One shot with home brewed rules and pregen characters.

edited January 2010 in Game Design Help
So this is less "I need help" and more "here are a few ideas" and a little bit of a journal for me. If you have comments, please add them.

I am setting up a one shot for some buddies that have mostly just played D&D. I want to play more of a story game with them, but I also want to flex a little bit of game design muscle. I have as much time as I need to set this up. When I get it done, we will play.

So I am starting from the premise that I need something that has all the color of D&D. That is what they like. I also want there to be a really good conflict, and a lot of drama. My favorite indie games have been the darlings of most people here. DitV, Fate, PDQ, Mouseguard, and TSOY. Played only a few games of some of them, and only one game of TSOY and DitV.

I want to put in the intra-party conflicts of DitV. I want to reward mechanics of Fate and TSOY. I want to emulate Lady Blackbird, which I have yet to play but it looks awesome, both in format and in general length. I also don't want to just copy LB. I will rip it off shamelessly, but not a straight conversion. I will also steal most of the plot from a free con module for 4e that I found online.

So to start, here is my conflict.

An Undead/Demon Army is attacking the City
There is class tension between the Upper City and the Lower City


Guardsman Male, young, idealistic, brother to Gang Recruit, duty bound to City and Gang Recruit, lost parents, from Lower City, warrior
Guard Officer Female, noble, high potential, duty bound to City, paladin
Guard Mage Male, middle class, "Hidden love for Guard Officer", wizard
Gang Leader, Male, freedom fighter, "Robin Hood", lost family, sorcerer
Gang Enforcer, Female, foreigner, intimidating, big softie, brute, "Big, Buxom, Bold."
Gang Recruit, Female, "I can do it myself", resents her "sellout" brother, "Easy to look at, except when she doesn't want to be seen.", naturally skilled, thief

I'll add more as I go along.

Comments

  • Although I have yet to play TSOY except in its Lady Blackbird form, it seems to me that if you give these characters the appropriate Keys it will encourage intra-party conflict, especially if you as the GM work hard to bring out all the little grievances in the characters' conversations and actions as Harper advises in LB.
  • I agree, the reward mechanics give the motivations. I am also looking to add in a little of the dice bidding of DitV. That is a really cool mechanic for determining narrative rights in an intra-party conflict, while creating tension.

    I want to set up the situation so that there is a goal that all the characters will share and be compelled to pursue, as well as a goal that will neatly divide the characters. Add in specific character to character relationship problems/motivation and I think that an appropriate tension can be had.

    Do the characters stop the invasion? Does classism hinder their progress? That is the main conflict, with a lot of character, situation, and setting ties to increase the tension and fuel the game.
  • Well, I'm not sure how you'd do the dice bidding, but I've found that all you have to do in Dogs is to create a situation where there are several "right" ways to go about it. Give it moral implications that can be looked at from many angles. All of a sudden, everyone wants the same thing but is at each other's throats over how to get there and what victory is worth.
  • The dice bidding doesn't seem all that hard to emulate.

    Create pools of dice that are rolled to create a "conflict pool." In Dogs, you have the four stats, two of which are used for each type of conflict. You could copy PDQ and make them Qualities/Fortes, or you could copy Spirit of the Century and make these like the skill pyramid. We just need a source of dice. These are rolled, and you get to bid out of this pre-rolled "conflict pool" of dice. Then you need some mechanics for escalating the conflict. Add in some other dice pools that are added in for specific narrative elements, whether that is equipment, relationships, instincts, traits, expertises, fortes, or whatever. Allow these to be rolled and added to the "conflict pool" of pre-rolled dice when the narative brings them into pertinence. Keep bidding Dogs style until someone gives or someone runs out of dice.

    Use the LB style keys, which I actually like better than the TSOY keys for one shots/short campaigns. This gives more dice for pools that can be added to the "conflict pool." If you want, add in the Aspect style Fate point lenses to go along with the keys, and that would probably be a really solid foundation.

    Fate of the Dogs Shadow.

    So really the model could be:

    Initiation dice -> rolled to create the pre-rolled dice pool that is used for bidding
    Escalation/Narrative dice -> Are rolled when they become pertinent and are added to the pre-rolled dice pool that is used for bidding.
    Keys -> Reward mechanics that give you dice that you can add to the pre-rolled dice pool that is used for bidding, either alone or put through the Escalation/Narrative dice lenses.

    Use the pool created to bid Dogs style.
  • edited January 2010
    Resolving Conflicts
    Whenever people have conflicting interests in the outcome of an action a Conflict can be called. When this happens, determine the Stakes of the conflict. The stakes are what the conflict is meant to resolve. Then, Frame the Scene, or determine the elements of the scene that set the stage for the conflict. This can be done by the GM or by consensus.

    When the scene has been set, Roll Forte dice. Each character or obstacle picks a Forte that is appropriate for the conflict. These dice make up your Conflict Pool. Then take turns Raising. A Raise Narration is any narrated action that your opponent cannot ignore. You bid 2 of your Conflict Pool dice whenever you Narrate a Raise. Whoever opens the conflict Narrates the first Raise. Take turns Narrating Raises. Each player should get a turn to Raise during each round. You can roll dice to determine initiative, take turns in the order of the highest Conflict Pool die result, or just go around the table taking turns.

    When a player Narrates a Raise, everyone who is affected by the Raise has to Narrate a See. Narrating a See means you narrate an action that is a response to a Raise. You must match the total of the 2 Raise dice or more to See a Raise. If you Narrate a See with only one die, that is a Reversal. Keep that die for your next Raise. If you Narrate a See with two dice, that is either a Block or a Dodge. If you Narrate a See with three or more dice, that is Taking It.

