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Author Topic: Ember [game concept]  (Read 2768 times)
JohnG
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« on: August 25, 2005, 11:46:55 PM »

Ok I'm in the earliest stages of work with this game which is the latest incarnation of a game I've been working on for the better part of two years.  I thought I'd bounce ideas off of people now so I can have a bit more than my own opinion of what I've got.  So here we go.

Game Name: Ember
The world was a paradise that has suddenly become a shadow of its former self, much like a fire that has been unexpectedly extinguished, but a small spark of hope does remain.


Genres:
Post-Apocalyptic Fantasy
Nearly all of the gods have died except for those who have become twisted and evil.  Kingdoms are in ruins and warlords wage constant battles for land and resources.  Once lush lands have become nothing more than fields of ash, and the mortal races have been forced into a nomadic lifestyle simply because it's too dangerous to stay in one place for long.

Wild Magic
Unlike high magic and low magic settings that I've run into so often, the world of Ember's magic is a potent and untamed force.  When the gods died, there was no longer anyone with the power to regulate the flows of magic in the world.  This has allowed the powers of magic to run rampant throughout the world, created strange creatures and wildly altering the landscape.
 
Magic tends to gather at places of turmoil, chaos, and upheaval.  For example, some of the largest battles of the warlords have attracted so much magic that they've created great magical storms that ravage the area.  These events also produce the most magical items, in fact very few magical items have actually been crafted by magic users.  Most magic items were carried by someone present at the site of a great catastrophe.

Very few people actually dare to use magic, but those who do can gain great power.  The only problem is that the study of magic is so new, and its ebs and flows so unpredictable, that many would be wizards end their careers with a loud explosion and a closed casket funeral.  Those who are born with a natural ability to manipulate magic, often either find themselves hunted down by those who want to use their power or study it.


Races: I have concepts but no names, so don't mind the question marks for names.

Humans: Of course.  The humans of Ember were created by the gods for two specific purposes.  To protect the temples and cities of the gods, and to keep the peace amongst the other mortal races.  This means that the humans excel at one of two things, combat or diplomacy.  They had no lands of their own, and eventually took on the job of transporting news and stories with them.  Humans can still follow any path that they want, but unlike other games they do have specialties. 

?????: A race of scholars and teachers, they were created by the gods to be the religious and secular teachers of the other races.  Before the death of the good gods, their universities were found in every city, and they were the caretakers of the temples of the gods. 

?????: A race of craftsmen and merchants, they were created by the gods to build many different things.  They taught the other races their crafts and trades, and ended up creating currency and the concept of trading goods and services for money.  They were still among the finest craftsmen in the world, but they soon found themselves more interested in commerce than construction.

?????: A race of hunters, created by the gods to protect the woodlands and teach the other races how to hunt and gather for what they needed.  With the destruction being wrought upon the world, they find themselves with very little nature left to protect, but many many enemies to unleash their vengeance on.

The Sacred: A new self-named race, born to human mothers but not entirely human.  They all seem to have been born with great knowledge and wisdom that they try tirelessly to spread to the other races.  Some think that they're a trick of the corrupted gods, others think they're crazed results of the wild magics and ruined world, and a few think that they might truly be the prophets that they seem to be.


Conflict:
The world has become a wild and unpredictable place, and the only people with enough power to bring any order to the chaos are either evil gods, or power hungry warlords.  Everyone else has been forced into a nomadic or incredibly harsh life, where they either stay on the move to avoid the evil gods, or they live in the worst of conditions so the warlords won't want to take their land.

Characters are often simply people trying to survive in an incredibly harsh and hostile world.  There is also the possibility of players trying to rise up and strike back against the evil gods or the warlords.  Some warlords are better than others and players might find work in their armies, trying to build a new kingdom.  Perhaps they're sick of seeing their people stolen away by the worshippers of evil gods to be sacrificed and they've struck out to put an end to it?

There are also a few remaining cities and forests in existence, perhaps the characters live there and they've dedicated their lives to protecting their homes.  This can involve anything from slaying a monster who's taken up residence in the woords, or even outwitting a slimy politician that they find out is a cultist of a corrupt god.


Lands:
For the most part the world is an untamed, savage, and devastated wasteland.  Very few woods remain in existence, so lumber is incredibly valuable, the idea of burning it would mortify most.

