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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Just so I'm clear here, the fact that Tessen just suggested going to a hardware store definitely shouldn't stop Turing from going to the hardware store, since they can't possibly know they're both doing that. Indeed, it would be comedic and homey to have them both show up back at the location together loaded down with redundant tools. This would benefit us.
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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  2. - Top - End - #92
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    There's no need to roleplay out buying hardware so feel free to just have that happen without my input within the scope of your Resources dots.
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiki Snakes View Post
    "Do you know how expensive copper wire is? I don't, actually, but I understand it is expensive enough that people steal it even if it still has power running through it. What exactly are you planning to do with it?"


    "The rest shouldn't be a problem, though."
    About $10 for ten meters.

    It's not that it's valuable, it's that it's valuable to drug addicts.

    EDIT: Uh, Tessen, it would probably be safer to use an insulated extension cord than leaving a giant live wire running through the building. You can also buy a cheap generator for about $25.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2012-09-30 at 11:16 PM.
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    About $10 for ten meters.

    It's not that it's valuable, it's that it's valuable to drug addicts.
    Google says it's cheaper , but I'll take your price, that's fine.
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    Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Anarion Mori?
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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Aw man, why do I keep designing characters I don't have games for *Throws completed character sheet on The Pile*
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  6. - Top - End - #96
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post

    EDIT: Uh, Tessen, it would probably be safer to use an insulated extension cord than leaving a giant live wire running through the building. You can also buy a cheap generator for about $25.
    Stop ruining my dreams of electrical explosions, Thanqol. Also, insulated wire is better than an extension cord since I'm probably going to need to go into a power line and that requires actually manipulating the wire, which is hard with a normal extension cord with regular plugs at the end.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Aw man, why do I keep designing characters I don't have games for *Throws completed character sheet on The Pile*
    Awww, there there. Eventually. I guess, if you really wanted, I could fit you into Tornado Country as a changeling. They could use a unifying force that isn't SiuiS trying to become an evil overlord.
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    Dulce Et Decorum Est Pro Anarion Mori?
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    You just highlandered an entire city block into a glass-filled storm by road-runnering down it in your underwear.

  7. - Top - End - #97
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Stop ruining my dreams of electrical explosions, Thanqol. Also, insulated wire is better than an extension cord since I'm probably going to need to go into a power line and that requires actually manipulating the wire, which is hard with a normal extension cord with regular plugs at the end.
    Fair enough. Alter Conductivity, by the way, is Matter 1 and covert so Turing could achieve the same general effect with a length of rope - or a really long piece of liquorish.

    Incidentally, Alter Conductivity is arguably the most cheap and efficient way to disable a car.

    Awww, there there. Eventually. I guess, if you really wanted, I could fit you into Tornado Country as a changeling. They could use a unifying force that isn't SiuiS trying to become an evil overlord.
    The other part of my bane is that I keep coming up with Mage character ideas specifically.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2012-10-01 at 01:10 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    About $10 for ten meters.

    It's not that it's valuable, it's that it's valuable to drug addicts.

    EDIT: Uh, Tessen, it would probably be safer to use an insulated extension cord than leaving a giant live wire running through the building. You can also buy a cheap generator for about $25.
    Kinda.
    Copper sells by the pound. About, what, eight or ten years ago, it was going for enough that a group of vatos ripping the wiring out of a newly erected house in the dead of night could split it web and make more than double minimum wage.

    Now people year out copper wire because they heard about how valuable it was and haven't realized that the original looters kinda unbalanced the market.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Awww, there there. Eventually. I guess, if you really wanted, I could fit you into Tornado Country as a changeling. They could use a unifying force that isn't SiuiS trying to become an evil overlord.


    A - Hem!

    She's an overlady, thank you.
    Or will be.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    The other part of my bane is that I keep coming up with Mage character ideas specifically.
    I'm workin' on it! I'm currently figuring out a use for geomantic lines, railways and coal mines. And an Uratha deity bound in a mountain two counties up. And... Yeah. It's a slow amalgam. But it's coming!
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

  9. - Top - End - #99
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    I'm workin' on it! I'm currently figuring out a use for geomantic lines, railways and coal mines.
    An enormous magical ritual to empower fledging America's industry. Sabotaged in recent times by Communist Mages.

    And an Uratha deity bound in a mountain two counties up.
    Had a sphere that contested with the industrial expansion and was imprisoned under a pile of native american corpses.

    Mage is easy.

    And... Yeah. It's a slow amalgam. But it's coming!
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  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    I have an idea for a very impromptu sort of Mage game (no promises!!!) for newly awakened Mages. All I have is a setting (a fictional city with a minotaur/labyrinth theme) and two or three characters and everything else would be developed as we go. Which means it could get going in no time.

    I don't know if it's a good idea, doing it like that with minimal planning, but I know I tend to get bogged down by planning. There's always more planning to do, always more details I could develop before I'm satisfied.

    Also, I'm rather wary of running a game of Mage, because I don't feel I know a thing about the system, really. I got the Seers book almost a month ago and still haven't even looked at it. I never seem to find the time to read the Changeling/Mage books

    I also still have my Changeling game, haven't forgotten about that. I have most of that planned out, I just ... not sure I feel ready yet.

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    Deadly, a delightfully daring drawer and drafter of dissertations. Defying the dictations of our disparate denizens, Deadly decides his direction with a dirth of dependence on the decisions of despotic desperados. Deadly detests dismissive derision, and will debate any dude or dame that dares to detest discussion.

