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Author Topic: "My First System"  (Read 2944 times)
Ring Kichard
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« on: April 06, 2002, 03:40:19 PM »

There has been some talk about game systems that you'd use to introduce people to role-playing or to some type of role-playing (GNS objectives forex). I've decided that the best way to go would be to build the system from the ground up.

Where do I need help? Right now I'm researching past works of this kind and soliciting input.

What sorts of mechanics would be important to have in a general introduction to role-playing?

What are the important schools of thought in role-playing that ought to be introduced?

What sort of plot and setting would be appropriate to this sort of game?

I understand that this is an ambitious project, mostly because the focus of the game (an introduction to role-playing in its many forms) likely precludes the actual game system from being highly tailored to a specific premise (at least a premise beyond "this is an introduction").

Just so you can see where I am coming from, the brief plan goes something like this:
The person running the game should have at least some gaming experience.
[list=1]
[*]   A brief conceptual intro to role-playing.
[*]   Players launch into an adventure, with the basic game rules explained as they come up
[*]   Play proceeds until a reasonable stopping point.
[/list:o]
From this point, each adventure would follow a basic plan
[list=1]
[*]   Discussion of the goals of the forthcoming game.
[*]   Explanation of rule changes geared toward demonstrating the facet of role-playing being demonstrated.
[*]   Play
[*]   Post game discussion
[/list:o]
The sessions would follow a path - the mechanics for this need to be figured out - first the basic (as neutral as possible, likely rules light) system, then possibly a tour though Simulationism, Gameism and Naritivism, each time with a changed rules set (at the risk of misstatement, I'd consider it "intentionally drifted").

A continued path would lead, at this point, to more in-depth mechanics, possibly including the more "avant-garde" rule styles that often appear in the independent RPGs like heavy author stance.

Have any thoughts, questions, criticisms, ideas? I'd love to hear them.
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Richard Daly, who asks, "What should people living in glass houses do?"
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Sand Mechanics summary, comments welcome.
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2002, 04:44:20 PM »

Wow! A very interesting idea. Sorry not to post more about it at the moment ...

My only immediate thought is that the game probably cannot be wholly open-ended in terms of GNS goals or DFK mechanics or what-all. That would be a wonderful ideal, almost a kind of write-your-game-through-play flowchart, but I'm pretty sure it's not feasible. But given some kind of focus, some meaningful guidance and thus lots of reasonable options at each "settle this issue" step ... you know, I think this could be done.

Very interesting.

Best,
Ron
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Ring Kichard
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« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2002, 10:46:35 PM »

The current system plan is to start with a simple 2d10 die pool (take the highest) with characters defined by simple descriptions (e.g. Likes to fight, paints well, skis "double black diamond" trails) and difficulty Target Numbers (TNs). Combat and other activities like it would be handled by repeated cycles of simultaneous action declaration folowed by simultaneous resolution. Contested rolls would be adjudicated by comparing likely character skill and assigning TNs for simultaneous rolls.
Dirt simple, really.

The goal would be then to add and replace rules. Most of which would be compatible with one-another to allow combination and growth.

The bulk of any fortune mechanics this system would be designed to expand into would probably focus on the second, lower, d10. In a more advanced simulation system the first d10 could be degree of accuracy, and the second could be speed, leading to a nice (and eventually possibly roundless) initiative system. In a director stance narrative mechanic the die roll could be expanded to represent a conflict instead of a single action, with the first die representing the success of the outcome under the character's control, and the second die representing director stance modifications to the world outside of the character's control.

System growth seems to be the easy part to make rules for, but a parallel process should go with it, covering the non-mechanical aspects of gaming. That said, a rough outline of system growth follows.

The first layer of experimentation might be in GNS (or something like it) with rules suggested by the source material along a decision tree or from a menu. At this point some elements of the overall purpose of the game could be decided on, as well.

After that, different levels of system complexity and mechanics could be dealt with. Fortune, Karma, and Drama, might be next, folowed by different implementations of those systems and maybe options for blending categories.

Lord knows what I'll do for a magic system (at the start it'll probably be rolled into the ability system), and I still don't know what kind of setting I'll try. Setting evolution would be a difficult thing to do, maybe rotation from session to session or something.

It would also be nice to end with at least a mini-campaign option, as those are so prevalent in the bulk of role-playing.

More questions, then, I suppose: what aspects of game categorization have I left out? What sorts of mechanics and such are probably beyond the scope of this approach? Has anyone got ideas about the parts of the game that are separate from the rules (e.g. themes, portable premises, versatile sources of conflict matched to game type)?
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Richard Daly, who asks, "What should people living in glass houses do?"
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Sand Mechanics summary, comments welcome.
Ring Kichard
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Wow
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2002, 10:53:55 PM »

Quote from: Ron Edwards

Wow! A very interesting idea.


What a heady feeling, it is, to get praise like that, especially from Ron. My hat isn't fitting too well, right now. Thanks.

(Posted separately, because - lets face it - my ego is off-topic)
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Richard Daly, who asks, "What should people living in glass houses do?"
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Sand Mechanics summary, comments welcome.
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #4 on: April 07, 2002, 08:12:23 AM »

Hey,

Very cool idea. I've had great success as a technical trainer with the sort-of "build" model that you're considering. I'm getting a vibe from the steps you've laid out that you may have some experience with corporate training?

2. Explanation of rule changes geared toward demonstrating the facet of role-playing being demonstrated.

It's very very functional and facilitative when doing something like Microsoft Access or Excel training to start with a simplified dataset or database, and then over a series of exercises, deliver to the students incrementally complex and sophisticated versions of the dataset or database. Their familiarity from working with the starting point renders the new sophistication manageable.

I submit that your instincts on this are very good. Although I might go about it in reverse order from what you've proposed. I'd maybe start with a rules-light Simulationist system, with few attributes and a limited number of available skills, proceed to a more complex system with a number of derived attributes and many more available skills, and from there to a Narrativist system. I think an exercise in converting a Simulationist character to a descriptor-based Narrativist system, by aggregating skills into custom descriptors, might be a nice transition exercise.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
Ring Kichard
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« Reply #5 on: April 07, 2002, 01:04:36 PM »

Quote from: Paul Czege

I'm getting a vibe from the steps you've laid out that you may have some experience with corporate training?


Don't I wish; it'd make designing this system a lot easier. Mostly I'm working off my background of a lifetime of experience as a student.

Can you recommend a book or web site where I could read up on training and education? It might give me some ideas on how to approach this beast of a project.

Thanks for the feedback.
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Richard Daly, who asks, "What should people living in glass houses do?"
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Sand Mechanics summary, comments welcome.
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