Sebastian's Game Thread

Started by Sebastian K. Hickey, September 11, 2010, 06:58:53 PM

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Sebastian K. Hickey

One idea is to use "skin" (as in a tanned hide) to chronicle a war, in which the main character is the war itself, shaped by the recorded actions of its members. That game asks players to tell the story of the war and to make a mural (on the character sheet) using a fixed set of thematic glyphs. As players tell stories about the peoples on both sides of the war, one side begins to do more cruelty than the other, and in the end, that faction is rendered the loser. The theme of the game is "History is written by the victors." It uses the components Skin, City, Edge. Every game will function to create a hieroglyphic drawing—a representation of the history as written by the victor.

The second idea is Skinning the Rope, stemming from the idea of a criminal who survives a hanging by climbing the rope after he is hung. The game is about the people affected by a crime, and their encounter with the perpetrator after his supposed death. We look at a few characters, each on the verge of some mental collapse, or some social collapse. Through their actions and scenes, the crimes of the hanged man are told, and the collapse is brought closer to completion. With the appearance of the hanged man, the characters have a chance to solve their dilemmas or to be swallowed by them. I'm toying with a kind of Hangman resolution system (you know the game where you guess things and if you're wrong, the other person draws part of the image of the hanged man?).

I can't choose which yet, so I'm going to develop the first and, if I have time, move onto the second after.

Sebastian K. Hickey

So, here's the intro blurb...

Chronicles of Skin
War of the Seriph

Chronicles of Skin is a storytelling game for three or more players. Each player contributes to the depiction of a bitter civil war, collaborating to render the peoples on both sides as victims in a grand and unfair struggle. Through a series of atrocities, players build a picture of the war as told by the victors, and record it with drawings, called Glyphs, on a hieroglyphic mural called the Skin.

Jason Pitre

I absolutely adore both ideas, but I do think that the Chronicles of Skin is a more compelling concept to work off.   My concern would be exactly how the necessary diversity of war stories and anecdotes could be tracked by a limited number of glyphs.  I don't know if you do art or design in a professional capacity, but that logistical element would be daunting for me personally.

Look forward to hearing more!
Genesis of Legend Publishing
Telling New Stories around the Digital Fire


You could make sort of pictograph composed of a number of interlocking smaller elements that need to be interpreted. There could be rules about what elements could fit into what places. This allows for some lose-ish interpretations, you'd just have to work all of the elements of the pictograph into the narrative. So there could be like a Spear glyph and an Outnumbered glyph and a Hero glyph and they'd all lock together to make a single symbol that would then correspond to a scene... idk, just an idea.

Sebastian K. Hickey

The thing about a week long contest for me is that it means nearly 100% of my connectivity time goes into tippity-tapping at my submission. Therefore, though I'm totally turned-on by the idea of maintaining a diary of my progress, I'm shamefully addicted to the process of creation. This is me peeping out of the hole I'm in to say hi and "thanks!"

Jason, your comment interested me, because it got me thinking about how the system was going to function. It spurred me on, along with the comment by masqueradeball, to think about war and the situations within war. In the end, rather than try to mimic the components of war, I decided to think about the components of stories (using the backdrop of war as a means to put pressure on those stories).

As a result, I came up with the following structure (see next post). It is the story creation process, where, collectively, the players build the cultures involved in the war. This is a direct snip from the working text. Sorry if it's a bit long. I'll follow it up with more stuff tomorrow.

Sebastian K. Hickey

The City of Seriphin
Most of the game takes place in the area surrounding the City of Seriphin, a fictional medieval fortress-city populated by two fictional peoples—or cultures—called the Croen and the Iho. Collaboratively, you and your friends will build up a picture of these places and cultures during play.

First, players generate an emblem for each of the two warring cultures. Standard playing cards are used to determine each emblem's components—which are scribbled onto the Chronicle sheet—and then each component is interpreted.

