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Author Topic: A Gimmick in Search of Ideas  (Read 852 times)

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Offline EnmuroTopic starter

A Gimmick in Search of Ideas
« on: September 03, 2009, 01:09:10 PM »
Recently I've been working on fleshing out my next roleplay plot (Mage Academy Act 2: Summoners - look for it soon in a Group Wanted Thread nearest you). My plan is to have an in game mechanic for how some types of magic work in the setting. I'm hoping people will tolerate and work within this limitation despite the campaign being freeform. My reasoning is that some of the best creativity I've seen comes from working around restrictions. Also, this allows me to introduce some interesting new plot devices. A little background though before I get around to the point of this post and ask for your help~

Right now I'm working on the summoning system players will use. As it stands, when you want your character to summon something you would have them invoke the summon with a word combination like this:

'Summoners Common Name-Elemental Nature of Summon-Summon's True Name'

I even have a nifty little program set up so when your character performs a summon you can include a 'summon card' image in your post that's based on the words used (ex: me-ice-you.jpg). The card has a dynamically generated image of what was summoned, the name of the summoner, and the element in the corner.

Now to the point of this post;  On its own the summoning mechanic doesn't add anything to the roleplay. Its a gimmick and relies on how players use it. I can not dictate how the mechanic is used, nor would I want to because that would limit the innovative spirit of freeform.  Toward that end, I figured my not make a blog entry asking for input. This will hopefully be paired up later on with a Post Mortem Entry.

Here's what I have in mind so far:
  • Players and even non players can create summonable character/monsters in a special kind of 'character thread.' If a player likes the sound of a particular summonable creature then they summon it IC and PM the player who posted asking them if they want to play the summon. Alternatively the player could go on a side mission to acquire the summon.
  • Invocations can be spoken in different languages to give an extra level of customization to how the system works for each character.
  • At the start of the plot players are each given different sets of true names and elements to use in summons. They can share or hold back what they know to their own advantage.
  • The concept of owning a summon. Ie: The first character to invoke a summon is the only one that can use it from then on.

I'd love to hear your all's wildest ideas for using this system as well (or what you think of the system in general) :)
« Last Edit: September 03, 2009, 05:49:54 PM by Enmuro »

Offline shadowspale

Re: A Gimmick in Search of Ideas
« Reply #1 on: September 09, 2009, 09:00:43 AM »
Sounds very interesting and I agree that limitations breeds creativity. However, if I am understanding you correctly it seems that as much time will be spent in casting the spell as playing and it feels a bit complicated.

I can only speak for myself based on my understanding on what I am reading but I wouldn't want to be a mage in your group because it seems like I would be concentrating more on casting my spell than playing.

That is not to say it isn't a good system; it is hard to visualize exactly how it works. It could be that I see it in use and love it; in which case I would feel rather stupid for making this post. O.O

Offline EnmuroTopic starter

Re: A Gimmick in Search of Ideas
« Reply #2 on: September 10, 2009, 10:41:54 PM »
You've touched on some good points. First off let me thank you for responding :-). Saying its hard to visualize the system from the description is a huge help to me in tweaking it for my players. Some of the worst systems and products in the world continue to plague us because people think they're just not getting it while it is actually the system itself giving a poor user experience.

To clarify, casting spells is still just as easy as its ever been. Think of the gimmick I have in mind as 'special effects' for summoning magic. To bring in the special effects, you just need to add some keywords to the end of an \[img\] bbcode tag. By adding different keywords you can bring in new special effects or alter existing ones. The intent is for players to barter keywords IC or for them to go out on side missions to get more.

More than the details of the system, I wanted this post to go into the how-to of adding in a new system or gimmick. One problem is that this system might be hard to 'get' because in this case its too far outside what they are used to. Nobody has ever, to my knowledge at least, written and used a summoning app like mine (though the technique used is common). So right away there's no point of reference for you 'Oh this works like that system I know, X, but with a new feature, cool.' Did the special effects comparison help maybe?

Offline shadowspale

Re: A Gimmick in Search of Ideas
« Reply #3 on: September 10, 2009, 11:37:18 PM »
So what you are saying is that the "special effects" are images coded to key words that if used within the game will pull the images up?

To clarify what I am understanding now; here is an example...

Mathos stalked through the dimly lit hall; he knew he wasn't alone; could sense baneful eyes watching his every move. Suddenly movement could be seen in the shadows ahead and the slender mage stilled, blue eyes peering hard into the darkness. After a breif moment, a figure began to emerge, the ugly, mishappened shape of a gnoll. The beast stood for a moment; the dark spot and bristly mane of hair blending with the shadows behind it. Slowly its lips pulled back into a snarl; slimy strands of malodorous drool slipped from its thinly lipped mouth to fall the floor with an audible plop.

Giving no warning, it charged with a roar that seemed to shake the walls. Slinging his arm upward, Mathos screamed the words that had been hovering on his lips "Fireblast!"  *hits f1 key and an corresponding image embeds itself in post*