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Title: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 16, 2011, 01:56:41 PM
Hey all, I am currently working on a space opera(esque) game. The basic concept I have is it is about holy war(s?) in space. The game, or at least this part of it, combines the best aspects of Star Gate and Dune(in my mind the best parts). I am using a Fate inspired mechanic(though it is not(currently) exactly the same(if you want to see my basic concepts check out the my design journal (http://thelaughingstick.blogspot.com/)). I have two issues so far. The first is that I am still struggling with focusing on the players characters, and not on the world. Basically, what do the players do, what is the game about? Secondly, I would like to flavor the game text in a way that makes the players think about what the characters believe. As this is a game about a holy war I would like the beliefs of the characters to be at the forefront. So I am aiming to design the language of the game to emphasize the belief and religious aspects of the game. As i am quite stuck at the moment, any advice would be welcome. Thank you much!


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on August 16, 2011, 03:23:20 PM
Hmmm... How about mirroring it a little to the Crusades. Characters are basically soldiers for whatever religious leader(s) you create, and their armour and horses are their space ships, which they can outfit to match their "playstyle", so you could not only have character creation, but also "spacecraft" creation, which can be somewhat the same, as in you have your tanks, your speedy scout vehicles, etcetera. Give them the ability to upgrade their craft with new items, they get when they receive a medal for services.

You could have different religions / houses, perhaps ask them which one they would like to be a part of without telling them whether they are "good" or not so "good", and players will have to think about whether they will retain their faith when they are asked to perform specific tasks that are hard to swallow?

Some food for thought. Hope it helps.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Callan S. on August 16, 2011, 03:28:20 PM
You could take a leaf from the riddle of steel RPG and every time they pursue their belief (important: Whether they suceed or fail at that pursuit) they get a power up. Then make the world nasty enough, statistically, that they need these power ups to some degree, or they'll get wasted.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 16, 2011, 09:55:24 PM
You could take a leaf from the riddle of steel RPG and every time they pursue their belief (important: Whether they suceed or fail at that pursuit) they get a power up. Then make the world nasty enough, statistically, that they need these power ups to some degree, or they'll get wasted.

now there is an interesting idea. It adds a level of complexity, but at this point the game is very simple so I am fairly certain that a little complexity won't be too out there. As I don't have Riddle of Steel I am not certain how it would work here. but maybe some kind of tier system of beliefs. each religion has things it holds sacred, and you place a number of those precepts(three of them?) in order of importance to you. I will have to work on this idea a bit.

Hmmm... How about mirroring it a little to the Crusades. Characters are basically soldiers for whatever religious leader(s) you create, and their armour and horses are their space ships, which they can outfit to match their "playstyle", so you could not only have character creation, but also "spacecraft" creation, which can be somewhat the same, as in you have your tanks, your speedy scout vehicles, etcetera. Give them the ability to upgrade their craft with new items, they get when they receive a medal for services.

You could have different religions / houses, perhaps ask them which one they would like to be a part of without telling them whether they are "good" or not so "good", and players will have to think about whether they will retain their faith when they are asked to perform specific tasks that are hard to swallow?

Some food for thought. Hope it helps.
I like your thoughts.They got me thinking, What if, instead of designing their ship(s), they instead deign the religion? I could put a few sample set pieces in the game, they they could model off of, fight, or if they don't want to design there own they could play in one of those. maybe ten worlds/systems?

the problem with the crusades, is that it is very specific to a time and a place. while this is fiction, I would like to not be tied down to just Abrahamic religious wars. if there was a Holy Land though...hmm...maybe earth is the holy land. I could combine it with a bit of Shambala and grail lore. earth was lost long ago. maybe earth never had, or realized it had, a gate.  still a bit European though. And while I am not against euro-centrism in games, in the future who can say that Western culture gets there first. i find it unlikely that the Chinese and Russians won't be out there. and as the costs for space travel drop lots of fringe beliefs will spread to the stars. I even had an idea for a culture of Luddites, who over came the hatred of technology long enough to get to a new world and start some kind of agrarian utopia. naturally all things go to hell after a while, but that is where the fun is.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Callan S. on August 16, 2011, 10:43:34 PM
As I don't have Riddle of Steel I am not certain how it would work here. but maybe some kind of tier system of beliefs. each religion has things it holds sacred, and you place a number of those precepts(three of them?) in order of importance to you. I will have to work on this idea a bit.
Ahhh, that kind of ends up as something else entirely, as the GM decides what is required of following a belief, since it's in the book and a 'GM thing'. I'd suggest that you can list a religions rules, but the player just invents their own beliefs/goals. In riddle of steel it could range from 'love for my lady' to 'I will become king'.

It really doesn't need to be complicated at all. Players who are interested in playing will catch onto it quickly.



Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 16, 2011, 11:43:58 PM
As I don't have Riddle of Steel I am not certain how it would work here. but maybe some kind of tier system of beliefs. each religion has things it holds sacred, and you place a number of those precepts(three of them?) in order of importance to you. I will have to work on this idea a bit.
Ahhh, that kind of ends up as something else entirely, as the GM decides what is required of following a belief, since it's in the book and a 'GM thing'. I'd suggest that you can list a religions rules, but the player just invents their own beliefs/goals. In riddle of steel it could range from 'love for my lady' to 'I will become king'.

It really doesn't need to be complicated at all. Players who are interested in playing will catch onto it quickly.



I wasn't implying that it was complicated, just more complicated than what i currently have. which, if you have read through my stuff, is not much at the moment. I like the idea of taking a set of religious tenets and making them hard and fast. Commandments, if you will. though I still think the players beliefs/aspects/whatever should have to do with those commandments. I still would like there to be the option, maybe even the default option, of the players designing the religion. though, to be honest, I am not sure how to do that and make it come out to be something believable. there would have to be parameters, but again I am bit lost there.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on August 17, 2011, 12:27:12 AM
Oh I wasn't implying you use the Crusade as is, just as an inspiration to the direction to take. So what I was thinking was, you could have the religions / houses / factions, and the background story is that they are all, in one way or another (perhaps with different methods) trying to gain lands and therefore followers to their cause, and the players are the crusaders sent out to those distant planets to do just that.

You have the travel aspect, needing to travel from system to system and planet to planet, being able to use their craft to do battle. You have the war aspect in that there are different religions fighting one another. Then after landfall it could turn into a game of diplomacy, where they need to convince the planet's government of their beliefs. Or, if they don't want to listen, again battle.

But take from it what you will. I was just randomly blurting out ideas.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 17, 2011, 12:56:11 AM
Oh I wasn't implying you use the Crusade as is, just as an inspiration to the direction to take. So what I was thinking was, you could have the religions / houses / factions, and the background story is that they are all, in one way or another (perhaps with different methods) trying to gain lands and therefore followers to their cause, and the players are the crusaders sent out to those distant planets to do just that.

