*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 21, 2019, 03:58:24 PM

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 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1] 2
Print
Author Topic: [LoL] New Version is out today!  (Read 5184 times)
dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


WWW
« on: January 09, 2006, 11:15:49 AM »

Hi!
  Anyone who has time, the new version is available at:
http://www.lulu.com/items/volume_8/201000/201024/1/preview/Legends_of_Lanasia_RPG_Beta.pdf
  I just need art and a good edit.
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
Adam Dray
Member

Posts: 676


WWW
« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2006, 03:39:31 PM »

First read for me. Here are my thoughts as I read through it.

You realize that LoL (LOL, really) is netspeak for "laughing out loud," right? Not the best association for a game project.

Table of Contents is too long. It should fit on a page or two. You don't need to list every skill and spell. They're alphabetized. Just link to the section.

The Overview assumes that players are experienced role-players. Is that intentional?

"What Are We Trying To Do?" screams of fantasy heartbreaker. Why not just say, "There were things about D&D that I didn't like, so I created a whole new game." ;)

In Concepts, the sentence "Players will gather and one will begin telling a story" makes me twitch. You know why. Compare to where you say "The players’ characters are the stars of the story, and the rules reflect this."

"This game is designed so that a group of hack and slashing characters should be fun to play, but deep enough that legitimate roleplaying is encouraged." Is hack and slash not legitimate role-playing?

"Everything is geared towards reproducing your favorite fantasy scenes from books, comics and movies." This is a tall order. Let's see if it holds up.

Mechanics: Standard task resolution, and split into opposed vs. unopposed rolls. Have you read Ron's rant about this? What purpose is served by having two types of resolution?  The section about scale and grids and stuff assumes the player has experience with D&D 3E-like games with a combat grid and such.

Setting: The map is clunky. Pay someone to make you a really slick one. You introduce a lot of game mechanics information (ability bonuses, references to skills, etc.) that hasn't been explained yet.

While you claim in Concepts that your game rejects stereotypes, what you mean is that your game rejects other peoples' stereotypes and replaces them with its own. Also, I'm not sold that your stereotypes are really that much different than D&D's. For example, your High Elves in Aerie are haughty scholars and experts. That's not hugely different than elves in Forgotten Realms. Most strangely, the skill bonuses and penalties don't seem to correspond to the racial description. These ideal experts and knowledge seekers have a penalty to Lore and Armorsmithing, but are good with Missiles (elven archers? stereotype!) and good at Picking Pockets. It just doesn't seem to make sense internally. Similarly, your War Elves in Brighton have a penalty to Melee. Huh?

I do like the inclusion of some whacky fantasy races, like vampires and cyclops and triclops. I think you need to flesh them out a bit more. What the hell is a squonk, really? I don't feel I have enough information to play one, if I desired. Is the Blood League a faction or an actual country? What do they eat normally? ;) You have a lot of elf-like races though. Do you really need them?

Humans get short thrift, all their races lumped together as "Human." Apparently, in this fantasy world, all the humans of all colors, shapes, and sizes live in harmony together?

Personalities: What am I supposed to do with these? Tell me more in the rules. I do think, with a little introduction to the section, it would be useful for generating game situation. Explicitly tell me how to use them. Most of them are male.

Skills: "The skill system is designed to mimic real-life experiences." Gawd, I hope not. Real life is so boring, and this is a fantasy world with magic and monsters and crap, so I hope it handles that stuff too. Maybe word this differently.

Okay, so we have Difficulty Target Numbers. TNs are pretty standard fare, so I'm with you. But I don't fell (yet -- and I'm writing as I read) that I have enough information about how the Judge sets a TN. I remember that 50 pages ago you told me something about it. Hrm, 2d6, TN of 12 is average difficulty. But how do I set anything other than average? Yes, it's a value judgment but give us guidelines to work with here. Even the Base Difficulty Numbers chart later doesn't help that much. Maybe some examples of what is "Very difficult" and what is "Imposing" would help. Ah, I see there are enumerated examples in many skill descriptions.

Anyway, in Skills/Mechanics, you really need a bunch of examples of play. It's a decent skill list and the descriptions are pretty good and usable. It looks like it was cribbed from D&D 3E though, with additions.

Lore is much broader than most of your other skills. So if you have a high Lore, you're really knowledgeable about everything, and if you have a low Lore, than you're a little knowledgeable about everything. What if I want to create a character that knows lots of languages (traveled extensively as a child) but doesn't know anything at all about science, history, religion, economics... How do I do that with your rules? It seems to be the knowledge half of most of the stuff you can learn in books, but nowhere do I see represented the actual experience and technique side of that. For example, you might know and understand all the latest knowledge about mathematics (algebra, calculus, differential equations, symbolic algebra, logic, etc.) and yet not have the practice in applying it in any useful way. You might make a Lore check in "less than a second," but actually solving a complex math problem might take hours (or months, Fermat). Occult is a separate Lore-like skill?

Your combat skills seem pretty broad, too, so I give you points for consistency there. Why is Slashing a skill separate from Melee? Maybe you just need to rename Melee.

