Soul's Calling

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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

Re:

Postby Omnifray » 4:38pm on 07 Dec 10

Peturabo wrote:Hi Matt

Design the game you wanna play. Not the game that Mick wants.

I like crunch in some of my gaming, so if Soul's Calling needs grappling rules, then leave those "guts" right in there.

It ain't my intent to come across as a patronising git there. Game on dudes, game on. I'm up for giving Soul's Calling a bash at IndieCon 2011 - hopefully it'll be fun and immersive.

Cheers
Pete


Thanks Pete. Very much looking forward to having you at my table in November 2011 and hope I can bring the awesome for immersionist RP. More than anything (and far more than system) it rides on two things of course:-
1. game prep (meaning scenario prep etc.), which is mainly about having a bunch of ideas ready to play with on the fly as suits the direction that the players take the game in;
2. GMing ability.

Regarding (1), it's the army phrase - Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents P***-Poor Performance. I don't mean planning out a sequence of events or railroading. But I think I GM better when I have a whole bunch of stuff ready for the party, even if half of it (or more) gets junked.

Regarding (2), it's not just nature, it's largely nurture, and although I think I have the basics down OK [after reffing RPGs on and off since the early 1980s, when I was in my 2nd or 3rd year of primary school - but mostly using skills I've picked up in the last 7 years or so], I'm going to be looking to get some serious practice in of consciously focusing on the techniques that I'm advocating in the new book rather than letting them slip in by accident. I think that a really careful analysis of immersive play can be productive of better technique, and from learning from recent debates online I think I'm ready to raise my game quite a bit as a GM, so I'm almost as excited about that as I am about Soul's Calling. In a way they're linked because big chunks of SC are designed around a lot of those ideas.

Storygames have had a huge intellectual movement behind them obviously, and for people who function that way (analytically) that's really helpful for running that sort of game. Because immersionists have tended to reject overarching theoretical frameworks and haven't had the same kind of ideological/revolutionary zeal, I think they still have some catching up to do to sift a clear analytical framework out of the wealth of practical gaming advice which they've built up and passed down over the last 30-odd years.

There's no danger of me writing a game I don't want to play. It's a huge effort writing this volume of stuff and the only thing that can motivate me to do so is the carrot of a souped up RP experience in the distance.

Grappling, frankly, did need to be disemboweled. When a mechanic gets to the stage that even I have to look it up in the book I've written and I can't run it on the fly, that's a bit of a danger sign. So, disemboweled it has been, although I've filed the detailed rules away somewhere as a possible optional add-on for a future book for use on those rare occasions when grappling is THE main focus of combat rather than just a significant aspect of it.

Obviously the broader danger to be ever wary of is that the game I want to play even if I get it perfect for me may lack the general appeal needed for critical mass to pick up momentum for "network externalities". The Mick Reds of this world are not the be-all and end-all of the RPG-buying public but if I could appeal to that segment I feel that would pretty much be the hallmark of a game with very broad appeal.

Also, with the amount of encouragement Mick gave to Omnifray in the early pre-publication days and re Indiecon 2008, I think he owes it to himself and to me to turn up to one of my games at Indiecon 2011 and see for himself if it ain't the hot stuff I say it is!!

I remember Indiecon-Chris saying at the prize night "Omnifray Lite, it's better than Omnifray" which provoked a denial from me. But I genuinely think Soul's Calling is turning out to be better than Omnifray... in enough respects that it wins out overall. And that's - judged from the perspective of my tastes.

SC has more focused rules on social interaction which are far better thought through as I'm far more consciously/analytically aware of the issues surrounding immersion now than I was when I wrote Omnifray. It deals with Tendencies (RP mechanics) in the core rules and with greater immediacy in play. The Soul's Ties mechanics are a really neat way of bringing your Soul's Calling to centre stage. The magic system is based on very simple principles - though it might be complex in play, and requires heavy playtesting - but unlike in FF Omnifray does not rely on trackable energy points and is I think more exciting. The whole game's actually more tightly balanced, even uniquely so, using some tricks I thought up for Omnifray Lite (although FF Omnifray was carefully balanced, I've identified some things which could be regarded as mistakes which could be thought to make it wonky in parts). I actually prefer the combat system in SC overall (mainly because there's no death from accumulated "hitpoint" loss for ordinary humans). Most stuff plays quicker - I've carefully jettisoned a lot of the fiddly stuff. Tables are hardly used and I think it will be easier to run on the fly, even for me.