  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    I have an idea for a very impromptu sort of Mage game (no promises!!!) for newly awakened Mages. All I have is a setting (a fictional city with a minotaur/labyrinth theme) and two or three characters and everything else would be developed as we go. Which means it could get going in no time.

    I don't know if it's a good idea, doing it like that with minimal planning, but I know I tend to get bogged down by planning. There's always more planning to do, always more details I could develop before I'm satisfied.

    Also, I'm rather wary of running a game of Mage, because I don't feel I know a thing about the system, really. I got the Seers book almost a month ago and still haven't even looked at it. I never seem to find the time to read the Changeling/Mage books

    I also still have my Changeling game, haven't forgotten about that. I have most of that planned out, I just ... not sure I feel ready yet.
    As much as my initial instinct is to chant 'run it now', if you're not feeling confident enough with it I'll respect that.

    However, rather than wonder if you're good enough to run it, you should start a series of game design journals to discuss how you would run it. I did a sequence of fourteen back when I was designing The Perfect Arrow, which worked out as a total success of a tabletop. You can find them all in my DA Journals. The process of study, preparation and reflection genuinely and utterly changed the way I plan games out and made me a better ST.

    The journals were like a conversation with myself, talking through everything I wanted out of a game and the steps I'd take to get there. You should do it. Start it without commitment, without assumption, but keep adding to that conversation and discussing things that interest you, and making decisions until you feel like you genuinely want to run it.

    And, of course, I will answer any question or argue any point you may have.
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  12. - Top - End - #102
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    As a subtle contrast to Thanqol, I would say run it if you can conceive of ramifications, but you don't need to worry too much about the setting. The only player who knows the rules and fluff by heart is Thanqol, who would benefit the most from being surprised, right?

    My trouble is, I can see how this place has natural resources a Mage would love. Why aren't try exploiting them? Besides my unfamiliarity, I mean. Unfortunately, the Podunk town I chose us much richer in history and symbolism than it is in actual culture.

    So if you don't know how the seers work, really, then meh. if you can't figure out the Silver Ladder, then just have them not be strongly represented. If a character picks the Ladder, then you cheat and that player begins to define the Laddwr in that region (if he gets prominent enough to matter). And if not, then We just Say the machinations of the NPCs are opaque, and you may know a guy is a libertine, an that he does X, but not how they mesh.

    The quick game I'm going to run is gonna focus on Mage politics, the spirit, and possibly paradox. I don't have a good grasp I these things, so the game should actually help, and I think there's a lot of good drama in a player not knowing what's going on. Without any idea of what the free council represents except what you've been told, it works out a lot like American politics do on the street, where people have only the most tenuous connections between their actions an affiliations. Same with shadow; Jayden is right, and it is an unknowable hellscape rife with vivid descriptions. And seriously just picking two things that would feel different to a character than a player is all I needed to flesh out a huge amount of ideas.

    You've got a labyrinth and Minotaur theme. That could suggest themes, mechanics, and geography. A labyrinth is about surety and despair, especially when it becomes a maze. Just ask Druid Droid, he was there when I got stuck in one. There was a brief moment where I thought maybe it was a closed circuit an I'd stumbled onto some special hell! That was a good night.

    Anyway. Babbling now. Nap time. Good luck Deadly! Have fun, above all else. And know that we are your friends and care about you. That also helps.
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Thanks. I suppose I could try my hand at some kind of small journal, though I'm not sure where to post it or exactly what I'd write, but that might come if I sat down and tried. I'm really quite enthusiastic about my Changeling game, and I think it's shaping up to something very interesting. I did a bit of work on it today, after a while of neglect. Mostly I just need to write it all up into a proper post and read a bunch more Wikipedia entries about the period


    The Mage game is not planned in any great detail, but I have a setting and a concept, and I'm starting to think that's the most important thing you need. An interesting place with lots of possibilities that can be built upon as needed, if you have that then you can start telling a story, any story the players may stumble into, really.

    I'm really starting to believe that Setting is the key, not just in games but fiction as a whole. You hear a lot about characters, but I think characters ought to emerge naturally from the setting, like ... characters are an emergent property of the setting, and your most critical task in telling a story is to get the setting right.

    The idea I have is about a seemingly endless, labyrinthine city, a really scummy, rotten place without law or any sense of purpose, where Mages awaken to. That is, you have your wonderful, terrifying, eye-opening experience of signing your name in a Watchtower, and then ... you wake up with fragmentary memories of a past life at best, or with either no memories at all or completely messed up and obviously false memories at worst, in a total dump of a city where Sleepers, Mages and other beings meander about in a seemingly senseless life of searching for purpose or meaning. And every once in a while another poor soul awakens in some random place to this senseless nightmare. Others disappear, never to be heard from again, probably wandered off or got killed.

    If you wander out of whatever pocket of life you landed in, in any direction for long enough, all you find is endless, deserted city, tiny alleys and broken down homes going on forever. No doubt lots of people just keep going and never find their way back to whatever pocket of life they awoke in. Others stay.

    For all anyone knows (or is willing to tell you) this is the entirety of the universe and you had no life before you woke up. Any prior memories you have are fabrications or random creations of a mind in the process of being put together and born. Some accept that bleak view, others cling to the belief that they did have a life before, that there is something out there, a better world, or at least a place with some order and meaning.

    What is really going on? Good luck finding out.

