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Author Topic: [Divinity Horizons] Power 19  (Read 3618 times)
Sovem
Member

Posts: 94

J.F.Halsey


« on: September 05, 2006, 08:35:31 AM »

Well, I've finally done it. First draft of the Power 19 for my upcoming game, Divinity Horizons. Comments or questions are welcome. Right now, I'm really just putting this up for reference, for when I start posting other information about the game (Actual Play and the like).

1. What is the game about?

This game is about epic roleplaying at the dawn of the Golden Age of Man. Characters are Amalga; humans with pieces of a dead god in their soul. As the time of the gods is passing away and the time of man begins, Player Characters will decide--through their action or inaction--the destiny of humanity. The game is meant to evoke the mythicness of the great epics like the Illiad or the Epic of Gilgamesh... with just a sprinkling of Final Fantasy, to taste.
 
2. What do the characters do?

Characters are to become the legendary heroes (or, if it suits your troupe better, villains) of this world. They are the Achilles, Odysseuses, and Beowulfs--except with the power of the gods. At first, characters will make names for themselves slaying monsters, fighting for one nation or another, and defeating rival Amalga (thus, taking said Amalga's power). Eventually, characters will become an influence on the world politic, shaping those nations they once fought for or against. Finally, characters will have enough power that they can challenge even the gods themselves, ridding the world of the last of the gods... or returning them to power.

3. What do the players (and the GM) do?

The Players take on the roles of Amalga, dictating their actions in traditional RPG manner. Likewise, the GM creates the plots, narrates the world and NPCs, etc. However, because Divinity Horizons uses the Wushu mechanic, the Players are able to influence the story a bit more than in traditional RPGs, and GMs have slightly less work to do in terms of statting up NPCs and such.

4. How does the setting reinforce what the game is about?

The world of Divinity Horizons has a very fresh, just-pushed-out-of-the-nest feeling. The gods ruled as tyrants over all humanity since the beginning of the world. Now, a mere generation after the War in the Heavens, the gods are all dead or in hiding and humanity has, for the first time, the reigns to their own destiny.
Not only is the social situation new and fresh, but the geography of the world has changed, too, thanks to the gods' war. So, new kingdoms, new land--unlimited potential for those with power to really shape the coming Age.

5. How does the character creation reinforce what the game is about?

Character creation is fairly standard Wushu, with a few twists thrown in. The "standard" part merely names a few important Traits of the characters and ranks them in levels of importance, i.e., how much those things will come into play when said character wishes to influence events. I see this as very evocative of classical mythology; no one knows whether Hercules had a STR of 20 or 50--even the stories do not always agree. But everyone knows he's The Strongest Man Alive, that he has Uncontrolable Fits of Anger, and that he's prideful, but willing to admit his mistakes and do anything to make up for them. These things make excellent Traits in Wushu.
Unlike in traditional Wushu, characters in Divinity Horizons also get a Passion, a special rating that boosts their Traits when it comes in to play. Humans are passionate creatures, and heroes even more so. Odysseus might have had the Passion, "Get Home to my Family;" while the Achilles of the Troy movie would have had "Acheive an Immortal Legacy" as his.  Having a Passion encourages Players to give their characters a goal and to care about that goal from a mechanics standpoint.

6. What types of behavior does the game reward and/or punish?

Because in Wushu, Details = Dice, Players in Divinity Horizons are encouraged to take actions wothy of legends. No mundane, "I hit him with my axe" here. Characters are demigods, and the more epic and outlandish their actions are, the more the system rewards them.
Likewise, the Passion trait rewards Players for playing to their character's drives and goals. It encourages them to play passionate characters.

7. How is behavior rewarded and/or punished in the game?



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

While the main portion of narration and credibility still rests on the GM, the Players also play an important roll, particularly with the latter. It is of critical importance that everyone involved understand exactly what type of game is being played, because only the Players and GM can enforce credibility--the mechanics leave it to their hands.

9. What does your game do to command a player's attention, engagement, and participation?

 Divinity Horizons is a game where the PCs are expected to change their world. They are heirs to the gods in a world the gods have all but abandoned. It is a world of passion, of heroics, of legends being formed.
In Wushu, what you say is what your character does, so Players have a much more active role in crafting the story.

