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Author Topic: [1st Quest] Reality, Spirit and Corruption  (Read 2876 times)
Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« on: January 27, 2006, 11:37:23 PM »

I got together with three gamers to playtest 1st Quest, my young adult fantasy hack of The Shadow of Yesterday.

Bret - a gamer I met online and we are quickly becoming friends.

Bob - a gamer I met through Bret who I don't know as well but that potential is there, I feel.

Joe - when Joe was 16 I met him through a mentoring program.  I clearly remember walking into his room and seeing his book shelf filled with comic books and fantasy novels and saying, "We are going to get along fine."  Now he's 21, working, living in his own apartment.  Wild.

It was neat playing a game about children saving the world with him.  Neat stuff.

I had tried to play this game with my girlfriend and a buddy of her's and the three questions of world generation worked well but the Pools weren't backing the world up.  Now that the Pools are defined via the world, I think things are cooking a little hotter.  On to tonight's session.

There are three questions:

1) What are this setting's inspirations?

2) What is the evil plaguing this world?

3) What would happen if this evil were to go unchecked?


Looking at them, I should change #2 to Describe the Evil that is plaguing this world.  I felt like I came away with this vague thematic idea for a villain but I didn't have anything visual to cling to.  I wanted to know if the villain operated via goatmen or stormtroopers or black knights.

Bret brought up Spirited Away, which is on my master list of inspirations.  Bret asked that we nix any kind of traditional fantasy and the others quickly okay'ed that.

We had Spirited Away, some notion of a spirit world apart from our own that the children would interact with.

There was an evil, Bob added, that was corporate, somehow using our own world against the Spirit World, importing guns.

Joe added #3, if the evil goes unchecked, the children of the world will all be killed.

We made three pools and described how they were refilled.  I described a few different Pool sets for different worlds that would be in the main 1st Quest book, so we would have something to base it off of.

We came up with the pools, Spirit, Reality and Corruption.  We came up with ways these things were renewed and put skills, based on the TSoY skills under each one.  It was neat.  Scrapping and Aiming were Reality but Guns were Corruption.  There was also a Dark Magic under corruption with a Spirit Magic under reality.  Neat stuff.  I was happy with the world we were creating.

Okay.  I'd like to change the questions so that there are some more visual cues ala Trollbabe.  One of the most important parts of that chargen is describing her hair.  My villains need hair, so to speak.  I need heavy mechanical breathing, a fat man floating in a suspensor belt, a nazgul sniffing the road or something and that kind of motif creation needs to be embedded in the game.

So, we made up characters, chose Keys and Secrets, re-named Banners and Rings, as you you rally under a Banner and you put on a Ring to gain a power.  Banners took a while to choose.  It was late and we were tired.  In the end, both Bret and Joe took Banner of the Home's Shadow, that allows the player to gain XP for displaying signs of fear and spite due to an effed up childhood. 

Bret seemed reticent to have them both taking the same Banner but Bob mentioned that they could be brother and sister.  Rock on.  That worked.  Bob took Banner of the Home's Hearth, that gives XP for showing a stable home.  Nice counter point.

Taking a page from the Dogs in the Vineyard rulebook, there is an accomplishment-like phase in which the players play out a challenge from their home-life before adventure comes to them and they leave home to change the world.

Bret wanted his red-hair bully-girl to beat up the toughest boy in school.

Joe wanted to convince his dad of a wild story; this was a vague one but it worked out great.

Bob wanted to show his parents a magic trick.

For Bret's the conflict was fairly simple.  Did he make the bully cry or did the bully make his PC cry.  Bret won, beating the boy up when she heard him saying how he was going to beat up her wierdo brother after school.

Bob did a magic trick that took him to the Spirit World by accident.  His character, Melville, hid under a sheet and when he peaked out found himself in a deep wood at night.  His parents didn't know and so they weren't freaked out.  Bob wanted them not to notice and he won, though he did bring back a leaf from the world, a leaf Bob added was not to be found in any books.

Joe's accomplishment involved a story about some robbers holding a puppy hostage.  At which point Joe described this puppy with patchy fur and sad eyes.  The bonus dice flew; we are such suckers for puppies.  We set stakes that if he won, the father let him keep the puppy and if he lost, no puppy. 

Joe won and the dad took a liking to both the tale and the puppy.  Nice.

Feeling good at the accomplishments, we called it a night, getting together for a more full first game next Friday.

There is another playtest of this game on Sunday.  I will re-word the questions and see if I can get a more visually ominous villain.
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Bret Gillan
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Posts: 375

That's Bret with one 't' damn it.


« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2006, 12:11:05 AM »

It was a cool first session. I felt sometimes like I was talking too much and I should step back and let the other guys voice some ideas, but goddamn I'm always bubbling with them and that silence where nobody is giving input is like nails on a chalkboard to me. I'm trying to walk that line between speaking up if nobody else is going to, and talking so much everyone gets drowned out.

I felt bad after basically completely stomping on Bob's suggestion of Lodoss War as an inspiration for the game, but God, I hate that show so fucking much. I was jazzed to see Joe light up when I suggested Spirited Away as an inspiration. I just wanted to see something kind of weird, where violence isn't emphasized. I probably should have made the latter more clear, and realized that I hadn't made it clear at all when Judd was like, "It's necessary that sometimes you have to fuck people up." [Not necessarily what he actually said, but something to that effect] I kept my peace, though. I realize that a lot of people see violence as a necessity in RPGs, and since my character was a bully - well, I'd look pretty stupid.

