*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 22, 2019, 01:33:02 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 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 148 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [This Madness Ends Here!] First Look  (Read 2036 times)
typo
Member

Posts: 11


« on: September 25, 2006, 08:33:59 PM »

Logged
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #1 on: September 25, 2006, 08:55:18 PM »

Hey, Typo!
Welcome to The Forge. Do you have a real name we can call you by?

Quote
In a nutshell:  Various characters are confronting a dangerous Maniac in a climactic showdown.  Through flashbacks, it is determined why the characters are there, and how they intend to put an end to the Maniac's reign of madness.  It is intended to be a fairly short, finite game, probably one or two sessions long.

Awesome. 9,000 tons of awesome.

Have you read My Life with Master? This initial paragraph makes me think of it.
In My Life with Master, the players and GM create a Master - a gruesome, demanding overlord...
And then the players play his/her minions.
The minions are all about self-loathing and searching for love.
Eventually they overthrow their Master.

Quote
A game begins with the players all colloborating on the basic premise of who the "Maniac" is and when/where the game takes place.  It could be a serial killer in Victorian London, a vampire in Ye Olde Transylvania, or a raving killer at a 1980s summer camp.  Or, y'know, something original.  The main factors: the "maniac" must be dangerous in some way and able to make decisions, and the setting should be at least somewhat familiar to all players.  One player takes the role of the Maniac (not exactly a GM, but it's a step in that direction -- most often, I envision the Maniac being played by the player introducing the game to the group).  This player should come up with a Goal ("I want to kill all the campers," "I want to create an army of undead," "I want to summon a demon to help conquer the world," etc.) for the Maniac, and let the other players know it.

Yup. Definitely check out My Life with Master's rules for creating a Master.
This is cool stuff.
Stuff which I'm glad you stated: "able to make decisions", "come up with a goal".
The only thing is - why aren't the players able to have input in making up the goal?
I'm not saying they SHOULDN'T, I'm asking why they DON'T.

Quote
The Maniac also chooses one or two factors (based on group size) and flags them as "crucial factors" (the ones MOST valuable to stopping his goal).  The characters DO NOT automatically have these factors at the beginning of the game -- they must be brought into play during flashback scenes.

WOAH! COOL!
This part made me jump out of my seat. I love it.
But... do you mean that there are one or two factors per character, or per party?
If I have a party of 3, does each one have one crucial factor hidden away?

Quote
Another "present tense" sequence happens, but this time the Hero who has flashed back can now use his factors to "thwart" attempts by the Maniac to achieve his evil goal.  This can be done by "using" the factor to define setting elements, give the Maniac actions, or simply to try and kill off the Maniac.  I'll gloss over the mechanics here, but ranking of the factor is revealed by the Maniac only once the Hero tries to use it.  The Maniac can then counter by spending limited "Madness" points.  Each factor can only be used ONCE per game -- by ANY character (here's where that list of redundant factors comes in.  After an attempt is made, the Maniac can then shift to another flashback for another character.

Hm.
I don't like this for some reason - something doesn't ring true.
Aha! "ranking of the factor is revealed by the Maniac". I don't like the idea that the GM tells you how much your factor is good for.
It's too arbitrary. It's out of the player's hands, but I as a player would WANT to be able to say "this is worth X".
Is there a resource players have which they can spend? "I spend X points to make this factor worth X?"

Alternately... maybe each factor is automatically worth X, and the Maniac can spend Y Madness points to reduce X by that much.

Or... both! Each factor is established by players spending X, and countered by Maniac spending Y. (Y can be less than X, in which case it just reduces the amount.)

I dunno. Would something along those lines work?
I just feel... picturing myself playing... that leaving the power in the GM's hands on that one leaves me kinda... unsatisfied.
I want that power in MY hands.

Quote
I realize the endgame seems a little weak.  I'm intending to work out something a little more dynamic.

