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Author Topic: [The Great Ork Gods] Early ideas.  (Read 3430 times)
Jack Aidley
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« on: November 19, 2003, 07:08:01 AM »

Youre Green, Youre Ugly and the Gods Hate You.

The Great Ork Gods is (yet another?) game based on the twist of playing the Orks for a change. Its intended to be light hearted in tone, and to offer a few sessions of fun rather than a long term campaign. Example games might be: Burn and Pillage! Recruited by the Evil Overlord! Catch those Hobbits! Hunted!

Basic Mechanics

You have no stats, feats, skills or attributes. Instead you have a measure of how much each different Ork God hates you. Each will be a number in about the 1 to 5 range. Whenever you attempt an action it is decided which God opposes your action (for example, combat would be determined by the God of War, while lifting a rock would be determined by the God of Strength). Now, in addition to playing an Ork, each player controls one or more Gods, whenever an action is opposed by one of the Gods you control you get to decide what the difficulty factor is for the action (from 0 to 9) this should be your fair, balanced assessment of how hard it should be (heh).

The player then rolls a number of dice equal to the Gods hate, if ANY of the dice comes up less than or equal to the difficulty factor the action fails.

If a players actions would be opposed by one of his Gods, the GM rules on the difficulty factor. Also Orks CANNOT perform magic. They can try all sorts of outrageous stuff, but they cant do outright magical effects; e.g. no creating fireballs, teleporting, turning invisible or walking through walls.

The Gods

Im not yet sure of what Gods there will be, or quite how to assign them, so Im looking for help/advice on this part of it. Heres my list of Gods so far:

God of Physics The God of Physics is special he hates everyone, like really a lot. Orks always have a Hate of 4 or more in this God.
God of Death When an Ork should, or could, die, he must face the wrath of the God of Death or perish. But hey, theres always more Orks.
God of War Controls combat.
God of the Gab In the unlikely event they try to talk to anyone.
God of Stealth Orks can be sneaky too.
God of Artefacts If you want to make something, work doors, light fires, etc.
God of Movement If you want to run along a tight-rope, leap over a stream, etc.
God of Strength Pretty obvious?

Ive considered always assigning the Gods of Physics and Death to the GM, but Im not sure its really necessary.

Any comments on the idea, mechanics, or God List welcome. Id also be interested in knowing about any other games that employ a similar principle (assuming there are some).
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- Jack Aidley, Great Ork Gods, Iron Game Chef (Fantasy): Chanter
Clinton R. Nixon
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« Reply #1 on: November 19, 2003, 07:16:46 AM »

Ork! by Green Ronin has a very similar principle. It uses only one god, but he definitely hates you, and resistance to tasks is determined by how much he hates and and doesn't want you to succeed.

Don't let that discourage you - you're on to a good idea here, and Ork! was, too. (I'm proud to say I own the fifth copy taken out of the first box off the print run.)
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Clinton R. Nixon
CRN Games
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #2 on: November 19, 2003, 09:38:07 AM »

Seen Raven's Orx? Just thought I'd mention it - has little relation to this, really.

How about there are potentially infinite gods. When a player wants to do something, he invents the god on the spot, and the level of hate is generated at that point (I'm thinking randomly). Anyhow, the GM is free to go to the character sheet at any time to force a roll against any already generated god. Outside of that, it's always the player's choice to appeal to an old god (with GM approval), or create one with a new slant. Thus if the God of Strength particularly hates me, then if I want to lift a rock, maybe I'll appeal to the god of stone.

I'm also thinking that the gods hate to be bothered. So each roll against a particular god increases his hate of the character by one. Keeps players searching for new gods. Also, perhaps the god can be ameliorated somehow.

Just a thought. More importantly, however, what do Orcs in this game do? What sort of action happens in adventures? And why no magic for orcs? I wanna be the shaman!

Mike
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greyorm
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« Reply #3 on: November 19, 2003, 11:42:26 AM »

I suggest some sort of additional tactical balancing mechanism for player-Gods in regards to the difficulty of tasks. Otherwise, you can just say, "Nine! Nine! Nine!" all the time, and get beaten up by your friends after the game.

Something where the higher the difficulty set is, the greater number of penalty tokens of some sort the player accrues? Of course, there would have to be something beneficial for occasionally assigning higher difficulties, and avoiding too low difficulties, so that doesn't really work.

Perhaps the gamemaster guesses a difficulty, and the closer the player is to assigning that difficulty, the better -- the further off they are, the worse?

