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Author Topic: [Avalanche] - selling content... looking for sytems  (Read 5867 times)
pells
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« on: February 20, 2006, 02:46:26 AM »

This thread is a split from [Avalanche] How design influences many aspects... and some questions

I think my product, as being setting/plot oriented, is not GNS related, so I think I'm entitled to use more than one system to represent it.
This thread is not about my design, nor the impact of adding a system on it beside character sheets, nor the purpose of my project.

The rules dilemma
I really think I need to provide systems for representation of my setting/plot, as it is intended to be played. That said, I don't intend to design one myself.
So, the idea would be to propose three different systems, each emblematic of the GNS. I'm looking for systems that are emblematic, but still, have a licence that would permit me to use them quite easily. Any idea ? Of course, I'm not talking about personal preferences, but icons.
My setting is quite commun, heroic fantasy. I think that some systems wouldn't work, like those for science fiction or written for a specific setting (like MLWM).

The d20 problematic
I don't like d20. I don't design a d20 product. I don't want to encourage playing my scenario with d20. This is also one of the main reason, I think, I need to provide at least, another system, if I'm going to propose d20.
For me, the problematic with d20 is purely publishing and marketing. There is a big market of those players. They still play prewritten scenarios, like living campaing, even thougth there are of poor quality. I want to be able to include them, without excluding the other players.
Providing only d20 would be an error. But, I have to face it, I may need d20 to bring food on the table.
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2006, 03:55:17 AM »

GNS-emblematic free systems? Easy.

Gamism - D&D, of course. Or in your case more likely, "The world's most popular fantasy adventuring system", depending on whether you're including rules content or not.

Simulationism - I suggest Fudge, also available under OGL. Apparently the new Runequest will be under OGL also, so that's another one.

Narrativism - The Shadow of Yesterday, of course! Available under the CC noncommercial licence, but I'm pretty sure Clinton might give you a special commercial licence if you ask nicely and aren't printing the actual system, only your own implementations.

Note that much depends on what kind of content you're planning to include for the games in question. If you're just planning to put in a chapter of "Rules system suggestions" where you list some systems that might go nicely, you don't need any licences. This is true to a degree even if you choose to include a paragraph or two of general suggestions about how to apply the given system. If your plans are along these lines, you don't have to care one way or another about whether the system you're using is free.

The limit of fair use is pretty vague, however, so if you're going to include rules content (character classes, special rules exceptions), it's probably a good idea to get permission. This is also the case if you're planning to advertise your rules compatibility on the front cover; while the latter is legal, licence or not, you might draw lawsuits, and it seems that's something Americans don't like to do.

If, however, you're not afraid of potential legal posturing, I think you'll be well on the better side of the law as long as you don't reprint any content from copyrighted works, what ever system you're using. The legal precedent is quite clear in that writing complementary content for rules systems isn't copyright infringement, as proved by the widespread practice in the ''70s and similar cases for the automobile and computer industry. If you target a high-profile company you'll probably draw threats, insofar as I understand anything about the American way to handle things, but the law should back up your right to write material for D&D or Storyteller system or whatever.

--

The above being said, I'd like to add that it's probably a fool's errand to try to write adventuring material for different creative agendas of GNS, at least if you're not intimately familiar with the theory. Setting prose is possible (because it doesn't impact GNS), but adventure plots or whatever practical material you're thinking of would have to be rebuilt from ground up for the different agendas. This doesn't, of course, mean that it's a bad idea to publish a multi-system sourcebook.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #2 on: February 21, 2006, 08:32:11 AM »

Not to be a pest, but I think you still miss the point I was making when I argued for no System (on the Indie Design Forum). I meant NO system: don't include one, OGL or not. I think my publishing- and competition-related objections were quite valid (and remain uncountered, yes...?).

I have always advised you to write so that each Agenda can find applicable content. You don't NEED a System to present a Setting and Situation: study The Big Model; its "Venn diagram" of dependancies within a game's elements is correct.

The only things you might need to quantify (and only for GAM/SIM-oriented play--which is, I think, what you play and is, thus, the reason I think you feel compelled to put numbers to NPCs) are relative effectiveness of NPCs/monsters as compared to the common man and the characters. That could be all textual: "General Grumuth is the most feared warrior in the land, matched by no one." or "His troops, however, can barely wield the farming implements they've brought to the battle."

