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Author Topic: World Building experiment  (Read 6879 times)
Hoplomancer
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« on: January 23, 2011, 06:26:35 PM »

Next time we meet in person (at least myself, Wizard and Bassil), I want to do something that was the idea I had before I thought of BUM, which ultimately led to me creating BUM. I had an idea for an interactive world building session, which would have been like a table top game but without a rule system really, just interactive story telling. Of course, now we have a ridiculously easy system in which we can make characters in 5 minutes, so we can go ahead and use BUM.

This is the plan: The players create characters with background stories, whatever background they want (making up hometowns, culture, religion, anything, so long as they have consistent tech/magic levels). Perhaps even the GM will make a character and we will trade off GMing somehow, but that doesn't really matter. The idea is to truly start a game from scratch and create it as we go. So, instead of the GM just saying what happens and what the world is like, the players have a hand in it too. So for example, instead of the players looking for a quest to do and the GM telling them a rumor about a haunted castle or something, one player will just say "I've heard rumors of a haunted castle... called castle (give it a name), about (insert number here) miles to the (direction), near (a town's name). The player himself would randomly and spontaneously create the details in those parenthesis, something like a mad-lib.

Then as we go, the GM records all these developments and puts them all on a map. So the players then go to the castle, and the GM can say what the castle is like, or the players can decide, or they can all pitch in (of course with the GM being final word on anything). So when they arrive, the GM can say "how do you get into the castle?" and the player can say "there are some thick vines growing up the wall, and I want to try to climb them." That detail is then created. Perhaps each player/the GM can take it in turns adding a detail. Naturally, the players should not just create the details to make the adventure easy for them, like just saying "The door to the castle is wide open and I find a +1 sword with my name written on it." If they do something like this, then the person who comes up with the next detail (probably the GM) would say "the sword is cursed."

Basically, it will be a way to create a whole game setting for future use (to be posted on the site), that will have a level of richness and uniqueness that is normally not found when just one person creates every aspect. It will be a table top RPG, a mad-lib, and 1000 blank white cards all rolled into one. If we take detail creation in turn, we could be antagonistic to one another if one person does something we don't like or tries to make their character too good. I'd honestly like to see what we come up with.

I think it will be a lot of fun. We could even start it on the forum, if you guys want to, and then pick up from there when we next meet.

If we do it on the forum, we can take turns GMing. Each person will post and add some detail to the surroundings or give some quest or something. When combats happen or when rolls or any encounter needs to be resolved, we will suspend adding new details to it until that is resolved, otherwise the damned monsters would probably get written out of the story before the fight ended.

Let me know how ya'll want to do this.
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Wizard
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2011, 11:48:49 PM »

Basically, it will be a way to create a whole game setting for future use (to be posted on the site), that will have a level of richness and uniqueness that is normally not found when just one person creates every aspect.

Or a way to create a hodgepodge of conflicting elements the likes of which would give Hel herself migraines.

Sounds awesome.
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Žaš er gott. Ég var gert fyrir bardaga, og minn skal vera öldin kappans. Lįtašu önnur goš drottnu žegar barįttan er buin. Ég skal riša gaulaš ofvišriš, og deyja į sķšastrum miklum storminum.
Hoplomancer
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2011, 08:13:47 AM »

Yes that is certainly a possible outcome! That's why this is an experiment! Naturally the players are all supposed to try and make it not ridiculous. Even if the world building element is a failure ultimately, I want to try the "different GM every turn" model.

I decided last night that this would probably be best done on the forum, at least at first. I'm going to come up with a full set of rules for how to play (to try and prevent total chaos). I might put Frontier on hiatus (since that adventure lost momentum a while ago and has yet to pick back up).

I should have something up by friday or something, then we can make characters.
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Wizard
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jonalfarlinga
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2011, 09:46:09 AM »

I think our group for this type of game could be a mercenary outfit. Kinda like the hero's guild in Fable, but more gritty. The guild gets a job, and sends out a troubleshooter team. This would make it possible for every player to have a character, and one character could step out when that player becomes GM.

Also, I was thinking about multiple characters. Since the main focus of the game is on world building, what if each player has 2-3 different characters, and they leave home with one of them for the game session?
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Žaš er gott. Ég var gert fyrir bardaga, og minn skal vera öldin kappans. Lįtašu önnur goš drottnu žegar barįttan er buin. Ég skal riša gaulaš ofvišriš, og deyja į sķšastrum miklum storminum.
Hoplomancer
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« Reply #4 on: January 24, 2011, 10:02:11 AM »

We could do it that way, but that's not exactly what I had in mind. I was thinking that we would all play, and each person would add story/detail on their post, so GM would change with every post. Of course, there would be one "true GM," but only to settle disputes.

