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Author Topic: [D53] - Critical feedback before rewrite  (Read 1792 times)
signjc
Member

Posts: 4


« on: February 17, 2006, 08:14:58 AM »

I have written a humorous role-playing game, D53, and require some feedback before I do my next rewrite (current version is 5.5).  I am particularly interested in the organization of the rules, what topics need to be covered that I've missed, what sections "work" and what sections might need a rewrite.

I plan on retaining the tone of the rules and basic mechanics, but anything else is up for improvement and/or refinement.  The rules (53 pages in word format) can be viewed at:

http://d53.compnode.net/

Please leave constructive criticism in this thread.

Thank you.
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signjc
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2006, 08:26:44 AM »

I thought about answering the power 19 but it seems kind of misses the point with my game.  So  instead I'll post the introduction:

INTRODUCTION

D53 is so great a game to play at a 24-hour coffee and toast factory let’s throw down our cards into role playing!  OK! OK!

NEEDFUL THINGS:  2 or more players.
A deck of standardized playing cards with a joker for each player.
A writing utensil and a placemat for each player.
A bottomless cup of coffee for each player. 

One of the players will be the Most Worshipful Throw Down Master (TDM), and should be addressed with much reverence because it is his solemn duty, responsibility, and happenstance to determine if other players succeed when they try so hard to GO DO IT (perform an action).  He also talks in funny voices and does great improvisations when characters entreat non-characters, aetheriologists and/or simulcrums.

All remaining players create characters to adventure in the Kitchen by doodling on their placemats.  D53 is so flexible you can write down any 10 things about your character on your placemat, thus allowing you the absolute freedom to be the adventurer you want to be.

Setting:  The Kitchen

The Kitchen is so-so impossibly large sprawling decayed waterfront metropolis containing many types of needful things for the purpose of multi-genre adventuring.  To help leave behind the sadness of your everyday persistence, fast food wrappers, and loneliness, here is some intriguing information from a Kitchen brochure:

•   The Kitchen is home to lots of sentient beings.  In fact the last census revealed that men, elves, gnomes, manticores, mummies, vampires, aliens, werewolves, cyborgs, and many minor gods and demigods were present and accounted for in all anticipated ratios.  Moreover, with minimal to Herculean effort you could certainly find AI’s, the Sphinx, Elvis, the Sweathogs, Einstein, and many other former deceased 20th century actors, musicians and comedians.  Of course there is the usual assortment of riffraff such as the thinkers, the drinkers, the taxi cab drivers, the doctors, the witchdoctors, the death squads, and Shriners.  Certainly, you will find superheroes in abundance!  Do not forget that one could certainly make the case that the Kitchen is overrun with prostitutes, crime bosses, Bruce Lee clones, fortune tellers, charlatans, fairies, drag queens, union members, seniors, swindlers, lion tamers, archers, ninjas, politicians, shamans, knights, one emperor, and a dictator.
•   The Kitchen not only has the people that are so great, there exist so great places to visit such as: City Hall, the Wharf, the Space Needle, and our own offshore Dictatorship!  A leisurely spaceflight through our orbital habitats, lunar colonies, and the circus will leave you breathless.  The adventurous all crave to hang out in the so pash Labyrinth, the oil platform, or Medieval Europe.  Certainly one can also stumble upon Broadway, 3 museums, an aquarium, the underground hideouts of criminal masterminds, a nature preserve, and post-punk apocalyptic Europe.  Please do not be afraid to take your children to the zoo, the municipal dumps, and/or the really froody amusement park.  All and more is here in the Kitchen for your enjoyment.

•   But what is all this great stuff if we can’t expand your mind?  Thus, the Kitchen has plentitudes of opportunities to improve yourself with: 3 Universities, a junior college, 2 beauty schools, a diploma mill, seminary school, adult education classes, warring memes, a school for wizardry, Public Access Television, NPR, and a school for young mutants.

•   Finally, there is never a dull moment in the Kitchen with: 2 casinos, horse racing, an NBA stadium, cock fighting, a vibrant red light district, criminal masterminds, evil mutants, chess in the park, Friday Night fights, an alien invasion, a romantic public beach, a butterfly house, an island resort, and seasonal monsoons . 
•   Certainly we are paging Mr. You to the Kitchen right away!  So let’s doodle on our place mats, hold hands, and GO DO IT right now!
WORLD RULE 0:  The most nefarious villain of all time is Mr. Toast. 

We call him Mr. Toast because anyone who has opposed has become so incredibly toasted in various vile and unbelievable ways .  Mr. Toast rules a vast criminal network with an iron fist.  He can strike anywhere, at any time, with surgical precision and stunning bravado.  Please do not fight Mr. Toast because you will die.

