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Author Topic: [Outside] Need help with Power 19  (Read 4725 times)
Clyde L. Rhoer
Member

Posts: 391


« on: February 16, 2006, 11:56:03 AM »

Hi Everyone,

I've been stalled for about 5 months, as I couldn't get my head around how I wanted to do conflict resolution. Thanks to Timfire's Mountain Witch, where he says, "All conflict is combat", I think my head is cleared. So now I'm trying to work through the Power 19. I have hit a few trouble spots though, and am not understanding some of the questions. I also have what looks to be a few week spots. I did look at other folks answers to try to figure it out, but am still confused on some. So I'm looking for a little help.

First here's my two other threads, more for my sake than yours:

Outside: CharGen test
Outside: Need help with Conflict Resolution

So here's what I've got of the power 19. I've put the questions that I didn't understand or felt were weak in boldtype,  plus I added the word *weak* after the questions I felt I mostly understood but answered weakly. I will clear them as I get them fixed.

What I'd like in order of importance is:
  • A better explanation of the questions I'm not understanding.
  • Any ideas why a particular answer is weak.
  • Any additional questions about any answers that aren't clear.
  • Really any other comment, positive or negative, but the other three are the most important ones to me.
Thanks.



1) What is your game about?

Outside is a game of childhood that tries to create a venue to tell stories like Peter Pan, or Alice in Wonderland. It's about being a kid. It's about growing up.

2)What do characters do?

Characters wield amazing powers. They can create new places, and magnificent creatures with nothing more than than their imagination. Characters battle the onset of reality, the horrible monsters of imagination, and try to find a balance between responsibility and creativity to reach the end goal of becoming a well balanced creative grown up. Unfortunately the deck is slightly stacked.

3) What do the players do?

The players try to maintain a balance between White and Black to stave off growing up. They create settings and/or take over other players settings. They take over The Monster, or even become the Gamemaster.

The Gamemaster creates settings, or steals them from the players. She can take over The Monster, or make other monsters. She can become parents, or worse yet... The Forgotten. She can decide all this is boring and foist the responsibilities off on a careless player.

4) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

The setting is either in a world like we live in today, or it's created by the Gamemaster, or players, on the fly. Anyone can change those created worlds at anytime they want to take control. This should allow them to create stories where potentially anything can change at anytime.

5) How does Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about? *weak*

I'm not sure.

6) What types of behaviors/styles does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?

Is this asking about supporting specific creative agendas?

7)How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?

Why is this a seperate question, could it be answered with 6? Is it about creative agendas?

8)How are responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?

What is meant by credibility? The glossary isn't helping me to understand the term.

The responsibilities of narration are divided up by the idea of ownership. Ownership is divided between Character ownership and Setting ownership.

The player always owns their character and maintain narration over it. If anyone else, including the Gamemaster, wants to cause something to happen to the character or something the character owns they either need the players agreement or must succeed in a challenge with set stakes similiar to many Narrative games. (Yes this does imply that they require agreement in either case as stakes are agreement.)

The Gamemaster owns the "real" setting, and is charged with maintaining reality. If a character wants to change something real they require the Gamemasters agreement or must succeed in a challenge with set stakes similar to many Narrative games.

Any player or the Gamemaster can control any imaginary setting. The player who creates the setting pays for it and the Gamemaster can pay to use it. Another player can pay to take control of it away from the original player. Yes, this does mean they can get into a battle of Nunt ah. The Gamemaster's control is temporary.

9) What does your game do to command the player's attention, engagement, and participation?  *weak answer*

The game has a very open ended character creation that seems to invoke investment by the players. It also allows a lot of control over the setting which theoretically allows them to push the game in the direction they want to go.

For some reason I'm dissatisfied with this answer.

10) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?

The game doesn't use dice. The characters have the attributes Black, White, Red, Blue, and Yellow. These attributes are rated one to ten. For each point the character gets a token. Black is basically a counter (it counts, as in black++), but can be used to engage in a duel which is used more as a way to settle disputes amongst players and/or the Gamemaster. Spending a White token will let the character do most anything, except violate character ownership. They can still challenge ownership, violation is something The Monster does. Red, White, and Blue are used basically to represent Rock, Paper, and Scissors for challenges required by ownership.

11) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?

The mechanics should stay out of the way except during conflicts of ownership, and during those times should resolve the conflict quickly, leaving the focus on storytelling.

12)Do characters in your game advance? If so how?

Yes, with a sort of. It's hard to cal something advancement if you can do most anything. However the players are pushed towards adulthood, and they also receive White tokens. This is sort of advancement, it actually seems to make the character weaker as it pushes them towards the end story.

