[Game Chef 2011] A Beautiful Death

Started by anansi, July 15, 2011, 03:57:02 PM

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I actually had this idea a few months ago, but really no excuse to work on it. But here's my excuse! Game Chef! Here's the thread on Storygames where I mused a bit on the topic: http://story-games.com/forums/comments.php?DiscussionID=14142&page=1#Item_1

Here's the pitch:
All of the characters in A Beautiful Death will die in the end. But it's not the death that matters, rather the choices you make in the time you have left. As you play, your character's tale will be one of fatal flaws, violence, betrayal, and revenge. Morality, love, loyalty, and happiness are all big themes. Players will experience what it's like to be a character in one of Shakespeare's tragedies. You will die, but with your death be beautiful in the end?

As far as addressing the ingredients:
Daughter - this one's difficult. i don't want to pin down a scenario which requires a daughter, don't want to force players to be someone's daughter
Exile - not sure this one fits. again, i don't want to nail down a scenario element where you have to play exiles. 
Forsworn - i see the main mechanic in this game being a politicking and backstabbing thing where oaths and lies are prominent actions
Nature - this one's easy. the true nature of your character will be revealed. will you be redeemed, or condemned for your actions?

Those are my ideas so far! More writing and work to come over the weekend.

- Kira


This sounds like an awesome idea. I've been toying with some concepts recently where an ending is predetermined, but the context of that ending can dramatically alter the way it is perceived.

I can't wait to see where your ideas take you.
A.K.A. Michael Wenman
Vulpinoid Studios The Eighth Sea now available for as a pdf for $1.

Jason Morningstar

I like the sound of this! Predestination is cool because it shifts the focus onto other things in play, so maybe think about where you want those meaningful choices to be and how you will evoke them.

My advice would be to not work too hard at show-horning in the competition phrases. If they work, great, but if they don't really fit nicely in your kick-ass idea, favor the kick-ass idea.


A nice idea, and like me you are interested in what the characters find out about themselves, and the choices they make. Are you thinking therefore, that luck  (or dice) plays no part in this?


Thanks for the input guys! Jason, I shall endeavor verily not to be too persuaded by the ingredients, I assure you. I've been watching too much Tudors.

Also, Fredrix, there is going to be a dice randomizer typical of a normal RPG, but there will be no chance involved in the fact that your character will die in the end. Rather, I think I'll have it be competitive as to who can achieve the most beautiful death, and what will qualify as such. So it's sort of sadistic in that you're catapulting your character toward a potentially really awful ending, but all the drama and the action and choice making while you get there will be the fun part.

I took notes while I was at the park this morning, and I hope to have up a rough draft by this evening! I came up with some really cool ideas (I think) that I'd love to get some feedback on from anyone who cares to read.


This is what I have so far.

As far as mechanics, I'm working on a variety of things I hope to weave together.

- A social combat system that functions on two different levels: a one on one like the duel of wits in burning wheel, and something for long term intrigue with different factions or NPCs like in ORE.
- Secrets: a list of secrets each PC has that, once all are revealed, will enable their death to occur
- stats associated with place, relationships, and objects
- a dice resolution system that I have yet to define, but that might have to do with audience input and trading and gambling dice for favors

I think I might have just a social resolution mechanic in this game. If you look at the plays, whenever combat happens it just says "combat happens". I like to think of the fights, which will of course occur, being a result of some social maneuvering and left to be described based on the fallout from the social combat.

Nathan P.

I'm most intrigued by the "beautiful" part. Sure, everyone will die, but is the real question whether the character achieves a beautiful death or not? Who is to say what is beautiful? And so on.

Looking forward to this one!
Nathan P.
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Yes Nathan! That is the question I want to get at. The problem is, in game terms, I feel like I do have to qualify what is the beautiful death. I also have this inclination to want to make it competitive, do the whole incentive reward thing.

Updated my draft today with some of these ideas.
Incentive: create a messy complicated tragic situation for your character
Reward: have the most beautiful death, in competition with the other players

Not really sure if that's living up to the spirit of what I have going, but I like competitive games. It might also be too arbitrary, but I'm working on making it more integrated. Created a point system of "gain a beautiful death point when you do these actions" type of thing. Also, creating the GM duty section, where GMs will create the opposite of what characters create. Making a drama map called Entaglements. Fleshing out what all the cards will be, and redefined them as Fatal Flaw, Relationship, and Dilemma.

I think the next stage might be getting something visual I can work with. Sketching out some of these things in character sheet, table, and map format. Right now it's a jumble of ideas that I'm sorting through to try and get to a more focused complete idea.

Same link to the google doc if you wanna follow along:



Despite some mechanical brick walls and real lifes, I'm still working on this, and with Queen Elizabeth's blessing it'll be done by Sunday.

Check out some last minute changes I'm making, see how I'm honing in on the Good Stuff(tm) and please offer me some critical feedback. I've already got some really great feedback from Jason and Nick and Thom and Travis (thanks guys!) but I could use some more opinions. I've never written a game before. This is all new stuff for me. Having a great time thinking about it and working things out.



I made a map. It's the coolest part so far.

Having trouble figuring out my Secrets, Letters, and Tragedies rules. But its getting there. Almost done! Maybe more ephemera, like actually making cards to go with this nonsense.



Edit: should point out, I didn't MAKE the map. I put numbers on the map and edited it in illustrator. Obviously, that's Windsor Castle.


I'm tackling a similar project, where players create a tragedy or comedy.

By providing character development goals, I was able to tackle the issue of telling a TRAGEDY, rather than just a series of scenes or facts.
You may be able to do this with individual decks for each player. 5 cards per deck, and each card may have a storytelling goal... Show something of value they have. Show how they have a conflict. Show how they try to resolve a conflict and make it worse, Show how they doggedly try to solve their problem, only to have it end in tragedy, and finally, their death will only be beautiful if the other players agree. Perhaps other players can cite lessons learned from the player's death? The Epilogue is vital to the tragic narrative.


I finished!

The grammar isn't the best, and it ain't in Iambic anything, but I played it a little bit and I really like how the system works. For a first attempt, not so bad methinks.