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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 183 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: A slightly used game idea  (Read 5371 times)
Kat Miller
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Posts: 141


« on: May 02, 2006, 03:55:08 PM »

Iíve been a fan of Everway for many years.  Iíve twitched, and flicked and nudged it along the way, Iíve run the system for the Supers Genre to great success.   And last year I came to terms with the fact that Everway just was never going to do what I thought it was doing when I first fell in love with it.  Ive also come to terms with Everway beign a dead, unsupported game.

There is so much of Everway that I still love Iíve been seriously considering writing my own version of Everway to publish and sell.  What I need to know is how far from a system can one deviate from to go from plagiarism to Inspired by? 

If I keep the Elements and Art Card Mechanic, change the setting, design my own cards and add new mechanics is that enough to make the game mine or is it merely a variation of The Original? 

-Kat Miller
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kat Miller
Bill_White
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« Reply #1 on: May 02, 2006, 04:56:33 PM »

I've read Everway--never played it--and I find a lot to like in it, particularly the evocative "Vision Cards" for character creation and the use of the Everway tarot for "Fortune" resolution.  I think the game is hampered by its insistence on mundane names that evoke nothing so much as New Age wispiness, but that's a personal preference.  And I'd want to distribute the power to interpret a fortune draw to others beside the GM sometimes.  But whatever.  Here's what I think:  if the inspirational vision cards are different, and the fortune deck is different, and the setting is different--that's a new game.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #2 on: May 03, 2006, 07:15:39 AM »

WHile your question might be best directed to a copyright attorney, I think that you are safe once you "strip" the color from Everway (new Fortune deck, new Setting, different attributes?). If you adjust the resolution system to reduce GM credability (Bill's idea) then you will be further from the inspiration and well clear of plagarism. Consider The Big Model: different system, setting, and color (but same agenda) = different game.

Also, don't forget what Everway "stole" from: Tarot. Sure, different (and more) art, but the inspiration is pretty evident, there. It's not a large leap to go from Tarot as fortune telling to Tarot as Fortune Tool to different "art cards" as Fortune Tool.

I say go for it. In particular, if you can find good ways to assign player credability. FYI, Everyway is currently selling for $7 at Potomac Distribution: I don't think Wizards is too worried about threats to that reveue stream. ;-)

Game on!
David
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DCBradshaw
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Posts: 8


« Reply #3 on: May 03, 2006, 12:23:50 PM »

Everway for $7?!  Everyone should buy a box!

Kat, just out of curiosity, are you aiming for a more generic settingless Everway-esque system, or do you have some specific ideas for genre and/or setting?

For those that don't know, Tweet et al had a very specific setting theme for Everway (a sort of low fantasy, almost bronze-agey), and the cards reflected this. 

I was big into Everway a few years ago, and I do remember some folks made up a set of sci-fi cards and stats, and also an anime-styled version.  You might be able to still find that stuff on the web somewhere if you're curious.

~Damon
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Kat Miller
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #4 on: May 03, 2006, 12:46:51 PM »

Kat, just out of curiosity, are you aiming for a more generic settingless Everway-esque system, or do you have some specific ideas for genre and/or setting?
~Damon

Hi Damon,
I did the Everway Variation myself running an Everway Supers Game with my own Supers Deck.  Which should be on file with the Yahoo Everway-L group.

Generic Fantasy so that could run some dark Fairytales, some coming of age mythic Dragon hunts or some Castle Intrigue depending on my mood.  So Its not so much an adding new setting as it is removing the old setting. 

which was why I was unsure how far was far enough.

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kat Miller
David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #5 on: May 04, 2006, 07:01:37 AM »

Everway for $7?!† Everyone should buy a box!

Hehe, yeah, I agree. However, Potomac requires (IIRC) a minimum order of $150. So you'd have to buy 22 of them to get them to ship it. Yet that's not a bad number, if someone were to start a thread to do a group-buy (pay each other via PayPal). That will just add the price of initial shipping and then redistribution by the primary recipient (prolly about $3 a box or so).

Anyway, enough thread-jacking.

It looks like there is a strong precedent for "retooling" Everway to a different flavor. Perhaps that would be the best way to go, if your "product" is going to mainly be new artwork and the subtle shift of tone (but little functional difference) of different stats. After all, with Everway-L and other venues, you might get a lot more buyers for an "Everway mod" than for a complete restyling which bears some resemblances to Everway.

Then again, that really does open up the issue of copyright infringement, and you should contact Wizards to see if they have a "proper" way to do such a product. Of course, if you do not profit (i.e. you give it away, as a sort of "playable portfolio" or out of the kindness of your heart) then there is no issue of infringement. Or, to be specific, Wizards could sue you for $0 and MIGHT try to get damages if, say, you had lewd art and branded it Everway and, as such, harmed their reputation.

HTH;
David
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Thunder_God
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« Reply #6 on: May 04, 2006, 07:08:17 AM »

Just to note, you need to direct your legal questions to Hasbro, which aren't responsive in the least(I am using the name Cranium Rats, believe me, I tried).

As a side-note, Everway goes for 2 pounds on eBay, tops.
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Guy Shalev.

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Kat Miller
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #7 on: May 04, 2006, 07:22:09 AM »

Then again, that really does open up the issue of copyright infringement, and you should contact Wizards to see if they have a "proper" way to do such a product.

Just to note, you need to direct your legal questions to Hasbro, which aren't responsive in the least(I am using the name Cranium Rats, believe me, I tried).

Actually Wizards of the Coast sold Everway along time ago, to a company called Rubicon Games who put out the Spherewalker Supplement and then sold the game once again to a company called Gaslight Press who promised years ago to provide us with a 2nd edition, but as of yet fortune has not favored them.


