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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13297 Members Latest Member: - Shane786 Most online today: 30 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Post-apoc steampunk caveman RPG - insight and guidance needed!  (Read 1299 times)
Rubbermancer
Member

Posts: 51


« on: January 29, 2012, 05:07:20 AM »

I've been working on this for over a year, during which time the game has mutated several times as I've refined and solidified my design goals.  I've reached the point where I have a wealth of note material, and a clear vision of how I want the game to be.  My biggest issue right now is how to organize the information into something that people can download, read, and play without having to ask questions.

In the link you'll find an introductory writeup to the game and the Broken Realms world.  A Rules pdf is on the way.

http://rubbermancer.wordpress.com/the-broken-realms/

Things to consider:  Having only read the first couple of pages, what do you expect from the game?  Do the following pages live up to that expectation, or surprise you (good or bad surprise)?  Is the setting info enjoyable and understandable?  Is it smart to have a brief introduction to the game's mechanics precede a long-winded world history, in one pdf?

Re: layout
I have zero layout experience, and I'll be looking for someone to help me out with that once the game's standing on more solid ground.
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nataix
Member

Posts: 8

Creator of the roleplaying game Proteus


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« Reply #1 on: January 29, 2012, 11:18:42 AM »

After reading the the first few pages of the intro (up to the Characters section), the game certainly sounds interesting and unique.  The first page (well-written with good word choice by the way) made me expect a fairly standard post-apocalyptic RPG, but the next couple of pages turned that on its head.  The creation of your own tribe and focusing on the survival of your people as well as your role within the tribe certainly creates some intriguing opportunities.  In some ways, the description of a tribe's way made me think there could be a strategy-game- or resource-management-like element to the game.  Creating the various elements of your tribe sounds like fun, but it also sounds like it would require a fair deal of familiarity with the game world and mechancis.  Could be a challenge for new players.  Same for the creation of your character's concept.  Since you are using a distinctly different system that seems to fit well with your setting, I think your placement of an intro to the system in the first couple of pages is a good choice. 

In the first die roll example, I noticed you subtract the tribe's tech from the roll, which is mathematically the same as adding it to the character's stat.  As people generally find addition easier than subtractions, simply adding the stat to the tech rating might make more sense, unless there are other mechanics involved in other circumstances.

Love the names for the three attributes by the way. The token mechanic limiting the options available to the GM is also an interesting idea.  I really like the backgrounds in the PDF, but the font is not easily readable.  Good for section headings, but not so much for copy.  Stick with a serif font like Cambria or Times New Roman if you intend people to print the document or sans serif fonts like Calibri or Arial if you expect them to just read it on screen.

The setting is interesting and original, with a well-developed history.  Artwork would definitely help felsh it out and convey the feel you are going for.  I'm curious aout the relationship between the mechanics you have described and the setting.  The section on mechanics suggests a focus on your tribe and surrounding area, while the pages of setting suggest a much more large-scale and epic focus.  Which way do you intend the game to go?

Looking forward to more.
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Rubbermancer
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #2 on: January 29, 2012, 02:43:41 PM »

Great stuff, thanks for taking the time to help out!  OK, updates:

1) I compressed the pdf file size from 57 MB down to 1.4 MB. That upload went a heckuva lot quicker, and I'm guessing more people will be willing to download it now.
2) Got rid of the caps text, replaced with Calibri.  That's a nice one, thanks for the tip!
3) Made the background images more transparent and got rid of some of the messier ones, hopefully they're more akin to page textures now. At least on my monitor, their details aren't really noticeable or attention-grabbing except where there's blank space between sections.
4) Changed the Tech Check example as per your suggestion.


Quote
Creating the various elements of your tribe sounds like fun, but it also sounds like it would require a fair deal of familiarity with the game world and mechancis.  Could be a challenge for new players.

Apropos, I was considering condensing the race writeups a bit, allowing the introductory ones to focus more on the world history side of it, with only some general current info.  I would then maybe include "Handbooks" for each race as chapters in the Rules, with more detailed info in there.  That way, a newer player could get an easier overview of the setting as a whole, and be able to pick and choose from there.  I figure in any case, the only one who really has to have a good handle on the whole setting is the GM, whose job it will be to introduce relevant info in-game.  Do you figure that would work, or would it be too messy, with stuff spread out everywhere like that?


Quote
The section on mechanics suggests a focus on your tribe and surrounding area, while the pages of setting suggest a much more large-scale and epic focus.  Which way do you intend the game to go?

I actually intend to take both the high road and the low road there.  My hope is that this dichotomy of "big world, small tribe" will provide a lot of material for a single Tribe to get excited or superstitious about, and provide plenty of backdrop that will throw any one Tribe's sheltered and set-in-stone ways into sharp relief.
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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2012, 02:52:03 PM »

Rubbs,

Bravo sir. Bravo.

Your work is excellent! I'm definitely glad to see you back and ecstatic to take a closer look at what you've made. Your setting is remarkably strong and that adds a lot of weight to this project.

I'll soon contact you with specific questions for your mechanics.

