*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
December 18, 2014, 02:29:17 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: 33 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: [You Are My Destiny] Ronnies feedback  (Read 16622 times)
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 17707


WWW
« on: April 18, 2011, 09:50:47 AM »

Guy Shalev's You Are My Destiny is a Runner-Up, and a very near one. I ultimately found myself confused by too many procedural details, unable to imagine presenting it to a group to play in its current form but only by a very narrow margin. It is definitely in the category of "marked as a probable Ronny at first reading, then reluctantly judged against."

As far as the Ronnies terms go, I think they're a little weak, or too general. I saw this across a number of the games, equating "lust" as any emotion or drive without much nuance or special meaning to it; and equating "chains" to the intensity of the emotion. It's not terrible or bad, but my thinking is that a game should go a little bit farther with the terms, as in Her Son or Tales of Lust.

So, this design is all about relationships, employing them as simultaneous goals and fuels and victims. You have your Chosen Child and 0-2 secondary "target" characters, and the Entity makes N/2 secondary characters and an NPC Chosen Child for adversity and depth.

On paper, the rules for scene-setting and casting look fiddly but I think they'd be easy and effective in practice. I'm basing this on the extent to which I had to explain similar mechanics in Spione, which require a whole ton of prose, but once you read it and do it, play hums along.

As with some of the other entries, I figure my concerns were best expressed by listing my questions.

Questions

1. I'm confused about what appears to be an advanced option of play, in which you specify a Desire rather than an Emotion, and a Group rather than a person (or rather, which includes at least one named person). Doing this appears to affect the number of target characters brought into play. The puzzling thing is that although the rules say that this option is actually not recommended for first-time play, the rest of the text is all about Desire and Emotion isn't stated. I don't know if this is a minor issue of editing or not.

2. Based on reading only, I do not see the point of describing a Relationship as positive or negative. That kind of judgment seems to me to be the kind of thing I'd like to leave wholly open to interpretation and revision throughout play. If I'm not mistaken, the assessment doesn't play any mechanical part in resolution anyway, and the rules for changing a designated negative to positive, or vice versa, look clunky and secondary to me.

3. I am a little bit confused about rolling over Desire. I think it is applied in two different ways at different times: (i) simply to fail to achieve a goal, i.e., when you want to roll under Desire; and (ii) to avoid using one's power to achieve the goal, but seeking it anyway. So in the first case, you don't get the goal if you roll over the Desire, but in the second case, you do. Am I understanding that correctly?

4. This one's crucial: is "one Child remaining" the only way to end? And does that also mean that achieving or seizing one's Desire can't happen via ordinary resolution, but must wait until that final scene with the final Child?

5. Is the Entity played as an NPC? I understand the part about inserting little moments of its presence, and also the first scene of the session, but I'm not sure whether the Entity player or anyone else actually introduces him, her, or it into other scenes and interacts with other characters in the fiction. Is that what the after-every-two-scenes scene set by the Entity player is for? I hope the answer is "yes" - I'm imagining the X-Men torn apart and defeated through their own internal stresses as well as confrontations with their enemies, and Professor X starting all over again. Definitely a more sinister interpretation of the classic mentor figure.

I am really enjoying your investigations of friendship and maturation in your games. Putting this one next to The Friendship Game makes for provocative reading.

Best, Ron
Logged
Thunder_God
Member

Posts: 510

Still Here.


WWW
« Reply #1 on: April 18, 2011, 02:05:12 PM »

I'll also enter some thoughts I'm having on possible changes, where relevant, to some of the answers. Things I've been considering since submitting the game, mostly not yet decided, but musings.

i) About "Chains", it's not the strength of the relationships. It's that the relationships themselves are the chains, on one hand they're the "rope" you use to wrestle away destiny, which is a bit weaker, and on the other, the "compulsion" of the Desires - your desire chains you to your destiny, and doesn't let you escape it, once you begin on that road. It's more about the triangle of Destiny, Desire and Relationships. Sorta.

ii) I really didn't have room for scene-setting discussion at length (room=time to write), so I trusted the audience will know how to handle these things.