Clearly, the General in the above is equal to (or greater than) the highest powered characters, while his troops could be quantified with whatever the players' System uses as a "normal" or "baseline" or "Level 0" fighter.

See? NO System, not a set of three "popular" Systems tacked onto your principle product (Setting and Situation).

But, as always, do what makes you happy. Just realize the issues that you embrace when you make such choices. For example, when I flip through a Setting product and see all of its characters and challenges quantified with d20, I put it down: I think d20 is flawed, I do not want to use a product that tries to write its content to suit the d20 system, and I do not buy Settings that require me to do a bunch of conversions from some arbitrary System to the one I run for table-top. (No, I don't buy a lot of Settings at all: such System-independant products are quite rare... and that's why I thought you had a niche!)

Just a warning, some advice, and encouragement that your bigger ideas of Situation timing and Setting are the real value add of your product, not ready-made d20 or Fudge characters or traps with d20 DCs all ready to go for the GM. :)
David
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #3 on: February 21, 2006, 10:07:37 AM »

Pells, in order to make this thread serve your needs best, can you list the questions and information that you want to discuss in it? That way we can give you the best information we have, and stay focused on your publishing goals.

Best,
Ron
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pells
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« Reply #4 on: February 22, 2006, 03:01:42 AM »

My project and the forge
I do realise that what I'm doing seems awkward compared to what other people do here. I don't think my market is on the forge, but I believe I do benefit from this site, as a way to better my product, otherwise, I wouldn't be here. For me, the forge is food for thougth.

Design and publishing
In the context of my project, the two were thougth out together. They are closely linked. It is very important to see one in perspective of the other, because the way I want to publish is, I think, innovative. The way I intend to publish is very important for this conversation.
I plan on publishing my product thru a website, selling it on a monthly based subscription. My goal is to create a value added service. I won't go into details here, leaving this to the purpose of a future thread, when I'm near publishing.

What I'm selling
I'm selling content, not rules. I'm selling a moving setting, a multiplot adventure, based on a calendar. Something written for the rpg, a new way to create content for this hobby. That said, if my story stinks, I won't sell a single copy. This is my main trade.
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Just a warning, some advice, and encouragement that your bigger ideas of Situation timing and Setting are the real value add of your product
That's what people will be buying.

Content without implementation of system
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I have always advised you to write so that each Agenda can find applicable content.
I believe it is already there. If I was presenting the largest dungeon in the world, I wouldn't support many agendas.
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The only things you might need to quantify (and only for GAM/SIM-oriented play--which is, I think, what you play and is, thus, the reason I think you feel compelled to put numbers to NPCs) are relative effectiveness of NPCs/monsters as compared to the common man and the characters. That could be all textual: "General Grumuth is the most feared warrior in the land, matched by no one." or "His troops, however, can barely wield the farming implements they've brought to the battle."
Clearly, the General in the above is equal to (or greater than) the highest powered characters, while his troops could be quantified with whatever the players' System uses as a "normal" or "baseline" or "Level 0" fighter.
That is already there. The story reallly speaks for itself. By the description I provided (after all, that's what I'm selling), you can see who could defeat who.
For a while, I thought of giving a single number for each element, based on an exponential curve, to give information on a character or faction's strength, as a guideline.

The place of the system
Before going into details and questions, I'd like to point out there is a precedent. A song of ice and fire, by George RR Martin, had been published for the rpg (i.e. a game of throne). They came out with two different sets of rules : d20 and a dedictated one, which I presume more SIM.
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For example, when I flip through a Setting product and see all of its characters and challenges quantified with d20, I put it down: I think d20 is flawed, I do not want to use a product that tries to write its content to suit the d20 system, and I do not buy Settings that require me to do a bunch of conversions from some arbitrary System to the one I run for table-top. (No, I don't buy a lot of Settings at all: such System-independant products are quite rare... and that's why I thought you had a niche!)
You're quite right about this, but I don't intend to publish on paper, and that makes a big difference. When people will come to filp thru my product, it'll be thru a website. They'll see pages and pages of setting and events (i.e. the plots) : illustrations and text. If you want to access the system for a given item, the user will have to push a button system to get to it. Then, the text will disapear, leaving room for stats. The system will not be the first thing that appears to the eyes.
So, systems can be seen as option. When you subscribe, you choose which system you want to use. That is certainly one of the things you can do in htlm and not in a book. And I think I need to take as much benefit as possible from this way of publishing. As system is an option, I'd say the default one is no system.

