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Author Topic: [Inn at the Edge of Forever] Power 19  (Read 2545 times)
andrew_kenrick
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Posts: 194


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« on: February 10, 2006, 08:36:20 AM »

Ok, I've finished the Power 19 now. My questions are at the bottom.

Inn at the Edge of Forever: Power 19

1.) What is your game about?**

The Inn at the Edge of Forever is about the nature of magic and reality, and what happens when the two collide. It is about being lost in a strange world. It is about being very much out of your depth, surrounded by far bigger fishes.

2.) What do the characters do?**

Play has two levels, although the characters remain the same in both. At the first level characters sit around in the inn telling each other the stories of their exploits. The second level is the story, and the characters play out their adventures in the Inn, exploring new parts of it, solving a problem threatening the Inn or its inhabitants or doing a task for one of its inhabitants.

3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?**

The players take it in turns to tell the story of their PC. When a player is not telling their own story, they act as the GMs, controlling NPCs and interjecting with complications and plot twists.

4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

The setting is the Inn itself, where all the stories take place. The setting represents all that is magical in the world, put together in a compact, focused environment. The nature of the Inn itself is magical and acts as the foil for the reality that the PCs are used to.

5.) How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?

The characters are defined from creation in terms of the balance between magic and reality, Real and Unreal, choosing which side they lean towards. This balance is formally defined at character creation by assigning values to the Real and Unreal, the total of which must be 10. The importance of knowledge and secrets in the setting is reinforced too by forcing players to consider what important things a character knows, in the form of Truths and Secrets.

6.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?

The game rewards imaginative, creative and proactive storytelling by the protagonist, and inventive use of a characterís skills and abilities.

7.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?

As yet there are no such rewards for play style.

8.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?

The players take it in turns to play as the protagonist, at which point the responsibility for narration falls to them. As their narration progresses, the other players, who take the role of antagonists and allies, interject plot twists and complications into the narration. When conflict occurs between the players, a dice roll resolves who wins the conflict, and the winner narrates the outcome of the conflict.

9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)


By giving narrative control to the protagonist, the players have the opportunity to make their own fun, both for themselves, for their character and for the other players. As each player is the focus for their own story during the game, they have an increased responsibility and stake in their own enjoyment of the game. As each player takes it in turns to tell a story, an element of friendly in and out-of-character competition and one-upmanship might evolve, causing the players to gain great enjoyment from outdoing one another.

10.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?

A character comprises of an attribute pair, Real and Unreal, the total of which always adds up to 10. The game uses a 2d10 + stat resolution mechanic, with a target equal to 10 + the opponentís opposing stat. Truths and secrets can be used by either side to give a bonus or a penalty to these rolls.

11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?

There are only two attributes, Real and Unreal, and these exist in opposition to one another. A check made using the Real attribute is always opposed by the opponentís Unreal attribute. This mechanic encapsulates the conflict between magic and reality that is the essence of the game.

12.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?

Yes, kind of. Characters change in the Inn, becoming more or less real, or more or less magical, depending on which path they choose to get past conflicts. This is also accompanied by the acquisition or loss of truths and secrets. These are not really advances, because the total of the attributes must remain the same, but they are changes. As a character reaches the extremes of the scale, either by being totally magical or totally real, they either leave the Inn forever, or become a permanent part of it, never able to leave it again.

13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

As a character advances, he becomes more powerful in either the real world or the magical world, and less powerful in the opposing world. The game is about the nature of magic and reality, and a characterís slide towards one or the other reflects the mutability of both. At the end of a characterís advancement his nature will have fundamentally changed, his metamorphosis complete and the conflict between magic and reality at an end. The character will either have become one of the big fish, or will have left the pond entirely, to use the original metaphor.

14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?

Wonder and magic. The game is all about a place unfettered by mundanities and reality, and the setting is designed to foster a sense of wonder and fantasy in the players, allowing them to imagine a place where their characters can do, and do, anything.

15.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?

The inhabitants and locations within the Inn, and examples of Secrets and stories. This is not to provide a complete and developed setting, but to show the players example of what is possible and help the spark of imagination grow if necessary.

