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Author Topic: [Signature] Need quick a "tagline"  (Read 4650 times)

Posts: 168

« on: September 16, 2005, 12:40:19 PM »

Ok, this may not be the correct place to ask for it, but I couldn't think of a better place. I'm basically done with my generic RPG, Signature -- but I lack a good "tagline" to grab gamers' attention and sum up the game.

(To find more on Signature, do a search for the thread, "My RPG is too wierd for most people to understand." I posted most of the mechanics there.)

The one I've been using, "What is RISUS met HERO? It's the Signature RPG!" doesn't really work -- people seem to expect point-based chargen, which I've never included for fear of min-maxing.

Therefore, I'm asking the Forge community if you can come up with a better tagline.

Josh Roby

Posts: 1055

Category Three Forgite

« Reply #1 on: September 16, 2005, 01:25:29 PM »

I'd say this goes here.  Marketing is part of Publishing, after all.

I can't seem to find your prior thread, though.

That said, I'd just take your central, most beloved aspect of Signature and write a sentence fragment about it assuming that that's the most important thing in the entire gaming experience. ;)


Posts: 168

« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2005, 04:28:03 PM »

Ah, damn. I forgot with the new forums everything's been erased. Let me a quick and dirty cut-and-paste:

2.0 What is a Trait?
A Trait is literally anything that can be used to describe a character, or something
associated with a character. For example, Strong, Slow, Loves Buttercup, Magic Sword,
Friend Little John... pretty much anything
I arrived at a simple 1-3 rating for my Traits, essentially corresponding to Beginner,
Expert and Master. 0 corresponds to Untrained or Average, which is what everyone has. 
Some important points here:
• There are no “negative” Traits per se. For example, Hard of Hearing 3 can be
used to resist Sonic Attack 2. Zero is the default. The game typically  ranges from
Negative Trait 3-2-1 to Default 0 to Positive Trait 1-2-3. Another way to think of
it is that 0 represents average running ability. If you have “Bad Runner: 3” you
are among some of the worst runners out there. If you have “GOOD Runner: 3 “
you are among some of the BEST runners out there. So really, the game has a 7-
point range.
• Everyone comes with the ‘default’ equipment to accompany their Trait. For
example a Viking 2 will have an axe, a horned helmet, a shield, and some sort of
2.1 Sample Traits
    Sample Traits
        Background Traits
        People Traits
        Social Traits
        Viewpoint Traits
        Trope Traits
        Spiritual Traits
        Personality Traits
        Item Traits
        “Negative” Traits
        Idea Traits
        Symbolic Traits
Physical Traits represent physical attributes like Strength, Algility, etc 
Mental Traits reprresent mental attributes like Mind, Education, etc. 
Magical Traits represent magical and related attributes like Concentration, Mana Pool,
Spirit, Presence, Psi, Magical Talent, etc
Background Traits represent Status, Resources, Generic Equipment, Reputation, History,
Culture, Careers, History, Species, Base of Operations etc.
People Traits represent Characters, Allies, Friends, Enemies, Rivals, Lovers, etc.