What I would I provide
I wish to provide the minimum, so I guess character sheets. Things can be used by most people. I won't provide things like traps. There are no traps description in the story. Well, there are things like 'there are traps in there', but there are not described. If the DM playing it wants to put traps, he'll have to come with his own. That said, I don't think this is the toughtest part to design.
I also don't plan on designing specific rules for my scenario (i.e. adapt the existing systems).

The system problem
This is recurring in my project. For the following, keep in mind the context : I'm selling a prewritten scenario with DM/players. Players who considered that any kind of plots comes in the way of playing, well, systems or not, they won't be buying my product. Same thing for those who play with no DM. That is not related to any of my questions.
So, I'm selling content, not related to specific system, neither a creative agenda. But, I still feel the need to provide some tools to play it. Even thougth I believe the strength of my product lies in the content, the way it is written, what are the chances to sell content for the rpg without any rules (specific or not) ?
I believe one of the mistake I could make is coming with only one system for it, thus suggesting one way to play it. Let's take d20 for example. The mere presence of the d20 logo on a product makes some people turn away from it. But, on the other hand d20 players are looking for that logo. I think it would be worse to put, let's say, only d20 than no system at all. Am I right ?
That's where I come to emblematic systems. I think that way I can elude the tagging of a system to my product, the presumption that it had been written for a specific system. The idea is to be able to include some players without excluding others. I am right on that assumption ?
The dilemma about system is that, for some, the creation of a main character takes a lot of time. As my product is already very open, meaning DMs will have to add their own vision, I wish to provide them with a minimum commun ground (i.e. character sheets) for the system they would choose to play with. To do things most or all DM will have to do (that excludes things like traps).
The idea is to go on the market of prewritten scenarios (not just setting) with a very different product that could be played with different creative agendas.

Final notes
In the construction of this product, there is something very important that came to my attention. There are things I can do, and others I can't. That means I won't be adding rules for system I didn't play. I would externalise that task to make sure quality is there.
And please, don't tell me that this kind of product is doom, or can't be done. That is not the kind of input I'm looking for.
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Eero Tuovinen
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« Reply #5 on: February 22, 2006, 03:26:02 AM »

Hey, nothing wrong with you project from where I'm standing. I suppose I'm not interested in that kind of thing myself (while I like "adventure supplements" very much when well done, yours seems to require too much buy-in), but if you'd use it yourself, I'm sure there's some market out there. We're all of us targeting slightly different fringe markets, and if yours is a different one, well, it's not like they don't have wallets like everybody else.

And for the record, I think you're 100% right about the codependency of design and publishing. When considering your product as a business, that's an excellent place to begin. My own current project is very much a brainchild of market analysis.

Anyway, that's the validation part. How do you find the systems I suggested, namely d20, Fudge and TSOY? I think those are extremely transparent (easy for users to port to other systems), well representative of different playstyles, popular and easy to write for without stumbling on legal roadblocks. The main problem I see is that d20 is difficult to write for, or at least it requires significant system expertise if you want to produce something playable. Fudge and TSOY are slightly easier in that regard. Another problem is that I have difficulty imagining adventure material that could be easily used for all of those, but that's a problem with almost any three wildly different games. Setting and situation, yes, but when you start laying down the tracks of adventure as it's commonly understood, you'll soon stumble into country where both TSOY and d20 start dragging. But I guess it's up to you to familiarize yourself with different games and figure out what kind of common content you can make for them.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #6 on: February 22, 2006, 08:26:16 AM »

Quote
If you want to access the system for a given item, the user will have to push a button system to get to it. Then, the text will disappear, leaving room for stats. The system will not be the first thing that appears to the eyes.
So, systems can be seen as option. When you subscribe, you choose which system you want to use. That is certainly one of the things you can do in HTML and not in a book. And I think I need to take as much benefit as possible from this way of publishing. As system is an option, I'd say the default one is no system.

