*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 16, 2019, 02:04:27 AM

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 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 130 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Magique Noire: a game of gothic narrativism  (Read 3091 times)
Bevan
Member

Posts: 25


« on: September 22, 2006, 03:28:30 PM »

Hello, everyone,

For the last couple of weeks, I've been bouncing a rpg idea around my head, and it's developed enough that I'm now interested in bouncing it off the heads of various people at the Forge.

It's called Magique Noire, and is a narrativist rpg that tries to capture the feel of classic gothic stories, exploring such themes as madness, secrets, and mystery with a subtle paranormal edge.

In order to capture the psychological intensity of gothic stories, the attributes of Magique Noire are all emotions. What's relevant to its world is how bold or caution your character is instead of how strong, whether he's more analytical or more intuitive instead of whether he's intelligent, and so forth.

Attributes

There are ten attributes that define a character, each attribute being in opposite to one of the other nine. There are ten attributes, each attribute is opposed by another one. You cannot have levels in opposing attributes (so someone who has levels in Passion lacks levels in Detachment, someone who has levels in Pride lacks levels in Humility, etc.). Attributes give bonuses when performing particular actions, penalties for performing actions of the opposing attribute. For example, someone who is Extroverted gets bonuses when interacting with people, penalties for dealing with personal issues. As each attribute grants penalties to its opposing attribute, and having one too high (“unbalanced” with its opposing attribute) causes penalties to particular levels, the levels of the attributes are completely up the player, and can be anywhere from 0 to 5.

1. Boldness - Caution
2. Intuition – Analysis
3. Passion – Detachment
4. Pride - Humility
5. Introversion - Extroversion

Though common uses for the various attributes are listed, an attribute can be used for potentially any situation if the player is able to adequately justify it. For example, convincing someone of something could use Pride (force of personality), Passion (emotional intensity), or Extroversion (skill at dealing with people). A mother protecting her child might use either Passion or Boldness.

At the end of a game session, a character can choose to change his attributes. He and the GM must agree that the changes suit the character.

Uses
1. Boldness (Arrogance, Recklessness): Physical activity done quickly. Getting things done quickly. Temporarily removing penalties from damage.
2. Caution (Cowardice): Physical activity done carefully and planned. Noticing traps, problems. Getting things done well. Permanently removing penalties from damage (which takes a while).
3. Intuition (Daftness): Sensing things unconsciously, avoiding being surprised, noticing when things don’t feel “quite right,” having hunches
4. Analysis (Incomprehensibility): Sensing things consciously, assimilating logical data
5. Passion (Lust): Acting on things cared about. Doing things related to your vocation.
6. Detachment (Frigidity): Resisting temptations
7. Pride (Self-Worship): Resist being swayed
8. Humility (Self-Loathing): Appear inconsequential, hide in a crowd.
9. Introversion (Solipsism): Dealing with personal issues, dealing with solitude
10. Extroversion (Superficiality): Interacting with people

If there is a conflict, then each character involved (including the GM) rolls two six-sided dice, one treated as the positive die and one the negative. The negative die is subtracted from the positive die, and that number in turn is subtracted from the person’s attribute to get the final number. The highest result wins. Even if the character isn’t competing against a being, the GM still rolls a die adds a relevant modifier (such as a person avoiding an avalanche).

For example: a person with Boldness 2 is attempting surprise someone with Analysis 4. As the target is not looking for any threats, the GM decides that his Analytical nature functions as a penalty. The ambusher rolls a 4 on his positive die and a 5 on his negative, resulting in a –1 to his Boldness, and making his final result 1. Conversely, his target rolls a 3 on his positive die and a 1 on his negative, resulting in a +2 to his Analysis. Unfortunately, as that Attribute is a penalty in this situation, that means that his final number is –4 + 2, or –2. The person is completely taken by surprise.

Attributes and the Environment
Different places can be imbued with an attribute (Pride, Extroversion, etc.) that can interact with a person’s own attributes. Furthermore, a person’s dominant attributes can affect his environment (such as a Humble person making his environment less “humble” or conversely more so).