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

In Wushu, ~how~ you accomplish something is never as important as ~how cool your characters look doing it~, or ~how appropriate the action was for your character~. 

Every character has several Traits, which are descriptions of that character. "Ruthless Killer," "Bringer of Justice," and "Reluctant Warrior" are all examples of Traits different characters could choose as their Trait for use during combat. These Traits have a rating between 2-5 (1-5, if you count Weaknesses). When describing their actions, every detail they add gives them a die. Any sort of detail counts; they could describe what their character is actually doing, or they might describe the look on his face as he struggle to continue fighting after losing so much blood, or they might even reveal the character's thoughts as he steels his resolve against the seemingly undefeatable enemy.
Once the Player has as many d6's as they are allowed for that round, they roll them against whatever Trait was most relevant to the action taken. Any die that comes up equal to that Trait or lower is a success. Successes are then spent on moving the story closer to completion and on warding off the successes their opponents use to try to take them out.

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

Diviinity Horizons is about creating your own epic sagas, and Wushu reinforces that by putting all the power into narration... particularly any narration that is legendary and over-the-top.


12. Do characters in the game advance? If so, how?
13. How does the character advancement reinforce what the game is about?


Characters advance by receiving new godshards to either increase their power or to broaden their range. Shards can either be stolen from other Amalga (through a process called the Torrent), or found due to in game quests.
The character's actual Traits usually will not change throughout the game. If the Player feels that their character has changed, in game, to such a degree that their Traits no longer accurately represent that character, they may, with GM's permission, rearrange the numbers.
We are still playtesting whether a more traditional XP system is necessary or not.

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

We want people who play Divinity Horizons to walk away from the table full of adrenaline and excitement. We want people to surprise themselves at the level of heroics they are capable of. We want players to create a saga so breathtaking that they talk about it fondly for years to come, and find themselves refrencing that game whenever they try to bring friends into roleplaying.

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



16. What parts of the game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

If you haven't noticed by now, I'm excited about the possiblity of creating epics. I despise "dungeon crawling" or any sort of "grinding." I love characters that are larger than life, and stories that leave me saying "Wow." Divinity Horizons seems, to me, to offer the chance to play those sorts of games.

17. Where does the game take players that other games can't/don't/won't?

Divinity Horizons allows people to play, for the first time to my knowledge, in a true Golden Age. Other game worlds often refrence some sort of ancient time when things looked bright and promising, where magic filled the air and heroes walked among the people. But something always happened to destroy this glorious time, and now things are much worse of.
Not so with Divinity Horizons. Players are dropped down right in the beginning of a world's Golden Age. Do they want to be the ones who created that glorious time? Or do they want to be the ones that destroyed it? It's up to them.


18. What are your publishing goals for this game?

At the moment, Divinity Horizons is planned as a PDF only game. We project a release by late 06, early 07, on RPGNow.com.

19. Who is your target audience?

We are targeting players who place story needs above mechanics. We're looking for those who would agree with #16, above.
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Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


WWW
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2006, 10:18:42 AM »

Heya,

Quote
1. What is the game about?
This game is about epic roleplaying at the dawn of the Golden Age of Man. Characters are Amalga; humans with pieces of a dead god in their soul. As the time of the gods is passing away and the time of man begins, Player Characters will decide--through their action or inaction--the destiny of humanity. The game is meant to evoke the mythicness of the great epics like the Illiad or the Epic of Gilgamesh... with just a sprinkling of Final Fantasy, to taste.

-Wow!  I don't know all the particulars of your game, but if you can pull off what you have in this paragraph you've definitely got a potential game of the year there.

Quote
4. How does the setting reinforce what the game is about?
The world of Divinity Horizons has a very fresh, just-pushed-out-of-the-nest feeling. The gods ruled as tyrants over all humanity since the beginning of the world. Now, a mere generation after the War in the Heavens, the gods are all dead or in hiding and humanity has, for the first time, the reigns to their own destiny.
Not only is the social situation new and fresh, but the geography of the world has changed, too, thanks to the gods' war. So, new kingdoms, new land--unlimited potential for those with power to really shape the coming Age.

