Elder Scrolls: What would you want to see?

edited June 2011 in Story Games
I've been tinkering with the rules for a fantasy thing my group is playing, and realized that, waitaminute, the skill list I'm developing towards is almost the same as the skill list used in Oblivion, and breaks down into "Apprentice, Journeyman, Expert", and such, though not actual percentiles. Swapping the stats for Oblivion stats (including fatigue, health, and magic pools) would likewise be dirt-easy.

I'm now tempted to just go with it, and hammer down a few extra pages to match things up more tightly.

So, let's say you got an Elder Scrolls fan-game dropped in front of you. Bare bones, just "how to do things", "how to make characters", and "combat and adventuring"

What would you think was an absolute must-have in such a game? What would make you cringe if you saw it ported over?

Comments

  • I was about to say 'the scaled leveling system from Oblivion', but that's how most pnp RPG's roll, isn't it? I quite liked the conversation system, though - might lead to some interesting social mechanics stuff.
  • I wrote a critique/review/ramble about Elder Scrolls a ways back. You might find it interesting: http://americanwizard.livejournal.com/23447.html
  • Have you seen Green Ronin's Dragon Age RPG. That's how they do talents.
  • edited June 2011
    Posted By: ValamirHave you seen Green Ronin's Dragon Age RPG. That's how they do talents.
    Very much.

    I've seen it, played it, run it, and stolen from it. The thing I already have includes stunts powered by fatigue, and the skills grant you talent-like benefits (think of each skill as being something like a simple World of Darkness Discipline/power, and you've got it).
  • I like this. Must haves:
    Information gathering, exploring, sandboxing, adventuring, and lastly combat :)

    ara
  • Uh, if you can grab the enchanting system from Morrowind and make it workable at a table I would like that.

    Or, I don't know something rough around the edges and way too empowering to really fit in any but that setting. (I hated Oblivion)

    The games have always been mechanically rubbish so I guess just run with it. Just I don't know put a link to the 1st edition guide to the Empire in the 'adventuring section' and let's play in all the really weird parts of the setting before Bethesda sanitized it in Oblivion.
  • Posted By: Tulpa all the really weird parts of the setting before Bethesda sanitized it in Oblivion.
    For example?

    I have some idea what you mean, but what would top your list?
  • I can:

    - level up skills by using them
    - join guilds
    - fight in arenas
    - explore beautiful settings
    - collect components for magical items and potions
    - randomly mix spell components for unpredictable effects
    - multiclass
    - have guards repetedly yell "Halt" at me
  • I kind of feel like there should be a text-generating game for the 1,000 fucking BOOKS you could read in those games.
  • RyRy
    edited June 2011

    There definitely need to be rules for becoming (Demi)gods like Almalexia, Dagoth Ur, the Worm God, and so on.

    Also stuff for creating or summoning (real) gods like the end fight of Oblivion, the Numidium, or the thing Dagoth Ur was trying to build at the end of Morrowind.

    Prophecy! Bonuses for falling into a prophecy. Very important.

  • edited June 2011

    The cults were a big thing I was disappointed to see disappear

    The Cult of the Ancestor-Moth

    For long the Cyro-Nordics had exported ancestor-silks to other regions, simple yet exotic shawls woven from the silks of an indigenous gypsy moth and inscribed with the requisite genealogy of its buyer. Under the Cult, however, ancestor and moth became synonymous: the singing and hymnal spirits of one's forebears are caught in a special silk-gathering ritual, the resource of which is used to create any manner of vestment or costume. The swishing of this material during normal movement reproduces the resplendent ancestral chorus contained therein-it quickly became a sacred custom among the early Nibenese, which has persisted to the present day. Monks of the higher orders of the Cult of the Ancestor-Moth are able to forego the magical ritual needed to enchant this fabric, and, indeed, prefer instead to wear the moths about the neck and face. They are able to attract the ancestor-moths through the application of finely ground bark-dust gathered from the gypsy moth's favorite tree, and through the sub-vocalization of certain mantras. They must chant the mantras constantly to maintain skin contact with the ancestor-moths, a discipline that they endure for the sake of some cosmic balance. When a monk interrupts these mantras, in conversation for example, the moths burst from him in glorious fashion every time he speaks, only to light back upon his skin when he resumes the inaudible chant.

