*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 23, 2014, 03:46:46 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 51 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Universalis] Universalis as a tool for d20 sessions...huh?  (Read 947 times)
Andrew Morris
Member

Posts: 1233


WWW
« on: January 10, 2006, 07:43:03 PM »

The Background and Overview[/b]
My friend Nick has been trying to get the members of his local gaming group to branch out and try some of the cool new indie games out there for some time now, with limited success. His players are quite willing to try new things, but he feels it's just because they're humoring him or trying to make him happy. So, when two of his players (Mark and Phil) seemed to get interested in some points I'd made about my favorite indie games, Nick asked me to guest-GM a session for them. I'm always ready for some indie action, so I agreed.

I brought a handful of games I'd be able to run on the spot, and the game they chose to run with was Universalis. Cool, I love Uni, and I hadn't played it in a while. To be honest, I did a piss-poor job of explaining things, since I was tired and trying to avoid dumping everything on them at once.

Anyway, we swing into play, and it's going pretty much as usual, with a slow buildup as people toss things out, then an upshift as people latch onto things they're invested in and try to push those. We'd created a stellar epic that was something like a cross between Shogun and The Fifth Element and everyone seemed to be having fun contributing.  I can't remember who made the comment, but someone said that they'd love to see the movie of our game. I just smiled and thought, "Of course, that always happens in Universalis."

Mark made a comment (about three hours into the session) that we'd essentially just described the opening scene or, at best, the first 20 minutes of our "movie." So there seemed to be some pacing elements that he didn't like. Surprisingly, no one had any problem at all with the idea that characters were not "theirs" and the tendency to describe events in the third person, which is where I'd expected the most discomfort to be.

The Point[/b]
All in all, it was a fun session. We talked about how Universalis didn't really fit out concepts of what a "role-playing game" was, but that it was cool nonetheless. No suprise to me there.

During the wrap-up, Mark made the comment that just about blew my socks off. He said something along the lines of, "You know, you could use this game to create a setting, then play in that setting using d20." I wanted to scream and pull out my hair (or his). Instead, I used this thing called "tact" that I'd heard so much about, and silently considered what he'd said. And, you know, when you step back a bit, Universalis is the ultimate getting-on-a-common-wavelength tool out there, so this is a totally reasonable idea. What better tool is there for hammering out an explicit and consensual social contract than Universalis?

But still, my mind is reeling from the concept of a Universalis/d20 hybrid.
Logged

Download: Unistat
GreatWolf
Member

Posts: 1155

designer of Dirty Secrets


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 10, 2006, 08:45:26 PM »

Well, actually, Universalis originally sprang from a discussion about how to do shared setting creation, and Ralph has mentioned on several occasions that it would be a great tool to manage the "big events" of a setting.

So it's not that weird.  In fact, you might be doing all of us a favor by trying it out and reporting back.  (This is me, with a big grin on my face.)
Logged

Seth Ben-Ezra
Dark Omen Games
producing Legends of Alyria, Dirty Secrets, A Flower for Mara
coming soon: Showdown
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #2 on: January 10, 2006, 09:08:03 PM »

someone said that they'd love to see the movie of our game. I just smiled and thought, "Of course, that always happens in Universalis."

Happy dance.

Quote
"You know, you could use this game to create a setting, then play in that setting using d20." I wanted to scream and pull out my hair (or his). Instead, I used this thing called "tact" that I'd heard so much about, and silently considered what he'd said. And, you know, when you step back a bit, Universalis is the ultimate getting-on-a-common-wavelength tool out there, so this is a totally reasonable idea. What better tool is there for hammering out an explicit and consensual social contract than Universalis?

But still, my mind is reeling from the concept of a Universalis/d20 hybrid.

You might want to check out

This page
and

This page

from the website.

and this quote from the website as well
Quote
[After switching a d20 game to Universalis for a single session to kick start some ideas] The plot was thickened and we got more accomplished in the next 3 hours than we had in the last 3 sessions combined. In the 4 or 5 scenes (and about a dozen mini scenes) we introduced 19 new characters, at least 6 new groups, a palace worth about 30 coins and a ton of interesting plot twists.  Every long running campaign (using any system) that starts to slow down in the creativity department, should switch to Universalis for at least a single session. We generated enough ideas in last night's session to drive the game for at least 8 more sessions. ---Matt Gwinn
Logged

Andrew Morris
Member

Posts: 1233


WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2006, 07:45:28 AM »

Well, would you look at that? Who knew? Not me, apparently.

As to trying it out and posting the results, it's not my group. But I'll ask if they're going to run with it.
Logged

Download: Unistat
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2006, 08:20:51 AM »

Hi Andrew,

How much dice-rolling went on in the session? Was it mainly just Tenets and then Bidding to see who says what happens? Or did you guys take conflict-of-interest among the characters to the dice resolution system? How often?

Best,
Ron
Logged
Andrew Morris
Member

Posts: 1233


WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2006, 08:56:17 AM »

There was slightly more dice rolling than I'm used too, but the amount didn't really stand out as that unusual. We didn't have as many Tenets as I'm used to, either, but I attribute that to the fact that we were all pretty much on the same wavelength during that phase.

Once I'd explained how Complications worked, everyone jumped right on that and started Complications left and right, which was cool, since it only serves to make things more interesting. The amount of Complications was significantly more than I'm used to. The same thing happened with eliminating Components, and the players were not at all shy about frying Components created by others at the drop of a hat.
Logged

Download: Unistat
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 16490


WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 11, 2006, 08:59:16 AM »

Wow! That is totally my preferred way to play Universalis!

Minimal, clear Tenets + driving toward Complications + frequently removing Currency from use

Not that it's the "right" way for anyone else, but consider this a big "me too" post.

Best,
Ron
Logged
John Kim
Member

Posts: 1805


WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 11, 2006, 03:13:31 PM »

We did something very similar in a Buffy the Vampire Slayer campaign recently -- we played out a newsreel hand, which is a tarot-using mechanic from Lee Short's Star, Moon, and Cross which generates background.  This is a GMless, collaborative mechanic which we adapted into an in-character magical ceremony.  Anyhow,  I have a blog post about it:

Tarot Use in Buffy

I'm still not sure how it's effects will turn out in the long run for the campaign.  Still, it's an interesting data point, I think. 
Logged

- John
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!