    That's what I have so far, in a nutshell. I think I will give my Changeling game priority, but maybe I'll make this my second game. It shouldn't take as much work to get started, since the setting is fictional and completely up to me to define.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colonel Fedora View Post
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  14. - Top - End - #104
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    I was almost about to suggest you look up the book with all those extra legacies in, because the one I penciled in for Jack is specifically Labyrinth/Minotaur-myth related.

    But on second thoughts, that would be more useful if you were particularly fussed about following the standard setting canon of Mage/WoD and sticking to real world cities, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Can't remember which book it was anyway.

    The pitch reminds me of so many different things. (Mirror Mask, Labyrinth, Some scifi manga I read once whose name I forget, but that involved the protagonist trying to get to the top of some impossibly vast broken down almost 40k Hive city like urban nightmare and even Sigil and the whole planescape thing).
    Sounds intruiging. Definately worth considering, and Thanqols Journal suggestion might be worth looking into.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    I'm really starting to believe that Setting is the key, not just in games but fiction as a whole. You hear a lot about characters, but I think characters ought to emerge naturally from the setting, like ... characters are an emergent property of the setting, and your most critical task in telling a story is to get the setting right.
    I give this my almost full agreement. It's certainly the way I did my design for both Changeling games I'm running, coming up with the place and its magical contours, and then deciding what kind of people or other creatures would live there.
    The one exception is when you have an especially strong character in mind. Someone who alters her environment to suit her, such as a powerful mage or changeling that crafts her own demense/hollow, or even a regular human who, through patronage and money, has buildings built, organizations strengthened or weakened, and selects whom she lives with.
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  16. - Top - End - #106
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Quote Originally Posted by Tiki Snakes View Post
    I was almost about to suggest you look up the book with all those extra legacies in, because the one I penciled in for Jack is specifically Labyrinth/Minotaur-myth related.

    But on second thoughts, that would be more useful if you were particularly fussed about following the standard setting canon of Mage/WoD and sticking to real world cities, so I wouldn't worry about it too much. Can't remember which book it was anyway.

    The pitch reminds me of so many different things. (Mirror Mask, Labyrinth, Some scifi manga I read once whose name I forget, but that involved the protagonist trying to get to the top of some impossibly vast broken down almost 40k Hive city like urban nightmare and even Sigil and the whole planescape thing).
    Sounds intruiging. Definately worth considering, and Thanqols Journal suggestion might be worth looking into.
    I was just reminded of a move I got called Re-Cycle, about a world of abandoned ideas and half-finished stories or something. I haven't seen it in a long time, maybe I should watch it again, I think it had some similar ideas.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    I give this my almost full agreement. It's certainly the way I did my design for both Changeling games I'm running, coming up with the place and its magical contours, and then deciding what kind of people or other creatures would live there.
    The one exception is when you have an especially strong character in mind. Someone who alters her environment to suit her, such as a powerful mage or changeling that crafts her own demense/hollow, or even a regular human who, through patronage and money, has buildings built, organizations strengthened or weakened, and selects whom she lives with.
    Certainly there are possible exceptions, and characters are part of the setting too, they influence and shape it, but I think many stories fail because they don't manage to pull off a setting. It's not something I can quite explain, but I've been thinking a lot about it lately.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colonel Fedora View Post
    Deadly, a delightfully daring drawer and drafter of dissertations. Defying the dictations of our disparate denizens, Deadly decides his direction with a dirth of dependence on the decisions of despotic desperados. Deadly detests dismissive derision, and will debate any dude or dame that dares to detest discussion.

  17. - Top - End - #107
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Deadly, I was mulling your setting a bit, and I thought I'd give you a couple impressions.

    First, an internal perspective. So, I'm a new mage, an Obrimos because I'm most familiar with them. I can manipulate physical forces as well as mana and magic spells themselves to varying degrees. I might have some other random talents.

    I come into your setting, my mind is torn and broken, but I have power. I might start breaking things. Perhaps I'd find people that would follow me, either because they like me or because I can provide for them, and try to found my own community in the deserted sections of the city. Perhaps I'd come into conflict with the aimless masses and start killing, a lot. Perhaps someone or something would find me first, perhaps we'd ally or fight. But one way or another, I'm going to make every effort to tear a big hole in the setting, whether it's to carve out my own space or to fight others for an existing space.

    Another is an external thought. When I look at the dreary, mostly lifeless world, I always ask myself both the why and the how. The why might be arbitrary. This could be an alternate universe, a different dimension, or the bleak future where all the nukes went off. But the how is interesting. We're still, presumably, humans. Even with broken minds, we need food and water and shelter. Some way to avoid the worst of disease, and something to occupy time other than sleeping and eating. And if there is no drive in people, of any sort, that's abnormal and probably has an interesting explanation.
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    Default Re: Skyscraper Graveyard II: Jealousy and Ambition

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    I come into your setting, my mind is torn and broken, but I have power. I might start breaking things. Perhaps I'd find people that would follow me, either because they like me or because I can provide for them, and try to found my own community in the deserted sections of the city. Perhaps I'd come into conflict with the aimless masses and start killing, a lot. Perhaps someone or something would find me first, perhaps we'd ally or fight. But one way or another, I'm going to make every effort to tear a big hole in the setting, whether it's to carve out my own space or to fight others for an existing space.
    Those are my thoughts as well. People will try to tear it apart, one way or another. Some go about that very destructively, no doubt, and I wouldn't expect them to last long. Others band together or try to create meaning or find holes. Some look for new arrivals to help or to study. Some build communities, and some gather knowledge or seek more and more power, thinking if they can just get enough they will be able to pierce whatever stands between them and the real world they know must exist outside the labyrinth.

