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Author Topic: A system for forum play.  (Read 1181 times)

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Offline SatanKlausTopic starter

A system for forum play.
« on: August 27, 2012, 08:24:39 AM »
I'm looking for a system that is specifically suitable for play on our forum. It should:

-Not be 'reactive'. That is, the acting player should not have to wait for someone else's roll before he can narrate the results of an action.
-Not focus on combat. Combat should take up only about as much time/posts as other conflicts.
-Be adaptable to a wide range of scenarios and settings.
-Be simple enough that a person unfamiliar with roleplaying games can play it.
-Not focus on equipment and other 'bookkeeping' tasks. Players should have only a few pieces of 'relevant' gear and character sheets should not be longer than one page.
-Not require long tables and charts. Basically, a result should be 'intuitive' and allow a player to narrate the outcome in words rather than blurt out a few numbers.

As you can see, what I am looking for is a rather 'minimal' system. Still, I want to have a system instead of freeform because it gives some structure and a randomness in results that players can accept as 'fair'. It does not need to be power-gamer-proof and it does not need long equipment or spell lists. Rather, it has to keep these things simple, yet interesting.

Any suggestions, or anyone interested in working out such a system?

SatanKlaus

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 11:23:08 AM »
I'm looking for a system that is specifically suitable for play on our forum.
Based on your requirements and the other thread, I'd recommend FATE. You mentioned you like the DIY descriptirs, right?
Well, you get that in FATE with Aspects.

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It should:

-Not be 'reactive'. That is, the acting player should not have to wait for someone else's roll before he can narrate the results of an action.
Check, just tell them the skill the opponent would use to defend, and assume his roll is 0 (which is the average 4dF roll, actually - or you simply add 7 if you let the players use 2d6 instead, which is another RAW option).

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-Not focus on combat. Combat should take up only about as much time/posts as other conflicts.
Check, even mechanically, combat isn't more important. The system works the same way in combat and during a debate.

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-Be adaptable to a wide range of scenarios and settings.
It's a system that's based on narrative principles and scene framing. I don't know what exactly you can't do with FATE.

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-Be simple enough that a person unfamiliar with roleplaying games can play it.
The basis of the system is, mechanically, Roll 4dF(OR 2d6, Or d6-d6), and add to your roll. Compare with the opposing number to get your result. Decide whether you want to use "narrative currency" to add to your roll. However, in order to do that, you must incorporate some of the distinctive features of your character.
If you win by 3+ over difficulty, it's spectacular and gives you further benefits.

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-Not focus on equipment and other 'bookkeeping' tasks. Players should have only a few pieces of 'relevant' gear and character sheets should not be longer than one page.
Check. A FATE character sheet can be written on the back of an index card.
The whole system could be no longer than one page. Although I'd recommend using something longer, because clearer explanation more than makes up for it.

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-Not require long tables and charts. Basically, a result should be 'intuitive' and allow a player to narrate the outcome in words rather than blurt out a few numbers.
Check, see the description above.

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As you can see, what I am looking for is a rather 'minimal' system. Still, I want to have a system instead of freeform because it gives some structure and a randomness in results that players can accept as 'fair'. It does not need to be power-gamer-proof and it does not need long equipment or spell lists. Rather, it has to keep these things simple, yet interesting.
Actually, FATE is designed in such a way that being a powergamer leads you towards doing your best to create a more entertaining story.

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Any suggestions, or anyone interested in working out such a system?

SatanKlaus
If you need further suggestions, let me know >:)!
« Last Edit: August 27, 2012, 11:26:11 AM by Thufir Hawat »

Offline SatanKlausTopic starter

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #2 on: August 28, 2012, 04:35:43 AM »
I had a look at the rules. The fate points are a good system, as they allow the players to (occasionally) shape the world. The conflict resolution is nice, too, with the winner dictating terms to the loser.

For some reason, I don't like how the dice are being used, but that may be just never seen the system in action.

There are a lot of 'Stunts' that make things more complicated but the rules suggest you can do without.