And with that, I sit back content and say, "Good on ya!" We danced a bit with diction; but in the end I think you see what I meant; and I am sure what you plan vis a vis the web-driven tools is EXCELLENT! It will be a bit of a challenge for you to provide System-specific details for each Setting component, times three or four. But the fact that it will be a "toggle" in the Setting-reading interface is clever and will work fine, I think.

So, now, you need existing Systems to provide quantifiers for your content. In this situation, I would turn to market research. Try to find numbers on market saturation for various GAM/SIM/NAR games, and then learn those Systems front-to-back. Yes, I suspect d20 will be in that Top Five Systems list. Go ahead and assume White Wolf's "Splat" /Dice Pools System will be, too. GURPS, maybe (do folks really play that game anymore, now that Hero 5 is out?). I'd say Hero, DEFINITELY, but I don't think it's really there, market-saturation-wise. As for a NAR system, you will probably have to look to Amber to find any saturation at all--thought the NAR-heads will surely correct me and tell me all about some high-saturation NAR game. :-)

And also, be sure to confirm that you need not use only OGL games. I think one of the previous posters was right, in that you can use a non-open game's system to create content for that game. You just might have to pay royalties from your sales, for each user who chooses that system as their "default" on the web site. That is something you can easily discover by simply contacting their Submission Department or the game owner's Licensing people.

It's looking good to me; get thee to a word processor!

And for your specific redirects:
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What are the chances to sell content for the rpg without any rules (specific or not)?
I think they are just fine: as I have said in other related thread, folks adopt and reject systems with strong emotion, so a product that will work--with shaping--with any system is "enemy to none, but no one's ally." That's a better place to be than allied with one system, or trying to find allies for your brand-new system.

Quote
I think it would be worse to put, let's say, only d20 than no system at all. Am I right?
I believe so, but if your web site could show a d20 logo and a Hero System logo and the Amber logo (is there one?) and the GURPS logo... well that would be more like "everybody's welcome!" But JUST a d20 logo, and you're on the wagon train with THOUSANDS of others, all with THEIR d20 logos and THEIR "fantasy heartbreakers." ;-)

Quote
The idea is to be able to include some players without excluding others. I am right on that assumption?
That's what I've argued so far: a "private System" would leave you competing with The Big Boys. An alignment with one popular System could alienate possible customers. BUT aligning with MANY Systems, each serving clearly different Agendas, not only opens the door to every possible player type, but also demonstrates that you are aware of the need to make a Setting and Situation product serve all Agendas. That's a leg-up over the competition, who probably doesn't think much past "how do I come up with unique d20 classes?" when they start to hack out a Setting book.

Go for it! You've got some SERIOUS work ahead. :-)
David
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pells
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« Reply #7 on: February 22, 2006, 11:45:21 AM »

Quote
And with that, I sit back content and say, "Good on ya!" We danced a bit with diction; but in the end I think you see what I meant; and I am sure what you plan vis a vis the web-driven tools is EXCELLENT! It will be a bit of a challenge for you to provide System-specific details for each Setting component, times three or four. But the fact that it will be a "toggle" in the Setting-reading interface is clever and will work fine, I think.
I'm glad we agree on that. And most important, that you can see the specifics concerning my publishing issue. One of the big advantage, is that adding a system does not force me to reprint anything, but just add an option.

System : OGL vs non OGL
Quote
And also, be sure to confirm that you need not use only OGL games. I think one of the previous posters was right, in that you can use a non-open game's system to create content for that game. You just might have to pay royalties from your sales, for each user who chooses that system as their "default" on the web site. That is something you can easily discover by simply contacting their Submission Department or the game owner's Licensing people.
It's even simplier than you think !! In fact, I've never said the system option needs to be free. Depending on the chosen system, it can be charged a small monthly fee or even a yearly fee at the first month (I have WW in mind here). So royalties would be very, very easy to manage.
That said, for me this issue of non OGL system is a long term one. I would prefer to start off with free system (and full constent from their author) to begin with. If I can sell some memberships (hep, that's what I'm selling...), then I think he'd be easier for me to come to the ground of non OGL. Less risk and expense in the first place. But, they would be implanted as OGL system. So I have them in mind even tougth I choose not to go there in the first place. Does it seem a good choice ?