SC doesn't have the huge reams of 3-pronged canon that FF Omnifray has and unlike FF Omnifray its magic rules, bestiary etc. are not comprehensive, but it has enough variety for really meaty and substantial freeform/sandboxy campaigns.

If only RL didn't get in the way so much!!
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Re: Soul's Calling

Postby Avatar » 4:46pm on 07 Dec 10

I hope your rules are more concise then your posts are! :P
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Re: Re:

Postby Kaiserjez » 4:55pm on 07 Dec 10

Omnifray wrote:

SC doesn't have the huge reams of 3-pronged canon that FF Omnifray has and unlike FF Omnifray its magic rules, bestiary etc. are not comprehensive, but it has enough variety for really meaty and substantial freeform/sandboxy campaigns.


That's call and all Matt, but unless it's got were-deer riding on badger monsters then I'm out!
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Re: Re:

Postby Avatar » 5:43pm on 07 Dec 10

Kaiserjez wrote:
Omnifray wrote:

SC doesn't have the huge reams of 3-pronged canon that FF Omnifray has and unlike FF Omnifray its magic rules, bestiary etc. are not comprehensive, but it has enough variety for really meaty and substantial freeform/sandboxy campaigns.


That's call and all Matt, but unless it's got were-deer riding on badger monsters then I'm out!


Jez old boy, I think they only exist in the game you play in your head!
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Re: Re:

Postby Omnifray » 7:19pm on 07 Dec 10

Avatar wrote:
Kaiserjez wrote:
Omnifray wrote:

SC doesn't have the huge reams of 3-pronged canon that FF Omnifray has and unlike FF Omnifray its magic rules, bestiary etc. are not comprehensive, but it has enough variety for really meaty and substantial freeform/sandboxy campaigns.


That's call and all Matt, but unless it's got were-deer riding on badger monsters then I'm out!


Jez old boy, I think they only exist in the game you play in your head!


Jez the stag-headed elf on the front cover of the Full-Fat Omnifray Basic Handbook is riding on a black horse. His name is Trissentilith and he is the leader of the Elder Hunt. His steed is Solbis. The badger you are thinking of is one of the riders of the Elder Hunt, not one of the steeds. He rides a giant boar.

And yes, all of them are statted up for FF Omnifray in the FF Omnifray Basic Handbook.

As they are part of the Enshrouded Lands setting as envisaged in FF Omnifray, they probably also exist in Soul's Calling. One slight change will have to be made - in Soul's Calling (as in Omnifray Lite) all Fey (now spelt Fae) are either Seelie or Unseelie. The Elder Hunt will be Seelie Fae.

It would be fairly easy to stat them up for Soul's Calling.

However if a were-deer riding on a badger-monster is going to guarantee your attendance at the table at Indiecon 2011, I will see what I can rustle up. Just don't ask me for gnomes with deviant enthusiasms, as I was asked for on the Big Purple. Yes, because I was asked, I statted one up in response and you can probably find it if you look hard enough. But it's not canon!
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Re: Soul's Calling

Postby Omnifray » 7:22pm on 07 Dec 10

Avatar wrote:I hope your rules are more concise then your posts are! :P


So does Mick!
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Re: Soul's Calling

Postby Rich Stokes » 8:50pm on 07 Dec 10

So, let me get this straight: a were badger, riding a boar.

THAT is **** mental. In a good way.
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Re: Re:

Postby Pete » 9:40pm on 07 Dec 10

Omnifray wrote:Jez the stag-headed elf on the front cover of the Full-Fat Omnifray Basic Handbook is riding on a black horse. His name is Trissentilith and he is the leader of the Elder Hunt. His steed is Solbis. The badger you are thinking of is one of the riders of the Elder Hunt, not one of the steeds. He rides a giant boar.

You tell him Matt.

I mean FFS, who would make such an obvious error as to mistake Trissentilith riding on Solbis for a were-deer riding a badger? Jonny Gray's Brother, that's who. What a n00b :P

Banter aside, keep up the feed of updates on SC Matt.

Omnifray wrote:However if a were-deer riding on a badger-monster is going to guarantee your attendance at the table at Indiecon 2011, I will see what I can rustle up.

Matt, if Jez is getting to be a were-deer riding a badger-monster (!), then I wanna be something just as cool as that.

