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Author Topic: Enlightenment (Group Game Design)--Character and Setting Gen  (Read 18839 times)
Kester Pelagius
Member

Posts: 508


« Reply #15 on: November 10, 2002, 08:03:14 AM »

Greetings All,

There are so many interesting and workable ideas being discussed, it really is an amazing thing to see.  So, to borrow from...

Quote from: talysman
just a few quick comments and ideas:


In the last thread there was discussion of hammering out, formatting, and codefiying a CharGen system.  How goes it?  What sort of progress has been made toward providing a basic organized reference rules sheet, which all these wonderful ideas can be used to build upon?

Apologies if I missed the post with the basic outline in which the basic rules were thumbnailed.

I know, there was *so much* information spread out in *so many* posts in that last thread that it probably is taking time to edit all that source material together into a essential reference outline.  Just thought I'd pop in and ask how things were going.  Let you all know that, yes, those of us not actively participating at the moment are still following your efforts and wishing you the best.

Hope it all works out!


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius
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"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri
talysman
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Posts: 675


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« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2002, 10:41:36 AM »

Quote from: Kester Pelagius
Greetings All,

There are so many interesting and workable ideas being discussed, it really is an amazing thing to see.  So, to borrow from...

Quote from: talysman
just a few quick comments and ideas:


In the last thread there was discussion of hammering out, formatting, and codefiying a CharGen system.  How goes it?  What sort of progress has been made toward providing a basic organized reference rules sheet, which all these wonderful ideas can be used to build upon?

Apologies if I missed the post with the basic outline in which the basic rules were thumbnailed.

I know, there was *so much* information spread out in *so many* posts in that last thread that it probably is taking time to edit all that source material together into a essential reference outline.  Just thought I'd pop in and ask how things were going.  Let you all know that, yes, those of us not actively participating at the moment are still following your efforts and wishing you the best.

Hope it all works out!


Kind Regards,

Kester Pelagius


hi, Kester. Emily very thoughtfully posted the notes on the basic chargen system in the first two posts of this thread when she started it up. what we're basically working on right now is how to specifically impliment the chargen.

here is what we know:

    [*]background material is developed in a round-robin fashion, with each player making a suggestion or counter-suggestion;
    [*]the principles of the religion (the trait-pairs) and probably the description of the monastery itself) are developed first;
    [*]once the principles are created, each player creates a neophyte and a mentor to embody those principles;
    [*]round-robin creation continues to flesh out te facts of the world surrounding the monastery until the play-group notices an interesting conflict embedded in a fact;
    [*]this conflict is then played out.
    [/list:u]

    play is thus somewhat like Aria: there is a sequence during which the monastery and its surroundings are described collaboratively, folowed by a sequence of narration of scenes affecting individual characters. in a sense, the individual monk scenes flesh out the description of the game world.

    one of the interesting concepts we've added since last you joined us was this idea of facts. characters, monasteries, villages, and the like are very "stat sparse", without all the numbers one sees in more Sim-oriented games. the concentration is on the Worldly/Spiritual stat and a couple of Passions, as well as the inverse Virtues paired with every Passion. what fleshes out the character, the monastery, the village, and so on is nonnumeric descriptors, the facts; each fact is linked to a Passion/Virtue trait pair and describes a specific event in which the conflict between the Passion and the Virtue was made manifest.

    one thing we are trying to decide at this point is how many facts to develop for every character. we so far have two suggestions:

    [list=1]
    [*]one fact for every point in a Passion;
    [*]two facts for every Passion/Virtue pair, one highlighting the Passion, the other highlighting the Virtue.
    [/list:o]

    there is also a hybrid suggestion: one fact for every point in the Worldly stat, plus one pair of facts for each Passion/Virtue pair. this option might be the best, since the pure form of option #1 requires perhaps too much work (about 13-16 facts for every neophyte) while the pure form of option #2 is perhaps too sparse (about six facts for a neophyte.)
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    John Laviolette
    (aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
    rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
    talysman
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    Posts: 675


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    « Reply #17 on: November 10, 2002, 11:18:57 AM »

    some ideas occured to me after I posted that response to Kester. another point being discussed right now in the thread is how players reolve conflicts during the round-robin environment generation stage. one possible suggestion occurred to me when I wrote:

    Quote
    play is thus somewhat like Aria: there is a sequence during which the monastery and its surroundings are described collaboratively, folowed by a sequence of narration of scenes affecting individual characters. in a sense, the individual monk scenes flesh out the description of the game world.


