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Unclassifiable Microscope: the RPG (Reboot!)

Discussion in 'Role Playing Forum' started by Saintheart, Sep 5, 2012.

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  1. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

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    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    Oh, jeez, you're right.

    [IMG]

    Alright then, amend that to: Light Event near the end of the closing period: the bodies of the greatest diplomats, thinkers, and artists in the city's history, including that of our Ambassador, are placed on the traveling space memorial Arcadia. In this way, they are saved from being lost along with the City, which is quickly becoming too dangerous to store important artifacts on as a result of constant fights between mobsters piloting giant robots.

    Of course, now I'm banking on corpses counting as people.
    Last edited by Ramza, Sep 10, 2012
  2. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    That works! So it's back to spy again... :)
  3. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    When in doubt, go for the macabre. [face_skull]
  4. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    I should've also checked something - Xan, reading your event again, I wasn't sure whether you were saying the alien ambassador is a Loren or not. Can you clarify that?
  5. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Yes he is. Sorry that's not clear!
  6. spycoder9 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2008
    star 4
    I’ll add a Dark Event in “The Three Families War” Period.

    Pak’ston, a son of the Loren diplomat, has become a major crime lord over the years. By choice, he becomes involved in the small turf war between him and two other rival gangs. While traveling with his family through the City, he was attacked. While some of his men guarding him were able to save him, his wife, and his daughters, his son was caught in the crossfire. After finding and killing the man who had personally killed his son, he made it a vendetta to murder everyone involved in helping kill his son.
  7. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    edit - Nevermind, answered my own question. Reading comprehension fail. [face_blush]
    Last edited by DarthXan318, Sep 11, 2012
  8. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    An in my role as the Focus, I'm going to add a Dark Event in the "Foundation" Period. This is after the murder of the three psychics on the Dyson Sphere.

    The Loren alien diplomat, whose name is Ston'Gei, is put on trial in the House of Justice in the City for the killing of the three human psychics in the City. The trial is controversial. Opinion is heavily divided along species lines as to the appropriateness of the charges given the perpetrator and the victims. However, by enlisting the help of Jalix'e and by his own considerable powers of persuasion, Ston'Gei is acquitted of all charges. This is a Dark Event because there is no question that Ston'Gei did in fact murder the three psychics, meaning that a crime has gone unpunished, because Ston'Gei is associating with Jalix'e and thus the criminal element of the City, and because of the disharmony between humanity and other species as a result.

    And that's the end of this turn. Again, I'm not using my powers to create two elements.


    Now we are in the Legacies phase, which is between turns.

    Legacies are common threads that may stretch through time and influence history. A A Legacy can take many forms–an object, a person, a place, a blood
    line, an organization, or even a philosophical ideal. The ideals of the founding fathers, a code of laws, a noble order of knights, an ancestral curse, or a sword fallen from the heavens–these are all Legacies.

    The player before the Lens -- i.e. spycoder in this case -- looks back over what happened during this Focus and picks something to be a Legacy. It hs to be something appeared in play this round, either for the first time or reappearing from earlier in the game. You are not making something new, just singling out something already in the history. Choose something you are interested in and want to explore more. It has to be something specific from the history, not a broad concept or idea. ‘Betrayal’ is not a valid Legacy because it’s a generic concept. ‘The Betrayal of the Sea Tribes’ works because it’s something specific that happened in the history.

    (Later on, If you already have a Legacy, you can only make a new one if you remove your old one. There can only be as many Legacies as there are players. That thing still exists in the history; it just isn’t a Legacy. If another player wants to keep your old Legacy, they can choose to immediately drop their own Legacy and replace it with the one being discarded. Repeat as needed. Having your name on a Legacy gives you no special authority except to decide whether to keep or replace that Legacy.)

    The same player (i.e. spycoder) picks a Legacy and makes an Event or dictated Scene about it (not a Period or played Scene). It does not have to be the Legacy they just created. Since this is between Lenses, there is no required Focus, just the Legacy itself. When that is done the Legacy phase ends and the next player becomes the new Lens.

    (A 'dictated Scene' is one of those scenes where there's no player interaction - it's like one of those "Tag: Nobody" moments you get in a regular RPG, where you basically write the whole scene out yourself. But let's again ignore making scenes this round because of the separate rules tranche - when I get a turn I'll probably make one and thus get us going.)

    So, in brief:
    (1) spycoder picks a Legacy. (As time goes on, obviously each of us will have a Legacy to add to the choice. So, this round, spy simply creates one.)
    (2) Makes an Event about it.
    (3) Xan then becomes the Lens, and sets the Focus, and we repeat what we did last round!