Questions
1. Are the ten attributes that I've listed reasonable both for covering a person's psychological states and for performing the various actions that a person would want to do in an rpg?

2. What things should each attribute give bonuses to do? I've listed a few (such as using Intuition for Perception and Extroversion for social activity), though I've had a hard time figuring out what, say, Detachment or Introversion would be useful for.

3. Does the central mechanic work? Does it leave too much to chance or not enough? I picked a d6 because it's the dice people are most likely to have a lot of, but would another kind be more efficient or effective.
Logged

"And Gull the doctor says 'Why, to converse with Gods is madness.' And Gull, the man, replies, 'Then who'd be sane?'"
                      -Alan Moore, "From Hell"
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #1 on: September 22, 2006, 06:19:02 PM »

Hey there Bevan,

Can you give a little more context for the game itself? What do the characters do in the game? What do the players do? It's hard to give too much feedback on the mechanic without a little more about what you're trying to achieve. I do have one point to make about what you've presented, and that's that the distribution of 2 dice subtracted is a bell curve around 0. This means the most likely result of your check will be as if you never rolled the dice at all, which probably isn't what you intended.

-Tim
Logged
Bevan
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #2 on: September 22, 2006, 09:51:33 PM »

Hey there Bevan,

Can you give a little more context for the game itself? What do the characters do in the game? What do the players do? It's hard to give too much feedback on the mechanic without a little more about what you're trying to achieve. I do have one point to make about what you've presented, and that's that the distribution of 2 dice subtracted is a bell curve around 0. This means the most likely result of your check will be as if you never rolled the dice at all, which probably isn't what you intended.

-Tim

Sure. The game is gothic horror ala the ghost stories of authors such as M. R. James, Sheridan LaFanu,  and Robert Louis Stevenson. Characters are usually relatively normal people (as opposed to, say, professional adventurers) who become embroiled in mysteries and horror, encountering ghosts, cults, and ancient secrets. The sessions are often very person and psychological, with characters having to deal with family secrets as well as their personal issues and the various skeletons they have in their closet. Characters confront both external problems, and their own inner demons.

And actually, a bell curve of zero does suit my purpose. I want the characters' attributes and other modifiers to be the principle force determining success or failure. The dice add a certain element of uncertainty, but ultimately, the person with the higher relevant attribute is far more likely to succeed than the one with the lower one.
Logged

"And Gull the doctor says 'Why, to converse with Gods is madness.' And Gull, the man, replies, 'Then who'd be sane?'"
                      -Alan Moore, "From Hell"
TroyLovesRPG
Member

Posts: 150


« Reply #3 on: September 23, 2006, 11:19:01 AM »

I like the use of emotions and specific concepts as attributes. The opposing attributes doesn't appear to be objective. Its possible for normal people to be bold and cautious, have intuition and analytical traits at the same time. Maybe, you could treat a pair of attributes as sliding values where the sum of the two cannot be greater than 5. Having 4 in bold means you cannot have more than 1 in caution, etc. This lets you balance the attributes.

The opposing attributes could extend to inner-conflict. If the character wants to do something bold and caution has the higher value, then a challenge of the attributes in question must be resolved. This would be a terrific mechanism to keep role-playing in check with the attributes that are chosen.

The dice mechanic could be simplified in that opposing rolls use one die each. Just roll one die and add it. Or roll one die: a 1 on the die indicates you subtract 1 from your attribute while a 6 indicates you add 1 to your attribute. 2 through 5 means no change. This puts more emphasis on your attributes and less on random die rolls.

Another possibility is to use coins. Flip a coin and add 1 if heads, subtract 1 if tails. A player could have a pool of coins (their wallet) to buy chances for success. Each coin they spend lets them flip again and use the new result. Regardless of how many coins they flip, they will only add one or subtract one. When their wallet is empty they can only flip one coin per challenge.

