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PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2019 3:16 pm 
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Yes, the Random Plot Generator can be a lot of fun. However, most of the results are... well... unlikely to be ideas for actual stories. I have long pondered on a way to make a more narrative generator, and maybe making it a game too. (suggestions for a better name are welcome)

The ground idea for the game is simple: one determines from the start the main character(s) for the current story, their goals and a set of possible challenges, from hostile bandits to rampaging dragons, from locked safes to mysterious caves, from political intrigue to crime scenes, each represented by a card. Overcoming these challenges brings the main characters closer to their goal.

Let's start talking details.

Legend:
-I underlined capitalized terms when they're explained for the first time.
-Terms marked with an asterisk (*) are explained in the Other Keywords spoiler at the end.
-Blue sections are being scrutinized. Feedback on those parts is particularly appreciated.

Main Characters (MC for short)
Each Character would have a card describing their skills, divided in a set of Aspects, and possibly a few special abilities. Each Aspect can be Absent, Decent or Superior, and the value will be used to overcome relevant abilities; I may introduce an additional level for powerful oldwalkers, but let's keep it basic for now. A set of Aspects might be, for example:
Charmer: Charisma, intimidation, diplomacy, shameless bluffing... Charmers come in all shapes and sizes, but all can achieve great things if they're given a chance to talk.
Fighter: Combat skills. Violence is an universal language, and Fighters excel at that.
Investigator: Awareness, analytical skills, good old hunches... Investigators resolve mysteries and find hidden things.
Mystic: Arcane knowledge, often combined with a bunch of versatile spells. Mystics deal with complex enchantments, mysterious auras and cursed items.
Rogue: Stealth, lockpicking, misdirection. Rogues are skilled at getting where they want, picking up a few shiny baubles along the way.
In addition to Aspects, Characters have a bunch of Tags (like their race and color of mana) that might interact with some cards and some special abilities that further characterize their playstyle.

Let's try a few examples:
-Donagut, our dearest and drunkest dogged detective, is an exceptional investigator, as it's basically his job description. His job also requires an amount of sneaking around, and his violent past has proven useful in surviving a lot of scraps. His magic, however, is highly specialized to enhance his sleuthing skills, and while he can gather information well enough his near-constant grumpiness limit his social graces. So he's a Superior Investigator, a Decent Fighter and Rogue, and probably has abilities linked to his stubbornness and his experience in dealing with shady sorts.
-Dorn's training was very specific, making him a remarkable preacher and fighter, but his stout physique and rigid mindset make him less than ideal at sneaking around and unraveling convoluted mysteries. His knowledge about magic also seem more practical than theoretical. He'll be a Superior Charmer and Fighter, with no middling skills; his ability may hinder him when interacting socially with humans.
-Sharaka is an effective battlemage and, while not trained in diplomacy, her empathic abilities and sharp tongue give her an edge in social situations. She can also move sneakily, but her cunning is mostly limited to combat. So she could be a Superior Fighter, a Decent Charmer and Rogue (she can melt locks, after all). She could have special abilities that allow her to act as a Decent Investigator when it comes to tracking down people via scent, or some situational combat bonus.

To make representation quicker, Aspects might be indicated as the Aspect's initial in lowercase for Decent levels, and uppercase for Superior levels.
Donagut: f I r
Dorn: C F
Sharaka: c F r

Finished characters (2)


Resolve
Resolve is a resource that measures a Character's capacity to power through difficulties. Each Character starts with Resolve equal to half the Keystones necessaries to win the game, rounded up. A Character may lose Resolve when failing in their endeavor, and can spend it to perform special actions or to improve their chances against overwhelming odds. Characters lose or gain a single point of Resolve at a time unless stated otherwise.
If a Character would lose or spend Resolve but hasn't any, the character becomes Exhausted. Exhausted Characters can only perform the Rest action, and cannot spend or lose Resolve; Exhausted Characters can't be chosen for effects (like Consequences) forcing "a Character" to lose Resolve.

Actions
Each Character can perform an action per turn. Every Character can perform one of the following actions:
-Face a Challenge: the Character tries to overcome a Challenge.
-Heal: the Character removes a Wound* from one of the MC.
-Rest: the Character is no longer Exhausted if they were. A Character can rest even if not Exhausted.
In addition to these, Characters and cards may grant special actions. Note that unless explicitly stated, one of those actions can be performed instead of, not in addition to, one of the basic actions.