Your Affinity rules are cool, especially the Shock Saves with a difficulty based on how useful your power is.

More defensive writing in the Magic section. It's not D&D. I get it. It's not like D&D but you still have to "learn" spells and you have to roll dice to succeed at learning them.

I like the rule about a spell not being able to harm another person (even indirectly) unless the spell has a Shock or Damage save connected to its use. You passed up an opportunity to explain cool setting-specific metaphysical reasoning for that!

Division of magic into Arcane and Divine: typical D&D and other fantasy. Why not just combine all the rules and only let people with a Divine Affinity or something like that use the prayer components to work their magic? Take that further, and then only people with the Alchemy skill can use alchemical components to work their magic. And only people with the Lore skill can use lore components to work their magic, and so on...

The Martial Arts Build stuff confuses me. It refers to a lot of stuff that hasn't yet been explained.

Why is it easier to hit someone if you run at them (charge) first? It's actually HARDER, even on horseback. It's much easier to hit someone if you're standing still. Why wouldn't I always aim for someone's back (or head)? I don't think the penalty is enough to stop me from going for that unconscious result every time. Even if I have to go 2-3 rounds before I get it, it'd be worth the wait for the instant drop.

I see you avoided the pain of Attacks of Opportunity and whatnot. A character can move through a space occupied by another character without any consequence? Combat seems about 3-4 times more complicated than D&D 3E's combat, which already CRAWLS for encounters involving more than a couple combatants. I fear that LoL's combats will take all night. Seriously, Avalon Hill makes wargames that are simpler.

Characters: Earlier, you talked about the rules helping everyone in the party get along. I don't see those here.

Mine eyes gloss over at all the charts in Ability Descriptions and Bonuses. Why do you have more than one name for your abilities (like Perception = Mental Ability)? That's confusing. Oh, it's matrixy stuff, got it. Also, now that I finally see the definition of Integrity, I wonder why some skills (like Lore) are based on it.

How often do you really expect characters will die of old age? What if I want to play a 1000 year-old elf, aged beyond all reason? You told me I could play my favorite characters from books. How old do you think Gandalf is?

Your Affectations make me giggle like a school girl.

Can you ignore your rolls for things like Family Life to make the character you really want?

Romantic Life: "Fast Dates," hee! Play Cyberpunk 2020 much?

The backgrounds in some of these things look mysteriously like "classes," which you wanted to avoid. Certainly, they're not as restrictive as classes in other games.

How would I, for example, create a Tarzan character, brought up by wolves? Also, I get the impression that all characters start at equal "power." What if I want to play a wizened old wizard and someone else wants to play my apprentice?

Equipment Lists: Obviously cribbed from D&D.

Okay, on page 209 of the PDF we finally get to "how to play the game." This should be waaaay up front. You give short thrift to all the crap the Judge has to do. Unless your Judge is an experienced GM, he will have no clue what to do. "The Judge describes the scene..." What scene? How does he create a scene? Using what rules, what guidelines, what idea of fairness? Is it okay to say, "Okay, so all of you are 6000 feet up, plummeting rapidly towards the rocky ground"? What about, "Okay, so there are 100 dragons attacking you." If not 100, why not? Is 10 okay? 1? How does the Judge make that decision?

Task Resolution: A lot of the time, characters are going to fail. How do you resolve those consequences?

Follow Your Destiny: So this is just a section saying "don't keep your cool ideas to yourself"? No teeth at all. Players have no power here, but they can beg the Judge to use their cool ideas. And, hey, if the Judge really likes it, he'll give you a Destiny Point. But it's the Judge's story, not the players' after all, right?

Interpersonal Skills: Gah. Hate this. So the fact that I put all those points into Persuasion doesn't mean crap if we're still role-playing in character, even if I'm a crappy persuader as a player? Your "extreme cases" exception boggles me, too. Who decides if it's an extreme circumstance? (The judge.) What if it's really important TO ME but the Judge doesn't think it's "extreme." (Too bad.)

Defenses Against Personal Skills: Cool chart. Useful. "Please note that the primary skills used to defend against deception and
persuasion are Intuition and Will. It is advised to have at least some levels of one or the other." This should have been stated WAY up front, in character generation or in the skill descriptions or something. Too little, too late, for players who don't read all the way through... But the chart is used only in "extreme" cases, anyway...

Affinity, Magic, Prayer, etc.: This stuff should have been described in the earlier sections.

Advice: "What the players of a roleplaying game are doing is telling a story." Well, the Judge is telling a story involving the PCs, anyway. Mostly, what the players of LoL are doing, if I had to guess, is making tactical choices in combat and making some small decisions that probably won't really change the way the story is going.

"You should realize that the goal of any roleplaying game is to have fun and that the secondary goal
is to tell a cool story." You realize that one paragraph above this sentence, you wrote, "Story is the Center." It can't be the center and yet be secondary, can it?

While there is some loose advice to combine character details and work together to create a character, that advice has no teeth. There are no mechanics that make players create characters together, that keep them together, that keep them focused on the same goals, that keep them from killing each other, etc. Even D&D has Alignment rules that, if carefully applied, can be used to get everyone on the same wavelength ("oh, we're all going to play Good characters so we don't have to worry about getting stabbed in the back").

