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

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  1. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    So, I found time during my nightshift to have a look . . .


    The Good: Nice pictures, the idea of a "Wraith Squadron" game is interesting enough. The whole "editing" is good and it looks very neat. As I will tell you in a second, I feel it is too little OP in your OP, but what is there is good.


    The Bad: Well, where is the abstract text explaining what I am about to play? Where is the character section where you wet my mouth about potential characters? where is the hint to the plot? what will it be about? I mean, a special forces team. A forbidden romance? A traitor hunt? Black Ops? major battles? Action? Adventure? I only know because I have seen your last draft.

    The CS with the huge personality subsection is a bit old fashioned. I said it before, I say it again. I personally (and I know a few players share this view) hate personality sections. As you scare away all those players, I advise not to include it. And how shall I write up my military history if you assign me the rank (as you say in the rules)? What´s wrong with Name, Appearance, Species, Bio? I think the easier the CS the better to attract players. the honey will come in the bios or not at all, anyway.


    The Ugly: Rules and Cs longer than the story? Not good. And the rules are too talky and your "sources of inspiration" seems a bit uncommon. It is a bit more display of your ideas and though porcesses than anything that brings the game forward. Same goes for rules. Keep them short and don´t put stuff into it, that is common sense around here. O also do not know how military ranks get assigned by you shall work? I cannot create commanding officer? Or a grunt? Or a rookie? Major htanks can really be brought up once you do your final post. NOT in an OP. Again, it looks a bit more as if you were speaking your midn then saying something about the game.

    On a minor note, you forgot to include godmodding. as there are games who actually allow godmodding, I storngly advise to clearify that.


    All in all, I think my major concern is, that the short intro you got there will not attract players. Look at other games and to what length they go to make their world attractive to players. Those games will be your rival on the "player-market". Keep that in mind.
  2. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    Okay Lukes_Apprentice, I took a quick look. Firstly: good choice of title.

    As for the OP, Fins has provided a very clear analysis and there's not much I would like to add to it. Though I do have a different opinion on the part about the "sources". It's true that it doesn't bring the game forward, but I think it's a nice touch. It emphasises the fact that you've put effort and research into your design, and also it's a courteous gesture to those who have inspired you.

    Of course, game design goes beyond the OP, though I understand you can't tell us much about your plans for the storyline. However, it's good if you know how you will manage your players right from the start. Will you keep the squad together? If so, what will you do if someone is a slow poster (but within the 9 day limit) and consequently ruins momentum for the entire group? It might be wise to plan branching storylines so that you can split into sub-groups if necessary.

  3. Lukes_Apprentice Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 15, 2008
    star 3
    Ok guys I see your point it is a it short and the rules do need an update I will get on that. A new CS does seem like a good idea plus no inspiration part that is fine too. I guess I could add more to the beginning I was debating as to whether to add a scene in a lab in an unknown location with a scientist though I not sure about that as it may reveal too much. I also thought of the possibility of the leader actually meeting with the admiral instead of receiving a letter and maybe receiving a bit of a briefing himself and having him come out of hyperspace in his X-wing as he makes his landing to go brief his men that seems more interesting. I'm just giving you all insight as to how I'm thinking of making the changes you suggest but yet not revealing everything.
  4. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    A scene in a lab with a scientist? Too much reveal? Seriously. Now we´re talking. That sounds like I get an idea of what the game will be about, instead of a vague set up. you are revealing too little right now. Remember you can always twist, reform and turn the plot after you begin playing, but you can only once give players a reason to join. The launch is always an all or nothing game. Every GM is at risk of not getting any players, if he launches his game. It is the build in risk for games. So you should not sacrifice any opportunity to recruit a player to "protect" your plot.

  5. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    I think a useful exercise in game design (or any sort of design, really) is to turn things around in your mind and ask yourself: if I were seeing this for the first time, what would I think? Do I have enough information to create a character? Is it interesting enough for me to want to create a character? What sort of game do I think this is?

    (If you really want to get into it, you could also ask yourself questions like, what would someone skimming this OP conclude vs someone who carefully examined every word? I'm assuming you have examined every word, but not every potential player is going to do so.)

    Then think about the answers, and consider whether that's the kind of impression you want to be giving, and/or if that's the kind of player you want to attract.