In addition to Resolve, Characters might have other things to track.
-Positive traits include Wealth, which measures... well... the wealth of the Character. A Character can use Wealth to buy equipment and bribe corrupt individuals, among other things. Characters lose or gain a single point of Wealth at a time unless stated otherwise. Wealth can be moved from a character to another before or after any Action is performed.
-Negative traits include Wounds, which measures how bad the Character's body is messed up. A Character Facing a Fighter Challenge has a Disadvantage for every Wound they have.

Goals
What's the Character(s)' aim? To retrieve an ancient artifact? To investigate a mystery? To topple a tyrant? To save the plane from impending doom? The Goal will determine some of the difficulties the MC will face, and describe what victory will look like. From a game standpoint, there will be two kinds of Goals: Random and Streamlined. Both kinds of Goals define victory as the achievement of a certain number of Keystones, pivotal moments like retrieving a map of the mysterious forest, piecing together evidence in a murder case or getting a powerful ally during a political gridlock, but the appearance of the Keystones varies a lot between the two types of Goal:
-In Random Goals Keystones will consist of a set of cards to be shuffled in the Plot deck (see below); Characters will naturally encounter Keystones as they work through the Plot deck, and failing to satisfy those cards' condition can end the game prematurely with a loss. These Goals can be chosen and shuffled in the deck at random (hence the name), and discovered by players and characters at the same time.
-In Streamlined Goals Keystones are a fixed list of challenges to be overcome in a certain order, some of which will interact with the Plot deck. When the game begins, the first Keystone is the active one, and all the others are ignored; when the conditions of the Keystone are satisfied, the next Keystone becomes the active one. Failstates are also described explicitly. These Goals have more guaranteed narrative cohesion, but limit the creative freedom should the game be converted in a story.

Random goals (0)

Streamlined goals (1)


Plot deck
MC have to follow the Plot to get to their Goal. To be more specific, each round the player(s) will reveal a card from the top of the Plot deck for each Character in the game. The Plot deck is put together at the beginning of the game; a deck will be composed by the Goal-related cards (if applicable) and setting-related cards. Each notable plane will have its specific card set (or maybe more than one in case of particularly large or diverse settings), though one could come up with a custom deck based on personal preference. Most Plot cards have Tags, indicated immediately below the card's name. The Plot deck will contain the following kind of cards:
Obstacle: Something blocking the MC's advance, often presenting Challenges. Some Obstacles provide a Reward if overcome. Not overcoming these is dangerous: every Obstacle that hasn't been overcome by the end of the round impose their Consequences to the MC. Obstacles, overcome or not, are discarded at the end of a round unless stated otherwise.
Opportunity: A potential advantage, like stumbling on a magical spring or perusing the wares of a surprisingly well-stocked merchant. These cards offer the chance to earn some kind of advantage, but usually can be safely ignored if the MC are not up to it. Opportunities, exploited or not, are discarded at the end of the round if not stated otherwise.
Event: Something that will happen whether the MC like it or not, like a harsh winter or a royal edict. Some of them affect single Characters, while others have broader effects. The duration of these events also varies.

Challenges
Challenges are one of the most important parts of the game, determining how successful the MC are at reaching their Goal. In game terms, Challenges are usually needed to overcome Obstacles and exploit Opportunities. Each Challenge is related to a number called Threshold and one or more Aspects: if the Challenge names multiple Aspects separated by a slash, the Character will choose one of them to be the relevant Aspect for that specific Challenge; if the Aspects are separated by a plus sign (+), all those Aspects are considered relevant.
To Face a Challenge, the Character adds 2 for every relevant Aspect they have at Decent degree, and 4 for every relevant Aspect they have at Superior degree, to the result of a six-sided roll (d6 for short); if the result is at least equal to the Threshold, the Character has overcome the Challenge, otherwise they have failed. If the Character has Advantages in that Challenge, she rolls an additional die (or roll the same die an additional time) for each Advantage they have, keeping the best result. Disadvantages work similarly, but in reverse: the Character rolls additional dice and keeps the worst result. Each Advantage cancels and is canceled by a Disadvantage.
At the end of a roll, if not satisfied by the result, the Character can grit their teeth and try again, spending Resolve to repeat the roll with the same amount of Advantages and Disadvantages. They keep the last result if beneficial, or decide to spend more Resolve to repeat the roll additional times.

Again, examples to make the concept clear.
-[Generic Obstacle] Bored guards: Charmer 4/Fighter 4/Rogue 4 Challenge. Consequences - Kept for questioning: A Character loses Resolve.
-[Keystone Opportunity] Well-Protected Safe: Rogue 6 Challenge. Reward - Two handful of jewels: Gain Wealth.
-[Jakkard Obstacle] Corrupt Ridder: Fighter 8/Rogue 8 Challenge. Corrupt: can be overcome consuming Wealth. Consequences - Left for dead: A Character loses all Wealth, loses all Resolve and gains a Wound.
generic obstacles (1)

generic opportunities (1)


Let's put things together in a...

