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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: [ASH: A Saviour’s Heart] Full Game and System-Specific Questions  (Read 2088 times)
Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #15 on: September 24, 2011, 11:40:51 PM »

Rubbermancer,

I would like to call you Rmancer, or Rman, or Rubbs. Are any of these acceptable to you?

And well, gosh… I don’t think I’ll ever forget the concept of the “evil weenie”.

I love the way you write, you are a really good writer. Congratulations on that!

After reading your suggestion, I agree. I want all Sessioneers to have “floppy pseudo-meat” on their minds at all times. An excellent Sessioneer will be largely determined by their floppy pseudo-meat capacity, the more adept they are at identifying and appreciating the sublime beauty of multiple floppy pseudo-meats for any given context will determine their success as a Sessioneer.

I like the imagery of The Mechanical Soil for an Evil Weenie Tree in Your Mind. It’s important that this source of evil weenies be natural, unlike a factory which is rigid and mechanistic. Evil weenies must also be bountiful, and trees are good at continually producing things (leaves, more leaves, acorns, and fruits...)

I want the Sessioneer to be reacting to the PCs’ actions, but also prepared to introduce fiction elements that are either pre-determined or (more likely) impromptu dramatic or practical challenges to their Seek or Code. Evil Weenies. Exactly.

Please name some of these games of “leveling down”. I’d like to read some more games!

And no, I don’t think either $10 scenario applies to ASH’s Integrity mechanic. Could you explain what you meant Stefoid?

Thanks,

T
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Rubbermancer
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #16 on: September 25, 2011, 12:30:24 AM »

Quote
After reading your suggestion, I agree. I want all Sessioneers to have “floppy pseudo-meat” on their minds at all times.

Haha, I was kidding, but OK, AWESOME!  In that case, feel free to rip my words directly, if you want.

As for leveling down games, the one that still stands front and centre in my mind is Don't Rest Your Head, plus multiple take-offs in the same series, from Evil Hat.  http://www.evilhat.com/home/dryh/  It's wickedly fun, although I tend to replace a lot of the setting content with ideas of my own.
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Rubbermancer
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #17 on: September 25, 2011, 12:47:44 AM »

Blarr, and yeah, you can call me any and all of those things, or Joachim, or Joe.  Some people also call me Shaving Ronald's Car.  I realized belatedly that most people tend to use their real names here.  Wonder if I can get my handle changed...  Sorry about that.
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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #18 on: September 25, 2011, 02:54:42 PM »

Hello all,

At the risk of being obfuscatory (I am very much beginning to appreciate the irony of that word), I’m posting ASHrpg V2.00 in the same thread as V1.00.

Welcome.

So, let’s try again shall we?

Simply put, V2.00 is “doing less, better”. The language is simpler, layout polished, design goals refined, and many mechanics have been altogether purged. Blessedly.

Thank you to everyone whose comments have helped me return with V2.00. I sincerely appreciate it.

It’s a good sign that I don’t need to summarize the game in my next post. Just read the thing, it’s barely 25 pages of text.

http://ashrpg.files.wordpress.com/2011/09/ashrpg-v2-00.pdf

In-game terminology following...

My Questions

1.) Yes there are now elements of the setting in this version, but that’s not my focus of this release. I want to focus on system mechanics. I’ve provided enough setting details to understand the important system choices.

2.) Is my writing style easy(ier) to read? Is ASH accessible to you as a prospective player?

3.) Design goals. Have I achieved them? To what degree? Where are my strengths and weaknesses relative to my stated design goals? I want to invite general responses to this question (specific is nice too).

4.) I know you’re going to complain about the term “Heart”. I’ll admit that it still sounds somewhat cheesy to me, so you don’t have to argue too hard. I want to stick with it for a bit, feel it out. If you have anything constructive to say about this term choice, let me know. Otherwise… well, we can nitpick later.

5.) I used X, Y, Z for character names/places in my examples. This makes reading the examples easier (I think) for a first time reader. But I’ve sacrificed the aesthetic of this game’s setting. I plan to change X, Y, Z to names once I’ve filled-in Part Two: Setting. What do you think?

