Omnifray's successor game approaches

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Omnifray:- fantasy roleplay in the mysterious Enshrouded Lands, "a thousand worlds in one", where magic bubbles away beneath the surface, beyond the ken of the common folk, with a unique, detailed, highly flexible rules system

Omnifray's successor game approaches

Postby Omnifray » 7:31pm on 29 Nov 10

This dynamic and atmospheric game grabs you by the throat and demands that you roleplay immersively. See through the eyes of an inhabitant of the Enshrouded Lands, a highly believable world of secret magic, hidden terrors and occult fantasy. Embark on a journey of exciting challenges, poignant themes, intrigue, mystery, suspense, discovery, fear, horror, tragedy and triumph. Explore how far you will go to stay true to yourself, and how far to answer your Soul's Calling. Out 2011.

Name of the game:- Soul's Calling
Current stage of development:- over 95% of core guide now written
Key features:- simple d12 core mechanics; emphasis on direct speech for dialogue; moderate crunch

Compared to my previous offerings... I have certainly jettisoned a lot of crunch. Anything that I've found had the potential to be fiddly, I've looked again at, very hard.
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Omnifray's successor game approaches

Postby Omnifray » 9:13pm on 10 Dec 10

Well I'm very excited about this. I've more or less finished the 1st draft now, except for the pre-genned PCs.

I've been adding little bits and pieces such as

* ref's checklist for new players (based on my experience of running games at cons)
* ref's roleplay prompt sheet (which includes spaces for summary information on roleplay stats for 6 PCs and other stuff)

I haven't proof-read it yet. That will no doubt be a long and tedious process but I think I've got things pretty much nailed already so I'm hoping the proof-read won't throw up TOO many errors. Probably going to be doing it on screen rather than from paper, which creates a marginally higher risk of errors IME, but there will be time for paper-based proof-reading when I get the printed playtest copies back.

It's longer than I had hoped - probably looking to be around 350 pages in 11-point Calibri including around 10% set aside for artwork, and including table of contents, index and copyright pages (which are not done yet). That will probably include 6 pregenned PCs - no point doing those until I've done the proof-reading. It also includes over 30 pages on roleplaying advice etc. (!) in an appendix at the back, which obviously you don't NEED to read if you think you know it all already, but I would hope it would be a fresh perspective even for experienced roleplayers.

The most important thing from a practical point of view from now on is going to be playtesting. I have a few things to do first to get there. But with a few changes planned to my GMing style and institutionalised in the new book, I need to see these things work in practice before I can wheel them out at a con.
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Re: Omnifray's successor game approaches

Postby Omnifray » 3:19pm on 13 Dec 10

So, in my quest to get to the bottom of immersion and of techniques which are conducive to immersion, yesterday I read Merlin, Beyond Stanislavsky:- A Psycho-Physical Approach to Actor Training from beginning to end.

It's a wonderful feeling to read this book and to be able to identify with some of it just from my LARPing experience. Don't get me wrong. LARPing and tabletop roleplay are games, played for fun. I am not an actor. What I do is not acting. It's certainly not close to professional acting. It's fun, not art. It has no artistic purpose. It's not an artistic endeavour.

But from a certain angle the immersion that immersive roleplayers experience seems to reflect the same basic psychology as psycho-physical acting or its cousin approach, Method-acting. And I'm comforted that Merlin stresses that acting is not just art, but simultaneously play. Roleplay, of course, is play, without being art. But play is an element it has in common with acting. So, roleplayers may be able to learn something from actors. Of course, maybe many people out there are already doing just that. But I don't see enough evidence of it, nor convenient distillations of the basic techniques presented in roleplayers' language.

Again, don't get me wrong. You could read page after page of this book and encounter things which are plainly only relevant to professional acting where there is ultimately going to be a script to work with, a stage to perform on and an audience to perform in front of, using a full range of physical action as well as voice, imagination and inner feeling.

But from this book I culled and distilled enough loosely scribbled jottings to fill 2 A4 pages, with some element of repetition. Much of it was what Merlin inspired in me, rather than a direct application of the ideas in the book. After all, adapting these things to tabletop roleplay, with no script, no audience and a set of in-game rules, involves heavy modification and interpretation. I can't pretend to have got it completely right.

But I like to look anywhere I can for good ideas, and reading this book has helped me to formulate my half-page section of roleplay advice for the player.

It's interesting comparing and contrasting the advice I've been writing for refs and players with the advice Greg Stolze wrote for GMs and players:- http://www.gregstolze.com/howtoplay.zip and http://www.gregstolze.com/howtorun.zip

Greg's writing is characteristically clear and compelling, but we have very different agendas and it shows. His advice works out at something like 13 pages for the GM, and 10 for the player. My advice works out at something like 36 pages for the ref, half a page of which is equally directed at the player (in bullet-points). Some of what I level at the ref is simply about getting him to encourage the players to roleplay immersively, but a lot of it is about ref-craft pure and simple - about making the players' experience enjoyable, but not directly about ways to encourage them to immerse.