    we know that later, after chargen, the players add facts to the setting until one player suggests an interesting event that the others want to play out. so why not apply this method uniformly? if a player suggests something another player disputes, instead of voting, the event is played out -- in broad terms in the early stages. this gives us the following model of play:

    [list=1]
    [*]players take turns suggesting Passions or Virtues for the religion. when a disagreement arises about whether a particular Passion/Virtue should be added (or which Passion should be matched with which Virtue,) the players play out a "lives of one of the saints" event that represents the dispute.
    [*]mentors (the founding monks of a particular monastery) are created. they have a 3/3 in Worldly/Spiritual, as does the monastery as a whole. the monastery and the mentors have each of the Passion/Virtue pairs that form the basis of the religion; each player picks two Passions that the player's mentor has resolved.
    [*]when the principles of the religion are established and the mentors generated, the descriptive facts about the monastery are then added, again in round-robin fashion. each descriptive fact is phrased as an event that changes something about the monastery, and each fact must be linked to either the monastery's Worldly trait or to one of the Passions/Virtues. if one of the players disagrees with a suggested event, the event is played out.
    [*]when the monastery has the required number of facts, the neophytes are created. each neophyte starts with two listed Passions and a Worldy trait of 5, as well as a certain number of descriptive facts.
    [*]general events around the monastery are then described, again in round-robin fashion. when one described event sounds like an interesting conflict, the players drop into scene-by-scene play to describe how the neophytes deal with the challenge of the conflict.
    [/list:o]

    I suggest calling these stages:
    [list=1]
    [*]hagiography (lives of the saints,) or dogma generation;
    [*]foundation of the order;
    [*]building the community;
    [*]initiation into the order;
    [*]facing challenges to spiritual growth.
    [/list:o]

    this will work for now to help us keep straight what is happening in each stage, even if we don't go with the idea of resolving disagreements during hagiography with actual play.

    hmmm.... it's starting to sound more and more like play is focusing on the monastery, with less player attachment to their individual characters and more player investment in the monastery as a whole. this might be a good thing, since it makes the issue of character death easier to accept.
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    John Laviolette
    (aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
    rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
    Bob McNamee
    Member

    Posts: 685


    « Reply #18 on: November 10, 2002, 04:49:07 PM »

    I'm interested in the "play out the conflicted item" idea, but I'm not sure I see how this gets done...

    Let say Bob says on his round robin Virtue/Passion assignment

    Bob; "I'm assigning Violence as a Virtue, for I see the Monks as Norselike..."

    Pat says... "no way... I don't want a pro-Violent Religion..." "Courageous maybe, but not Violent as a virtue..."

    Bob (with a chance to propose a change): "No I really want to explore a pro-Violent religion"

    The other Players are willing to let them play out a past scene of Saintlike figures from the Religion to decide it...

    So a scene that highlights say "Slakke the Berserk" (bob), and "Barrek the Brave"(pat) would be proposed (with each of them taking a role) from the early battles that gave the church its right to exist at all...

    Then it would be role-played a bit...

    Then based on how it went the players should have an idea of why each wants the Virtue, and the significance of it...
    If it is clearly an interesting scene do you just take them both?
    or at this point do the players vote vote?
    or is it up to the disputing players to choose one?

    I can see this as an interesting way to find out the implications of someones choice.
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    Bob McNamee
    Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
    Bob McNamee
    Member

    Posts: 685


    « Reply #19 on: November 10, 2002, 04:51:43 PM »

    I can also see this as a reallly cool way to assign a fact to the religion/monestary (a Lesson etc)
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    Bob McNamee
    Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
    contracycle
    Member

    Posts: 2807


    « Reply #20 on: November 11, 2002, 04:00:53 AM »

    Aha!  One of the most commonly ocurrnig forms of philiospphical argument is the dialogue; a set of questions are asked to the sage, and the sages answeres constitute the wisdom of the text.

