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Author Topic: [Eden Earth] Introduction  (Read 1728 times)
Kerikath
Member

Posts: 9


« on: May 22, 2010, 04:20:52 PM »

This is a rough, purposely incomplete introduction to my game's setting. The purpose of this thread is for anyone who's interested to ask questions about the setting, which I'll answer, and with every question asked the setting will become more fleshed out. I would greatly appreciate any such questions.

The game is set on planet Earth, roughly 200 years in the future. Technology has advanced, of course, and this has had massive effects on the world. The gaps between "first world" and "third world" nations have widened, due to the fact that the most complicated technology is almost impossible to be reproduced without considerable mental and material resources. In the current real world's time, a uranium based bomb can be developed if you have a centrifugal enrichment machine, a missile, and a guidance system. However, an anti-matter bomb requires a particle accelerator, which isn't easy to build or run. Likewise, without specialized manufacturing facilities and a working knowledge of quantum physics you can't create nanobots. These and more are examples of how far ahead the "haves" have pulled themselves.

The United Nations still exists, but a new supranational organization called the War Bonds Force has formed. The WBF has the singular purpose of regulating how war is waged, and is beholden to no nation or alliance. Tactics such as total war, carpet bombing, and terrorism are illegal. The use of WMDs of any type is also illegal. All members of the WBF are fanatics who are brain washed, and the organization is funded by the UN.

First round of questions?
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Callan S.
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Posts: 3588


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« Reply #1 on: May 22, 2010, 05:00:16 PM »

Hi,

So were still intellectual giants and emotional midgits, aye?

I'd question the notion that someone/some group isn't beholden to anyone as if it's a fact - such an idea is a political fiction/a mask - for the practical concerns of play the actual complicated details would need to be known or atleast the idea they 'aren't beholden' recognised in the text as just spin. Nothing worse than seeing gamers trying to treat spin as game mechanics (or worse, social contract).

Finally, it feels kind of like a 'look at my cool setting' kind of thing - you haven't described any mechanics for changing that setting, like if you get 20 unity points, the WBF is disbanded, as a rough example. There's no way to change that setting - so your left just looking at it.

I think your setting sounds cool - but I don't think making a cool setting is enough in itself for interactive gaming. For writing a novel someone will passively experience, sure. But not for something interactive. I know you might say you have X number of stats and Y number of skills - but no, to put it very briefly these don't cut it (from my evaluation) - they've been used in dozens of RPG's for years as a means of supplying faux interaction. It's like "Oh, I have some stats and some skills and...can I disband the WBF or suchlike? If the GM lets me...so I'm in the same position as if I had no stats and skills - so stats and skills are effective pointless".

I'm summerising my experience with RPG design over a few years there - it may sound explosive when condensed.
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Philosopher Gamer
<meaning></meaning>
Kerikath
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #2 on: May 22, 2010, 05:59:58 PM »

You're right...condensed, it sounds explosive. And also a bit weird, I think you may have gotten the wrong idea. The players aren't meant to be members of the WBF. Rather, they could be, but there's no predisposition, and it would rather limit their options.

As to the allegiance/lack of allegiance of the WBF, the idea is that the organization was created as a Meddling International Military Police Force to be used by the UN's security council, whenever a consensus could be reached. However, about thirty years after it was founded a charismatic, sociopathic, senior member of the WBF took control from the UN. He began a campaign of fear mongering using McCarthy-like tactics, and brought the substance and purpose of the WBF to the attention of the general UN assembly. Then, gaining temporary discretionary powers from an emergency UN vote while the UN itself was busy hurling accusations, he took advantage of his new powers to spy on representatives. Using dirt on various people, he initiated a political shitstorm that engulfed the UN for three years, eventually ensuring the technical independence of the WBF. To insure the REAL independence of the WBF, he needed to sever every member's link to his home country. The sociopath gathered a group of talented sycophants, creative bullies, and intelligent psychopaths under his wing and initiated a clandestine project to develop an indoctrination program. After another five years, the WBF was reborn as a cult-like, frightening organization that used harsh methods to quash conflicts and groups that didn't play by the rules of engagement the UN set out. Whether the UN liked it or not. The WBF is now under the exclusive control of that original sociopath. The sociopath doesn't have any loyalties to any country, although he does have bigotry and prejudice for certain groups in spades. I'm leaning towards naming him Kane.