Round
A round is made of three phases:
1. Reveal the Plot
Draw a card from the top of the Plot deck for each Character. Events are immediately applied.
2. Heroic Advance
Character take turns at performing Actions until no Character is able or willing to perform Actions.
3. Show Must Go On
The round has ended: Consequences are applied, if any. Then Obstacles and Opportunities are discarded unless stated otherwise, and Events whose duration has ended are also discarded.

Sample round
Alessa and Sharaka are the Main Characters, looking for a mysterious artifact. The Plot cards they reveal are Bored Guards and Well-Protected Safe. Sharaka easily overcomes the guards with any result of the die (being a Superior Fighter gives a +4 bonus to the roll that alone matches the guards' Threshold); after she does, Alessa takes care of the safe. Alessa, as a Superior Rogue, adds 4 to her die roll; only a result of 1 would cause her to fail (4+1=5, against a Threshold of 6), so when she rolls a 3 each Character overcomes their Obstacle, and the story goes on without unpleasant surprises. Narratively, it's easy to imagine a rich aristocrat having an enchanted compass (essential to the search) in his safe: the safe it's the best the money can buy, but his guards are chosen more for their looks than for their actual skills. For Sharaka is then easy to mess with them all evening, playing pranks on them and even knocking out a few as Alessa opens the safe undisturbed and liberates the compass and some extra resources for the greater good. A Keystone secured and Wealth earned, all in a night's work.

Additions
Once the base game works, the possibility to enrich it are almost endless: Obstacles that require Characters to join forces, temporary Ally cards representing positive/neutral Characters lending a hand, interfering Rivals altering Obstacles or directly hindering the heroes (as cards or as opposing players), dramatic Goals that add harder Obstacles to the deck as the players earn Keystones (which could be called Acts), longer games bringing the players from plane to plane (with brand new Plot decks each time) chasing down a villain, punishing mods where Characters die if they have too many Wounds...

Optional Rules
Tutorial: When you reveal Plot cards at the beginning of a round, draw an additional card, then discard one of the revealed cards.

other keywords (2)

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Last edited by Huey Nomure on Sun Jul 28, 2019 8:49 am, edited 11 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 15, 2019 5:47 pm 
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Firstly, I'm going to be honest and say that this is a little much for me at the moment to wrap my head around -- partly because I have never had the head for reading other people's game design documents, and partly because of my fuzzy headspace from general tiredness. I did skim through it, but I can't offer any in-depth critique yet, and you'll have to forgive me if any ideas are already touched upon.

I assume you're already aware of https://game-icons.net/ ? It would really make the visual design (assuming you're planning on making these cards) work in your favor, as you can have icons instead of text (i.e. a fist for Fighter and a magnifying glass for Investigator, etc.).

Now, the two basic things I need to ask after skimming through your post are:
1. How many players are you imagining for this, and is this co-op or competitive?
2. Is discarding one of the problems a gameplay concession? Because I would assume having a problem that the current character cannot overcome with their normal skillset would be beneficial to writing a story, if that's the goal of this game.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 16, 2019 12:04 am 
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I assume you're already aware of https://game-icons.net/ ? It would really make the visual design (assuming you're planning on making these cards) work in your favor, as you can have icons instead of text (i.e. a fist for Fighter and a magnifying glass for Investigator, etc.).

Cool! I'll check it out :)

Quote:
1. How many players are you imagining for this, and is this co-op or competitive?

As of now, I think a player can easily manage groups up to three characters. The base game should be playable alone, with possible "expansions" for multiple players, like having multiple groups (even with one character each) pursuing different goals in the same plane or a villain actively hindering the heroes with a separated "machinations" deck or something.

Quote:
2. Is discarding one of the problems a gameplay concession?

Yes, in particular for single characters: if you have an average character with a total of 4-5 points divided among their Aspects, with a Challenge deck with varying difficulties (like, say, Corrupt Ridder vs Bored Guards) one could draw three bad cards in a row and immediately lose all Resolve, and maybe even reach some failstate I didn't design yet (and maybe never will?) That said, this discourages players from facing hard Challenges, so probably every Challenge except the most basic should have some kind of reward, like experience to buy certain bonuses. It's all a matter of how many things a player should keep track of.

Quote:
Because I would assume having a problem that the current character cannot overcome with their normal skillset would be beneficial to writing a story, if that's the goal of this game.

