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Author Topic: About dices, rules and narrative  (Read 24034 times)
Sydney Freedberg
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« Reply #15 on: October 14, 2005, 06:21:38 PM »

I just blundered across this thing called "Sanctum" on RPG.net, which is an experiment in systemless background, situation, and character. Does this resemble what you were thinking of? How's it different?
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talysman
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« Reply #16 on: October 14, 2005, 10:34:10 PM »

Sébastien,

I suggest downloading a copy of John Kirk's RPG Design Patterns (mentioned in a couple other threads, such as this one.) you can find his draft version on his website.

look up the "Loose Coupling" design pattern. it's a technique used in third-party expansion suppliments for d20, but was also used in some early "systemless" suppliments. what you want, it seems, is for a game suppliment that uses generic terms for common RPG mechanics, like "Strength test" or "skill check", without referring to the specifics of any game system. in addition, you would like the adventures included in the supplimnt to have minimal rules to determine when certain events in a story line are triggered, or what the exit conditions for a story's completion are. I think this is all a form of Loose Coupling.

it's possible some people may be interested in creating such suppliments, but we have to be realistic here: it's mostly a matter of content creation, not game design, and most game designers are going to have their own ideas for game systems that they want to pursue. you're not going to have much luck getting people here to agree that System Doesn't Matter, but you can get help here designing a simple set of narrative control rules for use in a series of Loose Coupled generic game suppliments, and perhaps may even convince a designer or two to create the basic system for you. you could then ask content creators if they'd like to create specific content using that system.

there's a certain appeal to the approach. but I'm just saying: you're not going to get people to give up making their own focused RPGs.
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
pells
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Posts: 192


« Reply #17 on: October 14, 2005, 11:58:46 PM »

I checked sanctum. In the idea of systemless content, I'd say we're aiming at the same goal. Other than that, I can't say.

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what you want, it seems, is for a game suppliment that uses generic terms for common RPG mechanics, like "Strength test" or "skill check", without referring to the specifics of any game system
I don't think I use "Loose Coupling". When I describe an action taken by a character, I don't refer to any particular ability, even less in term of "check" or "test". Take Harry Potter, would be strange to see, in the last confrontation something like "Harry succeeded his magic test and inflict a lot of damage to his opponent ! But the latest, having the trait quick and shadow disapears suddlenly.".

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it's mostly a matter of content creation, not game design,
Maybe you're right. In any case, the term content seems correct to me. But, is content not one of the main element in RPG creation ?

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perhaps may even convince a designer or two to create the basic system for you.
I'd say, I'm not looking for that.

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you're not going to get people to give up making their own focused RPGs
I hope so !!! Anyway, my main target is not RPG creators.
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #18 on: October 17, 2005, 11:05:26 AM »

I don't think I use "Loose Coupling". When I describe an action taken by a character, I don't refer to any particular ability, even less in term of "check" or "test". Take Harry Potter, would be strange to see, in the last confrontation something like "Harry succeeded his magic test and inflict a lot of damage to his opponent ! But the latest, having the trait quick and shadow disapears suddlenly.".

If I'm reading you right, you don't plan to include the player-characters in your product at all, correct?  I don't even see a provision for leaving a player-character-shaped hole.

But, is content not one of the main element in RPG creation ?

Rather emphatically no.  In fact on this board, you'll probably see more of the opposite school, where content is deprioritized in favor of systems that emulate or reinforce a specific style of play.  It's a commonly held assumption that the gamer market is filled with people who create fantasy worlds in their heads, but do not have the tools and techniques for designing a mechanical framework under which that kind of play will be supported.  Perhaps this assumption is incorrect or at least slightly off target, but you're going to have to prove it wrong before we can really start talking about it.
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pells
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Posts: 192


« Reply #19 on: October 17, 2005, 02:27:35 PM »

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If I'm reading you right, you don't plan to include the player-characters in your product at all, correct?  I don't even see a provision for leaving a player-character-shaped hole.