Social Traits represent Nations, Cultures, Languages, etc. Note that this is not the -
nationality- of a character, or the -language spoken- bya character, but nations and
languages themselves, i.e., Greek civilization, the Spanish language, and so on.
Viewpoint Traits represent the influence of more than one viewpoint on a single
character. This is the converse of what is popularly known as Troupe Play. Basically,
each viewpoint uses some sort of resolution mechanic to decide which of them gets to
control the character’s actions.
Trope Traits represent literary tropes like “Never gets dirty” or “Always gets the girl”
Spiritual Traits are things like Virtues, Vices, Conscience, Faith, Destiny, etc. 
Personality Traits are things like Passions, Obsessions, Drives, Sanity, etc.
Item Traits are things like Favorite Sword, Personal Vehicle, Locations, Big Mecha, etc.
”Negative” Traits are things other RPGs would call a Disadvantage. These are things that
seemingly penalize the character. However, in some situations a “Negative” Trait can be
helpful. For example “Hard of Hearing: 2” could help a character resist a sonic attack.
Idea Traits are things that enable the players to get hints from the Guide. For example
Idea, Creativity, Translator, etc.
Symbolic Traits are things that symbolize a general area of influence. For example, Fire
might cover physical and aggressive actions; Water might cover personal influence and
adaptability, and so on.
3.0 Counters
3.1 Counters
Counters are Traits expressing a quantity. This can be a fixed quantity (“20 arrows”) or a
loosely defined quantity (“A quiver full of arrows.”) Every time the Counter is increased
or decreased, the player must make a System Check against the difficulty of the
Counter’s Trait. Common sense should prevail here. Obviously, filling a quiver full of
arrows is trivially easy at a merchant’s shop, but next to impossible in the heat of combat
– although, you might find a stray unused arrow or two.
3.2 How are Counters different from Numbers/Quantity Scale?
Numbers/Quantity Scale reflect a number of things being used at the same time. Counters
represent a “reserve” of things, from which one or more are drawn at a time.