6.) When considering Domains I feel the same way I did about 30+ pages of my last release. Worried.

Are Domains too restrictive?

I included them because they have setting importance (fundamental fabric of the world). They (I hope) encourage players to consider problems from a particular mind-set, namely: organics, matter, and knowledge (Druid, Elementalist, Auromancer respectively). I want to include Domains to foster player creativity and a stronger sense of identification with one aspect of reality.

Argue me on this one…?

7.) The new application of Context Bonus. Do you like the idea of having re-tries for the RPS? (Remember, at most you’ll get 4 re-tries (if your opponent doesn’t bother to try). More likely it’ll be 0 or 1).

Thank you for taking the time to read and respond to ASH,

T
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stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


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« Reply #19 on: September 25, 2011, 04:28:40 PM »

And no, I don’t think either $10 scenario applies to ASH’s Integrity mechanic. Could you explain what you meant Stefoid?


An issue for me (with my own game and yours) is the desire to encourage players to take their motivations/seeks/codes  into account when making decisions without actually impacting that decision with meta-game mechanics.  This might not be an issue for you, if so , dont worry about it.

Integrity is a stick - if the character does not follow their stated motivations, they get hit with the stick - they loose $10.
Ingenero uses a carrot, (sort of - its in a state of flux, but for the sake of argument) - if the character does not follow their stated motivations they dont get the carrot - they miss out on making $10.

I think the carrot is the softer approach, and therefore less of an issue for me personally.
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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #20 on: September 26, 2011, 05:36:07 PM »

All readers,

ASH V1.00 has served its purpose. On to better (and blessedly shorter) things!

If anyone has a question/comment specific to V1.00 I’ll be happy to respond in this thread, otherwise:

The latest version of ASH can be found here: http://ashrpg.wordpress.com/

The Forge thread for ASH V2.00 can be found here: http://www.indie-rpgs.com/forge/index.php?topic=32027.0

Stefoid,

Yes, I'd agree that Integrity is more a stick-like than a carrot-like mechanic. (Rather, I believe it falls along a stick-carrot continuum, favouring the former’s extreme). But I don’t consider my (or anyone’s) mechanics in these terms, so I am not finding this metaphor useful or even accurate.

I do not believe Integrity is anything like a direct loss, as in the "lose $10" you keep mentioning. So let's also scrap the $10 metaphor, it’s breeding confusion at the expense of clarity.

I am not taking issue with whatever it is you’re taking issue with.

Past this point is me trying my very best to understand what you’re conflicted with with regards to Motivation mechanics. So feel free to just ditch the rest as me exercising my RPG theory.



So it seems you decided to join me, let’s use the term Motivation (I use Seek in my system, but the term isn’t the issue here) and speak in general terms. That’s fine.

Role-playing Characters Consistently

Your issue:

“[I have] the desire to encourage players to take their motivations/seeks/codes into account when making decisions without actually impacting that decision with meta-game mechanics.” [Stefoid]

You specify that you don’t want to use “meta-game” mechanics.

“Meta” means “beyond/behind”. To me “meta-gaming” is allowing real-world events to alter the way a player would have otherwise role-played their character. So this could be information they hear from the GM or knowledge about a mechanic that encourages/discourages them to RP a certain way.

But why is a “meta-game” mechanic distasteful in this context? Aren’t all mechanics “meta-game” because these mechanics/game-rules are beyond the character’s scope of comprehension—even awareness? They don’t think in terms of HP, Stats, or D20s… so far as I know.

By this definition I can’t think of any rule that isn’t meta-game. So I’ll operate on the assumption that “meta-game mechanic” is synonymous with “rule” in this context. (Perhaps you have a better understanding of this term so far as RPG theory goes, and if so, please fill me in on the details! Accompanying articles would be nice too; I’d like to learn more.)

So.

Let me try and phrase what I think you want to have happen.

"I want players to role-play their characters consistently with how they've been created, specifically when it comes to making in-game decisions that will be affected by their motivations."

Let me try and phrase what you I think you don’t want to have happen (and your position on a tentative solution).

"I don't want there to be a rule that encourages characters to do what I want them to do, and I don't want there to be a rule that discourages characters from not doing what I want them to do.

