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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: Anarchist Fantasy  (Read 9712 times)
chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #15 on: May 16, 2009, 11:51:41 PM »

Thanks. Smiley

I was thinking about races, how many I wanted to include, and what kinds.
I'm thinking now that I might just want to have two:
Human and Monster
Of course I would have examples in the book for different kinds of monsters that could be created, but they would be very simple and bog-standard examples.
Basically, Humans get extra skills as well as bonuses to class features such as Tool or Weapon proficiency. Monsters get a floating +1 bonus and a floating -1 penalty to any ability scores of their choice, as well as the option to take special powers like Natural Tool or Natural Weapon in place of class features.
The classes would be based on the roles used in D&D 4E (defender, striker, controller, and leader) but I would use different names for them and make my own little tweaks (I'm not really happy with how Wizards is handling the controller role anyway). They would be kept very vague and open to refluffing so that the players can flavor them to their tastes.

I don't really want to do any sort of point buy like GURPS... simply because I'm not a fan of it.

Is this sounding okay so far?
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Abkajud
Member

Posts: 188


« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2009, 09:10:12 AM »

What are your ideas for core mechanics?
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chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2009, 11:31:28 AM »

It's not terribly original, but I was thinking something like...
  • Roll a pool of d20 dice against a target number; success is determined by the number of dice that roll over.
  • Your ability scores determine the number of dice you roll in certain situations.
  • You can add skill modifiers to the dice. You can use any skills that you can justify as being relevant to the situation, but each skill can only be added to a single die. If you can justify using the Intimidation skill to open a door for example, and the group buys it, then go for it, but you can only add your Intimidation bonus to one of the dice.
  • Each die that lands on a natural 20 counts as two successes.

The game may also include optional 'role under' variant rules for those who prefer it.

Oh, I'll read those pdfs while I'm at work tomorrow. Thanks again. Smiley

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Abkajud
Member

Posts: 188


« Reply #18 on: May 17, 2009, 03:25:47 PM »

What about some kind of Fifth World style, animistic/holistic approach to the world, as exemplified by the PCs?
That example with Intimidation got my brain going - what if you really were browbeating it into opening? What if, just as Conflict Resolution implies
Quote
When using this Technique, inanimate objects are conceived to have "interests" at odds with the character, if necessary
and therefore, some kind of "I'm no better than the rocks, or the trees, or the birds in the sky" attitude on part of the PCs.

Secondly, I like the idea of using multiple skills in a situation, but it might be difficult to maintain suspension of disbelief if you're throwing them all into a single action.

Any idea if (1) dice roll corresponds to (1) action/(1) unit of time? If a single roll could mean one sword-blow or one, several-minute-long attempt to jimmy open a door, I'd believe it; could a single roll represent an entire series of actions, all directed at the same Conflict Resolution goal? If this latter bit is true, you could then do some kind of piece-by-piece, post-dice-roll narration of the events, of how you tied each chosen skill into the situation, etc. Neat!

Maybe when people team up towards a single goal, they all contribute skills to the dice pool like that? Neat! I like it; your ideas germinate my own!
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #19 on: May 17, 2009, 03:47:05 PM »

Reading this thread there was one idea I was almost immediately bursting to include: What I see as a common corporate fallacy (not among normal peeps, more among some of the hardcore corporation cheerleaders) is that some big guy comes in and builds this giant corporation that has it's productive ability somehow derived from his innate power, ignoring all the guys actually designing and making the stuff. Now this got me thinking; what if you create a relationship mechanic that makes some characters who are "levelling up" look like they are increasing in innate power, but actually getting into crazy relationships where their awesomeness is being subsidised by other people. I'm talking about divine champions who have their power created by the ritual efforts of cults, wizards with a whole school at their back to get spells from, or spells they "find around" that belong to the local people, martial warlords who's "minions" sacrifice themselves for their victory and of course gadget thieves who steal and then recombine other people's magic items to take advantage of their synergies.

Something like that, where these heroes come through decimating the local economy and society as a form of protection racket against all these monsters, and the peasants taking up arms to fight their own battle.

If the relationship mechanism allows both equally-respecting symbiotic links and parasitic links, with your group required as a seed to start true cooperative resistance getting off the ground, then the premise of the setting is sort of built into the mechanics, and you can just chuck various starting situations around from mindflayer slave-pits, to heroes + their protection racket, to feudal culture enslaved by a surreal magic enhanced celebrity!
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chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #20 on: May 17, 2009, 03:54:50 PM »

Abkajud:
The dice pool idea there is actually loosely inspired by the skill challenges of 4E. Your dice pool actually represents a series of actions to complete one task.
The target number for the rolls represents the difficulty of the task, and the number of successes required to complete the task represents the task's complexity. Some tasks may have low difficulty but high complexity while other tasks may have high difficulty but low complexity.