    In which case, having two speakers allows one to be the "master" and one the "student", as judged by history and dogma.  But both cases CAN be submitted, both sets of arguments can appear in the Big Book O' Truth, the interpretation of the conflicting positions will be umm, commentary, explanation, and "secret doctrine". [thus, you cannot just 'read the book' for enlightenment]

    The only caveat here is that both need to emerge from the same physical/historical context.  [As a slight variation, the Other could be from another school of thought - but thats a broader scope than we have tackled to date].  My only concern about this is the potential play-before-you-play thing again.
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    talysman
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    Posts: 675


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    « Reply #21 on: November 11, 2002, 03:59:35 PM »

    Bob: I see the playing out of a choice between two potential Passions or Virtues being similar to what you describe, although I would have only one character during each such resolution. that character one be a saint of the order, and the conflicts played out would pit one against the other. I'm not certainly exactly how to do this yet, but here's a suggestion, based on the example you give:

    a saint of the order would be described with two tentative pairs, each with a common element: Cowardice/Violence and Cowardice/Courage, for example. the saint's stats are set one point away from resolving the pair (if the dispute is over a Virtue.) each of the players would have a chance to play this saint, with the other players setting up complications that test the two conflicting trait-pairs; whichever trait-pair is resolved first wins.

    it's still rough, but I guess you can see what I'm suggesting.

    contracycle: I'm not sure what you mean by playing before play. do you consider this a good thing or a bad thing? I am assuming there will be no hagiography phase if no one is interested in playing it out; in fact, I would think the final version of this game would have three ready-made orders for those who don't want to bother with that phase at all: stereotypical western monk (focus on sin,) stereotypical eastern monk (focus on attachment,) and stereotypical fighting monk (focus on control.)

    added note: we do need to fix the hagiography section first before creating these stereotypical orders, because the ready-made orders must resemble something you could actually "play out"... plus, we can use whatever rules we develop to create actual playable versions of the ready-made orders.
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    John Laviolette
    (aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
    rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
    Bob McNamee
    Member

    Posts: 685


    « Reply #22 on: November 11, 2002, 04:29:36 PM »

    I like the two idea that the conflicting conflicting parties would play out a Mentor - Student scene together discussing the conflicting traits in the guise of Saintly examples and studious questioning... not sure how to decide 'winner'.

    I'm not a big fan of a first to complete trait pair in an example from the past, but maybe I'm not understanding it right.
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    Bob McNamee
    Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
    Bob McNamee
    Member

    Posts: 685


    « Reply #23 on: November 11, 2002, 04:35:35 PM »

    I don't really think we need to create sterotypical orders... I think one of the appeals will be the  tailoring of a religion/order to the group desires.


    but if we did, it would be better if we all met in chat or something and actually created these 'eastern/western/martial' orders by using the game rules as finally decided.

    Posting these as examples of orders created using different Social Contract expectations would be cool with me.
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    Bob McNamee
    Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
    talysman
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    « Reply #24 on: November 11, 2002, 04:42:44 PM »

    Quote from: Bob McNamee
    I like the two idea that the conflicting conflicting parties would play out a Mentor - Student scene together discussing the conflicting traits in the guise of Saintly examples and studious questioning... not sure how to decide 'winner'.

    I'm not a big fan of a first to complete trait pair in an example from the past, but maybe I'm not understanding it right.


    I'll think a little more about it and see if I can express it better. what I'm getting at is that I don't think roleplaying a conversation between a mentor and a neophyte is going to make exciting role-playing (plus, there aren't any mentors or neophytes yet at the hagiography stage.) I'm envisioning it more as morality plays:you see the saint divided, forced to choose which is the nobler path.

    a simpler version of what I described might be to give one stat-pair made of the controversial traits... so the saint would have Courage/Violence set at 3/3, and each player would take a turn suggesting either a complication or the saint's response. this stat pair would be unusual, since it's not a Passion/Virtue pair: it's either Passion/Passion, Virtue/Virtue. the group plays it out until its obvious which trait makes for better narrative.

    you could even have a case where someone suggests Violence as a Virtue and someone else counters with Violence as a Passion ... in which case, the trait-pair is Violence/Violence. kind of weird, but I suppose it could be done. whichever side "wins out" determines whether Violence is a Passion or a Virtue.

    all it boils down to is: the players vote with actual role-playing decisions.
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    John Laviolette
    (aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
    rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
    Bob McNamee
    Member

    Posts: 685


    « Reply #25 on: November 11, 2002, 05:16:40 PM »

    True about the role-playing better than questioning (plus no mentors yet, doh!)

    I like the...give 'e, the controversial traits as Virtues Passions and roleplay out.

    Of course, all this may be for naught if folks don't disagree during trait creation...
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    Bob McNamee
    Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
    Emily Care
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    « Reply #26 on: November 11, 2002, 05:34:58 PM »

    Lot's of good ideas floating around. Excellent.

