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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [LateNite Publishing] Hi! Just arrived!  (Read 1823 times)
LateNite
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Posts: 6


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« on: April 27, 2006, 07:50:58 AM »

This is my first post, so I'll go ahead and say "Hello" to everyone.

Now, the LateNite Publishing website is located at http://latenite.hostmatrix.org .

And, I'll explain a little bit about the Entropy game system.  I'll try to pose a few questions as I go along so that things can be more easily responded to, but it will be difficult.  You may, of course, respond to any part of my post, and I'll try to divide it up into numbered paragraphs for ease of referencing.  Basically, the overall questions for each numbered item is "Do you think this is interesting", "Do you have a suggestion for doing this differently", and "Am I completely wrong for performing such blasphemous acts".

1) The Entropy game system is based upon 6 Statistics (Strength, Dexterity, Charisma, Appearance, Intelligence, and Sense), and 24 skills (including weapons and combat skills, social skills, physical skills, and mental skills).

2)  Then, you have Medians, which are derivatives of the statistics.  In essence, you take two statistics and slam them together to generate an average number in order to use with your skill checks.  (Strength + Dexterity / 2 is the Body median, for instance).  This represents a certain obsession in my mind that skills do not simply rely on one statistic to determine the outcome of skill checks.

3)  Seduction is one of the 24 skills.  I think it's overlooked or purposely not included in most systems, at least as far as any core rules are concerned.  Sexuality is a large portion in the real world, so I went for realism over widening the audience.  (It is not outlined in detail, and the "Fate Master" (as I call the guy running the game) and the players decide their own level of involvement with Seduction and sexuality.

4)  Instead of rolling many dice, you roll a particular skill die that increases as you go up in levels.  For the lower levels, the d4 is used, on up to the d20 for skill checks; however, instead of adding this number to your skill roll, you subtract it from the skill + median value.  In Entropy, the dice, the NPC's, and fate itself is working against the character.  Everything is trying to return to it's most ordered state (which is, eventually, everything will turn into an inert gas), but until then, regular people have the ability to fight against this uniformity and fight back against the tides of fate.

5)  I have also greatly altered the way weapons and fighting works from any normal way anyone might be thinking about.  In Entropy, players may improve their own skill with weapons over time.  Damage is not based upon the weapons themselves so much as the skill a character has with their chosen weapon.  There are special abilities characters can acquire that add damage dice, making the system exceptionally lethal and dangerous.  I never liked the way most RPG's take hours to fight out a single fight at higher levels; it keeps the playing field even and keeps combat moving when very high levels are involved, but makes the characters able to defeat lesser enemies with ease.  (Basically, it decreases the time to resolve combat that would normally go on for hours so that the game can flow better.)  Instead of going with higher level = more attacks, I make those attacks much more lethal.  It should lend to less die rolling as far as attacking is concerned, making combat rounds individually more meaningful and significant.

6)  I have played the game against myself a couple of times.  Matching two equivalent level characters against each other, it usually takes between 4 and 8 rounds for one side to be reduced to incapacitated.  Using equivalent levels, even in the upper 20's level ranges, it stays about even.  For this section, my question is, does reducing the amount of real game time reduce the "epic feel" or "great combat" feeling of combat?  Does it kill the combat to have much shorter and much more deadly fighting towards the upper levels?

7)  In conclusion, my book is nearly finished, and I'm probably going to end up with a page weight in the mid-30's.  Now, my production model is based upon writing a small, concise set of rules that can be used as a template for future game setting add-ons, such as a military-based/special forces campaign setting.  Is there any recommended weight for a commercial release?  I think the book has alot of merit, but I don't want to be guilty of the crime of adding in unnecessary length if I can get the point across with less rules and more open-endedness.