I like the animism idea. It reminds me of an older idea for a game I had called Townsfolk (placeholder name).
In Townsfolk,
Farmers were scythe-wielding warriors specialized for mowing through large mobs of plant monsters.
Lumberjacks were axe-wielding warriors specialized for chopping down giant plant monsters many times larger and more powerful than themselves.
Miners were hammer and pick-axe wielding warriors specialized for digging through layers of defense to chip away at mineral monsters with high HP.
Fishermen were net and spear wielding warriors specialized for luring in and snaring aquatic monsters.
Everything in the world had some kind of monstrous spirit in it, forcing average people to perfect their occupations into fighting-styles just to get things done.
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chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #21 on: May 17, 2009, 04:04:30 PM »

JoyWriter:
Cool idea!

It reminds me of another game I was working on a while back where you play as a living god, and your goal was to collect worshippers and build up a cult of personality. Each worshipper you gained magnified your power.
Something like that then?

Hmmm... Before I wasn't thinking of giving players much in the way of spellcasting, but now I'm imagining some sort of communal 'folk magic'. Through their relationships, players can combine power to cast spells. Spellcasting isn't something that is performed by a single specialized member of the party, but rather something that the group collaborates on to make possible.

Exploitative mages however place themselves at the center of the magic circles and concentrate the power of the group into themselves rather than dispersing it throughout the group.

Is that sort of what you are getting at?
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Abkajud
Member

Posts: 188


« Reply #22 on: May 17, 2009, 04:29:09 PM »

Ah, I remember Townsfolk. It sounded really neat, actually Smiley
There's something characteristic, something vital and central, about a non-magical, really quite mundane power source for the PCs. Think of socialist realism in art - it glorifies, even deifies, the agrarian, the commonplace, and the practical. At this point in the conversation, I feel like your anarcho-fantasy game has a couple of routes it could take: a group vs. individual, four-color, Chrono Trigger-style game, wherein the PCs and the baddies are equally fantastical and colorful, but the bad guys obsess over exploitation while our plucky heroes work together...
OR a "soft power"/cooperative approach wherein the actually-quite-disempowered good guys and their allies have to not only work together, but use every trump and advantage they have to get one-up on their oppressors.
The former seems a bit too Saturday morning cartoonish, while the latter seems to evoke more pathos, have more panache, etc. It's a bit like the options available to the anarchists and communists fighting the fascists in Pan's Labyrinth: the good guys wear brown, or at least avoid black, and live in the woods, and some have to live under the heel of the fascists to keep their communication and supply lines open. The fascists live like military dictators, which they were, and have free access to food, and shelter, and medicine, so long as they toe the party line and follow orders.
I don't really want to see my players dishing out four-man synergy attacks (even if hammer-and-sickle emblems appearing in midair would be bad-ass!), but rather, I think that flashy, expensive magic should be a think for the bourgeois and the ruling classes, while quiet little prayers or cantrips that just nudge things in the right direction, at the right moment, would befit the desperation and poverty the PCs have to deal with.
But yeah, the basic idea of synergy sounds awesome. Dig it! Smiley
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JoyWriter
Member

Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #23 on: May 17, 2009, 05:02:01 PM »

Ok, here's my idea cut down to heroquest brevity, missing huge swathes of what makes it awesome (but on the other hand perhaps showing alternate applications).

Instead of levels and classes, you have relationships, and those relationships replicate classes in terms of effects. Two characters must agree to a relationship, and must participate in the action that keeps it going. The effect of the relationship is generally asymmetric, but can be paired to make an arrangement agreeable to both. Relationships give bonuses to rolls in the specific field they operate in; everyone can do a little magic, fighting or sheep rearing, but relationships are required to boost the values into noticeable levels. So one player can become "the farmer" and requires certain things to do his job, but when he has them is able to produce extra crops, or more specifically, has more narrative power over how little crops they have.
Heroes frequently "save people" and move on, with little understanding of how much their requirements tax the people they leave, considering their growing power as just a natural feature of "completing quests for the peasants".

The second part is synergy, where actions can be combined in interesting ways to boost effectiveness and do cool stuff they couldn't otherwise do. This is in the field of fictional appropriateness, but would have guidelines showing the possible intersections of different relationships. This would be the core of group based conflict resolution, hopefully sufficiently freeform to allow creativity, sufficiently structured to allow people to hook in in the first place.

As I don't believe in Marxist social constructivism, (Tongue) the third part is natural stats. These form both a temptation to go it alone and hero about based on your innate superiority, and an encouragement to work with people who are weaker. Hopefully the first two mechanics would do enough to overwhelm these advantages to show the value of social engagement!