13)How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

The players define at what number of black tokens their character will "Grow up." There is also a set formula based on the ratio of White tokens to Black tokens that will force their character to grow up. As the number of Black tokens increases it becomes easier to be forced to grow up, and the player must be more careful with their magic, or face those consequences. This advancement slowly increases the challenge for the player and it magnifies the value of White tokens making White rewards become more and more valuable. It should up the tension.

14) What sort of product or effect do you want the game to produce in or on the players?

I don't know. What are some examples of product and effect in the vein of what this question is asking?

15)What areas of the game recieve extra attention or color? Why?

I don't understand this question. My guess is characters.

16) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

The whole freaking thing man. I've always wanted a good way to create stories where the protagonists are children having fantastic adventures. Anything I've seen try it has been too damn crunchy, and too restrictive. I'm hoping I'm getting it right. I'm also fascinated with the idea of ; "What is growing up?" I don't feel grown up, and I'm hoping through creation of the game or playing that maybe I'll find out why. I also think that the tension between Black and White will make good stories plus it makes an end game mechanic. This is something I've never really experienced. Most games don't end they just fade away. I also like the idea that no one has to be "stuck" being the gamemaster. I know too many Gamemasters who lament not being able to play.

17) Where does your game take the players that other games can't, don't, or won't?

Never Never land, Wonderland, Tortoro's belly, and anywhere else they want to go.

18) During Alpha and Beta state I'm going to release it via the interweb with a Creative Commons, Attribution, No Derivatives, non commerical license via .pdf and .odt. When I have the book laid out, I plan to publish via Lulu, and release a layout minus the art with a creative commons, Attribution, Share Alike, non commerical license. via .pdf and .odt.

19) Who is your target audience?

Me. You. Anyone who wants to tell strange stories about the adventures of children.
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talysman
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Posts: 675


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« Reply #1 on: February 16, 2006, 01:32:52 PM »

I'm kind of not in favor of The Power 19, because it's mainly an elaboration of the original three questions: What is your game about? What do the characters do? What do the players do? If you can answer those three questions to your staisfaction *and* to the satisfaction of the people you want to play your game, you're good.

What things like The Power 19 are supposed to do is act as a design tool to see where your design process is failing to answer the basic questions. It's not necessarily going to be useful to everyone, because sometimes people aren't going to understand a particular question. and then you have to hash out whether it's because the phrasing of the question doesn't speak to that particular person or because that particular person is not understanding an essential concept of game design.

So, looking through your answers, it looks like questions 6 & 7 are communications issues for you. You didn't answer because you are confused about why they are separate questions, for one. OK, so combine them, answer *that* question. The "correct" answer about what styles are is that they are Skewers, not necessarily Creative Agendas, but that might not be helpful. Think instead of styles of play you've actually seen: cinematic, epic, gritty, PC-as-victim, collaborative, illusionist, what have you. Which style or combination of styles do you imagine for your game?

For question 8, "credibility" and "narration" are practically the same thing, for all intents and purposes. Who gets to describe what's happening, and when? How do you decide which descriptions are true? In other words, where does the buck stop?

What I would suggest doing for the questions where you find your answer to be weak is to change the question into a design plan. Instead of "How does Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?". say "I am going to change my Character Creation rules to reinforce what my game is about in these ways..." and then come up with ways to do exactly that. You say your game is about being a kid, growing up (or, apparently, opting not to do so,) and telling Wonderland/Never Never Land style stories. OK. What can you do during character creation to reinforce that?

For question 15, the idea is that some things in your game are going to require extra steps or rules, while other things will be very simple or perhaps just handled by fiat. We've seen eight million RPGs with detailed combat systems; what those games are saying is "combat is important". If the game is about combat, this is a good design choice. If, however, the game is about computer hacking and there are barely any rules for computer hacking, but lots of rules for combat, there's a problem.

So for your game, the most detailed stuff should be the rules for creating and controlling the fantasy worlds the kids are making. Less detailed stuff would be how to determine who dies, because presumably the kids can't be killed in Neverland, they can only Grow Up and be banned from it.

Does this help?
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


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« Reply #2 on: February 16, 2006, 02:39:07 PM »

Heya,

Quick question. :)  Have you read everything here yet: Power 19 Explained.  If you have, I'll be able to help you more.  If you haven't, then this might answer a lot of your questions.