But if I was to have a rule that gets characters to do what I want them to do, it’d be one where I encourage them to do it rather than discourage them from doing it."


That's how I see it, and if I'm right, you want characters to RP consistently but don't want to have a rule that gets them to do it...?

Well then I see two solutions. (1) Don’t write anything and trust the players will RP consistently. (2) Write a suggestion that players RP consistently.

ASH’s Approach

Perhaps you meant “you want your players to RP their characters consistently but don’t want to have a direct rule that gets them to do so”. This allows me to segue into re-explaining Integrity.

The Seek/Code/Integrity rule/mechanic/”meta-game” mechanic doesn’t directly force the players to role-play any particular way. There is no immediate or eventual mechanical punishment for RPing in conflict with one’s Seek or Code.

Integrity is a mechanic that affects the characters in-directly, providing a latent effect.

Same as Rubbs said before: "the character's goals and the player's goals align by default" [Rubbermancer].

The player doesn’t have to “meta-game” a character’s actions because that character’s Seek and Code are exactly how the character would act despite the player’s knowledge.

The latent effect of Integrity loss (it’s on a 1-point scale, so you only ever do or do not have it) is that the character may expire. The PC doesn’t expire as soon as they contradict their Seek/Code, I even (despite seriously considering otherwise) wrote rules that allow the character to regain their Integrity.

At worst the player’s character loses the safety of having full Integrity—they’ve not been stolen from in any way, whether it’s $10 or their life.

Summary:

Check out V2.00
Integrity does not equate to losing $10
Not taking issue with whatever you’re taking issue with.
I don’t understand what you’re taking issue with.
Re-explained Integrity.
Rubbs is down-right genius.

Thanks,

T
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Rubbermancer
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #21 on: September 26, 2011, 10:13:37 PM »

Regarding mechanical vs. intrinsic bonuses for playing a character in-character, one thing from which both you and stefoid might glean some good ideas is the discussion happening in this thread:  http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?592904-Social-Acceptance-in-RPG-Settings&p=14453036#post14453036

It discusses the merits of in-world bonuses that can occur naturally whenever a character's "moral compass" (iffy term here) aligns with the persuasions of the world with which the character is interacting.  It does require a fairly well-considered world, as one of the participants notes, but I think that once you flesh out the fluff in Ash, you can start incorporating this concept to balance out any stick-fear prospective players might have.  And I would go so far as to say that, in order to make your Integrity system believable within a setting, (and thus enjoyable to play,) in-world validation and application is vital.

I do believe that stefoid's concern is valid, because it's a concern that a lot of players might have upon first reading the system.  Creating a setting that is immersive and detailed enough to a) offset, and b) conceptually solidify the Integrity stick with real-life issues and relationships could be a good solution.  In other words, the solution to stick-fear might lie in the GMing, not the mechanics.  It might be worthy of note in your rules, ie: "regarding stick-fear: a GM should encourage his players in such and such a way," but it's not necessarily an issue that you need to tackle mechanically.
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stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


WWW
« Reply #22 on: September 27, 2011, 03:45:09 PM »

Hi guys.

Quote
"I want players to role-play their characters consistently with how they've been created, specifically when it comes to making in-game decisions that will be affected by their motivations."

Is not what I mean.  Ill exagerate to more clearly make the point - that bolded part is a striatjacket "Your character will behave like this, or you get the stick!"  It robs the player of choice.  The funnest part of of the game is deciding when will my character jump this way and when will he jump that way.  I dont want the game to encourage me to only jump one way. I want to discover for myself, based only on my understanding of the character and the in-game situation, what hes going to do.