You have the travel aspect, needing to travel from system to system and planet to planet, being able to use their craft to do battle. You have the war aspect in that there are different religions fighting one another. Then after landfall it could turn into a game of diplomacy, where they need to convince the planet's government of their beliefs. Or, if they don't want to listen, again battle.

But take from it what you will. I was just randomly blurting out ideas.
I like the idea of other factions outside of religion. though I think it would have to be different in each stellar state. Nobles houses in one, mega-corporations in another. I will think on this, it will mean i will have to have some kind of mass battle conflict resolution mechanic, or maybe something else. the PCs would be the equivalent of diplomats/spies/special forces, what they do affects what happens, but they can still win or lose dependent on an outside roll. kind of like Burning Empire, but you know without the grind.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Zachary_Wolf on August 17, 2011, 08:34:44 AM
Sounds like a neat idea gtroc! Questions:

1) Would it be assumed all of the PC's are of the same religion/faction?
2) Would the players be assumed to be cooperating with each other?
3) What is the action scale? Mostly focused on space battles in ships, or individual spec-ops missions on foot and land vehicles?

I admit I like the suggestions Daniel gave. Having the players design their vehicles in different styles (Tank, Scout, Striker, Support) has always been an idea bouncing around in my head and I think it would work well with your setting concept. Also, it may not need to be central, but I do like the idea of providing morally difficult choices for the players. For example, your zealous religious leader orders you to destroy the enemy's water treatment plant to weaken the nearby military outpost, even though it will also affect the city full of innocent civilians a few miles away.

As far as designing a religion, I think that is also a cool idea, but that would imply that each player is creating their own religious affiliation and therefore would be at odds against each other?

Callan's suggestion to reward players for persuing their goals is also very good. How do you feel about this idea?

Each player picks three "Convictions", a Vision, a Commandment, and a  Crusade. Your character's Vision is their own personal goal, a piece of imagery that wish to see come true. Their Commandment is their religious goal or code of behavior, something that could possibly be common to more than one player. Their Crusade is their current mission, typically shared between all players and usually given to them by their religious leader.

Example:
Vision - To become Bishop of a small planet or colony.
Commandment - To bring justice to those under the heel of oppression.
Crusade - To travel to the Urdot System and investigate the missing missionaries.

Whenever the player meaningfully persues one of these Convictions, perhaps they could get bonuses to their rolls? Or maybe, they get extra experience or whatever you use for advancement.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on August 17, 2011, 09:01:58 AM
I would not let players all be of different religions. That would just make a mess of things. Players shouldn't be given so much control over setting anyways. It's a false freedom. They get to bend the world to their will, but that's not theirs to do. I guess it's a discussion all on its own, in fact I will go and create a thread for it when I have a little time, but they don't HAVE to decide on every aspect. They can take parts of the religion they like and therefore pursue, much like you have different roles in, well any church really, but the religion itself and its creed should be imposed on them.

It's how they act within the boundaries of their faith, whether they stay true to it or wish to stray outside. It's what they do with the tasks given to them. Within that, they have plenty freedom, but just as we can't control where we are born and what we look like, players shouldn't have full control. Especially if they get to outfit their spacecraft and all that cool stuff, it's not a crime to impose things on them.

But that's just me. There will be a discussion on it shortly! :)


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 17, 2011, 10:21:45 AM
Hi,

Is Jake your name?

You might find this thread useful: Three games about religion (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=31578.0). The concepts I present there may be helpful in seeing how individuals extract different aspects from something called "a religion" and then call those chosen aspects the religion.

Also, here are some games which I think provide solid, useful understanding of how culture, religious practice, political identity, moral choices, and especially compromises across religious boundaries can be productive in play: Fading Suns (specifically the Priests of the Celestial Sun supplement), HeroQuest, and DeGenesis.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 17, 2011, 01:26:04 PM
Hi,

Is Jake your name?

Yeah, sorry I always meant to sign at the bottom but then I forget. so I put it in my sig, but yes Jake is my name.
Quote
You might find this thread useful: Three games about religion (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=31578.0). The concepts I present there may be helpful in seeing how individuals extract different aspects from something called "a religion" and then call those chosen aspects the religion.
I noticed that thread right after starting this one. I liked it, and it has influenced the way i am looking at this. I think I even mentioned something like this earlier. I may no have been as eloquent as I could have been though. Thank you for the ideas!
Quote
Also, here are some games which I think provide solid, useful understanding of how culture, religious practice, political identity, moral choices, and especially compromises across religious boundaries can be productive in play: Fading Suns (specifically the Priests of the Celestial Sun supplement), HeroQuest, and DeGenesis.

Best, Ron
I have been digging through my old copies of hero quest and fading suns, as I go along this is becoming closer to those than I had originally envisioned. I really like the myth building stuff in hero quest especially(I have first and second ed, I really prefer the flavor of first). of course reading any of Robin D. Laws work is an eye opener. That guy can't help but innovate.

I would not let players all be of different religions. That would just make a mess of things. Players shouldn't be given so much control over setting anyways. It's a false freedom. They get to bend the world to their will, but that's not theirs to do. I guess it's a discussion all on its own, in fact I will go and create a thread for it when I have a little time, but they don't HAVE to decide on every aspect. They can take parts of the religion they like and therefore pursue, much like you have different roles in, well any church really, but the religion itself and its creed should be imposed on them.

It's how they act within the boundaries of their faith, whether they stay true to it or wish to stray outside. It's what they do with the tasks given to them. Within that, they have plenty freedom, but just as we can't control where we are born and what we look like, players shouldn't have full control. Especially if they get to outfit their spacecraft and all that cool stuff, it's not a crime to impose things on them.

But that's just me. There will be a discussion on it shortly! :)

I totally agree that the players should be of the same faith. I thought about allowing multi-faith games, but that would be a mess. I am not saying it isn't doable, just that I don't think I can do that particular type of game. I do still want(in the absract) the players to have the option to create there own faith(as a group). I believe this lends to more buy in. I think that this would stop the issue I have seen in other games where the players refuse to let the characters believe an in game religion. they say it is because it is not logical/makes no sense. If they design their own religion, they will not see the holes. the blind spots of the designer and the players will be the same because they are the same people. though i do plan on having a few premade religions set up. thank you for your input, as it raises some interesting questions it raises a good question that I really should be thinking about this early in the game. How much freedom do I give the players in this game? I will definitely be thinking and tweaking this as I go along with alpha testing

Sounds like a neat idea gtroc! Questions:

1) Would it be assumed all of the PC's are of the same religion/faction?
2) Would the players be assumed to be cooperating with each other?
3) What is the action scale? Mostly focused on space battles in ships, or individual spec-ops missions on foot and land vehicles?
1. yes that is the current assumption I am working from.
2. Again yes, though cinflict would still be an interesting element. currently I am working with the idea that the PCs work together, but hey do not have to like one another, just share a similar in game goal.
3. now that, that I do not know. I want there to be space battles yeah. I have these massive carrier vessels and hordes of fighter craft, I would love to use them. I also like the idea of comando raids,diplomacy, scouting new planets, maybe even missionary work. here's a question, would narrowing the options here help my game or hurt it? I am unsure.

