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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: scarecrowking on April 16, 2003, 01:47:49 PM



Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: scarecrowking on April 16, 2003, 01:47:49 PM
Hello all.  After seeing who some of you folks are, I feel like a guppy extra in a John Woo remake of Jaws.  But here goes.  We want to publish an rpg.  I know, surprise surprise.  IMP is a simple game whose premise is that the PC's are imps that have been kicked out of Hell for one reason or another.  To return, they must build up a large amount of malevolent power, which is gained based on the Seven Deadly Sins.  The play background is a dark medieval Britain.  We have a Yahoo groups site here:

http://groups.yahoo.com/group/scarecrowgames/

Please post any comments, criticisms, etc...  We need to know what you like and don't like.  Play it, tweak it, fiddle with it, and get back to us.

Thank you for your time.


Brian Rayburn
The Scarecrow King


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: ThreeGee on April 16, 2003, 02:27:44 PM
Hey Brian,

Not to put too fine a point on it, but the group is closed to non-members. Would you care to tell us why we should join yet another Yahoo group? Details would be great.

Later,
Grant


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 16, 2003, 02:30:26 PM
Hi Brian,

I'll state it a little differently - can you provide us with a little bit of introductory text here? Or perhaps a basic run-down of the game's point of play?

Best,
Ron


Title: Thank you!
Post by: scarecrowking on April 16, 2003, 03:03:03 PM
Grant, your question stumped me for a moment, until I took a look at the site settings and realized I had goofed on the 'Files may be viewed by public' part.  The files are now on the right setting.  As to Ron's question, I hope I understand, and that this helps.

The characters are defined by Experience (X) and Zeal (Z).  These are a 2D3 roll each, and the score is the number of dice you roll when making a Test.  If the character has an appropriate Talent, one extra die is rolled.  Odd numbers are ignored, 2 & 4 are 1 success each, and 6 is 2 successes.  The number of successes must exceed the difficulty of the task.  Combat is a simple opposed roll, with the lower number of successes subtracted from the higher roll.  This plus a weapon modifier is the damage taken by the loser.  Supernatural powers are called Hexes.  Only a dozen or so are in the demo, but the full version will have over 50 I believe.  They are powered by the imp's Malevolence (Mal) stat, which also governs character improvement.

The full rules will have a village called Larksbridge as the setting, with NPC's and what-not.  There will also be rules for creating Fae or even mortal characters.

Hope this answers a few questions at least. :-)


Brian


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Lance D. Allen on April 16, 2003, 03:11:32 PM
I'll take a quick stab at this, even without reading the rules, but..

Quote
There will also be rules for creating Fae or even mortal characters.


I say don't do this. It's an interesting concept for the game as it is. Don't ruin your focus by trying to make it what it's not meant to be. Sorcerer is a game about Sorcerers. Vampire is a game about Vampires. Sorcerer doesn't try to include rules to play kung-fu action heroes who aren't sorcerers, and I think it was a mistake for Vampire to include rules to play as Mortals. Stick with the players as imps theme, and I think you'll have a stronger game overall.

Also, have you hit up the articles section? Reading the articles by Ron Edwards will give you a good headstart on the slang and terminology used here on the Forge, especially here. I was baffled when I first came here, until I read those.


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Christoffer Lernö on April 16, 2003, 10:29:30 PM
Maybe you're ready to do a terrific job with mortals and fae, but unless you feel sure about that I second Lance's suggestion to drop them and focus on the imps.

I like how you've made the sample imps rather easy to conjure an image of, despite it just being one or two sentences. In the course of creating a character maybe one should have to write up "why you're here", "what your favorite sins are" and "dreams and goals".

I know I'd like something like that, preferrably with a random tables with providing some idea what they should look like for first time players?


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: ThreeGee on April 17, 2003, 06:24:23 AM
Hey Brian,

First impressions: simple system, brutal combat, I am puzzled about limiting auto-successes to 2, Imps wear anachronistic armor?, hex durations should be explicit, how are Wounds and Age determined? in fact, how are any stats determined?