Yes and no. I don't include player-characters, that's true, but I do have provision and plenty of !!! As my many stories unfold on each others, many different threads are being lead by important NPCs who would (and will) hired adventurers (yours or not). So, players-characters would just take their places, fill their holes. If what you're thinking about is someone who is waiting for your PCs, well, I don't provide that. But I think, in a way, it makes sense. Has to do with another comment you made.

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It's a commonly held assumption that the gamer market is filled with people who create fantasy worlds in their heads,

I supposed you're right, but why is it so ? For some gamers, certaintly for the pure pleasure of creating, but maybe, for others, because there's no such product on the market. But anyway, as most gamers create their worlds, I believe firmly that they do get inspired by other creations (I think that is true for regular authors as well...). Let's say a gamer reads a good book and uses it for his game, I don't see any player-character-shaped hole in the original creation, but the gamer seems able to adapt it to his game. And books, or movies, are not written or edited for gamers to use in their world !!

I'll come back on the above. One of important thing I'd like to create with my project and find missing in typical scenarios is the sensation that the world is alive. Using player-character-shaped hole somehow annoyes me (that said, maybe I misunderstood what you meant). Too often, I see linear stories. Someone is waiting for your players with an important mission. Your players may decline it and come back a couple weeks later, the man will still be there, having the same mission to offer. The world doesn't live outside of your player's eyes. That's what I try to elude. But how ?
Instead of using a linear scheme, what I propose is a calendar of events (very important notion for me. It would be something similar to a newspaper). I would detail what's happening in the world (a part of it, to be exact), weeks after weeks (but could be days or hours, same idea). When a GM would play it, he would need to keep a record of his players activities day after day. As time goes by, stories unfold. It would ressemble a web instead of a line. And, as characters may only be in one place at one given time, it would be quite easy for the DM to know exactly what is happening, what part of the web concerns his game.

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Perhaps this assumption is incorrect or at least slightly off target, but you're going to have to prove it wrong before we can really start talking about it.

Well... I'll try to!! From my experience, I believe gamers who write their own adventures, write one session after another. I don't think they plan twenty hours of game ahead. And I don't think they write five stories for their players to choose from, knowing, at the end, they'll only used about 20% of what they've written. I do realise that if I want to sell a content based product, it must something no one is crazy enough to write for himself. I've been working on it for two years, got for more than four hundred pages, so I believe I'll give it a try !!
That said, I should present an excerpt of my work, something like twenty pages should do it... but I need time to translate it, as I write in french (much, much easier for me !!). (note : for the record, I'm getting married this week-end, so time is not so easy to find...)

Finally, what I wish to do in this thread is exchange about how content is written for the RPG. And I don't say the system doesn't matter, it does. And obviously this board is from the opposite school of mine, but still, don't you need to write content ?
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greyorm
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« Reply #20 on: October 17, 2005, 05:16:09 PM »

Ok, having seen your replies to various folks and comparisons with other system-type things, I have  to say this: you are writing fiction. You are not writing narrative fiction, but you are writing fiction. Call it "content" or call it "fluff" or call it whatever, that's what you are doing.

You're hoping to create some sort of (open-ended) situational scenarios, some descriptive overviews evocatively full of potential for resolution in a myriad of ways, that are interesting enough to be picked up and converted into the buyer's system of choice. You aren't creating adventures, per se, but something more along the lines of mini-setting bibles.

Ok, sure. Lots of people have tried to or want to do this. There are numerous examples on the web of such things (I have a whole bunch of them bookmarked, in fact).

But the problem is you're still pulling a Herbie...you're not saying, "Oh, Herbie can run ANYTHING and make it good" but you are coming at the same problematic viewpoint from a different angle, "Oh, as long as the story is good, any set of mechanics will serve you. Here, convert it."

That's still Herbie. That's still "System isn't important."

Example: let's say you write this bit about love and betrayal at the king's court, detailing all the major players and where they're standing in relation to one another, what they each want, what they're each doing, etc. And then turn the players loose on this situation to do whatever they will...

