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Author Topic: The Conquest of Dra Sirdu (Fantasy, system, interest search, variable content)  (Read 1728 times)

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Offline The Unholy PotatoTopic starter

Among the great cities of the Dominion of Giris, word is quickly spreading of a land both new and old. Filled with mysterious ruins and priceless relics of lost civilizations, it holds great opportunities for those brave and cunning enough to find them. Already, the Second Fleet of Expansion gathers under the banner of Queen Enra III, preparing to set sail to the fortress-town of Point Respite.

And yet, in more hushed tones, people gossip about the terrifying tales that have returned to the home country with the recovered treasures. A madness lays over the land like fog, it is said, worming its way into the sternest of minds. Monsters and demons lurk in the dark, unmapped expanses, bringing death and worse to those foolish enough to stumble into their domain. Better, perhaps, to remain safe and secure at home, earning an honest living. But who listens to cowards when there are fortunes to be made and legends to be written?


--

As indicated by the header, the Conquest of Dra Sirdu will be a system-based fantasy game, focusing on exploration, discovery, and survival in a harsh, foreign wilderness. The players will take the roles of adventurers and mercenaries hired by the Girisi crown to supplement the exploratory forces. However, in your search for glory and gold, you will also encounter some of the horrors that the vast island has to offer. Will you find what you seek, or will your reward come in the form of a painful, ignominious death hundreds of miles from home?

Now, you may ask, "The Unholy Potato, a 'system' is very nonspecific, which system are you planning to use?" Honestly, I'm not, right now. As this post is largely aimed towards gathering up interested players and I'm feeling flexible, that's something I was planning to discuss afterwards. The two biggest candidates, right now, are Pathfinder, a variant on 3.5 edition Dungeons and Dragons, and the Fate roleplaying system. The former would result in a greater focus on mechanistic/tactical combat, while the latter allows for more narrative flexibility and mechanical simplicity, both in combat and out. Pathfinder is available for free via an online SRD, while the Fate Core can be acquired through its kickstarter page for a price of one dollar. I do have an abbreviated version that I can share with interested parties, however, to get a feel for the system if a one dollar blind investment is too much.

The variable content tag means just that: while I am open to negotiations depending on preferences of the players. However, the primary motivation for using a system over playing a freeform game was a desire for uncertainty, excitement, and surprise that more planned role-plays generally can't offer (or, at least, not to the same degree). Unexpected failures or exceptional successes alter games and story lines, but more importantly, they have gruesome or miraculous results for characters.

This flexibility also extends to the themes or overall "feel" of the game. The one player who has already stated interest mentioned a "humanoids versus monsters" sort of dynamic, both for adventure and erotic content, so I do have some plans along those lines. If you're interested and have other ideas, though, please let me know! I'll do my best to respond to both posts in this thread, as well as PMs, should anyone desire to contact me directly.

Offline Robyn Hood

Me! ^_^

Offline Mingnon

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By the erotic version of 'Humans versus Monsters', would it be NC? Thanks regardless.

Offline The Unholy PotatoTopic starter

As noted in the initial post, I'm open to negotiation. The phrasing suggests antagonistic relationships between the players and whatever monsters they encountered, but both Fate and Pathfinder involve mechanics for social conflict as well as the more traditional martial conflict. Ultimately, my biggest goal is actually putting together the game and adjusting it to player expectations and desires. I'm aware of how difficult group games can be to get together and maintain, so I don't want to make things more difficult by dictating play styles.

As an additional thought, even physical opponents, should they become reoccurring villains, don't necessarily have to be hellbent on the players' defeat, humiliation, and destruction. Rivals and "frenemies" don't become impossible just because the opposing individuals might look different, or not have eyes in the traditional sense, or what-have-you.

Offline Nameless One

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I'd be interested.

Edited: I forgot to write that I have some experience with D&D3.5 (who I learn is similar to Pathfinder) and I played Fate once or twice.
« Last Edit: January 24, 2013, 06:29:42 AM by Nameless One »

Offline Mingnon

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That does sound like something I'll be interested in

Hope you don't mind having a tabletop newb along. ^.^;

Offline Lilark

I am quite intrigued by this idea. I am familiar with Pathfinder rules, although I am new to adult RPs.

Offline ForestMagi

I'm not very experienced with Pathfinder (only played once a week for a few months over half a year ago); having said that, I'd be very interested. Alchemist was my favourite class (yay bombs!), but I also did a druid once, and I think a cleric.

I have never played a Fate game in my life, but I have a dollar to spare if the system sounds good.