For example, you would receive a +3 for shooting 10 arrows at once, while to represent
these 10 arrows in a quiver you would on your character sheet: “Quiver: 10 arrows.”
4.0 Character Generation (Chargen)
4.1 Signature Chargen
In Signature Chargen, the Player simply comes up with a phrase to describe his character.
This phrase is called the Signature Trait. By default, every character starts with a
Signature Trait rated at 3.
Examples: Sell-sword and Vagabond; Viking; Sorceress; Super Martial Artist; Painter;
Spy, etc.
If the player wishes, he can further elaborate on his character’s Signature by writing a
paragraph of description below the phrase. The advantage of this paragraph is that it
makes it easy to generate Aspect Traits for the character – simply circle words in the
4.2 Minimum Level of Competence
Characters are assumed to have a minimum level of competence to get by in the daily life
of their setting. For example, in a modern day setting, characters should be able to drive,
read, etc. at a level of 1. Characters are also supposed to have any equipment necessary
for their performance of their Signature Trait.
4.3 Signature vs. Aspect Traits
Aspect Traits are Traits listed underneath a Signature Trait. Aspect Traits further
elaborate on the Signature Trait. Each Aspect Trait is followed by a “Mark,” an
outwardly obvious part of the PC’s description that is linked to the Aspect Trait.
For example, a Swordman would likely carry a sword. Other Marks might not be so
direct. A Fisherman might have weathered features from long days spent at sea.
There is no limit to the level of detail that can be achieved in this way.
Each Aspect Trait has a default rating equal to the Signature Trait’s rating, modified
down depending how closely it conforms with the Signature Trait. Closely conforming
Traits start with a rating equal to that Signature Trait, while differing ones are penalized.
The GM decides the exact rating of the Aspect Traits.
For example:
Sean’s Player, Astin, decides to flesh out Sean by giving Sean some Aspect Traits.
Astin gives Sean the Traits of  “Resourceful,” “Lucky,” and “Jack of All Trades.”
Referring to Sean’s Signature Trait, the GM reasons that “Resourceful” is very close to
the Signature Trait of “Sell-Sword and Vagabond.” Therefore, the GM rates
“Resourceful” at 3 -- equal to Sean’s Signature Trait.
However, “Lucky” and “Jack of All Trades” are not at all close to Sean’s Signature
Trait of “Sell-Sword and Vagabond,” so the GM rates them at 1.
Sean now has the Aspect Traits of:
Resourceful: 3
Lucky: 1
Jack of All Trades: 1
5.0 System
Signature’s system of resolution is a relatively simple, very grainy, karma-based straight
comparision of Traits. The method of resolution is as follows:
1) have the player describe the action he wishes his PC to take
3) take the highest of [PC trait, bonuses] subtract the.highest of [opposing trait, penalties]
4) determine the degree of success -- 0 or less is a failure, 1 is a minor success, 2 is a major
success, 3 or higher is a complete succes.
5) the player may now spend Wild Points to raise the degree of success, providing a) he does not
go over the maximum amount of Wild Points that can be spent, as limited by the setting, and that
b) he has enough Wild Points to spend to raise the degree of success as high as he wishes.
6) have the GM describe the results according to the degree of success
5.1 Using a Trait
(simple use of a Trait)
Sean is on the run from two corrupt city guardsmen. One of them finds him. Before the
guard can call for help, Sean attacks, with his Player Astin crying “I swing my sword at
the guard’s neck!” 
Sean’s relevant Trait is his Signature Trait of : Sell-Sword and Vagabond: 3, while the
guard’s relevant Trait is Corrupt City Guard: 2. Sean gains no bonus from the Tone
Bonus of the setting of “ Tactic,” nor any from the Premise Signature. Thus, the GM
subtracts Sean’s 3 from the guard’s 2, yielding 1 -- a minor wound, not enough to stop
the guard from calling for help.
Astin has the option of spending Wild Points to increase the number of Successes, but he
decides not to, saving his Wild Points for something really dangerous.
Astin declares, “Sean cuts and runs.”
5.2 The 5-Step Resolution Mechanic 
The 5-Step Resolution Mechanic is intended for people who prefer  more detailed
resolution in general, or in cases of  play where more detail is desireable, such as a
climatic combat.
This mechanic is composed (naturally) of five steps. At any time, a character may move
further down the line until he reaches Step 5. At that time, he must pause for one round
before being able to go back to Step 1. Once he reaches Step 1, he may then move down
the line to any Step from 1 to 5. 
The same is true for any character currently 'engaging' the character somehow, i.e., the
opponent, whether it be in combat or conversation. If the character's opponent moves to
step 4, the character must either 1) move to Step 4 as well or 2) disengage somehow. 
'Disengagement' varies by enagement. A character may be able to simply walk away
from a chess game, or cite a sick relative to get out of a conversation, but in combat he
must often run away, or get a friend to help. 
Depending on the nature of the 'disengagement,' the GM may give the character a 0 to -3
penalty to defense each 'disenagement
The Steps are: 
1. Prepare: In this Step, the character prepares for action. Depending on what
preparations he takes, the GM may award him anywhere from a -2 to a +2 modifier to all
future Steps. Remember, however, that the character must have the necessary time to
prepare. Common sense should prevail. 
2. Beginning: In this Step, the character begins action. All actions carry a risk of 1. By
this I mean that if the character succeeds at his action, his action will have a 1-point
effect, or Minor Success, such as a glancing blow. If the character's enemy succeeds, the
character will suffer a 1-point effect, or Minor Success. 
3. Middle: In this Step, the character 'tries out' his opponent. All actions carry a risk of 2.
