Vulpinoid's Game Thread

Started by Vulpinoid, September 11, 2010, 04:35:57 AM

Previous topic - Next topic


Awesome list.

I'm really tempted to do something along the lines of Dark Sun, but a lot of people have already suggested this as a possible inspiration.

Mechanically, since hacks are allowed, I think I'll try a twist on my own recent game FUBAR. Instead of a revenge tale, I'm going to twist the rules to reflect a post-apocalyptic road trip, or perhaps a chase across a shattered desert landscape.

That's the intention for the surface layer of the game, but I like things to have a bit of depth to them.

With that in mind, I'm thinking of the alchemical journey of the soul...a progression from initiate to adept to master...and beyond

A single session will be about a physical journey between places or the pursuit of a quarry. The campaign play will be about the enlightenment achieved by engaging in the metaphorical journey multiple times. 

These are my initial thoughts prompted by the ingredients.

But like normal, I'm starting to deviate from the actual words and delving into abstracts. So I'll try to pull things back to the actual terms of the contest.

City - An urban location...the voyage beyond the accepted culture is a path taken by outsiders, it is in this path that enlightenment is achieved, but without the buffers of the community it is easier to fall into insanity or simply lose one's way.

Desert - As a noun or adjective this could refer to a wasteland basically devoid of plant and animal life ("this place is a desert") a verb it can mean to flee an area with no intent to return ("she doesn't like it here and is going to desert the place")....then it also has the meaning of a reward or punishment ("he got his just deserts") much potential in this term.
Edge - Another ambiguous term that could be used many a noun it could represent the border between two things, the sharp side of a knife, or the advantage someone has in a situation (I already use it in this way in FUBAR) a verb it can mean moving cautiously toward something ("he edged his way toward the fence"), or sharpening something. Hmmm.

Skin - This has a variety of meanings that typically apply to the outer surface of something, examples include the outermost flesh of a creature and the visible interface of a computer program (which can be "re-skinned")...but colloquially it could refer to a drum, a condom or a dollar note. As a verb, "to skin something" typically means peeling away the outer layers.

Straight up, two of the terms have a juxtaposition...Desert/City. One is devoid of life while the other is a place of community.

Two of the terms have a commonality...Edge/Skin...both refer to an interface between two objects.

It's a push to link "edge" and "desert" as movement terms. As movement, edge tends to imply moving slowly toward something, while deserting implies moving away with reckless abandon.

Again....just more thoughts.

I keep pulling back to the idea of enlightened tattooed nomads, living between the worlds of city and desert. A journeying people who take sacred journeys between the civilised realms and into the wastelands of the physical and the metaphysical spirit deserts. They make these journeys to reclaim the lost, or discovers insights about the future...with these journeys achieved, they return to their home cultures to reveal the truth. If they travel too far (physically or mentally), they may get lost. Becoming physically lost means being unable to return to their home, while becoming lost in a mental/spiritual sense means that the character has lost their ability to commune meaningfully with their people, perhaps they have gone insane, or maybe they have transcended the mental state of their people to such a degree that people simple can't understand them.

With this last idea in mind, there could be other wanderers in the desert/wilderness...dangerous lunatics who have devolved and gone insane...and strange enlightened mystics who have lost contact with their people but who might still have useful advice for those who are still capable of returning from their sacred journeys. 

Maybe doing something about the Australian aboriginal community and the Dreamtime. They didn't have tattooing as a common practice,  but traditional scarification processes fulfil the same basic function...and if I make the setting a post-apocalyptic wasteland, then tattooing might become a viable option again.

With these ideas bubbling away in my head, it's time to head off and think about some other stuff. The ideas can ferment for a while, who knows where they might lead.
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.


Are you thinking of doing actual aborigines or a fantasy iteration... because the Australian Aborigines have a very complex culture (sub-incision) and one that has a less than positive relationship with western civilization.


Given that I'm Australian, I know a bit about Aboriginal culture... me, it's going to be really critical of the stupid white man's ways.

That said, it will be a post apocalyptic setting based on the culture. Grounded in a concept where things are returning to their former state after the white man's civilisation fell.

Still thinking about the details though.
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.


Cool. Not at all saying that I know much at all about aboriginal culture (I've read a few books and articles, most of which were only indirectly about aborigine culture). One of the things I find funny about people talking about things like Dream Time is how much they simplify it or reduce its complexity. Really excited to see what you do with it in the context of a game, fully understanding that an RPG is not an athropological treatise and you'll have to cut some corners here or there... but a game about re-dreaming the world after the apocalypse would be pretty awesome if thats the direction your going in.


Tentative opening text:

Captain Cook bring the people of the White Man to our shores. He bring the death that weaken our people and scar the dreaming forever. He bring the machines that rip away the flesh of the land, sending the sacred rocks across the sea.

The spirits of the sacred rocks grow angry, the dreamtime shatter.

Nearly do we forget the ways of the dreaming, tempted by the honeyed words and liquor of the white man, but the elders of our people remembered. Half of the words pass from father to son, half of the words pass from mother to daughter.

In anger, the spirits of the sacred stones return to our land, bringing truth as they have since the first dream. They bring the truth of the bush, fire sweeping across the plains to rejuvenate the land. They bring the truth of the White Man to the surface; but the truth of the White Man is death and corruption, so the places of the White Man reflect only this.

The time of the White Man is but a blink of the Rainbow Serpent's eye. It is time to reclaim the land and renew the dreaming.

Fact 1:
The Aboriginal people of Australia have a rich oral history, stretching back tens of thousands of years into myths and legends as diverse as any other culture on the planet.

Fact 2:
Australia is one of the worlds largest exporters of uranium.

Fact 3:
Many Australian Aboriginal sacred sites are currently the locations of uranium mines.