Well, depending on which system they use to play this scenario out, things might turn out very well, or very badly -- enjoyment-wise. Try and throw D&D characters into this mess. D&D is not a system that supports, rewards or encourages romance, subterfuge, or emotional engagement. It rewards killing stuff and taking its treasure. That's what it is designed to do.

Now, it seems to me you've gone this route for the same reason many freeformers do: because the mechanics got in the way for you a number of times in play. Thus you decided the problem must be with mechanics, that mechanics were too problematic and unsupportive of really playing and doing what you want.

Well, yes, the first bit is right, they were getting in the way...but not in the way you think. They were not problematic because there were mechanics, but because the wrong mechanics were being used to achieve the desired effect. By way of analogy: you've rejected all tools because you tried to hammer in nails with a screwdriver and things (of course) didn't turn out so well.

But the problem is that you've decided the reason for this difficulty was that you were using tools, and thus concluded that tools are inhibitive of achieving your goal(s), and that avoiding tools will allow you to avoid the problem and get right down to building the project you're after.

That's what I'm reading.

Now, if you want to be a content creator, and leave the mechanical/system-level stuff to others...well, great. Go right ahead; but at least do it for the right reasons, from the right perspective, or you've failed before you've even begun.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #21 on: October 18, 2005, 09:43:24 AM »

What Raven said, Pells. Actually I won't outright agree with his assessment that you're writing fiction, per se, but you're not writing material that can be used "as is" for a RPG. Even freeform players will have to find a way to manipulate the information to get it to be playable.

You keep thinking that you have your "school" and we have ours. What's really going on is that you've only played a very few RPGs, with very few people, and haven't studied the phenomenon at all. Rather, our school knows everything your school does, and a whole lot more. I wrote this rant for would be designers in your position: Mike's Standard Rant #1: Designers! Know your hobby!

Note that I didn't start off with this assumption, but got to know you first. But you make too many assumptions that are just not true to really know the RPG field. For instance:
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For some gamers, certaintly for the pure pleasure of creating, but maybe, for others, because there's no such product on the market.
No "campaign" material available? What's not available is campaign materials that don't have stats. Stuff with stats is so ubiquitous that it's it's ridiculous. A player playing D&D could play every day for the rest of his life and not get through all of the pre-prepared adventure materials. Heck, just playing through the "World's Largest Dungeon" probably takes years of play for most groups (http://store.alderac.com/Merchant2/merchant.mvc?screen=PROD&Product_Code=8523&Category_Code=d20). And that's one product with 840 pages of stuff. Your additional 400 pages are going to be a needle in a haystack of setting material.

Ah, but your stuff is different, because it doesn't have stats, right? Allowing it to concentrate on what you personally feel is really important. Well, if I'm a D&D player, which is a better product, 400 pages that I have to add stats to in order to play, or 840 pages with stats? So, basically you're saying that your product only will appeal to the freeformers. Well, know what? Freeformers don't pay for anything. That's one of the advantages of their version of the hobby. Why buy your thing with no stats, when they can play in using Tolkien's work as their setting material? He's got way more than 400 pages of statless setting material, all set on a calendar. And, well, sorry, but I'm guessing you're not as good as JRR Tolkien at writing up setting. Or any of the hundreds of other published fantasy authors.

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One of important thing I'd like to create with my project and find missing in typical scenarios is the sensation that the world is alive.
Apparently you're making the mistake of thinking that we're only comparing your ideas to D&D and such. If, in fact, no "alive" stuff had ever been made in RPG texts, I'd wholeheartedly agree with you that this was something needed. But, heck, even in D&D there are whole campaign supplements that match your definition of alive. Planescape for one. But that's just dredging the barrel. I use Rolemaster's stock fantasy setting Shadow World quite a bit. Not because I think it's really great, but for a few personal reasons. That has a constantly evolving calendar of metaplot events, and is presented precisely as you define your work (though with stats). These products have been around since the mid 80s.