Also, I posted a long time ago a game idea called Beat the Streets.  (I've simply forgotten my password and no longer use the email I had back then.)  I'll more than likely write this game using the Entropy ruleset, as it is much more universal than the idea I had for Beat the Streets.  (That is, if anyone remembers that post.  If you search the forums, it still has the PDF online at a geocities site that appears to remain to this day, even though I have not even so much as looked at it in a year or so, lol)

Let me know what you think on these matters and the website I posted.  :)  Thanks in advance.  Will check back later today to see if anything has been posted.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #1 on: April 27, 2006, 08:17:17 AM »

Hey,
Welcome to The Forge!

Do you have a real name that people can call you by? (mine is Joe, btw)

Quote
I'll try to pose a few questions as I go along so that things can be more easily responded to, but it will be difficult.  You may, of course, respond to any part of my post, and I'll try to divide it up into numbered paragraphs for ease of referencing.

Okay, cool. Specifically, is there any area or part of the game that you have concern with?

Quote
In Entropy, the dice, the NPC's, and fate itself is working against the character.  Everything is trying to return to it's most ordered state (which is, eventually, everything will turn into an inert gas), but until then, regular people have the ability to fight against this uniformity and fight back against the tides of fate.

Cool.
This seems to be a part of the answer to "What is your game about?"
Do you feel that this concept/basis/background/design goal is reflected in your Attributes/Skills/Medians system?

Are the mechanics of your game reflective of what your game is about?

...and I guess, also: Do you believe they need to be?


I'm writing a game called Perfect, and it is about a harsh, dystopic government slowly beating the humanity out of society. Eventually they will probably succeed in their goal, "but until then, regular people have the ability to fight against this uniformity and fight back against the tides of fate."

What I've done is intentionally made almost everything on the character sheet a hinderance.
The basic rule is: If something isn't on your character sheet, assume you can do it.

The character sheet consists of action restrictions, societal restrictions, etc.
The other elements are Images - small visions that remind you of what humanity is, and prompt you to lash out against the government in criminal ways.

In any case, the character sheet includes: things you can't do, and things that you will inevitably get into trouble by using.
Just an example of how to make your mechanics reflect what your game is about.

Quote
I have also greatly altered the way weapons and fighting works from any normal way anyone might be thinking about.  In Entropy, players may improve their own skill with weapons over time.  Damage is not based upon the weapons themselves so much as the skill a character has with their chosen weapon. 

First of all... I don't believe there is any "normal way" that fighting works.
d&d uses one distinct method,
whereas a game like Dogs in the Vineyard uses escalation - and is entirely different.

Maybe you could clear up what you mean by that statement, by explaining what you consider to be a normal way?

Quote
In conclusion, my book is nearly finished, and I'm probably going to end up with a page weight in the mid-30's.  Now, my production model is based upon writing a small, concise set of rules that can be used as a template for future game setting add-ons, such as a military-based/special forces campaign setting.  Is there any recommended weight for a commercial release?

This question should definitely be taken over to the Publishing Forum.
This forum is for the discussion of game ideas, and that question exceeds its mandate.


Anyways... just to restate...
Welcome!
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LateNite
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« Reply #2 on: April 27, 2006, 08:40:17 AM »

Certainly, you can call me Brian.  I forgot about the first-name basis (I had seen this discussed someplace).

> Okay, cool. Specifically, is there any area or part of the game that you have concern with?

I wouldn't say I'm necessarily concerned about anything, just simply wanting to share the general facts about the system to see if anyone had any thoughts.

> Do you feel that this concept/basis/background/design goal is reflected in your Attributes/Skills/Medians system?

In a way, yes.  The Statistics, Skills, and Medians are the character's first line of defense against the forces at work against them at all times.  All of these things represent the introspect of the character, the things the character can use as tools to survive.

> Are the mechanics of your game reflective of what your game is about?

Well, in the general, yes.  The first book is a basic set of rules and explanation of how the system works, with super-short stories to set the mood for each chapter.  The actual meat for each of the particular settings will be in the setting books.

> Maybe you could clear up what you mean by that statement, by explaining what you consider to be a normal way?