-Cool.  So how does this "newness" of the Setting impact the characters mechanically (if at all)?  In other words, how does the Setting, its rulers, its commonfolk, look at the PCs?  What parts of the Setting can they change?  I'm guessing a lot since they are demi-goddish.

Quote
8. How are responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in the game?
While the main portion of narration and credibility still rests on the GM, the Players also play an important roll, particularly with the latter. It is of critical importance that everyone involved understand exactly what type of game is being played, because only the Players and GM can enforce credibility--the mechanics leave it to their hands.

-Okay, who gets to decide "what happens next" in the game?  Is the the players that frame the scenes or the GM?  Let me know if those questions make no sense.

Quote
12. Do characters in the game advance? If so, how?
13. How does the character advancement reinforce what the game is about?
Characters advance by receiving new godshards to either increase their power or to broaden their range. Shards can either be stolen from other Amalga (through a process called the Torrent), or found due to in game quests.
The character's actual Traits usually will not change throughout the game. If the Player feels that their character has changed, in game, to such a degree that their Traits no longer accurately represent that character, they may, with GM's permission, rearrange the numbers.
We are still playtesting whether a more traditional XP system is necessary or not.

-Reply to this Part 1:  My vote would be to not have a traditional XP system.  Let them increase their godshard by engaging their passions and defeating other Amalga.  I think that would be much more engaging to the players.  XP is a design crutch sometimes, IMO.

-Reply to this Part2:  I might be a little confused by this.  Do the PCs work together as a group or against each other as individuals.  Or something else alltogether?

--Overall, I think you have the awesome beginnings to a game, here.  It's clear you have some very solid ideas and have spent a good amount of time thinking about your game.  If you listen carefully, you can hear my applause.

Peace,

-Troy
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Sovem
Member

Posts: 94

J.F.Halsey


« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2006, 11:11:23 AM »

Hey Troy, thanks for the questions! Hopefully I will be able to answer them all.


Heya,


-Wow!  I don't know all the particulars of your game, but if you can pull off what you have in this paragraph you've definitely got a potential game of the year there.

Thanks! We're going to try. We'll provide the world and the rules, anyway; it's up to the players and GM to make their stories epic.

Quote
-Cool.  So how does this "newness" of the Setting impact the characters mechanically (if at all)?  In other words, how does the Setting, its rulers, its commonfolk, look at the PCs?  What parts of the Setting can they change?  I'm guessing a lot since they are demi-goddish.

Mechanic-wise, there will be no effect. This means, I suppose, you could set your game in whatever time period--or even world!--you wanted. Amalga are still Amalga.
The default world, however, is apprx. 20 years after the last battle of the War in the Heavens, when Amalga actaully stood up to the gods and showed their former rulers that humanity was no longer to be trifled with. Amalga are still rather rare at this point. We're still tossing numbers around, but Amalga are rare enough that a group of them working together--a la, the PCs--would cause quite a stir. As to what they can change? "A lot" is a good estimate. Starting out, Amalga should influence the setting on a national level. They can influence wars, alter dynasties...even set up kingdoms of their own, if they wish. As a game progesses, we expect characters to begin to influence the Big Two: the Tantalus League and the Ondron Commonwealth. These two nations account for almost 50% of the world's land and people, so influencing them would be no small feat. Finally, as characters really start to accumulate power, we intend that they should influence the setting on a divine level; challenging the gods, deciding if they should ever return to prominence or whether they will make the gods extinct.

I say all these things as optimal goals, of course. The setting certainly won't bend over for the characters; but those are some realistic directions a GM might plan for their campaign.

Quote
-Okay, who gets to decide "what happens next" in the game?  Is the the players that frame the scenes or the GM?  Let me know if those questions make no sense.

No, they make sense. I should have been more clear. The GM still fulfills the traditional role of narrator, story teller, etc. The Players have a little more power than in traditional RPGs because there are no rolls to decide "if something happens," only "how well did 'what happened' move the scene towards a conclusion?" So, as long as everyone agrees that a character's actions are appropriate and in game, whatever he says, happens. But it is still up to the GM to frame scenes, play most NPCs, etc.

