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Reference The Game Designer's Group

Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource' started by Imperial_Hammer, Oct 22, 2009.

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  1. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    Funnily enough, she always wanted a swimming pool.

    Okay, wisecracks now out of my system - good, short OP, could maybe use a few more images to spice it up a bit. And can I just say it's refreshing to see games intentionally designed to not have planned endings?
  2. tjace Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 11, 2008
    star 4
    I consider myself answered then.

    Dang, now I want to play this.
  3. NickLitYouAFlame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 5
    I just now noticed that the GDG has seen a recent lapse in activity, so, in hopes of inciting a response, I propose the following question:

    What is the benefit of defining the time period of a game, as opposed to keeping it ambiguous, or simply not stating it?
  4. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Well it certainly hasit´s drawbacks (continuity), but what are the benefits? I initially thought of two. Players and context.

    Players like to know whenthey play.Many havespend sometimeto learnabout erasand they like to have the possibility to use such kowledge. More iportant probably certain eras are especially liked and disliked by players.Some peoplelike to playClone wars,soefind it hard to resist some canoical ABY game so I heard).

    Context is a bit more tricky. Every game needs a background. SW gives you the possibility to create such by positioning you in the timeline.
    Example: A Jedi character. Does he know what a Sith is? Has he fought them? Does he consider them extinct or an active threat? What technology is available? A 4.000 meter tall ship shows up. Is it a giant of it´s era or a "nice try" compared to the Executor? Is a Jedi on the run or established as a force of justice and peace? Is a soldier coming from a long line of soldiers or is he someone rising through ranks in the rebellion only to suddenly find himself in an Admiral´s chair? Which wars have the characters seen? Who did they meet? Who is an enemy? Who a friend? All these things are easily provided by saying what era the game is coming from.
  5. NickLitYouAFlame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 5
    So isn't it possible that the necessity of a specific time period is directly affected by the scope of the game. The benefits in a game like 128 ABY are clear, where the size of the game is massive and it spans multiple planets simultaneously. In smaller games, however, I feel like avoiding giving a defined time might allow the players to focus on character interactions rather than faction interaction. I feel like if you avoid a specific era it allows you to create a more conceptual game. Obviously, though, this works better if you are willing to ignore certain aspects of canon.
  6. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Well... for a small game it's easier to handwave it, yeah. For example, I keep forgetting when exactly Lea Monde was set because it just didn't matter - I mean it was ABY because there were Imperial Knights but it didn't really matter how many years ABY it was. It could just as easily have been set in 100BBY and be a story of Jedi and Dark Jedi investigators, or 4000BBY and had Jedi and Sith investigators, or so on so forth.

    But I'd contend that there is no particular benefit to refusing to name a time period entirely. Even if your game premise is "you are human colonists who land on an uncharted planet and destroy all your comm equipment so you're all alone in the galaxy" a time period is useful to position your character's background, experience, expertise, beliefs and so on.
  7. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    I guess for most games it is simply necessary as SW games are usually tales of historical events in the galaxy and it´s their nature to "position" them. For most games not being such, you need at least a general OR/NR divide because people see things different in those two eras. Especially Jedi and Sith are very different.

    But you got a point concerning concept games. I lurk Lea Monde II and I got no idea when it is said, although Xanys text above indicates it is ABY, too. I think my own Cold Embrace could have worked as well with Revan´s Sith. You The Deep actually has the same vibe, but characters like Captains or Jedi obviously undermine that. Captain by whose grace? Exploring the galaxy for whom? Jedi of the Old or New Jedi Order? I see players feel not too comfortable with guessing their background.

    Therefore I´d say a positioning within the timeline might always be a good thing.
  8. NickLitYouAFlame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 5
    But, haven't there been Jedi since the very early BBY and up until the farthest dated ABY? And, I meant Captain, in that he is simply the captain of the vessel, with no military or political connection. I'm not saying that for my game I am refusing to tell my players when it is set, though. The second anyone asks, I'll say BBY, maybe thirty or forty years before the Prequel Trilogy. I just wondered if it was always absolutely necessary. But, now I think that while not totally necessary, it is always useful for the players. But, can I give them a general time, rather than a specific year? For example, several hundred years ABY and then proceed to describe their specific scenario?
  9. Mitth_Fisto Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Sep 29, 2005
    star 5
    As a player I would have to say that general timeline works with the scenario you gave, I as a player find so long as I know where I stand in relation to the Galaxy spanning wars I'm good to go with deciding on type of equipment, stance of character, etc.
  10. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    There've been ... oh ... a few decades here and there in galactic history when the Jedi have been nearly wiped out, or busy fighting a galactic war, or trying to rebuild from being nearly wiped out or fighting a galactic war. The 'Padawan' title also only exists before the Great Jedi Purge. So for your current game in particular, I'd say "30ish BBY" is a good enough answer, but I'd raise an eyebrow if you said "several hundred ABY" or "0 BBY". You know?

