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Archive => Indie Game Design => Topic started by: Jonathan Walton on April 15, 2003, 06:43:45 PM



Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 15, 2003, 06:43:45 PM
In the spirit of the recent discussion of the Indie Design forum, I'm bringing my design of Storypunk back to these boards, after keeping it off the forums for a while.

Quote from: The Mother of All Stories
So, Scheherazade asks, what kind of stories do you like?

You’re not sure what to say.

Epic stories, the Monkey King offers.
Fighting dragons, Don Quixote suggests.
Trickery and deceit, Anansi adds.
Here, here, Coyote agrees.

Fine, Scheherazade says, nodding, but whom will the first story be about?

Again, you remain silent.

A handsome king, Monkey offers excitedly.
With the heart of a hero, Quixote suggests gallantly.
And a cunning mind, Anansi adds thoughtfully.
Here, here, Coyote agrees agreeably.

Fine, Scheherazade says, nodding, but where will the first story take place?

You shrug.

A mystic mountain in the east, Monkey gibbers.
The rolling hills of the pampas, Quixote announces.
In a dark, mysterious land, Anansi whispers.
Here, here, Coyote repeats.

No, Scheherazade says, pulling out a crystal flask from a hidden pocket.  Uncapping the bottle, she lets a single drop fall on the ground at her feet.  Immediately, a marble-white city begins to grow in the dust, one with domed palaces and luxuriant pleasure gardens.

Baghdad, she says, during the reign of the Caliph Haroun al-Rashid: during the time of wonders.


So begins my game.

I'm making an effort to write it out in narrative form, where, as you read the story, you learn everything you need to know to play the game.  This isn't just going to be color or game fiction (" 'Incredulity,' remarks young innocent. "), but the text of the game itself.  I'm borrowing a page from Daniel Quinn, who uses conversations between character to make philosophical and sociological points.  I think I'm going to recommend that you read the text of the game aloud before playing, passing the book around and have each player reading a page to the rest of the group.

In any case, the five (six, really) main characters in the story represent various facets of the game.  Each of them in an archetype that covers a range of points that need to be made about Storypunk and how it works.  There is also "you," the protagonist of the narrative and an avatar of the reader.  Together, these six make up the example Troupe (which does not, as of yet, have a name).  Player groups can then model their Troupe after Scheherazade's rag-tag bunch.

It works like this:

Duties

In Storypunk's new idiom, there are six major positions that players can hold in a Troupe.  Like Diplomacy, which is specifically designed for 7 players, Storypunk is specifically designed for 6.  However, there will be a chapter on ways to play with different numbers.  The 6 major duties are:

Intermediary -- manages the After-Once (the downtime that takes place between the various stories that the Troupe engages in) and moderates IC discussion of the social contract and the allocation of Duties (which can be swapped or altered between stories)

Grand Comptroller -- moderates IC discussion while stories are taking place, manages conflicts between Troupe members and generally tries to keep things working during actual play

Muse -- responsible for setting up every story, providing the seed that starts things off, so the other Troupe members can run with it

Masker -- creates and assigns masks (the personae and roles that Troupe members take on within stories), basically writes the names of things on index cards and passes them out, making sure each player has enough to do

Piper -- manages Drops, the story currency of Storypunk (similar to coins in Universalis), "pipes" them back to players after they have been spent, manages conflicts involving the spending of Drops

Gardener -- keeps track of time; Storypunk is played in a microfic format with each story safely lasting 20-30 minutes (whatever's determined by the group), then, for every 2-5 minutes the game goes over time, the Gardener selects one mask and destroys it (ripping it in half); since no new masks can be created past the 20-30 minute mark, the game will eventually self-destruct unless the Troupe bails or resolves it

Each player/character (the IC-OOC lines are strongly blurred for Duties, which all contain both IC and OOC components) is assigned one Duty at the beginning and, during the After-Once, the Intemediary can help the group to come to consensus and alter the social contract if the default way of handling Duties doesn't work for them.  An appendix to the game is going to contain several alternate Troupe setups, using different numbers of players and supporting different styles of play.  One of them will probably include a GM-like position that holds the vast majority of responsibilities, but no way is that going to be default.  Default is no GM and shared responsibility among players.

