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Jukashi
2008-03-25, 08:17 PM
Recently, Verrukt posted in the PbP recruitment forum about trying to make a PbP game based on the popular, life-ruining (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/TVTropesWillRuinYourLife) wiki website, TV Tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/HomePage). After a little bit of discussion, I threw together a simple system designed to facilitate such a game. What I'd like, now, is a bit of help in refining it in terms of balance, ease of understanding and, of course, enjoyability.

The premise of the system is that the characters are all characters in a work of media and that they are formed from repeating patterns - Tropes - in media that have been identified by the aforesaid site. As such, the survival and abilities of the characters are decided, not by realism or reason, but by what appeals to their "audience"; and the favour of the audience is represented by what we ended up calling Plot Points.

Here's what I've worked out so far, copied from the original thread:


Additionally: I was thinking about "neutral tropes" (tropes that don't really have any advantage or disadvantage, but just define the character) and came up with the idea of "plot points" as a form of hp; that is, a character's endurance depends on their level of plot-based immunity to death. Sort of like Vitality. Every Trope your character has - positive or negative - would give you a certain number of plot points, since every trope helps make your character stand out in the eyes of "the audience" and makes them less likely to be killed off. The amount of points each trope gives could be tweaked to help balance them out.

Plot points could also be sacrificed in order to perform credulity-straining acts, like Deus Ex Machinas, making A Wizard Do It or Just Hiding. What do you think?


I've been thinking about the mechanics, and I suggest we borrow Exalted's stunt system; when you describe your actions in a cool way, you get extra chance of success and get a recharge to your "plot points" (since coolness makes you more valuable to the audience). We could use the same three-level system of coolness as Exalted; small bonus/recharge for just not being boring, medium bonus/recharge for using your surroundings or acting in accordance with your character's motivations, and big bonus/recharge for blow-you-away moments of exceedingly fine awesomeness.


Ok, I think I've got the rudiments of a system. Borrowing mostly from Exalted and Risus, with some other stuff thrown in.

Characters begin at 1st level with 10 tropes defining their character. You don't need to fill all your available space; at each level your character drops and adds tropes depending on how they've developed as a character (your fellow players and GM, as the audience, tell you what they think is suitable). Some tropes need to be justified; you cannot have a Bizarre Alien Biology if you're supposed to be an ordinary human, for example. Tropes come in four kinds: Use Tropes, Advantageous Tropes, Disadvantageous Tropes, Defining Tropes and External Tropes.

Use Tropes are those that help you perform certain tasks. For example, a Knife Nut finds it easier to pull off feats with knives.

Defining Tropes mostly provide plot points by defining your character in the eyes of the audience, though other tropes also provide plot points. Occasionally the GM may rule that they affect the amount of plot points you need to spend.

Advantageous and Disadvantages Tropes are tropes which affect the amount of plot points your are required to expend. A character who is a Magnificent Bastard loses less plot points than other characters when he reveals he had a secret plan "all along". Similarly, someone with an Incurable Cough of Death loses more plot points when they do strenuous physical tasks. Disadvantageous Tropes still give you plot points (though not necessarily many) and allow you to take extra Tropes.

Finally, External Tropes do not relate to the character, but to the world and story; events, places and objects are all formed from External Tropes, and are not available as part of a character's set of Tropes. However, a character can still invoke them by spending plot points; need the Magic Hat to give you a clue? It will, if you give up some points. Discover you need a certain item? You can pull it out of your Hyperspace Arsenal, and even get a discount if you're Crazy Prepared.

All Tropes give plot points, to greater or lesser degree based on each trope and your level. You will need them, because plot points are all. Plot points are your health. Plot points are your mana. Plot points are the level to which you have pleased the audience. Plot points are mother. Plot points are father. Plot points will conquer cybertron and lead the decepticons to glory!

Description is also everything. Whenever you perform a task, it is up to your descriptive ability to invoke your tropes; for example, saying "I lift the huge boulder out of the way and toss it aside" invokes Super Strength. If you instead say "I take a stance and breathe deeply, focusing on the rock before suddenly striking with a mighty punch, shattering it into pieces", you invoke both your Super Strength and your Kung Fu. Each trope invoked gives you 1d6 to roll per level. You compare the result to the Difficulty of the task as decided by the GM; if you have surpassed it, you accomplish the activity. The more you surpass it by, the more awesomely you have done so. If you do not reach it, you fail... but all is not lost. You can choose to spend plot points to expand your power, straining the credulity of the audience. The base price for a boost is 3 points; this can be reduced down to a minimum of 1 by advantageous tropes or up to a maximum of 5 by disadvantageous tropes. Each expenditure of this price increases the level of one of your tropes (selected by you) by 1, essentially allowing you to roll an additional d6 and add it to the number you already achieved.

Descriptiveness also increases your chances of victory; you get to roll an additional d6 for spicing your action up a little, 2d6 for a description that makes use of surroundings and/or is in-line with the characters' motivations, and 3d6 for unique, supremely awesome descriptions. If such stunts are pulled off successfully, you also get the opportunity to roll the dice it granted (again) and regain the resulting number of plot points.

