*
*
Home
Help
Login
Register
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
October 25, 2014, 05:27:11 AM

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: 26 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
Pages: [1]
Print
Author Topic: Initial Concept Mechanics  (Read 831 times)
Red Lila
Member

Posts: 5


« on: July 11, 2011, 12:48:01 AM »

I need some feedback as to viability of  a system concept. Strictly dealing with mechanics at this stage.

The system makes use of a Tarot deck as the primary method of resolution. It is intended to provide both variable interpretive results as well as player driven narrative that does not become too free-form. It is also intended to provide the players with strategic challenges to engage them in the game mechanics themselves and not just the role-play without interfering with the role-play.

In said system, characters have access to certain "spreads" or arrangements of cards. A spread is placed face down at the start of a scene in a specific order. As task resolution becomes necessary, the cards are flipped over in the same order. The GM also has a deck set aside for oppositional effects.

The spreads themselves serve functions, providing a generalized bonus to tasks for the scene and each specific resolution has a bonus associated with the specific card position that was flipped over. Choosing the most appropriate spread for the scene becomes a player challenge.

If a card that is flipped reveals a card from a suite, then the oppositional deck reveals a card. The numerical values competing to determine success. The specific suite of the card may be used to interpret more specific information about the result as well as the oppositional factor.

If the card that is revealed is one of the major arcana, the player is provided narrative power to describe exactly what results of their actions within the bounds of GM discretion but the narrative should correspond in some way to the card drawn.

I'd love to hear feedback and any opinions or potential problems with the system. If you have any critic over its viability were it to be published I'm looking for this as well.
Logged
Xmarksthespot
Registree

Posts: 1


« Reply #1 on: July 11, 2011, 03:23:19 AM »

Firstly, I'd like to point out that your system seems to me to be a rather elaborate way of combining narratives and game system in a manner that's not totally random. Hopefully the Tarot theme also fits the setting of the game as well. If that's the case, it would be a good basis for a well-balanced system-setting-merge.

The mixture of resource management (the spread of cards), chance (the sequence of the events) and narratives (the interpretation of cards) make up for a very fluid and easy-to-explain system. Some Tarot cards might turn out to be quite difficult to interpret (the Hierophant for example, because players probably won't relate very easily to that).

I'm wondering what kin of Tarot deck you want to use, because there is one (I think it's the Crowley Tarot), where the minor Arcana also have names on them ("Despair", "Change", a.s.o.). If you'd be using this one, there'd be additional room for narrative interpretation of even the suite cards, and that might also give more reason to the specific boni a card provides. You might also think about designing your own deck of Tarot-like cards with card names and interpretations ailored to your game.

Also, I believe there are character-related rules and restrictions to what type of cards and how many of them can be assembled to a spread, but you haven't given any related details yet. If there weren't any restrictions, players would probably compose spreads consisting of only major Arcana, affecting the chance on "losing" in any given situation.

Another idea that comes into my mind is introducing a kind of affection circle for the four suits of cards. Maybe there is one suite that is trump for a player, or "swords defeats pentacles defeats staffs defeats goblets defeats swords" or the like.

Another question I have is what happens if the spread of cards for a certain scene is exhausted and the player wants to perform additional actions. Can't he/she?

Lastly, I'd like to add that for a magic system, the room of interpretation the cards leave would probably also turn out quite interesting.
Logged
Red Lila
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #2 on: July 11, 2011, 08:30:12 AM »

Thank you very much for your feedback. I focused on the core mechanic in my initial post but I'll expand a bit to address some of what you said.

As far as interpretation and the type of deck used, this is a significant factor and one that could be tailored to the particular setting the game is played in. To me, this system loans itself well to dark fantasy and modern occult games particularly well. Though the level of interpretive freedom gives it some legs in other genres.

I had intended that the specific deck in use is up to the player with GM approval. This provides players an incentive to pay attention to which deck their buying as they may interpret based off the image alone should the cards meaning not yield them something useful to work with.

I have contemplated a custom deck though I would want a separate one for each setting the system uses.

As far as types of cards. Each spread is intended to come from a full freshly shuffled deck. Since the spread is dealt face down, the player is unaware of what's in each position. To prevent things like deck stacking a simple "GM always cuts" rule could be implemented.

I contemplated such an affection circle but am concerned it would add unneeded complexity to a system already fairly detailed. Further, it only adds a more complicated factor of chance and not one the player can necessarily use to their advantage.