The Kitchen has lots of things, but persistent testing has revealed that most of the demographic does not want to adventure in rice fields, barns, and/or shanties.  Therefore, the Kitchen does not support these locations.  Consequently the persistent lack of any agriculture base in the Kitchen, almost resulted in massive and widespread starvation.  Fortunately, I just made up the fact that foods and many raw material goods arrive in the Kitchen via mail order.  In fact, you can get almost any type of good delivered by placing an order from one of the ubiquitous mail order catalog kiosks.  The general rule of thumb is: 

WORLD RULE 1:  Things can come into the Kitchen via mail order catalogue, but nothing leaves. 

Generally, things ordered via mail order will arrive in time for next adventure.  Special shipping and handling costs can expedite delivery.

Remember, the Kitchen is large but finite.  There are clearly defined geographical limitations beyond which is Nothing. 

WORLD RULE 2:  No character can travel beyond the second moon, past the 5-mile demarcation line, through the molten chocolaty core of the Kitchen, or to the other side of the Misty Mountains. 

It is totally unclear and irrelevant why this is so, but please enforce RULE 2 with brutal and unwavering dedication and anger!

Please use D53 specific language and idioms as often as possible.  This is important to put your characters in the mood to Throw Down their cards!  Also, other gamers will recognize you from your distinctive vernacular and will surely want to come over to Talk Turkey (see Rule 2.2) or Hand Jive (see Rule 2.3)!

CHAPTER ONE:  HOW TO CREATE A CHARACTER

1.0   Magic Power Card

Shuffle your deck (see Needful Things, supra.) and draw a card, which so immediately becomes your MAGIC POWER CARD (MPC).  Sign your character's name on the face of your MPC.  This is a great way to remind yourself and others (particularly disinterested strangers) that when it is revealed you can TALK TURKEY (see Rule 2.2) or even HAND JIVE (see 2.3).   
EXAMPLE:  Mr. Smith wants to play D53 at a 24-hour donut shop.  OK OK, so far.  Now Mr. Smith has a deck of cards and a joker.  Right on, because this is a Needful Thing and he still so on track.  He can right away (after shuffling) Throw Down a Card which becomes his MAGIC POWER CARD (MPC).  This is a 7 of hearts.

We think we are doing great until Mr. Smith becomes so very agitated his hand shakes spilling coffee on his placemat.  What has so deranged Mr. Smith?  It is because he must write the name of his character on the MAGIC POWER CARD, and without knowing a good name his brain is assuredly going to explode.  Does he need to go to the bathroom, ask his neighbor for help, or even make a sacrifice to the Oracle?  Not yet, here are some rules for the Mr. Smith of the World:

1.0.1      Character Name -  Option 1:  Mr. [BLANK]

Your character is named Mr. [BLANK]. Please fill in [BLANK] with a Kitchen related concept.  The kitchen could be a New Jersey kitchen, a dirt floor, and/or even the Platonic Kitchen.  For example, Mr. Swiss Cheese is great D53 name, while Mr. Fresher is clearly a kitchen related concept. 

Mr. Smith decides to name his character Mr. Small Dog.  Nice.  It is certain that many small dogs are prowling about the Kitchen looking for scraps of food.

Any disputes about whether you could find an object in the kitchen are immediately and irrefutably settled by the TDM.  Please observe that it is sometimes superior if the TDM describes the kitchen for you (see Setting:  The Kitchen, supra) to put you outlook of a GO DO IT frame of mind.

1.0.2      Character Name Option 2:  Random name generation . 

Flip out (See Rule 3.5) three (3) cards  and consult Appendix 0:  Random Name Generator.

   Option 2 gives you clearly great names like Duke Fruity Spoon, Doctor Fly Taco, and MC Smoothie Delight.  Remember that you are allowed to modify words in tense and form to suit your concept.  For example, Creamola, Creamy, and Creamsicle are all acceptable uses of the word “cream” in a character’s name.

Advanced:  For some advanced names, reverse columns C and D to achieve such names as Miz Glazed Mexican, Mr. Pasta Mystic, and Doc Blender Bee.  Truly expert players can even use column C twice or column D twice – causing such classy names like Miss Fruity Fruit, Mr. Time Tonic, and the dreaded Senor Meat Juice.
   
REMEMBER:  No character can be Mr. Toast because Mr. Toast is a non-character.  (See Rule 6.5 and World Rule 0, supra).
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
Member

Posts: 246


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« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2006, 11:57:39 AM »

A quick note before congratulations:

(p.6) "Pash" - I think you mean "posh," which stands for "port out, starboard home." The posh seats refered to the better tickets on a trans-English Channel corssing ferry, seats that would be on the eastern side of the ferry each way (out fo prevailing ocean winds, I guess?).

And now, congradulations! I haven't read EVERY page yet, but this is certainly a witty game with, surely, some beer & pretzels applications the world over (especially in Britain).