The lands are split up amongst warlords, and the territories of the evil gods.  These borders change on an almost daily basis, and no one bothers to keep track of them anymore.  Those lands that are unclaimed are the homes of most of the members of the mortal races who have no real direction except survival now that their gods are dead.

A few civilized areas do exist, as do a few unharmed forests.  These areas are fiercely guarded by the races occupying them, and visitors are only allowed to remain there for a brief time.  Outsiders are almost never allowed to join these communities without first proving themselves to the residents.

Why did the gods die?:
Characters in the game will have no idea why the gods died.  In fact the main reason why the world is in chaos is because the death of the gods seemed to happen overnight.  For the sake of this big cluster o' info however I'll give an explanation.

When the gods created the mortal races, they were forced to give up some of their own essence to create their creations souls.  This meant that they were spiritually connected to their gods, but it meant that the gods had to give up a bit of their divinity.  As more and more mortals were born, more and more of the gods' essence was drained away.  When mortals died, their souls lingered on as spirits instead of rejoining the essence of their god. 

The gods' power was not infinite, and they began to waste away.  Some sat back quietly and let it happen, while others did the only thing they could to maintain their power, they demanded that their servants sacrifice their fellow mortals in dark rituals so that the sould would not linger and would instead be consumed by their god.

This is why only the corrupt gods remain, and the good gods have seemingly disappeared.


What happened to the remaining power of the good gods?:
Once again, players will know nothing about this stuff, but I'll put it in here for the sake of getting input.  What remains of the power of the gods has fallen to the earth as shards of divine essence.  Those who know of their existence seek them out because they are rumored to grant great powers, including the ability to elevate a mortal to godhood.  Some of this essence occupied unborn children, and created the sacred.  They have such great knowledge and wisdom, because they inherited it directly from dying gods.


Without the gods to supply essence, where do new souls come from?:
New souls come from the fallen shards of divine essence scattered across the world.  While the gods were unable to maintain their own existence due to the incredible amount of power required, there is still more than enough essence in existence to create millions upon millions of souls.  Whenever the spirits of the dead decide to, they can become the soul of a new child and be reincarnated.  Luckily, the souls of the followers of evil gods are devoured by their own deity and are not around to reincarnate themselves.


So with all that spouted, probably more than I actually needed to, here's my questions.

What do you think of the setting so far?

What could do with changing?

What aspects do you like the most?

Are there enough/too many races?

Is the world unique enough to catch your interest?  (I know there's nothing new under the sun, but I'm hoping it's at least not overdone.)

And any other comments you'd like to give would be greatly appreciated!

Be gentle, this isn't even a rough draft yet haha!

Thanks!
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John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars
Troy_Costisick
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Posts: 802


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« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2005, 03:23:26 AM »

Heya,

Welcome to the Forge!  It's great to have you here.  So far, it looks like you've put a fair amount of thought into your game.  You definately have a base to work from.  I'm going to ask you three questions.  I think you may have answered some of them, but I want to ask again just to be sure.  Try to give me just one or two sentences for each answer, then elaborate further down in your post :)

1. What is your game about?

2. What do the characters do?

3. What do the players do?

Those three questions go to the heart of the game.  They will tell me a great deal about your system, your goals, and your desires for your game.  The first question is really "why should someone play your game vs. the thousands of others out there?"  The second question is really, "all characters in all games roam about and have adventures; what makes what the characters in your game do that is special or unique?"  The last question is about how the players interact with the characters, GM, and each other.  It covers things like naration rights, teamwork, exploration of premise and so on. 

I think that'll get us started.  Again, welcome to the Forge :)

Peace,

-Troy
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Rorimack
Member

Posts: 19


« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2005, 03:31:56 AM »

Just a sidenote: "ember" means "human" in Hungarian.

Maybe you could use this also. ("To be human and remain human even when your gods have abadonned you" )
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Balazs
Graham W
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« Reply #3 on: August 26, 2005, 04:26:03 AM »

What do you think of the setting so far?

I think it's lovely. It's a setting I'd want to play in.

What could do with changing?

I'm a little concerned about the fact that the characters don't know how the gods died, but you've given an explanation. It reminds me of the White Wolf vampire games: where the characters don't know the history of vampirism, but all the players know, because they've read the rulebook. It takes the mystery away.

Personally, I'd prefer to just say that the gods have disappeared and nobody knows why.

What aspects do you like the most?