1. You can replace Desire with Emotion in the rest of the manual where Desire is stated, if applicable. They work mechanically the same. Resolving an Emotion and a Group is just a bit more overhead, I figure, and a bit more fiddly, so I suggest to shy away from it.

2. Mostly for colour. You're right, for most people, it should have a wider gamut and be resolved within the game. I was thinking mostly of the Chosen Children when writing these, so I'm thinking it should only be enforced for Chosen Children - you will note that their relationships start at 4, always. This means that upon meeting someone they already decide if they regard them positively or negatively, and to a much stronger degree than most people. Their emotions are furnaces burning within them, which cannot be controlled.

I'm considering the implication of a Chosen Child's Relationships being tied in some way to their Desire; something like - all their relationships must be Desire-2 at minimum (adding in the levels of Damage, naturally). I'm really unsure of that, but I'm considering the (mostly thematic) implications of that.

3. When you try to achieve a goal, using your gift, you succeed by rolling under Desire.
When you have a chance to try and get closer to your goal, using your gift, and you choose not to, if you roll under your Desire, you must use your gift - this does not mean you'll get your goal, but that you must try to get it using your gift.

This is also because your gift is an awesome power, and using it has implications - on the setting, on other characters, it gives you a chance to fail and damage Desire/other relationships, etc.

P.S. The rules don't include it, but Chosen Children can also just fight amongst themselves to cause damage, and aren't forced to only shunt damage in order to damage others' relationships. There should be a way for there to be sort of a "Reveal" of damaging Relationships and other children, and such. I'm still musing over it - and it'd prolly be hidden from the characters but not the players, but it should be addressed, but also relies on what theme you're looking for - for "Everyone knows" ala Highlander or "We find out the hard way" (Madoka Magika or Mai-HiME anime).

4. Yes.
The only way to end is by there only being one Chosen Child remaining, and yes, the characters cannot achieve their Desire in any other way.

I have a thing for austere/stark language as a form of beauty, such as in Glen Cook's early novels of The Black Company. Sentences that are short and almost stunted, yet carry their own sense of beauty.
This fought with my desire to have the only sentence of the last big paragraph in the manual be "When only one Chosen Child remains in play, they attain their Desire." So it could still have the next line about the Entity.
This also draws to me a similarity between several of the games in this round of Ronnies I've noticed - the choice given to another player whether a character achieves their goal - I am still not entirely sure whether it should be in the game. Perhaps it should be left to the Entity's player, or the character's player? Not sure...

5. The Entity is somewhere between a player-character and an NPC. When the Entity comes forth and speaks to players, the Entity's player plays it. When it's gazing at a scene, or speaking to NPCs not played by anyone in order to provide -shadowing and background information... it's not only there to create and reinforce leitmotifs, it's sort of a leitmotif on its own.
The Entity's player is the only one who can really introduce it into scenes, and unlike other characters, he usually gets to narrate him leaving the scene on his own terms as well.
Even before reading your Xavier option, I thought of the Entity, aside from the relevant character in several anime series as Professor Oak, who's similar, but also Lestat, or the stranger in DnD who comes and gives everyone missions in the tavern (Elminster?) or Charley from Charley's Angels. A Recurring figure, who's somewhere between a player character and a plot device.

Now, for The Entity Player's scene-settings. He gets to set more scenes, but for more reasons - he has the task of introducing strife. He has more characters to give some screen time to (though some can have more minor roles in terms of screen-time). He can set both a Chosen Child and the character the Desire revolves around in the same scene, ratcheting up the pressure, or indeed, scenes with the Entity within them. All those things are there for The Entity to do. And yes, the Entity has definite sinister overtones. Especially when you consider the answer to question #4, even if its hand is forced.

x) If anyone has any further questions, Ron or anyone else, I'd love to hear them. I'd especially love any thematic observations, as that was really exciting to read for some of the other games. I still need to post replies in some of the other threads myself.

y) I'd love to hear some thoughts on the topic, or on The Friendship Game on its own. Also, it's actually a trilogy. I haven't written a post about it yet, and I'm still unsure how much I like this design (it feels somewhat... forced? Heavy-handed? I'm not sure what the adjective that's right for it is), but a month ago I wrote a game that's sort of a companion to The Friendship Game, called Oxidant: Western Whitewashed Workers that deals with the relationship between relationships, goals and finite resources.