I think I'm OK with this now though.  I can see that "Into The Mystic" is different enough even if it borrows heavily from the mechanics of another game.  After all Games with Stats and Dice rolling are not infringing on DND even if they have a fantasy setting.
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kat Miller
David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #8 on: May 04, 2006, 07:36:34 AM »

Actually Wizards of the Coast sold Everway along time ago, to a company called Rubicon Games who put out the Spherewalker Supplement and then sold the game once again to a company called Gaslight Press who promised years ago to provide us with a 2nd edition, but as of yet fortune has not favored them.

We stand corrected... and it sounds like you are free to do whatever you like! :-)

After all, by the time someone attempts to sue you for copyright infringement--or even misuse of brand--you can so befuddle the Grand Jury with that chain of ownership that they'd likely throw the issue out of court as a nuisance suit. After all, if the thing is (a) barely owned, (b) no longer supported, and (c) being thrown away by distributors, then Gaslight is going to have a tough time arguing "loss of revenue" or "damage to reputation": they've no rep and no revenue! ;-)

I wonder if the boxes still say Wizards.... hey, check it out, one can't even buy the boxes anymore, from Gaslight--just the books (not even cards!). Guess that's because they threw out the boxes (good idea, really: nonstandard shape probably was half of Everway's doom: what game store will REDUCE its total shelf space to carry one oversized boxed game?).

Quote
I think I'm OK with this now though.† I can see that "Into The Mystic" is different enough even if it borrows heavily from the mechanics of another game.† After all Games with Stats and Dice rolling are not infringing on DND even if they have a fantasy setting.

True. Go for it... I'm glad we could reassure you.
David
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DCBradshaw
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Posts: 8


« Reply #9 on: May 04, 2006, 08:11:24 AM »

Quote
As a side-note, Everway goes for 2 pounds on eBay, tops.

Everybody and anybody, if you see Everway somewhere on the cheap, pick it up--if you're disappointed I will gladly present my back for flogging.

Kat, keep us updated on your progress with this, I find it fascinating. 

Have you considered at all (in an attempt to change-up the system slightly, and maybe distance yourself from original Everway [Everway Classic?]) incorporating a bit of a more traditional number/random mechanic?

You've jarred my memory a little with this; back in the day, when my group was getting into our rules-light phase, we kicked around an Everway-type variant that used little wooden tiles with animals on them.  It was the same sort of multi-interpretation idea as Everway, (i.e., you could use the image of the card as inspiration for a ruling, or the phrase(s), or a combination of Stat scores, whatever), but we added an actual "dicing" element as well, on the tiles.  Each of the cards had a number, on both the front and reverse, IIRC we made it a 2d6, and actually curved it on the tiles; that is to say there were proportionately fewer high and low numbers and more middle numbers (I think still got the tiles somewhere in my dice shelf, I can look and see what we did exactly).

So the GM could draw a tile and use the base animal for inspiration in a dramatic ruling (like a FROG would make for a good leap, or a MOUSE means successful stealthiness), or the phrases on the tiles (which were good and bad aspects of the animals, on the front and reverse), or throw away the interpretive stuff and compare the "roll" on the tile with a character's effectiveness. 

Just an idea.  Have you had any thoughts as to what sort of mechanics you might add/alter?
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Kat Miller
Member

Posts: 141


« Reply #10 on: May 04, 2006, 11:29:12 AM »

Just an idea. Have you had any thoughts as to what sort of mechanics you might add/alter?

I am attached to the fortune deck mechanic of Everway but I came to realize a year or so ago that the card flip mechanic was a GM fiat mechanic.  Here's the thing, I decide when there is a conflict, I interpret the card and then I decide the outcome.

Into the Mystic uses an altered full Tarot Deck.  The Suits and meanings have been changed to match the elements.  Ace through 10 of the Minor arcana become the players fate deck.  The face cards become an NPC source deck for the GM.  The Major Arcana plus a few extra cards become the Mystic Deck. (The additional cards are 1 mystic card, and 1 character card for each character)

The players can buy a hand size of Player fate cards during character creation. There hand gets refilled at the start of any conflict.

A conflict happens whenever the goals of any player differs from the goal of the "mystic situation"   

Players can use their fate cards to enhance an action that they would normally be unable to do with their current Elemental scores.  It gives them limited narrative rights.

Players can also use the fate cards to add to the resolution of a conflict where a Mystic card has been played.  They can't cancel the gms ruling but the can add or alter the resolution based on the card they play.

In this way a fortune deck is being used but now the players have some say as well.

Mystic Situation-
during character creation the players will also be creating the Mystic Situation.  Instead of gates and spheres are worlds are touched by a magical fog called The Mystic.  The Mystic is drawn to chaos and dischord.  The Mystic likes Harmony.  When there is too much dischord in a location The Mystic steps in to settle the matter.  Usually by shifting something (or someone) the situation needs to move it back into balance and harmony.  The players characters have all been chosen by The Mystic. Each player will choose an art card and use it to describe the current Mystic Situation and why the Mystic chose their character to help balance the situation.  The GM takes all of that and is able to determine what the Discord is about and sets a discord goal. 

Thus the players all have some say in the world they are about to play in and their characters are all important to the present plot.

Players will choose a second art card, describe what it means to their character and then hand it to any other player of their choosing, who must accept everything the first player said about that card, and then adds further meaning to that card by describing what that card means to his own character.

Thus the players will also be linked in a small way to eachother.

When ever the GM gets stumped for npcs she can shuffled the npc deck and let it inspire.

So the elements stay the same and their meanings are unaltered.  But the use of Fortune decks has been expanded and the use of art cards to create character has also explanded to include creation of Mystic Situation. 
-kat
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kat Miller
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