And I'm still not getting to the good stuff. How about the Delta Green supplement for Call of Cthulhu. Award winning, and meriting those awards to boot, this is an awesome example of the sort of thing you're talking about. And has actually quite scant stats. To beat this product, you have to beat their awesome web site, about it, too: http://www.delta-green.com/ 

So good it's got a computer game being made about it: http://www.flyinglab.com/deltagreen/

So many of these things exist that people acually give away such content in massive quantities. Here's a whole world: http://www.agyris.net/

The first ever created world for D&D was in 1974, called Tekumel: http://www.tekumel.com/
Yeah it includes stats for D&D, but it also includes some of the most detailed setting information you can come by. How about worlds that have their own systems made just to play in them? Like Jorune (http://www.jorune.org/), or Talislanta (http://www.talislanta.com/), both of which have entire worlds of all new beings with a ton of detail.

Need I mention the grandaddy of setting sprawl, Glorantha? http://www.glorantha.com
There is so much material available about Glorantha, that you'd have to have the equivalent of a PhD to understand all of it. I do not exaggerate even a little. If you want, I can give you links to more Glorantha stuff than you can even read in the next year. More than enough to play until we're all dead. One setting. Detailed to an extent that's hard to fathom. Here's just one fan site: http://www.etyries.com/

Free. I could play till I drop on the free setting information that exists on Glorantha alone. Setting information, note, that has no stats. Just setting detail. People, places, history, organizations, etc, etc, etc.

The only difference between these products and yours is that the people in these cases have, where neccessary, added the statistics neccessary to play the game in one system. What's interesting is that there are several published systems to play Glorantha, and some people play freeform (note the freeform LARP on the etyries site).

So there's absolutely no lack of the sort of material that you're proposing, yours just has the dubious distinction of not being ready to play with anything but a freeform game. Which is true of all setting information. Basically the only way to get a product like this to sell is to make it applicable to some system. Or at least that's what history teaches us.

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but still, don't you need to write content ?
Depends on what you mean by content, but generally, no, you don't need to write "content". Check out several of the systems that are on the list. Sorcerer does not have a setting that comes with it. Inspectres has a half a page of setting that amounts to "it's Ghostbusters in the dot.com era." Dogs in the Vinyard is a very popular game about here of late that really only implies a setting more than setting one up.

I wrote a game called Universalis that requires as part of play that the setting be created (no GM, so the players have to do it for themselves). Prime Time Adventures is a game about making up TV shows - you get to choose what the show is about! For games like Nicotine Girls the setting is "today, somewhere where you can find girls from low income families." My Life With Master is set "somewhere in eastern europe" and you (the players) get to define the master's desmense and the town before play.

Sorry if this post is comming off as talking down to you, but I think you really need to get some perspective on what RPGs are about in totality before you go off making decisions on what to create. Er, what Raven said.

Mike
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ewilen
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« Reply #22 on: October 18, 2005, 02:35:03 PM »

Mike, while not wishing to contradict the overall thrust of your posts in this thread, I would like to point out that Harn is a commercial setting which is explicitly marketed as "usable with any rule system". With some allowance for hyperbole, this is true--although there is a rule system called Harnmaster, it was published three years (?) after the game world had been introduced on the market, and AFAIK most or all of the modules do not contain explicit references to the system. Actual practice at least based on this Harnforum thread supports the idea that the "Harn culture" is fairly diverse in terms of the systems they use.

But--I think one can tell from the entire business model that it's aimed at a niche. These are expensive products, with an extremely high level of detail reflecting a great deal of research and craft. Also, quite possibly, it's a reflection of an earlier time when communication and technology made the production and communication of this sort of work much harder.
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Elliot Wilen, Berkeley, CA
Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #23 on: October 19, 2005, 01:51:44 PM »

Hmmm. All the Harn stuff I have has stats for Harnmaster all over it.

But, OK. There's your example. Which only proves my point, however. This has even been done verbatim.

