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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 72 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Genre Expectation - a Sketch of "Cosmic Zap"  (Read 12605 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #15 on: December 06, 2002, 02:18:12 PM »

Hi Fang,

I agree with you about the Mystique element, as well as with the players' relatively passive role when it comes to authoring the Story. All that meshes well with my desired role in playing such a game (and believe me, this is something for which I'd rather be a player than a GM).

I'm not sure what you mean by archetypes in building the player-characters. To a very great extent, I hate the idea of classifying superheroes, and that applies as well to the semi-ish superheroes of this kind of setting/context. Can you give me an example?

Or rather, let me give you one. The guy's name is Dylan "Shock" Selkins; he's a biker and a roustin' tough bastard, think McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. But hey, way back before the comics series started, he hooked up with this cool mysterious chick, and she turned out to be the spirit of this Whole Other Planet, man, called Keela, and "Shock" ended up being named as her Mate, and therefore the God of the planet's solar system. I mean, wild! Now they call him [insert Kirby-esque Kosmic cheese here].

But that wasn't the half of it. In space, you see, there are these zones that no one likes to talk about, and from them issue forth all sorts of badness - and can you believe it, all these solar gods all over the place, they're total pussies - they just let the badness make the suns go nova and mess up the systems, and pretend the only solution is to hope it doesn't happen to you! Well, it's time someone like "Shock" showed them what being the Solar God is all about.

I would much prefer to let character creation precede in this sort of vein rather than have a list of potential "character types" to choose from. To a very great extent, this genre doesn't work unless the participants already get it, so I don't see much point to the character creation system being a teaching device.

Best,
Ron
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #16 on: December 06, 2002, 04:08:39 PM »

Hey Ron,

Right on!  You know, but it you don't show it.

Quote from: Ron Edwards
I agree with you about the Mystique element, as well as with the players' relatively passive role when it comes to authoring the Story. All that meshes well with my desired role in playing such a game (and believe me, this is something for which I'd rather be a player than a GM).

Just a quick aside, since this is for a playtest, who are you going have be your gamemaster?

Quote from: Ron Edwards
I'm not sure what you mean by archetypes in building the player-characters. To a very great extent, I hate the idea of classifying superheroes, and that applies as well to the semi-ish superheroes of this kind of setting/context. Can you give me an example?

Or rather, let me give you one. The guy's name is Dylan "Shock" Selkins; he's a biker and a roustin' tough bastard, think McMurphy in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. But hey, way back before the comics series started, he hooked up with this cool mysterious chick, and she turned out to be the spirit of this Whole Other Planet, man, called Keela, and "Shock" ended up being named as her Mate, and therefore the God of the planet's solar system. I mean, wild! Now they call him [insert Kirby-esque Kosmic cheese here].

But that wasn't the half of it. In space, you see, there are these zones that no one likes to talk about, and from them issue forth all sorts of badness - and can you believe it, all these solar gods all over the place, they're total pussies - they just let the badness make the suns go nova and mess up the systems, and pretend the only solution is to hope it doesn't happen to you! Well, it's time someone like "Shock" showed them what being the Solar God is all about.

I would much prefer to let character creation precede in this sort of vein rather than have a list of potential "character types" to choose from. To a very great extent, this genre doesn't work unless the participants already get it, so I don't see much point to the character creation system being a teaching device.

See, you're doing exactly what I was talking about.  Scattershot offers Exemplars for players who don't know what they want; either it gives them ideas or they simply customize an Exemplar.

Now, that's different from an archetype; you chose archetypes masterfully.  What's a biker, if not an archetype?  Or a "roustin' tough bastard?"  They're archetypes; they give the gamemaster some idea of what to do with the game without spelling it out.  Being a surfer is another archetype, not one necessarily spelled out in the game as an Exemplar (and one wasted in the comics).

The "zones of badness" is a really nice opening; it works well into the Persona's Development and is quite 'open.'  You've given an adequate Origin (becoming Keela's Mate), but your 'opening' falls a bit short of a Precipitating Event.  At the moment, I haven't been able to discern any difference between Sorcerer's Bangs and Scattershot's Precipitating Events (except perhaps that a Precipitating Event is created under the Proprietorship of the player and functions only as the 'start point' of the game for that Persona; like a Bang but narrower?).  There's nothing wrong with the gamemaster formulating a Mystique and then negotiating the Precipitating Event with the player as long as they remember whose Precipitating Event it is.  (That's almost the preferred method; the alternative is to dream up the Mystiques after the Precipitating Events.)

