*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
September 30, 2014, 01:58:50 PM

Login with username, password and session length
Forum changes: Editing of posts has been turned off until further notice.
Search:     Advanced search
46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 31 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: level of detail of RPG "instruction manual"  (Read 2441 times)
David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« on: February 09, 2008, 04:07:10 PM »

In this thread, Ron said:

. . . write a new document from scratch. This new document would be much like an instruction manual for a card game or board game. It would contain references to more detailed stuff to look up in the [larger] document. A person could read it all the way through and get a very strong idea of how to play the game, what constitutes "success" in playing it, and what it's for.
. . .
If you were going to play, what would you have to do first? When you have other people gathering to play, what must they do first? Then what second? Lay it out in steps
. . .
Once you have that ready, or at least in draft, then put some inspirational text in as well, at the beginning. This would not be faux-fiction. This is, instead, the answer to Eero's question, "why not just play D&D,"

I actually have such a document for my game-in-progress, and I am wondering how well it accomplishes what Ron's getting at.  So, feedback on the following would be most appreciated!

Thanks,
-David



Delve is a game for one GM ("game master") and 2-5 other players (GM + 3 is ideal). 

The players discover the secrets of an imaginary world ("the gameworld"), and the GM tells them how that world looks, smells, tastes, sounds, and feels.

The way the players discover secrets is by imagining they (not some imaginary characters they control!) are in the gameworld, and doing the types of things that would expose people in that world to secrets.  Often, that means going to locations that no one has gone to before.  Sometimes, it means uncovering information that others seek to hide.



The first thing that needs to happen when everyone shows up to play is choosing the GM.  The GM will have to spend more time on the game than the other players will, as he will often need to clarify the gameworld in his own head before he can present it.  In addition to knowing how it appears, he will often need to know how the gameworld works!

Once you have chosen a GM, you all need to fill out short questionnaires.  These cover topics that you will need to reach agreement on, in order to ensure that everyone gets what they want out of play.  (What kinds of secrets are fun?  What kinds of activities in pursuit of secrets are fun?  What kind of world do we want these secrets and activities to exist in?  How long do we want to play this game? How quickly do we want to learn the biggest secrets? What secret-pusring scenario do we start play with?)

Chapter One provides the questionnaires, and some guidelines for forming consensus.

Once you've reached consensus, you need to learn how to interact with the gameworld.  Delve has rules for this interaction, all designed to make the players feel like they're really there in the gameworld!  Chapter Two describes who can say what and when, and Chapter Three describes resolving "what would happen" in the gameworld when players take action.

With these rules in mind, the players then customize how they interact with the gameworld.  For example, "In the gameworld, I am very good at hotwiring cars!"  Depending on how much the gameworld differs from the real world, you may also need to figure out what "you" have been doing in the gameworld up to the point where play starts.  All this information gets recorded on sheets of paper for easy player reference.  See Chapter Four.

The GM prepares to present the gameworld, using the group's consensus to construct an initial situation: "Here's where you are, here's what's happened, and here's what's happening now.  What do you do?"  This preparation often takes long enough that the group will want to break and meet again later for the first session of actual play.

The GM can present worlds and scenarios that have been published by others, or he can create his own.  If he wants to create his own, we provide a structure for doing so.  See Chapter Five.

Once the GM is ready, play begins!  A good play session should include learning a new secret, and end with the players in a position to make a decision about what they want to learn about next.  Sometimes, real-world logistics will force play to stop while everyone is in the middle of a situation.  That's okay -- as long as people are enjoying themselves, you can aim to get to the decision point at the end of the next session.

When the time for decision arrives, the players agree on what they wish to learn about next (see Chapter Six), and play is over for that session.  The GM later prepares whatever he needs for the next session (see Chapter Five again).  Depending on how much prep he did before the first session of play, this may not be much work at all.