Later,
Grant


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 17, 2003, 06:44:43 AM
Hello Brian, and welcome aboard. I'm not sure who you are intimidated by. Don't be. You're a designer; we're designers. :-)

Grant, it is Medieval Britain. What's the anachronistic part?

The only problem I see with the game is that I'm not sure what the point is. Are you trying to get back to hell? Is that a victory condition? These characters are only sympathetic in a sort of bumbling minor villain sort of way. I can see that for a one-shot, but not for a long term game. What are the players looking forward to?

Mike


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on April 17, 2003, 06:47:14 AM
Hello, Brian. Welcome to the Forge.

I have not read the files on your site yet, but I have read your descriptions of it on this thread. Designer summaries are a bit more telling, I find, because it shows what a designer *thinks* their game is about and can help point out areas where improvement is needed.

If you haven't yet, I suggest you read kill puppies for satan. (Find links in the Rescource Library) It is a similar game if many way, yet different from your concept. I think you will find it inspirational.

Like Wolfen and Christoffer, I would urge you to remain focused on what your gasme is about, which is Imps, not fae or mortals. However a loophole is you might want to be able to make up stats for NPC fae and mortals. kpfs does this with stats for sorcerers, witches, ghouls and space aliens. So you can include stuff on these kinds of characters.

EDIT: I cross posted the question below with Mike, but we both phrased it differently.
Now, I am a bit confused about what IMPS is really about. You had said:
Quote from: scarecrowking
premise is that the PC's are imps that have been kicked out of Hell for one reason or another. To return, they must build up a large amount of malevolent power, which is gained based on the Seven Deadly Sins.

So. How do they do that? You did describe the mechanics of the game, which I'll get to in a minute, which is the how in general terms, but not the how in terms of this premise. How do the Imps gain Mal? How much do they need to go home? These are the main items that drives the characters, so it is pretty important. Even more important is what hooks the players into this premise. I am assuming the Imps are basically doing evil to gain Mal. What about this would make a person want to play this? I mean, you could make an RPG about anything, but not everyone would be interested in every topic. So what hooks the players?

Now, about the mechanics you'd outlined. I would say the dice rolling technique sound a little cumbersome, but I'll bet $5 that I'm dead wrong on that. Besides, it would be nice to have a use for my Dark World dice again.

IIUC, there are three main stats. Experience (X), Zeal (Z) and Malevolence (Mal). Mal is the XP system, the method by which the Imp gets to go home, and spell points for powering the Hexes. I am not sure what the difference is between X and Z, especially since Mal is the mechanical XP. What is the difference between X and Z? Do you really require both? There is also a skill system called Talents which adds a single bonus die. This sounds rather moot given that the stats are 2-6 dice. It might make a difference at 2 but at 6... I dunno, I don't see it being that much of a difference, so I think the Talents are kind of moot and I don't see many players doing much with them as far as character improvement.

Not to tell you how to do this, I would probably have everything be based off Talents without the stats and have a catchall stat for when the character does not have an appropriate Talent.

You had also outlined combat rules, including to-hit methods and damage, touching on weapon damage. My question is why? I ask because I don't see physical combat playing a major role in this game. Maybe when you clairify the question of how the Imps gain Mal it will be make sense. But I currently see the Imps either performing evil deeds or enticing mortals to perform evil deeds. I just don't see physical combat being all that important. Sure, it will come up but it is not the point of play. I also don't see character death being an element of this game either. Wouldn't Imps go to hell if they die? It kind of circumspects the point, unless Imps go to heaven, which I doubt anyone wants ;-) I would got a lot more abstract with this, making combat exactly like any other task roll.

These are my comments at this time.