The Lessons

Over the course of the game text, "you" (the protagonist) is going to travel through 5 different stories with the Troupe, and in each one s/he'll hang tight with a particular Troupemate, who will teach them about the responsibilities that come with that particular Duty (from a very biased perspective, since they all think their job is the best, in standard Amber style).  Also, each iconic Troupe member will also pass on a specific lesson about Storypunk's cosmology.

Code:
Monkey   Intermediary  Lesson of 10,000  Everything is a character.
Schehe.  Muse          Lesson of 1,000   Everything has a story.
Coyote   Masker        Lesson of 100     Everything will shine.
Anansi   Piper         Lesson of 10      Everything is full of surprises.
Quixote  Gardner       Lesson of 1       Everything exists for the story.
You      G.Comptrol.   Lesson of 0       Everything is nothing at all.


There are specific reasons why the Lessons are numbered.  Monkey's explains his using the metaphor of the Ten-Thousand Things (wan wu, the way the Chinese say "all the things in existence"), Scheherazade talks about the Thousand Nights and a Night (what's traditionally be called "1001 Arabian Nights"), etc.  Each lesson teaches "you" about how to be a member of a Troupe, how to conduct yourself while taking part in a story, and how to envision the metastory of the game, which can be a little confusing at times.

Of course, over the course of the narrative, the readers/audience won't merely be listening to a story, learning about Duties, and getting Lessons on how the game works, they'll also be hearing an Example of Play, with various problems or conflicts that may arise being handled in the course of action, as well as showing what an actual session might look like.

So, Why Am I Posting This?

A few specific things I need help on:

1.  How well do you think a narrative-style game text will work (especially as it relates to my subject matter)?  Obviously, it depends on how well I carry through on it, but I'm hoping that, from the outline I've provided above, you can get a fair sense of what I'm going to be attempting and might be able to forsee problems or suggest ways of going about it that would save me some time in the long run.

2.  What do you think of the various literary characters I've chosen to be my archetypical Troupe members?  From what you know of them, can you imagine them fulfilling the Duties I've assigned to them?  I'm especially interested in, perhaps, adding another female or non-gender specific character to the Troupe, replacing one of the male or probably-male characters (the Monkey King, Don Quixote, Anansi, or Coyote).  This is an accessibility issue, and also because I'm trying to write the game for a non-traditional audience, including female gamers and fiction writers.  This means I'd also like suggestions on which one I should get rid of.  Note that I'm looking for a Troupe that spans various cultures and types of stories.  One possible replacement is Alice, but I don't think she's public domain yet (is she?)

3.  Do the Duties seem balanced (everyone will have enough to do but not too much), have appropriate names (not too fond of "Grand Comptroller" myself), and look like they cover most of the responsibilities that'll need to be filled?

Thanks in advance.  I'm trying to get the Troupe members finalized pretty soon, because I need to send money and art notes off to Ramón Pérez, who (I think) is going to illustrate the game, doing shots of all the iconic characters in action.  I can't wait to see him do Scheherazade...


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: talysman on April 15, 2003, 08:37:41 PM
looks good, jonathan; I really like the idea of the entire text being an example of play and a rules explanation at the same time.

you mentioned needing another female character that could replace one of the male characters like Anansi. maybe I have my mythologies confused, but isn't Anansi the same as Grandmother Spider?

although gender balance is commendable, if you're going to select well-known characters from myth and literature, I think your main concern should be "can I write game text using that character's voice? will it be distinct from the other characters?"


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: C. Edwards on April 15, 2003, 09:10:39 PM
Just a female icon suggestion. How about The Lady of the Lake from Arthurian lore? Perhaps even Calypso or Circe. I also recommend keeping Coyote. Who doesn't love The Trickster? :)

-Chris


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: anonymouse on April 15, 2003, 09:25:11 PM
Medea's always been a favourite, if for no other reason than Timothy Bradstreet did a rather evocative picture of her in the Mage: the Ascension Book of Madness (the old one, no idea if it's in the new one).


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Shreyas Sampat on April 16, 2003, 07:12:25 AM
I would tend to suggest that in Scheherezade you have a sorceress archetype already - your Troupe hole is in the mother archetype.