    But generally it all depends on how much freedom your players have in creating their characters. The more freedom they have, the more information they need about the universe, including time frame.
  11. NickLitYouAFlame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 5
    Is that always the case, though? I mean, if I took out the Jedi option from my game and created a unique, generic ship, doesn't that remove the necessity? For all intents and purposes, my game could occur at any time in the Star Wars history, right? I only ask, because I'm wondering if it's possible to create a game that can truly float. In other words, a game that could fit into any empty space in the timeline. Isn't it that the weak link is time specific details, like the Jedi or the Sith, or a certain ship or certain piece of equipment?
  12. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I'm not so sure it would work in a game that seems to be about flying around the galaxy. Okay, hypothetically, you could create a timeless game in which you fly a unique custom-made ship with no Jedi/Sith on board, and only visit lesser-known planets that more or less exist in the same form throughout history (so Tatooine as opposed to Coruscant or Alderaan). But that doesn't sound very fun to me to be honest.

    Why the desire to not have a timeframe, anyway? What do you gain from not specifying when the game takes place?
  13. Sir_Draco Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2007
    star 4
    Ever seen the fanmovie Reign of the Fallen? Until the last shot it makes a retty good case of not revealing when it takes place. So yeah, if you play on a ship or a planet unknown to the rest of the galaxy and avoid Jedi, Sith and Imperials and Governments and let players make very generic characters with little backstory or contact to the galaxy beforehand you could pull it off. Or in other words, the closer it gets to a Sci Fi NSWRPF game, the less you need a timeline location.

    Scroll up to LordTs Horizon, that could be made into a colony game in SW: A colonization of some dying out race with no contact to the galaxy (timeline doesn´t matter) or the first colonies of humans (Pre-Republic 28.000 BBY). But it works just the same as a Sci-Fi game per se.
  14. NickLitYouAFlame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 5
    I was just using my current game as an example, Xan, I wasn't trying to make this that floater game. I was just wondering if it was possible. I honestly don't know the benefits. I like to think that it might allow players to have their characters interact more genuinely, where the most important part of the game is that interaction, followed by the conflict that results from it and with the galactic consequences being a distant third. And, the only way to ensure that character interaction is the main focus, is by eliminating the outside concerns.

    What Draco is saying makes a lot of sense, though, and I guess my idea is moving towards a more general sci-fi feel, than Star Wars.
  15. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I'd say that it's easier to emphasize character interaction over galactic importance by limiting the game to a smaller physical space, instead of detaching it from history. Being in the same place kind of forces interaction, and the more of the galaxy you see, the more of a galactic focus you end up having. (Which brings us to the nebulous question of whether a game emphasizing pure character interaction will work, but that's neither here nor there.)

    Anyway, I agree with Draco too, the more generic-sci-fi-y the game is the easier it is for it to exist "outside time".
  16. NickLitYouAFlame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 5
    In all honesty, I think that true character interaction requires at least a small touch of galactic influence to work. Because the characters have to interact based on their surroundings as well as the other players around them. It's just hard to go from limited or repressed interaction to 100% pure interaction. I want to find a healthy medium at which to start.
  17. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    I find that twists like that at the end are often pretty cheap, myself. I think the twist should be a bit deeper than a reveal of something as crucial as setting.

    EDIT: Although I do agree that games that exist outside of a specific timeframe are great - I just disagree with dramatic reveals at the very end.
  18. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    Okay, as this seems to be a player related topic I´ll throw in my small money.

