*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 29, 2014, 02:23:56 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 73 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [Devout] Core reworking of system  (Read 1122 times)
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« on: October 08, 2003, 11:43:29 AM »

Hey Folks,

Here was the current version of Devout up until a couple of days ago. What's detailed in this post is what I'm thinking of as a reworking of the core system.

Devout is all about faith, and specifically whether faith is enough to get you through life. Characters are men and women of faith, who are driven by a belief in a higher power. Devout is less about religion that it is about conflicts between the character's beliefs and the world around them. Characters are described as follows:

4 descriptors; 2 related to the character's physical attributes and 2 related to social. For example:

Don is playing Kurt; who is short and broad; rambling and loud.

A calling which describes the character's profession, social standing,  or current place in life. This might need a better name, while I like the religious connotations I think it may bring the wrong weight to the word. It's not what your character is destined to do, it's what he/she is doing. For example:

Kurt's calling is street preacher

The player then chooses a set of tenets for their faith. These localize for the character how faith is lost and gained. They are Do/Don't sort of pairs that are somewhat at odds with one another. I definately need a better way of explaining what I'm trying to get at with these since I see tenets as a really core part of the game. Probably a lot of examples are in order whatever wording I use. Kurt's tenets might be:

Preach the word of God to the unbelievers; protect them from their ignorance
Let no injustice go without atonement; do no harm to your fellow man
Lead to God by action and intent; refrain from that which might confuse the mind or soil the flesh


At this point, the player creates up to three instruments. Instruments are physical reminders of god to the character. They're often people, but could be places, sounds, smells, anything that might reinforce the character's belief. The player has up to three points to spend on these instruments, and they can be divided anyway the player sees fit. In Kurt's case Don decides that he helps at a women's shelter when not out on the street, and the works that are done there constantly remind him of god. So, Don decides Kurt has shelter (2) as an instrument. In addition, Kurt is helped in his ministry by a young woman by the name of Sarah. She came from the shelter initially and has turned out to be quite the inspiration to Kurt in his own search for faith. Don decides the other point is spent as sarah (1).

Now the player spends up to three points in temptations. These are the foibles and weaknesses of the character, those things which tempt him or her into ignoring their faith and instead embracing the dangers of the world. Temptations can make the character more potent when resolving conflicts using their own abilities, at the cost of limiting faith's effectiveness.

Don decides that Kurt has one overarching temptation, he loves the drink. Kurt has alcoholic (3) .

The player then sets faith to the total number of instruments, and grounding to the total number of temptations. In Kurt's case, both would be set to three since he picked the maximum for both categories. So, we've now got a character in Kurt, how the heck do we play? Devout's resolution system is meant to be conflict oriented, not task resolution. Part of the reason for the big system change is that I realized it all comes down to faith and grounding, everything else is just gravy. If it's not relevent to one of those two, the resolution system falls apart. So, it's meant to be drama informed by descriptors and calling until you run into a real conflict.

At the beginning of each play session the GM lays out a number known as "The weight of the world" (hereafter referred to as weight.) During play, this will fluctuate based on how the players initiate the character's instruments and temptations. There's definately some record keeping here, but it's going to be left to the player to keep track of where things are at once play begins. Each character is going to end up with some variance from the initial number, sometimes extremes. As a basic idea though, weight is how much the pressures of the world are present in a given session. In practice, it's the number players are attempting to roll under or over on a d20 (die size subject to change.) When a conflict occurs the players must decide whether or not to use faith or grounding to impact the conflict. Grounding may always be used, but is limited to actions that the character achieves on his/her own merits. In order to use faith the conflict at hand must be relevent to the pre-stated tenets, but success gives an explicitly greater level of directorial control over a situation. Let's cover a grounding test first.

When using grounding the player is trying to roll under weight on a pool equal to the size of grounding. The initial value of weight is modified by one for each descriptor that applies; these modifiers may be positive or negative based on the situation. It is modified by an additional one if the intended action is relevent to the character's calling; this time always in the player's favor. Finally, if the character has given in to a temptation and that temptation has not yet been atoned for, it is further modified by the value of the temptation in play. None of these modifiers may bring the resulting value to more than eighteen. An example is in order:

Kurt has found himself in the midst of an altercation with the authorities. He's been charged with disturbing the peace and public drunkeness. Don decides that Kurt's going to try and talk his way out it, and he's going to be using grounding. The GM has said that weight will be set at ten for this session. Kurt's loud, which doesn't help his case with the cops, but he's also rambling which could serve to confuse the poor bulls. We'll call it a net wash. His calling of street preacher might apply here, but in this case he's a fire and brimstone type, so his rhetoric won't help him. Finally though, Kurt's been drinking, and remember he's alcoholic (3). His temptation gives him a bit of an edge in dealing with the world, so that value of three will actually aid him in trying to get out of this charge. All total, we're looking at 10 + 3 for the alcoholic, 13 or less on 3 (his current grounding) d20s. If he succeeds, which seems pretty likely, he'll get to narrate how he talks the cops down. How well he does is guided by how many successful dice he has; one is minimal, two is solid, etc. If he fails, the GM narrates how they drag him in.

