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Thread: [Welknair Update/Game Idea] Fourth Land

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    Default [Welknair Update/Game Idea] Fourth Land

    A Game of Abstraction

    Fourthland is the game that I've now been working on for some months, and it is bearing more fruit than any of my previous attempts. It has gone much further than I thought it would, and I hope to see it become a full-fledged Tabletop RPG, one you can buy and hold a copy of in your hand. We're still a ways from that goal, but it is in sight.

    What IS Fourthland, you ask? It is a game of abstraction. Imagine a world where everything you knew was wrong. Where the fundamental aspects of reality were different. A world of creativity, ingenuity, and alien-ness. In this strange, bizarre world your preconceptions of reality will likely not suffice. You will need to learn. To think in new, and novel ways. This is NOT a game for the unimaginative. It is a game of glorious innovation, a game of teamwork, of ideals, of thoughts and beliefs.

    Due to me wanting to actually produce this game, I am limited in what I can say about it. I have said a few things openly, so I'll post them here for anyone taking a look for the first time:

    1. The world is centered around 12 "Energies" that define most of reality. Character stats are the first 8.

    2. There are things kind of like classes, called "Shapes". There are three tiers of these, and they are independent of one another. "Combinatory Characters" is one of the features my game espouses. Any combination of Shapes should be a viable character.

    3. Play starts with all players having blank character sheets. As they play through the beginning of the game, they gain the defining features of their character. This is what I call "Progressive Start". Players don't need to do any preparation before the game. No hours of character-building. Just straight on to the fun!

    4. The rules are divided into discrete "Stages", increasing in complexity in each stage. This allows new groups to not be immediately overwhelmed by how profoundly weird Fourthland is. Once a group has progressed through all the stages, later games can start at the last stage (Utilizing the entire body of rules). The first stage involves solely the first four energies, as well as a bit of interesting lore about the world.

    5. "Shape does not confer function". Functions are attributes attached to the being of an object, not its physical shape. This means that you could make something that looks like a sword, but unless it has the intrinsic property of a sword, it does not function as one.

    6. Tick, Tick, Tick, Tick, Tock, Tock, Tock, Tock, Click, Click, Click, Click, Clack, Clack, Clack, Clack, Arc, Arc, Arc, Arc, Circle, Circle, Circle, Circle, Cycle, Cycle, Cycle, Cycle, Grand Cycle, Grand Cycle, Grand Cycle, Grand Cycle, Father, Father, Father, Father, Mother, Mother, Mother, Mother.... Tick

    7. There seems to be some recurring theme about the numbers 2, 4, 6, and 8?

    8. For example, I needed 8 facts about the game.

    I frequently post my musings and progress in this thread, so if you're interested, do follow! Don't be afraid to post either! Responses on this thread help ensure that others hear of it. Plus the people that hang out here are generally pretty awesome.

    Quotes of Importance/Humor:

    Because they deserve to be out of the spoiler:
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    You know, most games claim to challenge what you think is true, but they don't. See, when you look at fourth land, you can't assume anything. Gravity? Please, that got thrown out in minutes. Time? Linear chronology is for wimps. Liquids? Seriously, I said no assumptions! Life? Nope, not even that.

    So what's the game about, then? It's a game about anything. Literally, anything: you can make a pie of swordness to slash the inside of your enemies' mouths. You can parkour your way to the sun, blast people with the raw energy of time, structure, or gravity. It's a land of ultimates, extremes, and originality. Because nothing will ever be the same.

    Fourthland, the game of Abstractions.
    "Welknair's Thread: Side effects may include: Immediate loss of SAN, questions regarding our fundamental assumptions of the world around us, perpetual motion, blackholes, paradoxes, ponies, food-ified objects, piercing boulders, bludgeoning spears, and time clones. Consult your doctor if you feel that any of these may be a problem, or if any portion of your body has been chronofragged."
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    In other news, I just imagined a yellow jellyfish with an interpretative dance cutie mark speaking -no, flapping?- in a sad southern accent. Don't ask me how that works.