    I'm with Ry. I find the most interesting things about the games was the religious.

  • edited June 2011
    Infamy, or whatever they called their reputation system.

    My main Oblivion guy can't go into towns anymore, not until he can pay his fines.

    Unfortunately, the best place to get gold to pay the fines is in the towns.
  • Those big giant bugs everyone uses as transport. I drop those things into every game I run.
  • Morrowind was amazing, Oblivion less so but it still had some great things going on.

    I loved all the different factions, the guilds, the houses and having reputations with each. I wished they'd aimed them at each other more so that if you were friends with one you'd end up enemies with another. There was a bit of that but not enough.

    The locals in Morrowind really felt like a different culture which was a big plus.
  • My first question is if there's a map available with all the setting details.
  • After some thought, this stuff is getting me kind of excited to hack at this boy. So, I'm gonna take a shot at writing up at least the bones of this; it may not go anywhere, but hey.

    A tinkering thread over there.
  • Yes: factions, factions, factions.
  • edited June 2011
    Posted By: migoMy first question is if there's a map available with all the setting details.
    Here
  • Yes, make it like Morrowind. Provide rules, not just for players, but for creating that incredibly rich setting.

    Guilds. Bonuses for following prophecies. Something that rewards the GM for inventing rich worlds. Maps (as mandatory items in the game).

    Most important, for me, is increasing your skills by using them.
  • edited June 2011
    So, I've been grinding at the crunchy character bits elsewhere, and that's all good and well so far (though it'll need much playtesting), while chewing on the ideas thrown around.

    But that's not the bit that's going to grab people by the face. That's "hammers and nails for questing".

    The single biggest thing I think I'm going to need is a method GMs can follow for generating places, groups and individuals. The situations that involve groups, including guilds, petty knightly orders, cults (daedric and general), witch covens, vampire clans, drug rings, all wanting things from you and from the world... That's where the action happens.

    I have bits and pieces of this in mind, but, if you have ideas on "What makes this kind of action sing, especially in a sandboxy format"? I'd love those.
  • Posted By: Graham
    Most important, for me, is increasing your skills by using them.
    You have to be careful in translating this bit from the videogame world to pencil-and-paper, or it becomes even more farcical. I don't think you want the entire party jumping down the road instead of walking, or spending hours trying to run up hills that are too steep, just to get those free skill points. Even if you do a BRP thing of only allowing one check a session or something, you still end up with people switching around among their twelve different weapons, being sure each one gets used in a fight at least once per day.

    Levi, I think you're right to focus on the groups. Some kind of a "character generation" system for groups would be nice. Maybe every player is responsible for creating not only their own character, but also three different groups in the world - one that they're part of, one that they're hostile to, and one that their character has never heard of. Perhaps you could do a "Spirit of the Century" sort of thing to find backstory ties among the groups.
  • My favorite thing in Morrowind/Oblivion is going around picking leaves, wild berries and mushrooms to make my magic with.
  • Posted By: DaveCPosted By: Graham
    Most important, for me, is increasing your skills by using them.
    You have to be careful in translating this bit from the videogame world to pencil-and-paper, or it becomes even more farcical.

    I read Graham as saying "Maps. And, most important for me, increasing your skills by using the maps." Which I thought was a super interesting idea. XP = distance travelled from your start point? XP bonuses for uncovering new regions on the map? Specific skills that can only be learned by visiting particular locations?
  • edited June 2011
    Decided to take a break from grad. school stuff and knocked this character sheet out. My InDesign (running CS3 under OSX 10.6.x, bleh) is upchucking like crazy right now so I apologize for the sloppy design.

    It's a pdf on my google docs here.

