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Author Topic: [Realm] Potential Changes?  (Read 3681 times)
sayter
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Posts: 162


« on: January 11, 2006, 09:25:12 PM »

     Been tryin to write up a lot of the data recently, and had a sort of fun thought. Bear with me here, its just an idea, yet, nothing I have decided on.


Instead of having 3 different character types, which are not really related to one another in any way, shape, or form save for their connection to Sway....What if instead they were all one and the same thing? Different types of Dreamers.

-The "Dreamers" as they have been, will exist as-is. They would be the guardians, the protectors (or potential destroyers) of Reality. Their powers would shape and unshape reality. Their war is fought with the Chimera. The Dreamers are the frontline soldiers, assassins and spies.

Their power is immense, but they are tained by the Stain. Sway is as integral to their being as breathing is, and their power relies on it. They are gods among men, and few believe in their existence. So few that only the most ill-reputed taverns have rumor of them.

Dreamers gain Sway by violating or enforcing virtues, and double the normal amount if the event is caused by their powers. The lower their virtue, the harder positive
sway will hit them and vice versa. If a Dreamer goes too far to eitehr extreme, they are in danger of becoming consumed by either Bane(evil) or Fabric (Good) or twisted into a living embodiment of their moral extreme (demon/angel basically)

(perhaps the Spark "emotion based power" could be used here instead? )

-"Sparks" would go bye bye. No need for them anymore under this new concept. Its an added layer of complexity i think that the game can do without. Instead, we will just assume its a low magic world, and have a few simple things tossed in the book for good measure.

-"Heroic Mortals" would be those who had the awakening, and persevered. But rather than be chosen as direct soldiers against the Chimera, they were chosen to lead the nations of men through inspiration, leadership ability and true devotion to belief and the greater good(or evil). Through belief , hopes and dreams can be forever changed. The Heroic Mortal would be destined to greatness, in whatever field they follow.

Heroic Mortals can gain power over others through their presence and acts of heroism. Furthermore, like the Dreamer, the Heroic Mortal can draw on the Dream Strata to produce effects. Where the Dreamer can control and manipulate reality, the Hero can only influence himself or others with his power.
(EG: A Hero with the strata of "Life" at 2 might be able to make others near him feel full of vigor and energy. One of Death could make others feel dread, forboding..or insane bloodlust.)

As before, Heroic Mortals are "attached" to their sway. They go to either extreme, and gain power from it. They have little to fear from being purely good or evil, save that the opposing forces will seek you out like a magnet. But with an army, pshaw, whats it matter? You are a HERO!

Their sway is connected to their Virtues, and will shift based on moral and ethical dilemmas.



        Does this seem to simplify things immensely? IS it still compelling and interesting , or should things stay how they were?
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Chris DeChamplain
-Realm- RPG
dindenver
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« Reply #1 on: January 12, 2006, 12:31:25 AM »

Hi!
  Well, on a purely personal level, that stinks. I liked the Sparks, lol
  You could incorporate Sparks' ability into MHs
  Welll, maybe all the characters are Dreamers and their power over the fabric is defined by their weakness to sway.
  Who's choosing the Mortals and why not go full tilt?
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Dave M
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Bill Masek
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« Reply #2 on: January 12, 2006, 08:23:15 AM »

Chris,

I agree that your game has complexity issues.  However, I believe that these issues go deeper then the three archetypes.

I have skimed through your rules and, by the end, was a bit confused as to the point of the game.  It had elements I would consider both narativist and gamist while at the same time trying to support two contradicting types of simulationisim.

Your rules start with he basic Attribute + Skill system found in most RPGs.  All of your innovations come from rules piled on top of this system.  Some, like Sway, have intriguing Narativist and Simulationist potential.  Others, like Combat points in your combat system appeal to the gamist inside me.  Some, such as the movement, wounds and vitality combat sub-systems, strike me as excess rules with a fairly heavy complexity cost but add very little the the game itself.

What is the purpose of this game?  What kind of game play do you want out of it?  The answer will tell you what rules you can cut out, what rules you should keep and which ones need to be reworked.  I can see four potential play styles of Realm based on what I have read in your document and on this forum.

Is it about moral struggle and how magic defines/defiles it?  Will the players use your game to explore values under pressure?  Will they explore theme and what it truly means to be a hero?

Is your game about a beautiful, living, breathing world which is so vivid the players can almost feel themselves inside it?  Will they empathise deeply with their characters, feel their feelings, and experience first hand the glory and heroism of Realm?

