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Author Topic: [Coat of Arms] What this game is about.  (Read 4807 times)
pasoliati
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Posts: 27


« on: October 03, 2005, 03:53:01 PM »

Continued from http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=16950.0.

This is the first part of my second draft.  It is on what the game is about.  I would like you to read through and tell me if you think it a) sounds like a game that might interesting to you and b) gives enough information about what the game is about.

Quote
Prelude

There is a legend, a legend of a lowly squire who was good of heart, but not as big or as strong as the other squires of the castle.  One day, a rival squire betrayed their lord to another lord, and this small squire had to watch helpless as his lord’s castle and village burned to the ground.  The only thing left was the Well in the Chapel of the Drowned God.  Having nothing else for which to live and cursing himself for his own weakness, the squire grabbed his lord’s shield and jumped into the Well, drowning himself.

Many years later, another village on the other side of the kingdom was under attack.  In its time of need, the Well of the Drowned God started bubbling and out came a large man wearing armor of the purest white, a sword sharper than an eagle’s talons, and with him was a shield decorated in a coat of arms not seen before in the land.  This strange knight fought with the power and valor of ten men and easily routed the evil bandits.  Then the young knight shared with the village the legend of the squire and how the Drowned God took pity on him and changed him into a powerful knight, but that this memory was a gift and that memory of the previous life would not be granted to others, it was to be a sacrifice made by the knights who Baptized themselves to the Drowned God.

And so this first knight did roam the lands, doing great deeds and fighting great battles.  Sometimes he would pledge himself to a king, sometimes he would wonder as a knight-errant, but everywhere that this knight went, the people knew that they were safe whenever they saw on his shield his coat of arms.

What is this game about?

You are probably asking yourself that.  There are many games out there; what makes this game different?  What is this game even about?

The first and main thing that this game is about is fun.  This game is about having fun.  If you are playing it and having fun, then it is working.  If you are playing it and not having fun, STOP!  Life is too short to drink bad wine, dance with ugly people, or play games that aren’t fun.  If you are playing this game and are having fun, but only about twenty minutes of fun in four hours, STOP!  Once again, life is too short.  This game is about having fun.

One of the things that make this game fun is that it is about knights.  Knights are warriors and nobles, holy men and holy terrors.  They are heroes with epic strengths but also with epic flaws.  They are fighters and lovers of the highest order.  They are heroes and villains, the stuff of legends that have survived for thousands of years in stories and Renaissance Fairs.  In short, they are fun.

But at the end of the night, this game isn’t about knights or swords or quests, this game is about rebirth, about identity, about life moving in circles.  This game is about gaining strength from your failures and picking your battles carefully.  This game is about loneliness, friendship, alienation, and family.  This game is about suicide and about life after suicide attempts.  And most of all, this game is about honor, a code that you develop or adopt, to live for, to die for, but most of all, the fight for.

This game can be about all that and still be about having fun with your friends.

Legends

You’ll find that a good portion of this game is written as legends.  That is intentional.  My Drowned God is different from your Drowned God and the legends of my kingdom (Archonia) will be different than the legends of your kingdom.  Every game is different, and legends embrace that difference by presenting useful information without making it gospel truth.
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aaron
MikeSands
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« Reply #1 on: October 03, 2005, 04:17:55 PM »

The prelude is really good, it has a lot of evocative stuff there that really sets up the mood.

The "What is this game about?" section breaks that mood. Those first two paragraphs about having fun aren't needed. Get right in to who the characters are and what they do. The stuff about the knights and what the game is about is all you need here and the other stuff comes across as kind of defensive. The informal voice doesn't really gel with the rest of the text, either.

Maybe think about directly addressing all three of the critical questions here (especially "What do the players do?" which is addressed only implicitly).

The section on Legends needs a bit of work too. I think you need to make it say something more like: "The game includes a lot of legends. It's up to you whether the legends are known in your kingdom. It's up to you whether they are true (and without regard to whether they are known)."
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pasoliati
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Posts: 27


« Reply #2 on: October 04, 2005, 06:52:42 AM »

Thank you very much. :)
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aaron
pasoliati
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Posts: 27


« Reply #3 on: October 04, 2005, 02:31:09 PM »

more like this?

Quote
On the surface, this is a simple game about knights, knights as warriors and noblemen, holy men and holy terrors.  As a knight, your character will wander the land, attend the courts of the nobility, fight battles and monsters, and participate in tournaments, hunts, and quests.  But this game is more about men with epic flaws that cause them to fail than it is about heroes with epic strengths always doing epic deeds.  This is a game about rebirth, about identity, about life moving in circles.  The game is about gaining strength from your failures and about picking your battles carefully.  And most of all, this game is about honor, a code that you develop or adopt, to live for, to die for, but most of all, the fight for.

