[Game Chef 2011] Tempest Planet

Started by Gryffudd, July 16, 2011, 06:28:45 AM

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Hm, spent most of tonight's work shift reading about Shakespeare and his plays, since my only real exposure to them was during high school (longer ago than I wish it was) and a couple of Kenneth Branagh's movies back in the 90s. What bits I'd heard of The Tempest always intrigued me though, and I've had an urge to do something sci-fi recently, so I guess I'll do that. Reading about the Tempest, and the colonialism interpretation of it, I think I see something I can work with. Rather Avatar-y, but I'll try to make it my own. A planet, a colonial governor (or somesuch character) exiled to this corner of the galaxy (and his attempt to right the wrongs he feels were done to him), the native population (Calibans and Ariels) joined in resisting the colonial empire by those who have broken their oath to it. Something like that. Really need to do more research, though, and figure out how to make it all work in only a few pages. Simplify, simplify, simplify, I guess. And I'll have to get the 1991 Sir John Gielgud version to watch too. Maybe Lost Planet as well (I love old science fiction movies).

Pat G


Arg, meant Forbidden Planet.

Pat G

Jonathan Walton

Prospero's Books is a totally insane reinterpretation of The Tempest but, if you can, read the screenplay instead of simply watching the movie.  Peter Greenaway's vision for that movie was brilliant, but it wasn't really possible with the CGI that existed at the time.  I really hope someone remakes it from the screenplay one of these years.

Forbidden Planet is an amazing film and it also inspired the rock musical Return to the Forbidden Planet, in which Dr. Prospero sings "I'm Just a Soul Whose Intentions Are Good."  Hilarious!


Ooh, I'll see if I can find those too.


Pat G


Forgot to mention it above, but the 3 I'm using are Exile, Forsworn, and Nature. I could fit Daughter in maybe instead of Exile. We're only supposed to pick 3 of the ingredients. Are we supposed to strictly avoid the fourth, or just not focus on it?

Back to research.

Pat G


Nevermind, it was answered in the clarifications above. That's what I get for reading the threads from bottom to top. :)


Hm, got a few ideas so far. System-wise it'll probably be pretty traditional, out of personal preference and the preference of the local players. I'm thinking a basic D6 pool system, with each 4+ giving a success and each 6 giving two. I know, nothing groundbreaking. I think I'd like to use the following table for skill resolution:

No successes: Failure and an additional bad effect.
1 success: Just failure.
2 successes: Failure, but with a benefit.
3 successes: Success, but with a problem.
4 successes: Plain success.
5 or more successes: Success, and with an additional good effect.

Not sure what stats will be like, but I do want Nature (as in, the character's true nature) and Fate (the character's fate, should they fail to avoid/resist it) to be somewhere on the sheet. I'm thinking two of your dice may be different colours than the rest, one being nature and one or two being fate. If you go against your nature, you don't get the die (and thus risk failure). If you try to fight your fate, you only get to roll one fate die, otherwise you roll two. Since the fate is always something bad, you may want to always fight it, but if you go with it instead, you'll be getting another die to roll. If your nature die comes up with a 6, you also get some sort of bonus related to your nature. If your fate die/dice have a 6, you draw a fate card, which will penalize your next attempt to directly resist the character's fate.

I'm thinking the fate thing can be resisted (or not) regardless of what you happen to be rolling for at the time, meaning it's more a meta thing, where you are toying with your character's fate in exchange for a greater success on rolls. You accumulate Fate cards until a roll comes up that directly involves the character trying to resist their fate (such as getting shot at if the character's fate is to die in battle). At that point the Fate cards will adversely affect the outcome in some way, possibly leading to the character succumbing to their fate right there. If they manage to avoid their fate, then they discard the accumulated Fate cards and draw a number of beneficial cards instead. What these beneficial cards are, I don't know yet. Maybe the character also has a Goal (maybe one tied to avoiding their Fate), and the cards are representative of attaining (partially or fully) their goal. Have to think more on that.

I'm thinking a stat may range 1 to 3, and that's the dice you roll to attempt something, so that a nature die, and 1 or 2 fate dice are a significant bonus, so you might want to take them even though you may get Fate cards from it.

Sorry for the inconsistent capitalization. Whether to capitalize a term or not always drives me buggy.

I'm not sure if this'll be a one-shot type game or longer. If I go for a multi-session set-up, maybe the goal cards are something that could be spent at the end of a session to give the character new things appropriate to their goal, so you might want to have the character build up a few fate cards and then get them into a situation that tests their fate, hoping to win through and reap the reward.

I should have another report once I get back from work.

Pat G

Jason Petrasko

I don't have many comments to make on anything yet but,

you had me at Forbidden Planet.


Heh, thanks, Jason.

I've worked out most of the system, and should have it in pdf form in a day or so, but here's some of the basics so far. It's a traditional style game, but, hopefully, with some interesting bits.