z) Game inspirations for the game:
Shock:/Trollbabe for the d10 mechanic inspiration.
Bliss Stage and Apocalypse World for making the characters around the table and relationship forming.
Bliss Stage probably has a lot to do with harming emotions.
Logged

Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 17707


WWW
« Reply #2 on: April 20, 2011, 09:45:50 AM »

Hi Guy,

A lot of those answers are quite helpful, e.g. the Entity, and using the gift regarding goals, and others.
I think I'm going to have to make one of my funky diagrams to work out the triangle you mentioned, but it does sound interesting.

I suggest removing the positive/negative relationship distinction for Chosen Children. Isn't it more important for those judgments to be left open to development for these characters, rather than less? I understand that their relationships are deeply felt, but as I see it, the number accounts for that. And a person may well think of a given relationship as positive or negative, but that does not always dictate how they act upon or toward that relationship in practice.

More concretely, speaking for myself as a player, I would like to play my Chosen Child with a relationship at 6 or 7 with the full range of whether I idolize or despise that person being quite open to me, at that particular degree of intensity in either case, subject to the events of play.

I don't see the value in tying Relationship scores to Desire scores. I presume that high will go with high and low with low under most circumstances, but I also see high-low and low-high possibilities fruitful opportunities for play.
Quote
The only way to end is by there only being one Chosen Child remaining, and yes, the characters cannot achieve their Desire in any other way.

How is a successful attempt regarding a Desire narrated prior to that point?

Quote
This also draws to me a similarity between several of the games in this round of Ronnies I've noticed - the choice given to another player whether a character achieves their goal - I am still not entirely sure whether it should be in the game. Perhaps it should be left to the Entity's player, or the character's player? Not sure...

As currently written, this is not the case, right? As I see it, such techniques work when other things are consequential, which may apply in this case, concerning the outcomes regarding the relationships, I think.

Regarding theme, the first thing I notice is that, as in Trollbabe, a core question is whether one treats a relationship like a person or like a resource.  Another aspect of the game is how adolescents feel very deeply regarding one another, but in reality, most of those relationships fall by the wayside as the people grow older, to apply whatever lessons were learned or mis-learned to other individuals in other contexts.

I'm still working on my comparison with The Friendship Game. In fact, your whole course as a game designer has been on my "to do" list for a while now, and I think I may have to line up all your work in order and play a few of them. I am limited by my superficial knowledge of you as a person, but based only on encountering some (not all) of your internet activity, I can think of few people who have combined self-reflection, critical discussion, and ongoing game design as intently as you apparently have.

Best, Ron
Logged
Thunder_God
Member

Posts: 510

Still Here.


WWW
« Reply #3 on: April 20, 2011, 11:13:01 AM »

Hi Guy,

A lot of those answers are quite helpful, e.g. the Entity, and using the gift regarding goals, and others.
I think I'm going to have to make one of my funky diagrams to work out the triangle you mentioned, but it does sound interesting.

I suggest removing the positive/negative relationship distinction for Chosen Children. Isn't it more important for those judgments to be left open to development for these characters, rather than less? I understand that their relationships are deeply felt, but as I see it, the number accounts for that. And a person may well think of a given relationship as positive or negative, but that does not always dictate how they act upon or toward that relationship in practice.

More concretely, speaking for myself as a player, I would like to play my Chosen Child with a relationship at 6 or 7 with the full range of whether I idolize or despise that person being quite open to me, at that particular degree of intensity in either case, subject to the events of play.

I don't see the value in tying Relationship scores to Desire scores. I presume that high will go with high and low with low under most circumstances, but I also see high-low and low-high possibilities fruitful opportunities for play.

1. The negative/positive is indeed something I'm not married to. I'll muse over it some more.
2. The Desire and the Relationship it's tied to are somewhere between symbiotic and synonymous. It's hard to disentangle whether it's the Desire that's driving you forward in life, or the Relationship, and as said previously, which gives rise to which. I'll think of it, but I think this one will remain tied - though once you make the Relationships less "hard-coded" changing this as well makes more sense (than it did previously, not than not making it, in this case, I feel).
3. I was also thinking of perhaps letting you resist your Desire more easily when it came to Positive relationships. Of course, if I give this some more weight, it'd be both more reasonable to actually care about it, and even more constraining for players. This is tied to the next two point.