Anyway, be it thespian pretention or simple hunger for sources of ideas which might be of some practical utility in what I acknowledge to be a different and less serious field, I'm hooked:- I'll have a small library on acting methods before I'm done writing Soul's Calling, and maybe I'll have even read more than one of the books!
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Postby Pete » 6:38pm on 13 Dec 10

Sounds interesting Matt, I'm digging the enthusiasm.

Thanks for those links to GS's stuff. I've read them before - I think - so I'll give them another read.

Omnifray wrote:What I do is not acting. It's certainly not close to professional acting. It's fun, not art. It has no artistic purpose. It's not an artistic endeavour.

Cool beans. It's cool because come our sesison at IndieCon, while you're not engaged in an artistic pursuit, I will be sat right next to you in the same game totally engaged in the serious purpose of making art.

And that's pretty cool beans :)

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Re:

Postby Omnifray » 6:53pm on 13 Dec 10

Peturabo wrote:... come our sesison at IndieCon, while you're not engaged in an artistic pursuit, I will be sat right next to you in the same game totally engaged in the serious purpose of making art ...


You're right of course, it's a question of attitude.

One guy makes a toilet to sit on for practical purposes; another guy makes the same toilet as an expression of artistic endeavour. It's all in the intention; and the appreciation of the end-product as art is *ahem* subjective. (I'm not being COMPLETELY facetious - toilets DO end up in places like the Tate Modern, IIRC. Certainly, unmade beds do.) To give a less facetious example, a police portrait artist produces exactly the same thing as a regular artist, but one's engaged in art, and the other's engaged in simulating a criminal's face for the purposes of crime-hunting.

I guess I'm a pretty low-brow fun-seeker in spirit, or as Ian Warner would say, a dirty, dirty entertainer. But it doesn't make a *lot* of difference to the methods employed... and indeed, the two guys in my example can fairly easily sit down and make the toilet together, and probably compromise over how long they spend on different aspects, such as an abstract consideration of aesthetics versus a playtest of the plumbing system...
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Omnifray's successor game approaches

Postby Omnifray » 12:00pm on 21 Dec 10

Well, I've started proof-reading... I'm a few pages into proof-reading Chapter 1, and the next bit is proof-reading and checking the stat-blocks (yuck!).

BTW any comments appreciated on the current version of the blurb for the game:-

This dynamic and atmospheric game grabs you by the throat and demands that you roleplay immersively. See through the eyes of an inhabitant of the Enshrouded Lands, a highly believable world of secret magic, hidden terrors and occult fantasy. Embark on a journey of exciting challenges, poignant themes, intrigue, mystery, suspense, discovery, fear, horror, tragedy and triumph. Explore how far you will go to stay true to yourself, and how far to answer your Soul's Calling. Out 2011.

What does it convey to you?
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Omnifray's successor game approaches

Postby Omnifray » 11:11pm on 22 Dec 10

I'm about two thirds of the way through Merlin's The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit, hoping to find new gems that I can fit into an immersive roleplay style or at least confirm what I've understood so far.

In other news, I'm starting over on my blurb. Here's my starting point:-

What do you think of this list of stuff:-

* an immersive tabletop roleplaying game set in the Enshrouded Lands
* where knights, peasants and priests alike know nothing of the eldritch,
* but the world teems with secret magic, hidden terrors and occult fantasy
* take the part of one of the bold few chosen to behold these mysteries

* the ref reflects your alter-ego's persuasiveness and empathy in his roleplay
* that method depends on direct speech - you have to speak AS your character to speak FOR him
* dialogue is never interrupted for dice-rolls about dialogue
* combat can be handled impressionistically or in detail
* the rules are structured around d12 + stat v d12 + stat roll-offs
* your character's abilities are balanced around his best way of tackling the challenges of adventuring - close quarter combat, ranged combat, stealth, persuasion or eldritch talent
* the Fates reward those who stay true to themselves
* but your cosmic masters reward you for answering your Soul's Calling
* and you can opt in to incentives to toy with your fellow players

* huge flexibility of CharGen and magic system
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Omnifray's successor game approaches

Postby Kaiserjez » 11:54pm on 22 Dec 10

Omnifray wrote:* that method depends on direct speech - you have to speak AS your character to speak FOR him


Dude, if you tell me how I have to play, I'll tell you where I'll be spending my money. Clue - it won't be on Omnifray's successor.

I don't mean to be totally negative, I wish you every success but I reckon you're game isn't really for me.
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Re: Omnifray's successor game approaches

Postby Omnifray » 12:51pm on 23 Dec 10

Kaiserjez wrote:
Omnifray wrote:* that method depends on direct speech - you have to speak AS your character to speak FOR him


Dude, if you tell me how I have to play, I'll tell you where I'll be spending my money. Clue - it won't be on Omnifray's successor.

