Chat with Charlotte: randomizing, and storytelling vs. minigames

11 12 2007

meSo we should talk more about Audeamus

Like do we want to die types of dice into types of support, or types of traits

 Charlottewell let’s see, we have how many die types?  20, 12, 8, 6, 4



And we have four types of traits– Things You’ve Experienced, Things You Can Do, Things You Know, and Things You Believe

 Charlotteoh i was thinking about being able to start with a division between number of dice and number of bases, btw, that would be different for each ‘class’

 meWhat do you mean

I’m kind of out of it but it sounds interesting

 Charlotteok say there’s a total of 5 starting slots for things.  the things that can be in it are dice and bases.  bases meaning number of towers you’re allowed to start

so one class has 1 base, but starts with 4 dice.  another can make up to 4 bases but only has 1 die to start with

so one class starts with power but is fragile, the other one starts slow and has a broader base of options later

because you can’t knock down 4 towers of 1 each

 meThat’s an elegant way to balance

I think Gladiators and commoners would probably have the one base, and patricians have the 4 bases

 CharlotteI think so too [smile]

and maybe another class has a 2/3 split

 meWell, like

 Charlotte(maybe 5 is too wide?)

 meTo be more specific, non-senate citizens could have the 2/3 split, since they are essentially the “middle class” if I’m remembering my roman history right

We’re going to have to start on the research soon

 Charlotteooh good

booo research!

 meSo maybe the dice you earn through your own actions– by being true to your creed, for example– are the stable ones


 meAnd the less stable dice are the ones you earn by playing to other people’s creeds

 Charlotteman it would suck to be most gladiators with a code of honor

 meAnd if you betray yourself by going against your creed, that’s when someone else can take one of your d6s and replace it with a d12 or something

 Charlotted4! d4!

meIt depends on the code though

I mean, being a gladiator with the code “Death before Dishonor” would be okay


unless you consider it dishonorable to fight someone whose skill is so far below yours it’s more like murder


So here’s my question

When does the dice-stacking happen

Or do the stacks just hang out the whole time

 Charlottewhen you get or lose dice

and they have to stay up for x time

(and you can leave them up the rest of the time, but falling only counts during the countdown)

 meWhen you get or lose dice, do you have to rebuild from scratch

 Charlottebecause otherwise the aforementioned cold could break the game

 meYou know, Jonathan had a pretty interesting idea for a randomizer


 meInstead of rolling dice, it’s how the dice land when the towers fall


so like a target map

 meMaking the most of the pieces of your shattered self-power

No, still with numbers

 Charlottewith bases, and then falling areas

ooh i see

 meAlthough falling areas is a really compelling idea too

But then we’d need maps

 Charlottemaps = penis


 meThis is going to be the most Gamist game about difficult decisions and personal integrity ever




4 11 2007

You know how I said that “Perfectly Dysfunctional” would be the game I wrote after I finished Addict? That’s kind of a lie. I finished writing it last night. There’s a lot which isn’t in my last blog post; I’m polishing up a playtestable PDF, and I’ll hopefully post it later today. Since the game was written in, say, 12 hours, I’m certain it’s pretty rough– and the layout won’t be that pretty, but it will be workable. Oh, and it has a new name: It’s Complicated.

Me: Hey, should I explain why you don’t have like
stats in this game?
Other than oddities and dysfunctions I mean
Shreyas: oh
i mean, you could, but i don’t think it’d be any content added if you did

Me: Right, that’s what I thought
I was just wondering if people were going to be like
“Wait, how do I know how strong I am”
Shreyas: yeah
so i’m curious
why aren’t there

Me: It’s not what the game is about
If I make a bunch of stats for strength and dexterity and charisma, people will think they have to punch walls and run fast and convince people to do things
Plus if you have a bunch of standard stats, you feel compelled to take something in everything, even if it doesn’t fit your character

Shreyas: mhm

Me: It’s just way more elegant to be like “My oddity is extreme strength; my dysfunction is that sometimes I forget I have it, so I don’t like to exert any force at all”