I've thought up the basic mechanics. Characters are defined by Attributes, Skills, Traits, Abilities, and Characteristics. The attributes are Strength, Speed, Coordination, Endurance, Appeal, Willpower, Perception, and Wit. These are the raw power of a character's body and mind. Skills are as they sound, and examples would be Acrobatics, Awareness, Chemistry, Programming, and Stealth. Traits are qualities that the character possesses, such as the ability to see the infra red spectrum, a natural knack for designing machines, or an iconic identity that people instinctively perceive and are awed by. Abilities are unusual things the character is capable of, such as firing two automatic weapons at once accurately, invading an opponent's mind, or growing a servant organism from your own flesh. Characteristics are stats that are derived from all of the above. This includes: Hit Points: The amount of damage you can take that isn't serious and will only result in bruises and suchlike. Life Points: The amount of damage you can take before you die. Life points are used up after hit points, and any damage to life points will result in scarring or worse. Action Points: A pool of points your character spends to take actions in combat. The pool replenishes each round.

There are other characteristics, other abilities, other stuff. I appreciate you asking questions please keep doing so.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #3 on: May 22, 2010, 07:53:38 PM »

Do you need both Attributes and Traits? Have you considered dropping one or the other?

Is the game combat-centric (hence the need for two discrete ways of tracking damage)? (I'm assuming so given there are also Action points.)

But none of this really tells me about the game: what do the characters do? What's the "point" or "core" of play?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Kerikath
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #4 on: May 22, 2010, 08:46:17 PM »

Attributes describe a character's core capabilities, how fast he is, how strong, how much he notices, and how fast he processes data. Traits are interesting quirks, special things that tend to apply to few people or only one person. I suppose I could unify the two terms, but there's no more reason to do that than there is to keep them separate.

The game needs to support combat well. I wouldn't say it's combat-centric, that's not the focus. Social interaction and character advancement need to be equally well supported.

The theme of the game isn't simple to explain, and I find it frustrating that you assumed that there's just one "point". Having an understanding of the setting would make it much easier to explain how the game would play out. Players will choose what they want their characters to do, there isn't a demand that they act a certain way like in All Flesh Must Be Eaten. The characters, as they start out, are what I would call a low-level badass. Somewhere between the capabilities of a heroic mortal and a demigod. Characters start out seeking whatever fortune they're motivated to achieve, which is based on their backgrounds and the players' whims. A player with a character who specializes in manipulation of vitae to create artificial organisms would probably go on adventures to learn more about this mysterious life energy. A player with a character who uses his character's psychic abilities to manipulate and control people might fight to maintain his criminal organization. A player with a character who uses nanobots to come closer and closer to perfection will do what it takes to get the money necessary to buy or make upgrades.

As the characters grow more powerful, both in material goods and personal ability, they'll develop status. Recognition. Iconography. People will know who they are without having ever actually learned of them. Powerful characters will be visible from the Concept Overlay, a layer of existence affecting our own, composed of and inhabited by the beliefs of sentient beings. As the characters become Icons (note the capital letter) they'll develop powers with a special significance. They'll come to embody certain concepts, gaining power from it.

If questions were asked about the setting, you'd understand more about what the Concept Overlay is, and what vitae is. And where both come from.
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Brimshack
Member

Posts: 84


« Reply #5 on: May 23, 2010, 12:40:08 AM »

Couple random points or questions:

1) Are you sure the guy in charge of the WBF was really a sociopath? Isn't it at least possible that he had sounds reasons for his actions and/or that he w was misunderstood? Is it essential for you to decide that he really is a bad guy, or would the game facilitate counter-narratives?

2) Let's say that I have a character in this game, does his relationship to his nation appear on his stats in any way? Do they affect his abilities? Do they affect his goals?Is his relationship to the larger events you describe ephemeral, or is it essential to the character?

