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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 93 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Please critique my historical medieval RPG!  (Read 9256 times)
Sir Privy Toastrack
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #15 on: August 25, 2004, 03:04:36 PM »

Quote from: statisticaltomfoolery

Most importantly, underlying it all, you've got neat setting which isn't reinforced by the system at all: your temperaments and virtues and sins do nothing in the game. There's no reinforcement that the players should have goals, or desires, and that the game should be about those.

Interesting.  Suggestions?

Quote from: statisticaltomfoolery
The answers to those, and a system which reinforces those might be a whole lot more interesting to myself. Trimming down combat to something which is quick, extraordinarily rules-lite, brutal, and deadly, along with some general notes on how combat worked might be much more effective,


Agreed.  I am looking at other systems that use a more narrative combat system (HeroQuest, for example) and will modify mine quite a bit to echo this.

Quote from: statisticaltomfoolery
I think another problem with the tactical wargame combat model with medium to high rules complexity is that it encourages this very contemplative, very "well, if I move two steps, perform this move, followed by this move, I gain +.4 expected damage per turn", which seems about as far away from the feel of the period you're trying to recreate as possible.

Yep, you're right.

Glad you liked it so much ;)  Anyways, I'd love to get some specific ideas from you on how to integrate the reputation, sins, virtues, etc...into the game better.  I do NOT want rule-enforcing 'personality' measures, however, as these are the antithesis of what I would like to accomplish.  Many thanks!
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statisticaltomfoolery
Member

Posts: 37


« Reply #16 on: August 26, 2004, 04:30:03 AM »

I think that first, the free .pdf you want to download and read over is Ars Magica 4th. There are a lot of things that I wouldn't recommend adopting from Ars, but it emphasizes the covenant above all else, shows you how to spend time developing a rules-intensive system to support the idea of the covenant is being important, while not losing sight of the individual.  I think that redefining the premise of the game to being: "The players play various roles of a community (whether that be a village, manor, or whatever) and work to support, defend, and grow that community." might be a very interesting way to proceed.

Secondly, as far as combat, if you still want a rules-moderate or more system, then I'd say there' splenty of work to be done making an interesting mass combat system, which works especially with the community idea. If the game is about investing yourself into the community, then you want to let people invest themselves into the defense of their community. I'm not recommending a tactical wargame, but the idea of the "setting up defenses strategic game/mass-combat tactical game/rules-light/narrative game where individual PC's do important actions to affect the tactical game" seems like a good start.

Finally, as far as the sins/temperaments/virtues go, and your completely understandable desire to avoid the syndrome of : "Well, you're not acting greedy, so WHACK!", I'd need to spend a lot more time thinking about this to come up with an actual system, but I think that an idea to start from is that each choose of virtues, temperaments, sins has to be accompanied by some concrete goal, or possible failing, or just plain old plot on why that makes sense. A person goes through, chooses a few of these things, and suddenly they've got a character with all these things that they want to accomplish, or be tempted by, and so on. You reinforce those decisions by making the game about the fulfilling or rejecting of those traits. What happens when someone gives in to their sinfulness? What happens when they stand the course? Those should be interesting decisions, which develop their character.

There's the idea that you could develop a game where all the numbers only applied to the town: what's the reputation of the town, what are the resources available, who are its friends, its enemies, its defense against the enemies. PCs could be represented by as little as just a collection of words: a word describing their role in their town, some skills they're familiar with, and their sins, temperaments, and virtues, and the concrete things which drive those sins, temperaments, and virtues.
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Thor
Member

Posts: 70


« Reply #17 on: August 26, 2004, 05:48:53 AM »

To emphasize the Virtues make them vital to the progress of the character. Players who go against their Virtues/Humors, which they choose in the first place, should be unfulfilled humans who don't get ahead in life.

Also I agree with the earlier comment that the Humoral therapies should work better than doing nothing. I like the idea that if your humors get out of whack you get ill and can't perform correctly. There is some evidence that we have a similar faith in "modern medicine". The relationship of the proportion of auto accidents to neck injuries varies disproportianately around the world; leading some researchers to believe that some countries have a mythology of neck injury that is stronger than other areas. in those countries with a lower mythology the xrays of accident victims show a lower incident of neck injury even when read by doctors from higher mythology countries. I'm not saying that medicine is hokum or that Humors controll our lives but give it some thought.

Also along with the Humors/ Virtues affecting the characters progress, I would like to see some sort of my community is strong so I am strong sort of reward.
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Yes, The Thor from Toledo
statisticaltomfoolery
Member

Posts: 37


« Reply #18 on: August 26, 2004, 05:57:57 AM »

Quote from: Thor
To emphasize the Virtues make them vital to the progress of the character. Players who go against their Virtues/Humors, which they choose in the first place, should be unfulfilled humans who don't get ahead in life.