Are all 'aspects' equal in mechanical terms? On a cursory read, it seems like being an 'army brat' can be equally positive or negative as getting a 'Broken leg' as a consequence. There don't seem to be any real disadvantages a character can have if I am not mistaken. I have seen the same design choice in other 'story-driven' RPG systems (granted, many older systems don't have those, either). Any thoughts on this?


SatanKlaus

PS: Do you know of a good running or completed FATE game on this forum where I could have a look at the system in play?

Offline Haibane

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #3 on: August 28, 2012, 05:16:47 AM »
Take a look at the systemic freeform game idea created by Urbanzorro. He's not been active on the forums for a while but I know that he would be delighted to have others use his system.


Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #4 on: August 28, 2012, 05:17:21 AM »
Aspects are best chosen so that they can generate both positive and negative stuff for the player. That gives the group more to work with in the story.

Offline SatanKlausTopic starter

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #5 on: August 28, 2012, 05:40:00 AM »
Take a look at the systemic freeform game idea created by Urbanzorro. He's not been active on the forums for a while but I know that he would be delighted to have others use his system.

I have read that before. The system is just a system. But the thing that really stuck with me was this:

In order for the system to work posts which interact with the system(such as combat, or attempts to pick locks/hack computers/etc)  must be posted in  a way to still allow the GM(s) to maintain control of events. This means the player’s posts should illustrate their character’s actions and the intent of their actions but not the results. For instance “My character shoots at the enemy and hits them in the head” does not work. Whereas “My character shoots at the enemy, and aims for their head” does.

Once you implement this simple rule, you can basically use any system. The GM takes care of the 'technicalities' for the players. This has advantages (players don't need to know the rules) and disadvantages (players have to wait for the results of their actions) but generally sounds like an idea that could work very well. It keeps control of the game very firmly in the GM's hand. If that is something you want or not depends on the type of game you want, I suppose.

SatanKlaus

Offline Haibane

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #6 on: August 28, 2012, 08:41:54 AM »
I think you might have missed the point. The players write fully freeform posts and never have any contact with the system after character generation, beyond that one issue that they cannot RP the results of their actions in combat situations (and in fact that ought to be true of all role-playing), so in effect its an invisible system and the GM does all the work behind the scenes meaning it flows much faster than any other system I've played.

Systems where the players roll the dice can have forum posts chock full of OOC notations and so on. Urbanzorrow's games read like a freeform RP. I can link you to one if you want so that you can see what it looks like.

Offline Healergirl

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #7 on: August 28, 2012, 08:58:31 AM »
Haibane,

I'm doing something similar with A New god Rising:  The Siege  http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=149304.0.  Pathfinder based, but I handle all the mechanics, resolve multiple rounds of combat at once if need be, that sort of thing.  I have high hopes for it, this is a much smaller scale project than The Domino Theory, which was too grandiose for a GM new to online gaming.

Offline SatanKlausTopic starter

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #8 on: August 28, 2012, 11:08:25 AM »
I think you might have missed the point. The players write fully freeform posts and never have any contact with the system after character generation, beyond that one issue that they cannot RP the results of their actions in combat situations (and in fact that ought to be true of all role-playing), so in effect its an invisible system and the GM does all the work behind the scenes meaning it flows much faster than any other system I've played.

No I DO get it. It's just that some people like a more 'co-author' style of play and some prefer 'game master and players' style like a classical tabletop game. It is not very conductive to the former (systems like FATE seem to be better suited for that) but I agree that it is a very elegant way of doing things for a forum because things don't get muddled, players don't have to know the rules and you have a unified bookkeeping.

SatanKlaus

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #9 on: August 29, 2012, 03:51:36 AM »
I had a look at the rules. The fate points are a good system, as they allow the players to (occasionally) shape the world. The conflict resolution is nice, too, with the winner dictating terms to the loser.
Unless the loser offers a Concession, of course. The point of it is to lose your way, meaning not too badly ;D!

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For some reason, I don't like how the dice are being used, but that may be just never seen the system in action.
Use another of the three equal rolling options :P. I mean, you have 4dF, 2d6 (in this case you add 7 to static difficulties) and d6-d6, all of which work.

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There are a lot of 'Stunts' that make things more complicated but the rules suggest you can do without.
Admittedly, I almost never bother using stunts.