Until then... add a table of contents or something. The near-entirety of that document is setting related and it is tough to organize for someone-not-you, such as me ;)

Split it up into chapters for each nation or something, it would help readability.

T
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Rubbermancer
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2012, 11:16:28 AM »

THRIFF!  My man, good to see you again!  I've literally just finished a rough draft of the rules document, which I've bravely or foolishly made available on my wordpress page.  It's missing the following things, (and probably a bunch of other things):

1) A layout.  Even a crap layout.  There are no illustrations, textures or borders, the text is simple left-aligned MS Word output, and there is no table of contents.
2) A decent character sheet.
3) A Tribe sheet, decent or otherwise.
4) A Deities section.  I need to make Deities.
5) A better name for for Courtroom, something that fits with the theme.

My goals

1) To arrange my goals in a list, like this one, and Robot Pancake Hooker 3000 be damned.
2) To achieve optional, emergent rules complexity.
3) To create an equally emergent story engine.
4) To have a cool, original game that explores questions of individual freedom and of societal ties in a primitive and dangerous environment, and also allows for exciting hack'n'slash adventure.
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Rubbermancer
Member

Posts: 51


« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2012, 11:19:31 AM »

Blasted reply button...  And yes, my info organization is at peak performance, as usual.  :P  I'm having difficulty figuring out how to break a pdf up into clicky arrows, like I see in so many other pdf docs.  I'll get help on that from my buddy on Sunday, methinks.
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Thriff
Member

Posts: 68


« Reply #6 on: February 03, 2012, 08:39:18 PM »

Rubbs,

Just finished reading the rules document, it is much easier to read than previous iterations. You've really honed your use of language to keep a consistent ambiance to the document. (Before, as you know, different sections seemed to be encouraging entirely different types of games.)

I'll note my initial reactions here, but I'm still eager to spend hours going over mechanics, setting, and layout with you!

1.) Good job using numbered lists. RPH3k might be offended... you sure you're willing to risk that? :P
2.) You're right, character/tribe sheets will help. I noticed your character sheet from before but I think an updated one would work better.
3.) It would be good to see a Deities section.
4.) I really love the focus on emergent gameplay. You spelling out the circular nature of deity tokens in the core rules helped me see the bigger picture here. Players do something, they interest a deity, the deity intervenes, the players react, they interest a deity, the new deity intervenes...
5.) I love this design goal: "To have a cool, original game that explores questions of individual freedom and of societal ties in a primitive and dangerous environment, and also allows for exciting hack'n'slash adventure." You stick to that and this will go swimmingly :)

So, on to things I noticed in the document:


6.) I like the idea of splitting up reaction (D20) and action (D100). I haven't thought too much about the math of it yet, but the idea of higher granularity for actions makes perfect sense.
7.) You're right that Courtroom is a term that doesn't fit. I think of it as accounting for environmental and character bonuses/penalties (similar to what I had done in... one version or another of ASH. Can't quite recall, it's been a while and I've been working on other games :S). I know you'll find an appropriate title to replace "Courtroom"!
8.) I like the idea of mechanical bonuses/penalties based on a character's tribe (and that they can make one up if they so choose). Just be sure to add the range of bonus/penalty (henceforth "B/P") on the tribe sheet for easy referencing.
9.) I like the written descriptions for superstition/tech 0-5. That helped understand the terms.
10.) I am a reader that is intentionally trying to learn about (and memorize) the names and values of your cultures and peoples... but I'm finding it difficult to do so. This is more a concern for the history .pdf but it carries over to the entire game. There definitely needs to be a better organized approach to learning about the world. (I'm sure you already know this and I don't want to over-do this point. Hopefully we can spend time talking in real-time to alleviate this readers' confusion?)
11.) I love the idea of representing characters' ages in seasons. It's nice and non-numerical which will help with all the diverse races and cultures. Great idea! Ars Magica represented the characters' house/workshop/laboratory's age in terms of seasons too... in case you wanted to look into that.
12.) Glad to see Mettle, Mojo, and Marbles back. Alliteration, descriptive terms, and unique domains (they don't overlap)? Sign me up please! I sure hope you don't dump your 3Ms on the roadside!
13.) Just curious: how'd you choose the max for each of the derived stats?
14.) Period of Sanctuary and Reflection. I've learned to not "refresh" character stats based on "hours" or "passive time" of sitting around. I prefer to refresh points/stats/whatever based on the characters achieving something in the fiction. So perhaps refresh them when they discover a new clue, or make a major breakthrough in the plot. This streamlines the play to focus on the emergent story over "sitting around because that's how I get points back".
15.) I like that you allow the players to break their own ties for cores. Thoughtful of you.
16.) The summary sheet at the end really helps.

Summary:

Well done sir!
Layout :P

T
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bosky
Member

Posts: 38


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« Reply #7 on: February 16, 2012, 01:15:45 PM »

Nice, ever since seeing The Quest for Fire I've thought a prehistoric caveman game would be neat. Not exactly what you have here, but yeah, unique background and interesting setting for sure.
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Author of the Dinosaur Cowboys skirmish game.
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