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Topics - Auburney

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brainstorming & development / "grey" Jedi hack
« on: November 01, 2014, 04:46:05 PM »
Who amongst us doesn't occassionally get this urge, you know, the one to get some roleplaying going on in that most well-known, and one of the most popular, fantasy-in-space settings out there?

I for one certainly do - but somehow, none of the existing games out there ever seemed to get all the important elements quite right... so what other choice than to try my own hands at it? So that's just what I'm proposing to do in here.

As behooves any AW hack (the way I see it, anyways), I intend to focus on just those elements I find most interesting about the source material, and strive to get them represented just right.

Additionally, I have tried to identify some "common problematic areas" in existant Star Wars games, and tried to avoid them. Here goes a brief list:

1.) mixed Jedi and non-Jedi groups
2.) how "light" and "dark" Jedi (and their powers)  are rendered, both rules-wise and in the fluff
3.) the (imho) most important theme at the core of the entire setting: the temptation by the dark side of the force

The resolutions to each of these will narrow down my premise for this hack.

ad 1.) mixing Jedi and non-Jedi in a player group, I always felt this to be problematic. Not only does it bring up issues of "power balance" and all that stuff, but it also can feel pretty limiting as regards properly exploring the various' characters' themes and story arcs.
By which I mean, a smuggler, or a diplomat, or a bounty hunter, will almost certainly require different types of stories (scenarios, NPCs, agendas, etc.) to be able to really sing in a game, than a Jedi character will.

It is insofar no great wonder why Luke splits off from the rest of the party on several occassions in the movies - since he just has decidedly different things that are important or interesting to do, for him.

Most games I have seen so far that have tried to get all of those different types of character under one ruleset, have achieved only to either make the Jedi character ridiculously overpowered (sometimes to a degree where there seems no point in playing anything else, really), or virtually unneccessary to play (for the opposite reason).

In short, I resolved to try making a game about "Jedi only". No non-Force-users as PCs.
This is sort of the reverse approach from what "Edge of the Empire" does (which focusses on smugglers, rogues, bounty hunters and mercenary types exclusively), and which I think works really well for what it does.

So, this is likely going to be a "one playbook hack", i.e. there will be only one type of character to play: a Jedi apprentice.

This makes the group of PCs by necessity a bunch of apprentices, most likely taught by a common (or several separate) Mentor(s). Or who have a missing mentor and are now on their own.

ad 2.) "light" and "dark" force powers, here is my usual problem with those:
Let's face it, the Dark Powers are just more fun, usually. The Light Powers are often mostly described as defensive, perception-related, and/or weak. The Dark Force stuff is where the fun is at, however - zapping your enemies with lightning, strangling them and throwing stuff around with telekinesis, you name it...

Now, the ususal drift that I see in a Star Wars game is to punish the player for indulging in the fun too much. That's supposed to represent the dangers of the Dark Side, of course, but I also find it's actually pretty bad design.

Part of this is that individual powers are often "typed" as being either dark or light, with (often) nary a "grey" or "neutral" power in the mix.

This all leads me straight into my 3rd point -

ad 3.) the temptations of the Dark Side, I can't help but find it distasteful to write the rules in any way that basically says "now roll for whether your character succumbs to the temptation". This often leads to (more or less) elaborate simulationism, but it does little to involve the player themselves, give them meanigful choices about the matter, or evoke that awesome, terrible feeling of temptation, the lure of power, fear, guilt, consequences, etc.

I would try a (perhaps radically?) different approach: put the temptation not into the characters (and its stats and mechanics and so on), but move it to the player themselves.

The idea came to me when I thought about that the lure of the Force could be modelled pretty much similar to an addiction. Because what does the Force mean in essence? It means power. And few things should be more addictive than that, really.
The craving for ever more power, the increasing recklessness in pursuing it, the piling-up of sacrifices made to that end... all those things, if effectively transported away from the sheet, and into the player, could make for an intense gaming experience, I'd argue.

So that's why I decided against "light/dark" typed Force powers. A Force power should in most cases be just that - a neutral ability, at least in its basic form. Most powers would get a list of "optional upgrade options", which you could make use of if you tap into the Dark Side of the Force - but only then.

So, for example, there could be Force Hold power, allowing you to immobilize people in a certain range from you. The move for it would give you several options, e.g. near range in stead of hand range, or affect up to 3 people instead of affect 1 person - available depending on how well you rolled (10+ or 7-9, as familiar)
Now, you could "augment" this power with "additional options" by "accepting Dark Side points". For each Dark Side point you accept (and which gets recorded on your sheet or handed out as tokens to the player, whatever), you can make use of one of the move's additional options - which might include things like affect a huge-sized monster (like perhaps a Bantha or something) or up to 7 people instead of up to 3 people, or far range instead of just near... and of course the ever-popular choke 'em to torturous death option!

Now, with someting like this, no more need for "typed" Force Powers, or, in fact, typed Jedi "classes" or anything. Instead, it is now the player's responsibility to judge and decide on how many (if any) Dark Points they wish to incur at any given time they use this power.

Dark Points, of course, get recorded, and they accumulate. Jedi can undergo cleansing rituals, or abstain from the use of the Force for a while, thus decreasing their Dark Points. But barring that, they'll only become more with time (and reckless Force use).

brainstorming & development / Viking World
« on: July 12, 2014, 04:40:45 PM »
so there's this hack called Saga of the Icelanders, and I read it a while ago... but it wasn't exactly what I wanted out of my vision for an upcoming Vikings game. I imagined a slightly less history-esque game, something closer to regular AW in fact.

I thougt the stats needed little to no changes at all, for example, and that some of the playbooks could be carried over as-is to a large degree. Also, with only three players, and some pre-game talks already done about the general direction of where we wanted to take the game, I would'nt need to do too much work on playbooks and such.

So, in essence, this is more of a re-skinning than a proper hack, I guess.

I added some new aspects however, to emphasize the color of the setting mainly (such as family, destiny, a new way to determine characters' looks), as well as came up with different weapon and armor options. These latter emphasize melee combat over ranged combat (fitting to the setting), and add some small but (hopefully) juicy twists to certain weapon/shield/armor combinations against certain others...

My own approach to "notable gang members", which I recently talked about in another thread here, is also contained herein. This is inspired by Vx' Dark Age first look playtest, although admittedly not having gotten the chance to read it myself yet, it may or may not be a wildly different approach to the same idea.

It's also far from done, or complete... in fact you might say it's more of a stump document right now. But it should be enough to run a first session with, and see where more work is needed, or changes become desirable...

So, for everyone interested, here goes: Viking World

(yeah, the name is not the most inspired one, I know ;) but for so close a re-skinning, I felt it would have probably been pretentious to try and conceitedly come up with anything fancier :D )

Interested in reactions, feedback, opinions... :)

(edited to replace link, slightly updated version now, contains destiny move for godskin, and the destiny "basic move")

Hi everyone,

I'm a long-time reader, first-time poster of these awesome forums here. Now I have a question that neither my google-fu, nor my frail memory can solve for me, and so I turn it over to y'all:

While working on some hackery recently, and browsing the interwebs, I found a passing reference to some hack that had rules for "notable members" of a PC's gang. But now I can't for the life of me seem to find that reference again.

Anyone happen to remember which hack/game that might have been? It sounded like there would be guidelines (or perhaps even hard 'n fast rules?) to detail a handful of "notable" individuals from NPC groups such as gangs or threats and such.
I'm at a complete loss here, but would like to incorporate something like that in an upcoming game I got planned...

Thanks in advance for any helpful tips, everybody!

regards, Auburney

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