Do you want a game of cause and effect, where the game world reflects a truly consistent reality where the often though impossible actions associated with heroism not only make sense, but can be logically traced and justified?

Or is your game about being the coolest, meanest, baddest and scariest critter around.  Your character is unique.  Their powers are unique.  They do different things.  Players have plenty of options to tweak and strategies to explore it create the ultimate character.

Once you decide the playstyle you want I would be happy to help you determine how best to optimise it.

Best,
        Bill
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Try Sin, its more fun then a barrel of gremlins!
Or A Dragon's Tail a novel of wizards demons and a baby dragon.
sayter
Member

Posts: 162


« Reply #3 on: January 12, 2006, 12:09:13 PM »

And this is precisely the issue :) And why I wanted a few eyes to skim over the rough draft of the concept.


There is a lot of complexity, which I am doing my best to simplify.

The issue for me, was the addition of so many "theoretical" concepts such as good, evil and whatnot. Simplifying the character type choice somewhat cuts out some unneeded stuff.

But yes, focus is the next step.


Dreamers: The Chosen of Void. Their purpose is to guard reality, protect it against the Bane. However, since Bane is the evil side of Void, it is as integral to the Dreamer as the Fabric is. Void is part of the Fabric, as well, thanks to the Spires. As a result the Dreamers' power is linked to two polar opposites.
       Positive and Negative sway will change the Dreamer, as they begin to side with a particular aspect of Void. Those of positive "alignment" will gain angelic qualities. Those of evil tendencies will begin to exibit outward signs of nastiness. Their powers will reflect this change, and can adversely affect their powers on the opposite spectrum.

     Dreamers operate (usually) in secret, to protect themselves against the Chimera or the Incarna. Chimera being the ultimate evils and Incarna being the opposite. If a Dreamer slips too far to Good or Evil, they become one of these beings. That, and using their powers can be risky, as failure and success could end up changing their Sway. They are like lures to creatures of the opposite spectrum. Truly good and righteous dreamers attract Chimera, and vice versa, who seek to obliterate them.

EG: Kayus has the Dream Strata "Life" at 3.  He currently sits at +2 Sway. This bonus is added to any effects he casts using this Strata, so long as they are based on Life in some way. Anything that is Death based would be negatively affected by the power.

Strata:
Life-- All things related to life, and the opposite, Death.
Form-- All things related to physical form, or opposite, Decay.
Light-- Creating and manipulating light, or opposite, Shadow.
Force-- Anything dealing with energy, element. Harmful or Non.
Thought-- Anything dealing with adding thought, or removing it.
Nether-- Deals with time, space, etc.
Void - This strata exists to siphon power from the Fabric or Bane, and give added oomph to powers.



Mortal Heroes: The Enlightened of Void. They lead others, inspire hope and faith in the masses...or bring them to their knees in misery and terror. They shape the social and political climate of the world, by commiting heroic deeds or terrible acts of villainy. Their Sway affects their powers, called Paragons, which are obtained by increasing in Sway. Where dreamers have their Strata, and do not lose ranks in them, Paragons do not have ranks. If a Hero drops back down a level, they lose the power associated with that level of Sway.

IE: Bob goes from +1 to +2 sway. He gains a new Paragon, on top of the one he gained for rising to +1. Later, he commits a morally questionable deed. He loses Sway and plummets to +0. He loses both abilities immediately, and must try again.

In this way, Heroes must live up to their reputations and stick to their guns. Those who do not will find themselves unable to achieve true power, and will have issues in inspiring others and gaining their support and beneficial side effects. Heroic powers are varied, arranged into a few categories the player can choose between. Because there are only 5 levels of sway in either direction, they can never achieve more than 5 powers(Paragons), ever.



The purpose of players:

Dreamers: Explore the vast unknown world, hunting and destroying Chimera. Guard Reality against catastrophe. Wander unseen among your fellow people. Dreamers confront their own dark desires and needs, attempting to maintain their hold on sanity and protect their own minds against the astronomical powers of Bane and Fabric. The more powerful they grow, the more deadly they are....but their enemies grow more and more legion.

Heroes: Explore the vast unknown world, undertaking heroic quests and tasks in order to inspire and bring hope to the world. Lead, command or just give motivation and direction to others. Confront impossible odds, and unthinkable horrors in the dark places of the world and emerge triumphant....or yield to  dark desires and embrace the black evils within their own hearts and souls in order to become a dark lord.


