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Inactive Forums => Chimera Creative => Topic started by: Matt Snyder on October 24, 2002, 09:20:01 AM



Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on October 24, 2002, 09:20:01 AM
I'm working on a new game called Nine Worlds.

Please feel free to check out my initial, somewhat scatterbrained thoughts in this thread in the Indie Game Design forum: New Game: Nine Worlds ... initial thoughts (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=3979)


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on October 30, 2002, 08:10:41 AM
I just made another post regarding Nine World's mechanics.

Check it out on the Indie Game Design Forum: Nine Worlds: Initial mechanics explanation (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=4047)


Title: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on December 12, 2002, 06:03:18 AM
How's this coming along? I'm interested in this one!


Title: Re: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on December 12, 2002, 07:37:49 AM
Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
How's this coming along? I'm interested in this one!


Actually, it's coming along very well. I've received some preliminary art sketches (the book will have 12 interior pieces and a full-color cover piece), and I continue to hack away at the design. I'm shooting for a format similar to Dust Devils (available either as PDF or "garage-band" print edition) with 36-48 pages, or more.

I hope to have a free playtest version prepared in Jan. or Feb., which I'll announce here on this forum when ready.

I don't have many new details to divulge just yet (well, I do, but I'm holding onto a few until the playtest is ready). I likely will, however, post some game design issues here or in Indie Game Design sooner or later.

Please stay tuned, and thanks for your interest.


Title: playtesting
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on December 12, 2002, 07:29:21 PM
I would enjoy being considered to playtest this one. I am looking forward to a game which may eventually overthrow my Mage addiction altogether. This looks fun consistent, and not anything like dealing with explaining how this is coincidental vs. vulgar or any of that crap.

How do the Demiurgists keep all of this a secret from the populace, by the way? Is it just all done on another but concurrent plane of reality? Do humans sometimes stumble on to the truth?

How did monotheism come to exist, let alone flourish, if there always was a pantheon of Eternals? Was that part of an agenda?

What do the characters *do* in this game? Why are they empowered? Is it only to fight the titans? Do Eternals sometimes use them against other Eternals in power struggles?


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on December 16, 2002, 08:37:16 AM
Here are some questions about Nine Worlds posed by Spooky Fanboy both above and in a private email. The answers got a little carried away, but this was good thing! Thanks for your thought-provoking questions, SF!

(EDIT: One last bit of warning -- this is pretty stream of consciousness stuff, and the first time some of the ideas are seeing "daylight" beyond my cluttered brain. There are bound to be inconsistencies and/or questions, and I encourage everyone who dares read this long-winded answer to call me on 'em!)

1) So, how did monotheism develop? Was it a deliberate smokescreen, an
accident, something else?

I've been giving this of yours some serious thought. Here's why ...

My initial reaction was to simply say, nicely, "It doesn't matter. The game's too 'small' to worry about answering every issue and paradox it might present."

However, while I think it's true I can't answer many philosophical questions the game might present, this question deserves some thought because it's tied to the larger issue you inquire about in quesiton three.

That is, how does the rest of the world operate while all of this "true" reality is going on? Or, as you put it, "How do the people of Earth remain clueless about all of this?"

Before I offer a (poor) answer, I must make this one observation. Nine Wolrds, unlike Mage for example, is not about deceiving humanity and operating under the guise of a arcanum or masquerade. The key conflicts for characters will not be "saving" humanity from its clueless life, nor about bending the collective unconscious of humanity toward the "truth." Instead, the game is about WHETHER an Artisan should alter existence to better his plight. That is, when conflict rears its ugly head, should an Artisan change the rules so that he comes out on top? That's what I'm far more interested in for this game.

Now to my (poor) answer. Here's the deal: In some fuzzy ancient time, the Eternals ruled reality -- the legends we know as Greek myth are largely true. However, over time, their power began to wane. This is because of the titan Prometheus, who inspired humanity with the fiery spark of creation. Over time, his inspired souls began changing the rules -- casting the universe in their image. The mortal Artisans Daedalus, and Homer and Plato, and many subsequent shapers, clouded the rule of the Olympians.