Yes, but with static Aspects, there should be a mechanical way for the characters to improvise, like Daneera among the Fae. I could add a dice roll to the overcoming of a Challenge, but I'm not very fond of luck-based games :sweat:
If I try to implement an Experience system, that would allow characters to literally grow during the adventure, maybe coming back to beat those Challenges that were daunting before. (after every Keystone the player could shuffle back in the Challenge deck every card they failed to overcome, for example)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 4:25 pm 
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This seems like an interesting idea, though I'm not entirely sure I have my mind fully wrapped around the way you want this to work.

So, what do you think the next step for this is? What do you figure you need now?


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 5:09 pm 
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This seems like an interesting idea, though I'm not entirely sure I have my mind fully wrapped around the way you want this to work.

Huh. I thought the sample round was clear enough demonstration of the basic functioning of the game. Should I try to piece together a whole sample game to be clearer? Or are there specific points that sound foggy?

Quote:
So, what do you think the next step for this is? What do you figure you need now?

Honestly? Gauging interest and where that interest points to. Because this little project sounds neat enough in my mind, but I wonder if it sounds interesting to others, and what direction should I bring this thing to. Are you interested in a game with failstates where the player(s) are led to some level of competitiveness, or some flavorful solitaire where you flip cards until the characters find a way to forward the narrative? Would you prefer vague goals with randomized plot points that allow you to fill in the gaps should you decide to turn a game into a story, or a game where you choose the game/story's progression of narrative at the beginning and you play to see how the characters climb that path in detail? Each of this option might be pursued, but it's easier to build a game optimizing for a certain use then adding variants than juggling many different options in the base design.

And I do realize those question might be difficult to parse if the core principles of the game are not understood, but... well, tbh I'm very sleepy as I'm writing this, but I wanted to get a response out during US users' time of activity :V

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 22, 2019 9:55 pm 
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This seems like an interesting idea, though I'm not entirely sure I have my mind fully wrapped around the way you want this to work.

Huh. I thought the sample round was clear enough demonstration of the basic functioning of the game. Should I try to piece together a whole sample game to be clearer? Or are there specific points that sound foggy?

Sorry, I didn't really phrase that well. I guess I'm more unclear on what you want the purpose of the game to be. Is it more about achieving goals in the game, or is it more about constructing a viable story (regardless of whether said story will actually be written)?

With your sample round, for instance, the game seems designed to be "easy" for the characters. You mentioned in your reply to Luna that you are not a fan of luck-based games, and I'm perfectly fine with that, but I'm not really seeing where strategy comes into play with this version. I like the idea of Resolve, because to gamify this, I think you will need some resources to expend/risk/earn, but I also feel like this game would need something other than "This character can handle this challenge, and so does."

This is just throwing out a random idea (please don't feel the need to try to incorporate this if it doesn't work for you) but what about something like "temperament" cards, which have to be played every "turn" in a "round," that would alter how well the character can do things, like handle challenges or even interact with the other characters. These could be things like "Angry: +1 Fighting, -1 Investigation, -2 Charm" or "Playful: +1 Charm, -1 Rogue" or "Paranoid: +2 Investigation, This Character cannot Cooperate this turn" or something like that.

Quote:
So, what do you think the next step for this is? What do you figure you need now?

Honestly? Gauging interest and where that interest points to. Because this little project sounds neat enough in my mind, but I wonder if it sounds interesting to others, and what direction should I bring this thing to. Are you interested in a game with failstates where the player(s) are led to some level of competitiveness, or some flavorful solitaire where you flip cards until the characters find a way to forward the narrative? Would you prefer vague goals with randomized plot points that allow you to fill in the gaps should you decide to turn a game into a story, or a game where you choose the game/story's progression of narrative at the beginning and you play to see how the characters climb that path in detail? Each of this option might be pursued, but it's easier to build a game optimizing for a certain use then adding variants than juggling many different options in the base design.

I'm not a big fan of co-ops in general (just personal taste) mostly because I always feel the difficulty is ratcheted a bit too high for my enjoyment. It's not that I need to "win" a game to have fun with it. I feel like this game could have a chance of being a fun, story-telling co-op, although I'm not versed enough in them to say for sure.

Here's another wild idea off the top of my head that probably won't work: How about a partial co-op where the characters work together to overcome the challenges and accomplish the goals, but at the same time, they are competing in some way or another to become the "Main Character" of the story when it ends? I imagine this would be a combination of some kind of final points tally, and some sort of final round where the cards they've been playing all game are used for some secondary purpose. I know that's not everybody's cup of tea, but it's just a thought.

