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Author Topic: Playtesters of Nine Worlds, unite  (Read 13393 times)
Mike Holmes
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« Reply #30 on: August 12, 2003, 02:11:11 PM »

Quote
Can we agree that whether you "get" an Archon, based on experience or whatever, is far less important than "what do I do when I play an Archon?"


My use of the term "get" was entirely meant to mean, I don't know what they do. I'm not sure what an arcehtype is, other than the typical things that the archetype does (skills, for example, are indicative of what activities a character does). Sorry it it seemed otherwise.

That all said, I think that if Archons are just "normal folks" who just recently turned into Archons, then I have no problem. But the impression I got, especially from the character example, was that Archons have been doing this for a while. As such one would think that their muses would relate to that (or, like I said, my sim mind would think that).

But if you were to make the "normal person" recently "embraced" as it were, no prob.

Mike
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Valamir
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« Reply #31 on: August 12, 2003, 02:21:34 PM »

Quote from: Matt Snyder
 
I think the setting chapter will really answer a lot of questions that are being raised here. I'm writing it, I'm writing it, already!


Cool, I'll look forward to seeing it because what you have so far is pretty groovy.  Since its not a "standard" genre or genre amalgam there aren't any hooks for me to draw upon to really get a feel for the game.  Closest I could come is "Greek Myths in Space", with Archons filling in the role of demi god heroes, but I didn't know how to adapt the myth cycles to the "in space setting".  I'm sure your setting material will fill that in.

One of my typical evaluation techniques is to envision me playing a character and seeing how cool I am ;-)  Once I know enough to envision an adventure I'll better be able to do that.

Quote
You've almost got it. The world as we modern, rela folks know it is an illusion, an artificial creation devoid of metaphysical Virtue or Power. There is no pluto becaue the Eternals don't recognize its value. There are no galaxies or God or whatever for the same reason. The Nine Worlds are real, they are Truth because the gods and titans say so. Humanity on earth, however, remains oblivious to all this.


This part gives me pause.  I can buy into a parallel universe adjacent to our own where the sun manifests as a golden city, forests cover the moon, and ships fly through the blood and substance of a dead god.  I'll have a lot more trouble buying the idea that this is the NORMAL reality and we're all just blinded by some universal human delusion and can't see it.

There are just way too many ways to confirm that the sun is a giant ball of burning hydrogen and helium gas and not a flying city through the sky for me to buy into an explanation that relies on an illusion that keeps me from being able to see the truth.  Stage Magicians will tell you the simpler the Illusion the better.  Plus there is the old saw about "what a tangled web we weave".  I think our reality and the reality posed in 9 worlds are too fundamentally different for 9 worlds to be the true reality concealed by an illusion to look like ours.

I'd have a far easier time with our reality being our reality.  The Sun is a ball of gas.  If I get in a rocket and go there I really am getting in a rocket, and I really am going there, and I really do find a ball of gas.  On my way I pass the desolate piece of rock called the Moon.  THEN there's ANOTHER reality where the 9 Worlds exists.  It would even be ok if THAT reality was the real original reality and our reality is a pale reflection of it...like Shadows in Amber...as long as they are seperate and distinct places that you can travel between.

Did my ramblings there make any sense?
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #32 on: August 12, 2003, 02:23:50 PM »

No need to apologize, Mike. We're all big boys and girls here, and it's largely my fault for misinterpreting what you were asking. Looks like we were on the same page for the most part all along.

As for whether being an Archon is old hat or not, it's up to the players. Blair suggested more sample NPCs showing different levels of involvement with things "beyond" or "arcane." I think I'll have to add that. Hell, maybe Megan will make an appearance.

This thread's been really helpful, if really overwhelming, in point out stuff I gotta add. Sheesh!

Smoke if you got 'em.....
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Matt Snyder
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #33 on: August 12, 2003, 02:46:53 PM »

Quote
Did my ramblings there make any sense?


Sure, Ralph, they make sense, and I can easily see how the reality of the situation can hang you up. I'll note one sentence and try to go from there.

Quote
I'll have a lot more trouble buying the idea that this is the NORMAL reality and we're all just blinded by some universal human delusion and can't see it.


Normal is the kicker here. First, the game includes anything but that which is normal.

Second, and more importantly, what is normal? This is precisely the question the game examines. Should you be normal, or should do your own thing? That's the premise of the game. Now, it doesn't ask it in the same way you're posing, but the question is in there.