So long as a character has plot points, they cannot die. Whenever they would otherwise take damage, they manage to block, dodge, roll with the hit, shrug it off, activate their energy shield, grab a fortunately-present branch or otherwise avoid being seriously hurt in some way. However, they lose plot points whenever that happens, particularly if it is not within the scope of their Tropes to do so; characters can invoke Tropes and stunt to defend themselves, using the result to reduce the amount of points they lose. If they run out of plot points, however, the next real attack or seriously damaging effect will kill them. Until then, though, they still have the opportunity to regain some plot points through stunting or gaining a level.

Characters gain levels not through experience but by accomplishing important deeds. At low levels, they might level up by defeating a local henchman of the big bad; as they become higher in level, they can be awarded level ups only for progressively more difficult accomplishments, such as finding an ancient hermit for a mentor, winning an internationally-famous court case or successfully taking over the world. When characters level up, their Tropes become more powerful and grant more plot points.

That's what I've got so far. It probably needs some tweaking, and some rough outlines made for plot point availability and the difficulty of various tasks. What do you think?


Tell you what, I'll do an example of my system in action. That should help us get an idea of how it works. I'll use the character I already posited:


Use Tropes:
- Cute Bruiser
- Super Strength
- Tranquil Fury
- Closer to Earth

Defining Tropes:
- Cute Monster Girl
- Bottle Fairy
- Bizarre Alien Biology

Advantageous Tropes:
- Mask Power (-1 plot point expenditure for combat actions)
- Let's Get Dangerous (eliminates effect of Plucky Comic Relief when she uses her Tranquil Fury)

Disadvantageous Tropes
- Plucky Comic Relief (+1 to plot point expenditure for performing badass deeds)

Leaves her with space for 2 more tropes.

Now let's see her deal with an enemy.

"It's always the same," the baron sneered, " I just finish building my Indignance Ray when some idiot turns up. You want to try and stop me, girl?" "Well actually..." she replied, adjusting the tiki-like mask that hung above her grinning mouth, "I'd rather just stay home... but if no-one else is gonna stop you from flooding the newspapers with angry letters, I guess it's up to me. So I'll give you one last chance to turn off that thing and come quietly."

"Never!" he yelled, turning to grab a lever. "The editors of this city shall pay for publishing that tawdry scandal story on me!" "I guess there's no helping you, then," she said quietly, her smile fading and her long ears flattening back against her head. "HA!" the baron scoffed, "What makes you think you can stop me, waifish beast-girl!?"

She didn't reply with words... she just punched straight out to the side, right through one of the four pillars that decorated the square. As it toppled over, she caught it in one arm and rested the 10-foot column easily across her shoulders. Calm eyes locked on his, she took it in both hands and swung it around behind her, winding up like a baseball bat.

"Oh," he said, face falling.

To this I attach an OOC note explaining what she's going to attempt; knocking the baron's machine into the stratosphere.

The GM says that the Indignance Ray is pretty big and that this is a Difficulty 25 task. The GM rules, however, that using the pillar as a bat is cool and awards a 2nd-level stunt; in total, the character has invoked her Super Strength, Cute Bruiser and Tranquil Fury tropes, adding to the stunt to give her 5d6 total to roll. She rolls pretty high, getting an 18... but that's still not enough. So I decide to spend plot points to increase the level of Super Strength by 3; 6 plot points to be exact (Two for each level, thanks to Mask Power and Lets Get Dangerous). I roll 3d6 and get 11, increasing my result to 29, which is more than enough to succeed; the GM describes how the ray goes flying into the sky, trailing components, to disappear with a shiny ping. Finally, because this had a 2nd-level stunt, I get to roll 2d6 to regain plot points; I get nine, not only regaining what I spent but getting 3 more plot points besides!

This is a simple example. If she had targeted the baron with the attack, he would have gotten the opportunity to protect himself; he is a crazy science man and could probably pull out some sort of gadget, and would likely add at least 1d6 extra because 1st-level stunts are very easy to get. As a named villain, he could then have powered himself up with plot points (mooks don't get any plot points); he would have rolled his dice and subtracted the result from my character's result to determine how many plot points he lost from the attack.

My character as described above is a strong combat character; she has several stackable use tropes for fighting and her advantageous tropes are geared towards increasing her combat effectiveness. If she was to engage in other tasks, however, she's in trouble; she doesn't have any tropes for dealing with technology or magic. She is slightly effective socially, however; her Closer to Earth trope would help her keep her cool and persuade others of her point of view. Fortunately, she has a good set of Defining Tropes, which increases her plot points considerably; she can use them to make up for her shortcomings if need be.


I've been thinking about plot points and what I've got thus far is this: At 1st level, Use Tropes and Advantageous Tropes give 4 plot points each, Disadvantageous Tropes give 6 plot points each, and Defining Tropes give 8 plot points each. At each additional level, each trope gives you an additional number of plot points equal to half the starting allotment. So the character I made, for example, would start the game with 54 plot points.

