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Author Topic: Mind Body & Soul  (Read 2296 times)
Matt Gwinn
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« on: May 15, 2002, 08:07:40 AM »

I had a dream about 3:30 this morning.  In it I was at a CON and I had woken up with an idea for using playing cards as a game mechanic.  After showing some people how it worked I promptly woke up (for real) and found I couldn't get back to sleep.  

The idea kept eating away at me until I found myself sitting at my desk until 6:30 am trying to piece it all together.  This is the result.

Mind, Body & Soul
A roleplaying game about human psychology, love and relationships.

So far I only have the basic mechanics, but it should be playable.  I'm sure a lot of this is old hat including the use of consessions which I obviously borrowed from chalk outlines.  It is my first truly Narrativist game so be gentle.

What I still need to work on is the game's focus, so any input you have on that would be helpful.  It would also be nice to know if it works.

here's the link

http://www.angelfire.com/games3/errantknight/mbs.html

,Matt G.[/b]
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Mike Holmes
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« Reply #1 on: May 15, 2002, 08:58:07 AM »

I don't get how Fate works. It seems like as written that you get Fate points for failing, and they are used to add concessions to your succcesses. This seems odd. Am I missing something?

Mike
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Matt Gwinn
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« Reply #2 on: May 15, 2002, 09:17:07 AM »

Quote
I don't get how Fate works. It seems like as written that you get Fate points for failing, and they are used to add concessions to your succcesses. This seems odd. Am I missing something?


That's pretty much it.  They also take away cards when you draw.  For example, if you have 5 fate points you would remove the top 5 cards of your deck before you draw.  This simulates how, despite how established your mind, body and soul might be, fate can still come in a mess with you.

I admit, that part still needs a little work.

,Matt G.
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xiombarg
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« Reply #3 on: May 15, 2002, 09:35:34 AM »

Quibbles:

Is an ace high or low?

What happens when you tie the difficulty? You only talk about the draw being higher or lower.

I like the Fate mechanic, but I agree that it needs to be expanded. Also, I'm not sure why losing some cards at the start of a draw is a disadvantage. You re-shuffle after every draw, yes?
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Matt Gwinn
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« Reply #4 on: May 15, 2002, 10:11:14 AM »

An Ace is low.

A tie is considered a success.  I will reword that in the rules.

Yes you reshuffle.

I'm not sure myself is there is actually a disadvantage to removing cards before you draw.  I had something else in mind when I set that up initially and then I changed it.  originally All spades were considered a success, but it ended up being that your chances of failing were too slim.  Ill have to give it more thought.

,Matt G
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Walt Freitag
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« Reply #5 on: May 15, 2002, 10:14:37 AM »

This is a good start, I think. But I too have some quibbles:

You speak early on of characters with an emphasis on (e.g.) Mind. But there's no reflection of that in the composition of a character's deck. In fact, a character with more Mind-based relationships will actually have fewer cards of the Mind suit in the deck (because those get replaced by the relationship spades).

Any outcomes in which the Father, Mother, or Betrayer relationships are drawn will always be character successes. Shouldn't these relationships also be able to be involved in failures?

I have the same problem with associating good relationships primarily with successes and bad ones primarily with failures. Can't past errors lead to success? Can't past successes come crashing down? Since there's no mechanism for these relationships to change, it seems that characters are rather in thrall to their pasts.

... Come to think of it, that's what the Premise says too. "Does a person's past relationships dictate his future or is each event in our lives dictated by fate?" Are those the only two choices? What about free will?

I'm a little uncomfortable with the most important relationships having to be characterized as mother and father type figures. Spousal relationships, especially, don't always fit. And sometimes a character's most important relationship is to a child or child figure.

- Walt
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xiombarg
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2002, 10:22:16 AM »

Quote from: wfreitag
I'm a little uncomfortable with the most important relationships having to be characterized as mother and father type figures. Spousal relationships, especially, don't always fit. And sometimes a character's most important relationship is to a child or child figure.

As a quickie suggestion, perhaps the Jack can be used as a "misc" relationship, whether a spouse or a child?
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Kirt "Loki" Dankmyer -- Dance, damn you, dance! -- UNSUNG IS OUT
Matt Gwinn
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« Reply #7 on: May 15, 2002, 11:20:30 AM »

Keep in mind I put this together after only 3 hours of sleep at 3:30 in the morning.  I know it still needs work which is why I appreciate your suggestions.

Quote
You speak early on of characters with an emphasis on (e.g.) Mind. But there's no reflection of that in the composition of a character's deck. In fact, a character with more Mind-based relationships will actually have fewer cards of the Mind suit in the deck (because those get replaced by the relationship spades).


Actually, when a spade replaces a card, it takes on the aspects of the card  it replaces.  If the 8 of Hearts has been replaced by the 8 of spades, the 8 of spades still represents a relationship with an emphasis on Body.  Here is the difference.  If you draw the 8 of hearts you narrate the scene in such a way that you used you body in some way to accomplish your goal.  