3) How do you intend to communicate potential plot points in the setting? I gather that you want to facilitate multiple options, but will you make any specific effort to delineate those options, or at least a few o them?

4) Okay, I'll bite. Sticking to the setting itself...

a) Is Global Warming an Issue? If so, is it acknowledged as such?

b) How have the demographics of the world changed? Is America still predominantly white? Are there any ethnic groups that have become significantly more powerful in the last 200 years? Maybe the Indian casinos have become kingmakers in their respective regions? Are the Latinos in the Southwest still tolerating the presence of white people? I hear rumors they have been losing patience with that new wave of dust bowl refugees. Maybe those Sami are in control of some key geography? The Swedish and Norwegian governments are absolutely hung-up about over some controversy involving raindeer.

c) How are the world's flora and fauna doing? What happened to the amazon? Is there any coral let in the sea? Are there any species that are sorely missed? ...on the verge of slipping away? ...highly valued at this point? Might those last 6 elephants in the African zoo play a key symbolic role in anything, or does anyone really miss the polar bears, anyway?

d) What is the emerging source of power at this point? Surely, fossil fuels are well past peak and into near complete collapse at this point? Does anyone bother to go after what's left of the oil? And for that matter, how has the new power source affected the geopolitics of the world? Who are the major players in the effort to control and profit from this new source?

e) How are the major religions doing, and do you think that mainstream faiths like Mormonism and Scientology will long tolerate fringe cults like Catholicism and Evangelical Christianity?

f) Are you sure that nations are all that important anymore? Do they even exist? I mean, do Google, IBM, and Bank of America still tolerate national governments at this point? Does Halliburton still find the United States to be useful? Or are the wars perhaps a way of controlling potential dissent?

g) Will Houston win the Rollerball tournament this year?

h) What constitutes the good life at this point? And is this a cultural universal shared by most of the world, or does it differ from place to place? Will PCs be likely to share in the norms defining the good life, or are they likely to be deviant?

i) Is everyone connected to the web (or some futuristic equivalent), or are there any major portions of the world that do not have access to mainstream media? Do levels of income substantially affect access to media and hence knowledge of current events? What are the cutting edge information technologies and who are the porn moguls that developed them?

j) How broad is access to medical care? And how does the quality of life differ among the classes? To what degree is class structure ubiquitous in this world? Is it the same all over, or will you need a different breakdown for each region?

k) What is the price of soylent green?

l) Is private gun ownership still common in North America? How about other countries? ...Corporations?
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Kerikath
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #6 on: May 23, 2010, 09:43:31 AM »

1) The head of the WBF is really neither a good nor bad guy, but he is absolutely a sociopath. Going by definitions used by psychologists, a sociopath is someone who feels no guilt, manipulates people to get what he wants, and ignores the rules of social and societal standards. He bullies and rarely resorts to physical violence, but can't really control his urges to control people. He had good reason to do what he did, but that doesn't change the fact that he's not sane by normal standards.

2) A player can opt to have his character's nationality affect his stats, certainly. For instance, a character from Japan might have a high level of bioengineering done on him before and after birth, enabling him to breath poisonous gasses and control his adrenal output. A character from the US could have utilitarian cybernetics implanted by the corporation he works for. Players might choose to work for their nation(s) of origin, but it's not an imperative. Any player may choose for his character not to be related to his country, perhaps being on the outskirts of society during his childhood. If by larger events you mean the Concept Overlay and growing Icon status, it becomes more and more important to the character as he gains more experience. At first it doesn't matter at all, but by the eighth game session or so, it will.

3) I'm not sure what you mean by "communicate potential plot points". Please elaborate.

4a) For the sake of my convenience, global warming will have stabilized after raising the global temp an average of 2.4 degrees celsius. This was achieved by dumping half a ton of powdered iron ore in antarctic waters. This caused a boom in the phytoplankton population, which in turn led to the CO2 in the atmosphere being processed by the phytoplankton. The worldwide temperature shift has led to greater populations and slightly better growing seasons. Also, the Sahara desert is advancing even faster.

