Started by Vulpinoid, September 11, 2010, 12:35:57 AM
QuoteIt's post apocalypse. Life is out of balance and the dreaming needs to be redreamed. There is an ancient network of song-lines across the nation, like the webbing of a spider; it holds the world together. But it has fallen into dissarray. The old spirits have lost their way, and new spirits from immigrant cultures have found themselves in a dangerous world far from their homelands. The old rituals need to be refound and new rituals need to be created. Spirits old and new need to be appeased through new rituals appropriate to a new age. The ways of pre-colonial times have lost much of their relevance, but so have the ways of the colonial era. It is time to reforge a new dreaming, using whatever is available. I'm pretty much ripping the guts out of my game "FUBAR".Characters begin defined by 4 traits. These starting traits are considered permanent.Dance: The way you move. In cultures around the world, the spirit world responds to the energies of biological movement. But there is something more to it, dance describes how you do other things. Are you graceful? Are your moves sudden and dramatic? Are you fluid? Do your movements convey deeper emotion? Are you intricate and subtle, or sweeping and grandiose? A variety of dances will be provided, each with five types of associated action. A player starts by underlining two of those actions to reflect talents they have acquired through their study of the dance. Dances might include traditional types from around the world, various ballroom styles, hip-hop, crumping, or even martial arts such as tai-chi or capoiera. A character may learn additional dances from the others their are travelling with, or people they meet along the way. People: Who you identify with. This is less about the genetic heritage you might possess and more about who raised you. This incorporates the mannerisms you might possess, the idiosyncacies in your language and the way you view the world. A variety of people will be provided, and in most cases a bonus will be gained from dealing with other people who also share that upbringing, while there will be other groups who will raise an immediate distrust of the character due to their mannerisms. A character may choose to forsake their people, but they will automatically suffer distrust at the hands of their former people and they need to prove themselves to a new people before they may claim another trait of this type. Edge: Your advantage over others. This might be a genetic heritage, or it might be a tool that you possess from the old times. Whatever the case, it is something you posess that the others around you do not. It is something that marks you as different, even if it doesn't appear scarred into your skin. Again, a variety of edges will be described, including vehicles, weapons, genetic mutations, special training, etc. Like dances, each character begins with one edge, but they may pick up new edges along the way. Similarly, they begin with five associated actions that might gain a bonus, two of which have been underlined/mastered. Scar: Your first marking. All of the characters in Walkabout are possessed with at least one sacred marking. It could be a tattoo, it could be a ritual scar. Whatever it is, it means something sugnificant to the character and to the spirits of the dreaming. Possessing such a mark shows that you have accomplished a deed and have been recognised for it. Any time you attempt to perform the deed again, the people around you will be expecting a repeat performance. All scars are marked on the character sheet. A character may have a maximum of 13 scars (Torso (Front and Back) - Abdomen (Front and Back) - Thigh (x2) - Shin (x2) - Upper Arm (x2) - Lower Arm (x2) - Head). Note: A common Edge trait among spiritual leaders is the ability to paint temporary scars onto people to give them bonuses for upcoming encounters (some characters may learn this edge), they may never paint these scars onto themselves unless they possess a scar allowing them paint in the outlines.Over the course of play, characters pick up temporary traits, they may make these temporary traits more enduring by having someone paint a temporary scar onto them. If they earn enough successes to make a trait "permanent" it lasts until the end of the current story unless it is permanent carved into their flesh as a tattoo or scar.I'm still working through this in my head, there are a few things that don't quite sit right, and a few other concepts I'd like to incorporate...but that's my current working plans for character development.As for what the characters do...everything will work in cycles.The characters will be trying to push a wheel clockwise while the forces acting against them will be pushing counter-clockwise. The characters will be encountering a series of scenes to cleanse a song-line, while the dark forces of the world will be trying to prevent them from doing this.Every success a character gains will be an opportunity to improve their abilities and gain new traits, or an opportunity to restore some of the world's balance. Players will be forced to choose whether to use immediate gains or build up for the long term.A story may focus around the cleansing of song-lines of a few kilometres or a few hundred kilometres, depending on how long the session is intended to last.Since the song lines bind the physical world to the dreaming, characters will be forced to encounter people, mutants, spirits and all sorts of strange things on their quests to cleanse the world and restore the dreaming balance...A lot of work to do.
