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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 68 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Dragons and other figments of the imagination  (Read 2282 times)
Jared A. Sorensen
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« on: October 25, 2001, 07:49:00 PM »

First:
http://www.memento-mori.com/games/dragons.html

Second:
I think I'm on the Scarlet Jester's side re: this whole GNS thing. S doesn't exist as a goal. It's more a subset of GEN (he calls E "exploratory" -- it's really about "experiencing" the game through the character).

My reasoning is that after discussing it him and looking at my own games and goals (as a player and designer), it amounts to this: I could care less about the story or premise or anything like that. What I want is to experience what my character experiences...or more to the point, I want my character to be the thing from which my own thoughts and feelings are filtered.

Story is nice, but really...it's not a primary concern.

Make sense? Well it's my forum, dammit...so TFB.
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
hardcoremoose
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« Reply #1 on: October 25, 2001, 08:48:00 PM »

The dragon thing is pretty cool.  I found myself wanting setting information (it's hard to please some people, aint it?)

And in reference to your GNS/GEN comments...

I can't really comment on Simulation as a goal, but I do have a question:

If I choose to use my character as the filter through which my thoughts and feelings are expressed, but the GM (or the system I'm playing) asks me to focus my thoughts and feelings on a particular Premise* and I agree to do so, then what exactly have I done?  Am I N or E?  I'm not trying to be argumentative, I just don't know anything about the Exploratory argument.

* This query presumes that stories automatically arise from the exploration of Premise, which is probably a bad thing to do on my part.
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #2 on: October 26, 2001, 08:23:00 AM »

The whole E thing (like I said) isn't about Exploration. I don't like that word. What it's really about is Experience. How does the game help me be my character. So the game is all about characterization and dialog, rather than a specific game challenge or narrative drive (I call it "My Dinner with Andre" role-playing). I've always been more interested in mood and atmosphere than anything. Plot? Just give me an hour of snappy dialog (ala Kevin Smith, Tarantino or David Mamet) and I'm happy. It's mega Actor Stance, but that's okay because nothing is really happening. I think that's okay.

Jester has some really interesting views on the whole split between role-playing and story-telling games (too bad he's not on the Forge). He asserts that RPGs suffer in many ways from holding onto wargaming concepts...and also that story-telling games (STGs) suffer a similar fate from holding onto concepts from RPGs.

A lot of the games I've seen people create here on the Forge haven't been all that appealing to me...not because they're bad games but because they are definitely story-telling games. And I'm more interested in playing a character than in moving that character along some dramatic path. I'd rather sit down and have a picnic with another character...
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Paul Czege
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« Reply #3 on: October 26, 2001, 09:36:00 AM »

Hey Jared,

I've always been more interested in mood and atmosphere than anything. Plot? Just give me an hour of snappy dialog (ala Kevin Smith, Tarantino or David Mamet) and I'm happy.

In retrospect, how do you explain your fascination with very plot-structured games like Whispering Vault, and InSpectres, and your disenchantment with plotless, dialogue-driven LARPs?

Paul



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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2001, 09:57:00 AM »

Quote

On 2001-10-26 13:36, Paul Czege wrote:
In retrospect, how do you explain your fascination with very plot-structured games like Whispering Vault, and InSpectres, and your disenchantment with plotless, dialogue-driven LARPs?


I don't see InSpectres as having a plot structure geared toward "telling a story." If anything, it's just a cheat so that the game has the illusion of some narrative -- really, it's just a game about working joes with a weird job who have conversations about whatever (using elements from Tarantino's Pulp Fiction).

My fascination with structure has less to do with end results and more to do with mucking around with expectations and assumptions re: RPGs. The whole concept that the story is a unique, holy thing that be different every time. I'm saying, look...it has nothing to do with the storyline or plot of the game. If every game's storyline is the same, then what makes it engaging? The answer, I think, is interactions between characters.

In the end, it boils down to the fact that I don't like being the GM and I don't like to play NPCs. :smile:
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
hardcoremoose
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« Reply #5 on: October 26, 2001, 12:21:00 PM »

You're a pretty amazing dude, Jared.  A game designer who doesn't like to run games...I've always thought that was incredible.

I credit you with opening my eyes to a whole new realm of game design.  Remember the conversation we first had when I was working on NightWatch and I kept bugging you about needing a combat system for InSpectres?  The advice you gave me while designing WYRD?  All of that stuff opened up new worlds to me.

And lately, I've felt like those worlds have been closed off to me again.  I've designed a few things with cool mechanics that try to do new things, but for some reason I find them unsatisfying.  And while I enjoy writing for the sake of writing, right now I want more than anything else to design a game that would be flat-out be fun to play.  Nothing I've done lately fits that bill, and I think alot of my dissatisfaction comes from trying to impress the big-thinkers here at The Forge.  That's my own fault, though, because I haven't successfully processed all of the new stuff I've learned and turned it into something fun.

Anyway, I have this idea about characters and stories.  I really think that good stories can emerge from straightforward character portrayal, if the portrayal is somehow focused.  That's what Premise can provide; it keeps players on track while at the same time freeing them from the rails.  Maybe that kind of focus interferes with the act of experiencing the character, but it doesn't bother me.  And anyway, it's just a theory.