To begin, separate the deck of cards into the four suits (♣, ♦, ♥ and ♠). Give the Chronicle sheet to the best artist among the players—but don't worry if no one is good at drawing! It's mostly copying. (Ed—a sidebar here talks about using the icons or making up your own)

Shuffle each of the four suit decks. The emblem for the Croen is now generated in four phases.

1. Totem
One player takes a random card from the clubs (♣) deck. Using the number on the card, the player checks the result on the chart below. This is the totem for the Croen. The artist draws this totem in the Croen emblem space of the Chronicle sheet. (Ed—there is a chart here with 13 icons like a horse, an owl, a serpent, etc.)

Now, interpreting that totem, the player who drew the card should choose a trait (a noun or adjective)to describe the Croen culture (Ed—a sidebar here talks about the kinds of thing you might choose for a trait). The artist then writes this trait in the space marked by the ♣ symbol below the Croen emblem.

For example, let's say Eoin, Jason, Roger and Daniel are playing a game of Chronicles of Skin. Jason is the elected artist and the cards are sorted into the four suits. Eoin takes the first card, a 7♣, indicating the fish totem. Jason draws this totem onto the Croen emblem and Eoin interprets it to mean "seafarers." Jason writes "seafarers" below the Croen emblem in the space marked by the ♣ symbol.

2. Artifact
The next clockwise player around the table draws a card from the Diamonds (♦) deck to determine the artifact. The artist draws this on the Croen emblem and the player who took the card interprets as before—choosing a trait and writing it beside the ♦ symbol below the emblem. (Ed—there is a chart here with 13 icons like a sword, a helmet, a sickle, etc.)

Continuing the example, Jason takes the second card, a 6♦, indicating the arrow artifact. Jason draws this artifact onto the Croen emblem and then interprets it to mean "strategic." Jason writes "strategic" below the Croen emblem in the space marked by the ♦ symbol.


Sebastian K. Hickey


3. Sign
The next clockwise player around the table draws a card from the Hearts (♥) deck to determine the sign, and, in the same fashion as the others, the sign is interpreted and recorded below the emblem. (Ed—there is a chart here with 13 icons like an eye, a droplet, a crescent moon, etc.)

Continuing the example, Roger takes the third card, an A♥, indicating the flower sign. Jason draws this sign onto the Croen emblem and then Roger interprets it to mean "beautiful." Jason writes "beautiful" below the Croen emblem in the space marked by the ♥ symbol.

4. Border
Finally, the next clockwise player draws a card from the Spades (♠) deck to determine the border, and, in the same fashion as the others, the border is interpreted and recorded below the emblem.(Ed—there is a chart here with 13 borders like an ivy border, a diamond border, a hearts border, etc.)

Continuing the example, Daniel takes the fourth card, a J♠, indicating the diamond border. Jason draws this border onto the Croen emblem and then Daniel interprets it to mean "sharp." Jason writes "sharp" below the Croen emblem in the space marked by the ♠ symbol.

Once you've added the last trait, you have completed the Croen emblem. This process of picking symbols and their subsequent interpretation must now be repeated for the Iho people: The next clockwise player draws a random card from the clubs deck for the Iho totem, etc.

Continuing the example, the players end up with dragon, crown, flame and thorns on the Iho emblem. These are interpreted as "mystic," "commanding," "passionate," and "vengeful" and these traits are written in the relevant spaces below the Iho emblem.

Give each player a two tokens. These are a player's Votes. They are used at the end of the game to determine which of the two cultures win the civil war, but they are also used during play to protect or attack the characters of the story. There's more on that later. For now, know that they are a kind of currency used to affect the story of the war.

Sebastian K. Hickey

Here is a sketch of the character sheet (used for recording the history of the war).

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Sebastian K. Hickey

Well, I was going to throw lots of design spiel in here. But now that the competition is over (for me), I may as well just throw up a link to the submission:

Chronicles of Skin PDF

Furthermore, I did a micro test last night to push around the rules. For some reason, I decided to record it. So, if you'd like to hear some design monologue, check out that cluster of little audio files (I'll upload four files in the next four days).