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Author Topic: Unsung Done (kinda -- revised, certainly)  (Read 1159 times)
xiombarg
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Posts: 1183


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« on: June 01, 2004, 07:17:59 AM »

Well, as y'all know, I'm working on the for-pay version of my RPG, Unsung, and I'm looking for comments. At this point, I've done everything I can before layout and art. It's rough and unindexed, but complete. As before, at this point, the game is technically playable:

Introduction (mainly aimed at new roleplayers)
Chapter 1: Protagonists (chargen)
Chapter 2: Basic Concepts (system skeleton)
Chapter 3: Gifts and Lapses
Chapter 4: The Mission System
Chapter 5: Shootouts (combat)
Chapter 6: Endings, Death and Retirement
Chapter 7: Sample Settings
Chapter 8: Premise and Credits
Chapter 9: Glossary

This is smaller than it looks -- none of these "chapters" are more than four pages or so. This is just raw text, with no layout. In the final version, the "SIDEBAR" bits will actually be in sidebars, etc.

What I'm looking for:
    [*] On the glossary: Is it useful? It's supposed to define terms used in the game, as well as some common RPG terms so non-gamers playing with "experienced" gamers might know what all those acronyms mean in terms of what they've read in Unsung. Should I split the glossary between terms specific to Unsung and the more generic terms I provide, or keep them together as they are now?
    [*]Opinions on the setting chapter -- did I miss anything obvious?
    [*]Opinions on the Retirement system, in particular -- remember you get a Retirement Point every time your character Lapses. Mike will be pleased to note I've given the Retirement system more "teeth," turning it into a "force Endgame" sort of system.
    [*]Opinions on the Mission system
    [*]Opinions on the Introduction, and suggestions on a good place where I can politely expose non-gamers to it in order to get an opinion.
    [*]More general opinions, but to a lesser degree. I'm curious what people think of the Gift and Lapse system, for example, not not so much as the other two things above, as I've playtested that subsystem extensively and it does exactly what I want.[/list:u]Thanks for everyone's help so far!
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    love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
    Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
    Sydney Freedberg
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    « Reply #1 on: June 01, 2004, 10:18:35 AM »

    Neat, neat, neat. I couldn't resist reading this on office time (quickly, so forgive any obvious errors in my understanding). Some rather off the cuff comments:

    I like all the optional rules "dials." Perhaps there should be a master "campaign start checklist" so everyone discusses and agrees how things are set ahead of time? There're so many it's easy to miss one.

    It seems odd that "Instinct" -- which is "Killer Instinct" and whose descriptors involve being out of control -- also covers trying to be stealthy, which requires self-control and overmastering one's emotions. Perhaps stealth can be put under Sense ? ("Oops, you didn't see that twig underfoot -- SNAP." "Whoops, turns out that you're not that well concealed after all -- there's a bad guy you didn't notice with a clear line of sight to your position.")

    There're some inelegances in the way "opposed" actions work (e.g. the "apply - 1/2 defender's skill as modifier" rule). I see you want to avoid the clunky inconsistencies of so many systems that have both "roll vs. fixed number" and "roll vs. roll," but I'm not sure this quite works.

    I also found the negative currency rule ("subtract from 22" -- huh?) kind of confusing.

    Finally, where'd the rules for earning Retirement Points go? I must've missed them.

    In general, I just think the draft needs tightening. It's an elegant, almost crystalline game, very focused; the final draft of the rules should reflect that.
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    xiombarg
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    « Reply #2 on: June 01, 2004, 10:27:07 AM »

    Quote from: Sydney Freedberg
    It seems odd that "Instinct" -- which is "Killer Instinct" and whose descriptors involve being out of control -- also covers trying to be stealthy, which requires self-control and overmastering one's emotions. Perhaps stealth can be put under Sense ? ("Oops, you didn't see that twig underfoot -- SNAP." "Whoops, turns out that you're not that well concealed after all -- there's a bad guy you didn't notice with a clear line of sight to your position.")

    It makes more sense if you think of Instinct as "Cunning". That said, it's really based on an ad-hoc ruling during playtest, and on the fact that a lot is covered by Sense already.

    Also, with your arguement above, you could roll Sense and get a bonus to Instinct from the rule of currency.

    Quote
    There're some inelegances in the way "opposed" actions work (e.g. the "apply - 1/2 defender's skill as modifier" rule). I see you want to avoid the clunky inconsistencies of so many systems that have both "roll vs. fixed number" and "roll vs. roll," but I'm not sure this quite works.

    If you have a better suggestion, I'm all ears. It only came up once during playtest.

    Quote
    I also found the negative currency rule ("subtract from 22" -- huh?) kind of confusing.

    It comes from a "higher roll is always better" philosophy.

    Quote
    Finally, where'd the rules for earning Retirement Points go? I must've missed them.

    Must have. RPs are earned two ways -- as part of the Mission system, and 1 RP every time you Lapse.

    Quote
    In general, I just think the draft needs tightening. It's an elegant, almost crystalline game, very focused; the final draft of the rules should reflect that.

    Well, let me know what I need to tighten, and I'll tighten it. I need specifics. ;-D
    Logged

    love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
    Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
    Garbanzo
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    Posts: 108


    « Reply #3 on: June 02, 2004, 03:02:22 PM »

    Loki-

    I don't know if they're new, or if I missed them previously, but I especially like the rules for ending a game session.  It's so common to pretend that breaks in play don't happen, that the end of a session is nothing more than hitting the pause button.  I like how your mechanics point out - exploit, really - the fact that a session end has its own emotional process to it.