This means that if the character succeeds, his action will have a 2-point effect, or Major
Success, such as a wound. If the character's enemy succeeds, the character will suffer a 2-
point effect, or Major Success, again, such as a wound. 
4. Ending: In this Step, the character tries to finish the enagagement with his opponent.
All actions carry a risk of 3. This means that if the character success, his action will have
a 3-point effect, or Total Success, such as a fatal blow or knockout. If the character's
enemy succeeds, the character will suffer a 3-point effect, such as a fatal blow or
5. Recover: In this Step, the character tries to recover from the strain of engagement. Just
how fast and effectively this occurs is determined by the character's Traits, the nature of
the engagement, and how much time the character has to recover. For example, a
character with the Trait: Regeneration is going to heal wounds much faster than a normal
character. Similarly, characters will recover much faster from a verbal engagement than
from physical combat. Finally, a character who has one winter to recover from battle is
going to fare much better than one who has only one week. 
It is important to note that while recovering, the character cannot actively defend himself,
giving a -2 to normal attempts at defense. He must wait one round before he can engange
6.0 For the Budding GM
6.1 Experience and Change: Gaining New Traits
You can “expand” your Signature Trait into Aspect Traits—think sub-traits, usually rated
1 or 2 points lower than the Signature Trait. The GM decides the exact rating of the
Aspect Trait. There is no hard limit to how many Aspect Traits you can have. Instead,
every time you want to add a Trait, whether it be expanding a Signature Trait into an
Aspect Trait, or gaining a Trait from experience, you essentially “save versus
learning/expanding” that Trait. For example, if you already have a lot of high Aspect
Traits, it’s likely that your save will be difficult—HOWEVER, if your character’s
background is, say, “400-year old immortal warrior,” your save will be less difficult, than
if your character’s background was “teen hacker girl.”
(changing a Trait)
The PC Sean spends thee night partying at a local inn. He wakes up the next morning
with a huge hangover. (Gaining the Trait Hangover: 1)
Astin then has Sean find Sofia, who is in a different inn, and asks her for a herbal remedy
for his hangover. She warns him that the remedy will make him sleepy, but Sean persists.
This is an attempt to change the Trait Hangover 1 to Sleepy 1, and only requires 1
Success to succeed (as all changing Trait actions do.) The GM determines that herbal
medicine is close to Sofia’s Signature Trait of “Archer: 3,” since Sofia is supposed to
have spent much of her life in the woods.
Accordingly, the GM gives the Signature Trait a -1 modifier. Three minus one is two,
which is greater than 1 (from the Hangover Trait) by one. Success!
Sean’s hangover is gone, and replaced by sleepiness (Trait Sleepy: 1.)
6.2 Healing and Otherwise Losing Traits
Losing or “healing” a Trait is mechanically the same as trying to gain one. A System
Check is made versus the difficulty of the Trait, with all appropriate modifiers.
(losing a Trait)
Sean decides to go to sleep, since he’s sleepy anyway. Sleeping has absolutely nothing to
do with Sean’s Signature Trait, so the GM gives it a -3 modifier. He gets a full night’s
rest, which the GM gives a +3 modifier to the action, as it perfectly fits.
Sean needs only to overcome the 1-point penalty of sleepy. Three (from Sean’s Signature)
minus three (since it has nothing to do with his Signature) plus there (for difficulty) yields
3 Successes, more than enough to overcome Sean’s 1-point Sleepy Trait.
Sean wakes up totally refreshed
6.3 Recovering Wild Points
Recovering Wild Points will differ from game to game; however, the default is that a
number of Wild Points equal to the starting amount is recovered after each Scene if those
Wild Points were not spent to reduce, change or give a Trait—i.e., only those Wild Points
spent modifying an action recover.
Recovering Wild Points spent reducing, changing or giving a Trait can regained by
means described in the setting, or if none is given, at the Guide’s discretion..
6.4 The First Rule 
When in doubt of whether or not to allow something, the GM should allow it.
For example:
Sean and Gnaughty, a gnome, are trapped in a maze, when suddenly they are attacked by
a minotaur. Neither Sean nor the gnome has any weapons (they were confiscated before
the two were thrown into the maze) so Sean’s Player, Astin declares, “I pick up
Gnaughty by the legs and swing him at the minotaur like a club!”
Now this is weird, and the GM has never considered something like this. But following
The First Rule, he decides to allow it. The GM figures Gnaughty is a level 2 weapon
(causing wounds) but both the minotaur and Gnaughty take damage equally. In other
words, if the minotaur takes 2 Successes wounds’ worth of damage, so does Gnaughty.
The GM further decides that neither the minotaur nor Gnaughty can suffer serious
wounds, as a gnome is more like a sap than a club. So any wounds the gnome or
minotaur will cause nothing worse than a knockout.
Having decided on how to resolve the weirdness, the GM runs the combat as normal.

Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Posts: 16490

« Reply #3 on: September 18, 2005, 07:59:21 AM »


I'm gonna not make your day.

No one can write a good tagline for your game except for you and others who have played it. You must identify the thing which make your game fun for you, and say them out loud.

That's your tagline. Never mind being clever, referencing other games or sources, or clarifying how the system works. None of those things are important to a tagline. What matters is exactly what you and your friends consider to be fun about the game. Say that.


Posts: 168

« Reply #4 on: September 18, 2005, 12:16:32 PM »

Fair enough. Thanks Ron.

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