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Tell me about... your unfinished game ideas

Started by Rich Forest, April 05, 2004, 05:30:38 AM

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I'm looking forward to developing my <Insert Cool Pirate Name Here>. It's a no-centralized-GM, improvisational pirate game about desperation on the High Seas.

I also have ideas knocking around in my brain about an unnamed game of Edwardian scientific discovery. It's all about being obsessed with finding some truth or other, and the risks you take to find it.
Jay Loomis
Coxcomb Games
Check out my">blog.


Working on Crux, with hopes to have it ready for betatesting by june. This is the urban fantasy game using colored tokens, dealing with themes of: war vs. peace, us vs. them, home vs. travel, asleep vs. awakened. Which is a crappy way of putting it, but there you are.

Next idea in my head - narrative PvP something. Inspired by Humble Mythologies. Setting - probably traditional fairytale/folklore, mechanic is gonna be fortune/drama based on symbolic language of some sort. Maybe. It's just knocking in my head at the moment.

I'm also cogitating about Calvinball- the RPG. Something extremely mutable in its rules - more so even that Universalis and others like that. This may end up part of the narrative PvP fairytale above.

Considering how to do a real RPG/CCG hybrid, a la John Coome's Hobgoblin.

Really want to get the RPG rights to Chine Mieville and Clive Barker's novels.

Want to do something furry too.

All these vague ideas. I'm busy working on one thing at the moment, let me finish that!
Aidan Grey

Crux Live the Abnatural

Matt Machell

Unfinished game ideas. Where to start?

Literati - The game where you play agents sent to hunt down rogue fictional characters in a 50s dystopia. I love the concept, but it falls down at execution.

Eberach - A city based fantasy game set in a hybrid Regency/Industrial age, where corrupt noble houses rule a declining empire. Grotesquery and dark swashbuckling adventure in a world of geomantic structures where the foundations are crumbling.

Those are the two I've been working on longest with no actual results...



ARg.  I was writing a post, hit the wrong button, it vanished.  First time in years that's happened to me.  Anyway:

Shangri-la, since you asked, is a game set in dreams.  It's the answer to a question I posed myself a while ago, although not the only answer for sure:  "What sort of game can I create/plan that could handle massive changes of player attendance from week to week while still maintaining some sort of story continuity?"  This was my answer - dreamers.  Nobody dreams every night, so whoever shows up turns into "them who done dream."

The setting starts at the edge of the dream of the individual, and does not cross that line.  It's exploration OUTWARDS, and each Lucid Dreamer (or Chimera) has a Quest he has to complete, a path that he or she is compelled to take (regardless of whether or not they DO, and certainly there are chimerae who have abandoned their Quest for the things that exist in the dream world, and there are many paradises out there).

Chimera themselves are defined, in addition to their Quest, by their knots and thread.  These (both thread and knot) are metaphors, images that help define the chimera.  "Heart of gold", "lions at the gate", "empty cage"... the chimera brings these metaphors with him as he travels, and they can manifest in the dreamworld around him.  And if they do, they can impact (both positively and negatively) the task at hand.  I'm still stuck on exactly how to do that, but I know I want it done.

It uses six-siders for resolution, because it came to me in a dream.  What better reason is there?

More on Mudsylvania:  There are two separate resolution systems, both d-10 based.  The first is percentile, the second is a dice pool.  Why two?  Because I want to sharply define the difference between stuff that is a part of the world (spellcasting, combat, "skill use", etc., the standard MUD stuff) and stuff that is PvP (social influence and the like).  The former uses percentile, the latter uses pools.

Next, Earth Too is another project of mine, inspired by my "Intro to Philosophy" class professor, although I somewhat doubt he expected me to take it this way.  The basic question was "What if, after we're done on this world, we get a second chance - we get born on another planet and do it all again.  Is it better, or is it worse?  What lessons do we take with us, and what baggage do we accumulate?"

Earth, Too is the afterlife.  Sort of.  It's another Earth, right down to the geographical features (but not necessarily man-made ones), and has been around as long as the stars.  When a human dies on Earth 1, their soul is transported to Earth Too, and brings about a conception (regardless of race, geographical location, sex, or anything else).  You spend nine months in the womb slowly regaining your memories - the ultimate sensory deprivation experience.  You then go through childhood, puberty, and adulthood all over again, but with all your memories of the previous time around intact.

It uses playing cards for resolution.  Why? I'm not sure, it's just a gut thing at this point.  The system itself doesn't exist except for "yeah, playing cards, yup, sure, cards, uh-huh."  I want it to be able to handle, without a lot of fuss, the creation of both the life you had, and the life you have now.

