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Author Topic: Enlightenment (GGD Group Game Design)  (Read 28732 times)
Sylus Thane
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« on: October 22, 2002, 08:56:01 AM »

I figured I start the new thread as Ron suggested, I went with Emily's title idea as it was there.

From my reading so far the premise reminds me quite alot of movies like "Once upon a Time in China" and some what of "Crounching Tiger Hidden Dragon". Now I know the combat within these movies is highly fantastical in nature but they do have the same feel otherwise. Now I know the game so far seems to be narrativist in aprroach but I could also see the rules being very cinematic in nature.

Does someone with their head straight want to recap all that is done so far? I don't want to goof it up by mistyping something.

Sylus
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Ron Edwards
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« Reply #1 on: October 22, 2002, 09:10:55 AM »

Hi there,

Here's the link to the thread which preceded this one:

Let's make a game!, initiated and more-or-less overseen by Mike Holmes.

Best,
Ron
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Mike Holmes
Acts of Evil Playtesters
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« Reply #2 on: October 22, 2002, 10:10:18 AM »

Sylus,

Welcome aboard.

While I think there are elements of those movies that are similar to what we're looking at doing, I think that the consensus so far has been that we are trying to avoid anything supernatural, and resolution via combat as well. IOW, the idea is that fighting would be a bad thing, as represented by the mechanics. So there may be more differences than similarities to the films you cite.

OTOH, we could go that way if that's what people thought was best.

I've been thinking that the TV show Kung Fu is more like what we've been driving at.

Mike
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Emily Care
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« Reply #3 on: October 22, 2002, 11:02:11 AM »

The struggle between conflicting desires/values characters deal with in movies like Crouching Tiger capture the kind of internal dynamic the monks should experience in this game. However, the spiritual orientation of the monks would give them a different set of issues to deal with than the martial arts characters of much of Hong Kong action cinema.

Are ten people already working on the outline? :)

--Emily Care

I've started one! I'll be number 11 ; )
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Sylus Thane
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« Reply #4 on: October 22, 2002, 11:46:46 AM »

Actually although I agree that it would be more like Kung Fu and that violence would probably be the characters last resort, the questions is how would that violence be represented. Even in Kung Fu it was very cinematic while still remaining simple, we can thank Bruce Lee for that. Anyway, if we are going for a traditional and historical bend to the monastical orders we should remember that martials arts played a very key role, especially as they walked their particular path to enlightenment. This is why I bring it up, are we going for a more historical approach or more of a fantasy approach? And if it is historical which culture would it lean towards?

Sylus
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Mark D. Eddy
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Posts: 157


« Reply #5 on: October 22, 2002, 12:11:59 PM »

OK, evidently we're a little further off than I thought we were.

Here are my assumptions; please sound off as to whether or not they are correct.

1) Enlightenment is a game about pacifist monks.

2) Our mechanic of enlightenment is paired stats good/bad, which increase and decrease with PC actions.

3) The characters start out as (postulants is the Western term) wannabee monks, and will eventually be influencing the countryside around their monestary.

4) Game play is based on a mission model -- the PC's are given a task to perform by their superiors (or, eventually, those who depend on them to solve their problems) and need to figure out a solution without violating their tenets.

5) There are a few ways to determine the tenets of the monastic order: either the players come up with a concensus, we build it into the setting portion, or the GM designs a setting. (I believe the unspoken consensus was the first of these three)

As a side note, this almost begs for a panentheistic worldview.
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Mark Eddy
Chemist, Monotheist, History buff

"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Emily Care
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« Reply #6 on: October 22, 2002, 12:12:16 PM »

Hmm...  Well, it's something to start from.

Enlightenment - working outline

1)Character Generation
a)choose 1st stat pair (personal), some #(7? or 9?) allocated between the two (ie: greed=3, thrift=4)
suggested pairs:
greed/thrift
deceit/respect
mastery/service
lust/purity
aphathy/industry
fear/courage
hope/despair
shame/confidence
pride/humility
etc.
b)physical etc. description
c)in-character role-play sequence illustrating dynamic of trait pair in char's life

2)Interview with High Priest/acceptance into Monastery
a)characters interact as waiting to be interviewed
b)grilled by HP
c)gain second stat pair
always:
Worldliness/Spirituality
d)group of characters are assigned a spiritual advisor (Teacher level character)

(order of 3 and 4 is interchangeable)

3)Campaign Initiation
a)new characters are sent to accomplish a task that has to do with some problem facing Monastery:

suggested by Mark Eddy:
                  War: Peace/Violence
                  Famine: Generosity/Selfishness
                  Plague: Compassion/Hard-heartedness
                  Religious Fervor: Zealousness/Indifference
                  Supernatural Events: Faithfulness/Worldliness
                  w/Secular Authority: Submission/Intolerance
                  w/Religious Authority: Poverty/Wealth
b)Characters take corresponding trait pair or other according to in-character actions.  Players or gm, if there is one, can assign #'s to match character experience.
c)village or monastery can be assigned trait pair corresponding to issue being face. Outcomes of character actions raise/lower traits.