4b) America has no predominant race anymore, there's a lot of mixing going on, but there are still some distinct ethnicities. No ethnic group has really become powerful, due to mixing and the fact that any notion of race is now overshadowed by various monolithic organizations. Organizations such as the WBF, the countries themselves, various supranational corporations, hereditary PMCs, and assorted activist groups. Of course, certain ethnic activist organizations still exist, but they're smalltime and are often saturated with mental problems.

4c) Flora and fauna the world over have undergone a massive change, due to the explosion of vitae. Vitae can be described as life energy and is a big deal in my setting and mechanics, but I'm not going to describe it in detail here because you didn't specifically ask about it. Plus, it takes a lot to describe. Long story made short: 19 years ago various places around the globe spontaneously developed fonts of energy. This energy, called vitae, causes mutation in an organism's offspring after mild to moderate exposure. Strong exposure results in the organism itself mutating, the DNA in it rewriting itself in a nonlethal way. Several dozen of these vitae font sites exist, and humans the world over have been changed. Some are simply faster, stronger, smarter, or the like, but some have developed odd and unprecedented traits. Perception of the entire EM spectrum, the ability to control your own growth throughout puberty. The rarest and most powerful mutation is any form of control over vitae itself, allowing for bizarre capabilities.

4d) The dominant source of power is cold fusion of heavy water, and there isn't really an emerging source of power. People keep trying to develop antimatter power plants, but the current methods and equipment for it are too unreliable and dangerous. Fossil fuels have been mostly used up, and the only countries using them are third worlders. However, plastic and rubber are still much in demand, so every country has some sort of recycling program, and all the first world nations facilitate this recycling with nanobots. Cold fusion hasn't much changed the world, except to widen the gap between first and third world countries even more. Any country with the correct equipment and know-how can produce the necessary heavy water, the equipment usually being a massive hydrolytic dam.

4e) Most religions have collapsed in the face of scientific progress and the competition of other indoctrinating monolithic organizations. This has lead to private spirituality spreading across the globe like an epidemic, with Wicca being the only significant religion left. Don't get me wrong, I don't hate religions and I don't even like Wicca, it just seems logical to me. The collapse of Christianity, Catholicism, Islam, and Judaism has caused the literal death of God in the Concept Overlay, resulting in the explosion of vitae across the globe.

4f) The US is now actually a group of united states and incorporated states. 24% of the country remains a true nation, while the rest was bought by corporations. The true, remaining US is constituted of Virginia, West Virginia, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Maryland, Kentucky, Tennessee, North Carolina, and South Carolina. Many nations still exist however, especially Japan, China and Australia.

4g) No rollerball or bloodsports of any kind in the US. Maybe somewhere else, need to think it over.

4h) What constitutes "the good life" and cultural norms are still varied from place to place. Citizens of the true US fiercely value independence, personal freedom, and respect. Citizens of the incorporated states tend to value what company propaganda tells them to value, but they generally appreciate security, a comfortable lifestyle, and being given the recognition they feel they deserve. People in China value individual achievement, the success of the country as a whole, and social status. People in Japan value proficiency in the task they've chosen for themselves, loving relationships, and their country's success.

4i) People aren't perpetually "jacked in", as this has been found to cause stimulus addiction. First world citizens are likely to carry portable computers wherever they go, be injected with nanobots that allow for an uplink, or have cybernetic implants. Third world citizens may well have working communication infrastructures in their countries, but the processing demands of first world web sites are too high. Unless you truly come from the armpit of the world, with tech levels equivalent to the middle ages, you're probably aware of most important world events, but not the daily updates. The cutting edge of communication tech involves shooting information and/or sensory stimulus directly into the nervous system of those with injected nanobots and/or implanted cybernetics. I'm not going to bother developing porn companies until my players ask for it, and then it's going to be a big gag when they discover that the "Smoking hot chick" they were just doing is really a hairy middle aged man. Direct sensory stimulus has its pitfalls for the careless.

4j) Access to medicare in general, and different levels of medical technology, varies from place to place. The incorporated states and Japan provide (relatively speaking for first world tech) low-level medicare, China provides loads of medicare, and the true US doesn't provide any. Medical technology levels differ from place to place. The true US, the incorporated states, and China all have roughly the same level of medtech, which is high. Japan is the world leader in medicine. Class structure is not ubiquitous, it'll take a regional breakdown.

