested in some way by their mentor to represent it.

Facing Challenges Phase
Quote from: talysman
general events around the monastery are then described, again in round-robin fashion. when one described event sounds like an interesting conflict, the players drop into scene-by-scene play to describe how the neophytes deal with the challenge of the conflict.

-Mentors may assign tasks/missions to the neophytes in accordance with the issues they are grappling with.
-Conflict resolution system discussed in prior thread is used.
-Mission format may be used including exit interview when virtues may be raised.

That covers the character and setting gen. The last phase moves us beyond those issues. Some definite holes still exist, especially about what trait pairs for monastery will be and how they interact with character actions.  The red stuff above is the rest that I can think of that needs to be defined.

Hope this is helpful.

--Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: talysman on November 14, 2002, 03:41:02 PM
good work, Emily!

here are my suggestions about the unresolved issues:

  • hagiography
    it looks like this phase is done.
  • foundation
    I would set the unresolved mentor trait-pairs at the same level as W/S, which would be 3/3 (if we assume everyone starts at 5/1 and resolving a trait-pair reduces Worldliness one point.)
    as for statements... first, we need to set a maximum number of statements. I would say 5 for W/S and for each trait-pair. for the mentors, who are somewhat de-emphasized during actual play, I would say just give them 3 W/S statements and move on; more can be added later, if necessary.
  • community
    the monastery's W/S is tricky. we haven't decided how the monastery's trait-pairs are resolved. more on that later. but one thing I think is important: the monastery should be old enough to have a local reputation, but it should still be fairly young; I would say that the monastery should have all of the trait-pairs of the religion, with the value of each Passion set at the lowest Passion of the monks that make up the community. if none of the monks have worked on a specific Passion, maybe it should be set equal to the Worldly score of the monastery as a whole.
  • initiation
    I'm not really in favor of unique trait-pairs, since by defintion they would not currently be part of the religious teachings of the order, which means that the teachings would have no advice for the neophye on how to resolve their personal dilemma. unique trait-pairs would basically be a vote for another religious precept, so it would be played out as hagiography, part of the advanced rules.
    I would also shy away from the concept of an interview. true, a neophyte would probably go through an interview before being accepted into an order, but I don't see it as necessary to play; no conflicts would be resolved, no premise would be addressed. there would be a conversation with the mentor before the first mission, which could be considered the interview, but the primary purpose of that interview is to assign the mission; it occurs after a challenge has been set.
    I would assume that everyone in the world who isn't specifically working on their spiritual advancement has a 5/1 in Worldly/Spiritual. a 6/0 would indicate that a character's story is at an end (dies at the next incapacitating wound.)
    two statements for each trait-pair and up to five statements for W/S are good, however. one statement for each of the trait-pairs should reflect the spiritual side of the pair, indicating the neophyte's potential for spirituality.
  • challenges
    this is the next step.
    [/list:u]

    about the monastery's trait-pairs: we might want to set these equal to the lowest unresolved trait-pairs of the mentors. the monastery is a community of the monks who live there; if one of the monks is reknowned for waking to reduce Avarice, it will reflect favoriably on the monastery as a whole.

    the monastery would be able to rapidly develop a good reputation if it has many dedicated monks; however, the monastery should resolve trait-pairs much more slowly than the monks who live in it. I would suggest one of the following for resolving monastery trait-pairs:

    • the monastery stays in-sync with its community. when one monk drops Lust/Chastity below the monastery's Lust/Chastity, the monastery's score changes to match. however, the monastery would only resolve Lust/Chastity once all of its monks have resolved that trait-pair.
    • the monastery changes independently. perhaps every time a monk reduces personal Worldly by one point, one of the monastery's trait-pairs is reduced one point.
    • the monastery only improves if a mentor spends a Lesson point.
    • [/list:u]

      this reminds me, of course, that one of the next steps should be to work out the mechanics for Lesson points.


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 14, 2002, 05:52:47 PM
I like the idea of having a trait pair that provides for uniqueness of the individual, but I agree that it wouldn't provide a unique look at the religion and its teachings.

