Any pen&paper roleplayers here?

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Somnambulist

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« Reply #15 on: November 23, 2013, 03:50:57 am »
In terms of a ruleset, pretty much anything out there could be used for skills/combat/character development.  The heavy lifting comes in with the magic system.   Developing the metaphysics of Earwan sorcery is crucial.  Also, we'd want to use something that does justice to the gravitas inherent in the setting.  Castes and tribes are relatively easy to define.  Jnan skill likewise.  All the flavor can be easily built in.  D20 is open source, but the class structure and magic system would need to be built from scratch I think.  Thoughts?
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Kellais

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« Reply #16 on: November 23, 2013, 05:01:51 pm »
Huh, i wasn't expecting that many posts in so short a time  ;D

Very good.

Ok, so here goes:

Possibility a : We even create an own rulessystem for it (besides all the collecting of world entries for the setting guide). Not sure if anyone is interested in working out an own system. What we have to be clear on is that it is a LOT of work to make a system from scratch (that also does what it should, probabilities-side).

Possibility b : We take a system that is out there. I wholeheartedly agree that the d20 family (including PF) is waaaaaaaaaay out  ;D I could live with FATE although i am not sure it is gritty enough (but it would support the storytelling part quite well).

If we go with b) I was thinking about the new Runequest 6 rulesset. It is an old game but it was dusted off quite nicely by the new company and it has nice rules for cults and magic and stuff which we could use for a PoN RPG...like, a lot ;)
If you want to use a class-based game, i think i am out. 1) I hate those  :-X and 2) i don't think it matches Earwa that well and therefore is no real "way to go".
RQ6 has a class and level less system that nonetheless can simulate those aspects via culture and occupation/careers... a lot more elegant imo.

Another system that is more on the side of the narration/storytelling style is Cortex +, another interesting little system that even went open source.

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Somnambulist

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« Reply #17 on: November 23, 2013, 07:31:22 pm »
I agree:  no class system is essential.  I also don't like those and have been tinkering for years on a classless alternative (i.e., skill-based).  Not that I've got very far, mind, but there you go.

I'm not familiar with RQ6, but I'll see what I can learn.

If you hadn't guessed, I'm in   ;D
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Madness

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« Reply #18 on: November 23, 2013, 09:25:48 pm »
Do you all need/want a subforum for sorting out the different aspects of this, rather than being constrained by one thread?
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Kellais

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« Reply #19 on: November 23, 2013, 11:03:02 pm »
This would be superb, Madness, thanks a lot!  :)

@ Somnambulist - Check for the srd of Mongoose Runequest 1 or Openquest srd. Those games are very similar.
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Callan S.

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« Reply #20 on: November 24, 2013, 01:08:48 am »
Please, figure out and narrow down what the game would focus on. I've basically studied RPG's for too long and if you're going to try and put all the load on the GM to make play interesting, don't even bother looking up a ruleset. If you are going to use a ruleset, realise that it shapes what the game focuses on. If no one decides that, then the ruleset is just a blind shotgun blast in the dark - it might support just stupid, abstract things. You have to guide it to some degree. Just trying to have rolling to hit and armour classes 'n' shit is not guidance, it's just random blasts in the dark. Being real particular on the magic system wont help, unless you figure out what the group will actually be doing and, preferably, enjoying. Figuring out the fiction in minutae does not automatically work out the latter.

It strikes me as tragedy, when I see an RPG go down that route. Particularly one based on these books. This is my protest against repeating thirty years of RPG 'design theory', which is to say going in blind, shooting wildly.

sciborg2

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« Reply #21 on: November 24, 2013, 04:21:19 am »
I think Callan makes great points regarding focus.

There are a ton of rule sets out there, and something that could help is figuring out what kind of Earwa experience you want to simulate.