But your current Troupe is a well-rounded set of storyteller types already - maybe Anansi as Grandmother Spider is an option; I like the strong links you have between the Troupe and Duties at the moment.  I think that Quixote, incidentally, is the weakest of the men; he's literary rather than legendary.

John raises a good question about speaking in the character's voice - can you make Nimue sound Arthurian while Scheherezade's words are like sand on the Arabian wind?


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: deadpanbob on April 16, 2003, 07:16:38 AM
Johnathan,

Take care with this approach...

Attempting to write the game as a story may cause a lot of problems because of the 'voice' issue mentioned above.  I don't know for sure what your narrative/fiction writing experience is, but I can tell you from mine that it takes a lot of dedication and focus to keep the voices of several main characters straight in a narrative.

Note that in your own identified influence, Daniel Quin (and I'm thinking particularly of Ishmael here), he only really has 2 main characters having a dialogue.

I think this is a novel approach to presenting a game however, and very in line with your game's stated design goals.  I would at least attempt it - perhaps by writing out one complete lesson using all the characters.

Here's an old writers trick for helping to deal with the voice issue - create each of your icons as a character, writing down little details on a note card about the character's distinct voice.  It really helps to write out the viewpoint/paradigm of each character, and to write out a list of personal interests for them.  Then, whenever writing dialogue or action for that character, make sure to refresh your memeory of the character by looking at the card.  If/when the character takes life in your mind, and new attitudes/nuances emerge from the text, take a moment to jot them down on the card for that character. Just a suggestion - one you probably already know.

I think you've got the duties apportioned correctly, and the names are fine.  I'm not much into mythology and legends, but perhaps there are terms from the native languages for each character that might be appropriate - or heck, you could even just use the character's name from your game narrative as the title for a given duty.

The only thing I might add - either within one of the other titles, or as a title on it's own - is a historian that can record the important history of the Troupe and the stories they tell.  I know that continuity isn't centrally important in the concpet as presented so far, but I could see using this to do something in the vein of Michael Moorcock Eternal Champion thing - where certain archetypical Masks could show up from story to story (thus creating an overarching narrative that ties all of the micro-stories together).  Perhaps this is just an optional duty, or parts of the historian's role could be parsed out to the other titles (like the Maker keeping track of recurring Mask archetypes).

My only question, how are you currently envisioning passing out the duties during a game session?  Seems like this will be an important point, and my own personal tendencies lead me to beleive that you should have a default mechanical system that is Duty/Title neutral to resolve any disputes, and then tell folks that if they want to handle by consensus discussion, that's fine.

Hope all my blathering helps out.

Cheers.


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 16, 2003, 07:28:36 AM
Quote from: talysman
but isn't Anansi the same as Grandmother Spider?


Not quite, but they are closely related as storytellers and spider-people.  Anansi is mostly a Carribean figure, I believe, arising from older spider myths of African origin (including Grandmother Spider?).  Good suggestion, though.  That way, I could effectively make Anansi female, without having to alter the metaphor I was using too much.

Also, your advice on writing in different characters' voices is very prudent.  I'm planning on having the original source stories next to me when I finally tackle this project, so I can keep checking to make sure I have the proper tone.  However, this is my own creation and an extrapolation, so getting them "exactly right" is not really the point.  These aren't quite the same individuals that broke out of their own tales several years back, and they've changed significantly.  However, I do want them to be recognisable as what they were before.

Quote from: C. Edwards
I also recommend keeping Coyote. Who doesn't love The Trickster?


Well, one of the problems is that I have 3 incurable tricksters: Coyote, Anansi, and Monkey.  I was originally thinking about adding Crow/Raven to the mix as well (since I LOVE tricksters!), but I think it's better to offer a wider range of personalities.  Changing Anansi to Grandmother Spider will help, but Coyote and the Monkey King are sure to cause a lot of trouble, even without Anansi's help.

You're also correct that I haven't raided Grecco-Roman myths yet.  However...

Quote from: anonymouse
Medea's always been a favourite...


Hah!  I thought so as well.  One of the early drafts of the text had "you" being recruited into the Troupe because Medea backstabbed the rest of the group in the middle of one story and ran off, abandoning them.  So they needed a replacement Comptroller.  Maybe I'll keep that little bit of the story in place.

