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General Forge Forums => Last Chance Game Chef => Topic started by: Robert Bruce on April 07, 2012, 03:59:51 PM



Title: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 07, 2012, 03:59:51 PM
Genre: Border Horror

Border-crossers known as 'coyotaje' bring hundreds of migrants into the United States every day.  It's a risky business, but a business nonetheless, and necessarily dull in its own way.  However, one of these 'coyotes' is not what he seems.  The people he brings across seem strange, even in the Mexican center of California's Santa Mira.  Their Spanish is not quite right, they look at things too long, and their bodies seem to present a new and unfamiliar paradigm.  In the mirror they make faces which have never meant anything to any human.  Their families are quiet, but watchful.  The new arrivals bring an unidentifiable dread to the city.


So, a coyote who switches his charges with mimic bodysnatchers.  How does this work?

In game, you play a mimic, who is imitating a human migrant.  You also play humans who are constantly in danger of discovering strangeness.  Characters are developed and then quickly swapped.  The previous owner of the character then plays the humans, discerning, unveiling, on the lookout for miscues.  The essential tension of the game is that the person with fictional authority over a character is not the same as the person playing the character.  Or rather if you're playing Az (a mimic) playing Marina, I get to say what Marina is like, and you get to say what Az does as Marina.  There are secret character sheets.  Predictably, the mimics will not do a very good job.  Shit will go down.  This is the game.


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: jackson_tegu on April 07, 2012, 04:10:34 PM
Wow!

So, stranger whom i have no personal contact with and who did not help myself and family arrange a passable facade in this fine city in which i dwell, do you imagine that there'll be actual deceit between the players, or is that deceit only within the fiction, & we players watch it at a remove?

I mean to ask, is the tension a fine spice for the fiction, or is it a question of tactics?


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 07, 2012, 04:20:17 PM
Wow!

So, stranger whom i have no personal contact with and who did not help myself and family arrange a passable facade in this fine city in which i dwell, do you imagine that there'll be actual deceit between the players, or is that deceit only within the fiction, & we players watch it at a remove?

I mean to ask, is the tension a fine spice for the fiction, or is it a question of tactics?

So, let's say you have authority over Marina, and I'm playing Marina in a scene.

Marina is being treated for some new illness by the family doctor.  However, I'm playing Marina strangely (according to the details on your secret character sheet).  So you ask me (the player) "It looks like you're trying to Pass."  I say, yeah, sure.  I roll dice, you modify it with the info on your sheet, things happen and a bit of Marina's true character is revealed to me and the mimic I'm playing.  There is non-public information in the game, for sure.


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: jackson_tegu on April 07, 2012, 04:30:56 PM
Ah, but if, in another scene, you play Marina more closely to what's hidden on my sheet, then the mechanics give me less teeth against you?

AWESOME!
Also, totally great name.


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 07, 2012, 05:41:42 PM
Sometimes when you do things in Liminál, you roll dice.  The dice mean different things depending on what you're trying to do.

Pass:  When you're trying to fit in, when you're doing something and it's important to look normal doing it, when you're trying to do anything when you're under Under Suspicion - Roll Dice.

Alienate:  When you're trying to stand out, set yourself apart, appear Other - Roll Dice.

Illuminate:  When you're trying to learn about yourself, discover the person you were/are, get a question answered about who/how you are - Roll dice.


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: OrionCanning on April 07, 2012, 09:02:11 PM
Man this is good robert. The whole idea of body snatcher-esque illegal aliens is so good and needs to be made into an awesome movie based on your game.

But on top of that I really like the idea for the mechanics. It's almost like having a backseat driver. Obviously you are using Coyote and Mimic. What else?


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: desiderata on April 07, 2012, 09:33:04 PM
Question:

How will the other players relate to each other?


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 07, 2012, 10:50:23 PM
Man this is good robert. The whole idea of body snatcher-esque illegal aliens is so good and needs to be made into an awesome movie based on your game.

But on top of that I really like the idea for the mechanics. It's almost like having a backseat driver. Obviously you are using Coyote and Mimic. What else?

