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Author Topic: [GLASS] Setting or No Setting?  (Read 4134 times)
Valamir
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« Reply #15 on: March 07, 2006, 02:25:50 PM »

I am in a defensive posture--trying to justify my product concept to you--as you claim it to be worthless to most consumers, derivative of "dozens" of existing products (I couldn't find any you listed except Poly--and it uses DICE?!?), and following the path to failure of GURPS and Hero (uh, OK... I'll take 10% of GURPS's "failure").

Yeah...see you are being defensive.  I never said you're product was derivative of anything.  I merely said there are lots of freely/cheaply available LARP rules that offer perfectly functional mechanics out there already.

What this means is that your game needs something to distinguish it from what current LARPers are already using.  Whether you use dice, or cards, or odds and evens, or who can blow the better smoke ring is immaterial.  If the LARP audience out there is already using a game set they've been playing with for months or years you need to offer them something that will convince them to change.  Merely substituting one set of perfectly good resolution mechanics for another set of perfectly good resolution mechanics as a general rule isn't going to get you very far. 

What you need is a value proposition...what does your game accomplish that they aren't already getting from 1) the rules they've been using, 2) any of the rules they could get for free already, or 3) the inevitable "perfect rules set" they've been building in their head for years.  In other words...why use your game?  Because Harm 3 is Harm 3 regardless of whether its an even sword or a lightsaber?  While that sounds really neat, is it really enough to get people to switch systems in and of itself?

And what about the people who aren't currently LARPers but are curious.  They aren't wedded to a system yet, so offering them not only a system but a template for putting together interesting games would again be a great distinguishing feature. 

I also certainly did not say GURPS and HERO were failures.  I said very specificially that their success stemmed largely from having staked their claim first.  There certainly have been better designed universal games to come down the pipe since then.  None have succeeded in dethroning GURPS or HERO.  Why?  Because those games are so entrenched that no game that is merely incrementally better has a chance of getting many people to switch.  In the world of LARPs you've got 50 million little homebrew systems that obviously the GMing crew using them is going to be extraordinarily loyal to, and you've got Mind's Eye which is the 800 lb Gorrilla that everybody knows. 

You don't have the benefit of being first.  You may have the best single set of LARP rules ever written, but that in itself is not enough to get people to switch.  Its not enough to be better...you have to be different.  And no matter how clever your resolution system is, a resolution system is a resolution system is a resolution system.  IMO that alone isn't enough of a value proposition.

Quote
If, however, you are trying to suggest that I make a "Situation Generator" or a "Scene Setter" (Sempiternity's point) then I ask you what I asked him: any ideas? You suggest Dogs--yet Dogs is a one-off game; almost a board game. How does that float for, oh, let's say 10 years? You also suggest MLWM. I haven't read the rules, but it seems that they are focused on serving that game's general tone. How do I take its method and apply it to a "golden age" game--or realistic game--or any tone other than bleak (you know, if the players are no one's servant?).

I didn't say copy and paste.  I said see those as examples and then go from there.  Situations don't last for 10 years.  Situations last for a play session or two.  The only difference between a short 3 session campaign and one that lasts 10 years, is the short one runs through 1 situation and then assumes the players will move on to something else, while the 10 year one runs through many many situations over the course of play.

If you really think your game needs to be designed for very long campaign periods...then build that in.  I can't tell you how to do that.  I can only point to some very successful, very effective examples and say "see, that's the sort of thing I'm talking about...now take that as inspiration and figure out how to do something like that in your game". 

For the record, Dogs is not a one shot. 


Quote
In essence, if I don't come up with some system for situation--a mechanical way for GMs to build game worlds that will use GLASS action and resolution methods--then I have nothing to bring to the table. I should just burn it all, eh? Just another heartbreaker on the Forge *yawn*.

I did not say your game was worthless, I offered what I feel is a very very strong way to distinguish your game the pack.  Something nobody else I know of has done for LARPs.  Am I saying "your game sucks unless you do this"  Hell no.

You asked for advice: "is option A better or option B better"  I'm merely providing the advice you asked for as best as I can.  And my advice is: "A or B is the wrong question to worry about.  Neither is going to distinguish your game from the other options out there, But here's a possible option C that I think would make a difference."