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: scarecrowking on April 17, 2003, 10:47:50 AM
Wow.  7 more replies than I anticipated!  ;-)

The full version is around 32 pages w/o art at the moment.  It has all the char creation rules and a good bit of background to get started.  Yes, there is combat, but the demo rules pretty much contain the entire section on that.  Mal must be increased to 666 (i know) in order to become a demon and return in all your dark glory to the pits.  As far as Hex durations, it states either instant (such as Sigil) or for minutes equal to the imp's current Mal (like Mask).  
Experience (X) is the mental trait, and Zeal (Z) is the physical trait.  The original designer had included only X in the version he posted to the net, but we've tinkered with the system a bit since then.  I've had a little experience with single-trait games (TWERPS anyone?) and feel that at least 2 are needed so as to give enough variation among characters.
Gaining Malevolence (Mal) is based on the 7DS like I said, and is awarded by the GM (no silly 'Imp Master' or what) on a case-by-case basis, usually 1-3 points per sin, but like all games it could be more.  The only sin that awards Mal for combat is Wrath.  No, combat isn't a major focus, but it does come up (you know how those pesky players are).  
Dead imps?  Dead.  Gone.  Evaporated.  These, then, would be ex-imps.  

Hope this helps a little more.  Keep any questions coming, I'll do my best to answer, or at least mumble meaningfully.



Brian


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 17, 2003, 11:07:25 AM
Well, from what you've posted I would guess that the point of the game would be to get back to hell by doing nasty things.

I can see this being attractive in only one way. And that's if it's just supposed to be a dark comeptition to get there first. Because I'm not seeing any elements that make the characters in any way sympathetic. So we're not trying to make some thematic statements here. And I really don't even want to think about immersing in these characters. I couldn't have fun doing that.

So, again, I conclude it's a competition. So does the game support that well? Or is my assessment off somehow?

Mike


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on April 18, 2003, 09:08:14 AM
Quote from: scarecrowking
Experience (X) is the mental trait, and Zeal (Z) is the physical trait.  The original designer had included only X in the version he posted to the net, but we've tinkered with the system a bit since then.  I've had a little experience with single-trait games (TWERPS anyone?) and feel that at least 2 are needed so as to give enough variation among characters.

I liked TWERPS. With the Talents, you could effectively have much more that just two stats. I don't know. Maybe I'm trying to apply my own design preferences to your game. I'll leave this for now.
Quote
Gaining Malevolence (Mal) is based on the 7DS like I said, and is awarded by the GM (no silly 'Imp Master' or what) on a case-by-case basis, usually 1-3 points per sin, but like all games it could be more.

So the Imps must commit the sins themselves?
Quote
No, combat isn't a major focus, but it does come up (you know how those pesky players are).  
Dead imps?  Dead.  Gone.  Evaporated.  These, then, would be ex-imps.  

I am probably bringing my own preferences to the table, but I'll address this anyway.

What bothers me about this quoted portion is the comment about pesky players. I do understand that the lowest common denominator of the gaming population does expect combat in an RPG and that this combat works in a particular way. But just because they expect it does not mean every RPG should have it. It also doesn't mean that there will not be people who will apprecitate a RPG that because it does not contain the typical combat.

I can see a fantasy conversation between Babe Ruth and Dr William Nesmith who invented Baskeball.
"What do you mean there are no bases?"
It's a different game, Babe. It's played differently. There are no bases in Basketball."
"How can it be a sport without bases?"

If you follow me.

I can also see player simply equiping their Imps with armor and weapons and just rampaging the countryside slaughtering people for the easy-to-get Wrath points.

Hmm.. If this is the game you like and enjoy, then fine. What follows are my own suggestion off the top of my head. Take them as you will.

First, the Imps do not commit the sins but they must temt people into commiting those sins. It's easy to commit a deadly sin yourself.
"Hey, Braag. Wot'cha doin' today?"
"Nuthin'"
Bingo! Instant Sloth. Gimme my points.
But getting someone else to commit Sloth takes guile. It sound more interesting to me.

Second, the thing about having combat rules is that if you have rules for it, the players will use it, especially if there's a reward for it. I'm going to suggest something a little weird. I would remove the possibility of player character death and death at the hands of the player characters from the game. Like had said, if there are rules governing it, the players will make use of it. If it not the focus of the game, as you had said, then remove it from the equation. Then the players will have to figure out something else to do.

These are, as I had said my opinions. Use them as you will.


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Jeph on April 18, 2003, 09:39:09 AM
As a follow-up to Jack's post, you might want to read Mike's Standard Rant #3 (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/viewtopic.php?t=2024&highlight=mikes+standard+rant). It's about how combat systems are unneccecary.