And I do realize those question might be difficult to parse if the core principles of the game are not understood, but... well, tbh I'm very sleepy as I'm writing this, but I wanted to get a response out during US users' time of activity :V

No problem. I suspect my lack of understanding is mostly to do with my own reading of it, and not being completely sure of the purpose.


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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 2:50 am 
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I guess I'm more unclear on what you want the purpose of the game to be. Is it more about achieving goals in the game, or is it more about constructing a viable story (regardless of whether said story will actually be written)?

The ideal would be designing a goal system that mirrors a possible story; the thing is deciding how much the plot/goal cards should be specific about the events.

Examples:
-Random plot points. A player chooses a Goal, and all relative Keystones are shuffled in the Challenge deck. More room to improvise a story, and makes it easier for player to discover their specific Goal (if chosen randomly) with their characters, but the event progression might be weird.
-Fixed events. A Goal has a list of required steps to reach it, some of them interacting with Challenges. Example for a 2+ characters Goal, "Planar Conspiracy":

1-Groundwork: Overcome all Challenges in 2 non-consecutive rounds.
2-Put clues together: Beat this step as a Superior Investigator Challenge. (draw an additional Challenge for each character after the first)
3-Villainous Meddling: Overcome all Challenges in a round. Every character is assigned a Challenge at random, and can't cooperate.
4-Heist: Beat this step as a double Superior Charmer/Superior Rogue Challenge. (draw an additional Challenge for each character after the second)
5-Battle between Worlds: Beat this step as a double Superior Fighter/Superior Mystic Challenge. (draw an additional Challenge for each character after the second)
Ticking Clock: the story ends as the end of Round 6(Hardcore)/8(Normal)/10(Easy). The game is lost if the players haven't completed the five steps yet.

This kind of Goal leaves less room for creative freedom, but plays more like a simplified roleplaying campaign, and people might write new Goals for each other.

Quote:
With your sample round, for instance, the game seems designed to be "easy" for the characters. You mentioned in your reply to Luna that you are not a fan of luck-based games, and I'm perfectly fine with that, but I'm not really seeing where strategy comes into play with this version. I like the idea of Resolve, because to gamify this, I think you will need some resources to expend/risk/earn, but I also feel like this game would need something other than "This character can handle this challenge, and so does."

The possibility of discarding a Challenge card will probably be removed and added later as an Easy Mode. As I said I'm not a fan of putting luck in games, but if I do have to introduce it I like it to be something players can manipulate. This is an option that might sit well with me and expands the possible conditions: Challenges don't have a skill level but a number to beat; characters will try to beat that number rolling a d6 and adding 2 if they're Decent in that Aspect, or 4 if they're Superior. The most common Thresholds would be 4 and 6:

Aspect Level | Success vs 4 | Success vs 6
None | 3/6 | 1/6
Decent | 5/6 | 3/6
Superior | 6/6 | 5/6


With this kind of values character are usually going to overcome level=appropriate chances, with a small chance of an accident, while facing a fair risk when tackling more difficult tasks. Particularly daunting Challenges (like the Corrupt Ridder) might have Thresholds around 8; this would pose significant risk even to Superior Fighters and Rogues, leading people to gather some kind of advantage in order to take them down more reliably. Things like Experience (gathered overcoming Challenges), Tools (Rewards of certain Challenges, or starting items for some characters) and Temperaments would either modify dice results or allow rerolls. Consequences (like wounds from a lost fight, or bad reputation from failed intrigue) would do the same, but in reverse.

Quote:
This is just throwing out a random idea (please don't feel the need to try to incorporate this if it doesn't work for you) but what about something like "temperament" cards, which have to be played every "turn" in a "round," that would alter how well the character can do things, like handle challenges or even interact with the other characters. These could be things like "Angry: +1 Fighting, -1 Investigation, -2 Charm" or "Playful: +1 Charm, -1 Rogue" or "Paranoid: +2 Investigation, This Character cannot Cooperate this turn" or something like that.

This would require for players to each have their own deck, which I'm conflicted about. While it would be a way to customize characters further*, I wanted to keep the core game as simple as possible. It's an intriguing idea, but I feel like I should focus on this after the first trial games with fixed Aspects.

*Characters might even have no fixed stats, but cards like "[Skill] Superior Fighter: +4 to Fight roll", with different decklists depending on the character's concept: Sharaka might have a bunch of these, Beryl would have very few, despite their similar power level, and the composition of the Temperament cards in their decks would also be very different: Beryl's players should focus on playing around her Doubt cards (hoping for the Enduring Will card to discard them all to restore Resolve), while Sharaka's "Itching for a Fight" cards might lead her to take inopportune fights. In this scenario, you can only play a [Temperament] card each turn, before Challenges for that round are revealed.

