Maker's Mark???

So, check this out. A more game-y game, right, but with some storytelling/roleplaying aspects.

All the character's a competetors in a crafting contest. Maybe they're master blacksmiths trying to make the finest sword for the captain of the king's knights. Or maybe they are farmers in a "largest vegetable" contest at the county fair. Or maybe, I don't know, maybe they are old ladies knitting blankets for a competition at the nursing home. I don't know, whatever floats yer boat.

Anyhow, there would be a list of resources (fine iron, a perfect patch of land with excellent sunlight, or a rare yarn, as examples). So, there would be a race to get the choice resources. There would also be ways to sabotage the others or advance your own efforts, or maybe a way to influence the judge-figure. Anything too underhanded would be risky, though.

Anyhow, this is very rough now, but it might be interesting.

Edit (11/29/08, 1:02 AM): Or, you know, space fantasy? You're character is the head of a spaceship design buerau... And the "Galactic Federation" or whatever is putting out a contract for a new starfighter. You can race to get access to the best engines, shield systems, the most brilliant young designers, etc...


Visits and Hits (Work the Line)

Ok, so here's how it'll work. After any hand in which Prestige drops by 1 or more, every PC gets a "visit" from an enforcer. If that PC's Respect is above 1, the visit is non-life-threatening, it's just stressful. Increase Exhaustion by 1.

On the other hand, if a player's Respect is at 1, it's a "hit". Increase Exhaustion by 1 (The PC pushed himself and managed to escape), and then, if Exhaustion is at the max (undecided now) the PC dies (He's too tired to run anymore).

When a PC dies, split his money equally amongst all other PCs. Some PCs may wish to force down another PC's Exhaustion and Respect and then force a loss of Prestige, in order to get that player killed (and thus make more money). Cool, huh?


Dragon's Tears (A New Spring)

Vincent Baker says it's a new spring for game theory and design, here. I hope, maybe, that the tears of the Red Dragon as he mourns will be roses upon the newly warmed ground.

In other words, I'm gonna try some things here, and I appreciate anyone who takes the ride with me (and especially those who help me along the way).

I've played around before, but I'm gonna try to get serious.

About the Title

The Red Dragon in the title is the same Red Dragon on the cover of the 4th Edition DMG. People who know about RPGs and my opinion of games might be able to guess why he'd be mourning, and also why gamers should take warning.

Also, it's a play on the old saying "Red sky in morning, sailors take warning.".

Just sayin'.

Basic Mechanics for Work the Line

Here's some basic ideas for Work the Line.

Play should be relatively simple and hopefully portable. No dice. Two decks of Game Cards and a deck of regular playing cards, and a few coins. Easily remembered rules, perhaps with a reminder card or two.

So people can play whenever or wherever, even in (say) a restaurant.

What do you think?


Clubs: +Prestige -Exhaustion

Diamonds: +Money -Respect

Hearts: +Respect -Prestige

Spades: +Exhaustion -Money

Each player draws 10 cards.

Flip a card off the deck face up.

Each player must play a card of the same suit or a cards totaling a higher amount (aces equal 1).

The player that plays the last card (or the first king played) gains and loses Stats as shown above. Exhaustion and Respect affect only the player, while Money and Prestige affect the whole Restaurant.

A player who ends the hand with a face card or ace gains the benefit but takes no penalty from the hand.

Each player who has cards left in his or her hand must reveal that hand and determine which suit he has the most of. He flips a coin. On a result of tails, he loses a point from that suit.

The rank of the top card at the end of a hand must equal or exceed the difficulty of the meal. On a success the restaurant gains Money, but on failure they lose Prestige.

Players get game cards (not playing cards, special cards yet to be designed for the game) to create events and change things in a hand. They also get abilities to use during a hand. In addition, each position in the Kitchen has a

different special ability.

If Prestige gets too low, the PCs get "visits" from musclemen to "encourage" them to work harder.

At the end of each session, subtract (undetermined) Money from the Restaurant's pool of Money. This is the Family's cut. The rest (if any) is split by the PCs. This is used to pay off debt or otherwise work towards the Character's goals.

If Respect gets too low, there might be an argument or fight. If Exhaustion gets too low, the PC either Faints, Gets Sick, or Snaps. If Respect gets high enough he can gain more abilities. If Prestige gets high enough, all the players get more Game Cards.

The "GM-Figure" is The Don. He gets his own deck of Game Cards.

Cool Work the Line Idea

Get this: They aren't just chefs. They're members of the Mafia, fallen out of favor (or into debt). Now they need to work in the Family's restaurant to work their way back up (in favor) or make enough money (to get out of debt).

This allows for side missions from the family, as well as a source of inter-character drama.

Whatdya think?

We're really lucky.

I was watching Blue Harvest, the Family Guy Star Wars special today. I had the DVD and watched one of the special features, Seth MacFarlane interviewed George Lucas.

I can't recall exactly what Lucas said, but it was something along the lines of "I just think of a movie I'd like to watch, and I say 'Well, nobody's made that movie, so... I'll make it'.".

We, as roleplaying / story gamers and game designers, are really lucky. We get to make the books, comics, movies, and television shows we want to read or watch. And we get to do it with our friends. There's nothing quite like the games we play, and I think we should really appreciate them.

That's all.

Work the Line (Or, Put the Pan on the Ring of Fire)

Crazy idea for a game. Every player is a chef in a busy restaurant. They work long hours in difficult conditions, requiring skill and speed under pressure.