I haven't read the Judging section yet. Maybe it will address some of my stated concerns. I'll try to write more later.
Logged

Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2006, 04:17:32 PM »

Adam, your response seems highly critical of Legends of Lanasia - but it doesn't seem to be very constructive.

"What Are We Trying To Do?" screams of fantasy heartbreaker. Why not just say, "There were things about D&D that I didn't like, so I created a whole new game."
Every game is trying to do something. That's more or less the first of the Big 3 design questions.

I think what Dave did with his introduction, or at least tried to do, is bring in some of the reasoning and design goals into play. He wanted to show players "This is what my game is about", "This is what the characters do", etc firsthand.

While it might be fair to criticise delivery and effectiveness, I think that general concept is a good one.
It allows players to know, off the bat, what the design goals of the game are, and whether they mesh.

Do you think that this is a bad idea altogether, or were you only criticising the delivery?
How could this be done more effectively in your eyes?

Quote
You realize that LoL (LOL, really) is netspeak for "laughing out loud," right? Not the best association for a game project.

I don't think acronym-repetition is important in this case, because the name isn't being marketted as "LOL" It's being marketted as Legends of Lanasia.

And - Simon Fraser University isn't changing their name's acronym from SFU, even though that is netspeak for Shut the Fuck Up.
Logged

Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


WWW
« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2006, 05:00:03 PM »

Heya Dindenver,

Let me ask you about your publishing goals for this game.  Are you planning on offering it as a free PDF to download or are you going to sink actual money into it?

Peace,

-Troy
Logged

dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2006, 05:35:20 PM »

Hey Tro!
  Good question. At some point (maybe a few months from now after I fix the writing and get some art), I'll see if I can sell some books through lulu.com or something. I am not expecting to make moeny off of it or do this as a full tinme job or anything. But for now, I recognize that it is not worth paying for yet, lol
  I am trying to take it one step at a time. Put together a game that is fun to play, then worry about that when I have enough time to do proper research. From my inital findings it seems like I can offer it as a hard book with little outlay, so the marketing is key.
  And of course, that is where I am even weaker.
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2006, 05:36:52 PM »

Hey Joe!
  Let's keep the discussion on my book. Did you get a chance to read it, what did you think?
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2006, 07:15:53 PM »

Hey Adma
  Thanks for reading it. I really appreciate that you took the time to check it out and leave a comment about it.
  I appreciate your honest comments. If you don't mind, I would like to follow up on some points you made:
  OK, I can say it's not a heartbreaker and you can disagree. So that's fine. But I can assure you I did not use D&D as a reference. And I don't even know the 3E system well enough to hijack it. The last D&D I played with any frequency was AD&D 1e. Basically, I wanted to write the game that I would want to play. The genesis of this game was, I was writing a sword and sorcery novel set in the same world. Then a friend of mine convinced me he could get me published by a big publisher. I temporarily stopped writing the novel and wrote the game in the same world. Then, when I got close to finishing this game, he 'fessed pu that he probably couldn;t get it done. I had written about 4 other complete games with playtesting and everything before this so I think I got all of my D&D angst out by now. So, how would you suggest that I write the intro so that it doesn't come across defensive, but guides players away from playing the same old D&D in my world instead?
  OK, I can try and dumb down the intro a little more. I had thought it might be around beginner/intermediate level, but not sure. I'll take a look at that.
Quote
In Concepts, the sentence "Players will gather and one will begin telling a story" makes me twitch. You know why. Compare to where you say "The players’ characters are the stars of the story, and the rules reflect this."
  I don't see how these are contrary; players tell a story, the characters are the tools. And the characters aren't just butlers and gardenrs, they are the stars and heros. and yes I know a good story could have the butler or gardner as the star, but that is not what this game is about.
  Yeah, I am working on the map, it's not that bad, it's just not that good either, lol
  Well, technically, there ar two human nations. And, in my defense, at least humans aren]t average, there are just as many advantages to being human as any other race. I dunno, I think making human "races" and giving them stats could be interpretted as racism. If I say black humans get a bonus to athletics, what do you think of? But I wanted humans to be represented so I decided to divide them into Religious and Magic-centered nations.
  I realize that unopposed tests are actually opposed, but it is a name that has stuck, like irregardless, BTK Killer or NASA Administration, lol
  Personalities, I thought the little snippets might add to the background setting and provide possible adventure hooks. I guess I can give that section a little intro.
  Yeah, I was not very inspired when I wrote the intro to the skill section.
  Specialization - That what Talents are for. If you want you character to do something more/different form the skill description, use a Talent.
  I didn't think any part of the Magic system was written defensively. I'll check it out again. And you don't roll to learn them, you roll to cast them. If you find a spell and use Magic Talent, you learn it, no rolling.
  Well, prayer and magic Talents are different mechanically and metaphysically. And it's part of a larger mystery/conflict.
  Slash vs. Melee. Well, I wanted to have two different combat weapon skills and Melee vs. Slash was the evenest division of the weapon list. Heavy vs Light is potentially more even number of weapons, and more logical, but I couldn't come up wit an internaly consistant names for the two categories. I am pretty comfortable with this division, but am open to suggestions.
  I could use a suggestion for a replacement for "Fast Dates". And yes, I love CP2020. It's my favorite game of all time (apart from my own of course).
  I did put choose or roll on the background tables, but I did not explicitely say that you could just make something up. I'll add that.
  Your attack roll represents accuracy and damage.for most characters the charge move won't provide more that a 4 or 5 bonus. I used it a bunch this weekend and it worked the way I wanted/expected it to.
  Well, regarding the scene being falling from 6000 feet, at some point you just have to trust the GM to not be a jerk.
  Yeah, I think parts of the Playing the game section should be moved up and part are fine where they are.Trying to put some logic to the order. Intro, setting, building blocks, character creation, then gameplay. I'll think about revising it though. Just trying to come up with a presentation that does not put the cart before the horse.
  In the descriptions of most skills, the result of a failure is pretty clear.
  I think Destiny is balanced. If you spend the point something has to happen. the Judge and the Player both have to agree on it. It's easy to say the GM holds all the cards, but that is not what the rule says.
  I don't think a mechanic that forces players to stay together or work together is needed or wanted off the top of my head, but I'll give it some thought.
  Again, thanks for the feedback and if you can answer any of my concerns, it would be appreciated.
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
Callan S.
Member