I like the idea of magic being an uncontrollable, dangerous force that people fear. I'm interested to know how you're going to handle that mechanically.

I like the bit about the gods disappearing. A bit of blasphemy's always fun in a game.

Are there enough/too many races?

That doesn't really bother me one way or the other. (Except that I don't find "Humans" very interesting. I'd prefer to make players choose between the other races. But maybe that's just me.

Is the world unique enough to catch your interest?  (I know there's nothing new under the sun, but I'm hoping it's at least not overdone.)

For me, yes: it's not overdone and it's an intriguing setting.

Graham
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JohnG
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« Reply #4 on: August 26, 2005, 10:41:35 AM »

thanks for the feedback, I've been beating my head forever over this setting and I've finally got it to a place where I want to work on it steadily.  Now onto answering some questions!

1. What is your game about?

2. What do the characters do?

3. What do the players do?

Those three questions go to the heart of the game. They will tell me a great deal about your system, your goals, and your desires for your game. The first question is really "why should someone play your game vs. the thousands of others out there?" The second question is really, "all characters in all games roam about and have adventures; what makes what the characters in your game do that is special or unique?" The last question is about how the players interact with the characters, GM, and each other. It covers things like naration rights, teamwork, exploration of premise and so on.

To answer number 1: the game is about the struggle to survive a harsh world as well as the internal struggle to remain good when everyone around you is becoming twisted and corrupt.  It's also a game of exploration, with vast areas of land uncharted and left to the GM's imagination.

Number 2: The characters have the struggle of simple survival to begin with, and after that they have a large amount of personal conflict over whether it's worth being virtuous and noble.  They can also adventure to find artifacts and relics, ruins with ancient knowledge, and other items that might give them a small chance at reclaiming their world piece by piece.  It also has the possibility of being a very mercenary game, where they adventure simply for the sake of survival.

Number 3:  The players take on the persona of their characters and interact with each other in the game world as it is described by the GM.  Much like the set-up for Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs, except players have a much greater chance to affect the world than they usually would.

The game is to be approached with a very frontier attitude, with the characters braving the untamed wilderness in the hopes of bringing back something to make their lives better.  OR maybe they're sick of travelling in nomad caravans and they want some excitement.

The world is a blank slate for the most part, and even the established borders of warlords tend to change constantly.  This has given players a near blank slate of the world so their characters can build something lasting.  Instead of opening a tavern in a town, why not gather others and make your own town?  I've always been frustrated with games where there's no opportunity to impact the world around me other than to kill the 300th lich who wants to do whatever.  Hording gold and gathering up +12 vorpal swords of everyone slaying is never as cool as the idea of being lord of such and such castle in my opinion.  Of course there's also the possibility of dungeon crawling and chasing down the 300th lich if that's what floats your boat.


Just a sidenote: "ember" means "human" in Hungarian.

Maybe you could use this also. ("To be human and remain human even when your gods have abadonned you" )

That is VERY cool, I will definitely use that.


What do you think of the setting so far?

I think it's lovely. It's a setting I'd want to play in.

What could do with changing?

I'm a little concerned about the fact that the characters don't know how the gods died, but you've given an explanation. It reminds me of the White Wolf vampire games: where the characters don't know the history of vampirism, but all the players know, because they've read the rulebook. It takes the mystery away.

Personally, I'd prefer to just say that the gods have disappeared and nobody knows why.

What aspects do you like the most?

I like the idea of magic being an uncontrollable, dangerous force that people fear. I'm interested to know how you're going to handle that mechanically.

I like the bit about the gods disappearing. A bit of blasphemy's always fun in a game.

Are there enough/too many races?

That doesn't really bother me one way or the other. (Except that I don't find "Humans" very interesting. I'd prefer to make players choose between the other races. But maybe that's just me.

Is the world unique enough to catch your interest? (I know there's nothing new under the sun, but I'm hoping it's at least not overdone.)

For me, yes: it's not overdone and it's an intriguing setting.

Graham

As far as the disappearance of the gods, I've only included it here so people could have a more complete idea of the world and give me more informed opinions.  The truth of the gods' disappearance will be entirely unknown to 99% of Ember's populace, and will not even be included in the main book of the game.  In fact I'll probably only include it in the "GM Guide" whenever I make one.