I'm not saying that one can't make money with this concept, either. I'm saying that there's no niche that needs filling. It's already full. Packed to the brim. If you want to dive into this market, not having stats is not a feature. It's a flaw that'll have to be overcome.

Heck, if Pells is the next MAR Barker, perhaps he's got something. But even Tekumel doesn't sell all that well. It's still an unfortunate truism that the best way to get your setting material to sell is to make it D20 compliant.

Mike
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pells
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« Reply #24 on: October 19, 2005, 02:06:03 PM »

Quote
Sorry if this post is comming off as talking down to you, but I think you really need to get some perspective on what RPGs are about in totality before you go off making decisions on what to create.

A little preliminary note.
I think we misunderstand, in part, each others. And I think it's mostly my fault. The main problem is that, as of today, I have nothing to show you. I do have a "book", but written in french. I don't have a website, yet. It would be much easier just to say 'Ok, click on that link and you'll see exactly what I have to offer, what I'm creating'. But, yep, it's not the case... So I could say "trust me, I'm such a good writer !!", but this is not really an argument. And I don't especially like to preach in the desert...
Maybe my participation on this board was too soon, but, really, I didn't plan on presenting that much my project. That wasn't my main purpose. That said, I'll add some more comments, trying to present and clarify some ideas.

Mechanics :
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Ok, having seen your replies to various folks and comparisons with other system-type things, I have  to say this: you are writing fiction. You are not writing narrative fiction, but you are writing fiction. Call it "content" or call it "fluff" or call it whatever, that's what you are doing.

I'm still not convinced. From what I'm reading, the mere fact I don't have a system to put behind my story means I don't write for RPG, that I don't design a game ? Ok, then. I'll extract one story (let's say about 10 % of what I'm writing), put it 'open game licence' and I'll add d20 system behind. Is that all I have to do to put on my product a 'made for RPG seal' ? Then, I'll do it, as it will take me a fraction of the time I've spent on writing and creating.

The important point I wanted to elaborate about "system-less" is that I'm not writing for a specific, a given, system of play. My main trade is selling stories (novel, scenarios, fluff, anything you call it). Anything else, for me, is add-on. If my story is very bad (which might be the case after all), then, I can have the best mechanic, the biggest dungeon, awesome map, cool web design, a lot of drawings, I don't think I can reach my market. Hear me well on this : first I want to write, create a story (and not only a background). This is my main trade. This is the fundation of my project. Maybe, surely, I'll add a system (maybe more than one), some mechanic to represent my description, but this will not be the reason people will be playing my campaign.

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Well, yes, the first bit is right, they were getting in the way...but not in the way you think. They were not problematic because there were mechanics, but because the wrong mechanics were being used to achieve the desired effect. By way of analogy: you've rejected all tools because you tried to hammer in nails with a screwdriver and things (of course) didn't turn out so well.

I do see mechanics as tools, that's true. So let me re-use your example of screwdriver and hammer. The question is not what tool to use. It's not even 'is it for a nail or a screw ?'. The question, for me, is 'what to I want to design ?'. When it's done, then, I'll ask 'how do I want to build it, using a screw or a nail ?', and then, only then, I'll go and take the tools, hopefully choosing the right ones.

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Well, depending on which system they use to play this scenario out, things might turn out very well, or very badly -- enjoyment-wise. Try and throw D&D characters into this mess. D&D is not a system that supports, rewards or encourages romance, subterfuge, or emotional engagement. It rewards killing stuff and taking its treasure. That's what it is designed to do.

I get your point, but I don't see it that way. I think what encourages and promotes a style of play is not the mechanic you're using, but instead gamers preferences. If I use d&d, does it mean I can't play 'intrigue at court' style game ? I don't get it.
I think players (not all of them, I know, but still, some) decide the system they use based on the question 'when do I need to refer to dices, mechanics ?' For myself (but, hey, that's me!!) I don't need to roll dices to encourage and promotes intrigues, or romance for that matter. When I'm playing this kind of part in my games, I don't really feel the need to roll dices. But when my players encouter a monster (and it doesn't occur very often), I'm glad I can refer to some mechanics and roll dices to arbitrate. That said, I know it can be the opposite for your game. And it's a good thing!

