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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 66 - most online ever: 565 (October 17, 2020, 02:08:06 PM)
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Author Topic: Anarchist Fantasy  (Read 9710 times)
Abkajud
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Posts: 188


« Reply #30 on: May 18, 2009, 02:00:58 PM »

Oh, wow, that means you could have stuff like vendettas, blood brothers, oaths... so many things! Two sworn foes could get boons from their mutual hatred and desire to defeat one another (symmetrical, forced), a vicious taskmaster could get a buff from abusing the slaves in his stable (asymmetrical, forced), or a couple of reavers could make solemn oaths to die to protect the other (symmetrical, consenting).

What of an asymmetrical, consenting relationship? Say! What about a king and his thanes, or a Hero and the local townspeople?

This is an exciting idea! Smiley And I think I get it!
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JoyWriter
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Posts: 469

also known as Josh W


« Reply #31 on: May 18, 2009, 05:55:33 PM »

Well one of my ideas for an endgame is that the PCs and friends form a little anarchist collective of their own, and their objective is to deal with the needs of the village and get the others involved in solving their own problems. This means they stop performing the activities that sustain the heroes relationship's and so those heroes, suddenly finding that the "class abilities" they earned are weakening, and come back to the villages.....

That's the final conflict, and like the previous ones, it's not purely combat, but it is thematic!

Snags; as much as I like the idea of a paladin getting 8 negative levels suddenly because the church that keeps praying for him has started praying for the local village instead, this doesn't really fit with the other class ideas. Equally the single mechanic doesn't easily cover "magic item theft" as a relationship, unless different forced relationships need different actions to sustain and to break. So perhaps some are harder to force in the first place, but sustain themselves; it's almost impossible to stop "not having something"!

But that is super-simple, and as you say C, you can add an extra layer with the magic item rules. No ideas on that myself at the moment, though.

I also thought of every relationship as being asymmetric, but you can pair them sometimes to make a symmetric one, putting bonuses and required actions on both sides. That way you can cover the greater needs of industrialisation or scholarly magic or whatever with greater "costs" for higher levels.

Also because of the synergy rules, it might be in your interest to give someone else a bonus, because their activities could be beneficial to you. The amount to which you can make that work could be a big puzzle part of the game; "Help us do ____ and you will find ____ is so much easier, because we can____!" sort of stuff.
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Abkajud
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Posts: 188


« Reply #32 on: May 18, 2009, 07:48:04 PM »

Personally, I think relationships that Heroes accrue could be interpreted, within the story, as "greatness" or "arete". If we move away from the full suite of magic-users (full- and half-caste), then rougher, more indistinct "hero types" appear, like in LotR. If, through conflict, the local farmers manage to end their forced relationship with a Heroic ranger-type, then the Hero would be less skilled at hunting, or fighting, or herbs, or some such.
I think the concept of generalized greatness springs forth from D&D's level system rather nicely - especially in 3rd edition, wherein monsters like ghouls can "drain levels" and, for the first time, characters can spend XP to make magic items. This means that "levels" are ... well, to me, the best word for it is arete, that Greek concept.
From the 'kipedia:
Quote
In its earliest appearance in Greek, this notion of excellence was ultimately bound up with the notion of the fulfillment of purpose or function; the act of living up to one's full potential. Arete in ancient Greek culture was courage and strength in the face of adversity and it was what all people aspired to.[from the "arete" article at wikipedia.org, accessed today]
Personally, I think that's a much better use of the word than Mage: the Ascension ever came up with, and it sounds both heroic and skillful.
What do you think?
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #33 on: May 18, 2009, 09:32:22 PM »

If we move away from the full suite of magic-users (full- and half-caste), then rougher, more indistinct "hero types" appear, like in LotR. If, through conflict, the local farmers manage to end their forced relationship with a Heroic ranger-type, then the Hero would be less skilled at hunting, or fighting, or herbs, or some such.

Interesting notion, but I can't quite agree with it.

In this case, I can't see the "ranger-type" hero losing their skills due to their loss of a relationship with the local farmers.

