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Author Topic: [Madness Descends] Very Rough Draft, Questions about Character Creation  (Read 2448 times)
ChrisJaxn
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Posts: 18


« on: February 17, 2006, 08:06:00 PM »

Okay, I've finished a (rather rough indeed) draft of my vaguely-Call of Cthulhu based game.

here.

The questions I have at the moment are as follows:

Firstly, is the graph material relatively clear? Without understanding that, the rest of the game really just sort of falls apart, as it is currently designed. I am intending to put in some graphical examples of the concepts. How many do you think I would need, and of what?

(really, I want people to tell me what they don't understand and what needs better explanations, so I can fix things. I don't really want my game to only be accessible to math geeks)

Secondly, could you create a character using these rules? This does depend some on understanding the graphs.

Ideally I'll be playtesting this soon, but it might be a bit tricksy to get together a group (as I think this would work much less well over the internet).

Thanks for your input,
Chris Jackson
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Bryan Hansel
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Posts: 111


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« Reply #1 on: February 17, 2006, 10:11:41 PM »

Hi Chris,

I understand the graphs and how to create characters with them.  It seems pretty straight forward.  What I didn't understand at first is why you use the graphs to create characters. After I read the insanity rules I understood.  It would be helpful to introduce some more text into character creation explaining what the edge represent in terms of future insanity.

The other thing I'm wondering is that if the scenario is mapped out ahead of time, does the game need a GM?

Bryan
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knicknevin
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Posts: 105


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« Reply #2 on: February 19, 2006, 05:29:22 AM »

The character graph was easy to follow and I made my own character in a couple of minutes using these rules.

What you really need, though, is an example of how to construct a scenario graph: going by what you've written, it seems the GM chooses how many nodes to construct their graph from and then proceeds along the same lines as the character graph, addding two edges for each node after the initial triangle. Is that right?

The other thing I'm wondering is that if the scenario is mapped out ahead of time, does the game need a GM?

You could go a GM'less route by letting players take it in turns to create the scenario graph; start with a triangle with 3 pre-defined 'common' scenes (e.g. Library, Bar & Shop or whatever).
Each player has 3-4 nodes to add to this (depending on how 'big' the players want the game to be), taking it in turns to add 1 node and two edges. A player could also sacrifice one of their character nodes to create an additional scene node after running out of their allot ed number...or vice versa, possibly, though that might make the game too easy. In either case, the scenario graph is constructed before the character graphs.

In GM'less mode, all decisions and narrations are made by the player, e.g. they always choose which of their nodes becomes an insanity node and spreads the insanity to other nodes.

I'd be very interested in playtesting this game to see how it functions, but I think some examples of character nodes & graphs and scenario nodes & graphs need to be added to the document.
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Caveman-like grunting: "James like games".
ChrisJaxn
Member

Posts: 18


« Reply #3 on: February 19, 2006, 07:33:55 AM »

The idea of GMless play was one of the first things I brought up when first asking here about this idea.

I think, however, that the very negative events that happen in between investigative scenes really need a GM to drive them. Because, the longer the characters take investigating, the worse these things are supposed to get, and I don't see players being so motivated as to willingly inflict such things on their characters.

And if they are, I imagine that they would then be less likely to "chicken out" and take on the monster early to prevent more of these negative events.

And yes, I do plan on creating sample scenario graphs to help with the rules. As well as, most likely, a sample character or two.

Thanks for looking at the character rules. I'm glad they seem to work smoothly and simply.
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Christoph Boeckle
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Posts: 455

Geneva, Switzerland


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« Reply #4 on: February 19, 2006, 11:57:53 AM »

Incredible! Yesterday evening I wrote up notes for my own Cthulhu Mythos game and today somebody posts a Cthulhu Mythos game! (They are quite different though.)

I like the idea of the graphs, but I'm really not sure I get it 100%. I'd love to see some examples. On the other hand, I know a lot of players who would be frightenend by the mathematical aspect.

If you're afraid the players would "chicken" out, try adding some conditions they have to meet before being able to take on the monster.

In my game, I made insanity a tactical option that the player may choose to take: narration rights go up concerning the paranormal aspects of play, but the character risks becoming unreliable for the end scene (where the mystery is revealed). You might want to consider it that way if you need a drive to replace the GM.

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Regards,
Christoph
StefanDirkLahr
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Posts: 79


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« Reply #5 on: February 19, 2006, 12:06:26 PM »

I made up a quick sample character sheet, to see if i understand how it works:

http://www.angelfire.com/space2/sempiternity/MadnessDescends_Graphs.pdf

Is this what you imagined a character sheet looking like?

Also, about the connection level of traits - when i was making that sheet i tried to make each trait be connected in some way to every trait that it shared a line with. If you could somehow formalize that arrangement in the rules it might really help with both the visualization of the character & the mechanics of trait use and fallout (insanity).
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Stefan Dirk Lahr, dreaming the impossible dream
ChrisJaxn
Member

Posts: 18


« Reply #6 on: February 19, 2006, 02:05:18 PM »

Is this what you imagined a character sheet looking like?

Also, about the connection level of traits - when i was making that sheet i tried to make each trait be connected in some way to every trait that it shared a line with. If you could somehow formalize that arrangement in the rules it might really help with both the visualization of the character & the mechanics of trait use and fallout (insanity).

Yes, that is pretty much exactly what I imagined a created character would look like.



As to the second piece, I was thinking mostly that the traits wouldn't need to be very obviously connected to have a line between them on the graph.

Rather, I was thinking more that the line on the graph would define which traits are the most strongly interconnected for the character. As to an explanation of the connection, that would be up  to the player, and would probably really only come into play when considering what to turn traits into when insanity strikes.

Your idea seems like it could work, but if I put in rules about the fact that traits have to be connected already, then it may rule out some paths of character advancement (assuming that characters stick around long enough to make this an issue).


Though, this gives me an interesting idea: to flesh out characters more (which should help with transforming insanity traits, and also give the GM fodder for the bad stuff that happens), perhaps it would be worthwhile to offer players a reward for taking all of the edges (lines) in their character graph and describing the connection between the two elements.

Eg: "Son of an Heiress" to "Expert Marksman" could be described as:
"Well, mom always did like it when dad and I brought back fresh pheasant for the cook..."

Then, in the case of Stefan's example, the player would have an easier time of coming up with these connections, making the character more coherent (but still allowing for more divergent traits).

Any thoughts?
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StefanDirkLahr
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Posts: 79


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« Reply #7 on: February 19, 2006, 02:25:25 PM »

Oh, that is an excellent idea! And if you drew your graph big enough, you could write that sort of thing right along the line...

The potential to change the web, and add to it, in play, in a very visual way, is something not to be underestimated! ;)
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Stefan Dirk Lahr, dreaming the impossible dream
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