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Author Topic: Spookybeans is here  (Read 6488 times)
Ben Morgan
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Posts: 307


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« on: February 23, 2006, 01:30:12 PM »

Spookybeans, the gothic comics roleplaying game, has now reached playtesting phase. Check out the rules at www.spookybeans.com, and let Dregg or me know what you think.

My main question is this: these rules all work fine in my head, but have never actually been tested yet. Do they actually work?

Also, any suggestions as far as the website itself are appreciated. I tried to make it pretty as well as accessible.

-- Ben
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2006, 01:55:28 PM »

Hey, Ben...
I really like Spookybeans. It was cute, and fun.

I have a couple questions about reaching Happy-happy and Doom-doom.

There is no way to reach either without investing Oooohs into a roll, is there?
Therefore, if I was sitting at 9 Doom-doom's, and 9 Happy-happy's...

Could I just never spend any Ooohs, and never reach a character ending?
That's my interpretation.
And so... if a character WANTS to do that, is that cool with you? Or does that go against what you were striving for?

How quickly did you want Ooohs to accumulate? I got the feeling you wanted them to be gained and spent in a fairly fast-paced manner, and that things like Unnatural Coincidences (or whatever they were) were to be a reachable and achievable thing (ie, something you don't need to save up for, for a long time)

Is that correct?


And finally...
Reading this reminded me of the show Creepy Stories. Y'know, the one narrated by the Cockroach and the Maggot....
And the narrator sequences were puppet sequences, but then it segued into a short cartoon?

...and every story starts and ends with "it happened to a friend of a friend of mine."

Anyways, this distinctly brought up an image of that show.
Is that the kind of flavour you were going for, to an extent?
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Ben Morgan
Member

Posts: 307


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« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2006, 02:42:58 PM »

Quote
I have a couple questions about reaching Happy-happy and Doom-doom.

There is no way to reach either without investing Oooohs into a roll, is there?
Therefore, if I was sitting at 9 Doom-doom's, and 9 Happy-happy's...

Could I just never spend any Ooohs, and never reach a character ending?
That's my interpretation.
And so... if a character WANTS to do that, is that cool with you? Or does that go against what you were striving for?

The idea is that Oooh is really the juice that runs the game; without it, your characters are no more special than Fred the hot dog vendor or Doris the crazy cat lady.

Theoretically, you could sit there at 9 Happy-Happy or 9 Doom-Doom (or even both), and simply stop spending Oooh. It kinda goes against what the game is about, but it's not a big deal. I'm still working on how Happy-Happy and Doom-Doom interact with the rest of the game, so this part will get tightened up fairly soon. At the moment, Oooh is linked to Happy-Happy and Doom-Doom because I wanted the spending of Oooh to always be a gamble.

Quote
How quickly did you want Ooohs to accumulate? I got the feeling you wanted them to be gained and spent in a fairly fast-paced manner, and that things like Unnatural Coincidences (or whatever they were) were to be a reachable and achievable thing (ie, something you don't need to save up for, for a long time)

My goal is for GMs to be fairly generous with Oooh points give out Oooh points like candy. Ideally, I'd like players to be able to spend 2 or 3 Oooh points every other roll or so, and be able to attempt a Coincidence (with a fairly reasonable chance of success) maybe once a session.

-- Ben
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2006, 06:32:39 PM »

Quote
give out Oooh points like candy
Perfect.

Quote
attempt a Coincidence (with a fairly reasonable chance of success) maybe once a session
About this...
And maybe this isn't a concern...

But have you ever seen that X-files about the luckiest/unluckiest man ever?
Strange, freakish, bizarre 1in10,000,000odds things are always happening around him, and its always tied to having the worst/best luck physically possible.

What if my character wanted to emulate this?
If I just never spent Ooooh on rolls... Since I would normally be spending 2 or 3 ever other roll... I'd effectively be stockpiling a Oooh per roll if that ratio held true.

That'd mean that I could just solve everything through unnatural coincidences, couldn't I?

I'm not suggesting that's a bad thing though. Might make a really interesting character concept. "I'm not that special, but really weird stuff happens all around me."

Wow, I'm longwinded. Anyways: Is it okay if players just save up their Ooohs for coincidences, or would you RATHER that they keep this in check?
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Ben Morgan
Member

Posts: 307


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« Reply #4 on: February 25, 2006, 05:31:27 AM »

It's all good. Right now, I see stockpiling Oooh as a perfectly valid way of playing. Basically, there's three ways to win rolls:

1. Actually being good at something so you have a large dice pool to begin with. This is bog standard RPG stuff, and pretty boring in comparison.
2. Rolling, failing, and taking an Ouchie to turn it into a success, for the price of having something else inconvenient happen to the character.
3. Spending Oooh to boost your dice pool before you roll. Every time you do this, you're pushing your character one step closer to either their good ending or bad ending.