Onto the humans.  I do actually like your idea about limiting the races to only the non-human ones.  However, it might be a bit of a turn-off for newer roleplayers who don't like to venture too far out of their comfort zones.  I will be encouraging the use of non-human races though since very few members of any race have the drive or even the health to be adventurers.  This is part of the reason why I haven't made humans the 'jack-of-all-trades' race that they usually are.

Thanks for the help folks, keep it coming. ^^
John
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John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #5 on: August 26, 2005, 11:57:28 AM »

Query: Have you read Fantasy Heartbreakers and More Fantasy Heartbreakers by Ron Edwards?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
JohnG
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2005, 12:12:08 PM »

I've read through them a couple times and I have been using the information in them as a basis to work with when self-criticising.  Which is one reason why I'd especially like to get opinions from people that'll help me make a game where the emphasis is more on the roleplay and less on the advancement of super uber orc barbarian.  For one thing I've kept a very level playing field between the races, and no race has any bonuses or penalties to attributes.  I'm also trying to avoid the concept of classes.
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John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars
JohnG
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Posts: 185


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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2005, 02:54:08 PM »

A few more things I thought might be worthy of mention that I didn't put into the original posting. 

Without gods, is there Divine magic?:
Yes and no.  Corrupt gods can grant power to their followers, giving them access to divine magic.  Everyone else can only use divine magic by having a connection to the spirits and enlisting their aid.  This is similar to the Shugenja of Legend of the Five Rings with a few exceptions.  First there is no need to sacrifice something or appease the spirits, they will either help you or not help you based entirely on your actions.  Calling upon your ancestor's spirit to help you after you broke the fishing pole he passed down to you after he died, probably won't work like you wanted.

Second, the spirits only allow a character to use divine magic, they do not supply the energy for it!  This means that the energy of a spell comes from a character's own spiritual reserves.  Divine magic hurts, a lot!  Combine these two facts, and it's easy to understand why only the most dedicated and noble people take up this path.

Consequently, worship of the gods has been replaced in many cases by ancestor worship, and some people are trying to commune with spirits other than those of their ancestors.  This other path is much harder because the spirits are inhuman and difficult to relate to. 


What are most areas of the world like?:
Most areas are scorched wastelands, torn apart by magic or laid to waste by feuding warlords and savage raiders.  Some areas do exist that remain unharmed, and those places are a small sample of what the world was like before.  The woods are thick and vast, the water clear, and the mountains are tall and majestic.  Everywhere else, this splendor is a perverse shadow of its former self.  The trees are dying or dead, no good for lumber.  Lakes are stagnant, murky and choked with filth.  The mountains are covered in deep gouges and rockslides are common.


How can people survive in this world!?
Because they have to.  The alternative is wandering the world as spirits while they watch their world die away.  When the ground can be cleared away, farming is easy since the land has been unused for so long.  Wells can be dug to access clean water, and alternative building materials can always be found since wood is so scarce.  When the alternative is tortured eternity, living in a wasteland looks a bit more appealing.


How much interaction do people have with the spirits?
The spirits do not have a "heaven" to go to.  This means that they are forced to exist in the spiritual world.  Certain holy places, (old temples, ancient graveyards, etc), make it so spirits can contact any living being that enters.  Elemental spirits can do the same in places where their element is most potent, a fire elemental for example could easily communicate with anyone who happened to be climbing up the side of a volcano. 

In normal situations however, spirits cannot easily contact the physical world.  Only those born with the ability to percieve these spirits can communicate with them at any time.  No one's quite sure why anyone has this ability, though when an ancestor spirit reincarnates they are almost always born with it.  People able to percieve the spiritual world can do so from birth, no one has ever developed it later in life.


That's all I can think of to add right now, but if anybody has any specific information they'd like me to put up here about the setting, just let me know.
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John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars
JohnG
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2005, 02:55:46 PM »

err that should be; Forced to exist in the PHYSICAL world.  Sorry
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John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars
Troy_Costisick
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Posts: 802


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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2005, 06:41:38 AM »

Heya,

Quote
To answer number 1: the game is about the struggle to survive a harsh world as well as the internal struggle to remain good when everyone around you is becoming twisted and corrupt.  It's also a game of exploration, with vast areas of land uncharted and left to the GM's imagination.

-Okay, let's distill that down some.  To me (remember, personal oppinion here) the most compelling part of your game is the "struggle to remain good when everyone around you is becoming twisted and corrupt."  All that other stuff you put in your answer should IMO support that.  Therefore, I would recomend starting to think about mechanics that reinforce that as the main theme of your game and how to encourage the players to engage that.