Well, basically, this is how it works:  characters, as they proceed in level, receive one endowment every 2nd level.  This endowment can be spent on several things, including weapon improvement.  Let's say a character gets a 22 caliber pistol as their weapon of choice.  This weapon does a d4 damage in Entropy.  However, players may increase this damage to 5d4 with the use of Weapon Commitment endowments, and they may also upgrade the damage dice from a d4 to a d6 with the Weapon Mastery endowment (which requires Weapon Commitment V).

Now, this rolls alot of things up into one, and it may over-simplify the weapon and damage-dealing aspect of the game.  With this style of mechanic, I am trying to solve a few key issues:  firstly, the fact that I feel most games take way too long at higher levels to resolve combat (looking at D&D, D20, and White Wolf's games, as they are mainstream, and I've played them all for a good long time), or it takes too little time to be memorable or meaningful to the players.  I've tried to strike a balance with the target for a decent combat setting to last about 6 rounds, and in my tests, it comes out to be about that (after health points for all the levels vs. damage dealt per attack goes into effect).

Some people may ask why to include a mechanic (at least with any level of complexity) at all if I'm aiming for about 6 rounds for combat at any given time; this, of course, is for level progression, defeating hordes of much weaker enemies, several slightly weaker enemies, or a couple of enemies of equivalent level to the party.  I just don't want it to drone on and on forever.

So, I've done what I've said above.  I attempt to go around base weapon damages in favor of an ever-increasing proficiency with the weapon itself.  The characters know how to use the weapon more effectively over time, which can eventually cause it to do more damage in the hands of that character than another character with a bigger gun with less training.

Another example:  A character with a 22 pistol at maximum weapon proficiency can do 5d6's (with Commitments & Mastery) against another character who has no skill with the 7.62 mm AK-47 Russian assault rifle, with the 22 being more effective and deadly in the hands of a skilled master; however, just on shear size, two characters with equal proficiency in their weapons (Commitment V, Mastery), one holding a 22 pistol, the other holding a 45 pistol, the guy with the 45 has a higher advantage.  I hope I'm clear with this.

> This forum is for the discussion of game ideas, and that question exceeds its mandate.

Of course.  I just didn't want to spread it out over several threads, but I'll post about it when I get to that point over there.

And, thanks for the welcome. :)
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #3 on: April 27, 2006, 01:10:01 PM »

Quote
> Are the mechanics of your game reflective of what your game is about?

Well, in the general, yes.  The first book is a basic set of rules and explanation of how the system works, with super-short stories to set the mood for each chapter.  The actual meat for each of the particular settings will be in the setting books.

Cool.
I hadn't intended "what your game is about" to relate to setting. I meant it in the context of:

What is the premise of your game?
When you play Entropy, what do you set yourself up for?

A game like d&d might answer, "Killing evil monsters, taking their gold, and being heroic."
a game like Prime Time Adventures might answer, "Simulating a great TV show, and gaining fan support as you proceed."

I think you might have hit on it when you said:
Quote
In Entropy, the dice, the NPC's, and fate itself is working against the character.  Everything is trying to return to it's most ordered state (which is, eventually, everything will turn into an inert gas), but until then, regular people have the ability to fight against this uniformity and fight back against the tides of fate.

Because... out of everything I read in your post, that was by far the coolest.
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LateNite
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Posts: 6


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« Reply #4 on: April 27, 2006, 09:27:08 PM »

In Entropy, you set yourself up for just about anything.  You can be the clever scientist, the gunslinger, the evil corporate master, the high school kid, the medieval tavern owner, or anything, really.  It all depends on the context of the game that is being run.  It is a game where the players draw up a person of the time period they are playing in and come together for some specific purpose to solve a particular goal as laid out by the Fate Master.  This can be your "kill evil creatures, take their loot", solve the murder mystery, get caught in the old mansion infested with zombies, be time-shifted back to medieval times, start in a medieval setting, be a caveman, or really anything.  The skills are made generic so that they can be applied to any setting that has a language, one or more human people, and a planet (or a livable atmosphere, to say the least).