Peace,

-Troy
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reaction
Member

Posts: 30


« Reply #3 on: February 16, 2006, 11:15:22 PM »

Also, for an example, try checking out http://mightyatom.blogspot.com/2006/02/19-questions-stranger-things.html
Hopefully it will at least help you with Question 14.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
Member

Posts: 246


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« Reply #4 on: February 20, 2006, 10:19:12 AM »

With some trepidation—and knowing how folks are abou "their baby"— have you looked at some of the other threads in this forum? Specifically, those about [Avalanche]? It seems to me that you would find a LOT in common with it. Sure, your game is a sort of children-specific version of the general notion, and Avalanche's setting is very steampunk/Victorian; yet they both will have similar issue to address.

Just call me a matchmaker (and, yes, I know how a matchmaker is received when the two to be matched don't jibe);
David
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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Posts: 246


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« Reply #5 on: February 20, 2006, 10:20:32 AM »

CRAP! I am on too many threads (and none of them my own :( ).

I meant Listen to the Eather, not Avalanche.
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dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


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« Reply #6 on: February 20, 2006, 11:21:37 AM »

Hi!
  Of course Troy is the Expert in this area, it's his baby. But, I thought I'd post my thoughts to try and give the perspective of someone new to the "Power 19":
Quote
5) How does Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about? *weak*

I'm not sure.
  OK, the question here is, this is a game about kids, so you are not going to want stats like "Wisdom" or skills like "Seduction" But more importantly, Chargen can be used as a way to get people "into" your game setting. If you can break away from the "typical" chargen and do something unique like make the player choose a favorite toy for their character.

Quote
6) What types of behaviors/styles does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?

Is this asking about supporting specific creative agendas?
  Here, you want to talk about game play. do you want to encourage imagination like using an umbrella like a sword or encourage exploration like in Alice in Wonderland or..?

Quote
7)How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?

Why is this a seperate question, could it be answered with 6? Is it about creative agendas?
  This is a seperate question because people sometimes get confused. They imagine that just because their game is about "X" that the players will automatically "get it" and they don't build anything in that will encourage that. I really do think that it is better to think about these as seperate issues. What do you want to happen during the game? How can you encourage that to happen?

Quote
8)How are responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?
  I am pretty sure this is just asking, does the GM hold all the power to tell a story? Can another player introduce story elements without getting vetoed? And, how does it work?

Quote
9) What does your game do to command the player's attention, engagement, and participation?
  Don;t worry about "Weak" answers, that's the point of this excercise. If you can't some up with a good answer, maybe you have more work to do. Don't feel bad if you have a weak answer, just try and figure out how to address it in your design

Quote
14) What sort of product or effect do you want the game to produce in or on the players?

I don't know. What are some examples of product and effect in the vein of what this question is asking?
I think the issue here is, how do you want the players to feel? Do you want them in a whimsical good mood where a stack of sofa cushions is a fort. Scared that Capt Hook will run them through, Excited about what they will discover in the upside down tea room, etc? What is your game about and how do you want the players to feel after they "get it"?

Quote
15)What areas of the game recieve extra attention or color? Why?

I don't understand this question. My guess is characters.
  What have you spent the most time on in your game design of THIS game, why? If you spent 12 hours crafting char gen, and only an hour on setting, why? What were you so excited about? One of the reasons this question is asked because sometimes a designer will go off on a tangent and write TONS of stuff that will never get used in Actual Play. Your game is about being a kid, don't waste time on making rules for Passing the Bar Exam to become a lawyer, lol

  Don't feel bad if the "Power 19" makes you feel a little inadequate (I know I did), I think it does that to everyone. It's sort of the point of the excercise. To try and question how well you have thought it through and to try and bring the game back to reality. Remind you that there will be people playing this game and try to connect to the experience you are creating for them.

  It looks like you have a decent design, and you have a solid grasp on what the setting is like and what role the players will be taking. Hang in there and you should be fine.
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
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Clyde L. Rhoer
Member

Posts: 391


« Reply #7 on: February 24, 2006, 05:16:32 AM »

John: Yes, your post was definately helpful. Especially about death, I hadn't given lots of consideration to that. Thanks.

Troy: No I hadn't read; Power 19 Explained. I have now. I think when I got stuck was when you had just started on the Power 19. Thanks for the link.

Matt: Thanks. Your link was helpful also.

David Artman: No I haven't looked at Listening to the Ether. I'll be doing that after this post. I am unashamed in my idea borrowing. Thanks.

Dave M: Actually choosing a favorite thing, whether that be toy, blanket, lucky rock, etc is an important part of the game. Thanks for pointing out making note of that would be a helpful answer. Also thanks for your other help, that was the kind of things I was hoping to recieve.

Alrighty... I wanted to make sure I acknowledged everyone and thanked you for your help. I've got alot to mull over so I'm going to call this thread closed. Thanks alot for your help.

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Theory from the Closet , A Netcast/Podcast about RPG theory and design.
clyde.ws, Clyde's personal blog.
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