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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 176 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Mythos] A crossroads in design  (Read 2247 times)
Eric Bennett

Posts: 43

« on: March 03, 2006, 02:01:37 PM »

Howdy there folks! Development of Mythos, my game of horror, character exploration, and shared creation of a horror setting. I know horror possibly isn't the best descriptor, since what the game can do and encourage is closer to being the middle ground of speculative fiction, before horror and sci-fi and fantasy all spun off from each other. So, basically...its about Lovecraft with the Cthulhu Mythos itself pulled out and replaced the world the players create as a group, mixed with a Silent Hill-level dose of surreality and personal development.

You can find my rough, nasty, unedited beast of drafting here:

What am having a problem with at the moment is how to go about setting up a resolution system. I want it to have a low barrier to understanding, but still be somewhat mechanically interesting. I have three ideas on the table right now.

1) Task-based resolution, which is what I have been drafting now. It is a percentile system built around the division of tests into Minor, Significant and Major levels, inspired by Unknown Armies, but choosing to focus on the three step division for resolution and effects. The body of the text would only refer to M/S/M, since the mechanical definition, regardless of what was being defined, was the same across the board.

2) Narrative-control resolution, such as...well, a lot of indie games. This setup involves taking the Body/Mind/Soul stats off the sheet and replacing them with a more broad set of Traits and a list of unattached, un-numbered Talents that would define areas of competence within those Traits. The M/S/M division could be retained and used by peeling off the second digit of each of the numbers and polishing a little.

3) Ridiculously freeform narrative-control resolution. -Almost- the same as #2, but with the key difference being that, aside from the Passions section of things all aspects of the character would be a big undefined shape to which the numbers would then be applied, akin to Universalis, the first draft of Cthonian, or UA skills.

A subquestion on the last two potentials is how to go about using those numbers, for example:

a) Use a die + add Traits/stats/Talents/modifiers to the roll itself.
b) The Trait/Talent/Modifier number indicates how -many- randomizers to use: dice to roll, cards to draw, whatever.

I have equal love for each of these three setups, but don't want to dilute the game text by including multiple resolution systems. So...my question to you folks is: which do you think would be more broadly appealing -and- easiest to get one's head around. I may not have described them very well, and if so please drop a request for explication, and I'll do better. ;)

Thanks for the help,

Eric Bennett

Check out the developing draft of Mythos, the game of horrific discovery here!
Anders Larsen

Posts: 270

« Reply #1 on: March 04, 2006, 05:54:30 AM »

Maybe the reason why you can not decide on a resolution system, is because you haven't found one that is right for your game?

Maybe you should try to design a resolution system that will make the character question their perception on reality?

From you website:
Mythos is a game of normal people cast by chance or destiny out of the circle of firelight that comprises all that humanity knows and can do. In the darkness beyond awaits madness, isolation, pain, and fear. But like Pandora's box, one other thing can be found in the void...hope. The deepest darkness of reality and the human heart holds that essential wonder, that vital and shining hope that allows mere humans to become masters of a planet, to reshape their world with casual impugnity.

This could be the centre of your resolution system. Every time a character face a conflict (or task), he risk that some dark truth is reviled, that can lead to madness, and/or can also lead to insight.

 - Anders


Posts: 802

« Reply #2 on: March 06, 2006, 05:08:13 AM »


Anders is right.  None of us are really going to be able to tell you which system is right for your game.  This is the point in the design process where you, as the designer, have to suck it up and pick one to stick with.  You need to decide if either system reinforces what you want your game to be about.  If one does, use it.  If neither do, drop them and create something new.  If both do, then it won't matter which you choose.  But at this point, it's up to you to take the next step.  After that and on different issues, then we here may be of more help.



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