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General Forge Forums => First Thoughts => Topic started by: silentjudas on May 20, 2010, 12:53:26 PM

Title: Social Media-based Role Playing Games
Post by: silentjudas on May 20, 2010, 12:53:26 PM
Hey, all. Been a lurker for a while and this will be my first post.
For a while I've been running ideas through my head of how to bring something new to the table, so to speak.
I think today I hit it.

As most know, social media has been big for a while now. Facebook, Twitter, and all such things.
Now, I've played and run games over Skype before, but never something larger.

However, talking to my friends about role-playing on Facebook sparked an idea.
A game that's part LARPing, and part hunkered-down role playing.

The thought forming is a game focused on a modern age situation with a "group of lone wolfs". Basically, the GM works with players at the beginning in a form of a Mission Briefing. They then go off on their own or in groups to follow their appointed paths on the mission. To give a true modern feel to the game, players can communicate through a channel - in this case, Twitter. While the GM works with them over Private Messages on Facebook (or equivalent), the players can update their teammates in real time, telling them what's happening and when; or, if they choose, leaving some things out. Adds a twinge of betrayal and the human element to it involved with a mercenary type of group.

The system would have a point-spend resolution mechanic, with the GM and the player co-opting as to what is happening, the GM giving a skeleton and the player helping to flesh it out.

Sorry if this seems rambly, I'm posting this straight from my brain and trying to word it best.

Title: Re: Social Media-based Role Playing Games
Post by: silentjudas on May 20, 2010, 01:09:04 PM
A general idea of how the system is.

I'm wanting to pull from 3:16 on the idea of two skills, but that doesn't seem like enough for it.
In any manner, there will be skills set up at player generation and each will have a certain amount of points to spend from it. I believe this is similar to Gumshoe's system, but since I haven't gotten to play their lovely games, I can't be entirely certain. In any manner: To resolve a situation where one would normally roll dice, a player spends a certain amount of points. 1, for minimal, 2 for good, and 3 for great. Minimal meaning success, but there is a hitch. Good meaning success, but there is a minor hitch. Great meaning pure success. Life isn't without risk, after all.

I'm thinking the GM will have a pool to spend of his own. The GM will give the player a point if he chooses to put up opposition. The player will have to decide what to do with the situation presented.

Title: Re: Social Media-based Role Playing Games
Post by: silentjudas on May 20, 2010, 01:16:59 PM
And since I realize I've typed up all of this without asking much of anything. SO here we go:

1. How does the idea of a system using social media as a central element sound? Does it seem functional? Too chaotic? Suggestions?

2. Mechanics-wise, what would make sense? If you agree with the point spend system, how would you suggest it should be dealt with?

3. General suggestions/ideas/criticism.

Thanks, if anyone does respond.

Title: Re: Social Media-based Role Playing Games
Post by: silentjudas on May 20, 2010, 03:34:47 PM
Ok, since I failed rather horribly at thinking about how I was going to post this, here's the consolidated idea set.

The Concept: A “group of lone wolfs”. Basically, the GM gives a Mission Briefing over Facebook messages to the group and the situation is discussed on that message. After discussion and agreements, the group disperses on their separate or semi-separate missions. The players can only communicate via Twitter, while the GM and players communicate via Facebook. Situations are played out, and players may give the rest of the group real time updates via Twitter. This gives way to a whole different world of potential betrayal and trapping. Creatively-inclined players could use Flickr or other picture sites to post what they see or have found, or upload their own created images and share them. Players could upload documents they’ve found and “scanned” onto Google Docs.

Mechanics: The system is point spend. Players have skills with a certain amount of points in them. Players spend points depending on how they want a result. 1 point: minimal. Success but there is a hitch. 2 points: good. Success but there is a minor hitch. 3 points: great. Pure Success.

The GM will have a pool of points to spend as well. If he/she spends points equal to the player’s spend, he may add in an opposition, creating a further situation for them to deal with. This may be edited in the idea of the GM giving the player points and the Player points go to the GM. I’m not certain yet.

Character Creation: I’m thinking four skills: Fighting, Thinking, Talking, and Moving.

Aspects: Players can have a few situational aspects that describe their character. Example, “‘Crackshot’ would give +1 bonus whenever making a difficult shot.” (Thank you, Redditor rednightmare for that). These can only give +1 point in order to keep it balanced, and apply only to a certain situation. (Where Crackshot would only apply to shooting and would not add a free point for say, hitting someone with a baseball bat)

So, my questions to y’all:

How does the idea of a social media-based role playing game sound? Plausible? Too chaotic? What?

How do the mechanics sound? Suggestions?

General criticism.

Thanks for reading!”

Title: Re: Social Media-based Role Playing Games
Post by: Vulpinoid on May 20, 2010, 09:07:11 PM
We ran games like this before social networking really became the late 90's and the early 2000s.

We actually had a live action component while most of the subtle background work between games was handled by an online noticeboard (pretty much similar to way things are run here at The Forge). The board was divided up into specific categories that required GM approval to access (certain factions had access to certain parts of the board, while being in certain locations gave you access to different parts of the board). That way information could be distributed to the right people as the plot unfolded.