Quote:
I'm not a big fan of co-ops in general (just personal taste) mostly because I always feel the difficulty is ratcheted a bit too high for my enjoyment.

If each card is marked with a Difficulty rating, which would be the average Threshold to overcome it plus a modifier/tie breaker for special conditions, one can tailor the difficulty of the game to their taste. Characters could also have a Power rating determining their relative strength (playing a character with 2 Superior skills like Dorn is pretty different from using one with just 2/3 Decent aspects, for example).

Quote:
Here's another wild idea off the top of my head that probably won't work: How about a partial co-op where the characters work together to overcome the challenges and accomplish the goals, but at the same time, they are competing in some way or another to become the "Main Character" of the story when it ends? I imagine this would be a combination of some kind of final points tally, and some sort of final round where the cards they've been playing all game are used for some secondary purpose. I know that's not everybody's cup of tea, but it's just a thought.

It could be an independent addendum? Like, summing all the Difficulty ratings of the cards each character has overcome plus points for having gathered plot points could net them "MVP ratings", maybe after dividing it for the character's Power to check if the smaller guy proved to be comparatively the thoughest.

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PostPosted: Tue Jul 23, 2019 1:12 pm 
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Yeah, I think simplicity is definitely the mark of good design, so I agree that keeping it simple in the first iteration of the game is pretty important. I sort of like the idea of die rolls modified by static and/or playable effects to overcome the challenges. Narratively, it allows for a character to "get lucky" and succeed despite being at a disadvantage (like Daneera with the Fae, as you mentioned), and also allows for a character to fail when success seemed likely (maybe like Maral failing to produce a Sol Ring).


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PostPosted: Sat Jul 27, 2019 1:14 pm 
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I rewrote large parts of the first post, adding the Resolve system, changing a few terms and detailing how characters get through the Plot. Pondering about leaving Heal as a basic action and adding the option to team up against a single Challenge, summing the Aspects but having a single d6.

So, what do you think the next step for this is? What do you figure you need now?

Allow me to answer again. What I need now is to have a whole playable setting (even without Events) so I can start testing Goals. Having more characters to play with would be also nice (is Donagut :w:?) so anyone that wants to start turning M:EM characters into cards is welcome, even if they just make the Aspect block or jot down ideas for special abilities, but the main thing now is to get a bunch of cards to start and get the feel on how this thing plays out.

The best plane to start with would be a popular one with a lot of screen time like, for example...

Jakkard
Specific keywords
Bounty (stackable): Disadvantage when Facing Charmer and Rogue Challenges with the Law tag. Overcoming Corrupt Obstacles by spending Wealth requires an additional Wealth for each Bounty on the Characters.

Additional rules:
-When a Character overcomes a Challenge with the Burglary tag, they gain Bounty.

Specific Obstacles
Corrupt Ridder
:b:, Centaur, Corrupt, Law, Living
Fighter 8/Rogue 8 Challenge.
Corrupt: can be overcome spending Wealth.
Consequences - Left for dead: A Character loses all Wealth, loses all Resolve and gains a Wound.

Railroad Bandits
:r:, Human, Living, Minotaur, Outlaw, Viashino
Charmer 6/Fighter 8/Rogue 6 Challenge
Reward (Fighter) - Bounty: A character without Bounty gains two Wealth.
Consequences: Empty your pockets, kind sir: Characters lose Resolve and all Wealth.

Rattler Gang
:g:, Living, Outlaw, Snakefolk
Charmer 8/Fighter 8/Rogue 8
Reward (Charmer) - It doesn't take a flute: Put this in front of you. You may discard this to add +2 to any Charm, Fighter, or Rogue roll.
Consequences - Money or Life: Characters lose all Wealth. If no Wealth is lost this way, all Characters gain a Wound.

Ridder Team
:w:, Centaur, Law, Living
Fighter 5/Rogue 5 Challenge
Mistaken identity: If no Character has Bounty: This can be Faced as a Charmer 4 Challenge.
Golden motivation: +1 to this card's Thresholds for each Bounty on the Characters.
Consequences - Narrow escape: Characters with Bounty, or a Character if there is no Bounty on the Characters, lose Resolve and gain a Wound.

Specific Opportunities
Naive Sheriff
:w:, Foxfolk, Law
Charmer 6/Rogue 6 Challenge
Reward (Charmer) - Convincing redemption: Lose two Bounties among Characters.
Reward (Rogue) - The old bounty trick: Gain Wealth for each Bounty on you. Gain Bounty.