4k) The equivalent of soylent green is about as cheap as stale bread in Japan. Corpse-fungus farms.

4l) Depends from place to place. I'm getting exhausted.
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Kerikath
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #7 on: May 23, 2010, 07:06:15 PM »

I'd very much appreciate more questions and comments.
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Brimshack
Member

Posts: 84


« Reply #8 on: May 23, 2010, 09:44:10 PM »

Hi Kerikath,

By my question about how you will communicate plot points, I mean simply how will you tell people about potential campaign plots? Or will you? Will you include a list of suggestions? And if so, how much detail will you go into?

I like a lot of your answers, but I do wonder if you are bypassing a couple good opportunities for potential plot hooks. Letting ethnicity disappear for the most part seems to let a whole range of potential conflicts fall by the wayside, not the least of reasons being that nationalism (especially tied to ethnic identity) can be a powerful counterpoint to the politics of a nation-state. To say nothing about intriguing questions like what will this or that group be doing in this far-off future? You're call, I just think letting the American pot for example melt once and for all is missing an interesting opportunity.
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Kerikath
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #9 on: May 23, 2010, 10:43:48 PM »

I don't run my campaigns on rails. I might work with players prior to the start of the game to add a plot hook to their backstories, I might have all the characters in the same place in the same time when some cataclysm occurs, or I might ask the players to create characters that are part of the same organization. I'm not going to tell the players that they should take particular actions in-game, any information I give the players about the content of "the main adventure" will be purposely vague and scarce, and I'm not going to do any cliche dream sequences to let the characters "mysteriously" know what to do. Screw that. Adventure hooks are something I handle on a case by case basis, anyway.

As to the whole race thing, I'm not sure how to handle it yet. Not because I'm afraid to integrate race politics (read: dumbfuckery) into the campaign, but because I'm not certain how the races will blend or stay separate after two hundred years. I read somewhere that by the year 2060 everyone in America will just be a mutt. No real distinct racial identity. Besides the fact that racial mixing seems inevitable to me, I've got to ask myself what group of people would care about skin color 200 years in the future. By that point, a third world nation will have at least the technological conveniences of the 1980s, and everyone will know that skin color is just a result of how much melanin you have. Who's going to give a crap about that? If you have suggestions as to what region of the world would keep distinct races, PLEASE tell me then. I'll be very grateful.

Thanks for the commentary and questions. Gotta tell you though, answering 15 questions at once? Holy crap. The introductory rules section in this forum said not to post your response to the Power 19 specifically because it's a lot of info.
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PeterBB
Member

Posts: 12


« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2010, 12:22:06 PM »

I hope that this question isn't too off-topic, since you've been pretty specific that setting is the thing you want to be discussed, but I feel like I can't ask or answer any interesting questions about setting until we get something more fundamental on the table.

What is the basis of this game? What do players do? Why is it interesting and compelling? If it's a game of political intrigue and backstabbing, then the setting needs a lot of interesting and competing organizations, and guidelines on how to create your own. If it's about smuggling contraband and pulling off heists, then the setting needs an entirely different focus.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #11 on: May 24, 2010, 04:29:44 PM »

The theme of the game isn't simple to explain, and I find it frustrating that you assumed that there's just one "point".

I don't know if I'm reading your tone correctly or not -- it seems hostile or annoyed. I don't know if that's the case, but if it is, I'm not sure why. I am asking questions because that's how you learn about a game and whether or not it is your thing. And the thing is, so far I still don't know what this game is about, other than you have a setting which you state is really complex. But that doesn't tell me anything about the game. Here's what I mean:

D&D: explore dungeons, kill monsters, and get treasure.
Shadowrun: take (semi)illegal jobs stealing from or raiding corporations.
Exalted: reborn godlings who are hunted and hated.
Vampire: political games among vampire clans.
Sorcerer: modern-day sorcerers commanding demons to get what they want.

So, yes, I assume there's a core "point" to play, because all RPGs have them. Except completely generic rule-sets like GURPS or JAGS -- but even those have setting books that tell the players what the core of that particular game is, whether it is playing knowledge-seeking wizards or fighting in giant robots or exploring a crazy Wonderland universe. Hence the question.