    Fourthland is freakin epic.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fako View Post
    Fourthland: The game where a 5 degree difference in how you hold up your ganglia changes the definition from "mother" to "monster"...
    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    That.. Wow. I. Huh.

    I've been doing a lot of work on my game recently. A lot. I've been telling my normal group bits and pieces between our GURPS games. I've told them about the story, about the world. I finally have enough done to do a trial run. Just to test out basic mechanics, you know. To make sure I hadn't made some major mistake, had some fatal oversight.

    I did.

    My world, my game, that I had prided myself on being "Simple" was too complicated for them. These are the people that make skyship designs with my magitech system. They didn't understand the ideas I was throwing at them.

    My oversight? My design goal was to make a game unlike any other, to make something entirely unique. My short-coming? I succeeded. I hadn't even thought of the POSSIBILITY that the drastic alien-ness of my game would confuse my players to the point where they couldn't comprehend it.

    My players are pretty smart, smarter than the average one, I'd like to say. The fact that my game is incomprehensible to them does not bode well.

    I need to change some things. A lot of things. This was a bit of a reality check for me. I haven't been doing near as well as I thought I had. I made something TOO different, TOO novel. And they just didn't get it.

    Wow. That's the first time I've ever walked out on a game.
    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    ... I complain about a bad test, and people's response is to be intensely curious?

    Now that I've calmed down a bit, I think I overreacted. I did a second test and things went a bit better. It's important to ease players into it instead of expecting to understand an entirely new universe immediately.

    Well, I'll see what I can say without giving too much away or angering the gods of copyright (I wonder if I can just copyright the idea already so I can be more open? I need to work that stuff out).

    I made an entirely new universe, if you hadn't already figured that bit out. What's a "Human"? What's a "Molecule"? Gravity? Sound? Life? Death? Time?

    I made my own. I rewrote EVERYTHING. I have 12 elementary energy types that define the world, inspired a little by Exalted Elemental Essence - That's actually a good story, and one I can say to help you understand without telling exactly how my stuff works.

    We were arguing about a character from Keychain of Creation (The Exalted version of OotS), an Abyssal girl by the name of Secret. Abyssals don't age physically. I argued that this made no sense, since they healed over time. Healing involves the replication of cells, shortening telomeres. It is this shortening of telomeres that causes aging. I was met by something along the lines of "What is a Cell?" I was baffled. The utter refutation of everything I knew about the world... They instead explained to me that everyone was made of a combination of Wood and Earth Essence, the first giving life and the second structure. You die when your Wood runs out. This was the basics of the Energy system for Fourthland. I number my twelve energies, 1st through 12th. Guess which one causes life? Fourth. Then I have ones that cause Gravity, Light, Heat, Movement, and so on.

    Player Stats? Energy scores. This is the center of my game. It is alien and weird. Yet at the same time, to me at least, it is quite beautiful. To be able to build an entire universe from so few elements is amazing. It has a complex simplicity about it, and a simple complexity.

    Another interesting thing about my game: "Progressive Start". You hand blank character sheets to players, and the game has started. Right then and there. The DM/GM/Muse describes the scene, and then Players get their first bit of Fourth (XP). They continue to as the game goes on, though the rate slows down. Later, they get most of it from overcoming challenges. The point though, is that you don't wait an hour and a half to make character sheets first. It's done through the gameplay.

    Yet another: Combinatory Characters. I'm making a bunch of class-y things that I don't think I can talk too much about, but you get three of them. Any combination should be valid. In this way, I can create massive numbers of potential characters off of relatively few templates. And it's an exponential growth.

    Does that do it for you? My copyright-friend says he'll help me through the process this coming weekend and I should be able to say a lot more.
    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    I. Wow. I just realized something involving the time thing. Oooooooh. *Laughs evilly* I was trying to figure out why people wouldn't want to always be carrying around super-speed stones with them. Then I figured it out. Yeah, that'll do. That'll do.
    A bit of background for the next one: I have a very crazy player. He tends to abuse physics. The playtest group from this thread has issued him an official challenge, starting with the following post.
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    Ok, then.

