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A Strange Charm - My Doctor Who RPG

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:00 am
by Sanglorian
Inspired by the (fairly dreadful) recent Doctor Who episodes, I wrote my own RPG for the 24 Hour RPG Project. It's inspired by indie/story games - rather than playing characters, you play whichever characters further your role in that scene (the roles are Victory, Defeat, Love and Shadow).

I'd like you to check it out, and I'd like to know what you think of it. If I get suggestions, spelling corrections or anything else, I'll make a new version.

Download it here

Re: A Strange Charm - My Doctor Who RPG

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 3:12 pm
by Thought
I love it.

I'll try to take a more critical approach when my excitement has calmed down, but currently I really only have two comments:

1) In the introduction you said there weren't very many inspired works. There have been quite a number of books, spinoff tv shows (Torchwood, for example), and even a made-for-TV movie. And thanks to wikipedia, I discovered that there have been a few RPGs to boot.

2) If you ever have a desire to revisit the game, I would highly recommend creating a few cutout sheets for the cards. The general mechanic reminded me of BANG! (a "roleplaying" cardgame), so if you have a copy of that lying around, those might serve for inspiration.

Just a,

JaWHOva's Witness ... I mean, Thought

Re: A Strange Charm - My Doctor Who RPG

PostPosted: Tue Jan 05, 2010 5:10 pm
by Sanglorian
Thought wrote:I love it.


Thanks :D

Thought wrote:1) In the introduction you said there weren't very many inspired works. There have been quite a number of books, spinoff tv shows (Torchwood, for example), and even a made-for-TV movie. And thanks to wikipedia, I discovered that there have been a few RPGs to boot.


I rewrote that paragraph a couple of times because I wasn't expressing myself well. What I mean is that while Star Wars inspired Battlestar Galactica etc and Lord of the Rings has inspired hundreds of fantasy novels, games and moves - from Dungeons and Dragons to Sword of Truth to Dragon Age - I can't think of any imitators Doctor Who inspired.

Since then, I've learned of the show K-9 and the book series 'The Faction Paradox'. I guess these count, but both draw directly on Doctor Who instead of creating a distinctly different, but still derivative, work.

Thought wrote:2) If you ever have a desire to revisit the game, I would highly recommend creating a few cutout sheets for the cards. The general mechanic reminded me of BANG! (a "roleplaying" cardgame), so if you have a copy of that lying around, those might serve for inspiration.


I definitely plan to make cards, but my open source desktop publishing program is pretty primitive (I use Scribus or Writer).

I'll check out BANG! - I've never heard of it.

Re: A Strange Charm - My Doctor Who RPG

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 4:09 pm
by Thought
Ahem, now that I have my Dr. Who fanboyness out of me, a few more critical comments. To note, I am taking the approach that you are planning on turning this 24 hour rpg into a more long-term project, so they may be a bit grander or nitpicky than what might be expected of a single day's work.

1) It is very nice that you kept the covers as separate pdfs, so that the reader isn't inconvenienced by their black masses if s/he wants to print the document. That being said, I doubt any reader is going to want to ever print those black masses. I can feel my printer shudder at the very thought of it. I would recommend rethinking the images. Even images of Outer Space don't need to be so dark. You might want to check out NASA's galleries (they have a use section that can describe the specifics, but most of their images are not copyrighted and thus free to use). Here is one from their Astronomy Picture of the Day section that, though it is of space, seems like it might not kill a printer quite so easily (but maybe I misjudge): http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/ap091221.html

2) I like paragraphs that indent. Nothing wrong with paragraphs that don't but... just saying.

3) I like how you gave bullet points for things such as Planet Earth and The Travelers. Nice, quick break down.

4) It feels like Victory and Defeat are really running the show, making Shadow and Love the roles for those friends who you know will only be half-engaged in the game. Conceptually, I highly encourage reformatting the roles so that everyone is "acting" rather than "reacting." The opposition between Victory and Defeat is great, but Love and Shadow are just sort of... out there. Maybe love constantly tried to get the Traveler to connect with his companions while Shadow constantly tries to keep the Traveler alone. A companion can spend the rest of his life with the Traveler, but the Traveler can't spend the rest of her life with a companion. I could also see a few additional roles being added to a larger game (Adventure, History, etc).