    It would be a tough place to survive, but the great driving force is the will to break free, to tear it all down somehow.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Another is an external thought. When I look at the dreary, mostly lifeless world, I always ask myself both the why and the how. The why might be arbitrary. This could be an alternate universe, a different dimension, or the bleak future where all the nukes went off. But the how is interesting. We're still, presumably, humans. Even with broken minds, we need food and water and shelter. Some way to avoid the worst of disease, and something to occupy time other than sleeping and eating. And if there is no drive in people, of any sort, that's abnormal and probably has an interesting explanation.
    Good thoughts too. My thinking is that where there is a demand, someone will try to fill it. Someone will find a way to grow food in such a place. Someone will create entertainment, if nothing else then to entertain themselves.

    There is also the possibility of things left behind, or things that maybe were there all the time. One possible answer to the "why" is that it is a created place, that there is some force actively filling it with things. Maybe if you look around you can scavenge stuff that no one knows who produced, like canned meat, or books, or movies or whatever, just lying around. If people just appear out of nowhere in random places, perhaps objects do as well. Scavenging could be a lucrative business.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Colonel Fedora View Post
    Deadly, a delightfully daring drawer and drafter of dissertations. Defying the dictations of our disparate denizens, Deadly decides his direction with a dirth of dependence on the decisions of despotic desperados. Deadly detests dismissive derision, and will debate any dude or dame that dares to detest discussion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    The Mage game is not planned in any great detail, but I have a setting and a concept, and I'm starting to think that's the most important thing you need. An interesting place with lots of possibilities that can be built upon as needed, if you have that then you can start telling a story, any story the players may stumble into, really.

    I'm really starting to believe that Setting is the key, not just in games but fiction as a whole. You hear a lot about characters, but I think characters ought to emerge naturally from the setting, like ... characters are an emergent property of the setting, and your most critical task in telling a story is to get the setting right.

    The idea I have is about a seemingly endless, labyrinthine city, a really scummy, rotten place without law or any sense of purpose, where Mages awaken to. That is, you have your wonderful, terrifying, eye-opening experience of signing your name in a Watchtower, and then ... you wake up with fragmentary memories of a past life at best, or with either no memories at all or completely messed up and obviously false memories at worst, in a total dump of a city where Sleepers, Mages and other beings meander about in a seemingly senseless life of searching for purpose or meaning. And every once in a while another poor soul awakens in some random place to this senseless nightmare. Others disappear, never to be heard from again, probably wandered off or got killed.

    If you wander out of whatever pocket of life you landed in, in any direction for long enough, all you find is endless, deserted city, tiny alleys and broken down homes going on forever. No doubt lots of people just keep going and never find their way back to whatever pocket of life they awoke in. Others stay.

    For all anyone knows (or is willing to tell you) this is the entirety of the universe and you had no life before you woke up. Any prior memories you have are fabrications or random creations of a mind in the process of being put together and born. Some accept that bleak view, others cling to the belief that they did have a life before, that there is something out there, a better world, or at least a place with some order and meaning.

    What is really going on? Good luck finding out.

    That's what I have so far, in a nutshell. I think I will give my Changeling game priority, but maybe I'll make this my second game. It shouldn't take as much work to get started, since the setting is fictional and completely up to me to define.
    sounds awesome. Real awesome.

    Sounds like one of those rare places where the real, the shadow and the underworld verge together, tinged by hell. From the outside it could be a series of three interconnected back alleys, made infinite by the workings of pandemonium and stretched into a labyrinthine maze of despair by the the shadow's influence. Or, you know, one of the other like, fifteen possible methods I could think of to have a Mage or similar creature create such a space, or one of the infinite ways it could be a unique occurrence. Boss.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    sounds awesome. Real awesome.

    Sounds like one of those rare places where the real, the shadow and the underworld verge together, tinged by hell. From the outside it could be a series of three interconnected back alleys, made infinite by the workings of pandemonium and stretched into a labyrinthine maze of despair by the the shadow's influence. Or, you know, one of the other like, fifteen possible methods I could think of to have a Mage or similar creature create such a space, or one of the infinite ways it could be a unique occurrence. Boss.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Aw man, why do I keep designing characters I don't have games for *Throws completed character sheet on The Pile*
    Ooh, summary?

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Stop ruining my dreams of electrical explosions, Thanqol. Also, insulated wire is better than an extension cord since I'm probably going to need to go into a power line and that requires actually manipulating the wire, which is hard with a normal extension cord with regular plugs at the end.
    Extension cord + knife?

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Fair enough. Alter Conductivity, by the way, is Matter 1 and covert so Turing could achieve the same general effect with a length of rope - or a really long piece of liquorish.
    Let's do this one. It will be glorious!

    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    You've got a labyrinth and Minotaur theme. That could suggest themes, mechanics, and geography. A labyrinth is about surety and despair, especially when it becomes a maze. Just ask Druid Droid, he was there when I got stuck in one. There was a brief moment where I thought maybe it was a closed circuit an I'd stumbled onto some special hell! That was a good night.
    That was a good night! Certainly illustrated the dangers of hanging around with the Fey... so much walking...

