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[OtherKnight] All the rules, 20 of them. Will they do what I want them to?

Started by soundmasterj, February 26, 2006, 04:13:52 PM

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This is an outline for My sword I kill with, my king I obey. It´s the first game I ever wrote down. Actually, it is just a bunch of rules stolen from Vincent (say yes or roll dice and otherkind dice).
This is my school English. I´m from Germany, so I apologize for grammatical mistakes.

At the end of the post, I ask questions. Please answer. Answers I have gotten so far were mighty helpfull (thanks Tony, thanks Ralph; also, thanks Capes, whose mechanics clearly influenced Binds) and I would love to get more advise.

The premise is: Being loyal is hard, even if you have a powerful sword. This means it is also about being loyal (as a knight, to your king) – this is an end; and about having power (this is a sword if you´re a knight) – this is means.
A sword will shatter bones and end lifes. It is a terrible thing, and shattered bones and ending lifes are evil. But there´s a king. A king will give you reason; because the evils you might commit are, after all, worth the higher goals. Because you´re loyal to him and only him.
But sometimes, you, all shiny armor and mighty the sword, might happen to find yourself fighting and killing and crushing for something else. For something you care for, but not your king. For something else you´re loyal to. Well, here you are, drenched in blood and hurt, but the princess is yours, or be it the gold, or your brother is safed, or be it that poor girl.
Having killed with your sword, but not for your king. Actually, you´ve hurt the king because you´ve abandoned your mission to get the princess or the gold or defend your brother or the girl. You´ve broken the oath you swore to your king just to fight for what you care for.
This is what this game should be about.

Or something, goddamn.

Way down this post there are alternative settings, too. But in this setting, you´re telling a knight´s tale of adventury. It´s gonna be mighty colorfull and loads of fun. [/ insert really inspiring text here.]
So you´re telling a tale, and it´s a song. You´re the bard at the kings table, you might imagine; and you use the lute and some stuff on sheet to telltale. The lute is narrative rights, the sheet is associated with a character you use to shape the tale according to what you care for.
You- and your fellows. Everone narrates, and that´s why there gonna be rules. You get a lute and dice, you get a bag of rules and advisory.

So here´s rules. 4 X 5 of them. That´s 20, amd that´s not much I think. Some of them are ,,act like this", some are ,,this is verboten". I think these are all rules you need with the exeption of a table for C, especially C3. They are compressed, so they might need explanation.

A - The rules (this is hierarchy: the higher rules are exceptions to the lower ones; the higher, the more specific and powerful)
1.All of you narrate. From narration comes singing. What´s sung is the song. (No, it´s not really singing. It´s just narration that goes to SIS directly. Or so.)
2.The lute-bearer gets to decide what is sung. He may tell you to narrate or (mostly) do it himself, but he gets to decide what IS sung, what IS in the song.
3.Nobody can narrate something to disagree with something written on a sheet. Things written down are not subject to the lute-bearers absolute power; he may not decide that something is sung that disagrees with something Written On A Sheet.
4.When you don´t want something to be harmed or destroyed by narration in the way it´s going to be, you may call for conflicting about Binds; Binds beeing what you don´t want to get harmed. When conflict is called for, the lute-bearer gets one lute-dice for each Bind. In conflict, you get dice to decide what the lute-bearer will be and what he has to narrate. Binds in a conflict are not subject to the lute-bearers power; he may not decide that something is sung that disagrees with something Written On A Sheet.
5.When you want to finish your mission and have the lute, call for conflict. Endgame will resolve this (see D).

B - Here´s advice
(this is rules, but it is not ordered, and it is either general or preparation; also, it´s fuzzy and needs explanation and more explanation.)
1.Before play, write this onto a sheet: a name, a role, two Binds (one has to be a king if your role is knight), two traits (one has to be a sword if your role is knight), a mission bound to a Bind, maybe some detail (shoe size, number of teeth, mothers maiden name, wich kind of cheese you like, that kind of stuff.)
2.If you´re the lute-bearer, narrate destroying or hurting or harming something the players care for. That gets them to call for conflict, which is good for you (you get lute-dice and Metagame Points).
3.If you´re gonna do 2, start with saying you threaten something. This makes conflict go smooth, mostly clearing up blocking and IIEE.
4.If you call for conflict, take every bind you like; this gives the lute-bearer lute-points, wich he might offer you, and more dice to you. Also, it is no problem putting a medium die to the Bind and nopt mentioning it in narration (no violation of any rule, so it´s permitted), so you don´t have to pull some twisted thing out of nothing to justify it.