5) "Risks" could use to be defined a little more. The Conflict Resolution System of a game should come into action when a character takes an Important Action. Each game defines important actions differently. In D&D, attacking and using skills are Important Actions, and so one rolls dice for them. In Nobilis, performing miracles are Important Actions (if I am recalling correctly). In a lot of Indie RPGs these are a bit more broad, such as "catching the criminal" rather than "jumping the fence so I can continue to pursue the criminal." But in your game... I'm not really sure what the important actions are.

6) I'm not sure what the narrative difference between touching on a secret and revealing it is. Is it just what other characters (not players) knows? So that a character with a secret can get that extra die without informing other characters about the secret? Also, when a secret is removed, do ALL rolls for that character become 6 6 1 1, or just ones related to the secret, or just for that scene?

7) Regarding keeping the Traveler alive, I would actually recommend a simple 3/4ths majority of players. A carried vote just means that the next time a secret is lost, the Traveler dies. That still allows any dissenters the possibility of preserving the present Traveler's incarnation.

8) Since gamers are the most likely ones to read your game, it might be prudent to specifically mention that it uses D6s (at least, I can't seem to find this stated anywhere in game. Sorry if you did).

9) Regarding quirks, to make sure I understand; drawing a 2 would allow a quick to essentially exchange an extreme defeat for a not so extreme one, or turn a victory into a defeat, yes? So if the “Dalmarks” have him cornered and Defeat rolls, Love could use a quirk to change a high rolled Momentum to a 2, right?

10) Power Cards seem fun, but the passing seems problematic. Victory should always want to sit to the right of Love and Love to the right of Shadow. Defeat, of course, always wants to sit to the left of Victory and to the right of Shadow. This makes sitting position around the table a point of contention. I would thus recommend that Roles get randomly assigned each session, after everyone is sitting down. Out of curiosity, how do power cards come into play? Does everyone start with one (well, minus Victory)?

11) Regarding Quirk Cards, I noticed that that a 10th Incarnation Traveler will only get to access up to 9. If the Humankind card is used, maybe they can get up to 10. But what if humankind is used again for another regeneration? Indeed, it occurs to me that the Humankind card could be used to force a Traveler to regress to an earlier regeneration, or force a regeneration without the consent of all the players, etc. That card might be a tad too powerful.

12) The suggestion page is brilliant. My only sadness is that it is only a page long.

I mentioned the game Bang! before, but after having reread your game, I must recommend it again. I haven't played the "new" edition of it, but I expect it is similar enough to the edition I know and love. But you probably can get by without actually getting the game itself; wikipedia has a good run down of the gameplay and you can find card examples online: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bang! and http://www.erzo.org/shannon/images-rpg/bang1.jpg
I could be wrong, but the mechanics of that game might help inspire you with this one.

Just a,

Thought

Re: A Strange Charm - My Doctor Who RPG

PostPosted: Wed Jan 06, 2010 7:22 pm
by Sanglorian
That's excellent feedback, Thought, thank you very much for that.

I'm going on holiday with the family for the next couple of weeks, so I won't be able to incorporate your feedback for a while.

Thought wrote:1) I would recommend rethinking the [cover] images.

2) I like paragraphs that indent.

4) Conceptually, I highly encourage reformatting the roles so that everyone is "acting" rather than "reacting." I could also see a few additional roles being added to a larger game (Adventure, History, etc).


1) That would be a good way to differentiate the different editions - using a different cover image. Unfortunately, US Government works (including NASA's) are public domain for US citizens and US companies only. But I should be able to find other open photos of space.

2) Do you like paragraphs that indent and have a gap between them, or just indented?

4) I'd like to run the game and see how the roles interact. You may be right that Lover and Shadow are too passive, and you're right the Traveller-Companion relationship could be riffed on.

Thought wrote:5) "Risks" could use to be defined a little more.