If Don had instead decided that Kurt was going to attempt to enact faith in the situation he would check to make sure that the conflict was relevent to his tenets. It may be stretching it a bit, but the GM and Don come together and decide Kurt's Let no injustice go without atonement applies here and he can use his faith. Unlike in grounding, the character's attributes and calling don't play when faith is involved; however, any temptations activated are permanent until the character makes some sort of appropriate atonement, so in this case the alcoholic (3) will work against the player. Lastly if the player can come up with a way to appropriately work in an implement, they may use that value in their favor. Unfortunately for Kurt neither the shelter nor Sarah seem very relevent here, but if they did he might get to swing weight in his favor by two (shelter,) one (sarah,) or three if they both apply. As it stands though he'll be attempting to roll 13 or more on 3 (current faith) d20s. If he succeeds, he'll narrate a coincidental effect which achieves his stated goal. He can have a car crash occur which pulls the cops away, or have one of the cops realize he's got a cousin in common. It shouldn't be too over the top, though the number of successes relegate how close to outright miracle the result is.

In terms of advancement/rewards etc. Faith is raised each time a character successfully abides by a tenet in the face of risk to himself, especially if the goal could have been more easily accomplished via grounding. Lose a point of faith if you intentionally violate a tenet, also lose a point of faith if your character is unsuccessful in enacting faith. A character may have no more than five points of faith. If a character has five faith and is in a situation where faith would be gained, that point is lost. However, a character may use faith at any time to do a variety of things:

-Increase an instrument by one, or create a new instrument at one.
-Reduce a temptation by one, up to and including to zero, at which point the temptation is conquered.
-Reduce grounding itself by one, to a minimum of one.

Faith cannot be intentionally spent to zero, one is the minimum. If Faith goes to zero because of a violation of a tenet, the character is considered a non-believer and his/her story is effectively over. Grounding is raised each time a character successfully uses grounding. It also has a maximum of five, but if it's already at five the point bleeds over into a temptation. This may be a new temptation of the player's choosing, or an addition to an old one. No single temptation (or instrument for that matter) may exceed three.

Well, if you've read this far, hopefully you have some commentary for me. Specifically I'm looking for the following:

1) Advice on the 'calling' wording mentioned above?
2) Comments on the system, specifically on whether you feel it reinforces the premise of faith versus one's world?
3) Do you see yourself playing this game?
4) Explain to me how you see tenets from the above text. Are they clear to you? Anything that might make them clearer?
5) Die suggestions? Does the d20 feel granular enough, too granular?

Thanks much,

-Tim
Logged
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #1 on: October 15, 2003, 07:37:45 AM »

Just FYI the pdf has been updated with these rules. I'm hoping to bang on them this weekend in testing. I still think the temptations are lacking some bite, but don't have a clear idea on how to fix them.

-Tim
Logged
AgentFresh
Member

Posts: 36


WWW
« Reply #2 on: October 15, 2003, 09:08:31 AM »

I'm glad to see you back with this! I feared that you had "lost your faith" in DEVOUT.

After I digest what I just read, I'm sure I'll have more to add, but right off the bat, this caught my eye:

Quote
1) Advice on the 'calling' wording mentioned above?


While it may not be techincally correct, in practice I've seen the term "calling" to refer to the task God's given you to do (preach, teach, evangelize, etc.) and "vocation" as what you do for money. Sometimes these are the same (a full-time, paid pastor), sometimes these are different (a prision evangelist who paints houses for a living.)

What MIGHT be interesting (of course, it might also be an unwelcome distraction) to list "calling" or "vocation" in terms to how the Character sees their occupations...how they treat them.

For example, a believer who works in a department store my feel that she's called to serve God all the time with all her might, even in her job...and that by serving her employer and customers that she is serving God. Therefore, her Calling and Vocation would be the same.

On the other hand, you could have a yong pastor at poor church who has to drive a truck during the week to support his family, but sees it as his calling to serve his flock. His Calling and Vocation would be different.