But I'd still like to see an element of personal uniqueness...
1)  either it has to come from the character's Worldly/Spiritual Statements (which I think they should have to state one set relating to the personal level at the start)...
or... (and this might mess the design up)
2)... they can create a unique trait pair for the character, BUT, it has to be composed of at least one Passion or Virtue from the religion's trait pairs. (and I think the character should have to provide a fact statement about the non-religion part of the pair)

Example
Monte the Novice  
    W/S -5/1    
statements (W- Gambler, S- Philanthropist sp?)
Virtue/Passion
Compassion/Violence 1/5
Honesty/Greed 2/4

"Individual" trait pair
Generosity(from the religion)/ Lust (not a rel. trait)  1/5
Statement: Passion (raised in a brothel)


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: talysman on November 14, 2002, 10:05:27 PM
just to clear up something: I thought all of the statements written on a neophyte's sheet would be personal statements. stuff that actually happened. I was specifically thinking of each statement as being an event in the neophyte's life.

does that sound workable?


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 15, 2002, 09:10:19 AM
You all may have noted that I have somewhat lost interest in this project. The concept was to allow anyone who was interested to participate. What happened was that the premise we ended up with only holds so much interest for me. IOW, not too much. Hence I've dropped out more or less to let those more passionate about it take over completely.

That all said, what you have here so far is really, really impressive. Though the premise still does not grab me, the execution does. In fact, I'm tempted to get back into it just to play with the elements of design you've come up with.

But I'll leave it to you to continue your work uniterupted by someone who isn't as passionate about it as you all are.

I guess this is just my way of saying, way to go! and keep it up. If you keep driving forward like this you are going to have a really great game on your hands. I really look forward to a consolidated write up, and what playtesting brings. I am certain that with your devotion that it's going to make it. As I'v said before, the writing is the hardest part. But you've got so much here, that I think it'll go pretty smoothly.

It'll be interesting to se what issues the writer comes up with. That person always discovers the holes that weren't detected earlier.

Mike


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 15, 2002, 01:57:33 PM
Mike:  Thanks for the encouragement.  I'd welcome your insights on mechanics, but it's cool that your level of involvement has changed.  Again, thanks for starting it off.

Bob: That's a good idea for a sort of compromise between a wholly new pair and being limited to the initial pool.  I'll set my version of this idea aside for now; it may be more clear at a later point of development whether it would add or detract from the game.

John:  I like your suggestions. Any differences or comments I note below:

--I've been thinking of the statements as a short sentence too.  So we'd get:


                     Example
                     Monte the Novice
                     W/S -5/1
                     statements
                     Has a penchant for gambling-W
                     Sometimes gives his wins to the poor-S

And so on..


Quote from: talysman
  • community
    the monastery's W/S is tricky. we haven't decided how the monastery's trait-pairs are resolved. more on that later. but one thing I think is important: the monastery should be old enough to have a local reputation, but it should still be fairly young; I would say that the monastery should have all of the trait-pairs of the religion, with the value of each Passion set at the lowest Passion of the monks that make up the community. if none of the monks have worked on a specific Passion, maybe it should be set equal to the Worldly score of the monastery as a whole.
This brings to mind something about the set up of the Monastery. I've been imagining it having many, many monks etc. But there could just be the Mentors, and the neophytes could be the first wave of new recruits. This would fit with the  idea that the monastery is still negotiating its relationship with Worldly issues and has not yet resolved them.  It would also support having the Worldliness reflect that of the lowest so to speak, since each monk would have a lot of impact.


Well, more later.  

--Emily Care

by "lowest" did you mean worst? ??


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: talysman on November 15, 2002, 03:01:19 PM
Quote from: Emily Care

John:  I like your suggestions. Any differences or comments I note below:

--I've been thinking of the statements as a short sentence too.  So we'd get:


                     Example
                     Monte the Novice
                     W/S -5/1
                     statements
                     Has a penchant for gambling-W
                     Sometimes gives his wins to the poor-S

And so on..


well, I was thinking more of an event, like: "gambled himself into poverty"... the second statement fits that idea very well. you get a clear picture of Monte wasting what little money he has on games of knucklebones... then, when he hits bottom, he prays "please God, let me make back enough money to replace the food money I so foolishly lost, and I will give up gambling for ever!" he wins, walks home happily, and meets a poverty-stricken family even worse than he is; he decides to give them his winnings and join the monastery right there.

although maybe decisions like that should be reserved (required?) for Passion/Virtue pairs.