Your example says that the Sun is provably real as ball of fusion fire, right? How would you prove that in the game? In the game, you'd enter a conflict with Apollo. Good luck, sucker. He's powerful. Let's say his Power is, oh say, 30. Your Hubris or Arete is really good, but not THAT good. You challenge his "illusion," trying to "prove" the sun is a fusion star. If you fail, guess what, his illusion maintains. You may or may not go on believing that the sun is a yellow star as astroomers define it. BUT, if you succeed, look out. Now, your goal has been met -- to take away Apollo's enforced reality. So, what is it? Is the sun a star? A city? Cheddar cheese? Now, you possess the virtue to say what the sun is. (How COOL is that?!? Well, not too cool if you just wiped out everyone who lives there, but still . . . . )

Can you get in a rocket and land on the rocky moon in this game? Yes. But to what end? If it's to prove the moon is a rock, not a wildlands of mythic beasts, then you're going to enter a conflict like that above. If you're going there as a sleeper to explore, then the game doesn't care too much. You go. It's real, or as real as your sleeper mind can tell you. But unless the Eternals say, "Yep, that act of going to the moon has virtue," then it just doesn't matter whether it's real or not. What matters is virtue. And the Eternals are a stodgy, miserly bunch when it comes to virtue.

To really get into the game, you totally have to throw reason and science especially out the window. The game will not answer whether there's a Christian god or why inertia works, or whether evolution is verifiable. It's just irrelevant to the game. That'd be like playing Traveller and wondering why there are no Sorcerer-like demons to summon.

This is magical fantasy game, and it is clearly not modeling what we often call "reality." It isn't even really modeling physical reality within the game itself. What it does, as a game system, is model this particular universe's metaphysics. In essence it's spiritual makeup and interactions. Those manifest as physical things, sure, but the game doesn't care one way or another. All that matters to the game system is metaphysical meaning. It strips away need or cause for any kind of physicality or modelling. It's just more abstract than many games.

Well, enough of my soap-boxing. Not trying to talk you down, Ralph. I understand where you're coming from, I really do. I'm trying in my tired, too-verbose way to explain it another way for you.

One last thought before I retire my frazzled brain for the day. Since I happen to know you're a Harry Potter fan, consider this: Earth is full of muggles who don't realize what's going on. If J.K. Rowling described the sun as, in TRUTH a phoenix, are you really less inclined to read books six and seven because we should be able to prove fusion happens? Nine Worlds isn't much different than that. Do Harry and Hermione really care whether there are crack whores in New York City or ethnic cleansing in Rwanda while they're playing Quidditch? It's just not part of the genre, the story, and so on.
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Matt Snyder
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #34 on: August 12, 2003, 02:55:19 PM »

Hello,

I knew this was going to get frustrating. Matt, I wasn't challenging you.

Quote
I have a neat idea for a troubled teen character, a girl who aims to find her own inner beauty and power.


That's the answer I was looking for, or more accurately, that's the step of character creation that would interest me in playing the game. Assigning kewl powerz is easy. Knowing what I'm going to do with this [character [plus powers]] is a lot harder.

You see, Sorcerer has an advantage over many other games because most people, regardless of their religious outlook, have an emotional reaction to the word "demon." It's a mind-kicker; it makes people twitch a little and make a character that's worthy of coping with it. It seems to me that the equivalent in Nine Worlds is coming, not from "Archon," but from some element of the real-person side of character creation. That's the place where some text or some examples would pay off in a big way.

Best,
Ron
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AnttiK
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« Reply #35 on: August 12, 2003, 03:00:44 PM »

I don't smoke. ;)

Matt said:
Quote
(FYI, there is no limit to declared opponents -- yes this means you can really, really kick ass if outnumbered given a good hand on your part)

This is important! Is it written in the playtest document or only implied in the reverse? (As in: two archons "attack" a single opponent, so it works the other way around too, naturally.)

So you can declare 3 titans as opponents and your Fate is compared to each of theirs (so you can be victorious against 2 of them but lose to 1)?

Matt said:
Quote
Or is getting distracted by color a serious problem?

This was the problem for my other player: grasping the virtues and urges as something more than strange metaphysical attributes.

Matt said:
Quote
Did the examples in the rules chapter not do a sufficient job of showing what you do in this game? I'm still not seeing a reply in that regard.