    Quote from: talysman
    I'm envisioning it more as morality plays:you see the saint divided, forced to choose which is the nobler path.


    It seems like it could still come down to who played the saint to determine which virtue was more virtuous.  I like the idea, but we might not want to use it for this particular aspect of the game.  If we had a simpler, more concrete way to decide disputes, and used the saints' lives as a way to flesh out pairs that had been agreed on, then we would (hopefully) avoid the trap of turning a simple dispute into a play-stopping sequence.  Especially this early on in play, that could really scotch a campaign.  

    Quote
    all it boils down to is: the players vote with actual role-playing decisions.


    I love this idea, and it fits with the narrative mission of the game, but it could end up distracting from the rest.  I hesitate about the idea of assigning a character that will only appear in flashback any stats--that implies that we'll be running this sequence just like one for any monk.  That could potentially be an awesome way to set up the history of a religion, but it could also invest people in one level of play that is intended to be of short duration.  Hmmm..another issue is that this would be the only place we are putting players in direct competition with one-another.  Will it fit with the rest of the game?

    This would, however, be an ideal way to generate koans/homilies etc. The statements that reflect the religion's values.

    It again raises the question of what is the focus of the game.

    --Emily Care
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    Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

    Black & Green Games
    Emily Care
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    Posts: 1126


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    « Reply #27 on: November 11, 2002, 06:26:11 PM »

    Quote from: talysman
    one thing we are trying to decide at this point is how many facts to develop for every character. we so far have two suggestions:

    [list=1]
    [*]one fact for every point in a Passion;
    [*]two facts for every Passion/Virtue pair, one highlighting the Passion, the other highlighting the Virtue.
    [/list:o]

    there is also a hybrid suggestion: one fact for every point in the Worldly stat, plus one pair of facts for each Passion/Virtue pair. this option might be the best, since the pure form of option #1 requires perhaps too much work (about 13-16 facts for every neophyte) while the pure form of option #2 is perhaps too sparse (about six facts for a neophyte.)



    The hybrid seems like the best option to me.  Another thing we've discussed it leaving some of the statements to be filled in during play. The statements associated with the worldly points seem quite likely to reflect skills which could crop up in play, and would be less (though not entirely) related to dynamic plot hooks, so I'd suggest that most of those be left open.  

    start with:
    W/s 5/1 -- two statements
    V/P   --one or two
    V/P   --one or two

    for a neophyte.

    Mentors could have all of their statements for resolved v/p pairs determined on creation.  Maybe have openings on unresolved pairs.

    Quote from: talysman
    I'd handle injury and death based on the fact system as well. this is not a combat Sim, so I suggest we need only three wound levels: Hurt, Badly Hurt, Incapacitated.


    Whenever a character gets hurt, they may have the opportunity to end the scene they are in (as in skeedaddling out of there, or possuming) but there could be consequences in the debriefing with their mentor, depending on the circumstances.  Certainly, when a character is incapacitated, a scene involving them would end, unless the criteria for dying are invoked.   And, conversely, characters that perservere through being Badly Hurt would get major brownie points.  

    Healing from wounds could take the form of missing a round or two, or simply having the next assignment take place after significant healing has happened.  The mission format seems like it would be forgiving of such time dilation.  (I'm thinking of Frodo waking up healed in Rivendell).

    This:
    Quote from: talysman

    1.hagiography (lives of the saints,) or dogma generation;
    2.foundation of the order;
    3.building the community;
    4.initiation into the order;
    5.facing challenges to spiritual growth.

    ...rocks, by the way.

    --Emily Care
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    Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

    Black & Green Games
    Bob McNamee
    Member

    Posts: 685


    « Reply #28 on: November 11, 2002, 07:12:44 PM »

    Maybe on a dispute...
    If the originator doesn't want to change the trait,
    the Challenger automatically gets to decide the opposing pair of the trait?

    For instance
    Bob wants Violence as a Virtue
    Pat doesn't ...
    Bob won't change...
    Pat decides the Passion related to Violence is Courage...
     (or Discipline or Compassion or Honor etc)
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    Bob McNamee
    Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
    Bob McNamee
    Member

    Posts: 685


    « Reply #29 on: November 11, 2002, 07:28:16 PM »

    if this opposing pair gets challenged by someone else then it should default back going round robin to around table... (and maybe they are playing the wrong ghame with the wrong people)
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    Bob McNamee
    Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
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