Perhaps relationships can be held between people and concepts, just as much as they are held between different groups of people.

Perhaps the "ranger-type" hero has a relationship with the concept "Ranger". Their character's obligations to the concept include "protecting the wilderness", "hunting monsters" and "studying the ways of nature"...the character has to keep performing these deeds in order to uphold their end of the bargain. In exchange, the concept's obligations to the character include "improved hunting skills", "herbal lore" and "wilderness sense".

The concept is incapable of failing in it's obligations to the character, but if the character fails it's obligations to the concept then the connection grows weaker.

This has a simple but multi-leveled effect on a game.

Firstly, it brings occupational classes into a game. Characters gain benefits from each class they share obligations with, and they can easily be multi-classed as long as they are willing to uphold the various obligations to each class they share connections with. Certainly multiclasses can become impossible due to the individual class having mutually exclusive obligations, it doesn't require a page of text to explain why a certain pair of classes don;t work together, it just takes a simple pair of obligations that can't be upheld at the same time [eg. thou shalt kill when the opportunity arises (vs) thou shalt not kill].

Secondly, it gives characters instant motivations and patterns of action within a game, giving them a morality in keeping with the genre/setting being emulated.

Thirdly, it allows players to gradually shift from one pattern of thought to another, or allows them to change occupations throughout their career as their agendas and ideals change. [eg. The ranger type gradually spends less time in the wilderness and more time in the cities, but for every time interval they spend in the city, their ranger skills gradually decay...they either need to spend more time back in the wilderness to renew their skills, or shift across to a new career type].

The same link to concepts could be applied to other ephemeral character aspects...

Gut Instinct...the character's obligation is that they mustn't think about things too much, the concept's obligation is that a bonus is applied when the character follows their instincts.

These ideas might work with what you have in mind...they may not. I'm just sharing some concepts that I'm currently working on and hoping they might be able to help your processes along.

Just some ideas...

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
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chronoplasm
Member

Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #34 on: May 18, 2009, 09:56:02 PM »

If relationships can bind people and concepts, they might as well be able to bind people and places or things...
...Which isn't a bad idea I think.
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Abkajud
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Posts: 188


« Reply #35 on: May 18, 2009, 10:53:30 PM »

Hey, V! Smiley
how about this: Heroes lose their unusual or supernatural-ish capabilities along with related relationships; if people don't swap stories of your amazing prowess anymore, maybe you've lost the mojo... I'm all about the socially constructed individual ^_^

Chrono, I think opening up relationships between all kinds of entities gives a more holistic feel to the rules/setting, but that might move it away from political territory in favor of spiritual, religious, and mystical. Does that work for ya?
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #36 on: May 19, 2009, 12:43:24 AM »

If relationships can bind people and concepts, they might as well be able to bind people and places or things...

Absolutely, and Abkajud is spot on with the statement that this pulls the game from the social sphere and makes it more holistic.

...but that's one of the directions I've been deliberately heading.

Let's throw in another concept...pre-requisite relationships and obligations.

As an example.

If you want to gain a relationship to the "Duke of Monmouth", you already need to have a proven relationship to the location of "Monmouth" and a relationship to either the occupation of "Courtiers" or "Military".

Initially, the relationship to the location might be asymmetrical, favouring the location far more than the character...but on the positive side, this asymmetrical relationship opens the option for other relationships that start to balance the favour back towards the character once they've proven themselves.   

On a similar track, pulling things back to a social context...

Religions can be defined as either an obligation relationship to a deity, or they can be defined as an obligation relationship to a communal group with similar ideals. Either way, the reciprocal relationship back to the character provides some kind of minor benefit, but allows more interesting relationships to develop once a few pre-requisites have been met.

The same religion could have certain members who are spiritually devout, those who are in it for the positive communal benefits, and others who are just trying to exploit the community for their own ends.

On a character development level (and trying to pull my suggestions back to the original notions of the thread)...a group could define their own benefits from a communal collective. A farming commune could gain easier access to food supplies than if they were working on their own as individuals, a mercenary collective could find their combat skills improve due to close interaction with other warrior-types. The more members in the collective, the bigger the benefits might be, but the more obligations would be imposed on the members to keep things running smoothly.