In time, they became extremely hubristic, shaping a kind of myth of their own. They recast the "true" gods into an image of their own. One god, one ultimate shaper who guided their creative hands. To the rest of humanity -- those "untalented" mortals, the truth about the world became lost (and who could blame them). They took willingly to the universe these sometimes misguided Demiurgists presented.

The result is that humanity stumbled through its recorded history believing what disparate Artisans told them (After all, if an Artisan says it's so, it likely is -- they can change things to make it so!).

Then something happened. Many Artisans -- like Da Vinci and Franklin and Edison-- saw themselves as Prometheus -- giving to the rest of humanity the means to "shape" reality with a powerful tool: Science. With the predictability of science, humanity could control its world. And so, especially at the onset of the industrial revolution, the Artisans had a problem.

This universe they knew to be true -- the one they could traverse via the Ether -- changed. It became "stuck" in time, unable to keep pace with the rest of humanity's creations and discoveries. Humanity's love of science and a predictable world sapped the power of the Eternals, and the Ether -- the medium of the gods -- became a chaotic, reckless place. Artisans, especially those new to this world, found that the technologies they brought with them failed. Etherships, which worked with a kind of technology of their own, would not operate with the new engines created by a humanity embracing the industrial revolution.

So, humanity's progress continued, and its skepticism increased. Therefore, the Eternals' grasp on their domains diminished bit by bit. Stuck in between the two were the Demiurgists (who are anything but a unified force or philosophy).

Then all hell broke loose -- literally. In the depths of Tartarus Cronus and his fellow titans sensed the leeching of power from the Eternals who had imprisoned them. They rebelled, tossing their Hecatonchires guardians into the pit, and escaping into the worlds. Their aim was Saturn, Cronus' former domain. And Earth. Their ambition was to rule again, as the had before the Eternals, in a paradox of primordial chaos and barren creativity.

So where does that leave humanity today? Completely unaware that their empowered, often greedy, selves are fueling a cosmic war. In general, humanity believes that it is its own god, its own creative master, and its own worst enemy. The "supernatual" effect keeping the rest of humanity aware of what's really going is its own hubris. It has turned a blind eye.

2) How do people get picked to become a Demiurgist? Can a Demiurgist ever
get kicked out?

Becoming an Artisan is something of a mysterious process. In large part, people are Artisans because they are. Not very satisfactory, huh? They are exceptionally creative souls, and Prometheus himself roams the Earth "waking" them from their slumber.

No, a demiurgist cannot ever get kicked out or lose powers or whatever. There's nothing to get kicked out of. They are an idea, and cannot become separated from that idea.

However, here's a counter question -- can an Artisan shape himself BACK into a clueless mundane individual? Can he use his powers to wish away his powers?

The game will leave that kind of question to the players. That is, I'm not interested in offering up an immutable cosmology in which players cannot do things. I'd much rather leave a question like this up to the players, because they could quite conceivably reach a point in their game sessions where answering this paradoxical question might make the game that much more interesting and entertaining.

Spooky Fanboy also asked:

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

What do the characters *do* in this game? Why are they empowered? Is it only to fight the titans? Do Eternals sometimes use them against other Eternals in power struggles?


What they do is struggle to find their role in the cosmic clash. That means that, yes, absolutely, the Eternals pit anyone and everyone against each other in their squabbles and fueds. This is often where the players find themselves -- stuck between the contradictory whims of the gods, and pitted against the terrible ambitions of the Titans.

The Demiurgists are empowered precisely because "existence" or Fate compels them to be the balancing force in the universe. In total, they are more powerful than either titan or Eternal, but they are all mortals individually. Isn't reality a sick, sick joke? ;)


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: J. Backman on December 17, 2002, 12:54:35 AM
Thanks Matt! It was great to read some more about 9 Worlds -- seems it's beginning to take shape nicely.


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on December 17, 2002, 06:48:09 AM
Quote
The key conflicts for characters will not be "saving" humanity from its clueless life, nor about bending the collective unconscious of humanity toward the "truth." Instead, the game is about WHETHER an Artisan should alter existence to better his plight. That is, when conflict rears its ugly head, should an Artisan change the rules so that he comes out on top? That's what I'm far more interested in for this game.


Surely you know how most players are going to answer that question, don't you?

