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Author Topic: Miscellaneous Rules  (Read 1703 times)
ADGBoss
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« on: August 21, 2002, 08:15:26 AM »

I am starting the process of getting the rules for Seraphim together, I was thinking about some of the small and miscellaneous rules that are necassary.

things like Falling, Drowning, Damage while in space, rules for Zero-G. things of this nature.

Now I have 2 Questions:

The first is can anyone think of these miscellaneous rules which are necassary for a good game to be complete?

Secondly, being somewhat new to the GNS philosophy in general, How can these rules approached from a NArrativist point of view? I am not sure exactly how the game will come out eventually but I was curious as to how others appraoched these minor dilemmas.

SMH
ADGBoss
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Balbinus
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« Reply #1 on: August 21, 2002, 08:25:19 AM »

I can't tell you anything much about narrativism, but otherwise...

Why do you want these rules?  I mean, by local parlance I am distinctly simulationist but I never use rules for the kind of stuff you're talking about.

Why not?  Handling time.  In play I do not want to look up some special rule on falling, it takes too long and slows down play and it is rarely that important.

If zero-g combat is a big thing in your game you definitely need that.  Personally though I think you can easily drop most of the other stuff or have a general paragraph addressing it.  

I think that's the first question for each of these types of rule.  Will this be important enough in play to merit its own rule?  If not, don't bother, at most give guidance as to how more general rules can be tweaked for that kind of situation.
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AKA max
ADGBoss
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« Reply #2 on: August 21, 2002, 08:36:32 AM »

Possibly one small or part of a page giving some equations for this type of thing and then let it go at that perhaps?

Hmmmm

SMH
ADGBoss
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Balbinus
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« Reply #3 on: August 21, 2002, 08:39:18 AM »

Quote from: ADGBoss
Possibly one small or part of a page giving some equations for this type of thing and then let it go at that perhaps?

Hmmmm

SMH
ADGBoss


That sounds about right to me.  What is the overall game though?  What context will this be in?

Also, the word equations worries me slightly.  Are we talking anything more than simple math because if so most people will just be scared off by it.
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AKA max
ADGBoss
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« Reply #4 on: August 21, 2002, 08:50:57 AM »

Very simple equations. Probably no more then 3 or 4.

The context is this: Generally I find that players will try and do what I like to call cinematic things ie... my friend has fallen outside into the radiation filled atmosphere. I leap out and save her"  The game will hopefully encourage this a little.  The equations are for quantifying what sort of harm is going to come to someone in alien environments.  I have never liked the idea that every planet Humans visit is roughly the same gravity, the same atmosphere, the leel of radiation etc.  The Hostile environment I think ads an enormous amount of oppurtunity for any game and can help to set mood.

Yes I understand we are all not mathematicians and having to dig out the rule book every five minutes can be annoying.

Thats where I am coming from

SMH
ADGBoss
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Balbinus
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« Reply #5 on: August 21, 2002, 08:55:47 AM »

That all makes sense to me.  Differentiation between planets and hazardous conditions are both important for the feel of any interstellar game.  Sounds to me like you have the right approach.

If you go over a page on all that miscellaneous stuff then IMO you've gone way too far.
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AKA max
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #6 on: August 21, 2002, 09:34:31 AM »

The commonest, and most effective (IMO) Narrativist solution is to ignore the actual parameters, and just rate dangers in game terms. Take InSpectres for example. The GM does not say that the cliff is a thirty foot drop, he just says, "it's a ways, probably about a 3 die stress roll." Yes, this means he might be inconsistent. A cliff he describes next time might as 20 foot might also cause a 3 die stress roll. The point is, that it has nothing to do with Simulation, and everything to do with how stressful things should be at the moment. Note that in InSpectres, you would make the same Stress roll of 3 dice for trying to answer three incoming emergency phone calls at once. Or maybe only two. Depends on what the GM thinks is more important. This is not to say that he should just be inconsistent, but rather that he should be thinking in game terms more than in physics terms.

So, say your game rates danger in levels. Just have guidelines for the player on about what level of danger each sort of hazard would be. And then the GM should just choose a reasonable level within those parameters.

Now, if as Max suspects, ssome of these things are key to your game, then they should recieve special treatment that makes them much more specific, and less fast and loose. But still in game terms. In Sorcerer, I am not concerned with details like what I exactly need to do a sorcerous ritual, but I am concerned with how many dice it takes. That is very well laid out, leaving the fine details to be decided by the participants.

Make any sense?

Mike
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #7 on: August 21, 2002, 09:37:04 AM »

Agreed and thanks for the input

SMH
ADGBoss
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #8 on: August 21, 2002, 09:45:32 AM »

Mike

yes I do see what your saying.  Something like "Well if you go out into that atmosphere, which is thick with MEthane and Radiation, will be -6 to stay conscious every round without the proper equipment" A very general type of example but I think its what your getting at.

These rules also tend to be warning signs, sure the GM never needs to roll for my character survivng in a Vacum because I never go out there without my suit.  It deters utterly stupid. I believe there is a difference between cinematic and stupid.