It's the kind of thing that I've really found missing in virtually all games I've played.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
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Abkajud
Member

Posts: 188


« Reply #37 on: May 19, 2009, 08:15:57 AM »

And on this note, Chrono, have you checked out the oath-binding mechanics in Changeling: the Lost? Could be some good stuff there..
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chronoplasm
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Posts: 286

Kevin Vito


« Reply #38 on: May 19, 2009, 12:43:30 PM »

Abkajud:
I've never played Changeling, but I'll ask my gaming group about it when I meet up with them tonight.

I just checked out that PDF you sent me, and now I've definately decided on including monsters as playable characters or NPCs allies and casting imperialistic humans as the primary antagonists.
...It's always up to the players to decide how they want to play, of course.
Monsters, being less social or at least less organized would start the game with fewer relationships than humans, but can get monstrous traits instead.
Perhaps monsters could have access to special relationships though like "Why did you create me?"

Vulpinoid:
Cool beans!
I like the idea of prerequisites for relationships. It's kinda sounding like 'Feats' from D&D though.
Do you think I should work with some kind similar structure or make it more freeform?
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #39 on: May 19, 2009, 03:29:55 PM »

I like the idea of prerequisites for relationships. It's kinda sounding like 'Feats' from D&D though.
Do you think I should work with some kind similar structure or make it more freeform?

I'd been thinking of it more like D&D 3.5's "Prestige Class" system, but I can definitely see the comparison to feats.

Personally, I'd keep the relationship network structure fairly freeform. Maybe start with a few relationship to different groups (one per faction in your game), a few relationships with cultural/racial heritages (again, one per culture/race in the game), a few relationships to occupational types, and a couple specifically tailored relationships that can be used between characters. Again, a personal preference, but I'd have most of these relationships should be balanced or unfavourable to the characters.

Trust me, even these will suddenly seem to blow out of proportion.

Then maybe add a second tier, where a range of relationships start tending to favour the characters a bit more, especially if they require a pre-requisite that's unfavourable to the characters. Each relationship in this second tier might have one or two pre-requisite relationships, no more. It builds into a system the concept that you've gotta do the hard yards before you start getting decent bonuses.

I wouldn't add much more than this. Perhaps one or two legendary paths that have second tier relationships as their pre-requisite, but then you really have to consider how long you think players will be playing your game, is the benefit of such paths really worth the effort of maintaining a whole bunch of lesser paths.

Feats in D&D 3.0 - 3.5 really bugged me at a lot of levels. Especially the fact that you only gained a feat every 3 levels and a lot of the cool feats required four or five pre-requisites before they became accessible. It either meant starting as low level grunt and playing a huge campaign to finally reach the character you wanted at the beginning, or playing a mid to high level campaign and spending hours on character generation. That's my experience anyway.

Keep it simple.

The more free-form a system is, the better it is able to adapt to the players needs. The more structure you put into it, the more chance you'll run into a player who wants something a bit different (and a GM who'll say "NO", thereby tarnishing the reputation of your game in certain circles).

Just some thoughts...

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
contracycle
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Posts: 2807


« Reply #40 on: May 19, 2009, 04:29:55 PM »

If you want to gain a relationship to the "Duke of Monmouth", you already need to have a proven relationship to the location of "Monmouth" and a relationship to either the occupation of "Courtiers" or "Military".

I like the second two but not the first.  After the Norman conquest there was a fair bit of friction between the native Anglo-Saxons and the incoming Norman administration, which would well be represented by having a rleationship to the duke that did not ewquire a relationship to the location; the relationship to the location is then one that is imposed as a consequence to the raltionship to the duke.  That would emphasize the idea of rulership NOT being a voluntary and reciprocal relationship.

It also seems to me that very act of fealty itself, the ritual submission, could be the 'magical' basis for enhancements accrued through relationships, hearking back to the previous idea of the power and authority of Great Men being some sort of 'vampirism' of their followers.

