Master Mines

We’re digging RPGs

Here’s Where I Accomplish Another ’08 Gamer Resolution

Hi! My name is Rich Rogers. I am excited to be a Master Miner.

A Bit About Me

I’m one of the hosts of the Canon Puncture Show (a podcast about RPGs) and a commenter on many of the designs posted here in Master Mines. I live and work in Jax, I’m married to a wonderful gamer wife and I have a two and a half year old son. During and slightly after college, I was heavily involved in theater and got a degree in it, but once I hit adulthood and my time became limited, I’ve moved to using RPGs more of a creative outlet. I still attend plays as much as I can. I’m a big baseball fan and I love being in Florida during spring training.

How I Know You

In regards to the Master Mines community, I’ve gamed with Ryan, Chris, Paul and Daniel and consider all of you peers and friends. I learned about this whole Story Game and game design thing from Sons of Kryos originally, and I’m a big fan of Jeff L. But I found out about Sons of Kryos from listening to Gamer: The Podcasting, the former LARP-White Wolf loving podcast co-hosted by Jeff H.

I semi-played a game with Rob at GenCon ’07, but really just sat there after Jason Morningstar handed me his character(s) and left the table for something. I had some sparkling actor vs. author stance discussions and supped with Clyde at GenCon ’07 and I’m still chewing on the knowledge he dropped on me then. I look forward to getting to know Mike and Matt.

My Gaming History

I come from a history of traditional RPGs such as D&D, Rifts, Shadowrun and Star Wars d6, but in the 90s, I took to the White Wolf Storyteller System and ran several long campaigns involving players speaking primarily “in character” with lots of drama and intrigue, something I once referred to as a “sit-down LARP”. I’m a reformed munchkin who became a “GM Nazi” then woke up to Story Games, so I’ve run the gamut. I prefer the acting part of role-playing to anything else and strongly believe in the C.S. Lewis quote, “Plot is character”. I like rules-light systems over mech heavy ones. Recently, I’ve played much more over Skype than face-to-face and find the medium intriguing.

My Game

I’m excited to officially “jump in” to Master Mines with my current project and my first game design ever. My game is called Decommissioned (a.k.a. D-Com). It’s a sci-fi corporate satire about conformity vs. freedom and the cost of being different. I have a draft of the game that I submitted as an entry to Game Chef ’07, but the game has radically changed since that point. My time-related goals are to create a playtestable draft before GenCon ’08 and playtest it at GenCon ’08 then I want to move to the publishing phase by year’s end and publish the game in early ’09.

My D-Com design goals are as follows:

  • Create a quick resolution system that uses a declining stat and a variable die roll in separate and in combination
  • The game will run to a strict time factor: you can play it in one sitting; the approach will be that it is a pick-up game, something you can play if someone in the group doesn’t show for game night
  • It will use audio cues for the timing of the game
  • The story and system must work over VoIP and face-to-face
  • The game must reward choices to move the story forward and punish goofing off
  • The game should include a simple story-building kit, a way for players to sum their characters quickly and to create flags that a GM can hit with minimal effort; scene construction must be easy and fast
  • Player Characters will not survive this game, and it should be meaningful and engaging

My Big Three will be up soon. Following that will be a revised Draft.

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April 5, 2008 - Posted by | D-Com |

11 Comments »

  1. Hi Rich,

    I don’t understand, “Create a quick resolution system that uses a declining stat and a variable die roll in separate and in combination.” Can you break that down a bit more?

    Comment by iamclyde | April 5, 2008 | Reply

  2. That is a clunky statement, isn’t it?

    The gist is that the PC has two major stats. One is a fixed number that declines over time. The other is a die type that increases over time. The fixed number stat is used for a defined set of circumstances. The die type is for anything outside the penumbra of the fixed stat. Over time, the die type can be used to supplement the value of the fixed number. Does that unpack well enough?

    I will break it down more in its own post soon, using some examples.

    Comment by orklord | April 5, 2008 | Reply

  3. I think I understand a bit better.

    Comment by iamclyde | April 5, 2008 | Reply

  4. Hey, Rich. I’ve got some meta-questions about your design goals. Do you want me to dig into those now or hold off until I’ve seen a bit more?

    Comment by ptevis | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  5. Paul, go ahead and hit me with them now. I’m curious what meta questions you have.

    Comment by orklord | April 6, 2008 | Reply

  6. I guess the big one is about this: “The game must reward choices to move the story forward and punish goofing off.”

    My questions are why and how (in a general sense).

    Comment by ptevis | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  7. Paul,

    Why reward choices to move the story forward and punish goofing off?

    Because I’m of the general opinion that if a group gets together to game, that should be their primary focus. If the group wants to hang out and BS, then just do that.

    How will I do this?

    The punishment for goofing off will be a result of not getting anywhere with your story while the clock is ticking. The reward for moving the story forward? Hrm, I don’t know if I have a mechanical reward for it yet. But it is a goal.

    Comment by orklord | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  8. I’m being a bit Socratic here and I honestly don’t have an answer in mind, but let me try this: Why do you need to reward and punish in order to achieve that focus?

    Comment by ptevis | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  9. I think I’m going to Stand and Drool for a bit here. I’ll chew on this Socratic question and answer when I have an answer… hopefully soon.

    Comment by orklord | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  10. Yeah, thanks for the question, Paul. I don’t need to reward and punish. The timer does it for me. Whew, that was a rough realization to go through, that one of my design goals is a useless thought process.

    Comment by orklord | April 7, 2008 | Reply

  11. It’s worth noting that it’s part of your approach and design process, Rich. Ten years ago, I might have designed a game that did nothing but punish what I perceive as “bad behavior” at the gaming table, but nowadays, I’m looking to *incent* positive behavior.

    Frex, in Seiyuu, rather than be idle during scenes in which their main character doesn’t appear, players can portray a supporting character in the scene. This, by itself, is value neutral – a player can choose to, if they want. To incent constant participation, I am attaching a currency reward to playing the supporting character. Out of a scene? Low on currency? Play the antagonist in the next scene!

    Comment by Matthew Gandy | April 8, 2008 | Reply


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