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RPR Archive The Codex09 GM Club ~Now Offering Game Analysis~

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource Archive' started by LordTroepfchen, Feb 16, 2009.

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  1. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    This Discussion Thread was approved by Saintheart


    What is the Codex?

    A few weeks ago I stumbled upon a RP board where friends of mine discussed the problem of the unholy trinity of Work, Family and Roleplaying. Just like me, they found these three elements to be hardly compatible to each other but wished not to end their favourite hobby.

    So we have discussed what is wrong with us and RPing and tried to find a new way of playing games. What we agreed upon was a system for smaller games that allows us to dedicate to GMing games, without overstretching us, while assuring our own quality standards.

    They call it a Codex.

    To this day there are 9 GMs worldwide who try to create games within the rules of this Codex. People from France, Japan, Germany, UK and the US have posted them in their boards and opened a discussion about it. Two GMs on this board have already devoted themselves to this open project. With this post, I´ll do it, too.

    Someone called it Codex09 and wrote down the rules. Someone translated them into English.

    Here they are.

    I post th
  2. RachelTyrell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2009
    star 1
    So, finally it is here! I´ll take the blue pill and join.

    I may point out for starters, that the first game played by the Codx09 rules is already here. My humble attempt in GMing . . . Beyond

    I hope we will get some insight in how these games work from it. And I hope I´ll have a lot of fun with scaring my players. :D
  3. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    First thing to note: my color is white, and my highlight burlywood... :D

    Seriously, I just wanted to make a small observation: this form of RPGing seems to me to suit a "tiny" or at best a "small" RPG as DarthXan318 defined them in her excellent analysis of GMing different numbers of players. It also seems to me (as Lord T I think has mentioned before) this form of RPG has had something of a precedent in the RPF (although not under that name) in Winged_Jedi's award-winning RPG Lea Monde. The main lesson IMHHO to be taken from that is this: IIRC Wings originally was aiming at a 1 or 2 month game, and (fortunately!) it blew out to 9 months or so.

    So it's good there's a should rather than a must to the suggestion the RPG is under 500 posts in length, because a full prohibition is unworkable. :)
  4. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    Good you point it out Saintheart, so I don´t get repetitive. Many ideas shared with our Codex have come up in the discussion about DarthXan´s excellent analysis of game-sizes.

    The relevant quote about the tiny game:

    I can only recommend to read the whole article and discussion, though. You can find it here.


    Also my motivation to return to the Codex-Group after I have pretty much lost my faith into it, was the incredible Lea Mondé of Winged Jedi. A game we can probably learn some lessons from.

    It can be found here.

    There have also been various storylines played by these rules almost to the letter within´ greater games. Enveloped by greater plots, they have been done with small groups of players and a single GM. I´ll try to find some of these and post them.

    That´s what came before. Now what will the future hold?
  5. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I was just going to say, the idea of small games rather than huge ensembles has been gaining some merit here already, but Saint (and LordT!) beat me to it. :p

    About the post limits: to be fair though, while Lea Monde took 9 months rather than the (admittedly ambitious, and I entered the game thinking so..) 1-2 month timeframe, it only ended up with 277 posts. We might have hit 500 posts if everyone stayed, I think - maybe - but it seems to me that it should be more of a guideline than an actual rule, and the 'set chapters and events' part is more important. As long as you don't spend six months painstakingly roleplaying a shootout, I think the number of posts and such doesn't matter.

    It also seems to me that this style of RPing most closely resembles tabletop campaigns rather than 'normal' online RPs: small group of players as protagonists, set plot, a definite ending and so on.

    Anyway, I definitely like this Codex. :D I am a fan of small, tightly plotted games in general, and these rules seem eminently sensible and all geared towards streamlining games as much as possible.
  6. RachelTyrell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2009
    star 1
    I think the Codex was menat as a guideline. Actually that is a little more obvious in it´s original french version. The translation makes it all a little more carved in stone.

    I think one of the good things about it is, that it works for many people on different level. The three projects I have seen so far executed by it, have all three been very different in their interpretation. But movies are always different from each other, too, aren´t they? And the movie analogy is one of the important things for me.

