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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: [The Pulse] Puzzling.  (Read 2014 times)
Levi Kornelsen
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Posts: 210


« on: September 22, 2006, 01:06:05 PM »

So.  This is something I spun off a few months ago, a playtest / demo kit for The Pulse, intending to expand it up to a full game one step at a time.

Money intervened, and I ended up unshelving a really old game idea and hiring people to help me write it.  And now that game is written, though there's still playtesting and editing going on.

Which means it's time for me to crack The Pulse back open, and start figuring out *how* to bring it up to 'full game' size, how to present it, chapters, sections, contents, that kind of thing.  Among other things, I've considered writing a setting chapter as a series of concepts, one per page, each with ideas on "How to use this concept in your game".  A page for plague, a page for revival preachers, stuff like that.

But right at the moment, I'm kind of just tossing ideas around for different ways to come at it.

If you're in the mood to take a look, you're invited to toss in any ideas along those lines that occur to you; I feel as if there's  obvious ways to show off this stuff that I'm missing.
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knicknevin
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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2006, 01:23:07 AM »

I had a quick look at your document but hit a bit of a stumbling block, for me at least, which is the idea of the Pulse itself: not because I don't get it, its very familiar to me from the Stephen King novel 'Cell' and I think that is going to be your biggest issue with taking this game any further. If you're intending to go commercial with this game eventually, you will be in legal trouble, since you have used a gimmick from a recognised source and even used the same name. The background details may have changed, e.g. the source of your Pulse is the sun, not cell-phones and you have added an EMP effect to it, but it still looks like a possible infringement of copyright to me.

If this is going to be a commercial product, you're going to have to, at least, drop the name and select something else; if it's strictly a fan-work though, you're probably alright.

I also think you might have more luck getting feedback if you use the forum to address specific issues, rather than looking for general feedback and ideas; is there any topic of the game you want suggestions for? If so, why not describe them clearly in this thread and solicit responses? I think most people find it easier to read about your game here rather than be directed to read through a long-ish document elsewhere.

Hope thats helpful to you; keep writing!
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Graham W
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2006, 08:21:32 AM »

Excellent. Post-apocalyptic games are fun.

Among other things, I've considered writing a setting chapter as a series of concepts, one per page, each with ideas on "How to use this concept in your game".  A page for plague, a page for revival preachers, stuff like that.

I like this idea. One of the things I like about the demo version is the section on the Feral, which basically says: bring one of these in whenever you need an action boost and make sure the players deal with these issues. So an expansion on that would be really useful: this is what the plague is, this is what it'll do to your game and these are the issues it'll bring up for your players.

I'd be wary of going into setting detail for the sake of setting detail, but setting detail in the way you've suggested sounds really good.

I'm not totally into the way the demo version's done. I don't really want to get some friends round, give them scripts and say "read this". Perhaps it's just me, but I'd rather just read through the game and start fumbling our way through it, in the usual way.

This thing about the visions: what's the intention behind that? Can the play group solve the mystery of where the visions come from?

Oh, and the default setting: when you say "Don't move it from Omaha without a very good reason", why? What counts as a good reason? Personally, I'd rather set a game in post-apocalyptic London: why can't I move it from Omaha?

Graham
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Levi Kornelsen
Member

Posts: 210


« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2006, 11:34:18 AM »

I had a quick look at your document but hit a bit of a stumbling block, for me at least, which is the idea of the Pulse itself: not because I don't get it, its very familiar to me from the Stephen King novel 'Cell' and I think that is going to be your biggest issue with taking this game any further. If you're intending to go commercial with this game eventually, you will be in legal trouble, since you have used a gimmick from a recognised source and even used the same name.

Never read it.  Don't intend to.

I doubt very much that any such infringment is possible - EMP stands for ElectroMagnetic Pulse, and I cribbed the idea from a magazine article a good seven years ago, regarding Pulsars (stars that do exactly this, albeit at an intensity that makes the solar event of The Pulse look sad and small).

These aren't new ideas, or unique to Stephen King or to myself.  They've been around for a long time.

I like this idea. One of the things I like about the demo version is the section on the Feral, which basically says: bring one of these in whenever you need an action boost and make sure the players deal with these issues. So an expansion on that would be really useful: this is what the plague is, this is what it'll do to your game and these are the issues it'll bring up for your players.