C - The conflict goes like this (this is temporal order)
1.You call for conflict by saying what Binds are at stake
2.You get dice: one for each bind and one more. These are all white. Next, one blue die for one of your traits, choosen by you. Next, one blue die the lute-bearer gives to you, bound to a detail of narration if you use it. Next, extra dice if someone spends lute dice on them; these are colored and bound to detail, too. Now, throw those dice. If you want to, you can spend one Metagame Point [/cool name here] to reroll all dice you don´t like.
3.Assign one die to each of these slots: one for Lute, one for Mission, one for each Bind in conflict. Higher dice mean you get the lute (for this conflict, afterwards, or both); your mission advances; your binds are unharmed, their agenda furthered. Lower dice mean you don´t get the lute; your mission loses ground; your Bind gets harmed. Very high or low dice mean you get or lose a lute dice, a mission dice, a point of favor. Mission dice have to get bound to favor when aquired or they turn to lute dice.  Discard unassigned dice; if someone spend a lute dice to offer you a dice and it gets discared, they get it back.
4.Someone´s got the lute by now, because a die told so. He narrates. If there are high or low dice on binds or mission, indicating that the bind gets harmed or stays unharmed, the mission gains or loses ground, he has to narrate this. If dice bound to detail or trait were assigned to dice, he has to narrate the trait or detail.
5.If the highest die was put in a Bind NOT written down on the player´s sheet, he may write it down there. Also, the lute-bearer gets one Metagame Point. Someone (maybe someone else) gets the lute according to the assigned die. Tell the tale.

D - The Endgame goes like this (this is temporal order, too)
1.If you have the lute, you may call for Endgame. Throw the mission dice you earned, one after another. When the first one is thrown, narrate how the missions end is initiated.
2.For every dice that is not a match with a dice already there showing an uneven number, someone you gets the lute to tell how something hinders the mission. The narration has to include the Bind with the Favor the mission die was boound to.
3.For every dice that is not a match with a dice already there showing an uneven number, someone you get the lute to tell how something furthers the mission.
4.If a die creates a match, take the lute and narrate how the mission is accomplished. You get to write down one trait on your sheet. If you don´t, narrate on your last die die how the mission fails. Either way, choose a new mission.
5.You keep the lute. Tell the tale. Or finish the game, i don´t know.

Here comes explanation I have not written (or translated to english) yet; basically straightening it out, putting each core concept in  clear view, showing the underlying mechanics more clearly.
Ask me.

Also, here comes color and other helpfull stuff for creating fun stories (what knights are, fauna and flora of medieval europe, books to read, inspiration for Binds, traits, conflicts, general narration, social stuff). This, I think, will be fun.
Here comes, last but not least, settings you can use with these rules and this premise. For example: ,,M-16 and USA", where you play in iraq and it´s really edgy and you act for your country but you got to think about the children. Also, ,,Kalashnikov and Allah", wich is even more edgy. Also, ,,Maschinenpistole and the Führer", wich is the epitomy of edgy and will have me writing some stuff about this game being anti-nazi because it is about not blindly following orders but conflicting them and making decisions. Also, ,,Katana and daymono", which is not at all edgy and, honestly, probably rather boring. Also, ,,MAGIC sword and ELVISH king", wich is the same game, but with dragons. Also, some cool, colorfull fantasy-scenario left over from one of my unpiblished hearbreakers. Also, somehing else.


So that´s basically. It´s missing a lot, first and foremost a table for C3. That is because I don´t know how should this table look like. One idea I have right now: Putting 1 in a slot means mechanical loss, 6 mechanical gain (mission dice, lute dice or favor, relating to slot). 1-2 means bad, 3-4 means nothing, 5-6 good.
Testing this, it seems like this is unbalanced. I don´t know how to do the lute slot scale, too.
I think the scaling of the table could alter the pace of the game, but I´m not sure how.

Do these rules work for this premise? Will there be tales told about knights (or GIs in Iraq) and how they try to obey there kings?
Will these tales be fun?
Why not?

Do these rules concepts work the way I want them to:
Favor. It rises and falls only in conflict. Each bind starts at favor 1 or 0, I don´t know, negative favor means the Bind is an enemy. That also means that all mission dice assigned to it are lost, I don´t know if that is good. Also, it means nothing else right now. Ok?
MP. I hope them to be a really big reward. One MP means you can get close to assigning all 5´s and 6´s. This, I hope, players will realise and try to think of REALLY GOOD threats so players call for conflict, take Binds and assigne them high dice. Tony LB suggested more mechanics behind this. This will, after all, probably be the main motor for good sotires in tis game. So the idea is rewarding the players for creating things in the SIS the other players care for (new Binds, dangers to their old ones).
Binds in general. Is it clear what I mean? I want them to be a tool a player uses to shape the tale. Things they care for they should have influence about.
Narrative rights. These need to be cleared up. Sung/Narrated/Said, Lute and Binds and What´s Written On A Sheet are the tools I want to use, but I´m not yet sure what I´m using them for.
Character Death. Right now it´s not explicitely mentioned, but it is there. Lute-bearer threatens your life? Call for conflict, Bind: you. Low die on that slot means that whoever gets the lute may narrate you dying. Is that cool? Or should everyone have the option to write onto his sheet: ,,I´m alive"?
There is no adversary. I don´t know if this is ok at all. There is none. You roll, and problems, like being forced to put a low dice, maybe a 1, somewhere, are just a point of rolling bad, a couple of ones. Will this work? If not, how to get adversary in there? I don´t know how to work it without a GM.

