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Discussion in 'Role Playing Resource Archive' started by Imperial_Hammer, Apr 8, 2006.

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  1. dontlookatmethatway Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Jul 5, 2005
    star 3
    Here is my assessment of Penguinator's music RPG.

    The first thing I feel I need to address is the opening post. When I first looked at the post, I noticed that there was no title at the top. I know this was probably because of the ZoSo intro, but whenever I scroll over the post, I have the vague feeling that something is missing. I am of the opinion that you could have put a title in there without having the intro lose its effectiveness. Second, Peng doesn't use a lot of color. Color is great for opening posts. It helps draw your attention to important sections and sentences as well as making the GM look more experienced and competent. It is one of those things that can really add to a first post.

    On to the game mechanics. I agree with a comment posted earlier in the thread, that the bands get too much money in the beginning. The wares were also too inexpensive. Only a few, if any, items were highly priced and seemingly way out of reach. This is important. The items should have a huge price range, from the "economy" versions to the super, super, super expensive. Having very expensive items also gives the players something to reach for. Because they want the very best in the store, they will spend more work on their posts and post more often. This translates into a better game. Also, I thought the system for playing in gigs was too simple. There should be some factors that aren't visible to the players, like the audience temperament. Maybe the audience just doesn't want rock, no matter how good it might be. I also think that there should be an element of luck. Sometimes everything is going great and the band steals the show. Other times they are having a lousy day. I thought that the players had too many points at the beginning. They should have to work for those high numbers. Another major issue was the lack of a central story. There is nothing to keep the players together and interacting with one another. There might be lots of interaction with the GM, but that isn't enough. RPGs thrive on interaction, plain and simple. There are two major kinds: player-to-player and GM-to-player. The game needs both to succeed. A main plot is important because it both forces and gives opportunities for the players to interact. If there is no main plot, players will lose interest and the RPG will die. There are good aspects to this RPG, but I won't mention them now because I am sort of brain-fried.
  2. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    That went better than I thought...

    Of course, keep in mind, that this is the most ambitious thing I've done yet. Insofar, I've let the players get away with a fair amount of stuff, as it is still just in the beginning stages.

    I plan on updating the system a bit, too, as I'm not content with the allocation of skills/attributes. A roll of the dice would be ideal, but I can't trust all players (not that my players would lie to me) to be entirely honest.

    It's a tricky situation...
  3. LightWarden Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Oct 11, 2001
    star 4
    Do as the GMs I know do and roll them yourself. Of course, your dice roller may vary, but the point is that you can roll for them, since you're trust-worthy.
  4. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    I like Enigmas idea of making a formula that includes dice, skill points, crowd mood, and apperance. I think that has some good potential. And of course, you would be the one rolling the dice. Also, to adress the lack of central story line, you could have a "battle of the bands" or something of the like every week or two or something along those lines. Ooor you could work in situations, like the senator of Texas wants three bands to play at his place, and the major club in Englad wants four to play at their place at the same time. That would put some interaction in there.
  5. SephyCloneNo15 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2005
    star 5
    Oddly, this has been plaguing me since PG-176 first introduced the concept: How are covers rated? You can't judge songwriting because it's someone else's writing. On a purely textual level, it would be difficult (for one so musically untalented as I) to describe the differences between how Led Zeppelin did it compared to Joe Schmo playing it in Club ZoSo. I'd hate to hear that to avoid such a situation, covers are forbidden, but I don't really see how you could rate it.

    Also, I've seen in other RPs such as the Matrix RP and to a lesser extent, Podracer, where players can team up (Rebels from the same ship in Matrix, Kellerman teaming up with Chad in Podracer etc.) but in this, it seems to be either solo acts or players controlling entire bands. What happens if I want to play drums while someone else plays guitar and sings? This doesn't seem possible in this format of 1 post=1 song, but it seems (to me at least) the logical extension of a music-based RP.

    Does the lack of traditional sheet music hurt the game? From what I've read of the RP so far, it doesn't seem to hinder a performance at all. If the lyrics are written well, the instruments seem to appear in the back of the reader's mind (for me, at least). It's a bit tougher with the non-lyrical songs, but the narration tends to make up for not hearing the song itself.

    Does the fact that you can't hear a performance hurt this game? Like I said, if a post is well-authored, the reader should "hear" the song in their mind. Especially if they're familiar with the genre. For example, the performance by Dross elicited memories of the Ramones singing Happy Birthday to Mr. Burns in the Simpsons, along with the NIN concert I attended not too long ago. Somewhere between those two, I devised what I think Dross sounds like. It's tough to say how well this works because it relies on the reader's musical knowledge and experience it. Someone who's unfamiliar with the sound could interpret a Heavy Metal song as sounding more akin to the Beatles than to Metallica.

