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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 70 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Starting a game and quite lost...  (Read 19437 times)
Call Me Curly
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #15 on: September 30, 2006, 08:28:34 PM »

"The Pool" is a game that blew the minds of many people at the Forge, a few years ago.

The rules are only 4 pages long, and are free online:
http://www.randomordercreations.com/thepool.htm

The character creation system is simple, unique and suited to your amnesia idea.

I think you could start playing your amnesia game right away, with only small alterations to The Pool's rules.

Namely, instead of doing the "50 words" character generation thing first-- just start playing with a blank sheet of paper.   When the players want their PCs to 'remember' something-- they have to roll for it-- the same way players roll for everything-else in the game: deciding how many dice they want to gamble in the attempt.

If the roll succeeds, the player has to pay a die for each word added to the character sheet.
For each word the player lets the GM add, the player is paid one die.
On a failed roll, nothing is remembered and the gambled dice are lost, as usual.

--Curly
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2006, 12:50:57 PM »

Quote
Insert Quote
JoePub-
Pretty new to the indie-thing.  I think Dead Inside would be considered Indie?  But even so, I just downloaded it a few weeks ago. 

I will check out the sites you suggested. 

Awesome, Chris.
Not sure if Dead Inside is "indie" or not (I think so), but it most certainly is hella cool.

Curly is totally awesome suggesting that you check out The Pool.

Quote
One thing I had been tossing around was the idea of "memory points".  The characters start with nothing.  When they want to try something, they can see if they remember it.  They would roll against their memory points.  If they succeed, they gain that ability, and thus spend those "memory points", lowering their pool.  At that point, they could go into a flashback, showing a snippet of their life revolving around actions covered by that ability.  This way a character could still have some control over their creation, but not complete control over their background. 

So for instance, if someone is injured and needs medical attention, the character can try to see of he or she knows anything about that.  He or she would roll against her current memory points pool.  If successful, that player can spend points out of his or her memory pool in order to to gain that ability.  The player would then go into a flashback, giving insight into how they had that ability in the first place.  A medical skill could be a paramedic, an army field doc, and back-alley clinic for criminals, almost anything. 

This is awesome, awesome, awesome.
I especially like that I can heal someone, then later realize it's because I was a back-market organ transporter.
Or I can shoot a cop who's chasing me, then later realize my shooting skill comes from being a cop myself.

Some thoughts on this:
-Maybe characters both have a Memory Pool and a Control Pool.
They can put all their dice in their memory pool and remember useful stuff all the time... or put their dice into the Control Pool and be really in control of narrating what goes on in the present... or put their dice in the Control Pool and be really in control of narratnig what goes on in the flashbacks.

-Maybe when testing against Memory there are several possible outcomes: The skill I was testing to have, I have in spades; the skill I was testing to have, I have, but it's problematic; I don't have that skill, but lo and behold - I have a totally different but also useful one; I have no skills.
So if I'm running away from three men in black, I can pull out my gun and hope to hell I know how to shoot. I test. It turns out I have no shooting skill (and all my shots miss) but I do know some mean parkour skills - and climb a fire escape, vault from one building to the next, and totally get away.

Good stuff, Chris! I think this is going to be awesome.
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earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2006, 03:05:59 PM »

Thanks! 

I was also toying with the idea of using the "memory points" to help control the Flashbacks.  So while you can use them to overturn someone's scenerio, you also may want to hang on to them in order to "discover" more skills in the future.  You'd earn Memory Points like experience points based on your dealings in the Flashback.  So the more in-depth you remember, the more of your memory is returned to you.

I was thinking a real broad system at this point (I haven't read The Pool yet, but I will tonight) to run Flashbacks is that everyone at the table rolls a die (possibly even the GM).  Whoever rolls highest is the Primary NPC for that Flashback.  So that character would have a couple of skills at a decent rating and they would be resposible for drivingthe Flashback (the main character as it were).  Everyone else would be "secondary" characters.  However, there would have to be some record keeping and a mechanic for any of those characters reoccurring.

