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Author Topic: [Divinity] What tools do you need in the 'toolkit?'  (Read 4128 times)
sean2099
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« on: April 13, 2006, 05:19:58 PM »

Hello everyone,

I am working on an RPG where the players are Gods and Goddesses.  I am envisioning as a "design-focused" game.   One where the players have several possible settings to choose from and they have role-play aids.  I am setting it to be a freeform/LARP game.  However, I am attaching "bonus" rules for miniatures play (if you wanted to wage a religious war or something to do if half your group didn't show up for the play session.)

My game isn't complete yet but I was wondering...if I am thinking about such a game idea, what would you need to implement it or what tools would you need to play it?

www.agesgaming.bravehost.com  *Yes, the website isn't much but I am trying to keep costs down.  In addition, there is a download link.  I will update the download in a few days.  I'll let everyone know via my website.*

Thanks in advance for your responses,

Sean
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Graham W
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« Reply #1 on: April 16, 2006, 05:12:10 AM »

Hi Sean,

Firstly, can I check? When you say "freeform", do you mean it in the British sense of "LARP without too many rules"? In other words, you want rules, but you don't want the game to be overloaded with them?

It's very difficult to answer the rest of your question without knowing some more about the game. Your characters are gods and goddesses, but what do they do during the game? How do you want the players to play? What's the game about? - gods and goddesses, obviously, but in what context?

Graham
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sean2099
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« Reply #2 on: April 16, 2006, 10:46:19 AM »

Hi Graham,

Random comments time :)

I am trying to make a game about the relationship between the gods themselves and their worshipers.  I want the game to be "character driven."  I realize that all RPGs are this way to some extent.  Some of them use a setting, for example Star Wars or Middle-earth.  Some use simulation or combat. 

I have several portfolios they could take:  Creators, Destoryers, Mentors, Promoters, etc.  That should be a start for motivation.  You have an agenda.  You are told about a certain area in the Omniverse.  Mortals start asking you for favor, give sacrifices, etc.  Enemies covet your position.  You need excitement (exploring, battle, general interaction with other Powers.)  In other words, I leave to the players to decide what they want to do.

Anywho, at the end, I would like to have given advice on how gods/goddesses might view themselves and their worshipers.  I would like to add a small section on character creation.  Finally, I would have given ideas for scenerios (adventures) and as a bonus, some rules on miniature playing.  With all of this, I hope to open the definition of what it is to be a god. 

Therefore, the players would have to drive the setting.  They could chose to become Greek gods and relive their adventures.  They could decide to play in the year 2099 (hee, hee) when faith is passe and they are dying from lack of worship.  On the flip side, they could decide to be powerful mortals instead of gods.  They might decide that they are some sort of machine collective whose goals are the constant acquistion of more mortals by any means necessary.

Okay, I realize minis don't belong in LARPs.  I consider these rules as a bonus.  Something else to do when LARPing isn't feasible. 

If you have any questions,...

Sean
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Graham W
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« Reply #3 on: April 17, 2006, 12:35:39 PM »

h
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Graham W
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« Reply #4 on: April 17, 2006, 12:47:15 PM »

Damn. Sorry. I'm writing this on a computer I don't understand, hence that last post which just said 'h'. Hope it helped.

Sean, I just read through the PDF. The central concept for the game is great - god games are a big favourite of mine - and the game contains a lot of good ideas.

And I don't think you should worry at all about using minatures in a LARP situation. There's no reason you can't do this and, in a game where the characters are playing gods, it fits very well indeed. There's a very familiar image of gods playing with mortals like chess pieces.

But, having read the rules, I still don't understand how the game actually plays. For example, what would a script of a play session look like? If you wrote about half a page of dialogue of the players playing, how would it read?

By the way, it might help to look at a couple of the entries for Game Chef this year, which also had the characters playing gods. They take different approaches from the one you're taking, so it might be interesting to get a different perspective. Warren Merrifield's Champions of the Gods is one and there's also Hubris by Per Fischer. They're very different games to yours but they might be interesting.

Graham
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sean2099
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« Reply #5 on: April 17, 2006, 04:07:47 PM »

Damn. Sorry. I'm writing this on a computer I don't understand, hence that last post which just said 'h'. Hope it helped.

Sean, I just read through the PDF. The central concept for the game is great - god games are a big favourite of mine - and the game contains a lot of good ideas.