Fact 4:
Many Aboriginal Myths relate to intelligent or anthropomorphic animals, this is similar to the totemnic beliefs of North American Natives. They also have many stories relating to ancestors, believing that those who die return to the dreaming once their time on earth has passed.

Fact 5:
Australian Aboriginals have an elaborate system of body painting and scarification with beliefs that these link their physical bodies to the dreaming.

This game is set in a world with a shrouded past. All we know is that the problems began with the coming of the Captain Cook and the White Man, then something happened to prevent the White Man causing more problems to the world. Some say that the sky rained fire, others remember the rainbow serpent shaking the world as it burrowed back up to the surface, then there are those who claim that the dreaming itself was torn asunder as the White Man's ancestors grew displeased with their children. Those still knowledgeable in the White Man's science claim that when uranium was torn from the earth in open cut mines, the spirits began to conspire a great nuclear war, striking down the false civilization with radiation, poison and mutation. But that was all generations ago.

Now the earth is beginning to heal, and it is time for the dreaming to be reclaimed. No easy task, especially when monsters prowl the dreaming and the land.

Walkabout is about those heroes who will re-dream the past, claiming the few valuable parts of the White Man's culture and fusing them into a new dreaming for the future.
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.



When you do body painting to your character, you pencil it onto your can be rubbed off the body or rubbed off the character sheet.

When you ritually scar your character, you mark your character sheet in pen...these markings become a permanent part of the character.
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.

Brendan C.

Ooooo. The idea with the pen and the pencil is neat. I could definitely see it being interesting, as you do things to gain a temporary advantage which would be in pencil, but the permanent changes, including major injury, would be in pen. Somewhat similar to fallout in DitV, as you gain traits even though you're failing and being hurt.

I'm kind of curious about whether this game is going to be more literal or ethereal. Perhaps I'm particularly literal-minded, but I keep having this image of characters wandering around in the real world, and then releasing their minds to "Dream" things and try to change the world somehow. But then, I know next to nothing about "the Dreaming" and how it would work, so I could be applying entirely the wrong idea here. I am interested, though, in understanding exactly what it is that you see players doing. Traveling, obviously, but to what end? And how do they enact change on the world? Is the Dreaming going to be a separate sphere of influence than the real world, or are they somehow going to be intertwined?


Traditional aboriginal spirituality sees the dreaming and the "real world" as two sides of the same coin...changes to one directly affect the other. I haven't completely decided how the characters will travel between realms:

* They may be planar nomads capable of simply walking between the physical and spirit realms (probably at places of high radiation, where the skin between worlds is thinnest)
* Maybe there will be distinct scenes for real world travel and separate spirit quests (while dreaming or under the influence of hallucinogenics), again the easiest method of attaining such spiritual awareness would be at high radiation locations.

Of course the problem with high radiation locations is an increased presence of mutants and other dangers.

The more I analyse my ideas, the more they are turning into a game about the Rippers from Tank Girl...hmmm, now there's an idea.

Donner: "Wanna dance?"
Jet Girl: "I don't know how."
Donner: "It's okay, I brought the condoms!"
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.

Jason Pitre

Might there be a conflict between the Dream Time and the relics of the White Man?   Resolving those conflicts by judging the relic or concept as worthy or poisonous might be an interesting aspect of the setting.
Genesis of Legend Publishing
Telling New Stories around the Digital Fire


If you have time and haven't already read it, Songlines is an amazing book about that includes a lot about dreaming and dream time.


Thanks for the tip, I'll have a look.
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.


I've just found out what "Songlines" actually are. Almost like ley-lines in other cultures, they function a bit like maps; a person can recite a song, and follow the cues within the lyrics to navigate their way across the land. Some songlines stretch a few kilometres, others stretch hundreds of kilometres. Singing the songs and traversing the paths keeps the link to the spirit world alive. Perhaps the fences of the Europeans disrupted the songlines, and this is a part of the shattering that needs to be repaired. The characters need to walk the ancient paths again, righting the wrongs that are corrupting the paths.

Many tribal groups revere a spiritual significance in the cycles of seasons and life. These have also been disrupted through the actions of western civilization on the land. My idea for the core mechanic of the game involves a cycle, depicted as a circle with points around it. The characters push around the circle in one direction to restore the world, while the corruption that unbalances the world pushes in the other direction. The amount of corruption in an area is identified by how far the cycle has turned away from the true balance. Deeds spiritual, physical and social can all be used to restore the Dreaming. Characters have a similar track that measures the balance within themselves. When a character proves successful in an action, they may choose to move the state of their personal balance, or they may change the state of the outside world's balance. It all depends on the type of action they are performing and how the narrative pans out.

If a player completes a cycle within their personal circle, they gain some kind of metaphysical advancement. If players complete a cycle for the outside world, they restore the balance on this storyline. A journey on two levels.

Just something I'm thinking about at the moment...the pen and pencil thing is undergoing some deep thought as well.
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.


Yeah, the idea of songlines is amazing...


This sounds really cool. I'm not Australian, but I lived the first 6 months of my life in New Zealand, so I have an interest in that whole region. :)

I think the pen/pencil thing is a really interesting idea. WIsh I'd thought of it m'self. Songlines sound really quite cool. I can't wait to see more of what you do with it. Wish I had time to comment more, but work calls and I have to get back to working on my own idea. ;)


David Berg

"Repairing the dreaming" (or "repairing the link between the waking world and the dreaming") sounds full of awesome potential.  The interface for this could make the game on its own for me. 

What does a broken dream or part of the dreaming look/sound/feel like?  How can I interact with it?  What'll repair it?  Will I know if I've repaired it or not?  In what way do my dreaming actions manifest in the waking world?

These are all questions I'd play once to answer.  And if I liked the answers, I'd play again.
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development