I need to have something like that to foreshadow the end of the narrative, when "you" runs off to for his/her own Troupe, signaling that it's time for the players reading the game to create a Troupe of their own.

By the way, anybody got a good suggestion for what Scheherazade's Troupe should be called?  I want a name that would be suitable for an acting troupe or company, like "The Lord Chamberlain's Men" or "The Players of the Golden Dawn," but better and more evocative (and non-gender-specific).

EDIT: Cross-posted with both Shreyas and Jason.


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 16, 2003, 08:01:18 AM
Quote from: Shreyas Sampat
I like the strong links you have between the Troupe and Duties at the moment.  I think that Quixote, incidentally, is the weakest of the men; he's literary rather than legendary.


I totally agree on both accounts, and also think that Quixote doesn't really fit his Duty as well as the others.  The timekeeper needs to be both responsible (which Quixote is not) and utterly ruthless in destroying Masks at the appropriate time (which I can't really see Quixote doing either, unless he convinces himself that certain Masks are the enemy).  He was the character that I had the hardest time assigning to a Duty, because I can't see him doing anything but Muse well, and I wanted Scheherazade in that role.

Maybe a legendary destroyer archetype?  Something Biblical perhaps?  The Angel of Death?  Grendel?  Beowulf?  Achilles?  Maybe even Orpheus, to continue using storyteller characters?

Quote from: Shreyas Sampat
John raises a good question about speaking in the character's voice - can you make Nimue sound Arthurian while Scheherezade's words are like sand on the Arabian wind?


I'll get by, with a little [editorial] help from my friends :)

Quote from: deadpanbob
Note that in your own identified influence, Daniel Quinn (and I'm thinking particularly of Ishmael here), he only really has 2 main characters having a dialogue.


And that's mostly what's going to be involved here.  The main character, "you," is going to be talking closely with one member of the Troupe at a time.  The other Troupe members will be in and about, but it's mostly going to take the form of 5 one-on-one conversations.  This way, when I write the mini-chapter about Monkey, I can focus on getting his voice, and when I do the mini-chapter on Scheherazade, I can focus on getting the sand-on-the-Arabian-wind sound.

Your suggestions about having some sort of historian-based responsibilities is worth looking at too.  I was imagining that any Masks that weren't destroyed by the Gardener would be collected by the Masker between stories, and could be re-used, so that does a little of what you're implying.  Additionally, I think the historian's role might be partially covered by the Muse, but I'm not sure how yet.

Quote from: deadpanbob
My only question, how are you currently envisioning passing out the duties during a game session?


You're right that I do need a default.  Well, you could roll a D6 if you were really uncreative.  Or the Intermediary or Grand Comptroller could just arbitrarily assign them.  Or you could have a lottery, where the players draw them from a hat, or take turns selecting them in a randomized order.

But part of what I'm imagining too is that players/characters are recruited for specific Duties.  You don't say "our Troupe needs a new member."  You say "our Troupe needs a new Piper; who would be good for that job?"  Every player/character is perfectly capable of filling every Duty (and there should be some way for all of them to be required to, eventually), but obviously people are going to have their preferences.


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Valamir on April 16, 2003, 08:29:14 AM
The more I hear about this, the more I like the sounds of it.
And the more I think the name "Story Punk" has got to go.  I'm not seeing anything particulary punkish (either legitimate meaning or the diluted "edgy and street" meaning) about it.  I'd go with something more evocative like maybe The Tapestry, or to keep a degree of descriptiveness in there "Story Dancers", or "Story Sliders".

BTW, for a character who is responsible and ruthless you might find a good fit plundering Dickens or Shakespeare.  I like Quixote as an archetype, but I agree he doesn't particularly fit that roll well.

Actually, I think he'd fit well as a Masker...after all what is the assigning of masks but seeing giants in windmills.  So that might fit well with the thought of scrapping one of Monkey or Coyote (who are pretty similar as archetypes go...I prefer Coyote myself but when spoken Coyote and Quixote sound pretty similiar slipping sloppily off an American tongue).  

So...ditch Coyote, shift Quixote down to Masker and find a new more authoritarian figure in Dickens?  

...although I'm also seeing that teacher character from The King and I...what was her name...kind of like Mary Poppins only not quite as silly sounding.