Immersion when playing a human fighter is one thing - I can probably get that playing some old school stuff with one of the charming folks over at theRPGSite; immersion while immersed in the role of a were-wolverine riding a polar bear, well, that's something special. Man, if we can pull off playing were-folk riding on badgers in the Enshrouded Lands, it'll be the talk of IndieCon 2011. Maybe. Probably.

Rich Stokes wrote:So, let me get this straight: a were badger, riding a boar. THAT is rather mental. In a good way.

Stokemon, why have you got an illustration of Gregor Hutton as your avatar?

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Re: Re:

Postby Evilgaz » 11:50pm on 07 Dec 10

Peturabo wrote:Stokemon, why have you got an illustration of Gregor Hutton as your avatar?

Literally lol

Omnifray wrote:Obviously the broader danger to be ever wary of is that the game I want to play even if I get it perfect for me may lack the general appeal needed for critical mass to pick up momentum for "network externalities". The Mick Reds of this world are not the be-all and end-all of the RPG-buying public but if I could appeal to that segment I feel that would pretty much be the hallmark of a game with very broad appeal.

Mick's rather unique, bless him. Although striving to please everyone you can is obviously a noble goal.

Are you going to be running any of this at Conception 2011, or do we have to wait until IndieCon?

Cheers

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Re: Soul's Calling

Postby Kaiserjez » 9:02am on 08 Dec 10

Matt, I promise if you stat me up a were-deer riding a badger monster then I will sign up to play Soul's Calling for definite! I will even stick around and give you some good old honest feed back after the game!
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Re: Soul's Calling

Postby Omnifray » 4:46pm on 08 Dec 10

Rich Stokes wrote:So, let me get this straight: a were badger, riding a boar.

THAT is ****ing mental. In a good way.


If you want to get into the nitty gritty of it, the way I see things in the Enshrouded Lands:-

* a lycanthrope of any kind would probably be a human suffering either a demonic curse or a pagan curse inflicted by the servants of the Apocalyptic Spirits (the non-evil guys who are even more evil than the evil guys if that makes sense)
* the curse takes the form of a spirit parasitically riding around within its host's body, and at the full moon or whenever the curse is triggered, causing the sufferer to change shape and letting the demon or abominable spirit take control
* Yalin, the badger-headed elf you are thinking of, is not a lycanthrope in this sense - he is Fey / Seelie Fae, depending on which game you're playing
* being Fae Yalin is essentially a spirit-made-flesh - he is made of magical essence - he is immortal (can be physically slain, but will reincarnate afterwards), he can see perfectly in darkness, is completely immune to disease, is completely unaffected by fear and is completely immune to any kind of spiritual corruption, redemption or discipline which would change his Soul's Calling, and oozes magical power; he lives in the invisible Fey Realm or Seelie Realm
* Yalin's boar Garm is also Fey / Seelie Fae and like Yalin himself is essentially a spirit-made-flesh, with the same traits of immortality, dark-sight, immunity to disease, boundless courage, forever fixed Soul's Calling and magical power (though as he is of a more primitive, perhaps animal intelligence he is likely to make less use of magical power), as well as obviously living in the invisible Fey Realm or Seelie Realm

So strictly speaking, it's not a were badger riding on a boar. It's an atavistic fae spirit taking the form of a badger-headed man and riding on another fae spirit which takes the form of a very large boar. A fae spirit from what is in a sense another world, the hidden, invisible realm of the Seelie Fae.

The way to encounter these creatures is:-

1. find a wizard
2. becomes his apprentice
3. become a really, really powerful wizard
4. go around casting magic in front of the peasants in breach of all the ancient precepts of the Shrouding
5. repeat (4) in a totally bombastic over the top way so no-one can plausibly maintain the denial that magic exists vis-a-vis the people who have seen the magic you've cast, and all the witnesses have to be killed to maintain the Shrouding
6. make your funeral arrangements
7. get mercilessly hunted down by the Elder Hunt whose 8 ultra-powerful Seelie Fae will leave the Seelie Realm for long enough to put in a special appearance for you, tear your flesh apart and quite possibly feast upon it

In fact, if you look closely at the cover of the FF Omnifray Basic Handbook, you will see that that is exactly what is happening. The sorcerer on the cover, Fraggard, is the one who used magic to escape an execution in ancient Talea. You can identify him from his hair, and from the raven, which is in fact a demon in disguise. By a combination of (1) being really powerful and (2) breaching the Shrouding by using magic openly, Fraggard has come to the attention of the Elder Hunt and is being mercilessly hunted down. He is in the middle of trying to cast magic of teleportation in order to escape.