Quote
Is there anything overly "done before" about this?  There's plenty of games here that I know nothing about, so I don't want to be simply rehashing something, either thematically or mechanically.
The game is clearly meant to play off mystery and horror cliches -- is it TOO cliched?  Do you think the potential variation in the gameplay is too limited?

Not too cliched! Unless... you wanted grim grittiness and such.
I personally LOVE flashbacks, LOVE a little flair of cliche, and LOVE stuff that really re-emphasizes genre... this setup does all that for me.

Stuff that's been done before (not stuff that you are replicating, but stuff to digest and apply to your own stuff!):
-My Life with Master
-For some reason, I wanna say "check out Capes' debt system". It's the idea that if you lose in a conflict, you get more resources for future conflicts... Maybe losing in flashbacks gets you more resources for the present?
-check out Game Chef entries at www.1km1kt.net Game Chef is a yearly game design competition - there are a million entries, they are all cool and innovative, and they are all free to download. It's a good place to start for innovative game design and source material.

Quote
Would the game work better if the Minion was truly mechanically adversarial to the Heroes, or more like a GM in a traditional RPG (cooperative-yet-controlling-the-bad-guys)?

I like what you have so far, and think it totally works for what your game is about!
I mean... there are pros and cons to any setup, but I think you've hit the nail on the head, man!

This is a great start.
Logged

typo
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #2 on: September 25, 2006, 10:08:34 PM »

Hey, Typo!
Welcome to The Forge. Do you have a real name we can call you by?

It's Scott, but I actually prefer typo when I'm online -- I've been using it as a handle for, like, a decade now, so I'm used to it. :)

Quote
Have you read My Life with Master?

I bought a copy recently, though I haven't read it yet.  I can see some similarities in premise, but I definitely feel the differences (especially in format) are enough to keep going with this game.  And where MLWM seems to emphasize love and betrayal, TMEH! is more about anger and retribution.

Quote
The only thing is - why aren't the players able to have input in making up the goal?
I'm not saying they SHOULDN'T, I'm asking why they DON'T.

The Maniac isn't really the GM -- they're playing the character first and foremost.  I want them to pick their own goal in order for them to really feel like it's THEIR character, and it also gives them a chance to define some of the directions the game can go.  Also, it helps guaranteee the Heroes won't construct a "strawman" goal that's too easily foiled.  Finally, since the themes in this game could get potentially VERY graphic, it gives the Maniac a chance to set their comfort level (everyone's comfort level is a factor, of course, but the Maniac is the one who has to DO these horrible acts, so they need the last word here).  Also, I think that when setting up the game's setting and Maniac, the players will probably put forward inadvertant suggestions for the goal, so they're not entirely voiceless on it.  The Maniac just gets the ultimate say.

Quote
But... do you mean that there are one or two factors per character, or per party?
If I have a party of 3, does each one have one crucial factor hidden away?

It would be a few per party, and not everybody is guaranteed one.  This is intended to help foster cooperation -- if the players can guess the crucial factors, they'll more likely spend lesser factors to secure potential crucial ones.  Crucial factors will have a major endgame effect, but I haven't 100% nailed it down.  I'm thinking there will be a seperate "crucial" mechanic -- they won't just be "regular" factors worth twice the influence or something.

Also, let me be clear here -- ALL the factors start "out of the hands" of the players.  All of them must be acquired in game.  Not just the Crucials.

Quote
Aha! "ranking of the factor is revealed by the Maniac". I don't like the idea that the GM tells you how much your factor is good for.
It's too arbitrary. It's out of the player's hands, but I as a player would WANT to be able to say "this is worth X".