    I'll take him as a challenge.


    Tell him he's on.
    Quote Originally Posted by jojolagger View Post
    Dude, I'm already designing a method of omniscience. I know little of the rules and I'm already on the verge of Omniscifer level tricks.
    I also have an idea for a gun that chronofrags people.

    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    Why make a chronofrag gun when you can have a grenade that causes the animating principle to fall out of your enemy's body?

    (Alter how gravity, Fourth, and structural elements interact; fun times occur.)
    Quote Originally Posted by radmelon View Post
    It kinda says something about our culture that the first reaction to a new system of rules is using to to make things explode in previously impossible ways.
    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    Is it wrong that I've already developed methods of teleportation, perpetual motion and cold fusion?
    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    Ah. Missed the no molecules. Teleportation was easy. It just followed a logical chain of manipulating space-time through matter/gravity manipulation. Technically, it's not so much teleportation as it is moving the entire universe so that object ends up where you want it. Though you can also move the object itself.

    It's just more fun the first way.
    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    So I can't force the Fourth and the Seventh in someone's body to interact, thus making the Fourth... fall out?

    Also, does the Law of Conservation of Energy still exist in this universe; otherwise, there are evil, evil, EVIL things we can do.

    But yeah, since I only know of 3 component Energies (Fourth (Lifeforce), Seventh (Gravity), and Eleventh (Time) (I assigned those numbers at random; I'll get the terminology correct once I have my toolbox.)), I can already pull of cryogenics, if necessary (Remove Eleventh from the area; therefor, they just go through time as slow as hell), and I'm pretty sure I can pull off Crack the Sky (Exalted charm where you toss someone miles, for massive amounts of pain; you can do it through pure manipulation of Seventh, especially if there are any ways to lock someone's ability to change their gravitational direction. This is a party trick, by the way.)

    Oh, and I'll also need to know if any of Newton's Laws still exist in game, and how "strongly" they apply.

    Also, just for ****s and giggles, if we can figure out a method of converting energies into other energies, I totally have a method to duplicate the Event Horizon of a black hole (convert 11th into 7th).

    I can pull of practically instantaneous travel (Welknair gave some hints about how you can potentially affect a part of an object; just move the 11th from every creature inside to the "ship" they are sitting in, and have some sort of AI (Eh, just fill it with 4th, that should do it) move the ship; the people riding barely experience any time passing, while the ship is moving hella fast.)

    Oh, before I forget... is Distance an energy?
    Quote Originally Posted by radmelon View Post
    Welknair, I hope you're proud of yourself. You're about to unleash several madmen with plans of world discombobulation and maybe the power to do it onto an innocent setting.
    Quote Originally Posted by Elfstone View Post
    An untouched setting even!

    After the play test I think you can consider it roughed up. I just hope I survive with all my mental faculties.
    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    You... are much too kind to us.

    Seriously, what did we do to deserve this kinda windfall?

    If we can set up a moving field, progressive-speed FTL travel is in our grasp! (Very simple; lock the back end of a Time-and-Space Dilatory Field to the back of your "ship". Fly it wherever you want.)

    Also, there is miniaturization, which, due to a lack of atomization, means we can scale things infinitely! (Or practically so...)
    Quote Originally Posted by radmelon View Post
    You know this is going to end in fire and oblivion, right? Isn't it obvious? Elemental pokemon!
    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    I had very low attendance this weekend (Just my crazy-player, and one of my less-crazy ones), so we ended up playing Fourthland the first time. We tested out some of the class-things and they seem to work pretty well. I need to change some mechanics involving how physical matter is dealt with, but things are shaping up nicely.

    Using my funky physics, I set up a really peculiar world. the world is an inverted sphere, with everything along the inside. Gravity is conferred by a thin layer of 11th-charged material far inside the ground. In the middle of this sphere is a large, opaque sphere. Between the sphere and the ground above/below orbits another sphere, this one possessing gargantuan quantities of 9th (Light). When it passes behind the opaque sphere, an area of the world is covered in shadow (Night).