As a player, you do more than just create a knight and guide him through his adventures.  You will be choosing what your knight is willing to risk in achieving his goals.  You will be deciding what aspects of your knight and what tenets of his honor to use for every roll, and watch as they rise and fall with each failure and success.  You start out with almost a blank slate and create not only the present, but also the past and the future of your knight.

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aaron
MikeSands
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« Reply #4 on: October 04, 2005, 02:45:42 PM »

Yes, I think that is a lot better.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #5 on: October 04, 2005, 03:26:12 PM »

Oh, I completely disagree with Mike.  When I first read it, my eye did get a little jarred by 'This game is about fun' but I got over it, and I think it gives a good tone to the rest of the passage.  Discarding it makes the whole sound rather pretentious.  I can only assume that you intend to separate those two sections anyway, either through some stylistic fiddling (the Legend in a narrow column in italics, the rest in full-column roman, or something) or perhaps even different pages entirely.  When it's just plain text, it can be jarring, but I don't think the intention was to present it that way in the finished product, was it?

That said, I like the second paragraph of your rewrite, too; perhaps you could integrate that into the original.
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pasoliati
Member

Posts: 27


« Reply #6 on: October 05, 2005, 10:28:01 AM »

Oh, I completely disagree with Mike.  When I first read it, my eye did get a little jarred by 'This game is about fun' but I got over it, and I think it gives a good tone to the rest of the passage.  Discarding it makes the whole sound rather pretentious.  I can only assume that you intend to separate those two sections anyway, either through some stylistic fiddling (the Legend in a narrow column in italics, the rest in full-column roman, or something) or perhaps even different pages entirely.  When it's just plain text, it can be jarring, but I don't think the intention was to present it that way in the finished product, was it?

That said, I like the second paragraph of your rewrite, too; perhaps you could integrate that into the original.
At the time, I was going to organize the whole draft by the Three Questions so there are two more sections.  I'm not so sure I want to do that anymore since how much do you want to tell the players of amnesic knights what they will be doing?
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aaron
Arturo G.
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Posts: 333


« Reply #7 on: October 05, 2005, 11:26:27 AM »

... how much do you want to tell the players of amnesic knights what they will be doing?

I don't know if I'm missing the point. If this is the case, ignore me.
Don't worry about telling the players what are they going to do. If they read it and they like it, they will be eager to play, and they will enjoy doing it.

And I must agree with Mike. I think that everybody knows that a game is supposed to be fun. No information on this. A full paragraph to say that is too much. What people want to read is why this game is going to be fun. I like more the revised text.

Cheers,
Arturo
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pasoliati
Member

Posts: 27


« Reply #8 on: October 05, 2005, 12:54:54 PM »

I like the revised text myself, although I'm having trouble with the tone to take for the rest of the document.

I'm also beating my head over the very basics of the game.  Right now a conflict roll is Aspect+Tenet, that is to say, "something about who your knight is (like “strong”, “brave”, “short”, “champion jouster”, “king”, or “fool” )" plus "what your knight believes is the right thing to do (like “protect the weak”, “be loyal to my lord”, “help myself before helping others”)".

But I've been thinking that a lot of what defines a knight is his relationship with others (especially his lord if any).  The reason I have amnesic knights is that for better or worse I see the feudal world as a very complex web of alliances and hatreds and I don't want to require my characters to read 100+ pages of family histories and biographies (or the GM to have all that created all by himself or before the first session).

But how do I have the character's relationship have mechanical impact?  Should they be aspects of the character (like "vassal of King X"), tenets (like "be loyal to King X"), a third category, or should I replace aspects or tenets with relationships?
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aaron
Josh Roby
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« Reply #9 on: October 05, 2005, 01:33:32 PM »

It sounds to me, who is not the designer of the game, that that complex web of alliances and hatreds and all that really good stuff... that's a different game.  Your game, thus far defined, "is about honor, a code that you develop or adopt, to live for, to die for, but most of all, the fight for."  What you've got is knights in shining armor, and that's really cool.  They aren't real-world historical knights, which are also cool, but not the focus of your game.  One of the best things you can pick up from the Forge is to pick a target and shoot for it, rather than simply shooting towards a collection of targets and hoping you hit a couple of them at once.
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MikeSands
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« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2005, 01:41:04 PM »

If you're going to allow people to develop their own tenets, which mechanically affect play, then presumably they could just pick ones like "Vassal of Lord Fred" if they decide to swear allegiance to someone? I guess that's a lot less abstract than your other examples but it might do the trick for what you're after (without requiring a whole new set of rules about relationships and their affects).
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pasoliati
Member

Posts: 27


« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2005, 12:09:43 PM »

You guys are right.  It was just a heavy day yesterday and I think I was thinking too much about relationships. :)

And thanks to everyone for your help.  It is a MUCH better game than when I first just wrote down some ideas.  Beacuse of each of you, I'm more aware of what the game is about and more focused on try to do those things as well as I can.

I'll post again once I can arm twist a playtest out of my friends, but thanks everyone again!
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aaron
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