*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
April 18, 2014, 05:57:24 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 61 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: "Weekly Sensationalist Tabloid" the RPG. . .  (Read 1203 times)
PJ Jacoby
Member

Posts: 5


« on: August 26, 2006, 05:50:08 AM »

Hehe, I think you know where I'm going with this. The first thing I need to know is if this premise has ever been published (real curious about that).

The game obviously centers around the material found in the Weekly World News (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weekly_World_News), so it's partly a comedy-type beer & pretzels RPG. The game title is just a placeholder, as I wouldn't mind landing copyright permission from the actual mag if I could.

Play centers around a modern-day earth where all the stuff in the WWN may (or may not) be true. Your adventure centers on solving the mystery or surviving the cataclysm. You can choose from many character archetypes who live among the lunatic fringe, such as: Tinfoil-hat Conspiracy Theorist, Govt. Agent (to cover everything up), Media Hound, Occult Enthusiast, Fringe Clergy, Eccentric Hippie, Naive Redneck. . .geez, am I missing anyone?

Storylines center on wildly justified character partnerships that depend on each other's skills and information (think of the groups formed during your typical oldskool Shadowrun game, you follow?). The game will be skills based, and won't center on combat per-se, although combat is a real possibility. Some type of action would be the norm. Character mortality would not be as common as say. . .Call of Cthulhu--but character death would be treated as such. It's not "Toon", but it's not White Wolf either.

Now you're probably thinking, "Oh crap, this will require tediously listed equipment stats for different situations, a detailed magic system, etc. No way. The content of the game encourages dealing "lightly" with this type of thing. It's supposed to be cliched, shlocky and derivative. So your stereotypical alien will sport a stereotypical "ray-gun". . .or is it just that housebound lady with the glandular problem down the street holding a hairdryer??? See? It's like the funny eps. of the X-files, only with a bit more over-the-top goofiness thrown in.

GMs are encouraged to cook-up scenarios from current or back issues of the actual magazine. These subsitute for adventure suppliments and a back-portion of the book will help with adventure planning.

That's it.

-PJ

 
Logged
PJ Jacoby
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #1 on: August 26, 2006, 05:58:49 AM »

Sorry, forgot the specifics. . .

#1. Is there a combat system already out there that I can rip-off--er. . ."pattern" this off of?

#2. Where do I start writing? What portion puts this all together? Do I start with character creation? A blank character template?

#3. How do I balance the adventures without being too tedious?

#4. How do the characters advance in skill? What are my options? How do I create "goodies" or things that the characters would go for? Sure, their goals are abstract. . .but everyone wants something tangible too.

#5. How do I treat the religion aspect respectfully?

More questions as soon as I can. . .

-PJ
Logged
neko ewen
Member

Posts: 36

My brain is melting


WWW
« Reply #2 on: August 26, 2006, 09:22:00 AM »

I was pretty sure I'd seen a tabloid RPG before somewhere; a Google search brought up an Amazing Engine sourcebook and a game called Pandemonium put out by Atlas Games. I haven't read either of them, but Amazing Engine was a very bland system, and there's a Wikipedia article that talks a bit about the rules of Pandemonium (which makes it sound kind of like a simplified Unisystem, with some interesting stuff about past lives).

The questions you're asking are important, but very, very broad. When you have full answers to #1-4, your game will be more or less ready to playtest.

Where you start designing an RPG (the writing part is mostly later in the process) is sort of like where (and how) you start writing a novel. For RPGs, once I've got the premise I tend to work on how characters are defined and how those traits are used, since those are usually the heart of the game.

If your game is based around comedy (yay!), the rules should be relatively simple, and if at all possible do stuff that helps throw the PCs into funny situations.

There are all kinds of different ways to try to avoid tedium during play, so I don't really have a good answer to that, but I'd suggest looking for neat ways to redistribute narration authority and whatnot.

How to handle combat kind of depends on the general tone of the game and how you want it to play out. I imagine combat in a tabloid world being uncommon and weird and desperate, with PCs being forced to constantly pull out all the stops in both preparing and improvising (I'm thinking Bubba Ho-tep here). Definitely something that doesn't use hit points; I'd check out Risus and Dogs in the Vineyard for inspiration.

Character advancement, again, depends on what you want. I would make most character development be minor stuff that takes a long time, except for really weird tabloidy stuff that can potentially radically change a character. So, it takes a long, long time for Bob to become a better marksman, but overnight he can be bitten by a Vampire Lemur, or be experimented on by aliens and have his brain swell to twice the size and gain psychokinetic powers, or whatever.

As for religion, keep in mind that gamers tend to be very open-minded about such things; I think as long as you're not blatantly and deliberatley disrespectful you should be okay. Personally, I would just try to be true to the source material, and have religion, like everything else, be portrayed the way it is in the tabloids.

If you haven't already, consider checking out InSpectres while you're at it. And if you have a chance to try out Psychonauts; the Milkman Conspiracy level could provide some great inspiration for the setting.
Logged

PJ Jacoby
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #3 on: August 27, 2006, 02:27:31 AM »

I was pretty sure I'd seen a tabloid RPG before somewhere; a Google search brought up an Amazing Engine sourcebook and a game called Pandemonium put out by Atlas Games. I haven't read either of them, but Amazing Engine was a very bland system, and there's a Wikipedia article that talks a bit about the rules of Pandemonium (which makes it sound kind of like a simplified Unisystem, with some interesting stuff about past lives).

Thanks, I'll give it a look-over.

Quote
The questions you're asking are important, but very, very broad. When you have full answers to #1-4, your game will be more or less ready to playtest.

Understood.

Quote
Where you start designing an RPG (the writing part is mostly later in the process) is sort of like where (and how) you start writing a novel. For RPGs, once I've got the premise I tend to work on how characters are defined and how those traits are used, since those are usually the heart of the game.

