The Whatever-It-Is-Mike-Comes-Up-With Thread

Started by devlin1, April 07, 2012, 10:39:04 PM

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I don't know what I'm doing with the ingredients yet, but this is where I'm gonna work a few things out.

Here are my threads, for reference:

For some reason, my mind keeps coming back to a space station in a degrading orbit. The PCs are aboard and have to do something -- and escape, presumably -- before it's destroyed. One of them is some sort of shapeshifting alien, but nobody -- including the players -- knows who. As the game proceeds, players get points or token or check off boxes or something; whoever has the most of those at the end, or at a certain point, is the mimic.
--Mike Olson


MMmmmmm, yeah, a retrospectively AHA! kinda thing. Cool.
sure of ourselves, aren't we?

C. Edwards

Are you still working with your original idea? If so, is there any player versus player conflict involved with being or not being the mimic?


Quote from: C. Edwards on April 09, 2012, 08:31:32 AM
Are you still working with your original idea? If so, is there any player versus player conflict involved with being or not being the mimic?
I haven't actually begun working on it -- I've been laid up with first a cold and then a sinus infection, and not really feeling up to focusing on anything in particular -- but neither have I had another idea, so yeah, I guess that original idea is still a going concern.

Anyway -- yes, there'd be some PVP at some point, once the mimic's identity is revealed. I see it working on two or three acts. In the first act (or two), everyone would be engaged in working toward some common goal, but often separately. For example, if I'm sticking with the degrading-orbit-space-station idea, let's say the station's lab contains some alien artifact or brain or something (humanity is at war with aliens, yadda yadda), and it's mankind's last best hope to defeat the alien menace. Maybe the station's under attack, or maybe it's having problems due to some other cause -- either way, everyone's trying to keep the station in orbit long enough for either a) scientists/xenoneurologists/xenoarchaeologists/etc. to study the MacGuffin and learn critical information from it, or b) a ship to show up and get the MacGuffin to Earth or somewhere safer.

So everyone's working together to keep the station in orbit or fight off aliens (or both) or whatever. When you take action and fail, you earn Mimic Points, or whatever they're called. Whoever has the most Mimic Points at the start of the final act is the mimic. In other words, they weren't "failing" -- they were sabotaging the efforts of the others. If you're the mimic, in the final act your priority very explicitly becomes "Deny the humans the MacGuffin." And, incidentally, now your failures are genuine failures, but you'd be at a significant mechanical advantage somehow. Because alien!

(What would determine the act breaks? I dunno. Maybe it's in the fiction that the station's computer is working on a way to refine its ability to detect alien lifeforms. At the end of Act I, it determines that one of the PCs is an alien. At the end of Act II, it determines which PC is an alien. But again, how we'd get to those break points in terms of the mechanics is still a mystery.)

I see this working with a GM (which would make it the first Game Chef game I've made that wasn't GM-less), so when it comes down to PVP, whatever the mechanics are, they should still work the same. That's prescriptive, not descriptive -- the mechanics will have to be such that when it comes to PVP, they still work fine.
--Mike Olson

Jason Pitre

Ohhh, that is _very_ compelling. Are you invisioning the inclusion of some kind of Trust mechanic, a-la Mountain Witch?  Is it possible for the humans to win?
Genesis of Legend Publishing
Telling New Stories around the Digital Fire


It's changed quite a bit from what I posted before. I decided the whole outer-space, sci-fi setting just required too much set-up and convoluted explanations. It started to feel very inorganic -- like the premise was extruded by force from the ingredients. Plus, the premise really encouraged PC deprotagonization. Someone's curing the galaxy's deadliest plague... but not you. And even if you were, it'd be pretty one-note.

So I dumped everything except the idea of a turncoat character.

The setting has become the present day. Instead of trying to save humanity, the PCs are now a group of nutbag cultists trying to bring about the end of the world. They have several goals to accomplish if that's going to happen -- the premise provides more of a hook for the PCs to be active and central to the story. They're hampered by their lingering worldly attachments, but if they can manage to distance themselves from nuisances like family and friends, they'll find that setting their minds to the task of summoning some bizarre, unthinkable entity from beyond time and space to consume and/or enslave humanity. They only have one chance to conduct this ritual -- during the Grand Convergence -- so if they screw it up, they've forever failed their otherworldly master (with dire results).

However, one of them is not who they seem, and in the final act of the story, with nearly all the pieces in place, this impostor goes from investigating undercover to quite overtly trying to screw everything up. Instead of the mimic being the character who's failed the most (as it was before), now it's the one with the strongest worldly attachments. I.e., instead of a fairly arbitrary game element, now it's tied directly into the fiction. Of course you betrayed the others -- there's no way you were really a cultist, not when you have a husband and kid you love so much! For the cultists, these worldly attachments are liabilities, but for the investigator, they're a source of strength.

In accordance with one of my ingredient-threads, there will be no random element here -- it's all about allocating resources, but in ways that are significant both in terms of the fiction and the characters. There's also no GM (in accordance with another ingredient-thread), or rather everyone's a GM at some point or another. There's just no central governing player. Instead, you have your Rival (the player sitting across from you), and your Rival has you.

A surprise influence here has been Lords of Waterdeep, although I'm definitely keeping this in the realm of RPG vs. a boardgame. My only real fear now is finishing in time. My notes are... scattered and scatter-brained. Communicating all of this in a way that immediately facilitates play will make or break this thing, IMO. There are kind of a lot of procedures to detail, though none of it's particularly difficult or complicated.
--Mike Olson


Okay! It's done.

The game rules.

The character sheets.

The cult sheet.

After I submitted, I realized I'd accidentally left out a pretty important rule: When choosing an Attachment during your Rival's turn, it can't be the same one you picked last turn or the turn before. I.e., you have to cycle through all three before repeating one. That's it.
--Mike Olson