idea for a new Endeavor

Started by David Berg, March 23, 2012, 08:14:55 AM

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David Berg

Hi Ron & Vincent,

Two months probably isn't enough time, but what the heck, I'd like to give it a shot.

I think it'd be fun to do a group game design endeavor, taking all the recent Story Before Participationism threads, enlisting everyone who's interested in those topics, and doing a collaborative system draft.  Regardless of the end result, I'd like to see people interacting with each other's ideas to work toward a new game.  In some ways, it seems like a fitting send off for the Forge.

I went to go post in the Endeavor forum, but the only such forum I see is dedicated to last year's Ronnies.

New forum?

Or perhaps I can propose the idea in Game Development, see who bites, and if there's enough interest, y'all could open a new forum then?

Please let me know what you think.  If you'd rather not go there, no problem.

here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

Ron Edwards

Hi David,

That's a good idea. This thread can be the location for hashing the specific tasks out a little further, which I really think you need to do, and for anyone to declare interest. Vincent and I will set up the new forum once things look a bit more concrete.

Best, Ron

David Berg

I'd like to hear from other interested participants on this, but here's my first thought on how it should go:

I'll do what I can to wrap the SBP topics in Actual Play, end those threads with summaries of what we've all come up with, and announce this endeavor.

People will come here to this thread, weigh in on this here 7-Step Proposal, and then we'll get started in the new forum.

Step 1.  Pick a GM goal.  Quick poll of participants on how much they'd like to (a) control every event versus (b) only control a few key ones and be surprised by the rest.  If no one cares, I'd set an in-between level.

Step 2.  Pick a genre, setting, and fictional premise.  Again, quick poll to see what folks are into.  I don't care what it is as long as we have something.  If no one has an opinion, I'd pick modern day conspiracy intrigue in a world where the first borderline-superhumans have just emerged.

Step 3.  Identify a group focus of play within that.  What do we really want to ask, wonder about, discover, process, and reflect on in play?  What are the fictional topics of the "GM plans -> GM introduces -> player discovers -> player interprets -> GM plans/introduces" cycle?

Step 4.  Discuss feedback and reward systems.  What outcomes and opportunities should stem from what player and character actions?  What choices between actions should be present?  This is where we'll probably spend a lot of time on half-proposals, brainstorming, ideas that won't quite work, etc.  Should we achieve a solid foundation before June, then we'd move on to further steps.

Step 5.  Discuss procedural specifics.  Dice?  Which dice?  What probability curves?  How to track currency?  Finish the game design.

Step 6.  Discuss presentation.  Name, tagline, pitch, writing style, art style, any unresolved form factor details.

Step 7.  Discuss publishing.

I will certainly participate plenty, but I have no interest in acting as manager/supervisor.  I don't think I'm particularly good at making executive calls on who else needs to do what when.  If there's demand for me to just take my best guess (as I just did with the above) and spew out marching orders, then sure, I can, but don't hope for too much.

here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development


Hi David !

Great idea indeed.
I tried to create such a system for many years, so you can count me in.

I believe that separating the process in different steps as you did is really useful, especially if every step has its own topic. We could probably add a topic dedicated to summarize the choices made as we go along, for quick reference.
I'm not sure about the order, some of the steps seem related to each others to me (steps 1, 4 and 5 at least).
By the way, I'm not sure that I groked your Step 3 : could you explain more ?

I think that several other subjects should also be discussed :
First, what about the CA ?
"SBP" sounds obviously like "The right to Dream" to me (especially the "Participationism" part), but is everyone OK with that ?
And if we're going for Simulationism facilitating design, what kind ? Probably "High Concept" from what I have read in the various topics, but I have the feeling this must be decided before we go too far.
Another point, you don't mention the character creation method in your steps. I'm not sure if it should be discussed on Step 4 (as it is related to reward and resolution systems) or if it deserves a topic on his own.
Another thought : maybe we could also discuss about the "Story Before" part : who creates the story, is there any system to help, and so on ...

I also believe there must be a really crystal-clear explanation text, one that doesn't fall on "The Impossible Thing". In my opinion, it is really important for that design because the "Story Before" technique will sound falsely familiar to any reader used to Illusionism. Maybe that could be discussed on your Step 6 (Presentation).

Decision process : in my opinion, it all depends on how many people will participate. Less than 4-5, we could go for consensus, more than that and voting could become a necessary process.
Anyway, we could keep the option to put a specific point to votes at any moment if discussion alone is not enough.

I will also post more detailed ideas in the existing "SBP" topics.

Hope that helps.


David Berg

I'm not sure about the order of the steps either.  I'm happy to hear alternate ideas!

A thread dedicated to summarizing choices we've made sounds like an excellent idea.

Agreed that crystal clear explanation is a must, but yeah, that sounds like a later step to me.

Step 1 should cover the "Story Before" part, including roughly how much help the system gives the GM in concocting their story.  Whether we should discuss how the system helps at this point or a later point, I don't know.

My intent in Step 3 is basically to whittle from the general setting down to anticipate a more specific set of situation types.  Steps 2-3 should define "what we expect the fiction of play to be about".  So if Step 2 produces "conspiracy intrigue with rare super-humans", then Step 3 might produce "the super-humans' experience of both leverage an vulnerability in the rapidly changing landscape of powerful factions with competing interests in them", or it might produce "a private company's attempt to stop the corrupt government from gaining sole control over super-humans".  From this in turn we'd get our idea of what sorts of player characters are on the table.

Perhaps a Character Creation step ought to follow?

As for Creative Agenda, I'm happy to call it Right to Dream, but only if we use that classification as an optional source of insight and inspiration rather than as a measuring stick to be rigorously agreed on and adhered to.  Personally, all of the CA-related insights I can call to mind right now are things that I expect we'll inevitably address in the course of striving to design for fun and functional play.

Glad to have you on board!
here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

Ron Edwards

QuotePersonally, all of the CA-related insights I can call to mind right now are things that I expect we'll inevitably address in the course of striving to design for fun and functional play.

Collapses into easy chair, swears never again to engage in CA debate, intending always to point to this quote instead.

Best, Ron


Thanks David, that's much clearer now.
About the order of the steps, I can't think of a better than the one you proposed.
A character creation step seems fine to me, probably near the reward step.

About the CA, well I have to agree with you (and Ron) on that one : this kind of discussion should not keep us away from what really matters, having fun designing a great system.
(I'm afraid I already put some CA stuff on my last post about SBP, but I promise you that I will not make it a priority)


David Berg

It probably doesn't need saying at this point, but this endeavor will not be happening on the Forge.  I had a busy month, no one else jumped up to organize, and now we're out of time. 

My intent now is to wrap up the SBP threads with useful summaries to make it as easy as possible to refer back to them from wherever else the project may land.  I may set up a site, or just go to RPGnet or Praxis.

I am short on time to do the summaries justice, so if anyone else feels like it, please go ahead!  I will read and comment with enthusiasm.

here's my blog, discussing Delve, my game in development

Dan Maruschak

I didn't keep up with all of the threads (I find it difficult to maintain interest text-based AP reports) and I'm not sure I 100% understand the definition of SBP, but I tried to embed some of my ideas about GM prepped plot and keeping the resolution system orthogonal to plot in my Game Chef game Getting There in Time.
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