Quote
So where does that leave humanity today? Completely unaware that their empowered, often greedy, selves are fueling a cosmic war. In general, humanity believes that it is its own god, its own creative master, and its own worst enemy. The "supernatual" effect keeping the rest of humanity aware of what's really going is its own hubris. It has turned a blind eye.


Ah! which makes for a big question: Should an Artisan reveal the Truth to humanity? If you do, they become aware of the consequences of their actions...but they become vulnerable again to the manipulations of Eternals and the direct threat of the Titans. After all, if everyone believes the monster under the bed is real, how many children are going to... disappear? That could be why most Demiurgists haven't spoken up.

Curious: how do Artisan/Eternal/Titan conflicts appear to humans? Do they automatically "dumb it down" to something that fits the rational framework they've built?

And one wonders at the role Prometheus plays in all of this. Is he a genuine altruist? Is he jockeying for postion of being the One and Only Eternal? Is he in the role of Hubris, playing a cross between Mephistopholes and Nyarlathotep by giving humanity access to all these shiny toys...thus giving them enough rope to hang themselves and pave they way back for his brother and sister Titans?

Also, in regard to Artisans contributing to monotheism: Can their powers cut backwards through time, so that it always seems that things were just as they are now?

Quote
Becoming an Artisan is something of a mysterious process. In large part, people are Artisans because they are. Not very satisfactory, huh? They are exceptionally creative souls, and Prometheus himself roams the Earth "waking" them from their slumber...The Demiurgists are empowered precisely because "existence" or Fate compels them to be the balancing force in the universe. In total, they are more powerful than either titan or Eternal, but they are all mortals individually. Isn't reality a sick, sick joke? ;)


Could an Artisan prolong his/her life indefinitely? Can their power cut backward and forward across time? You mentioned Hubris before; is that the balancer in this game? How does it work?


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on December 19, 2002, 01:06:55 PM
Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
Quote
... the game is about WHETHER an Artisan should alter existence to better his plight. That is, when conflict rears its ugly head, should an Artisan change the rules so that he comes out on top? That's what I'm far more interested in for this game.


Surely you know how most players are going to answer that question, don't you?



Ahh, but it isn't so easy. All supernatural actions threaten Hubris. This is a Bad Thing, and it's the game's way of demonstrating that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Is there a better way than just destroying or altering the natural order?


Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
Ah! which makes for a big question: Should an Artisan reveal the Truth to humanity? If you do, they become aware of the consequences of their actions...but they become vulnerable again to the manipulations of Eternals and the direct threat of the Titans. After all, if everyone believes the monster under the bed is real, how many children are going to... disappear? That could be why most Demiurgists haven't spoken up.


Ok, but how does one convince humanity of the Truth? Changing creation is one way, true, but it's an extremely hubristic way. Extremely. Doing it "naturally" takes a whole lot of time and effort. And, just as you've suggested, doing  so may not be the best of ideas.


Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

Curious: how do Artisan/Eternal/Titan conflicts appear to humans? Do they automatically "dumb it down" to something that fits the rational framework they've built?


Pretty much. There isn't (yet) need for a mechanic for this, though. On Earth (the only world where this issue matters), titans and their kin (things like the Hydra) are careful about where and how they tread. Afterall, they need to control humankind, ultimately, to achieve their ends. Freaking humanity out in the mean time isn't always the best of ideas. This happens, of course, in small incidents. None of which convinces humanity of anything but "news of the weird."

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

And one wonders at the role Prometheus plays in all of this. Is he a genuine altruist? Is he jockeying for postion of being the One and Only Eternal? Is he in the role of Hubris, playing a cross between Mephistopholes and Nyarlathotep by giving humanity access to all these shiny toys...thus giving them enough rope to hang themselves and pave they way back for his brother and sister Titans?


Oh, wouldn't you like to know?!? Actually, these questions inspire me to leave that open to the players. If indeed Prometheus is a megalomaniac with devious plans, great. Go for it, players (and GM). If he's a trickster, great. If he's the wise old man (a la Obi Wan and Morpheus) great. All these make for interesting takes on the game.

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

Also, in regard to Artisans contributing to monotheism: Can their powers cut backwards through time, so that it always seems that things were just as they are now?


Yes, however, again, EXTREMELY hubristic. In other words, don't bet on it. Time is a river with which no beings really want to mess with. One of the reasons Cronus is such a bad boy.