Does anyone want to playtest this as soon as I have casted it into a coherent written, less slam-and-bang format? If you don´t like knights, call me what you would like to use it for and I would really like to fit it to another color.
(I would be surprised if anyone actually called me about this, because I sure wouldn´t. This is mostly my try at doing an RPG that comes close to some books I read that probably nobody else above the age of 12 cares about.)

Last question; this is really facultative. Any idea how to name the various rules and mechanics? I would like to have names for MP and MD that are as evocative and clear as lute and lute dice and favor.

Of course, this tone is not the tone the finished game will use to talk about knights and being honorfull and stuff. This is hard and fast and rather dry. I think that writing and researching background, putting together medieval knightly fonts and pictures, writing some typical bad RPG fiction will be a lot of work and a lot of fun, and work and fun I can handle mostly by myself.

Thanks in advance. To Tony and Ralph, thanks in retrospective, too.


Seems like i forgot a rule. Actually, it´s probably the most important one. It´s B 5. Clinton might correct it if he likes to.

B 5 goes like this: When talking, narrating or telling what´s sung, be social and reasonable. Narrate what you would like to happen. Also, narrate what you think everyone else would like to happen. Tell a story everyone of you enjoys.

That´s 5 B. Mighty important, mighty fuzzy.


Can someone other than the person who called the conflict spend metagame points to roll those dice?  Specifically, can they reroll all the 5s and 6s, making it likely that there will be several ones and twos to distribute?
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum


I ABSOLUTELY do not know :).
When creating the rule, I wasn´t even thinking about the possibility. I wrote "you can spend", and "you" was intended to mean "you who threw the dice".

Do you think it would be good if anybody could? It´s not what I had in mind, but I see the chances. It would create more hard choices in the game and introduce adversary on the spot.
Maybe noone would use MP to hinder someone, ever, because everyone would need the for themselves. On the other hand, maybe not. I definitely need to muster some friends to playtest.
What do you think?


I don't know.

It strikes me that, if you've got two people contesting the dice there is a very strong incentive to not be the first person to spend a metagame point.  Say you roll six dice, and get one of every number.  You reroll your one and two, and get a four and five.  Then your opponent rerolls your five, your other five, and your six, and slams you into the ground.  They get more "oomph" out of their metagame point than you got out of yours, simply because they spent it later.  Right?

But is that a good thing or a bad thing?  There's a certain charm to a system that has people doing the whole "You go first," "Oh no, after you, I insist" thing ... especially when at least one of them is probably looking at the dice and saying "Actually, I really do need to reroll those, even if he doesn't, because they're just not good enough."

I agree that at this point it looks like you could get a lot of really good information from a playtest.
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum


I´m on my way to couple´a friends in a minute. I´ll ask them, but we won´t playtest in the next two weeks becuase we´ll all be in different cities until then.
So one last idea: I have to consider that you get MP only through the other people´s actions. So maybe they won´t offer you some because you could hurt them if you got them.
Right now I´m thinking, you get an MP if someone changes something Written Down after you sung something. Maybe you narrate:

"The boy´s hair is very fine, and his eyes all dreamy. He walks towards you, and it´s dance; he smiles, and it´s song. <My lord>, he says, <how may I ever thank you for saving me from those thugs?>
I am threatening your knight´s sexual identity. He will blush, maybe kiss him, because on your sheet, nothing says otherwise."

I say, "no way. Call for conflict, Bind: my sexual identity. You´re not touching this."
And actually, I think, that´s a great think; I LOVE the idea of playing a knight who is, in all his Manly Manly Muscles and Sword and shit, overwhelmed by a strange feeling. So I throw dice and put my 1 in my Bind " my sexual identiy" and 5 in Lute and I narrate how I feel all weird when speaking to the boy and I blush under my helmet.
On my sheet, I write: "I am maybe gay" as a detail.

And I (as designer of this game) really think that you (as the person who just narrated that) deserve a MP for that. For introducing that beautiful boy. So thats how you get MP now; by narrating something that makes a player change his sheet.
Maybe Binds can only get changed in conflict, by assigning high dice. Maybe not. Maybe I need more rules for changing Whats Written Down.
Also, Binds will be of the format "My ...", like "My love, the princess", "My king", "My god", "My sexual identity".

Well... That kind of conflict, I couldn´t ever try with the guys I´m going to now. Because they are guys.

Thanks, Tony.


Quote from: soundmasterj on February 26, 2006, 07:47:17 PM
And actually, I think, that´s a great think; I LOVE the idea of playing a knight who is, in all his Manly Manly Muscles and Sword and shit, overwhelmed by a strange feeling. So I throw dice and put my 1 in my Bind " my sexual identiy" and 5 in Lute and I narrate how I feel all weird when speaking to the boy and I blush under my helmet.
On my sheet, I write: "I am maybe gay" as a detail.

That's sorta neat, the way that narration correlates with loss on a bind.  It's like "Yeah, I could win that, but not narrate it.  Which is sorta secure, but the power of narration lets someone do a lot even within the frame of my victory.  Or I can lose it, but be in charge of the exact details of how I lose, which helps to soften the blow."
Just published: Capes
New Project:  Misery Bubblegum