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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2006, 03:36:25 PM »

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Thanks! 

I was also toying with the idea of using the "memory points" to help control the Flashbacks.  So while you can use them to overturn someone's scenerio, you also may want to hang on to them in order to "discover" more skills in the future.

Awesome. Rock solid awesome.

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You'd earn Memory Points like experience points based on your dealings in the Flashback

Why?
How does this re-enforce what your game is about?

Also... is there a cap? If remembering better gets me more points, and more points give me better remembering... Does this just keep compacting?

Quote
I was thinking a real broad system at this point (I haven't read The Pool yet, but I will tonight) to run Flashbacks is that everyone at the table rolls a die (possibly even the GM).  Whoever rolls highest is the Primary NPC for that Flashback.  So that character would have a couple of skills at a decent rating and they would be resposible for drivingthe Flashback (the main character as it were).  Everyone else would be "secondary" characters.  However, there would have to be some record keeping and a mechanic for any of those characters reoccurring.

Thought: This doesn't seem to fit well as a "party based" game.
It seems like it's best suited to being individual scenes, characters that come into contact but who are "on their own" a lot.

Thought: If flashbacks are driven largely by other players, is there really a need for a GM? What does the GM bring to the game that couldn't be done by the players?
I'm specifically thinking of something like Shock (where the player to your right plays your Antagonist force) or Polaris (where players have formal roles as opposing and assisting forces in a character's story) as GM-less models that'd work awesome here.

If you want me to talk more about how Shock and Polaris do GM-less games, I can.
If you also/alternately want to hear about different types of GM-less games, ask.

Thought: People just roll a die and then get to determine how important they are? That sounds like a bit of a weak delivery for a cool concept.
Alternate idea: When it's my skill, I'm automatically in the flashback. You can spend memory points to put yourself in my flashback too.

So, what do flashbacks serve to do?
I have an idea myself: Each flashback explains the origin of a Skill (that has already been introduced), but ALSO raises a Mystery - something the character brings up, as a Flag (an indication of where they want the game to go.)

Ex. I discover I know how to pick locks.
We flashback to me, picking a lock. Tim pays some Memory to put himself in an ACTIVE ROLE in the scene. He says, "Dude, hurry. We need to get that book!"
I say, "We've got plenty of time. Conrad won't be back for hours."
I then narrate the door behind us opening, and Conrad entering the room.
I then add to my sheet a Mystery. Something like:
-Who was Conrad?
-What book?
-Where Tim and I criminals?
-What happened to Conrad?

That mystery is somewhere the story is going to head, for my character.


...I dunno. Thoughts. What do you think of all that?
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earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2006, 08:51:12 PM »

Very interesting.  I like it.

I agree about the single die roll.

But I think I need to explain the background first.

The players wake up in a city.  They have no idea where or who they are.  The only memory they have is a dream of a man in a tall tower.  They are issued a name and a number through the processing center, and assigned their "Family Unit", which is the rest of the party.

The city is run by a totalitarian government, who claims that they fullfill the will of The Man in the Tower.  No one has entered or left the tower in thirty years, and there are rumors (among those brave enough to speak of such things) that the Man in the Tower is dead, and the new government has taken the reins in his absence.

Everyone who comes to the city begins with no memory of their past.  They have skills and abilities, yet they have no idea where these abilities came from.  Everyone who comes to the city starts out in The Drones, a neighborhood of small, cramped apartments.  Here they work menial jobs where if they work hard enough (not to mention sell-out other citizens, help to maintain order, and don't rock the boat) they can rise up through the ranks, moving to better neighborhoods, and have access to greater luxuries.  In the meantime, they must deal with poverty, crime, and the government patrols which indiscriminately fight both. 

