The Forge Forums

General Forge Forums => Game Development => Topic started by: thiagoess on November 20, 2011, 05:22:56 PM

Title: Tabula Rasa
Post by: thiagoess on November 20, 2011, 05:22:56 PM
Hi, first of all, sorry for any mistakes i make, i'm Brazilian, My name is Thiago, and i have one idea for a rpg that i'm starting do develop, and i would love to hear some feedback about the main idea, i think i need some people criticizing it so I can work it better, so, let me explain it:

The main idea is, some years on the future (maybe 50, maybe 100) the world suffered a collapse, it can be a lot of things (the scenario will be open to customization in a lot of points) it could be a zombie apocalypse, a nuclear war, or even cthulhu. So, the human race is probably dead (at least the great majority of it).
The story is about a military base that was operated remotely and was creating "super soldier", all with genetic engineering, so they are "born" in adult age.
The story is about what happens when these guys wakes up, and find no instruction of who they are, or what they are. They just wake up, with some mixed memories, and dont know what to do. The game will be centered most on the learning, and how the characters experience the world, as everything is new to then.

The characters would have some memories "implanted" on then, some kind of training package, that may vary from one to another, but the idea is that memories are forgotten, and they might remember it, when seeing things related to it.

About the system, right now i only thinking on the direction it should take, focusing mostly on the learning system, on dealing with the experiences of the players (as everything is new to them). Players will probably have 3 number that will measure they instincts (using to measure they natural instincts, like some genetic memory), they ability to learn (so with more of this, they will learn more easily new things) and one of remembrance (that they will use to remember the implanted memories).

So, i think this is basically the main idea, could you guys say your opinion on it?


Thiago Edwardo

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: Paul Czege on November 21, 2011, 11:35:28 AM

I like the idea. How will the Remembrance of implanted memories be a dramatic part of the game?


Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: bosky on November 21, 2011, 03:38:18 PM
I worry that people would metagame and have trouble making their character learn something the player already knows. Also I don't know how replayable it would be since once you've "learned" something as one character it'd be less interesting to learn it with subsequent characters. Interesting idea though.

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: thiagoess on November 21, 2011, 07:55:03 PM
Bosky, i'm worried about that too, but, lets remember that the GM can try to revert this, the idea is that is not necessary an reality exactly like ours, and the characters are not exactly humans, so the GM will be advised to surprise the character, making some things that are normally well know, not real on this case. But, yes, it will depend a lot on the player's wanting to live that experience, but i'm thinking a lot on ways to prevent the metagaming. About replayability (thats not a real word right?) maybe it will be less interesting to learn something again, in other game, but, i will not have a closed list of skill you can learn, i will be using something similar to FATE aspects, so the skill the character learn will depend on the experience the player want to describe about that, and different personalities can have different reactions from the same experience, and, besides that, there is two real forms of learning, one, is the learning that will be on your character sheet, that one will not happen too often, it would mean more die throw (or more bonus to a dice roll), and the other, its the obvious learning, if you eat that leaf and get sick, you would probably not eat that leaf again, but hey, on the next game, maybe that leaf if not poisonous. Thinking about how some leaf make you sick, others dont, how it maybe its related to it's taste, color, and learning to identify poisonous plants, it's a totally different (maybe thats not the best example, but i guess its enough as an example).

And Paul, about the remembrance, right now i'm thinking that the players will select a few topics the characters received training in (maybe there will be predefined packages of training) but the characters don't remember must of it, the character will have an attribute that will define how good he is in remembering, probably, that attribute will give him some tokens that he will be able to spend when he is confronted with something that is related to his training. Thats a probability, im not sure about the tokens, or a bonus on trying to remember things. Im actually really thinking on trying to take dice away, and make the game use only tokens as the game should be more about describing your experience, that would be probably more important than rolling a dice, and, to avoid that players only say "im remembering it cause its related to my training" i'm thinking about going collaborative about that, so ther players and GM will vote if they think the idea is good and well explained.