At one stage in Ingenero (probably still online) I had a rule that was really hand-wavy, something like "If you roleplay your character taking his motivations into consideration when making a decision, you get carrot, regardless of what that decision ends up being"  That clearly was my intent as a designer, but the 'rule' was just me writing it down in the rulebook.  I think its a poor rule, even though it is what I want to see happen.  Mentally I have abandoned it, but I havent come up with a satisfying replacement yet.
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stefoid
Member

Posts: 657


WWW
« Reply #23 on: September 27, 2011, 03:48:28 PM »

Oh, and I should add I dont want to hijack your thread with my issues.  If your intention is to encourage the character to act  according to his motviations, then Integrity is a fine way to do it. 
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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #24 on: September 28, 2011, 12:45:31 AM »

Rubbs,

I checked out that thread and responded. Thank you for your suggestion. I don't yet know how the thread-creator will respond to my last post, but perhaps he could make use of your "Evil Weenies" RPG Theory (sounds official, doesn't it? :P).

And yes, you are very very right that Integrity needs to be bound by an in-game explanation. Design Goals-System-Setting.

ASH V2.00 is clearer on this (as it is with everything) than V1.00.

Summary: Every PC is an individual that has accepted The Call (a supernatural offer from the world's deities). They were offered The Call due to their Seek and Code--their adherence to it and the power they have to alter the world due to their devotion. Note that the Seek/Code need not necessarily be good/evil--such terms are meaningless here.

The Call allows players to intentionally expend motes (expending in Tasks or Gambling in Conflicts) when operating within the Domain of their respective deity.

Such power comes at a cost, which is why players must expire after 6 sessions (none make it into the 7th session). Expiration does not have to be death.

PCs can be thought of as avatars in this sense, their entire being (physical/emotional/mental) is protected while under the effects of The Call. Thus, when they contradict their Seek or Code, the basis for The Call, they lost this protection and avatar-status.

Stefoid,

I do not feel as though you have "hijacked" the thread for ASH. All of your posts were in good faith, and I appreciate that.

I still don't see the issue that you are seeing. Especially when you interpret the last quote as a "straight-jacket".

PCs are encouraged to act however they want. If I wanted to force them to act one way then I would (1) only have either Seek or Code (this makes it tension-less between the two) and (2) not allow PCs to regain their Integrity once it has been lost.

Seek and Code will not influence every aspect of a character's actions. They will be reserved for big questions that will often be very niche-like.

Ex 1:
Seek: Protect my sister's fledgling business.
Code: Obey the law


Ex 2:
Seek: Destroy the Slaver Lord X
Code: Royalty are dishonest scum


Those are two proper Seek/Code as per my current version of ASH. Neither the Seek or Code seem overly restrictive to me.

I want characters to act according to their Seek and Code, yes.

Thanks,

T
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Rubbermancer
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #25 on: September 28, 2011, 08:11:05 AM »

Quote
The Call allows players to intentionally expend motes (expending in Tasks or Gambling in Conflicts) when operating within the Domain of their respective deity.

I have read 2.0, but apparently not comprehensively.  I'm still in the absorption process, (which is why I haven't been responsive to your new thread as of yet,) and I seem to have missed any reference to deities and their domains.  Do you have a pantheon?  I thought it was just "fate" or some such.  So I must say BLAST! because this bears some striking similarities to the system I'm designing myself.  No, actually... everything about it seems either exactly the same or utterly opposite.  What a weird thing...  Great minds think alike, I suppose. 

For that reason, I'd love to compare and contrast our systems, I think our frames of mind and design foci converge on enough points to make the exercise fruitful for both of us, looking at where we diverge and where we agree, and thus gaining "designer's self-realization", a perspective on the why of it. 

I don't want to post details here though, because I basically haven't hit any problem areas in my design that I feel would warrant a Forge post, and of course I don't want to just post and ask something lame as some kind of ill-concealed advertisement.  If you'd be interested in comparing notes, PM me and we can branch that side of the discussion into email.
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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #26 on: September 29, 2011, 10:23:27 AM »

Hey Rubbs,

I've noticed fools also think alike. Uh oh...

Just kidding :P, I'm pretty sure we're fine on that front (...awaits impending argument)

Absolutely, let's PM.

I would suggest posting what you have on The Forge despite our PM arrangement. I (to a degree) regret not having posted ASH sooner; it would have saved me lots of mis-allocated design time and energy.

Stating your design goals and simply asking us how well they match your current edition can give you a strong idea of where to focus your energy and what to consider removing entirely.

You don't need a particular "problem" to post here. Then again, your call.

T
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