Outside of the government, there is a group known as the Shadow Police.  These are groups of four individuals, dressed in trenchcoats, fedoras, and featureless black masks.  Whether there are several patrols or it is the same four individuals is unknown.  The Shadow Police work on their own agenda.  They do not openly support the government or the citizens, they move about on an unknown course, helping the same people they worked to destroy last week.  No one has ever been able to communicate with them, so nothing is known of their origins or purpose.  It is said that those who catch the eye of the Shadow Police are either destine for greatness, or fated for tragedy.

To further complicate matters, people are starting to get their memories back.  Slowly and sporadically who they were before coming to the city returns to them, and with it the hope to return to the lives they once lived.  The government does not take such matters lightly, and anyone having such "confused dementia" should turn themselves in for reprogramming.

Some have even sought out the tower (which is now heavily guarded) in order to discover the fate of The Man there, hoping for answers.


That's the Reader's Digest version.  It's much deeper than that. 

The reason I give you the background is show why I feel a Game Master is needed. He or she would run the stories set in the city, while the players would run or control the Flashbacks.
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2006, 09:35:03 PM »

Quote
The reason I give you the background is show why I feel a Game Master is needed. He or she would run the stories set in the city, while the players would run or control the Flashbacks.

I love your setting (I'm a huge dystopic-control fan. Which shows, considering I wrote Perfect).
I agree with you that a GM is definitely necessary here, now that you've described more of your setting/premise.
And... for the record, I wasn't trying to push for GM-less play, as much as present you with cool new approaches you could think about.

When you say "run the stories" do you mean "control the adventures" or do you mean "represent opposition, detail settings, and respond to character actions"?
I'm *hoping* that the answer is more the latter.

Quote
Outside of the government, there is a group known as the Shadow Police.  These are groups of four individuals, dressed in trenchcoats.

The city is run by a totalitarian government, who claims that they fullfill the will of The Man in the Tower.

Here they work menial jobs where if they work hard enough (not to mention sell-out other citizens, help to maintain order, and don't rock the boat) they can rise up through the ranks, moving to better neighborhoods, and have access to greater luxuries.

Wow. You should read Perfect!
These themes (although the details are different) are very, very much reflected in Perfect.
Oh, and Perfect offers a type of GMing role which might be interesting to learn more about - reflexive, not driving the story, but still playing the role of the Inspectors and other opposition (Inspectors = also strange, mysterious police figures in black trenchcoats, shrouded in mystery.)

Let me know if you're interested in reading it, but don't want to buy it - I'll hook you up with a PDF copy. Just because I love horribly morose, dystopian, seeds-of-revolution games. :D
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earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2006, 03:38:56 PM »

I'd love to read Perfect.  I'll send you my email address in a PM.

I really like your idea of different degrees of success in a memory roll.  The characters can discover more and more skills assuming they have the memory points to cover it.  However, I'm debating whether or not to have a cap, since it could lead to a bunch of Buckaroo Bonzais running about.   Then again...

As far as the GM is concerned, most definately the second "represent opposition, detail settings, and respond to character actions"

As a GM, I never ever control adventures.  That's why I like games with solid settings, or at least open systems.  I like to detail the setting and events that are in line to occur that will wor will not depending on the characters actions, but setting evolves whether or not the characters become involved in those actions.  I like to just cut the the characters loose and see what they do.  But that's just me.
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John Hyland
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #22 on: October 03, 2006, 10:30:12 AM »

If you're considering random stats or "blank slate" characters that get filled in later, would a more collaborative character building process be possible?  You could take a Universalis-like approach, and give each player a certain number of Flashback tokens at the beginning of the game (maybe 10?).  As the game progresses, any time somebody else's character tries to do something difficult (eg, pull a gun out and hope like hell he knows how to shoot), a player can spend a token and say "Flashback!"  You then frame a scene from that character's past, explaining why they have the skill they're now using in the present.  Other players could spend tokens to play NPCs or make things happen in the flashback, and at the end, the character gets a skill rating equal to the number of tokens spent.  You could incorporate the Mystery idea from joepub - maybe generating (or resolving) Mysteries is how you get more Flashback tokens.  When the flashback ends, you return to the normal GM-run storyline in the game's present and resolve the skill test.
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John Hyland
Member

Posts: 4


« Reply #23 on: October 03, 2006, 10:33:48 AM »

You then frame a scene from that character's past, explaining why they have the skill they're now using in the present.