    Overall Rating

    7/10
  6. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    Thank you fo the feedback.

    I wholly understand the problems associated with music and sound in written form. This is why I've been trying to stress that describing the performance is more important than lyrics or written music.

  7. Rayson Jedi Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 10, 2002
    star 4
    It's true, what Peng says.

    It's the same with all RPG's and performances. The way you look and appeal to someone is a huge factor on how well people percieve you. For example, Imperial_Hammer. His RPG's always look clean, crisp, and neat. It's well organized and he's got more in mind than just the basic story. That's why his RP's are, how you say, world famous among TF.N, because it looks good. He's just lucky that they tend to play well, too ;)

    But anyways, if your in a band, say a 100 piece symphony, you have to look good. If everyone came out wearing whatever the heck they wanted, chewing gum, with drinks in their hands, then sat down, slouched into their chairs, they could play as beautifully as they want, but It wouldn't be good if they all came out in uniform, conductor in a tux, and all sat straight-backed and corresponded with the conductor when asked. Well, let's just say the performance is a lot better.

  8. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    So nice to see the topic took off....

    Firstly, my thanks to those who so generously laud my games and work. You are all too kind.

    Secondly, I see many of you have given your views on Penguinator's game, and indeed they were all very insightful. An excellent job by everyone...

    Now, I entended this discussion not to take too especially long, and I plan to keep to my schedule...

    So.... if Penguinator has any more questions about his game, he is urged to ask them forthwith! :p

    And any of you just itching to get reviews in, step right up!

    If the conversation continues, then all the more power to you all...

    But if the convo stalls, then we'll move on to our first genre discussion...

    Up to you all what you want...

    Whatever the case is, enjoy! :)

    -I_H
  9. YoungAngus Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2005
    star 5
    Looks like everybody is ready to move along.
  10. Dark-Enigma Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2006
    star 3
    Very nice aperçus on Peng's RPG everyone. I too am ready to press forward. :)
  11. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
  12. SephyCloneNo15 Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Apr 9, 2005
    star 5
    So, if I may, I'd like to request a bit of assistance with an RP concept I've been batting around for a while. In the RPG discussion forum V 2.0, I posted a very rough draft of the 1st post for a Black & White-style RP. That's right, the players control gods in an Olympus-esque Pantheon. I got a little feedback, but hardly enough to revise and create a second draft. I'd like to see what the esteemed GDG has to say, more about the concept than the actual post. Gameplay issues? Mortal and god characters: Is it feasable? GM issues? Here's a link to the tentative 1st post from the RPG Discussion Thread.
  13. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    [image=http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v734/Imperial_Hammer/Prosperitythroughendeavor.jpg]

    ***Game Designers Guild News***
    Volume 1: Number 2

    ***Full Roster***

    Full Members
    - DarthSeti5
    - Winged_Jedi
    - YoungAngus
    - Penguinator-176
    - Dark-Enigma
    - BLemelisk
    - MASTERPRENN
    - SephyCloneNo15
    - darth_nemisis
    - Darth_Vaders_cousin
    - agap_afima
    - dontlookatmethatway

    And Still Accepting Membership!!!

    ***Agenda***

    Now
    - General Genre Discussion: Humorous RPGs

    Next
    - Formative Genre Discussion: Humorous RPGs

    Later
    - Yearly Competition Number 1: *Topic to be Announced*
    - Gaming Mechanism Discussion: The Mathematics of Role Playing
    - Specific Game Discussion: *Accepting Volunteers*

    ***News***

    -Lets put our hands together for the launch of our newest neighboors here on the RPR, the Character Designers Guild (CDG). We wish them the best of luck in their launch, and look forward to seeing not only their successful products, but perhaps a fun rivalry between our groups.

    -Agenda adjusted today. Penguinator's RPG has moved off the floor, and our second Specific Game discussion has been entered at the bottom.

    -Volunteers for the second specific game discussion now open on a first come, first serve basis.

    -Three cheers for all our members becoming full! I thank you all for your cooperation, and hope to see us evolve as a family right on soon.

    -Sephy: If you wish to discuss your RPG, GDG members are welcome to discuss it on the RPR Discussion Thread. If you would like to see it penciled into the agenda, drop me a PM and we can work something out.

    ***Down to Business***

    On to our first big genre discussion, tackling the Humorous RPG. This right here I envision to be the real bread and butter of the GDG, and I look forward to a lengthy discussion on this fertile ground for game development.

