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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Feedback & Suggestions Welcome  (Read 885 times)
fantang7
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« on: April 22, 2007, 02:32:54 AM »

I'm currently working on one rules-lite diceless system for horror games and another epic fantasy game + setting.  I'm writing each of them up on my blog, and would love comments and suggestions from any interested parties.  The address is:

http://robosnake.blogspot.com

The rules-lite system is called "Horror!" and the epic fantasy game is called "Epic", and both are listed in the tags on the right side of the page.  I've also got other posts about game design and ideas for games I'm running or am interested in.  Horror! is simple and is just one post so far with some comments.  I have a huge amount written about Epic but haven't posted most of it yet - I plan on continuing to post portions of it for the foreseeable future though.

If you'd like feedback on your games, I'm happy to give my $.02.  Just email me or contact me through the blog.

Doug
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fantang7
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« Reply #1 on: April 23, 2007, 01:28:05 PM »

Though I feel a little foolish responding to my own post, I don't yet know of a better way to edit it (being new to the Forums).  I wanted to add some extra information that might be helpful regarding the two games I mentioned.  I thought a good way to do this would be to post my answers to the Big Three for each of them.  That'll at least give a starting point that doesn't involve a lot of possibly tedious reading.  So, first, my answers for the Horror! system:

1. What is your game about?

Horror! is about the escalation of fear over the course of a storyline that is rooted in the basic elements of the horror genre - buildup of tension, progressive revelation, immediate threats, existential threats, survival, etc. It is about living out a situation where characters encounter the horrific and how they respond.

2. What do the characters do?

The characters encounter the horrific and respond in some way, whether it is panic, denial, violence, flight, attempting to comprehend, or becoming part of it themselves. The interact with the horror and their own experience of it through their Attributes and Traits and the way they are roleplayed, particularly the mounting effects of escalating fear and of violence.

3. What do the players do?

The players role-play their characters' fear and responses to the horrific. Through roleplaying they gain Tokens which they use to help decide the outcome of interactions with the horror, the game world and the other player-characters. As much as it is possible, they experience what their characters experience in the horror storyline, leading to an immersive experience of fear and, potentially, triumph or absolute loss.
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fantang7
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« Reply #2 on: April 23, 2007, 01:44:37 PM »

Here, my answers are much more provisional. I (we, then I) started the project without these in mind in any concrete sense, and I'm only now going back and applying questions like these to what's already in my head or written out.  Here is what I have for Epic:

1. What is your game about?

Epic is about high fantasy roleplaying in an imaginary Bronze Age setting. It is about the benefits and costs of a magical worldview contrasted with a reductionistic worldview. It is about characters growing in influence over the world. It is about the rise and fall of civilizations and how they interact with each other. It is about gods and spirits and immortals and how they interact with mortals and the material world. it is about being part of the myths and legends that will shape a future age.

2. What do the characters do?

The characters learn to harness various kinds of power stemming from their relationship to the spiritual world - summoning, channeling, using gifts that come from their ancestry, and learning to read and use the intrinsic power present to varying degrees in everything. The characters negotiate their position somewhere between the great powers that broadly influence their milieu and the ordinary people from whom they originally arise. The characters do big things with big effects in the world around them and then deal with what happens next.

3. What do the players do?

Through particular characters (a player may have more than one), the players influence the shared world directly. One player, the storyteller (GM, etc.) has the responsibility of maintaining coherence in the setting and guiding the narrative to provide the other players with surprise, wonder, fear and opportunity. The other players are responsible for coherence in their characters and for deciding how the storyline will ultimately play out - their decisions should drive the narrative forward.

I feel like these should all be more succinct, but this is the best I have right now.
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jackson_tegu
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what a delight / the internet, tonight.


« Reply #3 on: April 23, 2007, 01:46:04 PM »

i really like what you've come up with for the Horror! system.
for the system itself, i guess i have nothing but praise - i've never seen how a Karma based system could be enjoyable, but i've never looked in-depth into how such a system could work. i think yours is very intreiguing, and will be interested to try it out sometime. i would like more, though- i agree that rules-light is the best approach to horror, as that mucking about with tables and small maths detracts from the overall mood-

i'm spending a lot of time thinking about horror these days; and i'll present something quickly here, though i don't mean to be hijacking your thread- i post only because i feel it's immediately relevant. within the horror genre, it's easy enough to make the characters scared, afraid, fearful, horrified - but how to go about actually creeping out us players? i'm reading between the lines, but it think that's what you're getting at with your rules light horror system - leaving room for "something other", aka the mood of Inevitable Demise (even if that's not what ends up happening) for the characters; trying to get that feeling around the gaming table. i'll start my own thread if you want, after i check back to see that it hasn't all been said before on some other old thread.

Horror! system questions
1. how is it that a character escalates on the fear scale? you used the phrase "there is a chance", but there are no fortune mechanics in the game. do you mean that the GM has the option of deciding that the character escalates?

2. how do PCs regain Tokens? i mean, is there a mechanic through which they get them via roleplaying, or is that left up to the GM's discretion? what are your reccomendations for the GM, if this is the case?

3. how many points were you thinking PCs started with? attribute points, i mean.

4. in the traits section, you said: [Each Trait that applies to a given situation gives you a +1 on a test, up to +2 at the maximum.] do you mean that up to two traits might lend their +1 bonus for a total of +2, or that one trait by itself might in some situations give a +2 bonus?

5. in the way you've described the Luck attribute, it seems to only deal with equiptment, and Tokens, which are a kind of ephemeral "good thing" in the game. is there some other way that Luck is involved, in dealing more with "good fortune" (like a narrative mechanic where the Player could describe coincidences or something), or if not, perhaps a different name could be given to the attribute?