Quote
Quote
The only way to end is by there only being one Chosen Child remaining, and yes, the characters cannot achieve their Desire in any other way.

How is a successful attempt regarding a Desire narrated prior to that point?

4. You don't just make an attempt with your gift, you use it when using it will get you closer to your Desire. So it needs to be clear how it will get you closer to your Desire. Whether you get a "Yes, but..." result, where you're blunted at the last moment, or rejected, or you keep inching closer and closer yet always remaining out of reach can change. Your character may also for a while think it got what it wanted (Revenge, love) only to find out that the person they revenged upon didn't truly die, or someone else was behind it. Or for love, that it's a fake, or that their beloved needs yet something else... (Mario saving Princess Peach and the "Another Castle" from "Beloved/Beholden" ;-))
The players know the score, so it's up to them to narrate it properly.

5. This is a big one, and ties to the way things are described in the game.
If you have vampires struggling, the "When only one remains, they can achieve their Desire" can often be something that exists for the players, and creates inter-character strife as the players drive it.
If you have the "There can be only one!" explicit, such as in Highlander or the Magical Girl anime source material, where there's a literal entity you make a pact with, once the characters discover the rule, which exists within the game, then using your gift to take out and attack other Chosen Children will get you closer to your Desire, and basically, you will need to attack them whenever you see them.

This can be a source of endless forward-drive, but can also break the game. I think if you resist using your gift in a situation, you should be able to keep resisting unless something changes. Not all children will necessarily know this rule - The Entity will probably spread it slowly, to create more chaos. I am thinking that this also ties to Positive Relationships, or perhaps being able to also draw upon relationships to bolster your chances of resisting using your gift.

I think right now it's important for players not to have to roll to attempt to not use their Gift whenever they interact with another child, or the descent to chaos would be too swift. I'm not yet sure how to resolve this exactly, without relying on the players some... (some Desire minus Relationship to the other child thing, or once for all other children when discovering this....) - there also need to be some way for the characters to avoid suiciding, such as, if you want to take out other Children, you'll be able to "Divert" your Desire, so you'll fight the weaker and not the stronger, even though you came across the stronger first.
This last point I think might also work just by describing, if what you want to get closer to is say, "Kill a mobster to get information out of them", then it doesn't have to be the top one, y'know? They don't have to be fully-suicidal from the get-go.

Quote
Quote
This also draws to me a similarity between several of the games in this round of Ronnies I've noticed - the choice given to another player whether a character achieves their goal - I am still not entirely sure whether it should be in the game. Perhaps it should be left to the Entity's player, or the character's player? Not sure...

As currently written, this is not the case, right? As I see it, such techniques work when other things are consequential, which may apply in this case, concerning the outcomes regarding the relationships, I think.

Exactly, sometimes the Desire and the Relationship are one, to have the Desire achieved is to have the Relationship "succeed?" In some cases, so when the rejection occurs on the relationship it's also the rejection of the Desire, and vice versa.


Quote
I'm still working on my comparison with The Friendship Game. In fact, your whole course as a game designer has been on my "to do" list for a while now, and I think I may have to line up all your work in order and play a few of them. I am limited by my superficial knowledge of you as a person, but based only on encountering some (not all) of your internet activity, I can think of few people who have combined self-reflection, critical discussion, and ongoing game design as intently as you apparently have.

Best, Ron

I'm flattered, and giddy.
Logged

Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Thunder_God
Member

Posts: 510

Still Here.


WWW
« Reply #4 on: August 02, 2011, 02:58:43 PM »

Alpha Revision 1.5 is now up.

1.5 and not 2 since I am currently not in the mental space to rewrite it all from scratch, so mostly clarifications, a couple of changes, and peppered some author notes in italics[/].

