Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Which way to go?

I started this blog to put out an idea I had to make an rpg that worked with playing solitaire.  I'm no game designer by any means nor am I a writer (which will become very obvious).  I love role playing games and is trying to figure out a way to play on my own in the easiest way possible.  I'm a lazy gamer I suppsose. 

So far the game is going to be based off the lists.  I've gotten some feedback on including other modifiers to the yes/no choices, which is great.  John from World Vs Hero mentioned something along the lines of having key words in the format.  Think (blank) Success of (blank) or (blank) Failure of (blank).  The latter would probably have either the full choice listed, or a few lists of "Success of/Failure of" and the "blank" as their own lists.  Not sure. 

The way I'm thinking, one would be asking closed questions and getting your answer, while the other strikes me as more flowing in a way. 

Let's say you had the same scenario of a character trying to jump a ravine while being chased by a goon.  In both instances I'll give an example of passing or failing the task.

Yes/No
The hero runs towards the edge and leaps for the other side.  Does the hero make it?  Yes, but so does the goon.
The hero runs towards the edge and leaps for the other side.  Does he make it?  No, but the water below breaks the heroes fall.

The other one
The hero runs towards the edge and leaps for the other side and in a Stunning Success of Strength, easily clears the ravine.
The hero runs towards the edge and leaps for the other side and in a Dismal Failure of Agility, stumbles and crashes down into the water below.

The first example of yes/no would be pretty easy for a list, but I'm not sure of where else to go with it at this point mechanically.

The second example, aside from needing work, would allow a character to have key words that tie into the success/failure choice.   You could have the first "blank" being those descriptors of the Success/Failure and the second "blank" being what ability/skill/whatever you wanted to use that was a part of your character.  I haven't hashed out any sory of character creation yet, but the idea I have for now would be more on the descriptive side than numerical.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

the list idea

1                                      2                                    3                                    4                                    5

Yes

Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes
Yes, but…

Yes
Yes, but…
Yes
Yes, but…
Yes, then…

Yes, then…
Yes, then…
Yes, but…
Yes, but…
Yes, and…

Yes, then…
Yes, and…
Yes, then…
Yes, then…
Yes, and…, and…

Yes, and…
No
Yes, and…
Yes, and…
Yes, and…, and…, and…
Yes, and…
No
Yes, and…, and…
No
No

Yes, and…, and…
No, then…
Yes, and…, and…
No
No, but…

Yes, and…, and…
No, then…
No
No, but…
No, then…

No
No, and…
No, but…
No, then…
No, and…

No, but…
No, and…
No, but…
No, and…
No, and…, and…

No, then…
No, and…, and…
No, then…
No, and…, and…
No, and…, and…, and…
No, and…
No, and…, and…
No, and…
No, and…, and…

The idea so far

I  have been developing a solitaire rpg system that would be used in conjunction with Mythic GM Emulator.  I know that pretty much any game can be used with Mythic and be played solo, but I have yet to discover an rpg system that is specifically meant to be used that way.  I feel that since most rpg's aren't meant to be played solo, they do not offer the smoothest experience when using Mythic.  When playing most rpgs solo, you are doing twice the work in most cases- the player and the gm's job.  More involved systems require more time and effort on my part.  I'm married, have two young kids, a house, dog, part owner in my own business and ....  damn, I just don't have much time these days. 

I began correspondence with another solo gamer who was invaluable in providing insight and helping me form my thoughts into something more concrete.  John, thank you.
Here's the list of must have's for the system so far:

1)   There should only be one player character.  The character should be the only aspect of the game that the player should have control over.  It should also be the only responsibility the player should have in terms of bookkeeping (if any).
2)   All other elements of the game that the character encounters, whether it is NPC’s or obstacles function under a set of interpretive guidelines that either are reacting to the player or forcing the player to react. 
3)   These NPCs/ Obstacles should be extremely easy to make, no more than a minute.
4)   Whatever form of success/failure system is used, it must give the most information necessary with the least amount of effort possible. 
5)   The system should help drive the story forward.  I think this would go a long way towards eliminating some of the “what the hell do I do now?”
6)    The ability to focus in and really play those scenes that are important to the player.  Think of minor and major scenes.  Maybe one person can view climbing a wall as a simple obstacle that must be overcome to move things along.  Another person could view that same wall as a mighty barrier that their character must reach deep inside and push themselves to the limit- clawing and grasping for every inch!  It doesn’t mean that the first player is a ninja and the second one is playing Aunt May, just that there can be differences in how a player chooses to zoom in on the action that is important to them.  I’ll go a step further and say that for those things that you choose your character to make a major scene of, you should get rewarded for the greater risk involved. 

  I’ve found that sometimes when I’ve played solo, I’ve suddenly got “into the zone” so to speak.  Scenes that weren’t important at first, became more important as I got into it.  I found myself wanting to get more involved in that scene.  Other scenes that I thought of as important, would suddenly bore me and I just wanted to resolve the action and move on.  Now this could mean a simple resolution system for minor things and a more involved one for others (or even layers that can be added), but I don’t know.  I don’t want to increase any sort of complexity, but need to figure out a way to focus on what’s most important to the player.  I think this is one of the very freeing things of playing solo- it literally is your game.  You should be able to do what you want to do. 
7)   The game needs the smallest footprint possible. 
8)   Solo rpging in my experience really does need to be fast.  Games around half hour to forty five minutes tops.  I don’t know whether the rules should enforce this or not. 
9)   I see a lot of things hinging on interpretation- I believe that there needs to be some sort of guidance within the game that narrows the interpretation for you depending on the scenario at hand.

So far I have a resolution mechanic idea.  The outcomes are heavily, heavily influenced by the FU RPG.  These will be changed at some point, but I do want to give respect where it’s due. 

Basically, here’s how things work.  Instead of using a randomizer, you choose your success or failure from a programmed list.  So far, there would be five of these programmed lists to choose from.  At the beginning of the game you choose one of the five programmed lists.  During a conflict, you get to choose your success or failure from that list, applying it to the scene at hand.  For the next conflict, you can choose any other choice from that list except for the one that you have crossed off.  As soon as you go through all of the responses on that list, you choose the next list that you would like to use.  Once you have gone through all of the lists, you start over again, choosing which list you’d like to start with.  Only the PC makes choices from the list.  Any NPC/Obstacle simply reacts to your choices.

The initial lists (which unfortunately are not copy/pasting well for me) are very much the answers from the FU RPG – variations of yes, yes, and…, yes, but…, no, no, and…,  no, but…  It will be changed, I just don’t know where to go with it at the moment.  If you want to see how the list is formatted,  just let me know and I can send it to you.
These lists are just an experiment .  Some of the lists are more geared towards your character succeeding, more yeses than no’s, while others are more geared towards your character failing, more no’s than yeses. 

All you would need is that list, maybe laminated, and a china marker/wet erase marker.  Sometimes you are going to succeed and sometimes you are going to fail.  You get to choose which you’d like to do- although at some point, you will start running out of options.

So far, that’s what I have.  Please feel free to give constructive ways I can improve it.  I’m just looking to do this for myself and maybe those other people who are in the same boat I’m in. 

Al