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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Mayhem Gaming,  (Read 2738 times)
Maugh
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Posts: 20


« on: October 14, 2009, 10:37:20 AM »

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Callan S.
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« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2009, 11:37:50 PM »

Hi,

In good movies and books, what is it that makes characters compelling and memorable? I'm asking because I'd be interested in how much that's facilitated in the product, in case it's good and in terms of your games development if your looking at it that way.
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Maugh
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2009, 12:24:26 AM »

Thanks for responding. 

What makes characters memorable for me is a certain tone in personality and style, best shown in the way they interact with others.  A lot of this depends on the player behind the character and their personality, but a lot of it depends on the opportunities that the game provides, methods of interaction in both social and combat encounters. 

Combat should be flashy and fun, with combat maneuvers that would make Salvatore proud.  Our weapon-based abilities are designed to make each style of fighter fairly unique and interesting both in tactics and personality.  Lighter swords will reposte, lunge and counter-attack, creating an in-and-out light-stepping set of combat maneuvers.  Whips use wrapping techniques and can even do more indianna-jones style maneuvers for extra flair.  Axes and maces hit hard, resonating through armor and even battering their opponents about in space and stunning them across time.  Their high damage and slow speed develop a character image that reflects that kind of personality.  Werewolves and other lycanthropes can trigger their supernatural transformations only after attacking a certain number of times, making them play very aggressively, while undead characters trade a lower life total for the capacity to not die during combat, giving them a fragile but carefree and disconnected style of play that matches the personality of that style of character.

Ability Mechanics are designed to highlight the more iconic and unique character styles, and they show that through the action as they fight.

For social encounters, we provide mechanics and gimmicks that present quirky interactions.  For an example in one campaign we ran, we had a gorgon, (medusa) character in a party with a succubus, both as player characters.  The gorgon had it's set of interactions, (usually subtle threats of stony gaze and attempts at intimidation,) while the succubus had more attractive charms, using compulsion effects to dominate those around them and to fascinate and draw attention to herself.  The interactions between the two were vastly amusing, as the Gorgon developed fits of jealousy at all the positive attention the succubus was getting.  It was okay, though, because her snakes were there to comfort her. 

Further attribute abilities based on charisma include elements such as a "fan club," ability that encourages minor NPC's from places the party has visited to develop a sudden devotion and even social gatherings dedicated around the character's admiration.  A "First impression," mechanic and a series of social skills including deceive, haggle, and gossip make it important for characters to develop the social elements of their character and play them out to achieve their objectives.

Really, the mechanics are designed to present fun, memorable situations and to empower the characters to use their unique tactics and mechanics to succeed in a variety of kinds of encounters.  Back to the book/movie parallel, consider what characters do.  They do a lot of different things, depending on the characters, be they audacious, heroic, sinister, sly, or tough, but whatever they do, they do it vividly.  We tried to design the game to provide that vivid action.

Later, if I get any further interest, I can post some of the more structural game mechanics, such as dice/skill/attribute/ability/etc, but I think that the above rambling is enough for one post.  Thanks for reading this far.
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Simon C
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Posts: 495


« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2009, 01:17:08 AM »

Why would I play your game over the dozens of other games that promise the same things?

Some of the things that you've said here are interesting to me, especially the part about different combat abilities reflecting different personalities.  That sounds like a cool idea.  Tell me more about this, and tell me why you need the other parts of the game to get to that.
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Maugh
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #4 on: October 15, 2009, 11:10:54 AM »

There are a lot of really good games out there, to be sure, and I don't want to stand here and say they all suck, because they don't, but there are some really good reasons to check out our game.   Sorry for the longish post, but below I have listed out 14 reasons to play our game over others, starting with six main branches of content, explaining why they're distinct and special,) and ending with eight pieces of our frame-work mechanics, which help understand how the game runs our strengths from that angle.  Depending on a person's preference in character styles and mechanics any number of these reasons could be enough to choose our game.  Pulling them all together into one cohesive whole makes it a mammoth of a game.