    At this point my impression of the game is that it's a Rebel-vs-Empire squad combat game that will mostly involve sneaking around, fighting, and blowing stuff up, and that further details are unnecessary. If I were to create a character, it would be a soldier-type with a short background and a lengthy description of his/her combat prowess, because I would anticipate that that's what you consider important. And then I'd sit back and have fun writing posts about blowing stuff up, and not concern myself overmuch with the details of what exactly was being blown up.

    I don't mean any of this in a bad way - there are days when I want to play a character that just shoots things, and I think your game would be great for that. And, you know, that's fine, there is always room for a grand shoot-em-up adventure. It's just that there are hints in there that you might have wanted to run a game with a multilayered storyline where secrecy plays a major role, and if that was the kind of game you intended to run, then you might want to do some rewriting so that comes across more clearly.
  6. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    I agree with Xan on this. At the start of a thread at least, you're probably better off showing the potential audience more of the sizzle than the steak (though eventually you're going to have to let them have the steak, of course.) Lightwarden pointed out a long time ago that at the end of the day a gamemaster offers his players an experience, and if the experience is not appealing, people won't play.

    This is not an exhortation to false advertising: rather, find something intriguing in your game and sell people that. The old Sins of the Saints frontispiece is a masterclass in that. :)

    EDIT: Also, pull my time travel game from the list, guys. I found Continuum, which I'm presently exploring for its game potential here or elsewhere. Or elsewhen. :D :D
  7. Lukes_Apprentice Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Oct 15, 2008
    star 3
    Alright I'm taking all this in it is good as I have never GM'd before and there is no clasws to say this works or that does not. I'm loving it So the scientist you want the scientist hmm oh my your wish my command Fins. Xan yeah I do want a more multi layered experience so I'll go about adding them my next story. In summary they include prisoner who are a part of rebellion, a plot by one the moffs to end the war without ethics, and the mad scientist. The rest will happens as the story goes on.
  8. Sir_Draco Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Aug 19, 2007
    star 4
    As I guess the topic above is done? Is it? If not ignore this.

    I would like to suggest a discussion. We read some interviews lately and they made me wonder what is a good game?

    I wanna elaborate on it. Most games are fun around here. But seem not to life long enough. What makes some games make it even longer? what do these GMs do different? Certain GMs finish up every game! Everyone! While I did everything to keep my first one alive and had to watch it die! Can´t only be smart plots (I saw incredible smart plots die) and good writing (I would actually say out best writers do not GM at all!). Is it dedication? Is it narration? Luck? I am not asking a rethorical question here, I really wonder. What does games make long running games? What does give you the "saying power" to do sequels and build fanbases?

    This is not meant to be a discussion about how awesome these games are. No, as said above that CANNOT be the solution. Awesome games vanish pretty often. I would like to know what makes the difference to really fun and good games that seem to loose interest?
  9. LordTroepfchen Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2007
    star 4
    That´s a rather large call, Draco. I think a matter of factors play into completion of a game. I actually think the will to complete a game is most important among them. Some GMs you feel they got a vision of how it ends from post 1 and you wanna know where it goes. The game in itself has to be designed to end, to begin with. And then plot, motivation and narration does the trick to get people interested. From there it pretty much comes odwn to "dedication".

    Second thought, most important about it is probably that there is a visible end. Look at 128 ABY. That final battle, that duel between Zorn and romar, that reveal of the Sith . . . they carried the whole plot. We all waited for the big crash that was the attack on Bastion. I think despite the size, that was an advantage, every player knew when the game wasn´t that awesome, that Sinre was probably just catching breath for the next step towards the BIG END. Fin´s sorta sequel 133 ABY was the same. The hint at the end was there in post three or something. We played the plot to get to the finale and that gave him probably extraordinary freedom to punch us all around. Lea Monde and it´s sequel also seemed to have the end right in front of the eyes from post one. The prototype of such games is obviously Chessgames: Laws of Power. Fin and Sinre play chess. nobody quit. Well, the end was very foreseeable. Chess games end. They simply do. Progress, character, strategy, battles, all build in features of a game that was aiming towards an end. So I think GMs who have a good record of finished games are usually good in using their ending as an incentive for players to stick around. It is not a fail-proof rule, but it helps. Even moderate working games like Cold Embrace of my own making can stumble towards that end, when players know they won´t have to endure it forever. Once you have crated that kinda game, you actually just need to stick around yourself. Which is sometimes the harder part.