    A little prologue to the Genre:

    Humorous RPGs have been poorly treated in the RPF, largely due to the essential contradiction they require when being designed. In order to be humorous, a game needs to be light and largely unburdened by the weights of an antagonist or some mutual disaster so oftenly used to unite a game. However, without these structural elements, games of this style tend to faulter and get lost. So the ultimate trick to making a successful humorous game is to keep it focused, as well as light and funny. And this really is no small task.

    In addition, GMs have to take special pains to keep the humor structured, as humor has a way to drift off into TOS unfriendly areas. The essential struggle in making a humor game is that humor by definition is deconstructive, while a game must be constructive.

    So where might one find such a plot, or plot mechanism, so that such a game can flourish?

    With this general discussion, its wiser to focus on the issues underlying the success of a humorous game. Though while discussing this issue, keep game alternatives in mind, as we will be constructing a humorous game of our own immediately following the general discussion.

    Also, lets throw out an example of the last real humorous game to be proposed semi-successfully in the RPF. Its also a rare opportunity to see some I_H RPing back when I was a wee newb. :p

    Take a looksie at it, and see what you think. Use it, both in its virtues and faults, as guidelines to view how humorous should and can be constructed.

    I'll be weighing in with my own ideas and examples soon enough. ;)

    -I_H />/>/>/>
  14. Mikaboshi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Jul 12, 2005
    star 6
    To be honest I have little experience with humorous games, but I can see the difficulty in creating a working balance that encourages growth but at the same time allows for a certain aloofness.

    Anyhow, I just now noticed this forum, and I would like to get involved with this guild. I fancy myself a much better creater of games and characters than I do a actual player of them, so I hope I can add some of my exerience to the group.:)
  15. Winged_Jedi Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Feb 28, 2003
    star 4
    Humorous games...finding one at all is difficult...finding a funny one is even more difficult...finding a long lasting one- well, have there actually been any? I don't think I've ever seen a 25+ page game based around humour (apart from the God Moders' Arena, which was essentially a one joke game and degenerated into spam very quickly). I've seen a lot of short term humour RPs, which usually last nine or ten pages.

    The main problem is that people simply lose motivation for a game that is based entirely on comedy. In the Red vs Blue game IH mentioned, once players had popped in with a few posts there was no real reason to keep coming back. It's very easy to develop a casual attitude towards something that's not very serious in the first place.

    More GM involvement might have helped, if the GM had perhaps steered the ship along with some semblance of a storyline. After all, how long can Red vs Blue last, really? Personally I think humour games work best when it is not simply a thread where everyone posts amusing nonsense and it resembles spam, but a thread where there is an overarching storyline, and there is some kind of structure and organisation. So the thing reads as if it were exactly like any other game- except funnier.

    As an example of what I mean, an interesting humour-based game I once saw was SHADOWS UNLEASHED: The Battle For Rapier's Wit. I feel IH was going to bring up this example, so I simply had to get in there first :p This was an interesting game because it was a satire, if you will, upon all the n00b games that were springing up (Jedi vs Sith battles, etc, etc). And it served its purpose, I don't think Ktala meant for it to ever go on for any extended period of time, she merely wished to put a point across and have some fun doing it. But she actually kept things organised, it wasn't just random posting.
  16. Dark-Enigma Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2006
    star 3
    Ah, the humor genre. My favorite by a large margin. However, it is a great difficulty to instill that same feel of comedy into an online RPG.

    First off, a great deal of comedies focus strictly on the physical concept of the genre. While this can be done online by insinuating that a character got hit in a "certain area" with an object, it may only get a slight chuckle from the reader, contrast to an outburst of laugh from a studio audience.

    Coming second is the verbal side of comedy. While jokes are easily typed and read, they don't have the same feel as actually hearing the voice on television/in a movie. Think of all the laugh-out-loud jokes that you've heard in a movie, and then picture them being typed on a word document. Not as funny, eh?

    The third analysis has been mentioned by the Guild Master. Staying friendly to the ToS while maintaining the quality of comedy is a fairly large task. Most of the "knock-knock" jokes don't appeal to the 13 and over audience we have here, and while some jokes can be clean and mature at the same time, they are a rarity. RPG comedies should not have rare jokes, if it is strictly focused on the genre.

    While the comedy genre is my favorite out of all, I don't think that it can be fulfilled in an RPG. I know that you cannot expect a movie feel in an RPG, but comedy has two sides - hilarious and dull. And while some signatures get me to chuckle once in a while, they don't add up to the non-stop hilarity of classics such as Happy Gilmore (I'll probably get flamed for that). And if you focus on comedy in an RPG and it doesn't add up, the outcome is most likely going to be disappointing.
  17. Darth_Vaders_cousin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2004
    star 5
    Ah...my favorite topic. Comedy RPGs.