Quote
I admit I like the suggestions Daniel gave. Having the players design their vehicles in different styles (Tank, Scout, Striker, Support) has always been an idea bouncing around in my head and I think it would work well with your setting concept. Also, it may not need to be central, but I do like the idea of providing morally difficult choices for the players. For example, your zealous religious leader orders you to destroy the enemy's water treatment plant to weaken the nearby military outpost, even though it will also affect the city full of innocent civilians a few miles away.
I also like the idea of designing personal craft. I have issues with it on a personal level though. see I used to work as an fighter jet mechanic(F15E strike eagle), and when you mass produce an object for the military the closest to custom you can get is your name on the side. I realize that this is fiction, but I can't make my brain move that way and still feel right about it, if that makes sense. I do like the idea of hard choices. looking at actual holy wars I can see a great many things happening outside the bounds of doctrine. also on those massive ships there could be whole regements of men whose belief differs slightly from the PCs, or who have lost faith, or who only use this as an excuse to kill.

Quote
As far as designing a religion, I think that is also a cool idea, but that would imply that each player is creating their own religious affiliation and therefore would be at odds against each other?

Callan's suggestion to reward players for persuing their goals is also very good. How do you feel about this idea?

Each player picks three "Convictions", a Vision, a Commandment, and a  Crusade. Your character's Vision is their own personal goal, a piece of imagery that wish to see come true. Their Commandment is their religious goal or code of behavior, something that could possibly be common to more than one player. Their Crusade is their current mission, typically shared between all players and usually given to them by their religious leader.

Example:
Vision - To become Bishop of a small planet or colony.
Commandment - To bring justice to those under the heel of oppression.
Crusade - To travel to the Urdot System and investigate the missing missionaries.

Whenever the player meaningfully persues one of these Convictions, perhaps they could get bonuses to their rolls? Or maybe, they get extra experience or whatever you use for advancement.

I really like the terms Vision, Commandment, and Crusade. those are very evocative, and I think i might use them. I am leaning toward having the players, as a group, design a religion for all of them. basically it would be like city creation in Dresden, only instead of a city you would have a religion to play in. Also I am really thinking hard about making the Earth lost and Mythical. Humans left so long ago that the information they have is fragmentary at best. And perhaps the Earth is not part of the Gate network, so finding it again is a serious quest, probably impossible. The earth would take on the feel of the holy grail/holy land. I like this idea, but am unsure how to use it to spur play. I have a rule, if it can't be used by players why is it in my game(the GM is a player).thank you for your responses, just one day on these forums have really helped me figure out a few things about my game.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Callan S. on August 17, 2011, 08:17:31 PM
Quote
I am not sure how to do that and make it come out to be something believable.
There's only one thing that's hard to believe - and that is that believing is really, really easy. Believing is not hard at all. It's a cakewalk. :) That's the only hard thing to believe.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 17, 2011, 10:59:18 PM
There's only one thing that's hard to believe - and that is that believing is really, really easy. Believing is not hard at all. It's a cakewalk. :) That's the only hard thing to believe.

Believable may have been the wrong word to use. Perhaps the question should be, what kind of system could be designed that would end in a religion,or set of philosophical doctrines, that would feel real to the players? What kind of framework would I need to make something feel plausible? I hope that clarifies my dilemma. though to be fair, this thread has already helped me through a couple of dilemmas already. It as helped me really focus in on what I want out of the game.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Callan S. on August 17, 2011, 11:15:32 PM
If your asking me, I think it's simply a matter of the players own philosophical capacity. They may have the capacity simply to play a character who believes a certain religious tenents (maybe it's just acting ability?). And they'll just do it if you say that's what the game is about.

Others expect it to somehow feel plausible when they get into contact with it, like somehow there's a real religion structure and a fake one and they just know which is the real deal. I don't think you can do it with them - probably in such a case Ron's game method, where (as I see it) religion isn't really central and if it comes up at all is mixed around alot of other human stuff, is probably the best model. That diffuses religion, dilutes it (though possibly cloaks it as well), instead of trying to intensely forfil someones sense there is a 'plausible religion' involved.

So, I'd say there are two crowds and you decide which you want to aim for with your design. I might be wrong, or there may be three or more crowds, etc.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on August 18, 2011, 12:10:55 AM
Oh, one last thing I want to mention that might affect your design of the setting.

There is a very big difference between what a religion is about and what the clergy is about. The clergy don't necessarily do what their religion asks of them.

Why am I saying this? If players design a religion they feel good about, a religion that is in essence good, it is easy for a GM to create "evil" clergymen and give the players missions that are morally difficult for the players, saying it's what their religion asks of them, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of the players designing their own religion if you are not careful to make sure they understand the distinction between religion and religious leaders. Just a small tip, I suppose.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 18, 2011, 01:35:10 AM
Oh, one last thing I want to mention that might affect your design of the setting.

There is a very big difference between what a religion is about and what the clergy is about. The clergy don't necessarily do what their religion asks of them.

Why am I saying this? If players design a religion they feel good about, a religion that is in essence good, it is easy for a GM to create "evil" clergymen and give the players missions that are morally difficult for the players, saying it's what their religion asks of them, but that would kind of defeat the purpose of the players designing their own religion if you are not careful to make sure they understand the distinction between religion and religious leaders. Just a small tip, I suppose.

that is definitely something to consider as I go forward.

As I go forward I am thinking about making the religions be predesigned. perhaps the players design their sect/cabal/faction within it. I think that will be easier for me to design, as I am still at a loss how to do full on religion design. perhaps as i go along, an idea will strike. fingers crossed.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on August 18, 2011, 02:09:12 AM
I suppose you could create several. Honestly, if you are going to create a setting, I wouldn't do more than three religions, at least not ones that are in a religious intergalactic war. You can hint at other religions, but making it too broad will just make it convoluted.

Give them three distinct religions and associated faction. Within these religions, give them distinct paths that they can follow personally.

So you create the religion "Blue" and within that religion players can choose a path "Exorcism" or "Healing" or whatever, and you create another religion "Red" and they can choose paths there. Maybe some paths can be in diferent religions but with subtle differences.