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Are all 'aspects' equal in mechanical terms? On a cursory read, it seems like being an 'army brat' can be equally positive or negative as getting a 'Broken leg' as a consequence.
Yes, in the basic rules, although I think some variants of the system had introduced Aspects with different values. But since it's a narrative system, I'm not sure that's such a stellar idea. Admittedly, "broken leg" can be a win condition as well, not to mention that Consequences can be tagged for free.
Either way, you're unlikely to oppose a "Broken leg" with "Army brat", so they're unlikely to ever get directly compared.

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There don't seem to be any real disadvantages a character can have if I am not mistaken. I have seen the same design choice in other 'story-driven' RPG systems (granted, many older systems don't have those, either). Any thoughts on this?
That's strictly untrue. Actually, that would be a mechanically weak character. You're supposed to define Aspects as being both positive and negative, and you really want to do that. That's because you get Fate points when the character is actually inconvenienced by their Aspects being compelled.
At the end of the session, if you've got no compels, and I've been able to get compels or self-compel a lot, you're likely to have no Fate points left, while I've got several. Should we clash, your character is going to be shred into pieces.
Yes, Mary Sues are weak in this system 8-)!


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SatanKlaus

PS: Do you know of a good running or completed FATE game on this forum where I could have a look at the system in play?
Not really, though I think Hairy Heretic was running Dresden Files, which is a Fate variant. Can't find it, though.
But I've found an Actual Play thread for you, which might give you some ideas.
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?244515-Actual-Play-Fate-Elemental-Fantasy
Hope that helps, though I've only skimmed it.

Also, yes, FATE assumes a co-author stance (although the mechanics aren't as intrusive as they're rumoured to be). Some people hate this assumption. Others love it for it.
My conclusion is that there's no pleasing everybody, even if you bother trying >:)!

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #10 on: August 29, 2012, 06:43:11 AM »
Yeah, I was running a Dresden Files game a while ago. It's still on the site here, if you want to look at it.

Offline SatanKlausTopic starter

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #11 on: August 29, 2012, 12:04:39 PM »
Yes, in the basic rules, although I think some variants of the system had introduced Aspects with different values. But since it's a narrative system, I'm not sure that's such a stellar idea. Admittedly, "broken leg" can be a win condition as well, not to mention that Consequences can be tagged for free.
So the enemy gets to use my broken leg against me once for free, and then it basically becomes just another aspect? Admittedly, it would be hard to use it to my advantage, but it will earn me fate points when it is compelled? From all I have heard so far, that doesn't sound very limiting. If you get your leg broken in GURPS, you are in a world of hurt...

Not really, though I think Hairy Heretic was running Dresden Files, which is a Fate variant. Can't find it, though.
But I've found an Actual Play thread for you, which might give you some ideas.
http://forum.rpg.net/showthread.php?244515-Actual-Play-Fate-Elemental-Fantasy
Hope that helps, though I've only skimmed it.
Unfortunately, its just a nice story to read. They don't show the mechanics and dicerolls.

Hairy, can you post a link to your play, please?

SatanKlaus

Offline HairyHeretic

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Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #12 on: August 29, 2012, 02:30:39 PM »
OOC thread, including character generation (and some stumbling along the way)
http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=66222.0

Game thread
http://elliquiy.com/forums/index.php?topic=70733.0

Offline Thufir Hawat

Re: A system for forum play.
« Reply #13 on: August 29, 2012, 04:44:37 PM »
So the enemy gets to use my broken leg against me once for free, and then it basically becomes just another aspect? Admittedly, it would be hard to use it to my advantage, but it will earn me fate points when it is compelled? From all I have heard so far, that doesn't sound very limiting. If you get your leg broken in GURPS, you are in a world of hurt...
As I said, narrative logic, and FATE doesn't particularly try to simulate stuff outside of that. Although after I tag your Consequence, you're likely to also get another, and another, and probably are going to be Taken Out soon >:).
There are options that may make it work more like GURPS, but the default is that the action hero with a broken leg keeps crawling along, as long as he's not out of the fight 8-).