    The post-cab was integrated to make sure people tried to end their games. I don´t know if I can stay under 500 with Beyond. I am rather sure it will never make the 1000.

    So, LordTroepfchen you had projects coming up, too. Could be a good idea to introduce them.
  7. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    Yes, I have two games in the late planning stages.

    1. 133ABY - The Cold Embrace

    A survival horror of sorts. With our favourite baddies as prey to a far more dangerous thing than a Sith. I have put up a teaser and already have one of my three players for it. You can see it here.
    I´ll really stick to my idea of three players only. I´ll pick some people who are known for their staying power with games.

    2. The Ratep Sentarin and Hespar Kessler Chronicles

    These are two beloved characters from Sinrebirth 128 ABY series. Played by sprintabm and DarkLordoftheFins. A Master and a Padawan that will one day be divided by a schism. We will play their origin story, of sorts. Show a single, short, nice mission of them both. Just because we feel they deserve it.
    Yeah, two players only. Smallest group one can create, I guess. Thought people will gueststar with younger versions of their characters from 128ABY.

    Both games are a bit on hold, obviously, until I have moved to Tokyo. Which is at the end of the month.

    I think both games will test the concept of very small groups. And actually TRSHKC will be really, really short. Leaving space for a sequel, obviously. But only last about 200 posts maximum. To use the Movie-analogy again. An episode in a TV show, more than a movie.
  8. RachelTyrell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2009
    star 1
    So Beyond has build it´s cast and I have stayed true to the Codex and have only taken as many roles as I have protagonists. On a sidenote, I am surprised how quick people asked me to join. They seem to welcome me, very warmly.

    Concerning your game: I wonder about the Chronicles. A game for two. That´s is really true to the original idea of the Codex-Games. Two protagonists, two players. Anakin/Obi-Wan like. But I think that has never been done before.

    I wonder about Antagonists. Are they sort of Protagonists? Is it fine to hand one of them out? In Star Wars they make the best characters, after all.

  9. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    By the way, for the record, I do like large games as well as tiny games. :p They're a completely different sort of environment and a completely different style of gaming, and they're fun in their own way. It's only medium games I think we're best off not trying.


    As for antagonists: I think you might be better off not handing those out ...? Because in the movies the good guys (usually) win, after all, and you'd be hard-pressed to find a player willing to lose from the get-go. Plus if you have a team of heroes and a team of villains, you suddenly have twice the player base.
  10. blubeast1237 Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2007
    star 5
    Um, I thought this was how most GMs want their games to be.

    To have a beginning and an end. Lower number of players only makes that more possible.

    500 posts is hard to capture a real story. In 133 we are 100 posts in and haven't even got out of a battle.

    I'm all for joining the club though.[face_idea]

    -B-
  11. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    Welcome to our little group, bluebeast. I am eager to hear your opinions about things.


    As for larger games . . . who doesn´t Xan. I mean the only game I played around here, seriously was 128ABY. Which was really huge in it´s high-times. But I guess the members of this group feel they lack the time to do such projects as GMs. But I think we must give the idea of having huge games with many Co-GMs as a serious alternative to the Codex.

    Well, I know a few players who would jump the opportunity to play the bad guy, even if it meant dying in the end. But they are rare and would probably not be enough to do that in a great many games.

    Teams of both, heroes and vilians one could say is the essence of NOT being what we try achieve here, is it? The heroes are the protagonists (even if they are the bad guys, they are the center of our story). Then again . . . considering ~Beyond~ is not excatly Star Wars I think one have to seriously think about the idea when it comes to NSWRPG. Actually I think nowhere on no board anyone has tried to use these outline (that´s what the codex really is to me) on Non-SW material. I wish you best luck with it, Rachel.


    Is it? I must say that most GMs I know (including myself) have only a vague idea about how it all ends. And make up things together with players as they go along . . . that´s rather time-consuming and not always the best for players. As some feel to be second-fiddles. It also keeps things going and going because as the creative people we are . . . we come up with unlimited stories.

    Some games are simply meant to go on forever.