    BUT - and I don´t write posts without a BUT do I? - finishing a game is not a fail-safe sign of success. It might be a strong indicator, but AFAS or ManCubs were certainly great games and could not, for whatever reasons be concluded. I think players remember them with great joy, though. Yes, I admit I can´t think of a finished game I did not love to read or play in, but RPing is about RPing first and storytelling second. Usually. People wanna have fun dwelling in the world your mind creates. Someteims, rarely, stories are so solid they alone make people follow it. But such games are rare and probably there cannot exist more than one or two at any time. All others just give people a very, very enjoyable experience while making them play characters.
  10. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    Actually I believe it is a mix of luck and choosing the right players for the right reasons.

    Updating regulary, if you feel like it or not, is also important. Nobody feels the "fever" for 16 weeks in a row. But it returns. And it gets better and better. So if a GM wants to taste the spicy fruits of ENDGAME he needs to get through MIDGAME sometimes. And it isn´t always motivating, when players vanish and plots don´t turn out as you wanted them to.

    Or in other words . . . no game is ALWAYS fun, but if you wanna to get the story told - player or GM - you need to tune in next week. Spycoders Chapter-system in Darker Tides is probably the most honest thing I ever saw. A "true" Chapter in a game is really no longer than a week, therefore three updates or something MAX.



    An example? 133 ABY - The Dark Odyssey was the first game I ever concluded. A while back people talked in Hoopper very well about the finale on Asteroid Alpha and the moment when I "faked" Mrs. Qatars death. Yeah, the intro I think worked very fine, too . . . on the prison space station of the Sith. Oh and I felt Chapter two turned out very well, when the shapechanger went up against an entire ship . . . basically winning.

    Then we had players vanishing upon the attack on the Ascendancy where my main baddie was meant to make a very crepy introduction. We had slower parts when people travelled. Character development changed a lot and I had to rewrite. My protagonist became unavailable for four weeks and I had to write around it and a guest star ruined his plot by doing his own thing (which turned out to be brilliant). The Vong were pretty hard to get my head into, with two players so much better knowing how they were than I was. I must say, the game had unusual little lows and very many highs for a GM. But somewhere around Chapter 4 I felt it lost steam. It probably didn´t. It´s the nature of a story to slow down before it hits the finale, but it certainly felt that way. Needless to say, I was not celebrating every update I did back then. Today I hardly remember that parts, though. The finale (chapter 5 and 6) is the best RPing experience I ever had (despite me having little to do with it). Chapter 4 just had to be played, I guess.
  11. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    Tell me if I am wrong, but still got a perfect recrod, do you? Three games and three games finished? So would you please ELABORATE on this?
  12. DarthXan318 Manager Emeritus

    Member Since:
    Sep 12, 2002
    star 6
    Well.. as a roleplayer, I feel there are only two things a GM absolutely needs to have:

    1) Activity
    2) Dedication

    That's it. Everything else - flexibility, creativity, good writing, complex plots - those are all good-to-haves, but activity and dedication are a must. Activity, because the single surest way to lost players is to let them go weeks between updates; dedication, because that's what carries a game through its slumps.

    Seriously, I have seen uncreative railroads with horrible writing outlive brilliantly-written, intricately-detailed games just because the GM cared enough to keep going, and to exhort the players to keep going too until the end. (Now: you could argue that those are not necessarily good games, but they are nonetheless successful, and I think that counts for a lot.)
  13. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    What Xan said. I think a lot of GMs fall into what I'd term the "All Quiet on the Western Front" effect: players don't post for various reasons such as exams, family, attendance at GenCon/DragonCon/Decepticon (huh?), their attention is on cool new RPG/movie/game that's opened (you know who you are [face_devil]) but the GMs mistakenly conclude that more posts are needed from the players, so they don't update. Thus the game falls into the abyss.

    Speaking for myself, I tend to start moving players around, er, along :) when this happens mostly because it's a clear sign that the present situation isn't inspiring people any more, and it's time for the next scene, or phase, or whatever. It's something GMs should do more often. If you're worried some player will come along and say "Hey! I was in the middle of that dialogue!" your response should be "Yes, and I've been waiting for you to finish it for six weeks now. Lots of other opportunities to chat later down the line. It's time to let the other kids have the ball now."

    By contrast, if the game's jumping and the players are running heavy conversations all on their own without so much as a typed OOC from the GM, stay the hell out of it and let it run its course before you even think about moving the scene on. This is a gold moment, because your players have absorbed the world and are playing in it. They are in your experience, and you have them right where you want them. Bwahahahahaha. :D

    There's a certain balance between these two extremes, of course. Sometimes two players will dominate games with twenty-page-long dialogues; sometimes the elegant silence is just while they try and absorb your fifty-page update. But that's player behaviour in a nutshell, and you have to understand it.