So you give the group the choice of which of the three religions they wish to follow (as a group) and give them a choice as to what their role individually will be in the paths.

Not sure if that will work well but I am just randomly blurting out ideas here.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 18, 2011, 03:53:07 AM
I suppose you could create several. Honestly, if you are going to create a setting, I wouldn't do more than three religions, at least not ones that are in a religious intergalactic war. You can hint at other religions, but making it too broad will just make it convoluted.

Give them three distinct religions and associated faction. Within these religions, give them distinct paths that they can follow personally.

So you create the religion "Blue" and within that religion players can choose a path "Exorcism" or "Healing" or whatever, and you create another religion "Red" and they can choose paths there. Maybe some paths can be in diferent religions but with subtle differences.

So you give the group the choice of which of the three religions they wish to follow (as a group) and give them a choice as to what their role individually will be in the paths.

Not sure if that will work well but I am just randomly blurting out ideas here.

Yeah, i have been having a similar thought as well. I would have to limit the amount of major religions(the ones involved in the war). I can have minor ones, and they may even be useful, but they would be system wide at the most, not interstellar. of course mystery cults and secret societies allow for all kinds of intrigue. so I will probably have some of those as well. So i think I will have three major interstellar governing bodies. And something has changed recently to make them all on the verge of war. maybe they found a planet that could be earth...or something. probably have a couple of independent systems listed as well. they would need unique resources, so that they are still important to the war effort. I'll have to think on that some more.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Zachary_Wolf on August 18, 2011, 06:03:17 AM
I like the idea of precreating some of the religions, but I thought your idea of giving the players the ability to create their own was awesome. How about this? Precreate two of the religions and the leave the third as "a mysterious newcomer". The third religion could be a burgeoning faith, small but powerful and gaining momentum. This way, the players have two 'stereotypical' examples, and if they choose to, they can decide to claim the third religion as their own and give it their own flavor. With two examples for potential religion builders to look at, this means you can trim down the amount of hand-holding neccesary for religion creation. In other words, you just say, "do something similar to the two examples above!" with some extra suggestive notes to inspire the players.

I love the idea of earth being the holy grail. Very cool, nuff said. Let me know if you want to collaborate a bit more closely on your game. I'm tired of working on games alone :)


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Zachary_Wolf on August 18, 2011, 07:11:15 AM
Hey Jake.

I read all your entries on your design blog. I know one of the entries was older and you may have come to conclusions on some of these points, but here are some ideas that sprang into my head:

- FTL Travel: Consider the "Event Horizon" style FTL. The Event Horizon was able to momentarily bend space in half, causing a point in space that was 1000 light years away to temporarily exist only a few miles away. Sort of a different take on a wormhole - a singularity.

- Generation Ships: For history reasons, since earth is holy-grailish, consider the idea of the three factions originating as a fleet of generation ships fleeing earth. Midtrip, the three ships quarrel and decide to split up, going their own seperate ways. Just a thought. (Sounds like you already came to a similar conclusion).

- Size of Ship vs FTL Capability: There's no reason you can't just say fighters craft are built to be light and fast, and don't provide the hull integrity to survive a trip through a worm hole. Larger ships (Falcon, Serenity) have been specifically outfitted with heavier hulls capable of traversing a hole.

- FTL Communication: Definitely no interstellar instant communication, but intersystem communication might be helpful for narratives, even if it takes hours or days for a message to be sent.


Also, as for your reference to not wanting Vision to be so secular, I forgot to mention it doesn't have to have anything to do with religion. Each character will have varying degrees of devotion, so one character's Vision could be to become the most awesome pope evar, while another character might want to be reunited with his lost love. It's completely individual and not specifically tied to religion.












Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on August 18, 2011, 07:55:39 AM
I don't know if you have any experience with Warhammer 40.000, but they have some pretty cool religious themes you can draw inspiration from.
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Emperor The Emperor of Mankind, revered as a god but nothing more than a vegetable. Pretty cool idea.

http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Primarch Then there are the Primarches, genetically engineered sons of the Emperor. Some cool inspiration there as well.

Anyways, I was thinking a bit more, and as Earth sort of disappeared off the map, why would they want to revisit it? So perhaps all of the major religions have religious texts. They could be about the New Earth or whatever, they could all stem from the same base religion but have all taken a very distinct different path within that and now they are like "we are the true church", "no, we are"... I guess Zachary_Wolf has the same ideas about that... but why did the war start now?

Maybe, and again just spurting out ideas, someone has re-discovered that Earth holds an item of immense power, a Relic so you will, that can give them the power to rule over the universe (and all other religions). Whether this holds any truth is of course irrelevant. It could be a good starting point for the war.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Zachary_Wolf on August 18, 2011, 09:46:09 AM
Tagging along with Daniel's idea, what if the three factions had some kind of general peace amongst each other for a while, until a prophet emmerged claiming that the ancient world of earth would soon be discovered, and whoever discoveres it would rule all of mankind. This prophecy might spur the war that the game revolves around. The prophecy could have been spoken years and years ago and the war has just been raging on ever since. Maybe they'll never find earth and the prophet was just a kook? Just some food for thought.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Ron Edwards on August 18, 2011, 10:05:46 AM
Hey guys,

Let's allow Jake to process through all the suggestions and figure out what he wants to do, before continuing to pile on inspiration. I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm being shown in this thread, and I'm not shutting down discussion, but let's slow it a little.

Best, Ron


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 18, 2011, 03:26:29 PM
Wow. That is a lot of interesting Ideas, thanks guys! It is going to be a while to process all of it, but here are my first impressions/thoughts on what you have said.

Tagging along with Daniel's idea, what if the three factions had some kind of general peace amongst each other for a while, until a prophet emmerged claiming that the ancient world of earth would soon be discovered, and whoever discoveres it would rule all of mankind. This prophecy might spur the war that the game revolves around. The prophecy could have been spoken years and years ago and the war has just been raging on ever since. Maybe they'll never find earth and the prophet was just a kook? Just some food for thought.
I don't know if you have any experience with Warhammer 40.000, but they have some pretty cool religious themes you can draw inspiration from.
http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Emperor The Emperor of Mankind, revered as a god but nothing more than a vegetable. Pretty cool idea.

http://wh40k.lexicanum.com/wiki/Primarch Then there are the Primarches, genetically engineered sons of the Emperor. Some cool inspiration there as well.

Anyways, I was thinking a bit more, and as Earth sort of disappeared off the map, why would they want to revisit it? So perhaps all of the major religions have religious texts. They could be about the New Earth or whatever, they could all stem from the same base religion but have all taken a very distinct different path within that and now they are like "we are the true church", "no, we are"... I guess Zachary_Wolf has the same ideas about that... but why did the war start now?

