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Author Topic: [OtherKnight] - Hi, i´m new, will my rules work for my premise?  (Read 4373 times)
soundmasterj
Member

Posts: 120

Must... resist... urge to talk GNS...


« on: February 24, 2006, 08:02:39 AM »

Hi, I am Jona, I am from germany, I don´t get to play a lot of games these days but still here I am, asking you if my Knight Game Rules work. I´ve been lurking for quite some time around here. But now I think I´ll have to participate for my game´s sake.
I have some setting, but here, I will mostly write about the premise and the rules. I will try to communicate the premise  to you (I will try; see, this is my school English, I´m from germany and there is a badly needed dictionary besides me). I will try to communicate the rules I have thought up/stolen from Vincent so far. You, please tell me if they work for my premise.


What this game is about

Actually, I don´t want to name this game OtherKnight, I want to and will  name it My Sword I kill with, my King I obey. Because that´s what the game´s about. (OtherKnight is honest, though.)
I wanted to do a game about knights. Not weird D&D Paladins and shit, but knights. Nibelungenlied, Hagen von Tronje, that´s what I was aiming for. Knights.

So what is a knight, I wondered? *

A knight is a Sword and a King. A Sword is means, a sword is Doing something. A King is an end, is doing something For. A Sword is power, a King is a cause.
So this is what the game is about:
Being loyal. Having a sword. Doing loyal things with the sword.

Loyalty, of course, is not simple, it´s where the conflict should go. This is, also, what the game is about:
What am I loyal to, and how much? Am I more loyal to A than to B, and will I give up A for B or C?
The premise, it follows, is this: Sometimes you have to decide between two things you care for. Even tough you have a mighty sword and a king to obey, being loyal is hard.

Sometimes, for example, my king will tell me to avenge his son´s death. So I go and sword-fight the killer to death. That´s not that much of a conflict. Maybe the killer has a poisoned sword and if I fight him, I might die, and I have to decide if I want to risk my life, so there is a conflict between my loyalty towards my body versus my king. That´s not the kind of conflict I want, too, Am I more loyal to my life then to my king? Because, as a knight, of course I am.

What I want is conflict like this: The king has send me to siege  a castle because the castle´s owner is a heathen and has insulted the king and his knight´s honor. But the castle´s owner is a beautiful maiden, and I know she is a pure faithfull soul, and also, she gave me her handkerchief that smells like spring flowers when I saved her from those bandits. So maybe the king is wrong. But my king he is. (This is loyalty towards my king versus either my love or my conscience or both. Or so I think.)
Or maybe the king has ordered me to get this letter to the lord of somethingtown. There´s danger on the way to somethingtown, but I am a knight. The letter is the actual problem, because, as I know, the king wants to marry the lords beautiful daughter Gudrun to one of his other knights. The letter will propose the lord of somethingtown the marriage between his beautiful daughter Gudrun, which I love with all my heart, and my kings knight Dankhelm, who has bullied me when I was little and even know he is looking down on me and I know he is a mean man and won´t love Gudrun at all and will treat her mean. So here I go, my sword protecting me on my way- sure, there are fights, but I win them, because I am a knight- and here is the letter and I don´t know at all if I will give it to the lord of somethingtown. But I must, for I am a knight and my king has ordered me so. (This is loyalty towards my love versus my king.)
Or maybe the conflict is not between my loyalty to A and my loyalty to B, but between A and A: maybe my king wants me to let him fight the bandit leader himself. I know the bandit will kill my king, but my king wants to restore his honor after I outshadowed him in this fight. My king orders me to go away, to let him fight alone. But my king has also ordered me to protect his life. What do I do? (This is loyalty towards my king´s life versus his orders.)

That´s what I want.
So here is what I did:


The rules

Long form with examples:
I thought up some rules centering around loyalty. There will be some written down on the character sheets. They will be called Binds. For example, every knight starts with Bind: my king.
There is no GM (I generally don´t like GM-less play, but.). There is a „lute“, best would be a real thing, wood and all, but you can print and cut it out of some paper the game will provide.
The lute gets passed around through mechanics (see below). Who ever has the lute gets to do most of the narrating stuff. He has authority in narrative. Having the lute is the first and powerfull way for reward: you get a Important Point (Cool Name needed here) for narrating something that another player HAS to respond to (see below), so that's what you´re trying to do.
Say you narrate: „Tobias the monk is there, hindering your way. He won´t let you give the abbot the letter the king ordered you to bring to the monastery. He says, >I will die before he reads this. It is heresy, it contains the lectures of Damnatius the damned. The abbot shall not see them or he will allow the king to divorce. That would be heresy.< Tobias is your long lost brother. You will kill him, because you´re loyal to your king. So it reads on your character sheet; Bind: my King.“
So I say, „no way, I want to roll dice.“
We set stakes. They are: will I accomplish my mission (the letter)? Will I disobey my king (loyalty to my King)? Will I hurt my brother (I say: for this conflict, I choose a new Bind: my brother)? Who will get to narrate?
So we roll. It works like this: I use otherkind dice. I get some slots.  One for each Bind in conflict; my king, my brother. One for advance in my mission. One for the right to choose the next lute-bearer.
I roll some dice (D6): as many of them as there are slots. I assign them to these slots. I put the highest to what is most important to me, the lowest to what I think might be able to give up. Low dice number means I disobey, he gets hurt, I suffer a setback in my mission, I don´t get the lute; high numbers mean I obey, I save him, I come closer to my goal and get a Mission Dice, I get the right to give someone, possibly me, the lute.
I get a bonus die for my sword; if I include it, I will have to narrate using it and hurting someone.
Maybe I get bonus dice from the lute-bearer if I include this-or-that in my narration or something.
I get a reroll of all dice I don´t like or a free 6 if I spend an Important Point.
If if  assign the highest dice I rolled to the slot for loyalty: my brother, the lutebearer, who introduced him to that conflict, gets his Important Point. This is the only way to get those. Also, I will write a new loyalty onto my sheet: „Bind: my brother, the monk Tobias.“

If I have enough Mission Dice, I can initiate the endgame. It is accomplishing my mission. My mission might well have changed over the course of the game. The only factors in the endgame, which I haven´t written down rules for, will be Mission Dice and my Binds.

There are some things I want to work in there:
Mechanical reactions to high or low dice in Bind slots; this will be the second and less powerfull reward system, and it will less metagame, closer to the character. Endgame mechanics, of course. More reward for the lute-bearer: as soon as he forces someone in a conflict, he gets something. More mechanical sword related stuff. More traits for the characters and mechanics behind them. Character Creation rules, with one to three Binds and Mission that will work as a Kicker.
Also, I might include one or two additional CD systems: one for swordfights, one for non-Bind, only-mission-involving conflicts. Maybe.


Shot form:
  • The game is about knights. Knights are a sword and a king. A sword is means, a king is ends.
  • The game is, also, about conflicting loyalty: what is A worth to me? What is A worth to me, compared to B and C?

  • Everyone narrates.
  • The lute-bearer has authority in narrating.
  • The lute-bearer gets rewarded if  he narrates something that causes another player to call for a conflict with dice.
  • The lute-bearer gets especially rewarded if he narrates something that a player goes to conflict for and decides to keep as a new Bind.
  • In a conflict, the player assigns the roled dice to slots. The value of these dice decide about:
      -What happens to the Binds
      -What happens to the Mission
      -Who gets the lute
      -Does a new loyalty get written down on the sheet? If so, the lute bearer gets One Important Point.
      -What happens to Mission decides if the conflict-caller gains or loses Mission Dice.
      -What happens to the lute decides if the conflict-caller will be the next lute-bearer.
      -What happens to Binds decides something else.
  • The conflict-caller narrates based on the Mission and Bind slots.
  • A new lute-bearer is chosen by the lute-bearer slot dice number.
  • There is an endgame.
  • It is decided by Mission Dice and Binds.


Conclusion

My cool ideas were:
1. Make a game about knights, the premise being their conflicting loyalties.
2. Enforce the premise by rewarding the players for introducing loyalty conflicts for the OTHER players.
3. Enforce the premise by making the only way to get these rewards (narrating) bound to caring about the conflicted loyalties (calling for conflict about them).
4. Steal Otherkind Dice.

The problem I see right now is this:
The players have to care about their Binds all on their own. No mechanic forces them to. There will be a mechanic for it, but it won´t be a strong one, because the really worthy things (Mission Dice, Important Points) are already decided. Maybe the players will just call for conflicts about Binds meaningless to them to get the lute and Mission Dice, mindlessly assigning low dice to their binds just get the rewarded slots high.
On the other hand, and I haven´t tried it, yet, maybe cool idea 2 will be strong enough. Maybe the conflicts the other players will come up with will be so good that the players will really care for their Binds.

Question: Will this work?
If it won´t work, how can it work? How could, for example, the yet to be written reward through the Bind Dice Slots be used to make it work?

Also, and this is my second, minor question: how do cool ideas 2 + 3 fall into this weird „push and pull“ - stuff?