Thanks Orion.  Lantern gets touched with Illuminate.  My general idea for the game was your character as a dark room, and slowly bringing them to light as the game goes on.

The other element I'm mining is this thread on how to scare people in story-games: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=1382 (http://www.indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=1382)

Question:

How will the other players relate to each other?

I'm thinking the secret characters will have relationships defined in chargen.  Not sure how this will work yet.


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 07, 2012, 10:52:04 PM
Oh yeah, Alienate will also include "acting uncharacteristically".


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 07, 2012, 10:57:38 PM
My other link elements:

http://indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=25736 (http://indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=25736)

http://indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=6193 (http://indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=6193)

http://indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=27492 (http://indie-rpgs.com/archive/index.php?topic=27492)


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 08, 2012, 05:21:59 PM
My current challenge:  Designing these secret character sheets.

How do you develop characters with enough depth to know when they're being normal/weird

- and not take too much time during character creation?

- and not feel too individually contrived or essential?

- and not feel too put on the spot?

So far my idea involves selecting three questions from a list, and passing them to the player on your left.  You answer the questions you are passed on your character sheet.  You then pass those questions to the left once again, again answering the questions you are passed on your character sheet.

With a 4-player setup, I envision the player opposite you will play the character on your character sheet in scenes.  They will know half of the questions asked of you.  Having questions in common will help connect the different characters as long as the questions are written specifically enough.

With a 5-player setup, it's possible for the player who plays your character in scenes to know none of the questions posed to you during character creation.  This can be done if the player who plays your character in scenes is two spaces to your left. 


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 08, 2012, 05:28:01 PM
Oh snap.  So about the idea above.  What if you are passed a question you've already answered?

How about special alternate questions which can be answered if you've already answered that one?


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 08, 2012, 06:17:27 PM
Another problem:  where our characters really are.

When we play a character in certain RPGs, there's two sorts of things we know about our character.  There's the stuff on our character sheet, which we're somewhat committed to.  When asked what our Strength is, we can demonstrate it there. 

There's also the part of our character which is in our heads, contained in the nebulous thing called our character concept.  If someone asks a question about our character and the answer is not on our sheet, we decide right there what the answer is. 

So, how does it feel to be told that the character you're playing in a scene would not do what you are doing?  What kind of assurances would you require in order to trust that this is so?  Is it OK to just trust that person with their authority?  Is there a conflict of interest there which threatens that trust?


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 08, 2012, 06:54:37 PM
Alright, where I've settled for Passing:

If it feels right, cool.

If it's weird, make them roll dice.


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: BlazmoIntoWowee on April 12, 2012, 06:22:50 PM
I hope you've been too busy designing this to post about it, because I'm looking forward to it and hoping I get to be one of the four reviewers.


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Mathalus on April 13, 2012, 08:34:07 AM
Yeah, give us another taste, Robert.


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 14, 2012, 01:06:21 PM
You use a marker to keep track of accumulated Suspicion.

Suspicious and Alien are statuses which you have if you have enough Suspicion.  These have fictional and mechanical implications.

Working on questions for the secret chargen phase.  Anyone have some suggestions for provocative questions you might use to flesh a character out?


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: dmkdesigns on April 14, 2012, 01:46:06 PM
Genre: Border Horror

Border-crossers known as 'coyotaje' bring hundreds of migrants into the United States every day.  It's a risky business, but a business nonetheless, and necessarily dull in its own way.  However, one of these 'coyotes' is not what he seems.  The people he brings across seem strange, even in the Mexican center of California's Santa Mira.  Their Spanish is not quite right, they look at things too long, and their bodies seem to present a new and unfamiliar paradigm.  In the mirror they make faces which have never meant anything to any human.  Their families are quiet, but watchful.  The new arrivals bring an unidentifiable dread to the city.


So, a coyote who switches his charges with mimic bodysnatchers.  How does this work?

