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275647 Posts in 27717 Topics by 4285 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 226 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Gnostigmata] Playtesters Wanted  (Read 7189 times)
John Kirk
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 121


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« on: April 19, 2006, 05:04:40 PM »

Gnostigmata, is a blend of "The Matrix", "Stigmata", and "The Da Vinci Code".  It is a competitive GM-less role-playing game that focuses on the ancient conflict between Gnostic and Catholic Christians.  Its premise is: "How will you choose between Good and Evil when all of Creation may be a lie?"

You can download the game's current version from the Downloads page of my website (it's near the bottom).  There are some questions (in red) in the text to which I am trying to get answers concerning how big certain rewards and costs should be.  I am also quite interested in getting feedback on the Scene Framing mechanics, since they are recent additions.  General observations are quite welcome as well.

If you're interested in providing feedback, please contact me.  (Or, if your feedback is an appropriate topic for a thread, then please feel free to discuss it publicly here on the Forge.)

A bit of background: I started writing the game as an appendix for my RPG Design Patterns book.  The intent was simply to provide an example of how RPG Design Patterns can be used in game design.  However, as I got more and more involved in its creation, the game took on a life of its own.  I've tinkered with it for quite a while, and have gotten valuable feedback from Mike Holmes and Paul Czege on its design.  Last week's announcement of the discovery of the "Gospel of Judas" and the upcoming release of "The Da Vinci Code" movie has finally pushed me to get it out there.  I hope you enjoy it.
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John Kirk

Check out Legendary Quest.  It's free!
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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Posts: 2341


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« Reply #1 on: April 19, 2006, 08:54:33 PM »

Hey John,

The download link, http://legendaryquest.netfirms.com/books/Gnostigmata.zip, doesn't seem to be working.

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
John Kirk
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 121


WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 19, 2006, 10:23:15 PM »

Paul,

Thanks.  It was very foolish of me not to have checked that more carefully.  It's working now.

I had to change the filename to get things to work.  Apparently, my web host can't handle filenames longer than 8 characters.  Jeez.

The new link is:  http://legendaryquest.com/books/Gnostic.zip

John
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John Kirk

Check out Legendary Quest.  It's free!
Paul Czege
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 2341


WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 25, 2006, 06:43:04 AM »

Hey John,

I started writing the game as an appendix for my RPG Design Patterns book. The intent was simply to provide an example of how RPG Design Patterns can be used in game design.

I have a question. How did your design patterns work play into the designing of Gnostigmata? Were the design patterns more like building blocks that you fused together to achieve your design goals? Or did you mostly conceptualize the way you wanted the game to work and then analyze it post-facto and use the design patterns to validate and improve the mechanical structure?

Can you maybe take me through the process you used, with reference to a mechanic from the game?

Thanks,

Paul
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My Life with Master knows codependence.
And if you're doing anything with your Acts of Evil ashcan license, of course I'm curious and would love to hear about your plans
John Kirk
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 121


WWW
« Reply #4 on: April 26, 2006, 09:01:48 PM »

I have a question. How did your design patterns work play into the designing of Gnostigmata? Were the design patterns more like building blocks that you fused together to achieve your design goals? Or did you mostly conceptualize the way you wanted the game to work and then analyze it post-facto and use the design patterns to validate and improve the mechanical structure?

Can you maybe take me through the process you used, with reference to a mechanic from the game?

Paul,

I decided to split out the answer to your questions in a different thread here, since my answer is kind of long and doesn't seem to fit the "Connections" forum very well.

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John Kirk

Check out Legendary Quest.  It's free!
John Kirk
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 121


WWW
« Reply #5 on: May 01, 2006, 09:53:17 PM »

We recently played our first play-test of Gnostigmata with a new Beta 2.0 version of the rules that you can download from here.  You can read an Actual Play account here

As expected, the play-test highlighted some issues that I needed to address.  These changes are incorporated in yet another version (Beta 3.0) that can be downloaded from here  Overall, though, the currency of the game worked quite well.  There didn’t seem to be any major imbalances, or even minor ones, really.

The Beta 2.0 version is a result of something that started bothering me a couple of weeks ago.  The primary attributes of Coincidence, Physicality, Magic, and Agony (and the five Trauma attributes) will change frequently during play.  That is actually an aspect of the game that I like, since it represents a dynamic, ever-evolving character.  This is also a problem, though.  If we are writing these numbers on a character sheet, players will be forever erasing and writing, erasing and writing.  One way around this issue is to use tokens of some sort to represent the rapidly changing gauges.  But, with 4 primary attributes and 5 trauma attributes, we would need 9 piles of tokens to represent them.  That is too many, especially if you consider the Pieces of Silver and Rosary Bead tokens that are already being used.

To simplify, I performed radical surgery on the trauma system.  I eliminated all of the Trauma attributes except Agony.  In doing so, I also made it harder to inflict Agony on opponents.  Now, Agony ranks are bought by opponents using the same scale as which trait ranks are bought by players.  So, to raise an opponent’s Agony of 2 to a 3, you must “spend” 3 successes of a contest roll.  To take it from a 3 to a 4, you must spend 4 successes from a single roll, and so on.  By doing this, I was able to re-work the character sheet to allow players to stack poker chips directly on it to represent their values.  This ended up being a great boon during play, as players could glance around the table to scope out the competition.  It also significantly reduced the number of rules that players have to learn.  The drawback is that the trauma system is now far more abstract.  That didn’t really seem to be a problem in play, though.

In addition, I also renamed some of the trait categories.  I felt the original names of “Façade”, “Castes”, and “Lore” were a bit too esoteric.  So, I renamed these to “Persona & Possessions”, “Material Desires & Fears”, and “Interests & Hobbies”.

As always, please let me know if you would like to playtest Gnostigmata.  I'd like to get input from a group playing without me there.
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John Kirk

Check out Legendary Quest.  It's free!
John Kirk
Acts of Evil Playtesters
Member

Posts: 121


WWW
« Reply #6 on: May 11, 2006, 10:09:14 PM »

We just had our second play-test of Gnostigmata, which went extremely well.  You can read an actual play account of it here.

The play-test did expose some rough edges.  So, I created a new version (Beta 4.0) that can be downloaded from here.

I'm still looking for independent play-testers.  If anyone is interested, please let me know either byposting here, or by sending me a PM or e-mail.
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John Kirk

Check out Legendary Quest.  It's free!
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