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

Could an Artisan prolong his/her life indefinitely? Can their power cut backward and forward across time? You mentioned Hubris before; is that the balancer in this game? How does it work?


Back to nasty hubris again. Here's the deal. When you perform significant deeds (in other words, generally resolvin conflicts in means that defy the natural order of the world), you earn hubris. Hubris is actually a good thing in that the more you have, the more magically powerful you are (it determines how many cards you draw for magical resolutions).

However, once your Hubris rank exceeds your Arete rank, you've got problems. You're tempting fate, and one slip and you're wiped from existence by invoking the wrath of the Furies. In other words, when your Hubris out ranks your Arete, you can perish. Not go to the underworld. You become chaos. Oblivion.


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on December 19, 2002, 01:08:15 PM
Quote from: Matt Snyder
Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
Quote
... the game is about WHETHER an Artisan should alter existence to better his plight. That is, when conflict rears its ugly head, should an Artisan change the rules so that he comes out on top? That's what I'm far more interested in for this game.


Surely you know how most players are going to answer that question, don't you?



Ahh, but it isn't so easy. All supernatural actions threaten Hubris. This is a Bad Thing, and it's the game's way of demonstrating that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Is there a better way than just destroying or altering the natural order? That's what players have got to consider. Doing amazing, magical things jeopardizes one's character's existence, yet likely increases his power simultaneously. Call it playing with fire -- true if we're thinking of the Prometheus fire-bringer metaphor!


Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
Ah! which makes for a big question: Should an Artisan reveal the Truth to humanity? If you do, they become aware of the consequences of their actions...but they become vulnerable again to the manipulations of Eternals and the direct threat of the Titans. After all, if everyone believes the monster under the bed is real, how many children are going to... disappear? That could be why most Demiurgists haven't spoken up.


Ok, but how does one convince humanity of the Truth? Changing creation is one way, true, but it's an extremely hubristic way. Extremely. Doing it "naturally" takes a whole lot of time and effort. And, just as you've suggested, doing  so may not be the best of ideas.


Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

Curious: how do Artisan/Eternal/Titan conflicts appear to humans? Do they automatically "dumb it down" to something that fits the rational framework they've built?


Pretty much. There isn't (yet) need for a mechanic for this, though. On Earth (the only world where this issue matters), titans and their kin (things like the Hydra) are careful about where and how they tread. Afterall, they need to control humankind, ultimately, to achieve their ends. Freaking humanity out in the mean time isn't always the best of ideas. This happens, of course, in small incidents. None of which convinces humanity of anything but "news of the weird."

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

And one wonders at the role Prometheus plays in all of this. Is he a genuine altruist? Is he jockeying for postion of being the One and Only Eternal? Is he in the role of Hubris, playing a cross between Mephistopholes and Nyarlathotep by giving humanity access to all these shiny toys...thus giving them enough rope to hang themselves and pave they way back for his brother and sister Titans?


Oh, wouldn't you like to know?!? Actually, these questions inspire me to leave that open to the players. If indeed Prometheus is a megalomaniac with devious plans, great. Go for it, players (and GM). If he's a trickster, great. If he's the wise old man (a la Obi Wan and Morpheus) great. All these make for interesting takes on the game.

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

Also, in regard to Artisans contributing to monotheism: Can their powers cut backwards through time, so that it always seems that things were just as they are now?


Yes, however, again, EXTREMELY hubristic. In other words, don't bet on it. Time is a river with which no beings really want to mess with. One of the reasons Cronus is such a bad boy.

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

Could an Artisan prolong his/her life indefinitely? Can their power cut backward and forward across time? You mentioned Hubris before; is that the balancer in this game? How does it work?


Back to nasty hubris again. Here's the deal. When you perform significant deeds (in other words, generally resolvin conflicts in means that defy the natural order of the world), you earn hubris. Hubris is actually a good thing in that the more you have, the more magically powerful you are (it determines how many cards you draw for magical resolutions).

However, once your Hubris rank exceeds your Arete rank, you've got problems. You're tempting fate, and one slip and you're wiped from existence by invoking the wrath of the Furies. In other words, when your Hubris out ranks your Arete, you can perish. Not go to the underworld. You become chaos. Oblivion.