Quote
-Reply to this Part 1:  My vote would be to not have a traditional XP system.  Let them increase their godshard by engaging their passions and defeating other Amalga.  I think that would be much more engaging to the players.  XP is a design crutch sometimes, IMO.

I'm glad you feel that way. Some of my playtesters are a bit more into leveling and grinding, so I sometimes feel influenced in that direction to make people happy.

Quote
-Reply to this Part2:  I might be a little confused by this.  Do the PCs work together as a group or against each other as individuals.  Or something else alltogether?

PCs do indeed work together. If the PCs are engaged against a rival Amalga, there can be a little element of competitiveness as the characters vie for that Amalga's shard. But teamwork is still required, as it takes more than one Amalga to take another's shard (it's not as simple as just killing them).

Quote
--Overall, I think you have the awesome beginnings to a game, here.  It's clear you have some very solid ideas and have spent a good amount of time thinking about your game.  If you listen carefully, you can hear my applause.


Many, many thanks. Hope I answered your questions satisfactorily.


It just occured to me that I may have taken for granted that people know I did not invent Wushu. The "Wushu mechanic" I reference is an actual game engine released, under creative commons license, by Daniel Bayn. Anyone wanting more info about the core system should check out www.bayn.org/wushu .

Thanks,
John
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Troy_Costisick
Member

Posts: 802


WWW
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2006, 01:45:33 AM »

Heya,

Quote
As to what they can change? "A lot" is a good estimate. Starting out, Amalga should influence the setting on a national level. They can influence wars, alter dynasties...even set up kingdoms of their own, if they wish...Finally, as characters really start to accumulate power, we intend that they should influence the setting on a divine level; challenging the gods, deciding if they should ever return to prominence or whether they will make the gods extinct...I say all these things as optimal goals, of course. The setting certainly won't bend over for the characters; but those are some realistic directions a GM might plan for their campaign.

-This is all good stuff.  Goals such as these should be supported in the text somehow.  Some people do it with specific mechanics, some do it with examples of play, and others just make a suggestion on the direction player-characters could take.  As long as you choose one of those, or something similar to them, I think you will see the kind of play you are hoping for in your game.

Quote
No, they make sense. I should have been more clear. The GM still fulfills the traditional role of narrator, story teller, etc. The Players have a little more power than in traditional RPGs because there are no rolls to decide "if something happens," only "how well did 'what happened' move the scene towards a conclusion?" So, as long as everyone agrees that a character's actions are appropriate and in game, whatever he says, happens. But it is still up to the GM to frame scenes, play most NPCs, etc.

-Okay, this is right up my alley so it sounds good.  It sounds like the players and GM are sharing directoral power in the game, and that is a good thing.

Quote
It just occured to me that I may have taken for granted that people know I did not invent Wushu. The "Wushu mechanic" I reference is an actual game engine released, under creative commons license, by Daniel Bayn. Anyone wanting more info about the core system should check out www.bayn.org/wushu .

-That's interesting.  Do you have a blog or online design journal of your own?

Peace,

-Troy

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Sovem
Member

Posts: 94

J.F.Halsey


« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2006, 08:16:40 AM »

No blog or journal of my own, though now that I've got the Power 19 up, I plan on posting more information on the Forge. I'm planning a big playtest tonight, which I hope to post in the next couple of days in Actual Play.

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sean2099
Member

Posts: 182


WWW
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2006, 06:25:26 PM »

Hi Sovem,

I can't wait for the playtest to be posted.  You have a new exciting idea with a lot of new potential.  My only question is that you know the audience you want.  Have you thought about how to reach those people?  I guess that is wondering about your design goals and business plan more than the game itself.

I'll hold my questions about the game itself until you post the playtest.

Sean
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Sovem
Member

Posts: 94

J.F.Halsey


« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2006, 09:30:57 AM »

I'm afraid I don't really have much of a plan as to how to reach the target audience. Everyone always talks about how useful Actual Play posts are for that sort of thing, so that's what I'll be doing for now.
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