QuoteDavid, Your questions have really gotten me thinking.Jeff,That's a great point about randomness potentially leading toward incoherence.In response to both of those, I had just been thinking of using this game as a "rewritten-from-scratch" update/hack for my FUBAR game. The chaotic free-for-all has been working really well in a game about betrayed people seeking vengeance, but these posts have really made me think more deeply about the experience of this game.As a result, I'm thinking of changing some of the core defining traits of characters...and changing up the structure a bit.My first thought was to create a singular game that focuses on a single section of a songline...a number of these singular episodes would build up to the cleansing of an entire songline. In this method, the game might run a bit like "Silent Hill" (I'm thinking more of the movie, because I haven't played the computer game). In this set-up a group of characters would encounter problems (represented by tokens held by the GM), they would solve these problems in the physical world only to find that there was something deeper at work (tokens eliminated in the physical world would transfer across to the dreaming). Characters would then be forced to confront the deeper issues causing the problems in the dreaming (tokens eliminated in the dreaming would be removed permanently). In this set up, tokens basically flow from the source of the problem into the dreaming, and from the dreaming into the physical world. Characters work to prevent the problems by following this stream in reverse. In a basic five act structure:1. Identify the problem in the real world.2. Hold back the immediate symptoms long enough to investigate where the breach between physical realm and Dreaming occurs.3. Step through to the Dreaming and draw close to the source of the spiritual issues.4. Face the source of the problem in the Dreaming.5. Eliminate the residual issues now that the source has been dealt with, and return.(This basically follows the structure of the archetypal "Hero's Journey").Character traits now become:Dance: The way you move. I still like this the way it is, no real changes here. I'd love to see a dreamtime hip-hop battle, or a dreamtime headbanging heavy-metal air guitar showdown. Advantages from your dance are always available.People: The people whom you identify with. Aboriginal culture (hell, ALL culture) is about community, it's about who you deal with and how you deal with them. Your first people will be the culture in which the character was raised. Each culture will have a range of stereotypical abilities that are available in the physical realm. Edge: Your advantages in the physical realm. Your first edge is either a signature tool (possibly a vehicle, weapon or genetic mutation), or a signature skill (occupational or otherwise). It only provides an advantage in the physical realm.Scar: Your advantages in the spiritual realm. Your first scar is a mark allowing you to cross between the physical and spiritual realms. Future scars may allow you to manifest your edges in the dreaming, the bonuses associated with your people, or other bonuses that might be accumulated along the way. As characters continue their journey through life, they make suffer wounds that permanently disfigure them (thus stripping away their total available scars). Now we also add:Sojourner's Path: The method you use to breach the barrier between physical world and Dreaming. This could be hallucinogenic drugs, it could be a form of astral projection, literally sleeping and engaging in lucid dreaming, or a variety of other methods.Let's look back at the character sheet, the humanoid figure at the centre stays the same because the use of scars is effectively unchanged (in fact they're probably now more important). But my thoughts about the outer ring have started to crystallise, it represents effective hit points in the dreaming. Characters place tokens in a number of the outer circles based on their preparations for entering the dreaming (some characters may have scars that automatically improve these preparations). While in the dreaming, any time the character would earn a negative trait (or lose a positive trait) they may instead choose to lose one of these tokens.Sometimes a character may suffer such a dramatic injury that their very soul is corrupted by the damage. In such a case, one of the circles is completely removed from the outer ring (either crossed out or physically ripped away from the sheet). Characters who lose all of the circles on their outer ring are never able to cross into the Dreaming again.In the physical realm, the outer ring doesn't do a lot. I'm not sure whether to tie it into some kind of mechanism for characters in the physical realm to resist possession or relate to other powers from the dreaming...it seems a bit of a stretch at this point, it doesn't seem a neat fit, and I don't want to force something that just doesn't for the sake of it.Now for some thoughts about the set up structure for the game...FUBAR uses the idea where each player contributes an antagonist, a location and a magic widget/maguffin. Over the course of play, these are incorporated into a story by the GM. When things slow down, the GM randomly draws a new antagonist, when they can't think of a location they draw one from the relevant pile, when they think it's time for a reward after a conflict or after an objective has been achieved the next random one is up for grabs.My ideas for Walkabout have had the same kind of notion. It gives all of the players some vested interest in the unfolding drama..."Will my card be drawn next?"..."I wonder if my antagonist will be the big one at the end of the story"...I'll admit that it's a bit erratic, and has the potential to get silly if one of the players isn't serious when they write up their card(s). But it's designed for a fun game.I guess that's where my next thoughts lie...Do I want Walkabout to be a bit of fun? In which case I'd tweak the FUBAR system but keep it relatively intact.Do I want it to be more dramatic? In which case I really need to think of something more. I haven't had a good experience of a dramatic game without a strong visionary in control of the narrative. I've struggled with creating a GM-less game, or a game with shared GM responsibilities where good drama is the aim.Do I want something scary?Stephen King wrote in Danse Macabre (his essay on horror): "I recognize terror as the finest emotion and so I will try to terrorize the reader. But if I find that I cannot terrify, I will try to horrify, and if I find that I cannot horrify, I'll go for the gross-out. I'm not proud." A lot of so-called horror games simply play to the "gross-out" angle, many of the Cthulhu based games I've played have tried to play to deeper emotions but have fallen flat. In my experience, trying to develop something that captures this emotional resonance requires a good GM using and abusing the systems to their own ends for a specific scenario. I could really see this game premise working well to that end with nightmares of the Dreaming and potential soul corruption, but ten days isn't long enough to really refine this style of play. If I wanted to do it, I'd want to make sure it is done right.More work to do...but that's my current state of affairs.
Quote from: baxil on September 28, 2010, 04:57:00 PMOnce again, I find that your own work is making me feel a lot better about mine...