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Author Topic: Series needs a gimmick  (Read 4746 times)
Derek Devlin
Member

Posts: 51


« on: August 01, 2003, 02:20:52 PM »

I'm a big fan of swashbuckling. Fairbanks, Flynn, Guybrush Threepwood. And after I found Richard Lester's Musketeer movies on DVD, I was sure I wanted to run a swashbuckling campaign. And Cartoon Action Hour is very well suited for cinematic action and adventure.

So I want to run a swashbuckling series. I'm thinking base it off of the Musketeer template; the heroes are part of an elite group commissioned to serve the King and protect the country from his enemies.

But that premise alone struck me as kind of flat. It needs a twist or gimmick of some kind. I haven't been able to come up with one that seems less than ridiculous to me, and I want to lure in first-time players so I have to sell them on the concept.

I'm stumped. Any help would be appreciated.

Derek Devlin
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Lxndr
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #1 on: August 01, 2003, 06:01:26 PM »

One of the simplest ones, taken from many cartoons throughout the ages, is "they're all anthropodic animals!  You know, like Duck Tales or Darkwing Duck!"
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Alexander Cherry, Twisted Confessions Game Design
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Eddy Fate
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« Reply #2 on: August 02, 2003, 09:47:25 AM »

Quote from: Derek Devlin
So I want to run a swashbuckling series. I'm thinking base it off of the Musketeer template; the heroes are part of an elite group commissioned to serve the King and protect the country from his enemies.


The King is the King of an entire planet, and the Musketeers are formed to defend the planet from space privateers and those who wish to overthrow the peaceful reign of the King.

Yes, you guessed it... Musketeers in spaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaace...
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Eddy Webb
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Derek Devlin
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2003, 08:31:39 AM »

Thanks for the responses. :)

Another idea that was suggested to me by a friend is that the Musketeers, when not on call, walk around in their tabards and sword belts like regular swashbucklers. But when they are sent to the front, they get to wear power armor and fight it out with enemies in similar high-tech gear. So what you have is swashbuckling adventure set against a backdrop of giant robot combat.

Then I thought maybe I could rip off "Reboot" and "The Matrix" by having all of the swashbuckling take place inside a computer. Hackers use Musketeer avatars to protect their AI king from the virus known as the Cardinal.

So what do you think, giant robot Musketeers or digital Musketeers?

Derek Devlin
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Lxndr
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« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2003, 09:14:04 AM »

I'd vote for digital.
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Derek Devlin
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #5 on: August 07, 2003, 09:54:45 PM »

Been kicking around the "virtual musketeers" idea, but it's still unfinished.

A massive computer system is created for some never-mentioned yet extremely important purpose. The system is controlled by two AIs, the "king" and the "cardinal". The cardinal AI does all the work, but the king can veto the cardinal at any time.

The Cardinal AI becomes envious of the King AI's power and puts plans in motion to take command of the system. These plans are interpreted as attacks on the system from an unknown source, and a group of system administrators create swashbuckling avatars to defend the king from inside the system itself!

These virtual musketeers seek out threats to "king and country" and deal with them, while trying to unravel the mystery of who is attempting to take over the system. They fight viral invasions from outside the system, seek out lost files, and do what the king commands in order to keep the system running smoothly.

The Cardinal has his own forces. He creates the Cardinal's Guard, maintenance programs that are the Musketeer's chief rivals. He recruits a hacker with the internet handle "Rochefort" to serve as his chief henchman, and codes a virus named "DeWinter" to be his chief spy and assassin.

The PCs are often woefully outmatched by the forces allied against them, but they have a secret weapon...Panache(pronounced pan-osh). Panache is kind of like having a "freed mind" in the Matrix, it allows a person to bend the rules of reality a little because he knows the world is virtual. Panache is the "little extra something" that separates a swashbuckler from an average Joe, and can turn certain defeat into sudden victory.

The PCs can all use Panache. So, of course, can Rochefort. The question is...how should Panache work?

My feeling was that when the character is created, he chooses a certain number of Traits that he can use Panache with. These traits can then be boosted a certain amount for the duration of one action a certain number of times per episode. The question is how many traits, how much of a boost, and how many times per episode?

I don't want to turn the players into Keanu Reeves in a floppy hat, just give them a little edge that will allow them to pull off swashbuckling stunts that will make the lesser NPCs marvel. Not wire-fu leaps or slow-mo swordfights, just times where the PCs can hit a little harder, jump a little farther, or be a little more persuasive than normal.

So, it's balance time. The idea is that the PCs would be built on 100 points less the cost of the Panache SA, whatever that may be. A little help?

Derek Devlin
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Eddy Fate
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« Reply #6 on: August 08, 2003, 02:40:58 PM »

Quote from: Derek Devlin
The PCs can all use Panache. So, of course, can Rochefort. The question is...how should Panache work?


Trait Mod A, with a Charges Restriction.  :-)

- Eddy
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Eddy Webb
Vice-President, Spectrum Game Studios
Co-Line Developer for http://www.zmangames.com/CAH/">Cartoon Action Hour
http://www.shadowfist.com/html/store_CAH.htm">Order CAH online!
Derek Devlin
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #7 on: August 09, 2003, 08:23:25 AM »

That was my first thought, too. I just wasn't certain about numbers. 3 Traits boosted 2 Ranks with 12 charges? 4 Traits boosted 3 Ranks with 6 charges?

Then I realized something. I was planning to make the Panache SA cost about 20 CPs. Well, if you spend 10 on Oomph and 10 on Stunt Points, you could probably accomplish the same thing Panache was meant to do.

Of course, that allows the PCs a chance to wildly succeed at almost anything, as opposed to only having that ability for certain Traits.

The tweaking continues...

Derek Devlin
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Eddy Fate
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« Reply #8 on: August 09, 2003, 09:01:31 AM »

Quote from: Derek Devlin
Of course, that allows the PCs a chance to wildly succeed at almost anything, as opposed to only having that ability for certain Traits.


I would make it a small number of charges, but for quite a few traits (mostly combat and athletics).  Just my opinion, though.  :-)
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Eddy Webb
Vice-President, Spectrum Game Studios
Co-Line Developer for http://www.zmangames.com/CAH/">Cartoon Action Hour
http://www.shadowfist.com/html/store_CAH.htm">Order CAH online!
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