Quote
Number 2: The characters have the struggle of simple survival to begin with, and after that they have a large amount of personal conflict over whether it's worth being virtuous and noble.  They can also adventure to find artifacts and relics, ruins with ancient knowledge, and other items that might give them a small chance at reclaiming their world piece by piece.  It also has the possibility of being a very mercenary game, where they adventure simply for the sake of survival.

-Okay, stick with the "large amount of personal conflict over whether it's worth being virtuous..."  All that other stuff about adventuring, looking for relics, and so on has been done and over done.  I am not saying it has no place in your game.  On the contrary, you can still use it.  BUT "adventuring" should not be a focus of your game.  Make it about the internal struggle the adventurers face as they adventure

Quote
Number 3:  The players take on the persona of their characters and interact with each other in the game world as it is described by the GM.  Much like the set-up for Dungeons and Dragons and other RPGs, except players have a much greater chance to affect the world than they usually would.

-Okay, it seems from all three of your answer that the game has a strong exploration of character.  That means every facet of your game should point the players back to the situation of the game: "The temptation of the virtuous to do evil."

-Let me know what you think of this stuff and what your plans are for your system.  I'll probably have more for you then :)

Peace,

-Troy
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JohnG
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« Reply #10 on: August 27, 2005, 06:16:40 PM »

Thanks for the info Troy, here's a little bit more information.

Divine Magic is hard and not nearly as powerful as Arcane magic and it hurts immensely to use it.  The only way to use it without suffering is to follow a corrupted god.  So right there is a temptation for any divine spellcaster.

The struggle to remain good in a bad world:  I was thinking perhaps players who perform evil acts or toy with dark artifacts could become corrupted somehow.  Something similar to Humanity in Vampire or Corruption in Lord of the Rings?  Though I'm not sure how I could do that without simply seeming like I'm copying those two games.  Any ideas?

As far as the system is concerned I've so far kept it as simple as possible.

Characters get Attributes rated from 1-5.  This determines the number of dice players roll when making checks.

Skills range from 1-3 [Apprentice, Journeyman, Master.]  For each level you have in a skill you can reduce the difficulty on a check by 1, or reduce the number of rolls needed for an extended action by 1 when applicable.

Characters roll a number of d6 equal to the attribute needed for the check.  They must meet the difficulty [ranging from 1-6] with at least one dice.  Difficulties can however go above 6 all the way to 10.  If a player must meet a difficulty above 6, they must first roll a 6 on one dice.  For every other dice that rolls a 6, they can add +1 to the first 10.  So if Jim rolls 6, 6, 4, 3.  His result is actually a 7.

Opposed rolls work exactly the same way  except skill ranks can only be used to roll additional dice.  The player who rolls the highest on a dice wins, if they tie, they compare next highest and next highest until someone wins.  If by some strange and curious fluke they tie on all the dice, the rollers can either settle the tie by comparing attributes or skills, or simply each tossing a die til someone wins.


The attributes are

Might: Strength and sheer physical power.
Agility: Speed and manual dexterity
Stamina: Health and toughness
Perception: Acuteness of the senses
Intellect: Capacity for learning and understanding
Cunning: Wits and quick thinking
Spirit: Comprehension of the supernatural as well as strength of will.
Charm: Charisma and looks

Casters must have their primary casting attribute maxed.  Wits for Arcane and Spirit for Divine.  Attributes are determined by the distribution of points, based on a chart the GM can refer to.  Less attribute points for low power games, more for high power games.

Skill will be determined by points as well, based on intellect.  Casters must first have a mastery of their basic skill, Divine Magic or Arcane Magic.  Then they can purchase spells as skills, instead of simply recieving a spell list to pick and choose from.

The restrictions on casters may seem harsh, but magic of any kind is meant to be very rare.  It's also meant to be weaker than most settings, since the idea of using arcane magic is bizzare and new, and the method of casting divine spells is demanding and rare.


There are special rules for combat and magic, but for now I figure this is a good enough run down of the basics.  I'm definitely interested in opinions, I'm going for a simple system where dice rolling is minimized and combat is dangerous.  In the interest of encouraging roleplay.  I've been working on the system for quite a while, but I'm very much open to changes to it.

