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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 47 - most online ever: 843 (October 22, 2020, 11:18:00 PM)
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Author Topic: A Ronnies failure...but the core of where I may be redeveloping a game  (Read 4301 times)

Posts: 936

Kitsune Trickster

« on: May 03, 2011, 08:21:54 PM »

I'm excited about "Do: Pilgrims of the Flying Temple".

I'll be putting down my $50 for a pre-ordered hardback with my name in it somewhere ($40 plus $10 international).

I love the idea of a non dice mechanism, especially one where players draw tokens from a bag. But I've been working on a similar concept for a long time (you can find an entry on my blog from the beginning of 2009 where I discuss a concept like this).

I'm excited to see where Daniel Solis takes his version of the concept...

...this post is simply to get an idea out of my head, and get a bit of feedback on it before "Do" comes out, so that people don't just say "Hey, isn't that just a rip-off from that other indie game that was just released??!!"

Some people might be aware of my game FUBAR, some people might be aware of my recent Game Chef entry, Walkabout[/ur].

Walkabout was designed to be a post-apocalyptic interpretation of the rules, refined, streamlined, but with a distinct setting and some fun character development options that attempted to capture the feeling of community and tribalism inherent in the culture of Australian Aboriginals.

The Walkabout game uses a twist on Otherkind dice, with three or more dice rolled then allocated to the categories of "Success", "Sacrifice" and "Story". Dice are divided into three levels of result (1-2 = negative/fail, 3-4 = neutral, 5-6 = positive/success).

Playtests have shown the system to work reasonably well. I've actually rewritten FUBAR to match this system since it is more streamlined and less fiddly than the original incarnation.

But I recently applied my thoughts to the Ronnies April round...I got hit by one of those design bugs that burrows through my mind and eats away everything until I have to get it on paper and out of my subconscious.

How would you apply a token drawing system to an "Otherkind" framework?

I developed a game called "Chains of the Immortals" while this was going through my head, basic premise involves the same world as Walkabout, but while nomads inspired by Australian Aboriginals cleanse the songlines of Australia...immortal spirits of Amazons possess European women to restore the balance of spiritual energy on the far side of the world (while men were hit with a wasting disease as soon as they hit sexual maturity). The games were never really meant to be played together, with "Walkabout" focusing on road-trips, and telling stories of journey, while "Chains of the Immortals" focused on telling stories about how cultures might change if all the men were susceptible to a deadly disease whie the surviving women were rendered immortal.

I couldn't honestly enter "Chains of the Immortals" into the Ronnies because I spent a solid 24 hours on it, and it seemed close to finishing...I just couldn't et it go and spent another 12 hours on it over the next day, and still there were bits that I wanted to play with. So I've left it to simmer in the back of my mind.

Anyway...enough with the premise and back story...here's the actual idea seed.

Players create their characters in much the same way that they would do so for FUBAR or Walkabout. 4 core traits, each core trait getting 2 keywords. The difference is that each core trait has a distinct cycle phase.

The Phase of Creation - Actions according to this phase tend to give beneficial traits to people, or remove detrimental traits.
The Phase of Transformation - Actions according to this phase tend to transform traits of one type into traits of another type.
The Phase of Destruction - Actions according to this phase tend to give detrimental traits to people, or remove beneficial traits.

You automatically get the idea that warriors, assassins and saboteurs will tend to focus their core traits on the Phase of Destruction, while healers, crafters will tend toward the Phase of Creation, and leaders/tacticians will tend toward the Phase of Transformation.

If you want to apply/remove/modify the traits of your opponent, you need to choose core traits linked to the appropriate phase. If you want to remove a coupe of traits and modify others, then use two keywords inked to the relevant parts of the cycle...

This tailors the types of actions and creates a level of niche protection. If you want a good all-round team, have members affiliated to each part of the cycle.

The bag bit is where the trick comes in...

Every player creates a bag of tokens when they create their character, it starts with 4 white and 4 black tokens, an assortment of coloured tokens are added to the bag depending on the core traits chosen. Green for "Creation" traits, Blue for "Transformation" traits, Red for "Destruction" traits.

Cross referencing this back to the FUBAR/Walkabout favour of Otherkind...

When you perform an action, you don't roll 3 dice (plus 1 per core trait invoked, and extras for other traits used)...now you draw three tokens from the bag (plus 1 per core trait invoked, and extras for other traits used), you allocate three tokens to the categories of "Success", "Sacrifice" and Story", place the remainder back in the bag.

If you draw a white token it counts as a positive result/success.
If you draw a black token it counts as a negative result/failure.
If you draw a coloured token it typically counts as a neutral result, unless the token drawn matches the colour associated with the type of action you are performing, then it counts as a success. (eg. You're trying to injure someone and you draw a red, it's a success.)

If you've tailored your character with the right core traits, your character is more likely to succeed at specific types of actions because their bag of tokens will be stacked in favour of those actions.

Conversely, If your combat monster needs to enter a negotiation, their bag will be stacked against them.

Second interesting thing when you use the bag...I've pulled this from my early game "The Eighth Sea" and from my blog post about using a bag of tokens, but I can see hints of it in text regarding "Do". When you draw your tokens, you need to refresh the bag in some way.

The method I'm tending towards is simple. Regardless of what you draw from the bag, you replace a single white token, a single black token and a single token matching the colour of the action you are performing. If you draw heaps of white tokens early on and use them for easy successes, the odds of your bag producing more white tokens will gradually reduce (eg. if you use two white tokens and a coloured token on a specific action, and you replace them with a white, a coloured and a black, you end up with one less white and one more black once the action is resolved)...this gives payers the chance to be strategic with the tokens, accepting failures early one to increase their chances of success as the game approaches its conclusion on a turn.

It also allows payers to show how their characters mindset might change...a warrior who keep attempting to healing people might gradually reduce the number of red tokens in their bag, and will increase the number of green tokens. Regardless of their success or failure, the karma of their actions internalises and eventually manifests as a greater chance of success in that type of action.

At the end of play, character advancement would be based on the final composition of tokens in the bag.

At the moment, I'm wondering if this makes sense.

I just wanted to get it out there.

A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.

Posts: 510

Still Here.

« Reply #1 on: May 03, 2011, 10:13:33 PM »

To make sure I got it right:

1. You always end up with only 3 tokens you allocate. All other tokens are returned to the bag.
2. You can say, draw 6 tokens, who will be 3 black and 3 white, and three of those will remain outside of the bag, and regardless of what's kept out, you put in 1 coloured, 1 black, and 1 white?
3. Assuming the above is true, what's the resolution system like, conflict or task? I can see if it's task someone who keeps undergoing challenges in order to hoard specific coloured tokens, to the degree it doesn't really matter much what they started with. Do note if you can rotate between characters easily you're basically adding 2 successes and 1 failure with each task... Also, you can accept failure where it's not significant to boost things - if you'll fail by 1, why not fail by 2, and just dump 3 black tokens out?
4. My personal thought on tokens and "otherkind dice" might be in the form of no neutral, and escalation. You draw 3 tokens no matter what, and each token is either positive or negative. You can draw further tokens, but each requires an escalation of stakes, and perhaps a price to pay, regardless of whether you then succeed or fail (Could also possibly draw 4, allocate 3, say).

Further, I'd consider the idea of "one extra draw chance, decide ahead of time how many tokens to draw", to make it a true bet. I am fond of well, requiring all tokens to be allocated, somehow, but that'd completely change the system. The reason is like the price+escalation mentioned above - "No free meals".

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
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