You could modify the coin flipping to a secret wager. Each side chooses a number of coins (or none) from their wallet. They reveal their wagers simultaneously and flip the coins. If any coin shows a head then you get to add one to the attribute. Multiple heads don't give you more than 1. This gives the player the option of using their attribute value as is, or have a chance of modifying it. The players could also have power coins that when flipped, a head gives you a +1 and a tail does not modify the roll.

Troy
Logged
Bevan
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #4 on: September 23, 2006, 12:02:23 PM »

I like the use of emotions and specific concepts as attributes. The opposing attributes doesn't appear to be objective. Its possible for normal people to be bold and cautious, have intuition and analytical traits at the same time. Maybe, you could treat a pair of attributes as sliding values where the sum of the two cannot be greater than 5. Having 4 in bold means you cannot have more than 1 in caution, etc. This lets you balance the attributes.

Yeah, the fact that some attributes don't entirelly oppose each other is something of a concern for me (you could envision someone being both bold and cautious, etc.). That said, I like the mechanic of attributes being in direct opposition to each other. It makes each character hypothetically equal in power to everyone else (since the more he has in one attributes, the less he has in another), and means that everyone simply selects what attribute levels are appropriate to them, without needing to balance a particular level of one with a particular level of another. It's a mechanica I'd like to retain if at all possible. Possibly the names of some of the attributes should be changed to place them as more in opposition to each other.

On the subject of the dice mechanic, I'm not big on using coins. I find them a little too unwieldy in comparison to dice as a randomizer. The rolling one die and adding to it was actually my original idea, though I discarded it because I felt it worked better with my attributes if the mean was zero, just like them. Your idea about having a 1 subtract 1 and a 6 add 1 does a certain appeal though. If I choose to use that, I'd lower the attribute maximum, possible 2 or 3.
Logged

"And Gull the doctor says 'Why, to converse with Gods is madness.' And Gull, the man, replies, 'Then who'd be sane?'"
                      -Alan Moore, "From Hell"
TroyLovesRPG
Member

Posts: 150


« Reply #5 on: September 23, 2006, 02:13:23 PM »

Bevan,

Regardless of the mechanics you use, the distinction of your attributes is the most important aspect. You must make all of the attributes attractive and show perfect examples of when they work for the character in normal, risky and mortally dangerous situations. I can see having the player cite examples of how bold, cautious, analytical they are. For someone with bold 3, they must write 3 situations (in escalating danger) where they would be bold and a normal person would back down. Conversely, they must also write 3 examples where a normal person would be cautious and the character would not. It clearly defines the ways in which the character will be bold and not cautious. If a player realizes he is taking too much risk then he can remove one of the most bold examples along with one of the least cautious examples. Tit for tat.

I would list all of the actions a person would want to do and describe the mental, physical and emotional states required to perform that action. Maybe an action requires more than one attribute or that a few attributes seem to cover most actions. I know a few a games assign attributes to skills almost as an afterthought (d20) and others balance out the attributes and assign action groups to them (WEG d6). The psychological state is very important in your game and gamers may find that alien. Call of Cthulhu is one of my favorite games, because you play normal people with abnormally curious natures. The players are encouraged to flinch when a dead body is found, and revile in horror when the dead body begins to move. So, you have a great task ahead of you.

I like six-sided dice, too. You could easily make 1, 2, 3 count as the value to add to the attribute. You can now have higher attributes. Die rolls of 4 or 5 count as zero. 6 is a special case in that it counts as zero or (I like this next part) gives you the opportunity to have an automatic success. The player gets to succeed in a particulary dangerous situation, when the character really never had a chance or when the action is definitely in direct opposition of one his taboo attributes. Now, something from the character must be given in return. Maybe a point of mental stability, sanity or...a skew in reality. The character becomes overly confident with situations of that nature and must cite that as an example under the appropriate attribute. Example: if you never had a chance to bluff the police officer, taking the 6 lets you off the hook, skews your reality and now you have a new entry for boldness, "Will bluff cops".

