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Author Topic: [GroFaFo Challenge] the Great Below or a mother journeys to kill her beloved son  (Read 1873 times)
Dirk Ackermann

Posts: 52

« on: September 03, 2006, 07:32:47 AM »

the Great Below

This was my game for the GroFaFo-Challenge.

Just to remember, the words were: Mother, Cave, Sensuality, Law and we had 72 hours to finish the whole thing.

1.) What is your game about?

It is about a mother who seeks her son in order to kill him and on that way she will learn something about her world, her history and her relationship to her beloved son.

2.) What do the characters do?

There is only one character! That is mother. Of course there have to be nsc’s but they will be shared too.
Mother wanders from her cave to the forbidden surface. While she does that she remembers times past, she will learn what her son is up to – and why he is sentenced to death – she will decide if she can kill him, take a look into her future and finally she decides the matter for what good or bad it will bring her and the world.

3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?

There is no GM. There have to be FOUR players.
They will play mother. That means some aspects of mother. Of course they will play all the other characters of mother’s journey. But the focus is clearly on mother. The players compete with each other to show their aspects winning over the other aspects of mother and therefore will win to tell the story.

4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

It is the earth in a thousand and thousand of years or so. No one remembers our times and most of the people live under the surface in large caves.
The culture mother is coming from is very old, with still older grey laws and laughing children.
One day some messengers come to the house of mother and tell her that her son must die.
But after a few minutes she decides to take matters in her hand: “Nobody! Nobody but me will kill my son!”
It is clear that this sketch is just a metaphor for the whole journey that lays ahead of her.

5.) How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?

Each player gives – that means he invents it - an attribute or a skill and binds it to one of the four aspects of mother. In addition the player tells a little story from past in which this skill or attribute and its aspect is the very reason of this tale. Only the beginning player tells his stats in present to get the story going.
After this every player will have one aspect. It is possible - I even recommend it - to aim for a certain aspect which attracts the player the most.
To balance this process it is very structured, but the tales will soften it a bit.
The aspects are: Instincts, Conscience, Curiosity, Fear.

6.) What types of behaviours/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?

It is a NAR design with medium competition to tell and “win” the story.

7.) How are behaviours and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?

If they can tell the story with their aspects and stats they are rewarded with the raising of their aspect and with that they increase the chance of “winning”
8.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?

Because everybody shares an aspect of mother and is equally playing the NSC’s everybody narrates with the same responsibility. But the better you link your stats and your aspect to the story the more the chance to be the lonely taleteller at the end.
In order to do that – and to symbolise another important structure of the game – the game is divided into chapters: The Beginning “Chains”, The Past “Shadows”, Her Son “The Wall”, The Future “The Sunlight” and The Reality? In each chapter each one of the players is framing the scene.

9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)

Its strong premise is vying for attention already! Character generation will let the players feel and understand mother better. Each player has to take part in play! Without only one player the game will not function! There can be periods of rest though…
The conflict resolution needs concentration too.

10.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?

You roll d6 according to your attributes and trying to hit the height of your skills. For instance: Charm 5 aka 5 dice to hit Seduction 3 (roll 3 and higher).

More important are the conflicts. There are three kinds: the Inner Conflict, the Outer Conflict and the True Conflict. If there is a dispute between the players on how mother acts or reacts to a certain situation you have to roll. If this dispute is between aspects it is an Inner Conflict. Is it between a NSC or an obstacle and mother it is an Outer Conflict. Whenever these kinds of conflicts fall together it is a True Conflict.
The players compare the results of their rolls and the winner gets the net results added to their aspects. The highest participating aspects get the right to tell the outgoing and ramifications.
In each chapter there can only be three True Conflicts! After the third the chapter ends.

11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?

The stats and skills are crap!!!!!  I consider some other mechanics for skills and so. But I am proud of the kinds of conflicts. I will try something new, to reinforce these conflicts.

12.) Do characters in your game advance, if so, how?

No. But the aspects can advance.

13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

This is a story about ascending into another level of oneself and out of your own borders and not about becoming better in anything. Advancement is gained in shared fiction and story.

14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?
To let them decide psychological and philosophical demanding situations and to narrate this in a thrilling way.

15.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and colour? Why?

The inner turmoil of mothers decisions, hence the conflicts and the aspects. I think decisions and free will are best described in a very personal way. To raise you above yourself you have to know yourself. The premise of mother kills her son presumes that something will change and that’s why the attention lies on

16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

Aspects, character generation and conflicts and to some degree the chapters because they are new and really let you dive into the scenery and mother and therefore will help to tell a fascinating story.

Maybe you noticed it. The chapters and theme comes from Platons “Cave allegory”. That’s why the aspects, the setting, the journey and their chapters, mixed with mothers will to change something.

17.) Where does your game take the players that other games can’t, don’t, or won’t?

I think most parts of this game could be played in other games! But to play only one character - that means convincingly for an outer listener - is only done this well in the Great Below! I have to be fair: it can be done much better than this and I will do it better!

18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?

There is none. I had the impression that this is a too good to let it only shrink in your pc or the internet. But, let me be honest: it can be played two, maybe three times before it gets old. If somebody likes to play it – please let me know! I will provide ample support. Even more if some things or the whole thing should be redone.

19.) Who is your target audience?

The gamer, maybe the forgite!
I believe it is really a test in game-design and for my ego.

That's it!

I had two successfull tests: it was clear that I have to change some things. But the most important thing can not be changed. That is that you will only play that game two or three times!



In which way are you lucky?
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