From session to session, the players gradually increase their knowledge, working up to secrets that are more and more important within the gameworld.  Once they achieve a truly ultimate secret, play is over.  (Though you can, of course, play again!  Play in the same gameworld will just be very different in light of the ultimate secret the players have learned.)
Logged

here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
David Artman
Member

Posts: 606

Designer & Producer


WWW
« Reply #1 on: February 11, 2008, 12:52:00 PM »

Looks fine to me, barring a wiggle or two of diction (totally personal preference stuff). Reminds me of a "What's In This Book" preface, common to technical manuals. But... how do you feel it answers "why not just play D&D," though? As I read it, it's fairly light on "this game's hooks" and could--with rather few changes--actually BE a preface for D&D. So maybe you would benefit from amping up these aspects:
* Playing yourself
* Player empowerment in setting creation
* Escalation of secrets

Also, you've left it a bit light on the "what it's for" angle--fun, self-exploration, catharsis, education, relationship-building. Yeah, we can guess (or, yeah, it could be used for all of those) but get it on the page anyway. There's something to be said for imagining that you're explaining it to a very small child or foreigner from a strange and distant land--you needn't use simple language, but you should avoid any presumption that the reader has prior knowledge or experience. Heck, even if they DO have such, that's how you can distinguish yourself from the pack of RPGs on the shelf beside you, gaining a very "strong idea of how to play the game."

HTH;
David
Logged

Designer - GLASS, Icehouse Games
Editor - Perfect, Passages
casquilho
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #2 on: February 17, 2008, 09:08:52 PM »

I took a writing class once and the instructor said something I will never forget. She said “Show then not tell them.”  In the case of a “how to” document for role playing it is even more important to show them in my opinion.

The first time I tried to play a role playing game the person spent a long time explaining the dice and the character sheet and then he just started in a game. I was lost from the start. The whole thing sounded more like homework then fun. I thanked him and left.

The second time I tried (and I resisted just for the record) the second person asked me to sit and watch. She then ran a small, two encounter game. She played the GM and the three characters. She paused to explain why she did what she did briefly, but for the most part she played out the moments. The images and exchanges she showed me hooked me. I was sold.

So what does this have to do with your document? Your document is telling me and I do not feel anything reading it. Don’t just tell me about how RPGs should be played, show me. Give me some kind of vision rather then a dry explanation.

That will sell people on playing a role playing game. That will get them excited.

Just a thought.

Daniel
Logged
Jake Richmond
Member

Posts: 225


WWW
« Reply #3 on: February 18, 2008, 02:46:24 PM »

Daniel, I think some examples might help here. Can you point us to a text (preferably and rpg text) that does what you are describing. And if so, can you outline for us which parts of that text are doing what you are describing.

My own experience has shown me that sometimes you think you are showing, when in fact you are just doing a more complicated version of telling.

Jake
Logged

Panty Explosion Perfect, Sea Dracula, G x B, Classroom Deathmatch, Ocean, Modest Medusa, Cel*Style
casquilho
Member

Posts: 22


« Reply #4 on: February 18, 2008, 08:12:39 PM »

Daniel, I think some examples might help here. Can you point us to a text (preferably and rpg text) that does what you are describing. And if so, can you outline for us which parts of that text are doing what you are describing.

My own experience has shown me that sometimes you think you are showing, when in fact you are just doing a more complicated version of telling.

Jake
Jake,

I try my best with the understanding that I do not claim to be a writer. This may not be a perfect example, but off the top of my head I hope it is enough to show you what I was thinking.

-------------------------------------------

Dave holds up a copy of Delve and asks “Hay Mike, Sally let’s try this kind of game out....”

----Delve is a game for one GM ("game master") and 2-5 other players (GM + 3 is ideal). 

“You go into a large, cool, cavernous room. Dusty bookshelves line the walls. Mike you notice a small table that is filled with large tombs.”
“Do I hear anything?” Sally asks.
“Yes you do, you hear a small ticking sound like an old grandfather clock is somewhere back in the darkness...”

----The players discover the secrets of an imaginary world ("the gameworld"), and the GM tells them how that world looks, smells, tastes, sounds, and feels.

“Can I see where the note Larry tossed went to?" Sally asks
“Yes, he tossed it into the alley as he went further down the street.” Dave says.
“Well, let’s go see what the note Larry received says......”

----The way the players discover secrets is by imagining they (not some imaginary characters they control!) are in the gameworld, and doing the types of things that would expose people in that world to secrets.  Often, that means going to locations that no one has gone to before.  Sometimes, it means uncovering information that others seek to hide.

-------------------------------------------


Now I realize my lack of skill will not make this example work the way I imagine a good writer could, but I hope this is enough to show what I was thinking.

Daniel

Logged
David Berg
Member

Posts: 997


« Reply #5 on: February 24, 2008, 10:19:25 PM »

Just wanted to say thanks to everyone for the feedback thus far.  I am still working on implementing David's advice; I find it difficult to do both well and reasonably succinctly.
Logged

here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development
Pages: [1]
Print
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.16 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines
Oxygen design by Bloc
Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!