    My players (especially the crazy one) immediately jumped to a number of ideas:

    1. Dig down to the "Bedrock level" to harvest all the gravity-conveying material. Because trololol.

    2. Make towers that extend to the limit of the gravitational pull of the ground (There is a limit, so the middle area is largely without gravity) and then jump from one tower to another. Or tie ropes from the towers and pull yourself along.

    3. Parkour onto the sun. Long story.

    4. Colonize the center orb.

    5. Calibrate a jump such that the apex is right where the gravitational pull ends. Possibly leave a leg inside the pull, then pull up when you're at zero momentum. Float there. Possibly have a buddy give you a gentle push. Snipe at will.

    6. Use 11th to make tiny gravity-stones and try too dislodge the sun from its orbit.

    7. "How large is the sun?" Steal the sun.

    8. "We have a moon too, right?" Steal the moon.


    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post

    1. We did not play Fourthland this weekend. We started Grimtooth's Dungeon of Doom, though. I think the total death count was in the 30s.

    2. I am doing more research into the business requirement of Kickstarters. I have submitted a help request on the topic.

    3. My copyright-friend has talked me out of Preregistering, given that it doesn't actually do much and it has such a large cost. The new plan is to publish and copyright the first draft in increments, going through the process for each separately. In the long run, this will likely be cheaper.

    4. I plan to claim that domain very soon. I've dabbled in web design and know some people that do it for a living. I'll likely set up my own forums there, though they won't be terribly active for a while still.

    5. Sending a PM to Roland about whether or not I can post a link to a Kickstarter here.

    Here it is, word for word:

    6. More work on game-phsyics, primarily how weight, breaking, and supports work.

    7. Consideration about one of my original design goals that I forgot to mention, and one that is VERY RELEVANT given the section of this thread: "Homebrew-ability". The property of a game that allows homebrew to be created for it. I want my game to very much encourage homebrew, and I've seen many games that do and don't do so. For example, D&D 3.5e is obviously quite homebrew-able. 4e, not so much (Though Surrealistik does make some decent stuff). This is because it is more difficult to create classes, which were always the most popular topic of homebrew. Exalted is another example of something that's difficult to homebrew for. What're you going to make? You can make side-charms, or martial arts styles, but that's about it.

    In my game, you'll be able to (And encouraged to, if you have the capacity) homebrew the falling, among others: Shapes (Class-things. I expect tons of these.), Alchemies and Masteries (*Sinister Laughter*), Creatures (Why of course!), Materials, and finally Energies (That's right. You can add your own.),
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    Add my own?

    Quote Originally Posted by radmelon View Post
    I am imagining entire galaxies burning right now. Welknair, I hope you realize what you've done.
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    I don't think he could.

    Especially not after I messed with his 13th orientations, Intent.

    WHICH IS SO MINE. I claim Intent (think emotion/purpose/consciousness?) as my personal Energy.
    Quote Originally Posted by radmelon View Post
    Dibs on Good/Heroism/Protaganistic energy. The power of how important something is, plot-wise. Or Hat energy, that would be cool...
    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    Guys, you are thinking in far too prosaic a way, my friends.

    I call dibs on the 14th, Narrative Inertia.

    And on the 15th, Flavor, because seriously, being able to make the sun taste like cherries is win.
    Quote Originally Posted by jojolagger View Post
    Bah, 16th is best. Motivation.
    Quote Originally Posted by radmelon View Post
    What about Laughter, Kindness, Generosity, Honesty, Loyalty, Magic...
    I have a great and terrible Idea...
    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    Of course! Back to the fun stuff!

    You guys know the suggestion a while ago about being embodying the energies? Well I did a bit of work on how they operate.

    Also, I have been struggling with how romantic relationships operate within Fourthland, given that my previous solution to deaths and reproduction kind of made them unecessary. Well, I found a way to work romantic-potential in. And then I kept going, like I tend to. I think I may have accidentally created a lifecycle system more complicated than that of the Trolls.
    Quote Originally Posted by radmelon View Post
    My brain is sputtering trying to deal with how awesome/hilarious this is. So many ideas come to mind.