Yeah, this is the hard selling point.  But it's also the mechanic I feel is really central, so I'll try and sell it. :)  The idea is that it SHOULDN'T be arbitrary -- the Maniac should genuinely rank the factors based on how he feels they will ACTUALLY thwart his plans.  A big part of the gameplay is that the players should be trying to deduce these rankings.  When other players USE their factors, they can see how the Maniac is thinking, and see what kinds of factors THEY should pursue.  Essentially, this is the "dungeon" in the game, if you will.  The ranking of the factors is the hidden information that the Heroes are pursuing, and where the genuine competition comes in.  That said, the ability to spend some resource to either affect the rating or glean info about the rating are definitely things I'll consider.  Also, I think some mechanic will affect the situational value of the factors.  But I think that the ranking of factors being hidden is VERY much a big part of where the game actually is.  If the players knew the value of everyting clearly up front, I feel the game might be nothing more than each player, in turn, pursuing their factors in sequential order, and then applying their factors, in sequential order.

Quote
Or... both! Each factor is established by players spending X, and countered by Maniac spending Y. (Y can be less than X, in which case it just reduces the amount.)

This sounds closer to the mark.  The players have some of the info, but the Maniac has some, too.  The one problem I see with this is that the players might feel even MORE cheated if the Maniac manipulates their list too much.  I'll have to think this through more.

I was actually thinking of something like the Maniac letting everybody know which factor has the lowest ranking, but leaving the other three secret.  That way, players won't pursue red herrings, unless they have some sort of agenda about it. Perhaps playing "worthless" factors gives some sort of endgame bonus for the player intentionally "throwing" a midgame conflict...  Definitely needs some thought.

Quote
This is a great start.

Thanks for the feedback!  This is really my first time offering my work up for wide scrutiny, so I appreciate it a lot!
Logged
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2006, 11:03:38 AM »

Quote
It's Scott, but I actually prefer typo when I'm online -- I've been using it as a handle for, like, a decade now, so I'm used to it. :)
Fair enough, Scott-who-prefers-typo.
The Forge likes to promote the use of real names because it gives people a sense of identity, and community... and because it's a lot  harder to tread on a guy named Tom than it is leet_hackwizard18305.

When I first came here, I was leery of using real names too, though. It's a person preference thing, and that's cool.

Quote
I bought a copy recently, though I haven't read it yet.  I can see some similarities in premise, but I definitely feel the differences (especially in format) are enough to keep going with this game.  And where MLWM seems to emphasize love and betrayal, TMEH! is more about anger and retribution.

Oh, I am in NO way saying "this has been done before, you're just making a MLWM Heartbreaker."
I am saying, "Awesome. There is already a genre and audience for this kind of game, and people love it. Plus, there is totally a game or two you can pull from!"
So, yeah. rock solid awesome.

Quote
The Maniac isn't really the GM -- they're playing the character first and foremost.  I want them to pick their own goal in order for them to really feel like it's THEIR character, and it also gives them a chance to define some of the directions the game can go.

Okay, cool. That's good justification.

For the record... I see The Maniac as being A TYPE of GM figure.
The type that simply pits opposition, but doesn't really control the game or story. (This is the GM role in my game Perfect, for example.)

Quote
Yeah, this is the hard selling point.  But it's also the mechanic I feel is really central, so I'll try and sell it. :)  The idea is that it SHOULDN'T be arbitrary -- the Maniac should genuinely rank the factors based on how he feels they will ACTUALLY thwart his plans.  A big part of the gameplay is that the players should be trying to deduce these rankings.  When other players USE their factors, they can see how the Maniac is thinking, and see what kinds of factors THEY should pursue.
In this case, can this be somehow mechanically-controlled, instead of arbitrary?

Without knowing your mechanics, here's an example:
When Aspects are created, each one gets 10 points.
These points are divided between Aggression, Mercy, Understanding, Confusion, Trap.
Each Aspect has different amounts of these things, based on how it can thwart plans.

So maybe "I have a knife" is Aggression 6, Mercy 1, Trap 3.

And maybe the maniac has weaknesses of Aggression 3 and Trap 2. This means he can take up to 3 "damage' from Aggression and 2 from Trap.
So you announce, "That Aspect hurt him by 5".
And then the players all go, "Hm. If THAT one did 5, but this other Aspect only did 3, I wonder what Aspects will be most effective.... maybe this one? Shit, what ARE his weaknesses?"