    When you Take It, you get an appropriate Condition Aspect with dice equal to the number of dice you used to Narrate the See. The size of the dice is determined by the severity of the Condition.
    [ulist]
    [*]d4 – From verbal
    d6 – From physical
    d8 – From fighting
    d10 – From weapons
    d12 – From magic
    [/ulist]

    Any time you Raise or See and you have an Untagged Aspect that could positively affect the Raise or See, you may Tag that Aspect and roll its dice. Add them to your Conflict Pool.

    If you Narrate Helping someone, give them a die from your Conflict Pool. You may only Narrate a Raise with one die during your next turn to Narrate a Raise. You may Help someone at any time it would make sense in the Narrative.

    Whenever someone cannot See a Raise, or else when someone decides that they want Narrate a Give, that person is out of the conflict, and takes no more actions to affect the outcome of the Conflict. If you decide to Narrate a Give when it is your turn to Raise, take the single highest die result in your Conflict Pool and set it aside for a follow-up conflict, if there is one.

    The last person with dice in their Conflict Pool gets to Narrate the results with regard to what is at stake.
  • Here is a revision of the rules so far.

    Resolving Conflicts
    Whenever people have conflicting interests in the outcome of an action a Conflict can be called. When this happens, determine the Stakes of the conflict. The stakes are what the conflict is meant to resolve. Then, Frame the Scene, or determine the elements of the scene that set the stage for the conflict, including adding any Scene Aspects that are appropriate. This can be done by the GM or by consensus.

    When the scene has been set, Roll Forte dice. Each character or obstacle picks a Forte that is appropriate for the conflict. These dice make up your Conflict Pool. Then take turns Raising. A Raise Narration is any narrated action that your opponent cannot ignore. You bid 2 of your Conflict Pool dice whenever you Narrate a Raise and remove them from your conflict pool. Whoever opens the conflict Narrates the first Raise. Take turns Narrating Raises. Each player should get a turn to Raise during each round. You can roll dice to determine initiative, take turns in the order of the highest Conflict Pool die result, or just go around the table taking turns.

    When a player Narrates a Raise, everyone who is affected by the Raise has to Narrate a See. Narrating a See means you narrate an action that is a response to a Raise. You must equal or exceed the total of the 2 Raise dice to See a Raise. If you Narrate a See with only one die, that is a Reversal. Keep that die for your next Raise. If you Narrate a See with two dice, that is either a Block or a Dodge. If you Narrate a See with three or more dice, that is Taking It. Remove all See dice besides a Reversal from your Conflict Pool.

    When you Take It, you get an appropriate Condition Aspect with a number od d6 dice equal to the number of dice you used to Narrate the See. This Condition Aspect remains until appropriate conditions in the Narrative remove the Condition.

    Any time you Raise or See and you have an Untagged Aspect that could positively affect the Raise or See, you may Tag that Aspect and roll its dice. Add them to your Conflict Pool.

    If you Narrate Helping someone, give them a die from your Conflict Pool. You may only Narrate a Raise with one die during your next turn to Narrate a Raise. You may Help someone at any time it would make sense in the Narrative.

    Whenever someone cannot See a Raise, or else when someone decides that they want to Narrate a Give instead of See, that person is out of the conflict, and takes no more actions to affect the outcome of the Conflict. If you decide to Narrate a Give when it is your turn to Raise or See, add 1 to your Fate pool.

    The last person with dice in their Conflict Pool gets to Narrate the results with regard to what is at stake.

    Aspects
    An Aspect is basically an item, condition, description, or situation that you have highlighted in the Narrative that has Mechanics attached to it. When appropriately Narrated, an Aspect can be Tagged to produce the following effects:
    1) Add the Aspect dice to your Conflict Pool if you Narrate it as an advantage
    2) Narrate a fact related to the Aspect into play (including possibly adding an Aspect to the Scene, items, or characters)
    When not otherwise defined, Aspects have dice equal to 2d6. Tagged Aspects cannot be utilized.

    Relationships
    When your character is involved in a Conflict that also involves another PC, you may add the Relationship dice for that PC into your Conflict Pool. If you have added the Relationship dice of another PC to your Conflict Pool, that PC may not add your character’s Relationship dice to their Conflict Pool. When you add Relationship dice to your Conflict Pool, the Relationship is weakened by one dice step.

    Keys
    When you hit a Key, you can do one of two things:
    1) Take an experience point (XP)
    2) Add a point to your Fate pool (up to a max of 10)
    3) If you go into danger because of your Key, you get 2 XP or 2 Fate points
    (or 1 XP and 1 Fate point).

    When you have accumulated 5 XP, you earn an Advance. You can spend an Advance on one of the following:
    1) Add a new Forte at 2d6 or Aspect at 2d4 (based on something you learned during play or on some past experience that has come to light)
    2) Upgrade an Aspect by 1 die size.
    3) Upgrade a Forte by one die.
    4) Add a new Key (you can never have the same key twice)

    You can hold on to Advances if you want, and spend them at any time, even in the middle of a battle!

    Each Key also has a Buyoff. If the Buyoff condition occurs, you have the
    option of removing the Key and earning two Advances.

    Fate Pool
    You can spend a Fate point from your pool to do any one of the following things:
    1) Add 1d6 to your Conflict Pool
    2) Untag an Aspect
    3) Utilize an Aspect known to you that is not on your character sheet.

    Refresh
    Still working on refreshes.
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