The setting is sci-fi. The empire of humanity controls the planet (reason currently undecided), using the local population as a workforce (the local population are named the Ariel). The primary idea is that players will play members of a rebellious group, exiles from the more generally peaceful people of the world or exiled humans who have broken their oath to the empire. Something like that anyway. Needs a lot more polish. The game would be focussed around rebel activities and trying to fight the empire, as represented by Governor Prospero. An alternate set-up would be to play Prospero's supporters in his attempt to end his exile and return to Milan IV as it's Duke. Two different outlooks on Prospero. Maybe. If there's space.

System-wise, it's a 'roll X d6s, 4s and 5s give one success, 6s give two.' Number of successes decides the effectiveness of the action. Each character has five stats: Aware, Fit, Smart, Sneaky, and Social. Range for each is 1-3, which is the number of dice you get to roll, base. The character has an occupation which adds 2 dice if appropriate. Lastly, the character also rolls 1 or 2 (their choice) Fate dice, which are d6s of a different colour.

The character also have four 'textual traits,' Ambition, Fate, Flaw, and Nature. Ambition is what the character is striving for. If they manage to avoid their fate, they will probably succeed at their ambition. Fate is something that, if they fail to oppose it, will remove their character from the game. For instance 'Killed in battle;' 'Betrays the rebellion; 'Scapegoat.' Their flaw is something related to their fate. If they have the fate 'betrays the rebellion,' their flaw might be greed, for instance. Lastly, nature is the type of Shakespearean archetype (sort of) that they fit. I know very little about Shakespear's use of character types, but after a little research I'm currently using Fool, Hero, King, Lover, Schemer, and Sidekick, some of which need a visit to the thesaurus, I think.

As the session goes on, and rolls are made, fate dice will give people fate chips (every time one comes up with a 6, so using both fate dice on a roll can be good and bad). May change this to 1s, so that you get successes or fate chips, but not both. When a situation comes up that fits the character's fate, and they have at least one fate chip, the roll involved counts as a fate event, meaning that when the player rolls for something that could end up triggering their fate, their total number of successes has to be greater than the number of fate chips they have accumulated, or else their fate is triggered. If it is triggered, they get to roleplay their fate, then that character is gone (dead, on the run, or whatever). If they beat the number of fate chips, they not only succeed, they remove the fate chips and draw a like number of reward cards, which they can use during the rest of the game to work toward their ambition. Trying to emulate the whole fate vs human action thing.

The character's flaw will give some rolls a chance to remove a fate chip (if they fight against their flaw and succeed) or gain one (if they fight it and fail). At some point (not sure when yet, but maybe during a fate event) a player can have their character forswear their flaw. Success neuters thier flaw's ability to gain them fate chips and should be a major event for the character. Hopefully I can write it up better in the pdf.

And here I come to one of my remaining problems. I've got exile covered in the setting/character set-up, and in Prospero's situation. I've got forsworn covered in the character's attempt to keep their flaw from controlling their actions so much, and in the idea that rebel humans have forsworn their allegiance to Prospero or the empire. I've got each character having an archetypal nature. The problem is that the nature doesn't really do all that much yet. I'd like it to interact more with the other textual traits. All I've though of so far is to give the character an extra die on rolls where their archetype is appropriate. A Hero fighting, a King leading, a Schemer manipulating, and so on. I'd like it to be more than that, as it feels a bit patched on. I don't have any ideas for using daughter (other than the obvious one with Prospero's daughter, Miranda), so I do need to have nature be a strong component. Maybe nature can save you from a fate event at a cost, or something. I really need to think about that angle more.

Reward cards are basically a small (maybe 25 or 30 card deck) that people can draw from when they avoid their fate and 'cash in' their fate chips. Not trying for a poker element to the game, I just wanted fate tokens to be big and visible and I happened to have some red poker chips on my desk. Could be glass beads instead. Anyway, I'm thinking right now that each reward card will have a quote from one of the plays on it and be usable to get a bit of control over what's happening in a way that helps the character move toward their ambition. For instance the 'Breathe life into a stone' card will probably allow you to spend it to have one of the characters heal very fast so they can assist you; or 'An Improbable Fiction' might allow you to automatically fool a guard (or whoever) with a story by making them gullible for that one instance.

I'm feeling reasonably good about it, I just need to work out a few problems and hook some parts of the system together better.

Lots of impressive games out there, on the Forge alone. It'll be nice to see how they, and the others not listed here, turn out.

Pat G.


Well, got a pdf put together. Now I just have to fill out the intro section and the advice section. And cut out 600 words. At the same time. <sigh> Anyway, it's up on my wordpress site, which should be linked in my sig line.

If you have any suggestions, or find it unreadable, please let me know. :)

Pat G.