Maybe, and again just spurting out ideas, someone has re-discovered that Earth holds an item of immense power, a Relic so you will, that can give them the power to rule over the universe (and all other religions). Whether this holds any truth is of course irrelevant. It could be a good starting point for the war.

I had an idea of one of the interstellar nations run by an immortal god king type figure. I am currently calling him, Sovereign. I am leaning away from the helpless emperor from 40K and more towards something like His Shadow from Lexx, or The Master from Doctor Who. basically he maintains his immortality by changing bodies.

I really like the thought that the idea of Earth would be enough to spark a war. maybe they have long bouts of cold war. each side seeking to convert/control more systems through subtle means(missionaries, diplomats, and spies). then, when a new system is found the war heats up, as there is always the fear that the new system will be Earth. I also really like the ideas of prophesy. perhaps there are certain people who can see the future. they only appear once every hundred years or so, and maybe only to a specific culture/system. maybe they bargain the systems freedom with access to the prophets. I will definitely be working on that. as I think it is rife for player characters to play with.

Hey Jake.

I read all your entries on your design blog. I know one of the entries was older and you may have come to conclusions on some of these points, but here are some ideas that sprang into my head:

- FTL Travel: Consider the "Event Horizon" style FTL. The Event Horizon was able to momentarily bend space in half, causing a point in space that was 1000 light years away to temporarily exist only a few miles away. Sort of a different take on a wormhole - a singularity.

- Generation Ships: For history reasons, since earth is holy-grailish, consider the idea of the three factions originating as a fleet of generation ships fleeing earth. Midtrip, the three ships quarrel and decide to split up, going their own seperate ways. Just a thought. (Sounds like you already came to a similar conclusion).

- Size of Ship vs FTL Capability: There's no reason you can't just say fighters craft are built to be light and fast, and don't provide the hull integrity to survive a trip through a worm hole. Larger ships (Falcon, Serenity) have been specifically outfitted with heavier hulls capable of traversing a hole.

- FTL Communication: Definitely no interstellar instant communication, but intersystem communication might be helpful for narratives, even if it takes hours or days for a message to be sent.


Also, as for your reference to not wanting Vision to be so secular, I forgot to mention it doesn't have to have anything to do with religion. Each character will have varying degrees of devotion, so one character's Vision could be to become the most awesome pope evar, while another character might want to be reunited with his lost love. It's completely individual and not specifically tied to religion.

Thanks for reading my blog. I appreciate your insights. As to the FTL issue, I am going with a gate system, build by an ancient and unknown/unknowable civilization. I like your thoughts, but I want the gates to be a mystery. I think that I will leave it as unknown how it works, all that is known is that it does work. I can't really give a reason for that other than personal preference. but your idea is neat. the generation ships are one thought, and I think there will definitely be some of that in the history, but i also really like cryogenics. I like it because it allows my Luddite civilization to exist, I know I haven't really talked of them but I have had this thought floating around for a while. basically Luddites decide to leave Earth. They use a ship and cryogenically freeze themselves for the journey. they manage to get past the technology use, justifying it as necessary. they come to an alien world filled with life, and manage to thrive. the first few generations are definitely into the full anti tech mindset. but little by little it gets subverted. they replace  machines with domestic animals. eventually flying through space in designed organisms. they would be one of the small free states that the others must court. Generation ships will also work for some of the cultures.

I like your thoughts on durability and travel through the gate...that is a thought. also there is the idea I had about the gate driving you mad. basically pilots would either be insane to some degree or so drugged up that the are functionally insane for the trip. this would lead to fighter pilots not wanting to enter the gate. with no idea whats on the other side you would need your wits about you in a fighter craft.

I like the idea of precreating some of the religions, but I thought your idea of giving the players the ability to create their own was awesome. How about this? Precreate two of the religions and the leave the third as "a mysterious newcomer". The third religion could be a burgeoning faith, small but powerful and gaining momentum. This way, the players have two 'stereotypical' examples, and if they choose to, they can decide to claim the third religion as their own and give it their own flavor. With two examples for potential religion builders to look at, this means you can trim down the amount of hand-holding neccesary for religion creation. In other words, you just say, "do something similar to the two examples above!" with some extra suggestive notes to inspire the players.

I love the idea of earth being the holy grail. Very cool, nuff said. Let me know if you want to collaborate a bit more closely on your game. I'm tired of working on games alone :)

I agree that it sounds awesome, allowing the players to build a religion. the reason I am leaning away from it for now, is that I have no ideas on how to implement that mechanically. basically it would be phase one of character creation, and that would be the seed that the characters grow from. but I am at a loss on how to do it. If I say to the players, "do something similar to what I have shown you." I will get one of two things, the players building a carbon copy of my religions, or the will get frustrated and give up and demand the GM do it. I realize there are some groups out there who can do what I want easily and well with no, or little, support structure. however, My current group is not one of them. And if I can't get my group to play...well there ya' are then.

I guess I would be open to the idea of working on the game with someone else. My past experiences have not been good. I have worked with partners before and it usually ends poorly. Hell, game design was what caused my podcast to pod-fade(not that that is a bad thing, it wasn't very good). But we could discuss our goals and see if they are compatible. if so I see no reason we couldn't partner up.
Hey guys,

Let's allow Jake to process through all the suggestions and figure out what he wants to do, before continuing to pile on inspiration. I greatly appreciate the enthusiasm being shown in this thread, and I'm not shutting down discussion, but let's slow it a little.

Best, Ron

thanks for looking out, Ron. I appreciate it.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Zachary_Wolf on August 19, 2011, 06:35:47 AM
No worries Jake. Don't want to cramp anyone's style.

As far as designing the game so your current group can get the hang of it, I can totally relate. I have the same problem when designing my games. I want to design them for someone with as much role-playing intuition as me, but I know that my players would need quite a bit more explanation than I would.

Oh, and sorry for overposting. I wanted to get my ideas down for you, Jake, while I had them in my brain.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on August 19, 2011, 07:47:30 AM
Well, I don't think he minds our posts. After all, they are just there for him to take inspiration from. If he doesn't like it, he doesn't have tp use it. If anything, he has got us both enthusiastic enough already, so he knows he is on the right track.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 19, 2011, 03:16:24 PM
Well, I don't think he minds our posts. After all, they are just there for him to take inspiration from. If he doesn't like it, he doesn't have tp use it. If anything, he has got us both enthusiastic enough already, so he knows he is on the right track.

