[Changes] Matthew SB's thread of noodling

Started by Matthew Sullivan-Barrett, April 08, 2012, 01:14:25 AM

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Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

OK, in keeping with my resolution to engage with the forum posting and such this time around, here's my rough beginning musings.

Random thread ingredients:
Drift: Playtest draft available
So, from this one comes the evocative word "Drift", as well as the concept of changing culture/technology.  And space travel.  Not bad for such a short thread.

No Greater Love: Power 19
Uncanny, how much overlap between this write-up and my Little Game Chef submission Chained...  Weird.  So of course there is lots I like, but am leery of re-treading thematic material I've hit before.  Still, rich with potential ingredients:Dignity as currency; Characters "born to die", facing personal demons to save something; A great city sunk into corruption.

Look Ma, I'm a Newbie
Another short one, maybe there is something to do with the title.  Or related to chat RP, though I'm not very familiar with it.  I like the discussion of GMless play, with GM duties broken down by Leadership and Authority.  That split may be fruitful.

Deisgn Patterns of a Successful RPG question
...And very short again.  Still, this has a nice nugget of breaking down Skills, Gifts and Traits, maybe that would be useable.

As for ideas, I'm kind of hung up on two that don't either seem even half baked yet.
1) The players have a mystical understanding that the world is about to be judged and each needs to change something important in the world before judgement comes.  Kind of an Unknown Armies thing, maybe, with the world about to be remade and they need to set things up so it will be remade how they want.  Only none of them agree about what needs to change.

2) Looking at the Blood and Glitter(Mick Rock) book I was taken with the idea of a band falling apart on their final tour.  Make up the band's last album using the album cover meme from years ago(http://mightyatom.blogspot.com/2008/01/album-cover-meme.html); come up with how they were going to change the world, how they haven't, and how they may still; playbooks for different rock-n-rolla archetypes; incompatible character interests.  I dunno, I'm pretty hung up on the album cover as part of group char-gen, but I'm having trouble finding synergy with the ingredients.  Fie.

In either case, I'm looking for ways that the game rules get modified and marked up through play, such that a slightly different game is played each time.  Not a totally new idea, but one that interests me.

Perhaps it will all seem clearer tomorrow...

Any thoughts welcome, of course!


Slightly damaged link, here's the good one: http://mightyatom.blogspot.com/2008/01/album-cover-meme.html

Good to have you on board, Matthew!
Yeah, i was also having a hard time with early ideas based on just the theme and trying to fold in ingredients. Maybe back it up a little bit, conceptually, and try it again?

Both your ideas so far could go somewhere, for sure, but i bet you have others there too, just waiting to synergistically combine for your great glory.
Course, i could be just spittin' water over here. Not sure.

If not helpful, at least i can be a cheerleader. Yay! Gooooooooooooal!
sure of ourselves, aren't we?

Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

Cheers, Jackson!

A good excercise in not holding things too tightly, I suppose.  I'll file the "Monsters of Glam" band game away for later exploration.  My fitful sleep bore no new fruit, but I've got all these scraps of paper with potential ingredients to start mixing-and-matching, we shall see what comes of it.  If nothing else sparks, I still like the Unknown Armies meets In A Wicked Age idea.

So many fabulous ideas percolating in this forum here, I'm almost scared to click at this point when my own attention is adrift without a rudder.

Alons-y, Alonzo!

Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

Well, none of my other ideas ended up being more interesting(to me) than Monsters of Glam, so glorious synergy be damned, I'd rather just have something to work on.  Though some good ideas for the save file came of it.

I've got to get some plans straight before I post more though.

Nathan P.

Better to write a game you're excited about and not win Game Chef, then the other way around.

Good luck!
Nathan P.
Find Annalise
I design | ndp design
I blog | Games, Design & Game Design
I tweet | @ndpaoletta

Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

Thanks, Nathan, that's totes my thinking as well.  Except for the "wining": I'm still in the "write bad games" phase of design, so this is mostly just trying for a personal best!

Now, no more from me til I've got design decisions to discuss.

Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

Oh, man.  So I'm scribbling down notes for this game, and I jot down that it seems to be kind of a mash-up of IaWA, ApocWorld and Contenders.  Then it strikes me that just Contenders reskinned would be a pretty cool, if different focussed, rock game.  So cool that it maybe had already been done.  A quick google search leads me to Umlaut: Game of Metal. It is apparently built on the framework of Contenders: SO COOL, Rich Stokes! If I had known that a few months ago when I saw it cruising Cubicle 7's store I would have totally picked it up in a flash.  As it is I'm fired up to purchase it as soon as GC is done!
I probably wouldn't have started down this design path if I'd known more about Umlaut, but I'm going to stick it out now that I do.  I've got some unbaked batter mixing, and I want to see how it turns out.  I'm holding off reading anything more on Umlaut until after GC, because I want to see where my design takes me now.
Some half-baked features of the game I'm designing:
-The band is created first, starting with their most recent album cover.
-The band can be any genre, though I've got 70's glam in mind.  As long as there are big personalities and room for idealism, it's all good.  Key feature is the band is fractured and on their final tour before they blow apart.
-The band was formed with the dream of changing the world in some way. That dream has not been realized but is still something they fight for, even if their means are not in agreement.
-Each player creates a band member, starting picking a broad trope: Dreamer, Artiste, Hedonist, Poser, ...
-Build problematic relationships to 2-3 other band members
-Build in a drive, independent of the band, that puts the character at odds with at least one other character
-Each character gets a spotlight scene.  After the scene, a track for the album is added and named based on the preceding scene.  Some individual resource is accumulated in association with the track.
-After a full round of scenes, the band as a whole has a performance on their tour.  Resolution here builds band resource pool.
-Repeat til end-game when either the band falls apart on stage, or they achieve some variation of their dream and go their separate ways with dignity.
Things get less and less baked the further down that list I go...  Any further and it is just not gelled enough to talk about.
One major feature I want to weave throughout is that of Change: Characters change, the band's dream changes, maybe they even change the world in some fashion.  And through it all the game text itself is marked up and changed.

Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

Ok, so my extra lines were lost in copy-paste, so appologies for the wall-of-text...


For the record, i'm hella glad that you're moving ahead.
You know, like i should be doing instead of posting in threads.


But the game looks intriguing. I like games about bands.
And games about problematic relationships with your collaborators!
sure of ourselves, aren't we?

Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

Thanks, Jackson. No more work for me today, though. I'm booked all evening.

My band perspective is entirely from the outside, so I suspect my use of the band as a volatile vehicle may be over simplified to peeps in real bands themselves. ...We shall see what comes of it!

Thanks for the support, man.

Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

Alright, still trying to nail down some details on how scenes and mechanics will fit together.

The general idea is that each character's Spotlight scene will serve to establish and grow their character's place in the situation and their messy relationships as the spotlight character works towards their individual drive.  I'm angling towards tension in the Spotlight between personal goals now and band success later.  I want most of the opposition and complications in Spotlight scenes to come from the other player characters. Not totally solid yet, but percolating.  Since I want these scenes, and the game, to at a fairly quick pace, I am leaning towards a conflict-per-scene resolution.  I was originally thinking of a lead-from-the-fiction set of ApocWorld type moves, but feel like it may be easier to keep scenes short and focused with scene conflict resolution. This is a particular concern given that there are a finite number of scenes in the game.

In the band's Stage scene, the band's success in a performance will be resolved by all band members.  I want this to be more structured set of challenges, with opposition coming from the game mechanics.  The band's resources will be influenced by how the preceding Spotlight scenes had resolved.  Additionally, there will be the option for player characters to try and show-boat, gambling some the band's success against some extra personal glory.

Hmm.  Since I'm still trying to sort out so much of the specifics, I fear the above is probably not very clear.  Still, I wanted to get some of my noodling down in case it moves anyone to ask questions or offer thoughts.  Please, ask away!

In terms of character roles, I've got the skeleton crew down.  I'd ideally like to have more of these, but want to keep it to a reasonable number given the size and time(!) constraints.

Artiste [Performer, Pioneer]
The artiste is [Inspired, focussed, creative, moody, detached]

Mystic [Dreamer, Transgressor, Guru]
The mystic is [Visionary, wise, confident, inscrutable, unreliable]

Captain [Anchor, Doctor, Promoter]
The captain is [Solid, thoughtful, protective, connected, dependent]

Fame Monster [Icon, Mimic, Hard Man]
The fame monster is [Glamorous, inspiring, hypnotic, thoughtless, aloof]

Hedonist [Coyote, Wild Child, Vampire]
The hedonist is [Decadent, liberated, experienced, blissful, selfish]


Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

Well, alrighty then.  Periscope back up, I'm getting ready to submit my draft soon.  Here is my current draft, which is what I'll be submitting if I don't find any glaring issues:

I'll say that layout and formatting, even just of character sheets, was way more painful than I was expecting.  I obviously have a lot to learn on that front.

As for the game, there isn't as much interplay between the fiction and the mechanics as I was hoping, but it is better than I was fearing it would be.  I suspect there are balance and playability issues, but I'm ok with that as an initial draft.

In fact, I'm rather pleased in general.
Yay, Game Chef.

Matthew Sullivan-Barrett

A couple things were overlooked in the Developer notes in the game.

First, Ribbon Drive belongs in the list of influences.

Upthread I link to the Album Cover Meme on the Mighty Atom blog, but forgot to copy and paste a bit in the Developer notes in the game itself that the album cover meme is a product of the internet(originating on Flickr) from 2008. Hopefully readers have not thought I invented the process itself, but I wanted to clarify it here just in case.

Finally, I've noticed the submitted pdf doesn't display the cover and band sheet image when viewed through iDevices. I believe this resulted from the optimization I ran it through, but if any readers want the un-optimized pdf for iDevice reading it is here.

Thanks, all!