Title: Yet more questions
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on December 22, 2002, 07:05:25 AM
Quote
When you perform significant deeds (in other words, generally resolvin conflicts in means that defy the natural order of the world), you earn hubris. Hubris is actually a good thing in that the more you have, the more magically powerful you are (it determines how many cards you draw for magical resolutions).

However, once your Hubris rank exceeds your Arete rank, you've got problems. You're tempting fate, and one slip and you're wiped from existence by invoking the wrath of the Furies. In other words, when your Hubris out ranks your Arete, you can perish. Not go to the underworld. You become chaos. Oblivion.


And game mechanically speaking, how does one provoke the misstep that will send oneself to Oblivion? Is there a botch or bust mechanic? Assuming yes, how does that work?

Now in a game-setting sense, how do Demiurgists know that they are/ have become Demiurgists? Is it a life-changing event, or do they always know? Is there a special quest they have to undertake? Is there a Council of Artisans to guide them, or is it hit-or-miss DIY training? Do they run into Prometheus or The Eternals often? And just what is the common consensus on the origin of The Eternals? Pretty much how it was in Greek myth?


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on December 26, 2002, 09:48:30 AM
Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

And game mechanically speaking, how does one provoke the misstep that will send oneself to Oblivion? Is there a botch or bust mechanic? Assuming yes, how does that work?


If I'm reading you rightly, there are no botch or bust mechanics. I take it you mean fumbles and or "criticals"? If so, the game has neither.

What happens that puts you into oblivion is simply that you cannot manage "damage" from conflicts. This may indeed be actual physical harm. It might also be some other means by which an opponent affects you. Typically, an Artisan can sacrifice something (Arete, usually) to "stay alive". However, once you've reached the point where your Hubris outranks your Arete, you've got precious little to stay alive with. I'm still hammering this bit, but basically it's when you run out of the game's currency. This is earned in "Tricks" then kept more permanently in your Arete and Hubris characteristics.

Quote from: Spooky Fanboy

Now in a game-setting sense, how do Demiurgists know that they are/ have become Demiurgists? Is it a life-changing event, or do they always know? Is there a special quest they have to undertake? Is there a Council of Artisans to guide them, or is it hit-or-miss DIY training? Do they run into Prometheus or The Eternals often? And just what is the common consensus on the origin of The Eternals? Pretty much how it was in Greek myth?


Again, I'm reverting back to my "it's up to you" answer. I will offer some suggestions for what might work well, but it's probably best left to the player group to decide whether they're portraying life-long self-aware prodigies or recently awakened souls who found out they can change their lives the hard way.

There is no Council of Artisans (well, no official one -- Artisans might group themselves, but no one really has any true authority over the others unless it is by supernatural force and bullying). Mostly, the Artisans are on their own -- individuals who often clump together, yet each with their own personal agenda. There is no governing body.

Yes, these folks do intermingle with immortals. They become aware of their presence on earth, and very often curiosity, lust for power or many other motivations impel them to search througout the Nine Worlds. Therefore, they inevitably run into Eternals, spirits, demi-gods, even Atlantis and its denizens, long lost in the Ether.

The common consensus regarding the Eternals is ... up for grabs. Current scuttle butt among the Artisans is that the Eternals and the Titans are something greater even than Greek myth, but that their "Greek-ness" is the means by which they communicated with mortals. A mask they wore, so to speak. A mask they still wear, so the argument goes.

Why did they do so? Because the Earth is the locus of power in the Universe. It's literally an Earth-centric system, so it matters. It IS the center of creation, and therefore holds a important metaphysical gravity. Problem is, humanity rules earth by virtue of its own hubris and ignorance. Assailing earth and conquering humanity isn't the issue. The issue is harnessing the power of humanity, its emotions, its thought, its creativity. Mortals possess a passion, a capacity for tragedy and comedy that the immortals desire -- they need that power to keep the universe dynamic. But, they would like to do it by their own means. (That is, the Titans have a few things in mind if they were in charge, the Eternals have several other ideas).