Thanks!
John
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John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars
JohnG
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« Reply #11 on: August 27, 2005, 06:44:10 PM »

the only thing I can think of, other than less dice due to lack of preperation of course, that would inspire ME to put off my own conflict til later are the following.

1: The person who resolves their conflict first or absolute last could suffer some form of penalty.

or

2: If the game is a win/lose type of game, the player who resolves first or last loses.

Otherwise I'm having trouble imagining other ways to inspire people to not go first and not go last.
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John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars
JohnG
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« Reply #12 on: August 27, 2005, 06:45:37 PM »

disregard that last post, was meant for another thread.  Don't ask me HOW I ended up posting it here lol.
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John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars
greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2005, 08:44:20 AM »

Heya John,

I do really like the setting concept...but I have conserns about the system ending up...well, derivative. To explain, you state you are avoiding classes and race bonuses and etc. so you don't look like a typical fantasy game. That, to me, IS the problem. You're avoiding doing those things, but it seems to me what you'll end up with is exactly that: a D&D-derived game that looks like it is trying very hard not to be a D&D-derived game.

I might be completely off-base here in that assessment, but that is the vibe I am picking up. What I'm seeing of the system is: standard list of attributes, skills based on intellect (etc.), a split between divine and arcane magic, "standard" fantasy races (ie: using the "these guys" split -- "Oh, these guys are warriors, these guys are tree-huggers, etc."). None of this really supports or encourages the idea you posed regarding what the game is about and what the characters do (avoid temptation, remain good, etc).

The initial setting pitch was really exciting: "the gods are dead, the land is in the grip of tyrants, all is apocalypse, magic is raw and untamed." Now go back to that and don't worry about all this "the spirits do this, and mages can't do this, and etc." stuff and focus your game on that core pitch and supporting that stuff in play. For example, if you make an equipment list and then ask yourself, "HOW does having an equipment list support what I want players to get from this game? How does it ENCOURAGE my vision of play?"

And listen to Troy (above), too. Think about what he asked and try to answer the questions he's asked.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
JohnG
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2005, 09:13:19 PM »

Okie dokie, as suggested I'll be returning to the basic ideas of the game and adressing other things once that's been worked out.  [Also I should note that I've removed Divine magic from the game, finding the concept of arcane and divine redundant when the only difference is the source and capabilities.  Especially since the spirit magic thing was sounding increasingly out of place the more I thought of it.]

The basic concept, as worded as simply as possible.

Most of the gods are dead, those that remain are malevolent and crazed.  Those who aren't willing to serve the corrupt gods must struggle, not only to survive, but also to not become corrupted as well.

So then, how will I address this idea so it becomes a major part of the game and insures that play will frequently have to refer back to it.  Here's what I'm thinking.

In all situations where characters would gather in a group, they would rarely face an outside conflict that doesn't involve the plight of others in some way.  They would also have ample opportunity to take advantage of others who are in need, an urge they should resist! 

When the opportunity to do evil arises and the character can improve their life in some way, there will be no roll.  If a player performs an evil act, they will simply mark off something along the lines of a "bad deed".  For each bad deed a character performs, he will be giving the GM a dice.  Once a character has given the GM these dice, the GM can make opposed rolls with them during sessions to force the character to perform the evil act.

This means that with each evil act the player performs, it gets a little easier to perform greater and greater acts of evil.  Representing the slippery slope of such activity and the corrupting influence of the ruined world.  But this doesn't fully represent the scope of the situation in my opinion.

So what then are the dangers of simply standing by while evil is being done?  Not only will characters recieve "bad deeds" for evil acts, but they'll also recieve "bad deeds" for standing idly by while an evil act is being committed.  The only thing I'm a little uncertain of is how harsh I should be with this.  I want players to feel conflicted, but I don't want them to feel like the GM is able to simply stick them in impossible situations where the choice is suicide or corruption.

In either case, characters will be able to redeem themselves by resisting the lure of that small hint of corruption inside.  There will also be other ways of gaining corruption, such as toying with unholy relics, arcane magic, or simply playing a character who is too greedy.

What do you all think of this idea?  And does anyone have any suggestions to further imprint the theme of the game into the "system"?
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John Grigas
Head Trip Games
headtripgames@hotmail.com
www.headtripgames.com

Current Projects: Ember, Chronicles of the Enferi Wars
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