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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: OtherKind  (Read 13379 times)
Ron Edwards
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« Reply #30 on: June 07, 2002, 08:16:38 AM »

Hi Vincent,

It's brilliant, all told. I dunno about how all the mechanics hang together yet, that's a matter of play and so forth, but so far, I think you're really onto something.

My only concern is that player-character passions or personality seem mainly to be covered by  the adjectives and bear no relation to the problems the characters may face during play.

This is the big problem with a lot of games with lots of Color, lots of Setting-derived conflict, but no Premise. "I've got Powers X and Personality A, you have Powers X and Personality B. We fight crime!" (or the Excrucians, or the Ravening Dark, or the Invading Evil, or the Jargon-laden Enemy by any name) In other words, all the characters "are" is a matter of who wears the pasties and who wears the big hat - what they do is set it in stone because The Enemy is out there and must be fought.

So I don't see much Premise if the only meaningful option is to fight the humans, ad infinitum. I'd like to see more in terms of ethical dilemmas or personal sagas that relate to human/Otherkind interactions.

Changelings ... pagan vs. Christian practices ... a ravening Otherkind who does more harm than good ... humans who live happy lives and have no idea that they're destroying something Numinous ... these are the situations that will bring Otherkind into passionate play rather than guerilla-raid after guerilla-raid, interspersed with "run away."

Best,
Ron
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Seth L. Blumberg
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« Reply #31 on: June 07, 2002, 08:24:59 AM »

A big "Ditto" from me WRT Ron's comments. Brilliantly innovative mechanics, needs more kinds of scenario structure and more attention to Premise. Attend to those deficiencies and I'll do my damnedest to playtest it, because it looks to have plenty of cool potential.
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the gamer formerly known as Metal Fatigue
lumpley
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« Reply #32 on: June 07, 2002, 09:06:42 AM »

Zak, nope, to my shame I've foisted an unplayed game off on you all.  I don't know whether or how well divvying the dice up works.

In Metal Opera, the best die goes to success and the next best to who narrates, right?  It's a small step from there to choosing which goes to which.  That's the squinty-scoop I see.

Ron, Seth, just now my hope for Premise is between the two reward(ish) systems -- this is what you get if you protect Numina, but this is what it costs if you kill people.  I (optimistically) expect the PCs' personalities and passions to emerge from their decisions about when to kill people and when to fail instead (every roll is about that very decision), and how they value the wish-fulfillment sort of 'when I finally go Elsewhere there will be a year-long feast and orgy!' versus the very concrete 'my hair is shot with gray and deep lines form around my eyes.'  The former doesn't ever really happen; the latter is an actual change to the actual character.

Anyway that's my thinking so far.  

The bit of the game that's most unsettled for me is people's Moonlight -- the common point between people and otherkind, sort of, and I think a very good place for shaking up the "must ... fight ... people!" situation.  But I don't know where to go with it.  Any suggestions?

-Vincent

Oh and thanks again, everyone, for your interest and support!  You all rock.
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Zak Arntson
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« Reply #33 on: June 07, 2002, 11:14:08 AM »

Quote from: lumpley
Zak, nope, to my shame I've foisted an unplayed game off on you all.  I don't know whether or how well divvying the dice up works.

In Metal Opera, the best die goes to success and the next best to who narrates, right?  It's a small step from there to choosing which goes to which.  That's the squinty-scoop I see.


Don't worry. I foist unplayed games all the time (I only announce one game a month, but I'm always adding ones to the "in the works" section).

In Metal Opera, there's two measures of success. Highest-rolled die, and number of matches. These go towards two different things. Success and Narration. So yeah, you're close.

Oh, and I keep thinking about the "assign different dice to different things" mechanic. I was heading vaguely into that territory with my experiments with "power vs. finesse" in Chthonian Redux, but went in another direction. I'm sure it'll wind up somewhere in a game of mine eventually, though.

Quote from: lumpley

The bit of the game that's most unsettled for me is people's Moonlight -- the common point between people and otherkind, sort of, and I think a very good place for shaking up the "must ... fight ... people!" situation.  But I don't know where to go with it.  Any suggestions?