    Away we go again...
  9. spycoder9 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2008
    star 4
    Legacy - the criminal element of the City

    I’ll add a Light Event in "The Three Families War" Period. The crime between the three mobs seemed to be escalating by the day. Kile, a human officer who works for the City’s police force, made a huge break in the fight when he discovered the location of one of the mob’s warehouses. Along with fellow officers, he stormed the warehouse and arrested many known offenders. While many of the head leaders remain unfound, this find was a break in the case that had caused the City much turmoil.
  10. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    (Spy - is your Light Event before or after the existing Dark Event in the Three Families War period?)


    The focus will be on the Tian Family, a Human-controlled cartel responsible for the death of Pak'ston's son.

    I'll add a Dark Event in the Three Families War period, right after the Dark Event where Pak'ston kills the man responsible for his son's death. Essen Tian, younger sister of the dead man and daughter to the Tian Family matriarch, has sworn vengeance on the Loren who killed her brother. (It helps that said Loren is now trying to kill her whole family.) She orchestrates and leads an attack on one of the docks Pak'ston controls, resulting in the destruction of his smuggled goods, the death of several of his enforcers and distant relatives, as well as seriously injuring one of his daughters. Her involvement is never officially proven, but all the cartels "know" who is responsible thanks to the Tian mark: a black flower spray-painted on the floor of the docking bay.

    And I'll add a Scene inside the event: Essen's attack on the docks, which ends in a decisive victory for the Tian Family.

    ... so, Sainty, explain Scenes? :D
    Last edited by DarthXan318, Sep 14, 2012
  11. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    With pleasure!

    On Scenes:
    Scenes are the smallest units of history. They show us exactly what happens at a specific place, at a specific time, with specific people. Scenes are also different because, instead of creating them unilaterally, all the players join in and role-play to determine what happens. You give up absolute control, but in return you get to decide what everyone is going to role-play about, turning everyone's attention to a part of the history that interests you.

    To create a Scene, you first pose a Question, something you want to find out about the history. The goal of the Scene is to decide the answer to that Question. We start off the Scene without an answer and discover it through play. The Question can tell us something crucial to history ("why did the king betray his country?"), it can give us a window into what life was like in that time and place ("are the asteroid miners happy with their rugged frontier lives?"), or just examine something that isn't important in the grand scheme of things, but is interesting to the players ("did the soldier get to marry his hometown sweetheart?").

    If you want to make a Scene, but you want to answer the Question yourself instead of letting the other players participate, you can choose to dictate the Scene instead. (This is what we talked about earlier - if you're making a Scene in the Legacy phase, it has to be dictated, it can't be played.) When you dictate a Scene, you describe what happens and narrate the answer to your own Question, just like making a Period or Event.

    To make a played Scene, don't say anything about what you have in mind, just follow these steps:

    1) State the Question (Xan does this)
    2) Set the Stage (Xan does this)
    3) Choose Characters
    4) Reveal Thoughts

    Bolded text indicates choices made by all players. All other decisions are made by the player making the Scene.


    How to State the Question:
    The Question is why we are looking at the Scene in the first place, and the Scene isn't complete until we find the answer. A Question can be a simple yes/no or it can require a more detailed answer. Are the rebels driven by vengeance or a desire for freedom? Can the World-AI recreate the long-dead human race? What do all mages have to sacrifice to learn sorcery? What's the one thing that can harm the god of beauty?

    A Question can establish facts or stack the deck. If something is declared in the Question, it's going to happen. There's no avoiding it. Craft your Question carefully to push the Scene in the direction you want to explore. If the Question is "why does the king betray his country?", we know the king is going to do it. Nothing can prevent it. You would get totally different Scenes if you asked "Does the king betray his country?" or "What did the warlord pay the king to betray his country?"



    How to Set the Stage
    This is probably fairly straightforward. You do three things:

    (1) When does the Scene happen?: Decide which Event the Scene is in. If there are already Scenes in that Event, put it before or after one. This, obviously, is already established.

    (2) Review established facts: Refresh everyone's memory about things we already know that bear on this Scene. Don't create anything new at this point, just review what already happened and what we know is going to happen in the future. (This, too, is fairly easy to establish since we know a bit about the event anyway.)

    (3) Require and ban characters: The player making the Scene may (if they want) specify one or two characters someone must play in this Scene. That player can also name one or two characters no one can play in this Scene. These can be characters already introduced, or just descriptions of roles or relationships (“the doctor’s son”). Banning seemingly essential characters can lead to very different Scenes. You can require or ban categories of people (like police, nobles, or children), instead of specific individuals. You cannot ban groups by what they are not (such as banning anyone who is not a soldier), since that would create a requirement for all characters.


    How to Choose Characters
    As noted, subject to characters required and characters banned, we pick in reverse order: Me, spycoder, Ramza, and Xan going last.

    All required characters must be played, so if you’re one of the last two players to pick you may be forced to choose a required character if they haven’t already been taken. You can invent a completely new person on the spot, or pick someone who has already appeared in the game, even if it’s a character someone else played previously.

