Solar Storms Questions

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This is perhaps best described as an overall design page. Seeing a list of questions and traditional elements by Troy Costisick made me think about how far along I was, and where I wanted to go. So, effectively, this is a design document hidden under the guise of 20 questions.

1.) What is your game about?

  • Solar Storms is primarily a transhuman game. That is, it's about people and things that have moved beyond the current experience. Some might call it post-singularity, after a fashion.

2.) What do the characters do?

  • This is a tough question but the main focus is on monsters of a sort. Being monsters, becoming monsters, saving monsters, transforming them, making them, killing them. Facing monsters within and without, abstract and concrete.

3.) What do the players (including the GM if there is one) do?

  • Since the system isn't developed, this is a bit abstract. The 'goal' is a sort of deal where the players control and add to a significant part of the setting. This is not, necessarily, a single character - though it can be.

4.) How does your setting (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

  • It's expansive, and provides a wide range of problems to be faced and overcome.

5.) How does the Character Creation of your game reinforce what your game is about?

  • Naturally, this isn't done yet, but, in terms of a single character, I separate mind from body. Within the setting, there is a thing called a braincase - a reinforced mockup of the current design. A body - whatever its form - is merely a vessel for the brain.

6.) What types of behaviors/styles of play does your game reward (and punish if necessary)?

  • The game is intended to reward action, especially unique actions. It should reward a good plan and show respect for patience. It should punish apathy.

7.) How are behaviors and styles of play rewarded or punished in your game?

  • People who don't get involved are left behind. People who do can change things - and, perhaps, something might notice.

8.) How are the responsibilities of narration and credibility divided in your game?

  • Since the default characters have superhuman intellect, discussion of actions are encouraged. Assuming they're on the same team, players are expected to support eachother's characters not just physically, but by pointing out potential flaws in reasoning. In some cases, players are expected to control an organization - either as a group, or one per. Ideally, an environment would be such that the only purpose of the GM is to be as a final arbiter of the rules.

9.) What does your game do to command the players' attention, engagement, and participation? (i.e. What does the game do to make them care?)

  • Consequences.

10.) What are the resolution mechanics of your game like?

  • I could have answered this a few months ago. I can't now. I put the setting over the system, and as this is finalized, I'll be building it, for the fourth time.

11.) How do the resolution mechanics reinforce what your game is about?

  • The goal is that they will reflect a very 'hard' view on things.

12.) Do characters in your game advance? If so, how?

  • Most obvious advancement and risk will be material and social, though most pcs will have a limited amount of mystical development available. There will also be a personality matrix. Becoming, or being, a cerevate or astrum parvulis also has extensive possibilities for advancement.

13.) How does the character advancement (or lack thereof) reinforce what your game is about?

  • Humans and other races have achieved a sort of pinnacle of design, where, mental, personal, and physical traits are tradeoffs, and increasing some entails sacrificing others. These can be changed - even personality can be changed - but the overwhelmingly vast number of characters are not inherently better than each other. Even homo panacea has its uses.

14.) What sort of product or effect do you want your game to produce in or for the players?

  • A sense of epic wonder.

15.) What areas of your game receive extra attention and color? Why?

  • What, more than where. That is, I've been focusing a lot more on what things are, a lot more than when and where (specifically) they take place.

16.) Which part of your game are you most excited about or interested in? Why?

  • Hard question. Probably the form of 'magic' I intend to include. Players will have to make mutually exclusive choices about what they want to be able to do, and how much.

17.) Where does your game take the players that other games can’t, don’t, or won’t?

  • In terms of setting, I hope that Solar Storms will give an impression of the raw immensity of space, without having to resort to numbers to show it. In terms of playing, an overall goal is that the game will not necessarily need an active GM, in its idealized, final form.

18.) What are your publishing goals for your game?

  • This is mostly an on-line thing I've been working on because, well, I've come to love the setting. I may do a .pdf if people like it and seeing a dead tree version (hardcover, of course) would be nice as well.

19.) Who is your target audience?

  • The sort of person who wants to be a child again. That is, someone eager to learn, explore, or both.

20.) What traditional elements will you keep, which will you eschew, and why?

  • I added this one because I felt it would give me a decent base from which to work. See the second page linked above for the original discussion. Though I disagree with the 'traditional game', I do agree that there are traditional elements involved.

- GM imbued with ultimate authority

  • Perhaps in the sense that someone will need to arbitrate the rules. However, this interference should be minimal.

- GM charged with creating entire plot and setting for the game

  • No. For something that intends to demonstrate this sort of scope, that should only occur for limited situations.

- Players play one and only one character

  • Again, no, though this can be an option.

- Players encouraged to stay in 'Actor Stance'

  • As mentioned above, I want to encourage players to give input on eachother's decisions. There may even be a token system where the GM can hand out advice.

- Task Resolution System

  • Torn between a form of diceless system I've been mucking about with, and a scalable dice system. But there will be one and it will be detailed.

- Difficulties set by GM fiat

  • Where needed, but again, I desire to keep this to a minimum.

- GM receives minimal guidance or tools from text to carry out his duties

  • I want to do much the opposite, in part by limiting the duties needed.

- Character Advancement tied to increasing statistical values

  • Material and social gains can become losses too. Personality scores have mutually exclusive numbers - a high score in one means a low score in another, and these determine low-end mystical ability.

- Character Death

  • Present, but rare. Violent or varied games may see characters swapping bodies regularly, or sometimes even switching.

- Dice used as the sole randomizer for play

  • If there is a randomizer, probably, even if they get called 'coins'.

- Assumption of long term play

  • As is, that only seems to be the case for the high-end of the game.

- Player/Character goals not mechanically supported in plot/setting creation

  • I plan to make this sort of thing an integral component of the rules.
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