I think a classless system can work, though I'd recommend finding an extant system as trying to play test any new ruleset will likely be insanely difficult. I think Kult RPG was classless, as was Call of Cthullu? (Maybe horror rpgs in general offer classless systems to use? This might make PCs very vulnerable though.)
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Kellais

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« Reply #22 on: November 24, 2013, 12:33:52 pm »
Wow, Callan, a bit bitter, are we? (and i can understand that, to a degree...so that statement is not meant as a provocation, just so we are clear  ;) )

I'm a roleplayer of many years myself, and am also reading up on game design, at least a bit. I'm no big fan of all the Game-Theories like GNS and that stuff because in the end, i think it is just babble. Every game group has a different vibe and enjoys different parts of the game. So it will be impossible to generate The One True RPG anyway.

Therefore i don't think we need to narrowly focus our game. What i want to try is 1) to put together the most important world-bits and 2) finding and moderatly adapting a rulesset to the flavour of Earwa (or at least what our consensus will be on what the flavour is). That last part might lead us to focus, in the wider sense of the word. But i think it would be a shame to say "Ok, let us make a game that only tries to let players play Mandate Schoolmen". Eventhough for some that might be what they are after in a PoN RPG, i think it is a way too narrow focus because you can be sure that if you have a group of 5 people (and we will even assume here that all of them read the whole of PoN), not all of them like the same things about the books.

What the rules should provide in my opinion:

- A way to simulate reality (to whatever degree seems appropriate)
- how the cultures and upbringing (caste, career etc) factors into the characters capabilities
- how all the supernatural stuff "works"

In every other aspect, the rules should take a backseat to whatever is happening at the game table. Rules are guidelines, not laws. And they should never dictate the game/story flow (which a lot of the new indie-games try to do, which can lead to interesting results, but is most often a imagination-stifling corset *).

* at least for my taste/way of gameing
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Somnambulist

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« Reply #23 on: November 24, 2013, 02:13:05 pm »
Kellais, couldn't have said it bettter.  We seem to be of a similar mindset to the approach of even considering this kind of endeavor.  The focus of any adaptation should be true to the source material, first and foremost.  If it doesn't feel like Earwa (or whatever setting for that matter), what's the point?  Any ruleset should be to support the framework, not inhibit it.

Big +1 for thoughts.
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Kellais

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« Reply #24 on: November 24, 2013, 03:37:28 pm »
Glad that i found someone who shares my view, Somna (I hope you allow me to nickname you that way ;) ) :) And thanks for my first Karma  ;D

That said, i'd still be interested in the vision of Callan. I hope i didn't kill the conversation with my first line. Because i think it is interesting to see different approaches. There is always the chance that we can create synergy...and that can lead to stuff better than the sum of its parts.

If Madness gives us an own subforum, we can have a thread dedicated to that discussion if you guys are interested in getting into more detail about design and the different philosophies of game-styles. I know i would be.
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sciborg2

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« Reply #25 on: November 24, 2013, 04:07:56 pm »
In defense of Callan, I didn't read his post as having a bitter tone so much as a cautionary one.

It's easy to throw in some ideas about fighters and mages but then realize the whole thing is a mess. [Especially given the huge power differentials between warriors, mages, and warriors with chorare.]

I'm still thinking the rulesets of a horror rpg where even well trained humans are vulnerable might work out well. The problem is any human engaged in a war is likely to be snuffed out.

Perhaps some kind of "destiny" mechanic that offers bonuses for PCs? An acknowledgement of divine favor or the world conspiring would be the in-game explanation...
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Somnambulist

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« Reply #26 on: November 24, 2013, 06:28:32 pm »
Perhaps some kind of "destiny" mechanic that offers bonuses for PCs? An acknowledgement of divine favor or the world conspiring would be the in-game explanation...

Have thought about this as an extension of the kahiht (sp?), the world-souls.  Maybe PCs would be pulled from this idea.
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sologdin

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« Reply #27 on: November 24, 2013, 09:36:22 pm »
i always liked white wolf's mechanics best. its merits & flaws might be a way to handle upjumped classes: to be mandati, you have to take enough flaws to purchase gnosis. otherwise, sorcerer is default anagogic.  buying gnosis might come automatically with flaws like Loathed by All, Ancient Enemy, Horrible Nightmares, and Crazy.  so, yaknow, balanced!

how does one handle an RSB game when everyone shows up with inchies and erratics and gnostics? 

everyone really starts with a chump:


okay, inrau. roll initiative--wait, nevermind. the birdthing killed you pre-initiative.

next, geshrunni. take a free action now because you get your face flayed before you have time for anything else.
« Last Edit: November 24, 2013, 09:40:14 pm by sologdin »

Callan S.