I miss role-playing in RPGs. I think this game could revive some of that.

Troy
Logged
Bevan
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #6 on: September 23, 2006, 05:34:06 PM »

I can see having the player cite examples of how bold, cautious, analytical they are. For someone with bold 3, they must write 3 situations (in escalating danger) where they would be bold and a normal person would back down. Conversely, they must also write 3 examples where a normal person would be cautious and the character would not. It clearly defines the ways in which the character will be bold and not cautious. If a player realizes he is taking too much risk then he can remove one of the most bold examples along with one of the least cautious examples.


Personally, I would prefer if such specific information came out during play as opposed to being laid out during character creation. I think too much information on how a character reacts to various circumstances limits the play. Likewise listing all the actions a person might do, and the states required to perform them.

I like six-sided dice, too. You could easily make 1, 2, 3 count as the value to add to the attribute. You can now have higher attributes. Die rolls of 4 or 5 count as zero. 6 is a special case in that it counts as zero or (I like this next part) gives you the opportunity to have an automatic success. The player gets to succeed in a particulary dangerous situation, when the character really never had a chance or when the action is definitely in direct opposition of one his taboo attributes. Now, something from the character must be given in return. Maybe a point of mental stability, sanity or...a skew in reality. The character becomes overly confident with situations of that nature and must cite that as an example under the appropriate attribute. Example: if you never had a chance to bluff the police officer, taking the 6 lets you off the hook, skews your reality and now you have a new entry for boldness, "Will bluff cops".

As I mentioned previously, I'd want the mean of the die to zero to match that of attributes, so I'd want the die to potentially grant penalties as well as bonuses. Also, I'm not big on forcing behavior changes on the players because of rolls they made (such as the aforementioned "will bluff cops" or "often drives over the speed limit" etc.). It seems too arbitrary and restrictive.
Logged

"And Gull the doctor says 'Why, to converse with Gods is madness.' And Gull, the man, replies, 'Then who'd be sane?'"
                      -Alan Moore, "From Hell"
baron samedi
Member

Posts: 137


« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2006, 08:48:40 PM »

One little friendly remark, Bevan:

At the risk of nitpicking, you're likely to hear French-speaking people repeating you that "Magique Noire" doesn't quite mean anything precise in French... they are two juxtaposed adjectives, i.e. it litterally means "(female) Magical Blackish" (without a noun to refer to, so the "female" is presumed because of the "e" after "Noire" (adjective), which is always so written for the feminine form : black as a noun (the color) is "Noir", without an "e", and also written thusly as an adjective for a masculine word ("Magie" is feminine" a word)). Consequently your title essentially means in French "(an unspecified female that is both) magical (and) blackish".

Written as it is, it feels a bit like Haitian créole - misspelled French words that sound a bit child-like and sing-a-song (no offence meant). You probably want to say "Magie Noire" (black magic, same meaning than in English) but if you want to say "Magical and Black" I'd suggest "Magique et Noir" (without the "e" after Noire, because this sentence becomes definitely female related and generates confusion because of this single letter). "Magie Noire" is evocative of circa 1890 France, when occult parlors were a fashion, and is slightly kitsh in contemporary French use - evocative of Tarot, crystal ball-scryers, gypsies, top hat bourgeois gasping at the Grand Guignol blood opera theater, and the like. "Sorcellerie" (witchcraft) is more dated a term (medieval), so "Magie Noire" is probably what you're looking for. :)

French is a difficult language and always, to my knowledge, misquoted horribly in White Wolf books, and we French speakers become incredibly pompous and irritating when our beloved language is at stake. I think you'd like better to learn this little semantic detail in a rpg forum beforehand than when your game is published... ;)

I think "Magie Noire" is also a French mint chocolate brand but I'm not 100% sure. Probably doesn't matter. They're good tasting though. ;)

Good luck with your project, you seem well on your way!