(Although they're all decent reasons to try the game, the explanations below go from more minor elements of the game to more critical ones, so keep reading to hear the better reasons.)


SIX BRANCHES OF CONTENT:


14.  Atrribute Abilities

Attribute-based abilities focus on the core attributes of the character, highlighting their strengths and letting them to add new capabilities based on these strengths.  Very agile characters will find themselves more easily dodging attacks, even while up-close and personal, when they'd normally need to parry.  Very smart characters can add a perfect memory.  Very cunning characters can find themselves dealing extra damage when making surprise attacks.  Very charismatic characters will find they gain greater control over crowds and even influence the decisions of individuals.  These are one of the minor elements of the game, but they do serve to highlight the more spectacular attributes of any specific character.


13.  Elemental Magics

The elemental magic system includes over 100 spells across six elemental schools.  This is a streamlined, direct magic system that is easy to play, and have flashy effects, utilizing basic elemental forces and based off of one of six elemental skills, fire, ice/water, air/lightning, earth/acid, void, and plant/poison.  A character can invest in more than one of these skills, creating dualist casters such as a favorite ice/shadow magics caster of mine, but they generally choose one and run with it, becoming a specialist in one of the six elemental types.

If you've ever tried to explain a complicated magic system to a new player, this elemental magic system is a boon.  It's training wheels for casters, and leads up to the arcane magic system below.  As simple as this element of the game is, this is a favorite for a lot of our playtesters.


12.  Ch'i Martial arts.

Our Ch'i  martial arts system includes 6 disciplines of wuxia style martial arts, (phoenix, tiger, crane, dragon, panda, and frog,) each with 22 different 'stances,' and very different strategy, one from another.  Depending on their Ch'i skill in order to use their effects, these abilities provide actions that make your characters function like characters from a jackie-chan or avatar kind of fiction.  There are even more supernatural branches that grant them a force-of-will control over the world around them.  

A character using these stances must focus their Ch'i, taking an action and rolling a Ch'i skill check, which will determine the effectiveness of all their stances.  Having done so, they can switch from stance to stance, taking advantage of different effects at different times, so long as they maintain their Ch'i focus, which can be lost by feedback, (explained later,) or by taking more damage than their Ch'i check result.  

Switching stances changes the way that a martial artist plays strategically, and makes the combat experience interesting for characters investing in this path.  Because of the image and the stance system, this is a favorite for a lot of our players.


11.  Arcane Ideals Magic

The Arcane magic system involves 12 schools.  Compulsion controls others.  Displacement moves characters around in time and space.  Destruction provides damaging magics. Divination provides insight and knowledge on the past, present and future.  Detriment imposes penalties and limitations on other characters.  Enhancement provides bonuses and boosts for other characters.  Illusion creates false images and hiding magics.  Necromancy raises the dead and drains life.  Summoning calls creatures to aid the caster.  Transmutation warps and shifts objects and people.  Vitalism provides healing and plant magics, and Warding provides barriers and arcane shielding to protect against physical and elemental attacks.  

Now, most of these concepts have been seen before, but it's important to note the scale of each school and the way they interact.  First off, the 12 schools are built around 6 ideals, Light, Dark, Life, Death, Order and Chaos.  Each school has two ideals associated with it, and the strength of each school's magic, (and even the capacity to cast magic,) depends on the strength of the associated ideals for that character, which function like their other skills.  Each school stands alone and has enough options to fuel an entire character.  However, there is a certain synergy between schools of allied ideals, and it becomes easy for a character who has invested in one school to spread their skills just a little bit and gain access to its allied schools.  

For example, a player who invests in the ideals of Light and Chaos can use Illusion magics, and really nothing else, since Illusion is built on those two ideals.  (This is really okay for many characters, because illusions alone can be tremendously useful, and there are 40 spells in each school.)  However, if they were to invest in the Life arcane ideal, they will gain access to Vitalism, which is built on Light and Life, and Transmutation, which is built on Life and Chaos.  