In game, you play a mimic, who is imitating a human migrant.  You also play humans who are constantly in danger of discovering strangeness.  Characters are developed and then quickly swapped.  The previous owner of the character then plays the humans, discerning, unveiling, on the lookout for miscues.  The essential tension of the game is that the person with fictional authority over a character is not the same as the person playing the character.  Or rather if you're playing Az (a mimic) playing Marina, I get to say what Marina is like, and you get to say what Az does as Marina.  There are secret character sheets.  Predictably, the mimics will not do a very good job.  Shit will go down.  This is the game.

This sounds intriguing and I'm glad that someone had the guts to try this sort of thing. I chickened out with one of my games and took the easy way out (Coyote Pass -- PCs as smugglers).

Curious about more details on the secret chargen phase.


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 14, 2012, 04:36:45 PM
You pick a name and an occupation, which are secret.

You pick a description of what you see when you look in the mirror.  Share this if the mimic examines itself.

You pick 3 questions from a questionnaire, and pass them to the left.  Everyone answers the questions passed to them on their character sheet. 

Then you pass the questions you just answered left again.  Everyone answers the questions they were passed, like before.  If you get a question you've already answered, answer the alternate question attached to that question instead.

You now have the seed of your character.  Continue to develop them in your head, or take notes.  Don't share. 

This character will not appear in scenes, ever.  They may be dead, disappeared, whatever.

Another player will play a mimic who is trying to imitate the character on your secret character sheet. 


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: OrionCanning on April 14, 2012, 11:49:40 PM
Looking for good questions I found that Larry King says the best interview question is "Why?" Something like, "What are you most proud of." might be an interesting question, but the most interesting part is why they are most proud of it. Well, according to Larry King. Not sure if you want to take that advice but it might be interesting to add a why to the questions. Here's some suggestions along those lines.

What did you leave behind (and why did you leave it)?.
What do you need to accomplish before you can go back? Why?
What things do you find yourself doing that you said you'd never do? Why do you do them?
What inspires you to do good? Why?
What are you scared of? Why?
What do you want out of life? Why?
What do you wish you could do over? Why?
Who do you love, and why?
Who broke your heart, and why did it hurt so much?


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: Robert Bruce on April 15, 2012, 05:35:26 PM
Looking for good questions I found that Larry King says the best interview question is "Why?" Something like, "What are you most proud of." might be an interesting question, but the most interesting part is why they are most proud of it. Well, according to Larry King. Not sure if you want to take that advice but it might be interesting to add a why to the questions. Here's some suggestions along those lines.

What did you leave behind (and why did you leave it)?.
What do you need to accomplish before you can go back? Why?
What things do you find yourself doing that you said you'd never do? Why do you do them?
What inspires you to do good? Why?
What are you scared of? Why?
What do you want out of life? Why?
What do you wish you could do over? Why?
Who do you love, and why?
Who broke your heart, and why did it hurt so much?


Awesome.  Just wait!


Title: Re: Liminál
Post by: OrionCanning on April 17, 2012, 10:34:48 AM
I just read it, and the awesome is yes. Now I want to play. I really like the idea now of there only being one Mimick, surrounded by other players who are essentially out to get him with knowledge he isn't privy to. What's really interesting is the paranoia of The Body Snatchers is reversed. The Body Snatcher is lost and confused, constantly on his guard, trying to be friends with people who would come at him with hatchets and pitchforks if they knew what he really was. Super cool.

Also having other players be the authority on your character and in control of your character sheet and have ways to punish you for being wrong is awesome. If fits the theme beautifully. It would not be awesome if we were playing Dungeons and Dragons, then your friend's would just be being jerks. Unless you were playing a mimic, then maybe it would be cool again.

I'm happy and flattered to see my suggestions on the questions helped you. I also thought the way you integrated making the "why" an important question by having one player answer the first ppart of the question and a different player answer the second part was really smart.

I'd like to see you go a little more into how the game ends, like what happens if they never get alienated. I wasn't sure if there was an ending where they just fit in really well. And I'd like to have a little more detail on how things should go if they turn everyone into mimics or if they return. I'm sure if you had more time you could do that.

So yeah, bravissimo and good luck in the competition.