But yes, being willfully unaware of the dozens of games that have gone before you, doing very little research to learn about them, being convinced that you've built a better mousetrap that on nothing more than its own genius design is bound to be successful because its just that good, and assuming that once you put the word out people are going to be interested in adopting your game for 10 year long campaigns...yeah...those are warning signs that you're headed down Heartbreak row.

I'm saying do the homework, study what's out there already, and determine what your value proposition is.  I offered one idea that I think is pretty damn fertile and untapped.  If you don't like it, don't use it.  But I recommend finding something beyond a clever resolution mechanic because no matter how clever yours may be, clever mechanics are a dime a dozen.

I say this with all the spirit of constructiveness I can muster.
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TroyLovesRPG
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Posts: 150


« Reply #16 on: March 07, 2006, 08:52:03 PM »

Hello David,

Don't get discouraged by anything that you read on the Forge. Also, don't expect instant praise for anything you write. Imagine the years of RPG time these people have. We want something new and excting. How often do you think that's going to happen.

Please, write your game and play it. Just don't leave it on paper waiting for a chat room to show interest. Call your friends and make it happen. Post notices in game stores. Go to a convention and introduce it in the free rooms. Have fun!

You have a great idea here and put a lot of time into the writing. I didn't read every word in your PDF and skimmed through picking out phrases that caught my interest.

I've never played a LARP and the idea that the player must perform a physical action or imitate the act is very obvious. Sounds like what kids do. It immediately shows the other players what the character is doing and how they can react to the situation created. It reminds me of ASL--American Sign Language. ASL is based on imitating the action of the concept, then it developed abstract and regional signs. GLASS may take this route.

GLASS has amazing potentials and it could benefit from separating all the parts into settings that the players want to create. So, you have a base generic system that simulates all of the real world actions, reactions and social interplay. Create additional chapters that add more actions and consequences, still retaining the base system. I see you have ways to handle sci-fi, horror, super-powers and heroics. Let the players start with a base group of rules that work as a whole then add sets to change the setting.

When I saw the word "tag" and LARP, I thought about tag-football. As I read more, I understand that it could represent challenges, information, etc. One possible use of simulated action and tags would be to tag people and let those become interactive. Simulate combat by using grab bags with all the abilities of the character on chits and an equal number of soak chits. Take turns removing a chit from the other's bag. More powerful weapons let you take two. Called shots let you take two and pick the one you want to keep. As health and true ability chits are removed then the character is affected. The character can perform first aid or cast a heal spell to take back a chit. Tag a hat with a color to indicate mood. Add red tags to the body indicating damage or use velcro strips and wrap them on the affected limb. This could work at conventions where overt physical action is frowned upon. I've seen LARPs at the Fantasy Fair in Altanta (many years ago) and it was very subtle. Rock, paper, scissors doesn't cause much of a scene.

Time for a snack.

Troy
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pells
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Posts: 192


« Reply #17 on: March 08, 2006, 12:37:02 AM »

I'll add my grain of salt (or so to say).

Setting for LARP
One thing that has not been mentionned so far is that, at least it seems so to me, setting for LARP is space dependant. As you don't play around a table, the imaginary space is in fact the actual place of play. Do you have enough space for 50 or 200 players ? Enough space for one, two or three kingdoms ? Do you have woods, swamps, structures ? I think those problems affect the setting you're building. The participants also. Let's say there are trolls in the setting you provide me, but I don't have any players who would play that !!

So, how about finding a way to present setting in which you can add/remove some parts quite easily ?

I tend to agree with Valimir but LARP are very specifics. The main problem I see with his examples is that they are stong NAR product. In LARP, there is all kind of players. Also, the number of players is a real problem for the analogy with TT rpg. I guess it could be done for LARP, but it needs to be very specific for the purpose of it.

Setting no setting ?
What is your main trade ? From what I understand selling rules. You're trying to build up rules for LARP that is independant of the setting, that may use any setting. And you don't want to tag your product. Then, just do it !!! Your problematic seems be about a setting. Why not present more than one, but very light. Something like three : scifi/horror/fantasy. Each time you give an example, give three, each for one setting. At the end of book, provide small appendix with the three settings (maybe something like 20 pages each). That way you won't tag your product and prove your point.

Maybe another idea : building a community thru a website of GLASS user. Newcomers would be able to choose what setting they prefer among the ones available. And then again, you prove your point : GLASS can be used with every setting.

