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Author Topic: Seeking thoughts and opinions  (Read 614 times)

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Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Seeking thoughts and opinions
« on: November 28, 2014, 12:00:53 PM »
Hello All:

I've had an idea circling in my head for a while now, it's based partially on an actual location and series of events and partially on a fictional novel of a similar topic.

The gest of the story (and I would probably need a Co-GM to work it all out) revolves around a rumor of a treasure buried in a pit on an island in the mid 18th century by a group known, or unknown. The story's history begins with someone seeing lights on the island in the early dawn hours from shore, and after gaining some courage, travels to the island to discover a depression beside a large tree with a block and tackle ha nging from it. The observer brings in a couple of friends and after digging a short distance discovers what appears to be a layer of smooth stone over a layer of logs.  After more effort, the pit floods and the effort is abandoned for several years.

Over the next 200+ years, a series of attempts to escavate the treasure pit meet with failure, often disaster in the form of accidents, deaths, mysterous illnesses and going broke in the process. The original site is lost in the many attempts to bypass the flooded pit and the island is nearly covered with debris, junk and the equipment left over the years; it's ruled unstable due to all of the digging.

The background would be a bit more detailed to give the story some depth, but essencially, the treasure's mystery grows and all of the associated events lends the idea that it's all cursed and can't be retrieved. Enter a mysterous and obsessive investor who is willing to fund a no-holds barred, non-stop effort to find the treasure once and for all. By this time, the treasure, if it ever actually existed, is rumored to be exceptionally valuable.

The PC's would be the actual hunters, experts and laborers in whatever may be needed to figure out how to drain the pit and work through the "booby-traps" that have plagued previous efforts, and sicover the mystery of the pit.

My question is, does this seem like a workable concept and would it draw anyone's interest?

And, of course, if it does seem workable and may get enough interest to draw players, anyone interested in Co-GMing it to develope the backstory, plot and events? I'm looking at a freeform format with miminal guidance to keep things moving toward the climax as well as to keep the players guessing.

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Re: Seeking thoughts and opinions
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2014, 06:34:32 AM »
*steeples his fingers thoughtfully* 

Is this something you'd want to do with a game system, Blinkin?  Or a freeform? 

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Seeking thoughts and opinions
« Reply #2 on: November 29, 2014, 10:53:41 AM »
As mentioned, freeform seems the best way to go, I think. Trying to impose a system on this would probably be one massive headache, not to mention that I haven't had a lot of luck with system games on E.

Offline Sain

Re: Seeking thoughts and opinions
« Reply #3 on: November 29, 2014, 03:30:32 PM »
One off mysteries are always hard to balance I've found since often you end up having very limited amount of mysteries to solve and then rest of the characters end up being sort of there along the ride to do some brute jobs. Not saying it's at all impossible. One thing I would probably throw into a game like that is make the PCes go in there with different agendas despite them all having been hired by the same guy and stress the possibility of some murder mystery style intrigue (your setting is practically screaming for it in my view :D). Just solving mysteries can be fun with 1-2 players (or many more of course if you end up with good character synergies) but throw something to mess up the cooperation and this thing is looking mighty delish.

Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Seeking thoughts and opinions
« Reply #4 on: November 29, 2014, 03:46:50 PM »
In the original idea, the PC's aren't hired so much as financed, the investor gets first pick of the treasure, if any is actually found, and the PC's are there for their own reasons. Greed, adventure, scolararly pursuits, research, etc. All of them would have to have their own reasons for being there.

And, who's to say that there isn't a murderer in the mix? Someone who may not want the treasure found, has an alterer motive, or just plain crazy... The story has, I think, huge potential, but I'm not sure that I can actually pull it off or if it would be interesting enough to draw players.

To add insult to injury, the creator of the pit him/herself would be trying to reach out from the grave to stop the recovery via traps, booby-traps and various pitfalls for the unwary... or even the very wary.

My intention was to create a multi-layered, never-quite-sure what's going on, thriller with all of the intrigue that I could pack into it... but again, I know that I would need help with all facets to make it both unpredictible and entertaining.