We could do it your way, though, where the GM changes per adventure, but then he would need to be more of a GM and wouldn't be a player on that adventure, but that might work, too. We can try it a few different ways.

I kind of want to do the change GM each post sort of way. It will probably end up with a ridiculously chaotic set of adventures, but I kind of wanted to add the fun of liar's dice to this, so when player 1 decides the castle wall can be climbed, player 2 then decides that it collapses, etc. Not that we would be out to get one another, just that no one would really know what to expect.

We can always try it both ways.

I was thinking about mercenary outfit, but there might be a few problems with that. First, it would make it hard to have a long quest that sends us a long way out. We might end up world building out from the central hub of "starting town." This might work just fine, except we might end up with a starting town with a ring of dungeons around it. We would have to see. I was going to start things with the old standard "we're in the tavern," but the mercenary thing is probably a better idea.

I like the multiple character thing, though. This would probably be a good idea, and also would really help from a playtesting standpoint.

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Hoplomancer
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« Reply #5 on: January 24, 2011, 11:21:09 AM »

Alright, I decided that 3 characters each will be best. And when I say "I decided" I mean "I already made three characters."

These are my three basic ideas (so you guys can create somewhat different characters)

Rondo Fightsall - Rondo is the guild leader. He is a STR/SOC focus, with skills in combat as well as negotiation, investigation, and oration.
Getsin Dare - Getsin is an infiltrator. He is a STR/DEX focus, and he is skilled in getting in places through climbing, acrobatics and stealth, though he is also somewhat familiar with lockpicking and swimming, and can handle himself in a fight if he has to.
U.T. Liddy - U.T. is a mage who never really made it very far in wizard school. He learned how to cast basic spells, and instead of advancing he just learned a great deal of low-power spells that he felt would be useful and decided to go adventure instead. He did pay a lot of attention in Alchemy class, though, so he has a decent grasp of that.

Don't feel like you need to avoid making characters that are similar to these - if we are going to have probably 9-12 total characters, there will be multiple fighters, rogues, and casters (there is magic in the setting because otherwise creating this many characters would not be too varied). So feel free to make your own fighter, rogue, caster, talker, etc. There are still a lot of other archetypes to do. My "fighter" is more of the leader type. We could still use a tank type fighter, a tactical fighter, and/or a berserker type. Among rogues, there is still room for the assassin type and any number of social type/disguise rogues. Among casters, well, there are tons of spells, and my wizard is more of a multitool than an arcane force to be reckoned with. We could probably use a powerful combat-focused caster, or a utility caster with different spells. There are lots of spells.

Start coming up with ideas, and I'll try and launch this thing this week, definitely by friday.
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Wizard
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« Reply #6 on: January 24, 2011, 12:01:08 PM »

I didn't mean to replace the "on the fly" player GMing with a rotating GM, though I guess on second thought, there isn't enough for a full time GM to do in this set-up, so it would make sense for the GM to have a character too. We could also go without a GM: either vote on stuff or just stuff can't be vetoed (though it can be retracted by the originator, so if someone says something that unintentionally screws your plan, you can discuss it with them).

As far as adventures being clustered, that really comes down to how much magic/technology is in the setting. There are probably multiple guild houses (Morrowind/Oblivion) and there could be different forms of fast travel (magic/beast/tech). At the very least, guilds could contact each other by messenger bird. So you can take on any job anywhere. Some jobs can take you further from home, and you could change your guild house on arrival if that is necessary.
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Žaš er gott. Ég var gert fyrir bardaga, og minn skal vera öldin kappans. Lįtašu önnur goš drottnu žegar barįttan er buin. Ég skal riša gaulaš ofvišriš, og deyja į sķšastrum miklum storminum.
Hoplomancer
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« Reply #7 on: January 24, 2011, 12:43:18 PM »

Yeah, we can do multiple guild houses if we want. Depending on how many players/characters we have, we can have 2-3, with either each guildhall having one adventuring party's worth of people or two. Or, we could start with one guildhall and then someone could decide we should open another guildhall later. It might be a good idea to have more than one, that way we don't end up playing one character the whole time. We can just implement the "MEANWHILE" rule to make sure it is clear when we transition from narrative in one location to the other.

What kind of transportation/communication is available is not something I'm going to lay out in the start post. That is for us to make up! So, if you want to expand the game world away from the starting town, just say "we hop on the (wagon train/riverboat/pack brachiosaurus) and two days later we are (x) miles to the (direction) in the city of (name)."