To clarify, I mean that that player frames the scene - the GM would more or less stay out of the flashback scene.  That way, the "present time" story is developed and guided by the GM, but each character's back story is filled in collaboratively by the players.
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Call Me Curly
Member

Posts: 63


« Reply #24 on: October 03, 2006, 11:44:26 AM »

Chris,

I really like the synopsis of your setting.

Especially how creating geographic isolation between the past and the present neatly
avoids having players' alterations of the past contradict your backstory for the city.

Are you familiar with the technique of 'relationship mapping'?    I don't know of a specific forum post which explains the idea perfectly; but I think it would benefit your game.

Basically, an r-map is a page with the names significant story figures-- PCs, NPCs, important past events, objects-- written all over it.   Then you draw lines between the names. And alongside each line you write the nature of the relationship between the names it connects.  Ace hates Bev.  Bev is Curly's boss.  Curly is Ace's best friend. A,B, & C all work for DeathCorp., etc.

Like a terrain map in a dungeon crawl; a relationship map can be used to keep track of what parts of the story have been revealed; and which established-facts lead to other information.

For your game, I'm picturing 2 relationship maps.   One, pre-drawn by you; which shows all the connections between parts of the City.  The players don't necessarily get to see this map.  And another map, drawn by the players, where they add each point from their pasts which they 'discover' during play.  Sometimes they'll remember something and not know how it relates to anything-else in their past.  Sometimes they'll discover what a relationship is, and be-able to add and label a connecting line.

So check this out: whenever there's a line that connects the Past map to the Present map; that's a big deal in the game.
The trick is to invent rules which specify who gets to draw those inter-map lines; and when.

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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #25 on: October 03, 2006, 01:59:25 PM »

Curly speaks pure awesomeness.

Two words: Memory Map.

Making that work would be killer.
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earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2006, 03:17:38 PM »

Curly-
I'm digging the memory map.  Alot.  I've already started turning my brain around it.

Making that system work would definately make it something unique.  Wow. 

Curly gets a memory point. :)
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joepub
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 569

Joe Thomas McDonald


« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2006, 03:55:04 PM »

Chris, we've thrown out a lot of cool ideas. Some you've latched onto (relationship/memory maps, blank slate character shees), some you've turned your nose at (GM-less play... some other stuff I'm sure.)

I think the best thing now is definitely to start searching for more info on these concepts, and really bury your nose in the books (forums).

Relationship maps can be read about:
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?topic=831&forum=4&12
http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forum/index.php?t=9661

All the stuff we talk about: search it on The Forge.
Also, lots of cool stuff is discussed in these two blogs:
http://lumpley.com/
http://socratesrpg.blogspot.com/

I'll also be sending you Perfect to read, shortly.

(I'm by no means suggesting that we close down communication... just pointing you in the direction of more information.)
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earwig
Member

Posts: 52


« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2006, 04:14:05 PM »

I appreciate it. 

I'm not turning my nose up at GM-less gaming, I just don't think it would work for my game.  I'm actually very interested in trying out SHOCK.  It looks like an AWESOME concept.

You guys have really helped out a lot.  I have a decent idea for a system now (though the memory map will take some work, I reckon) and a solid background.  I'm about ready to give it a go.

Thanks for all the help. 

Of course, I'm totally up for more suggestions.communication.
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TroyLovesRPG
Member

Posts: 150


« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2006, 04:26:45 PM »

Memory Map!

Ever thought about using one of those antiquated phrenological depictions of the mind? Develop a map of the character's mind and they progressively fill in the blanks. Can include emotions, abilities and traits. Also, the autonomic system could be part of it for catergorizing lightning relexes, intuition, high pain threshold, enhanced fortitude, etc.

Troy
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