...This is just made up off the top of my head, not knowing your mechanics... But suggests a way that you could ENCODE the rating, and how The Maniac isn't just arbitrarily creating rankings.
Because creating rankings that will hurt your character... seems biased. The Maniac's player is probably thinking, "Hm... I should make this a low rating to prolong the game."

I dunno.
That's my 2 cents.
Logged

typo
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2006, 01:40:46 PM »

Quote
...This is just made up off the top of my head, not knowing your mechanics... But suggests a way that you could ENCODE the rating, and how The Maniac isn't just arbitrarily creating rankings.
Because creating rankings that will hurt your character... seems biased. The Maniac's player is probably thinking, "Hm... I should make this a low rating to prolong the game."

The encoding concept is interesting, and I'll give it some thought, but I'm not sure it's neccessary.  I think it would be simple enough to simply declare that the Maniac has to assign specific rankings to each player (for example, one 1-point Factor, two 2-point Factors, and one 3-point Factor), without putting a layer of mechanical terminology in there.  Since it's meant to be a short, pick-up-and-play game, I'm partial to relying on natural language when possible.  But I'll definitely give it some thought -- the Factors are definitely the least fleshed-out area of the mechanics, so.
Logged
Valamir
Member

Posts: 5574


WWW
« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2006, 02:09:21 PM »

This sounds like it has a lot of potential.

The one thing I found jarring was the juxtaposition of "Maniac" and "set goal and objectives".

Maniac to me says "raving" or "irrational", which does not then lead me to start thinking in terms of "goals and objectives".

Talk about "Cravings" or "Hungers" and I make the connection easier.
Logged

typo
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2006, 02:50:38 PM »

This sounds like it has a lot of potential.

The one thing I found jarring was the juxtaposition of "Maniac" and "set goal and objectives".

Maniac to me says "raving" or "irrational", which does not then lead me to start thinking in terms of "goals and objectives".

Talk about "Cravings" or "Hungers" and I make the connection easier.

Good call.  I was using "Goal" as a placeholder, but it's definitely subject to change.  I will say, though, that the "Maniac" doesn't need to be straight-up bonkers -- Hannibal Lecter would be a great calm, sedate, thoughtful Maniac, so I don't want to force players towards raging, primal, animalistic Maniacs.  I'll definitely works on the word choices to try and make the game a bit more textural.
Logged
joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2006, 03:43:22 PM »

You totally have to read MlwM.
Note the Needs and Wants.

Quote
Talk about "Cravings" or "Hungers" and I make the connection easier.

Needs, Wants, Cravings and Hungers all give you a really, really solid idea of what they are. Bad guys don't always have goals, but they have these consuming desires, needs, wants, cravings, hungers, particularities, and vengeances.

Think not only about what you are calling them, but what they mean in terms of how you define badguys.

Quote
I will say, though, that the "Maniac" doesn't need to be straight-up bonkers -- Hannibal Lecter would be a great calm, sedate, thoughtful Maniac, so I don't want to force players towards raging, primal, animalistic Maniacs.

Again, the terms you use influence the way players interpret the role.
What about just calling the bad thing The Horror.
The Evil.
The Enemy.
The Monster.


Quote
The encoding concept is interesting, and I'll give it some thought, but I'm not sure it's neccessary.  I think it would be simple enough to simply declare that the Maniac has to assign specific rankings to each player (for example, one 1-point Factor, two 2-point Factors, and one 3-point Factor), without putting a layer of mechanical terminology in there.  Since it's meant to be a short, pick-up-and-play game, I'm partial to relying on natural language when possible.  But I'll definitely give it some thought -- the Factors are definitely the least fleshed-out area of the mechanics, so.
Cool. This is way cleaner and simpler than the idea I was suggesting, and still deals with the concern I was raising.
I like it.
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!