Okay, start with characters. . .check.

Quote
If your game is based around comedy (yay!), the rules should be relatively simple, and if at all possible do stuff that helps throw the PCs into funny situations.

Any way I can balance it without getting too outrageous? I still want to give players a sense of adventurous risk; I don't want them thinking of their character as some kind of throwaway.

Quote
There are all kinds of different ways to try to avoid tedium during play, so I don't really have a good answer to that, but I'd suggest looking for neat ways to redistribute narration authority and whatnot.

New term for me. Any good articles/definitions on "narration authority"? My google here is coming up short.

Quote
How to handle combat kind of depends on the general tone of the game and how you want it to play out. I imagine combat in a tabloid world being uncommon and weird and desperate, with PCs being forced to constantly pull out all the stops in both preparing and improvising (I'm thinking Bubba Ho-tep here). Definitely something that doesn't use hit points; I'd check out Risus and Dogs in the Vineyard for inspiration.

I'll check those out too.

Quote
Character advancement, again, depends on what you want. I would make most character development be minor stuff that takes a long time, except for really weird tabloidy stuff that can potentially radically change a character. So, it takes a long, long time for Bob to become a better marksman, but overnight he can be bitten by a Vampire Lemur, or be experimented on by aliens and have his brain swell to twice the size and gain psychokinetic powers, or whatever.

Lol, beautiful!

Quote
As for religion, keep in mind that gamers tend to be very open-minded about such things; I think as long as you're not blatantly and deliberatley disrespectful you should be okay. Personally, I would just try to be true to the source material, and have religion, like everything else, be portrayed the way it is in the tabloids.

Do you think the same would go for sexual preference? I notice there's alot of those issues as well. How much "mature content" is acceptable in your typical group? I know any gamemaster can pick and choose their theme, but I feel obligated to include it all as it's part of the source material (Hilary and P'lod, that sort of thing).

Quote
If you haven't already, consider checking out InSpectres while you're at it. And if you have a chance to try out Psychonauts; the Milkman Conspiracy level could provide some great inspiration for the setting.

Thanks, I'll get right on it. Thanks for your time.

-PJ
Logged
PJ Jacoby
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #4 on: August 27, 2006, 02:45:42 AM »

:whines like a little girl:

Aww man. . .I have to come up with a workable and uncomplicated Psychic system!!!!

:tantrum:

NOFAIRNOFAIR!

"SIGH. . ." Alright, I've reached my first official wall here. I've deliberately avoided that type of of material. Any recommendations?

-PJ
Logged
PJ Jacoby
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #5 on: August 27, 2006, 03:34:47 AM »

Crap. . .my idea isn't original at all. :(

But thanks for the heads up Neko, before I took it too far.

That's okay, I gotta go back to school anyway.

-PJ
Logged
neko ewen
Member

Posts: 36

My brain is melting


WWW
« Reply #6 on: August 27, 2006, 08:36:56 AM »

Any way I can balance it without getting too outrageous? I still want to give players a sense of adventurous risk; I don't want them thinking of their character as some kind of throwaway.
Well, comedy lends itself to simple game mechanics (IMHO), but simple mechanics don't inherently lead to comedy (The Mountain Witch being a good example).

Quote
New term for me. Any good articles/definitions on "narration authority"? My google here is coming up short.
I don't know of any off the top of my head. There's got to be some out there, considering that a ton of indie games (including The Mountain Witch and InSpectres) use it. Basically, it's the idea that you can break the traditional notion of where the GM's authority lies in terms of deciding what goes into the game. There are some GM-less games like Polaris and Capes, stuff like octaNe where dice are rolled basically to decide who gets to narrate how much of a scene, and even simpler things like how in Truth & Justice one of the things you can spend Hero Points on is finding a clue -- that you the player get to create. It can be tricky to learn at first (especially for a game designer), but if it works well, then when playing a game like that the players can become more invested creatively, since they're playing a more active part.

Quote
Do you think the same would go for sexual preference? I notice there's alot of those issues as well. How much "mature content" is acceptable in your typical group? I know any gamemaster can pick and choose their theme, but I feel obligated to include it all as it's part of the source material (Hilary and P'lod, that sort of thing).
Here I don't feel as comfortable trying to make generalizations. I mainly play with longtime friends here in Northern California, and I have a mother and sister who are bisexual, so sexual preference isn't really an issue, but then we tend to avoid getting too much into sexuality in general during the game. On the one hand, I'd reiterate, be true to the source material, even if it's with a one-sentence caveat ("If you aren't comfortable with this -- or anything else -- don't put it into your game."), but on the other hand, when I sit down to design a game (or consider purchasing one for that matter), one of the criteria is "Would this fly with my friends?"

Quote
Aww man. . .I have to come up with a workable and uncomplicated Psychic system!!!!

:tantrum:

NOFAIRNOFAIR!

"SIGH. . ." Alright, I've reached my first official wall here. I've deliberately avoided that type of of material. Any recommendations?
First, take a deep breath.

Second, take your time.

Third, think less about what psychic powers do in terms of range, duration, damage points, etc., and more in terms of the effect they have on the situation. (Since I've apparently got an indie game for all occasions...) in Atarashi Games' new game Panty Explosion (a game about psychic Japanese schoolgirls) psychic powers are one of the various things you can bring to bear to resolve a situation. If your girl is being bullied, you could try to talk your way out of it, or you could glare at them and have the ground shake and lights flicker, scaring them off.

Quote
Crap. . .my idea isn't original at all. :(
The premise of the game has been done before, if only twice. The question is whether you can create an original game around it. There have been a good number of samurai RPGs before, but The Mountain Witch is nothing like any of them.
Logged

Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!