Now the real question is who put mortals there in the first place and why. Lots of fingers point toward Prometheus as the "who." The "why" isn't clear. Prometheus, as I've said, is a key figure in the game, and pretty much the only immortal champion humanity has. The gods are too fickle to stick up for mortals always. Often, they don't care at all for humans! Prometheus, on the other hand, has some other motivation. Or perhaps no motivation at all. Is he a trickster? Is he God? Is he just an all-around nice Titan? That's something worth exploring in playing the game, I'd argue.


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on December 26, 2002, 09:05:31 PM
Quote
If I'm reading you rightly, there are no botch or bust mechanics. I take it you mean fumbles and or "criticals"? If so, the game has neither.


Cool! So it's one of those games where either the player(s) or the GM can moderate what happens on a failure?

Quote
What happens that puts you into oblivion is simply that you cannot manage "damage" from conflicts. This may indeed be actual physical harm. It might also be some other means by which an opponent affects you. Typically, an Artisan can sacrifice something (Arete, usually) to "stay alive". However, once you've reached the point where your Hubris outranks your Arete, you've got precious little to stay alive with. I'm still hammering this bit, but basically it's when you run out of the game's currency. This is earned in "Tricks" then kept more permanently in your Arete and Hubris characteristics.


Hmm. I'm gathering from this an all-purpose "Stress" mechanic which lumps frustration in with head colds in with smoke in with wounds, which could be "bought off" by sacrificing bits of your character. What purpose does Arete serve, mechanics-wise? Is it how good you are at your domains, how much experience you get per session, or none of the above? Also, is this similar to the mechanics for Dust Devils?

Sorry to get all rules-mechanicky on you, but I'm thinking about designing a game of my own, and I'm trying to get a good look under the hood. Please don't interpret this as I'm saying that I'm uninterested in the setting! I am very interested, and have almost a dozen ideas I could play with this game.


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 04, 2003, 07:38:07 AM
So, any updates or new information on Nine Worlds you have to share with us?


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Flash on January 06, 2003, 12:46:19 PM
Quote
Hmm. I'm gathering from this an all-purpose "Stress" mechanic which lumps frustration in with head colds in with smoke in with wounds, which could be "bought off" by sacrificing bits of your character. What purpose does Arete serve, mechanics-wise? Is it how good you are at your domains, how much experience you get per session, or none of the above?


There should be an update here VERY soon. Some very interesting progress was made this last weekend concerning the very topics you are asking about. Mainly Arete and Hubris.


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 08, 2003, 06:43:45 PM
Very soon, I hope.

I really, really hope...

OH, WHY MUST I SUFFER IN SUSPENSE?!!!

Ooops, sorry, that slipped out.

Take your time. Don't mind me.

I'm sure it will be worth the wait.


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on January 08, 2003, 07:27:46 PM
I think it will be worth the wait. I'm very excited about this game, and I hope others find it as compelling. I've been spending my free time the last week either doing freelance layout work and some rigorous creation on the rules.

The supernatural abilities (magic, I guess you could say) of player characters are shaping up to be very interesting indeed. I'm working on a lot of balancing the two aspects of an individual PC. Simply put, working to create an equilibrium between a PC's natural and supernatural effectiveness. Once I even those scales, we'll start sharing more info!

-Matt


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 09, 2003, 04:28:17 AM
Ye gods, now I'm really hooked!

One thing I've never seen, in any game, is a balance between mundane skills versus superpowers. Superpowers usually win hands down in the "Ooh! Nifty! Must have!" department, while real-life areas of concern get short-shrift, if not eventually pushed aside altogether.

Actually, Sorcerer comes the closest in that department, because the kewl powerz, while useful, come with a pretty hefty price tag (ie. you). Thus, it's usually wise to find mundane ways to do things. ;-)


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on January 09, 2003, 07:03:20 AM
Glad to hear that interstes you. To explain just a bit more...

A character's "natural" powers are virtues that the powers-that-be hold in high regard. In other words, these are things the gods have long valued. This is reflected by the important attribute of Arete (the Greek virtue of "excellence"). Sort of subsidiary to Arete are the four paragons: Prowess, Fortitude, Wisdom, and Command. In total, these are things the external world values, and that's partly WHY they're "natural" (rather than "supernatural") attributes. They're "natural" in part because the gods value them, and the gods say "this is how the world should work." In practical use, they let you do things that most of us would consider normal -- fight, thing, influence others, use skills, etc.