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 16, 2003, 09:01:54 AM
Quote from: Valamir
The more I hear about this, the more I like the sounds of it.


I was hoping you might.  It's a direct extrapolation of the type of play you hinted at in Universalis.  When I finally get my in-depth review of your game finished (soon, I hope), you'll see more where all this is coming from.

On the Masker issue, I think Coyote, Monkey, and Quixote could all work perfectly well as Masker.  Coyote and Monkey because of their nature as shapechangers and Quixote because of the reasons you describe.  However, I was originally hoping to keep both Quixote and Coyote because they connect with the origins of the game (when it was originally called "Quixote & Coyote"), but there's no logical reason that they should be critical.

Here's my feelings on the current Troupe:

Grand Comptroller -- You (definite)
Muse -- Scheherazade (definite)
Piper -- Anansi/Grandmother Spider (definitely one of the two)
Masker -- Monkey/Coyote/Quixote (definitely one of those 3)
Intermediary -- Monkey/SomeNewCharacter
Gardener -- SomeNewCharacter

If you guys can help me fill the holes, that'd be great.

Maybe Baba Yaga for Gardener?  She sure as hell would have no problem destroying things.  Or Medea?  Or some other typically evil character?  I don't want people to get the impression that only positive characters can be Troupe members.  This is a Nobilis-style disfunctional family, not a party system.  Hey, Shreyas, what's the name of the Aztec butterfly goddess again?  She's neat, but kinda obscure.

Or maybe just get Death to be the Gardener.  Hades or the Reaper or the Angel of Death or Persephone, Queen of Hell.  Actually, now that I think about it, I REALLY like the idea of Persephone as Gardener!  After all, she's the daughter of Demeter, the goddess of the harvest, but is directly connected to death.  What d'ya think?  Then we would just need to pick a Masker and an Intermediary.

On a New Name

Hmm, you could be right there, Ralph.  I changed it to Storypunk originally because it was more about breaking out of reality and "damn the man" and a new story to be in, and all that stuff.  Now, it's more about beauty and sadness and preserving stories.  It's the influence of Nobilis and Torchbearer, probably.

Everyone should feel free to weigh in on this issue too.  Perhaps the name of Scheherazade's Troupe could be related to the new title of the game in some way?  I'd just call it something like Storyteller, except White Wolf (damn them!) got there first.  Perhaps I could just call it 1001, except that clashes with the different numbered Lessons.

Suggestions?


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Valamir on April 16, 2003, 09:22:53 AM
Quote from: Jonathan Walton
Here's my feelings on the current Troupe:

Grand Comptroller -- You (definite)


How about "Conductor" instead of Grand Comptroller.  After all isn't "moderating in character discussions" exactly what an orchestra conductor does?


Quote

Piper -- Anansi/Grandmother Spider (definitely one of the two)


Grandma Spider doesn't roll off the tongue for me.

Quote

Maybe Baba Yaga for Gardener?  She sure as hell would have no problem destroying things.


I like that one.  Has a kind of earthy feel to it too.


Quote

Hmm, you could be right there, Ralph.  I changed it to Storypunk originally because it was more about breaking out of reality and "damn the man" and a new story to be in, and all that stuff.


yup, and I didn't like it near as much then :-)


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: deadpanbob on April 16, 2003, 09:25:13 AM
You could call the example Troupe the After-Once Players or some such, and heck, you could just name the game After-Once.

If you want something with more literary cachet, you could try The Stage (as in "All the worlds a stage...").

You could key in on the micro-fiction quality and call it MicroStory.

How about Improv Engine, or Improv Eternal?

You could key off the Masks concept and call it Multi-Mask, or Of Masks and Men.

How about a not so subtle cultural reference: The Producers (probably brings in too many connotations of humor that you don't want).

You could go latin with something like Ars Dramatus.

My final suggestion: Storycraft or Stagecraft.

Cheers.

Jason


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Shreyas Sampat on April 16, 2003, 09:43:23 AM
Itzpapalotl means 'obsidian butterfly'.  Xochiquetzal, 'precious flower', and Xilonen, a corn goddess, also are associated with butterfly imagery - in Aztec mysticism, butterflies are the spirits of the dead.  Besides being a butterly goddess, Itzpapalotl has the claws of a jaguar; she is the beautiful, demonic counterpart to another obsidian god, a blinded man cast out of heaven, he of darkness and destruction.  (sort of a dark aspect of Hephaestus)

Which is a cool link with Persephone, who's a much more resonant sort of figure.  You could have this subtle Aztec reference where P. always appears in conjunction with butterflies native to Mexico, gazes at herself in dark pools, consorts with jaguars...