    That is not bad in any way. But makes it highly undoable for me, with my time to invest. A three chapter system (which would mean you were one third through 133 ABY, by now, which would be still reasonable) using a few tricks from narratives of movies and books takes away the open ended idea and establishes something I can aim at. My End.

    9 scenes away. 6 scenes away. 2 Scenes away. Finale!


    I feel that is satisfying. I really do. If someone concurs, that is totally fine with me. Codex isn´t meant to be an exclusive way of playing games, but only an alternative for those who feel Real Life and RPing colliding.

    Yeah, but you guys are crazy updaters. I wanted to lurk, but you play faster than I can read :D 133 ABY has four or five players to many to fit into Codex. Which is what Fin wanted, I know. He had been approached by me, you know? Split it up, have fewer people . . . he wanted a "small ensemble" and felt it was right. Then he must do it, absolutely. So far, my impression was, it works perfectly fine.

    And again, welcome to the Club, blu.
  12. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    I am late as always. But I am here, after all. So, with me being the new No-GM of ~Beyond~ I expect to give some input. I must say totally understand and was seriously tempted to organize my games like the Codex09 requires. Just because I felt I have little time and must carefully divide it. Therefore I haven´t joined any games as player, for I think I´ll be easily overwhelmed.

    I also have accepted Rachel´s offering to join the ~Beyond~ staff only after I have heard how very condensed and therefore calcuable the whole project was. I feel this to be thrilling, as one must say, many games expire their point of excitment. Something I always try to avoid. When the finale has come, the finale has come. Don´t prolong stories or characters beyond that. That´s what I like about the new "Fate-system". It is meant to end.

    In time, as more games of the fate-system come up we might think about adopting the Codex for that use. even though I fear the day we have to discuss this with our FFF (french fanatics faction)
  13. RachelTyrell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2009
    star 1
    Fin, I have just read you 133 ABY. Got it on paper, which makes it a much better read. Chapter One would have been a great Codex-Game in itself, wouldn´t it? On single dramatic rescue mission. With a little prelude and lesser players we would have had something like a TV Episode, here.

    Same goes for 41 ABY so far. If the shoot out would have been more fatal and Cara would have died, one could have send the rescue teams and would have had a beautiful story about cultural differences and racism.

    Probably revealing at the end something like planet-reflects-feelings-of-those-on-it.


    So, I assume even as both stories weren´t meant to be any part of the system, they can serve as templates of how you do things.

  14. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    From what I have seen of ~Beyond~ I must say the idea of "Limitation leads to Creativity" seems to have some merit.
  15. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    I think you're all trying to quantify the unquantifiable far too much. Games should go on as long as they have to; self-imposed post limits are foolish and leave no room for improvisation or new developments. Your plotline rule makes sense in theory, but how do you intend to put it into practice? we have a very successful game going on right now that started in the middle of the story; it's working out great for all involved.

    As far as putting effort into a game...I disagree. Your players will be there for a variety of reasons, not all of them as high-minded as crafting a fun game.

    I'm sorry, but I disagree almost completely with this "codex".
  16. RachelTyrell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2009
    star 1
    Well, games usually die, do they? Go as long as they have to usually translates into dying an untimely death. On these boards more so than on any others. I think the people creating the rule of plotting, took a page from movies, books, series, theatre-plays and so on . . . none of them begins without a planned end. If so (in case of TV series) they usually won´t have one.

    And post limits surpress improvisation and creativity? I point out to my very own ~Beyond~ which had to die because of my lack of language skills . . . but what the players put into this was amazing. If these posts were "lacking" anything, I don´t need more ;) Actually post-limits have nothing to do with it.

    And for beginning in the middle. It´s called in media res and it is a beginning that feels like a middle-part. Like Aria and 133 ABY used it. 133 ABY is actually following most of the Codex-ideas and quite successfull.




    But I understand LordT idea of dropping the name. I hate it. The concept itself is pretty much working but nobody uses it oneonone. Shall we lock this?

  17. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    I'm aware of in medias res; I'm not saying a game can't be successful using this writ of rules you have, I'm simply saying that you're trying to quantify the unquantifiable.