Essentialy, I want a blend of your typical fantasy adventure game and a more bleak and terrible horror game. The heroes are larger than life, courage and valour at their side as they take on their enemies. But over the course of their adventures they realise that Good an Evil are relative terms and not ever Black and White. A hero can be a vile murderer just as much as he can be a perfect example of a paladin. A Dreamer can do things "by the book" and deal with Chimera by using only the positive aspects of reality and thought and virtue....or they can use their own evil against them.

The Chimera are the living embodiments of fear, terror and every horrible thing we could ever imagine. A Chimera of great power might be the physical manifestation of "Hatred", for instance. Another could be "Rot" or whatever else the mind conjures up. No evil being is without its servants, and some of the Chimera are more prevalent than others. They will try to thwart teh characters, and vice versa. Chimera plots will generalyl be extremely insidious, rarely being obvious from the get go.

A typical chimera might infect a single child with doubt and fear....spreading it throughout his community. Once it has spread enough, it can feed upon the nightmares that follow suit. As it gains power, worse and worse things will happen. Perhaps it makes someone snap, and pour poison into the village water supply. Or perhaps it decides to manifest and simply reap the flesh of everyone present....who knows what things a GM could think up.


In short, players confront their own morals and ethics in a world where the views of the individual can affect their actual destiny. They fight to reclaim reality and cast out the manifested evil (after all, civilization ahs enough evil without monsters touching it all and guiding the evil). Will they be a true , pure hero or succumb to their sinful natures and take the easier path to power?

Players should feel for their characters, care about their choices. I dont want disposable characters. They can "grow" the character in whatever method they desire, in whatever way best suits their play style. However, its how they get their power that is the real focus. What difficult choices must they make in order to help/hurt the most people and gain from it?   For a Dreamer, they do it because they need the power to survive the greater and greater threats that hunt them, and to destroy the terrors they track down.

Heroes do it because they have no choice. Only by attaining power, personal elightenment, etc etc can they bring others to see their point of view. Through this they achieve greater power, and can take on greater challenges. At every turn the agents of the enemy are present, and they must triumph against them using their Virtues....or crumble under their own indiscretion..


This seem a bit more focused?
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Chris DeChamplain
-Realm- RPG
Bill Masek
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« Reply #4 on: January 12, 2006, 01:00:27 PM »

Chirs,

Quote
This seem a bit more focused?

No.

Your setting is focused, solid and cool.  You have the flavor you want in your game down pact.  You have a lot of cool ideas spread through out your game.  It has many beautiful little features.

The thing that your game needs to be focused is a general goal.  Not in terms of "story" or what characters will do.  You need to decide how you want your players to experience this game.  As of now it seems like you want players to experience everything as much as possible.  Unfortunately, all this will result in is a complicated mess.

Quote
In short, players confront their own morals and ethics in a world where the views of the individual can affect their actual destiny.... What difficult choices must they make in order to help/hurt the most people and gain from it?

Is this the most important element of the player experience?   If so, then you have a good solid narativist goal.

Quote
They can "grow" the character in whatever method they desire, in whatever way best suits their play style. However, its how they get their power that is the real focus.

If this is the most important element then you have a gamist game.  This is not a bad thing.  Some very cool stories can come from players struggling towards a victory condition or personal effectiveness.

Quote
Explore the vast unknown world... Players should feel for their characters...

If this is your goal you have a simulationist game.  Simulationist games allow the player to play much closer to their characters.  Because they don't need to worry about "what would make a cool story" or power from a metagame perspective they can offer players stronger immersion and easier suspension of disbelief.

Please note that we can incorporate all of the story elements you want into any of these three playstyles.  Which ever you choose, you will not need to rewrite your setting.

Once you choose one we can start culling the rules.

Best,
        Bill
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Try Sin, its more fun then a barrel of gremlins!
Or A Dragon's Tail a novel of wizards demons and a baby dragon.
sayter
Member

Posts: 162


« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2006, 03:21:15 PM »

I see what you mean...I simply wanted to provide a good game from every possible angle instead of a single narrow one.

However, I see where the issue lies....theres too MUCH for them to experience.

So, in this case, I choose "gamist", I suppose. I want the players to be uber-cool heroes with Astronomical Power, playing against the horrors(or goodness) of the world. The other aspects already in use acn easily be incorporated into this without any negative side effects. Sway, virtue and such can all work very well in this way.