Systems
Quote
Anyway, that's the validation part. How do you find the systems I suggested, namely d20, Fudge and TSOY? I think those are extremely transparent (easy for users to port to other systems), well representative of different playstyles, popular and easy to write for without stumbling on legal roadblocks. The main problem I see is that d20 is difficult to write for, or at least it requires significant system expertise if you want to produce something playable. Fudge and TSOY are slightly easier in that regard.
D20 : I believe it is a must, not because it is good, but instead commonly played. That said, you're right, writing for d20 is a mess, which I don't do by the way. So the implantation of d20 is a little bit awkward (ex : what is a pyromancer in d20 ? An invoquer ? I guess, but it's not terrible).
But is d20 really a paragon of gamist ? Let's say I keep d20 for survival purpose, can't I find a more emblematic system for gamist ? And say d20 is an example of an abashed system ;-)
TSOY : I've heard it been suggested for other projects, due to its licence, and I've just finished reading the rules. A great game. While reading it, I asked myself can I implant it for my project ? And I think the answer is yes. At least, more easily than d20, for that matter. And since I play NAR myself, this would really reflect what I'm doing. I like it so much I think I'm going to use it myself from now.
Fudge : I didn't have the time to check it already. I know it, but never had the chance to play it, althougth I played role master (don't know if this is worth saying). I guess it is well known. And it's licence, from what I understand, perfectly fits my needs.

Providing for systems (on the verge of design)
I hope I don't go too much into design concerns. We could always use my other thread. Well, anyway, I guess someone (i.e. Ron) will tell us.
Now, that's my new poblem. For understanding on this matter, just a reminder : what I'm writing is very open. So, what I want to provide is what will be used by most people.
Reading TSOY, I constantly asked myself, what do I need to provide beside characters sheets ? I couldn't find it. The same thing for d20. Well, I guess major magic items are important. That said I'd like to give three examples.
Call of Cthulhu : I'm quite familiar with this system, having played it over and over. Beside characters sheets, at some points, for some scenes, they do mention mechanic specific things like sanity roll. My question is, do you really need that ? Can't it be left to the DM ?
Climbing : one generic example. Let's say your players are climbing a cliff. I guess it could be useful to have some stats on the difficulty of the task. But isn't better to have a description of the mountains and let the DM evaluate the difficulties. Do you really need to provide that (i.e. stats) ?
Traps : then again, I don't even describe them. So, is it necessary to give all informations about traps to the DM ? Can't he play without this ? Can't he adapt it to his actual play experience ? I would gladly see two different groups go into a place where there are traps and meet all different kind of traps there.
The idea is to provide just what the DM needs and let him build the rest as he seems appropriate. As I do that for the storyline, I guess I can do it for the system. Am I missing something here ?

Final notes
Quote
Another problem is that I have difficulty imagining adventure material that could be easily used for all of those, but that's a problem with almost any three wildly different games. Setting and situation, yes, but when you start laying down the tracks of adventure as it's commonly understood, you'll soon stumble into country where both TSOY and d20 start dragging.
Definitly not the purpose of this thread, but I'd like to comment. Setting and situation are the only things I provide. Your laying down of adventure is the actual play experience, and well, I don't provide anything about that. It's the DM's job to manage it.
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That's what I've argued so far: a "private System" would leave you competing with The Big Boys. An alignment with one popular System could alienate possible customers. BUT aligning with MANY Systems, each serving clearly different Agendas, not only opens the door to every possible player type, but also demonstrates that you are aware of the need to make a Setting and Situation product serve all Agendas. That's a leg-up over the competition, who probably doesn't think much past "how do I come up with unique d20 classes?" when they start to hack out a Setting book.
That's what I'm trying to do !!! And, by the way, this conversation really helps me.
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Go for it! You've got some SERIOUS work ahead.
Well, then again, I'm not complaining, but this work is little compared to what I've done so far. I'd say building up the website is more work, defining my design for scenarios was more work and writing down the content is more work. Anyway, this is something I don't need to do myself (at this point, this is very important, since I do a lot on this project). And there are many things no one else can do, like writing the functionnal specifications for the website.
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David "Czar Fnord" Artman
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« Reply #8 on: February 22, 2006, 01:25:18 PM »