Quote from: Emily Care

by "lowest" did you mean worst? ??


actually, I meant numerically lowest. let me give an example of a monastery to illustrate:

the Passions for this religion will be taken from the seven deadly sins, just because it's easy, although I probably haven't matched the Virtues very well:

Wrath/Love
Greed/Generosity
Lust/Chastity
Gluttony/Temperance
Sloth/Industriousness
Envy/Gratitude
Pride/Humility

Brother Abe has resolved Wrath and Pride; he has Greed 2, Envy 4
Sister Beth has resolved Greed and Envy; she has Lust 2, Sloth 4
Brother Cain has resolved Gluttony and Lust; he has Sloth 2, Greed 4
Sister Daath has resolved Envy and Wrath; she has Pride 2, Greed 4

set the monastery's Worldly/Spiritual at 3/3; the values for its trait-pairs are:

Wrath 3/Love 3
Greed 2/Generosity 4
Lust 2/Chastity 4
Gluttony 3/Temperance 3
Sloth 2/Industriousness 4
Envy 4/Gratitude 2
Pride 2/Humility 4

yep, I am thinking of the monastery being small, with the neophytes as the first batch of recruits. you could, however, assume that more monks are present and simply set the scores of the other monks equal to the monastery's scores.

as an aside to Mike: what is it about the current premise that turns you off? what changes would you like to see to make the game more appealing?


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 15, 2002, 07:28:38 PM
So setting the Monastery stats is based on the lowest non-resolved stats of the Mentor level monks? (this makes sense to me...the Monastery runs on the teachers abilities)

On the Gambler worldly fact, I was thinking that it was a tempting worldly inclination...like 'Likes to gamble' ...although making it the reason for becoming a monk could be sweet.

This points out the requirement of writing up Fact statements as whole sentences, perhaps even small paragraphs. Then the meaning and possible use is clearer.

If all the monk statements are personal statements then this helps individualize them quite a bit.

Perhaps the religion level statements could be used to influence Mentor level rolling...which could in turn influence the Novices (...as grasshopper...see the reed bend in the wind....)


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 17, 2002, 05:22:40 PM
Quote from: Bob McNamee
So setting the Monastery stats is based on the lowest non-resolved stats of the Mentor level monks?

I think it would it be based on the lowest level of all the monks, though the example only listed Mentor level monks.
Quote from: talysman
I would suggest one of the following for resolving monastery trait-pairs:

the monastery stays in-sync with its community. when one monk drops Lust/Chastity below the monastery's Lust/Chastity, the monastery's score changes to match. however, the monastery would only resolve Lust/Chastity once all of its monks have resolved that trait-pair.

the monastery changes independently. perhaps every time a monk reduces personal Worldly by one point, one of the monastery's trait-pairs is reduced one point.

the monastery only improves if a mentor spends a Lesson point.


I like the first option best. Wed the monastery's levels to that of the monks.  This means that a monastery that takes on new monks is opening itself up to more worldly influence than one without.   The monastery's trait pairs are the meta-stats for the whole group of monks, essentially.  

Question: Do we want these stats to represent the victory conditions toward which the players are working, or to affect the lives of the monks through the system? Some suggestions on how they could do the latter are:  by modifying scene ratings, by affecting how lay people view the monks, by representing the number or severity of challenges that the monastery is facing that relate to each Passion, or by having tangible advantages awarded to the monastery when each pair is resolved, or whatever else.  

Quote from: talysman
I would assume that everyone in the world who isn't specifically working on their spiritual advancement has a 5/1 in Worldly/Spiritual. a 6/0 would indicate that a character's story is at an end (dies at the next incapacitating wound.)


Okay, that's a neat way to do it.  If we can work it in, I'd like there to be an option for monks to sacrifice themselves for others.  Mechanically speaking, this could give the other monks a bonus to increase their score in a related Virtue. Bonus Lesson points could be awarded to the survivors who were present, or bonus dice could be added to appropriate pools to let the survivors accomplish their tasks.  A statement about it could be appended to the each monk who was present, or the monastery etc.


