Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Monster. Monster. Monster.

I’m thinking more about monsters. Remember Despair sitting at the bottom of the well causing people to jump in and get eaten? I kind of like that idea, but I’ve been thinking I should make the Monsters more nebulous. Make them more concepts in a scene that can’t be fought or defeated so directly. For instance remove the physical part of the Monster at the bottom of the well, and you have something that can’t be fought physically. I really want the game to be more of adventuring to fight issues, than adventuring to fight Monsters. I’m not sure what all this means yet, or if I’m even making sense, but there it is.

Two examples where I’m getting some of these ideas from is Lord Foul from the Chronicles of Thomas Covenant which I’m rereading right now, and my favorite Television show ever, a Japanese Anime called Monster, which if you haven’t seen… well you’d have to… you know.


November 9, 2007 - Posted by | Silence Keeps Me A Victim | ,


  1. It is up to your mechanics whether or not you can physical fight a monster or anything else, regardless of any potential corporeal nature. If you want other ways to deal with problems rather than combat, present other tools that influence the narrative.

    Depending on the situation, you might even have two sets of mechanics — one for dealing with fighting these issues, and once for “regular” stuff, if you’re going to address that. I have some potential more thoughts along this line, but I’m not sure if it’d be useful to you, because I’m still not clear on the structure you’re looking at. My comments lead me to a sort of “little encounters leading up to boss fight” structure, though replace “little encounters” with “small issues” and “boss fight” with “confronting a big issue.”

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  2. I like the idea very much that these monsters are physicalizations of emotions/issues. The ugly thing at the bottom of the well is an elemental of Despair, and the children in your game are able to physically contend with it in ways that are not possible in the real world. You may also have something going where the fight is on a metaphysical plane which reverberates into a physical one, so that by killing Despair, there is less of it in the world.

    Comment by robertbohl | November 10, 2007 | Reply

  3. Hey Ryan,

    Yep. I get that I can make the choice whether to allow, or support the traditional idea of combat. I’m more wondering aloud about the merits of the idea to deprecate or remove physical combat.

    As to not being clear on the structure, I’m with you dude. I’m not clear on it either. I’m trying to get a handle on what the game is and kind of how I see it working in a general nature right now. Then will come an outline, and then writing. The idea of little monsters leading to a big one is interesting.

    I’ll do a follow up post about the general structure as I see it right now, as a reply to this thread or a new post depending on how ambitious I get, my break is almost over, but I’ll be sitting at a computer at home later as I have a podcast and that presentation I did last month to get done today.

    Hey Rob,

    The fighting having implications in the real world is exactly what I’m going for. Wow, look at the participle in that last sentence. Anyway, I really want the repercussions to effect the simultaneous real world story. So if you defeat despair then the real world reflects that. Think of the game as a bunch of lost inner children helping to change someones life, before they become lost themselves.

    Comment by iamclyde | November 12, 2007 | Reply

  4. A random thought that occurred to me: Suppose Monsters aren’t actual entities, but aspects. So the things that you’re fighting are representatives or embodiments of Mosnters, but aren’t them. Different children are susceptible to different Monsters differently, so whatever it is you’re going up against affects you differently than it does someone else. And when you defeat things with Monstrous aspects, you become strong against that aspect. Does that make any sense?

    Comment by ptevis | November 12, 2007 | Reply

  5. Hi Paul,

    Being able to be strong versus different effects is what I have meant when I talk about the children killing Monsters and taking their colors. Think of colors as what you are calling aspects. I want colors in the childrens world to have a bit stronger meaning than symbolism. Things that don’t have meaning will be muted or grey.

    So the Children having been drained of their color by their mask have lost significance and meaning in their world. They’re nobody. This is why they have to challenge monsters or face fading away.

    Of course I’m not sure what all the colors mean yet.

    Comment by iamclyde | November 13, 2007 | Reply

  6. Clyde,

    Have you put up a glossary of the terms you’re using anywhere? It might help us to better comment on your posts.

    Comment by Ryan Macklin | November 13, 2007 | Reply

  7. Hey Ryan,

    No. Unfortunately it’s difficult as I’m not sure what everything is. It’s a bit of a new feeling that I imagine is what a sculptor or painter might see before they actually go to work. So I have this image of the game, and I’m obviously not doing well describing it to the people who can’t see it.

    I will see what I can do about creating a glossary, or an outline that will be understandable by humans this weekend.

    Comment by iamclyde | November 13, 2007 | Reply

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