Quote
Call of Cthulhu : ...at some points, for some scenes, they do mention mechanic specific things like sanity roll. My question is, do you really need that ? Can't it be left to the DM ?
Climbing : ...it could be useful to have some stats on the difficulty of the task. But isn't better to have a description of the mountains and let the DM evaluate the difficulties. Do you really need to provide that (i.e. stats) ?
Traps : ...is it necessary to give all informations about traps to the DM ? Can't he play without this ? Can't he adapt it to his actual play experience ? I would gladly see two different groups go into a place where there are traps and meet all different kind of traps there.

Here's where (I think) your "web site System toggles" would help. Sure, you could have purely textual and illustrative elements for "The Shambling Horror" and "The Techerous Cliff" and "The Fiendish Trap" (I am sure you will have such elements). But with your System toggle, a user could see:
Horror - The SAN loss (for CoC), the d20 DC, maybe some NAR means of assigning credability, the Hero Presence Attack values, or whatever other Systems you encode into toggles.
Climbing - The Skill Check penalty, the d20 DC, the NAR "Hooks" for narration, Hero Difficulty, ...
Trap - The Skill Check penalty, the d20 DC, "meta-requirements" for NAR users (i.e. what they can describe v. what is inherent in the trap, vis a vis thematic import), ...

In short, many GMs wouldn't need it--would rather do the numbers themselves. Other would--and would be a bit annoyed (especially SIM players) without some hard values, especially given that other elements DO get hard values.

And with Traps in particular, there's a LOT to that: some traps are key to the "plot" of, say, a dungeon crawl (i.e you can screw up and it changes the game play, not just hurts the characters a bit). Other traps (I am thinking of old D&D) are sort of the POINT of the module: players have a shot at "figuring out" the trap BEFORE any sort of character skill checks go off, to detect and subvert the trap. I am thinking, now, of more NAR-type play (where the players get some Director Stance; ex: they can play "smarter" than their character's stats would indicate, if they can actually deduce the trickiness of the trap.)

I hope I am making sense, here. Basically, each of those instances of story elements could be "throwaway"--just make the roll and move on--or could be real foci of play--figuring it out, describing the consequences of failed Sanity checks, playing out the trecherous nature of the climb... and how heartbreaking it was that Glorfindel cut his rope when he slipped, to save the rest of the characters. You see? Not all "minor" story elements need be, for all Agendas. And your web sites ability to be system-toggled makes that the USER'S choice, rather than yours. So long as you provide them the system quantifiers when it's appropriate to the overall story.

David
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« Reply #9 on: February 26, 2006, 08:35:15 PM »

Hello,
     First of all, I would like to say the idea of selling content in this no-system to multi-system format sounds like a great idea to me, one way or the other I hope it works out and possibly catches on with other content creators.
     Secondly, while I'm sure almost noone has heard of it, I'm willing to offer the use of my own game system in for such projects. I have only been in business for a short time, I have only one book that can be bought at the moment, and I haven't much of a talent for naming things, but I am willing to work with you on this project for free as a result if you like. I can provide both framework rules, specific rule and statistics, and any other system related materials you may need for this project if I am provided with the information related to the content I am fleshing out for you.
     While I may not be established I am willing to do a lot of the grunt work for filling out a section for my system in your project, and I wouldn't charge you for it, just so long as you make sure to note where it came from somewhere in the project. If you, or anyone else who reads this, would be interested you may contact me at business@myrpgstore.com. I will get back to you as soon as the message is recieved.
     Currently the rules for my system are able to handle Fantasy, Space Science Fiction, and Cybernetics/Human Augmentation settings, I just haven't recieved copyright notification for all of the books that I have finished quite yet. My fantasy setting book is out in print right now though.
     On a non slightly self-serving note, I would second the oppinion that Fudge and GURPS would be a good systems to support if you can. Also, I don't know what other people think about it, but I kind of like the Paladium RPG system, even though it can take a really long time to write down all of the character statistics.
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mythusmage
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« Reply #10 on: February 27, 2006, 01:27:50 AM »

Quote from: Czar Fnord
Not to be a pest, but I think you still miss the point I was making when I argued for no System (on the Indie Design Forum). I meant NO system: don't include one, OGL or not. I think my publishing- and competition-related objections were quite valid (and remain uncountered, yes...?).

