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46709 Posts in 5588 Topics by 13298 Members Latest Member: - Nicholas Mizer Most online today: 64 - most online ever: 429 (November 03, 2007, 04:35:43 AM)
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Author Topic: Red Desert (Early Stages)  (Read 1800 times)

Posts: 6

« on: January 30, 2012, 02:37:27 AM »

So, I was on here years and years ago working on a game with my friend called Union Roleplaying Experience.  We were building a system and very expansive world from scratch, and we got a lot of really helpful critique and advice on these forums.  In the end, the game was a bit too ambitious for us and we kind of gave up before we ever finished.  But, it was a good learning experience.  Thanks to the people on this forum, I learned a lot about the right questions to ask yourself when you're trying to make a game.

So now I'm working on a new game, called Red Desert.  The setting is actually derived from a planned supplement to the Union game.  However the system is something completely different I've been tinkering with.  Everything's in the VERY early development stage.  I've done a bit of stripped-down pre-alpha testing with some friends just to get an idea of how it should work, and whether it's fun to play (that's always the most important thing, right?).

Anyway, here's the link:  https://docs.google.com/document/d/19AzIqNlfQ5FvJ-6bSqXAeznHk2iR145CY3viNVNNmKc/edit

There isn't much content.  But suffice to say the setting is a Western/Sci-fi mash-up that takes place in the frontierlands of colonized Mars.  The game mechanic is based on cards, chips and wagers.  Successful wagers generate more chips, which can be put into larger, riskier wagers and also converted into experience points to build character stats.  I'm borrowing a lot of elements, but we all do in the end.

I'd be happy to hear any early critique, criticism or affirmation that I'm going in an interesting direction.



Posts: 6

« Reply #1 on: January 30, 2012, 02:53:26 AM »

Also, I guess I should add that the impetus to engage in challenges, acquire chips and improve character stats is meant to encourage an atmosphere of continuous action, and that's what I'd like to cultivate with this game.  The mechanics themselves are meant to act as a motivator for the players to seek out stuff to do.  Less aggressive players will find themselves lagging behind, and hopefully find themselves wanting to participate more as a result.

Posts: 68

« Reply #2 on: February 04, 2012, 03:29:23 PM »

Wow Q!

That was definitely a fun read: organized sections, thoughtful mechanics, and an inviting setting. Well done!

1.) Red Desert is a strong title for this game. Red, Desert. Mars, Western. I get it :P

2.) 3-7 suggested players seems broad… I’d suggest refining that number down to a range of 2 (or even 3) instead of the current 5. Also, how long do you intend for a session to last? 2 hours? 6?

3.) I think Gemini is a great title for the city. I like to see Greek Myth/Astrology being introduced into the writing.

4.) Railroads? Really? Can’t they at least be… magnetic levitation (MagLev) trains or something? I was envisioning steam-powered trains and it (slightly) broke the immersion.

5.) Please revisit the Character Creation section and flesh out the terms you’ve introduced. Having an example character sheet would also help. Profession and Creed seemed particularly vague.

6.) I’d like to see the starting reputation be a set value. I can see players choosing a reputation of 0 with mindset of 0 rep=0 chance of enemies.

7.) The divisions of minor abilities seems reasonable, good choices here. However, I’m concerned that the three used in calculations (analysis, endurance, spirit) will be over-privileged and may present a balance issue.

8.) Super cool challenge mechanics! I like that static values are used for expediency, chips are used for wagering, and cards are used as limited resources. Limiting the Deal with resources is also a great idea. Very cool!

9.) I like how players can lose only chips or more cards depending on the result of their failed challenge. Nice flexibility.

10.) The rules for characters dying seem very fair.

You say this is “VERY” early dev, but I’d disagree. Sure there’s lots of work left, but you’ve done a great job so far! Definitely excited to see this game evolve.

Hope this helps,


Posts: 6

« Reply #3 on: February 05, 2012, 07:10:49 PM »

1. Thanks

2. I guess, this is based on my general experience with RPGs.  3 players is a nice, intimate game, but can lack excitement, and anything over 7 gets way out of hand and bogged down very quickly.  Perhaps, I should go more into what kinds of games best suit varying player amounts in the Dealer's Guide section.  Sessions, I feel, can be as varied as any game of D&D.  I've played sessions for 8 hours, and some for 2 (rarely less than that).  I think Red Desert games will largely be shorter than D&D sessions, just because the mechanics are designed to run more quickly.  But, that's something that will be revealed in playtesting and I'll put it into the book when I know.

3.  Thanks.

4.  Oh, no, they're most likely mag-lev trains (or some even futurey technology).  The term "railroad" is inaccurate, it's just what people call it.  Kinda like people still call schematics "blueprints" even though the blueprint the blueprint hasn't been in use for some 40 years.  There are many other examples.  But, I'll make sure to mention the MagLev-ish nature of the Trans-Martian Railroad.

5.  Working on it.  Not even one of the sections in this book are anywhere near complete.  Each has at least another 5 or 6 pages of content to go, and probably about 20 or 30 revisions after some alpha tests. (Not to mention the hundreds after beta tests)  Creed, by the way, is going to help to determine how characters regenerate cards in their hand.  There will be a list of circumstances under which a player may draw cards, and one will be if they do something that  fits into their creed.

6.  Rep has a set value, it's going to come from some combination of chosen profession (there'll be a profession list) and the skill levels of the skills associated with the chosen job (which will be delineated in the profession list).  Tribal affiliation will create a rep modifier when dealing with fellow tribe members.

7.  I'll playtest with this and see how much of an issue it is.  If it tends toward problems, then I may just scale it back and make it so Mind Body and Soul alone affect the hand, max win and starting chips.  But it's a good point.  Thanks.

8.  Thanks.

9.  Thanks.

10.  I fucking hate dying in RPGs.  I hate it more than anything I've ever hated.  Everyone hates it.  Unless you are planning to die in some heroic or meaningful fashion, dying unexpectedly blows so hard it makes players not want to play anymore.  You invest so much time and thought into every character concept, I feel like it should be hard to die.  That way, only utter stupidity or doing something that you KNOW is probably going to kill you will lead you to the grave.

It's pretty early, really.  There are probably a hundred hours of testing and another 50-60 pages of content to write before I even get around to making revisions.  Thanks for the input though.  A couple of those points are definitely food for thought, and the encouragement is... well... encouraging.
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