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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: [Game Chef 2011] Full Fathom Five  (Read 851 times)
xenopulse
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Posts: 529

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« on: July 19, 2011, 05:48:52 AM »

Full fathom five thy father lies
Of his bones are coral made
those are pearls that were his eyes
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change
Into something rich and strange.
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell:
Ding-dong.
Hark! now I hear them Ding-dong, bell.

The merking's daughter is choosing a suitor. His advisor, of the octopei, whispers tainted advice into his ear. And the old crone's pearl eyes see into the mernoble's souls. Welcome to drama at the merfolk court.

This game is going to be related to Montsegur, Love in the Time of Seid, etc. You get five premade characters. They each have four motivations, but only one of them is true for a given game, either randomly determined or selected. Every player writes that motivation on an index card and puts it upside down--it's a secret.  That means you don't know if the advisor really is a scheming evil bastard trying to push you to exile your daughter or whether he's truly concerned that the court's been infiltrated and just wants peace.

Every character grants to its player an on-stage and an off-stage ability. These are the main modifiers of character interaction. For example, the advisor has:

Off-Stage: Lingering Whispers
Whenever you are not in a scene, and one character tells a second character something important, you can tell the player of the second character: "You don't believe this."  The player of the second character has to accept this as true and play accordingly.

And the crone has:

On-Stage: Soulgaze
Whenever you are in a scene with just one other character, you can gaze into their soul.  Pick up their secret motivation card, read it, and put it back.

My hope is that the interaction of these abilities will lead to drama and cool stories. For example, the crone can figure out what the advisor really wants, but if she goes to tell the king, the advisor will smile and say, "You don't believe this."

I'm not sure I can put enough work into this to finish it on time, given my stressful schedule right now, but I'll sure try. I'm pretty excited about everyone having an off-stage ability, thereby keeping players involved in scenes from which their characters are absent.
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Mark Truman
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« Reply #1 on: July 19, 2011, 08:45:22 AM »

I think the "off-stage" vs. "on-stage" mechanic is fantastic.  It's a great way to keep everyone involved without making each and every scene about all the characters.

Great game idea!
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Wilper
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Posts: 32


« Reply #2 on: July 19, 2011, 08:46:39 AM »

Looks like it could be hard and/or time consuming to invent all those abilities. Still it looks like a neat game, I hope you complete it even if you can't make the deadline.
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Jason Morningstar
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« Reply #3 on: July 19, 2011, 10:33:21 AM »

The off stage abilities remind me of Jeepform bird-in-ear technique. Which is strictly awesome.
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xenopulse
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« Reply #4 on: July 19, 2011, 02:17:52 PM »

Thanks Mark!

And yeah, Wilper, it will be a lot of work. I'll try, though.

Jason, I remember that vaguely--maybe you or Emily mentioned it somewhere before.  I'll look into it, maybe they have advice for how to implement it well. Thanks for the link :)
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Hans Chung-Otterson
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Posts: 54


« Reply #5 on: July 19, 2011, 11:59:04 PM »

I'll third the awesomeness of the "on-stage" & "off-stage" abilities. Also, I like the idea of randomized motivations from a known list, so people are guessing what's going on, but they have something to guess from. Fun!

I hope this is one of the ones I get assigned to read.
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