Posts: 3588


WWW
« Reply #7 on: January 10, 2006, 12:50:55 AM »

Hi Dave,

What's one of the most exciting bits of your game system, that comes to mind? I'm sure there are lots of great bits, but what's one of the most exciting ones I could download the PDF for and find?
Logged

Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Adam Dray
Member

Posts: 676


WWW
« Reply #8 on: January 10, 2006, 08:58:16 AM »

Hi, Dave. I didn't mean to come off as an asshole. If my review was nasty, I apologize. I meant to be critical, but not nasty. I do think I gave some constructive criticism in there.

I'll make one more point about the heartbreaker stuff before dropping the issue. I'm happy to agree to disagree. Even if you haven't cribbed work from D&D, there are a number of places that really, really look like it. There are many uncanny similarities in skill names, equipment lists, and race descriptions. Even if you didn't create a fantasy heartbreaker, it feels like one. I'm confident by now many people have pointed you at the heartbreaker essays and you know that it's not a huge deal if you did write one. It just makes it hard to sell. Since you're concerned mainly with writing something fun for yourself, I wouldn't sweat it too much.

Regarding the story-telling bits, I may have read too much into "Players will gather and one will begin telling a story." Do you mean to say that one player begins to tell a story then the rest jump in and help tell the story? Or do you mean that one player (the Judge) tells a story with the PC's as main characters? I have a problem with the latter. I don't mind the former, but I don't see a lot of game support for it. I see a traditional RPG with traditional problems, like "Mother May I" behaviors and "GM is God" behaviors and not a lot of player empowerment. They're not deathknell problems and lots of games get by just fine with them, but they can be annoying. I do see some helpful advice in "Casting the player’s characters as extras" and "Playing it your way" in the Judging chapter.

One classic problem in games is how hard the GM should push the players. I tried to tease that out in some of my comments. You say, "at some point you just have to trust the GM to not be a jerk." I agree. I was giving an extreme case but what about the in-between cases? 1000 dragons is being a jerk. Is 1 dragon? How does the GM know if he's being "fair" or not? Your game gives me no advice (or better, hard rules) about how to create encounters in a way that guarantees the players won't think I'm being a jerk. D&D 3E, for example, has the Encounter Level system that offers some pretty specific rules about what is a fair encounter. I don't see that in LoL. You have some things to watch in "Designing Encounters" in the Judge's chapter, but they require that the Judge be an expert at the LoL rules to really know if the encounter is fair or not.

As I read your Judging advice, I'm quite surprised by the thief example in "Characters that are a little too unique." I see a bunch of boring players and one really exciting player of a thief character. I imagine the thief's player thinking, "Man, all they do is sit around town doing nothing. At least I'm doing something interesting!" And the thief's player spent points on all those cool thief skills. Why should he sit around town bored?  In the beginning part of your game, you say, "The goal of this game is to create a system where each character can be unique and different, without creating conflict between players in the same group." Well, here you have one character who is different than the others and it naturally leads to conflict between players, yet the rules offer "no good answer" (page 224 of the PDF).

Quote
I think Destiny is balanced. If you spend the point something has to happen. the Judge and the Player both have to agree on it. It's easy to say the GM holds all the cards, but that is not what the rule says.

So say I'm a player and I spend a Destiny point. Something has to happen. The Judge has to agree with the player. This puts the player in the position of having to convince the Judge that it's okay. The Judge essentially gets a veto. "No." Then the player tries to convince him but he has nothing else to fall back on -- just pleading and reasoning and his own social connection to the other person across the table. Again, if the idea was that cool in the first place, he could just convince the Judge to do it and he wouldn't have to spend a Destiny point. Destiny points have no oomph.