Anyway, back to useful.

Monkey in his Buddhist aspect of crazy-monkey-god-who-knows-every-important-saint would be a perfectly appropriate Intermediary, I think.  Coyote and Quixote are a hard choice for Masker.

The chapters as dialogues with one member of the Troupe at a time are a great idea, very sane.

As for naming the troupe and the game...
When I'm writing fiction, I tend to just start writing until I get to the end, and then wait a few days, to let it filter out of my active thought process, and then reread and see what title occurs to me.  For fiction, this works okay.  Innumerable just occurred to me as a possible title, to pick up the pattern of the lessons but break out of it too; it's a little obscure, but hopefully not unapproachable.


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 16, 2003, 10:58:00 AM
Ralph: Actually, "Conductor" was one of my original favorites for the admin/moderator position, but I didn't like the railroad connotations (though the musical ones are nice).  Still, it probably is better than "Grand Comptroller," which sounds like another pseudonym for GM.

Also, I agree than Anansi is less of a mouthful than Grandmother Spider (or her other name, which is something like "Tabula-Taneke, the Spider-Woman," though I probably slaughtered the spelling).  And if we have Persephone or Baba Yaga as Gardener, our male-to-female ratio isn't quite so lop-sided.

Jason:  Of all your suggestions, I think After-Once (or, alternately, AfterOnce, with no hyphen) sounds the best to me, because it's a term that I'm already using.  Both Storycraft and Stagecraft have potential as well, but they're a little reminiscent of Spycraft.  Or perhaps I could call it "Troubadours"?  Still, After-Once sounds like a tenative title, though I'll keep calling it Storypunk for now, so as not to confuse folks.

Shreyas: Now I understand your obsession with Itzpapalotl.  She rocks.  Butterflies as spirits of the dead, eh?  Going to have to use that at some point (if you don't get to it first...).  You're right that the final title will probably come to me either during writing or at the end.  And your advice on Troupe member is well recieved.

At this point, I think I can safely say that the Troupe looks to be:

Monkey
Scherazade
Anansi
Coyote
Persephone
You

Three beasts and two chicks.  Kind of a strange mixture.

So Quixote, as much as I like him, is probably out.  He's a fish out of water in group of legendary characters and just can't be the shamanistic Masker that Coyote can.  However, maybe he can take Medea's place as the former Troupe member that they talk about, but you don't ever see.  Plus, of all of them, Quixote's also the one I'm most likely to use in another game, especially if I wanted to do someting closer to the original premise I started out with in Q&C.

Thanks bunches for your help.  Now, let me work up some art notes for the various icon characters, and I'll run them by you guys before sending them off to Ramón.


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Thomas Tamblyn on April 16, 2003, 03:42:19 PM
Probably a bit too late but I can't help but notice that ALL of the male iconics are tricksters.  Unless this is really what you want I'd suggest changing at least one of them.  I'd swap Anansi for Merlin (who does have a storyteller-aspect if I remember right), but thats just me.


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 17, 2003, 08:23:53 AM
Quote from: Thomas Tamblyn
Probably a bit too late but I can't help but notice that ALL of the male iconics are tricksters.


Hmm, interesting point, though that doesn't both me so much.  They also all happen to be half-animal characters, which is a little more immediately obvious.  I'm still trying to think of someone who might replace Anansi as Piper, but I'm mostly happy with the crew I've got.

By the way, folks... what do you think of the name Bitter Fables?  I'm trying to convey the bittersweet, fanciful-but-tragic tone that I imagine the game will have.  You have these fleeting encounters with epic stories, but them watch them crumble before your eyes if you tarry too long and enjoy them.  Your love destroys the thing you love.  That kind of thing.

For a while, I was considering a long, drawn-out name like a Torchbearer trait ("My Story is Sharp as Winter" :) or a quote from Haroun & the Sea of Stories ("I drink the warm Story Waters" or "Don't you like Princess Rescue Stories?"), but I think something directly descriptive, instead of something that's simply evocative, might be best.