6. just to clarify, you said: [A final modifier of a given Test is the Situation. This is always up to the GM, and is sometimes determined by things like fear or injury. Again, the max bonus is +2 and the maximum penalty is -2.]
from other parts in the system i'd gathered that i could have a much more extreme penalty than -2.
i'd thought that, for example, i could have a [(attribute)precision (4) + (trait)typing (1) + (flaw)poor motor control (-1) + (fear scale)frightened (-3) + (health level)wounded (-2) + (GM's situation modifier)Dvorak keyboard (-1)] occurance, with a total "plus" of 5, and a total "minus" of (-7).
did you mean that the GM's situational modifier is limited to a +2 or a -2, instead of the total modifier? what confuses me specifically is the comment about how the situational modifier could include things like fear or injury, because you have other tables for each of those things will modifiers in excess of -2.
i guess i also want to ask, which parts of the above equation constitue "the modifiers", and which are the "non-modifier" parts?

7. and wow, the character in the above situation couldn't type worth a damn. is that what you're looking for, in a situation like that? i know the point is moot in the above occurance because the character is left with a (-2), but what if things were slightly different and he wasn't on the fear scale at all, say, and he had a total of 1.
let's say he's trying to get information out of a computer in the garage of his weird neighbor's house (the one who kidnapped his room-mate, say) before that weird neighbor comes back. what would i compare that rating of 1 to, and what would it mean if i'd gotten a total of 2, instead? (like, if there wasn't a dvorak keyboard?)
is there only absolute success and failure, or also partial success?


that's all for my questions, i guess. sorry in advance if any were answered in the text and i just didn't get them, i read it all once then sort of read everything again out of order. things i love about your system: attributes which cover non-traditional ranges of abilities (i'm a sucker for those) specifically precision and appeal; the mechanic for reducing fear, that's a good one. i'd like some text about how to adjuticate that. you know, they're in a hallway, it's spooky but nothing's really going on right now, dan admits to vanessa that he's really creeped out and she does the same to him, they spend a few minutes rationalizing all the weird stuff that's been going on and then, pow? what do you think?

hey, what happens if my character reaches the "totally inoperative" stage (-7) before other players? do i sit around?
since this game is all about driving PCs into the ground, you could maybe throw in a mechanic where players of "dead" characters can speed up the other players' descent... or escalation...

hope this gets you thinkin',
jackson

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jackson_tegu
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Posts: 12

what a delight / the internet, tonight.


« Reply #4 on: April 23, 2007, 02:06:34 PM »

hi fantang7! firstly, sorry about my broken sentances in my previous post, i got too excited and just plowed through.


Horror! is about the escalation of fear over the course of a storyline that is rooted in the basic elements of the horror genre - buildup of tension, progressive revelation, immediate threats, existential threats, survival, etc. It is about living out a situation where characters encounter the horrific and how they respond.

The characters encounter the horrific and respond in some way, whether it is panic, denial, violence, flight, attempting to comprehend, or becoming part of it themselves. The interact with the horror and their own experience of it through their Attributes and Traits and the way they are roleplayed, particularly the mounting effects of escalating fear and of violence.

The players role-play their characters' fear and responses to the horrific. Through roleplaying they gain Tokens which they use to help decide the outcome of interactions with the horror, the game world and the other player-characters. As much as it is possible, they experience what their characters experience in the horror storyline, leading to an immersive experience of fear and, potentially, triumph or absolute loss.

wow, THIS game i HAVE to play! i think that the game you're describing in this quote and the one you detailed in your blog have a long way to go before they are very similar, which is good, it gives us something to talk about.
in specific, i am excited about the eventual mechanics dealing with [progressive revelation, immediate threats, existential threats]
(differentiating between the two latter... escalating on the scale based on internal fears, revealed by their player? why would the player do that? what if escalation on the scale were a GOOD thing? not for the character, but for... the narrative possibilities open to the player?)

...and the eventual mechanics dealing with [respond(ing) in some way, whether it is panic, denial, violence, flight, attempting to comprehend, or becoming part of it themselves.] i want to see this reflected in the rules! not that you have to please me, mind you. but to have these different "survival" tactics be given game relevant bonuses (situational modifiers?) gosh, maybe the player could declare their character's tactic...

further critique: i think the use of tokens is too restrained. to have them soley for tie-beating and fear-scale reduction; it feels to me that they won't have the impact that you're describing here in the power three. of course, i've not playtested this at all, so it's quite possible that your theory is sound and mine is off, but i'd like to see... multiple token expenditure to win important contests? i'm not sure. anyway, great, great ideas. please keep working.
jackson
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fantang7
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« Reply #5 on: April 23, 2007, 03:32:29 PM »

jackson, thanks so much for your replies and ideas.  All of them are excellent and definitely have me thinking.  What's on the blog is the first iteration of the system with no playtesting, so i agree it has a long way to go, but your comments will be extremely helpful in helping us make it go as far as possible toward realizing what potential it has.  I'm going to do a bunch of thinking and then reply again with better responses to the questions and also begin modifying the game itself based on the ideas that are coming up.  I really appreciate the feedback.

Doug
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fantang7
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« Reply #6 on: May 15, 2007, 01:01:32 AM »

jackson: I've made a couple updates to the Horror! system on the blog, prompted by your excellent suggestions and otherwise.  If you have a chance (and I'm not assuming you do) "Feedback & Suggestions" are still welcome.

Also, for anyone else, feel free to take a look at give me feedback.  Once we get a chance to playtes the system with our home group and at the local game store this summer, we'll probably have a 2.0 or whatever, and I'll repost for some new comments to mull over.

Thanks for the help!

Peace

Doug
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