And I don't think you should worry at all about using minatures in a LARP situation. There's no reason you can't do this and, in a game where the characters are playing gods, it fits very well indeed. There's a very familiar image of gods playing with mortals like chess pieces.

But, having read the rules, I still don't understand how the game actually plays. For example, what would a script of a play session look like? If you wrote about half a page of dialogue of the players playing, how would it read?

By the way, it might help to look at a couple of the entries for Game Chef this year, which also had the characters playing gods. They take different approaches from the one you're taking, so it might be interesting to get a different perspective. Warren Merrifield's Champions of the Gods is one and there's also Hubris by Per Fischer. They're very different games to yours but they might be interesting.

Graham

Thanks for the kind words, Graham.  I looked at the examples you posted.  They are certainly ways of using Divinity for a LARP session.  One of my challenges will be to come up with such text.  One of the drawbacks of making an open setting game :)

I might have to make more than one such example.  The first session, in my opinion, is the hardest.  My initial thought, for a first session, is to have a brief "jam session" where the Overseer goes around table and ask one of the players a multiple choice question about the Omniverse.  There is no right answer. For example, the first question might be "Was the universe created by the "first couple", self-sacrifice, cosmic egg, or by a creator figure?"  The next question might be, is the civilization that worships you in its ascendancy (if it just started, less rivals but mortals ask for more attention...decline, more worshipers but more rivals and rationality cuts into worship) or decline?
I would ask each player one question...hopefully narrowing down choices until adventure idea comes up.   This approach would work for those who like to "wing it."

I could see another approach where the sessions starts with mortals praying...asking for things they need but Powers can't provide...(forcing them to look for allies or favor exchanges.)

I'll have to put some more thought into.  BTW, I should have an update by 4-20-06.  The game WON'T be done but it should answer more questions and then create more questions I hope.

Thanks,

Sean
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Blankshield
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« Reply #6 on: April 17, 2006, 04:38:10 PM »

Hi Sean,

I would suggest taking a look at Prime Time Adventures for how it builds the show; that sounds very similar to your desired 'jam session'.  Another take on starting from scratch and ending with a common 'state of the union' is Universalis.  Two very different approaches to the same basic setup, and they may help you focus your section on setting the stage your gods are playing on.

thanks,

James
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sean2099
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« Reply #7 on: April 17, 2006, 07:08:15 PM »

Thanks for the examples James,

I found that one of my problems was trying to prompt people without limiting their creative options.  I did think of a couple of issues that might cause me to adjust their system a bit.  I might scrap this idea as well but I wanted to get a couple of opinions at least.

I introduced a few "real world" myth terms into the game.  I didn't want to the process of rapid exchange to get bogged down with questions like "What's this 'cosmic egg' theory you speak of?"

Second, my personal opinion only, is that there needs to be some minimum agreement before the game.  Just on things like "Okay, we are going to be traditional archetypes in a pre-industrial society." Vs. "I want to be part of a 'hive' collective with futuristic devices that imitate 'powers.'"  Of course, I don't anyone who would phrase their ideas in such a manner in real life.

Anyway, I propose giving each player the same list of questions about the "universe."  They have time to think it over (ideally without discussing it with other players) while the Overseer only has a blank sheet of the same questions.  They can pencil in the name of the person they want to ask a particular question if they wish.

Game Time:  Everyone brings their questions and "character sheet."  (I know, some people forget or whatever...that's why everyone answers all of the questions.) They sit and the Overseer asks the first question to the player on the left (or whatever suits them.)  They get an answer and go to the next person.  ***I plan on making a sample list and giving bits of advice on what if they answer like this...***

So, the answers could end up like origin of Omniverse: first couple, pre-industrial world, civilization ascending, magic exists....there could be other questions, just flavor for the first session (after that, the game should be built to a point where this pre game talk won't be needed.) 

At this point, they know nothing else about the world (exploring), needy mortals (prayer requests...which could lead to several different scenerios), limited amount of worshipers (conversions and conquest),  magic (varied natural law... more rivals but potential for more devote followers?),  etc.

Perhaps I assuming at this point, people would have answered at least some of the questions or thought about their character (additional agendas and ideas.)  Depending on the group, this might be enough prompting to start the adventure.  If not, the Overseer could take one of the ideas and run with it or come up with another idea that fits the "Omniverse" as introduced by players.

Is that a viable concept, at least for starting a first session in a campaign?

