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Author Topic: Color-first character, part 2: Getting this far  (Read 12165 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #75 on: January 16, 2009, 01:17:41 PM »

Hi Joel,

It wasn't intended to be mysterious. Saving Throws in T&T are nothing like their use in D&D of any kind. They introduced a new thing to role-playing entirely, retaining the familiar name. This is the thread discussing it specifically: [Tunnels & Trolls] Killed me a player-character (spit)

See also [Tunnels & Trolls] Second level characters and [Tunnels & Trolls] Half-elves are poncy nancy-boys for further discussions of the game. You'll find that I misunderstood the experience point system for the Saving Throws but was schooled by others.

Best, Ron
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ghashsnaga
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« Reply #76 on: January 17, 2009, 11:07:53 AM »

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tonyd
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« Reply #77 on: January 17, 2009, 12:18:24 PM »



Principia is new. Bits of it are still a mystery even to me. Sometimes there's an elephant in the room when we play Principia. It's named "the Renaissance". That's the games ostensible setting, but it's a terribly murky thing. And the more you dig, the more you find out that it's even murkier than you thought. The intent is that it act as a fruitful void from which all the players (GM included) can pull useful inspiration, guided by the system.

A Principia character belongs to a position (which is analogous to class in traditional gaming). Position is part of setting, but it interacts with system.

When I make a character, I get to choose one of three facts about the setting. My three choices are defined by my position. The fact I choose narrows down the options regarding my character's place in this world. It also narrows down a whole class of people. In Lilja's case, it tells me that merchants are world travelers with access to exotic knowledge and objects. Choosing a fact is part of deciding what The Renaissance means in the context of the game: our Renaissance, as opposed to any other Renaissance. This choice is setting as highlighted by the options I chose.

Lilja also has this list of special things she can do by virtue of being a merchant. This is system. It interacts with setting because it defines a position. It says "this is what this kind of person does in this world." For example, alchemists can blow stuff up. Astrologers can make predictions. This is setting highlighted by the system.
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Lance D. Allen
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« Reply #78 on: January 18, 2009, 09:12:48 PM »

Quote
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #79 on: January 20, 2009, 10:27:10 AM »

Hi guys,

This is excellent! What interests me is how similar they are in some ways. Principia and Talislanta clearly have two different ways to create Setting as a specific "thing" in play, but the idea that each character brings some powerful angle of the setting "to the foreground" is the same. 

Well, at least on paper. That leads to the differences. In Principia, by creating and naming those features of Setting (note, as part of character<become<sheet means in terms of how much Setting and System are now known<being in play differs greatly.

I think some people had some trouble with this bit.

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ghashsnaga
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« Reply #80 on: January 20, 2009, 06:02:45 PM »

Okay, I understand a little better.


In Talislanta the character I created has access to these parts of the game:
Culture background chosen, just the blurb
Skills (based on culture, err Setting)
Action table for skills
Combat section
Contacts and Character History (possible incorporating more of the Setting)

I ignore the whole section on magic since it doesn't apply to the character. And there is a GM section which doesn't have rules but provides some loose methods for only the GM to use.

So confirming what Ron already said. Based on my sheet I know that my skills and possible contacts from the Setting are active at the start of the game and that is it.

I'll get a sheet posted tonight.


ara





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Joel P. Shempert
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« Reply #81 on: January 20, 2009, 08:14:26 PM »


Allrighty: looking over Yaeta's sheet I see Humanity, which is a ascore that will be especially arbitrated by the GM in terms of when gain or loss rolls are called for. In other words, the GM is the barometer of what it means to be "human" in the game. The GM will also be providing input for the Score Descriptors, such as, "what does it mean to be "savage-raised" in Gorias? WEhat cultures fallk under that umbrella, and what reactions will I provoke from "non-savage" cultures? The GM will also provide pretty heavy input on Destiny inasmuch as the specific Destiny is bound up in NPCs and other setting elements. The Kicker will be entirely under the GM's purview the moment play begins; whatever I stated in it is the clay she uses to mold the fully fleshed situation and characters, and I have to butt out at that point and recieve her input.

Similarly, the Demon, Taibhse, is entirely the GM's toy now. She plays it as a character, and dictates all usage of its Abilities; she may even tweak its Abilities and Scores a bit without my knowledge. Designing the starting Demon is the last direct act of creation I will perform in the realm of Demonics in the game.

Looking at the back of ther sheet, it's pretty much all GM clay. Not that I can't initiate stuff regarding these elements, but it's mostly fodder for the GM's creativity. Just like the Kicker, she'll be fleshing out NPCs and feeding the material into Bangs.

To develop this idea further, what are the underlying features of System and Setting that apply to any and all player-characters in the game, and what are the features that are highlighted by the options chosen for this character?

Well: Right away I note that Humanity is a shared concern amongst all players--we're all working off the same definition, and eac player character will be subject to judgment by the same GM meter. Being on the same page regarding what Humanity is for this game (and what that means), is crucial.