On the flip side, you could have a jaded Mega-Church Minister of Music who sees what he does at church as a way to get a paycheck and may feel that his Calling is playing to unbelievers in coffee houses on Saturday nights.

At any rate, you could tie time and energy spent on a calling to Faith, and time and energy spent on a Vocation to Grounding.

Just some initial thoughts. I'm very interested in seeing where this ends up.
Logged

<>< Jason Sims, just some guy from Hypebomb.com

IndieNetgaming: where RPG Theory becomes Actual Play
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #3 on: October 15, 2003, 09:26:42 AM »

Hey Jason,

Vocation! Duh. I really like vocation/calling and tying them to grounding/faith respectively. My initial thought is that acts in line with calling give mods to faith rolls, whereas vocation is handled like calling in the current iteration of the rules.

I'm curious to hear how you feel about the changes versus the original content. I think it's still lacking the bite you mentioned before, and I'm really struggling on how best to address it.

-Tim
Logged
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2003, 11:19:40 AM »

Hey Again,

I've been turning over temptations in my head. I'm going to propose for the moment a couple of takes on activating temptations:

1) Any time you're faced with a relevent temptations you can either resist or not. If you don't, apply rules as stated. If you do, roll the value of the given temptation against weight modified up by any temptations already in effect and the current value of calling. If it 'succeeds' you succumb.

2) If you fail a faith test you'll need to check on your highest (or maybe a combination of all your temptations) to see if you don't go looking for something.

Does this work? Any obvious problems? I'm still mulling it over, but wanted people to see it.

-Tim
Logged
AgentFresh
Member

Posts: 36


WWW
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2003, 04:17:51 PM »

I still haven't had time compare the two versions or give the new one enought attention to merit an intelligent comment, BUT I like the idea of making temptation influenced by choice.

I was also thinking today about the dynamic of your Faith increasing when "it works." Part of Faith is hanging in there when, by all visable means, you're sunk. It's believing in something contrary to your senses, sometimes. It's waiting on God and believing that He will do something, even if it's not a quickly or in the way that you would like.

BUT, on further thought, a high Faith rating would sim this anyway, as a higher faith could weather more "apparent" failures than a low faith. I think the rules my model perserverance well enough.
Logged

<>< Jason Sims, just some guy from Hypebomb.com

IndieNetgaming: where RPG Theory becomes Actual Play
Tim Alexander
Member

Posts: 304


« Reply #6 on: October 17, 2003, 06:13:44 AM »

Quote from: AgentFresh
I still haven't had time compare the two versions or give the new one enought attention to merit an intelligent comment, BUT I like the idea of making temptation influenced by choice.


Cool. I'm leaning pretty heavily towards adding those rules.

Quote

I was also thinking today about the dynamic of your Faith increasing when "it works." Part of Faith is hanging in there when, by all visable means, you're sunk. It's believing in something contrary to your senses, sometimes. It's waiting on God and believing that He will do something, even if it's not a quickly or in the way that you would like.


Honestly, I've been back and forth on it. I've always seen Faith dropping when you're unsuccessful with it, it just rings too true with me that you lay yourself out on the line for faith, and if it doesn't work it hits you hard. In the end I'm still unsure of whether it should raise when you use it, I kept it mainly because I'm concerned that it's a bit too heavily weighted against faith being successful. I definately want the game to be "Is faith enough?" not, "How long do you hold on to you faith before you spiral away from it." Basically it's getting to the poing where it needs some playtest to see if there are some glaring breaks in the system.

Quote

BUT, on further thought, a high Faith rating would sim this anyway, as a higher faith could weather more "apparent" failures than a low faith. I think the rules my model perserverance well enough.


Absolutely, I think that if you really are getting out there and serving your tenets you're going to be able to weather the times that faith doesn't come through. At least that's the intent. :) Lemme ask you this, do you think that it needs a mechanism for losing or gaining faith that isn't automatic? That you perhaps roll to see if you gain or lose faith, a la Sorcerer and humanity?

-Tim
Logged
AgentFresh
Member

Posts: 36


WWW
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2003, 09:35:49 AM »

Quote
Lemme ask you this, do you think that it needs a mechanism for losing or gaining faith that isn't automatic? That you perhaps roll to see if you gain or lose faith, a la Sorcerer and humanity?


I kind of like the automaticness of it. It makes the rise and fall a direct result of choice. Of course, this might not work with all players, but all of the people I've played these type of Narration-focused games with would probably handle this well.
Logged

<>< Jason Sims, just some guy from Hypebomb.com

IndieNetgaming: where RPG Theory becomes Actual Play
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!