OK. Thanks in advance. I want a myswordmyking.pdf, and it shall contain good rules.
J

----------------------------------


*Actually, that´s not true. What I did was this: I made a super slick combat system for swordfights. Next, I went to armor, because knights fight in armor. I made a lot of super slick armor rules and then I made armor piercing rules and mounted combat and special combat manoeuvres and and and. And then I had a whole lot of super slick rules that weren´t, all together, super slick at all, and especially, they weren´t about knights anymore, but about armor piercing and off-handed weaponry and shit. I thought, „fantasy heartbreaker, here I come“, threw it all away and went for the aforementioned question.
Does anyone need my super slick combat rules and especially my really cool damage and wound rules? I think they would work pretty good for any kind of Conan-like swordfight.

**This are two more stars. I don´t know where to put this text in, but I want to put it in.
Besides Otherkind, I stole from TSOY, too; the Keys thing of course.
The setting and the premise are inspired mostly by Tonke Dragts stories about Knights, „Der wilde Wald“ und „Der Brief für den König“. They are really good. I puked on one of them once, but that´s a different story.

(edited to remove personal information at the author's request - RE)
« Last Edit: May 19, 2008, 05:45:06 PM by Ron Edwards » Logged

Jona
TonyLB
Member

Posts: 3702


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« Reply #1 on: February 24, 2006, 08:17:32 AM »

Overall I think you've got a good setup for addressing the premise.  It helps, of course, that you really, really know what your premise is!

On the other hand, and I haven´t tried it, yet, maybe cool idea 2 will be strong enough. Maybe the conflicts the other players will come up with will be so good that the players will really care for their Binds.

Well, how about if the players only get rewarded when the conflicts they come up with are good enough that the targetted player really cares for her Binds?  Seems to me it's that disconnect between "Reward them for making a cool conflict" and "A cool conflict will make a player care about their Binds, won't it?" that's the killer.  How about if the other player gets rewarded for each high die that gets assigned to a Bind (counting down from the highest until you reach a Mission or Lute die)?
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soundmasterj
Member

Posts: 120

Must... resist... urge to talk GNS...


« Reply #2 on: February 24, 2006, 08:54:49 AM »

Thanks, Tony. This sounds a little bit slimy, but i think Capes was Rule Influence Number 3; having some kind of "slot" for each conflicted thing and having all players create those conflicted things was something I saw and understood in Capes for the first time.

On Point.

Right now, it works like this (it is up there in the original post, but it is kinda buried):

You, having the lute, can destroy everything excluding what players have on their sheets as Bind.
If you narrate something and treaten to destroy it, a player has only one sure way to safe it:
Calling for a conflict with dice and opening a Temporary Bind Slot for the thing you tretened he wants to save.

You get an Important Dice if, and only if:
You narrate something.
A player reacts by calling for conflict and dice.
The player sets one of his dice slots to be "Bind: one thing you just narrated."
The player puts his highest die into that slot.

Next, two things happen:
The player puts that new bind onto his sheet. New, or in exchange to an old one, maybe one that got assigned a very low die in this conflict.
You get a Important Point.

You get something other if:
You narrate something.
A player reacts by calling for conflict and dice.
The player sets one of his dice slots to be "Bind: one thing you just narrated."
The player puts some die, not his highest, into that Bind slot.

I haven´t decided what "something other" is. Maybe its nothing. Maybe you get one Important Point for this and three if the thing you narrated gets the highest die. Maybe, what did you say... you get
Quote
rewarded for each high die that gets assigned to a Bind (counting down from the highest until you reach a Mission or Lute die)
, yes, that is a good idea i think.
Maybe it works like this:

You, having the lute, can destroy everything excluding what players have on their sheets as Bind.
If you narrate something and treaten to destroy it, a player has only one sure way to safe it:
Calling for a conflict with dice and opening a Temporary Bind Slot for the thing you tretened he wants to save.

You get Important Dice if, and only if:
You narrate something.
A player reacts by calling for conflict and dice.
The player sets one of his dice slots to be "Bind: one thing you just narrated."
The player puts his highest dice (plural; counting down till the first Mission or Lute slot) into that slot.

Next, two things happen:
The player may put a new bind onto his sheet. New, or in exchange to an old one, maybe one that got assigned a very low die in this conflict. The Bind had to have the highest die assgned to it.
You get Important Points; one for each die in a Bind Slot that is higher than both the Lute and Mission dice.

Could that work?
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Jona
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 24, 2006, 09:10:23 AM »

Jona, first let me say that if every game designer approached their design with as clear and defined goal for what they want the game to be about, heartbreakers would be a thing of the past.  Very good.

Secondly, I've found that in the end you really don't NEED a mechanic to force players to be attached to their Binds...players will be attached to them because they choose to be.  

However, as I happen to be a fan of mechanically linking important things together rather than rely only on player good will, I have the following suggestion.

Make the Binds have a positive reward as well.