Still Life is an idea that's been bouncing around my head since before GenCon '03.  It's a Sorcerer Mini-supplement, or at least that's the current plan.  The idea is that, shortly after Mars is colonized, Earth sorta... goes away.  It's dead, it's kaput, there's no more Earth.  Some refugees flood in over the next year or two, and the nthat's that.  Ten billion people, dead in an instant, and if you point the telescope over that way, you don't even see any debris.  

Since then, the people of Mars have been going through the motions.  The death of ten billion people hangs over the colonies of Mars like a black cloud (and how), and even those who were born afterwards have to deal with the grief inside them.  Some have given in entirely; others still hold on.  Grief (or the ability to go on despite it) is one definition of Humanity.  The other is good old-fashioned vulnerable emotional expression between human beings, anything from the desperation of a one-night stand, to crying on someone's shoulder.

What of demons?  Well, they're the surviving spirits of earth; think of what the ghosts of humans would be if you smashed them all into itty bitty pieces, threw away 90% of it, and sort of melted the rest back together into rough facsimiles of people with a sautering iron.  That's a ghost of Earth, that's a demon.  It wants companionship, it wants to LIVE, and its very existence threatens the sorcerer, because it might bring them closer to Grief.

That's all for now.  Happy now, Rich?  :D
Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
Maker of many fine story-games!
Moderator of Indie Netgaming

Walt Freitag

Okay, here's what I got, or rather, what I don't got yet:

1. The GM-Side System for Precious Fluid. Think of it as adventure modules (in a kind of liquid form) for no-myth play. If that sounds like an oxymoron, then you'll understand why it's taking a long time. It's an entirely new kind of role playing content authoring, and I'm trying to invent the format and learn to use it to its potential at the same time.

2. Chasms and Cottages. A conceptual game that's actually a test case for #1 above. To judge by most hypothetical examples of noncombat play situations that crop up in discussion forums, leaping over chasms and finding unexpected cottages are the heart and soul of role playing. So why not a game that's entirely about those two things? The first supplement will add Cliffs.

3. An as yet unnamed Arabian Nights game. Based partly on my favorite set of LARP rules ever, this is a Gamist fantasy pastiche (with strong supporting Sim) that brings metagame self-criticism of the outcome, and a few other social-contract-level issues, into the formal rules system. At the end of each "night" (session), players apply mechanics to determine whether the Sultan was sufficiently enthralled by the story to keep Shahrazad alive (i.e. continue the game in future sessions). Ideally, this game should also use the GM-side system from #1 but I'm working it both ways in case that doesn't pan out. Possibility of making this into a Transitionable game by modifying the Sultan's judgment criteria from Night to Night.

- Walt
Wandering in the diasporosphere


The Fortunes of the Joneses: Roleplaying in the world of family oriented TV drama-comedy shows. Characters don't have any skills; just an ever increasing tendency for good or bad things to happen to them. It'll be my first game submitted for the Forge's inspection - hopefully in the next few weeks.

FameWhores!: Once I finally get round to ordering and playing Sorceror, I'd love to do a mini-supplement set in the world of celebrity - where you face the contradiction of living up to your star image or having a real, meaningful, normal life. Many pages of notes on this one and many directions (and versions of demons) to go in - from Big Brother to shooting an indie film, the relentless pursuit of the papparazzi and the deterioration of people like Callista Flockhart and Anne Heche.


Gametime: a New Zealand blog about RPGs


Cthulhubabe-This is the primary reason for my series of Call of Cthulhu threads.  Based on the mechanics of Trollbabe this will be a narrativist version of Mythos gaming.  The characters will be have relationships with both the mythos and the mundane world and effectiveness will be based on balancing those relationships with each other.

Ship and the Stars- This will be a game that deals abstractly with serial science fiction based on the model of the 'planet of the week/story installment' science fiction that has had so many variants.  The basic design elements for the game can be seen  here and here. In S&tS player effectiveness will primarily be gained by creating the color for the campaign background and instantiating it in scenes of play.  I am thinking of doing versions of the game based on the Pool and Prime Time Adventures.  I am even working on a cover, which can be seen here

Flying Sorcerers- Based on Sorcerers the characters will be ufo contactees who must do things for thier alien masters.  Plenty of peopl want to be picked up by aliens, but what would you do to maintain such a relationship? And what exactly would you want to get out of it?

Away Team - A star Trek game based on Wraith. You beam down and you tell whats happening, and whatever you do don't wear a red shirt....
Got Art? Need Art? Check out


C.Y.P.H.E.R. - Chosen Youths Piloting Horrifying Existential Robots - The Evangelion/RahXephon/Gasaraki game.  The Big Robots aren't empowering supertoys; instead, they're sources of catastrophic Stress for the characters as they deal with friends, family, the pressures of growing up, and the iron-fisted tyranny of the Pecking Order.  Get too much stress, you Snap, which lets you redraw the character in mid-session to reflect his new revelations.