6) I'm not sure what the narrative difference between touching on a secret and revealing it is.

7) Regarding keeping the Traveler alive, I would actually recommend a simple 3/4ths majority of players.


5 and 6) The lack of detail about risks and secrets is something I plan to fix. I simply ran out of time.

7) Sounds good. Maybe Victory should have a veto, since the death of the Traveller is almost always a defeat.

Thought wrote:8) Since gamers are the most likely ones to read your game, it might be prudent to specifically mention that it uses D6s.

9) Regarding quirks, to make sure I understand; drawing a 2 would allow a quick to essentially exchange an extreme defeat for a not so extreme one, or turn a victory into a defeat, yes? So if the “Dalmarks” have him cornered and Defeat rolls, Love could use a quirk to change a high rolled Momentum to a 2, right?

10) Power Cards seem fun, but the passing seems problematic. [...] I would thus recommend that Roles get randomly assigned each session, after everyone is sitting down.

10b) Out of curiosity, how do power cards come into play? Does everyone start with one (well, minus Victory)?


8) Good suggestion.

9) You've understood perfectly.

10) I suspect table seating wouldn't even occur to most gamers, but you're right that that's a way the system could be rorted. I'm not sure random Role distribution is the answer, since I think some people will be inclined to certain Roles. Maybe a set seating pattern based on Role (Love to the left of Defeat who's to the left of Shadow who's to the left of Victory).

10b) Everyone picks one during the set-up phase of the game. I think this is mentioned somewhere in the document, but it could probably be made more explicit.

Thought wrote:11) Regarding Quirk Cards, I noticed that that a 10th Incarnation Traveler will only get to access up to 9. If the Humankind card is used, maybe they can get up to 10. But what if humankind is used again for another regeneration? Indeed, it occurs to me that the Humankind card could be used to force a Traveler to regress to an earlier regeneration, or force a regeneration without the consent of all the players, etc. That card might be a tad too powerful.


I just did the maths wrong. Quirk cards should only go up to 9. I should point out somewhere in the text that if you get a higher-Renewal Traveller you still only get Quirk cards up to 9.

EDIT: As for Humankind being too powerful, I'm reluctant to tone it down. Part of the point of the card is that it changes the rules of the game, and as such I think inter-player trust is the best way of limiting its abuse. Maybe I could include a veto power in it, however.

Thought wrote:12) The suggestion page is brilliant. My only sadness is that it is only a page long.


I can fix that!

Thanks again, Thought. You've given me food for, well, you know.

Re: A Strange Charm - My Doctor Who RPG

PostPosted: Thu Jan 07, 2010 9:07 am
by Thought
Glad to be of service.

Sanglorian wrote:1) That would be a good way to differentiate the different editions - using a different cover image. Unfortunately, US Government works (including NASA's) are public domain for US citizens and US companies only. But I should be able to find other open photos of space.


I certainly am not well versed in international copyright laws, but at least NASA's various image-use guidelines do not make a distinction regarding citizenship status:
http://www.nasa.gov/audience/formedia/f ... lines.html
http://www.jpl.nasa.gov/imagepolicy/
http://www.nasaimages.org/Terms.html

I suppose that might just be standard amerocentrism; these organizations might not even be considering the possibility that non-Americans would be interested in space. But the JPL one in particular seems very open to anyone, regardless of citizenship status, using their images (even if you wanted to sell your game, though there are a few more restrictions in that case).

Sanglorian wrote:2) Do you like paragraphs that indent and have a gap between them, or just indented?


I'm a bit old fashioned, so indent and a space inbetween. Makes skimming paragraphs easier.

~Thought

Re: A Strange Charm - My Doctor Who RPG

PostPosted: Fri Jul 08, 2011 7:24 pm
by trodgers
Aside: which episodes did you think are dreadful? I was a Tom Baker fan growing up, but I didn't watch it for a LONG time. Now I've seen most of the Eccleston, Tennant, and Smith episodes. And I think Matt Smith is amazing as the Doctor. I love the supporting cast, too.