Sean
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #8 on: April 18, 2006, 12:09:18 AM »

It's a very nice idea for first session :)

Sorry, not much more to add. I like Black and White, and this resembles it a lot.

How would relationships between the different Player Controlled gods be handled?
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Tommi Brander
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« Reply #9 on: April 18, 2006, 05:30:04 AM »

Quote from: sean
Second, my personal opinion only, is that there needs to be some minimum agreement before the game.  Just on things like "Okay, we are going to be traditional archetypes in a pre-industrial society." Vs. "I want to be part of a 'hive' collective with futuristic devices that imitate 'powers.'"  Of course, I don't anyone who would phrase their ideas in such a manner in real life.

Anyway, I propose giving each player the same list of questions about the "universe."  They have time to think it over (ideally without discussing it with other players) while the Overseer only has a blank sheet of the same questions.  They can pencil in the name of the person they want to ask a particular question if they wish.

Game Time:  Everyone brings their questions and "character sheet."  (I know, some people forget or whatever...that's why everyone answers all of the questions.) They sit and the Overseer asks the first question to the player on the left (or whatever suits them.)  They get an answer and go to the next person.  ***I plan on making a sample list and giving bits of advice on what if they answer like this...***
Is there a reason for minimising player communication before making the important decisions?
I think it can help to create stuff the players want to change, which might lead to player versus player-conflict. It also could create moments to the effect of "People where not created, they always were there. How do you explain THAT?", if fostered carefully. Do you want this kinds of things? Either or both? How will you prevent them? Or would you rather have a single vision which is formed by everyone?
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chris_moore
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« Reply #10 on: April 18, 2006, 06:14:03 AM »

What about a structure at the beginning for players to collectively create an actual creation/origin myth, that explains the cosmology, origin of the gods, etc?  I'm thinkin of some kind of Polaris-esque fill-in-the-blank kind of structure. 

Just a thought,

Chris
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sean2099
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« Reply #11 on: April 18, 2006, 02:45:21 PM »

All of your suggestions have been great.  If I can tie together some of the suggestions and questions, What's the game about?  That's up to you.  There is some pre-game prep that will need to be done.  The amount of details is up to the individual tastes of the group.  You can write elaborate myths and set up an area to play in.  You can only have a few details in the beginning, making up everything as you go along and playing ad-lib.

I mean, I'll still try to make up a sample play session but I can't do justice to the variety of scenerios I am imagining.  I can tell that pre-game preparation will help.

Anyway, I'll try to put up an update on the 20th of this month that should answer some questions and probably bring up new ones.

Once again the website is http://www.agesgaming.bravehost.com
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joepub
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« Reply #12 on: April 18, 2006, 08:07:40 PM »

Quote
What's the game about?  That's up to you.

Sean....
Maybe this is personal opinion, but I think a game really needs to have a core concept that it is ABOUT.

I understand you want something that is open-ended, with players choosing their own direction and creating the universe they play in.
And all that is manageable and something you are doing well with so far.
However, Divinity needs a concept to rally itself around.

And, I think that from what I see it already has a concept that it is "about".
It seems, just looking at this thread, that it is about:
It is about how your power affects a world which is, in the end, dependant and expectant of you.
It is about how interactions with equals affect subordinates, and vice versa. (ie, how conversing with other Gods affects your followers, and how you treat your followers affecting the other Gods-players)
It is about the control and interaction that relates to Godly power.

Do you kind of see what I'm getting at?
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sean2099
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« Reply #13 on: April 18, 2006, 08:44:01 PM »

Hey Joepub,

I think so but let me state it in such a way that I understand you.  I believe my thoughts were setting (my initial thought on what was being asked, "what is this game about?")  vs theme (I assume you mean "theme" here.)  I see my game as looking at power and how it affects your equals and subordinates.  You need friends (other Powers) because you can't possibly take care of a world by yourself.  You need mortals because the worship of mortals gives you the source of your power.  Mortals need you because you help them survive and even thrive.  By default, other players need you because they can't take care of an entire world(s) by themselves either.

So, I guess Divinity is about power relationships (among equal and among subordinates.)

I hope this is what you were driving at Joepub.

Thanks

Sean
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sean2099
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« Reply #14 on: April 19, 2006, 09:46:35 PM »

I updated my download at http://www.agesgaming.bravehost.com

It should address most of this thread.  I do need to get around and finish the world building section and finish the mini rules.

Sean
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