16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

The story within a story aspect. I really dig the idea of the characters sitting around telling each other stories about their adventures, and I like the ability for the other players to interject with complications to make a collaborative story with you at the centre.

17.) Where does your game take the players that other games canít, donít, or wonít?

Although most games are about stories and storytelling, there are precious few where the characters get to do the storytelling. It is a game, in part, about storytelling, not just about stories.

18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?

I am going to release it for sale in pdf format initially, with an eye to a print run distributed via my regular distributors in due course.

19.) Who is your target audience?

Fans of quirky indie games. Fans of storytelling. Fans of stories. Fans of Miyazaki.

Now for some questions:

a. With regards to question 6 and 7 - I have no mechanisms for rewarding the specific play style, nor do I have any concept for how this could be achieved. How do you reward somebody for playing the game how you envisage them playing it, besides the fact that they'll have more fun that way?

b. Related to questions 12 and 13 - Besides the change in a character's attributes and what they know, all of which are essentially static (by having to add up to 10) or ephemeral (by having Secrets come and go throughout the course of the game), how else could a character in this game advance? Is there a need for advancement beyond that given in my answer? Or is that enough?
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
Matt Machell
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Posts: 477


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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2006, 09:19:22 AM »

Right, I'm getting a clearer feel for the game now, I like the levels in the fiction.

Quote
a. With regards to question 6 and 7 - I have no mechanisms for rewarding the specific play style, nor do I have any concept for how this could be achieved. How do you reward somebody for playing the game how you envisage them playing it, besides the fact that they'll have more fun that way?

Well, that's a big question to cover. You're probably already rewarding things and you're just not thinking of it in terms of reward.

Take your thoughts about secrets and consequences in the other thread. Secrets when revealed give a mechanical advantage, so players are rewarded with likelyhood of success by revealing them. This encourages players to reveal their secrets. However, since they're in limited supply they have to balance that with using them up too soon and running out of this resource at a crucial moment. Now, if you created a process to refresh secrets, you create motivation to drive play towards that process.

-Matt
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andrew_kenrick
Member

Posts: 194


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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2006, 09:45:26 AM »

Quote
Take your thoughts about secrets and consequences in the other thread. Secrets when revealed give a mechanical advantage, so players are rewarded with likelyhood of success by revealing them. This encourages players to reveal their secrets. However, since they're in limited supply they have to balance that with using them up too soon and running out of this resource at a crucial moment. Now, if you created a process to refresh secrets, you create motivation to drive play towards that process.

Which I guess we have by the means suggested by ks13, by which a secret becomes a consequence, and once the consequence has been dealt with a new secret can be taken in it's place, thereby refreshing it. Is that what you meant?
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
Troy_Costisick
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Posts: 802


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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2006, 02:43:40 PM »

Heya,

Quote
3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?**

The players take it in turns to tell the story of their PC. When a player is not telling their own story, they act as the GMs, controlling NPCs and interjecting with complications and plot twists
.

-Does this mean that there will be multiple GMs at once?  That sounds a bit confusing.  How do you keep them from stepping on each otherís toes?  Is there some currency they use of some kind?

Quote
4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

The setting is the Inn itself, where all the stories take place.

-Iím a bit confused.  Do the stories the PCs tell advance the plot sort of in a flashback sort of way, or is the plot about what goes on in the inn itself in the present time of the PCs?

-Your answer for #6 tells what kinds of behaviors are rewarded.  Then in question #7 where you are asked to describe the rewards, you say there are none.  Could you explain this?

Quote
9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)

By giving narrative control to the protagonist, the players have the opportunity to make their own fun, both for themselves, for their character and for the other players. As each player is the focus for their own story during the game, they have an increased responsibility and stake in their own enjoyment of the game. As each player takes it in turns to tell a story, an element of friendly in and out-of-character competition and one-upmanship might evolve, causing the players to gain great enjoyment from outdoing one another.

-So is there only one protagonist in the game or only one protagonist at a time during the game?

Quote
14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?

Wonder and magic.