@Mingnon, no worries about a newb. Everyone has to start somewhere, and you can always ask questions. :)

Offline Cryptonoms

Color me interested, and such.

Offline The Unholy PotatoTopic starter

This is, admittedly, a bit more interest than I expected to get. I'm certainly not unhappy about having six prospective players, but it does heighten my concern about timing issues. While I felt a bit more flexible not knowing the number of players, a forum-based Pathfinder game with six players seems, to me, doomed to bog down irreparably right after rolling initiative for the first combat.

For this problem, I have two solutions: I would still be willing to run a "hybrid" Pathfinder, where the majority of the plot goes on in forums, but combat is managed elsewhere. There are a number of programs and services (with my personal favorite being roll20 for its lack of cost, fairly intuitive nature, and integrated dice-roller) that could be used to this end. This is probably the more difficult solution, however, as it relies on getting all involved players together and playing at the same time. Also, I understand that some people strongly prefer not to be involved in off-forum roleplays, meaning that this wouldn't be an option for them.

The biggest problem I have with Pathfinder (and 3.x in general, on forums) is that characters have to act in initiative-specific order due to the grid-based tactics element of the game. This means that all six other people would be waiting on the active player, so a single absence would cause pretty serious problems. Fate, because it abstracts combat a bit more, can largely operate without an initiative system. It also has mechanisms for removing groups of people (both PCs and NPC enemies) from a conflict if they cease to be relevant without crippling their ability to participate in future fights. For this reason, if the consensus is on a forum-based game, I'd prefer to use the Fate Core.

How does that sound to everyone? Thoughts, opinions, complaints?

Offline Lilark

Sounds good to me.

Offline Robyn Hood

Having had a chance to read through FATE, it has roots in just adding a little structure to freeform roleplaying and seems to be more amenable to forum play. My heart is not set on any particular system, but I do like the fact that it maintains some of the unknown factor involving actions. It is pretty simple and looks fun. I could throw up a character sheet for everyone to see if they'd like as an example.

And for the record, I am certainly into NC and monsters ^_^ If you couldn't tell by my avie. Although I'm fine if no one else wants to indulge me on that.

Offline The Unholy PotatoTopic starter

To clarify, I do need opinions from people here before I make a decision. I can make a decree and tell everyone to live with it, but I offered two options because I want to make sure that my plans line up with player preferences. In addition, if people want to post or PM character concepts they're working on, go ahead.

Briefly, some information on the Dominion of Giris: the Dominion is technically still the rightful domain of Giris the Younger, who disappeared to lands westward a little over three hundred years ago. He was an older man when he left the kingdom in the hands of his primary wife with the instructions that no other man should rule it until he returned and selected a worthy successor. The resulting line of queens has proven itself extremely adept at keeping the crown out of others' hands, whether they be male or female.

Due to the relatively large area that Giris initially conquered (not to mention the additions that his successors have made to the territory), the Dominion is fairly diverse. Elves, dwarves, and humans all populate the area fairly heavily, with multiple noteworthy ethnic groups making up each species. While every queen since Giris's departure has been human, no explicit rule bans other species from the nobility or the budding bureaucracy. Due to the egalitarian (and pragmatic) manner in which Giris dealt with his conquests, some other sapient species live in niche environments. The costal merfolk, for instance, technically owe their loyalty to the crown, though the difficulty of contacting them and their physical limitations mean that they aren't called on all that often.

Offline Mingnon

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I would lean more towards FATE since it sounds like an easier system to get behind.

And oh geez, juicy background infoz... I'm so tempted to play a princess... DX

Offline ForestMagi

I'm fine with the FATE system, though I haven't had a lot of time to look into how it functions yet. Work and other projects, you know?


(From MemeGenerator, via Google)

That said, give me a couple of days while I familiarise myself with it, and I'll be more or less good to go. :)

Another person on here (username escapes me) used a modified initiative order for their forum D&D game, in which players who rolled over a threshold initiative could act in whatever order they posted in, then notable NPCs, then PCs who rolled under that threshold, then everything else. Things like saves and AC were posted for the NPCs and enemies, so that players could roll for and resolve their actions in one post. I didn't read very far into the IC thread (it died sometime middle of last year), so I don't know how well it worked, but it was an interesting concept.

Alternatively, you could use the method that the user Dust from Giant in the Playground came up with for her Final Fantasy system, and have the PCs all go, then all the enemies go, in whatever order they post.

As I haven't read any of how FATE's system works, elements of both could be present within it without my knowledge, but they are both amenable to play-by-post games with some tweaking, and may make Pathfinder slightly easier to run if opinion sways that way during my research.