Guys, thanks for talking about the game, that few question already helped me a LOT.
All critics are very welcome, thank you

Thiago Edwardo

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: Paul Czege on November 22, 2011, 06:43:44 AM
I'm thinking that if you have three stats -- instinct, learning, and remembrance -- that your game should make them all thematically fundamental. For remembrance, maybe that's unreliable memories, falsely implanted memories, and pre-collapse political conflicts playing out because of what people remember (that may or may not be true).


Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: thiagoess on November 24, 2011, 09:58:15 AM
Paul, Remembrance will be used on tests to try to remember you traning as a soldier.
But, your idea of political views is VERY interesting, i think i will try using something like that, not exactly false memories, but maybe they are mixed up, so in some situations. So a player with a lower focus on remembrance could have some mixed up memories about something, and be sure about something that's not true.
Nice man, thank you!
I started a blog to post my developments, but i will keep posting it here.
Thanks (

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: thiagoess on November 25, 2011, 05:10:17 AM
Hi, just posted something new on the blog (

I was thinking on having some scenario option, something like pre-defined customization options to the GM, like, apocalypse options, so i would suggest how is the world if he choose a zombie apocalypse, or a biological war, or a nuclear war. Things like that.

About the remembrance and political views, i was thinking on two options:

1) The creating process was still a test, so they tried implanting different  memories on each (different training and political views).

2) They had different training, but the same basic memories for knowledge and history (recent history), but each of then can only remember different parts of it, and they create they opinions based on that facts.

The second option needs more work, but i think its the best one, the players will be more busy, and we would have more interaction, and maybe even "hints" that will give a path to the game.

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: Shimera9 on November 26, 2011, 11:27:35 AM
You may want to toy around with having things take place on an alien or drastically changed world.  If the players have to learn how the world works, that can help put them in a similar mindset to what their character's would be experiencing.  In short, the more otherworldly the scenario, the easier it should be to get players into an exploratory frame of mind.

You also may want to consider letting the remembrance trait grant a certain level of narrative control.  For example, let's say the party finds a strange tool.  A high remembrance roll may let them declare the general function of  that tool.  You may even want to make this a two part roll where the player makes an open roll to determine how vivid their memory of the object is, while the GM makes a secret role for how accurate that memory is.  That way a character could be both utterly convinced and completely wrong at the same time.

I'd actually be tempted to map the traits you mentioned onto a few questions:
Remembrance: "What is this and what does this do?"
Learning: "How long does it take me to get this thing to do what I want?"
Instincts: "What do I do when I don't have time to think?"

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: thiagoess on November 26, 2011, 12:46:00 PM
Thank you Shimera9, love'd your comment.

I was already thinking about using some other world, maybe the characters are part of a plan to conquer or colonize a new world, that players will be really ignorant about everything, and that can be good.

And, i cracking my skull thinking about some good way to give characters narrative control, and then, you gave it to me... Really Thanks. I will think how to apply that exactly on the mechanics i was developing.
See, i don't pretend to use dice rolls, players will have tokens they will use on tests, to remember something or to learn something. Maybe the use of a token to take narrative control, IF the character remembrance is high enough, depending on the complexity (the target number) and if that subject is on one of his memories.

You described the traits very well.

The players will have 8 points to divide between the 3 traits (maximum 4), and that values can change with time, let's say, a character was trying to remember more his memories, but after some frustrations  he way want to focus more on learning new experiences, im still thinking about exactly at what speed this will happen, but i like the idea.