    A strictly comedy RPG has and probably will never work. As show be the examples above, and countless others that remain un-linked as of yet, there has never been an extremely successful one. Ever.

    Why? Well, there are many reasons, but to list one or two...

    Newbies...most of which are poor RPers (no offense to anyone, but I'm sure you'll all agree that for the most part they are.)....tend to flock to these RPs like Mosquitoes to exposed flesh. They weaken the RP with poor posts, and it takes time for the GM to stop and teach them the basics of RPing...again taking from the thread untill that task is completed.

    Humor just doesn't work the same way in words...You see a movie and laugh. The Japanese sequence in Gold Member. The slapstick and dry wit of Monty Python and Benny Hill. But, there is a reason you don't see and Austin Powers or Monty Python novel. Comedy is hard to express through writing. Sure, alot of it is what a person says, but more of it is how they say it. You can't modulate your voice in words. You can't motion with your hands or change your expressions with ease. It's just too hard to do.

    In my experience, the best way to get Comedy in an RPG is to play a serious game with a light tone...As displayed many, many, MANY, times in the 007 Style Series by players such as Sith-I-5 or Livi-Wan or, dare I say so, Myself, comedy can be done but not as the sole drive of an RPG. You can get a laugh here or there, but you need to have some seriousness to the situation to make the comment or remark funny. But, with a Comedy game, the only thing driving the game is to be funny. Every post needs to be funny or else it isn't a comedy. In the end, we get RPGs that are akin to the Scary Movie series, a long chain of dumb, rude, and slapstick jokes strung loosely together to form a parody of bad movie plots. That make fun of bad movies by convoluting the storys more so and slapping a few "comedy" (read idiotic) actors together on the set.

    All in all, Comedy RPGs are a not a possiblity. They just don't work.
  18. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    Written comedy, while hard to come by, often makes heavy use of proper formatting.

    In the same way that free-verse poems use short lines to add emphasis, humour should use the single line as a way to build up to the punchline and to finish a joke.

    Jon swore. He hated the Drake! Spinning on his heel, he began walking down the hallway, and, catching the wafting smell of fresh cookies on the air, turned in their direction - and walked into a wall.

    Funny? Okay, so it's a bad joke, but it can be made a bit more humourous by keeping the punchline a line beneath the build-up. Yes, it means rewriting a bit of the joke so it all works, but it can add to the humour.

    The Meaning of Life is....42.

    Or,

    The Meaning of Life is...

    42.


    Hmm?
  19. Imperial_Hammer Manager Emeritus: RPFs

    Member Since:
    Sep 25, 2004
    star 5
    Hm, hm, hm....

    So sure are you all that comedies cannot work?

    ;)

    I find that all.... very.... curious....

    I hold to a philosophy that any game can be made when you put your mind to it...

    And yes, I have a comedy RPG in my folder called "RPF Ideas"..

    And yes, I think its rather good... ;)

    BUT RATHER...

    Than show it to you know, in a proactive approach, I shall take a reactive approach, and address the points of the nay-sayers who say Comedy RPGs cannot be done...

    Addressing your points in whole:

    1st Paragraph: Obviously the immediacy of some forms of comedy arises through a visual medium, however, this does not mean that comedy can be doomed. There are two (or three, I'm not being scientific, here atleast) types of comedy. Slapstack, or physical comedy relies on visuals. But I have read plenty of books and seen plenty of TV shows that are funny without visuals. Frasier for example, had the most hilarious dialogue in a show. Although slapstick was included, the rhetoric and context of the humor within the show powered its funny-factor

    2nd Paragraph: Your point of verbal funniness is well taken, but not damning. Obviously we cannot be "as funny" as a movie, addressing that same lack of spontaneity, but we can strive to get something. The more IC I think a reader gets, the more funny a type of comedy can be.

    3rd Paragraph: My point on the TOS is also not damning. A strong GM can take pains to enforce the rules.

    As to DVC's point, not made by Enigma:

    Newbies: Although comedy games will grab more newbs, this again is not damning. A strong GM can deny them admittance, solicit for oldbies, and force a level of quality.

    Ultimately, my response is that, while your points are good, I do not see it (yet at least) as final for the genre. Newb levels can be tailored, the TOS can be enforced, and humor can still exist in a well-written medium, although perhaps not at levels as vibrant in a visual one. I have read very funny humorous books (Hitch-hikers, Discworld, etc. etc.)