    Oh, and interestingly enough, I'm currently drinking some of that Angry Orchard cider we had; I found it in the store the other day and decided to pick up a pack for old times' sake.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    I'm really starting to believe that Setting is the key, not just in games but fiction as a whole. You hear a lot about characters, but I think characters ought to emerge naturally from the setting, like ... characters are an emergent property of the setting, and your most critical task in telling a story is to get the setting right.
    Turing would probably agree with you, thanks to his Awakening >.>
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    As a subtle contrast to Thanqol, I would say run it if you can conceive of ramifications, but you don't need to worry too much about the setting. The only player who knows the rules and fluff by heart is Thanqol, who would benefit the most from being surprised, right?
    And honestly, the vast majority of the fluff is suggestions. I have deliberately disregarded the vast majority of Order stuff for the purposes of this game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Deadly View Post
    I'm really starting to believe that Setting is the key, not just in games but fiction as a whole. You hear a lot about characters, but I think characters ought to emerge naturally from the setting, like ... characters are an emergent property of the setting, and your most critical task in telling a story is to get the setting right.
    I disagree with this; my biases are extremely heavily towards the character driven end of the spectrum.

    The idea I have is about a seemingly endless, labyrinthine city, a really scummy, rotten place without law or any sense of purpose, where Mages awaken to. That is, you have your wonderful, terrifying, eye-opening experience of signing your name in a Watchtower, and then ... you wake up with fragmentary memories of a past life at best, or with either no memories at all or completely messed up and obviously false memories at worst, in a total dump of a city where Sleepers, Mages and other beings meander about in a seemingly senseless life of searching for purpose or meaning. And every once in a while another poor soul awakens in some random place to this senseless nightmare. Others disappear, never to be heard from again, probably wandered off or got killed.

    If you wander out of whatever pocket of life you landed in, in any direction for long enough, all you find is endless, deserted city, tiny alleys and broken down homes going on forever. No doubt lots of people just keep going and never find their way back to whatever pocket of life they awoke in. Others stay.

    For all anyone knows (or is willing to tell you) this is the entirety of the universe and you had no life before you woke up. Any prior memories you have are fabrications or random creations of a mind in the process of being put together and born. Some accept that bleak view, others cling to the belief that they did have a life before, that there is something out there, a better world, or at least a place with some order and meaning.

    What is really going on? Good luck finding out.

    That's what I have so far, in a nutshell. I think I will give my Changeling game priority, but maybe I'll make this my second game. It shouldn't take as much work to get started, since the setting is fictional and completely up to me to define.
    Singapore and/or Hong Kong sound like perfect parallels for setting. I also consider a real life city to be infinitely easier to use than a fictional one because tens of millions of people have worked for centuries to give you a backstory and plot hooks.

    I am also very concerned about trying to write a mystery plot into a Mage game, let alone as the central conceit of a Mage game, given what Time and Space magic can do. A Time Mage can literally look back at their history before they Awakened to verify any memories that seem odd. Higher level Time powers involve actively retconning your own distant history. A Space Mage can exit the city with three hours and a picture postcard. A Mind Mage can see the holes in his memory and cast a spell to fix them.

    I'm not saying this is a bad idea, I'm saying that the major source of difference in running a Mage game compared to any other type of game is the sheer amount of information gathering powers of the player characters. Don't design a game as if there are no secrets, design it from the assumption that any secret can be discovered if the PCs put their minds to studying it for a few in game weeks. As soon as you've articulated the question then the answer is just a matter of time.

    That is the biggest paradigm shift to consider when running Mage. Mages are the guys behind the curtain running the conspiracy of the slum city for some nefarious end, not the guys trapped inside it. To use a metaphor for this game, Detroit is a post apocalyptic wasteland and it was the fault of the Awakened, and their duty to fix. Even at the nadir of their power they're still the most powerful people in the city. Any Mage can escape Detroit if they want. There's something more than mystery keeping them there.

    Usually it's hubris.

    Quote Originally Posted by the_druid_droid View Post
    Ooh, summary?
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    Quote Originally Posted by the_druid_droid View Post
    Extension cord + knife?
    Mage operates in limited-space inventory systems? I knew it!
    > Starry casts "Mind Daggers" on jayden
    --> Trigger contingent psychic twin
    > Jayden casts "Mind 3" on Starry
    --> Jayden has hacked Starty's account
    Jayden: select fist
    Jayden: select face slot
    --> Starry takes 2 damage!
    "Stop hitting yourself!"

    That was a good night! Certainly illustrated the dangers of hanging around with the Fey... so much walking...
    The worst part was that surprise grand curve that took me all te way back to the damn heart of the thing. I believe there were some statements about pandemonium at that point that were half joke, half fear.

    Oh, and interestingly enough, I'm currently drinking some of that Angry Orchard cider we had; I found it in the store the other day and decided to pick up a pack for old times' sake.
    I am so angry at you. Best I've found was this stuff on tap at a wing bar. Not half as good. I'll have to comb some internets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I disagree with this; my biases are extremely heavily towards the character driven end of the spectrum.
    A false dichotomy. A good setting will by it's nature have goo characters; good characters can make a setting. It's the execution, where trouble can pop up. Most of the time a good character or setting is one where the ST has a much smaller chance of bungling.

    Singapore and/or Hong Kong sound like perfect parallels for setting. I also consider a real life city to be infinitely easier to use than a fictional one because tens of millions of people have worked for centuries to give you a backstory and plot hooks.
    The part o me that prides myself on my work argues. The part that's tried it gives this a huge thumbs up. Everyplace is interesting, you just gotta look an pretend to care.

