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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 158 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Source Code - blowing off dust reveals new game  (Read 3493 times)

Posts: 74

« on: February 07, 2006, 01:52:27 PM »

I'll admit I've been both distracted and distraught.

At first I posted this idea as Envoy, then Carbon Soul and after some good advice as Source Code.
We play tested, but then Christian (one of my crew) threw me an unintentional curve ball. Source Code wasn't about violence, it was about identity.
About the same time I read the Fruitful Void over at Anyway and Descent, to get that out of my system. Somewhere along the way Brute and my contribution to the Norwegian Design competition R.I.S.K. 2006; Bak Speilet, totally made me loose focus.

Which I didn't mind, I need all that out of my system anyways. And Source Code was simmering, but I was stuck on this whole identity issue. Then Vincents Big idea for 2006 got me. And then the latest discussions going back and forth, in particular this one: An Awesome Line of Thought, just made it fall in place.

Here is the first draft of what the configsys file of Source Code looks like:

Big Three
Source Code is a game about identity. It is a cyberpunk game, and this particular version takes the film noir elements of lust, violence and desperation and mixes it with future shocks like uploadable selves, AI, memes and disassociation.
In a hyper-commercial world ruled by advertising and faceless mega-corporations chasing profit the characters of this game are desperate people chasing holes in their own souls, trying to fill them while the digital noise builds up in their source code.
The players of this game either play these desperate characters, spending the characters memories to change scenes into what outcome they want, give character control over to other players for bonuses in conflicts and then let their characters recharge through the character’s Releases. The Players choose when to use the Transients in their code to win conflicts. The Narrator builds a web of the characters desire and the world, counting the scenes won by the players and keeping track of ]the story progression.

Die mechanics.
Each contest is determined by the roll of a die. (D6)
If the roll is greater than or equals to four the contest is a success.
Looser narrates, called giving
Or looser pays one from his pool and narrates his characters comeback and reroll, success determined as above.
Looser gives or rolls again.
The looser may before a reroll change his intention.
Rolling a six or a one.
If a player rolls a sum of six, the looser has to spend two from his pool to reroll.
If a player rolls a one on a roll or reroll, he has to spend two points to reroll.
Advantage and Disadvantage
An Advantage adds one to the Contest Pool used by the player.
A disadvantage adds one to the cost of rerolling.
Bonus and penalties.
A character may gain a bonus in a contest, the player adding one to all rolls.
A character taking a penalty subtracts one.
Those of you that have spent some money on games will recognise the brilliance of Robin D. Laws in this here system. I love the back and forth of PTA and Dogs. This gave it too me. Hopefully I've adapted it enough to make it mine. The mechanic is pure brilliance and perfect for this game.
Harming someone.
The game has an element of violence in it. Violence is defined as an intentional attempt to hurt someone, be it physically, mentally or socially.
It is a contest as above, except if a player has to roll twice to get a success his character is hurt. This also means a player rolling a six to harm hurts the opposing character. All actions with this character then take a disadvantage.
A second hurt result makes the character Harmed. The player of this character then has a penalty on all contests until the character is healed.
Further harm, means the character is broken. A broken character can not act. Unless a player uses a story token to keep this character in play for one more go.
There is violence in this game, and I will expand on this later. I need these rules because violence is still defined as intentional harming someone socially, physically or mentally.
The Character
The core of every character is her source code, the sum of her self. This is made up of three variables, Recall, Response and Resolve.
Recall is the character’s ability to retain and process information. A combination of memory, logic and emotion. Call it thinking power.
Response is the characters ability to relate to other entities and her social adapability. A combination of empathy and charisma.
Resolve is the force of the character’s will, her mental resilience and her ability to force her will on others.
These die pools form the basis of all the conflict resoultion in my game. Experiences and abilities add dice to these pools as applicable, but the player chooses how he wishes for the character to overcome the conflict.
There are three more source code components to consider and they have very strong in game effects; memories, relationships and releases.
Memories are tied to the Recall variable. The character’s memories are three named memories that are important to the character. Every time a character looses a conflict, her player may spend a memory and say the sentence: “that’s not how I remember it.” The pools are reset to what they were before the contest and the contest is replayed, starting from before intention. The new outcome is from where the story then continues. A character must be involved in a conflict for her player to call this out.
Relationships are tied to the characters Response variable. Again the player defines three relationships, by giving the NPC a name, a keyword describing it, and a short definition of their relationship as play starts. If a player character is involved in a conflict he may ask for a Flashback scene to get a bonus on his die rolls in that conflict. He picks the relationship and the time period and then asks the other players to frame the flashback scene.
The player that has the least amount of story tokens, if a tie, the player who have waited the longest to frame a flashback frames the flashback. A flashback has a situation and a conflict with something at stake. The Flashback player then plays the relationship NPC and his die pools equal the other player characters Response variable. The requesting player rolls normally. Pools at current level, but refresh to this level after the conflict, but transients stay.
No matter the outcome the requesting player gets a bonus on the current conflict, the flashback player gets a story token. Xp and story token awards as normal structured scene procedure.
Thirdly there is Release, governed by the resolve variable. The character builds up transients, the player spends her pools and exhausts her relationships and memories. When it is his time to ask for a scene, the player can ask for character development scene, and use these releases to refresh the above. Reducing transients is covered in the rules, for transients; refreshing the others the character narrates how his character uses these releases to refresh his or her pools, memories and relationships. To do this the player takes the characters base Resolve pool, rolls a die, if he wins he refreshes the variable or component at stake. He may then try for another refresh, by rolling again. When he fails, he has to use another release, narrate and reroll the die or give. Once the scene is over the narrator gets a Plot Point.
Big Thanks to Vincent and the people at his blog for sparking these fires in my brain. If there ever was a game that needed shared character ownership, it was this one. Now I need to rebuild the chargen rules and a bit more on the use of transient build up and damage, storypoints and Xp and the game is ready for playtest. (oh and how to use tools for harming people and structured crisis design needs to be looked at, but it will all derive from this configsys file.
briefly put Transients used to be Trauma Pool, it is damage to the source code by using different setting based tools and harm inflicted on others that will harm the three source code components. But these are exchangeable by doing a little programming.

And yes, I'd love some feedback. I belive that the whole dynamic about changing the outcome of conflicts, by replaying them, and the going back into the characters past to get bonus here and now (stolen directly from mr Baker) and the eventual choice to reprogram the character will allow the players to make meaningful statements about identity.

I know it is a little early to put this up here, but I am all fired up and need some fresh lenses.


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