Can anyone suggest any improvements, or guidelines for the difficulty of actions?

Nerd-o-rama
2008-03-25, 09:17 PM
Made of Win! (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MadeOfWin)

Let's see...I favor d20, but yeah, I can see why you'd want something more loose and Exalted-y for this. If I give bad advice, being a d20 whore is my excuse.

You need guidelines for the difficulty of actions. I want to say these should be based on the Tropes they're up against. You can build NPCs the same way you build characters, with their own Tropes and Plot Points, and handle combat with rolls taking out each other's plot points like most other systems. But what about other obstacles, like the Death Ray? How'd you come up with 25 for that in the first place?

Mewtarthio
2008-03-25, 09:21 PM
From the other topic:

There needs to be a clearly-defined limit on Tropes. Otherwise, you could get things like this:

Verjinya Wulf (or "Jeane" for short) is the daughter of a human woman and Dogular the Wolf God. She was born an anthropomorphic dog in a remote villiage where such creatures are respected. However, she wanted to move to America, and knew that she would be feared if seen by normal humans. Thus, she went to a Sacred Spring to be turned into a human. This was successful, save for the tiny fangs she still carries, but has a horrible side effect: Every full moon, her suppressed canine nature takes over, and she transforms into a vicious werewolf. Once she reached America, Dogular was displeased by her perfidity, and so he cursed her. Now her canine nature is locked away, inaccessible.

Now, with this simple backstory, I've created a normal foreign human girl with pronounced canines. That's it. Yet I've invoked a handful of tropes:

Spell My Name With An S
Steven Ulysses Perhero
Whatever trope covers gender-ambiguous names
Half Human Hybrids
Cute Monster Girl
Blessed With Suck
Involuntary Shapeshifting
Our Werewolves Are Different
Cursed With Awesome
Cute Little Fangs


If I wanted to, I could give her a single red eye to invoke Boat Lights and Red Eyes Take Warning. You see the problem. Granted, you could cut out Blessed With Suck, Involuntary Shapeshifting, and Our Werewolves Are Different by claiming that, if the audience isn't reminded of them, they shouldn't give her plot points, but she's still got a lot of empty tropes that buff her considerably.

Jukashi
2008-03-25, 09:37 PM
Made of Win! (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/MadeOfWin)

Let's see...I favor d20, but yeah, I can see why you'd want something more loose and Exalted-y for this. If I give bad advice, being a d20 whore is my excuse.

You need guidelines for the difficulty of actions. I want to say these should be based on the Tropes they're up against. You can build NPCs the same way you build characters, with their own Tropes and Plot Points, and handle combat with rolls taking out each other's plot points like most other systems. But what about other obstacles, like the Death Ray? How'd you come up with 25 for that in the first place?

I just went with a gut feeling, really. I wanted an example of a difficult feat that a very focused character would accomplish.

I've tried to think of a guideline, and so far what I have is this; a merely competant character (for example, a puny NPC with just one trope to their name) should usually be rolling 2d6 to do a basic, mundane job - first-level stunts should be easy to get. This, a simple, professional-level task (what would be difficulty one in Exalted or somewhere around DC 10-15 in d20) should be around Difficulty 3 - only 25% chance of failure, roughly.

The system favours the player's characters (who get better stunts, can use plot points and can stack tropes), but that's kinda what the system's designed for; the player's characters shouldn't really have a chance of failure for mundane things. That's all I have so far, though.


From the other topic:

There needs to be a clearly-defined limit on Tropes. Otherwise, you could get things like this:

Verjinya Wulf (or "Jeane" for short) is the daughter of a human woman and Dogular the Wolf God. She was born an anthropomorphic dog in a remote villiage where such creatures are respected. However, she wanted to move to America, and knew that she would be feared if seen by normal humans. Thus, she went to a Sacred Spring to be turned into a human. This was successful, save for the tiny fangs she still carries, but has a horrible side effect: Every full moon, her suppressed canine nature takes over, and she transforms into a vicious werewolf. Once she reached America, Dogular was displeased by her perfidity, and so he cursed her. Now her canine nature is locked away, inaccessible.

Now, with this simple backstory, I've created a normal foreign human girl with pronounced canines. That's it. Yet I've invoked a handful of tropes:

Spell My Name With An S
Steven Ulysses Perhero
Whatever trope covers gender-ambiguous names
Half Human Hybrids
Cute Monster Girl
Blessed With Suck
Involuntary Shapeshifting
Our Werewolves Are Different
Cursed With Awesome
Cute Little Fangs


If I wanted to, I could give her a single red eye to invoke Boat Lights and Red Eyes Take Warning. You see the problem. Granted, you could cut out Blessed With Suck, Involuntary Shapeshifting, and Our Werewolves Are Different by claiming that, if the audience isn't reminded of them, they shouldn't give her plot points, but she's still got a lot of empty tropes that buff her considerably.