Quote
I don't think a mechanic that forces players to stay together or work together is needed or wanted off the top of my head, but I'll give it some thought.

Forces or entices. The thief example comes back to mind. Is the thief player being a jerk? The rules don't really say so. After all, the Judge asked the thief's player, "So what do you want to do?" He wanted to go steal shit. That's what thieves do.

Quote
Again, thanks for the feedback and if you can answer any of my concerns, it would be appreciated.

I don't know from your response what your concerns are. Do you have specific questions about my responses? I'll be glad to answer them.
Logged

Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #9 on: January 10, 2006, 10:21:16 AM »

Hi Callan!
  If I had to say one thing, I would say Talents. That is the one thing that has the potential to allow you as a player to make a truly unique character.
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #10 on: January 10, 2006, 11:31:04 AM »

Hi Adam!
  I don't think you came off as an asshole, just brutally honest, lol
Quote
Players will gather and one will begin telling a story.
  That appears in the Concepts section of the intro and is not intended to be a mechanic or a tules, the part of a very basic description of roleplaying.
  Well, The idea behind the Designing Encounters section is that it is an analog process. There are no classes or hit die, so how do you determine power level of an encounter? You compare Skill mods, SR, DR move speeds, etc. I supose you could make a complicated formula or something, but it would be very hard to read or understand. I think recommending that you compare skill rolls and DR vs Damage is probably a more elegant method, but I'll think aboutit some more.
  The problem with thiefly characters in a non-thiefly group is they have to operate solo and their goals can be contrary or seperate to those of group. In the example I gave I showed how the other players were bored while one character is having all the fun. To me the ideal thiefly character sets up a full on heist that involves the whole group. If they can;t do that, they are just running off and doing their own thing. And if they are just gonna run off and do their own thing, why are they in a group?
  I dunno, the idea of the Destiny system is that characters can make up resources that are beneficial to them. But rather than come up with an enumerated list or some kind of complicated system. Or I can just say the change has to be unanimous. I don;t need to say you can use a destiny for this or you can't use a destiny for that specific thing if I can just let the players agree. For instance, I personally would n;t use Destiny to allow a player to get some sort of Sword of the Gods, but maybe another GM would love that idea. Again, it's an analog process. It;s new, so I haven;t seen a player use it yet, but in my mind it works like I want it to. No one person has all the power and it has a built in control. I really do understand what you are trying to say, I just don't know of a way to quickly and fairly allow a player to add a whole story element without allowing them to derail the adventure and not limiting what they do to trivial changes. I really want to avoid both of these major pitfalls. I don;t want it to be useless, but I don;t want it to be a deal breaker. So, to me the best compromise is to make the players compromise and both agree to add it.
  Yeah, I see what you mean about specific concerns. I guess I only have a couple concerns, how do I shake this Fantasy Heartbreaker. Just because some of the same words are used and some of the mechanics are superficially similar to something else doesn;t mean I am trying to copy anything or am not being creative or original. Yet, so many people have sai heartbreaker, it almost makes me want to change something, but I hav no idea what. Very few things about my game are similar to D&D. Do you have any specific suggestions on specific parts that would help? Or any other suggestions, you seem to be a font of good advice and perception.
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
Adam Dray
Member

Posts: 676


WWW
« Reply #11 on: January 10, 2006, 01:57:05 PM »

Quote
Well, The idea behind the Designing Encounters section is that it is an analog process. There are no classes or hit die, so how do you determine power level of an encounter? You compare Skill mods, SR, DR move speeds, etc. I supose you could make a complicated formula or something, but it would be very hard to read or understand. I think recommending that you compare skill rolls and DR vs Damage is probably a more elegant method, but I'll think aboutit some more.

See, you've built a game like D&D but without classes and levels, but -- get this -- classes and levels work really well in D&D. They are important structures for helping players calculate power and risk.

I don't get the impression that you intend your LoL players to "step on up" to Challenge (in GNS terms). Am I wrong?  Is LoL primarily a vehicle for players to custom craft a kick-ass character and play out tactical challenges and kick ass and take names and, most importantly, show everyone else at the table how well they played?  Is that the nature of the player's creative input?

If your game isn't about that, then that crazy undefinable thing called "balance" probably doesn't matter. Dogs in the Vineyard isn't about that. My Life with Master isn't like that. Both games have rules structures that give the GM full permission to play as hard as they can, no punches pulled, and the cards fall where they may. You can't do that in LoL without characters dying and I get the impression from the rules that it's a bad thing when a character dies.

If it isn't about that, it's about something else. The "it" I'm talking about is the primary vehicle for player input. I've been worried about your discussion of "story" for a lot of reasons and this is another. All game designers want the players to tell a cool story when they play. If you want your players to create stories with real thematic meaning (players Address Premise), LoL isn't going to help. Players might do it accidentally but the rules will get in their way. If you want your players to build a fictional world from pieces, collaboratively, exercising their Right to Dream, LoL isn't going to help and it will probably get in the way but Jay or someone else can probably answer better. I don't see support for that.