    As for the glossary, I vote on keeping it all together.  It's not so huge that it really needs to be subdivided, and I'm not sure much would be gained by distilling a "newbies only" glossary.

    The setting chapter was more comprehensive than I expected.  By about 50%.  I'd say you hit it pretty well.  I especially liked the "many vague examples + one detailed example" setup.

    The mission system is the least gripping part, to me.  Gifts and lapses are great stuff.  The mission system is much less essential feeling.  In play it may well prove to be a great skeleton on which to hang the otherwise-freeform action, but it's a shift in focus away from the morality which is the heart of the game.

    I do like the retirement system, though.  

    That's all I've got, opinion-wise.
    As I've said before, I think it's a very strong game.

    -Matt
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    xiombarg
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    « Reply #4 on: June 02, 2004, 07:56:44 PM »

    Quote from: Garbanzo
    I don't know if they're new, or if I missed them previously, but I especially like the rules for ending a game session.  It's so common to pretend that breaks in play don't happen, that the end of a session is nothing more than hitting the pause button.  I like how your mechanics point out - exploit, really - the fact that a session end has its own emotional process to it.

    It's very new. It's an idea Mike originally had, refined further through feedback via Mike and some people on my Livejournal.

    Quote
    As for the glossary, I vote on keeping it all together.  It's not so huge that it really needs to be subdivided, and I'm not sure much would be gained by distilling a "newbies only" glossary.

    Yeah, that's where my brain is at as well...

    Quote
    The setting chapter was more comprehensive than I expected.  By about 50%.  I'd say you hit it pretty well.  I especially liked the "many vague examples + one detailed example" setup.

    Yes, the expaned example was suggested by "Perich" on LJ. I think it adds some meat to the Setting chapter.

    Quote
    The mission system is the least gripping part, to me.  Gifts and lapses are great stuff.  The mission system is much less essential feeling.  In play it may well prove to be a great skeleton on which to hang the otherwise-freeform action, but it's a shift in focus away from the morality which is the heart of the game.

    Well, the Gifts and Lapse are still very central, if you asked me. And what else would I hang the Retirement Points -- and Endgame -- off of?

    Thanks for the feedback!
    Logged

    love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
    Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
    Garbanzo
    Member

    Posts: 108


    « Reply #5 on: June 03, 2004, 03:36:48 AM »

    Quote from: xiombarg
    Well, the Gifts and Lapse are still very central, if you asked me. And what else would I hang the Retirement Points -- and Endgame -- off of?

    Yeah, I'm hearing that.  And I recognize that you've actually played the game, whilst I'm talking out of my behind.  
    But the Endgame springs from Retirement points, which also come from Lapses.  A little jiggling - two Retirement Points per Lapse, or something - and everything's fine without missions.

    It seems like a question of focus, to me.  It's totally, 100% clear that Gifts and Lapses are the meat of the game.  The mission system, therefore, ain't.

    I'm seeing two strong reasons for the mission system.
    1: If it's important because it gives another point of traction, allows another place for folks to grab on that's not so heavily charged, then that's perfect.  I can imagine that some non-heavy (as in "emotionally heavy") system might be a bit of a relief.  
    2: And, as I said, it seems like it might well provide some structure to the events of play.

    If your playtests have shown these two things to be serious concerns that needed to be met (or missions meet some other goal that I'm not seeing), then it's all cool.  I'm sitting in my armchair, here; I haven't tried to play it yet, so all I've got is opinion.  But, if there's not a Serious Problem being solved, I say chuck it.  Economy, elegance, all that.

    I'm not going to rattle on about this anymore, though.
    You're the boss of this, and so far, so good.

    -Matt

    (as a ps - you know that your website for this is xiombrag.tripod.com, right?)
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    xiombarg
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    Posts: 1183


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    « Reply #6 on: June 03, 2004, 06:05:28 AM »

    Quote from: Garbanzo
    Yeah, I'm hearing that.  And I recognize that you've actually played the game, whilst I'm talking out of my behind.  
    But the Endgame springs from Retirement points, which also come from Lapses.  A little jiggling - two Retirement Points per Lapse, or something - and everything's fine without missions.

    Well, the original game didn't feature Missions as much, so I might include that as an optional rule.

    Quote
    I'm seeing two strong reasons for the mission system.
    1: If it's important because it gives another point of traction, allows another place for folks to grab on that's not so heavily charged, then that's perfect.  I can imagine that some non-heavy (as in "emotionally heavy") system might be a bit of a relief.  
    2: And, as I said, it seems like it might well provide some structure to the events of play.

    Those are the goals. Also, in actual play, the players complained, when I was emphasizing only Gifts and Lapses, that there was nothing to spend Gift Points all. The point of making the Mission system a touch more central was to give the players something to spend those Gift Points on.

    So, yes, having a structure was a concern, and having something else to do besides just "round robin Gift giving" (as Mike put it) was very much a concern, which is the reason for the increased emphasis on the Mission system.

    Quote
    (as a ps - you know that your website for this is xiombrag.tripod.com, right?)

    Yes... Xiombarg was already taken. I use XiomBRAG as an alternate a lot.
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    love * Eris * RPGs  * Anime * Magick * Carroll * techno * hats * cats * Dada
    Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
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