    I am also very concerned about trying to write a mystery plot into a Mage game, let alone as the central conceit of a Mage game, given what Time and Space magic can do. A Time Mage can literally look back at their history before they Awakened to verify any memories that seem odd. Higher level Time powers involve actively retconning your own distant history. A Space Mage can exit the city with three hours and a picture postcard. A Mind Mage can see the holes in his memory and cast a spell to fix them.

    I'm not saying this is a bad idea, I'm saying that the major source of difference in running a Mage game compared to any other type of game is the sheer amount of information gathering powers of the player characters. Don't design a game as if there are no secrets, design it from the assumption that any secret can be discovered if the PCs put their minds to studying it for a few in game weeks. As soon as you've articulated the question then the answer is just a matter of time.

    That is the biggest paradigm shift to consider when running Mage. Mages are the guys behind the curtain running the conspiracy of the slum city for some nefarious end, not the guys trapped inside it. To use a metaphor for this game, Detroit is a post apocalyptic wasteland and it was the fault of the Awakened, and their duty to fix. Even at the nadir of their power they're still the most powerful people in the city. Any Mage can escape Detroit if they want. There's something more than mystery keeping them there.

    Usually it's hubris.
    it could still work. So long as the players don't just pull a "we try to find a way out. Ritual spell, sice pool of nine. We succeed in... Eight weeks. What's next?" it's a good method of play. Deadly gets a game that might have an inbuilt time limit so he can practice storytelling, and it may have a suitable number of distractions to keep players going. What I'd everyone you check you get different data? It's all obviously fake, but why? Finding a pall I misinformation is easy. Piercing it, not so much. You need to locate the linchpins in a place where the geography is actively using spaces 5 against you.

    Silent hill stuff can be done in Mage, you're just not a powerless protagonist. Go watch Cabin In The Woods; most of the characters are mundane. The pothead who figures everything out is a Mage.
    "Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice."

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    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    it could still work. So long as the players don't just pull a "we try to find a way out. Ritual spell, sice pool of nine. We succeed in... Eight weeks. What's next?" it's a good method of play. Deadly gets a game that might have an inbuilt time limit so he can practice storytelling, and it may have a suitable number of distractions to keep players going.
    It doesn't need to be a limited time, they need a reason to stay. And having the geography use space 5 is terribly unsatisfying and arbitrary against the system. That's why the how and why of such a setting are so important. The how tells the mages what they can do about the, they why tells them why they should stay.
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    Anarion's right on the money here.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    Mage operates in limited-space inventory systems? I knew it!
    > Starry casts "Mind Daggers" on jayden
    --> Trigger contingent psychic twin
    > Jayden casts "Mind 3" on Starry
    --> Jayden has hacked Starty's account
    Jayden: select fist
    Jayden: select face slot
    --> Starry takes 2 damage!
    "Stop hitting yourself!"
    Jayden's only Mind 2. She has, however, worked with her Thyrsus buddy to build a contingent spell into everyone's minds that reacts to mental assaults by establishing a position of homicidal rage towards the attacker.

    A false dichotomy. A good setting will by it's nature have goo characters; good characters can make a setting. It's the execution, where trouble can pop up. Most of the time a good character or setting is one where the ST has a much smaller chance of bungling.
    There is a very real, non false dichotomy. The setting of Accel World is very good. Cyberpunk future with a clear understanding of the progression of social media technology and the cultural ramifications of that. Boring, standard anime protagonists. I came away from it interested in the setting but uninterested in the drives of the characters. That was far more poisonous to me than KannaZuki no Miko which had a vague setting best summarised as 'Japan Fantasy Robots Maybe', but had strong enough characters to have me genuinely interested in the story.

    it could still work. So long as the players don't just pull a "we try to find a way out. Ritual spell, sice pool of nine. We succeed in... Eight weeks.
    Eight weeks? What? We're talking 15 hours maximum.

    Described is -10, meaning you need 11 successes, 15 if you're adding Space 2 to not care about location. You can do that in 5-10 rolls no problem.

    Unless it's actively warded by another Mage, in which case it's a matter of who gives up first/hunting down that one mage.

    Really, the only reason I'm able to get away with the biggest mysteries in this game is because I hid them behind the Abyss.

    What's next?" it's a good method of play. Deadly gets a game that might have an inbuilt time limit so he can practice storytelling, and it may have a suitable number of distractions to keep players going. What I'd everyone you check you get different data? It's all obviously fake, but why? Finding a pall I misinformation is easy. Piercing it, not so much. You need to locate the linchpins in a place where the geography is actively using spaces 5 against you.
    Mage is a game about hubris. If the setting itself prevents you from making meaningful decisions it's a game about a bunch of dudes with pretensions in a jail.

    Silent hill stuff can be done in Mage, you're just not a powerless protagonist. Go watch Cabin In The Woods; most of the characters are mundane. The pothead who figures everything out is a Mage.
    Mages are the Ghostbusters to a mortal's Silent Hill. The tone is dramatically different.


    See, there are ways to make that essential concept work and fit within the scope of Mage. The one that immediately occurs to me is to make it an Astral Realm that we have a reason to continuously visit. I have a deep concern, though, with setting everyone's backstory to 'amnesia' and using Plot Fiat to negate any Mage powers that conflict with the setting. That seems to me like it would make a much better Changeling game than a Mage game.