If they instead chose to invest in Death, they would still have access to Illusion, but instead of gaining Vitalism and Transmutation, they would have access to Divination, (light/death,) and Destruction, (death/chaos)  I would think that it's pretty clear that a caster with access to Illusion, Destruction, and Divination would play very differently than a character with access to Illusion, Vitalism, and Transmutation.

For fun, here's a link to the diagram that shows the arcane interactions.  Hope it makes sense with the above description.
http://midnightcampaign.com/arcanediagram.jpg


10.  Weapons and Weapon Techniques

The weapons and weapon techniques are my personal favorite element in the game.  Weapons have statistics of melee bonus (accuracy), parry bonus, speed, damage, and a damage 'amp,' which represents how sharp that weapon is, such that each weapon plays differently than the others in terms of statistics alone.  A dagger has a short range, (unless thrown,) small damage, small speed, average parrying capacity, but is very fast.  A player wielding a dagger will be making small cuts at high speed.  A heavy axe will have a very slow speed, a parry penalty, and a sickeningly large damage.  Once the axe commits, it is going to take them quite a bit longer to finish their attack, but oh, the damage they'll do.  Shields get low damage, and high parry bonus.  They're there for defense.  Spears do decent damage and have low parrying potential, but have a great range.  We have over 50 weapons, each with different statistics along that spectrum.  Different weapons simply play differently, emphasizing that style of play and tactics.  

Now, that would bring up the question of balance.  Balancing those factors was EXCRUCIATINGLY difficult, and took us several years worth of painstaking statistical analysis, playtesting, and mathematical tweaking to get it to all work right, such that one weapon wasn't dramatically better than another.  I'm fairly proud to say that we got it very tightly balanced.  One of the founders of this project is a professional mathematician and programmer, who got a double-major in computer science and mathematics.  I personally work in psychology, where I've had to use a lot of statistical analysis methods in order to analyze research data.  We used these skills to get the balance right, and I think we were very successful.  I am still open to suggestions should we have made an oversight.

Apart from the weapon list, we have the weapon techniques.  Weapons are divided up into 20-some categories, light swords, heavy swords, light axes, heavy axes, shields, daggers, spears, glaives, etc.  Each of these categories has access to a list of 10-12 weapon techniques, specific combat maneuvers that they can carry out if they buy into those abilities.  Like I mentioned above, each set of weapon techniques affects the way that character will present themselves in combat.  It affects their movement and strategy, providing a unique tone and style for each fighter.  Just like a character could play 10 or 20 different styles of caster, each with distinct flair, a player could play a large number of distinct fighters.


9.  Races and Unique Talents

Last, but not least among the branches of content, we have the races and unique talents.  These are abilities, listed in tiered groups of 10, that determine not just what a character does, but who and what he or she is.  There is a tremendous amount of diversity in these options, enough to satisfy the play style of virtually any player.  There are over 90 of these options, each providing ten sequential capabilities.  Below are some examples:

-  Animal Anthro races, including the hawk, tiger, bear, rabbit, rat, snake, minotaur, bat and others.
-  Benevolent races and talents, pulled from mythology of various cultures: the studious angel, the prophetic Seraph, the courageous and herculean Titan, the proud Valkyrie, the Yazata with their voice of power, and others.
-  Demonic races and talents, pulled from mythology and fantasy:  The horned demon Vraaj, the spider-demon Chitinous, the Gorgon and Succubus mentioned above, the exceedingly hard-to-kill cockroach Cucacharan, winged fiends and gargoyles, and more.
-  Elemental fey and kami, creatures with a nature in tune with the elemental forces, also including a pair of draconic characters, one fire and once ice.
-  Psychic talents, including the more obvious telekinesis and telepathy, but also including the time-maniuplating chronomancr, the ability-stealing soul thief and the psychically aggressive Moroi, (and more)
-  Shapeshifters including the werewolf, weretiger and were-rat, and also including the changeling which can take various non-aggressive animal forms, the oriental kitsune fox-trickster, and the more tongue-in-cheek 'sheepshifter,' an animal transformation with a hypnotic sleep ability.
- Undead characters include several different styles of vampiric undead, the decayed nosferatu, the tough dhampir, the classic and classy vampire, as well as more true undead such as the liche, the skeletal champion, the gheist, and the zombie graft, (who can replace bits of himeslef with sewn-on parts of fallen enemies, should he like their capabilities better than his own.)