Dare I say it? I think that we've accomplished our goal.  The questions I listed in my post have been addressed.  The final form may be somewhat different, but we've at least got concrete suggestions for setting and character generation.  

Along with what's in the post above, I'm going to list any related questions I have remaining below.  I encourage us all to do so. Let's address them (briefly?) and then we can move on to working out more about missions and challenges, Lesson Points and how the mentor's mechanics work or whatever we want to tackle next.  

Char Gen & Setting loose ends:

*Have we agreed on how to handle non-monks? I'd like them to have stats solely in relation to the monks. Perhaps as a statement on the monk's char sheet, next to the Passion or Virtue they evoke in the monk.  

*Would the monastery's Spirituality rise when the last monk to resolve a given trait pair does so?

Thats all I've got for now. Thanks!

--Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 17, 2002, 06:38:31 PM
Quote from: Emily Care
Quote from: Bob McNamee
So setting the Monastery stats is based on the lowest non-resolved stats of the Mentor level monks?

I think it would it be based on the lowest level of all the monks, though the example only listed Mentor level monks.


Ahh... the Player character monks and mentors... cool
(somehow I was imagining factoring in every last person)

Come to think of it the stats going down because you just brought in a bunch of novices makes sense.
At my work we've seen this..."That shop just isn't the same since those three old guys retired... its half 'wet-behind-the-ears' apprentices now...not what it used to be"

Quote from: talysman
I would suggest one of the following for resolving monastery trait-pairs:

the monastery stays in-sync with its community. when one monk drops Lust/Chastity below the monastery's Lust/Chastity, the monastery's score changes to match. however, the monastery would only resolve Lust/Chastity once all of its monks have resolved that trait-pair.

the monastery changes independently. perhaps every time a monk reduces personal Worldly by one point, one of the monastery's trait-pairs is reduced one point.

the monastery only improves if a mentor spends a Lesson point.


Quote
Ilike the first option best. Wed the monastery's levels to that of the monks.  This means that a monastery that takes on new monks is opening itself up to more worldly influence than one without.   The monastery's trait pairs are the meta-stats for the whole group of monks, essentially.  


I like the first as well...........

Quote
Question: Do we want these stats to represent the victory conditions toward which the players are working, or to affect the lives of the monks through the system? Some suggestions on how they could do the latter are:  by modifying scene ratings, by affecting how lay people view the monks, by representing the number or severity of challenges that the monastery is facing that relate to each Passion, or by having tangible advantages awarded to the monastery when each pair is resolved, or whatever else.  


I'd like to make the monastery ratings have an effect on reactions with the community, possibly effecting "difficulty levels" in certain forms of "Problems that involves the monastery"

Quote from: talysman
I would assume that everyone in the world who isn't specifically working on their spiritual advancement has a 5/1 in Worldly/Spiritual. a 6/0 would indicate that a character's story is at an end (dies at the next incapacitating wound.)


Quote
Okay, that's a neat way to do it.  If we can work it in, I'd like there to be an option for monks to sacrifice themselves for others.  Mechanically speaking, this could give the other monks a bonus to increase their score in a related Virtue. Bonus Lesson points could be awarded to the survivors who were present, or bonus dice could be added to appropriate pools to let the survivors accomplish their tasks.  A statement about it could be appended to the each monk who was present, or the monastery etc.


That's cool!

Quote

Dare I say it? I think that we've accomplished our goal.  The questions I listed in my post have been addressed.  The final form may be somewhat different, but we've at least got concrete suggestions for setting and character generation.  

Along with what's in the post above, I'm going to list any related questions I have remaining below.  I encourage us all to do so. Let's address them (briefly?) and then we can move on to working out more about missions and challenges, Lesson Points and how the mentor's mechanics work or whatever we want to tackle next.  

Char Gen & Setting loose ends:

*Have we agreed on how to handle non-monks? I'd like them to have stats solely in relation to the monks. Perhaps as a statement on the monk's char sheet, next to the Passion or Virtue they evoke in the monk.  