    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    It doesn't need to be a limited time, they need a reason to stay. And having the geography use space 5 is terribly unsatisfying and arbitrary against the system. That's why the how and why of such a setting are so important. The how tells the mages what they can do about the, they why tells them why they should stay.
    Yeah.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2012-10-01 at 11:55 PM.
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    Ugh, my proofreading was so bad in that post, but Thanqol just about covered everything. What I meant to say is that the "how" tells the mages what they can do about the problem and the "why" tells them why they should stay.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    Ugh, my proofreading was so bad in that post, but Thanqol just about covered everything. What I meant to say is that the "how" tells the mages what they can do about the problem and the "why" tells them why they should stay.
    As an addendum to this, this party right here could probably level half of Detroit if it set it's mind to it. A few barrels of explosives, some hung Forces and Fate rituals to enhance the spread of the fire, sabotaged fire engines, and some Time magic to stop every Time mage from seeing what you're about to do. It'd take you a few weeks to set up but it's well within your capabilities.

    Every other Cabal/Arcana could do a similar amount of damage; God help you if the Arsenal of Democracy decides to end Detroit.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Anarion View Post
    It doesn't need to be a limited time, they need a reason to stay. And having the geography use space 5 is terribly unsatisfying and arbitrary against the system. That's why the how and why of such a setting are so important. The how tells the mages what they can do about the, they why tells them why they should stay.
    Pandemonium doesn't use Spaces 5, but it still has a lot of the effects of high level space magic. I didn't actually mean that the setting itself was arbitrarily taking actions, deciding on what spells to use and then applying them. Give me more credit than that.

    My point being that it isn't going to be "cast spell, have answer". An answer is information applied appropriately to a situation within context. I've noticed Mage gives you information - all the information. Figuring out why goes where to make any of this stuff actually make sense requires more than dice rolls and tr ST giving you information. There's also the inherent sense of control mages like to have. You figure out how to escape. Okay, that doesn't make it easy, and it doesn't make escape your best option. This place is a load of reality-defying space effects, or mind effects, or something. It defies immediate encapsulation. Even if merely understanding isn't a goal (an it would be, since figuring it out is a direct connection to increasing your gnosis, and arcana), igniting out how to use it yourself is. The mystery is only the first part. Every sandbox has the ability to walk away. The point of describing the setting Iraq is so you don't build a character who's only goal is to escape back to his home and then hermit it up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    Jayden's only Mind 2. She has, however, worked with her Thyrsus buddy to build a contingent spell into everyone's minds that reacts to mental assaults by establishing a position of homicidal rage towards the attacker.
    And that was a good idea?! Youch.

    There is a very real, non false dichotomy. The setting of Accel World is very good. Cyberpunk future with a clear understanding of the progression of social media technology and the cultural ramifications of that. Boring, standard anime protagonists. I came away from it interested in the setting but uninterested in the drives of the characters. That was far more poisonous to me than KannaZuki no Miko which had a vague setting best summarised as 'Japan Fantasy Robots Maybe', but had strong enough characters to have me genuinely interested in the story.
    I would argue that a "setting" that's utterly bland, with awesome characters, isn't the real setting, and the entire point would be how the interactions of te characters create Themes, symbols and such. That would be the setting.
    On the other end, I can't remember how I equated a rich setting and crappy characters working. So I can't really press my point. I trust you already get the thrust of my theory?

    Eight weeks? What? We're talking 15 hours maximum.

    Described is -10, meaning you need 11 successes, 15 if you're adding Space 2 to not care about location. You can do that in 5-10 rolls no problem.

    Unless it's actively warded by another Mage, in which case it's a matter of who gives up first/hunting down that one mage.

    Really, the only reason I'm able to get away with the biggest mysteries in this game is because I hid them behind the Abyss.
    A setting where you're trapped but there's nothing keeping you trapped? Come on, that's silly. Although I pulled an arbitrary number out based on you saying few weeks.

    Mage is a game about hubris. If the setting itself prevents you from making meaningful decisions it's a game about a bunch of dudes with pretensions in a jail.
    Ah, but no one said anything about you lacking the ability I make meaningful decisions. That's hyperbole on your part.

    Mages are the Ghostbusters to a mortal's Silent Hill. The tone is dramatically different.
    I was under the impression that running around firing lasers was the bad way to play Mage?


    See, there are ways to make that essential concept work and fit within the scope of Mage. The one that immediately occurs to me is to make it an Astral Realm that we have a reason to continuously visit.[/quote]

    Yeah, I know. There are many ways. The point being that the players don't have to know off the bat, they just have to trust thr figuring it out isn't all the ST has in store.

    I have a deep concern, though, with setting everyone's backstory to 'amnesia' and using Plot Fiat to negate any Mage powers that conflict with the setting. That seems to me like it would make a much better Changeling game than a Mage game.
    I don't get where you're finding Plot Fiat beating powers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    Pandemonium doesn't use Spaces 5, but it still has a lot of the effects of high level space magic. I didn't actually mean that the setting itself was arbitrarily taking actions, deciding on what spells to use and then applying them. Give me more credit than that.