As long as games are played, people back each week and having fun together, around a table, using the mechanics they want, well, I'd say the world of RPGs will go for the best.

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You keep thinking that you have your "school" and we have ours. What's really going on is that you've only played a very few RPGs, with very few people, and haven't studied the phenomenon at all. Rather, our school knows everything your school does, and a whole lot more.

I don't think the question is about 'your' school versus 'mine'. Mechanics and story, I believe, are both needed when you play. So I think the question should be about exchanging on this matter. How designing story is made when mechanics is thougth first, and vice versa.

Market :
Thanks for the many links and the articles. I checked them and I have few comments to make.
First, about your presentation of different games. Well, finally, I played/DMed/read most of them. Your interesting analysis was mostly, if not exclusively, about mechanic, his different form and evolution... not much to say about how a story is written for RPG, his different form and evolution. And, as you know, that's the part that interests me.

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Heck, just playing through the "World's Largest Dungeon" probably takes years of play for most groups

Seriously, gamers who are seeking a story won't even bother about 'the biggest dungeon ever made', and vice versa... If you are willing to buy the largest dungeon ever, you won't even dare to look at my product !!!

That said, I hear you. But what I see, and had already observed, is that there's alot of settings available. Very interesting ones, rich, detailed... but not so many stories.
Still, I'm glad to see that some settings were multi systems...

Finally, I don't think I have a so naive approach about RPG world and his market. And maybe, my product is just aimed at a niche, but maybe, that's all need...

My product :
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The only difference between these products and yours is that the people in these cases have, where neccessary, added the statistics neccessary to play the game in one system. What's interesting is that there are several published systems to play Glorantha, and some people play freeform (note the freeform LARP on the etyries site).

The precedence (I'll use that instead of absence, if you allow me) of 'story' over mechanics is not the only particularity of my project. I mentionned some earlier and will enumerate them below :
  • the construction of setting and story altogether. I would not offer one without the other.
  • a non linear structure for writing
  • the 'skeleton' aspect of the scenario, allowing the DM to adapt it to his needs, adding details that reflect his style of play
  • the use of a calendar, instead of chapters, to describe the story
  • the presentation of many stories going at the same time
  • the absence of predefined story for the players, giving them a lot of freedom and allowing the DM to really play with his players, in the sense of improvisation.
  • the desire to create a campaign, offering many, many hours of gameplay. To create that in a viable way, I need the above...
  • a new way to sell RPG... but, hey, I won't be talking about that here... a thread in publishing later.

One last thing (and I know, it's a long post !!).
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Also, quite possibly, it's a reflection of an earlier time when communication and technology made the production and communication of this sort of work much harder.
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Even freeform players will have to find a way to manipulate the information to get it to be playable.

That is why I'm writing for RPG, that's what you don't find in a novel. And I'd say I can't think of my project without the use of high technologies.
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greyorm
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My name is Raven.


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« Reply #25 on: October 19, 2005, 05:03:51 PM »

I'm still not convinced. From what I'm reading, the mere fact I don't have a system to put behind my story means I don't write for RPG, that I don't design a game?

It may be written for use with an RPG...that does not make it an RPG, however. This is an important distinction a number of people have attempted to clarify for you.

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My main trade is selling stories

Above you claim "It's an RPG!" and then you claim, "I write stories!" You need to make up your mind and stop responding merely to argue the point. I understand what it is you are doing, exactly and specifically, in all respects. Please stop thinking I do not. You have made it clear.

Another problem is that you are using the word "story" as though it means something. The word "story" is meaningless because it can mean so many different things to different people. Please specify what you mean by this word.