    I think you all are wrong. :D

    Come come, will no one debate me?

    Step right up and give it your best shot!

    :D

    -I_H/>
  20. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    To be quite frank, I don't see the point of a comedy RP. Now don't get all your panties in a bunch, but it seems to that you won't even have the possibility of getting enough players, n00bs or otherwise.

    I RP because it is a fun, interesting, different way to expand my writing skills. But that is not the only deciding factor on what games I will and will not join. For instance, the game has to be creative. While the Jedi fighting the Sith has an appeal to me, it gets old really fast (as would a comedy RP). I look for a strong GM (which it would certainly take to pull off a successful comedy RP), I look for an active player roster (Which I already said I think a comedy RP would fail to have), and I look for a storey arc that I can get involved in personally. Personally invested in. I don't see the point of joining an RP if you are not persoanlly invested in your characters and their factions, and the major storey arc. I don't see that happening with a comedy RP.

    My final take is that, while I will not say that a comedy RP will certainly die, a comedy RP GMed by anybody other than I_H has a very, very good chance of faliure.
  21. Dark-Enigma Jedi Knight

    Member Since:
    Feb 8, 2006
    star 3
    While these novels do have the comedic feel that a book of its genre needs, I think it will be hard to find six or seven Douglas Adams' (RIP) in the RPF to hold the game together. You do offer some interesting points though, enough to cause me to rethink my thesis.

    [Yoda]Meditate on this, I will.[/Yoda]
  22. Penguinator RPF Modinator and Batmanager

    Manager
    Member Since:
    May 23, 2005
    star 6
    I_H, while you have some good points to enforce your arguments, you do seem to have very little opposition in debates.

    I blame your excellent RP skills.

    That aside, context of the joke, as you said, is half the humour. The problem is getting the right context for jokes and humour. Obviously, a fart joke isn't terribly funny in a normal setting, but...

    The assassins had gathered around the table, multiple implements of deat hidden on their very skilled persons. Bob was not comfortable at all. You could cut the tension with a knife. The two chief assassins stared hard at each other. Their eyes bored into the other, ready for anything, an attack, a witty comment...

    ...But not Bob's sudden flatulence.


    Yet again, probably not the best joke, but you get the point.

    "Obviously, we cannot be as funny as a movie"? Yes we can! Thok's "brown pants" sig made me laugh for a good minute. Leeroy Jenkins, anyone? Of course, in written form, nothing is as funny as great timing, but we can't help that.

    In the end, a comedic RPG would be fun to try, if only for wacky characters, but I doubt it would be able to last long. Comedic quality is proven to go downhill in sequels, you know.
  23. YoungAngus Jedi Youngling

    Member Since:
    May 7, 2005
    star 5
    Comedy can work written down on paper. Let's look at something like Seinfeld, Larry David and Jerry wrote a lot of the show and it was funny. But you have to keep in mind that they are professinal comedians. While we may have some funny people here, it's hard to believe that a player can keep up quality, humorous posts everyday day. Physical comedy in an RP or book isn't nearly as funny as seeing it in action. So really the only thing which could keep the RP at a high level of humour is written wit, which like I said ealier, can be difficult to maintain.

    An RP dedicated to humour, IMO, can't work. An RP with a light-tone which encourages a funny setting can and will work.
  24. PRENNTACULAR VIP

    Member Since:
    Dec 21, 2005
    star 6
    I concur with Angus. It will simply be too hard to maintain humerous RP, one thats sole reason for existinance is humor. There simply aren't enough funny people out there, and those that are funny, I fear aren't funny enough. You can have a RP with a humerous twist, but that is as far as it can go and be successful I think. Humor is a rare commodity around these boards, and there isn't enough of it to maintian a game. The first couple of days may be funny, but in the end it will die. The only way I see around this inevitability would be if there was a constant influx of new players, but then you run into the n00b problem. I think it is a losing battle, one that is not even worth fighting.
  25. Darth_Vaders_cousin Jedi Grand Master

    Member Since:
    Nov 12, 2004
    star 5
    Out of Curiosity Imp, is your RP Idea a SW or Non SW rpg. Because, you all give examples of Non-Sci-fi shows that are funny. Life is funny...but the galaxy is hard to make fun of. Sure you have space balls, but most of it's comedy came from changing names and phrases. You have Hitchhikers, but, as said before, you'd need 6 or 7 DNA's (RIP) to fill it out. Plus, comedy is all about timed responses...You just can't control what another person is going to say. I know many times I've had a HILLARIOUS joke...but it required an exact response from Sith-I-5 that I didn't get, and I had to flush the joke.

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