4)Monastery Development
suggestions:
a)each participant suggest a series of devotions or trials that neophytes (and other monks) must undergo.
b)doctrine or dogmas, as they affect initiates or community can be developed in play
c)structure of monastery can be determined in response to character descriptions--tie conflict to character issues
d)spirituality need not mirror real world monasteries

Ah, here it is:
each character's personal trait pair could be taken to represent on aspect of the tenets of the religion.
--if we tie the third pair that a character gets to the issue facing the monastery that helps tie them in thematically to the broader plot.  Also allows for characters introduced later to have a different set of issues in response to changing times.

5)Episode Structure
suggested by Mike Holmes:
1.The characters, members of the organization are brought together for the briefing on thenature of the problem.
2.Do research and get stuff together, etc. And do some pre-mission soul-searching.
3.Head out into the harsh world looking for more data. Meet NPCs, and get involved with them.
4.Once they have the problem figured out they have to find a way to overcome it.
5.Execute plan (recover bodies).
6.Return to "base" and get debriefed.
7.Train, intrasession.


6)Character Advancement
a)Characters will gain one more personal and one more religious trait pair during course of campaign.
b)trait pairs can be "solved" by reducing negative trait to 0 and max'ing out positive trait
**Insert mechanics here***
b)when "solve" 3 pairs, can become "Teacher" and train acolytes.
c)When solve two more stat pairs, gains sixth, becomes High Priest and can train other Teachers or go start another monastery
e)once solve all six, retire character from use


questions:
--pairs will change over time in response to character actions. Are trait pairs adjusted during sequence or at "debriefing" interval?
--exact mechanisms need to be agreed on. There have been some suggestions. What do we want to go with? Anyone want to state them here?
generally:
a)negative traits can increase effectiveness, but their use makes it harder to increase positive


note:
--Character play could mirror  change in trait pair values
--When character max's out multiple negative traits, there could be consequences in game--trials to be undergone, exile from the monastery.
--if max's out all negative traits, they could be promoted to antagonist for the monastery/some character. :)
 

--Emily Care

I've edited this 4 times between when it was posted and 5:15 pm 10/22/02. mostly minor letter/word changes.
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
Emily Care
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« Reply #7 on: October 23, 2002, 12:50:57 PM »

There's been a lot of movement in other threads; this one may have seen its day.  I really like what we came up with collectively and am interested in fleshing it out. I've got some free time coming up, so I'll be playing with it.

 If other folks who gave input into developing it are interested in continuing, let me know!

--Emily Care
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Koti ei ole koti ilman saunaa.

Black & Green Games
talysman
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« Reply #8 on: October 23, 2002, 12:53:43 PM »

Quote from: Emily Care
There's been a lot of movement in other threads; this one may have seen its day.  I really like what we came up with collectively and am interested in fleshing it out. I've got some free time coming up, so I'll be playing with it.

 If other folks who gave input into developing it are interested in continuing, let me know!


I'm  certainly interested, Emily. I just haven't come up with anything new to add just yet.

short, shameful confession: I told myself yesterday that I would study your outline last night and prepare a response. then I forgot.

I'll have more to add later. either game material, or another SSC.
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John Laviolette
(aka Talysman the Ur-Beatle)
rpg projects: http://www.globalsurrealism.com/rpg
Sylus Thane
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« Reply #9 on: October 23, 2002, 01:03:09 PM »

Me too, I'm like Talysman though, still trying to come up with something useful to say.

Sylus
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damion
Member

Posts: 198


« Reply #10 on: October 23, 2002, 02:18:48 PM »

Can anyone help here? I've been following this, but havn't had time to
write much. That and I know very little about eastern philosiphy.

Here's some suggestions though.
 It was suggested before, but I'd bring up the Ars Magica analogy again.

Each player would create an elder and a neophyte. The elders would be primarly used to dynamicly create a structure for the religion & monastary, but
you could also match elders and tutors in a mentor relationship(with different players, of course). That way each player could take both sides of a  students development. It also gives a good way for players to suggest missions.  

Quote from: Emily Care



questions:
--pairs will change over time in response to character actions. Are trait pairs adjusted during sequence or at "debriefing" interval?
--exact mechanisms need to be agreed on. There have been some suggestions. What do we want to go with? Anyone want to state them here?
generally:
a)negative traits can increase effectiveness, but their use makes it harder to increase positive traits


I would actually tally changes 'in sequence' although the changes may not take effect until the 'debriefing'. Trying to do the tallying at the end is hard, IMHO.

I'd suggest  changes happen in sequence, just becaues it's more intersting, although in some cases the new value may not take effect until the next scene. (I can see arguments both ways here).