Does this bring back memories. Back when I was a contributor to Alarums and Excursions one chap announced that he was going to design a systemless RPG. Instead he was going to make up how things worked as he went along. Was all gung ho for the idea until another contributor pointed out that even doing it on the fly meant he was using a system.

That's all a game system is, a description of how things work in a game. It can be very simple, it can be very complicated. A system can be designed that allows for most any style or feel of play. Or a system can be designed for a specific style or feel. You get right down to it, Ars Magica does a damn fine job of modelling faculty life at a major American university.

Really, the system used only gives the players an idea of how you, the designer, see the game as being played. How well they understand what you are looking for depends on how well you explain yourself, and on how consistent you are in your explanation. If, for instance, you go on and on about participating in the adventure and on the quality of the participants' roleplaying (acting that is), but your system only provides for advancement via killing things and taking their stuff, then guess what people are going to concentrate on?

Honestly, if you're not going to include a system with your setting, you might as well turn it into a story and publish it as such.

As for which system or systems to use, pick a few you like, add the appropriate stats, and tell folks what you wrote the dang thing around. For example...

Quote
This adventure can be played using the rules for the most popular fantasy RPG, the most popular vampire RPG, or this rather neato-keen RPG designed by some chap who uses the Sumerian name for Tiamat for his nom-de-internet

But use what you feel comfortable with, otherwise your product is going to stink.
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Alan

Being the protagonist in an RPG does not confer authorial immunity.

Mythusmage
pells
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Posts: 192


« Reply #11 on: February 28, 2006, 09:54:10 AM »

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You see? Not all "minor" story elements need be, for all Agendas. And your web sites ability to be system-toggled makes that the USER'S choice, rather than yours. So long as you provide them the system quantifiers when it's appropriate to the overall story.
I hear what you say and there are two things to consider : what I do and what can be done (with my story design/web site).
The problem with what I'm doing is that it is very open. In a typical scenario, you know that your players will be confronted to that creature, or climb that cliff or confront that trap. Not in what I do. But, yes, it could be fun for particular events to have different (maybe even none) system related stats. But, I think it might be hard in what I'm doing. Doesn't fit well. I do have to give it some thoughts.
That said, I do intent to propose my website as an editing tool for other content provider who would like to use my system/website. The publishing cost is very low thru htlm (althougth building a web site is time consumming). So, knowing that this functionnality is there might become very useful.

Quote
Secondly, while I'm sure almost noone has heard of it, I'm willing to offer the use of my own game system in for such projects. I have only been in business for a short time, I have only one book that can be bought at the moment, and I haven't much of a talent for naming things, but I am willing to work with you on this project for free as a result if you like. I can provide both framework rules, specific rule and statistics, and any other system related materials you may need for this project if I am provided with the information related to the content I am fleshing out for you
One avenue I have not thougth of. It may be interesting for some rules creators who have no (or not much) setting/plot related to offer their system to represent my product. So, I would sell content, other rules while providing them for my content. For one thing, in that case, I wouldn't have trouble with licences.
But, I'm afraid this would lead to a large amount of systems available. Well, it's not really a problem with me, there are just element to add to the database, and not the biggest ones. Would it be odd to have something like twenty systems to offer ? Can I loose from that ?
At least I see one advantage, if I may call it that way. As normally a setting/plot is given for one system, a customer cannot switch to one another. But, in my case, I think some players may be interested in using a less common system to start with. And, if they don't like it, well, they'll just change the system option of their game.
About that, I'd like to say I believe in little steps. If some d20 players come to my site and say 'hey, let's try something different this time', well, I guess I'd be glad.

Quote
That's all a game system is, a description of how things work in a game. It can be very simple, it can be very complicated. A system can be designed that allows for most any style or feel of play. Or a system can be designed for a specific style or feel. You get right down to it, Ars Magica does a damn fine job of modelling faculty life at a major American university.
For one thing Ars Magica is a good example of a system that wouldn't work well for me. You're quite rigth about systems, but what I'm doing is not directly related to play. The actual experience of play needs a system. I don't say I'm doing something with no system, I say, if you play it, choose yourself the system.