Quote
Attributes describe a character's core capabilities, how fast he is, how strong, how much he notices, and how fast he processes data. Traits are interesting quirks, special things that tend to apply to few people or only one person. I suppose I could unify the two terms, but there's no more reason to do that than there is to keep them separate.

There are sometimes good reasons not to use both, or to just have one or the other. Avoiding the complexity and sometimes pointlessness of derived scores is one of them. But I don't know that you're looking for design advice so much as feedback on the setting(?), so probably not a discussion for this thread. (Note: this touches on the combat question as well as the thing is: how much you support it and detail it in the rules equates to how much use it sees in play. Numerous games that say "this isn't about combat, you can do other stuff" yet devote 1/3rd of the rules to combat find that the game in play tends to focus on and around combat.)

Anyways, it seems like the game is more about becoming Icons and influencing the Concept Overlay. That seems interesting, can you talk more about that?
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Kerikath
Member

Posts: 9


« Reply #12 on: May 25, 2010, 09:56:53 PM »

I feel I should provide more details about Eden Earth before answering any more questions. If you just want answers, skip down.

The basis of the setting is our planet, Earth, set 200 years in the future, and with a couple twists. Technology is obviously going to be far different, and the shape of nations, economies, politics, and many other things will have changed by that point. I started this thread to flesh out such details. In addition to the effects of 200 years, the Earth is also affected by the Concept Overlay in this game. Explaining the Concept Overlay will be complicated and difficult, but here's a brief, oversimplified explanation of how it works.

When people believe things in Eden Earth, the belief affects the Overlay. The Overlay is a plane of existence that exists in tandem with Eden Earth and is constantly affecting it. Say that one person believes that Bloody Mary really does exist. This leads to Bloody Mary forming in the Overlay. She can't take a physical form in our world because only one person believes in her, she doesn't have enough power to manifest a body. The more people believe in her, however, the more she can start affecting Eden Earth. Depending on how many people believe in her, she may be able to manifest for a few minutes every month, an hour every night, or not at all. Bloody Mary must always behave in the same way that people believe she behaves, she's a construct made out of their beliefs. She couldn't, for instance, possess someone, because that's not part of her legend. She couldn't make walls weep blood either, or force someone to summon her. She could only manifest when someone calls to her in the legendary method, or appear in a reflection out of the corner of someone's eye. But take a more powerful concept like a god, say Thor, and things get more complicated. The concept of Thor is that of an impossibly strong, tall, well-built, handsome, brave man who wields Mjolnir. He can crush mountains. Thor can only behave in a way that works with his legend. Therefore, if Thor wants to manifest as a material being, he'll need a tremendous amount of believers, because manifesting a body that can crush mountains requires tremendous amounts of power. Thor may be able to respond to prayers and talk to his worshipers, but without sufficient power from belief, he can't make an appearance at the next body building competition. Ironically, because Thor is supposed to be so powerful, he can hardly ever appear in person and really kick ass. Kerjillions of concepts exist in the Overlay, but very few of them could affect our reality until nineteen years ago, when vitae exploded across the Earth.

Over the years, the belief in mainstream religions has waned on Eden Earth. The main reason for this is competition: Monolithic organizations like the WBF, the megacorporation Luxim, and even Japan have all become possessive over what their members think about. Belief in the supernatural and irrational has been found to cause only inefficiency and weakness. Supranational groups and first world nations possess the resources to restructure their members' beliefs, and a number of them have taken advantage of this. Besides big brother watching, people have stopped believing because of the spread of basic education. Many religions can offer a strong moral foundation and reassurance to anyone who's willing to read the relevant holy book and really search for meaning, but how many people will actually do that? How many people will look at "Turn the other cheek" and "An eye for an eye" and reconcile them? How many will understand that any given scripture provides guidelines, not absolutes? Those who understand basic logic, but don't take the time to understand a religion's core, will reject the seeming conflict of absolutes and reject the religion. And even those who understand what a religion is really about will probably reject it, seeing as evidence has never been found for the existence of any god or soul.