I just dont want it to be another Exalted :)

But, I shall say Gamist. It provides the cinematic feel I want for battle, interpersonal struggle and personal advancement.

My main concern was setting, and its good to hear that its solid from someone other than a significant other who I expect to tell me its good regardless :) 
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Chris DeChamplain
-Realm- RPG
Bill Masek
Member

Posts: 174


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« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2006, 08:30:56 PM »

Chris,

A good gamist RPG is all about resources.  Players strive to acquire them, allocate them and utilize them.

Your next step is to decide what resource(s) the players will be striving to acquire and what they must do to acquire it.  In Great Ork Gods the players strive for Oogh.  In D&D they strive for gold and experience.  The constant struggle for this resource(s) will be the crux of your game.  The kind of stories that are told will be based on it.  The players goals and aspirations will be based on it.  This resource(s) must have some impact on the characters effectiveness.  (Alternatively it could bring them closer to a win condition.  However, Realm does not strike me as that kind of game.)

One possibility would be to make the resource in question is Ki.  When a Chimera hold control over a people it sucks the Ki out of them.  When these people are liberated their Ki is also liberated which grants the characters more power.

You might consider giving different archetypes different currencies to acquire.  Perhaps, in addition to struggling for Ki, Mortal Heroes also strive to inspire other mortals to follow their ways.  The more people inspired, the more the MH will be.

Note that we don't really need to worry about what this resource will do yet.  For right now try to figure out which resource or combination of resources you want your players to strive for and how they strive for it.  Try to think of the kinds of stories that will be created as players strive for this resource.

Best,
       Bill
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Try Sin, its more fun then a barrel of gremlins!
Or A Dragon's Tail a novel of wizards demons and a baby dragon.
sayter
Member

Posts: 162


« Reply #7 on: January 12, 2006, 09:36:55 PM »

Agreed, for as it is, Sway isnt necessarily somethign to "strive" for. It just happens, and works out to their advantage AND disadvantage. Fate points are not common nor applicable for such a thing.

The Ki thing is a very interesting idea. I was actually thinking of a way to remove it from the game. But if it can be found to have a use, then it may be worth keeping in. Something, after all, needs to limit how MUCH someone can use their power. Sway can , to a degree, but it certainly doesnt limit 100 fireball combos. Ki would do that. It might even be neat to use Ki as a driving force behind sway.

I'm rethinking some of the key ideas on how power works in the game. What does a dreamer need to do to channel their power, etc. With this I should hopefully be able to create more answers.

I'll think and revise and post my decisions once they are made :)
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Chris DeChamplain
-Realm- RPG
tygertyger
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Posts: 45

Ever unscrewing the inscrutible


« Reply #8 on: January 13, 2006, 05:03:08 PM »

If I understand this correctly, you're planning to eliminate one character type and have only two; Dreamers and Heroic Mortals.  This loses some flavor that I thought was good, but it solves the problem of two magic using character types that didn't seem different enough.  I'll especially miss the emotion-based magic aspect; that was a good addition flavor-wise, IMO.  But with two character types you have no controversy over magic use.  All characters now have the Spark, but type determines what one can do with it.  Heroic Mortals can thus channel their Spark into skills or physical feats (which is a good starting point for Heroic Gifts) while Dreamers use it to work magic.

An alternate approach is to have two subtypes of each character type.  Characters could either be Passionate (deriving power from their own and others' emotions) or Thoughtful (gaining strength from their own and others' ideas).  Each subtype would have its own advantages and disadvantages, thereby giving a game mechanic-backed reason for role-playing the character's personality (i.e. Passionates suffering a penalty for suppressing an emotion or Thoughtfuls gaining a bonus for expressing an idea).  This preserves the emotion-based magic while still allowing for flexibility in character creation.  Perhaps a chart showing which emotions/ideas are tied to specific Virtues and Vices would be helpful.
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sayter
Member

Posts: 162


« Reply #9 on: January 15, 2006, 12:54:59 PM »

thats a mighty fine idea, actually!  I like the concept and it would be fun to work something out in that vein. I intended to preserve the emotion based stuff in some form.

And yes, allowing dreamers to alter reality, while the Heroes can infuse themself with power was wher eI was going. Dreamers would be laregely based on attribute changes, whereas the Heroes would get skills and feats. I still have to work out excactly what each rank of Dream Strata allows at the moment...tough to determine
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Chris DeChamplain
-Realm- RPG
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