My thought on spreads was that if one runs out, sufficient time has passed that the player may place a new spread, though her options will be more limited than when choosing the initial spread. In a class based character system for instance a fighter might only be allowed to use the same spread he started with or default to a "combat" spread. In either case the first spread must be used up first, though powers that allow for otherwise might be allowed.

While I don't have a magic system created yet I agree that this system leaves a lot of room for interesting and creative magic as opposed to the static effects you see in many games.
Logged
contracycle
Member

Posts: 2984


« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2011, 04:32:03 AM »

You might not need to worry about defining the deck at all.  There are a hell of a lot of decks out there already, and it would be perfectly feasible, and seemingly in keeping with your stated aims so far, to let groups and possibly even individual players bring their own preferred deck to the table. That actually provides quite a lot of room for game and character customisation, as it were.  A quick browse shows there's even one in a superhero comic art style.  Especially if the player is going to be interpreting from the image, doing so from a deck they are comfortable with, and perhaps which they have chosen as some sort of self-expression, would make that easier and more consistent.

The number of cards in a spread offers a potentially interesting technique.  If this means that, for example, a spread of 6 cards means you only have 6 actions with which to resolve the situation, you open up a fairly novel sort of approach. I don't know if that is anything like your intention but if so it will become a pretty big feature of the design.

For the rest, it all seems sound enough, although I didn't see any mention of what happens when a player turns over a numeric card and the GM turns up a picture card in response.  Also no mention of the GM initiating actions, which may be intentional or may not.  Exactly what consititutes a scene, and precisely when spreads are chosen and laid, will also need some attention. It might also be interesting to look at doing something with leftover cards in a spread that have not been used.
Logged

http://www.arrestblair.org/

"He who loves practice without theory is like the sailor who boards ship without a rudder and compass and never knows where he may cast."
- Leonardo da Vinci
Red Lila
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2011, 04:55:09 AM »

I have been contemplating an ancillary system which involves endurance or fatigue and each time you need to place a new spread within a scene costs you endurance. Thus one could play a smaller spread that provided larger bonuses but is now faced with a high chance of needing another before the scene is complete. Such an endurance system would likely be setting specific.

If the GM turns over one of the major Arcana they interpret on the card as a player would and its up to their discretion whether that interpretation includes player success or failure. Drawing a major arcana is similar to rolling critical success or failure in many other systems. Both the player and the GM can do so.

The GM may call for checks in response to NPC actions, these checks all occur on the player side however. If the GM initiates a check in this way, the player card is still regarded first before determining if an oppositional card is needed. This order of priorities does put more narrative weight and control on the player but I feel it is not unwarranted as the system is intended to be a bit more collaborative between the GM and players than others.
Logged
Red Lila
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2011, 05:04:02 AM »

Oh, and I almost didn't respond to that last line of commentary. A scene is somewhat vaguely defined but it would constitute what takes place in a particular location within a reasonable time frame or across multiple locations if the subject matter remains the same. A scene could theoretically be a few minutes of combat or days of travel. If something dramatically altering the current state of play occurs this is usually sufficient to mark a scene change, such as being attacked by brigands while sailing from one port to another.

As far as leftover cards, I hadn't put much thought into it but I'm sure I could come up with something in time. As mentioned in my reply to Xmarksthespot I don't want to add more complexity that doesn't directly contribute to player interaction with both the role-play and the system.

I have contemplated using a sidebar of a few cards that can be used instead of your spread which are placed at the same time as your spread. In the current incarnation these are tied to emotional states. Based on you character's current mood he can make use of one of the sideboard cards instead of one from the spread. Though character emotions defined in the mechanics is something I'm not ready to discuss as its still being fleshed out.
Logged
Ron Edwards
Global Moderator
Member
*
Posts: 17707


WWW
« Reply #6 on: July 18, 2011, 12:19:02 PM »

Hello,

Please provide a link to an external document of some kind, as explained in the sticky post that begins this thread. I know it seems a little strange when effectively you're working with a few pages of notes, but it does matter. The project seems like a good initial starting point and I am posting this message to encourage you, by keeping the topic eligible for the Forge rather than merely closing it outright.

Best, Ron
Logged
Red Lila
Member

Posts: 5


« Reply #7 on: July 18, 2011, 02:51:39 PM »

Thanks Ron, I wasn't sure if you really wanted the one or two blog posts where I discuss my initial ideas as they say the same thing but less succinctly than here :P

Here they are for your reading pleasure.
http://redlila.tumblr.com/post/7197150223/roleplaying-games-and-mechanics-as-games - Initial theory discussion
http://redlila.tumblr.com/post/7465624354/further-explorations-in-mechanics-as-games - Actual discussion of this mechanic.
Logged
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!