-Explain more on how your game accomplishes this.

Quote
16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

The story within a story aspect. I really dig the idea of the characters sitting around telling each other stories about their adventures, and I like the ability for the other players to interject with complications to make a collaborative story with you at the centre.

-How does the telling of stories interact with the larger story of the inn?

Quote
18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?

I am going to release it for sale in pdf format initially, with an eye to a print run distributed via my regular distributors in due course.

19.) Who is your target audience?

Fans of quirky indie games. Fans of storytelling. Fans of stories. Fans of Miyazaki

-Good answers.

Peace,

-Troy
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andrew_kenrick
Member

Posts: 194


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« Reply #4 on: February 11, 2006, 05:41:32 AM »

Hi Troy - thanks for the reply. It was your Power 19 articles on your blog that inspired me to start posting here in the first place.

With hindsight I'm wondering whether I should have started off with the Power 19, and then began to post about the game, as I think I've answered a lot of the questions with the expectation that people have read my first thread first.

Quote
Quote
3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?**

The players take it in turns to tell the story of their PC. When a player is not telling their own story, they act as the GMs, controlling NPCs and interjecting with complications and plot twists

-Does this mean that there will be multiple GMs at once?  That sounds a bit confusing.  How do you keep them from stepping on each otherís toes?  Is there some currency they use of some kind?

At any given time there is one character, one GM, and a whole host of assistant GMs. Any of the players can interject with complications and introduce new characters at any time, but during the story only the active player and the GM have jurisdiction and authority, and can dismiss ideas they don't want included. I haven't gone into specifics beyond that as to how to deal with disagreements and conflicts in the storytelling, but I'm toying with some sort of wagering system, as is used in Baron Munchausen.

Quote
Quote
4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

The setting is the Inn itself, where all the stories take place.

-Iím a bit confused.  Do the stories the PCs tell advance the plot sort of in a flashback sort of way, or is the plot about what goes on in the inn itself in the present time of the PCs?

The PCs are storytelling to each other in the present, but the stories have already occurred, so the stories themselves are really flashbacks. All the stories are about what goes on in the Inn, and the plots therein. All the plot advancement occurs within the flashback stories told by the PCs. I'm not envisaging any plot advancement occurring in the present, as the PCs are telling the stories. Does this make sense?

Quote
-Your answer for #6 tells what kinds of behaviors are rewarded.  Then in question #7 where you are asked to describe the rewards, you say there are none.  Could you explain this?

In my answer to #6 I was outlining which types of play and behaviour I wanted the game to encourage and reward, but (as mentioned in #7) I'm not sure how to actually reward or encourage this behaviour.

Quote
Quote
9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)

By giving narrative control to the protagonist, the players have the opportunity to make their own fun, both for themselves, for their character and for the other players. As each player is the focus for their own story during the game, they have an increased responsibility and stake in their own enjoyment of the game. As each player takes it in turns to tell a story, an element of friendly in and out-of-character competition and one-upmanship might evolve, causing the players to gain great enjoyment from outdoing one another.

-So is there only one protagonist in the game or only one protagonist at a time during the game?

There is only one protagonist at a time during the game. The characters take it in turns to be the protagonist at any given time. Although the other characters may appear in each other's stories, it will never be as a protagonist and strictly in a supporting role.

Quote
Quote
14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?

Wonder and magic.

-Explain more on how your game accomplishes this.

By presenting them with a rich and evocative world with fantastical inhabitants and wondrous stories, and then saying to them "this is your world now, do what you want with it."

Quote
Quote
16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

The story within a story aspect. I really dig the idea of the characters sitting around telling each other stories about their adventures, and I like the ability for the other players to interject with complications to make a collaborative story with you at the centre.

-How does the telling of stories interact with the larger story of the inn?

The various inhabitants and stories of the Inn come and go, but only two things remain constant throughout - the Inn as a backdrop and setting to the stories, and the characters themselves. Just as in each story the character is the sole protagonist, so it is within the context of a larger campaign. The only metaplot is that which the characters and players tell in their stories.

Is that what you meant by this question, or have I missed the meaning?