There is a limit: You can only take a maximum of 10 tropes at 1st level and therefore, the more descriptive tropes you take the less use and advantageous tropes you can take. You can take disadvantageous tropes to increase your amount of tropes, but although your character will start with a lot of plot points, they'll run out.

The system does sort of presume the players aren't going to set out to break it. The GM does have a lot of leeway in what they dock plot points for, though. The character you've described, for example, doesn't actually do anything, except turn into a werewolf occasionally. Maybe. The GM would be justified, then, in making her spend extra plot points in order to even survive against anything other characters could take on.

The only way she could regain enough plot points to stay alive would be if her player was a very good writer who was awarded lots of stunts... in which case, what's the problem? :D

Mewtarthio
2008-03-25, 09:41 PM
There is a limit: You can only take a maximum of 10 tropes at 1st level and therefore, the more descriptive tropes you take the less use and advantageous tropes you can take. You can take disadvantageous tropes to increase your amount of tropes, but although your character will start with a lot of plot points, they'll run out.

The system does sort of presume the players aren't going to set out to break it. The GM does have a lot of leeway in what they dock plot points for, though.

Ah. I didn't see the ten-trope limit. That fixes things.

And, yes, I do know that the system's not designed to be broken. It seems a lot like Fate, actually, in that it's freeform enough that exploiting the system is pointless.

Verruckt
2008-03-25, 11:13 PM
just a thought for higher levels,maybe tropes that take up two or more slots, or perhaps increasing the power of a trope by sacrificing a slot to boost it's plot point benefits?

Thanatos 51-50
2008-03-26, 01:00 AM
Any thoughts on possibly getting interested Tropers in on this by posting something on TV Tropes?

Verruckt
2008-03-26, 01:48 AM
sounds like a great idea to me, is their some discussion board within the site we could post this on? Gets the system, (and GitP) more exposure, and though Jukashi has final say, more input can't hurt.

Mewtarthio
2008-03-26, 09:33 AM
just a thought for higher levels,maybe tropes that take up two or more slots, or perhaps increasing the power of a trope by sacrificing a slot to boost it's plot point benefits?

Perhaps you could take Two Words Obvious Trope (trope Y) to increase the poewr of trope Y, because everyone knows your character epitomizes trope Y. For instance, I could take Two Words Obvious Trope (Evilutionary Biologist) to describe a character who babbles logorrheaically about social darwinism. For plot point purposes, Two Words Obvious Trope would count as tropes in the same category as the trope to which they are applied.

Alternatively, it could yield one less plot point when applied to Use and Advantageous Tropes ("Oh, look. Another Magical Girl. Except she's really magical this time. How original. :smallannoyed:") but one more plot point when applied to a Disadvantageous Trope (because True Art Is Angsty). Thus, TWOT (Knife Nut) yeilds 3 pp while TWOT (Superpowered Evil Side) yeilds 7 pp. In this case, the benefits and downsides have to be made bigger. For instance, maybe the guy with the above two powers can automatically add 3 to his roll for disarming the villain, but would have to perform a stunt to avoid eviscerating him afterwards.

Overlord
2008-03-26, 10:02 AM
This sounds awesome.

Hopefully this RPG will benefit from Adaptation Distillation (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AdaptationDistillation) and not Adaptation Decay (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AdaptationDecay).

hobbitguy1420
2008-03-26, 10:22 AM
holy wow. this is...

my brain a splode.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-03-26, 10:23 AM
So would Avatar and the Airbending Fellowship of Vampire Slayers be examples of Epic Characters?

Azerian Kelimon
2008-03-26, 10:27 AM
Also, some tropes could be too powerful to take at char creation, requiring some great thing, such as The Ace making you very good at everything, but requiring spending three times the plot points or having passed through a Grand Finale at least once, while Dangerously Genre Savvy can only be taken by a Big Bad or Big Good, depending on the alignment of the characters.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-03-26, 10:40 AM
Well, the #1 example of Dangerously Genre Savvy everyone thinks of (Azula) is actually The Dragon, so it'd be a little more general than that.

Also, how do Subversions and Deconstructions fit into this? Transforming a normally Advantageous Trope into a Disadvantageous one, and vice versa? Averted tropes are ones that simply aren't present, of course.

What made me think of this was Azerian's mention of The Ace: I can think of a couple of shows where The Ace showed up early on, but who was then deconstructed to the point of helplessness or death (although apparently [Battlestar Galactica spoilers
Starbuck got better.

Oh, that reminds me. Status effects! The first one to come to mind is Heroic BSOD, which is a powerful trope Big Bads and similarly powerful villains could inflict on a protagonist to prevent them from acting. The victim's tropes could give them a bonus (Determinator) or penalty (I Just Want To Be Normal) against this attack. It would deal with actions, rather than Plot Points, so I'm not sure what the actual defense would be. I assume something akin to Willpower or possibly Conviction/Humanity/etc. exists in Exalted? d20-style saving throws are probably mixing systems too much.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-03-26, 10:49 AM
Good idea. We need to start working on tropes, RIGHT. NOW. And I think we should enlist the help of the tropers too, I'm sure they'd like having their own RPG. I'm going to get Exalted today. Second edition?