The three questions were really effective for worldbuilding. I dig them big-time. I think more questions (like the "villain's hair" you're talking about) can only help everyone get a better grasp on the game. It still feels awfully impressionistic to me at the moment. Not that that's entirely bad, but the setting doesn't have a whole lot of meat right now. It's a sketched outline. There needs to be at least a couple things - people, places - to grab on to.

I like coming up with Custom Pools. This goes a long way towards establishing the game's thematics. Our three Pools, Reality, Spirit, and Corruption are great themes for a game modelled after young adult fiction, representing Adulthood, Childhood, and Fear/Death (though that might be overanalyzing it).

Okay, some character creation things:

For playing youths just entering the world, two Secrets seemed like a lot to me. I had no clue what I wanted for my character. Luckily Bob suggested Skill Specialization - Scrapping (Beat Up Boys) which was an awesome idea, and I took Knockback for the grape shot.

I felt real bad when I stalled the game during Cornerstone Banner selection, but none of them grabbed me, and I felt like I had to do gymnastics with my character concept. Honestly Judd, I think you should do Cornerstone Banner selection as a group right after world creation. I mean, it's a big fucking deal - it definitely deserves to be emphasized and it should be determined before character concepts are even talked about

I was wary of picking the Home's Shadow Banner because I felt like Joe was crowding my turf. When he said his character's inspiration was Chunk from the Goonies, I decided I'd play the "dark" character - exploring the theme that in order to defeat the enemy we must become him. So it sort of blindsided me when Joe takes Dark Magic and Home's Shadow. No big deal, we'll see how it works out in play, but since we're doing YA fantasy I didn't want to have 2/3 of the party be grim, dark anti-heroes or something.

Also, the accomplishment is a cool way to introduce the conflict mechanics and the characters, and Joe's accomplishment was AWESOME. I was chuckling about it on the way home. "Dad, these robbers were holding this dog hostage." It killed me. Handing him a helper die was one of the most satisfying things this session.

So yeah, great session. I can't wait for next week.
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Judd
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Posts: 1641

Please call me Judd.


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« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2006, 09:01:02 AM »

I just wanted to see something kind of weird, where violence isn't emphasized. I probably should have made the latter more clear, and realized that I hadn't made it clear at all when Judd was like, "It's necessary that sometimes you have to fuck people up." [Not necessarily what he actually said, but something to that effect] I kept my peace, though. I realize that a lot of people see violence as a necessity in RPGs, and since my character was a bully - well, I'd look pretty stupid.

Interesting.  We had to make a stand on violence while putting different skills in different pools.  Scrapping ended up under Reality but Guns went under Corruption.

Now if my buddy JJ had been there, coming from a family of hunters, he might've had a real problem with that and we might have had some real negotiating to do.  Guns were just a part of his life, a tool.  But coming from a suburb, guns were always this scary thing that people from the wrong side of the tracks (feared drug dealers from Asbury Park!) fought with.

I like that when creating the world you have to make a stand on things.  That interests me.

For playing youths just entering the world, two Secrets seemed like a lot to me. I had no clue what I wanted for my character. Luckily Bob suggested Skill Specialization - Scrapping (Beat Up Boys) which was an awesome idea, and I took Knockback for the grape shot.

I am going to think about it, count my chargen options up next to tradition TSoY and see how buff I am making the starting kids.  Good call.

I felt real bad when I stalled the game during Cornerstone Banner selection, but none of them grabbed me, and I felt like I had to do gymnastics with my character concept. Honestly Judd, I think you should do Cornerstone Banner selection as a group right after world creation. I mean, it's a big fucking deal - it definitely deserves to be emphasized and it should be determined before character concepts are even talked about

This is a great call, to do Cornerstone Banner selection (essentially, keys from TSoY that drive the game) Banner of the Quest, Banner of Vengeance, Banner of the Mentor just after the Big Bad is created.  Nice.

Thanks, Bret, good things to think about and a few things that I will most certainly factor in when I play this gain on Sunday.
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Bret Gillan
Member

Posts: 375

That's Bret with one 't' damn it.


« Reply #3 on: January 28, 2006, 02:11:16 PM »

Oh, and one more thing - you mentioned last night that you were thinking of ditching the Youth => Hero => Legend progression. I'd hate to see it go. I really, really like that idea.
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Robert Bohl
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Posts: 525


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« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2006, 07:52:28 AM »

Judd, I really really really want to play this fucking game now.  God damn you for living so far away!  Can we sneak a session in when I come up for GYGO?

Bret, I know how you feel with the "nails on the chalkboard" thing.  I am very buttinskilike in pretty much every social arena I operate in, and when people are being recitent or quiet, it's very easy for me to bowl over them.  I don't want to do that, but at the same time I don't want to sit around and say, "So, what are we doing now?"

Maybe one of the parts of world or character creation can be this progression thing?  The game's progression is Youth > Hero > Legend or Slave > Free > Leader or Baby > Kid > Adult, or whatever.  Maybe instead of its being the game's foundational progression, it could be separate for each person?

Judd, you MUST read His Dark Materials.
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