    I´ll be cynical here. We got two kind of players. One who wants to show off their awesomeness and feel disturbed by other players and the others who try to get their characters alive by any means. The first usually never does interesting interaction. The second, given something to work with, always ends up doing interesting stuff between characters. There is little except choosing players you can do about it. The unspoken but highly common practice of recruiting players for core-roles actually helps a lot more in this regard, than timeline issues.

    That said, you don´t have to give me a timeline, but I won´t play my Jedi according to one then. The question you got to ask yourself then is: How much are the players allowed to invent themselves OR do I let them do a "timeless" CS at all? I find it hard to write a Jedi without even knowing if there is a Jedi Temple, a Master/Padawan system or war going on. It really feels like you need a good reason not to tell me. Otherwise it feels to limiting to me.
  19. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 6
    Funnily enough I've got an NSW angle on this one from my various games, which is that if you don't provide a clear time frame (Which is what happened at the very beginning of Aria of the Soul), invariably someone will PM you and ask. So... probably just best to be up front. I'm with Peng in thinking that twists at the end of something are overrated, particularly in RPGs where, instead of a mid-game reversal where the consequences are felt, an ending twist is just kind of an "oh" moment.

    Mind you there's a big difference between a twist, which has no real buildup, and a reveal which is something that's been hinted at.
  20. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Well, that is probably a good thing for a philosophy article, but I actually think the idea of two plot points that make the classical dramaturgy (one to end act one and one to end act two) works rather well in RPs. And the latest point you can sell a twist is Plot Point Two. At some point you must give players a clear cut idea what is to do. If you twist in the very end you would need hell of a twist, that does not diminish the games plot and the same time deliver an emotional punch. In movies it works better, because we watch. In RPs, where the player "live" through the story it is more difficult. SotS was a very twisty game, I believe. So will it´s sequel and sidequel probably be. But I thought my twists who set up story were much, much better working than those who ended storylines.

    Two examples. The "twist" that Corbens Inn was no longer in 2012 but the future had a huge impact and worked very fine with my players. It was and Act One endtwist. The twist Sharon was the traitor worked well, too. It was an end-twist. But they had known there was a traitor, so it wasn´t really a twist, just a reveal.

    The "twist" the little boy in Boston was infected by the murderous Caleb virus was reasonable effective, but did not impact my players THAT much actually. Despite it meant the whole storyline was suddenly completely differently decoded for them. I think it came too late. Players had already played the story and the twist just added some cruel ending to it. It did not make the experience of playing through the hospital any better.

    ManCubs had some twists, too. They always were nice to get the story going. If Winged had ended it all by saying we were all in a dream or it was all GOD I would have scratched my head. Long running narratives like RPs or TV shows do not react too well to twists, I think.
  21. Lukes_Apprentice Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 15, 2008
    star 3
    I am finding this discussion interesting about if an RPG can have no Jedi or Sith which I think is possible However, It gets harder during some periods then others but if you we only visiting outer rim worlds and avoiding large governments it could still be possible. However you have have driving purpose behind such a creation such as exploration or even an unusual event happening to the crew. I'm willing to keep an open mind about it. In other news, sometime in the future I would like to resubmit my idea. Meanwhile, let the discussion continue.
  22. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    Hi guys -- not sure if the list is current right now, but can I add something to it for later discussion and development?

    It's nowhere near complete, or even fully formed as a game concept, but it hit me like a thunderbolt and I don't think it's been done before.

    In short: a "Time Police" RPG. Codename Scythe. No set franchise, something new though taking several cues from the old Van Damme film Timecop. Basically a cross between Rainbow Six and The Time Machine, the players are characters based around if not wholly in a team sent back in time (never forward) to correct changes to the timeline - their job is simply to preserve the timeline as closely as possible to what it currently is.

    (I have tried some "clever" agency names, like Holistic Ontological Undercover Regulation, but eventually Scythe just works better.)

    There's obviously a hundred different interpretations for how time travel might actually work, everything from Ontological Paradox to Stable Time Loops to "You Already Changed The Past", so I thought I'd kick it around with people to see whether this is a viable concept. I think it's got potential, but obviously needs some work. But like I said, I'll await my spot on the queue like everyone else.
  23. NickLitYouAFlame Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 27, 2007
    star 5
    Unless anyone else has something else to add to my discussion topic, I think it's pretty much spoken for. And, given that the queue has been defunct for a while, I think that means that LukesApprentice is up with whatever idea he wanted to submit.