Érick
Logged
Bevan
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #8 on: September 23, 2006, 09:08:16 PM »

Written as it is, it feels a bit like Haitian créole - misspelled French words that sound a bit child-like and sing-a-song (no offence meant). You probably want to say "Magie Noire" (black magic, same meaning than in English) but if you want to say "Magical and Black" I'd suggest "Magique et Noir" (without the "e" after Noire, because this sentence becomes definitely female related and generates confusion because of this single letter). "Magie Noire" is evocative of circa 1890 France, when occult parlors were a fashion, and is slightly kitsh in contemporary French use - evocative of Tarot, crystal ball-scryers, gypsies, top hat bourgeois gasping at the Grand Guignol blood opera theater, and the like. "Sorcellerie" (witchcraft) is more dated a term (medieval), so "Magie Noire" is probably what you're looking for.

Thank you for the comment. The name was chosen because the rpg is envisioned as combining the feel of noire movies with gothic ghost stories, "supernatural noire." Thus, I wanted a titled that included both "noire" and a reference to its paranormal elements, and settled on what I believed to be a literal translation of "Black Magic."

The whole 1890 occult ambiance with medium paralors, tarot, upper-class cabals, and foppish psychics is certainly one of the things that I wish to invoke. I will retitle it "Magie Noire."

Thank for the suggestion. I appreciate it.
Logged

"And Gull the doctor says 'Why, to converse with Gods is madness.' And Gull, the man, replies, 'Then who'd be sane?'"
                      -Alan Moore, "From Hell"
baron samedi
Member

Posts: 137


« Reply #9 on: September 24, 2006, 05:23:16 AM »

Glad to help!

I think MAGIE NOIRE is what you seek. If definitely refers to the Grand Guignol-esque theater you saw in the movie "Interview with a vampire". As a rule, you might want to avoid the "e" after "noir": we only use the feminine form when refering to a noun, and the word for color/genre/etc is simply "noir". The female emphasis of the "e" suggests you're hinting at something... black skinned women, in fact, are the only occasion for which we use the term "noire" by itself.

By default, male adjectives includes neutrals. I was said by English people learning French that "giving sexes" to adjectives was the hardest part in learning French, since they vary with nouns (like in Spanish, i.e. "Las muchchas locas".

I'm glad you enjoyed the French class (*laughs*), I didn't want to be a pain. :)

Erick
Logged
TroyLovesRPG
Member

Posts: 150


« Reply #10 on: September 24, 2006, 06:20:18 AM »

Bevan,

I returned to your first post and realized that few of the attributes are actually emotions. Also, its difficult to have opposing emotions, compared to opposing motives. Think about all the emotions (anger, joy, disgust, fear, etc) you want to invoke in your game and start with those. Otherwise, the character traits you list may or may not be associated with an emotion. Each person has their own perceptions and attitudes regarding emotions, so a survey of sorts may be in order. Plus, if you want emotions to dominate the game then call them Emotions and not Attributes. You could have opposition between various emotions and reasoning faculties.

Of course, blind playtesting is the best way to know if you can deliver the intent of your game.

Troy
Logged
Bevan
Member

Posts: 25


« Reply #11 on: September 24, 2006, 09:41:04 AM »

I returned to your first post and realized that few of the attributes are actually emotions. Also, its difficult to have opposing emotions, compared to opposing motives. Think about all the emotions (anger, joy, disgust, fear, etc) you want to invoke in your game and start with those.

Well the problem with using the emotions that you describe as attributes is that it's a little harder to make them general and potentially beneficial as traits. For example, how high would a person's "disgust" trait be, and what benefits would one get from being "fearful"? Though I do agree that many of my attributes aren't emotions. Perhaps "mental states" would be a better term to describe them. Still, I feel that they would be better terms to use as attributes than the emotions you laid out. Ultimately more useful for encapsulating the levels of a character's psyche.
Logged

"And Gull the doctor says 'Why, to converse with Gods is madness.' And Gull, the man, replies, 'Then who'd be sane?'"
                      -Alan Moore, "From Hell"
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!