That leaves me wondering what the vehicle for input is for your players. I can see that the Judge gets to tell a story and that the players have some say in it. But it seems their say is filtered through the Judge at every stage, even character creation.

Quote
The problem with thiefly characters in a non-thiefly group is they have to operate solo and their goals can be contrary or seperate to those of group. In the example I gave I showed how the other players were bored while one character is having all the fun. To me the ideal thiefly character sets up a full on heist that involves the whole group. If they can;t do that, they are just running off and doing their own thing. And if they are just gonna run off and do their own thing, why are they in a group?

Why indeed? Yet it still happens in just about every D&D game I've ever played, and that's because there's no rules incentive to stick together. And the game gets boring for the other players while the thief runs around stealing stuff. Solve one problem or the other but don't leave it to the players to figure out how to solve, because they might not solve it at all.

Why not create a Group Goal and reward players only for steps towards solving that goal? No individual awards. Then there's no incentive to run off solo. Why not eliminate the boring parts of play that result in players answering "I read my tome" when the GM asks "What do you do?" (not that the GM should ever have to ask that). The GM's answer should be "You read your tome? What kind of bullshit is that? Do something cool!" Or better, the GM says, "Yeah, you finish reading your tome and there's a handwritten note tucked into the pages: 'Bring Martin the Thief to the Swampgate by noon or we'll kill your Master.' " What rules in LoL exist to create a procedure that guarantees that the Judge does stuff like that (q.v. Kickers in Sorcerer).

Quote
I really do understand what you are trying to say, I just don't know of a way to quickly and fairly allow a player to add a whole story element without allowing them to derail the adventure and not limiting what they do to trivial changes.

Danger danger! Is "the adventure" something in the control of the Judge, the players, or both? If both, then if one player wants to take the adventure in a certain direction, why can't he? Or is "the adventure" something that the Judge created and is not to be disturbed by pesky player input? Think about the connection between the words "derailed" and "railroading."

You say you want players to compromise, but a rule that gives the GM full veto power over player input is not necessarily compromise. Compromise is not possible when one side has no bargaining power. What bargaining power do you give to the player who wants to use his Destiny in an interesting way?

Quote
I guess I only have a couple concerns, how do I shake this Fantasy Heartbreaker. Just because some of the same words are used and some of the mechanics are superficially similar to something else doesn;t mean I am trying to copy anything or am not being creative or original. Yet, so many people have sai heartbreaker, it almost makes me want to change something, but I hav no idea what. Very few things about my game are similar to D&D.

Well, first of all, do you want to shake it? It's not the worst thing in the world.

Have you played any RPGs other than D&D and CP2020? What versions of D&D? I searched through your posting history and didn't see an answer there. If I missed one, just link to it. The thing is, if you have experience with only a couple games, you're probably going to design games a lot like them unless you're Robin Laws or something.

For me, the things that scream "D&D!!!" to me are similarities in skill names, specific items on the equipment list, and the combat procedure. Combine that with a fantasy genre with most of the typical D&D races plus a bunch of weird ones, and it seems like you tried to make "D&D, only better." Add on the fact that your rules tell me, several times, that this isn't like other games (yet it is) and I start thinking you mean "this isn't like the D&D game that I played for a few years and had issues with it."

Mix those things with tons of hard work and some clever ideas and innovations in LoL, and you have a classic Fantasy Heartbreaker. And that begs the question, why wouldn't I play D&D instead? What does LoL do (not have) that D&D 3E doesn't? You got rid of classes and levels, okay; but you didn't solve the problems created by the gap. Other fantasy games do skill-based task resolution, too. Why not Runequest or Basic Role-Playing or GURPS Fantasy or Fantasy Hero? What does your game do better? If you're not trying to convince me and other people on the net to play your game -- if there's no sales pitch hidden in your posts here -- then you don't have to answer or even care if LoL is better. The game makes you happy, and you can play it, and your friends will play in your campaigns, and you'll have a blast.

If that's the case, there are still some things to consider about the Fantasy Heartbreaker tag. There's an implication that you're treading a lot of well-trodden ground. That's not a bad thing. We all reuse what we've seen before. No one creates an RPG from scratch without borrowing ideas from all over the place. But don't make the same mistakes that your game designer ancestors did. Understand the design choices they made, understand the alternatives, understand what unhooking classes and levels does and what problems those things solved in the first place and what problems you just created by deleting them -- and fix them. Yeah, your car will be lighter without all those accursed metal panels surrounding the frame, but they were put there for a reason!

Lots of people have told you it's a Fantasy Heartbreaker. You've read the articles, right? Really thought about them? If you care to change that, go read D&D again (any version will do, but 3.5E is best and it's free online via the OGL). Note places where your game is similar. Think about whether you wrote it that way because you invented it out of your head or because maybe you'd remembered it from your game days long ago. Maybe there are more interesting things to put in your game instead. Elves and dwarves and goblins -- that stuff is fine. Skills like Animal Handling and Pick Pockets shout "D&D!" and some of the skills shout "Cyberpunk 2020!" Some of the equipment ("Case, Map or Scroll" and "Courtier's Clothing" and "Sealing Wax" and "Longsword" for example) shouts "D&D!"