    That is a tentative analysis, as we don't have an acting group manager.
  24. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    What squere? I think a remedy is on the way. Speaking of which, I believe a time-travelling game might have unlimited potential. It has come out of fashion (Lost the exception) to do time travel tales, but they make wonderful twisty tales.

    Go ahead then, Luke. Activity here always comesi n waves, you realized that?
  25. Lukes_Apprentice Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 15, 2008
    star 3
    [image=http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20080623090228/starwars/images/thumb/4/42/StarWarsOpeningLogo.svg/250px-StarWarsOpeningLogo.svg.png]
    Mind Games (1 ABY Non Canon)

    ~~~~~~Story~~~~~~
    A cadet ran into Major Taller's temporary office in floating city base on Dac. The cadet looked winded as though he had been running and handed him a data pad. Major Taller looked at the cadet and asked "What is this about?"

    The cadet looked at Major Taller and honestly answered, "I have no idea Sir. I was instructed to deliver it to you and only you by the base commander Colonel Helmin.?
    Major Taller nodded and said, ?Dismissed!?

    The cadet promptly left the office. Major taller entered a secret code and placed finger on the scanner and a message appeared.

    Dear Major Taller,

    We have acquired information from a Rebel Alliance Army operation and intelligence operations leads us to believe we have a problem, one we believe your team is well suited to handle. The reports I have received lead me to believe the Galactic Empire is experimenting with mind control technology. Included with this message is all the information we have obtained. Ghost?s mission should you chose to accept it is to investigate further into these reports and put a stop to the Empire?s plan.

    Best regards,
    Admiral Ackbar

    Major Taller knew exactly what he was going to. Taller input the frequency of the individuals on his squad and said ?All officers of Ghost are hereby ordered to report to the briefing room on base in two hours.?

    Major Taller sat down and began to study the information so he could brief everyone on this new threat.
    [image=http://images3.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20060605143110/starwars/images/thumb/1/11/Moncalcity.jpg/240px-Moncalcity.jpg]

    ~~~~~~General Information~~~~~~
    Welcome to Star Wars:Mind Games. You are now entering a world of dark alleys, secrets, underhanded deeds, and life and death struggles for the future. Ghost is an advanced special operation group.

    ~~~~~~Character Sheet~~~~~~
    Name:
    Gender:
    Age:
    Species:
    Homeworld:
    Personality
    ---Traits:
    ---Likes:
    ---Dislikes:
    ---Habits:
    Appearance
    ---Skin Color: (can be replaced with photo)
    ---Hair Color: (can be replaced with photo)
    ---Eye Color: (can be replaced with photo)
    ---Clothing:
    ---Other Attributes:
    ---Other Details:
    Weapons:
    Starship (various)
    Biography
    ---Personal History:
    ---Military History:
    ---Traumatic Experiences: (Not everyone has these)

    [image=http://images2.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100113194744/starwars/images/thumb/1/17/Rebel_Heavy_Trooper.jpg/240px-Rebel_Heavy_Trooper.jpg]
    ~~~~~~RULES~~~~~~
    1) No God-Moding
    2) All major character storylines (storylines that would change the direction of a mission, goal, or the game in a direct manner) must be approved through the Game Master-no exceptions. Character-to-character and or small group character story lines are allowed freely (no approval needed), just keep in mind the above mentioned.
    3) Players are restricted to one character each and military ranks will be assigned.
    4) No flaming, unauthorized controlling of other characters or insulting allowed.
    5) All tags have a 9 day cap, in which time if a waiting player has not received a response back on a tag, the GM will have the ability to reply for the in-active player's tag. The action will be carried out by a NPC character or IC character personally run by the GM.
    6) Out-Of-Game (OOG) / Out-Of-Character (OOC) is allowed but before IC posts. No OOG/OOC (Out-of-Game/Out-of-Character) information is allowed In-Character (IC).
    7) There are only 11 people allowed plus the GM at this time.
    [image=http://images4.wikia.nocookie.net/__cb20100106174022/starwars/images/thumb/6/6c/SpecOpsAgent-COTF.jpg/180px-SpecOpsAgent-COTF.jpg]
    ~~~~~~Works Sited and Major Thanks~~~~~~

  26. The Unit which was based on the book Inside Delta Force

  27. [link=http:/
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