I found the examples enlightening and the world hopping story really sold me the setting. My players have already talked about a planescape inspired story for Nine Worlds. And that they shall get.
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Antti Karjalainen
Valamir
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« Reply #36 on: August 12, 2003, 04:48:00 PM »

Quote
Your example says that the Sun is provably real as ball of fusion fire, right? How would you prove that in the game? In the game, you'd enter a conflict with Apollo. Good luck, sucker. He's powerful. Let's say his Power is, oh say, 30. Your Hubris or Arete is really good, but not THAT good. You challenge his "illusion," trying to "prove" the sun is a fusion star. If you fail, guess what, his illusion maintains. You may or may not go on believing that the sun is a yellow star as astroomers define it. BUT, if you succeed, look out. Now, your goal has been met -- to take away Apollo's enforced reality. So, what is it? Is the sun a star? A city? Cheddar cheese? Now, you possess the virtue to say what the sun is. (How COOL is that?!? Well, not too cool if you just wiped out everyone who lives there, but still . . . . )

Can you get in a rocket and land on the rocky moon in this game? Yes. But to what end? If it's to prove the moon is a rock, not a wildlands of mythic beasts, then you're going to enter a conflict like that above. If you're going there as a sleeper to explore, then the game doesn't care too much. You go. It's real, or as real as your sleeper mind can tell you. But unless the Eternals say, "Yep, that act of going to the moon has virtue," then it just doesn't matter whether it's real or not. What matters is virtue. And the Eternals are a stodgy, miserly bunch when it comes to virtue.


Yup.  I'm gonna have big trouble with that.  It makes little sense to me.  If I as an Archon want to prove the sun is a ball of gas I have to challenge Apollo for it?  What about the billions of non Archons who already know its a ball of gas.  What about the thousands of scientists who've studied the sun 6 ways to tuesday and have conclusively proven that its a ball of gas.  You're saying they're all fooled by an elaborate illusion?

Sorry.  I'm not going to be able to buy that.  Disbelief Suspenders a-snappen.  That would be WAY too complicated and involved an illusion to work.

Much better IMO is to have the sun really BE a ball of gas in our universe.  But ours isn't the universe where Apollo lives.  He lives in the "otherworld"...and in the "otherworld" space is ether instead of a vacuum and the sun is a big shiny city.  That I can handle.

We are all inferior beings whose senses are completely useless at divining reality because we all live inside of some magical "Matrix"?  Not appealing to me I'm afraid.
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Eddy Fate
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« Reply #37 on: August 12, 2003, 05:51:28 PM »

... so if I repeat something, I apologize.  I'm also very much going stream-of-consciousness here.

Page 1:
* 3rd paragraph: "The cause it" and "The do not..." should be "They".
* I got the basic gist of the game from this.  Nice, concise summary!

Page 2:
* Lexicon: "settin elements of Nine Worlds" should be "setting".  (I know!  I know!  It's the editor in me, I'm sorry!)
* The Aether and Aetherships feel a bit like Spelljammer.  But in a good way.
* So an Archon is an Awakened, but an Awakened isn't necessarily an Archon?  Is that right?

Page 3:
* You define NPC and PC, but not "Gamemaster" or "Player".  I think you should either put all the terms in, or take out the assumed terminology.

Page 4:
* Saturn: You spell Kronos "Cronos" here.

Page 5:
* The Rule of Nines is clever, and makes things easy to remember.
* Pronunciations!  What joy!  You might want to move them into the Lexicon section, however.

Page 7:
* Not sure if it was intentional or not, but the Urges are laid out in paired fashion, making it easier to understand.  It's easy to mentally pair Chaos/Cosmos and Metamorphosis/Stasis.

Page 9:
* I like Muses (seems along the lines of some ideas I kicked around myself, as I'm sure you've seen), but it's not clear what the numerical figure really MEANS.  I know that it works into the system, but what does it mean to the character (and the player)?  Does a higher number mean it's more powerful to the character, or it impacts him more?  Some clarity on converting the numbers into some range for the "strength" of the Muse might be helpful.

Page 13:
* I like how using your better stats endangers your weaker stats.  Nice balancing there.  However, I'm not quite sure how it works in play.  Does it just mean that the sacrasanct Trait can't be affected by Tricks in any way?

Page 16:
* I had some questions on narration, but "To the Victor" cleared them up for me.
* "defeated by some other any opponent"?  Your base are belong to us?  :-)  Seriously, if A defeats B, and B defeats C, then B gets C's tricks, and A gets B's tricks (but not the ones he got from C)?  Also, you get tricked PLAYED from your opponent, but can keep tricks played OR in your own hand?

Page 18:
* You might want to put "statis lock" in the Lexicon.

Page 23:
* I like how resolving Muses is also an "experience" mechanic.  Very slick, and very reinforcing of the paradigm.

Overall, I think that the background will need a lot of detailing, in order that the players and GM have a firm common ground to tell stories from, but the system just seems to be in need of some elaboration, not necessarily revision.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #38 on: August 12, 2003, 06:03:20 PM »

Quote
I knew this was going to get frustrating. Matt, I wasn't challenging you.

snip ....

