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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 29 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Cube: The Descent]: a tabletop pseudo-roguelike  (Read 3481 times)
Sir Fungus
Registree

Posts: 2


« on: December 26, 2010, 11:03:28 PM »

Hello!

I've been working on a game with a friend of mine for quite some time now, and we've recently been able to release a skeletal rulebook on our site. The formatting is probably very awkward, there's no illustration (yet), and its contents were simply drawn from what we already have online. On the other hand, we've managed to have two GMs playtest it successfully for the past two months, and the campaigns are still going on. Our content is disorganized, but I'm in the process of taking care of that as we continue to approach a real release.

The idea behind Cube is that I've wanted to make a tabletop fantasy game with as little clutter as possible. The entire game world is based off cubes. Characters take minutes to create instead of hours, and all rolls are done with d6 dice. Instead of long lists of very specific (yet similar) monsters, the GM bases them off templates. The same goes for items.

Now, my one problem so far has been distinguishing our game. We clearly have two things going for us: the cubes (from which we derive the name) and the templates. My question is, how far can we run with the cube idea? What else can we do with the cubes? What do you see in the system that can be further reduced into templates?
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Callan S.
Member

Posts: 4268


WWW
« Reply #1 on: December 26, 2010, 11:36:15 PM »

Hi SF,

Have you decided how far you need to go with the cube idea to be happy with it all? I'm assuming somethings missing in being happy with it. Or if your happy with it now - what's stopping you from deciding it's done already?

In terms of distinguishing, I think a game with a complete procedure (ie, what to do from start to end of a session) will show off what it is. While those with incomplete procedures tend to be all the same because people simply make the missing parts the same as the way they always play. One  missing part in traditional designs is when to bring in monsters, how many, how often, etc. And I don't mean guidelines - people take guidelines and then play the way they have always played/guidelines make your game non distinguishable from others.

I like your layout. For some reason it's quite nice on the eye? Or atleast my eye...
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Ar Kayon
Member

Posts: 438


« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2010, 04:58:39 PM »

Length, width, and height can be used to represent 3 individual, yet complementary aspects of a skill, character, class, or power. 
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Jason J. Patterson
Member

Posts: 85

Bearer of the Mindsword


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« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2010, 04:53:12 PM »

Seems a good suggestion. I personally am not seeing a particularly strong cube theme here except where you literally say "cube" in the text of your document. Either you've seamlessly integrated the idea into your document so well that it is indistinguishable, or you're building a system around a gimmick you're not actually using - those are just my first blush impressions - I'm just not getting a cube vibe; it's seems pretty bog standard.

I know it's a rough draft, but maybe if you formatted the PDF to spread out the rules a bit more, add more whitespace and set the sections and rules and main ideas apart (races, stats, etc), it would help make it less laborious to go through - it is not necessarily complicated, but it does look very cluttered, in my opinion.

Again, I'd offer additional suggestions related to your cube idea but I can't see where it's been implemented (and this may simply be my own failing), so I don't really understand your meaning or what you're looking for.
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"VVVVOOOOLLLLTTAAAAANNNNN, you will DDIIIEEE by my sword."
Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 280


« Reply #4 on: December 29, 2010, 03:19:40 PM »

Hi SF,

I'm not clear on the use of roguelike here.  Is it roguelike in that there's a dungeon with monsters? or is there more to it?

From my understanding, one of the big appeals of roguelike games is the sorts of strategies that come up from very specific rules intersecting ("Damn! I picked up cursed armor!  I'll transmogrify myself into a rust monster, and eat the armor, then transform back.") - which seems to be the opposite of the approach you're taking here.

Is there something I'm missing?  There's a sizable audience for roguelike games, so if you hit the game experience in any way, you might be able to highlight that.

Chris
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Cubed Excalibur
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #5 on: December 29, 2010, 08:17:34 PM »

Hi SF,

I'm not clear on the use of roguelike here.  Is it roguelike in that there's a dungeon with monsters? or is there more to it?

From my understanding, one of the big appeals of roguelike games is the sorts of strategies that come up from very specific rules intersecting ("Damn! I picked up cursed armor!  I'll transmogrify myself into a rust monster, and eat the armor, then transform back.") - which seems to be the opposite of the approach you're taking here.

Is there something I'm missing?  There's a sizable audience for roguelike games, so if you hit the game experience in any way, you might be able to highlight that.

Chris
This is another member of Cube Team speaking to you here. In regards to your question, Cube is roguelike in that it's a dungeon-crawler with relatively easy, permanent death to characters that fail to think things through at crucial moments. I shall give an example through the first gaming session I ran with the system:
The player characters were in a cave on an attempt to retrieve a magical ruby. They made it past terrible traps, including a giant, carnivorous stag beetle (created via the Large Beast monster in the monster section and using the "Maul" attack for its horn) and a pitfall that filled with numerous stalagmites. Finally they came across a metal door. They opened it to reveal a large, circular room with a single treasure chest inside and a skeleton drooped over said chest. Having failed to check the immediate surroundings of the chest, one of the characters opened it, causing the skeleton to fall off of the chest and onto a magical pressure plate, causing a huge pillar of fire to engulf and kill them (they got a save to get out, but they failed that). Inside of the chest was the ruby (unharmed by the magical flames) placed inside a small hole. The other characters were smart enough to know that they could potentially die here, so they tied a rope around the ruby and pulled it out, thus saving them from the arrows up above.