That, or we can work with a Gurps or d20 base. So, do we decide on the base system?

Hyozo
2008-03-26, 05:49 PM
I have a couple of questions on two topics:

Subtropes and related tropes:

Say for example that a character (let's call him Zappy) uses lasers. Clearly Zappy would have Frickin Laser Beams (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/FrickinLaserBeams) as a use trope, but as that is a subrrope of Energy Weapon (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EnergyWeapon), what mechanical connection do the two have? Does Zappy need to already have Energy Weapon before he can take Frickin Laser Beams? Is Energy Weapon automatically invoked when using the Frickin Laser Beams, giving a boost to it? If Zappy also has Where Did They Get Lasers (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/WhereDidTheyGetLasers), how would that affect his laser based combat?

Death tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeathTropes):

Clearly these qualify as external tropes, but, by definition, they activate when the character dies, meaning no plot points left to activate them, and regaining plot points through their use would invalidate them. However, they definitely do not fit into any of the other categories, so how are they handled?

Azerian Kelimon
2008-03-26, 05:55 PM
What about having a special subtotal, Slap on the wrist points? Death tropes are not acquired. Rather, when you die, you may spend X amount of Slap on the wrist points to activate a Death trope. Obviously, if it's something that is good for you, it's going to cost more points (Back From the Dead in it's simple version just costs 1 or two SOTW points, but a trope that brings you back with much more power, for example triggering Like a Badass out of Hell and getting Took a Level In Badass in the process would cost 10 SOTW points).

DracoDei
2008-03-26, 06:20 PM
Death tropes (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/DeathTropes):

Clearly these qualify as external tropes, but, by definition, they activate when the character dies, meaning no plot points left to activate them, and regaining plot points through their use would invalidate them.
Theoretically could you apply the plot points gained to your next character?

Mewtarthio
2008-03-26, 07:28 PM
Bah. Death Is Cheap anyway. These are called "plot points," not "health points," "hit points," or "life points." It'd probably be best to interpret them as your character's staying power more than anything else. For instance, if you're plummeting towards a cliff, you might opt to simply fall to your apparent demise only to come back later saying "I Got Better" (if, for instance, you'd really rather not fight the giant moster that tossed you there). If you run out of plot points, however, you've been Killed Off For Real. Or maybe not. Maybe you get Put On A Bus, if you fall to 0 pp in a situation involving emotional stress.

Moff Chumley
2008-03-26, 08:03 PM
Wow, this is really cool. My opinion on systems, and this is pretty different, but Wushu, or elements thereof, might be interesting.

Verruckt
2008-03-26, 08:17 PM
I think that the system is a combo of gurps and exalted, combining the large freedoms of each. D20 is a little restrictive in my mind for this type of game.

As for death, while I suppose it relies on the individual GM how flexible death is, I've always thought that for this system it shouldn't be up to the players whether or not their characters are really dead. The needs of the story are what determine the permanence of a character's death or the power of his replacement.

As an example: I the character falls off a cliff into a firestorm mid-fight, giving the other characters the emotional impetus needed to hand the BBEG his ass on a plate, then Habeas Corpus is in effect, and the character will probably just get better.

However, If the character dies in the arms of his father/son/wife from a gunshot wound delivered by his evil twin, and especially if he does so whilst bleeding out on a rain slick street while those he left behind look up into the gray downpour with anguished faces and cry havoc at uncaring gods, then the character is well and truly dead, but his replacement will in all likeliness be an Ace.

edit: and yes, wushu immediately came to mind for me as well, how can you argue with the rule of narrative truth in a game like this?

Rogue 7
2008-03-26, 09:12 PM
Don't forget to bring in Deities by using the Trope Pantheons. I proposed a concept for a basic D&D game based on that, but it never got anywhere. This looks to be much better, and I will most definitely keep an eye on this. No comment on the mechanics, as I have no idea how they'd work. I would assume that benefits and drawbacks of each trope would be agreed upon by the players and the DM before the game starts?

Fri
2008-03-27, 06:28 AM
this... this made of win. I can't make any useful thoughts now because of the sheer creativity of this project had made me speechless.. I'll definitely come back later when I've free time.

Tengu
2008-03-27, 06:57 AM
Great idea! However, you might want to take a look at Risus (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm), a simple and free system that already is pretty much trope-driven, as your character is mechanically described as a bunch of archetypes s/he is - in other words, tropes. It doesn't have non-character tropes though, but might be good for a base.

Nerd-o-rama
2008-03-27, 08:53 AM
Don't forget to bring in Deities by using the Trope Pantheons. I proposed a concept for a basic D&D game based on that, but it never got anywhere.Because you didn't tell me about it. Or rather, I didn't happen to look in the Finding Players section while it was on the front page, or you're just not talking about a GITP PBP game.

