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Author Topic: Is it a boardgame? Is it a story? I know what I want …  (Read 1716 times)
Mithras
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Posts: 95


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« on: May 10, 2004, 11:59:42 AM »

Can I get it???

OK. I roleplay with kids most of the time, 10 year olds. The past three years I’ve generally run fairly non-violent adventure RPGs of my own devising, low on numbers high on improv. And fairly simple plots.

Now and then I hit a low patch where a group does not get it, I don’t explain it, I let my guard down or I get sick of the same boyish fantasy ‘killalldamutha’s in da room’ type response.

I’ve recently done some experimentation with drama points (or plot points – I am soo daring!) and last year with a fully pregenerated set-up and character list, like watching a movie, but with handouts, fantastic Egyptian props and so on …

I’m trying to come up with a new game. Partly to overcome some of the usual childish problems that occur when would-be teenagers come up against ‘what do you want to do?’ mechanics, and partly to get myself motivated and back on the horse. I know what I want, but I’m having trouble assembling the parts. I ‘ve got writer’s block. I wonder if anyone here on the Forge can give me that kick or flash of inspiration that can help me gel everything together??

This is what I’m envisaging:

1)   Pre-generated set-up. I play with new groups of children regularly. The learning curve is steep. I will use rules light mechanics (no problem there), and a pregenerated setting, situation and suite of starting characters. A bit like a movie. Coming with each setting is a detailed location. These resources I can produce lavishly using web art, fancy effects and stationary, laminating machines and so on! This means they are all re-useable. A bit like a boardgame. Imagine children in ancient Rome. Explorers on Mars. Greek heroes. etc.

2)   Scenarios that write themselves. There are several reasons for this. I am lazy. Yes. But also a crisply written scenario does not survive contact, I have to play in 40-45  minute sessions once a week, and I often ditch huge chunks to get to the exciting bits, or the kids (being kids) head off into the sunset and I get improvising fast! We always have fun, I can improvise, but I like a guideline to assist me. Nothing too deep. And nothing that empowers the PCs too much. RPGing is alien to many 10 year old boys who I find out act out scenes or characters from the latest 18 rated movie they’ve seen and try to outcool each other with badassedness and bodycount, or treat a game like Quake or Doom. Kill stuff, take stuff, flex those pex. I can curb these power fantasies with some adroit preamble and selective set-up (no weapons for example, and no social encounters, or making the PCs powerless such as little kids or animals).

I am envisaging a random plot list, with several tables to build an opening. I have such a list that gives me 20 or 30 plots for an ‘outcast/guerilla/Robin Hood/Rebel Alliance versus big bad authority’ campaign. But that’s all! Ideally the plot will progress with turning points in the game initiated with cards or maybe special dice rolls or draws from stones – I don’t know. This is where I’m getting stuck. I can’t rely on the player’s imaginations (for the reasons I just mentioned). These plot cards or turning points need to inspire ME! What do they tell me? And how are they initiated? Can they be genre free so I can use them with any of my pregenerated setting packs?

Note: I have Universalis and Everway. I’ve found the cards In Everway useful for fantasy games, but I cannot take the tarot-like Fate cards into school for fear of someone seeing the connection and going over the top, getting my little RPG club banned forvever!

Any ideas, anyone?
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Paul Elliott

Zozer Game Designs: Home to ultra-lite game The Ladder, ZENOBIA the fantasy Roman RPG, and Japanese cyberpunk game ZAIBATSU, Cthulhu add-ons, ancient Greeks and more -  http://www.geocities.com/mithrapolis/games.html
quozl
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Posts: 534


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« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2004, 12:11:48 PM »

The Extraordinary Adventures of Baron Munchausen and Soap

They're competitive storytelling games that are very rules-light and both let the players "one-up" each other without destroying the game.
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
Valamir
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« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2004, 12:54:48 PM »

Quote
Ideally the plot will progress with turning points in the game initiated with cards or maybe special dice rolls or draws from stones – I don’t know. This is where I’m getting stuck. I can’t rely on the player’s imaginations (for the reasons I just mentioned). These plot cards or turning points need to inspire ME! What do they tell me? And how are they initiated? Can they be genre free so I can use them with any of my pregenerated setting packs?


Once upon a time before WoTC got rich on Magic they dabbled in a number of RPG play-aid products.  One such line was Story Path cards which came bound in a perferated book to be punched out.  I have a couple of sets which I've never actually used (intrigue and horror), I don't know how many there were originally.  But they have a reasonable mechanic with different sorts of cards to provide inspiration to riff off of, and a rough mechanic about playing the cards based on the card number.

They're often offered on ebay.
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