Personally, I'd have a higher chance of enjoying IMP if it was about getting others to do the sins, rather than doing them your self.

As an interesting side note, this system could probably used for the exact opposite of it's current premise with little or no modification: What if you were an angel that was kicked out of heavan, and were trying to get back? Just switch the names and descriptions (but not rules) of the Hexes, call them Blessings, and change Malevolence to Righteousness or something.

edit: url =! rul


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on April 18, 2003, 10:27:23 AM
For oodles of fun, allow players to make either Imps or Shoulder Angels (kicked out of heaven until they prove their commitment to good), or both, and have them beset the same person, in order to either corrupt him or redeem him, whether he likes it or not! (Good and Evil can be pushy that way...)

Definitely rearrange IMP so that they must convince others to sin. More strategy/psychology that way.

Also, have it such that, unless they use Mask or some cunning, they lose all points accumulated if they are "caught in the act" or exposed for what they are.

I'd like to add some rules for Imps operating on sacred ground, rules for exorcism, etc. , just for variety.


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: scarecrowking on April 18, 2003, 12:04:13 PM
Hmmm...  

First, hey Jack, I liked Troll Quest.  Just realized who you are!

Mike: I could ask the same thing about superhero games.  Where's the fun?  The mayor calls, you rush off and whump the bad guy, collect experience, rinse, repeat.  Loads of fun there, from my point of view.

Yes, the imps can gain Mal by convincing others to commit sins.  Envy and Sloth are the two biggest examples, although accomplishing this through the other sins isn't impossible.  Jack's example of Braag getting points for doing nothing is incorrect.  Sloth works the other way, if you get others to do your dirty work for you, you may get points.  And points aren't awarded for simple slaughter, at least not after the first 2 or 3 points.  If a thief sits around his room at the inn and picks the same lock over and over again, for days and days, should he get experience every time?

Combat: Yes, it comes up.  But a standard human is a threat to a standard imp, that's why it is called Imp and not Demon. ;-)  And the imps know if they are killed, they cease to be, they do not simply return to Hell.

Fanboy: If the imps are caught in the act, they will probably end up tied to a stake, on fire, or simply hacked into pieces.  Medieval villagers aren't too keen on creatures of darkness wandering around mucking things up.

I think the problem, if I am seeing things with the right kind of eyes, is that I'm discussing a small, 'for fun'' rpg on a site dedicated to large, genre-shaking games.  I don't expect people to drop Truncheons & Flagons 9th Edition and play my game exclusively.  Just hoping someone sees it and will enjoy getting together with a couple buddies and (in game) cause a little mischief for a couple hours.

BTW, Jack, TWERPS was ok, but we had more fun with making up the silly names than actually designing the game.  In hindsight, I kind of wish I had put a little more effort into the bits I was responsible for instead of falling back on bad puns and childish humor.  C'est la vie.


OK, back to the design board.  Gonna talk to my partner and see what we can come up with.


Brian


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 18, 2003, 12:44:13 PM
Quote from: scarecrowking
Mike: I could ask the same thing about superhero games.  Where's the fun?  The mayor calls, you rush off and whump the bad guy, collect experience, rinse, repeat.  Loads of fun there, from my point of view.


I love superhero games. I get to be a hero. Is it a prerequisite of this game that you want to play a villain? If so, sorry, not interested.

The term we use a lot is protagonism. There has to be something you like about the characters. If not, then why play them?

Mike


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Jeph on April 18, 2003, 12:55:50 PM
Quote from: scarecrowking

I think the problem, if I am seeing things with the right kind of eyes, is that I'm discussing a small, 'for fun'' rpg on a site dedicated to large, genre-shaking games.  I don't expect people to drop Truncheons & Flagons 9th Edition and play my game exclusively.  Just hoping someone sees it and will enjoy getting together with a couple buddies and (in game) cause a little mischief for a couple hours.
Brian


Eh? Not so, IME. I mean, genre-shaking games do come out of the Forge with surprising frequency, but I think that most of the games developed here are 'small, "for fun" rpgs.' Everything that I've posted here has fit that descriptor.

Er, you will now return to your originally scheduled topic.