Spellshot Gunsmith
Merchant
Stocking up: In the first round this is revealed, before or after any action is performed, Characters can put any amount of their Wealth on this. Put this in front of a player at the end of the round if it has Wealth on it.
Powerful ammunition: Once per Fighter Challenge, a Character can remove Wealth from this to get +2 to their rolls for the rest of the Challenge. When you remove the last Wealth, discard this.

Relevant Generic Obstacles
Back-alley Mugger
:b:, Living, Outlaw
Charmer 4/Fighter 4/Rogue 4 Challenge
Consequence - Shank you very much, guv: A Character loses Wealth and gains a Wound.

Bored guards
:w:, Living
Charmer 4/Fighter 4/Rogue 4 Challenge
Consequences - Kept for questioning: A Character loses Resolve.

Obsessed Lunatic
:b:, :r:, Living, Outlaw
Investigator 6/Fighter 6 Challenge
Reward - Bounty: Gain Wealth.
Consequences - Stalking menace: A Character gains a Wound. Don't discard this at the end of the round. (Draw one less card at the beginning of the next)

Missing Witness
Tracking
Charmer 4/Investigator 4
Consequences - dead end: A Character loses Resolve.

Rampaging Beast (Baloth)
:g:, Living, Wild
Fighter 8/Rogue 4 Challenge
Consequences - Trampled: A Character loses Resolve and gains a Wound.

Relevant Generic Opportunities
Buried Treasure
Search
Investigator 6 Challenge
Reward - X marks the spot: Gain two Wealth.

Well-Protected Safe
:c:, Burglary
Rogue 6 Challenge.
Reward - Two handfuls of jewels: Gain two Wealth.

Relevant Generic Events
Singled Out
Duration: 1 Round.
Cantrip: Draw an additional Plot card.
A Character is Separated.

Well-Hidden Bolthole
Duration: 1 Round
Safe haven: Characters that Rest or Heal are immune to Consequences for the rest of the round.

special cards


Aspects and Thresholds Sheet

---
If you have ideas for things M:EM Characters could stumble upon in Jakkard, from law enforcers to meddling businessmen, from master gunsmiths to shady informers, please step forward. The more finished the card it is, the better, but even plain brainstorming would help me a lot.

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To anybody reading this, including my future selves: have a good life!

My creative archive


Last edited by Huey Nomure on Mon Jul 29, 2019 5:28 pm, edited 8 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 11:30 am 
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I'm really not sure how to balance these sorts of things, but one idea I had was:

Rattler Gang
, Rattler, Living, Outlaw
Charmer 6, Fighter 8, Rogue 10
Reward - Ally: If this is overcome with Charm, keep it in front of you. You may remove this to add +2 to any Charm, Fighter, or Rogue roll.
Consequences - Money or Life: Characters lose all Wealth. If no Wealth is lost this way, a Character gains a Wound.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 12:54 pm 
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Rattler Gang
, Rattler, Living, Outlaw
Charmer 6, Fighter 8, Rogue 10
Reward - Ally: If this is overcome with Charm, keep it in front of you. You may remove this to add +2 to any Charm, Fighter, or Rogue roll.
Consequences - Money or Life: Characters lose all Wealth. If no Wealth is lost this way, a Character gains a Wound.

Be warned that I'll ramble a lot, but it's to try and define what criteria I'm using to make cards, which may be susceptible of change. There are no rhetoric questions, I'm just trying to have all the cards on the table, so to speak :)

As of now, I design cards following these principles:
-There are few abilities and cards that allow Characters to have bonuses to their rolls, so keeping in mind the odds of the most common Thresholds is important:
Aspect Level | Success vs 4 | Success vs 6 | Success vs 8 | Success vs 10
None | 3/6 | 1/6 | 0/6 | 0/6
Decent | 5/6 | 3/6 | 1/6 | 0/6
Superior | 6/6 | 5/6 | 3/6 | 1/6

Considering that games will be probably played with 2-3 Characters and our heroes rarely go past Superior in Aspects, we can assume that with balanced groups most Aspects will be covered at Decent, and maybe half of them at Superior; random groups should fare a little bit worse. In addition to that, Plot decks will have some rule to adjust the average Threshold according to the Character's strength: Having a deck stacked with Corrupt Ridders and Spanner in the Duchess' Works could be an interesting challenge for Jinsen, the Rulus or Jack, but Antine would last as long as an ice cube in the Wastes' high noon.
-Consequences should scale with Thresholds: as a rule of thumb, high-Aspects Characters should also have more powerful abilities to mitigate losses or recover from them, so high Threshold cards should be more punishing. As a rule of thumb, Thresholds of 4 should warrant a single loss of Resolve or a Wound, Thresholds of 6 could ask for twice that amount and higher numbers can scale up faster. Loss of Wealth is more wiggly, since its presence on the board is less constant.