I do like your InSpectres examples though and they are easy to follow along.

Thanks

SMH
ADGBoss
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #9 on: August 21, 2002, 09:56:22 AM »

The first is can anyone think of these miscellaneous rules which are necassary for a good game to be complete?

What would be ideal (from my point of view) would be one rule (or a small set of rules) that encompass all situations, miscellaneous & otherwise. Real quick example: Your system may have a Difficulty and Damage. Then you can let the GM guess (or provide a quick list that the GM can use to extrapolate from) the Difficulty imposed by Zero-G, Underwater, Restrained, etc. and the Damage caused by Falling, Drowning, Burning, Electricity, etc.

A more generic approach may work well, such as Lethal, Injurious, Harmful, Annoyance (each with some modifier/game effect). So if the GM wants to set up a situation, she determines the level of danger/difficulty/damage.

This is a pretty Sim approach, though, and will promote realism-within-game-setting over theme/story/plot. Narrativist games (read as: Games with a system that promotes Narrativist decisions) tend towards this generic approach, but I don't think it's a quality that determines a game's G/N/S division.

Secondly, being somewhat new to the GNS philosophy in general, How can these rules approached from a NArrativist point of view? I am not sure exactly how the game will come out eventually but I was curious as to how others appraoched these minor dilemmas.

With any system, you should reward the actions you want to see. If you're writing a cinematic, action-packed game, you need to find a way to reward the Players for their actions. This could be counter-intuitive to realism, for example: The more insane and dangerous your action is, the higher chance you have to succeed. That's still sticking to realism-within-game-setting.

A system which rewards Narrativst choices emphasizes the premise/theme of the game. For example, Sorcerer's Humanity combined with the mixed blessing of Demons promotes the "What would you do for power" premise.

So if you want to promote Narrativism, what themes do you want explored through gameplay?

Also note that (props to Clinton for pointing this out to me) enjoyable (for Clinton and I, anyway) RPGs seem to be a combination of two of the GNS's.
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #10 on: August 21, 2002, 10:16:20 AM »

That makes me stop and go hmmm.

for Seraphim (the main characters here) in these situations one question might be

"How far will you go to serve?" Serpahim believe that as a rule they the protectors of non-Seraphim (everyone who does not have a high ESP rating and does not have the G-I implant) So how far will they go to live this? Will they walk into a radiated site? Will they breathe Methane, walk in fire?

I need to post more often, the amount of good thinking going here is helping me a lot. lol

SMH
ADGBoss
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #11 on: August 21, 2002, 01:18:01 PM »

At the risk of pimping my own thread, here's one that's all about game design & Reward/Punishment, something that ties into supporting your what you want:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=1278&highlight=reward+punishment
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Marco
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« Reply #12 on: August 21, 2002, 03:32:57 PM »

I'm a bit unclear on what Seraphim is exactly (followed the link--but didn't find a download: I got that it's a sci-fi game where the players are augmented psychics--which is pretty cool).

[ Assuming it's a Sim game--not a Narrativsit one ]

1. To make it complete what you'd want (IMO) is a set of core physics set out in game terms (getting theoretical here--but bear with me). Ideally you'd be able to take a hypothetical situation and make a good guess at how to run it from published mechanics.  If a character is hard to hit because of his Dexterity Bonus, a GM could easily rule that fighting underwater removes that Dexterity Bonus and makes "dodges" go at "-3" (or whatever is appropriate for the rules).

2. For a Simulationist game you aren't interested in reward/punishment in the system--more at giving the GM and players a reference point for interacting with the world (if a 50' drop almost killed them, they should know better than to attempt a 100' drop).  

I'd shoot for a chapter on core mechanics with (very) brief discussion of how to handle a couple of physical events (collisions).

-Marco
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ADGBoss
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« Reply #13 on: August 21, 2002, 05:08:31 PM »

Yes I realise that information on Seraphim is sparse right now, but your premise, augmented psychics, is essentially correct.  Its a little more metaphysical then that though, when they get the G-I implant they suddenly become... well more aware of who they are and how the Universe works.

SMH
ADGBoss
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Marco
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« Reply #14 on: August 21, 2002, 05:35:27 PM »

Well that'd be a perfect reason for a "how the universe works" mechanics chapter ;)

Really, I'd strive for a few simple rules that would cover Seraphim and normal Human mortality (treat bleeding like slow choking for simplicity, treat electrical shock, toxins, and diseases as a CON roll or something--again, all together with a basic system).  Have basic rules for collisions and hindered fighting (either under water, 0-gravity, or maybe just with a ball-and-chain on your ankle).

Again, I'd say this could all be 1-2 pages depending on the underlying framework and would give the players and GM enough to go on when something weird comes up.

Again: it isn't about reward/punishment (that'd be Gamist, I'd think) or attention to a Narrativist Premise--if it's a sim game it's about (IMO) establishing context and established context is good for a variety of play-styles from VN to gamist to sim.

-Marco
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a free, high-quality, universal system at:
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Just Released: JAGS Wonderland
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