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on April 18, 2003, 10:24:55 PM
Quote from: scarecrowking
First, hey Jack, I liked Troll Quest.  Just realized who you are!

????
Oh yeah. Thanks, but I had little to do with Troll Quest. I ran it through my spell checker and Jim Shipman put my name in the credits. I told him that was all I did and didn't deserve any credit but he gave it to me anyway.
Quote
BTW, Jack, TWERPS was ok, but we had more fun with making up the silly names than actually designing the game.  In hindsight, I kind of wish I had put a little more effort into the bits I was responsible for instead of falling back on bad puns and childish humor.  C'est la vie.

Never put down bad puns and childish humor. I would be very quiet all the time otherwise.
Quote
OK, back to the design board.  Gonna talk to my partner and see what we can come up with.

Well consider the feedback you had gotten, anyway.


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: simon on April 20, 2003, 06:50:36 AM
Firstly, let me say I like the idea of imp-characters and I'm interested. However, the points made about why players would/should play this game are strong. In reading through the thread, it struck me that you could have one hell of a game with imps (or demons, or devils, or whatever) who had escaped from Hell and, rather than wanting to return, what to kepp, ermm... the hell away from the fiery pits. This would allow you to introduce key conflict and plot elements and provide more reasons for player involvement. Just how you'd do it though is another matter.


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Jeph on April 20, 2003, 07:53:52 AM
Quote from: simon
Firstly, let me say I like the idea of imp-characters and I'm interested. However, the points made about why players would/should play this game are strong. In reading through the thread, it struck me that you could have one hell of a game with imps (or demons, or devils, or whatever) who had escaped from Hell and, rather than wanting to return, what to kepp, ermm... the hell away from the fiery pits. This would allow you to introduce key conflict and plot elements and provide more reasons for player involvement. Just how you'd do it though is another matter.


I must admit, that is an interesting concept for the game, but not really supported by the mechanics. It takes away motivation to gain TONS of Mal; just enough to fuel your Hexes.


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: Jack Spencer Jr on April 20, 2003, 09:52:50 AM
Quote from: Jeph
I must admit, that is an interesting concept for the game, but not really supported by the mechanics. It takes away motivation to gain TONS of Mal; just enough to fuel your Hexes.

We're taking Brian's game and doing weird things with it he never intended,, but for this idea, the obvious solution is to borrow a page from Spawn. Start out with 666 Mal and every time you use Mal it goes down. When it hits 0, back you go. So you have to get people to commit sins to gain back Mal to keep from going back.


Title: IMP rpg demo version available
Post by: simon on April 21, 2003, 02:28:12 AM
First, apologies to Brian for polymorphing his game! But he has triggered quite a few thoughts among folks here and, well, that must be good. So, to risk further transmutation what about this:-

1. The imps are escapees from Hell and they don't wanna go back.
2. They have seven stats based on the seven deadly sins.
3. When three of these stats reach 6 together up pops Old Nick and drags you back screaming to the pits of hell.
4. Each character has a passion or drive or motive; something which was so strong that it led to his escape from Hell. This passion needs fulfilling. For example, after having spent eons in hell you realise that being an evil dude just aint no fun. In a previous incarnation you did something to somebody and now that somebodies descendents are suffering. Your passion is to right the wrong you did.
5. The game centres around the fulfilment of these drives/passions.
6. The road to hell, however, is paved with good intentions. In trying to fulfil your passion you have to face the minions of Baal and even simple every day temptations. Failing to overcome them raises you stats, which takes you closer to Hell but gives you more power.
7. Your passion also has a numerical rating and this is used to resolve conflicts (dice pool?).
8. If you fail your conflict roll then the number by which you failed is translated into gains for the seven stats (players choose which is/are raised).
9. The 7 stats are also used as floating dice pools. In a situation where gluttony seems appropriate, for example, you can add a number of dice up to the score in that rating to your passion pool when resolving the conflict. BUT, failure means an instant 6 in that stat score. If the stat is already 6, then 6 points must be distributed throughout the other stats as the player sees fit.

Clearly, this is a crude outline and offered merely as a suggestion as to how to bend the mechanics for Imps who want to avoid a one-wat return to Hell. What do you think, Brian?