Another example of permanent death comes from an occurrence in the same session but prior to the crawl. The characters were in the bazaar, shopping for supplies, and the doppelganger thought it would be a good idea to turn into a large object that resembled gold in order to pay for the items without actually paying gold. It backfired in that the shopkeeper accepted the gold and placed him in a safe. His spine broke as he attempted and failed to turn into a small, living creature in an attempt to alert the shopkeeper that something was in there and needed to get out.

In the belief that the rules help facilitate thinking things through and the ease of death in such situations, I feel that this can be classified as a game that emulates the roguelike feel.
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Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 280


« Reply #6 on: December 29, 2010, 08:44:08 PM »

Hi CE,

Have you guys looked at the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming?

http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/quick-primer-for-old-school-gaming/3159558

It seems to be exactly in the vein of play you're describing.

Chris
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Cubed Excalibur
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2010, 09:14:03 PM »

Hi CE,

Have you guys looked at the Quick Primer for Old School Gaming?

http://www.lulu.com/product/file-download/quick-primer-for-old-school-gaming/3159558

It seems to be exactly in the vein of play you're describing.

Chris
I just flipped through the six pages that it allowed me to read. Are you suggesting that we should mention somewhere the importance of GM rulings and the importance of players doing what they should be doing and actually playing smart and not based on the character sheet? I'd not be opposed to this; we haven't really made it clear in the opener that that's the mission here, have we?
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Sir Fungus
Registree

Posts: 2


« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2010, 11:50:58 PM »

Thanks for all the replies!

To answer some:

Quote
Have you decided how far you need to go with the cube idea to be happy with it all? I'm assuming somethings missing in being happy with it. Or if your happy with it now - what's stopping you from deciding it's done already?

I think for the most part, the problem lies with my wording of the rules. I need to emphasize the cube thing more. We also plan on adding some special terrain cubes and rules for varying environments, so that should help things. I may not stress it beyond that, since I don't want the game to rely on it too much. As long as players use it to their benefit and it doesn't clog things up, I'm happy.

Quote
In terms of distinguishing, I think a game with a complete procedure (ie, what to do from start to end of a session) will show off what it is.

My partner already posted some fragments of a procedure above, and we're working on typing up some actual examples of play. Should be on the site within the week.

Quote
Length, width, and height can be used to represent 3 individual, yet complementary aspects of a skill, character, class, or power. 

That's a very interesting idea there. I wasn't sure what to make of it at first, but then it struck me after thinking about it more. A lot of the defined things in the game tend to come in threes, like three physical stats, three mental stats, three class skills per class, etc. Even if I don't get around to fully implementing it, the character sheet might have some nice designs involving, say, the two sets of three stats or all the skills.

I'm trying to think of some other places to use it, but at the moment I'm not quite sure. My goal has been to keep the game as streamlined as possible. Maybe something will hit me while I'm designing the skills further.

Quote
I know it's a rough draft, but maybe if you formatted the PDF to spread out the rules a bit more, add more whitespace and set the sections and rules and main ideas apart (races, stats, etc), it would help make it less laborious to go through - it is not necessarily complicated, but it does look very cluttered, in my opinion.

Again, I'd offer additional suggestions related to your cube idea but I can't see where it's been implemented (and this may simply be my own failing), so I don't really understand your meaning or what you're looking for.

As mentioned above, yes, that's entirely my own failing. It will be fixed in the next version of the PDF, along with the formatting advice you suggested. Thanks!

Quote
Is it roguelike in that there's a dungeon with monsters? or is there more to it?

My partner offered an answer, but I'd also like to say that all the item and monster templates are never supposed to be revealed to the player, unless, say, they made the item themselves or summoned a monster. All the templates are meant to provide a GM with an easy way of making lots of monsters and items for players to come across so that it seems like there's a huge variety, without having to have a huge table of clearly defined yet similar creatures like "wolf" or "feral dog" or "magical canine". The stats themselves could also be tweaked to some extent to provide variability.

I'm also aware that at the moment the only item templates apply to armor and weapons, but I intend to add some more as I flesh out the crafting skills. Say.. that also gives me another idea to implement the cube theme. Three attributes of items, and if you go too far in one category without evenly spreading them out you'll raise the difficulty of making it drastically.
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Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 280


« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2010, 10:05:36 AM »

Hi CE,

Are you suggesting that we should mention somewhere the importance of GM rulings and the importance of players doing what they should be doing and actually playing smart and not based on the character sheet? I'd not be opposed to this; we haven't really made it clear in the opener that that's the mission here, have we?

To be more clear, it'll help a lot to explicitly point out that players -should- be narrating specific actions as a means to play smart.   And that the GM -should- be using that as the main way of judging what happens in return.

I tried running a lot of D&D when I was 12, and couldn't understand how anyone was supposed to survive - because the core books didn't include the major idea that the actual key rule was player description and GM response as the primary means of resolving situations.  As far as I understood it, for most of my life, D&D prior to 3rd edition was a completely broken mess, solely because that key point was left out.

Chris
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Cubed Excalibur
Member

Posts: 3


« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2010, 11:27:39 AM »


To be more clear, it'll help a lot to explicitly point out that players -should- be narrating specific actions as a means to play smart.   And that the GM -should- be using that as the main way of judging what happens in return.

I tried running a lot of D&D when I was 12, and couldn't understand how anyone was supposed to survive - because the core books didn't include the major idea that the actual key rule was player description and GM response as the primary means of resolving situations.  As far as I understood it, for most of my life, D&D prior to 3rd edition was a completely broken mess, solely because that key point was left out.

Chris
Alright. I'm thinking that a "How to Use This Manual" section should be incorporated and that that will be explicit within the text. Thanks for the suggestion, as that will help a lot. We could probably even place examples in there to make it even clearer.
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