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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 67 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [sic] Shattered Souls  (Read 2534 times)
Vulpinoid
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« on: July 23, 2007, 06:54:06 PM »

Since I'm having trouble loading up the 4 page rules that I've generated so far, here's some of the conceptual ideas so far.

Set D.

Shattered Souls

Basic Premise
Groups of 3 to 6 adventurers travel around a desolate island far from civilisation where an ancient god-like being has been imprisoned in a trans-dimensional temple fortress for millennia, slowly going insane and corrupt over the course of its exile. Here they face deranged cultists and degenerate priests who conduct foul rituals in their attempt to raise the dark and powerful immortal.

Group Types
Onyx HordeOrder of St. UrielTabernacle of RustGame Mechanic<Game Set Up


What do you think so far?

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Reprobus
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Posts: 31


« Reply #1 on: July 24, 2007, 12:20:16 AM »

I never played such an "old school game", but I'm happy to see that you want to use something similar, because I had some ideas which were strongly board-game-like, but they could fit such an old school style game very well. Smiley

Just now I have no other comments, but I'm really courious what will this look like as your idea gets more accurate.
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My SIC thread about cowboys, pirates and splatterpunk: Disguised by Borrowed Plumes
xenopulse
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« Reply #2 on: July 24, 2007, 08:48:13 AM »

It sounds like fun. I'm eager to see how you can fit all that in 4 pages Smiley

So is it a competitive game between all players, then?
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Thenomain
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Posts: 42


« Reply #3 on: July 24, 2007, 11:33:36 AM »

I like the board-game aspect especially, and I've been looking for things to do with these inexpensive poker chips.

Is the board pre-made or is there a phase where everyone tries to make everyone else's starting area as challenging as possible?  That is, is there an island-building phase?
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Kent Jenkins / Professional Lurker
Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #4 on: July 24, 2007, 01:07:38 PM »

I like the idea with using poker chips for creating the board.

Also, maybe the board could be created dynamically as players explore the island?
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #5 on: July 24, 2007, 02:13:14 PM »

I had considered the idea of using the poker chips to dynamically explore the island. But most versions of rules mechanics I was considering took up a good half page of text in themselves. For a 4 page "instantly" playable game, I was getting pretty tight for space as it was.

Certainly something worth considering in future projects though.

At this stage, the board is made in an "island generation phase" at the start of the game. Players contribute chips to the centre to build up the island, they can make areas of the island as easy to negotiate or as complex as they want. But then they start at a random point on the outside edge of the island (representing where their ship lands, or where their cyber/magical "stargate-like" portal opens up).

It will be a competitive game, with the opportunity for ongoing campaigns over multiple islands. I also considered placing an experience system into the game but space restrictions limited those options as well.

Once the competition is over I might throw together a six or eight page version that includes an XP system, a wider variety of troops and equipment, and a randomized map generation system.

V 
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Vulpinoid
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« Reply #6 on: July 24, 2007, 04:07:50 PM »

As promised, and after too many complications, here is the first version of my game.

http://www.angelfire.com/psy/vulpinoid/ShatteredSouls_SIC_.pdf

Comments, suggestions and constructive criticisms welcome.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2007, 06:11:50 AM »

The game looks really cool. Layout and graphics are nice, too.

One problem I see is that the setup can take quite some time. It's point buy, there's a lot of place for min/maxing things, so I can see team creation alone easily taking 15-30 minutes, along with writing down the information on character sheets. Creating the map shouldn't take very long, I think, but that's another potential 5-10 minutes of setup.

Have you considered adding a random team creation rules? I suppose it could be easily included, even without sacrificing point buy as an option (just add instructions for rolling stuff and add numbers to character components, troop lists and equipment).

Laying out the map randomly is also possible, I suppose - simply put all the chips into a container, mix them, dump them all to the table, and correct their positions to get hex-map layout. Maybe objectives could be added in turns after this (switch a chosen chip to red and place the old chip somewhere on the edge of the map, or something like that).

You could shorten stat blocks, I think, using abbreviations. You could also remove empty lines from these parts, and possibly justify main rules text. This would free some space (I can see how the lists could be compressed to at least half space they take). Then, you could add the XP system, and possibly some rules that would make setup faster.

Also, how many MP does moving onto an objective chip cost? It wasn't specified, I think. There may be a number of similar little glitches, but this is the only one I spotted.
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Thenomain
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« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2007, 09:24:03 AM »

I get the Wargame Roleplay feel here, through and through, so minmaxing seems like it should be part of the game.  If speed is an issue, how about party packages that everyone can pick from, and then equipment packages.  You can still mix-and-match pretty extensively with that given, say, eight party packages and eight equipment packages.  (Or six of each, if you want to randomize.)  Give them descriptive names like "Hordes of Followers" and "Well-Trained Exploration Team" and "Gifts of the Church".

And then at the end say, "If you want to do this again with more control over your characters, here's a point-buy system you can use."

How's that?  Have your cakes and eat it too?
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Kent Jenkins / Professional Lurker
Vulpinoid
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« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2007, 01:44:31 PM »

Good feedback so far, thanks.

Like the core rules of the roleplaying game that I posted on the Playtest part of the forum (which has evolved and transformed itself numerous times over 15 years of so), the ideas contained in this have been bouncing around my head and various sketchbooks for about two years now. I had one of those lucid dreams where something sticks in your mind when you wake up, in the dream I was playing a new and revolutionary board game; I hastily wrote down everything I could when I awoke. I've been trying to fine tune the logistics of this game ever since.

I thought this challenge would be a good excuse to compile a finished version of my game, because it still hadn't been given a specific genre or theme.