Now I notice I've taken out your elegant "caste = narration rights" thing, but I suppose that could be added back in, giving players a background that gives them a starting relationship at low value and authority over a sphere "My dad says that those woods are full of sprites, so we avoid cutting near them". I was thinking that this history could set external conflict, whereas whoever has the appropriate skill tries to solve it. Or even better, the person offers up the problem to the guys to see if they can help him solve it by organising!

Finally, how do you cover stealing with relationships? Well perhaps if you have enforced relationships then "much richer than" is a relationship that requires people to be poor to power it! Stopping forced relationships is not something I have worked out yet though. Perhaps people have to refresh the relationships periodically?
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chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #24 on: May 17, 2009, 09:09:53 PM »

Abkajud:
Maybe I could go in both directions via optional rules and modules? Both approaches appeal to me and I'd like to be able to explore them both. It would be up to the players to decide which way they want to go in (as long as they come to a consensus with their groups!)

JoyWriter:
Forced relationships eh? That's a pretty nifty idea!

Perhaps some adversaries in the game can impose forced relationships if they are victorious in conflict. This could be a dictator who quells an uprising and imposes harsh punishment on the rebels or it could be a parasitic creature like a vampire or a brain-worm that latches onto a host. It could be a lot of different things.

Perhaps players might also decide to start the game with forced relationships as a drawback for their characters in order to justify some extra benefit in another area. For each forced relationship they impose upon themselves, they get some kind of equivalent bonus of their choosing (usually an extra friendly relationship such as "Enemy of my enemy" for example).

Removing a forced relationship can work much like combat, except that it is usually a bit more complicated as a task.

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Vulpinoid
Member

Posts: 803

Kitsune Trickster


WWW
« Reply #25 on: May 18, 2009, 01:54:27 AM »

Shift the d20's for d6's and this is really sounding close to the system and many of the concepts I've been working on.

Especially the relationship stuff.

Cool, I'll be interested to see where this develops.

V



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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
Evlyn
Member

Posts: 21

French is my first language.


WWW
« Reply #26 on: May 18, 2009, 09:55:27 AM »

What about Endgame? Do you plan to have some endgame mechanic?

And what about magical items and equipment ownership? (Or magical items nature and fonction, etc...?)
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- Evlyn Moreau.
chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #27 on: May 18, 2009, 12:13:53 PM »

After all the forced relationships have been shaken off and the Issues have been resolved, I suppose the player characters could try to set up their own independent community.
There needs to be one final conflict though... just to end things with a bang.
This could come in the form of a BBEG "End Boss" or it could be something like "Is our community sustainable?"
I'm thinking of maybe doing up some kind of random table of Demons that symbolize things like 'Greed' or 'Excess'. Players could use these demons as a final conflict if they don't come up with their own.

As far as magic item ownership goes...
What if magic items damage relationships? It would be kinda like the One Ring from Lord of the Rings and how it turned people into greedy jerks with creepy eyes.
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Abkajud
Member

Posts: 188


« Reply #28 on: May 18, 2009, 12:31:56 PM »

I think end-game could be optional, or there could be semi-end-game going on instead/as well. Basically, you could retire the community once you've managed to shake off any immediate, pressing threats to its stability, and then introduce it, if you like, in a future campaign with different PCs. No point in throwing away a perfectly awesome, "completed" storyline, eh?
I have to admit, I'm confused about forced relationships, and relationships in general - can you explain what starts them, maintains them, and ends them? Thanks! Smiley
Also, the theme of corruption from LotR is an excellent, excellent idea to raid for concepts. Go for it, and remember the Ring of Gyges: if a man is unaccountable to his peers, what cares he for them?
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chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2009, 12:55:27 PM »

I'm still a little confused about it myself, but I'm working on it.

Here's what I'm thinking:

Relationships can be grouped into 'asymmetric' and 'symmetric' categories.
Asymmetric relationships grant a bonus to one character in the relationship, but usually at the expense of the other.
Symmetric relationships grant either a bonus or a penalty to both characters in the relationship equally.

Relationships can then be grouped into 'consenting' or 'forced' relationships.
A consenting relationship is one where both chararacters in the relationship agree to it.
A forced relationship is one where the relationship is imposed as the result of conflict.

A consenting relationship is maintained if the two characters simply agree to maintain it, and it can be ended just as easily with mutual agreement. If one character decides to break free of the relationship against the will of the other, conflict occurs to resolve this.

A forced relationship is formed as the result of conflict, maintained through constant conflict, and requires conflict to end.

Does that sound okay so far?
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