    My point being that it isn't going to be "cast spell, have answer". An answer is information applied appropriately to a situation within context. I've noticed Mage gives you information - all the information. Figuring out why goes where to make any of this stuff actually make sense requires more than dice rolls and tr ST giving you information. There's also the inherent sense of control mages like to have. You figure out how to escape. Okay, that doesn't make it easy, and it doesn't make escape your best option. This place is a load of reality-defying space effects, or mind effects, or something. It defies immediate encapsulation. Even if merely understanding isn't a goal (an it would be, since figuring it out is a direct connection to increasing your gnosis, and arcana), igniting out how to use it yourself is. The mystery is only the first part. Every sandbox has the ability to walk away. The point of describing the setting Iraq is so you don't build a character who's only goal is to escape back to his home and then hermit it up.
    > Characters all have amnesia
    > Characters cannot easily escape
    > City is a lawless hellscape

    I'm not seeing how I can start with any motivation other than 'escape back to reality' unless I build a character with a very specific set of motivations.

    That's fine, there could be an awesome game in escaping back to reality. If it's a Mage game, I have powers that let me teleport anywhere I've heard described and go dimension hopping out of character generation. That does not support the theme of entrapment. If these powers do not function then my character is dead weight.

    The system is not supporting the setting is what I'm saying.

    I would argue that a "setting" that's utterly bland, with awesome characters, isn't the real setting, and the entire point would be how the interactions of te characters create Themes, symbols and such. That would be the setting.
    On the other end, I can't remember how I equated a rich setting and crappy characters working. So I can't really press my point. I trust you already get the thrust of my theory?
    It's my measure of a good character if you can insert them into any setting and have them work.

    A setting where you're trapped but there's nothing keeping you trapped? Come on, that's silly. Although I pulled an arbitrary number out based on you saying few weeks.
    It's not silly. You are keeping yourself trapped.

    I opened this game with a straight-up ask of "No sane person would live in this city. Explain why your characters are in this city."

    They're trapped in a horrible place by themselves. The most unbreakable bond.

    Ah, but no one said anything about you lacking the ability I make meaningful decisions. That's hyperbole on your part.
    I have powers to get me information to make meaningful decisions. If the setting, not an individual, blocks use of those powers I am unable to get meaningful information. I am therefore unable to make meaningful decisions and just have to blindly follow whatever path is not blocked by the Archmaster's magic.

    I consider that dissatisfying.

    I was under the impression that running around firing lasers was the bad way to play Mage?
    The backpacks were props to stop it being Improbable.

    Yeah, I know. There are many ways. The point being that the players don't have to know off the bat, they just have to trust thr figuring it out isn't all the ST has in store.
    > If it's an Astral Realm, Mind/Prime 1 will tell you're in an Astral Realm
    > If something happened in the past, Time 2 will tell you what happened in the past.
    > If it's a mysterious figure manipulating you, Space 2 will tell you who it is.
    > Mind 3 is telepathy.

    Mages have an immense information gathering suite. To maintain a mystery you have to find a way around that, because it's a trivial expenditure of effort for a player character to make. What stops them from doing it?

    I don't get where you're finding Plot Fiat beating powers.
    There is no other force that can stop a Mage examining his own history with Time 2. He has an Intimate connection to it, after all.
    Last edited by Thanqol; 2012-10-02 at 01:43 AM.
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    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    Pandemonium doesn't use Spaces 5, but it still has a lot of the effects of high level space magic. I didn't actually mean that the setting itself was arbitrarily taking actions, deciding on what spells to use and then applying them. Give me more credit than that.

    My point being that it isn't going to be "cast spell, have answer". An answer is information applied appropriately to a situation within context.
    I do not see a meaningful difference between a setting using magic and a setting that has a lot of effect of high level magic of the same type. Either the setting is arbitrarily created in a way that cancels several to all of a charcter's mechanical abilities, or it is not.

    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    A setting where you're trapped but there's nothing keeping you trapped? Come on, that's silly. Although I pulled an arbitrary number out based on you saying few weeks.
    And same problem. If the thing keeping me trapped is a character or object that I can interact with, I need to be able to find it. If it's the setting itself, it's mechanically nullifying the system, and I agree with Thanqol that that is unsatisfying. And if it's a character, but they're also protected from all scrying and never reveal themselves and are hidden far away and you can't teleport to them etc. etc. then that's not a character, it's a plot fiat.

    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    I was under the impression that running around firing lasers was the bad way to play Mage?
    Only if you kill people and invoke the abyss with the lasers.


    Quote Originally Posted by SiuiS View Post
    I don't get where you're finding Plot Fiat beating powers.
    The premise Mage involves people with a bunch of powers. The fun of it is being a person with a bunch of powers because otherwise you're just RPing a regular person. Making a setting that, as its premise, nullifies most of the powers is bad.

    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    > Characters all have amnesia
    > Characters cannot easily escape
    > City is a lawless hellscape

    I'm not seeing how I can start with any motivation other than 'escape back to reality' unless I build a character with a very specific set of motivations.
    I get the sense from the last time Deadly actually participated in this discussion that this is not the planned setting. I responded similarly to you and he mentioned having communities and food and entertainment and other stuff going on, so that rather than an inescapable lawless hellscape, you have an inescapable but interesting hellscape. A place where enterprising characters can take over and gain power. Perfect for a band of young mages.


    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    I opened this game with a straight-up ask of "No sane person would live in this city. Explain why your characters are in this city."
    And this is the only reason we're all still there. It's incredibly helpful when the premise of the game is "you want to be here" so that running away never even enters the calculus when the crazy happens.


    Quote Originally Posted by Thanqol View Post
    The backpacks were props to stop it being Improbable.
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    Anarion's right on the money here.
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