Mission Dice have a positive reward "I move closer to completeing my mission".
Lute Dice have a positive reward "I get to narrate"
Sword Dice have a positive reward "I get to kill that guy" or if I choose a low die "I don't kill that guy"

Bind dice currently (that I can see) do not.  The only benefit to placing a high die on a Bind is that you don't break the Bind...which as you note is not much of a benefit if one doesn't care about breaking the Bind.

So what could a positive reward for a Bind be...how about reinforcing that bind and making it mutual.  

For instance.  I am bound to my King...but is my king bound to me?  No...I'm just a faceless knight with no recognition at all.  But if I put a 6 into my Bind with the King now the king recognizes and appreciates my loyalty...he now has a Bind with me.  Same with my brother Tobias.  I feel the Bind with Tobias, but only if I place a 6 in Bind does he realize how much I care for him and gain a Bind back to me.  To distinguish them I'd call these Bind's back to me "Favor".  As in I'm Bound to the King and now the King has Favor towards me.  

Further, I'd allow Favor to increase.  Every time I put a 6 on that Bind their Favor increases by 1 towards me.

So what does Favor do?  It measures the closeness of the relationship and allows one to get favors from that person.  Favor of 1 means small triflings, higher Favor means greater things.  You could put some guidelines for how to incorporate this into narration...perhaps with a Favor of 3 with the King you get to sit at the high table at court or the like.

Mechanically favor can be called upon for bonus dice for future rolls representing their aid (either in person, or behind the scenes, or because the gave a valuable gift, or because they're inspiring, or whatever).  So if I have a Favor of 3 with my brother Tobias then I can call upon that Favor for 3 Bonus Dice in the Conflict where he is blocking my way.  If I use those dice I have to narrate his aid (same as I would if I use Sword Dice or whatever).  So "Brother, in so much as you bear love for me stand aside and let me complete my mission"...bang...3 Bonus Dice...but Tobias's favor drops to 2.  I'd also say that one cannot increase Favor with a Bind in any conflict in which you draw upon Bonus Favor Dice (from anyone) to prevent that becoming a Favor mill.

Finally I'd say that any time you put a 2 or 3 in that Bind you've offered some slight, you've demonstrated disloyalty, and you lose Favor...perhaps with a 3 you lose 1 point, with a 2 you lose it all.  

If you ever put a 1 into that Bind, you create an enemy.  All of the Favor you used to have with that Enemy now become Emnity.  You could use Emnity in the game in much the same way as Iron is used in Otherkind.  If you like you can make rules for reducing Emnity and winning your enemies back...or you might find the stark "now you feud forever" to be more appropriate to your looked for genre.

What this does is give players good reason to put 4s and 5s into Binds (to avoid losing favor) and 6s (to gain favor).  Ideally you have players racking up Favor with several Binds...I have Favor 2 with the King and Favor 4 with Tobias...I have Tons of bonus Favor Dice at my disposal.  It then becomes simplicity itself to set up situations where the King and Tobias are at odds and the player will have to choose who to remain loyal to and who to shaft.

One could even make Favor with the King a kind of Victory Points for the game, in much the way accumulating Luminessence is in OK.


Any help there?
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soundmasterj
Member

Posts: 120

Must... resist... urge to talk GNS...


« Reply #4 on: February 24, 2006, 09:34:45 AM »

'Whoah whoah whoah.

Easy on me.

This here:
Quote
If you ever put a 1 into that Bind, you create an enemy.
Will be INSTA-IMPLEMENTED. I don´t know if it will get mechanical back-up (the possibilitys are endless; other players could force you to sacrifice a die to your enemy it he is in the scene or whatever), but it will be there.

Everything else, all of that, including what Tony said, I will think about... For a long time... Like, tomorow... When I will post here, again... Because its good, I think.
Favor. Besides Favor being what i feel for you two, it seems like the first think i will think about.
Never thought about that, before; which is weird. Iit´s so close. The relationship knight-king is not one-sided; the knight gets something back, of course. Gonna make put it into that game, I will.

Lastly, this:
Quote
Jona, first let me say that if every game designer approached their design with as clear and defined goal for what they want the game to be about, heartbreakers would be a thing of the past.
Well... I started absolutely unstructured. Wrote a terrible thing, all combat system, no game at all. I just didn´t post my heartbreakers.
I don´t know who said that you need to write one heartbreaker before you can really start, just to get all that "fix D&D" out of your head, but I absolutely think it´s right. Having read the glossary and some essays and Hardcore, I felt like I could start writing real games right now. I was sooo wrong. First I wrote two, three heartbreakers and then saw them for what they were and, tears in my eyes, trashed them. Next, everything came to me easily. Well, not easy. But... it looks like it could be a game some day, and not just 3000 pages of armor piercing value tables.

Thematic Play is the shit.
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Jona
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