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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4283 Members Latest Member: - otto Most online today: 60 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Playing a complete RPG game in under 20 minutes?  (Read 2672 times)
Palaskar
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« on: February 11, 2004, 02:42:12 PM »

Hi there, I've been assigned in my psych class at college, along with four other people, to develop a game illustrating some aspect of psychology. Naturally, I fell back on my RPG design materials.

However, the game has to be demonstrated in front of the class in under twenty minutes. I thought of creating a one-scene rpg featuring players as the "voices" of a guy with schizophrenia (ripped off, from, of course, "Everybody is John.") But still, is such a thing as a 20-min. RPG possible? And if so, how?

--Pal
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2004, 02:55:03 PM »

Yes.

If you have a definite time limit, include time limits in the mechanics. And if you want to engage the audience, incorporate them into the mechanics as well.

Combine that with each participant as a separate personality. Voila!

Or did I just describe improv theater?
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quozl
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« Reply #2 on: February 11, 2004, 03:09:43 PM »

Quote from: Zak Arntson
Or did I just describe improv theater?


Is there a difference?
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--- Jonathan N.
Currently playtesting Frankenstein's Monsters
jdagna
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« Reply #3 on: February 11, 2004, 04:22:45 PM »

My usual demo for Pax Draconis starts off "You're a security guard working for the local bank.  It's about three in the afternoon and you think you might die of boredom when three guys walk in wearing trench coats.  They'd seem suspicious to you on any day, but the weather is pretty warm for trench coats.  What do you do?"  It's a very simple conflict (stopping bank robbers) that nonetheless gives some opportunity to role-play, and I can teach the basic rules and run through this demo in less than ten minutes.

The key is to provide a clear incentive for action, with a situation that makes the objectives fairly clear.  In general, if you can fully describe the plot and setting in less than three sentences, you're good to go.  It also helps if the NPCs are in a position to advance the plot even if the PCs try to stall.
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Justin Dagna
President, Technicraft Design.  Creator, Pax Draconis
http://www.paxdraconis.com
Paganini
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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2004, 07:53:12 PM »

Seems like this thread is coming at things from the wrong end. The time limit is not the important thing here, it's the aspect of psychology that's important! You have to support that, then figure out how the time limit fits into the whole thing. So, what aspect of psychology are you using? Do you get to choose, or is it assigned?
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pete_darby
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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2004, 01:17:46 AM »

Quote from: quozl
Quote from: Zak Arntson
Or did I just describe improv theater?


Is there a difference?


Oh dear me, yes.

The systems of RPG's prevent a lot of "waste of effort" that can go on in improv theatre, especially establishment of authority and reward systems.

I've said somewhere else that, while I'm a big cheerleader for the techniques of impro, I think that role playing, as an artistic endeavour, has more potential, and tends to be more artistically rewarding than improv theatre.

To stop the threadjack, an improv scene would be very hard to apply to the excercise of demonstrating a psychological issue. A short RPG could, if tailored well, be vastly superior for the purpose.
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Pete Darby
Marhault
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« Reply #6 on: February 12, 2004, 06:12:25 AM »

It might be a little heavy, but Ethan Greer's An RPG of Clinical Depression might be worth a look.
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Michael S. Miller
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« Reply #7 on: February 12, 2004, 07:15:33 AM »

Also, Jason L. Blair's The Insects of God might help out.
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xiombarg
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« Reply #8 on: February 12, 2004, 08:28:51 AM »

I think the key here is to put all the extra time into prep work.

Create a very simple scenario, including the characters and whatnot. Create single-page sheets for everyone, which includes quickie intros to basic concepts. "Describe what you're doing. The Moderator will tell you what happens."

Mention the dice mechanics if you're using any. Just present it as a clear, simple instruction set, with an "ask the Moderator" (which is you, of course) thing in case people get confused.

Be sure to establish social contract ground rules in the instructions, like "raise your hand when you want to do something, the Moderator will call on you" kinda things.
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #9 on: February 13, 2004, 10:06:22 AM »

Quote from: Paganini
Seems like this thread is coming at things from the wrong end. The time limit is not the important thing here, it's the aspect of psychology that's important! You have to support that, then figure out how the time limit fits into the whole thing. So, what aspect of psychology are you using? Do you get to choose, or is it assigned?


In a twenty minute game, time limit is not important? Of course it is! But yes, it would probably be easiest to come up with some psychology-based themes, and invent the rules with the time limit at the forefront of design.

Avoid dice rolls unless you have an overhead projector and some snazzy transparent dice. In fact, avoid any resolution method that isn't readily accessible to the audience. The mechanics should engage the audience, keeping them interested by allowing them to influence outcomes.
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Scourge108
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« Reply #10 on: February 13, 2004, 11:39:32 AM »

I'd go for pre-generated characters, too, if you're trying to save time (if that's even applicable).
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Greg Jensen
Paganini
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« Reply #11 on: February 13, 2004, 07:38:28 PM »

/me is thinking of Mike Holmes' Cell Gamma. Dunno if you could actually get in a full game in 20 minutes, but boy, it's certainly psycho enough. :)
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Palaskar
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« Reply #12 on: February 19, 2004, 02:44:20 PM »

Well, I didn't expect such a wealth of responses. If I did, I might have pushed the RPG angle more in my meeting with the rest of the group for the project.

As it stands, we're going with a different game, but this thread has been enlightening, especially from the new gamer point of view.

Thanks.
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