Since I imagine alot of 'calls' on trait usage can go both ways,  
I'd also suggest giving everyone one a hand in trait changes, possibly via some bidding mechanism. This could be done through the mentor, or out of some per characther currency each neophyte has.
The idea would be to keep morality a little 'fluid'. I.e. sometimes violent solutions don't actually increase your bad traits (whereas a peaceful solution never does :) ).

 Just some ideas.
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James
Mark D. Eddy
Member

Posts: 157


« Reply #11 on: October 23, 2002, 02:44:01 PM »

I think I've identified our central problem.

We don't have any resolution mechanics.

This is a huge problem, when one of our central "gimmicks" is that stats change as monks approach/fall from enlightenment, where 'unenlightened' actions are easier and more powerful, but 'enlightened' actions are more desirable.

I'm still being the guy who just throws things out there, so here is an idea -- I honestly don't have any clue how 'fair' or 'smooth' it is.

Stats total to ten. For unenlightened action: Roll (Unenlightened stat)d10, target number (Enlightened stat). Any success is considered a sucess, extra successes provide "power ups". For enlightened actions, roll d%, target number (Enlightened stat)x10+(Unenlighened Stat). There is no chance for "power ups".

Does anyone have any idea how this would work in play?
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Mark Eddy
Chemist, Monotheist, History buff

"The valiant man may survive
if wyrd is not against him."
Sylus Thane
Guest
« Reply #12 on: October 23, 2002, 02:57:18 PM »

You have it that there is difficulty matched to numbers of successes. For example 1 succes is just simple success and each extra success ups how well you succeeded up to say 5-6 levels of success. But you could also have have failures apply to the negative side of the stat, kind of a yin and yang sort of thing.


Sylus
Not sure if that made sense or not?
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Bob McNamee
Member

Posts: 685


« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2002, 06:23:32 PM »

A stray thought that I had would to have all actions/resolutions tie in some way to the Worldiness/Spirituality pair...either influencing it or being influenced by it  in some way.

Thus being more Worldly you may be influenced to choose the more expedient Violence side of the pair...or you may try for the harder route of Compassion and thus influence your Spirituality side of the pair.
(or a bit reversed...you may try for calling on your weak Spirituality to increase your Compassion roll).

Something like using Dual stat pair rolls...
example
Worldly/Spirituality plus
Violence/Compassion  (assuming V bad, C good)

results
roll                    to Influence                                           Result
Worldly              Violence                                                V  2 / W 1
Worldly              Compassion                                         C 1 / W 1
Spirituality          Violence                                              V 1 / S 1
Spirituality          Compassion                                        C 2 / S 1

Violence             Worldly                                               W 2 / V 1
Violence             Spirituality                                           S 1 / V 1
Compassion       Worldly                                                W 1 / C 1
Compassion       Spirituality                                            S 2 / C 1
         

I'm thinking that a failure at either roll impacts negatively with both pairs

this would be a way of having decisions that impact one way on your Self and another way on the Monastery (or personal Monkhood).

Kind of unclear I think... I'm groping for something that has a bit of Succeed, Succeed, but... Marginal(fail,but)...Fail, and... type feel
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Bob McNamee
Indie-netgaming- Out of the ordinary on-line gaming!
Kester Pelagius
Member

Posts: 508


« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2002, 09:43:25 PM »

Greetings all and sundry,


Truth be told I have sort of been following bits and pieces of this thread, so my comments may be a bit narrow.

On the "enlightenment" questions.

If by this you are stating Enlightenment to be the ultimate goal, as in Eastern religious practice (read: the reaching of Nirvana) then there would have to be some mechanic beyond the mere statistical measure (1-10 I believe was the example) to indicate the approach/achievment of Nirvana, would there not?

Enlightenment is supposed to be the *penultimate* state, the goal which every monk strives for, but how many have reached it?

Not even the Dhali Lama.  Maybe, and I stress *maybe*, Enoch could qualify.  Having "walked with god" Enoch could be said to have achieved a state of transcendance.  Of course his is a very special case, mainly because the intimation is usally taken that he was directly elevated into the Empyrean (or into "Grace" if you prefer) by God.

So, what does this mean for lowly mortals?

Meditation.  Ecstatic trance states.  Etc.

These could be used as a dynamic to raise (or "elevate" if you prefer a play on words) ones "Enlightenment" Stat.

What is to happen to these monks once Elightenment is achieved?

If you set Enlightenment up as a goal then, once reached, game over.  Perhaps, and you can throw tomatoes at me later (if you can find me) one should ues Enlightenment as a measure, a *degree* (note I did not use the word Level nor did I imply it, don't throw those tomatos yet) of...

Now that is the question, isn't it?

I know confounding and probably not very helpful.  But I am earnestly curious.  (You may throw your tomatos now.)  Just a few thoughts.




Kind Regards.
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"The darkest places in hell are reserved for those who maintain their neutrality in times of moral crisis." -Dante Alighieri
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