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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 94 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Introducing new games to old players  (Read 8331 times)
Kory Strickland
Member

Posts: 5


« on: November 02, 2005, 02:39:42 PM »

    Hello all, I'm a long time lurker here at the Forge, but this is my first post.  I'd like to get started running an RPG, but since none of my current friends are willing, I'm going to have to pitch a game to some complete strangers at the gamers club at my school (University of Texas).  As an added challenge, I don't know of a system that has everything I want, so I may need to make my own game as an amateur designer.  I'm looking for a game with:

1.Support for both Gamist and Narrativist creative agendas
2.Real tactical challenges
3.Fortune in the Middle conflict resolution
4.A fairly traditional n-players, 1-GM setup; but with the GMs power limited, and at least some narrative power vested in the players.
5.A multi-session campaign or story-arc structure, as opposed to a one-off

   I must admit that my knowledge of indie RPGs is largely anecdotal, inferred from Forge threads, so I may have missed a fairly obvious example of a game with everything I want. I sent an earlier version of the above requirements to Ron Edwards, and he suggested I check out Tunnels and Trolls and Great Ork Gods.  I looked into both and found them interesting, but as they weren't quite what I was looking for, I've added some additional qualifiers which should help to narrow things down further.  I'd greatly appreciate any suggestions you have to offer.
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Kory Strickland

"The sun never set on the British Empire...
because even God doesn't trust the British in the dark."
Josh Roby
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Posts: 1055

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« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2005, 02:46:33 PM »

1.Support for both Gamist and Narrativist creative agendas

This is your sticking point.  Your 2. and 3. might be a little problematic, but there may be a fortune in the middle CR that handles "real tactical challenges".  Something that actually supports two CAs (which are defined as mutually exclusive) is either impossible or "vanishingly rare."  Can you tell us what kind of play you want, what kind of experiences you want the players (not the characters) to have?  That would reduce some confusion over your first point.
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Kory Strickland
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2005, 03:10:47 PM »

Joshua, thanks for the quick feedback.  My first requirement as stated may be a contradiction in terms, but what I'm really looking for may not be impossible (I hope).  The sort of play I would like would start out with the players engaging in lots of step-on-up, but without a whiff factor (requirement 3), and with challenges beyond traditional, strategic, resource management (requirement 2).  Then, as characters advance (whoops, a 6th requirement I hadn't realized I had), players develop more power relative to the GM in the SIS, and emphasis shifts from overcoming challenges and increasing character power to defining characters through choices that address some sort of premise.  The reasoning behind this rather convoluted plotting is that neither I nor any of my prospective players have any experience with narrative play, and while I very much want to try it, if it falls flat I'd like to have something I can fall back on (good old trusty gamism).
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Kory Strickland

"The sun never set on the British Empire...
because even God doesn't trust the British in the dark."
timfire
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« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2005, 03:24:20 PM »

What did you did not like about Tunnels & Trolls or Great Ork Gods? If you explain, maybe we can point you in a better direction. Also, what games do you normally play, and what games does the university group normally play?

That said, If you want to try out a new/different play style, what you should do is play a number of different games, if you fellow players are willing to. That's the best way to do it. Run a series of one-shots or short adventures.

Burning Wheel is a good one if your looking for traditional fantasy.

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--Timothy Walters Kleinert
brightstar
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Posts: 11


« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2005, 03:27:28 PM »

All convaluted terms aside (CS and junk like that) I think I may have what you're looking for.  The gamist/narrative game is what I'm working on that has many of the ideas you're asking for I think.  I don't really get the Mid Conflict resolution system.  Could you please put up your ideas for someone who doesn't get all the Forge terminology yet because it uses completely different language than gamers actually use.  But I might be able to help you and possibly supply you with a system I need play tested relatively soon (January, Febuary). 
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Josh Roby
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« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2005, 05:35:43 PM »

I am going to make a "me too!" post to agree with Tim, only because this needs to be stressed.

If you want to try a narrativist game, play a narrativist game.  Don't try and 'ease yourself in' or any of that nonsense.  That strategy does not work, or if it does, it works on a timescale of years.  You may be a little intimidated by all the terminology and theory about narrativism on this board, but the thing is, you don't need to understand any of it in order to play in a narrativist style.  The good narrativist games (I'd recommend Dogs) are constituted in a way that guide you, often in unseen ways, towards a different style of play.

Don't think of it as playing that narrativist game for the next four months.  Think of it as playing that narrativist game once.  As Tim says, do a one-shot or a short adventure.  You don't have to play a months-long campaign in order to try it out (in fact, the months-long campaign model is disappearing here at the Forge).  Worst-case scenario?  It sucks, and you're out twenty bucks and one evening.  Not exactly a huge setback.
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Kory Strickland
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2005, 05:42:51 PM »

Timothy, my objection to Tunnels and Trolls is primarily that too much power and responsibility rests on the GMs shoulders.  The construction of an entertaining, detailed, and balanced dungeon, without systemic support for player contributions, seems like a lot of work when I'm really hoping for something that allows significant player contribution to the SIS outside of simply characters actions.

My main problem with Great Ork Gods is simple, the members of the gaming group don't seem to have a lot of patience for learning new systems, and I'd like to get some mileage out any system I teach them.  This is also why I'd rather avoid trying a bunch of one-offs or short adventures; however, I know I'm asking for a lot, and if we can't come up with what I'm looking for, I'll probably end up asking for suggestions of fun short games like Great Ork Gods or The Mountain Witch.

In answer to your second question, I have played D&D, various table top White Wolf games, and Shadowrun.  Members of the game group commonly play D&D, various White Wolf table top RPGs and LARPS, and GURPS.