It seems to me that the equivalent in Nine Worlds is coming, not from "Archon," but from some element of the real-person side of character creation. That's the place where some text or some examples would pay off in a big way.


I don't follow what you mean by this. Can you elaborate? (That is, I think I do know, and have always intuitively known, what you're getting at. I want more clarification that we are agreeing.)

Oh, and don't get frustrated. C'mon, Ron, you know me better than that. You also should know me well enough that I find such challenges an annoying means to communicate. If you already sense the answer, then say it. If you don't sense the answer already, then ask with an example. I'm not interested in answering for you for the express purpose of learning it myself via your challenge.
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Matt Snyder
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #39 on: August 12, 2003, 06:39:43 PM »

Damn, this isn't working at all. I did not have an answer in mind when I asked. I had a big honking question, which you answered, hence "answer I was looking for."

So it's not like a prof who asks a question and smiles indulgently as the students struggle to articulate something that matches whatever's in his mind. It was a plain and basic gaping void in my mind. You filled it.

I'll be looking over the manuscript some more before continuing.

Best,
Ron
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Spooky Fanboy
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« Reply #40 on: August 12, 2003, 08:51:34 PM »

Okay, I'm having a honking big disconnect.

In the beginning, it sounds like Archons are already who they are, but Prometheus jars them into the 'real world' of the Titanomachy, the Eternals, and the full use of their powers. Sometimes, however, it seems like they are granted their powers by Prometheus. Which is it?

This plays into the conflict between "Is the sun a big flaming ball of gas, or is it Heliopolis with a huge illusion slapped over it?" Did the Archons of ages past help create this divide between the 'True World' of 9W and our Earth? Or did the Eternals or some outside agency create it?

IMG, assuming anyone asks this (and they will!), the Eternals just got fed up with being 'gods', so they gradually set up a separate level of reality to buffer themselves from mortal affairs. Eventually, both just went their separate ways. Archons just became people who could do genius-level stuff, without the knowledge and desire to do more. And so it went.

Until Poseidon died. Because with Poseidon, so fell the inviolability of the waters. Now pollution and climate change can, in fact, threaten our existence on Earth. So now the Eternals are fighting the Titanomachy again, to save us and themselves.

Prometheus starts 'awakening' the Archons to who they really are and what they can really do. Why? Because he thinks that the Titans, his kin, are assholes, and he thinks the Eternals aren't much better. But he likes existence, and thinks humanity should have a say in what happens to their world.  So he decides to rally humanity, and let the chips fall where they may.

That's IMG, and that's why Eternals aren't all that kind to Archons, even though they have some kinship. And why the Titans hate and fear them. Some Eternals regret turning away from humans, others say "good riddance." Others think they might be valuable in the upcoming war.

Matt, this kind of backstory is necessary to run this game. If one player wants to run a 'veteran' while others want to run 'newbies,' I can't withold that info from the vet. Some idea of what's what and who's who is necessary to playtest this game. We need more info.

Also, have you figured out why you wanted to make attributes sacrosanct or in jeopardy? If not, I'm not sure how to justify it to my players, either.
I was thinking maybe just lose the sacrosanct rule altogether, and just rule that only Virtues actually used in the conflict could be improved and locked. Seems simpler to me...
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #41 on: August 12, 2003, 09:11:43 PM »

Ok, like Ron says, this isn't working at all. This thread is closed.

My apologies for not fielding criticisms as well as I should. It's frustrating getting this vision (which I'm obviously very close to) out there for everyone.

Spooky Fanboy, et al, you'll have to wait a bit for some answers as I get the setting finalized.

Thanks for the commentary, everyone. I do appreciate it. The following people will receive free PDF copies of the game when it's complete:

* Ron Edwards
* Shreyas Sampat
* Mike Holmes
* Eddy Webb
* Alexander Cherry
* Ralph Mazza

Thanks
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

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« Reply #42 on: August 13, 2003, 09:11:28 AM »

So you don't want anymore playtest feedback?? Was just about to run a session with it.
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Matt Snyder
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« Reply #43 on: August 13, 2003, 10:07:57 AM »

No, I'm not dismissing feedback. Sorry for the confusion. In grand Forge tradition, I'm closing this particular thread to put an end to confusion and encourage new threads with specific questions. Call it putting on a fresh face on my part. Please do post a new thread here on the CC forum if you have feedback or questions.

Thanks!
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Matt Snyder
www.chimera.info

"The future ain't what it used to be."
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