Offline The Unholy PotatoTopic starter

A princess would be a perfectly reasonable character, either from the Dominion or from adjacent kingdoms/whatever. Feel free to make stuff up! That's one primary aspect of Fate: players are encouraged to cooperate with the GM in building the narrative and world. Again, if someone would like an abbreviated version of the Fate Core, I can provide it. Or, if you want the full deal, it's available from the Kickstarter page, as I said.

I encourage everyone to do research. A variant of the existing Fate Core is available from the Spirit of the Century SRD, and it'll give you a rough feel for the system.

As for initiative, my most likely option was simply cycling between PCs and antagonists, meaning that I would make a single post, and then all involved PCs would announce their actions and exchanges, while stating defenses against the previous round of attacks (if any: an ambush, for example, would involve some if not all antagonists acting on the first cycle).

Offline Healergirl

Pathfinder/D&D 3,5  are lovely for Face To face play, and for a one on one online forum game, work very well.  But. Combat can take a considerable number of posts to resolve.  For that reason, I advise FATE.  Much quicker and free flowing.

And D20ish system will work for forum play it has a lot to recommend it,  but in combat, the GM has to be merciless in requiring prompt posting.

T U P, If you Go with Pathfinder/D&d 3.5, (Pathfinder is more rational and cleaner to use.  My opinion, Your Mileage May Vary)) I strongly strongly advise you to stick like glue to the rule that if in combat, a player does not post once a day, then their character is struck by combat paralysis and does nothing that round.  No exceptions, no matter how valid the reason one has for missing a day.  Let me stress that this is for combat, not whatever your normal posting rotation becomes.

  Yes, I've been bitten by that, and it sucks rotten eggs.  But the flow of the fight has to keep moving.

And yes, I am interested!  What starting level are considering?  Hm.  Every expedition needs bean counters and administrators.  A rogue/expert?  hm.

Offline Robyn Hood

Here is how I would imagine my character in the FATE system as an example of what it might look like, using their Stormcaller system for magic. We (our GM ^_^) will ultimately have to decide how magic would work and what kind of system makes sense. But as this is new to me and probably most everyone, I thought this might be helpful.

This isn't quite complete, as I have to define my stunt, Magical Insight, into some kind of game mechanic. Also the Phase 2 and Phase 3 are supposed to be reserved as to how characters lives are intertwined, so more detail would be added to 2, incorporating one more of you and from there we'd figure out 3 to incorporate the rest.


Name: Reliyian Isilivanthar
Refresh: 2
Fate Points: 2

Aspects
1 Prodigy of the Silver Tower (High Concept)
2 Betrothed to the son of a rival family (Trouble)
3 Assumed the power of the Mountain - Glacial(Phase One)
4 Longing to see the World (Phase Two)
5 (Phase Three)

Phase One: From very early on Reliyian had shown a penchant for powerful magic. At the earliest possible age whe was inducted into the Order of the Silver Tower. An elite group of wizards famous for a tower of pure silver built at the Order's founding. High up in the mountains, while on an expidition for intiates, Reliyian's group became trapped in a snowstorm. Amazingly, she suffered from none of the cold and became attuned to the cold mountain leading the group to safety.

Phase Two: To delay her entrance in a loveless marriage, Reliyian chooses as her test to enter the higher orders of the Silver Tower 'The Journeyman's Walk'. A rite of passage where she is to go out in the world and use her magic for good. Desperate to delay the process as long as possible, she joins the humans in the so-called Second Fleet Expansion. Lending her magical abilities to the new land.

Phase Three:

Skills
Great (+4): Stormcaller
Good (+3): Will, Lore
Fair (+2): Physique, Fighting, Athletics
Average (+1): Empathy, Notice, Rapport, Resources

Stunts
1 Magical Insight



Physical Stress (Physique)
[1] [2] [3]

Mental Stress (Will)
[1] [2] [3] [4]

Consequences
Mild
Moderate
Severe

Offline MdG

Expressing interest here, too. I will read up on the FATE system.

Offline ForestMagi

Going through the 2.0 PDF right now. Character concept I currently have is a sneak-thief/cat burglar/pickpocket type character. He's logical and cautious (both Wis), sneaky (excellent at stealth/hide/move silently), and can ballpark the value of just about anything (good appraisal skills). Physically average in most ways (average Str and Con), but socially slick (good bluff and sense motive) and quick with his hands (good Dex/slight of hand). Spending most of his time lying his pants off and seeing through lies make him bad at greasing social wheels (poor diplomacy/intimidation).