Returning to Valimir's idea. I think it would be great if your three settings were written the same way, using the same techniques for writing them (let's say like a town for dogs). That way, even your community of users could use the same style. That would be the GLASS' touch for creating setting. If there would be many settings for GLASS, trying to have them looks alike would be a great advantage.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #18 on: March 08, 2006, 01:58:22 PM »

Don't get discouraged by anything that you read on the Forge. Also, don't expect instant praise for anything you write. Imagine the years of RPG time these people have. We want something new and excting. How often do you think that's going to happen.
I can think of ONE time: GLASS Power 19, baby! It's the only Universal Contact-based LARP in town!

Let the players start with a base group of rules that work as a whole then add sets to change the setting.
I intend to have what you suggest (and what Sebastien suggests: "Why not present more than one, but very light. Something like three : scifi/horror/fantasy."). I am presenting, at last count, twelve "genres" (see GLASS v0.9, sections 10 and 10.1, pages 22-23).

These are, in Forge terminology, Settings without Situation but with some Color. Each will have genre-specific Character Creation rule suggestions, "typical" Items, and "genre-flavored" (i.e. Colorful) Abilities, Ability Lists and Packages (sets of Abilites that are cost-reduced by specific Character Defects).

Quote from: pells
One thing that has not been mentionned so far is that, at least it seems so to me, setting for LARP is space dependant. As you don't play around a table, the imaginary space is in fact the actual place of play. ... The participants also. Let's say there are trolls in the setting you provide me, but I don't have any players who would play that !! ... So, how about finding a way to present setting in which you can add/remove some parts quite easily?
First, good point: I will want to address that in my GM Section (Game Creation General Theory). And hope it suffices--this is tricky to make mechanical. I mean, do I say a "kingdom" must be at least two acres, or what? Do I require the GM to come up with 2-4 enemies, 4-6 stages of revelation and conflict, and put them into a hat to write a Situation (a plot)?

Second, about participants and ECs: many games will require each player to spend a specific percentage of time as ECs. Otherwise, only GMs (and willing Hosts) can provide opponents to PCs/SCs. Then again, other games might be totally PVP, and don't need ECs much or at all; then, then GMs can usually handle it.

Third, modular setting should work; though, more often, the game space is demarcated with permanent locations (in-game sites like Inns or Town Halls or Hospitals) and "flexable" locations--game space that might be one site during one event and a different site during a different event (yep, I will let GMs know of ways subtle and overt to get players to show up at a flexable site for events). And, of course, some sites are what they are: Assassin games don't usually set up "imaginary" places overtop of real ones--you see what you see.

BUT, if by "setting parts" you mean that maybe I need a method whereby a game GM could, say, manage his metaplots and stories with an online database of calendared events.... ;)

Quote from: pells
building a community thru a website of GLASS user. Newcomers would be able to choose what setting they prefer among the ones available. And then again, you prove your point : GLASS can be used with every setting.
I call it The GLASS House--it's already a part of the plan (see other threads or search on GLASS House).

And I certainly home to develop a "format" or at least a template for GMs to define a game--that will be pretty critical to making any kind of character and game database. I have already started with some means and metrics (see section 10). There is certainly more to come. For example, I want to have an Ability Design Checklist that lets GMs easily forbid or limit a particular Ability purchase for their game, using maximum Up Cost (0 = not allowed, of course). That, coupled with genre standards (the twelve in the book, more that might come with The GLASS House--your idea, basically) and Power and Success Levels should make it easy to "migrate" characters from game to game, or at least, help players find appropriate games to suit themselves.

Quote from: pells
...the number of players is a real problem for the analogy with TT rpg. I guess it could be done for LARP, but it needs to be very specific for the purpose of it.
In particular, when one attempts to develop a specific Theme, or one tries to write a "plotline" that the players will "get into," or one tries to lead players through (what I call) "scenario play": the players follow the GMs around from place to place, receiving descriptions and getting high-interactivity (with GMs) play.

All of those are Just Plain Hard. Most of the time those methods for Situation are employed, the GMs are crying about no one showing up for the party. It usually works better for GMs to "shadow" players and look for opportunities to interject world descriptions, step into play as an EC, or even take charge of leading a scenario when the players get to the "right place" for it to start.

And systemitizing methods to do that stuff is Just Plain Harder. That's what makes White Wolf Minds Eye Theater "metaplot" really a matrix of factions. That's why fantasy LARPs have "bad" races and "good" races. That's why ALL the LARPs I have ever played (including paintball scenarios) have a resource with some efficacy for the characters (or players). Factions stimulate inter-player conflict; resources stimulate exploration and PC v. EC conflict (PVE).

