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Author Topic: [Maw of Hell/Hard Drop] Cycling In Characters  (Read 1352 times)
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« on: February 27, 2006, 02:24:16 PM »

So, I've been working on a game that was previously called Maw of Hell.
I changed the title to its final game title: Hard Drop.
Just wanted to clarify that update. Anything I've written about Maw of Hell in the past few months transfers to Hard Drop.

Anyways,
the game is designed to be a squad based RPG.
Squad members and some special equipment are cards, which are drawn from a deck and played much like a CCG.

The game is centered on a wartorn jungle world, in the midst of an intergalactic war/civil war.

The game is an RPG in which each player plays one of these squads. The squads they play are from one of four warring factions.
As such, many times players will be in direct confrontation with each other.
In this way, it becomes strategic, and players will be forced to make conditional peaces and alliances - which may come to halt as soon as the next imperial mission orders come in.

Anyways, that's all the relevant background I can think of.
I decided it'd be best not to outline the entire game, but if you need to know more background just ask.

Anyways, the issue at hand:
Character Rotation/Cycling

You control a squad, but pick a single character which you narrate through. The world is seen through their eyes, just like as if you were narrating for a single character in d&d (and the other squad members were familiars, henchmen, summons, etc).

Characters work towards "release", the point where they have earned their right to freedom, by completing enough missions.
This means that each character has a limited shelf-life (although that life is varied).

You can choose to narrate a single character until they are "released" back into the big world, and then pick a new character...
Or you can pick a new character to narrate through after every mission.

There is a type of card (which has its own deck) called Growth cards.
These are personality trait card which grant bonuses (and sometimes weaknesses).
These are things like "Mental Instability", "Wiseass", "Vengeant", etc

Part of the narration is incorporating these growths into character narration. Obviously these aren't the ONLY personality traits you can narrate - ie, you can develop the characters well outside the context of what Growth cards give you.

So, now for the questions.

1.) Do people feel opposed to the idea of having to change narrator/character throughout the gameplay? Do you feel that this denies you "real" RPing ability?

2.) Do you think that this style of narration (Helmetcam, lol) will provide for interesting narration for both narrator and the rest of the squad? Or will it just be hoakey, etc?

3.) Should there be a system in place to make sure that characters DO narrate the personality traits when they have a Growth in play? (ie, if you play Rage on Tommy, you have to incorporate rage into his narration - at least at times.)

4.) Do you, personally, like this setup? And is it condusive to good roleplaying?
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dindenver
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Don't Panic!


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« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2006, 05:18:28 PM »

Hi!
  Here's my 2 cents. I don't have a lot of experience with "narrativism" as I understand it, so bare that in mind...
Quote
1.) Do people feel opposed to the idea of having to change narrator/character throughout the gameplay? Do you feel that this denies you "real" RPing ability?
  I think people that are used to framing scenes will love this system as it provides some guidelines and some freedoms. BUT, for people like me, it could add length to the learning curve as we learn how to roleplay without identifying with one character.

Quote
2.) Do you think that this style of narration (Helmetcam, lol) will provide for interesting narration for both narrator and the rest of the squad? Or will it just be hoakey, etc?
  I think as long as there is freedom of narration and that players aren't required to narrate the heartbeat monitor or something, that it is pretty much traditional roleplay.

Quote
3.) Should there be a system in place to make sure that characters DO narrate the personality traits when they have a Growth in play? (ie, if you play Rage on Tommy, you have to incorporate rage into his narration - at least at times.)
  Well, I happen to know that there is a GM in this game. And I think the most you can do with a CCG/Gamist game is provide Advancement bonuses to good roleplayers I think...
  I am just guessing, but I think in a system like this, if the players are competitive, RP is going right out the window and there won't be anyone to say "That's not cool"

Quote
4.) Do you, personally, like this setup? And is it condusive to good roleplaying?
  I think that if it takes long enough for a character to earn release then there is enough room for 1st person RP'ers and 3rd person RP'ers. I know I am interested in playing.
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #2 on: March 02, 2006, 09:30:41 AM »

Quote
Well, I happen to know that there is a GM in this game. And I think the most you can do with a CCG/Gamist game is provide Advancement bonuses to good roleplayers I think...
  I am just guessing, but I think in a system like this, if the players are competitive, RP is going right out the window and there won't be anyone to say "That's not cool"

'the most you can do'
Dindenver, do you care to elaborate on that?

See, I had pictured the Growths cards as being a system for advancement.
Awarded:
a.) By GM or group decision
b.) Based on good roleplay narration/tactics/approach
c.) Awarded on a "Cool, man" type system.

I am still trying to figure this out, and there are problems with that structure for awarding growth cards:
-Players won't want to give each other growth cards, because they could potentially suffer for it later.
-It's all arbitrary, and this game is fairly competitive.
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dindenver
Member

Posts: 928

Don't Panic!


WWW
« Reply #3 on: March 02, 2006, 10:03:50 AM »

Hi!
  Well, I haven't seen any rules, but you and I have had enough convos for me to have a grasp on the general design of this CCG/RPG hybrid. And quite honestly, I think that because the RPG is more or less tacked on to a CCG, that the RP aspects are automatically diminished. This is further complicated by the fact:
 - Players will be competing with each other at times
 - Every member of your squad is under your narrative control, therefore, you know what the other characters will think/do
 - Entire missions can be played without really roleplaying
 - None of the gameplay focuses on or demands RP
  Now, you may be wondering, how can he think that? But, it is true. You have removed all of the roleplaying from the stats, cards, growths, etc. Sure, your Growth cards will have an underlying RP reasoning behind them, but the effect of having one in play will be to enhance non-RP activity. There is nothing to encourage a player to be a good or bad roleplayer and nothing to prevent them from not roleplaying at all. On top of that, in a setup with 2 players and a GM, the players will have no natural means of desiring cooperation. If they are on different factions, they will have standing orders to kill one another and if they are on the same faction, they will be competing for the same limited resources dropped in by their own command. In my mind, I can imagine an entire mission played out in a three player game where 2 players never speak with each other. Sure, the GM can contrive to combine two different squads together, but that will get old real fast.
  On top of that, how do you have one character be the charismatic leader? There is nothing on the card to tell the players which are charismatic, which are frothing idiots. And if the Player thinks char "X" is the charismatic leader type and the GM thinks differently, you are going to have some awkward RP when it does finally come up...
  Now, don't get me wrong, there is nothing in your design that prevents roleplay. But for that matter, there is nothing in Magic:The Gathering that prevents RP either.
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Dave M
Author of Legends of Lanasia RPG (Still in beta)
My blog
Free Demo
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