[Neverwake] Almost done! But how to regain health?

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Keith:
Well, after re-tooling the system a little bit in this thread: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=18724.0 I've worked over the general concept, removed the universal required magic system in favor of a more creative, make-your-own-magic type system, and pretty much have it done, except for one thing: taking damage and health.

To bring everyone up to speed, characters in Neverwake are sad people dreaming the same dream together at the same time.  It's a mythical, medieval place, and is designed to bring back what the characters lost in real life.  Since the entire world of Neverwake is one big dream, I want to try to get the system of health and taking damage to reflect that, with a character's death representing them waking up - you die in Neverwake, you wake up, and can't go back.

Here's how it's shaping up so far: You have five dots of Health, and five dots of Lucidity.  When you suffer damage, you bubble in one dot of Health.  Suffer damage again, you bubble in another dot of Health.  When you bubble in all five dots of Health, you bubble in one dot of Lucidity.  Then, un-bubble all your Health dots.  Then the process repeats all over again.  If you ever fill up your Lucidity dots, your character dies, wakes up, disappears.  That's it for them.

Now, the only thing I can't figure out is how to regain points of Lucidity.  Once bubbled in, how do you un-bubble them?  I'm really at a loss here.  Since Lucidity represents your connection to the dream world, I'm thinking of something along the lines of having your character "ground" himself in the dream world somehow, to strengthen his connection to it.  But, I have no idea how to achieve this.  I've been thinking it over and can't come to any conclusions.  Maybe I should just implement a generic hit point system?  I'm open to suggestions.  Once I have that part done, I'll have the project ready, and I'll provide a link in this thread for everyone who is interested to see.

Thanks!

Callan S.:
Isn't the game really about coming to terms with loss? Learning how to let go?

Well, getting rid of lucidity could be done by working out with the player some way their PC is clutching on even harder now...creating even more issues to deal with, when it comes to letting go.

soundmasterj:
Hi. I think we´ve got an even number of posts or something, so here I´m trying to help you.
Actually I don´t see how your system differs from Hit Points. You have 25 HP, they are called Health Points, and every five of them, there is a fluffy thing where you lose some lucidity; also, gaining back one Lucidity point would be regaining 5 HP. You hit the last of your HP, you´re out of the game. I think you´ve got (D&D) hit points, what, please tell me, would be the difference?

Anyways.
In his free-for-download game "the shadow of yesterday" (http://www.anvilwerks.com/?The-Shadow-of-Yesterday), wich I haven´t played but find to be really inspiring, Clinton R. Nixon lets players refresh their characters "pools" by doing a big let-go. You want to refresh your "vigor"? Have fun, vigorosly. Refreshing instinct is having fun instinctly. To quote the relevant bits: Quote

Whenever a pool is not at its full level, it can be refreshed, restoring it to its full level by the character performing an in-game action.
Vigor is refreshed whenever your character engages in an act of physical exertion (including physical abuse, such as drugs, drinking, staying out all night) with another character, specifically for the intent of enjoying yourself.
Instinct is refreshed whenever your character engages in an act of social pleasure (examples: a date, going to a party, playing a game of chance) with another character.
Reason is refreshed whenever your character engages in an act of intellectual stimulation (examples: a night at the opera, a philosophical debate, playing a game of skill) with another another.
So basically, you get refreshed by letting go, just as in real life. Want to keep dreaming? Do something dreamy; wander around aimlessly, sing a song all by yourself, tell something a really crazy tinfoil-hat theory of yourself. I think the idea is to have the PLAYER come up with a plan that sounds reasonable.

Remembering my last dream, I think I woke up when something really weird happened. Or maybe something I really didn´t like. It was absolutely not HP-like; it wasn´t like a constant stream of "hurt" to my dream-state finally crossed some border (the 0 HP - border), resulting in me waking up. It was just dreaming things; next, some weird new thing happens that I fail to integrate into the dreamworld, and then I wake up. Thats what lucidity is aiming for, I think; failing to integrate. How to integrate that ruleswise, I don´t know. Think it´s a good concept?

Also, callans idea sounds good.

Good night
Jona

Keith:
Both of those two suggestions sound like similar examples of each other, to me.  They also sound good - I've been thinking too linear on this thing, and it's really the suggestions from forum-goers here which have helped loosen the game up.

Quote

Actually I don´t see how your system differs from Hit Points. You have 25 HP, they are called Health Points, and every five of them, there is a fluffy thing where you lose some lucidity; also, gaining back one Lucidity point would be regaining 5 HP. You hit the last of your HP, you´re out of the game. I think you´ve got (D&D) hit points, what, please tell me, would be the difference?

How is the system different from D&D hitpoints?  Well, it's more complicated.  That's about it.  You're right on that part - it's essentially a more complicated way of tracking hit points.

I want to integrate the two ideas used so far, but do away with the current hitpoint system.  Have some sort of gauge of health that is replenished by strengthening the emotional investment the character has on the world.  The game is, as Callan said, about the characters learning to accept loss - but before they do that, they have this imaginary world they've created that allows them to have everything.  It's the strains of their own emotions and inability to accept what they do have over what they did that causes the conflict and strife here, the essential angst.  As Jona was getting at, it's not physical pain you feel in a dream.  It's a subconscious thing.  Pain doesn't wake you up, a failure to keep the dream consistent and on-going is what does.  How about this, then:

The characters are here in Neverwake to get their loss back.  Therefore, to restore Lucidity (I'm not sure how I'll redo it, so let's just say it's a 5 point gauge - no Health gauge, just the Lucidity), they must shift the balance of love and investment between other attachments to their loss.  Such as, ignoring friends or breaking promises to go be around what you lost and enjoy it.  However the player decides this is done, as long as it's reasonable, is allowed.  I'm thinking, mechanics-wise, maybe you have a chart of all your connections, and maybe you have a set number of "emotional investment" tokens that you allocate to each connection.  You can move tokens from whatever connections you like to your loss, and gain that much health back.  However, you must also roleplay this - you have to actually go to your loss and invest that time with them.

Of course, that is still essentially an HP system, but the way you interact with it would keep in with the theme of the game instead of the dream-world simulation.  That would also mean that other things besides pain would affect Lucidity, such as inconsistencies in the environment, people acting a way they normally wouldn't, etc.

You guys are on a roll, you're really helping.  How's this sound so far?

Thanks!

Seth M. Drebitko:
What if life was just one losing battle and the more lucid you got the more your "powers" slip away. You could also have it so that lucidity can never be regained and you permanently lose the 5 hit points.
Regards, Seth

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