I'd be wary of going into setting detail for the sake of setting detail, but setting detail in the way you've suggested sounds really good.

Huh.  That actually clears up what I was aiming for with that stuff pretty handily.  Thanks!

I'm not totally into the way the demo version's done. I don't really want to get some friends round, give them scripts and say "read this". Perhaps it's just me, but I'd rather just read through the game and start fumbling our way through it, in the usual way.

Point.

Hm.  When I wrote it, I was generally holding a picture in my head of using it as it is literally for demonstration games, rather than as a "quickstart".  It might be worth the time to make another one that is intended as a 'quickstart'.

This thing about the visions: what's the intention behind that? Can the play group solve the mystery of where the visions come from?

Oh, and the default setting: when you say "Don't move it from Omaha without a very good reason", why? What counts as a good reason? Personally, I'd rather set a game in post-apocalyptic London: why can't I move it from Omaha?

The thing with the visions is meant to make room for the 'freaky stuff' rules.  Most post-apocalyptic games have some kind of magic or psi or crazy mutant bikers, and I wanted to play to that kind of stuff in a way that suits the feel I'm aiming for.  Basically, what I want is a kind of low-powered, highly dangerous, and hard-to-control telepathy; something most players will look at as "the superpower" of the game, and willl wince at the human cost of.  Ferals are supposed to have it.

As for Omaha, the reasons for keeping it there are something I'm thinking about.  I want the game as written to have a western vibe - I really dig on the idea that the culture is reacting to being cast back to pioneer technology by sort-of consciously having a pioneer revival as a way of staying sane.  Not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, though.
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sean2099
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2006, 12:12:45 PM »

Quote

Oh, and the default setting: when you say "Don't move it from Omaha without a very good reason", why? What counts as a good reason? Personally, I'd rather set a game in post-apocalyptic London: why can't I move it from Omaha?

Graham

These comments are strictly coming from my "gut" you might say.  I don't see Levi telling anyone "set it in Omaha or else."  I believe he was trying to say the game is set in the American West where the survivors have gone back to 1800's technology and such.  I do think that if Graham is quoting correctly, then INHO it does sound a bit chafing...(most of the time, people do not like being told they cannot do something.)  Perhaps saying something like "Here is the premises of the game.  I am setting here...if you want to set it elsewhere that is fine but you might have to make adaptations to the Pluse." 

Levi,

I read your premises and brainstorming sessions on other websites.  I was wondering if you had quit on the idea or not.  Good to see you are plugging away at it.  I think the advice approach is a good idea as well because while you are making a game with setting X, someone else could pick up "The Pulse" and chose useful items from it without the information being too setting-dependent.  For instance, if you do a good job describing how society reforms itself, then people could see how to come with town details without you making full town schematics.

Hopefully, at least of my comments made sense.

Sean
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Graham W
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2006, 07:20:36 PM »

As for Omaha, the reasons for keeping it there are something I'm thinking about.  I want the game as written to have a western vibe - I really dig on the idea that the culture is reacting to being cast back to pioneer technology by sort-of consciously having a pioneer revival as a way of staying sane.  Not sure if that makes sense to anyone else, though.

Ah! Got it. That's nice.

I didn't get that from reading the rulebook, which is either because a. the rulebook could make it clearer or b. I'm English and I don't get these things.

But, yes, the neo-Western idea is lovely.

Graham
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knicknevin
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Posts: 105


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« Reply #6 on: September 25, 2006, 10:00:08 AM »

I doubt very much that any such infringment is possible - EMP stands for ElectroMagnetic Pulse, and I cribbed the idea from a magazine article a good seven years ago, regarding Pulsars (stars that do exactly this, albeit at an intensity that makes the solar event of The Pulse look sad and small).

These aren't new ideas, or unique to Stephen King or to myself.  They've been around for a long time.

No arguments there and, as I said in my post, the fact your Pulse originates from a star and has an EMP effect makes it different from Stephen King's; the point of similarity that I think would give you trouble if you pursued this commercially are that both your game and Stephen King's novel feature an effect/event called 'The Pulse' which has the result of wiping rationalty away from people's minds and reducing them to a savage, feral level.
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