The skills you choose for LoL make a statement about the physics of your universe. The equipment you choose for LoL makes a statement about the world/setting. What statement do you really want to make?

I hope I've helped.
Logged

Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #12 on: January 10, 2006, 10:23:14 PM »

Hi!
  But I did think about those things. And I thought about them again when I found the Forge.
What's this game about?
  It's about breaking stereotypes. But this is done in the framework of Sword and Sorcery Adventure.

What are the characters typically going to do?
  Being unique and being heroes. Saving the world, even if it is from themselves. Using their skills and Talents to go on adventures.

What will the players do?
  Tell a story with the GM, rolling dice as necesary.

What is the driving Creative Agenda?
  Mostly simluationism. Not grittty sim, but actual simluationism, in the form of simulating the setting from my novel. Although, I recognize that other creative agendas are represented here. But unless they cause a conflict or broken gameplay, I think that is OK. I do not feel that mixing agendas is necessarily bad, as long as they are mixed in a complementary way. I don’t think I have a good grip on writing Narrativist games. I haven;t played any that I really like, so that unfortunately won’t change any time soon. I think raw, unadulterated Gamism is disappointing. More out of a desire to avoid Gamist play than a desire to make a better/different D&D is the motivation behind this game.

Why do I have abilities, and why these?
  I feel like this is a realistic breakdown of how I see the world. And I do feel that Natural ability, genetics and/or fate create a situation where one person is naturally better at some things than others even before they gain experience and training. I have thought about and played games with no abilities and they are fun, but in the end, I decided to keep them in my game.

Why do I have skills?
  I feel that training and experience does enhance people's natural abilities. This is represented, in my game, by skills. I could see, and have played, a game without skills, it certainly might make some things easier. But I decided to include them in my game because I think it can help to guide the feel and theme of the game world.

Why do I have these skills?
  There is 5 skills for each ability. One Combat (tactical and/or strategic), Craft/Lore, Interpersonal, Underworld and Adventure (Acrobatics, Awareness, etc.). This way there is no "sweet spot" in the ability system that creates a situation where a certain type of character (Warrior for instance) is required to have a certain stat. In fact, it encourages you to balance your abilities out. You can make a stereotypical character (big beefy warrior), and they will be able to perform some skills in each category. But you will generally do better if you are more moderate in you character build. I designed the skills to avoid skill creep. Certain skills are catch all and I also designed them to be focused on what the characters will be actually doing, rather than simulating medieval life. Instead of having Butcher and Baker skills, they all go under Artisan. I definitely spent some quality time really looking at the skills and making them do exactly what I want.

Why no Classes?
  I feel that classes, reinforces stereotypes. So that is a deal breaker. I have played plenty of games that are classless (cp2020, 1984 TSR Conan RPG, DC Hereos, Toon, plus all the other games I designed before - about 4 that actually got played), so I knew what I was in for. Communicating that may have broken down, but basically, you just need to compare a few numbers, these numbers are different for each character, on each sheet and your adversaries and the encounter difficulty is fairly intuitive.

Why a GM?
  I like games with GMs. I find that they are easier to explain to new/casual players and result, typically, in less PC deaths. There are "Social Contract" level weaknesses to GM-based systems, but those issues are acceptable to me. I want a game that does not regulate the social contract, but accounts for worst-case scenarios. When I was thinking about GM advice, GM guidelines and what I did and didn’t want GMs to do, I spent some quality time on the "What's a DM to do?" forums on the WotC boards. There is a regular parade of examples of bad players, bad characters, bad stories, bad story ideas and bad GMs. My impressions from that experience definitely guided me into a situation where I feel like the players are free to make a good story together, but has at least some advice/recourse for BAD situations.

Why combat rules?
  The genre I am tapping into almost always has combat. On a high level, my combat uses the same mechanisms as regular play. I like task resolution over conflict resolution. It's just a personal preference. I understand the advantages of CR over TR, but I don't see it for this game. So, the combat is Task oriented. But the players basically do the same thing they do outside of combat. In actual play, it is exciting and rewards creative play.

Why initiative?
  I like initiative; I think it is fairly realistic. And when I have used systems without initiative. gameplay did not go the way I liked.

Why Magic and Prayer as seperate powers?
  Mostly it is for story purposes. But there is metaphysical and mechanical differences. Magic summons things, Prayer modifies existing things and never the twain shall meet. There is nothing in the system forcing magic and prayer to have different effects, but the means to get to that effect is different.

Why this gear?
  By and large, I looked at each item and thought about if it fit in MY setting. I can go back and check it again, but it is not just a random list. It should represent the tech level and resources that you should be able to buy and sell.

Why these races?
  I wanted to give plenty of choices, and I wanted a real world with plenty of nations. I think I accomplished that. Maybe I need more details about these nations, but I can come back and add that if it is really necessary.

What do I do that is special or unique?
  Talents. Each character has a Talent that makes them rise above the rules and do one thing well. And they can make any Talent they want and they can only have one, so I don't have to worry about them combining in unanticipated or unwanted ways.

