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I Hate Dice

Started by Chasuk, October 07, 2005, 12:09:40 AM

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Quote from: pells on October 09, 2005, 08:32:11 AMIf you design a game, do you have to design rules while all you care about is narrative ?

Yes. Game is a component of the activity in question. If you want narrative without game, that's called fiction, not "game".

QuoteAm I the only one interested in this kind of product, not caring about the system ? Would it possible to just sell a story ?

They're called books, usually. Gamier versions of them include interactive fiction (Zork, etc.) and similar choose-your-own-adventure products (whether electronic or paper). All "rule"less.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio


Actually, the choose-your-own-adventure books have rules, too.

And if you think about it, text adventures like Zork have them, too.
"In our game the other night, Joshua's character came in as an improvised thing, but he was crap so he only contributed a d4!"
                                     --Vincent Baker


I've always thought that Amber's character creation by way of auction was a pretty interesting method.  In a lot of cases, you end up establishing the future intra-character conflicts depending on how viscious the auction went for whichever attribute.

Most systems that I've looked at lately tended to use a point buy method of character creation (though I fully admit that I'm probably nowhere close to being as well read/experienced as a majority of posters here).


Quote from: Vaxalon on October 09, 2005, 12:51:05 PM
Actually, the choose-your-own-adventure books have rules, too. And if you think about it, text adventures like Zork have them, too.
Fred, hence the quotes around "rule" in ruleless, as they do indeed have rules, of a sort. They do not have RPG or game-like mechanics, however. But those sorts of nuances are most likely for another thread. The point was that in game design, you do, in fact, have to develop a set of game mechanics (or borrow an existing set) or you are merely writing either fiction or a glorified travelogue.
Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio

Mike Holmes

Quote from: pells on October 09, 2005, 08:32:11 AM
So, if you give me a good story, I would go for it and let my players decide on what system they want.
Am I the only one interested in this kind of product, not caring about the system ? Would it possible to just sell a story ?

This has been proposed a lot, creating material for RPGs without system. But, as Raven points out, there's a lot of good fiction out there already that serves this purpose. In fact, much freeforming is "interactive fan fiction" of stuff like Harry Potter. So, unless you can make your materials better than this fiction, it seems prudent to attach some game-related information so as to make the supplement more attractive. People purchase such because they want the work in question to be done for them already. If you don't provide that, you'll have to replace it with some rather high quality.

Member of Indie Netgaming
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I'm sorry to have been less than responsive to a thread that I started, but I've had a few chest pains this weekend, and I'm doing the treadmill thing tomorrow, which leaves me just a tad too stressed to pay as much attention as I'd like to the forums.

You guys have been swell, though, and I very much appreciate your inputs.



M. J. Young

Quote from: Chasuk on October 07, 2005, 03:58:49 AMI'm not fond of re-inventing the wheel, so is there a character creation system which already matches my requirements?
I'll post this for whenever you get back.

There are actually quite a few varieties of character creation systems. Some have been mentioned already, but let me toss out a few more, in no particular order.

Lifepaths have been around at least as long as Traveler, and have been used in other games even recently. The concept is that you create a character at some point in his past, and then through a combination of in-character choices and die rolls you fast forward through the events that brought him here--where he went to school, whether he married, what he studied, what happened to him, whether he was in the military and what branch, and stuff like that. With each step in the path, the character is developed both in the mechanics of skill and attribute values and in the personality of what he has been through.

Templates, Point Systems, and Random Systems have all been mentioned. I would suggest, though, that these can all be and have all been hybridized in various combinations--dice modified by point expenditures, points determined by die rolls, templates modified by either dice or points, life paths around templates, and so on.

The Hero System's approach to describing your character and then building the stats off that has been mentioned. This idea of creating a character based on description has appeared in a number of games, in various forms. I'll name two.

The first is ]Multiverser, my own game. It's normally played as an "I" game, but it allows the "not-I" player character, and uses the same method of character creation for non-player characters as it does for player characters. That is, the person creating the character forms an image in his mind of who the character is and what he can do, and then renders that character onto paper pretty much as envisioned.

The reaction many gamers have to this is that it wouldn't work because the players would all create monstrous uber-characters given such free reign.  However, that assumes a particular sort of play built around overcoming challenges of a sort that having a powerful character facilitates. Since Multiverser is actually built around the sort of play of asking who you would become and what you would do in various situations encountered through play, there's no particular value to having an uber character. The real value comes in having a character with whom you can identify, through whom you can make the kinds of choices you would like to make in play. Thus if you want to play an incredibly strong hero, there's no reason you can't. It's impossible to unbalance play by doing so, because play is not really about how powerful a character you have.

The other I'll mention is Legends of Alyria. This one will completely undercut everything you currently think about creating characters. First, you don't create your character; you join with the other players in a cooperative effort to create all the characters that will matter in play. Second, "all the characters that will matter in play" means all the heroes, all the villains, all the important sidekicks, everyone who would have a prominent role in the story you expect to tell. Third, the creation of these characters begins from a story concept. You start with the idea of telling a story about, say, a peasant girl who has discovered that she has powers most people don't have. You then create a character who is something of a "witch hunter", trying to destroy those who have such powers before they become dangerous. The girl's mother might be an important character, as might be the village chieftain or shaman. There might be a weasely informer who hopes to profit from giving the witch hunter information about the girl. (Hey, this could be a good start for an Alyria game.) In any event, you create the characters that the story needs by figuring out who the important characters in the story will be. Fourth, creation of the characters, although limited by some point build concerns, is primarily based on trying to define this character in terms of the game's mechanics. Fifth--but not at all finally, as there are a lot of other wonderfully innovative quirks in this game--once you've got the characters fleshed out, you decide between you who gets to play which one, including that some of the players will play the villains. That decision is based on how to make the game as much fun as possible for everyone, by giving each person a character with whom they can have a good time creating a great story.

So there are a lot of ways to create a character.

Let me mention in passing that before you decide how to create a character, you probably ought to have some understanding of what the function of the character is within the game. That may sound like a silly question, but it should already be apparent from what's here that characters don't always have the same function in every game.  Since I address a lot of this in the article Applied Theory I'll let you pursue it there at least until you've got more questions.

I hope this helps.

Oh, and we do create characters for Multiverser in about five minutes when we play.

--M. J. Young