Azerian Kelimon
2008-03-27, 09:41 AM
It was proposed in the gaming section, I believe. Didn't you have something to do with it? I rememeber an occassion where I recommended addign Gilgamesh, and there was a debate about which version of Death should be the God of Death, with DISCWORLD'S VERSION and Neil Gaiman's perky goth coming out on top.

Rogue 7
2008-03-27, 10:01 AM
yeah. Got one reply and dropped off the page. I wasn't too bothered, as I put about two minutes' worth of thought into it. During class.

Jukashi
2008-03-27, 10:59 AM
Also, some tropes could be too powerful to take at char creation, requiring some great thing, such as The Ace making you very good at everything, but requiring spending three times the plot points or having passed through a Grand Finale at least once, while Dangerously Genre Savvy can only be taken by a Big Bad or Big Good, depending on the alignment of the characters.

That sounds like a good idea, but I'm just not sure yet- the system needs to be tested a bit before I can get a proper feel for it.


Also, how do Subversions and Deconstructions fit into this? Transforming a normally Advantageous Trope into a Disadvantageous one, and vice versa? Averted tropes are ones that simply aren't present, of course.

Oh, that reminds me. Status effects! The first one to come to mind is Heroic BSOD, which is a powerful trope Big Bads and similarly powerful villains could inflict on a protagonist to prevent them from acting. The victim's tropes could give them a bonus (Determinator) or penalty (I Just Want To Be Normal) against this attack. It would deal with actions, rather than Plot Points, so I'm not sure what the actual defense would be. I assume something akin to Willpower or possibly Conviction/Humanity/etc. exists in Exalted? d20-style saving throws are probably mixing systems too much.

It would be dependent on the character - some deconstructed Aces would still be Aces. Subversion, on the other hand, would be more of a defining trope.

As for status, there is indeed a Willpower rating in Exalted; you also get willpower points, which have all sorts of uses (many of which relate to throwing off mental effects). However, I'd like to keep away from making the game more complicated with a secondary system. Personally, I'd say that stuff like Heroic Determination would be a use trope.


Clearly these qualify as external tropes, but, by definition, they activate when the character dies, meaning no plot points left to activate them, and regaining plot points through their use would invalidate them. However, they definitely do not fit into any of the other categories, so how are they handled?

Not all tropes are mechanically tied to the characters. External tropes can only sometimes be activated or used by characters - mostly, they're just a way of describing the events of the story, like they are outside the game. Although I am toying with the idea that players can spend plot points on each others' behalf sometimes... ultimately, it's up to the GM.

As for the lasers, they stack. That's how you get good at things; an evil wizard, for example, would have Functional Magic and Black Magic, so he'd have generic magical skill and be especially good at vile sorcery.


Great idea! However, you might want to take a look at Risus (http://www222.pair.com/sjohn/risus.htm), a simple and free system that already is pretty much trope-driven, as your character is mechanically described as a bunch of archetypes s/he is - in other words, tropes. It doesn't have non-character tropes though, but might be good for a base.

Way ahead of you. :smallsmile:

Skelengar
2008-03-27, 11:08 AM
Damn, this is awsome!

Is it too late to get in on this?

Uncle Festy
2008-03-27, 12:09 PM
Damn, this is awsome!

Is it too late to get in on this?

Considering that it started all of 2 days ago, I'd assume as such.
Oh, and seconded.

BarroomBard
2008-03-27, 01:30 PM
Something that may be worth looking into is the system used in a game called "Dogs in the Vineyard". Basically all conflict in the game boils down to narrated contests where you use relationships between your character and his equipment, circumstances, opponents, allies, etc. and bet them. For example, if he was trying to shoot someone, he would roll a pool based on his shooting skills, and also extra dice if he was using his favorite rifle, or shooting at his arch-nemesis. All characters in a contest roll their pools and then use different combinations of the numbers rolled to try to beat their opponents. I don't want to bog everyone down with specifics, so suffice it to say that the fewer dice you need to bet in order to beat your opponent's score, the better position you are in in the contest. If you run out of dice you can either concede or escalate the conflict, for example going from arguing to fighting.

I think this kind of narration based system would work perfectly for T&T (tropes and televisions :smallbiggrin: ) and would make trope selection pretty easy.

Mewtarthio
2008-03-27, 02:44 PM
Another system to look at: Fate. Characters are basically just big lists of adjectives. See also "Spirit of the Century," it's pulp-themed spinoff that's even simpler.

Verruckt
2008-03-27, 08:46 PM
for those of you saying, "How did i miss this?" Jukashi has way to many players to manage in his current game and is looking for a second GM to split the group up, any takers?

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2008-03-27, 10:20 PM
Okay..I'm not sure how much this Jibes with Jukashi's vision, but here's what I've got so far. I had to warm up my applied phlebotanium codification chamber, whence the delay.