I'd disagree with this phrasing, because it seems to fall into the realm of carrots and sticks for personality mechanics: "Well, as long as I roleplay my temperament, play up to my virtues, and avoid my sins: 5 XP per session! w00t!"

Players who have problems playing up to their virtues shouldn't be necessarily unfulfilled humans who don't get ahead in life: that makes it sound so uninteresting and so "MUST AVOID!". Sometimes people betray their principles, and it works. Does it work for only a little bit?  Does it work, but leave them haunted inside? Does it work, but leave them in the pitfires of hell?

You shouldn't have a player pick a sin, make an interesting plot, and then get rewards for steadfastly ignoring it. You should make it such that the plots and mechanics reward the player for interesting, game-advancing play. For me, at least, it's the exploration of one's roles, one's desires, and one's beliefs, and how it's hard to achieve without sacrifice, that's the interesting part.
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Sir Privy Toastrack
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #19 on: August 26, 2004, 06:31:12 AM »

Quote from: statisticaltomfoolery

You shouldn't have a player pick a sin, make an interesting plot, and then get rewards for steadfastly ignoring it. You should make it such that the plots and mechanics reward the player for interesting, game-advancing play. For me, at least, it's the exploration of one's roles, one's desires, and one's beliefs, and how it's hard to achieve without sacrifice, that's the interesting part.

Yep, that's my thinking.
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Garbanzo
Member

Posts: 108


« Reply #20 on: August 26, 2004, 01:16:27 PM »

I dunno, I'm going to disagree with statisticaltom and back up Thor.

If the Humors and Virtues are to be anything other than throw-away detail, they need to affect the game in some way.  
Sure, with a hands-off approach -  no in-game reinforcement - some percentage of folks will still get on-board.  But it certainly wouldn't be the beating heart of the game.  
With your sense of the medieval perspective, though, it seems like virtues and humors are the prime building blocks of human beings.  That's saying something.


And this is why I'm firmly behind Thor.   While stattom calls this "carrots and sticks for personality mechanics," I'd say that's what all rules are.  If you want these pieces to matter, you have to make them matter.

And, further, this would make stattom's proposal more poignant:
Quote from: statisticaltomfoolery
Sometimes people betray their principles, and it works. Does it work for only a little bit? Does it work, but leave them haunted inside? Does it work, but leave them in the pitfires of hell?

People can betray their principles, and now the player is feeling the bite, too.  A player can make decisions contrary to their character's short-term interest (ie, counter to the character's personality) and it will work, but only for a little bit (as long-term consequences begin to factor in).

There's a wide leway in how extreme these bonuses/ penalties are; this should map to how deterministic the universe is.  
My guess is that for our limited-social-mobility only-by-the-grace-of-God tradition-bound medieval guys, it makes sense for characters to consistently act in accord with their divinely-created inner balance.
 
Plus, it adds another layer of complexity to the player's decisions.  
That sounds ok.

-Matt (working for the highest hyphen count award)
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statisticaltomfoolery
Member

Posts: 37


« Reply #21 on: August 26, 2004, 01:41:06 PM »

I'm not sure we're disagreeing. You're saying: "There need to be  consequences."

I'm with you 100%.

I'm just saying that the right way to do this is far, far away from: "You hath committed a sin. Take a -2 to all actions till your confess." The choices a player makes with regards to how they will play, or not play  their various attributes should drive the game.

While I'm not advocating this mechanic in particular, the SA's in TROS are an excellent example: the game has a rich combat system, but is driven by the Spiritual Attributes at hand: if a GM is failing to pay attention to what the players believe in, the game will have a good chance of breaking down.

That's the kind of feel that the system should have here: it should be natural, based on the setting, system, and everything, to be exploring the issues at hand. The cudgel of standard personality mechanics (play this way or else!) should have no room.
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Sir Privy Toastrack
Member

Posts: 35


« Reply #22 on: August 26, 2004, 01:43:49 PM »

Quote from: statisticaltomfoolery
I'm not sure we're disagreeing. You're saying: "There need to be  consequences."

I'm with you 100%.

I'm just saying that the right way to do this is far, far away from: "You hath committed a sin. Take a -2 to all actions till your confess." The choices a player makes with regards to how they will play, or not play  their various attributes should drive the game.

While I'm not advocating this mechanic in particular, the SA's in TROS are an excellent example: the game has a rich combat system, but is driven by the Spiritual Attributes at hand: if a GM is failing to pay attention to what the players believe in, the game will have a good chance of breaking down.

That's the kind of feel that the system should have here: it should be natural, based on the setting, system, and everything, to be exploring the issues at hand. The cudgel of standard personality mechanics (play this way or else!) should have no room.

I *think* I've come up with a few ways to integrate what you guys are talking about without forcing the issue down player's throats and essentially making them behave a certain way.  I'll post it tomorrow hopefully.  Then you can rip it to shreds! ;)
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