Offline Ebb

Re: Seeking thoughts and opinions
« Reply #5 on: December 01, 2014, 06:44:20 AM »
I think this sounds like a great idea for a novel, but perhaps less so for a group RP. The background is interesting, but the background isn't what's going to actually be in the posts of the game as it's played. It'll mostly come out as information dumps from you, the GM -- perhaps vocalized through a character. So you have to think about the day by day posting of the player characters.

Essentially you have a single group goal that everyone is working toward -- excavate the pit and discover the treasure. The problem is that if you have a bunch of people all working on the same goal, then you end up either with one person making the decisions about what to try next, or a lot of discussion to come to consensus. Then once a decision is made the GM describes what happens. Maybe they succeed, maybe they run into another booby-trap and are set back, maybe there's a catastrophic failure and someone gets injured, or a crucial piece of equipment is damaged.

So in your mind, how is that decision going to be made as to what happens? And how will the consequences of failure be made exciting rather than just a delay in the story? The characters will be motivated by the treasure, of course, but what will motivate the players in terms of interesting situations to respond to and to write about? I think Sain's idea of having different agendas among the players is a step in the right direction, but how will that influence the play? You could have a saboteur, for example, but then either they're successful and block progress, they're caught and expelled (unless there's a really good reason to keep them around), or they're just silently scheming. In what other ways can the characters work against each other without dooming the expedition and the story?

Assuming this is based in part on Oak Island (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Oak_Island), how realistic do you intend to be with the physics? In that particular Money Pit you're basically just digging straight down and having to deal with complications like the collapse of the pit, or flooding with seawater. Is that the sort of thing you picture here? And if so, what sort of agency can the players bring to attack the problem? Or do you expect something more fantastical, like an Indiana Jones maze of traps to navigate through?

I guess to sum up: The issue with a story that has a long and complicated background is that the story can become just a vehicle for the characters to stand around and talk about that background. Background is great, but there needs to be an interesting story in the foreground as well, with enough to do that multiple characters can each have something to contribute and to make the story their own.



Offline BlinkinTopic starter

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Re: Seeking thoughts and opinions
« Reply #6 on: December 01, 2014, 09:51:52 AM »
Thank you for your thoughts, everything to date has brought up concerns that I've considered for the most part.

The last question first, I'm aiming for a multi-layered story that should allow each PC to explore things in their own way; it's about more than digging a big hole and draining sea-water. Yes, it is partially based upon The Money Pit, but only in the basics and borad strokes of background. I'm aiming more for a mix of reality and Indiana Jones with a bit of science-fiction for spice. There would be elements of actual realism and elements based upon at least loose scientific theory, but also exotic and perhaps mystical elements as well. But, this is why I asked for thoughts and opinions; I can't think of everything or see how it might fly due to my own interest, so I ask others for their point of view.

Ultimately, there isn't a treasure, or rather, not one that they expect as I tend to look at stories as the journey ranther than the ending, and what happens along the way the most interesting parts.

Another reason that I am seeking a co-GM is to help me fill out the story and arrange things so that they will stay entertaining for the players. There would be set-backs, internal strife and cross purposes as well as an NPC who doesn't want the treasure found, but won't be doing very much directly but more in flavor. It's really up to what the players want to explore and try. I've planned for side-plots and mysteries to be solved, hurdles to overcome and at least one "accident" that'll press the PC's to make hard decisions and think outside of the box a little.

On a side note, there actually is a novel out there based loosely on The Money Pit and I've taken a few elements from that for inspiration. Agan, because I can see myself enjoying the process of playing out the adventure doesn't mean that anyone else can. Aside from a relative few hard points, the story itself is meant to be very fluid and challenging to the players because they'll have to find their own motivations and reasons to want to progress the story. The pit itself is just a device to allow for the setting. Background just sets the scene, the moment that eh players set characters nto it, it's their story and I just guide it along to keep it from jumping all over the map, so to speak.

It's probably not doable, and it seems to be a common point of view, so I'll let it slip back into the vaults of my imagination.

Offline Ebb

Re: Seeking thoughts and opinions
« Reply #7 on: December 01, 2014, 09:59:53 AM »

It's probably not doable, and it seems to be a common point of view, so I'll let it slip back into the vaults of my imagination.

Don't be so easily dissuaded; I'm just offering my opinion. GM enthusiasm counts for a lot. If you're enthusiastic about an idea then go ahead and give it a shot, and you're likely to find others who buy into the concept as well.