But c'mon. This is the full complement of the Elder Hunt we're talking about. His prospects are not exactly good.

Fraggard, and his raven (as well as the beast he created from the cockerel, dog, rat and viper which were sewn up in a sack with him and all thrown into a river - as an attempted method of execution, which by the way is a close approximation to an actual historical punishment for patricide or something based on Roman Law in the real world) are all statted up in FF Omnifray in the Basic Handbook. In sufficient detail that, as a high-level player character, you could pretty much play them as statted, though for a PC you would have to come up with your own list of magic and other "feats" as those things are done on the fly by improvisation for NPCs in FF Omnifray.

Obviously I have not statted these up in SC yet though perhaps I will some day!
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Re: Re:

Postby Omnifray » 4:58pm on 08 Dec 10

Peturabo wrote: ...
Matt, if Jez is getting to be a were-deer riding a badger-monster (!), then I wanna be something just as cool as that.

Immersion when playing a human fighter is one thing - I can probably get that playing some old school stuff with one of the charming folks over at theRPGSite; immersion while immersed in the role of a were-wolverine riding a polar bear, well, that's something special. Man, if we can pull off playing were-folk riding on badgers in the Enshrouded Lands, it'll be the talk of IndieCon 2011. Maybe. Probably.
...
Cheers
Pete


What I had in mind was a were-deer NPC riding on a badger... which would be fairly easy to stat up.

Now to do it as a PC is possible, but if we're talking about SC it may have to involve using material which won't be in publishable form by then. All the FF Omnifray rules are already in place in the FF Omnifray Basic Handbook and Expert Manual to stat up those creatures fully as NPCs, but I will do a better job of running the game if I concentrate on just running one system at a time, and anyway it's SC I want to try out and somewhat evangelise, rather than FF Omni.

Having said all that, I do have all the necessary rules for SC written up in draft form, so it would be doable. It's just that we would be using a small handful of rules which aren't going to be in the core book.

I would probably say:- you'd play Halpfae, which are half-fae, half-human. Just your particularly strong fae ancestry would mean that you look completely non-human and have very pronounced fae traits (maybe special vulnerability to iron for instance).

So if you want to play these crazy-ass anthropomorphic sorcerer-things I will stat them up but it will be using a few as yet (by November 2011) unprinted rules and it will be a little bit of extra work for me (though not much).

So if I do that are you definitely up for playing and who's on board??
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Re: Re:

Postby Omnifray » 5:00pm on 08 Dec 10

Evilgaz wrote:
Peturabo wrote:...
Are you going to be running any of this at Conception 2011, or do we have to wait until IndieCon?

Cheers

Gaz


Not planning on attending Conception, too much to do. Might go to Conpulsion in Edinburgh in March as it's more convenient for me, but will have to see how the land lies. Any thoughts on Conpulsion?
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: Soul's Calling

Postby Omnifray » 5:02pm on 08 Dec 10

Kaiserjez wrote:Matt, I promise if you stat me up a were-deer riding a badger monster then I will sign up to play Soul's Calling for definite! I will even stick around and give you some good old honest feed back after the game!


An anthropomorphic stag-headed halpfae riding a halpfae giant badger and using a modicum of as-yet-(as of November 2011)-unprinted rules?

And... we will have enough people who want to play these crazy-ass creatures or at least adventure alongside them, that we get a game for 6 players or at least 4 on that basis? (Plus me as ref.)
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Postby Pete » 5:19pm on 08 Dec 10

Hi Matt

Omnifray wrote:So if I do that are you definitely up for playing and who's on board?

Dude, I'm up for playing SC even without the crazy-ass anthropomorphic fae badger-boar riders (CAAFBBR).

The CAAFBBR would be different, but I'm really interedted in playing to see what you're doing with immersion. I daresay I could play CAAFBBR in Savage Worlds or an Apocalypse World hack, but the immersion aspect is the draw. CAAFBBR is just icing - and while icing is nice, what I really want is some delicious, immersive cake. I've been reading your posts on theRPGSite - the recent DiTV debacle thread drew me there initially - with interest.

So yeah, I'm in. Pencil me in on the sign-up sheet, but keep that aspect hush-hush because that's kinda frowned upon.

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