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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13299 Members Latest Member: - Jason DAngelo Most online today: 40 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: [Storied] Constructive Criticism Wanted  (Read 3701 times)

Posts: 5

« on: December 21, 2011, 07:09:26 PM »

The game I'm working on is tentatively called "Storied: A Narrative Format for Campaign Roleplaying".
The guiding principle behind the game is an "extreme optimization of player immersion".  This is done via a conflict resolution mechanic that is unobtrusive and which rewards good roleplaying.  My second goal with this system is to be able to use it in long-term campaign style games.  There are many very immersive games, but most of them only seem to work in the short-term.

Below is the link to my first draft notes.
I am most interested in getting feed back on the conflict resolution mechanics on pages 5-7, but constructive criticism on any aspect of the game is welcome.
Some specific questions I would like considered are:

1) Will the conflict mechanics impede or foster immersion?
2) Are the conflict mechanics unfair? (by unfair I mean are they exploitable)
3) Does the conflict system (along with the Non-Standard Conflicts on the last 2 pages) cover all possible conflict situations that might arise?


Thank you for your help,

Posts: 657

« Reply #1 on: December 21, 2011, 08:37:58 PM »


Have you played this?  I would find it a bit too stressful to be judged essentailly on my performance like a talent show.  either that or the natural inclination would be to give your friends 3 out of 3 rather than admit they sucked.

How did it work in practice for your group?


Posts: 5

« Reply #2 on: December 21, 2011, 09:03:53 PM »

Thanks for your good observations, stefoid.

I have, though it it was an earlier, rougher version.
I admit that this game is not for everyone.  It requires a lot out of both player and GM.  The GM needs to be really good at thorough description so that the players don't have to constantly ask for clarification and thus break character.  And the players need to really get into the skin of the character they play without worrying to much about the judging process.

The "always give my buddies three votes" problem is mitigated somewhat by three things:
1) The guidelines for voting are explicit in the rules.
2) No discussion between voters is allowed.
3) Divergence in tokens voted gives more power to the GM.

When we play-tested this, neither the "spotlight pressure" issue nor the "buddy system" issue was a real problem.
The problem was in the flow of the narrative.

Posts: 500

also known as Josh W

« Reply #3 on: December 23, 2011, 03:29:47 PM »

Damn, constructive criticism only? There's my toolbox out the window. :P

Ok first off, if your going to ask the GM to provide a game pitch, you'll probably need to add examples of such a pitch, or how to construct it.

For example, say I'm considering playing a game with my freinds, I would first talk to them individually about the sort of game they'd be interested in, use the ideas I got from one person to explain the game to the next person etc. And possibly along that route I'd find out someone is more interested in running it than me, in which case I might hand the game over. If not I'll keep worldbuilding until I have a basic starting structure, knitting in stuff people are interested in.

It's a different way to do it, but it's one I know how to do. To encourage me to start doing it less deliberatively, I'd need to have more explaination on what that kind of preperation looks like, how it works. The examples in "player traits" might be a good starting model for this kind of thing.

On that note, working out what is within the scope of a game powers-wise tends to fall into three checks in my experience; those things that are effects with the wrong tone for the world, that overshadow or invalidate other players character concepts, or that constrain story possibilities too heavily in future. The first one is easy to do by gut, and that's pretty much all there is to it; your gut unifies the aesthetics of the game via your position as GM. The other two require empathy and foresight, but are probably ameanable to advice and packaged experience.

If you can help GMs and players do that, you will be helping them do things at the start of campaigns that will set them in good sted to lengthen their games.

I have to say I love the character introduction scene, I've never seen anything like it in a game. It reminds me of some slightly avante-garde comic where they show the main characters floating in whitespace just interacting with one another, like some cosmic waiting room before the real story starts. Very clever technique. If my freinds were weirded out by this, I might say something like "this is to represent those times they've met that person or people like them in the past, and get used to how the characters behave".

Another strong feature is how you use tokens and gestures to strongly distinguish system actions from in-character ones, I've tried it myself with a lot more types of tokens, but focusing on really straightforward stuff like "is this a serious conflict" and "how much action-spotlight has this person had?" seems a good idea.

When it gets into how the GM should frame scenes, there's obviously a specific feel or style your going for, but I can't quite follow it yet. Any chance of breaking it out into principles? One of them seems to be about sort of emotionally engaging with your own descriptions, standing behind them. Your definition of immersion also suprises me, as you recommend showing players things outside of their character's experience and allowing them to win conflicts by accident. Interesting way to play, but doesn't immediately strike me as immersive as I'd understand it.

It seems like I'd be able to give you better feedback on the kind of moment to moment game you want if I could see an example of effective play. Any chance of an actual play post about the kind of play you want to produce/facilitate?

Posts: 5

« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 03:59:30 PM »

Sorry for the delay.  Been away, and such.
Thanks to JoyWriter for the helpful pointers.
I will be adding Campaign/Adventure design suggestions into the game as well as a few premade story-saplings.

My concept of immersion is about an emotional response within the player regarding his character.
In essence I am trying to minimize the distance between what the character "feels" and what the player feels.

The best personal experience (with regards the above definition of immersion) I have had roleplaying was at a con where I played Montseguer 1244.
Here is the host's post about the game in general with some nods to the specific session I played in: http://www.goplaynw.org/forums/viewtopic.php?f=17&t=276
I played this at a busy, noisy con, and at the end I had to stop myself from actually crying during my character's last scene.  I would like to have this kind of emotionally charged experience in a progressive "campaign-style" rpg.

As far as principles within the game, I do have a few:
1) As little OOC dialogue as possible.
2) Resolution mechanics should require good roleplaying in order for player success.
3) Player descriptions should be personal, private.  Even combat should force the player to ask "Why is my character doing this?"

Posts: 500

also known as Josh W

« Reply #5 on: January 04, 2012, 07:25:49 PM »

Sadly I'm not that familiar with Montseguer 1244, to really be properly helpful I'd need redonkulous detail like:
When playing your character, what were the main activities they were involved in,
to what extent did you guide your character to situations that interested you, and to what extent were you suprised by your own actions in character,
how did your emotional engagement with the situation and the tone of the game change over the session,
how large or small were the intercharacter conflicts between players,
was it ever apparent that other players were building off the stuff that you contributed, and when,
where was most of the time in the session spent, and the general flow of the narrative, stuff like that!

This kind of stuff makes the difference between helping design a game for your purposes as opposed to helping polish a game that might end up ruggedly and consistently producing play you're not that interested in!

On the principles you've mentioned there, the last one doesn't seem to be effected by your rules yet, any more thoughts on what you want that to look like?
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