Do I want to be a Fantasy Heartbreaker?
  Well, no. I want to do as much as I can to dodge this bullet without sacrificing my vision or design goals. So, anywhere that is not a deal breaker, I need to avoid this. I know that when the term was originally conceived, it was not intended as a derogatory term, but it is a stereotype that I wish to avoid.

Do I think the game is worth shelling out some cash for?
  Well, there is some production quality issues with the current version, but the system itself is great in my mind. But I realize that not every player will want to play this game. Also, I am modest and not a very good salesman (oh boy am I going to need help with marketing!). But I do think I have made the best game I have ever played. It plays exactly like I want it to. So, I guess I need to do some re-writes and get less defensive and maybe smooth out some other stuff, but I still feel like I am close to a really good game.

  Adam, you rock, and thanks for your feedback, I know it can't be fun going round and round, but I really do feel like this thread is enlightening!
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #13 on: January 10, 2006, 10:30:18 PM »

Hi!
  Peple have asked what I have played, here goes:
Pedigree:
GM'd
Basic and Advanced D&D - Since 1982, GM about half of the time. Have
played it a lot less since about 1988
Top Secret - Since about 1983-1985, Mostly GM'd
TSR Conan RPG - 1983 to present, Off and on for a long time, Mostly GM.
DC Heroes/Blood of Heroes - 1984 to present, Just started playing it
again after some time off from the system. About 50% GM vs play time
Palladium TMNT, Heroes Unlimited,  Beyond the Supernatural and Ninjas
and Superspies 1989 to 1991, Mostly GM'd
BattleTech/MechWarrior - For about a year after it came out. Mostly
multiplayer board game, tried to GM RPG with no success
CyberPunk 2013 and 2020 - 1988 to present. I love this system. I GM'd
mostly 80 or 90% of the time
Mekton 1989 to present. I use this system seperately and with
CyberPunk to have tons of fun!
Toon - 1990 to present, Mostly GM, great pick up game
Macho Women with Guns - 1990 to preent, mostly GM, great comedy game
Judge Dredd RPG, 1991 to 1993, Mostly GM, fun game for fans
Legend of the Five Rings, 1997, Mostly GM, hard to run a group unless
they are "in to" the background world.
Star Trek Next Generation, 2001 to present, mostly GM'd

Created:
Lands of Lore - Played, not published -  A complete fantasy world with
30 races, political struggle, magic and more
Dark Infinity - Played, not published. Epic space game, with space
captains, traders, pirates and space marines.  There were 25 races, a
robust ship building system and a immense map.
Eternal Spirit - Created, not played or published.  Mystic Asian world
filled with magic fantasy and honor. Mostly this was not played
because  it was more suited to a CRPG.

Also Played:
Everything I GM'd I have had the chance to play at least a little
Champions
Marvel Superheroes
FASA Star Trek
Twilight 2000
Paranoia
Gamma World
Rolemaster

CRPG's:
KOTOR 1 & 2 (Xbox)
SWG (Master Pistoleer, TKA, Medic, Doctor, Combat Medic, Armorsmith)
Okage
EQ1 (63 Necro, 55 Ranger)
Mechwarrior
Ultima Underworld 1 & 2
Pool of Radiance
Eye of the Beholder
Autoduel
Wizardry 5
Ultima 4, 5, 7
  I haven't posted in AP, becaue I am not sure how and not sure if there are any questions I need answered that fit correctly in AP...
Logged

Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
Adam Dray
Member

Posts: 676


WWW
« Reply #14 on: January 11, 2006, 05:21:51 AM »

I'll respond more later but a few quick words before work.

First, it's good that you're actually playing your own game creations. I am finding that my own games suffer from a lack of playtesting and I've vowed to make more opportunities to play Verge. Every time I do, the game gets a lot better.

Second, you have played a fair number of games but not a single indie game. Indie games aren't the end-all-be-all of gaming but there are a lot of cool ideas in there that appear nowhere else in traditional games. Grab one or two of these games and play them. Some really good ones are available for free, on the net. It helps to broaden your perspectives in design.

Third, don't worry about how to post to Actual Play. Just do it. Give us a short summary (1-2 paragraphs) of what happened in the story, a couple more paragraphs about who your players are, then grab some interesting point of play that you want to talk about and discuss what happened in terms of the players -- not the characters. What were the players doing? Talk about the arguments they had, the negotiation, how they used the dice and the rules, etc. You can show off LoL a bit that way. Show us, through examples, how Talents worked to make an actual game rock. Show us, through examples, how play broke down in one of your games. Show us, through examples, the Sim aspect of your game that you're trying to achieve. By focusing on posts in Indie Game Design, you're getting only one third of the benefit of the Forge. Expand to AP and then later, when you're ready, you can post to Publishing, too.

More stuff in response to your post later.
Logged

Adam Dray / adam@legendary.org
Verge -- cyberpunk role-playing on the brink
FoundryMUSH - indie chat and play at foundry.legendary.org 7777
Pages: [1] 2
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!