So if you decide to not spend any Oooh the whole game in order to save it up and then blow it all on a coincidence, that's perfectly OK, because you probably had a really hard time getting there. Just make sure that whatever you come up with is worth all those dice.

Of course, it has a lot to do with player intentions as well. If you were stockpiling Oooh just to be an asshole, then it's the responsibility of the rest of the group to beat you with pointed sticks for it. No set of rules, no matter how extensive, can replace the judgement of a good GM in combating munchkinism.

-- Ben
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
jburneko
Member

Posts: 1351


« Reply #5 on: February 25, 2006, 02:11:53 PM »

Hello Ben,

I really like the source material you reference for this game.  I'm not sure what your design goals are so what I'm about to say might be off base for you.  What's missing for me right now is a reason for playing these kinds of characters as represented by the game.  Where is my investment in the character and their situation?

What I really like about the comic Lenore is that it's all about how children never quite realize the seriousness of their actions.  Playing with matches is fun but children don't realize that if something goes wrong mommy and daddy could be rendered destitute.  Lenore playing leap-frog that ends in a wood-chipper is one of my favorites of this kind of storyline.

The problem I'm talking about is solved by games like Dogs in the Vineyard or My Life with Master by front loading situation into the characters or games like Primetime Adventures or Sorcerer by having a "sign on the dotted line" mechanic where once filled in that's what the game drives towards.

Do you see Happy-Happy and Doom-Doom being that "sign on the dotted line" idea?  That once those are filled in that's what the character's all about?  If that's the case I'd really like to see more of an impact of Happy Happy and Doom Doom getting close to resolution.  Something that indicates, "things are reaching a climax for *this* character."  Something that makes the strain between Happy Happy and Doom Doom more tight.

But like I said, perhaps off from what you're trying to acomplish.

Jesse
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Dregg
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« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2006, 08:12:18 AM »

One of the things that seems to be getting lost in translation is the "Ouchies". One of the major design points of the game was self destruction and humiliation. In order to save the day, you had to put your self into as much trouble as you can get into. Happy Happy and Doom Doom are endgames, but they should never be realistic goals. For example in that Lenore example that jburneko gave us, the Happy Happy in that situation would have been the woodchipper.
There is more to come, the GM's section should be an interesting one for us to tackle. I want to have a section on Lingo in the game where speaking in non-sequitors(sp?) becomes very common place.

Any feedback on the "The Hollow" setting?
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J. Carpio "Dregg"
Gaming Coordinator I-CON (iconsf.org)
Chapter 13 Press co founder(www.chapter13press.com)
Column Writer "Lights, Camera, Action!" (silven.com)
Bryan Hansel
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« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2006, 09:47:34 AM »

Hey guys, I love the website and the game is very interesting.  You had me up to the point of the Conflict system.  Setting Tar numbers is nice and everything, but just seems like having to roll a bunch more of dice to arrive at the same conclusion as the skill system.  The final outcome is exactly the same, because you either fail or don't fail, and if you fail there is no greater consquence than failing at the skill system.  Why not tie the Conflict system into gaining Ooohs or into Ouchies like Bringing Down the Pain in TSoY?

Bryan
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Spooky Fanboy
Member

Posts: 585


« Reply #8 on: February 26, 2006, 11:00:21 AM »

One of the things that seems to be getting lost in translation is the "Ouchies". One of the major design points of the game was self destruction and humiliation. In order to save the day, you had to put your self into as much trouble as you can get into. Happy Happy and Doom Doom are endgames, but they should never be realistic goals. For example in that Lenore example that jburneko gave us, the Happy Happy in that situation would have been the woodchipper.

I think that you need to tie Ouchies to Oooh if you want that to come across. That's one thing I've noticed in the playtesting: My players get more in the spirit of things when you reward them for making their lives interesting. We're trying to tie down a ratio, and the one we've got so far (5 Ouchies=1 Oooh) might need work. Also, the advice on getting the "party" together and what type of scenarios to run needs more work. I'd recommend some advice on how to extrapolate based on player's characters, and design from there.

