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Profiling add-on (split)

Started by Mr. Spooky, December 06, 2003, 11:10:43 AM

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Mr. Spooky

Most recently played:
-Mage: Sorceror's Crusade
-Game set in "Firefly" universe, using QAGS

Most Enjoyed:
-Ficton Superhero game (Homebrew, went through several systems)
-Kreos Fantasy game (Another homebrew, multiple systems)
-Zombies vs. Frat Boys (Game from Origins this year, QAGS)

Would Like To Try:
-Buffy: TVS
-Unknown Armies
-The End

Steve Johnson
Steve Johnson

Ron Edwards


The above post was split from the Profiling fall 2003 thread.

Steve, welcome to the Forge! Good to have you here.

Please take a minute to review the Forge policies in the sticky at the top of the Site Discussion forum. If you want to pick up an older discussion, the thing to do is to start a new thread, including a link to the old one. No harm no foul at this point, and I concede that the previous thread isn't actually ancient, but keep it in mind for the future.

Just to keep the positive light on things, and because I'm interested, what about the homebrew "most enjoyed" systems, or any aspect of those play experiences, seemed to hit the right buttons for you?


Mr. Spooky

Sorry about that, didn't notice the age of the thread. As for the homebrew games, the systems themselves weren't really important. The supers game started out as Marvel, then went to Over The Edge, and ended (once we'd created the system) with QAGS. QAGS wasn't actually created with the supers game in mind, but we obviously took some inspiration from OTE and Pandemonium. For those interested in the trivia, the original idea behind QAGS was to come up with a system we could use for quick one-shots. I loved It Came From The Late, Late, Late Show, but it was hard to convince players to spend 2 hours creating characters who were just going to die anyway. I figured people would be more likely to let me butcher their characters if they only took five minutes to create. Once we actually started running QAGS at cons, we realized it could actually work for "real" RPGs, and converted the supers characters over. The fantasy game started out as a D&D one-shot dungeon crawl, but the players and I (I GMed this monster) kept throwing out references to people and places in the world. At the end of the session, we liked the stuff that we'd come up with so much that we decided to turn it into a campaign. As we went along, both the world and the system became less and less recognizable as having anything to do with D&D (low-powered, ritual style magic, very few monsters, etc.).  At some point we switched over to a percentile system I'd been working on, but I don't remember many details--it was far more complicated than anything I'd even consider playing these days.

Sorry to use that many words to say "it wasn't the system that made them fun." Now, as for what actually made them fun:

Part of it was the people involved, but I think the things I most enjoyed were the storytelling and world-building aspects. We'd played games with those things before, but these games are where we really started to realize that it's a lot more fun when it's a group effort. In a lot of previous games, the players saw the GM as a tool to make the characters look cool and gain power, or the players were just pawns in the GM's master plan. A few of the things we did along these lines:
-Shared world-building: In a lot of games, the GM does most of the world building. In these games, everyone was encouraged to come up with things--characters, groups, places, history. Not only does it make the GM's job a lot easier, it gives the players a creative stake in the world. As long as you set some ground rules, usually involving who has veto power (and it's not always the GM--if one of the players came up with the international spy ring, he gets to decide what's appropriate, as long as it fits the world), then this works out great. It's also really useful in worlds created out of whole cloth, since you're less likely to have that mysterious group or country that's off limits because the GM hasn't gotten around to figuring it out yet. If one of the players is interested in it, he can detail it.
-Lots of characters: Even when characters retired or left the group, we kept up with what they were doing. Since in many cases "retired" characters left because they'd worked their way into a position of power (guildmaster, head of the FBI, whatever), checking in with them often generated instant current events for the game world. If the retired characters had connections with the current group, this could also mean instant adventures ("How would you like to spy on Phenobarbitol the Mad for me?")
-PC NPCs: Kind of fits with the "lots of characters" idea. Players often took a liking to NPCs and started playing them whenever they showed up in the game. It made the GM's life easier, and made the NPCs more three-dimensional, since players often ended up coming up with detailed backgrounds, goals, and the like.
-Multiple PC Groups: Somewhere along the line, we started playing "side games" set in the world involving different characters. It started out in the superhero world, where it made perfect sense (surely we weren't the only superteam in existence, after all). It really helped the world seem more alive. Sometimes, a player would run a game based around something he'd created (teen supers teams, secret societies) or one of "his" NPCs. Eventualy, we even got into historical side games featuring Golden and Silver Age heroes. In addition to giving the GM a week off, these games expanded the detail of the world and (in the case of historical games) created a timeline and sense of continuity ("Didn't All-Star fight Typhonis off the cost fo Japan during WWII--maybe he can help us!").

These were also the games where we first realized that suffering can be a lot of fun. If John McClane had just blown all the terrorists away with a machine gun while his clothes were clean and he was uninjured, or even if he'd found a pair of shoes that fit before he had to walk through glass, Die Hard wouldn't have been nearly as much fun. It's a lot more exciting to win if you have to walk though the fires of Hell to do it. Even if you don't win, a   short, heroic life is better than dying an old coward. We call this "naked and on fire" role-playing.

Not sure if my little manifesto even remotely answered your question, but maybe it'll be useful to somebody.

Steve Johnson