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Honestly, if you're not going to include a system with your setting, you might as well turn it into a story and publish it as such.
I can't publish it into a novel. In fact, it looks like a storyboard. Have you ever seen storyboard being sold ? Not me.
That said, another important point. What I want to acheive is designing a value added service thru a website. Obviously, you can't do that for a book.

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But use what you feel comfortable with, otherwise your product is going to stink.
One important thing here is : don't do systems you don't know. If I try, myself, to stat out characters with a system I don't know well, yes this will stink. But someone else can do it for me.
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mythusmage
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Posts: 25


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« Reply #12 on: February 28, 2006, 08:28:14 PM »

Pell, sounds to me like you're looking for collaborators. Unfortunately, even when you and your ocllaborators agree on what's to be done, there will still be disagreements on how it's to be done.

For instance: I come up with an idea for a game to be called Redemption. In Redemption you play an orc. who has decided he no longer wishes to act like a stereotypical orc. However, if he stops acting like an orc, he stops being an orc. He starts acting like a human instead, he becomes a human. He starts acting like an elf, he becomes an elf. The very act of redempttion changes what he is.

So I come up with thiis idea of how it all works, and tons of background detail, but the mechanics stay out of reach. On the spur of the moment I ask Ron Edwards if he'd like to try his hand at Redemption's, and he agrees. But his mechanics bring out a few questions I hadn't considered before. Such as... What does it mean to be an orc? What does it mean to become a human? Is it possible to behave as an elf and not be an elf? Are those who became dwarfs by taking up dwarfen behavior accepted as true dwarfs? Is it even possible to actually change, and is the change (real or ersatz) easy or hard?

And let's say John Wick and/or Jared Sorenson get involved What changes would they bring to Redemption?

In short, bringing in others into a project can change it in ways you could never dream of.

To be honest here, the best way to keep your project closest to your vision is to do the mechanics themselves. Or be prepared to see your vision changed in very substantial ways.
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Alan

Being the protagonist in an RPG does not confer authorial immunity.

Mythusmage
pells
Member

Posts: 192


« Reply #13 on: March 01, 2006, 12:31:45 AM »

Alan, I agree with you, but not in the context of my project.

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Pell, sounds to me like you're looking for collaborators. Unfortunately, even when you and your ocllaborators agree on what's to be done, there will still be disagreements on how it's to be done.
First thing first. This is not a desing nor a connection thread. I'd say I'm not looking at more collaborators for the moment. That said, we are already ten people working on this project at the moment. And yes, each person brings something into it, and thus changes something. But my design supports this very well. For more information on that see the link to the thread on the first post of this one.

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For instance: I come up with an idea for a game to be called Redemption. In Redemption you play an orc.
What you're talking about is very specific. You've designed a very specific setting and you need very specific rules to support your need (i.e. being an orc.). What I do is very common as a setting. Like I said, most generic RPG systems who can support classic heroic fantasy can be used with my scenario. MLWM, dogs, or your Redemption wouldn't work well.

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And let's say John Wick and/or Jared Sorenson get involved What changes would they bring to Redemption?
Then there are two things here :
- Systems I would choose as icons : I don't think stating out elements of my work using those systems would bring the questions you mentionned.
- Systems that would be proposed to me : If someone would propose (and there is a difference between offering and me asking for) me a system that is very specific and bring questions you mentionned, then maybe, this system is not approriate.

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In short, bringing in others into a project can change it in ways you could never dream of.
As far as I'm concerned, bringing others to my project has better it. But yes, this means a lot of management work. I have to make sure everyone is working in the same direction.
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btrc
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Posts: 310


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« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2006, 05:32:49 AM »

Pells,
Not sure if it fits in to what you are looking for in a system, but I have to plug my EABA open-supplement system. Anyone can publish anything they want for the system with nothing more than inclusion of the license doc, and the system falls into the simulationist camp with heroic play options. You can get more details from www.btrc.net, or email me privately for details.

Greg Porter
BTRC games
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