I don't mind the posts really. the last batch was a lot, and it took me a minute to think my responses through. I really do appreciate the enthusiasm you have shown. Thank you.

so here is the short list of the setting pieces so far. I want there to be an empire ruled by a god king, who swaps bodies to maintain immortality. I want there to be one run by benevolent AIs. I was thinking that they have no bodies and so need humans to do physical things for them. this could be a specific design of the original creator, to keep the balance of power in check. and I want tehre to be a third major set piece, but culturally I don't have any idea on how that will work.

then there are the minor powers, i have the Luddites with their amazing animal domestication to replace machines. I am thinking they have symbiotic suits that make their soldiers powerful, or something. I also want there to be pirate clans, I am thinking something along the lines of the Nietzscheans from the tv show Andromeda. very survival of the fittest. I would like a few more lesser powers to populate my setting, but I am unsure on what to use.

I have been working on the fluff for a few days now, and I am having difficulty coming up with religions. perhaps I need to develop a system that will allow for religion creation, as apparently I need it as well.

I think I am going to leave the fluff behind for a bit and concentrate on the system for the next couple of days. I have a strong thought on what i am seeking, and i think I can see a way there, but it is going to be tricky.

sorry just kind of running at the mouth there for a bit. that is one of my bad habits, my mind wanders.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on August 20, 2011, 12:58:21 AM
It seems each of your factions have a very different take on pretty much everything.

Will that reflect on character creation? It will take more work, but if it were up to me, I would give players the choice of what faction to play, and from there on out give them specific character options. So if the group wants to follow the god king, they get a choice of characters that are different to what they get if they want to play pirates (Arrr). Does that make sense?


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 20, 2011, 02:29:38 AM
It seems each of your factions have a very different take on pretty much everything.

Will that reflect on character creation? It will take more work, but if it were up to me, I would give players the choice of what faction to play, and from there on out give them specific character options. So if the group wants to follow the god king, they get a choice of characters that are different to what they get if they want to play pirates (Arrr). Does that make sense?

I am planning on doing something along those lines, yeah. I really got into that aspect of HeroQuest, and so I am planning on modeling the cultures a bit like they did it in that game. My focus will be different, I think. And if you have read my most recent post then you know my system(should it ever work, is very different. but I think it is doable, though I agree it is far more work. Also, I still haven't completely given up on the whole, "PCs make their own" concept. though again, at a loss as to how to implement it.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: contracycle on August 20, 2011, 08:11:11 AM
Quote
I also like the idea of designing personal craft. I have issues with it on a personal level though. see I used to work as an fighter jet mechanic(F15E strike eagle), and when you mass produce an object for the military the closest to custom you can get is your name on the side. I realize that this is fiction, but I can't make my brain move that way and still feel right about it, if that makes sense.

Nah, that's easy.  Even today we see the beginning of desktop CAD/CAM and 3D printing.  In the reasonably distant future, the whole idea of "manufacturing industry" may well be redundant.  It's easy enough to justify for your purposes, at the very least.  In this scenario you have almost all design work done by tiers of machines, and all production carried out by local, on-the-spot assembly systems, which are themselves assembled for the purpose.  This makes building a ship more like visiting a tailor and being measured for a suit than like building a factory and rolling out a batch of a particular design class.  Also, this may play into your relighion theme because the lack of hands-on by human engineers may suggest that the tech is literally incomprehensible from a human standpoint, and only the machines really understand it.

Also, I caution against the idea of just saying oh yeah there are these gates and nobody knows how they work.  I find that sort of thing unsatisfying in a SF setting, as surely one of the attractions of SF is to see science at play.  I can provide some rough outlines for a gate system that is scientifically sound and also has some pretty interesting implications, if necessary.  There are also discussion about on the web and science fiction resources in good old usenet, which can get pretty deep.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 20, 2011, 02:26:58 PM
Nah, that's easy.  Even today we see the beginning of desktop CAD/CAM and 3D printing.  In the reasonably distant future, the whole idea of "manufacturing industry" may well be redundant.  It's easy enough to justify for your purposes, at the very least.  In this scenario you have almost all design work done by tiers of machines, and all production carried out by local, on-the-spot assembly systems, which are themselves assembled for the purpose.  This makes building a ship more like visiting a tailor and being measured for a suit than like building a factory and rolling out a batch of a particular design class.  Also, this may play into your relighion theme because the lack of hands-on by human engineers may suggest that the tech is literally incomprehensible from a human standpoint, and only the machines really understand it.

Also, I caution against the idea of just saying oh yeah there are these gates and nobody knows how they work.  I find that sort of thing unsatisfying in a SF setting, as surely one of the attractions of SF is to see science at play.  I can provide some rough outlines for a gate system that is scientifically sound and also has some pretty interesting implications, if necessary.  There are also discussion about on the web and science fiction resources in good old usenet, which can get pretty deep.
When it comes to military action, uniformity is important. So the ability to make a unique craft is not the only aspect to consider.that is neither here nor there, as I mentioned this is a personal issue of mine. If I go this route I will merely try not to think about it, and put modifiable ships in it. I will think on your ideas though and may use them.

I am aware that there are scientific explanations for the Gates. the reason I want to avoid those are for story purposes. Mainly I want them to remain alien. If it can be figured out, then it can be duplicated. I will probably put three or for different explanations in the text and let the players think of it what they will.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: contracycle on August 20, 2011, 03:08:09 PM
When it comes to military action, uniformity is important. So the ability to make a unique craft is not the only aspect to consider.that is neither here nor there, as I mentioned this is a personal issue of mine. If I go this route I will merely try not to think about it, and put modifiable ships in it. I will think on your ideas though and may use them.

Well, thats true today, but it hasn't always been true and need not always be so in the future.  Methods of warfare are formed from the technology with which they have to work, and science fiction by definition proposes different technology.

I mean theres nothing wrong with projecting a current or past set of methods into a notional future.  The whole "WW2 in space" thing is pretty strong, for example, even if it makes no particular sense.

Quote
I am aware that there are scientific explanations for the Gates. the reason I want to avoid those are for story purposes. Mainly I want them to remain alien. If it can be figured out, then it can be duplicated. I will probably put three or for different explanations in the text and let the players think of it what they will.

Oh its fine for something to be a secret.  Although it gets a bit stickier if it also has to be a secret from the GM.  There is also the difference between what the player understands and what the character understands, in the same way people playing in fantasy games don't usually allow the characters to make gunpowder, even if the players know the formula.  But there has to be some level of understanding; what if someone in play tries to destory one?  There needs to be some basis to determine how vulnerabel they are, or what happens afterward etc.  Hence this sort of thing makes me uncomfortable, becuase in effect it punts the duty of figuring this out onto the GM, and that raises the question of why use, much less potentially pay for, someone elses game.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 20, 2011, 11:00:39 PM
Oh its fine for something to be a secret.  Although it gets a bit stickier if it also has to be a secret from the GM.  There is also the difference between what the player understands and what the character understands, in the same way people playing in fantasy games don't usually allow the characters to make gunpowder, even if the players know the formula.  But there has to be some level of understanding; what if someone in play tries to destory one?  There needs to be some basis to determine how vulnerabel they are, or what happens afterward etc.  Hence this sort of thing makes me uncomfortable, becuase in effect it punts the duty of figuring this out onto the GM, and that raises the question of why use, much less potentially pay for, someone elses game.