Quote
Quote
18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?

I am going to release it for sale in pdf format initially, with an eye to a print run distributed via my regular distributors in due course.

19.) Who is your target audience?
Fans of quirky indie games. Fans of storytelling. Fans of stories. Fans of Miyazaki

-Good answers.

Thanks. I should probably have added "fans of Baron Munchausen" to the end of that list too. It wasn't a direct inspiration, but as the storytelling aspect of the game develops I can see it's influence more and more.

Thanks

Andrew
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


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« Reply #5 on: February 12, 2006, 04:08:28 PM »

Heya,

Quote
The various inhabitants and stories of the Inn come and go, but only two things remain constant throughout - the Inn as a backdrop and setting to the stories, and the characters themselves. Just as in each story the character is the sole protagonist, so it is within the context of a larger campaign. The only metaplot is that which the characters and players tell in their stories.

Is that what you meant by this question, or have I missed the meaning?

-This is cool. What are the rules for who gets to GM who?  Are there any rewards for being a GM?  If so, what are they based off of?

Peace,

-Troy
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andrew_kenrick
Member

Posts: 194


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« Reply #6 on: February 13, 2006, 07:17:47 AM »

I've taken the GMing system from Polaris, but was planning on relaxing the rules slightly so the game wasn't dependant on the same group being there each session. I'm thinking that at the start of each session you sit down and assign roles depending on your seating position, so the person opposite you would GM for your story.

As for GM rewards, this isn't something I've ever considered before, and I'm not sure why. After all, players get rewards all the time, why don't GMs? I'd be interested in hearing some thoughts on this - how should the GM be rewarded? As he is also a player in this, should his character get rewarded for the time he spends as the GM?
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


WWW
« Reply #7 on: February 14, 2006, 04:17:26 AM »

Heya,

Quote
As for GM rewards, this isn't something I've ever considered before, and I'm not sure why. After all, players get rewards all the time, why don't GMs? I'd be interested in hearing some thoughts on this - how should the GM be rewarded? As he is also a player in this, should his character get rewarded for the time he spends as the GM?

You know, this is a question I'm grappling with in many ways too.  If a GM is responsible for providing opposition to the players, then rewards need to enhance his ability to do that.  In your game (and this is just off the top of my head, so take it with a grain of salt) each player could have a large pool of points.  These points are used both to advance thier character's story as well as provide opposition to the other players' characters.  The only way to get more points is by GMing for other players.  The ammount of points you get for GMing must be greater than the ammount you spend while GMing.  So for instance if you spend 6 points GMing, you get 9 points back at the end of it.

Working it along these lines, it will encourage players to spend their points on NPCs, treasure, lore, whatever to help their fellow players along.  At the same time, their own characters will benefit from it.  I don't know if this will work for you or not, but it's a thought.

Peace,

-Troy
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andrew_kenrick
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Posts: 194


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« Reply #8 on: February 14, 2006, 09:33:33 AM »

I've toyed with borrowing part of Baron Munchausen's system of "wager" system to control how much the other players can interject elements into the story and mess around with the plot. This could work with your suggestion, and have the only way players can recoup their losses is by taking their turn GMing. This is probably the fairest way that you can reward a player who is GMing, rather than heaping direct rewards on their PC.

It's certainly something to bear in mind. Of course, I'm still not entirely sure how to faciliate player rewards either, but I suspect the two will be tied together.
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Andrew Kenrick
www.steampowerpublishing.com
Dead of Night - a pocket sized game of b-movie and slasher horror
Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


WWW
« Reply #9 on: February 14, 2006, 12:11:55 PM »

Heya,

Quote
I've toyed with borrowing part of Baron Munchausen's system of "wager" system to control how much the other players can interject elements into the story and mess around with the plot. This could work with your suggestion, and have the only way players can recoup their losses is by taking their turn GMing. This is probably the fairest way that you can reward a player who is GMing, rather than heaping direct rewards on their PC.

-Seems like you're heading in the right direction.  Look forward to seeing how things turn out as you develope this further :)

Peace,

-Troy
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