For example.  Let's say you meet a woman and you want to get her all hot and bothered.  You draw the 8 of hearts and narrate that you dance with her suggestively out on the dance floor and get her really turned on.

Now, lets say you had replaced your 8 of Hearts with an 8 of spades which represents a relationship with an exgirlfriend and draw that instead.  You narrate the scene the same way except you might mention how that you learned how to dirty dance from that ex girlfriend and that's how you knew it would turn this girl on.


Quote
Any outcomes in which the Father, Mother, or Betrayer relationships are drawn will always be character successes. Shouldn't these relationships also be able to be involved in failures?


The way I'm looking at it is that those three relationships are very intense and I suspect your character has already learned a lot about relationships that are similar.  These three cards represent people who are influencial to who you have become.  They are not necessarily important people to you, simply influencial.

Quote
I have the same problem with associating good relationships primarily with successes and bad ones primarily with failures. Can't past errors lead to success? Can't past successes come crashing down?


Good point.  I think I'm going to change this.  

Quote
Since there's no mechanism for these relationships to change, it seems that characters are rather in thrall to their pasts.

... Come to think of it, that's what the Premise says too. "Does a person's past relationships dictate his future or is each event in our lives dictated by fate?" Are those the only two choices? What about free will?


The Premise assumes that free will is irrelivant in that every choice we make is based on past experiences.  If you accidentally leave the iron on and burn your house down, will you ever willingly/knowingly leave the iron on again?  Sure, you have the free will to do so, but it's likely you won't because you know better.

Quote
I'm a little uncomfortable with the most important relationships having to be characterized as mother and father type figures. Spousal relationships, especially, don't always fit. And sometimes a character's most important relationship is to a child or child figure.


These relationships are supposed to be about learning experiences not about being fathered or mothered.  The titles are symbolic, they represent the most influential (not important) male and female relationships in a character's life.  Likewise, the Jake represents the one big regreat that taught you a big lesson.

Does any of that make sense?  
I really should have spent more time on this before posting it, but I guess I'm impatient.

,Matt G.[/quote]
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Walt Freitag
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« Reply #8 on: May 15, 2002, 12:41:26 PM »

Quote
Quote
You speak early on of characters with an emphasis on (e.g.) Mind. But there's no reflection of that in the composition of a character's deck. In fact, a character with more Mind-based relationships will actually have fewer cards of the Mind suit in the deck (because those get replaced by the relationship spades).


Actually, when a spade replaces a card, it takes on the aspects of the card it replaces.


I see how that works. But in the end it still means that every character has exactly equal numbers of Mind, Body, and Soul cards in their deck, except for the Mind-Body-Soul designations of the King, Queen, and Jack which could add as much as three cards to the weighting of one of the three modes. That to me doesn't seem sufficient to give a character much of an emphasis on Mind, Body, or Soul in particular. (Compare this to the World, the Flesh, and the Devil where the orientation can be very strong in a specific direction.)

Quote
The titles [The Father and The Mother] are symbolic, they represent the most influential (not important) male and female relationships in a character's life.


I'll go along with these being the most influential male and female relationships in a character's life. And If it's influence, not importance, that's being weighed here, describing those figures as mother-like or father-like makes more sense. However, that's not clear in the current write-up, which says: "These cards represent the important relationships in your character's life" and later "The first three cards are reserved for the most intense relationships..."

I like the Jack relationship as is.

The other thing I like about this system is the way a lot of information is being coded into the character deck, allowing that information to be preserved in the process of scene resolution. I contrast this with a great many narrativist systems in which circumstantial factors are used to determine a dice pool or action point pool, but in resolution the link between the abstract elements of the pool and the circumstantial factors they represent is broken. The results of the roll or the action-point play can't tell you which individual circumstantial factors were signficant in the outcome. I'm working on a system using dice that preserves the circumstantial information (but I don't know exactly how yet, perhaps using color-coded dice, but every attempt has proven too klunky so far). You're using the much greater information carrying capability of a deck of cards to accomplish something very similar, which is a good idea.

I think you could take this farther by reducing the number of plain-vanilla cards (cards that carry little information about the character or Premise) in the deck. For instance, suppose instead of replacing a three of some other suit with a three of spades to represent a bad relationship, leave the three of spades face up on the table and interpret that as meaning that any three drawn involves that relationship. If the relationship has no Soul associated with it, then remove the three of the Soul suit from the deck. (This would also give characters more latitude to be oriented specifically toward Mind, Body, or Soul).

Okay, now the bad news: now that you've clarified the Premise, I reject it as a false choice based on a bad assumption and have little interest in playing a game exploring it. If free will is irrelevant (which can only mean it doesn't exist, since if it did exist it could hardly not be relevant to the question of how one's future is decided), then what does it matter if it's relationships or fate that determines my future, since I can't do anything about it either way?

- Walt
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