The setting has worked fine for us. All kinds of irreverent fun to have. "Votkatonic U." hasn't been quite the same since we started...
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Ben Morgan
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Posts: 307


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« Reply #9 on: February 27, 2006, 05:31:02 AM »

I originally had it so that one of the things that earn you Oooh was taking Ouchies. I took it out for some reason, but now I'll put it back. You don't even need to work out some kind of ratio. Give 'em a point every time they do something that makes their character's life more complicated. Just remember what Jules said: When you do it, you do it cool.

And Dregg's absolutely right. Happy-Happy and Doom-Doom are both just endings, the only actual difference between them is which one the player wants to see happen. Your character's Happy-Happy could actually be some really horrible soul-crushing defeat in the mind of the character, but for the player, it's the most humorous ending. I'll put a section in about "playing to lose". Also, there is an element of "this is what the character's all about" to it, and that's what I'm working on tightening up.

The whole purpose behind the Conflict system is focus. Sure you could just use single Skill rolls for everything, but the result would likely look very rushed. Sometimes that's what you want. There's a whole section about the level of detail in combat in the Amber Diceless rulebook where Erik Wujick goes on about one part in Nine Princes in Amber where Corwin and Bleys are battling their way up the narrow stairway to the castle on top of the mountain, and they're slaughtering literally hundreds of enemy troops, and Zelazny paints the scene in just a few short lines. Then there's another part where Corwin is fighting his brother Eric hand to hand, and it goes on with a detailed blow-by-blow for pages and pages.

The Conflict system is there to provide a way to zoom in on the action, as it were. As the concepts evolved, Tar became less and less a simple Hit Point system and more and more about "How detailed do you want this exchange to be?" Keep in mind that wth each roll, you don't just say "Okay, Bob, you rolled 5 Skulls, Tom rolled 3, so you do 2 damage", you have to translate that into narrating a segment of the exchange. It's not about the outcome, it's about the process.

-- Ben
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
Joe Murphy (Broin)
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Posts: 178


« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2006, 08:40:43 AM »

Ah, Ben. No wonder the webpage is so gorgeous. =)

I haven't had a chance to playtest it (and somewhere have a settingless .doc version of the game), but I wasn't grabbed by the setting in the new version. I'm a huge fan of such comics, but the setting seemed strangely constrained in comparison.

I would have liked a dozen sample locations, each with tiny embedded plots and pointers. A creepy graveyard that's popular with the kids. A grubby part of town. A couple of schools. A Courtney Crumrin forest. A grim suburb. And then dials of weirdness and humor to tweak each location one way or another. So the school ends up full of alien invaders, or just bland pod people.

More succinctly, I'd like a lot more setting, but all of it optional.

Joe.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #11 on: February 27, 2006, 10:11:14 AM »

Quote
Reading this reminded me of the show Creepy Stories. Y'know, the one narrated by the Cockroach and the Maggot....
And the narrator sequences were puppet sequences, but then it segued into a short cartoon?

...and every story starts and ends with "it happened to a friend of a friend of mine."

Have you seen this show?

If so, would it be appropriate to emulate plot lines from this show in your game?
I'm just wondering if I'm getting the tone of the game right or not.
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Ben Morgan
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Posts: 307


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« Reply #12 on: February 27, 2006, 10:26:06 AM »

Broin:

Odd, the setting material has been almost completely unchanged from the beginning. I like the idea of expanding it in a "take what you like, leave the rest out" kind of way. I'm working on a nice map of the town.

Joepub:

I have been searching for information on the show, but have been unable to find anything yet. When did it air, and where? At the moment, the most relevant source of inspiration for me remains Invader Zim, and very nearly anything by Tim Burton. But from your description of the show, it sounds like it would fit right in.

-- Ben
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
jburneko
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Posts: 1351


« Reply #13 on: February 27, 2006, 10:38:49 AM »

I concur with the sentiment expressed previously, if Ouchie's is meant to be part of the meat then it needs more.  Something akin to Self-Loathing in My Life with Master.  Something which ties into the game and says, yes, this is important enough for me to screw myself, not just narratively. (Note: the mechanic need not screw up the effectiveness of the character or anything like that but it should have impact on the game, some how, that grabs people).

Jesse
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Ben Morgan
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« Reply #14 on: February 27, 2006, 12:16:17 PM »

Maybe Ouchies should be the primary source of Oooh.

-- Ben
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-----[Ben Morgan]-----[ad1066@gmail.com]-----
"I cast a spell! I wanna cast... Magic... Missile!"  -- Galstaff, Sorcerer of Light
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