    Sword of +3 Swordness
    Amulet of Sworditude
    Disciple of Swordosity
    Elemental plane of Sword

    Fighter would be so happy.
    Quote Originally Posted by jojolagger View Post
    Interesting thoughts.
    Armour-ness on a hair pin (because a hair pin that stops arrows in hilarious.
    Club-ness on a sword (for bludgeoning someone to death with the edge of a sword).
    Tent-ness on a pen (1d4 SAN damage.)
    This is wonderful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    You know what? Let's go a step further.

    You do not craft objects; instead, you craft Functions, which are then imbued at some later point. You can only Imbue a given Function once, and then the object will always have that function.

    You can later remove a Function from an object.

    I'm waiting for Tool-ness, so I can Imbue it in my fists (fixin' things like the fonz! Yeah!); or, more esoterically, Food-ness on a stick (hey, when you can make anything edible...), Window-ness on a wall (you can see through it.)

    Hell, by reducing items down to Function, you can really be an artist... and your canvas could be your body.

    Another idea... who needs tools to craft a metaphor or function? You could totally make a Shape based around rapid crafting by simply mixing and melding Function Components. And then maybe, eventually, refining a Function to the point that you can just use the Energy and ignore the actual Form. So you could chop someone in half with the very concept of Swordness, or nail up a wall with literally nothing more than a whim.

    The funny thing is that this kinda crafting makes a crapton of sense to anyone who has ever looked at how Diablo made its random items, but with the random stuff you get being stuff you can use that item for, rather than adding fire or ice or whatever.

    And you do realize that, the more we talk about this, this is the game I've been dreaming of?

    And Progressive Disclosure is such a wonderful idea... it's the kinda thing I wish that DnD was designed to work with.
    Sorry for a light hi-jack, but I have an idea for something to do while we are waiting for Welknair to complete the copyright process...

    I'm currently working on a quick PoS combining Risus and Nomic. Anyone want to use it to get in the mood?
    Quote Originally Posted by TravelLog View Post
    I think we're all overlooking something central to our existence. Bearness. Yes, now we too can have +1 Swords of Bearness, Fists of Bearness, and dare I say, Beards of Bearness.
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    Actually owls are not technically wiser than any other creature. Welkanair, having a high IQ (as do most people on this form), would presumably know this.

    Thus, we can clearly not choose the option in front of him. But, we also know that he's adept a tropes, since he can break them so well: thus, he could be pandering to the "owls are wise" idea from the start, and can clearly not choose the option near to us.

    But, of course, we know this game IS about breaking expectations, so our expectations of wisdom mean we clearly cannot choose the option in front of him.

    What did you say? I just got started!

    The first point is true: it might be perception...?
    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    I've spent the last ten years of my life building up a resistance to overused tropes.
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post


    Ha! But I've won! I switched glasses while you weren't looking, and the glass with overused tropes is clearly in front of you!
    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    Innertia-less fields, of course. Most people don't bother keeping their hands on the propulsion controls, and an area of space where that glide just stops... They wouldn't get whiplash, but we would need some way to get rid of the extra energy... I suggest transmuting it into heat.

    In other words, they rocket at you and incinerate themselves. Alternatively, a thin film of reversed inertia would cause them to crash into themselves, which would hurt. A lot.
    Quote Originally Posted by jojolagger View Post
    Confetti infused with "sharpness". They fly right in and get torn to shreds.
    Quote Originally Posted by Dimonite View Post
    Does... does this mean I can come out of the shadows? I... I brought a swordness pie.
    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    ... If you don't mind, I'm not going to eat any of the buffet. Why? Because no-one brought foodness.

    Except for me and my foodness laser.
    Quote Originally Posted by Story Time View Post long has it been?

    Today, in Welknair's thread, I've had reason to think of eating Final Fantasy elemental crystals and actually be nourished by them.

