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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 32 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: How do I turn this into a GMfull minimalist RPG for beginners?  (Read 1050 times)
Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 117


« on: May 06, 2011, 02:08:57 PM »

Here's the ruleset

https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Vy4tB_gO7PmP-xP1M_Yut056uThPQQezKIs0lbZFRQI/edit?hl=en&authkey=CNPuqPUP

Sorry it's in spanish and incomplete, I'm having a lot of design doubts right now, However don't worry, I made a short version of the ruleset in english; it's in the same document right after all the gibberish in spanish.

I've got this problem: I want to make an RPG, but my target audience isn't familiar with tabletop RPGs. Further than that, I doubt they can currently manage complex content creation and presentation tasks with enough skill to make players ask for more. It's like having a few thousands of players wanting to play but almost no GMs.

My first thought as soon as I knew it was possible, was to try and make this game GMfull, thus training players for the eventual task of being GMs for this or other games. Probably you think I'm understimating my audience but for one thing, audience here isn't very prone to reading at all, Secondly, RPGs are scarcely known by a few fortunate people here, and their efforts as a comunity still can't make -even the mainstream- games popular. Dice (except for d6) are not only expensive but hard to find, without speaking of rulebooks and expansions, which are even easier to find in english since there isn't a single company here editing RPGs in spanish.

Disastrous as it may sound, I prefer to see it as an opportunity. We have a small press company of our own, with some magazines and comics ongoing, so we already can showcase our work to a wide audience. It's all a matter of what kind of game we try first, and how can we give our readers some training in the skills necessary to make playing any RPG an enjoyable experience.

Ok, I'm starting this topic with this goal on mind: turning this ruleset into a GMfull game, where mechanics enforce players to create content of their own (story) with enough creative aids to make it interesting and quick.

I put some of the ideas I think would help at the end of the document, but if you have any idea, question  or can point me to another game for research I'll be glad to read it. Many thanks!
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Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 280


« Reply #1 on: May 06, 2011, 03:28:30 PM »

Hi,

Can you let us know who this target audience is?  Are you referring to folks local in the area, or a subculture?  Do they play videogames?  Because that's one avenue in which you can talk about how the game works.

I have played a lot with non-roleplayers, and I've found two things are really useful:
1) Getting to actually playing, quickly.  (Less than 10 minutes of prep, if that.)
2) Rules you can explain easily.

The second part depends in part on your communication style, and the people you're working with, but if you do it enough times, you start to figure out optimal ways of hitting the salient points.   

You might find it useful to try playing an established, but simple game, such as Primetime Adventures or The Pool ( http://www.randomordercreations.com/rpg.html ), and see what are the sticking points in terms of explaining how roleplaying works.

If you're specifically designing your game to be friendly to new folks, you can then include considerations based on your observations of what seems to be the easiest/hardest for people to digest.

Chris
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Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 117


« Reply #2 on: May 07, 2011, 09:29:49 PM »

Target audience age is from 12 years old to almost senile people, mostly local folks familiar with the manga subculture, which are our main audience. 3/5 are gamers, mos probably 1/5 play or have played mmorpgs and another 1/5 have played online RPGs. 1/25 of those have heard about tabletop RPGs and 1/5 of those have played one (D&D most likely)

But I don't think the lack of players could be a trouble. Wherever there is fun, players would appear. But only one of each 5 players will become a GM, and only 1 of each 10 GMs becomes actually good at telling stories or preparing campaings. Here in my country I believe that would be even harder, since the only way to become a good storyteller is to read a lot. And people here - specially young people- doesn't like to read. I'm talking about people that would consider this post way too long to read, and only post a 1 line reply to complain about how long it is and how they won't read a thing of it because of that.

Ok, I'm not exaggerating about those extremes, but I admit that's the worst kind of scenario. Yet I prefer to prepare for the worst and imagine I have to make the rules and mechanics so people like that would want to play again and again.

I agree with you that I should better keep the rules more simple and perhaps prepare a few tables to randomize some things and let another few things in the hands of the players instead of the GM. Like setting creation in a Burning Wheel fasion, for example. A list of story seeds would also be good, as well as a few questions to set the situations easily, like town creation in DiTV. And a bunch of examples of play would also do a lot of good.

In the notes I included on the document there was a mention of a few mechanics I was thinking of: GMfull, cards and a dice roll. I just tried those today with a few friends and we ended with a new game altogether. I like it since it seems to be good for training both players and GMs, so I think I can keep this game as it is with the old ruleset and focus on GM aids and explaining the game to the best of my ability.
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Chris_Chinn
Member

Posts: 280


« Reply #3 on: May 08, 2011, 06:09:56 AM »

Hi,

Have you seen the Celstyle rpg collective?  http://celstyle.com/?cat=3  They're all indie designers who have made rpgs that fit into the manga/anime style, and have done games at various cons making pretty solid sales. 

One of the tricks they've keyed into is that while a lot of folks have tried using anime/manga as a gimmick image to slap onto a generic system, many folks go to a sub-set of anime/manga for things that sub-genre provides - and they build a game around it.  (Classroom Deathmatch is based on that teenagers in hyperviolent situations while Maid is that fluffy, slightly ecchi comedy manga.)

Anyway, there's a set of games I go to regularly, to introduce people into roleplaying games: Primetime Adventures, 1001 Nights, Breaking the Ice and Universalis.  Of these, only the first has a traditional GM role - but I think you'll find that all of these are surprising in how consistent and easy they are for building good stories with the ways they structure play.  It'd be good to play some or all of them - it'll give you lots of ideas.

Definitely let us know when you get a new version of the rules up.  If they're not in english, we can use google translate.

Chris
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JSDiamond
Member

Posts: 282


WWW
« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2011, 09:39:39 AM »

Training people to become GMs is a challenge. I suggest looking at an excellent game called Lady Blackbird. The rules are elegant and the GM's guidelines in particular are very neat and helpful.
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JSDiamond
Warrior Monk
Member

Posts: 117


« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2011, 01:58:41 PM »

Thanks a lot! So far I see the trick would be a game with clear guidelines, a mechanic that allows and rewards players for generating setting details, a simple way to create characters and another mechanic to introduce some narrative turns. For this game I would need mechanics that would help the players and GM to:

-set up a chain of events on a normal day at school... well, at least as normal as it can be for young magicians
-set up a chain of events for an adventure on their character's "part-time job as magical plague exterminators"
-set up a chain of events on a training scene.

these chains of events shoud be a mix between randomly-generated content and player input. I just have to decide which adds what to what. I'll let you know as soon as I create some rules for that.
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