I think the key is to set up tensions and conflicts without any particular character- or timing-specific hooks, and let the player interractions (the "plots") emerge. Then, a clever GM can, perhaps, introduce major ECs as foils (for Theme) or antagonists (to complicate factionalism) and see where he can guide the game. But most GMs are content to keep the mosters wandering, the merchants doors open, and rumors flowing. 200 players can generate SO much more plot than 5 or 10 GMs, it's almost laughable to think of GMs working to provide any at all. Elements of Situation that are usually within a LARP GMs purview are hardly more than extrapolations from Setting details.

Thanks for the input; now tell me how much of a book like GLASS you'd like to see have a SPECIFIC, DEEP setting (in addition to the twelve Mini Settings I mention above). This thread is (was?) primarily a poll thread to try to garner rationales for peoples opinions about how much of a universal rule book should be "tied up" in a single implementation of it--a deep setting and situation "chapter."

Of course, ideas for alternate methods are welcome. Suggestions that I pull an alternative method out of my --- (or that I give up for dead this pointless project) are not that useful.

Thanks all;
David
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Valamir
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« Reply #19 on: March 08, 2006, 03:29:29 PM »

Quote
In particular, when one attempts to develop a specific Theme, or one tries to write a "plotline" that the players will "get into," or one tries to lead players through (what I call) "scenario play": the players follow the GMs around from place to place, receiving descriptions and getting high-interactivity (with GMs) play.

All of those are Just Plain Hard. Most of the time those methods for Situation are employed, the GMs are crying about no one showing up for the party. It usually works better for GMs to "shadow" players and look for opportunities to interject world descriptions, step into play as an EC, or even take charge of leading a scenario when the players get to the "right place" for it to start.

And systemitizing methods to do that stuff is Just Plain Harder.


For for clarity, the above is emphatically NOT what I was suggesting at all.  Just in case you were thinking it was.

Creating a system for establishing situation is about as diametrically opposite "plot lines" and "scenario play" as you can get.
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Nathan P.
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« Reply #20 on: March 08, 2006, 03:51:44 PM »

This thread is (was?) primarily a poll thread to try to garner rationales for peoples opinions about how much of a universal rule book should be "tied up" in a single implementation of it--a deep setting and situation "chapter."

David,

Polls are notoriously useless, especially in such a small sample set. Personally, I think that the best thing to do is decide, based on your priorities and goals for your game, what you want to do, and then devote all of your energy to implementing that decision in the most powerful way you can do it.

People that are jazzed about what your jazzed about will play the game for the same reasons you write it, and the better job you do with it the more fun they will have. People who aren't jazzed about what your jazzed about won't play it, no matter how well done it is.

Personally? I would decide what I wanted to do about setting, see how that impacts the rest of my design, and then come back here with specific questions to help solve problems that come up from that impact.

I hope thats helpful.
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Nathan P.
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pells
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« Reply #21 on: March 09, 2006, 02:14:25 AM »

David, I would agree with Nathan. I'll still comment, but maybe that's exactly the kind of things you shouldn't listen to ;-)

I think we both face the same dilemma, but on different parts of the specter. I think I have a setting which can be used with different mechanics, you think you have a mechanic that can be used for any setting. Just like you suggested me to either go with multiple mechanics or none, I would recommand you go with multiple light settings to illustrate the implementation of GLASS or none at all. And for almost the same reasons you proposed for my product.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #22 on: March 09, 2006, 07:50:28 AM »

Quote
I would recommend you go with multiple light settings to illustrate the implementation of GLASS or none at all. And for almost the same reasons you proposed for my product.

Touche. :)

As there seem to be no others offering opinions on percentage of printed material (or further supporting rationales) for a Big Main Setting, I think I can conclude that I won't include one. That was my instinct, originally, but other thread discussions drove me to posit this poll, in the hopes of hearing some solid reasons for or against a "canonical" or single, deep setting in a universal rule book.

Eventually, through The GLASS House and (perhaps) follow-up publications, I will have many very deep and detailed settings that use GLASS mechanics. But not in the release of the core rules. GLASS v1 will be, it seem, closer to TriStat than Champions.

Thanks everyone for your time and input. This thread is closed.
David
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