Another item which comes to mind is a web of deific relationships which affect the players of those Gods? The God of War and the God of Love don't like each other much, so when one makes something difficult for someone, the other tries to make sure they give the guy an easier time -- sort of a slap in the face to their rival.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
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« Reply #4 on: November 19, 2003, 01:59:52 PM »

Also feel free to mine my Before the Flood game for ideas.

-Vincent
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Jack Aidley
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« Reply #5 on: November 20, 2003, 04:06:46 AM »

Thank you for your comments, I'll reply in turn:

Quote from: Clinton
Ork! by Green Ronin has a very similar principle. It uses only one god, but he definitely hates you, and resistance to tasks is determined by how much he hates and and doesn't want you to succeed.


It's funny how often this happens. You think you have an original idea and it turns out to have striking similarities to what someone else thought of in the same situation. From what I can track down about Ork! on the net, it looks different enough from what I have in mind for Great Ork Gods to be worth continuing with, although I think I'll have to get hold of a copy.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
How about there are potentially infinite gods. When a player wants to do something, he invents the god on the spot, and the level of hate is generated at that point (I'm thinking randomly).


I had considered that line of thought. However there are two reasons I chose against it. Firstly, I like the idea of the players taking responsibility for individual gods, and those gods having influence; ad hoc gods would weaken this concept. Secondly, I wanted the Orks to have a defined character, with strengths and weaknesses - but with those strengths defined by how much, or how little, the different Gods hate them. Ad hoc gods essentially provide a way to 'dodge' an Orks existing character (strength hates you, appeal to stone; death hates you, appeal to the god of stabbing, etc). Which is not to say I don't think it would work, it just doesn't quite fit with what I wanted.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
I'm also thinking that the gods hate to be bothered. So each roll against a particular god increases his hate of the character by one. Keeps players searching for new gods. Also, perhaps the god can be ameliorated somehow.


I have been thinking about ways of increasing hate. I have an idea where the Orks acquire hate as they continue to survive, but also accumulate some kind of advantage as well. Balanced so that Orks follow a curving power that rises initially but falls off afterwards. I don't know how I'd do it yet, and it would also require play over a longer period than I initially imagined. I'd also considered having a way of pleasing the Gods. But, again, I think it goes against my original concept of the Gods hating you. I like the idea that it can only get worse.

Quote from: Mike Holmes
Just a thought. More importantly, however, what do Orcs in this game do? What sort of action happens in adventures?


In essence I see the players trying to acheive the things they usually try to stop. A game might start with a ordinary seeming raid on a village (pillage and burn, I think - not rape and pillage) the Orks rampaging through, killing those who stand in their way and infighting a bit. Throw in some hero's to protect the village and you can have some fun. Or a rival Ork tribe turning up to stake their claim. I'm hoping to acheive a feeling where the players need to co-operate to succeed but need to compete to gain any rewards.

Another example adventure might be a good old fashioned find-and-retrieve, whether it's a mystic artefact, or an individual. The Orks will generally be serving under some kind of Evil Overlord who has troll, ogres and just plain Big Orks to keep them in line. Maybe the PCs are gathering ingredients for a diabolic rite?

I figure in a typical game, something should get smashed, there should be a fight or two, the PCs should mess something up, and at least one of the PCs should die (there's always more Orks).

Quote from: Mike Holmes
And why no magic for orcs? I wanna be the shaman!


I specified no magic to place a limit on what the Orks can achieve. Since this is a pretty loose mechanic, I saw potential for abuse here. I agree the concept of Shaman has potential, but it's not part of my orginal vision for the game. I will need to think on it.

Quote from: Greyorm
suggest some sort of additional tactical balancing mechanism for player-Gods in regards to the difficulty of tasks. Otherwise, you can just say, "Nine! Nine! Nine!" all the time, and get beaten up by your friends after the game.


In a word, reciprocity. Since each player controls at least one god, they can get back at other players who treat them unfairly. I'm hoping for a situation where the players start off being fair and nice to one another, but when it comes to the crunch they heartily put the boot in. Kind of like it works in Munchkins (as in, Steve Jackson's card game). I haven't seen how this works in Actual Play yet, but I think it could work out well.
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Loki
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« Reply #6 on: November 20, 2003, 06:52:07 AM »

A mechanic for increasing/decreasing hate came to me while reading this thread (btw, I DIG this game idea).