We definitely seem to be on the right track, I'll hit the Sequences (and scratch the surface of the other components) when I get back to this thread.  Glad to see it's going so well.

Fang Langford

p. s. A planet goddess as a bikerchick, I love it.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #17 on: December 07, 2002, 09:15:03 AM »

Hi Fang,

Your Precipitating Events are actually more parallel to Sorcerer's Kickers, not Bangs per se. Kickers are written by players as part of character creation; all Sorcerer play is considered indirectly to drive toward resolving Kickers. Bangs are GM-generated (on occasion via suggestions) and occur in-play.

I agree that the guy that I described does not include a Precipitating Event, although coming up with one is easy as pie. I would rather discuss this "archetype" thing. I do not see "biker" as an archetype. I see it as merely a descriptor - a loaded, juicy, fascinating one, yes, and right in line with Genre Expectations, but I don't see a need for a special term beyond "character concept that's consistent with Genre Expectations."

Best,
Ron

P.S. Don't you worry about who's going to GM. I'll bring a sheaf of Scattershot stuff to the group, we'll chat it up, and someone will.
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Le Joueur
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« Reply #18 on: December 07, 2002, 11:57:56 AM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards
Your Precipitating Events are actually more parallel to Sorcerer's Kickers,

My bad; I shouldn't post with this bad of a cold.  I meant Kickers; call it a term-flip.

Fang Langford
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #19 on: December 13, 2002, 06:20:57 PM »

Sorry I'm coming in late.

I don't know if you guys are looking at this thing as a one-shot game deal, done between yourselves for fun, or if you're doing this with an eye for releasing it on an unsuspecting gaming public. If you are, you're going to have to do a hell of a lot of explanation to help the audience get it.

To me, at any rate, it sounds like you're talking about what I refer to as "psychedelic runoff comix," the type where linear plot doesn't matter, specific power types don't really matter, character motivations and quirks take center stage, and to balance that, the dilemma is always world-shaking and dealing with Big Concepts that Ron already correctly pointed out as mirroring the conflict within the character. I always suspected that they were the mainstream comics' initial reaction against the underground comics, in an attempt to show that, "Yes we can do serious comics about Big Issues!"

This also sounds to me like the movie "Wizards," where the big sorcerous duel is cut short by the main good guy shooting his brother with a gun put up his sleeve. Or some of the stories in "Heavy Metal." Or Grant Morrison's The Invisibles or The Hand. It's something that has the narrative quality of a fever dream or a Phillip K. Dick novel.

Could you be looking at a way to play "The Psychofiction RPG," that holy grail of roleplayers everywhere since Over the Edge debuted? Something that would allow people to actually reproduce all of those late 70s animated sci-fi/post-apocalypse/sword&sorcerer genre mishmash films, as well as all those Grant Morrison-type comics and William S. Burroughs novels? Oh, happy day! And I wish you all the luck in the world...

To be honest, I'd only attempt something like that, or even your more specific genre, with octaNe's core rules or Universalis, where you and your players have the option of sliding back up and down the categories of power you've previously delineated, so as to include the players as well as the poor, soon-to-be-overworked-to-the-point-of-head-explosion Game Moderator. Otherwise, you've got to find a way for everyone to be involved (even indirectly) in a scene, or "hand the baton" to a character for the evening and co-opt the players into being co-GMs to help with the NPCs, plot twists, and setting changes. Asking one GM to be prepared for the inevitable weirdness and plot twists and tangents otherwise is going to be ugly!
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b_bankhead
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« Reply #20 on: December 19, 2002, 08:53:14 PM »

In the interest in showing that I CAN do more gripe about the State of Gaming I will now perform some thread necromancy of my own and reveal some thoughts I have had for the base functional system for the sim component of COSMIC ZAP!.
There are a number issues that I regard as paramount in my choices:

1. Rules Lite.  I am sick of big honking systems. I want COSMIC ZAP! stripped for action. I also want to promote short intense sessions and simple systems promote that.

2. Flexible.   The system needs to accomodate a wide range of power levels some of them described very abstractly.  It also needs to be able to deal creatively with a broad range of powers and abilities without violating consideration 1.

3.Extensible.  Needs to accomadate the ability to create new stuff for the game's universe without breaking or becoming compicated.