The scores have an assymetric overlap--I mean, besides the numerical values and what you do with them (dicerolling), which are equally relevant to all. But the Descriptors only concern other players where they have the same one; if there were another Brush with the Unknown character, his player would be just as concerned with me as to when and how to bring that Descriptor into play, and what it means fictionally for the character.

Destinies and Kickers are entirely individual.

Demons are individual as well, except that they all draw from the same list of Abilities, so if two players have, say. Boosting Demons, they they're gonna share concern over using Boost.

The back sheet is entirely individual as well, though stuff pertaining to Lore could conceivably be cross-relevant as to how Ritual works and what Demons are like.

Peace,
-Joel
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Story by the Throat! Relentlessly pursuing story in roleplaying, art and life.
Paul Czege
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« Reply #82 on: January 23, 2009, 09:58:45 AM »

Hey Ron,



Solicited input: Scathine the Ice-Reaver of Jotun (Paul), Frost (Ara), Bella (Sean/sirogit)

I confess that I'm not even sure where to start on this. SenZar's setting is strewn throughout the game text, in much the same way that Greyhawk is strewn throughout the AD&D 1e Dungeon Master's Guide. Artifacts and spells and whatnot are named after significant figures. But there's no section of writeups or stats or anything for these figures. There's no map, but locations and city names appear in the write up of the setting's timeline, and here and there in the descriptions of the various races. The whole thing has a "flesh out what grabs you" feeling, which I rather quite like.

So, in theory, anything and everything is potentially in play if the GM is inspired to do something with it. The only true given is that what the player characters aspire to do in SenZar is become gods and have Primal Powers and then play in the Dragon's Game of trying to acquire even more power. But since the advancement to godhood is via the acquisition of experience points, a GM could satisfy this core assumption with the Situation of traditional dungeon crawling. But in practice, I think, the choices I made in creating Scathine direct the GM's attention to the Dragon, and its politics, and the activities of the immortals. And thematically, via my Connections, to issues of friendship and relations characters with dark pasts.

Of course, if the GM doesn't develop Situation on these interests that I think I've pretty clearly articulated, which I think the game has invested me with the power to articulate, and instead creates traditional dungeon crawls, my only real recourse is to be irritated at him.

Is that what you were looking for?

Paul
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #83 on: January 24, 2009, 06:56:27 AM »

/i] System or Setting on the sheet.

In some games, specificmustnot punch into System?

Solicited input: Griselde (Ed), Freydis from Valgard (Alexandre), Karla Sword-Swallower (Peter)<Space Rat<put
In some games, specificmustnot punch into System?

Solicited input: Griselde (Ed), Freydis from Valgard (Alexandre), Karla Sword-Swallower (Peter)<Space Rat<put<In some games, specificmustnot punch into System?

Solicited input: Griselde (Ed), Freydis from Valgard (Alexandre), Karla Sword-Swallower (Peter)<Space Rat<put
In some games, specificmustnot punch into System?

Solicited input: Griselde (Ed), Freydis from Valgard (Alexandre), Karla Sword-Swallower (Peter)<Space Rat<put
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KCassidy
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« Reply #84 on: January 24, 2009, 08:11:28 AM »

In Storming the Wizard's Tower, player's choose the character type (which functions much as classes do in D&D) from a list designed by the game master to fit into the setting, specifically the community that all of the characters champion. For example, Unora's sword maiden character type is created specifically for the Horse lords setting, with a specific social role in that setting. It's not generic, the way say the "fighter" character class in D&D is. The character's type determines how many spells, gear, maps and weapons you start with, and their initial power. The community construction rules determine which arms, gear, maps and spells are available to the player. The player has people in the community they protect as resources.

In fact, the only elements on the character sheet unaffected by setting are the  stats and hit points.

The most important thing on the sheet without system effect is the name of the character type. I.E. although my character's character type has a lot of mechanical effect, instead of being named "Sword maiden" it could be "mystic warrior" or something else.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #85 on: January 24, 2009, 11:47:21 AM »

Hello,

Ara, your post sparked something for me. Storming the Wizard's Tower and D&D + Greyhawk are definitely cousins in terms of game content and genre. It'd be even better if STWT were a hack for the 1974 + Greyhawk D&D instead of the later "red box" thing, but close enough.

But. Look at how differently Setting relates to the actual character creation process and its consequences for play, between the two games. For Unora, the Horsehall Sword Maiden, setting doesn't dictate various points or character specifications, but (a) it does determine a lot and (b) everything about the character only makes sense for play in the context of the setting as everyone is expected to understand it. Whereas for Paulina, all that complex multi-hex encounter-laden setting is ... well, absent. There is not a single term from Greyhawk on there. We don't know where she's from, and nothing about where she's from informs any choices made. She could be "human fighter, speaks orcish" from anywhere, and play could be set anywhere without consequence of her origin.

I draw attention to this to say that what setting is, for play, begins at radically different cognitive and social points for these two games, utterly regardless of the fact that they are both "old school dungeon play," both manifestations of the same game, and that the character in each case began with the same (striking) Color.