Finally, while what I have heard about Burning Wheel has been very positive, I have never played it or read the rulebook (outside of the sections currently available online).  Also, from what I have read, I didn't get the impression that player contributions outside of character actions were significant, although of course I could be completely off base in that respect considering how little information I am extrapolating from.

Brightstar, you can find information about Fortune in the Middle and other Forge jargon in the Provisional Glossary.  Also, if you have a draft copy of your game available I'd love to look over it. Can you provide a link?
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Kory Strickland

"The sun never set on the British Empire...
because even God doesn't trust the British in the dark."
Kory Strickland
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2005, 05:56:22 PM »

My apologies, that last one was cross-posted with Joshua (I am a very slow typist).

Joshua, I feel you are probably right about the idea of “easing” into narrativism being a no-go, at least for the short term.  However, considering that, I think I would rather drop the idea of narrativism and go with a straight gamist game that has the other attributes I'm looking for, rather than just jump right into a narrativist one-off as my first game with this group of people (I've got something more important than money or time at risk; my reputation with a new crowd).
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Kory Strickland

"The sun never set on the British Empire...
because even God doesn't trust the British in the dark."
Blankshield
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« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2005, 06:24:53 PM »

Kory, check out Donjon.

James
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I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

http://www.blankshieldpress.com/
Kory Strickland
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2005, 07:35:35 PM »

James, I hadn't ever heard of Donjon before, but the more I read about it the more impressed I am.  Before I dole out the punishing $6.75 pricetag for the PDF (God I'm cheap), do you feel that Donjon games always tend to be on the humorous side?  Because part of me is thinking that all that comedic potential is awesome, but another part of me would like something a little more straight-laced from time to time.  Aside from the possibility that it could be a little over the top, this seems to be exactly what I'm looking for.
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Kory Strickland

"The sun never set on the British Empire...
because even God doesn't trust the British in the dark."
Josh Roby
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Posts: 1055

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« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2005, 08:04:04 PM »

I find, Kory, that the first time a "traditional" gaming group plays any game that affords them loads of input that they aren't used to, they go for the funny to test the barriers.  They want to see exactly how far they'll be "allowed" to go and they are waiting and watching for the big GM authority figure to step in and slap them down.  It's only after they have this 'romp' that they play the game with some sense of purpose -- because you can't play with purpose without knowing the parameters in which you're playing.
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Blankshield
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« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2005, 09:52:10 PM »

Search the Actual Play forum for 'Donjon'.  You'll get loads of good stuff.

James
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I write games. My games don't have much in common with each other, except that I wrote them.

http://www.blankshieldpress.com/
Trevis Martin
Member

Posts: 499


« Reply #12 on: November 02, 2005, 10:09:18 PM »

If you don't want all the prettiness right away, and want to read the game (though it is worth buying and Clinton is homeless at the moment) Clinton has released Donjon under creative commons.  There is a very rough text file of the entire game linked from this thread on the Anvilwerks community.

http://www.anvilwerks.com/community/comments.php?DiscussionID=4&page=1#Item_0

best

Trevis
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brightstar
Member

Posts: 11


« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2005, 11:50:32 AM »

I'm sorry Kory, I wish I could...but there are one or two minor kinks I'm still working out with it and am close to a deadline with my novel so I don't have time to get fixing those kinks right away.  Also, I'm still waiting for my copyright return on the core of it, so I hope you don't take offense when I say I would feel uncomfortable handing it out to complete strangers until I get that back. 

What I can do is say I'd be happy to get your e-mail address or email you my email address so we can keep in touch.  My system should be avaiable for play testing around January Febuary.  I'm sorry if this doesn't meet your current demands of your system needs, but I promise you (or at least hope a whole lot) the wait will be worth while. 

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efindel
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« Reply #14 on: November 08, 2005, 12:27:28 PM »

This thread's given me a bit of inspiration with regard to one of my old, unnamed systems (available at http://home.earthlink.net/~efindel/SFpbem/mechanics.html

To briefly summarize conflict resolution:

1 - Each player (counting the GM as a player) counts the traits in play that are working in favor of what his/her character is attempting

2 - Each player rolls a number of dice equal to the result of step 1.  Each die has a 50/50 chance of being a success.

3 - The winner (side with most successes) uses his/her successes to affect things, or to cancel some, none, or all of the loser's successes.

4 - The loser uses his/her remaining successes (that the winner didn't cancel) to affect things.  The loser cannot contradict or reverse what the winner has done with his/her successes.

In actual play, I found that the winner essentially always canceled all the loser's successes.  For cases with more than two players, the rules said to put them into "sides".  Winning side goes first, but on each side, the person who "owns" a set of dice gets to determine what the successes from them are used for.

Now, though, I see that this can easily be made to handle multi-way conflict resolution, and possibly fix the "everybody always cancels loser successes" problem, by changing things a bit:

1 - same

2 - same, except no "winner" is declared

3 - Each player gets to use their successes to affect things, starting with the player who has the fewest successes, going in increasing order to the player with the most.  A player may use a success to cancel something a previous player did.  A player may not contradict something a previous player did, unless he/she first cancels it.  In case of a tie, all tied players are considered to go simultaneously; this means they may *not* cancel each others' uses of successes.


This now accomodates situations where three or more agendas are involved, and also places the "winners" in the situation of already knowing what the "losers" have decided to spend their successes on.  I'm hoping this will be less likely to result in cancelling everything, since the player no longer has to worry about "what *might* they do" -- they know exactly what those in inferior position have chosen.

This also calls out for another rule...

Combining forces:  Two or more players may choose to "combine forces".  To do this, they announce that they are doing so, and each player gives up one success.  They are placed "as a group" within the order of success use, using their new number of successes.  Should there be conflict within the group, players go in the order of actual number of successes they generated.

--Travis
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