On the other hand, we have the supernatural abilities -- things that let you work some fantastical things in the world. This is represented by Hubris (the counterpart to Arete), and its subsidiaries are the Urges: Chaos, Cosmos, Metamorphosis, and Stasis. In total, these aren't things the gods necessarily value or consider virtues. These are things that YOU consider important. They are internalized virtues that you, the Demiurgist, consider valuable in your quest to shape the world according to your desires. In practical use, these are things that let you do supernatural things, like transform people or things, disintegrate things, empower artifacts, etc.

Just some more teasers! More to come soon.

Oh, and to answer some of your earlier question -- Arete and Hubris are critical stats. They are the baseline in determining how effective you are in conflict. So, you might have an Arete of 5. That means you get 5 cards in the conflict, with maybe some more cards from skills or Muses (Muses are much like Spiritual Attributes in Riddle of Steel -- thanks Jake!). Similarly, you might choose to solve a conflict supernaturally, so you'll get a number of cards equal to your Hubris rating.

Arete and Hubris also determine your fate as a character, and reaching zero in either is likely your doom. Lose Arete and you lose your body, very likely offending the Furies because you have no excellence to counter your Hubris. You're mortal, afterall, and the Furies will make you end a miserable one.

But, lose all your Hubris, and you lose your soul. This is a fate worse than death ... or mindless servitude. Afterall, you may still possess Arete (excellence) but have no sense of self (Pride, hubris). So, you could become a Shade in Hades, or maybe just another lackey of the Eternals.  Worst of all, you could face true oblivion -- your body and soul wiped from existence and memory, and your creative works forgotten forever (you know, like a game designer's game going out of print... heh).


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 11, 2003, 04:18:56 PM
Now, here is a question: Are the two in inherent conflict (the more Arete you have, the more Urge becomes difficult to get or the more Urge you are likely to lose, and vice versa,) or are they just different sides to the same character, describing the opposite things?

I think having the two in direct conflict would be cool, but I'd have a hard time seeing why you'd want to do it, or how it'd work.

Hmmm....


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 20, 2003, 04:06:39 PM
Okay, enough's enough...what's going on?

Is the Arete/Hubris thing being fine-tuned? Are the mechanics locked down? Is the background being spruced up? What's going on with this game?

IT'S BEEN NINE WHOLE DAYS! I NEED AN INFO FIX!!!

*pant pant pant wheeeeze*

So, what's going on?


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on January 21, 2003, 07:27:31 AM
Nine Days? Really? How absolutely fitting.

Well, what's going on of late is that I'm writing the text! That keeps me busy (as do a handful of freelance graphic design gigs I'm working on, alas). So, it's coming together, slowly but surely. It will be done for summer con season. I'll say more on that when I can.

The Hubris and Arete stuff is pretty nailed down now, yes. Those two Attributes aren't really in inherent conflict, as I've got the rules now. Rather, they are independent "meters" of your character's greatness. In effect, the do describe opposite things about your character.

Some other tidbits ...

I've got the plan now such that every player uses his own standard playing cards deck (jokers included). This is different than Dust Devils, which uses one deck (or two, for large groups) for everyone.

Here's a bit of a teaser from some of the character attribute descriptions that explains Arete and Hubris a bit more:  



In Nine Worlds, player characters are composed of three tiers of characteristics. Foremost are the Virtues, which define simply a character’s worth and power in the Nine Worlds. The next tier is composed of the Paragons. These are characteristics that define how a character solves conflict. Finally, characters possess a range of Devotions that specify and specialize their works and actions in the game.

Virtues

Virtues are the two most crucial attributes that define a character. These are Arete (pronounced AIR-uh-tay) and Hubris. In a word, Arete is excellence. It is the sum of a character’s merit and worth in relation to the Nine Worlds and their masters. The Eternals have long defined and judged what is great in mortals, and Arete is the singular representation of that ultimate virtue.

Hubris is Arete’s counterpart. If Arete measures a character’s worth and power externally, then Hubris defines his internal greatness, his soul. While Hubris may have negative connotations – especially excessive Hubris -- in the external world, to the individual it is a measure of pride, self-worth and the potential to affect the universe with one’s creative soul.