I think you and I are coming at this from very different directions. I am glad you are asking these questions, as it does force me to look at the reasons behind some of my creations. I am looking at making the Gates effectively indestructible and unknowable. I wil put forward several different, and widely divergent, theories as to how they work. If the GM wants to use ine of those as canon, that is great. If he wants to leave it a mystery, also great. I think you may be focusing more on the Science in Science Fiction than I am. I have a certain viewpoint on the Aliens who created the Gates. Namely that they are completely Alien, and cannot be understood. There technology would likewise be incomprehensible. The humans know how to turn it on, and roughly what it does. They do not know how, or why it works. I don't see the gates as being a central player focus. my game is about hot and cold wars over ideology. it is not about the physical sciences, and more about the social sciences. At least taht is where I am going with it right now.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: contracycle on August 21, 2011, 12:46:25 PM
Hmm, yes and no.  I do look into the science in SF, but I'm not averse to the use of an SF setting used primarily as colour.  But, if you're talking about conflict then sooner or later someone is going to wonder if they can isolate an enemy or disrupt their movement and supplies etc, so attention will turn to the gates one way or another.  If at that point there is no solid info for the GM to go on, then the job of deciding whether these plans can work or not, or what happens when they are attempted, is left up in the air and has to be decided in each local game.  I mean if nothing else if they are physical objects and not awesomely large, then they could be nuked.  What happens to the gate at the other end, or the rest of the network?  Could you physically tow a gate from one point to another?

As everyone knows, players don't stay on the straight and narrow.  Some groups may be happy to just effectively ignore them, but many others, I would expect, will dream up some cunning plan sooner or later.  Or GM's might want to for their NPC's.  Something that significant is bound to attract interest.  You can put a big "plot device - do not touch" stamp on it if necessary, but I for one wouldn't find that much fun.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 22, 2011, 02:27:39 PM
I am having real difficulty with the fluff. specifically how to write descriptions for the setting material in an interesting manner. check it out (http://thelaughingstick.blogspot.com/2011/08/war-in-heavens-pt-11-stupidity-and.html) I put a few samples of what I am talking about here. I really don't know what the problem is, I can write better than this. I know I can. Yet here I am, hat in my hand, at a loss for what to do. any help would be appreciated.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on August 22, 2011, 02:57:30 PM
Quote
•There is a god king. Beneath him are his scions. He maintains his immortality by transferring his consciousness to a new body. Each of the Scion legacies, is descended from a child of one of his bodies. They have been bred for centuries for specific purposes. Below the scions are the Monitors. They are the group of men and women dedicated to rooting out and solving problems. There are also Heralds, who serve as both missionaries and special forces.

The God King. Omnipotent and infinite in his wisdom. Immortal he is, as his consciousness travels from body to body. His Scions the legacies of his offspring, bred to revere and to offer their flesh for His reincarnation. Under their command come the Monitors, dedicated to His protection. And then there are the Heralds, the God King's Missionaries and Bringers of His Justice.

(I like capital Letters)

Also, that story passed down didn't really make sense. I can see why you stopped. I am too tired to come up with something myself, but I hope you enjoy the suggestions I gave just now. Cheers.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 22, 2011, 03:26:06 PM

The God King. Omnipotent and infinite in his wisdom. Immortal he is, as his consciousness travels from body to body. His Scions the legacies of his offspring, bred to revere and to offer their flesh for His reincarnation. Under their command come the Monitors, dedicated to His protection. And then there are the Heralds, the God King's Missionaries and Bringers of His Justice.

(I like capital Letters)

Also, that story passed down didn't really make sense. I can see why you stopped. I am too tired to come up with something myself, but I hope you enjoy the suggestions I gave just now. Cheers.

I like what you have done there. I have to think on this, perhaps I do not think in the proper manner for this. I agree about the passed down story, it sucked.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on August 31, 2011, 09:13:10 PM
OK, I have just completed my core mechanic Mk. 1. Here is the blog post (http://thelaughingstick.blogspot.com/2011/08/war-in-heavens-pt-15-he-can-fight-he.html) where I describe what I have. I would appreciate any thoughts on the matter(especially any thoughts on names for the stats and such, seriously, I think I suck at names). Thank you!


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on September 01, 2011, 01:28:22 AM
Hmmm... Right now it seems you have just taken the basic D&D stats and changed their names, pretty much. If you are going to use a similar system, just use the same names. The people that are going to play this are people that are familiar with those terms, and they will know that you just changed the names but mean the same. I like the notion of a weak stat, a strong stat and average for the rest, because I think the whole dicerolling deal is stupid.

But aside from that, I think it is more important to know beforehand what you want to DO with these stats, which is why I am not going to suggest any terms for them right now. I mean, we can all understand why one would take Strength or Quickness as a strong point, but why would someone take Cleverness or Sincerity? What can one do with these stats? How will this affect play?


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on September 01, 2011, 09:30:25 AM
Hmmm... Right now it seems you have just taken the basic D&D stats and changed their names, pretty much. If you are going to use a similar system, just use the same names. The people that are going to play this are people that are familiar with those terms, and they will know that you just changed the names but mean the same. I like the notion of a weak stat, a strong stat and average for the rest, because I think the whole dicerolling deal is stupid.

But aside from that, I think it is more important to know beforehand what you want to DO with these stats, which is why I am not going to suggest any terms for them right now. I mean, we can all understand why one would take Strength or Quickness as a strong point, but why would someone take Cleverness or Sincerity? What can one do with these stats? How will this affect play?
Thank you for the questions, hopefully I can explain my thoughts a bit better.

basically as I was designing, I knew I wanted stats. I thought long and hard about it, and would like stats that really represented what the game is about. so I broke down the problems the characters will face and tried to come up with stats that would reflect the sort of actions i would like to see them do. then i made a mistake, I toyed with using a traditional stat set up. now when ever I go back to my stat designs all that comes to me are the traditional stats. I know that I want a lot of social/political challenges in my game, diplomacy and missionary stuff. making deals with foreign powers and converting the heathen masses and such.I also know there will be a lot of physical interaction, my game is about war after all. so I broke the stats down to three mental actions, physical actions, and social actions.

then I made mistake number two. early on I had gotten it in my head to have six stats. I like the number, that is the only reason I did so. because of that choice, the three action types had to be broken down into two separate stats each. so that is where they come from. Also as a quick aside, I realized that mental action really doesn't need to be there for my game's premise as is. all I need are physical challenge resolution and social challenge resolution, for what I currently want out of my game. Of course that will break my stats down to two or four, depending.

the stats each represent strength/power of an action type(physical, mental, social) and speed/flexibility of an action type.

they break down like so:

Strength: using physical power to solve a problem.
Quickness: using physical speed/agility/flexibility to solve a problem
Intelligence/education: using raw intellectual might/facts to solve a problem
Perception/cunning: solving a problem using mental speed/situational awareness.
cleverness/wittiness: lying/obfuscating/manipulation to solve problems.
Charm/sweetness/sincerity: solving a problem using honesty/sincerity.