Sure I could cut out spaces between paragraphs, but this wouldn't make it look as nice. Coming from a background in arts and industrial design, the way something looks and is presented is pretty important to me. Cluttered text also slows down reading from what I've seen in existing published works.

Good point about the time it will take to generate a team. The point buy system can be tricky, especially when it comes to those players who want to min-max their teams to the highest possible extreme. I'd been working on the assumption of a minute per pick when developing the team leader, and another minute or so to compile the stats [for a total of about 5 minutes]. Then about a minute each per troop to choose, modify by faction then write down. If the troops were expanded to two minutes each, this would blow setup time to 15 minutes, even before the map were laid out [which would take another 5 minutes at least]. At 50% for new players who were unfamiliar with the concepts...Yeah I'll concede that it could take 20 minutes to half an hour. I'll start working on that.

My original dream version of the game had the troops and even the leaders in a collectable card format. All the stats pre-generated on cards, and a collection of a hundred or so cards available scattered among a half dozen different factions. I guess my point buy system was just trying to capture the versatility of so many cards, by allowing the mix-and-match of different character aspects.

I could go back to writing up two specific types of troop for each faction, then three mercenary troops who can be purchased by any faction, allowing a bit of variety, but speeding up the process through a single card selection process. That would give 9 types of follower, of which any faction could choose from 5 of them [maybe even specifying that you can can up to three of the one follower type, within point cost limitations]. For the [sic] challenge version of the game, I could even reduce the number of leader types to simple cards depicting the seven occupations I've written up. Without needing calculations of any type, and without needing to write anything down, team generation would be dramatically reduced in time. 

Space wouldn't necessarily be an issue here either, is it would just be a redistribution of existing resources. The page and a half of team generation rules could be cut down to half a page, leaving a full page to simply insert the pre-generated troop cards. 

The team and equipment package idea is also pretty sound and cuts down on the time factor. Again, referencing my original dream, equipment was found on cards which were either applied to the team as a whole or to individual members. Perhaps I could reference an entire package of equipment on a single card, or something similar. I'll play around with the idea today.

As for the terrain set-up...

The original dream version of the game was on pre-printed boards that depicted islands, canyons, ruined cities or other desolate parts of the world. Since you can't fit such a map into four pages of text. I saw my poker chips and hit upon that idea as a spontaneous way to generate terrain that would change each game.

To address Filip's Concerns...

Abbreviations and shortening stat blocks should no longer be an issue if everything is going to be written on cards. I can even go the "Magic" route and describe the name of the ability then the game mechanics on the relevant card. I'd have to use much smaller then 10pt font for this; but given the layout, I think that this would be justified.

I can see where my first job of editing left out details of moving onto objective chips. The original intention was that Objective chips would be like open terrain, a single point to move onto them but as soon as you did so all remaining movement points were lost as you faced the encounter.
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #10 on: July 26, 2007, 09:06:01 AM »

Yes, it will be cool if you manage to do the cards. As long as the main text of the rules does not use microscopic fonts, I think using them for cards is rather justified in this case.

I like the min-maxing aspect of these team creation rules actually, only it's certain to slow down the initial setup. Another way to go could be moving the optimization part into the play itself somehow, but I'm not sure how this could be pulled of in this game without rebuilding most of it.
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #11 on: July 28, 2007, 05:02:54 PM »

I think I've destroyed the spirit of the challenge in my latest version of the rules.

Technically it meets the criteria of handing a player no more than 4 pages and then theoretically having a game ready to play within ten minutes. But there are a few places where I'm overstepping the bounds a bit.

Firstly, there are three pages of rules. Then there is a fourth page of available cards for each of the six group leaders within the game.

This means that there are 9 pages in total (with plenty of duplicating on those final 6 pages).

I've tried culling the pages down and playing with mechanics, but then they lose all elegance in my eyes. I've tried shrinking the cards, but as they stand now they're pretty close to standard playing card size, and I wouldn't want to go too much smaller than that.

I'm not going to say that the challenge has beaten me, but I'd take a completely different tactic next time.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Filip Luszczyk
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« Reply #12 on: July 28, 2007, 08:01:46 PM »

Well, the four page format sometimes requires difficult sacrifices - but at the same time, if something can be sacrificed then it means the game doesn't really need it. I'm currently struggling to squeeze my own game into four pages, and I've already cut out quite a lot from the original concept. But at the same time, it forces me to streamline some parts that I'd otherwise bloat needlessly.

One of the things you could do at this point would be to forget the cards and return to the old format, but removing leader design rules (e.g. simply providing 2-3 leaders per faction, maybe allowing for the choice of skills), and possibly simplyfing team design rules (2-3 units per faction?). Also, now that I think about it, without advancement rules and without point buy options, no information would have to be copied from the rules, actually.

Or you can post what you have  - but in such a case, well, the challenge was stronger ;p
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #13 on: July 28, 2007, 09:14:41 PM »

Here's what I'm currently sitting with.

Reasonable enough as a short self contained game, but it doesn't really meet the brief.

http://www.angelfire.com/psy/vulpinoid/Shattered_Souls_1_5.pdf

I could always just cut out the complexity of multiple factions, and just tell the tales of the gun-toting zealots of the Order of St. Uriel, in their fight against the dark cultists.

For a one off game, it wouldn't need any more than this. I'm just used to appying a whole heap of extra detail in my worlds.

I'll keep thinking...

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Vulpinoid
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« Reply #14 on: July 28, 2007, 10:12:39 PM »

I'm glad I made this game so modular.

Here's my stripped back version focusing on the Order of St. Uriel.

http://www.angelfire.com/psy/vulpinoid/Shattered_Souls_1_6.pdf

By no means a professional game that you'd spend money on...but certainly a starting point.

And hopefully a self contained game in it's own right.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
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