You're off to a good start. This is the most Premise-y thing as far as emotional attachment. Without Moonlight, it's us vs. them. Why not allow for a broad Premise involving Moonlight-ish things, and let each Player come up with a question/phrase that allows in-play exploration of the broad Premise given.

Things like, "Your PC is in love with a human, and he doesn't know you are an OtherKind."

Provide a Kicker like, "Your secret tryst is interrupted by the human's sister, who's got Moonlight and sees through your deception. She's alone and confronts the two of you in rage."

Or a session-Premise. "A disease that is relatively benign to children is sweeping through a town. This town has done considerable damage to the Numina, and you are mounting a final assault."

The session starts/leads in to, "You close in on the town and are met by children wielding their parents weapons: Clumsily held pitchforks, cooking knives, and the like. What do you do?"

Oops, that last one wasn't Moonlight. But it does raise an interesting Premise: "How far will you go to stop humans?" And Moonlight is merely a mechanical way to emphasize the strained relationships between OtherKind and human.
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lumpley
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« Reply #34 on: June 07, 2002, 11:32:16 AM »

Very nice, Zak.  Thanks.

(Oops, and I guess I read Metal Opera pretty sloppily, didn't I?  Sorry about that.)

-Vincent
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Blake Hutchins
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« Reply #35 on: June 07, 2002, 12:07:16 PM »

Vincent,

I think your premise will be found somewhere between Iron and Moonlight.  I like the "How far will you go to stop humans?"  Narrowing that to "How much of your personal magic will you surrender to preserve your world?" may work to personalize it even more.  I like the idea of working with innocence and sacrifice, but I'm still mulling over how to tie them together.

Feels like we've got the scent, though.  I look forward to seeing what you come up with.

Best,

Blake
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Valamir
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« Reply #36 on: June 07, 2002, 12:16:13 PM »

I don't know.  I guess I have to go back to a comment I made earlier, that sometimes it seems to me this embed the Premise in the game thing is taken a bit to far.  I just don't see it.

I see alot of "this game needs a more defined premise", I'm not seeing much explaining why.  Its just something that's taken for granted, and I'm not sold that it is.

I can think of a dozen adventure ideas for the game (if I had a group here in Peoria I'd be playing it now...if anyone is planning to play on line let me know and I'm there).  I don't see where the premise needs to be embedded (not that it couldn't be, just that I don't see it as a requirement).  I have no trouble at all personally with a game that says...here I am, come up with your own premise and play.
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #37 on: June 07, 2002, 12:33:19 PM »

Ralph,

I knew you were gonna say that.

And you're right, in many ways. However, at this point, Vincent's getting feedback about his game from a bunch of perspectives. My perspective is that theme/Premise/embedding thing. That's where my feedback will come from.

Also, when I think a game wouldn't necessarily gain from that suggestion, then I don't make it. However, since not doing something is rarely perceived, all you're seeing is when I do make that suggestion - hence, "Ron is obsessed with embedded Premise."

Cut me slack - I didn't make such a suggestion about Faster Better Cheaper, or Million Worlds, or lots of others. Take that as data that I'm not just ringin' the same note on every game.

Best,
Ron
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Valamir
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« Reply #38 on: June 07, 2002, 12:56:44 PM »

No slack required, Ron, I wasn't trying to hang you.  And you aren't the only one ringing the Premise bell on this thread...consider this to be my perspective of "I don't think you need to define the premise any sharper than it already is".  

There may be room for some additional color drawing more attention to whats already there but it seems to me the game is already very clear about what its about.  Its about the destruction of of Numen by Iron and the replacement of one way of life by another.  Those who depend on Numen are being inevitably overrun by those who depend on Iron.  Its Rome against the Celts, its Christianity against the Pagans, its European colonialism, its American Manifest Destiny.  Its a story thats been repeated 1000 times as cultures clash and the old ways are forgotten, and to me its already strikingly clear in the rules as is.

Moonlight is great, its a wonderful wonderful source of complication, but I don't see it as the central theme of the game.  Its Pocohantas settling in Jamestown (in reverse), its Lawrence of Arabia "going native", its Japanese youth who choose western pop culture over tradition (also in reverse).  Its the story of anyone caught between two cultures and how they're seen and viewed by each.  Great stuff...but IMO already present in the game without need for anything more than polish.
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