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When it's done, then, I'll ask 'how do I want to build it, using a screw or a nail ?', and then, only then, I'll go and take the tools, hopefully choosing the right ones.

Excepting that this is not a new or novel approach. This is, in fact, the approach suggested by the Forge in developing a game -- you start with what you want your game to do, what sort of story/play experience you want, and then develop a system that supports that goal -- so you're preaching to the choir, here.

I suggest, perhaps, lurking a little longer and reading more of the materials presented in the Articles section of the site before continuing to participate or your ability to get anything out of the Forge will be hampered, coming as it is from a point where: you are arguing against what "designers" do and presuming that "designers at the Forge" do this as well -- particularly regarding developing mechanics before "story".

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If I use d&d, does it mean I can't play 'intrigue at court' style game ? I don't get it.

It doesn't mean you can't play that style of game, it means that D&D does not support that style of play.

It means that another system would have been better suited to playing out intrigue, because the mechanics support the play, the theme, the events and goals of intrigues better than D&D does. It means that you would have a better experience of play utilizing a set of mechanics that supported your play goals.

This is a very important point to understand if you want to design RPG material of any sort.

You say that you want people to use your material because it will be a good story. This is where you are failing to hear me: the quality of the story will vary depending on the mechanics used to implement that story. Thus, it does not matter how good your material is, because you will have no control over the tools chosen to bring it to life.

It is like writing a script for a Hollywood movie; you can write the most amazing script in the world, but an incompetent director or awful actors can sink it like a lead brick despite its brilliance. Now, you have no control over the group, that is true, but assuming a competent group of players, the tools (the mechanics) can very much make or break the experience.

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That said, I hear you. But what I see, and had already observed, is that there's alot of settings available. Very interesting ones, rich, detailed... but not so many stories.

What? How much WhiteWolf have you read/played? In fact, I am stunned you can make that statement, because it indicates a complete lack of familiarity with the hobby. There are many multiple-dozens of games that have plenty of stories. As simply one example, please look up the term "metaplot".

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The precedence (I'll use that instead of absence, if you allow me) of 'story' over mechanics is not the only particularity of my project. I mentionned some earlier and will enumerate them below :

Pells, nothing you have listed is in any way remotely or vaguely new. Everything on your list is old hat in the gaming industry. Unfortunately, this does showcase your lack of experience regarding diverse and long-term experience with the hobby, what it has to offer, and what it has already offered. That is not meant to be an attack, it is a criticism that will hopefully make you take a look at where you're at as a designer and where you should be at.

Note that some of your goals with the product seem schizophrenic. Take the "A calendar of story events!" and "Freedom to create the story!" claims about the nature of the material. Game companies have been trying that for years. It is one of the main reasons I ended up rejecting most of TSR's game worlds during the 90's: they, too, had on-going stories in the game world that happened regardless of the players; they had "calendars of events" (note the old grey Forgotten Realms boxed set) that one could use or not use in play.

But this sort of set-up creates problems because as new material is released for the same setting, the story is assumed to have happened in one particular way, making new material progressively less useful to any given group, unless they toe the line and make sure none of what they have one alters the world significantly from the given presentation.

There is no way to say, "This will happen at a predetermined time!" and "You create the story yourself! No predetermined story!" at the same time. These ideas are diametrically opposed to one another. Think about it: if your players affect even one calendar event early in the campaign, they eventually end up invalidating dozens, if not hundreds, of later events.

They slew the king? There goes all the stuff about the king in later events, and anything remotely related to court politics. The entire setting may change significantly. It snowballs...I've seen it, time and again, and it is one of the main reasons that over five years ago I began preaching against the evils of metaplots being assumed in setting materials.

That may all seem like a harsh dismissal of your idea, but its frank criticism of an idea I have seen played out time-and-again, and that the main hobby has begun to reject as the problems with such set-ups become apparent.