It worked well, so I can see some merit in your idea.

My only question would be how you were planning to get this stuff programmed (if you're using twitter/facebook/etc.), that's a complicated ask....and when you throw mechanical game options into the equation, is just complicates things further.

I'm not say it can't be done, but don't be discouraged if it proves harder than first appearances.

Good luck.


Title: Re: Social Media-based Role Playing Games
Post by: silentjudas on May 20, 2010, 11:30:18 PM
What exactly are you meaning when you say programmed? If you mean how will it properly function using these 'tools' then I can probably explain a bit better.

After character creation (preferably done in group format online), the players would start up a Twitter based on that character. They than add one another. After the game is over, they delete the accounts and use that same email for the next session. A little tedious, but considering how many "role playing" accounts there are on Twitter, it doesn't seem all that much of a hassle.

I had planned the game as a dynamic flow. Basically, the players will contact the GM as they get things set up. This gives the players time to think on what they will do, while receiving new info from the group. If you're the sniper in the tower waiting confirmation of the target, you got a while of nothing in particular to do but watch "radio chatter". This I can see all ready being a problem, but this also gives players a chance to take a break and go get food or whatever.

Upon thinking about this, I came up with a synchronized clock set up. Missions will often have time constraints, and if you aren't ready for your part, then you miss it. The game isn't going to be like a forum game, where you leave and come back a few hours later. It's a normal style game session, so players need to keep up. Which honestly is no different than sitting on your facebook refreshing every two minutes like half of my friends do anyways.

I have a feeling that yes, it will be harder than it seems in my mind, but hell, that's what playtesting is for, yeah? Working out those kinks.

So in short, this game will require a sort of social contract. An agreement on the time that the game will start and the mutual conclusion that the players be "at the table". While they have downtime, it's just as with any in-person game. It will take a bit of ironing out to get things into fluid motion, but I have a feeling those problems will show up glaringly obvious pretty quickly.

A big question on my mind for the mechanics many points to give to players to split among their skills? With four skills and a small exchange system in place, what seems right? Enough for ten to fifteen points per skill? Enough for five to eight? I can't seem to figure out what fits best on that....

Thanks for the response!

Title: Re: Social Media-based Role Playing Games
Post by: Jeff Russell on May 21, 2010, 12:15:55 AM
Not to be a negative Nancy or anything, but if you're going to have the players sit down for a set period of time, what is the "value added" of using Facebook/Twitter vs skype or instant messaging? Again, I'm not saying there isn't some, just that I'm not seeing it right away. I mean, the 'tiered' level of communication could be handled by a combination of chatrooms and private instant messages that you wouldn't get in, say, skype with everybody hearing everybody. I only ask, because to my mind the role of facebook/twitter is to allow asynchronous communication, and it seems a bit like not using them for their strengths if you're going to basically use them as a particular form of email and chatroom.

That being said! I suppose you could really go nuts with making a profile for your character, with creating groups and pages that are relevant to the game in various ways, give missions out as 'events' and so forth. If you were going to go for that, I'd see this as a good model for a 'pick up game', where, say, 10 or 15 people all participate sometimes, but for any given mission you probably only have 3 or 4 or 5. So, the GM would make an event or otherwise invite them to participate in a mission at a set time, and then go for it as you've described. In between missions, characters could keep up some level of contact via a more 'play by post' system.

But that may be going in a totally different direction than what you're thinking, but I hope it helps somewhat.

Title: Re: Social Media-based Role Playing Games
Post by: silentjudas on May 21, 2010, 10:47:08 AM
Yes, I can see where it seems like more of a gimmick than something noticeably different than Skype and such. The reason why I ended up with this idea in the first place is because a lot of our gaming occurs on Skype to begin with (in my group, I mean), and whenever we all try to play on Skype, often so much happens on there that people get overly distracted and things slowly degrade. With this setup, they can get as distracted as they want and it doesn't detract from the going-on. Mom yelling at you? Don't need to say brb, just go and type your response when you get back. Need to eat? Send a "Taking a break" note out on Twitter and message the GM. If you're used to the chaotic times of a group of people playing on Skype who, at the same time are talking to 5 other people on Skype in a different chat....this sounds relaxing, haha!

As for your second paragraph, yes, exactly! My group are all tried-and-true D&D players, and character creation consists of sitting in a corner on a laptop looking up feats for two hours. I know they have creativity lying around, they just need something to expose it. I feel that's how it is for a lot of people as well. A few people that are interested in playtesting this dislike the sitting around rolling dice aspect that many games present (that they are  used to, most haven't seen an indie game in their life) and several are used to "forum RP" so they can get behind this a little more. Players who like to draw can make their person, the gun nuts and go and post up what they have in a locker, etc. It's very open for them to be as creative with this as they want, and I would love to see people excited about that. I'd love to see that come from *any* group. And yes, I thought it would be very need to have a modular company set up, where players who could play when the next session arrives just rsvp via Facebook event. Lots of little details that can make things very fluid. You definitely hit the right track with your post, heh.

Still trying to figure out point allotment. Maybe 35 to spread among the four skills?