Players would have stats like Exhaustion (The effects of heat, stress, and sleep deprivation. Goes down at breaks, end of shift, and when positive things (?) happen.) and Respect (How the other employees and PCs view your character. Higher amounts lead to better positions/raises and better teamwork, while low amounts can lead to arguments, fights, and trouble working as a team.).

In addition, the Restaurant would have stats of it's own.

I'm thinking of a fast paced, easy to use system... Maybe using cards in a trick-based game. The suit of the winning card determines what stats go up or down. Chefs would have stations or positions, and each one would have a special ability that could be used once a game...

Maybe money is required for the PCs. PCs have debts or goals that can be accomplished with more money. This ties into different dishes. More complex dishes give more money, but require more work and are harder to complete (and thus risky).

Character interaction would happen mostly off duty or on breaks, but occasionally could happen in the kitchen.

Go to Chef on Wikipedia for more information on chefs and the different positions. There are fancy titles and everything. Also, my apologies to the ghost of Johnny Cash.

Anyhow, this is very rough but... All ideas are welcome, I think this could be cool!


The Basics, maybe?

Theory is a complex mother-. It's that simple. Here are a few basic things I might mention soon, so...

D/F/K: Drama, Fortune, Karma. Three resolution styles. Drama uses description and talking to resolve things. It seems pretty rare to me, but Polaris is the first that comes to mind. Also free-form roleplaying. Fortune is some random element. Dice, cards, whatever. Karma is "the biggest guy wins the fight". Fortune is the most common that I know of, but it's not the only one. Games can also use some combination of the three.

G/N/S: Gamist, Narrativist, Simulationist. Three play styles or stances. Games can encourage or discourage any of the three. It might or might not be clear what each means, so ask if you're curious.

Lumpley Principle: Nobody definitively knows who came up with this. Some say it was Ron Edwards. Or Emily Care Boss. Or Vincent Baker (Lumpley himself). In any case, it basically says "Everything in any role-playing game system exists for the purpose of telling you who can say what and when.".

Narrative Control: Having control over the description of a scene. Traditionally monopolized by the GM-figure.

Scene Framing: The power of any person to set the beggining of a scene.

Stake Setting: Explicitly stating what's at stake in a given conflict.

There's probably a lot more I'm missing here, so feel free to ask. I might not know, but I might be able to point you in the right direction.

Half-Baked Ideas

I thought I might begin to explain some of my works-in-progress. I'm in no hurry to actually finish any of them, but if I get enough interest... well, who knows what'll happen.

Dossier: A game of spies and saboteurs infiltrating an enemy facility. They don't know who or what to trust.

Thunder, Smoke, and Steel: A card-based game of mystical martial artists.

Blade Dancers: An odd little game about mystical warriors. I really like the mechanics on this one, but I'm sure it needs work.

COord: I'm not even sure what this is. It's more of a framework than anything, and a rough one at that.

Dragons in the Dungeon: A DnD themed hack for Dogs in the Vineyard. I'm not sure it's not crap.

Elder Age: An odd game where your actions are based on why you're doing something as much as how. Some interesting ideas, but I think the mechanics might be broken.

Elflings: A rough fantasy Dogs hack about magic using elven warriors. Jedi VS Sith and all.

Fantasy D10: A game based on the colors of magic from Magic: The Gathering. Not sure what else to say. It's meh.

Fighting Card Game: A game based on fighting games, in particular Soul Caliber. Meant to be gamist and weird, but it's very half-baked.

Gargantuans: A game about climbing up giant beasts and killing them. See Shadow of the Collosus.

Legend: A game where symbols relating to your character, and legends about your character, give you power. Very rough.

Legends: Zelda-based episodic game, also called "The Legendary Heroes".

Monsters in the Night: Another Dogs hack, this one World of Darkness themed.

Opposites: A game about opposite extremes and internal conflict. Very, very rough.

Peril: A game about characters that are guaranteed to get worse. Meant to be tragic, maybe? I remember it was interesting when I wrote it.

Pirates: A game about pirates in a politically fractured world. Uses dice for character actions, cards for special effects / scene shaping, and a board gamish-sub game for the political factions on the islands.

Rememberance: A supremely rough game about flashbacks.

Sigil of Heaven: A very rough card game. Not nearly near done.

Skeletons: A Shield-based Poison'd hack.

Swords of Ganeride: A very rough fantasy game. Not sure what the hell I was thinking.

Smoke and Mirrors: A spy game. Some potential, but WTF was I thinking???

The Duelists: A game about, of all things, Duelists. Mechanics are almost non-existant, but there are some cool ideas and some flavor.

The Grid: A game. Not sure what else to say. Started out as a unique character sheet/development idea, but... I don't know anymore.

Immortals: A Polaris hack about people who've extended their life somehow.

Tattooed Monks: A gamist game about monks. With tattoos. Wuxia style.

Monk Card Game: Very rough card game about animal-style monks.

Engines: Essentially Apocalypse Girl with flavor removed. Rough right now.

Tesselate: A game about repititions and patterns.

Words: Scrabble + Baron Munchausen + Bedlam. Very rough right now. Needs a name.

In the beginning

There was a networking class!

Seriously, though, go here for my general purpose blog. This one's just for games. Roleplaying, usually, but I might talk about card games, board games, and video/computer games.

Posts'll be divided into a few categories: Games: for me talking about other people's games, Design: for games I'm attempting to design, Theory: for roleplaying theory and discussion, Links: Posts which are mostly links to other places and my ideas on them, and Misc: Everything else.

Some categories may overlap. Also, posts will be subdivided. For example, Design will be labeled as to which game I'm talking about.

Thanks for reading, all! Questions, comments, etc... welcome!