Main changes:
* Added a summary to the different rolls at the end, to clarify all of that, as per this thread.
* Added a note on The Entity.
* Added a small section on influences and inspirations, in games and literary (mostly for The Entity).
* Relationships being positive/negative can be switched any time the Relation advances or suffers damage. Still considering the need for it, and mechanical weight it should be imbued with, if any.
* Added a new rule for ties during fights between Chosen Children, I think it's not there, but if it's a perfect tie after it all ends, both suffer damage.
* Added that Desires add an extra die but can be the last Relations to be drawn upon for conflicts.
* Only one relation can hit level 10.
* The one relation advancement per scene is now per relation, or things would go way too slowly? Might still be a good option to leave it as one period, for those who aim for a longer game.

I think that's it...
Logged

Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
Jason Petrasko
Member

Posts: 93

Rocking out!


WWW
« Reply #5 on: September 16, 2011, 10:33:52 AM »

My experiences with anime go against your (more logical) scheme for relation pacing. You have it reduced to half-speed from 4 to 6 and at one third-speed from 7 to 10. I assume you want to reflect anime as source material, and in my experiences once a relation snowballs it really doesn't take much longer for it to hit maximum. I'd say half-speed in the middle from 4 to 7, and then resume regular one-to-one increases at the top 8-10. How would that affect the dynamics of play I wonder?
Logged

Thunder_God
Member

Posts: 510

Still Here.


WWW
« Reply #6 on: December 26, 2011, 06:51:52 AM »

Hey Jason!

Sorry it took me so long to get back to this, especially since we were chatting back when you've posted this :O But I always wanted to get back to it in more detail, after giving it more thought.

My knee-jerk reaction is, "I don't want to slavishly pay attention to anime (both in general and Mai-HiME)!"
Then I thought some more of what you said, and it's not only anime, but most movies. I've often thought about the fact that movies have 30 minutes in the end where everything reaches critical mass, and all that was before was mostly build-up to those 30 minutes. I think of this issue mostly with regards to movies' length; I've noticed it's 30 minutes, and it doesn't really matter if the movie is 1.5 or 2.5 hours long. There's just so much we can handle of the roller-coaster.

Then I've thought of it some more. Right now each character, each relationship, has its own pacing. And they're not affected by the pacing of other relationships directly.
In Mai-HiME, most anime, etc. this is not how it happens - there are "Acts", and once the threshold is reached, once the threshold is breached, it happens for everyone. My thoughts are Lord of the Flies here, but I also must think of Bliss Stage (I am actually thinking of mecha anime by way of tangent).
Once the children go insane, once the children begin having sex, it's not just one or two. Once some do, everyone does, all at once.

And then I thought of the fact that "Acts" intrigue me a lot, even though I am sometimes wary of them, have some instinctive recoil from them. And then I chuckled at myself. My game's document is already built in the form of "Acts". It's just that they're more there as thematic gateways (which Acts always are!) and not as a mechanical component to the game.

So right now, I don't want to do it. I am sure it fits the way most stories are told, especially in anime, especially in the genre. But the pacing will be completely different. I think the emotional content of the end-game is already quite heavy and intensive, and once some Children begin fighting others and heavily drawing on relationships, it'll spiral the others into it as well - especially with The Entity's goal of fermenting chaos and discord. I do not see a reason to accelerate this and force it to be 100% strength 100% of the time, as that'll remove some of the space left for quiet, relaxed moments, as befit most such things, and when apocalypse breaks loose (quite likely literally, inside a game), then things will occur as suggested of their own accord, without mechanical incentive.

I do like the idea of possible levers, and if I were to do it, I'd add "thresholds" that dictate and affect relationships for all children once some/a given number reach a certain stage.
Of course, the biggest strike against it right now is that each relationship, each Desire can begin at a different value. Of course the extremists (those higher) will pull those behind screaming and kicking, but right now it already occurs.

Later on, you're also going to interact with those characters more. I think game-play will have to show if things are too slow right now, and if so, too slow for what? Just the anime-feel? Not sure that's reason enough for a change.
Logged

Guy Shalev.

Cranium Rats Central, looking for playtesters for my various games.
CSI Games, my RPG Blog and Project. Last Updated on: January 29th 2010
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!