I know they are not really what I want. but my mind has fallen into a trap of my own making and I am at a loss as to how to get out. As I write this however, I am thinking of maybe dowing something like Smallville. using a stat system like that...it could work.


thanks Daniel, once again discussing this has helped open up my thoughts a bit on my design. I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts in the future.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on September 01, 2011, 12:30:19 PM
Glad to oblige. I had an inkling you got stuck. The same reason I post here, to hear what others have to say so as to find things from a different perspective.

Tell me, without using any stats or game mechanics, what exactly do you want the characters to do? Battle? How? Diplomacy? In what way? I want to know what the characters "are", what they can do and why they want to do that.

If you can tell me that, I may be able to help you further.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on September 02, 2011, 02:44:22 PM
As I was designing this I got some imagery in my head. basically I see this as Equilibrium meets Dune meets Beowulf(and maybe La Morte d'Arther). I want the characters to be larger than life, I want it to be tragic. I want the battle scenes to wow people, but they must have an emotional impact. there has to be a reason that they are fighting. So combat is deeply personal. it is more about the emotion of the scene, than flipping around and such like. does that make sense?

after talking with you all, and think on what has been said I am leaning toward having four stats, along the lines of Faith, Hope, Love, and Duty. and basically when you make a roll you you must justify it in the description how that relates, but that is where i am stuck. I hate this part of design; the getting stuck bit, I mean. and this has happened a lot this go round. if you need me to clear up what i am talking of, let me know. sorry I am just a bit discouraged with the process lately. I am afraid it is affecting me.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on September 03, 2011, 02:34:11 AM
Don't let it affect you. We've all been there I suppose. I know I have!

Okay, so you want the battle scenes to be epic, there has to be a reason to fight. I think you should write out the background stories now and make it a question of demand.

I was thinking. Your stats were, at first, geared towards the individual character, but perhaps you should consider not rolling stats for a character, but for their craft. If you want space combat, regular combat and diplomacy, perhaps the spacecraft can also be turned into walkers for some ground based combat? (Think Starfox) This way, your characters don't need stats such as strength and agility, but their craft do.

Maybe give your characters a whole different set of stats aimed primarily at solving diplomatic issues?

Just some random food for thought again. Keep up!!


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on September 06, 2011, 08:06:43 PM
I have stepped a bit away from the mechanics for a bit. I have been working on a way to build the religions. mostly I was looking for a way to get the information required, while still leaving it open enough for the players to play with.

Here is the post where I discuss my method (http://thelaughingstick.blogspot.com/2011/09/war-in-heavens-pt-16-modeling-faithnot.html)

I am unsure of this method, and would like any thoughts on the matter. Thank you!


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on September 07, 2011, 10:08:25 AM
If I were you, I would create pre-designed template terms. Keep them short so that within these templates, players have the freedom to interpret them, but give them something to work with. Not many people have enough creativity to just come up with an answer to your questions.

For example - What behaviour does your (I would say your instead of this) religion encourage?
Violence - Subjugation - Healing - Cloning - Sharing - Stuff like this, to give the players at least a bit of a handle. They can still come up with ways to use this behaviour like violence can mean torture, or violence to non-believers, or alien races, or even themselves, but it's easier for them if you have templates.

And if you are going to use these questions, then it is •What external factors affect (with an a instead of an e) the religion?



Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on September 07, 2011, 01:20:03 PM
If I were you, I would create pre-designed template terms. Keep them short so that within these templates, players have the freedom to interpret them, but give them something to work with. Not many people have enough creativity to just come up with an answer to your questions.

For example - What behaviour does your (I would say your instead of this) religion encourage?
Violence - Subjugation - Healing - Cloning - Sharing - Stuff like this, to give the players at least a bit of a handle. They can still come up with ways to use this behaviour like violence can mean torture, or violence to non-believers, or alien races, or even themselves, but it's easier for them if you have templates.

And if you are going to use these questions, then it is •What external factors affect (with an a instead of an e) the religion?



thanks for the thoughts. I hadn't thought to use this for the players to answer...though I think I could do this, now that you bring it up. Mostly I was just going to use these questions as a guide so that my religions would all touch on similar basis. I think I could put this into an appendix or something so that, should they want to the players could create their own. I like the idea of template terms. have to think on that. maybe even a random chart for deciding on new culture's faith.

thanks for the correction on the whole affect/effect business. I usually get it right,but it is not always easy.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on September 07, 2011, 03:17:00 PM
A quick aside, how many aspects should a religion have? how many should be able to be selected by the players for their characters?


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Daniel36 on September 09, 2011, 12:45:07 AM
Depends if you want to apply bonuses and penalties to aspects... If not, then as many as they want. If you do, give them, I dunno, two free aspects and another two at a payout that for each "bonus" aspect you also need to choose a "penalty" aspect. This way it is kept organized.


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: gtroc on October 18, 2011, 10:34:03 PM
I had a friend of mine look through my game notes. She said to me that it was rambling and wandering o the point that it was hard to understand anything I was attempting to bring across. I reread my posts, I have the feeling that she is right. So I ask, are there any out there who could give me advice on organizing my thoughts. Any tips and tricks to making a coherent game related posts/notes. Thank you.


Jake


Title: Re: War in the Heavens, early days, help needed
Post by: Ron Edwards on October 19, 2011, 07:00:08 AM
Hi Jake,

The best advice I can give you about that is to play the game with some other people, and pay strict attention to what you tell them, in what order, from the very start of organizing the game as well as when you sit down at the table. Then basically transcribe that, exactly that, onto the page, to create your outline for your text.

However, I should also stress that there is a difference between simply writing your rules down as you design and playtest them, and writing a text which is intended to serve as a product for someone else to use. Far too often, people designing RPGs are working on the latter long before they should. It's possible that your reader was thinking in terms of such a document. If so, then I'd ignore the comment and continue to work on the design draft which is your personal playtesting tool, and save writing a text for others to read for later, when it makes sense to work on that.

Best, Ron