    All you need is a few words to describe the character, including any relationships they have to other characters. A down-and-out miner, the king’s lover, the lieutenant to the commander of the invasion force: each of those is all the detail you need to create a character.

    Your goal is to answer the Question, so pick a character that helps you do that. With some Questions certain characters may have a lot more power to decide the answer than others. Even if you can’t pick a character who decides the answer, your choice may tell the other players where you want the Scene to go.

    For example, if the Question is “why does the gunslinger refuse to draw?” and you choose to play the gunslinger, the answer hinges on your decision. You’re in control. Or you could choose a character that adds new details to influence the answer, like “the gunslinger’s kidnapped girlfriend” or “his pacifist father.” Is the gunslinger being blackmailed with the life of his girl? Did his father tell him to hang up his gun? We haven’t even started the Scene yet, but the pot’s brewing. There could be a lot of possible reasons, but in the end it’s up to the person playing the gunslinger to show us what really made him refuse.


    How to Reveal Thoughts
    Each player states one thing their character is thinking about the upcoming Scene.

    We go in the same order as picking characters, so, Me, spy, Ramza, and Xan.

    Your thought could reveal what your character is going to do or highlight what your character expects to happen. Revealed thoughts are a powerful tool for influencing the Scene. They let you give the other players hints about where you want the Scene to go. Don’t reveal thoughts that answer the Question before the Scene even starts–you can hint or stack the deck, but don’t give a definite answer.

    For example, “The navigator wonders why they’re really being sent to Korvis IV. He can’t believe they’d send a ship all the way out here just to take spectrographic readings.”

    Your thoughts can be about other players’ characters, but you’re only saying what your character thinks or believes. The other player gets to say what their character really did or is doing. We’ll see how it turns out in play, or maybe when the Lieutenant reveals his thoughts.

    You’re now ready to play the Scene. The player making the Scene can choose to say who is present when the Scene starts. Players can have other
    characters enter the Scene whenever they want.



    More rules about actually playing the Scene in a double post coming, so hang on! (But Xan can certainly get started on stating the question and setting the stage otherwise... :) )
    Last edited by Saintheart, Sep 14, 2012
  12. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    As far as playing Scenes are concerned, here's the basic rules:

    Each player controls a character in the Scene and uses that character to try to answer the Question. There is no GM. During a Scene, you can:

    (1) Role-play what your character does and thinks. If someone tries to do something to your character, you describe the outcome.
    (2) Shape the world by describing what your character perceives and how they react to it.
    (3) Introduce and play secondary characters (i.e. NPCs), as needed.

    Straightforward enough and very similar to how we RP in 'normal' board RPGs. The crucial difference is that during the Scene, everyone should be trying to answer the Question. Keep looking at the Question as you play. The Scene ends when the players know the answer to the Question. After the Scene is over, you will look at what happened and decide whether it was Light or Dark.

    The Scene ends when the players know the answer to the Question. It doesn't matter if the characters know the answer or not. If you think the Question has been answered, just say "Hey, I think that answered the Question." If the other players agree, you're done with the Scene - right there, right that moment. A player may answer the Question by having a character perceive something, do something, say something, or even just think something - it all depends what the Question was. Do you have an answer to the Question, but can't think of how to make your character blurt it out? Just say what your character is thinking instead. An internal monologue that reveals the answer to the players is good enough.

    Some other pertinent rules which bear restating:

    • You can't change the facts as established or (if it specifies) the facts the Question itself establishes (for example, "Why didn't Perry's daughter make it off the planet before it disappeared" establishes that Gabrielle Perry doesn't leave ... but you can change our assumptions about why things happened that way.

    • If you want to describe something about the world outside your character during the Scene, just describe your character perceiving it. You can make up anything you want this way, so long as it obeys the usual rules for making history (don't contradict what we already know, don't use anything banned by the Palette). You can make new things happen or reveal facts about the environment or world.

    • When someone describes something they see, don't ignore it. Work with it. Build on what other people add during the Scene. Another option is to intentionally introduce something incomplete and then pass the ball to another player and let them fill in the details.

    • Bear in mind that you may have to make a distinction between an actual fact and what a character believes to be fact, since they're not the same, and the results would be, shall we say, a little hilarious if you have someone building on a character's opinion which is contrary to what you actually want the fact to be. :)

    • If you can't explain how the character perceived what was described, you can't establish it as true; it is only an opinion. (So of course memories or "everybody knows" sort of stuff would probably cause something to be true.)

    • Revealing thoughts in character (i.e. via the good old italicised text to tell the audience I'm thinking about blowing up the ship) is useful to flag to other players where you personally would like the scene to go. Remember, you can't collaborate, but you do build off one another.