    I might say it helps to retain a certain cynical humour about the whole experience, a philosophy that "He might go and be with her, but it's me he comes home to in the morning." You can't keep people out of new and exciting games, and players' attention will often wane if they're in two games at once. Doesn't matter. Coolness of concept and initial popularity -- as we've all learned to our disgust from one GM in particular who shall remain unnamed -- only carries you so far. Durability counts for more. Persistence counts for more. Bloodyminded (but unfailingly polite) determination to continue counts most of all. And remember: this is why you keep a waiting list for your game, so if someone does desert you, you have the chance to bring in someone else who -- by virtue of waiting -- demonstrates they really want to be in it.
  14. DarkLordoftheFins Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 2, 2007
    star 4
    First: No. No perfect record. CG died. And even though it was after I left, Bad Day did, too. and it ran under my name, even though draco masterminded it. I believe this game might be the reason for the question, right?

    Players. GMs.

    Well, I actually think going into this would be a topic for philosophy threads and we´re not yet merged. But what can I say . . . there are players who are in games and players who make it THEIR GAME. Especially newbies do that, some people also tend to do it if they like it. If you´re blessed some people will look at your game because they liked the last and think this could be THEIR game. Make good characters, characters people will care about. Have good NPCs, create memorable scenes. If you do that, people will not leave so easy. But to do so, they need to care.

    My rule of thumb, listen to your instinct. Do not listen to awards, rpf-star systems or other games. Just listen to what your GM sense says when you see the character and connect to what they try to do there. It is really simple then. The players carry the game from there and you just need to ride the wave of their imagination.

    If we ever talk about newbies (which is the most irrelevant thing in the world right now, as we don´t get any) I might elaborate on this in greater depth. I have some unusual ideas about newbies, I think. But for now, just let me say: The game needs to be the players game and he won´t leave. If it is his fifth game because it fits his portfolio so fine . . . he is as good as gone. If too many leave, the game dies. If for nothing else, then because you are frustrated with it.

    All of the above I can also sign. Dedication and patience is the key to not ruin a game yourself, certainly.
  15. Saintheart Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Dec 16, 2000
    star 6
    This. Aside from godmoding, I thoroughly enjoy players stomping around in my RPGs as if they own the place, because it means they actually give a damn about it and they're enjoying it. And to some extent, they do, in fact, own the place, because without players, you haven't got a game.
  16. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    From a pure players perspective I wanna say that - without doubting the GMs insight above - a good unpredictable plot and a mystery that I feel invested in help a lot. If I feel I can predict a game and there is a longer break, I feel it hard to get myself into the writing mood. Especially if my characters seems to be mine to develop.

    ManCubs was a good example of it. while I knew my fate and predicted a lot connections early on, I felt Elora was mine to create and how the secrets evolved kept my interest alive. So when breaks hit us, I kept on being interested and always found it easy to write my next update. My ABY games obviously never slowed down, so they fell into the upper category. I kinda loved KesselBreak back in the days and if I played TSGs character who was really interesting to watch, I think I would have stayed with it forever. But my own was a bit to "made" for a certain role (my mistake, not Saints. My enthusiasm for the game simply did not allow me to come up with something more interesting) of flying everybody out in the end. Games like SotS always keep you guessing and give you so NO idea where the trip goes to, I find myself drawn in even when no updates come up. And in a fantasy game I was in I was told by the GM what I would become and who I REALLY was early on. It was the only example of my interest killed so totally I dropped out. I felt like I "had" to go there to write my updates leading to inevitable X which I knew pretty exactly of how it would go down.
  17. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    Is the Games Group reboot actually about to happen anytime soon? No rush, it is just I am in the last stages of an OP and wanted to post it, but I am in no hurry, so if you guys say we reboot soon, I´ll wait a few more days, weeks. :) Just asking.
  18. Ramza JC Head Admin and RPF Manager

    Administrator
    Member Since:
    Jul 13, 2008
    star 7
    Well, I'd been planning on starting it myself, but someone PMed me last night saying they were interested in the gig, so I'm waiting to see if they get back to me. It won't be longer than a week at this point, methinks.
  19. SirakRomar Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Mar 30, 2007
    star 4
    Good, good. I can wait a little longer. You can put SirakRomar´s Voices on top of the quere :)
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