In a nutshell, if you need something stolen, he can probably get it for you; just don't expect him to fight anyone for it, or convince them to give it to him willingly.

If this character type doesn't fit the setting or the party, I have others waiting in the wings.

Offline Robyn Hood

Should we get an OOC thread going, looks like we have enough to get started?

Offline ForestMagi

One thing I'm noticing about the FATE system is that it requires a lot of input form the GM before you can really start building a character. Setting is important (where your character is from affects what aspects they have access to in the first phase), the history of the world is important, whether you want general skills (ranged weapons, stealth) or more specific ones (bows, crossbows, hide, move silently) changes how you build a character. The general system might be easier for pbp games, but it's a system that requires a lot of information from the GM to finish a character sheet that fits in with everyone else's.  :-\

Skill checks in general are more complicated than they are in D&D. It's way easier to roll one die each and compare the results than adding and subtracting and then converting that +/- whatever into a rating. Their system for drawn out tasks (their example is building a house) is basically just a more complicated version of "make x rolls".

The skill pyramid also irks me. I think it's silly, and even their explanation for it is illogical. If a phase is supposed to be a reasonably long time in which several linked major events happen, then why the hell would you ever plateau in a skill you're using constantly throughout that entire time? And why would studying basket weaving somehow break me out of a plateau in swordplay to begin with? (Not even joking, that's the exact example they give.) If I'm not using, say, stealth, for most of a phase, and instead find myself constantly climbing mountains, then stealth obviously isn't something I'm going to be taking a rank in over climbing if we're still in the middle of the mountains and it won't matter anyway. If I'm constantly sneaking into/out of houses/prisons, then I'm certainly not going to be learning how to play a lyre in my spare time; I'm going to be making sure I'm as quiet and good at hiding as I can be. There's no reason I wouldn't practice a skill I'm using all the time, and there's no reason I'd need a rank in lyre-playing to make myself a better hider.

The more I read, the less I like this system. It's complicated for no reason, it's almost impossible to make a character sheet without the GM looking over your shoulder, it's skill system seems silly, and it seems to set arbitrary limits on the things you can do with your character.

I'll give it a shot and see how it runs in practice, but I may intentionally kill off my character if I find myself despising this system after a while.  :-\
« Last Edit: January 26, 2013, 08:15:46 AM by ForestMagi »

Offline Healergirl

Are we settled on using FATE?  As ForestMagi points out, the system has drawbacks - all systems do.  Pathfinder will work fine if we are held to the daily grindstone for combat posting. 

Offline ForestMagi

I do love the aspect part of FATE, but Pathfinder would be way easier to work with in general.

Why not use the FATE combat system for combat? Everyone makes 1 or more rolls at the start, we come up with the "raw" outcome of the battle based on those rolls, and then we play out the combat as best we can. Losing doesn't necessarily mean a party wipe, obviously, nor does victory mean we slaughter the whole enemy party. There's still a lot of leeway that way, and we're not bogged down with a thousand rolls.

Offline Robyn Hood

Well to clarify we are using the new FATE system (I guess its 3.0?), there is no pyramid. And yes, it requires some GM input in the beginning but after that its all about RP.

Pathfinder has a lot more technical detail and combat. I would have to disagree that it would be an easier system. To create a FATE character you just need:

Five aspects, along with some back story (i.e. the three phases)
One Great, two Good, three Fair, and four Average skills
Between one and three stunts

And from those you figure out your stresses, refresh and fate points. There are no skill points in this version of the system. For resolving dice rolls, you just roll the fudge dice and apply the modifier for your particular skill. Forget the rating. As an example, if I use a spell, that is my stormcaller skill which is +4. I just add 4 to my roll and if it beats the target number, I win. At worst there is an opposing roll that it is compared against. For you, based on what you wrote, your Great skill would be Burglary or Stealth (the other you'd want as your Good skill), maybe Deceit, Contacts, Shooting, Fighting, Rapport etc to round out. There is no appraise skill, but that doesn't matter, just make it up. Pick its bonus (great, good, whatever) and then just say it allows you to ballpark the value of just about anything ^_^

Then you'd pick a couple of stunts. Examples in the rules are things like Vanish for stealth, which allows you to spend a fate point to stealth in the middle of a fight. Where anyone who wants to try to attack you has to beat your stealth roll with their notice roll. Or something like Backstab, where you can use stealth as your attack roll. Or both! You can start with up to three, it just determines your starting refresh and fate points.

Anyway, I still prefer FATE, but I'll let Mr. Potato make the final call.