Quote
On a character development level (and trying to pull my suggestions back to the original notions of the thread)...a group could define their own benefits from a communal collective. A farming commune could gain easier access to food supplies than if they were working on their own as individuals, a mercenary collective could find their combat skills improve due to close interaction with other warrior-types. The more members in the collective, the bigger the benefits might be, but the more obligations would be imposed on the members to keep things running smoothly.

That seems fine to me, and to address the point about powers fading when relationships are lost, maybe it is a rather a case that those relationships get you a sort of 'bulk buyer' thing with a schedule of powers?  So its not necessarily your existing powers that would be lost, but your ability to acquire new ones would be constrained.  The ranger does not forget how to track, but after he loses the relationship with the village, buying the next level of tracking is much more expensive.
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Vulpinoid
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« Reply #41 on: May 19, 2009, 05:01:46 PM »

I like the second two but not the first.  After the Norman conquest there was a fair bit of friction between the native Anglo-Saxons and the incoming Norman administration, which would well be represented by having a rleationship to the duke that did not ewquire a relationship to the location; the relationship to the location is then one that is imposed as a consequence to the raltionship to the duke.  That would emphasize the idea of rulership NOT being a voluntary and reciprocal relationship.

My assumptions for this idea were based on a stable administration, in which a character would have to prove their usefulness within an region before they would be able to ascend to the relationships that bring leadership within that region.

It would be just as easy in a politically unstable environment to make these relationships exclusive. Perhaps a requirement of a relationship with the duke is that you must NOT foster positive relations with the locals...perhaps a different relationship to the region opens up once you've established a connection to the local authorities.

It was just an example of one method how these relationships can help to define the setting through the rules...and help define rules through the setting.

Any choice in relationship synergy has the potential to say something distinct about the environment in which the story is developing.

V
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A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.
dindenver
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Don't Panic!


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« Reply #42 on: May 19, 2009, 05:05:28 PM »

Kevin,
  I was on vacation, just got back.
  Here is my idea:
Divide the opposition into roles: Exchequer, Brigadier, Vizier, Minister
Neither side directly fights each other. The Exchequer and the Farmer never clash face-to-face. But the Farmer feeds the rebels while the Exchequer pays the mercenaries to suppress the rebellion.
So, all of their abilities create tools that help with that conflict, no?
I dunno, its just an idea
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chronoplasm
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Kevin Vito


« Reply #43 on: May 19, 2009, 09:25:06 PM »

OK, so here's some ideas for example relationships:
  • Friend
  • Enemy
  • Friend of a Friend
  • Enemy of my Enemy
  • Parent/Child
  • Sibling
  • Lovers
  • Married
  • Unrequited Love
  • Feared/Afraid Of
  • Owner/Property
  • Worshipper
  • Homeland
  • Occupation
  • Symbol

I might add a couple, but I think that's about what I want to start off with and then let the players come up with their own from there.
I don't think I want to deal with a lot of specific race or heritage type relationships; I'm thinking mostly "fill in the blank" types of things.

dindenver:
The names of those roles are far too long!
I do need to put more thought into the opposition though...
First I think I just need to kinda fill out a matrix and then kinda go from there.
Going back to my description of Conflicts and task resolution; tasks have a 'difficulty' rating and a 'complexity' rating. Difficulty is the target number for rolls and complexity is the number of successes required to complete the task. I'm kind of thinking of opponents along those lines at the moment...
Complexity (Low), Difficulty (Low)
Complexity (Low), Difficulty (Medium)
Complexity (Low), Difficulty (High)
Complexity (Medium), Difficulty (Low)
Complexity (Medium), Difficulty (Medium)
Complexity (Medium), Difficulty (High)
Complexity (High), Difficulty (Low)
Complexity (High), Difficulty (Medium)
Complexity (High), Difficulty (High)

(It's OK for bad-guys to have dominance hierarchy; you are rebelling against them. Smiley

Conflicts could be resolved physically, socially, or through a variety of other methods. Each type of opponent would have a certain kind of conflict that they favor. Some opponents fight with words and others fight with swords.
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