One good thing about doing this on the forum is that I can just print the pages out later and compile all the details of the game world together and the dungeons we have come up with.
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Wizard
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jonalfarlinga
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« Reply #8 on: January 24, 2011, 01:20:22 PM »

Sounds good, but one thing I want to be careful of is not tying a certain team together. I want the parties to be able to mix and match as desired. Rather saying "this adventure is near guild house A, so we will play the characters that are there," we will just make up reasons for such and such character to be where he is.
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Žaš er gott. Ég var gert fyrir bardaga, og minn skal vera öldin kappans. Lįtašu önnur goš drottnu žegar barįttan er buin. Ég skal riša gaulaš ofvišriš, og deyja į sķšastrum miklum storminum.
Hoplomancer
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« Reply #9 on: January 24, 2011, 01:35:59 PM »

Yeah, I meant to say something like that. Of course we can mix and match as desired. Like you said, we will make up reasons as we need them if we want to bring in a character to use. We don't have to come up with a standard way, and depending on what kind of fast travel we put in and how far the guildhalls end up being, I can think of a few reasons just off the top of my head: the guild could regularly transfer talent around as needed, especially if one character is super good at one certain thing and the mission is likely to need that. Also, whoever decides what the mission is can just say that it is located in a place that is roughly the same distance from both guildhalls, so the team will just meet there or on the way there.

We are going to need some rules to what can be made up. I'm going to try and write them, but keep any considerations you have in mind so that once I post them you can see if I have left anything important out. What I'm talking about is rules like "don't directly overrule the last player, what they say is a problem is a problem. For example, if they say the wall needs to be climbed, you should not say you find a ladder nearby." Or "don't render any player's detail of the world suddenly obsolete. For example, if someone says that a fast means of travel is the riverboat, don't say next time that there is a faster way to travel which would make no one take the riverboat, like free teleporters. If you want to add in another means of travel, it has to be one that would coexist with the first. So if there is the riverboat and teleporters, the teleporters would have to be way expensive."
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Wizard
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jonalfarlinga
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« Reply #10 on: January 24, 2011, 04:30:17 PM »

Mel N. Callie - Mel is a confirmed clergyman of Saros, the god of death. He mostly keep to himself, and tithes most of his profits to the curch of Saros. He is an INT/SOC character and brings the power of fire magic to the guild.

M'bai - M'bai is a heavily scarred and tattooed tribesman from the eastern jungles who specializes in killing quietly. He is a high DEX with some skills in tracking and sneaking, in addition to killing arts.

"Two-shoes" McGee
- Two-shoes is a classic knight-type character. He is young and admires Rondo. His focus is on STR and DEX, and he has some social skills besides his warmaking.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2011, 07:48:20 PM by Wizard » Logged

Žaš er gott. Ég var gert fyrir bardaga, og minn skal vera öldin kappans. Lįtašu önnur goš drottnu žegar barįttan er buin. Ég skal riša gaulaš ofvišriš, og deyja į sķšastrum miklum storminum.
Hoplomancer
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« Reply #11 on: January 24, 2011, 04:41:25 PM »

Lol, I remember an NPC I created called M'Bai in that GURPS pirate game we played way long ago...except mine was all STR.

Well, we have one god so far, and we know there are jungles somewhere east of here.

I've got most of the basic rules/guidelines written down, but they might need a little editing for clarity since I've been just writing them as the come to me. I can probably have the thing started by tomorrow night, I hope, then we can all post in-depth character backgrounds to give the world a little bit of starting flesh, then get this thing started.

I appreciate your bad pun of a character name, like all of mine (except Rondo. His name is not a pun. He just has a ridiculous last name). I'm particularly proud of Getsin Dare as a character name, especially since he is a daring guy.

I'm eager to find out why he is called "Two-shoes," aside from the obvious "goodie two-shoes reference," unless that's the whole extent of it.
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cdnell123
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« Reply #12 on: March 21, 2011, 09:16:58 PM »

There are probably multiple guild houses (Morrowind/Oblivion) and there could be different forms of fast travel
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Hoplomancer
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« Reply #13 on: March 22, 2011, 09:03:33 AM »

I don't know who you are, new guy, but welcome. Good to see you aren't a bot trying to sell pharmaceuticals.

This game is actually currently going on in this thread if you're interested: http://severelyawesome.com/forum/index.php?topic=1592.0

We could possibly add you in once we get to know you.
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Wizard
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jonalfarlinga
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« Reply #14 on: March 22, 2011, 09:26:27 AM »

Actually, I'm pretty sure that is a bot because it's a strait copy of a sentence I wrote futher up the page.
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Žaš er gott. Ég var gert fyrir bardaga, og minn skal vera öldin kappans. Lįtašu önnur goš drottnu žegar barįttan er buin. Ég skal riša gaulaš ofvišriš, og deyja į sķšastrum miklum storminum.
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