My main point is this: you aren't proposing anything new here, and you need to realize that. You MUST, in fact, if you wish to have anything resembling success. In order to be successful with your product, you'll need to look at the history of similar attempts, and the pitfalls associated with them from a distance, as an observer: not as a creator looking to defend and protect his idea, even if you think it is the best idea ever.
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Rev. Ravenscrye Grey Daegmorgan
Wild Hunt Studio
Kyle Carter
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #26 on: October 19, 2005, 10:49:38 PM »

Pells, you should have started your own Thread dude. I was gone for awhile, and the next thing I know, you hijacked it. What's up with that?
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The Secret to Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. - Albert Einstein

Also for the those interested, I am a Graphic Designer, so I can help with your projects if you need it. Just PM me!
Kyle Carter
Member

Posts: 20


« Reply #27 on: October 19, 2005, 11:20:05 PM »

Um, I am so sorry. I didn't realize what I did. Please ignore that last post of mine. I thought I was advancing pages in my own thread, but I was moving into the next thread. Please excuse my error.

SORRY...
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The Secret to Creativity is knowing how to hide your sources. - Albert Einstein

Also for the those interested, I am a Graphic Designer, so I can help with your projects if you need it. Just PM me!
pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #28 on: October 20, 2005, 01:43:13 PM »

I'll try to make it short this time...

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It may be written for use with an RPG...

I'll take that !! That seems enough for me at the moment...

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It means that another system would have been better suited to playing out intrigue, because the mechanics support the play, the theme, the events and goals of intrigues better than D&D does. It means that you would have a better experience of play utilizing a set of mechanics that supported your play goals.

But what happens if I don't need mechanics to play intrigue ? Are you saying I am missing something because I don't throw dices during these parts ? Would I be enjoying myself more for that ? I played two weeks ago, five hours game... anyway, not a single dice roll. Does that mean I didn't play a role playing game ? Is that some kind of flaws to not throw dices ?

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It is like writing a script for a Hollywood movie; you can write the most amazing script in the world, but an incompetent director or awful actors can sink it like a lead brick despite its brilliance

What about competent director and bad script ? Do you really need an example ?

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Pells, nothing you have listed is in any way remotely or vaguely new. Everything on your list is old hat in the gaming industry

Did I pretended it to be ? I guess not. And I would agree with your last statement. But doesn't mean it can't be good. Take example of Kafka, Kundera, Musil, Cerventes : they didn't invent novels, but wrote good ones.

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There is no way to say, "This will happen at a predetermined time!" and "You create the story yourself! No predetermined story!" at the same time. These ideas are diametrically opposed to one another.


Do I have to quote myself here to explain it ?

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Think about it: if your players affect even one calendar event early in the campaign, they eventually end up invalidating dozens, if not hundreds, of later events.

That is why using a web is useful. Given the appropriate tools (don't think about mechanics here), a DM could easily see what part of the web has been affected while players could play others parts. But then again, I don't think you would agree...

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That may all seem like a harsh dismissal of your idea, but its frank criticism of an idea I have seen played out time-and-again, and that the main hobby has begun to reject as the problems with such set-ups become apparent.

Truly I know you mean well. Anyway, must take you some time to write those long posts. I appreciate it, really, and I hear you, thanks for the advice...

That said, to greyorm (and anyother), I still have a question, the purpose of this thread after all. I do read a lot, but a lot, about mechanics on this board. But where do you get ideas for the content of your saturday (or friday, whatever...) game ? Obviously, you don't buy it...
I mean, you still need to have content, don't you ? You don't just come to your friends and tell them 'tonight we'll play that system', let's throw dices !!!
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EllePepper
Member

Posts: 26


« Reply #29 on: October 20, 2005, 02:18:47 PM »


I get it, he is talking about a multi-line or multi-plot game where you can have concurrent plots resolving at the same time.  But his big thing is you aren't "rolling'  you ARE the character so it isn't a choice of luck of the roll, it is who can outthink the plot basically.

And while the idea is intruiging, I and my friends tried to play test our own system like that and it very quickly can become unplayable because there is no 'crunch' It will wander off.
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