Core Concepts

The Law of Narrative Causality: In the world of Tropes- The Story- things occur as dramatics demand. The roles of heroes, villains, and their associated panoply and environment obey literary, not physical laws; anything is possible, provided it calls upon the eternal, endless power of plot and makes wise use of it.
The Nemesis Principle: Despite the limitless possibilities inherent in Plot, those people who are central to it will never live in a world without opposition; for every force for one principle, the opposing principle has an opposite number. If a hero can be immortal, so too can his foe be.
Narrative Instability: Limitless possibility leads to limited surety; while death may be scoffed at one day, the next it may be as permanent as inhabitants of more mundane realms expect. No law or principle is eternal, not even Narrative Causality.


Setting, Characters, and Antagonists
The Story is the term used by most to describe the unstable literary universe in which archetypes and concepts that indwell the minds of all other universes have their purest, most concrete form.
Within The Story, pockets of particular Genres or atmospheres of particular Tone exist, called Wild Masses. These represent the influence of particular facets of the greater universes' influence on The Story.
The Story is shaped by the outer universe, which perceives it, albeit indirectly, and changes it; the radiance of plot moves outward to the universe and is reflected by the Audiens, the listening function of reality. The identity and capabilities of all beings within The Story are subject to the power of the Audiens, whose resonance is the final reality.

The player characters form a group of forces or concepts drawn together by the demands of the Audiens; such a group is called a Cast.
While a cast may consist of a traditional five-man-band of similarly aligned heroes, it may also be a case of mismatched partners, a comic squad of quirky mini-bosses, or even a constantly argumentative group of seemingly coincidental meetings. Whatever their initial alignment to one another, the cast's relationships are a large factor in the response of the Audiens, and their development and growth.

While the Audiens is powerful, it is also fickle, and the Story, while the most enduring reality, is not the only possible one. Various forces work to undo it, notably Aversion, subversion, and reversal, most of whom have agents empowered by Plot or a twisted version thereof.
Aversion is the force that seeks to deny The Story altogether; it creates new, unstable Wild Masses that bear no resemblance to any known thought-line from the Audiens. While these may be places of beauty and wonder as well as horror, they are eternally inimical to the existence of The Cast.
Subversion is the force that seeks to turn The Story to new ends; every hero thrown down to ironic villainy, every beauty skin deep. The efforts of Subversive agents, known as Savants or simply Savvies, result in twisted versions of The Cast or their ilk who weaken The Story itself, bleeding its literary energies back into reality.
Reversal is the most benign of the force that oppose The Cast, and is largely a function of The Nemesis Effect. While the existence of their opposite number causes most Cast members little worry, the exceptionally virtuous must be deeply concerned- as their Reversals will be correspondingly malicious.

Specific Applications
Narrative Causality

Plot Points: These function as, essentially, the 'elementary particles' of narrative force. Acting in a manner consistent with your role in the narrative causes these points to regenerate, while playing against type may change that role- but, similarly, allow you to draw on the power of Plot. Actions that simply don't fit, but don't act as development, slow the regeneration of narrative energies.
Willpower: While Plot defines The Cast, it does not dictate to them; they are true entities, with some degree of free will. When a Cast member wishes to act against their nature, they must spend Willpower. Willpower is equal to [Defining Tropes x3], and can be augmented with specific tropes or through the use of External tropes.
Session Organization: A single linked series of encounters or scenes is a Chapter or Episode. A series of linked episodes or chapters is an Arc. A series of linked Arcs is a season.
Plot points automatically regenerate after each Episode or Chapter. Character may advance after each Episode, if they accomplished their goal for that period.
Cast Tropes: In addition to individual tropes, Casts may have tropes that fit the group as a whole, such as Four Temperament Ensemble or Five-man-band. While the whole group fills its role, it gains a blanket benefit to costs, actions, or specific tasks consonant with the nature of the trope (such as quirky miniboss squad granting contractual immorality- you're too comical to kill deader than dead).


The Nemesis Principle and Narrative Instability

Death Tropes: Some characters can laugh off a Worf Barrage, and always come back saying They Got Better. Others, however, belong to Darker and Edgier universes and end up Deader than Dead in some circumstances. The Nemesis principle extends a character's level of risk to his enemies- if Death is Cheap for the hero, the Villain will also swiftly be back on his feet- but a do-gooder who takes a bigger risk has the chance to end his antagonist's threat once and for all.
The Laws of Physics: Johnny magical-pants doesn't need them. Jimmy dark n' edgy does. Is one more potent than the other? Maybe, if they fight each other. But more than likely, they'll be fighting their Nemeses instead, and that means they'll be playing by the same set of rules.


I'll be refining this into mechanics and organizing it better soon, but for now I want knee-jerk visceral reactions.

Uncle Festy
2008-03-28, 12:40 PM
*jerks knee*
AWESOME!
I'll be keeping track of this thread.

Skelengar
2008-03-28, 01:28 PM
I might be willing to run a game, but I'm not committing myself to anything at this stage. I would preferably like to wait and see how the system turns out before a definite yes or no.