Lila Rpg http://www.lilarpg.0catch.com/

   The cosmology of the Hindus is one of the most elaborate and colorful ever worshiped,filled with an infinite array of Heros ,Demons,Gods,Demigods,plots, battles,magic powers and enough philosophising and pontificating to.., ...well, .....base an entire religion on.....
             A member of the International Society of Krishna Conciousness has decided to set it all to a roleplaying game. Lila is an rpg that was primarily designed as a teaching tool for Krishna kids, and had to deal with a broad range of things so simplicity and flexibility was important to them.
The chose the Window, a popular netsystem probably famililiar to most on the forge already.  But the author of Lila chopped and channeled the basic Window system to accomdate the concepts and terminology of the Hindu universe. Lila deals with personality traits and qualities as well as personal transcendance and evolution all concerns of COSMIC ZAP! and characters don't get stranger or more psychedelic than those in the Hindu mythos...

Power Game
http://www.uta.fi/~trmika/gameindex.html
Power game is another candidate, Have included it primarily because it's simple, has a broad scale  it has a long history (its up to version SIX!)

Hearts and Souls
From right here on the Forge is the game "Hearts and Souls" it is a superhero game with a highly flexible, mostly narrativist power system and The game is strongly driven by the internal states of it's heroes.

Janus Rpg
http://www.ironfort.com/cgi-bin/wiki.pl?JanusCharGen
The Janus Rpg is interesting in that it is based in the Nobilis system.  Nobilis is a much commented upon system that deals with godlike beings on the same scale range as COSMIC ZAP!. Indeed nobilis seems wo well adapted to the task that I would imagine it could be used with very little modification of the actual system.

Well those are the systems I like. Any comments on these choices are of course welcome...I hope  they will be controversial....
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #21 on: December 20, 2002, 07:03:52 AM »

Hi there,

Spooky, this whole thing is just for my own gaming fun, and my group's, using Scattershot. The thread is an exercise for Fang in terms of how to explain/apply his system for real live human being he doesn't game with, and for me in terms of seeing how "baked" Scattershot is these days. Pleasing anyone else, particularly those who aren't familiar with the source material, is completely irrelevant.

I'll toss you a thought-experiment, though. You get it; I can tell by the references you provided. So why are you convinced that other people won't? I encourage you to put aside your image of the "typical gamer" who doesn't get things like this, or, since people do exist who conform to this profile, to put aside any attention or interest in meeting their needs. There are lots of people out there who, like you, grasp this material quickly and enthusiastically. Those are the only ones that Fang, you, and me need to worry about on this thread.

Best,
Ron
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #22 on: December 20, 2002, 02:25:02 PM »

Quote
Hearts and Souls
From right here on the Forge is the game "Hearts and Souls" it is a superhero game with a highly flexible, mostly narrativist power system and The game is strongly driven by the internal states of it's heroes.


Where is this and how may I peruse a copy?

Ron: Kinda figured it was something of an experiment between you and Fang. Still, sounds kinda interesting...except that the fashions of the 70's are still alive and well (UGGGGHHHHH!!!!!!BLAAAARRRFF!!!!!)!

Still, if I'm invited on board, I'd like to try to contribute what I can. It'll be tough though...Mr. Langford's written some hard stuff to casually peruse, let alone analyze and see what works for the genre and what needs to go.

Le Joueur: Using this setting as a tapestry to hold your game-threads together would be a great way for you to both help Ron and give all those people who want a single, coherent set of rules with examples would be a good idea. (Hint, hint!)
Not that I want to be a dick about it. Any man who sets out from the get-go to be the best husband and parent he can be is worth his weight in gold to humanity, and should be treated as such.
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b_bankhead
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« Reply #23 on: December 21, 2002, 10:30:45 AM »

Okay , based on my entry for the essentially defunct universalis site mascot contest, here's my idea for a cover for CZ! ,essentially showing a typical character from the game.

  Thy the way I am interested in the subject of copy for the cover and back. Like what I have so far?


http://photos.yahoo.com/bc/b_bankhead/lst?.dir=/Other+Art&.view=t
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Bob McNamee
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« Reply #24 on: December 21, 2002, 06:41:59 PM »

Spooky,

Sidhain is making Heart and Souls...
There is a Yahoo Group related to it
HSSHRPG

as far as I know that is the only place it is available... or I lost my webpage bookmark...

Bob McNamee
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Bob McNamee
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #25 on: December 22, 2002, 09:02:06 PM »

To both of those individuals who gave me the Yahoo group for Hearts and souls: thank you! Now let's see what this game has to offer in the terms of Cosmic Zap!, as well as just trying out the game itself....

As for Scattershot: So far, with all of the info scattered around the forum on the game, my little brain is having difficulty digesting it, although I think I understand pieces of it.
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