We are moving right along!

I think they should only be mentioned as they relate to the monks. There might be a case where an NPC could be written up as how they relate to the Monastery as a whole (ie. Warlord Bansi is a devout follower and supporter, beloved and protective of all the Monks... Shogun Waik-zan conspires to steal the land granted to the Monks, and hates all the brothers for 'defying' him)

Quote
*Would the monastery's Spirituality rise when the last monk to resolve a given trait pair does so?


That would be a great time to have it raise. IIt would be cool if this was automatic.
Does it go down if the Monastery gets a new novice? (perhaps that would be cause for a roll for the monastery, to see if it drops)

Quote
Thats all I've got for now. Thanks!

--Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 21, 2002, 02:13:06 PM
Hmm... I wonder if future threads about Enlightenment mechanics should go onto the Indie Game Design forum... That sounds like a lot of pressure to me. :) But technically, we aren't talking theory, we're doing development.

Quote from: Bob McNamee
There might be a case where an NPC could be written up as how they relate to the Monastery as a whole (ie. Warlord Bansi is a devout follower and supporter, beloved and protective of all the Monks... Shogun Waik-zan conspires to steal the land granted to the Monks, and hates all the brothers for 'defying' him)


In the course of the Community Development phase, figures in the area could be created as benefactors/challenges of the monastery.  

During play, interactions that the monks have with local folks may eventually affect the monastery as a whole. When they do, the situation/incident could get written up as a statement on the monastery's sheet next to the appropriate trait pair.

Temple of the Eight Winds
Violence/Compassion  2/4
*The monks of the temple risked their lives to protect Warlord Bansi, by hiding him from Shogun Waik-zan.
*Shogun Waik-zan has been allowing "raider" attacks against new farms of the monastery to go unpunished.
Wealth/Poverty 4/2
*The Warlord Bansi converted to the monastery's religion, and  granted them many acres of farm land.

(In the example above, I'm seeing the monks being caught in between political power plays and border conflicts.  That sounds like a great setting.)

Positive relationships (grants of land etc) might be something that Lesson/Event points could be used to create. They might represent a challenge to another spiritual value--as acquiring land would if the religion prized poverty.

Since the monks have to call up on the virtue they wish to raise in order to increase it, it is in the best interest of the monastery, and thus the player/gms, to provide areas of conflict that connect to the pairs.  Does that make sense?

--Emily Care


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 21, 2002, 04:20:35 PM
Makes sense to me...

Love the extension of the example!

I was wondering about the design being in RPG theory. It would make sense to move it to the design area.
 (I had trouble finding it one day when I wasn't using the "New posts since last visit" funtion)

I'm going to be doing a lot of shopping, and presents/crafts, over the next month ... so I might not be as active (but then I need to take a break from carving, painting , wrapping etc once in a while.... so who knows?)


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 21, 2002, 04:29:09 PM
As long as we finish this thing. It won't be a Fantasy Heartbreaker!

One question popped up in my head earlier.

What are we rewarding?
 I assume narrative struggling with the easy power / virtuous action conflicts.

What is the reward? (other than the facinating play... :> )
This I'm not too clear about...

Although perhaps its the 'franchise' building idea like Inspectres...


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Mike Holmes on November 22, 2002, 06:38:33 AM
It's a self-rewarding cycle.

As the character progresses, that's indicated statistically. IOW, the player is rewarded by the sense that the character (and his organization) are proceeding through their history. That they are "getting somewhere". You don't need more than that.

In this case what sort of play is rewarded? I think it's plainly Narrativist. There is no incentive to play tactically (to "win"), and it's not about an "accurate" portrayal of some part of the world events. It's about how the character changes in terms of his personal themes.

Which is nothing but Narrativist, IMO.

Mike


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Emily Care on November 22, 2002, 08:07:37 AM
Thanks, Mike. That sounds dead on.

--EC


Title: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen
Post by: Bob McNamee on November 22, 2002, 08:05:50 PM
True, still a bit of XP's in my background...

I hadn't thought of the fact that addressing the narrative concerns creates  change that is its own reward