    If anyone wants the indd file let me know. If I can get InDesign to behave a little better I'll finish the layout work.

    ara

    EDIT: forgot to mention it was a character sheet, doh
  • New link here!

    This one is a little prettier but not by much.

    ara
  • So I don't know all of Levi's ideas and thoughts on his game. So bear that in mind when looking the sheets.

    I've update the character sheet. If I am feeling feisty I'll make a booklet version to go with the booky theme in Morrowind.

    I also took a shot at making an equipment sheet and the alchemy sheet. Those are here.

    ara
  • Posted By: Levi KornelsenThe single biggest thing I think I'm going to need is amethodGMs can follow for generating places, groups and individuals. The situations that involve groups, including guilds, petty knightly orders, cults (daedric and general), witch covens, vampire clans, drug rings, all wanting things from you and from the world... That's where the actionhappens.
    I'd love a structured approach to making them up on the fly. Kind of like fronts creation, but in the middle of the game. Say, a faction has spots for [leader] and [second in command] and [mole], and you plug in names from a list, give them certain attributes and angles/levers ([greed]/[lust for x]/[glory]), give the faction a public and a secret mission, and off you go. Maybe five or six different structures with various spots, and you randomly determine which one to use for this faction that just came up, so you plug in that NPC at the [handler] spot and off you go.
  • On the fly might be interesting but certainly creating credible religious cults that are not simply motivated by personal interests would not work in the same way.
  • edited June 2011
    That sheet looks pretty sweet, I gotta say. I'll probably be abstracting alchemy and such down a bit shorter than that looks, but I'm not 100% sure how hard yet.

    With my links and that sheet in, this feels like it has become a little less a "wishlist" thread, and a little more a "my project" thread.

    So, okay. I'm down with that.

    Forum software? Not the best working space. Now, goggle docs, on the other hand.....

    Basics - Character - Skills

    These are all ugly, ugly, ugly drafts, and skills still is getting drafted. Which leaves, I think, three major sections to draft - equipment, world, and factions - which will probably sandwich the current stuff (so it'll go World, Factions, Basics, Character, Skills, Equipment... or something like that).

    ......................

    So, yeah, I'm not in the stuff I suspect most readers here will find exciting, at least not yet. Getting closer, though. Suggestions and though-spinning and such still (always) wanted, as grist for the mill.
  • Yeah the Alchemy thing would be cumbersome as presented on the sheet. Figured it was mostly for looking pretty :)


    I always liked the idea of a somewhat random Elder Scrolls world. Something like having a base map with landscapes, terrain. The each player plays out a series of Location (ruins, towns, etc..) cards and attaches Factions, Quests, People, etc.. to each one. I mocked up something like this earlier in day.

    ara
  • Here is the booklet version of the cs. You can just insert the half sheets.

    Ideas:
    Since books are an important theme in the Elder Scrolls I thought it would be cool to have your character sheet be a book. So you add pages to it like:
    Quest pages - to keep track of quests, places, changes in disposition towards the pc, etc
    Alchemy, Enchantment etc pages
    Maybe a more detail faction page for the faction the PC belongs to, perhaps an Enemy faction page as well
  • Posted By: akooserHereis the booklet version of the cs. You can just insert the half sheets.
    That's pretty darn cool, that is.
  • Ara that is actually great! Mix in a little bit of In a Wicked Age where you build up the setting through previous characters and the lore pretty much writes itself, quest pages acting as lore to later characters (doctored up a bit by whatever factions are trying to push their agenda)
  • edited June 2011
    Tulpa

    Hadn't though about later characters sheets acting as lore for the next round of pcs. That's pretty cool.

    Levi
    Thanks it's been fun fiddling with the design and thinking about your game in a visual manner! And thanks for posting your rules!
  • For anyone curious, here is my first shot at throwing realm-building at the wall, to see what sticks.

    It's not especially Elder-Scrolls-y, just yet. It's just a basic thing I need to bash on, as I put in factions, until it starts to make nice noises.
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