Kooky point: check out perhaps the wildest two characters discussed so far: Freemarket and L*** for Land of a Thousand Kings. Given what Jared and Ben have respectively written about the games in this thread, it seems to me, in terms of this variable, that the former is a lot like Storming the Wizard's Tower and the latter is a lot like D&D + Greyhawk. Disclosure: I'm only familiar with the latter game, so authors, correct or refine me as necessary.

Best, Ron
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ejh
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« Reply #86 on: January 24, 2009, 12:44:29 PM »

Wait, what?  I'm supposed to tell Ron how Trollbabe works with respect to some Big Model terms?  Who came up with this crazy idea?

Quote
Finally, regarding System instead of Setting, what is the most important feature on the sheet, if any, that does not punch into System?

Not that much punches into System on a freshly-minted Trollbabe sheet.  Just the numbers.  So there's a *lot* that doesn't punch into system.  I'd have to say for me the most important is the picture, but that's not something I came up with, so let's put that aside for the moment.  I'd probably say that in her specific case, it's the "mojo skull" listed as her trollish item.  What is a mojo skull?  What is trollish about it?  I don't know but I'd like to find out.

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Kobayashi
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« Reply #87 on: January 25, 2009, 04:56:51 AM »

One of the step in character generation is choosing the Hero's origin. This origin shapes the character : if you come from the Valgardian moutains you're a barbarian, in the city of Tyrus sorcerers are outlawed, etc... mechanically speaking the Traits/flaws you can choose must be tied to the character's origin. Each culture comes with a set number of flaws and traits. And some cultures prohibit certain careers. So the answer to the first question :

"Is Setting an instrumental, driving context for what sort of character you can make up and what she can do ?"

is definitely yes. Which means that "Setting is a frame or vehicle for Character" too.

But what's interesting with BoL is that you can have the opposite answer if you just drop the setting. You just say "pick 3 traits and three flaws that represent the culture you come from". In that case the character becomes a vehicle for setting and is driving context. Two opposite answers with the exact same system. So what's interesting is that the system doesn't favor one way or the other. The only limitations are imposed by pure color aka the setting.

"what is the most important feature on the sheet, if any, that does not punch into System ?"

Even the name is tied to the setting (Freydis from Valgard) which is tied to the system. Every piece of info on the sheet is System-tied as far as I can see.

Let me know if I didn't answer the questions correctly.
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Peter Nordstrand
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« Reply #88 on: January 25, 2009, 05:42:54 PM »

I made a couple of choices prior to making up Karla that has an impact on all of this. First of all, I decided that there is no ore-determined setting. The picture would be all the information I had, so the game would not be set in Glorantha or any other pre-determined setting. "Here's a picture. Make a character."

Interstingly, Karla is still strongly connected to a setting, only I made it up during character creation: We have the city of Gar, with its prude city folk, contrasted by the precence of street gangs and entertainers. There is some other stuff as well. So, the setting is not detailed, like Glorantha, but it is still very much present on the character sheet. Perhaps it isn't important whether that inbfirmation came from an external source or I put it there myself. I don't think I could have made a character without tying her to some sort of setting related info.

A feature on the sheet that doesn't punch into system? Apart from Karla's name, there is none. Perhaps the Driving Ambition could have been such a feature, but as it turns out both Mundu the Vivisectionist and Karla's murdered brother are hooked right up to system stuff. Well, okay, perhaps her desire to track Mundu down isn't system related.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #89 on: January 27, 2009, 09:45:56 AM »

Hello,

I didn't anticipate how beautifully these three games would mesh to showcase setting and character options. At one extreme is Trollbabe, in which Griselde is defined by setting only in terms of genre, with no specifics at all to anything on the sheet. At the other is Barbarians of Lemuria (option 1) in which Setting defines pretty much everything. That's also the case for normal-HeroQuest, i.e., set in Glorantha, which is a tacit participant in this post. And between the two is Barbarians of Lemuria (option 2), as well as Peter's fortuitously tweaked HeroQuest which is not Setting-first.

One of my goals in designing Trollbabe was for most of character creation to be (a) Color and (b) relevant as the player sees fit. Setting was present as Ed describes it only as a crucial over-framing device, but not as a detail-specific tapestry or historical sequence.

Regarding System, Ed, you missed one Trollbabe thing: the number of re-roll items currently available. But overall, you're right; there isn't much. Whereas the other two include System in all or very-nearly-all details of the sheet.

It might interest people to know why "Mr. System Matters" designed a game in which the bulk of the character sheet does not touch system. That goes with one of my points in this whole endeavor, which is that although all five components of the SIS are gunning along in play, characters built for play (and privileged as player-characters) are recipes for making that happen. And like all recipes, they are not yet "there." What I'm seeing over and over in this thread is that different games and character concepts are using very, very different recipes in terms of the emphasis on the five components. And those differences (and similarities) are sometimes surprising.

Best, Ron
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