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Author Topic: Destroy your EGO. Size matters not, or does it?  (Read 2897 times)
whoknowswhynot
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« on: February 19, 2008, 09:24:11 PM »

I need help with a Body/Size/Strength/etc. stat
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We are equal beings and the universe is our relations with each other. The universe is made of one kind of entity: each one is alive, each determines the course of his own existence.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2008, 06:25:23 AM »

Hello! First things first: I think you've got a great vision for your game and I'm interested in helping.

Second and most important thing: since EGO and the associated concepts (illusion, alienation) are central, the whole physical body/damage aspect of play cannot be permitted to take over. There are a lot of games which purport to be about the persona and the soul and morality (et cetera), yet when combat starts, wham, there we are, playing Shadowrun again. Which would be fine if the game weren't about the persona et cetera. It seems to me that this is your trap to avoid - not failing to be realistic or failing to be simple or anything like that, but getting off-track in terms of the most fun and most important conflicts of playing the game.

So I'm going to ask a question from a little bit different angle: during play, as you anticipate or desire it, what might characters physically fight about? Whom would they fight? How would they get into fights? What are the consequences of fighting, both at the personal I-got-hit level and at the level of what the whole fight accomplishes?

To be clear, there's a possible assumption that I think needs to be examined. It is that a game system achieves its fullest "test" or application when a bunch of random foes appear and attack physically. Your game design goals are incompatible with that assumption, so I'm trying to make sure that you place/position combat appropriately within those goals. It may be that everything that's gumming you up with combat design is emerging from that assumption, or something like it, and can therefore be solved by taking that assumption away. Let me know. By answering those questions above, we can get at that.

Best, Ron
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Creatures of Destiny
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Posts: 66


« Reply #2 on: February 20, 2008, 10:46:13 AM »

Yeah it does seem kind of out of place. I can see characters in this game losing combats they win (as in they kick someone's batty and their Ego shoots up) and winning fights they lose (as in they let someone beat them up and might suceed in lowering their Ego).

How about a Stat that represents their tie to the Material world, a physicality stat? It could be interesting if th estat was useful, short term in surviving violent encounters, but ultimately a hindrance to losing Ego. So players would have a dilema, at what point can they start letting go of their Physicality?

That way the "pesky" combat rules. Make it a straight opposed test of Physicality, nd that would go for anything else like sports, chases or whatever. Some other stuff could be a combined Physicality roll (like sexual encounters or whatever). At 0 Physicality you're dead (unless you're also 0 Ego at which point you're "one with the Force").

So yeah, what how does all this physical combat affect your Ego?
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whoknowswhynot
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« Reply #3 on: February 20, 2008, 06:13:36 PM »

What might characters physically fight about?
Well, fighting is generally about silly things like religion and politics (Government) or survival in some form or another.  TOTEM is intended to sort of be a generic type system, so anything is possible in the TOTEM universe so this kind of depends on the setting or theme.

Whom would they fight?<How would they get into fights?<What are the consequences of fighting, both at the personal I-got-hit level and at the level of what the whole fight accomplishes?<
Yeah it does seem kind of out of place. I can see characters in this game losing combats they win (as in they kick someone's batty and their Ego shoots up) and winning fights they lose (as in they let someone beat them up and might suceed in lowering their Ego).




You have got it!  I need to work on the idea for Physicality, though.  I like the idea of the physicality tests.  Not sure how to do it, but I will work on this!  Thank you both for your interest!!
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We are equal beings and the universe is our relations with each other. The universe is made of one kind of entity: each one is alive, each determines the course of his own existence.
chronoplasm
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Kevin Vito


« Reply #4 on: February 21, 2008, 05:51:19 PM »

To (loosely) quote Desolation Jones:
"Fights aren't won by being the strongest man or a clever boxer, but by being more prepared to permanently **** the other guy up."

Thats my philosophy toward battles that I use in all the games I try to design. You see, my battle systems are partly dependent on physical stats if at all, but battles in my settings are mostly mental.
How long is the fighter willing to fight? How far is the fighter willing to go?

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Creatures of Destiny
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« Reply #5 on: February 23, 2008, 01:30:42 PM »

I partly agree, though having skill is important. A trained and competent bodyguard can deal with a total maniac (at least some of the time). Still it could be interesting given taht this is mostly about mental conflicts, that EVERY physical conflict is also a mental conflict so there's some interplay between Ego and Physicality.

For example taunting someone might make them add their Ego as a penalty by encouarging them to do something stupid. A character might use their physicality to lower their ego (as in Shaolin monks using martial arts as a from of meditation) or it may be a hindrance. So the main thing is the interplay of those two stats. A near death experience might help a character lower Ego or a himiliating defeat might lead to a mental retreat and add Ego. Both characters took physical damage but the result is the complete opposite as regards teh objectives of the game.

So the game could encourage the idea that comabt is simply a distraction from the real business of lowering Ego.

Dan
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whoknowswhynot
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« Reply #6 on: February 23, 2008, 05:50:33 PM »

I partly agree, though having skill is important. A trained and competent bodyguard can deal with a total maniac (at least some of the time). Still it could be interesting given taht this is mostly about mental conflicts, that EVERY physical conflict is also a mental conflict so there's some interplay between Ego and Physicality.