There are a lot of options, and that's something of an understatement.  Even with this many options, though, Each of these abilities has a specific personality to it, and they all play very differently.  The advantages to having this many diverse options lie in the capacity to play an effectively infinite number of characters and never run out of new ideas to try.

You'll also notice the absence of "elf, dwarf, halfling and orc."  These are fun character images, and have been successful for a long time for good reason, but we tried to steer in a different direction for this game, to give the game a breath of fresh air.  Although some or many of our character images are old archetypes, we've tried to break new ground and handle them in different ways, which is very difficult to do with the classic tolkein/dnd races.
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Maugh
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Posts: 20


« Reply #5 on: October 15, 2009, 11:14:01 AM »

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Tavin
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2009, 12:43:25 PM »

Wow, that is a lot of info right here.  I think it may be easier to see your book and (hopefully) the charts and things there to make it more clear in my head.  I like the sound of it.  The ability to make such a diverse character is very appealing.  I haven't played much, mostly D&D and a little Whitewolf and shadowrun.  Character types are important to me, but what I like the sound of most is givng a character what I want.  An Angel that throws dark magic and uses advanced weapon skills sound slike a fun combo.

The combat sounds interesting.  I am not sure I totally understand it, but would like to see how it works.  It is good to see a reason that not everyone wields greatswords.  I always wondered why some of the weapons existed in other games unless a PC or NPC was just too poor to afford a good weapon.

Can you link any other graphic representations of abilities/characters/weapons to this post, or should I just check out the site?  Maybe I'll do that anyway when I have more time.
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Callan S.
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2009, 03:22:11 PM »

Really, the mechanics are designed to present fun, memorable situations and to empower the characters to use their unique tactics and mechanics to succeed in a variety of kinds of encounters.  Back to the book/movie parallel, consider what characters do.  They do a lot of different things, depending on the characters, be they audacious, heroic, sinister, sly, or tough, but whatever they do, they do it vividly.  We tried to design the game to provide that vivid action.
Hmmm, I think that's a mistaken diagnosis of what makes those movie characters compelling. While I agree that what deeds they do often show something that is compelling, I think some statistically stated out powers will convey that. It is the descision to carry out the deed, I would say, that is the compelling thing - the deed itself is not compelling in and of itself. Take this for example "Roundhouse: 1D8 damage" vs "You killed my wife, you bastards! I'm going to kick the shit out of you all!: 1D8 damage"

That anger and rage at the dead wife is just diluted by the perfunctory "Roundhouse", but if you have the second thing on your character sheet, it reinforces that rage - it's not just a kick, it's an execution of the characters primal will! He doesn't do roundhouses - he does revenge! That's compelling!

Or so I think. It's a direction to consider if you want to, anyway.
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Maugh
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #8 on: October 19, 2009, 08:56:58 AM »

That's a fair assessment, and a style of game that has some value.  It's also not quite what I'm looking for.

Game mechanics can be compelling in different ways.  THink of the difference between a clock and a painting:

One is interesting because it is mechanical, precise, and useful.  The interplay of gears and cogs create an intriguing experience.  This is the kind of game that produces effective mechanics like ccg's and wargames.