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« Reply #28 on: November 25, 2013, 04:13:04 am »
Wow, Callan, a bit bitter, are we? (and i can understand that, to a degree...so that statement is not meant as a provocation, just so we are clear  ;) )

I'm a roleplayer of many years myself, and am also reading up on game design, at least a bit. I'm no big fan of all the Game-Theories like GNS and that stuff because in the end, i think it is just babble. Every game group has a different vibe and enjoys different parts of the game. So it will be impossible to generate The One True RPG anyway.
GNS theory doesn't say any different. No one true RPG.
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Therefore i don't think we need to narrowly focus our game. What i want to try is 1) to put together the most important world-bits and 2) finding and moderatly adapting a rulesset to the flavour of Earwa (or at least what our consensus will be on what the flavour is). That last part might lead us to focus, in the wider sense of the word. But i think it would be a shame to say "Ok, let us make a game that only tries to let players play Mandate Schoolmen". Eventhough for some that might be what they are after in a PoN RPG, i think it is a way too narrow focus because you can be sure that if you have a group of 5 people (and we will even assume here that all of them read the whole of PoN), not all of them like the same things about the books.
What I mean by focusing is not at all at the scale of whether you focus just on schoolmen or cover a whole range of castes. That's the smaller circle - the larger circle, the much larger one which encompases all that you are talking about that, that's the one I'm talking about, in regard to focusing. I'm not at all talking about your decision on how many castes are covered. I'm not asking for focus on that. I'm not talking about classes or class-less. I'm not asking for focus on that.

When some dude has written up an angst filled background will broken relationships all over the place, another dude is out to pwn the world and another is really keen to be a recreationist of every little Earwa detail, none of that stuff will actually say which one we are going to game about. I know, I know, the very old responce is 'we can do all of them *dilated pupils*!!1!'.

I think usually that comes from folk who are in game groups most of whom's members all do the same one of these as the others. And they just think they do them all at once.

Because trying to do them all ends up doing them all badly. And it sucks. Not to say that as provocation.

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In every other aspect, the rules should take a backseat to whatever is happening at the game table. Rules are guidelines, not laws.
I've heard this so many times - it religious mantra. Because frankly you've never had rules that take a font seat and did not suck - because all the front seat rules you had were firing shots into the dark. And they hit nothing. And they sucked. And so over thirty years, instead of improving front seat rules, people have arrived at the mantra of, while not getting rid of rules entirely (because they need to buy books with the text 'D&D' on the front or they feel naked), they have to push them to the back.

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And they should never dictate the game/story flow (which a lot of the new indie-games try to do, which can lead to interesting results, but is most often a imagination-stifling corset *).
Which ones have you played? Some are just shitly designed - it's not like someone regulates all indie games to be designed in the one single dogmatic way. Quite the opposite - they go in all sorts of directions. And some of them are shit.

I'd recommend looking up The Riddle of Steel RPG (sadly out of print now). It handles Sciborg's mention of a destiny mechanic very well, while still being able to have NPC's or PC's heads decapitated.

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« Reply #29 on: November 25, 2013, 05:26:45 pm »
Just a quick note - I think we have to acknowledge "classes" will not be balanced. Being a non-Dunyain warrior without a chorae means you are a nothing when compared to a sorcerer of rank.

A sorcerer without a lot of indirect damage opportunities is also very vulnerable against chorae. And everyone human is probably fucked if a fighter/mage nonman shows up.

This isn't a bad thing IMO, as it gets away from balancing obsessions that can break attempts at simulation. Though adventuring in the wastes sort of loses its appeal...

Perhaps PCs who aren't mages are granted one chorae and 1-3 lesser cohorts?
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