    And "post limits" referred to your rule of "a Codex game should last for no longer than 500 posts." Yeah, it's nice to see people acknowledging that RPGs are simply multi-authored stories, but you're limiting it by saying "500 posts." Think about it: you go on with these preconceived notions and ideas of how it will be, and when it doesn't go according to plan, you either adapt or fail. Either option is difficult to pull off on the spot.

    I'm trying to make sense of this, and you're seemingly contradicting your own arguments (specifically, your rules) with later posts.
  18. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Well, I think the Codex has been used as an inspiration by some GMs to recreate the way they plan their games. Especially the 500 post rule is something revolutionary. For a GM.

    Usually you post this and that and have another encounter . . . and so on. When I created my game, I wanted every chapter to be a mini-adventure. 150 posts max (+/- 50 if these unforseen events occur). It changed pacing, story-integrity, effectivness and everything.

    Of course 500 posts with three or four player equal about 2000 posts with 20 players. Therefore it isn´t few, it is a lot, actually.

    But the point isn´t made clear what the codex aims at by saying "500 posts mx"

    The 500 post limit therefore is the Codex weakness. The dedication to a real dramaturgy is good for every game. It works on every media and on every level. Always has. Limiting it to 500 posts brings up the question . . . what about these other stories? What about something they call flagship? Aren´t the other rules even more relevant for games that size and their almost certain death? Couldn´t it help, there?

    Therefore the Codex is like any guideline. To use it, you must break it. The games I have seen spawned from it worked very fine. There are boards these days that really sat standards. Above average, for sure. But almost all of them have corrupted the rules, themselves. Even ~Beyond~ has accepted players NOT part of the Protagonist-Crew (future survivors that is).

    Before you guys throw stones YES I AM AWARE this is made for people with limited time, worklifes and the wish to tell concentrated stories. 500 posts MAY mades hell of a lot sense for them, YES.
    But the art of concentrating stories is what makes a good storyteller in general. One should free it of the other rules and discuss it alone.

    Codex09 is to small in it´s view. There is something here every game can benefit from. And something that is too limited in view. Why mix it?


    And finally, I know why you don´t jump up to the defense of the 500 post idea, LordT. You were against it :D But probably this group makes little sense, without the original creators of the Codex present. For we four GMs using it, are not true to it´s core. Oly benefitting from it´s basic idea.
  19. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    Is SithGirly´s Monomyth a Codex09 Game? Does anybody know what it is about?
  20. Sir_Draco Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2007
    star 4
    Twelve Chapters . . . sounds to me like she is planning a series of Monomyth Games. More or less Codex stuff. She wrote parts of it a few years ago, I think. But I guess they will stay true to her old essay "Dramaturgie des Spiels. Aufbau und Verständnis". Which I am just too lazy to translate and post here.

  21. RachelTyrell Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 15, 2009
    star 1
    I think the Codex has a larger impact than originally thought. While nobody is doing it in it´s pure form, I have realized on htese boards they work on the opposite modus than the Codex implies. GMs ask for players. Games want to be endless.

    Codex thinks into the opposite direction. The GM chooses his players (which has an marketing effect, without a doubt) and a game is not ended, it plays towards it´s end. That´s not that unusual, actually. It is something we all experienced in other places and bring here. Yet, change always is a two sided coin.




    Penguinator-176 heavy fired on the principle of limited post-numbers. Well, I think he made two grave mistakes that undermine his point.


    1. With three players having 400 posts means 100 posts PER PLAYER (counting GM as one). Is there any game around here where players have made that many posts? Perhaps Galaxy at War or New Jedi Outcasts.

    2. It´s a limit like a player-cab. You can bend or break the rules. You can even ignore them. They might nevertheless serve a purpose. to remind you of the goal within´which you wanna conclude the story you are telling. These boards are amazing. I love the creativity and open-mindedness of people . . . but they are a nightmare when it comes to game-conclusions. Anything helping that, might be a good idea.





    Another Codex-Game in the making. Fin and me have secretly prepared another d6-rules game for the Games-Forum. Advertising will soon begin, but I am thrilled ot see how it works out. It will be a true codex-game. Short, intense and limited in it´s approach.

    Also the single chapters of FarStar could be counted, if it ever happens.