How about if every time an Orc fails against a certain god, he gets a +/- the amount he suceeded/failed to his next hate roll with that god. So if an Orc is on a roll, he stays on a roll.. and if the gods really hate him, they keep hating him. The Orc Gods love a winner and really hate a loser.

And, since I like the possibility of inter-player rivalry (seems pretty Orcish to me!) how about if an Orc offs a rival that is a big loser or winner, he gets the absolute value of the rivals largest hate modifier. Let's face it, the Orc gods love to see a loser go down, but they also love to see a winner put in his place (basically, the Orc gods are a bunch of total ***holes). Making char-gen really simple and no real penalty for death would keep this rivalry fun and light-hearted.

Some mechanic for rewarding looting, pillaging, etc might be in order (and would explain a lot of Orc behavior). Although my inner Orc tells me "pillaging is it's own reward". ;)
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Chris Geisel
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« Reply #7 on: November 20, 2003, 07:45:44 AM »

You know, perhaps the "shaman" is the only one who's able to decrease hate values.

How?  I don't know.  But it seems an appropriate place for a shaman to be.
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Jack Aidley
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« Reply #8 on: November 21, 2003, 03:56:50 AM »

Hi Loki,

Quote
So if an Orc is on a roll, he stays on a roll.. and if the gods really hate him, they keep hating him. The Orc Gods love a winner and really hate a loser.


I don't know. I get the feeling that this kind of system would be really annoying in actual play. I've always found that dice tend to produce such runs anyway (clumping is a natural property of truly random systems).

New Idea for a Mechanic: Respect and Boons

I'm thinking the Orks will get one 'stat': Respect - although I really need a more Orkish name for that, any ideas?. Respect is a measure of how much weight the Ork has with his brethryn. Every session of play the Ork can spend their Respect Points on Boons, the points being refreshed at the start of each session:

Every time the dice are rolled the player can choose to spend one respect point to reduce the difficulty by one, or three points to reduce it by two. The points must be spent before the roll. Difficulty cannot be lowered below one in this way.

Alternatively a God can choose to grant a boon, also costing the Ork a respect point. In this case the God assigns a difficulty of zero (automatic success), in a change to the above, this will be the only way a difficulty of zero can occur.

I'm thinking each Ork will start with d6 or so Respect points. At the end of every session extra respect points are granted as follows:

Survival: A respect point is granted per player. These points are divided among any Orks that survive the whole session. If this would give an uneven distribution of points, the extra are assigned according to who got the most other respect points. Failing that they are randomly assigned. If no Orks survive the whole session, no such points are assigned.

Killing: If an Ork kills another player Ork they gain a respect point, if they kill an Ork of higher Respect they gain two.

Goals: The GM will assign goals at the start of the session, and can add more as the game goes on. These goals should be acheivable by only one Ork. A respect point is granted for any goals the Ork hits. Example goals might be: Retrieve the ring, be first to the well or kill the elven wizard.

Tread mill: Any Ork who gains no respect from the above loses a point of respect. Orks who don't succeed fade away.

Finally at the end of each session each Ork gains one additional point of Hate, but the Ork (or Orks) gaining the most Respect gain Two points instead. I'm not sure as whether to assign the Hate randomly, by player choice, by choice of the other players, or according to some in-game criteria.

What do you think, does it sound good?

I'd also appreciate some feedback on the basic mechanic as described above - do you see it as working out OK? Are there any problems you see with it?
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- Jack Aidley, Great Ork Gods, Iron Game Chef (Fantasy): Chanter
Loki
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« Reply #9 on: November 21, 2003, 05:30:33 AM »

Quote from: Mr Jack
Quote
So if an Orc is on a roll, he stays on a roll.. and if the gods really hate him, they keep hating him. The Orc Gods love a winner and really hate a loser.


I don't know. I get the feeling that this kind of system would be really annoying in actual play. I've always found that dice tend to produce such runs anyway (clumping is a natural property of truly random systems).


You are probably right about that. It just sounded good to have the Gods keep putting the stones to the Orcs.

I think the game as outlined will probably work well. Incidently, I took one of the earlier poster's suggestion to look at the Green Ronin game (actually I read the reviews) and you might do the same (http://www.greenronin.com/reviews.php?product_id=1001). There are a lot of similarities in "feel" and I bet it'll give you some ideas/feedback to see what they've done.