Chat with Jonathan: psychological issues and destructive Dependencies

28 10 2007

Jonathan: so i like character creation
but it’s hard to see how it works yet
are you going to be putting stones back into the glass?
basic things like that would be helpful to know
i don’t quite get the symbolism yet
though i guess i could read your newest post…

me: Yes, but I’m not sure how that’s going to work yet– I think adding the stones back are going to be part of recovery
hahahaha, well, I didn’t address that in it; the new post is basically the products of brainstorming last night and me jotting down the mechanical issues I need to figure out
I should add that to the post, actually, about adding stones back

Jonathan: also, i think you make it too easy to return to recover after giving into your obsession
giving into self-destructive behaviors often makes it easier to continue to give into them
it’s not always just a one-time deal in the midst of positive movement

me: right

Jonathan: so i don’t know what kind of timeline you want attached to things like this

me: Well, that’s why you have to spend all of your Dependency Points resisting recovery before you can try to improve

Jonathan: it could be semi-random but in a highly “exploding way” right?
roll a die, if you get 4-6, reroll
with each die extending things by a day or whatever
wait, i thought dependencies did help recovery; so how does recovery actually happen, then?

me: right
Here’s what happens
When you’re fighting your Obsession, Dependencies help you do that.
Dependency Points are spent when your Dependencies fail you.
When you run out of Dependency Points, you give in to your Obsession. All of your Dependency Points, including your Obsession Point, go into the glass
Mechanically speaking, all of those points are now dedicated to your Obsession
You spend them resisting treatment and ruining the things which were important to you, because nothing matters to you but your Obsession

Jonathan: right

me: Once your points are spent– once you’ve fucked up everything– then you have a moment of realization and can get back to recovery

Jonathan: how do you decide when you want your Obsession and need to use Dependencies?

me: I haven’t gotten that far– or rather, I sort of have, but I’m not sure how to mechanize it

Jonathan: also, can you put your Dependency points in, say, coping strategies?
whether healthy or unhealthy ones?
because that could get really ugly and you wouldn’t even need to make them a secondary Obsession
if you had strategies like burning yourself

me: Right
I think part of the game is going to involve replacing destructive dependencies with healthy alternatives, but uh, I haven’t mechanized that either

Jonathan: there could be a trade off or something
i think you need a health stat
or more than one, maybe
and you can trade some destructive beahaviors for others, but that still slowly kills you
maybe more slowly than before, though
but if you can start getting dependencies that don’t cause you damage, but are still affective
that’s clearly a step in the right direction
but less self-destructive dependencies aren’t as effective
they don’t FEEL as good

me: Right, yes

Jonathan: so you need more of them or need to have lessened your Obsession in order to really make use of them

me: Right
I’m starting to think that there needs to be more than one Obsession Point in the beginning

Jonathan: well, you need a way of tracking progress

me: So that you can lessen the hold the Obsession has

Jonathan: i was thinking, originally, that the cup represented how much you could be Obsessed without totally dying or flipping out or whatever
and you’d fill it with stones until it overflowed, at which point you were lost
but i guess that’s not what you intended

me: Ah, no, not really
It’s about the void that needs to be filled

Jonathan: ah, okay

me: And if you’re not allowing yourself to need your Obsession, you need SOMEthing
If it’s empty, the emptiness eats you alive

Jonathan: seems like you need to figure out the other end, not how people are saved, but how people are lost
you could model it, i guess, by having people put all their dependencies in really unhelthy things
and say, like, if you have Burning Myself 10, you end up in the hospital or something

me: Right

Jonathan: seems like the game is about hope, though
so maybe you don’t want to have absolute rules for destruction

me: right

Jonathan: but players can choose to stop playing if they grow tired of it, and narrate some kinda endgame for their character

me: But part of what I want is to show the realization that.. I mean, on the surface, it looks like the Dependency failure mechanism makes a character’s recidivism everyone/thing else’s fault, and not the character’s
Because the things the character trusted failed them
But there needs to be something to show the evolution that it’s not about the rest of the world failing the addict, it’s about the addict’s unrealistic expectations of the world

Jonathan: hmm, that sounds like a bone that’s especially important for you to pick

me: Part of the reason addicts blame the world initially is because it’s easier than blaming themselves; but once you realize the blame is on your shoulders, that can be overwhelming too
So then it becomes a struggle between giving in to destructive behavior or altering your expectations

Jonathan: right
that’ll be interesting to model