Rattler Gang has three different Thresholds, a simple Reward and highly random Consequences. I'll talk about each separately.
-If I had to describe this gang from their Thresholds, I'd say they're relatively weak-willed, quite dangerous in a fight and a nightmare to sneak past. A reasonably well-armed and trained team justifies an 8, being a 50% of success even for dedicated Fighters; after all, numbers are a powerful advantage. But what makes them so hard to be avoided? Their perception of smell/infrared? And why are so easily swayed? Are they disillusioned? Gullible? Both? I feel like adding a word to the card's title would help the flavor, and I'd ask you think about whether it's significantly harder to trick this Gang than to beat it, comparatively, considering Rattlers are considered the fastest at drawing.
-I like the concept of swaying an enemy to your side, but the flavor is vague. What convinced the Rattlers to help you? The promise of mutual help? The promise of cash? I dunno if it's wrong to be more specific here, narrowing the flavor in order to solidify it.
-Most Consequences I made up until now include loss of Resolve, which describes a very frustrating or disheartening event, and this doesn't. It isn't necessarily a bad thing, but it forces me to think about how fast should Characters consume Resolve. Beyond that, these Consequences are significantly milder than the Railroad Bandits', but the Rattlers' Thresholds are equal or higher in all Aspects. Are the Rattlers both stronger but more moral? It wouldn't necessarily be wrong, but I wonder if it would be good for the game to have these strong variations of difficulty.

(The Living tag seems quite ubiquitous, but otherwise necromantic effects or characters would be quite weird to rule, I think. I'm also thinking about how many ways there should be for Characters to gain Bounty and Wealth)

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:14 pm 
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I was mostly going with the Snake Charmer reference, really.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 1:25 pm 
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Ha! That doesn't mean it can't be polished though :D

EDIT: Here's a counter-proposal, with the reference brought to the forefront:

Rattler Gang
:g:, Living, Outlaw, Snakefolk
Charmer 8/Fighter 8/Rogue 8
Reward (Charmer) - It doesn't take a flute: Put this in front of you. You may discard this to add +2 to any Charm, Fighter, or Rogue roll.
Consequences - Money or Life: Characters lose all Wealth. If no Wealth is lost this way, all Characters gain a Wound.

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To anybody reading this, including my future selves: have a good life!

My creative archive


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:23 pm 
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Ha! That doesn't mean it can't be polished though :D

Quite to the contrary, it means that it likely needs A LOT of polish! :)

EDIT: Here's a counter-proposal, with the reference brought to the forefront:

Rattler Gang
:g:, Living, Outlaw, Snakefolk
Charmer 8/Fighter 8/Rogue 8
Reward (Charmer) - It doesn't take a flute: Put this in front of you. You may discard this to add +2 to any Charm, Fighter, or Rogue roll.
Consequences - Money or Life: Characters lose all Wealth. If no Wealth is lost this way, all Characters gain a Wound.

I like it. It's interesting to me that you went with all characters gaining a wound, because that was my original thought, but I was concerned it was too strong (keeping in mind my aforementioned poor sense of balance). One thing I really like about this sort of card is that, narratively, it allows for things to go more than two ways, and has an effect on the board state based on whether you avoided/went through them, or got them to join you.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2019 4:38 pm 
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Glad that you liked it!

It's interesting to me that you went with all characters gaining a wound, because that was my original thought, but I was concerned it was too strong (keeping in mind my aforementioned poor sense of balance).

I dunno if it's poor, one Wound per Character averages on 2-3 Wounds depending on the party, which simply follows the self-imposed guidelines of my previous post. Note that, as of now, a Wound is "just" a disadvantage on Fights, which isn't really worrying for non-dedicated heroes. (now that I think of it, I should add that every two Wounds bestow a disadvantage to everything else, though) That, coupled with the fact that anyone catching a break via missed Opportunity or beneficial Event can remove one via Heal, so getting one or two Wounds isn't that critical.

Quote:
One thing I really like about this sort of card is that, narratively, it allows for things to go more than two ways, and has an effect on the board state based on whether you avoided/went through them, or got them to join you.

I concur, it stresses the importance of choices and characterizes the playing style of the various heroes without narrowing possibilities. Not every card might be suited for that, but the ones that do can do a lot to flesh out the story on their own, I hope :)

PS: I'll start to make a sheet for tracking stats of the Jakk deck so we can notice if there are unbalanced Aspects. Mystics will have little to play with in Jakkard, but that's just a factor of how rare magic is in everyday life.
PPS: Jakk Sheet added to the card post.

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