In fact, the concept behind their method of having the God (there is only one) set difficulty levels is worth ripping off wholesale. Instead of God assigning a difficulty number, he decides how much he hates you. If you're in his good graces, he rolls 2d6: the result is the difficulty number. If you're a hobbit-loving disgrace to goblindom, God rolls 3, 4 or 5d6(!). The result is the difficulty number. I like the added randomness (sometimes the little guy wins) and think that the element of the dice will give the player running the God more leeway to try to screw over the Orc--since it relieves him of some of the responsibility. That's funnier than the jerk God just saying "difficulty level is 150. Beat that, monkey-boy!". Plus it removes the necessity for the very un-Orcish notion of "fairness". :)
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Chris Geisel
Mark Thomas
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« Reply #10 on: November 21, 2003, 10:00:08 AM »

I like the base idea here, and this is just a random thought on a slightly different mechanic (numbers below for the sake of example):

Difficulty is fixed (2)
Base dice rolled are fixed (2d6)
Task resolution is the same as the original concept.

At the beginning of the session each player is given N hate-dice per god they control. When an orc-player is making a task roll versus an area a god-player thinks they have influence, the god-player explains their influence and adds one or more of the god's hate-dice to the orc-player's roll. More than one god can influence a task, but perhaps only one god per god-player. The task is resolved using the base dice plus any hate-dice added by other players. After the roll the orc-player adds any god-dice assigned to the hate-dice pools of any of their own gods.

This places something of a limit on the difficulting picking -- you can only assign dice you have. It also provides for revenge -- the player receiving hate-dice gets to spend them later.

Just a random thought.
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Loki
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« Reply #11 on: November 21, 2003, 11:36:07 AM »

Very cool idea. I *really* like that spending your hate puts hate in the hands of your (new) enemy.

Does that mean that there is a finite amount of hate floating around the game?
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Chris Geisel
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #12 on: November 21, 2003, 12:08:22 PM »

Hiya,

Mark, that's a good idea - and Jack, if you want to go with something like that, I urge you to check out Orkworld (Wicked Press), in which the mechanic Trouble plays a central role in exactly this way.

Best,
Ron
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Mark Thomas
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« Reply #13 on: November 21, 2003, 12:44:01 PM »

Quote from: Loki
Very cool idea. I *really* like that spending your hate puts hate in the hands of your (new) enemy.

Does that mean that there is a finite amount of hate floating around the game?


In my thinking it was fixed, but I could see ways to make it flexible:

One god can nullify another god's hate with a die of their own, resulting in both dice getting removed from play.

Over the course of several games new dice are added.

The GM tosses hate dice to players that do cool stuff.

I think there's probably a way to reverse the thought behind this and use it as a more friendly task aid system too.
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Belac
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« Reply #14 on: November 22, 2003, 07:48:14 AM »

If you wanted Ork-like combat in your game, you could also have a Combat XP system that works as follows:

An Ork gains one Respect for every (100/200/whatever you decide) Combat XP he earns.  For every combat-capable creature the Ork deals a killing blow to, he gains 10 Combat XP.  (He gets 1 XP for every noncombatant creature or person at least the size of a squirrel he kills but cannot get more than 10 XP for a single action that kills a lot of noncombatants, or otherwise you get the "pour burning oil on an ant hill for XP" trick that doesn't work well for Ork culture generally.)  You might want to award different amounts based on the toughness of the foe.  Anyway, the Ork only gets the XP if he strikes the killing blow.

In a D&D 3e game I ran once, an amusing situation happened where PC A was fighting a goblin, PC B finishes he goblin and runs up to hit PC A's goblin, and kills it, possibly saving PC A from taking any more damage.  PC A yells at PC B and hits him for taking his kill.  The two decide to have a duel.  PC A is a twinked-out munchkin character, PC B is rather average.  PC B manages to win the initiative, gets incredibly lucky, and nearly kills PC A with a critical hit; he gets a shocked look on his face for a moment, then gasps and drops his sword and quickly patches PC A's wounds.  PC C, who thinks the whole thing was stupid, angrily charges at PC B and tries to punch him, but rolls a 1 and punches his target's shield instead, falling to the ground holding his hand and yelping in pain.  NPC D tries to yell at all of them but instead falls to the ground laughing.  (Note: in case you don't know, you get the same XP from a hostile encounter you overcome regardless of whether or not your party kills the enemies, and you get the same XP whether or not you actually struck any blows in the combat.)

Now, imagine the chaos that would erupt if there actually was a benefit to striking the killing blow, and you only got combat XP for killing enemies.  I imagine players would see a 100 XP knight and try to figure out ways to convince their friends to wound the knight so that they could sneak in and deal the finishing blow.

Just a thought.
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