    Of course, the thread also makes me think of the Lost Boys Banquet. ...I was forced to watch Hook once.
    Quote Originally Posted by Welknair View Post
    "Welknair's Thread: Side effects may include: Immediate loss of SAN, questions regarding our fundamental assumptions of the world around us, perpetual motion, blackholes, paradoxes, ponies, food-ified objects, piercing boulders, bludgeoning spears, and time clones. Consult your doctor if you feel that any of these may be a problem, or if any portion of your body has been chronofragged."

    Edit: A NOTE TO ANY AND ALL LURKERS: We'd very much like to hear your opinions about what's going on on this thread! Don't be afraid to make a post!
    Quote Originally Posted by Amechra View Post
    We will all be barely hyperintelligent jellyfish made of pure whimsy, floating upon a black rainbow, dyed yellow by the suffusion of knowledge flowing through our pseudopods.

    We also won't have any mouths. So all communication will be through sign language.

    All of it. Literally. Including how we communicate to each other IRL.
    Quote Originally Posted by radmelon View Post
    ...I can't tell if that's poetry or madness, probably both.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fako View Post
    It's the poetry OF madness. And it is beautiful.
    Quote Originally Posted by Story Time View Post
    Related To Amechra:

    Player One: My character tries to communicate with it!

    GameMaster: How?

    Player One: Um... Interpretive Dance?
    Quote Originally Posted by SamBurke View Post
    How dare you diss my special talent?

    In other news, I just imagined a yellow jellyfish with an interpretative dance cutie mark speaking -no, flapping?- in a sad southern accent. Don't ask me how that works.

    Fourthland is freakin epic.
    Quote Originally Posted by Fako View Post
    Fourthland: The game where a 5 degree difference in how you hold up your ganglia changes the definition from "mother" to "monster"...

    Original OP:
    For those curious, I am still alive and well, and I'm still working diligently. I have recently had a wonderful slew of ideas for a game called "Fourth Land" which incorporates the main ideas I've been striving to work into my previous WIP-games. Out of all the ideas I've had, this seems like it is by far the best, most unique, and most likely to fulfill the criteria I wish to fulfill.
    Bonds that hold, bonds that break, bonds that only few do make.
    Bonds that kill, bonds that save, bonds that cause some to be brave.

    I am hesitant to disclose too much as I hope to one day publish this game, and the way things are going, this may be a possibility. Suffice it to say, the game does something I talked about sometime ago - It embraces the abstraction inherent in games. It drops the pretense of trying to simulate reality, because that's not what I want to do. By escaping from the framework of the real world, I can avoid such unpleasant things as grappling rules. As a result, I am free to make an entirely new universe with its own laws of physics . And that is exactly what I have done. I've spoken with my friends and players and they loved the bits that I told them.
    In the twists of time, follow your friends. Form a Bond, or you shall meet your ends.
    So from time to time I may make a post in this thread, just making sure that everyone knows that I'm still alive and still designing. Just on my own terms now.
    Some will live, some may die, but never will you say goodbye.
    And of course, anyone and everyone is free to use the homebrew that I have created. That's what it's there for.
    One cannot fall without a second, and a second without a third.
    Edit: And if I decide that it'd be okay, I may disclose some more details about the game. But, as I said before, I hope to publish it. Copyright law doesn't like posting ideas online before copyrighting them.
    Only together may death be deferred.
    Edit2: I will also endeavor to check this thread at least once a week, in case anyone wants to get a hold of me or talk to me for any reason.
    Last edited by Welknair; 2012-06-11 at 11:03 PM.
    Avatar by Araveugnitsuga

    Fourthland: A Game of Abstraction

    Quote Originally Posted by Daverin View Post
    Welknair, you are like... some living avatar of win. Who's made of win. And wields win as if it were but a toy. Win.
    Quote Originally Posted by Virdish
    Welknair you are a god among men. Thank you for creating a playground for the completely insane.
    Quote Originally Posted by Morph Bark
    There have also been times where I was jealous of your ingenuity and skills.

    Extended Homebrewer's Signature