    • You and you alone control the fate of the character you picked. (i.e. no autohitting against PCs.) NPCs you create can be created freely and controlled only by you, but autohitting is permitted against any NPC by any player.

    • Sometimes it's the other way round: you want another character to do something to your character. If no one is playing that character or it's a NPC you control, just describe perceiving it and it happens.

    Now, lastly, there is capacity to vote on changing something that happens in game, called Pushing, but I might wait until we're a little further along - maybe the next Scene we do - before I get into that, since again it's more rules to remember. Let me know if anything is not clear about any of this thus far...
  13. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    ... okay, hm, then that event/scene combo doesn't work because there is no Question. Let me think about it a bit more. [face_thinking]
  14. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Remember that an Event doesn't totally have to be dominated by one Scene.

    Take that miscarried scene I put together in the 'last' game: the Event was Earth's disappearance, but the Scene within just asked why Gabrielle Perry didn't escape Earth's destruction. Suppose the Event is D-Day, the invasion of France by the Allies on 6 June 1944. A Scene in that Event might well be addressed by the question "Why did the Allies opt to land at Omaha Beach?" in which you set the Scene at a highly-charged meeting between Eisenhower, Montgomery, and Patton in London where they talk about that very question. See? The Scene is potentially just one part of the overall Event - other Scenes can be the actual assault, or even leading up to the assault - "Does Gomer Pill get a kiss from his girlfriend before he leaves?", or "Why did the assault on Juno fail?"
  15. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Right, right!

    So we'll go with the same Event. Dark Event in the Three Families War period, right after the Dark Event where Pak'ston kills the man responsible for his son's death. Essen Tian, younger sister of the dead man and daughter to the Tian Family matriarch, has sworn vengeance on the Loren who killed her brother. (It helps that said Loren is now trying to kill her whole family.) She orchestrates and leads an attack on one of the docks Pak'ston controls, resulting in the destruction of his smuggled goods, the death of several of his enforcers and distant relatives, as well as seriously injuring one of his daughters. Her involvement is never officially proven, but all the cartels "know" who is responsible thanks to the Tian mark: a black flower spray-painted on the floor of the docking bay.

    Inside that event, I'll create a Scene:

    The Scene's Question: how did Pak'ston's daughter get away from the Tian Family attack despite being injured?

    The Scene's Stage: It is the Tian Family assault on the docks. Essen Tian has a personal vendetta against Pak'ston for the death of her brother (who was in turn killed because he killed Pak'ston's son). She and her team will kill several of Pak'ston's people, injure his daughter, and still get away with enough leeway to leave the Tian mark on the floor of the docking bay.

    Required Characters: Essen Tian and Pak'ston's still-unnamed daughter.

    Banned Characters: Any law enforcement. The police don't know anything about this little skirmish. Ex-law enforcement, or people with ties to law enforcement, is okay.


    ... does that work? :D
    Last edited by DarthXan318, Sep 14, 2012
  16. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Looks good to me. We're into picking characters, then. Since I go first on that, I will be playing Elena Tian, Essen's older sister by about six years. (Leaving open whether Essen's (and Elena's) brother was older or younger than either or both.

    ...We're gonna need some family trees at some point, this is getting busy. :D :D

    Over to spycoder9 to pick now...
  17. spycoder9 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2008
    star 4
    I pick Essen Tian, the dastardly sister who has a personal vendetta against the man that killed her brother.


    Also, the event I created came sometime after the Dark Event involving the murder of Pak'ston's son. :D
    Last edited by spycoder9, Sep 14, 2012
  18. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    (Added! The Event I just created goes between those two Events, then.)
  19. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    I'm picking Bob Richards. Bob is a human of no real distinction on his first assignment after being made an enforcer in the Pak'ston operation. He enjoys painting and playing the xyloguitarmotron - a complex instrument involving a system of levers - in his spare time.
  20. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Then I'll be Gian'pak: Pak'ston's daughter, overseeing his docking operations in her deceased brother's place. :D
  21. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    (Sorry for the double!)

    I've just realised that I've been assuming the dead man is human the entire time (therefore meaning the Tian Family is also human) - was that your intent, spy?
  22. spycoder9 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 23, 2008
    star 4
    Yes, I assumed he was human. :( Sorry for not making that clearer.
  23. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    (Sneaking in to post opening thoughts...)

    Elena Tian is mentally running through her initial part in the mission, which is to take out the two guards minding the control room for Gian'pak's security systems. This is via a honey trap: she's posing as a prostitute these two guards called in to pass some of the lonely hours on night watch, and is not armed. (She's not leading the attack - that's in the hands of her younger sister, Essen. This is merely getting the drop on Gian'pak's docking operations.)
  24. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Human is good! Then we're all on the same page. :D

    Spy's turn for Thoughts now, yes?
    Last edited by DarthXan318, Sep 16, 2012
  25. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
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