The previous paragraph was written so I could explain how vitae came to exist. Gods do exist in the Concept Overlay, or at least they did. However, once a god is believed into existence, certain demands are placed on him/her. Gods are expected to BE GODS, they're supposed to perform ten miracles before breakfast for their followers. This means using up a lot of power, a lot of energy, a lot of the belief that sustains a concept. When a concept doesn't have enough belief left to sustain itself, it dies. As belief is power in the Overlay, the concept is made up of power, even at the time of its death. It used to be that when a concept died in the overlay, the power and substance of the concept just faded away into nothingness. Now, however, people believe that mass and energy MUST be conserved. That belief applies to the Overlay. The substance of the dead concept can't just vanish, it transforms into vitae, raw life energy that concepts can feed on and use. When God, Allah, Yahweh, Brahman, and the World Soul (Buddhist) all ran out of steam at the same time, the result was spectacular. So much vitae was dumped in the Overlay that it flowed into Eden Earth, into special locations of worship. Vitae is an energy form that humans can use, it's not just a conceptual energy, but its effects are hard to explain.

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What is the basis of this game?
The basis of this game will be how larger-than-life PCs interact with this world.

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What do players do?
They'll have access to high tech, vitae, and bizarre locales. Since the PCs can grow to be quite powerful, it's entirely up to them what they want to do. They can start a cult, found a nation, hostiley take over a megacorporation, hunt for super advanced weapons in the ruins of blasted Russia, become a band of crack mercenaries, or just have silly fun. There is no set course. Characters can advance in ways that depend on their focus, a fighter might develop incredible levels of proficiency with certain tactics and weapons, or he might decide to beef up on his techie knowledge and custom make his own power armor and cybernetics. Vitae manipulators will have the option to mutate their bodies, grow servant organisms, directly affect others by healing cuts or causing tumors to grow explosively fast, and tap into the subconscious of everyone around.

Quote
Why is it interesting and compelling?
I intend to make the game interesting and compelling by providing a living, breathing background for the world, full of culture and personality. Also, the rampant mutation, common use of high technology, and intrusion of the Concept Overlay will be interesting, I should think.

Quote
If it's a game of political intrigue and backstabbing, then the setting needs a lot of interesting and competing organizations, and guidelines on how to create your own. If it's about smuggling contraband and pulling off heists, then the setting needs an entirely different focus.
This is not a one horse show. The game will not be about just one thing. I do indeed intend to provide guidelines for creating your own political organization, but that's just one line in the list of things I'll need to do.

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it seems hostile or annoyed.
It is annoyed because you seem to think that a given game must focus on one thing. D&D may only have been about exploring, killing, and looting in first edition, but I once spent four 7 hour game sessions trying to start a temp agency for homeless people. It worked, too. I've never played Shadowrun, nor have I read too heavily of it, so I can't speak to that. Exalted is, out of the examples you've listed, the most inapplicable. If you're a solar, lunar, abyssal, or infernal, you're hunted and hated, but the dynamic of each game changes because of the exalt type. Each type of exalt will have different motivations and different ways of achieving them. The solars have no backup, but are obscenely powerful and have excellently adaptable powers. abyssals and infernals are likewise powerful, but abyssals can only turn their hand to destruction and fear their dark lords, while infernals charms have odd, thematic mechanics and the infernals themselves have access to bizarre resources and a healthy respect in hell. Lunars have less powerful charms, but are more powerful otherwise, are better at recon and can't lead as well, and have the silver pact/elder mechanic going. Then, the Sidereals aren't hunted, but unlike every other exalt type, they're caught up in espionage, stealth, and red tape by default. They also have somewhat crappier general charms, but their kung fu is truly mighty. The dragonblooded don't ever have to sneak around, there are craptons of them, they aren't hunted, and they're weak. The alchemicals are completely different. People love them, they're utilitarian in their powers, and they turn into freaking collosi and cities. Everything changes when you play a different exalt type. Finally, there's just the fact that you can do ANYTHING YOU WANT in Exalted, ANYTHING. Want to punch your opponent so hard he flies 20 yards? There's a charm for that. Want to play bureaucratic sabotage games? There's a charm for that. Want your own sidekick? Charm. Want to MOVE A FREAKING CITY BY HOOKING IT UP TO YOUR BELT? CHARM. Vampire? Meh. I dislike that game, but it's easy to play a game of that without political machinations. Players would just, you know, be vampires, not romanticized twatmonkeys ala Ann Rice or Stephenie Meyer. Use their immortality to study the sciences, maybe form a mercenary group that leaves no survivors, and drink blood. Maybe philosophize about whether taking the risk of living at the possible expense of losing control just once is really okay. As long as it doesn't get twilighty. Sorcerer-never heard of it up till now.