These two virtues are the foundation from which characters pursue change and conflict in the game. When presented with a challenge or conflict, a player must decide whether the matter will be resolved with Arete or Hubris. In effect, this choice represents the character’s ability to either resolve conflict according to the natural order of the universe using Arete, to resolve conflict according to his own personal compass using Hubris.


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 23, 2003, 04:32:55 PM
Quote
I've got the plan now such that every player uses his own standard playing cards deck (jokers included). This is different than Dust Devils, which uses one deck (or two, for large groups) for everyone.


Which makes sense: if you're a "Master of the Universe" character, then you should have your own deck. Sure, follow the hand that Fate deals you, but it's your fate that's being decided; why should you be stuck using a common "Excellence Pool" or "Ego Pool"?

Quote
The next tier is composed of the Paragons. These are characteristics that define how a character solves conflict. Finally, characters possess a range of Devotions that specify and specialize their works and actions in the game.


Okay, you must have known this was coming: Could you please explain or at least give examples of Paragons and Devotions? Are either of these related to the Domains that you talked about earlier, i.e. Domain of Travel, domain of War, etc. ?

Don't worry, boss. The more I see, the more I like.

Funny thing about the whole Arete attribute discussion: I can see a game revolving around trying to calm down an Eternal of Death or War who has just endured The Jerry Springer show, and is now thoroughly convinced that humans have degenerated below the level of insects. Is the Eternal right? Can the Demiurgists stop Him from going Armageddon on poor, pathetic humanity? If they do, will they be forced to give him the lives of daytime talk-show hosts and reality-tv producers in exchange for sparing everyone else? Will they actually see that as a bad thing?! TUNE IN TOMORROW!!!!


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on January 26, 2003, 07:09:27 PM
Also:

How are those mechanics coming along? I confess to being a little confused by them as they were originally presented.

Frex, in adding a total hand (in case of a tie), how much are wild cards worth?

And have you nailed down what tricks can be used for?


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Matt Snyder on January 26, 2003, 09:02:18 PM
Quote from: Spooky Fanboy
Also:

How are those mechanics coming along? I confess to being a little confused by them as they were originally presented.

Frex, in adding a total hand (in case of a tie), how much are wild cards worth?

And have you nailed down what tricks can be used for?



The rules are coming along pretty well.

First off, to answer your previous quesitons ...

On Paragons ...

Pieties & Urges are the same for all player character and NPC demiurgists / artisans. The paragons are: Prowess, Courage, Wisdom and Command. These are effectively similar to the four attributes in Dust Devils. Prowess = Hand, Courage = Guts, Wisdom = Eye, and Command = Heart. They have much the same function. The paragons effectively let you attempt to "do stuff" normally -- fight, move, swindle, pilot, whatever. When confronting the enemy, these attributes can "attack" that enemy's Arete or Hubris (or Power, which is the Titan equivalent). You use tricks earned to do this.

Urges are different. They are: Chaos, Cosmos, Metamorphosis, and Stasis. These let you "do magic stuff." What that actually means is that you use tricks to actually increase, decrease or even move around the ratings of Paragons! You can increase your own attributes, shift 'em around, or even decrease them with Chaos (though who knows why you'd do that). You can also do the same to allies and enemies. Cool.

Ok, on to your newer questions ...

Don't worry overly much about tied hands. The important thing is figuring out whether or not you beat your opponent's number of "matched" cards played. (That is, the number of the same suit he lays for his goal.) The tie breaker will be slightly less confusing than what I presented earlier, I hope. FYI, if I do go for the "total up the hand" route, then the wild card is worth 0.

Finally, tricks are indeed 'mostly' nailed down. The only remaining things are finalizing details for what happens when tricks are converted into the metamechanics of Valor & Pride. These are effectively "banked" tricks, and you can bolster your effects w/ each. They might also be used to do more metagame things, like assume some stance control, improve characters, etc.


Title: New game: Nine Worlds
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on February 12, 2003, 08:04:29 AM
Now, while I've been taking a break from Nine Worlds to peek in on what some other folks have planned, don't think for a minute I've forgotten.

What's going on? Do you need playtesting? *drools* Please don't get upset at my seeming impatience; I honestly have only the dimmest idea of what goes into the professional production of a RPG.

Just curious, is all.