Now clean it up and let an experienced graphic designer take a whack at bookl design: this one will live or die on how it grabs the eye on a shelf (rule-light, system-light, tone-heavy: gotta sell that one!).

Keep up the good work;
David
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signjc
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #3 on: February 17, 2006, 04:17:44 PM »

Thanks for the feedback.  I'm using pash as short for passion, its slangy but I like SKIPAPERVOO - Skipapervoo I love you!

Let me know what your thoughts are after you have a chance to look at the rules more closely.  My hope is that I've written a ruleset that is fun to read.

Cheers!

pash    ( P )  Pronunciation Key  (psh)
n. Slang
A romantic infatuation: “She develops a sudden pash for Richard... a widower with a... son” (Los Angeles Times).
The object of such an infatuation.
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Justin Marx
Member

Posts: 88


« Reply #4 on: February 17, 2006, 05:05:39 PM »

I'll ditto what David said and say that I think it's very very cool game. I enjoy reading it.

However, for a game that is designed for being fast and funny, even though I like the way the ruleset is written, layout is a big issue as 53 pages to get into a quick game is a lot of reading. The basic rules are straightforward, but need to be represented and perhaps trimmed a little so that they can all be encapsulated on one or two pages. That way players and the Most Worshipful TDM can go through the rules superquick. Keep the verbatim stuff that reads really well and gives the colour to your game, but perhaps precede it with the rules written out simply. For instance, if you could explain how cards are used in general, in overarching terms (for instance, default suit orders, high cards, low cards, actions require drawing cards, hearts are used in healing tasks etc.) in one section of the rules, with reference notes for later rules, it would help people get an idea of how the cards are used without having to go through each of the individual rules. In general, if you can draw the general rules out and explicate them first, then specify them later, it would help players aquaint themselves a lot quicker.

As Dave said, a good layout would do wonders for the game. As far as rewriting is concerned, I don't see any real problems with the writing, apart from a certain level of absurdist incomprehensibility (which is the point) - the trick is to keep the absurdism less in the rules writing and more in the descriptive stuff.

But, once again, I like it. The opening description of the Kitchen had me.

Justin
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Bryan Hansel
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Posts: 111


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« Reply #5 on: February 17, 2006, 10:36:13 PM »

Maybe the point is that the characters go do whatever, but if that isn't the point then what do the characters go do?  Does the TDM make adventures? What does the TDM do?  Maybe write a TDM section.

Also, like stated above a quick reference sheet for conflict resolution would be nice to have.  Otherwise, it was a fun read.

Bryan
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signjc
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #6 on: February 18, 2006, 05:18:11 AM »

Thank you for your feedback so far.  It is apparent that I need some reference sheets for character creation and conflict resolution.  Maybe a quickstart guide - D53 style. 

A TDM section is also a good idea.  Right now there is a disconnect between the setting of the kitchen and the admittedly bizarre adventures of Mr. Small Dog and C. text which depicts adventure scenarios that few people would ever want to actually RP.  [Unless there is an untapped market for RP'ing in Poetry Slams?]  Maybe I could use that section to highlight how to handle other genres in the Kitchen.  If I'm adventurous, I'll whip up a sample adventure.

It's a bit trickier trying to determine how much clarity the ruleset needs.  I like the feeling of wading through endless numbered paragraphs that are crossreferenced in an attempt to to piece together the rules...I refer to this as that "Avalon Hill" feeling.  Something to ponder.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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Posts: 246


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« Reply #7 on: February 18, 2006, 06:21:34 AM »

Quote
It's a bit trickier trying to determine how much clarity the ruleset needs.  I like the feeling of wading through endless numbered paragraphs that are crossreferenced in an attempt to to piece together the rules...I refer to this as that "Avalon Hill" feeling.  Something to ponder.

I understand that, and thus disagree with those who call for "order." That "Avalon Hill feeling" is fine, given the overall color-rich nature of your game. Go with it--including the ridiculous paragraph numbering and stacks of footnotes (I was going to comment on both before I realized they are appropriate).

But that doesn't quite speak to quality or richness of graphic design and layout, which you haven't addressed. I really think this game--to be a product--will have to look and feel almost like a graphic novel. It would be a disservice to the game, to produce it monotone or with minimal artwork. Probably half of an owner's use of the game book will be the inital read: the system does not exactly need a lot of re-referencing to recall rules. As such, that experience will need a LOT of value-add, in my opinion. Four-color, glossy paper, softcover (at least), art on every page, clean and consistent typography (or not, if balanced). As I said, consult with a pro; it will be worth the $40 - $60 an hour they will want to come up with a design and production templates. Or MAYBE enlist the help of a student designer, and offer them credit to go with the meager fee he or she will deserve.

Have fun with it!
David
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