    Last but not least, as I am sure most of my closer friends around here read this. I have come to the conclusion that my english has become more of a hazard than an enrichment of these boards. I will be honored to end "honor" with you guys and I´ll try my chapter on FarStar. Then I am back to my own language. I think it has been a try and worth a try.






    />/>/>
  22. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    No offense meant, but I didn't call them rules in the first place, LordT did.
  23. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    So, if you want to, I´d invite you to join the discussion on the GDG board. I have a game there that is as Codex as one gets . . .

    And I think we should expand our scope of this club. We have a Codex (well, I still do not consider me a joiner, actually) that has shown some effect where it was appleid but seems to alienate a board where it might actually have changed too much. But we guys have all been frustrated by the compromise that went into Codex08 when it was created. So, why not thinkg about the broader scope of things?

    SirakRomar is writing a huge paper on Game-Marketing. I asked her to post it here, so we may discuss it. I also would like to share my thoughts on "original-designs", now that TheSithGirly has offered her game.

    Also if one aims for a limited size of the game, what is the narrative structure one uses? Someone has any thoughts on that?

    I have myself worked with "unchained" narrative on 133ABY and consider it a little too much from time to time. I preferred the "liniar three act Campbelian arc" of 128 ABY CG even though I like 133 as a game better.

    Thoughts?
  24. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Maybe I'm dense, but where? I've seen trailers but no OP.

    I wrote a script several months ago to do number crunching like this, so I can answer that: Tide of Flames had, as of earlier today, 6 posters with over 200 posts each (Saintheart, LightWarden and four players); then again, it's been running for one and a half years or so. As Father and Son has only BobaMatt over 100 thanks to the revolving cast. Dark History has three. LOTR has four. Imp's Senate game had two. GAW3, predictably, blows everyone out of the water with 26 posters over 100 posts and a few over a thousand.

    Lea Monde, only Wing (with 101 posts, at that). 11 BBY, none. Way of the Ninja, none. The Shattered Galaxy, none. Man Cubs, none yet and in fact with nobody over 50 except Wing, but the story can be said to be just beginning.

    So it's possible, even inevitable if the game lasts long enough. But it's also quite possible to finish a game (or wipe out; I'm only presenting data on quite successful games here) with everyone under 100 posts.

    (If you want to go into ancient history, Xavier's, Fool's Gamble, 128 ABY, Balance of Power, various IBOP threads and the lightsaber combat thread all have several posters weighing in over 100.)


    I'd also like to comment that when I read this Codex, I took it as more of a set of guidelines than actual rules, the actual heading of 'rules' be damned :p and if you view it as such, all the stuff in contention like the post limits kind of disappear. The posts here seem to imply that that was how it was meant to be read. Perhaps it lost something in translation.


    edit: I do have some thoughts kicking around my brain regarding the narrative structure of games, but that'll have to wait till morning... :D
  25. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    Xan that is amazing information you got there! Really interesting. I wouldn´t have thought so many users are above 100 posts, actually. So, they aren´t that many but with longrunning games it obviously happens.
    Actually with three players that would still be only 300 posts, but the whole thing with the numbers has been a little to much ripped out of context. I guess the "rules" work only combined. And modified to individual uses.

    So, yeah. They are guidelines.



    Why have I formulated so sharp, then? (Well, I haven´t. I only translated)

    Because they were also meant to spawn discussion, provoke thought and force to take position. Three goals with which they were totally successful so far :D


    I guess . . . and I can only guess . . . he meant something different and his 24 hours of no sleep really made his translation a mess. After the teaser of TheSithGirly there were some . . . unpleasant reactions to the idea she would bring this project here.

    I guess it was the reason why she began the discussion on another board to do it there. So TFN got competition. And yes, we should talk about that "original game"-thing someday. But first . . .



    I am looking forward to hear your ideas, Xan. And to all of you who mentioned it . . . this is the thread to discuss narratives. Totally. Codex is a framework for narratives but don´t feel limited to it. I think Narravtive in RPGs is THE underdeveloped sector in the ressource forum. And we can fill the spot until someone creates a Storyteller Guild.
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