For example taunting someone might make them add their Ego as a penalty by encouarging them to do something stupid. A character might use their physicality to lower their ego (as in Shaolin monks using martial arts as a from of meditation) or it may be a hindrance. So the main thing is the interplay of those two stats. A near death experience might help a character lower Ego or a himiliating defeat might lead to a mental retreat and add Ego. Both characters took physical damage but the result is the complete opposite as regards teh objectives of the game.

So the game could encourage the idea that comabt is simply a distraction from the real business of lowering Ego.

Dan

Bam! You've got it!  Exactly!  This is what the game is about, only ego loss should be played down, like it is in real life!  (I will definitely think about the Shaolin Monks and psychedelics too :-).  I was trying to get around having an actual "BODY" stat  because it would mean that TOTEM needs a Strength, and then a Fitness, and then a Health, and then a Appearance, etc. etc.  and since EGO is the gimmick, I did not want a bunch of stats to distract.  I came up with a system for strength and size that is not a stat (OK, I am a cthulhu freak and want the system to enable big ole' beasties in some of the theme books), but rather a bonus to reaction rolls (which are based on EGO).  These work just like skills and are simply modifiers like +1 or -1.  Do you have any other suggestions or Ideas about this?
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We are equal beings and the universe is our relations with each other. The universe is made of one kind of entity: each one is alive, each determines the course of his own existence.
Creatures of Destiny
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Posts: 66


« Reply #7 on: February 25, 2008, 01:59:25 AM »

I find the Cthullu stuff a little out of place as written. I mean the Cthullu mythos is essentially hopeless - you know we're all just insignificant fodder for the Elder Gods. Whereas the enlgihtenment deal seems quite optimistic - beyond our humdrum existence there is a more important aspect to ourselves that our Ego denies. So maybe as Ego ebbs and flows the antagonists change. At high Egos you encounter mundane foes, while at lower Egos you're closer to the world of the big ol' beastes. But unlike in Cthullu, there's something BEYOND the big ol' beasties. Since they're simply part of the nature of reality they would have pretty low Ego scores (low is good right?) and have modifiers for being Big, Ancient, Immortal and so on.

So in fighting a big ol' beastie the creature tires to force you into a higher Ego state ("Oh my god it's gonna eat me!") in which YOU CANNOT possibly beat it. In a fight with a normal guy, the one in the higher state has the advantage IF THEY WANT IT, while the various "skills" affect it (as in an unenlightened violent thug can easily beat up an enlightened pacifist but not an enlightened Jedi, but becoming a Jedi means risking going into the Dark Side of Ego, a risk Gandhi, say, doesn't run). Maybe you can call on a bonus but that bonus raises (or risks raising) your Ego.

Basically the only way you can beat Cthullu is by accepting Cthullu (which is a major departure from HP Lovecraft).
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whoknowswhynot
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« Reply #8 on: February 25, 2008, 05:06:28 AM »

Complete opposite.  You are right!  Call of Cthulhu sort of inspired TOTEM with the SAN characteristic, but not the game itself.  In TOTEM, we have EGO which is like the same thing only measured as "Insanity" points.  The more EGO you have the crazier you are, but there IS hope!

I definitely wanted to include character creation guidelines that incorporated bigguns and littleuns too.  I have got that now!!!  Thank you everyone!!
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We are equal beings and the universe is our relations with each other. The universe is made of one kind of entity: each one is alive, each determines the course of his own existence.
MKAdams
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Posts: 36


« Reply #9 on: March 01, 2008, 05:17:12 PM »

Theater Of ThE Mind (TOTEM) has been my little brain puppy for about 15 years....

I don't want you to take this as me pissing in your cheerios, even though that's exactly what I'm about to do.  I mean well though:

TOTEM is a cool name for your game.  Having TOTEM be an acronym (and so technically T.O.T.E.M.) is...okay, but makes me think of F.A.T.A.L. and having your game remind people of F.A.T.A.L. is...well, it can't possibly be good.  Having TOTEM be an acronym for Theater Of ThE Mind is...yikes.  That's just brutal and ugly.  I mean, when you're capitalizing the E in "the" you are reaching.  Perhaps even grasping.  I might even toss a desperately in there, as in desperately grasping to make the acronym work.

Which is why I'm going to make a suggestion, a purely aesthetic suggestion, and I hope you'll take it to heart and change the name of your game to:
Theater Of The Engaged Mind
Theater Of The Enlightened Mind
Theater Of The Energized Mind
Theater Of The Egoistic Mind
or
Theater Of The Embattled Mind

Maybe you can come up with a different option.  But I would strongly suggest either dropping the acronym entirely, or making it a proper acronym.  An acronym that lends itself to wildly improper capitalization should always be avoided.
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whoknowswhynot
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« Reply #10 on: March 02, 2008, 04:00:48 PM »

I really appreciate that!  I have not put a lot of thought into the name yet, just thought TOTEM was clever in my own mind.  Not sure what F.A.T.A.L. is, but it sounds like something that I would not want to be associated with.  I like "Theater Of The Egoistic Mind".  I might very well use it, if I do go with the whole acronym thing.  I deal with too many acronyms on a daily basis though, so given some thought I might easily change it completely.  Any other suggestions for a name for this project?
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We are equal beings and the universe is our relations with each other. The universe is made of one kind of entity: each one is alive, each determines the course of his own existence.
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