A painting is descriptive.  It shows an event, a scene, a descriptive object designed for the sake of elegance and exposition.  This produces mechanics more like the more socially driven RPG's, as well as your roundhouse kick example.

The style of RPG that I'm looking for has an interplay of both, I think, but it admittedly leans toward the clock example.  Using the metaphor, we've tried to design a very pretty set of clockwork, that helps define the painted images through the motion of gears. 

To come back to your roundhouse example, we don't describe the roundhouse kick, we describe the duel to the death, blow by blow and insult by one-liner, between the revenge-seeking character and his hated rival.  We want to emphasize the image and personality that play behind their fight, and highlight who these characters are through their actions and styles. 

The revenge-seeking character could be fighting bare-palmed with lightning-fast strikes, gauging the timing and distance between him and the small crowd of his opponent's, using the time between their actions to best capitalize on his own skills and waiting for his rival , the leader of their band, to make his move amidst the bedlam so he can iaijutsu-draw the katana and cut him down.

That's what we're going for.  Thanks for your response.
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Maugh
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #9 on: October 19, 2009, 08:59:13 AM »

Tavin:  You should really check out the site.  There is a lot of information to dive into in the betabook, looking at the different character options.  Thanks for your attention.
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Catelf
Member

Posts: 146


« Reply #10 on: October 19, 2009, 09:36:07 AM »

At last! someone who isn't into freeform! (Almost kidding....)
Maugh, please check up my Crunched Core Rules at Playtesting (Streed(R) needs directions...), and, at Actual Play... forgotten that thread's name...
and tell me what you think:
We're obviously similar in wanting to make exciting gameplay, by allowing for a lot of alternatives by listing them, and let the player(s) choose from them.
Really, many advices one may get here, is freeform-solutions, and those usually don't work as well for someone intent on clear, noted down options and Distinct Rules for each.
Also, i've had problem working out a fitting Magical "School" system for "Streed Modern Setting", and.... maybe you could help out?

I think your Rules is a Really Good Way To Start, what you need, is to testplay them, and see how well they work together.
Oh, and Playtesting is obviously (not so obvious, really) not only about Playtesting: It is for Any "Work in progress" that has more or less been playtested at least once...
I know what it says in the "Rules for Playtesting", but this matter has been much discussed in another Forge Forum, (under a thread called Actual Play vs Playtesting,.... or something like that).
If you needs any suggestions, just ask.
As it is, i only have this: It looks Good, so all you need is to Playtest it, or have it Playtested, so you, and others, can see how it works, or where it doesn't, and go from there.
Best whishes,
                          Catelf.
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Maugh
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #11 on: October 20, 2009, 06:20:02 AM »

I'd love to take a look at what you're talking about, catelf, but I'd need a link.  Feel free to post it or email it to me.  herondrake@gmail.com
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Catelf
Member

Posts: 146


« Reply #12 on: October 20, 2009, 09:40:16 AM »

A..link? I don't know how do Links yet....
Can't you navigate the Forge? Your own Topic, the one i'm writing to right now, is in First Thoughts, uner the name "Mayhem gaming".
Mine is in Playtesting, under the name "Streed needs directions"....
Just go into General Forge Forums, Click on Playtesting, and there look for, and click on "Streed..(and so on)".
But i do understand, it can be confusing until you get the hang of it, it certainly was for me...
Yes, my Core Rules do fit in a Topic here, without Links.
Best wishes, Catelf.
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Maugh
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #13 on: October 21, 2009, 02:25:02 PM »

It would be nice if people would stop advertising their projects on this thread, so that I can get some feedback on the project that the thread is about.

To link:  Go to the page you want to link.  Highlight the URL at the top of your browser.  Copy it.  Paste it into the document you'd like the link to appear in.
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Maugh
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #14 on: October 21, 2009, 10:31:19 PM »

It would also be nice if I wasn't advertising for chinese jewelry in my thread either.  Heh.
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