I'll offer input, but I won't be able to actually help much with the mechanics. I can list effects of specific tropes, though.

hobbitguy1420
2008-03-28, 04:16 PM
That was beautiful.

bonus points for the Terry Pratchett "narrative causality" reference.

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2008-03-28, 04:29 PM
That was beautiful.

bonus points for the Terry Pratchett "narrative causality" reference.
Discworld makes some of the best use of tropes anywhere- and the Theory of Narrative Causality makes a neat, tidy framing device.

It was the logical choice.

Hecore
2008-03-28, 04:40 PM
This is crazy awesome.

Something worth considering might be allowing the player to swap tropes, or gain new tropes, at certain levels. This might help to give a greater sense of growth and, IMO, fits in really well with the existing material (character growth in the 'series' you're playing).

Flickerdart
2008-03-28, 08:35 PM
Very impressive. Very impressive indeed. I especially like the natural flow of the anti-godmodding measures.

Shades of Gray
2008-03-29, 07:00 AM
Couldn't tropes be used in multiple ways? And take up different slots depending how you use them?

For Example, Arrows are Useless. (or is it annoying arrows? I forget)

Someone can take this as a disadvantageous trope, to make their arrows useless.
However, someone could also take this so the recieve less wounds from arrows, this would porbably be advantageous.
Or, we can rule it does both, and it would take two slots (however the disadvantageous makes the advantageous free)

How would we handle a trope like this? And many others like this?

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2008-03-29, 10:16 AM
Variable Tropes

Some tropes function in multiple ways depending on their usage by the character or their intent- these tropes are variable.

A variable trope must be purchased separately for each usage and can only be purchased once for each category.

Variable tropes always stack in all positive categories, i.e. a variable use trope can be reduced in cost by a variable advantageous trope- this is one of their primary uses.

Sample Variable Trope:
Bizarre alien biology is a versatile concept; it could indicate the character has special needs, special capabilities, or is simply different from others.

When the trope is simply used to define the character as non-human, it is of course a defining trope.

When, however, it allows them to perform special actions- such as spitting acid, resisting extremes of heat or cold, or eating deadly poisons as 'delicacies', it is a use trope, allowing unique action.

When the character's biology is used defensively- such as when reducing the point cost to resist the dangers mentioned above- it is an advantageous trope.

A character with bizarre alien biology as a Use and an Advantageous trope reduces the cost of all actions involving their unique biology, of course.

If the character has a special disadvantage involving their alien form- for instance, having to wear a special exo-suit or bubble, or finding ordinary things like water or eggs extremely deadly- it is a disadvantageous trope, and acts as a reversal of its advantageous form.

Like most disadvantageous tropes, it is likely to be invoked by the DM more than the player.

DementedFellow
2008-03-29, 10:24 AM
What's to stop someone from using the Trope A God Am I (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AGodAmI)?

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2008-03-29, 10:48 AM
What's to stop someone from using the Trope A God Am I (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/AGodAmI)?

The Nemesis Factor: See above.

Also, that particular trope refers mostly to the overblown speech (possibly containing the noted phrase) given by people with powers, and not the powers themselves.

hobbitguy1420
2008-03-31, 12:37 PM
I take issue with the fact that Aversions, Subversions, and Reversals are always bad for the Plot. many Aversions and Subversions wound up growing into their own tropes - see the Spunky princess vs. the traditional airy-fairy princess.

Shiny, Bearer of the Pokystick
2008-03-31, 09:25 PM
Sorry, I should clarify; Aversions, Subversions, and Reversals are bad from the perspective of traditional Plot- a case of unreliable narrator, actually.

The 'new, unstable wild masses' created by Aversion are also creative, and possibly beneficial; the introduction of The Story into reality and vice-versa through subversion could strengthen both, rather than weakening either.

And reversals are already ambiguous/beneficial, as it happens.

DarknessLord
2008-03-31, 11:08 PM
I so want in on this! This sounds like quite a bit of fun! (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/JumpedAtTheCall)

I already have a character concept....

Zeta Kai
2008-04-15, 01:52 PM
Here's an idea that I had for a class feature while reading the trope of the same name (http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/OutrunTheFireball):

Outrun the Fireball (Ex): at Xth level, once per day, you can make a move action as a swift action; you cannot move more than your speed with this action, you cannot use this action to move more than 2 your speed, & you cannot use this action while running (moving at 4 your speed) or while performing a full-round action; this speed can be increased by extraordinary (such as Fast Movement) or magical means (such as Expeditious Retreat); at Yth level, you can do this up to twice per day, at Zth level, you can do this up to three times per day, & at ZZth level, you can do this as an immediate action

Skelengar
2008-04-15, 04:28 PM
Make it an immeadiate action at higher levels, and you can literally outrun a fireball.

Juron Pilo
2010-10-26, 06:12 AM
A God am I would take tons of plot points anyway

Eloel
2010-10-26, 10:32 AM
A God am I would take tons of plot points anyway
http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/Thread_Necromancy_3038.jpg