Hard at work on icon descriptions.


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: SrGrvsaLot on April 17, 2003, 08:35:53 AM
Quote
I think something directly descriptive, instead of something that's simply evocative, might be best.


That depends on what you want. Using an evocative name can add an ambiguous and etherial quality to your game that might be lacking otherwise. Personally, of all your ideas, I liked "Don't you like princess rescue stories?" the best. It had a quality about it, like a memory drifting away. "Bitter Fables" is too direct, I think. Maybe the theme of your game would work best if it remains a subtext, rather than an explicit goal.

Of course, you might try a comprimise between the descriptive and the evocative. How about "Stories Told Once," or something along those lines?


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 17, 2003, 11:30:30 AM
Quote from: SrGrvsaLot
How about "Stories Told Once," or something along those lines?


That's not bad, actually.  Kinda evocative of Kipling's "Just-So Stories," so maybe something like "Once-Told Tales" or the like could work.  I've also been thinking recently about one of my favorite online comics sites, Small Stories, whose tagline is "comics to make love to," which is delightfully delicious.  I want this game to break the hearts of those that love stories, but in a good way, that makes them want to come back for the bittersweet experience again and again.  It's a tragic game, really, and maybe the title should reflect that.  "Ever-Ending Stories" anyone?  I think I want to stay away from titles that sound like bad translations of Anime film titles ("Tragic Heartbreak Storyland Saga Yoshimi!"), but something a little sarcasticly redundant like "Stories That Aren't Even True" might work.

Still thinking about this one...


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 17, 2003, 11:31:58 AM
"Twice-Told Lies"

Best,
Ron


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 17, 2003, 11:39:25 AM
Not bad, Ron, except that nothing in the game really gets told twice, so some players would be scratching their heads wondering what it meant.

Just remembered something that I concocted for a comic I was going to do a while back, combining Happily Ever After with the Sweet Hereafter (i.e. death).  How does "Here-Ever-After" strike you?

EDIT:  It's too bad there was that Drew Berrymore movie a while back, or I'd just call it "Ever After" (the logical companion of Atlas' "Once Upon A Time").


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Ron Edwards on April 17, 2003, 11:56:51 AM
"However After"

And quit anticipating what players "would" do or "would" interpret a title. That way lies madness and failure to work on the important stuff.

Best,
Ron


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Spooky Fanboy on April 17, 2003, 12:29:25 PM
"Whatever and Ever, Amen."

Sorry. Popped into my head, and I couldn't resist.


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 17, 2003, 01:39:48 PM
How about just:

Forever After

Very "tense-y", and indicating the open-endedness. Evocative of being "forever after" the story.

Mike


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Thomas Tamblyn on April 18, 2003, 10:04:28 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
How about just:

Forever After

Very "tense-y", and indicating the open-endedness. Evocative of being "forever after" the story


Unfortuantely its already taken as the title of a book by  Catherine Anderson.

http://www.catherineanderson.com/books/foreverafter.html


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Mike Holmes on April 18, 2003, 10:18:36 AM
You know, you could probably use "Ever After" and get away with it. It's not really a challenge to the trademark, and it's part of a phrase in common use. Or did you just not want to be associated with a chick flick? :-)

I originally liked the title StoryHack. That might be more appropriate now.

Mike


Title: Storypunk: Specific Help with Icons?
Post by: Jonathan Walton on April 18, 2003, 11:00:53 AM
Quote from: Mike Holmes
Or did you just not want to be associated with a chick flick? :-)


Well, maybe, but I also happened to like that particular chick flick, as I recall... :)

As for the name, I came to the same conclusion as you, actually, about 3 hours ago.  I just dubbed the project "Ever-After" in an email to Ramon Perez, so that may be what I'm stuck with.  I also think that "the After-Once" will now have to be called "the Ever-After" (or maybe not), but that's a secondary concern.

So, before Ron sees fit to shut this thread down, let me do it myself.  Thanks for all your help and suggestions, but I think I've got most everything worked out for now.  I'm sure they'll be more issues as I sit down and begin to crank out prose, but please consider this thread closed (unless you have other issues to bring up, besides the "name game").