Weird Alien Roommate - Inspired by too much anime, and by some of recent threads on "lighter" demons.  A stripped-down Sorcerer variant in which the PC's have no Lore, the Demons are more annoying than anything... and Humanity is your ability to be civil to the demons you're stuck with, even as life grinds you down.

We Happy Few - "Band of Brothers"-inspired WWII game about cameraderie, trust, and sudden horrible death.  I gave up on this one when I realized I had no idea how to keep it from being too depressing.  I suppose there's always Godlike sans-talents, but I'd kind of like a more narrativist spin on the subject.
Hans Christian Andersen V.
Yes, that's my name.  No relation.

Rob MacDougall

Well, before I rattle off some ideas, I want to say how great the ideas I've seen in this thread are. Wouldn't it be terrific if even one of each of the game ideas people listed actually got written and published in some form and we all got to play them sometime in the next year?

Also, it can't hurt for people to know that others are stoked by their ideas, so let me say I for one would love to see and play:

Sorcerer and Suspicion (i have some ideas in this regard - you should start a thread about it!)
Dictionary of Mu (been psyched for this for a while)
ALL of Shreyas Sampat's ideas
FameWhores (a friend of mine is running a UA game in this vein, but Sorcerer seems even more appropriate)

(And the other ideas are great too, but if I listed them all, it would dilute the effect of my praise.)

I myself have two game designs on the go. In each case they're well past the idea stage, with semi-finished rough drafts written, but I'm not sure when I'll be able to finish them off.

One is Sorcerer Inc., a political Sorcerer supplement set in the world of cut-throat business and hyper-capitalism, where the demons are corporations. Contains rules for using the Sorcerer combat system to model the world of business. (You can play it with the corporations as actual sentient, malevolent hive entities, or you can play it with them as "just" corporations. If you just asked "what's the difference?" then you've already grasped the key concept of Sorcerer Inc.) I talked about it over a year ago here

The other is Abulafia, which sounds a little like Cthulhubabe, in that it's an attempt to solve some of the issues raised in the excellent CoC threads. But the inspirations are more InSpectres and Neel Krishnaswami's amazing Lexicon than Trollbabe. It's an attempt to make a game out of Eco's Foucault's Pendulum that combine the player control of InSpectres with elements of Lexicon and De Profundis for a player controlled story about conspiracy and paranoia, where game play both generates the conspiracy and the PCs' descent into paranoid fantasy. I talked about it in very vague terms over at the 20x20 Room.



Afterworld - Rebuilding civilization after the apocalypse.

Rich Forest

Quote from: LxndrHappy now, Rich?  :D

Not quite. I'll be happy once you've delivered Shangri-La to my mailbox for play. :-)

Ah, hell with it. Here is my short list of the games in this thread that I'm really, really intrigued by, for various reasons.

Humble Mythologies
Danger Patrol
Barrooms & Braggarts/Level-Up
Fortunes of the Joneses




Until Today, a roleplaying game about people.  ("Girly Universalis.")

Midnight Snacks, fun and bloody vampire roleplaying.  (The current incarnation of my white whale.  Inspirational images here, here at

Oak Ash Thorn.  (New England pagan supernatural horror mystery, with contra dancing and sex.  Inspirational image here at Anticide Illustrations.)

Quiet.  (A ghost story rpg / divination technique.)

Untitled: Christians in Spaaaaace.  (What would you suffer for your faith?)

The Labyrinth of Doors, wholehearted fantasy roleplaying.  (This game is gonna be fuckin' cool.)

But no promises.



Ride Boldly Ride:  
I want to do a western roleplaying game based around the central theme of my favorite Poe poem, Eldorado.

I actually had a playtest version about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way finished when Snyder beat me to the bunch with Dust Devils.  Pretty much rendered everything I had irrelevant (though it was dice based and not card based).  Don't hold it against him -- too much ;-) -- DD was far better than what I'd cobbled together at the time.

I'd like to think I could do it better now.  But I'm still struggling with a way to mechanically represent the quest for Eldorado in the game effectively.

My most recent rumblings on it, before setting it aside again to do Robots& Rapiers was to swipe the Otherkind mechanics.

Of course, now the rough mechanics I came up with for Epic roleplaying are demanding to be addressed....


Hey, I forgot to mention, I'm dying to hear more about We Regret to Inform you the Gamemaster is Dead, Jonathon!


Aidan Grey

Crux Live the Abnatural