Master Mines

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Playstorming Silence….

Yesterday I conducted a playstorming session with my friend Len, and recorded it for an upcoming new podcast called, “Playtesting from the Closet.” Playstorming is a term I stole from Epidiah Ravachol from Rob’s interview on the Independant Insurgency. Basically it’s playing freeform to try to understand the game better. My new site won’t be up for maybe till the end of the month due to Forge Midwest being almost upon me, but you can sneak preview via this link. (Sorry about the gum chewing, it shouldn’t happen again.) It helped me consider what folks might want to do in the game. If you give this a listen I have some questions, if not feel free to… well… do whatever you want to do.

  1. Do I need to have some multi-stage process for having the children effect the scene, or should it be done in a roll?
  2. Am I making sense about colors?
  3. Introducing the scenes doesn’t feel like a strong enough compulsion, any ideas on what I can do to fix it?
  4. Random thoughts?

April 5, 2008 Posted by | Games in Development, Silence Keeps Me A Victim | 4 Comments

Bad Clyde plus Progress == ?

Hey Folks,

I apologize for my lack of presence. I have been reading everything, but with my limited internet access I haven’t really seen anything that needed my bluntness. Silence is beginning to come together better in my mind. My main problem has been realizing that I had been trying to control and force how the story is told in the game. After realizing that I was struggling with how to make a call to action for the characters / players and not be stepping on people’s story toes. For instance, The Mountain Witch gets you going up the Mountain, by having each player express why they need the money. We know the story is going to be about going up the mountain. Silence is going to be about something too, I’m not sure I can quite express that at the moment, but I know it’s true. Anyway, the problem I was having is that the characters are all the same in game terms. So letting the players distinguish their goals right from the beginning was not what I wanted to do. I’ve got it figured out, and felt stupid to have been blocked so long when the answer was so easy. Their world is destroyed. Good old survival to kick start things. So the children will have to face the places i.e. monsters to hopefully reach safety. The game won’t be about that of course, but that’s the arrow to set the characters in motion, a reverse MacGuffin if you will.

I’m shooting for something playtestable by Forge Midwest. Anyone going to be there?

April 1, 2008 Posted by | Games in Development, Silence Keeps Me A Victim | Leave a comment

Sweet dreams are made of these….

So I Obviously haven’t been doing a good job of explaining SKMAV. That’s what this post will be about.

First it’s important to understand there are two stories. One  story is being told about someone who was abused as a child. The other about our mythical masked children fighting monsters.

Basically the children will go out and fight monsters and then in the next scene that fight will impact how the story of the abused person is told. Winning means the adult will move in a positive way, losing a more negative way,

That’s really it in a simple overview. There aren’t any rules per se  at the moment, I’m still trying to get the broad picture view. Is this helpful to understanding? If not what do you find confusing?

November 12, 2007 Posted by | Silence Keeps Me A Victim | | 5 Comments

Situation Set Pieces (S.S.P.)

I’m trying to think of how the stories would get told in SKMAV. I see the game as treading on some ground that has already been laid by, The Mountain Witch. I really like running The Mountain Witch at cons, because it’s a railroad without rails. You know you’re going up the Mountain, and by design the game gets the players to agree they are going up the mountain in a very simple, but elegant manner. But that is it. There’s nothing else really known about what’s up that Mountain and what’s going to happen. It’s great for my style of having no idea what I’m doing when I sit down to gamemaster. If SKMAV is going to be a game I’m going to run, I really need this.

One of the things I will tend to do in The Mountain Witch is create a beginning scene to judge what the players are looking for. Many times this will be to have them on a somewhat treacherous path and to have little goblinie creatures with long arms and claws that let them traverse the terrain easier, run around taunting the characters. This is so I can see what the players are going to do. If they just attack, then I know to bring them fighting and that I need to find situations that will challenge their desire to use their sword versus some other desire of theirs. If they get all Chatty Kathy, then I know I need to try to find situations to try to pit their desire not to draw their sword versus some other desire of theirs. If they ignore them, then I have the Goblinie guys go away.

Anyway… I’m thinking of this as a situational set piece, it’s sort of a ill defined predone bang. The idea would be to take different emotions like we talked about earlier (Rage, Despair, etc.) and fashion them into a set piece that has no attachments to anything else, that can just be put in when needed. This is something I learned a long time ago from an Ars Magica 3rd Edition supplement called Mythic Places. Does anyone see problems with this idea?

November 9, 2007 Posted by | Silence Keeps Me A Victim | , , , | 5 Comments

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 | , | 7 Comments

Sucking and Paul Czege

Well I’m not keeping up with the three posts a week, but I do seem to be keeping up with the Joneses.

I’ve been thinking quite a bit about my color’s from scene idea, and it’s not working as is. It seems to be coming very close to violating the Czege principle, which badly paraphrased says, if you create your own adversity then the game sucks. So the idea of making the monsters out of the scene the players create sucks as they effectively create their own adversity.