Back to the Dragon thing: For about a year now I've had this idea bubbling in the back of my mind about a game where the PCs were all Gryphons.  It was going to be called Aerie, and the Gryphons were going to be the fiercely predatorial royalty of the skies.  Of course, it never got done, mostly because I couldn't think of the right mechanic for it (and because I didn't think it would interest anyone).  Now you've gone and done it with this game.  Good show!

Take Care,
Moose
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #6 on: October 26, 2001, 12:38:00 PM »

Quote

On 2001-10-26 16:21, hardcoremoose wrote:
You're a pretty amazing dude, Jared.  A game designer who doesn't like to run games...I've always thought that was incredible.


Well, I love to play games...so I don't think it's that odd. If I hated to run AND play games and I designed them, well that'd be weird.

Quote

Nothing I've done lately fits that bill, and I think alot of my dissatisfaction comes from trying to impress the big-thinkers here at The Forge.  That's my own fault, though, because I haven't successfully processed all of the new stuff I've learned and turned it into something fun.


Yup. Plus, you should take a break now and then. But yeah, a lot of stuff here at the Forge has been very tightly focused around Narrativist concerns...which is cool, but me? I like to see different things (and as stated above, I don't really get all hot and bothered about story mechanics).

Quote

Back to the Dragon thing: For about a year now I've had this idea bubbling in the back of my mind about a game where the PCs were all Gryphons.  It was going to be called Aerie, and the Gryphons were going to be the fiercely predatorial royalty of the skies.  Of course, it never got done, mostly because I couldn't think of the right mechanic for it (and because I didn't think it would interest anyone).  Now you've gone and done it with this game.  Good show!


Hey, translate Gryphons into Dragons (same thing, as far as "fiercely predatorial royalty of the skies" is concerned) and write me a setting, son!

- J
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
Bailywolf
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« Reply #7 on: October 26, 2001, 12:46:00 PM »


What about a meta-setting?

Just take any fairly well apointed existing fantasy world (there are quite a few to choose from) and just lay the dragon PC's in on top of it.  Take the setting to a different scale; whole continents to hunt across, centuries to brood through, millions of squishy, pathetic creatures to be cruel and arbitrary to.  Joy!
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #8 on: October 26, 2001, 12:56:00 PM »

Oh, footnote to the game...

I'm not sure how to fit in non-dragons. I have lots of ideas on how to do a human/dragon battle...but they haven't been developed into anything. If anyone has ideas, let me know!

(btw, this Dragons game incorporates some ideas I came up with for Tooth & Claw, so consider it to be a weird, red-headed stepchild).
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jared a. sorensen / www.memento-mori.com
ravensron
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« Reply #9 on: October 26, 2001, 03:35:00 PM »

Too late Jared!  You thought of it, now you have to do it.  Humans, etc., in "Here There Be Dragons"; we're all waiting.....
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kwill
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« Reply #10 on: October 31, 2001, 09:57:00 PM »

hmm... perhaps interaction with squishies isn't important enough to warrant mechanics or anything critical

"I chomp him." (he's chomped)
"I'm going to set him an impossible riddle then chomp him." (he's chomped)
"I'll fly over the village and chomp that pesky knight." (he's chomped)

basically, leave the mechanics for dragons and Drama the rest; a little loose, but I think it would give a strong reminder that You're Dragons and They're Not

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d@vid
Bailywolf
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« Reply #11 on: November 01, 2001, 06:11:00 AM »


Or have the dragon make a normal check with the apropriate body part, and only on a Confligration suffer a Wound (indicating the dragon's own carelessness gave the puny human the opurtunity to inflict an injury).  

Smog (and old and scared-up dragon) rears up after blowing his Eyes check, allowing an especialy well aimed arrow to puncture his vulnerable spot.  For an actual dragin slying, it requires the humans to be VERY lucky to catch the old drake in poor shape already.


Or if invested with awesome supernatural powers (such as a magic sword or wizardry), give the humans a score or two on the dragon scale.  A old dragon-hunting wizard might have a 4 in 12 chance with attack magic.  Against normal humans, such a being would lay waste, and could potentialy even harm a dragon, but despite his ability to lay down some supernatural whup-ass, is still puny and frail.

Or make the dragon's own limitations or size, age, lazieness, and arrogance act against his ability to slaughter humans.  So unless especialy motivated (such as by having lost all of a given horde), the dragon has to roll against himself to agress against the pathetic weak little humans- he's too lazy to fight properly, too arrogant to scheme, too huge to chase, too old to care.

Or allow him to do whatever he damn well pleases- we are talking dragons here- but based on how aweful he is, he has to check against Heroes ever so often to see if some do-gooder has snuck into his lair and stolen his horde or inflicted a Wound.






All told, this looks pretty cool, but could use some more detail.  Dragons come out looking kind of 'samey'.  Some kind of unique special abilities might be in order or more definition between scores.
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Jared A. Sorensen
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« Reply #12 on: November 01, 2001, 09:18:00 AM »

All good suggestions. Very close to what I was thinking...


Re: same-ness, the main inspiration comes from the old animated film "Flight of Dragons." Pretty much all the dragons looked and acted more or less the same. They all breathed fire, even. I added the different breath weapons -- was thinking of adding a magic spell list so that you could get a certain number of spells depending on your age (most would either boost a stat temporarily or would perform some function, like a "human form" spell).
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