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: thiagoess on November 28, 2011, 08:43:11 AM
Ok, i'm really loving the idea of giving players narrative control, and making the adventures collaborative.
That will probably change some of the things i had planned, but it will make a more interesting game.
I'm really  thinking about a scenario that is a alien world, and the characters lost any communication with their creators, so we keep the basic idea, but now they are in a totally unknown place to both players and characters.
So i thinking about a mechanic that will let players act impulsively (instinct) and do some things that are not very complex (anything more complex can't be done with only instincts only)
The trait that will make easier to then learn new traits (and by that being able  to deal with more complex challenges in that particular area)
And one trait that will make then remember some of their implanted memories, and as suggested by Shimera9 that last will give players narrative control, with that they will be able to define something still undefined on the scenario. Still thinking about some way to guarantee that the explanation for the change the player make on the scenario is not "off the mood", trying to make it only acceptable it the others players accept it maybe, need to give more thought to that.

that will be the player 3 traits, besides that he will have his knowledge, here we have no "skill list" they will work like fate aspects, but the actual knowledge learned will be defined by the GM, when learning something the player will explain about what experiences he is considering, and what he think he learned about it, then, the, after paying the appropriate cost in tokens, the GM will tell him what knowledge he just learned.
A Knowledge will have a level between 0 and 4, and a challenge complexity will always vary between 0 and 5.
The thing is, if you have a level on the knowledge, you would be able to raise it, to the limit of your instinct, using tokens, so someone with a "computers 0" ans instinct 1 can raise his computer skill to 1, and resolve tasks up to complexity 1.
I need some system too to define what can be resolved with instincts (the computer task above would never be resolved if the character don't have any level on computers).
I'm thinking of maybe describing some "areas of knowledge", and some areas will be a combination of other areas, so that areas would be to complex to try instinctively, only "pure" areas would be able to be resolved that way.

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: thiagoess on December 16, 2011, 12:45:46 PM
Major change on the scenario, now the game has none...
After some thought i realized that having a "closed" scenario would not be good, the gaming experience would not change much after some games.
So now the scenario (and full character backgrounds) are open, the core book will come only with a example and a guide to create your own scenarios.
So now the characters can wake up on another world, or in another time, or maybe they wakeup and are super smart monkeys, or goblins in a devastated world.
I think this is a really good change, and will improve the game a lot.

I'm starting to write a book but it's getting hard to find time to translate it all to english, but i will find some time, and when its done i will post it here.
Thank you all!

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: Josh Porter on December 16, 2011, 01:19:29 PM
I have to say, this game sounds really cool.  It sounds like a game I'd love to play.  If you need playtesters in the future, I would definitely like to be one of them.

I really like that the purpose of the game seems to be more about discovering the past than surviving in the present.  Or at least that's what I'm picking up.  It's an idea I've been toying with in a little side project of my own.  I might try and adapt some of the mechanics talked about here to fit into my own stuff, as I think they evoke just the kind of feel I've been groping for.

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: thiagoess on December 16, 2011, 04:48:55 PM
thanks josh, you made me happy today!

See, the idea could be focus on discovering the past, this will depend on how you focus your character (with the 3 stats i mentioned earlier), so maybe you would want to focus on remembrance.

The Master would provide a scenario, and a history, the focus is totally on the players.

Man, i will really try to update all blog posts and all work to english too.
The community here is much bigger, it's easier to develop with people giving opinion.

And josh, i think in some time (maybe a month) i will need some playtesters and i would love to have you as one of them!

Title: Re: Tabula Rasa
Post by: thiagoess on December 27, 2011, 04:54:26 PM
Big changes now, the way i was developing the game, it would become an impossible monster, it would require lots of preparation from the Master, and the game would be interesting only in a big campaign, with lots of sessions, this could be interesting, but it can't be the game proposal. Thinking about the core of the proposal, the game will be about a group of people waking up without knowing what is happening, discovering where they are and who are they.

So im thinking about making a more random game scenario, the idea is that the game will be played without preparation (great turn here), like fiasco, or mortal coil. So, taking more ideas about fiasco and violentina (a brazilian game just release by friends in i was really thinking on tables of seeds, with elements that would be chosen probably randomly and would define the setting, and player's background.

I'm still thinking more about the specifics of the game mechanics but this will be it, a game to be played with no preparation, trying to give the players that feel, of playing with the unknown.

While i am thinking about collaborative constructions of some scenes and maybe the setting, i'm not sure yet if the game will have a game master (but i believe it will) or it will be entirely collaborative.