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So, yes, I assume there's a core "point" to play, because all RPGs have them. Except completely generic rule-sets like GURPS or JAGS
I disagree, and the previous paragraph states why. Exalted is the best example of that. You can do anything in that game, especially if you play during the High First Age.

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But I don't know that you're looking for design advice so much as feedback on the setting(?), so probably not a discussion for this thread.
The point was to flesh out Eden Earth, but here you go.

Strength: 6                    Full EM Spectrum Perception
Speed: 8                       Armored Hide 15 (Scales)
Coordination: 9              Tail (Balance)
Endurance: 4                 Predator Pounce
Wit: 5
Appeal: 7
Perception: 10
Willpower: 6

An attribute rated at 5 is average and an attribute rated at 10 is incredible. The perception trait allows him to see the EM spectrum. The scales add 15 hit points to the character's total. The tail gives him a +3 bonus to all rolls relating to balance. Predator Pounce gives the character a +3 to all attacks preceded by a jump action. How would you change this?

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how much you support it and detail it in the rules equates to how much use it sees in play. Numerous games that say "this isn't about combat, you can do other stuff" yet devote 1/3rd of the rules to combat find that the game in play tends to focus on and around combat.)
I'm going to support as much as is sanely possible. Look at Exalted. It has rules for social combat occurring in person or over paper, physical combat in melee or ranged, mass physical combat, mass social combat, bureaucratic combat, and even nation combat.

Will talk about the Concept Overlay and Icons more. Am tired. Work sucks.
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greyorm
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Posts: 2233

My name is Raven.


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« Reply #13 on: May 26, 2010, 01:19:35 PM »

It is annoyed because you seem to think that a given game must focus on one thing. D&D may only have been about exploring, killing, and looting in first edition, but I once spent four 7 hour game sessions trying to start a temp agency for homeless people. It worked, too.

I have played every edition of D&D except (so far) the newest, from the old white box to 3E, over the course of twenty-some years of gaming, so I understand what you are saying; I've seen such and done such myself. So consider that I pointed out D&D not because you can't do anything with it except one thing, but because every edition of the game is built specifically to support treasure hunting, monster killing, and dungeon exploration, and is focused around playing adventurers having combat-oriented fantasy adventures. I used that example, and the others, to point out the core idea/point of games -- that the core of all those games could be explained very simply, regardless of what else you /could/ do with them.

Keep in mind you're on a board populated by game designers who have, in some cases, spent years studying how games of all styles and types work, and have played, designed, and critiqued many highly different and varied systems over the course of twenty or thirty years. Some of us know a bit about games, and "you can do anything!" is a design trap that we have seen new designers step into quite often over the years (or stepped in ourselves). So I was pushing you to try and figure out, for myself and hopefully for you, why I would play your game, or rather what it offered as a game. I apologize that this aggravated you and will step out of this discussion.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
PeterBB
Member

Posts: 12


« Reply #14 on: May 26, 2010, 02:26:53 PM »

Exactly. The question is not one of possibility, but of support. D&D can be played in ways that do not emphasize combat, but since the majority of the rules and setting are aimed at explaining combat, you will have to do so without much help from the game text.

Now, I see no reason that multiple emphases couldn't be built into the game. You could have one part of the rulebook that covers starting political organizations, and another that covers joining a resistance movement and fighting the system. However, I am skeptical that you could do so extensively enough to cover everything. How extensive are you planning to make the rules on deep sea fishing, for instance?
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