The tides of fate are represented in the Fate Master; the guy who is running the game is the embodiment of fate for the players, and thus, his creations (the NPC's, the dungeons, the monsters, whatever you would like to call them) are working against the players.  Although, there are some things that react favorably to the players, the opposition is the main focus of the Fate Master's job.

The system itself is designed to be applied to virtually any setting, letting players come together at just about any point in time, any place (including a fictional, fantasy setting, ultra-futuristic settings, and so forth), and accomplish the goals set forth by the Fate Master.  In the expansion sets, different settings and playable Breeds (or races/character types/monster things) will be put in that are particular to the setting.  As far as this book is concerned, it is the system mechanic and the explanation and foundation of the system in general.  I steered away from making anything too specific as far as what can and cannot be done, as special rules and special settings are to follow.

The closest thing I've seen to what I'm trying to accomplish with this book is the newest installment of White Wolf in the World of Darkness core book.  It provides the rules and system mechanic, the basics of the combat system, and so forth, while being an interchangable part with the expansion sets they had in mind.  (Where you use the World of Darkness book to draw up the majority of your character, then apply a Vampire, Werewolf, etc. template on top of it to make it compatible with the setting.)

I hope this makes it a little clearer.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #5 on: April 27, 2006, 09:54:16 PM »

Quote
In Entropy, you set yourself up for just about anything.  You can be the clever scientist, the gunslinger, the evil corporate master, the high school kid, the medieval tavern owner, or anything, really.  It all depends on the context of the game that is being run.  It is a game where the players draw up a person of the time period they are playing in and come together for some specific purpose to solve a particular goal as laid out by the Fate Master.  This can be your "kill evil creatures, take their loot", solve the murder mystery, get caught in the old mansion infested with zombies, be time-shifted back to medieval times, start in a medieval setting, be a caveman, or really anything.  The skills are made generic so that they can be applied to any setting that has a language, one or more human people, and a planet (or a livable atmosphere, to say the least).

Okay.
Now... a game like GURPS or FATE is universal, setting-independant (or rather, uses modular settings like you suggest), uses generic skills and attributes, functions in a similar way to your game.

I'm in no way trying to discredit your game, what I am trying to do is ask this:
What does your game do, that those others don't.

Sure, I can be anything and do it anywhere, and go wherever the FM/GM/DM allows.
But, I can do that with a lot of games.

What specifically sets this game apart?
What makes it unique, instead of just a variation?
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LateNite
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« Reply #6 on: April 27, 2006, 11:07:36 PM »

The mechanic is different.

I am not necessarily trying to sell the game on the basis that it is better for you, or that other systems cannot accomplish the same type of effect.  It is just another option with a different slew of settings that, in my opinion, gets up and running a bit faster as compared to some of the other choices out there.  The core book is not going to be extremely thick and consist of an unnecessarily high page count just for the glory of making it heavy.  I am going for ease of use, while having the complexity to have a good replayability factor for people who like long campaigns, as well as the people who like one-shot games.

It is a unique mechanic in the way things are handled and resolved.  Yes, you could easily go out and buy GURPS, D20, World of Darkness, and run whatever type of game you want with it.  This mechanic provides a seperate way of doing things, and I feel it is not that people accept one system as being right or wrong, it is that they like the way a system works when playing with a particular mechanic over another.  There are going to be people who love the Entropy system, absolutely hate it, and sit somewhere in the middle.  I've shown the mechanic to several of my friends, and their reaction is, "Wow, that's cool," and they usually comment about how certain parts are superior to other systems, things they don't really like about it, and so forth.

And, insofar as other universal-style systems are concerned, I think that it is just going to be a matter of choice on the part of players and game masters out there.  I suppose the audience I am aiming for are the kind of people who want something different but easy to learn and get into, folks who have been playing all these games and just want a different flavor of game.

Basically, the Entropy system is going to be my vision of roleplaying to the world, how I invision it, how I think it should be done, and so forth.  Those who agree can play it.  Those who do not can play their favorite game.  It's all about a matter of choice here.
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