I’m thinking of modifying it a bit, so perhaps the monster doesn’t spring from the scene, but the scene springs from the monster. Perhaps I have example monsters and the question will be whether the scene will be colored by this monster.

For a quick example, perhaps despair is a creature that lives in the bottom of wells filling nearby people with despair so they will kill themselves by leaping into the well. Thus literally and figuratively feeding despair. If the children are successful in overcoming the monster then the scene features the opposite of despair– hope. Otherwise it features despair. Of course some of the tension relies on the players identifying with the person in the scene. Haven’t figured that out yet, but I have a couple ideas I may get at later.

October 29, 2007 Posted by | Silence Keeps Me A Victim | , , | 3 Comments

SKMAV: What’s a scene anyway?

So I’ve been thinking about how to slice a scene up to make a monster out of it. I’m not sure I’ll have questions to ask so hopefully this is interesting enough to get your brain turning. It’s basically brainstorming.

One way would to be to consider a scene purposefully. What I mean to say is to look at a scene for the purpose it serves, this would lead to considering:

  • The Goal of the scene.
  • Character Development.
  • Give information / Create information
  • Create unanswered questions to create viewer tension.
  • Further add to the development of the theme of the story
  • The Scene’s central conflict.
  • The scenes conclusion.
  • What the scene is setting up next, unless it is the epilogue.

This doesn’t seem to leave a lot to grab before rolling dice, as the dice are to decide the outcome of the conflict, and I think will also be about establishing what is being set up in the next scene. I think that it suggest that Monsters are likely to be less powerful and should become uglier as the game goes on. Perhaps for the creation of the person whose story we are collectively telling we paint them now, and work back to the trauma? If I’m missing something let me know.

We could also consider the scene in an emotional manner. What are the emotions and what might they look like shaped into a monster? What are some valid emotions to make Monsters?

  • Anger / Rage
  • Pain
  • Schadenfreude
  • Maliciousness
  • Fear / Terror
  • Loss
  • Indifference

Did I miss anything? How else might I look at dividing a scene into some kind of useful pieces?

October 18, 2007 Posted by | Silence Keeps Me A Victim | , | 2 Comments

Grand ideas with no engines

I may be pushing my luck, but I’ve been eagerly waiting for an invitation and prepped some posts ahead of time. Let me know if I’m being overbearing.

I’ve got a couple ideas that I’d appreciate some brainstorming on, but first let me give you an overview. In Silence Keeps Me A Victim, abbreviated as SKMAV hereafter, you play a child in a fantasy world. The children in this world have had their voices stolen, and a mask left in it’s place to mark the horrible experience. The mask slowly drains the children of their color turning their skin, eyes, hair, and clothes grey. Eventually the mask begins to even drain the color from the world around the children, till at around nine years of age the children just disappear. No one knows what happens, until now….
Continue reading

October 10, 2007 Posted by | Silence Keeps Me A Victim | 7 Comments

Hi, I am Clyde

Hi folks,

My name is Clyde L. Rhoer the 3rd. I’m really glad to get a chance to come blather about my game designs deep in these surprisingly well lit mines. There’s quite a few people here I’ve already met so hopefully my transition isn’t too jarring. About me. I have a problem with putting honesty over propriety, this can also be defined as being rude depending on where you are coming from on the idea of proper behaviour. Fortunately this means I’m not concerned about giving, or receiving honest feedback so my personality should be a positive here. Please let me know if you are finding me frustrating so I know to tone my bluntness down with you. I also do a podcast called Theory From the Closet which is about tabletop RPG design and RPG theory, so hopefully I’ll be helpful. Otherwise I’ll be embarrassed. On to why I’m here.

Silence Keeps Me A Victim is in it’s fourth rewrite, since I started on it a year ago. It’s been quite an experience and has caused actual growth for me. Originally it was a game meant to cause distress in people. A kind of rubbing their nose in poo, because I couldn’t meaningfully discuss the repercussions of my experience as a child with sexual abuse. I felt society was the last brick in the wall of my victimhood. After playtesting the second incarnation at Forge Midwest in Chicago, I realized that I am also part of the reason for my feeling of being silenced. So the focus of the game has shifted from trying to bludgeon society to focusing on healing. Right now, I have an outline that needs to change a lot, and the normal intro text, but I’m in the idea processing phase. Strangely with my game I tend to see it very visually unlike when I look at your games which I see procedurally, and mechanically. This means I have ideas how I want things to go but am completely rules blind in many cases how to achieve what I want. So I’ve got a lot of steam I’m going to have to vent before the game starts running on it’s own inertia. Thanks for the chance to participate.

October 10, 2007 Posted by | Silence Keeps Me A Victim | | 2 Comments