I don't mean to be totally negative, I wish you every success but I reckon you're game isn't really for me.


That's fine, it won't be everyone's cup of tea, but the social mechanics are specifically designed to be integrated into direct speech and I don't think they would work at all satisfactorily with indirect speech. So balance within the game actually compels direct speech.

Especially as for instance if you have a Persuasion stat of 10 and other stats of 8, you are going to be spending so many points on your Persuasion of 10 that if you just kept it at 8, you could pay to have Spirit, Observation, Strength, Agility, Health and Understanding all of 10 and 2 extra Solid-level Skills. So, you really have to get your bang for your buck out of your Persuasion. And that only works through direct speech. It's the way the game's designed.

I hasten to add, CharGen is stat-block based, not points-buy, so you don't actually see these points values visibly or have to do any complicated arithmetical juggling, but you see their effects.
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Omnifray's successor game approaches

Postby Omnifray » 12:44am on 24 Dec 10

Now finished Merlin:- The Complete Stanislavsky Toolkit - and it turns out the lady sitting next to me on the train while I was reading it was a Shakespearian actress! Had she but said before she had to disembark, she would probably have had to endure a couple of hours of quizzing...
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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Re: Omnifray's successor game approaches

Postby Omnifray » 1:39am on 11 Jan 11

Woah, I have just finished proof-reading the CharGen chapter. A lot of cross-referencing, which is probably why it went at such a crawl. I just have to hope that proof-reading the rest doesn't go at such a slow pace, or I'll still be doing it in April! pffff [Edited to add:- and I JUST managed to avoid that fate... I finished proof-reading everything I'd written so far on 29 March 2011, with the pregens still left to write.]

Edited to add:-

I have now finished proof-reading...

* Intro - 09 Mar 11 (probably proof-read this before, but just to be sure, did it again; made one or two tiny changes)
* Chapter 1 (CharGen) - 11 Jan 11 - see above.
* Chapter 2 (core mechanics) - 13 Jan 11. Hurrah!
* Chapter 3 (persuasion) - 13 Jan 11. Yay!
* Chapter 4 (reaction time) - 14 Jan 11. Good stuff!
* Chapter 5 (attack & defence) - 19 Jan 11. Progress is slowly but surely being made! Had some minor inspiration too.
* Chapter 6 (stealth) - 23 Jan 11. Made good use of a train journey!
* Chapter 7 (energy, fate & luck) - 26 Jan 11. This one went slowly. Must have required thought!
* Chapter 8 (soul's ties) - 19 Feb 11 - first chance to do some proof-reading after a very hectic few weeks.
* Chapter 9 (fear & insanity) - 20 Feb 11 - this has been quite a difficult chapter to get right.
* Chapter 10 (Enshrouded Lands) - 08 Mar 11 - this one on the other hand has been quite easy as it draws on my earlier stuff.
* the first section of Chapter 11 - general principles of magical and mystical power - 11 Mar 11 (this one I find fascinating)
* and finally the rest of Chapter 11 - magical and mystical powers etc. - 17 Mar 11
* Chapter 12 (concoctions) - 18 Mar 11 - including adding a few more concoctions to make it feel a little less incomplete
* Chapter 13 (advancement) - 18 Mar 11 - wow! that's actually the FINAL piece of game-mechanics edited and proof-read!
* Chapter 14 (mini-bestiary) - general proof-read 23.03.11; checked weapon stats 25.03.11
* the miscellany of bits and bobs such as character sheets etc. which go at the back of the book - 25.03.11
* Art of Roleplay - 29 Mar 11 (phew!) - all done!!!!
* Chapter 15 (Pregens) - general proof-read & weapon stats 14-15 May 11

And that's pretty much the entire main text of the book finalised!!!

Still to come:- table of contents; index; copyright & title pages; blurb; artwork!!

At some point I might want to re-check the details of the Pregens' spells.

This is now looking like it might be about 370 pages in total (260ish pages of main text if you don't count full-page artwork, pregens or the "stuff at the end").

Of all this material I suspect Chapter 11 is the most likely to come in for moderate to heavy revision at some point in the future, after playtesting etc. As for the pregenned PCs in Chapter 15... call it a waste of pages if you like, but personally I think it's priceless to have PCs ready at the drop of a hat for one-shots & convention games.

Apart from the Core Guide, I want to put together a Newbie Guide which won't contain all the info on how to play, but will give you the basic spiel so you can read it and then just join in straight away. I was thinking it might be about 10 pages long, although 8 would be better and 4 would be ideal.
Looking for playtesters for the Implodarc Tabletop RPG. If you'd like to playtest it and post public feedback or an AP thread, ask me for the private link to download it, or I can e-mail it to you. At least compared to my usual stuff, it's meant to be simple and quick to play with quick CharGen.
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